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Monday, 17 November 2014

Magnetic field of ancient meteorite holds clues to solar system formation

© MIT Paleomagnetism Laboratory

Magnified image of the section of the Semarkona meteorite used in this study. Chondrules are millimeter sized, light-colored objects.

By analyzing a meteorite that crash-landed in India eight decades ago, researchers have discovered the first experimental evidence suggesting that our solar system's protoplanetary disk was shaped by an intense magnetic field which propelled massive amounts of gas into the sun over the course of just a few million years.

In the study, MIT graduate student Roger Fu and colleagues from Cambridge University, Arizona State University and elsewhere studied a space rock known as a Semarkona, which fell to Earth in northern India back in 1940 and is said to be one of the most pristine relics of the early solar system. They extracted individual pellets known as chondrules from a small sample of the meteorite and measured the magnetic orientations of each grain.

As the study authors reported Friday in the journal , they found that the meteorite had not been altered since its formation. With that established, they then measured the magnetic strength of each chondrule and calculated the original magnetic field in which those grains were created. Their calculations revealed the early solar system's magnetic field was between five and 54 microteslas, or up to 100,000 times stronger than what currently exists in interstellar space.

While astronomers have long observed the process of protoplanetary disk evolution throughout the galaxy, the mechanism by which planetary disks evolved has remained a mystery to scientists for several decades, the researchers said. Based on their measurements, however, the researchers believe that the magnetic field would likely have played a major role in the formation of the solar system and of Earth-like planets.

© Science

Magnetic field lines (green) weave through the cloud of dusty gas surrounding the newborn Sun. In the foreground are asteroids and chondrules, the building blocks of chondritic meteorites. While solar magnetic fields dominate the region near the Sun, out where the asteroids orbit, chondrules preserve a record of varying local magnetic fields.

"Explaining the rapid timescale in which these disks evolve - in only a few million years - has always been a big mystery," Fu, a graduate student in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, said in a statement Friday. "It turns out that this magnetic field is strong enough to affect the motion of gas at a large scale, in a very significant way."

The chondrules which comprise the Semarkona meteorite would have formed as a result of quick melting events in the solar nebula, the thick cloud of gas and dust that surrounded the newborn Sun, the researchers explained. Regions of the solar nebula would have had to have been heated above the melting point of rock for a period of several hours up to days, causing trapped dustballs to become molten rock, cool and crystallize.

As the pellets cooled, iron-bearing minerals contained within them would have become magnetized by the local magnetic field in the gas, and those properties have been preserved in the chondrules even today. Fu and his colleagues focused specifically on the embedded magnetic fields captured by "dusty" olivine grains that contain abundant iron-bearing minerals, which had a magnetic field of 54 microtesla - similar to that found at Earth's surface (which varied from 25 to 65 microtesla).

While previous measurements of meteorites suggested that they had magnetic fields of similar strength, it has now been realized that those data had detected magnetic minerals which had been contaminated by Earth's magnetic field or by hand magnets used by meteorite collectors. The new experiments, the study authors said, use chondrules that had never been measured before, and that they had become magnetized before becoming part of the meteorite.

"The measurements made by Fu and Weiss are astounding and unprecedented," said co-author Steve Desch of Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration. "Not only have they measured tiny magnetic fields thousands of times weaker than a compass feels, they have mapped the magnetic fields' variation recorded by the meteorite, millimeter by millimeter."

"The new experiments probe magnetic minerals in chondrules never measured before. They also show that each chondrule is magnetized like a little bar magnet, but with 'north' pointing in random directions," he added, noting that the shock waves traveling through the solar nebula was what melted most of the chondrules, amplifying the background field by as much as 30 times depending on their size and shape. "This is the first really accurate and reliable measurement of the magnetic field in the gas from which our planets formed."

Anglo-Saxon cemetery unearthed in England

© Cambridge News

The skeletons were found on land at Burwell Road in Exning, alongside a spear, a glass bowl, gold plated brooches, a cloak pin, and a dagger, some of which is thought to have come from as early as 7AD.

The dig was carried out by Archaeological Solutions on behalf of Persimmon Homes, who have outline permission to build 120 homes on the site.

Andrew Peachey, post excavation manager for Archaeological Solutions, said: "The focus of the dig was of 20 Saxon graves. In those, we found 21 remains with one being a double burial.

"It was quite a surprise. We had done a series of trial trench excavations and had no idea they were there.

© Cambridge News

"We were very lucky they had survived because they were less than a foot down and the land had been ploughed very recently."

Exning has strong links to King Anna, who converted to Christianity in the early 7th century, and is reportedly the birthplace of Queen Etheldreda, his daughter, who had Ely named after her.

The team at Archaeological Solutions, who have now recovered the skeletons and the items, will be working to discovered more information about the ancient villagers.

Mr Peachey added: "Thanks to the local geology of the land, the preservation of the bones are brilliant.

"We have recovered them and will be doing pathology work to see if they were male or female and how old they were."

© Cambridge News

Copper alloy links and beads

The findings of the dig, which was undertaken as a condition of being granted planning permission will not halt the building of the houses, the organisation said, adding that Persimmon Homes had been "incredibly considerate" while the excavation was underway.

The findings maybe able to go on display in Exning, but will first be subject to a "lengthy process of preservation".

However, excavators will be presenting details of their findings to local residents of Exning in the new year.

Climatologist: 30-Year cold spell will strike earth, has already begun

ice age

With nasty cold fronts thrusting an icy and early winter across the continental U.S. - along with last winter described by USA Today as "one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on record" - climatologist John L. Casey thinks the weather pattern is here to stay for decades to come.

In fact, Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant, is out with the provocative book "Dark Winter: How the Sun Is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell," which warns that a radical shift in global climate is underway, and that Al Gore and other environmentalists have it completely wrong. [Get "Dark Winter" with Free Offer - Click Here ]

The earth, he says, is cooling, and cooling fast.

And unless the scientific community and political leaders act soon, cold, dark days are ahead.

Casey says the evidence is clear that the earth is rapidly growing colder because of diminished solar activity. He says trends indicate we could be headed for colder temperatures similar to those seen in the late 1700s and early 1800s when the sun went into a "solar minimum" - a phenomenon with significantly reduced solar activity, including solar flares and sunspots.

If he's right, that would be very bad news. "Dark Winter" posits that a 30-year period of cold has already begun. Frigid temperatures and the food shortages that inevitably result could lead to riots and chaos.

Casey tells Newsmax, "All you have to do is trust natural cycles and follow the facts, and that leads you to the inevitable conclusion that the sun controls the climate, and that a new cold era has begun." Casey is president of the Space and Science Research Corp., an Orlando, Fla., climate research firm. His new book debunks global warming orthodoxy. For more than a decade, he reports, the planet's oceans have been cooling. And since 2007, the atmospheric temperature has been cooling as well.

"The data is pretty solid," Casey says. "If you look at the 100-year global temperature chart, you look at the steep drop-off we've had since 2007. It's the steepest drop in global temperatures in the last hundred years."

So how can the media and scientific elites make a case for global warming when it's actually cooling? Casey suggests climate-change theorists have simply wedded themselves to the wrong theory - namely, that global temperatures respond to the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Any scientist suggesting otherwise is castigated as a heretic, though there are other prominent scientists who support Casey.

Noted Russian astrophysicist Habibullo I. Abdussamatov has argued that a new mini-ice age has begun, though Casey doesn't go that far. He does agree with Abdussamatov that the real driver of global climate is solar activity, namely sunspots. These correspond to shifts in global temperature with a greater than 90 percent accuracy, he says. The environmental left focuses instead on ever-rising greenhouse emissions, suggesting nature is just taking a bit of a breather before the upward march in temperatures ineluctably resumes.

"There are two fundamental flaws with that," Casey says. "No. 1, the greenhouse-gas theory, and the global climate models that they produced, never permitted a pause. As long as CO2 levels were going up, the only thing that could happen was global temperatures could go up. That has not happened.

"No. 2, there could absolutely be no cooling, much less a pause. And yet we've been cooling for 11 years now."

The recent polar vortex that sent temperatures across the Midwest plunging to sub-zero records is not an aberration, Casey says. If "Dark Winter" is right, that means the nation is busily preparing for the wrong calamity.

"We don't have 10 years," Casey warns. "We've squandered during President Obama's administration eight years ... and we didn't have eight years to squander."

The worst of the cooling cycle, Casey predicts, will hit in the late 2020s and the early 2030s. Food riots will break out, demand for heating oil will spike, and the failure of the corn crop will put the squeeze on ethanol. He even predicts the United States will ban agricultural exports to feed its own citizens.

Story continued on Newsmax

U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria only create more enemies around the world

© AFP Photo / Lucas Jackson

Anti-IS airstrikes play into the hands of extremists as radicalized Muslims across the globe are view the West as a big foe they want to fight against, Dan Glazebrook, political writer and journalist, told RT.


Dan Glazebrook: I think to defeat them would really require a serious alliance. There is already an existing alliance, which is putting up an amazing job of defending Syria in particular against the forces of ISIS [now the Islamic State or IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] and the other forces that have been backed by the West in its regime change attempt over the last three and a half years. And that alliance consists of the Syrian government, the Iranian government, Russia providing diplomatic support, and Hezbollah on the ground as well. This alliance has blown everybody's minds in terms how it has managed to stave off an attack, [which has] had the backing and support of the US, Britain, Australia, [and most of the world's leading] military powers. Yet, it has managed to stave off defeat. This is the alliance that has been doing the work of holding back the forces of ISIS. One thing would help is if the West stopped effectively supporting ISIS. Although, they are officially at war against ISIS at the moment, their policy of destabilization of Syria, which has led to the growth of ISIS over the past two years, continues. Their policy is still to remove Assad. There was talk a week or two ago from the US that removing Assad will be a necessary preliminary step to defeating ISIS, which is nonsensical comment. But it does show the position they are coming from.

The US Congress passed a motion to support with $500 million the training for more soldiers to go and destabilize Syria to fight against the Syrian government to add to the growing list of soldiers, police and civilians that are killed by this insurrection daily. And to train them in Saudi Arabia which is the birth place of the ISIS-type violent sectarian ideology. What will be very helpful if the West was serious about defeating ISIS would be to stop providing it with effective support that is through the policy of destabilization of Syria. Of course that is not going to happen because the West still has this policy and it is not interested in defeating ISIS. ISIS is a key plank in their policy of destabilization. But this would be from the point of view what the West should be doing. If they were serious they would stop supporting ISIS and stopped destabilizing Syria.


DG: No, I don't believe so. I am not even convinced that was such a surprise or shock to the West. They would have an interest to downplay the number of soldiers in ISIS in order to justify the idea - which was also nonsensical to begin with - that ISIS could be defeated by airstrikes alone. Now the truth is starting to come out but that is kind of the horses are already bolted. The airstrikes are already well on the way. The US is already bombing Syria, the US and Britain are already bombing Iraq, and now it is just increasingly apparent with these new figures of how many ISIS fighters there are. It is now becoming increasingly apparent that the air strikes will not help to defeat them in any way.


DG: No, the decision whether or not they are going to send ground troops is going to be based on their long-term strategy of how they are going to deal with the fact that their invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequent occupation did not lead to the kind of puppet-regime that perhaps they were hoping for. In fact even the leader that they helped to install - [former Iraqi PM] Maliki - has actually more or less disavowed the US. And the US dictate refused to sign a new deal to allow further occupation of his country in 2011, moved to closer ties with Iran, refused to support their policy in Syria and so on. Really the strategies are all about how to prevent Iraq reemerging as a powerful, independent state. And even their occupation failed to do this. These are the kind of things that shape their strategy towards Iraq and Syria, and the issue of the Islamic State is a tool against independent governance like Iraq and Syria that has been used and abused by British and American governments in the last few years. They will continue to do that. If they have ground troops in Iraq and if they have an increasing military presence there, that will help to coordinate the kind of groups like ISIS that they have been supporting. Not necessarily directly. Obviously ISIS is not in a direct US chain of command as far as we know. But in the sense of military operations to direct them in certain areas, keep them away from certain strategically important areas; direct them in other areas that they do want to destabilize, direct even more towards Syria away from Kurdish areas, and so on, and so forth.


DG: There are a number of things that have an answer to that question. First thing you have to understand is that there has been a huge project to support groups like ISIS that goes back to even before the Syrian uprising. The key article to read is Seymour Hersh's investigation called where he outlines a very specific strategy in 2007 by Bandar of Saudi Arabia, Dick Cheney, and other neocons in the US government at that time to build up a number of paramilitary forces specifically to take on Syria in particular. Also through that to take on the strength of Hezbollah, Iran as well, and the Shiites within Iraq. This strategy involved funding the most violent a kind of sectarian chauvinist groups that could be found in the Sunni community. And there is likely to be billions spent on this project. We have seen that the ISIS is the richest terrorist group in the world - several billion dollars at its disposal. This can't be isolated from the fact that there have been billions of dollars of US cash that went missing in Iraq several years ago, there was a huge scandal, can't be isolated from the fact that over $400 million of equipment went missing in Afghanistan from the US around this time last year.

That is a big part of the picture of the story of how ISIS became so powerful. Another important part is that now these airstrikes have begun, that is excellent recruiting to provide the cannon fodder for ISIS because for the past three years it has been difficult for ISIS and these groups to pose as being anti-West. They have been so obviously on the same side as the West. Radicalized Muslims in western countries and elsewhere in the world see the West is to be a big problem that they want to fight against. Now suddenly with this airstrikes they can see ISIS as something that is going to help them to fight against the West. ISIS is not particularly against the West, everything that it is doing is precisely in line with what the West's program and strategy for the region is which is why they were funding them for so long effectively through the Saudi and Qatar proxies. That is the two aspects of this. This is a part of the long-term US and British strategy, and secondly, now they have got this great recruiting tool that they are posing as anti-Western fighters fighting against Western infidels and so on. It is not true but it is a great recruiting tool. In fact the airstrikes have served probably to increase the strength of ISIS more than to undermine it by giving this kind of shot in the arm in terms of credibility that they were lacking before.

The economic death knell that is Obamacare


Did you know that some Americans are being hit with health insurance rate increases of more than 500 percent?

Taking advantage of "the stupidity of the American voter", the Democrats succeeded in ramming through one of the worst pieces of legislation that has ever come before Congress.

The full implementation of Obamacare has been repeatedly delayed, but now we are finally starting to see the true horror of this terrible law. Thanks to Obamacare, millions of American families are losing health plans that they were very happy with, health insurance rates are skyrocketing, millions of workers are having their full-time hours cut back to part-time hours, rural hospitals all over the country are dying , and thousands of doctors are being driven out of the industry thus intensifying the greatest doctor shortage in U.S. history.

Obamacare is a slow-motion train wreck of epic proportions, and the full effect of this law is only beginning to be felt. In the end, the economic impact of this law will likely be measured in the trillions of dollars.

One of the primary reasons why Democrats experienced so much pain during the recent elections was because millions of Americans are receiving some very disturbing letters from their health insurance providers. At a time when U.S. incomes are stagnating, health insurance rates are rising to absolutely ridiculous levels.

As the New York Times recently reported, even the Obama administration is admitting that "substantial price increases" are on the way...

The Obama administration on Friday unveiled data showing that many Americans with health insurance bought under the Affordable Care Act could face substantial price increases next year - in some cases as much as 20 percent - unless they switch plans.

The data became available just hours before the health insurance marketplace was to open to buyers seeking insurance for 2015.

An analysis of the data by The New York Times suggests that although consumers will often be able to find new health plans with prices comparable to those they now pay, the situation varies greatly from state to state and even among counties in the same state.

Originally, Barack Obama promised that if we liked our current health plans that we could keep them. Well, it turns out that was not true at all. Instead, the vast majority of us will eventually have to move to new plans if we have not done so already. This is particularly true for those that purchase health insurance individually. The following is an excerpt from an NBC News investigation...

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a "cancellation" letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don't meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience "sticker shock."

This is something that actually happened to me. I received a letter in the mail informing me that my new health insurance policy which meets the requirements of Obamacare will cost me nearly twice as much as my old one.

Needless to say, I was not too thrilled about that.

Other Americans are being hit even harder. For instance, one family down in Texas got hammered with a 539 percent rate increase...

Obamacare is named the "Affordable Care Act," after all, and the President promised the rates would be "as low as a phone bill." But I just received a confirmed letter from a friend in Texas showing a 539% rate increase on an existing policy that's been in good standing for years.

As the letter reveals (see below), the cost for this couple's policy under Humana is increasing from $212.10 per month to $1,356.60 per month. This is for a couple in good health whose combined income is less than $70K -- a middle-class family, in other words.

These rate increases are coming at a time when the middle class in the U.S. is already steadily shrinking. A lot of families that are already stretched to the breaking point are making the very painful decision to give up health insurance entirely. At this point, there are millions of families that simply cannot afford it.

But Obama is not about to let those people off the hook. In fact, huge tax penalties are on the way for those that do not participate in the new system...

Penalties for failing to secure a health-insurance plan will rise steeply next year, which could take a big bite out of some families' pocketbooks.

"The penalty is meant to incentivise people to get coverage," said senior analyst Laura Adams of InsuranceQuotes.com. "This year, I think a lot of people are going to be in for a shock."

In 2014, Obamacare's first year, individuals are facing a penalty of $95 per person, or 1 percent of their income, depending on which is higher. If an American failed to get coverage this year, that penalty will be taken out of their tax refund in early 2015, Adams noted.

While that might be painful to some uninsured Americans who are counting on their tax refunds in early 2015, the penalty for going uninsured next year is even harsher. The financial penalty for skipping out on health coverage will more than triple to $325 per person in 2015, or 2 percent of income, depending on whichever is higher.

Children will be fined at half the adult rate, or $162.50 for those under 18 years old.

No wonder so many people are so angry with the Democrats.

And as Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Jonathan Gruber has so infamously observed, Obamacare never would have become law if the American people had been told the truth about what it would do to them.

It has been documented that Gruber has visited the White House about a dozen times since 2009, and he has been one of the leading intellectual proponents of Obamacare. A video in which he states that "the stupidity of the American voter" was "really critical" to the passage of Obamacare has gone viral over the past week. I have posted a copy of this video below...

[embedded content]

What he is essentially saying is that the Democrats purposely deceived the American people because it was the only way that Obamacare was going to become law.

And this is a man that has become very wealthy advising government on healthcare matters. According to an article in the Washington Post, he has made millions of dollars from "consulting" in recent years...

Not all of the contracts could be found on public Web sites, but here is a sampling. In some cases, Gruber worked with other consultants, so the fees were shared. These figures also might not represent the final payout, and of course these are gross figures, before expenses. But it's safe to say that about $400,000 appears to be the standard rate for gaining access to the Gruber Microsimulation Model.

Michigan: $481,050

Minnesota: $329,000

Vermont: $400,000

Wisconsin: $400,000

Gruber has also earned more than $2 million over the last seven years for an ongoing contract with HHS to assess choices made by the elderly in Medicare's prescription-drug plan.

If you are Gruber, life is quite good.

But for most of the rest of America, the economic pain continues.

For example, one recent study found that almost half of all Floridians cannot even afford "to pay for basic necessities"...

Nearly half of Florida households do not earn enough to pay for basic necessities, according to a report released Tuesday by the United Way that seeks to cast a light on the large group of state residents who struggle financially but do not meet the official criteria for being in poverty.

While 15 percent of Florida households are below the poverty level, another 30 percent are financially insecure - a figure that also applies to Sarasota and Manatee counties - based on a new measurement developed by the United Way.

If all those people cannot even afford the basics, how are they going to pay for Obamacare?

This law is going to financially cripple millions of American families. It truly is a death panel for the U.S. economy. And because Barack Obama can veto anything that the Republicans in Congress do, we are stuck with it for at least another two years (and probably longer).

So what about you?

Have your health insurance premiums gone up yet?

Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below...

How a former director of Russia's FSB sees the current and past U.S. foreign policy towards Russia

"The sobering up of the Ukrainians will be harsh and painful"

In an interview for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, explained how Russian analysts were predicting the development of the situation in Ukraine a year ago. And he also gave an assessment of the role of the United States and NATO in the events in eastern Ukraine, explained why these events are a continuation of Zbigniew Brzezinski's plan for the disintegration of the USSR and Russia, and assessed prospects for the development of the multipolar world and the possibility of a future struggle for hydrocarbon resources.

[Yegorov] Nikolay Platonovich, the realities of recent months are a coup d'etat in Ukraine, military operations by the Ukrainian authorities against the inhabitants of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and a frenzied anti-Russian course by Kiev. Would it have been possible to predict this turn of events only a year ago?

[Patrushev] Our specialists were warning of the high probability of an escalation of the situation in Ukraine in the context of political and economic instability, particularly under external influence. At the same time it should be acknowledged that the probability of an imminent instant seizure of power in Kiev with the support of militant groups of open Nazis was not considered at that time. Let me remind you that prior to the coup you mentioned, Moscow was implementing in full all its partnership commitments to Kiev.

We were constantly providing material and financial aid, without which Ukraine was in no condition to cope with economic difficulties that had become chronic in nature. To support our neighbours, material and financial resources amounting to tens of billions of dollars were mobilized. Unfortunately for many people in Ukraine this aid became, in time, so customary that its importance for the country's survival was simply forgotten.

As for longer-term predictions, the Ukraine crisis was an entirely expected outcome of systematic activity by the United States and its closest allies.

For the past quarter of a century this activity has been directed towards completely separating Ukraine and the other republics of the former USSR from Russia and totally reformatting the post-Soviet space to suit American interests. The conditions and pretexts were created for colour revolutions, supported by generous state funding.

Thus, Victoria Nuland, US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, has repeatedly stated that during the period 1991 through 2013 Washington spent 5bn dollars on "supporting the desire of the people of Ukraine for stronger, more democratic government". According to figures from open sources alone, for instance US Congress documents, the total amount of state funding for various American programmes of "aid" to Ukraine in the period 2001 through 2012 came to at least 2.4bn dollars. That is comparable with the annual budget of some small countries. The US Agency for International Development spent about 1.5bn dollars, the State Department nearly half a billion, and the Pentagon more than 370m dollars.

According to congressional records, organizations such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Peace Corps, and the Open World Centre took part in Ukrainian aid programmes, in addition to the well-known USAID and other departments. It is not hard to guess for whom and why American volunteers and staffers of diplomatic missions have been "opening the world" throughout the 23 years since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

[Yegorov] Maybe this money went to a good cause and helped to build a real "democratic" society in Ukraine, as the Americans understand it?

[Patrushev] I do not know what kind of a good cause that could be, if as a result of this activity in Ukraine an entire generation was raised that is completely poisoned with hatred of Russia and with the mythology of "European values". It has not yet realized that these values, even in the positive sense of the term, are not actually designed for Ukrainians. Nobody intends to set about boosting living standards in Ukraine or establishing these young people in Europe, which is itself having great difficulty coping with extremely serious challenges and threats.

I think the "sobering up" of the Ukrainians will be harsh and painful. It remains to be hoped that this will happen relatively quickly, and a whole string of objective factors could promote that. I would like to note another factor that is of fundamental significance. Irrespective of the subsequent development of events, the significance of the one for the other - Russia and Ukraine - will persist. Ukraine will simply not be able to develop successfully without Russia, whether anyone likes it or not.

Such is the objective interdependence of economic, logistical, and other links that has developed over the centuries. But whereas for Russia the total severance of these links would be a painful blow, for Ukraine it would be disastrous. It is no accident that current President Petro Poroshenko was obliged, in the wake of his ousted predecessor, to raise the question of postponing the implementation of economic section of the already signed association agreement between Ukraine and the EU. It is to be expected that the victory euphoria of other Kiev rulers will also give way to a more sober assessment of the real state of affairs.

[Yegorov] Some experts think the Ukraine crisis was only a pretext for a new deterioration in the West's relations with Russia. Is that so?

[Patrushev] It is true that if the catastrophe in Ukraine had not happened some other grounds would have been found to step up the policy of "containment" of our country. This course has been pursued unswervingly for many decades; only the forms and tactics of its implementation change.

As you know, after World War II the confrontation between the USSR and the West headed by the United States took the form of a "cold war". The military-political component of this standoff was entrusted to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), formed on the initiative of the United States on 4 April 1949. An analysis of NATO's practical activity indicates that in creating the alliance the United States was pursuing two main objectives.

First, a military bloc directed against the USSR was formed under American leadership.

Second, Washington forestalled the emergence in Western Europe of an autonomous grouping of states that could have competed with the United States. It should be recalled that the territory of the United States itself, which essentially established unilateral military control over the allies, is not included in NATO's zone of responsibility.

After the breakup of the USSR and the termination of the Warsaw Pact, which united Europe's socialist countries and which by definition represented the main danger to NATO, not only was the bloc not disbanded, it began to expand even more in quantitative and military terms.

[Yegorov] But surely NATO was not the only factor that influenced the breakup of the Soviet Union?

[Patrushev] In the cold war period a whole string of ideological doctrines emerged in the West that served as justification for an anti-Soviet political course. One of the authors of this kind of research was Zbigniew Brzezinski, an American political scientist and statesman of Polish extraction. He established the so-called strategy of "vulnerabilities" in relation to the USSR, and under President Reagan this became the basis of American policy towards our country. The implementation of the strategy was guided by the National Security Council headed by the president of the United States. The identification and definition of "vulnerabilities" and the task of organizing ways of converting them into substantial problems for the USSR were entrusted to the US Central Intelligence Agency.

It is noteworthy that the then CIA Director William Casey decided to enlist prominent scholars in this work, first and foremost economists but also experts from the business world who had real experience of business wars with competitors. As a result of large-scale analytical work, the USSR's "vulnerabilities" in the political, economic, ideological, and other spheres were defined and systematically studied.

Our country's main "vulnerability," as defined by the CIA, was its economy. After detailed modelling, the American experts identified its "weakest link", namely the USSR budget's extremely high dependence on the export of energy resources. A strategy of provoking the financial and economic bankruptcy of the Soviet state was formulated, envisaging two interconnected objectives: the bringing about of a sharp reduction in revenue to the USSR's budget from foreign trade, combined with a substantial increase in expenditure on resolving problems created from outside.

A reduction in world oil prices was envisaged as the main measure for reducing the income side of the budget. This was successfully achieved by the mid-1980s when, as a result of US collusion with the rulers of a number of oil extracting countries, an artificial surplus of crude was created on the market and oil prices fell almost by a factor of four.

A growth in the Soviet Union's expenditure was provoked in several areas: the transition from the strategy of American opposition to the USSR in Afghanistan to the strategy of dragging it deeply into the Afghan war; the incitement of antigovernment demonstrations in Poland and other states in the socialist camp with a view to provoking Moscow into additional expenditures on stabilizing the situation in Eastern Europe; the whipping up of the arms race, among other things by introducing the SDI [Strategic Defence Initiative] bluff, and so forth.

It should be said that at that time the Americans succeeded in achieving their objectives. The outcome of their activity was a substantial excess in the USSR's expenditure over income, which ultimately provoked a profound economic crisis that extended into the political and ideological spheres. Shortsighted attempts by the Soviet leadership to alleviate the situation through foreign financial aid gave Washington additional levers of influence over Moscow. The "recovery" measures proposed by the West and implemented through the IMF and the World Bank to liberalize foreign trade without a smooth transition from the previous monopoly system led to the final collapse of the economy.

In the assessment of American experts, it was the strategy of "vulnerabilities", which demonstrated the colossal effectiveness of economic variety of cold war compared with "hot" war, that was decisive in promoting the elimination of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact.

[Yegorov] After the breakup of the USSR, could Russia still somehow have opposed the new redivision of the world, or was the surrender of its positions and its former allies, such as Yugoslavia, already predetermined?

[Patrushev] By the end of the 20th century a kind of sociopolitical "fault line" had formed in this region, standing out most clearly in the disintegration of the multiethnic and multifaith Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The leaders of the United States and the leading NATO countries exploited a military-political situation that was developing favourably for them in order to realize their long-term aims in Southeast Europe.

In the 1990s the Russian Federation, for well-known reasons of an internal and external nature, lost the dominant influence in the Balkans that the Soviet Union had enjoyed and embarked on the path of conciliation with the West. It was in the Balkans that the unilateral and totally uncompensated surrender by Russia of its positions in the international arena was manifested most distinctly. In 1991-1996 the bodies that shaped our country's foreign policy did not officially even have any such concept as "national interest". They nurtured groundless expectations of gratitude for obedience from the Western partners and some kind of special benefit for our country from close and unconditional cooperation with the United States. In practice our American partners almost immediately stopped taking us seriously and only gave us a condescending "slap on the shoulder", so to speak, from time to time.

The NATO bloc, under cover of peacekeeping and without encountering serious objections from our side, operated increasingly confidently outside its own zone of responsibility, sought the rights to lease strategic infrastructure facilities for lengthy periods, and effectively brought the organs of military command and control of a number of Balkan countries under its own control by various means. The Alliance's subunits became firmly established in the region. Other states taking part in peacekeeping missions, including Russia, set themselves no such objectives, having reconciled themselves to the role of junior partners and preferring not to see the self-evident fact: The war in the Balkans could perfectly well be regarded as a rehearsal and a prologue to larger-scale steps to redivide the world.

[Yegorov] Is it likely that it was these steps that led to the clash of interests between Western countries and Russia in the entire post-Soviet space?

[Patrushev] The United States has been behaving particularly assertively and shamelessly over the past 20 years in and around this space. Encouraged by the weakening and subsequent elimination of the USSR, American ruling circles did everything possible to ensure dominance over the major sources of raw materials resources in our country and in Central Asia, as well as the transit routes for their export. Washington planned to extend its sphere of direct influence to the regions of the Black Sea, the Caucasus, and the Caspian.

All these territories were named a US zone of strategic national interests. The only remaining obstacle to the realization of the Americans' plans to take complete control of the corresponding deposits and transport corridors was Russia, which preserved its military potential to inflict unacceptable damage on the United States.

American strategists saw the solution to this difficulty in the final collapse of the system of state power and the subsequent dismemberment of our country. The first region that was supposed to leave Russia was the North Caucasus.

Particular importance was attached to Chechnya, which declared its independence and was temporarily under the effective control of the West. Extremists and their supporters in Russia were offered support by the special services of Britain, the United States, and allies in Europe and the Islamic world.

In these conditions the Russian leadership adopted a firm, principled stance of defending the unity of the state. Ultimately, as a result of the firm political will displayed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and at the cost of enormous efforts, it proved possible to stop attempts to detach Chechnya from Russia and then to consolidate the Republic's place within the Federation.

After 11 September 2001 the world community recognized the terrorist threat as the main threat and a global threat, reaching the understanding that countering this threat requires common efforts. As a result there was, in particular, a slight weakening of the West's attacks on Russia because of its campaign against international terrorists in the Caucasus, while we did not object to the operation by the Americans and their allies in Afghanistan. The announcement of the formation of a broad antiterrorist coalition followed.

At that time Washington displayed a certain readiness to collaborate, although in actual fact it did not intend to abandon the policy of "containment" with regard to Russia. More and more new NATO facilities moved up to our borders. International law was supplanted by the law of force (let us recall the aforementioned dismemberment of Yugoslavia, followed by Serbia, the occupation of Iraq, and the invasion of Afghanistan by the so-called coalition forces).

After 7-8 August 2008, when the Georgian leadership, with US support, attempted to annihilate South Ossetia, the world once again changed substantially. For the first time in many decades Washington provided direct support to a foreign state that had perpetrated an attack on Russian citizens and peacekeepers.

Everything was staked on surprise. The Georgian dictator believed that a military incursion on the opening day of the international Olympic Games would put Russia in a difficult position, and the Georgians, taking advantage of this, would carry out their "blitzkrieg". However, the Russian leadership reacted promptly to the sharp deterioration in the situation and the necessary measures were adopted to halt the aggression.

[Yegorov] It was at that time that people started talking about the shaping of a new geopolitical reality - the multipolarity of the modern world. How did the United States react to this?

[Patrushev] After the August events in the Caucasus, Washington was clearly alarmed by Russia's obvious intention to take its place among the world powers of the 21st century and uphold the principle of equal opportunities and full autonomy in global politics. And also to convert the state's financial income from the exploitation of natural resources into real economic and defence potential and human capital.

The American leadership clearly also disliked the prospects of Russia's collaboration with China and India, the introduction of the practice of summits in the BRICS format, the successful activity of other organizations in which Russia occupies leading positions (the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization], the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization], and the EAEC [Eurasian Economic Community]), and the formation of the Customs Union.

In the context of the growing world financial and economic crisis, major new players in the international arena such as the PRC, India, Brazil, and Iran as well as the growing economies of Southeast Asia and South Korea became increasingly significant factors for the United States. Hence, incidentally, the emergence of new conceptual principles such as the American-Chinese special partnership, the strategic collaboration between the United States and India, the establishment of direct dialogue between Washington and Iran, and so forth.

Indications of the need to resume the beneficial dialogue with Russia on a whole range of issues began to emerge from the new administration of President Barack Obama. This positive inclination on the part of the American authorities could only be welcomed.

However, it soon became clear that Washington is not inclined towards real cooperation. It confined itself to mere statements of friendliness and the devising of certain negotiation tracks from which the benefit to Russia, in the end, proved almost zero. After a while even totally nonbinding positive dialogues of this kind came to an end and the US attitude towards our country began once again to be reminiscent of cold war times.

[Yegorov] And the logical culmination of this policy was the Ukraine crisis?

[Patrushev] The coup d'etat in Kiev, accomplished with clear US support, followed the classical pattern tried and tested in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. But never before has such a scheme affected Russian interests so profoundly.

Analysis shows that by provoking Russia into retaliatory steps the Americans are pursuing the very same objectives as in the 1980s with regard to the USSR. Just like back then, they are trying to identify our country's "vulnerabilities". At the same time, incidentally, they are pursuing the objective of neutralizing European economic competitors who have, in Washington's opinion, grown excessively close to Moscow.

I would like to remind you that Washington has always sought to have levers of pressure on Russia. Thus, in 1974 the famous Jackson-Vanik Amendment was adopted, restricting trade relations with our country. It appeared to have completely lost its relevance immediately after the breakup of the USSR, but it was still in force right up to 2012, when the so-called "Magnitsky List" was promptly adopted in its place.

The current sanctions are in the same category. The US Administration's activity in the Ukrainian sphere is taking place within the framework of an updated White House foreign policy course aimed at holding on to American leadership in the world by means of the strategic containment of the growing influence of the Russian Federation and other centres of power. In this context Washington is actively making use, on its own terms, of NATO's potential, seeking to use political and economic pressure to prevent any vacillations on the part of its allies and partners.

[Yegorov] Why is the American elite clinging so stubbornly to the right to control other people's natural resources at a time when the Western expert community is declaring the importance of the development of alternative energy sources that are supposedly capable of taking the place of oil and gas in the near future?

[Patrushev] In actual fact, specialists are certain that no real substitute for hydrocarbons as the basis of power generation will emerge in the next few decades. Furthermore the understanding prevails in the West that the total capacity of nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, and other power stations will meet no more than one-fifth of world demand.

Nor should another important aspect be forgotten. In the modern world we can observe a steady growth in the shortage of food and drinking water for the growing population of the planet. The absence of the most elementary means of existence pushes desperate people into manifestations of extremism and involvement in terrorism, piracy, and crime. This is one reason for the acute conflicts between countries and regions and also for mass migration.

The shortage of water and irrigated land is not infrequently the cause of friction, for instance, between the Central Asian republics. The problem of water resources is acute in a number of other countries in Asia and particularly in Africa.

Many American experts, in particular former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, assert that there are vast territories "under Moscow's power" that it is incapable of exploiting and which therefore "do not serve the interests of all humanity". Assertions continue to be heard about the "unfair" distribution of natural resources and the need to ensure so-called "free access" to them for other states.

The Americans are convinced that people must be thinking in similar terms in many other states, particularly those neighbouring on Russia, and that in the future they will, as is nowadays the custom, form "coalitions" to support the corresponding claims on our country. As in the case of Ukraine, it is proposed to resolve problems at Russia's expense but without taking its interests into account.

Even during periods of a relative thaw in relations between Russia (the USSR) and the United States, our American partners have always remained true to such notions.

Therefore irrespective of the nuances in the behaviour of the Americans and their allies the Russian leadership still faces this task as a constant: To guarantee the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Motherland, to defend and multiply its riches, and to manage them correctly in the interests of the multiethnic people of the Russian Federation.

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Sexualizing children: Chicago schools teach 5th graders anal sex and how to put on a condom

© Screenshot/Waters Elementary

Slide from Waters Elementary School's Sexual Health Education curriculum for Grade 5

Parents at an elite, magnet elementary school in Chicago were "horrified" when they saw the "obscene" sexual education materials their fifth graders would be learning. The curriculum included condom demonstrations and discussions of anal sex.

Andrew Jackson Language Academy (AJLA) hosted several parent workshops during report card pickup on Wednesday, including a meeting on Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) sex ed curriculum. Parents were given a binder that included the materials and topics that would be discussed, including the benefits of female condoms for extending sex and increasing pleasure, the use of lubrication and how to insert condoms into the anus for anal sex.

Parents were notified of Wednesday's presentation in a letter from school principal Mathew Ditto. The letter said a CPS representative would be at the meeting where "we will share the lessons and information that will be taught to your child." CPS has said some of the lessons are even intended for children in kindergarten, DNAinfo reported .

The letter said the topics included personal safety, human reproduction and childbirth, puberty, abstinence and healthy relationships. Fourth-graders and above would also learn information about HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. Students in fifth grade and above would also learn about contraception and pregnancy prevention, and lessons would include a condom demonstration, the letter stated.

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The chairwoman of the Local School Council, Angela Bryant, has two children who attend AJLA, which has 565 students. She called the way the information was to be presented to students "appalling," "obscene" and not age-appropriate.

"The curriculum is appalling," Bryant told DNAinfo. "The language to me was the most offensive part initially. Pop and lube, lube lube, and those kind of things. ... [It] serves to rob many of our children of their innocence."

"The language for me is very much concerning to me as a parent. The content goes beyond what I feel is age-appropriate for a fifth-grader," she added. Fifth graders are usually between 10 and 12 years old.

Another Chicago elementary school, Waters Elementary, posted the materials and slides that were included in the AJLA binder online. The presentation links to demonstration videos from Planned Parenthood, the Female Health Company and Teaching Sexual Health. The latter provides guidance on age appropriateness: "These videos should only be used for grades 8-12." It also includes material called The 411 on Female Condoms that was developed by the Chicago Female Condom Campaign.

© Screenshot/Waters Elementary

Slide from Waters Elementary School's Sexual Health Education curriculum for Grade 5

Bryant told DNAinfo she is in favor of health education that explains sex in an informative way, but said that the CPS handouts were composed "in a manner that actually is piquing curiosity about sexual pleasure."

In a statement Friday afternoon, CPS officials said that the objectionable material presented at AJLA was a mistake.

"The objectionable material presented at Andrew Jackson Language Academy this week is not and never was part of the student sexual education curriculum," CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said in a statement. "It was mistakenly downloaded and included in the parent presentation, and we agree with parents it is not appropriate for elementary school students."

"As part of our sexual health education policy approved by the Board of Education in 2013, Chicago Public Schools offers a comprehensive sexual education curriculum that is designed to ensure age-appropriate material and minimum instructional minutes for every grade level, consisting of family and sexual health education topics for K-12 students," McCaffrey continued.

[embedded content]

Only teachers were supposed to see the material, WBBM reported. School officials say they're taking steps to make sure teacher resources and supplemental materials are kept separate from the curriculum.

CPS passed a new, comprehensive sex ed policy in February 2013. At the school board meeting when the curriculum passed, Dr. Stephanie Whyte, chief officer of student health and wellness at CPS, presented statistics showing that Cook County, Illinois ‒ where Chicago is located ‒ ranks first nationally for rates of gonorrhea and syphilis among all counties and second in Chlamydia, DNAinfo reported.

She said more than half of all CPS high-school students report having had sexual intercourse, 12 percent before the age of 13. More than a third reported not using a condom during their last sexual intercourse, and more than a quarter say they've never been taught about HIV.

In a 2013 press release, CPS officials said implementation of this type of comprehensive education policy "helps to reduce school-level incidents of sexual misconduct and harassment and positively impact rates of [sexually transmitted diseases] and unintended pregnancy among Chicago's youth."

© Screenshot/Waters Elementary

Slide from Waters Elementary School's Sexual Health Education curriculum for Grade 5

Many parents told WMAQ that, although they support sex education, the material went too far for elementary school students.

"Sexual awareness, OK ‒ but how to use a condom, and that it was going to be shown how, is a little bit extreme," said parent Tamara Gear.

"It definitely gets to an inappropriate level, things I wouldn't even discuss in my own personal life," AJLA parent Rachel Gigliotti said. "Sex with a condom, sex without a condom, sex with lube ‒ things that no sixth grader should ever be exposed to."

"To tell my 5th-grader, who's still into 'Little House on the Prairie,' that it's OK to have safe anal sex ‒ I'm sorry. That's just not appropriate," another parent, Amy Miller, told WBBM .

Whyte plans to schedule a meeting with the AJLA staff to review the curriculum by grade. A community meeting will also be planned, McCaffrey said.

Finally! MH17 crash debris retrieved for analysis after 4 months of Kiev stonewalling

mh17 debris

© Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev

Local workers carry wreckage from the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 at the site of the plane crash near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine November 16, 2014.

Dutch investigators have begun evacuating debris of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from the crash site in eastern Ukraine. Human rights activists are addressing the UN and OSCE, warning the investigation is being either delayed on purpose or suppressed.

More human remains have been recovered by experts during the latest debris retrieval operation at the crash site, the Dutch government reported. The remains will be transported to the Ukrainian city of Kharkov for further examination, before being sent to the Netherlands as part of the investigation.

Estimated to last from five to 10 days, the recovery is partial, as investigators have opted to mark only those pieces of debris they are interested in, leaving the rest behind. The works are being supervised by the Dutch Safety Board investigators and observed by the OSCE.

mh17 debris

© Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev

Dutch investigators and an Emergencies Ministry member work at the site where the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine November 16, 2014.

Local emergency workers of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) are using cranes to load up large fragments of the Boeing 777 on trucks to take them to the nearby Torez railway station, where the debris is unloaded on to the platforms. After the wreckage is shipped to the Netherlands through Kharkov, the fragments will reconstruct parts of the Boeing in order to find out what kind of weapon caused the catastrophe.

A detailed analysis of the crashed Boeing debris could help establish how exactly the plane was brought down.

Authorities of the village of Grabovo, near which the debris fell, have already handed a number of personal items to investigators, including passports and credit cards retrieved by the locals.

Immediately after MH17 crashed on July 17, investigators could not reach the site for some time because of the high-intensity combat ongoing in the region between the Ukrainian Army and self-defense forces of the DPR.

Even after the investigation teams were allowed to work on the crash site, the area suffered repeated shelling, preventing investigative activities from proceeding and damaging evidence.

The Dutch investigators published a preliminary report in September, which said that the plane crashed "as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside."

In late October the chief Dutch prosecutor investigating the MH17 downing in eastern Ukraine did not exclude the possibility that the Boeing may have been shot down from the air, reported.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by as-yet unknown means in the sky over eastern Ukraine. The debris fell to earth some 60km from the Russian-Ukrainian border. All 298 passengers and crew aboard died, among them 196 Dutch citizens.

mh17 debris

© AFP Photo / Menahem Kahana

Dutch experts supervise a crew from the emergency ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic as they break up and load parts of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 onto the back of a lorry at the crash site near the village of Grabove, in eastern Ukraine, on November 16, 2014.

Russian human rights activists have addressed the UN, claiming that the investigation of the MH17 crash has been intentionally suppressed.

Georgy Fedorov, member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, believes the tragedy of MH17 is being deferred on purpose and that the slow pace of investigation speaks towards that.

"We've addressed all [possible] organizations to form an international commission based on the UN and OSCE to investigate the crash, but there's no result so far," Fedorov told RIA Novosti, pointing out that authorities of the DPR have always been ready to let experts freely work at the crash site.

"Looks like somebody wants to hush up the story, once they failed to put the blame for it on Russia," Fedorov said, promising to make the Public Chamber address the UN and Ukrainian government to bring the investigation to an end without delay.

On the contrary, the chairman of the Russian president's Human Rights Council, Mikhail Fedotov, believes there's no need speed up the investigation.

"We're ready to wait patiently for the results," Fedotov said, as cited by RIA Novosti, urging that experts not be rushed, because the world community and the civil society of the countries that lost their citizens in the crash expect "not politicized, but objective and authoritative conclusions from the experts."

Hyena attack leaves 3 boys injured in Kenya

© kids.britannica.com

A hyena. KWS official has vowed to carry out a medical examination on the hyena to ascertain the cause of the attack.

Three boys were seriously injured and 5 goats killed after a hyena attached Amalo village in Olenguruone division today.

The attacked occurred as the boys were taking their goats to graze in the nearby Greenland field next to Olenguruone town.

Speaking in Molo hospital after visiting the victims, Kenya Wildlife Service warden in charge of Amalo/Olenguruone ward Kipkorir Bernard Tuei said the three boys were attacked as they tried to flee from the hyena after it killed their goats.

"The hyena attacked the goats on the grazing field and killed at least 5 of them and left other goats with injuries. This is not normal and we suspect the hyena may be suffering from behavioral change or a certain disease," he said.

The warden vowed to establish exactly what could have caused the abnormal act after carrying out a medical examination on the hyena's blood sample.

Farmer killed and woman injured in bear attack at farm in Madavu, India

A wild bear was shot dead by police Monday after it killed a farmer and grievously injured another person at a farm near Madhugiri, a police official said. "We had to shoot the bear dead when it tried to attack other villagers of Chilanahalli as firing gun shots in the air failed to drive it away from the field where it killed farmer Somanna, 36, and grievously injured Thimmanna, 55, earlier in the day," Tumakuru police superintendent Raman Gupta told IANS.

The shocking incident occurred about 70km from here and 140km from Bengaluru when the victim (Somanna) went to his farm where the 12-year-old bear was hiding in the paddy field.

The bear killed Somanna on the spot.

"The bear appears to have strayed into the farm from the adjacent sanctuary in search of food.

The wild animal also attacked Thimmanna when he rushed into the paddy field on hearing Somanna screaming for help," Gupta recalled.

By the time police personnel and forest guards reached the spot to rescue Thimmanna and retrieve Somanna's body, the furious bear had already eaten his right leg and a portion of thigh.

"As hundreds of people gathered around the violent bear and hurled stones at it, the wild animal turned furious and tried to pounce on some of them. When the bear did not relent, our men fired at it on the advice of the deputy conservator of forests (N.V. Amarnath) and killed it to save the villagers from attacked," Gupta added.

The forest department gave Rs.2 lakh compensation to the victim's family. Thimmanna was rushed to a state-run hospital here for treatment.

Wild boar gores boy to death and injures woman in Vietnam

© Nguyen Chung

The site where a wild boar allegedly attacked a 15-year-old boy in Khanh Hoa Province on Saturday.

A wild boar allegedly gored a 15-year-old boy to death and injured another woman in a village in central Vietnam on Saturday.

Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, police chief of Khanh Hiep Commune in Khanh Hoa Province, told Thanh Nien the incident may have taken place around 3:30 pm when Nguyen Van Dai, 15, was fishing at a pond in Hon Lay Village.

No one saw what happened but by the time local residents found Dai, he was already dead in the pond with multiple injuries to his thighs, groin and hips.

Tuan assumed that the boar attacked Dai, who tried to flee but instead fell into the water.

Around 100 meters away from the pond, Truong Thi Canh, 49, was found lying near a forest with serious injuries to her thighs.

After being taken to hospital, Canh recovered and said she was attacked by a black wild boar when she was herding cows.

"The boar gored me first, and then bit me," she recalled.

Canh is in stable condition after undergoing a surgery.

Khanh Hiep Commune authorities have called on local farmers to work in groups and bring weapons with them to cope with possible attacks from the wild boar.

Western NGO workers live luxuriously while Ebola orphans left to fend for themselves in Liberia

Liberia Royal Grande hotel

Money spent on funding aid worker's lavish accommodation at the Royal Grand Hotel could be better used to help the country's children who are orphaned due to the virus

Western aid agencies are using the plight of Africa's Ebola orphans to fund a lavish lifestyle in $800-a-night hotels and leaving the children to fend for themselves, according to Liberia's development chief.

Children who were forced to watch their parents die and were then shunned by their community are being ignored while useless facilities are being built, according to Julia Duncan-Cassell, Liberia's minister in charge of saving the orphans.

She accused the agencies of handing out $235 daily allowances that are higher than her salary - and that the money invested is wasted on expensive hotels and driving around in big cars.

Meanwhile thousands of orphans have been abandoned to the care of neighbours and relatives who are struggling to find money and food to support them.

A MailOnline investigation has discovered that just 531 of Liberia's estimated 12,000 orphans are receiving formal help in government safe homes despite the hundreds of millions of pounds of Western aid pouring into the country.

ebola orphans liberia

Pictured is Odell Kpaingba, 17, holding her brother Daniel, five months, next to her brothers (from left) Josiah, 5, Otis, 8 and Chancy, 15. The family are orphans after the Ebola virus claimed both their parents

There is only one worker dedicated to tracking them down for every 66,000 people in the country.

Duncan-Cassell - whose department is responsible for the welfare of the country's 1.7million children below the age of 15 - says: 'I feel sad, the children are being used for the wrong reasons.

'They [the agencies] are using the situation to raise money for their organisations. The money is paying directly for the NGOs - their per diem, the money they get per day, is even more than I make as a minister, the kind of cars that they ride, the best hotels. How many of them do you need to do that? We do not need an army of them.'

The rooms at the hotel start at $250 a night and include breakfasts, water and access to a mini bar.

She said the money was going to the wrong people because in the end it would be the government of Liberia that had to account for the future of the children, not the NGOs.

'Millions of dollars might be coming into the country but it is going to international organisations that are running their own institutions and their own organisations, not understanding the dimension of what needs to be done.'

All over Liberia, there are orphans camped out with neighbours and relatives because no-one has taken responsibility for helping them. All have painful stories but few have been through as much as the five Kpaingba children.

Chancy Kpaingba, 15, watched his mother Catherine, 34, a bright and vivacious beautician, die in front of him after developed Ebola and were admitted to a treatment centre.

Now he and his four brothers and sisters: Odell, 17, Chancy, 15, Otis, 8, Josiah, 5, and Daniel, just five months old are alone. Their father Augustine died before Catherine fell sick.

Chancy says: 'Our mother was everything to us. I was in the same room with her. 'I was taken to the centre with my family and they took our blood and the next day they brought the result. 'I was sick, my skin was hot and my head hurt. I knew what it was. My hope was that I was going to get cured and one day I would come home.'

He was in the bed next to his mother. There were other children in the treatment centre. Most of them were suffering, they had no mothers or fathers with them. There was no-one to take care of them.

'I was thinking I could not survive. Initially I had a hope that I would survive but after my mother died and my father I lost that hope. 'We were in a big tarpaulin tent. The mattress was good but when someone died on a bed they brought it out into the sun, disinfected it and brought it back into the tent for someone else to use. 'It was so hot in the tent. I had no strength. They gave us medicine and water.

'I was next to my mother. Initially she and I were talking together, she was trying to encourage me but the day she was told my father was dead she just broke down and started to worry. 'People came dressed in protective suits and said "don't worry, eat". You could only see their eyes and they had glasses across the face.

'In the morning she was breathing heavily. She was not talking, she was just lying there. She had lost her appetite and I tried to put the food in her mouth to eat something. She ate a bit. 'She passed about 5pm. I was sitting outside the tent with a friend talking and she was inside and then someone came and told me. People were telling me, "Don't cry, keep courage". 'I had to sleep in the same tent that night. They took the body and disinfected the bed. I saw this. I was standing looking. I was there when they took her body.

'They came and took her body on a stretcher, put it on a black plastic and disinfected it and then closed the plastic. I was standing and watching.

'The next day they took my blood and they brought the result in the evening and they said I could go home the next day.'

Since then, Odell says, they have been treated like pariahs.

'The neighbours had a meeting and said our aunt had brought Ebola to the community. My aunt went in the room and got the certificate to show that we were clear but they don't come around us even though we are negative. There is nobody to help us. Our aunt goes to the market to ask for help but it is not often that people help.

'Before we were a happy family. Now I hope that people will help us and do something for us. After we left the centre some people brought some food once but since then there has been nothing.

'The other children in the neighbourhood are scared of me now,' he says. 'They are scared to touch me.'

In Monrovia's New Kru Town slum, another group of children sit around under the tin roof of a neighbour's shanty.

Josephine Teah, 13, brother Joshua, 12, 11-year old Princess, Dorcas, 6, and six month old Glory were taken in by Jestina Doe when Ebola claimed the lives of their parents in September.

ebola orphans

Six month old Glory Teah, pictured with her sister Princess, 11, and brother Joshua, 12

Jestina Doe took Glory into her home in Monrovia when Glory's mother Patricia Slawyon and father Joseph Teah died from Ebola.

Their mother Patricia Slawyon was the first to die, followed a week later by their father Joseph Teah.

'Ma was sick and it took a week,' says Princess, a bright and articulate young girl nursing Glory on her lap. 'We were feeling bad and it was scary. She said she was feeling cold' - Princess mimes her mother hugging herself - 'and she said she was getting weak.

'Pa came and made her lie in bed. She said she was feeling weak and dizzy.' She died. 'Pa was worried. He sat and cared for her and after a week he was sick too and then he was diagnosed positive.

'The treatment centre said he was responding to treatment but I think he had died. I think they didn't want us to worry. When we found out we were all crying.'

ebola orphans

Princess and Glory Teah are orphans after their mother and father died from Ebola within the space of a week.

The other local children won't play with them any more, says Jestina Doe, the neighbour who took them in. She already has four children of her own.

'When they see me holding the baby they said Ebola baby,' she says.

After the childrens' plight was highlighted by MailOnline, Minister Duncan-Cassell pledged that the Kpaingba and Teah children will receive all the help that she can give and that she will visit them personally.

'How are these kids eating every day? Who is counselling these kids? I don't need 50,000 NGO workers in Liberia. If I have five good ones who can help guide the process, we can train social workers here, we can train home care givers that can go out and we already have structures on the ground, let us work with the existing structures and I think it will go a long way in showing a better and brighter future for our children.'

Duncan-Cassell's words will ring true with those in Liberia who can see for themselves the army of international aid workers driving in and out of the gates of the city's smartest hotels in their large white four wheel drive vehicles, adorned with the logos of their organisations.

The hotel of choice for the aid cognoscenti is the luxuriously appointed Royal Grand Hotel where rooms start at $250 a night and go up to $800. But that does include breakfast, complimentary water and access to a minibar. Conference rooms cost $800 per day.

A UNICEF spokesman said that it was working hard to help the country's Ebola orphans. 'UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and other partners, and has trained and deployed 110 social workers.'

UNMIL, the UN Mission in Liberia, which was set up in 2003 to support the post-civil war ceasefire agreement but also supports the UN humanitarian operations in the country, also defended its role in the country saying the have offered 'as much support as we can.

A spokesperson for the Disaster and Emergency Committee stated it could not speak on behalf of all agencies working in West Africa - only for its members.

This includes Save the Children, the British Red Cross and Oxfam.

He stated: 'Most of those delivering aid for us in Liberia are Liberians and the small minority of international aid workers working for DEC agencies live in conditions that tend to range from pretty basic to adequate.

'Some staff support costs are essential to ensure we can deliver aid effectively and efficiently but these make up a tiny proportion of agency budgets.'

He added that more than half a million people in West Africa, 'including orphans and others who have lost family members', had received practical help and support.

'There is however a significant shortfall in the resources needed to provide more aid and that is precisely why the DEC launched its Ebola Crisis Appeal.'

Pepe Escobar on G-20 in Australia: Buffoons vs the Global South

BRICS Leaders

© Reuters / Nacho Doce

(L-R) Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma join their hands at a group photo session during the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza July 15, 2014.

Here's the G20 in Australia in a one-liner: a tiny bunch of Anglo-Saxon political buffoons attempts to drown out the Global South.

Countries representing over 85 percent of the world economy get together to (in theory) discuss some really heavy economic/financial issues, and virtually the only thing pitiful Western corporate media blabbers about is Russian President Vladimir Putin cutting an 'isolated figure'.

Well, Washington and its string of puppets did try to turn the G20 into a farce. Fortunately the adults in the room had some business to do.

The five BRICS member-nations - despite their current problems, the G5 that really matters in the world - did meet before the summit, including the 'isolated figure'. Economically, this G5 more than matches the old, decrepit G7.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff forcefully encouraged the G5 to turbo-charge their mutual cooperation - as well as South-South cooperation. That includes, of course, the BRICS Development Bank. The BRICS, stressing their 'serious concern', once again called Washington's bluff - perpetually refusing to endorse much-delayed structural reform at the IMF.

The IMF quota and governance reform package was in fact approved by the IMF's Board of Governors way back in 2010. One of its key resolutions was to increase the voting power of emerging markets, the BRICS at the forefront. For Republicans in Washington, this is worse than communism.

Chinese President Xi Jinping added that BRICS cooperation should not only boost the global economy, but also ensure global peace. Make trade, not tomahawks. The over 120 nations of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) - beggars in the G20 banquet - were paying very close attention.

So much 'aggression'

Now compare the BRICS at work with EU heads of state meeting exclusively with US President Barack Obama to define their 'strategy' - not to improve the global economy, but to further demonize Russia.

And this after British Prime Minister David Cameron told Putin in a "robust" meeting he's at a crossroads and about to be hit with more sanctions; Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper complained he had to shake Putin's hand; and Australian Prime Minister Tony 'Shirtfront' Abbott got everyone to pose with koalas - talk about animal abuse - after apparently backing down on 'shirtfronting' the Russian leader.

And it was not only 'Russian aggression'. Obama, Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also met separately to increase "military cooperation" and "strengthen maritime security" in the Asia-Pacific. Against (what else?) "Chinese aggression."

Western Leaders

© AFP Photo / Glenn Hunt

(L-R) French President Francois Hollande, US President Barack Obama, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel take part in a multi-lateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Brisbane on November 16, 2014.

Imperial arrogance and buffoonery apart, Putin did meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for over three hours. They discussed Ukraine, essentially. No leaks. So Putin met and talked with all the adults that matter: the BRICS and Merkel. There was nothing else to do, business-wise.

In the Russian President's own words: "It will take nine hours to fly to Vladivostok and another eight hours to get to Moscow. I need four hours sleep before I get back to work on Monday. We have completed our business."

Oh goodness. That was the cue for Western corporate media go absolutely bonkers spinning the 'isolated figure' fled the G20 in shame.

When in doubt, print money

Despite the Anglo-Saxon political gang's every effort to debase the summit, some - minimalistic - work was done. Even Putin himself hailed the "constructive atmosphere." More like constructive wishful-thinking atmosphere.

In the final communiqué, a promise was made to increase global GDP by a whopping $2 trillion by 2018. The crux of the magic plan is to facilitate investment in infrastructure, which creates jobs and improves global trade.

By the way, that's exactly what China has been doing - en masse. China and Russia clinched two humongous gas deals worth $725 billion this year. The $40 billion Silk Road Investment Fund will finance development projects in seven nations across Central Asia. The 'isolated figure' has confirmed that Russia's trade with China and the rest of Asia will rise from 25 percent to 40 percent of Russia's GDP.

Moreover Russia, China, Iran - and soon other Asian nations - are actively on their way to establish their own currency-clearing systems, independent of the SWIFT system and the US dollar. Russia-China trade and investments are increasingly in rubles and yuan instead of USD. For the buffoons, this is worse than the Apocalypse.

The G20 communiqué also talks about a de facto, renewed neoliberal offensive - from "deregulation" in the markets for goods and services to "flexibility" in the labor market. A hazy global investment hub will be set up in Sydney, but no one really knows how it will work.

The G20 also insisted on the need to combat shadow banking. Pure wishful thinking - as monster shadow players/speculators/outright financial gangsters will prevent it. You're not seriously going after sewage farms of the "pray to the US dollar, kneel to the Crown" Turks & Caicos kind, are you, boys?

Not surprisingly, every single reference about transparency in extractive industries totally disappeared from the final communiqué. As for climate change, more wishful thinking on "effective action" before the Paris conference in December 2015. Casinos of laundry money could be bet that nothing substantial will happen before or after the conference.

Vladimir Putin

© Reuters / Mikhail Klimentyev

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks at a news conference at the end of the G20 summit in Brisbane November 16, 2014.

The Wahhabis of neoliberalism obviously derided the attempt by "deadbeat" Argentina to get the G20 to develop a supranational bankruptcy regime. After all, vulture funds of the Paul Singer variety should always be able to act like vultures.

In the end, the 'isolated figure' was back to heavy work Monday morning, Moscow time. The EU is set to lose at least 15 percent of $330 billion in trade with Russia in 2015 - while trade among the BRICS will double. The EU's absolute debacle will continue to be caused to a large extent by neoliberalism. And the diktat by Washington/Wall Street elites that all instances of mixed economy in the EU must be shattered.

While the Fed ends its quantitative easing (QE), the ECB dreams of printing money like crazy, Japan's Central Bank prints money like crazy and Russia and China buy oceans of physical gold. Under the print money smokescreen, the global economy will keep suffering.

Still, the Russian economy will keep integrating closer with China, Iran and Kazakhstan. The center of global investment and the heart of the action will continue to be - where else? - the Asia-Pacific. No wonder the G20 in 2016 will be hosted by China.

In other news, Pepe Mujica, Uruguay's former president, did not go to the G20. But let him have the last word. He is stepping out of power. It takes a second to compare his personal dignity, honesty, humility, intelligence, courage, altruism and sound policies with the reckless buffoonery of the Cameron, Harper and Abbott mold.

There are politicians, and 'politicians'. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of global public opinion can see right through them.

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.2 - Prince Edward Islands region

Earthquake 6.2 Prince Edward Islands region


Event Time

2014-11-17 16:52:46 UTC

2014-11-17 18:52:46 UTC+02:00 at epicenter


46.392°S 33.794°E depth=9.4km (5.9mi)

Nearby Cities

307km (191mi) W of Marion Island, Prince Edward Islands

1537km (955mi) SSE of Port Alfred, South Africa

1550km (963mi) SSE of Port Elizabeth, South Africa

1562km (971mi) SSE of Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa

1973km (1226mi) SSE of Maseru, Lesotho

Sott Exclusive: The US way of regime change is not lost on the Chinese

Umbrella revolution

© Unknown

Though it has a new catchy name, the recent "revolution" in Hong Kong followed a very familiar pattern of US engineered regime change and destabilisation. And the Chinese are well aware of it!

It is wellknown to us that Russia knows full well the way of regime change that the empire of chaos uses over and over to ensure their supremacy as the sole super power. This was made clear by Putin in his Valdai speech

Incidentally, at the time, our colleagues [the US] tried to somehow manage these processes, use regional conflicts and design 'colour revolutions' to suit their interests, but the genie escaped the bottle. It looks like the controlled chaos theory fathers themselves do not know what to do with it; there is disarray in their ranks.

China has also been subject to attemps at regime change both in the Xinjiang province in West China and most recently in Hong Kong. The question is how aware are the Chinese of the US role in these protest movements? A recent youtube makes it abundantly clear that the Chinese read the geopolitical chessgame very well, if the views presented also reflect the view of the Chinese at large. The youtube video maps out 12 steps that the US uses for regime change and goes on to explain, how these "regime changes" around the world and the antagonising of Russia and China follow a pattern that could lead to world war III.

[embedded content]

The 12 Steps to regime change, employed by the US as outlined in the video:

  1. Dispatch CIA, MI6 and other intelligence officers as students, tourist, volunteers businessmen, reporters to the target country

  2. Set up non-governmental organisations (NGO) under the guise of humanitariamism to fight for "democracy" and "human rights" In order to attract advocates of freedom and ideals

  3. Attract local traitors and especially academics, politicians, reporters, soldiers etc. through bribery or threaten those who have some stain in their life

  4. If the target country has labour unions, bribe them

  5. Pick a catchy theme or color for the revolution. Examples include the Praque spring (1968), Velvet revolution (Eastern Europe, 1969), Rose Revolution (Georgia, 2003), Cedar revolution (Lebanon, 2005), Orange revolution (Ukraine), Green revolution (Iran), Jasmin revolution, Arab spring and even Hong Kong's Umbrella revolution

  6. Start protests for whatever reasons to kick off the revolution. It could be human rights, democracy, government corruption or electoral fraud. Evidence isn't necessary; an excuse will do.

  7. Write protests signs and banners in English to let Americans see and get American politicians and civilians involved

  8. Let those corrupted politicians, intellectuals and union leaders join the protests and call upon all people with grievances to join

  9. The US and European mainstream media help continuously emphasize that the revolution is caused by injustice thereby gaining the support of the majority

  10. When the whole world is watching stage a false-flag action. The target government will soon be destabilised and lose support among its people

  11. Add in violent agent provocateurs to provoke the police to use force. This will cause the target government to lose the support of other countries and become "deligitimized" by the international community

  12. Send politicians to the US, EU and UN to petition so that the target government will face the threat of economic sanctions, no-fly zones and even airstrikes and an armed rebel uprising

Anyone who has being paying just a a little attention to the world events can recognise this pattern. Psychopaths are not that creative and therefore tend to use the same method again and again. And mostly it works out to the benefit of the psychopaths in power, to whom it doesn't matter if their hand in the regime change is exposed after the installment of a new puppet. The subservient MSM is always on hand to further the propaganda and knock down any objecting views that reveal the hand of the man behind the curtain and can always rely on name calling when arguments are lacking. An example of how this works with regard to the Hong Kong protests can be seen here: And the public memory is conveniently very short, with all the distraction that Hollywood, the social media and the General Law can come up with.

The video goes on:

If the 12 steps above do not work, then the US will find an excuse to intervene militarily and overthrow the target government by force. In fact, these steps have proven to be very effective.


Therefore, it is not by spontaneous civil movements that countries are overthrown. On the contrary, the revolts are carefully planned and plotted. In fact, overthrowing a country by means of civil unrests is far cheaper than sending troops to attack and destroy it. That's why the US kept applying these 12 steps against countries it deem as enemies.

Though the video blames it all on the Freemasons, it would be more correct to say the pathological elite. One of the key defining traits of this subspecies is the fact that they have no conscience and therefore cares nought about human suffering and deaths. It could even be argued that it relishes on such suffering.

As always the impetus is on us to acquire knowledge and to wake up to this nightmare and the fact that there are predators among us, who don't have essential human qualities. This is becoming easier as the empire of chaos in its desperate, but losing battle to keep its hegemonic powers, is showing its true nature for all to see. Thus the emperor is exposed as being naked. Something that the BRICS countries and a number of other countries are becoming aware of. There is no doubt that the greater cooperation among these countries have helped to spread this knowledge and the modus operandi. The above video is an example of the exposure of this pattern.

For more reading:


Aeneas Georg (Profile)

I'm a train manager and ticket inspector on international train routes in Europe. I've been reading SOTT since 2003 and first joined the editorial team in 2007 after realizing I had to do something about the deteriorating state of our world. I'm particularly interested in 'following the money' to track the machinations of the deceptive ones in high places. I suppose you could say I've taken my chosen profession to a new level, and now with SOTT I'm "inspecting the flows" of people and money in more ways than one.