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Thursday, 22 January 2015

'Three suns' appear over Mongolia in rare anthelion phenomenon

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Three suns appear in the horizon over Mongolia, in an a rare optical illusion known as anthelion. The middle sun is the actual star which appears daily in the sky, while the other two are smaller reflections. The phenomenon occurs in extremely cold temperatures when the sun's light reflects off snow crystals in the air

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USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.8 - 84km NNE of Port-Vila, Vanuatu

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Web filters alone 'cannot protect children online'- where are the parents?

Young child on tablet

© Shuttershock

Government-imposed web filters are not a fix-it-all solution for protecting children online and give parents a false sense of security, a leading web expert has warned. Tony Anscombe from computer security firm AVG said that more education was needed to ensure that children stayed safe when using the web.

"The government needs to realise that a filter is not an isolated solution for protecting children online," he said. He added that parents and teachers were also unsure of who should be responsible for teaching children about online safety and urged people not to "pass the buck".

His views were echoed by Aisha Tilstone, director of awareness group Child Internet Safety. She said that schools failed to provide enough training on the issue and that parents and teachers rarely talked about online safety.

"The money invested by the ISPs [on web filters] would be better spent on the education of parents and teachers. We need to get the message to the people who work at a grassroots level with children to ensure their online safety," she said.

The UK's four biggest ISPs have been forced to introduce web filters after the government demanded the creation of a "family friendly" internet. Earlier this week Sky started blocking adult websites by default for any customers who hadn't made a decision about turning filters on or off.

Child Internet Safety, which produces guides and runs events to educate parents and teachers about child safety online, recently launched a magazine to try and increase awareness of the growing issue. Tilstone said that information about keeping children safe online needed to be made more accessible for it to get through.

Anscombe added that web filters being used by BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media were not a panacea and dangers still existed online, even on connections with parental controls.

"There are chat rooms, social networking and forums, all of which encourage kids to communicate in ways that fall outside the filters. Parents and children need to be made aware of this."

He argued that while Sky's decision to turn on web filters by default was "a step in the right direction", it was essential to spend more time educating children, parents and teachers. He said that the government, ISPs, teachers, parents and software companies all needed to do their part to keep children safe online.

"Parents must not sit back and think someone else is now taking care of this issue. They should educate and reinforce the message so that children can enjoy the wealth of entertainment and information available on the internet."

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Israel to arrest anyone for posting content deemed 'anti-Israel' on Facebook

For many years - Israel has been monitoring the social media accounts of pro-Palestinian activists. The Israeli government has a long track record of arresting Palestinians indiscriminately where they can and do detain every day Palestinian citizens in military prisons for up to 6 months without charge. But now they're actually telling activists they will be arrested for posting content deemed to be "anti-Israel."

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Last week, Mahmoud Asila from the Old City of al-Quds, was arrested for merely posting a picture on Facebook that claimed he was in support of the attacks carried out by the Palestinians against the Israeli forces occurring in the West Bank. Israel called this thought crime "incitement".

Asila claims that he did, in fact, make the post but he was just voicing his freedom of speech online.

This is drawing plenty of criticism from human rights groups:

"The international law and the four Geneva conventions state that no government has the right to arrest people for their ideas or for what they publish on their pages. But Israel, which is not respecting any international law, will be preventing freedom of speech, especially in Jerusalem al-Quds, to keep controlling the city and humans leading the youth," Bassem Eid, a human rights activist, told the Press TV correspondent.

But arresting Palestinians for thought crime and political dissidence is not new either. The Israeli government has arrested Palestinian journalists, raided international news offices located in Palestine, or just flat out killed them. Many of those journalists are just pointing out what the U.S. State Department described as "institutional discrimination" in its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012.

The growing criticism of the Israeli government is the result of a long campaign of ethnic cleansing wherein land is taken away from Palestinians to build "Jews only" homes. When a country announces that it will be a sectarian state based on the religious values of one religion - history shows that does not end well. The new "anti-terror bill," proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Neyanyahu last Sunday, would do the following if passed according to Ynet - one of Israel's largest news sources:

  • Anyone deemed to be a "terrorist" will be stripped of their citizenship and deported, including family members of those terrorists who claim support for them.

  • Anyone displaying the Palestinian flag or other flags deemed "terroristic" will be arrested and held without bail until trial.

  • If convicted of "terrorism" or "supporting terrorism" you will be denied national insurance benefits and lose your driver's license for 10 years.

  • The homes of accused terrorists' families will be demolished within 24 hours of the terrorist act.

  • Bodies of terrorists will not be delivered to their families, and will be buried in secret, without funeral rites.

  • Businesses that print anything supportive of "terrorism" will be immediately shut down.

  • Businesses can request a file on an employee and fire them for actions committed, even previous to their employment, that are deemed to be in support of "terrorism."

Not only is this bill "collective punishment" for the families of those who would be accused, but there is no expectation of being found guilty in a court of law. If you're Palestinian - you do not have the right to confront your accuser in a court of law ... meanwhile - Jewish settlers living next door on illegal settlements receive all of the rights given to them under Israeli law. To the Israeli government - all of those who would resist the government's 47 year military occupation are considered "terrorists". The Israeli Prime Minister - Bibi Netanyahu - has called kids throwing rocks "terrorists" and helped pass a law that would give 20 years in prison to anyone found guilty of throwing rocks (but not if you're Jewish).

Any criticism of Israel is considered anti-semitic in nature; meanwhile - in Israel any public calls for genocide of Palestinians are openly accepted and embraced. Some examples are this Facebook page calling for the murder of a Palestinian "every hour" HERE , this Israeli lawmaker's call for genocide on Facebook HERE , the blog approved in the called "When genocide is permissible" HERE , the statement on Facebook by the deputy speaker of the Knesset - Moshe Feiglin - to force Palestinians into concentration camps and to exterminate all of those who do not go HERE . To date - zero individuals mentioned above have even been questioned by the police for their incitement of genocide.

And on the backdrop of all of this is a bill that passed by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's cabinet which would call for Israel as a state for the Jewish people and would create an even more obvious distance between the rights of Jews in Israel and everyone else. Even the Israeli President - Reuven Rivlin - has adamantly opposed it. As he told the :

"But not only is the proposed law unnecessary, it is harmful. A quarter of Israel's population is not Jewish, and probably the most important item on the nation's agenda should be their integration into the fabric of Israeli society and their participation in the Israeli economy. Giving them the feeling of being at home, of being equal citizens."

© Presstv.ir

H/T: Arrest in Israel

he U.S. State Department took the following stance in light of this recent news:

"Israel is a Jewish and democratic state and all its citizens should enjoy equal rights. We expect Israel to stick to its democratic principles," said Jeff Rathke, a state department spokesman.

This caused Israel's economy minister and leader of the nationalist Jewish Home party, Mr. Naftali Bennett, to say via Israel Radio:

"I say to the Americans: we will manage the matters of the state of Israel ourselves."

Perhaps Mr. Bennett is suggesting that the United States discontinue the economic and military aid it has been giving the country since 1948, when it first introduced its Declaration of Independence. To date, the U.S. has given Israel over 233 billion dollars (adjusted for inflation), and comprises 1/3rd of the entire annual foreign aid budget.

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Targeting 17,600 Canadian workers with pink slips and a pittance: Target's ex-CEO makes off like a bandit

Value of Gregg Steinhafel's 'walk-away' package estimated at $61M

This Target store in Toronto is one of 133 Canadian stores that are being closed as the parent company cuts its losses. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Social media readers had some snarky comments Thursday about reports that the former CEO of Target got a total severance and other benefits package worth about the same as the total amount being offered to all 17,600 of the chain's Canadian employees who will soon be out of work as the company winds down its presence in Canada.

Target's "employee trust" package for its Canadian workers, announced last week, amounts to $70 million ($56 million US). It's designed to provide each worker with 16 weeks of pay.

Depending on who's doing the calculation, the golden handshake handed to ex-CEO Gregg Steinhafel last May is in roughly in the same ballpark.

Fortune Magazine put the value of his total "walk-away" package, including stock options and other benefits, at $61 million US, including severance of $15.9 million.

"I'm not normally one to jump on the anti-corporate bandwagon, but these numbers really put things in perspective," wrote Reddit user leafsfan_89 on a busy Reddit chat page.

"My next gig is to become a CEO of a company, fail miserably and collect millions," a Twitter user named Tim Parent tweeted Thursday morning.

The reference is to Steinhafel's tenure at the helm of the troubled retailer. A year ago, Target suffered a massive data breach affecting 70 million U.S. customers.

Target's ill-fated expansion into Canada also cost the company billions of dollars, prompting the new CEO and board to cut their losses and shutter all of the retailer's 133 Canadian locations.

CEOs of major corporations are compensated at rates that are often hundreds of times higher than their rank-and-file employees. Last year, an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute showed that the top U.S. CEOs made 296 times more than the wage of an average worker in their industry.

A report earlier this month by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that Canada's top-paid CEOs saw their compensation climb at double the rate of the average Canadian between the depths of the recession and 2013.

Billions owed to creditors

In a separate development, the depth of Target Canada's debts has also been revealed.

Alvarez & Marsal Canada, the court-appointed monitor handling Target Canada's creditor protection and insolvency, has filed papers that show the retailer has total liabilities of $5.1 billion, including accounts payable of about $546 million.

The monitor has listed 42 pages of creditors that Target Canada owes money to.

The amounts include $12,036,000 to the Canada Revenue Agency, $8,372,000 to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, $2,674,000 to the province of British Columbia, and smaller amounts to hundreds of other creditors.

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New study shows Australopithecus africanus had human-like hands

© T. L. Kivell

Top row: First metacarpals of the thumb in (from left to right) a chimpanzee, fossil hominins (StW 418) and two specimens belonging to either a robust australopiths or early Homo (SKX 5020 and SK 84), and a human. The bottom row shows 3D renderings from the microCT scans of the same specimens, showing a cross-section of the trabecular structure inside. Ma, million years ago.

New research suggests pre-Homo human ancestral species, such as , used human-like hand postures much earlier than was previously thought.

Anthropologists from the University of Kent, working with researchers from University College London, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (Germany) and the Vienna University of Technology (Austria), have produced the first research findings to support archaeological evidence for stone tool use among fossil australopiths 3-2 million years ago.

The distinctly human ability for forceful precision (e.g. when turning a key) and power "squeeze" gripping (e.g. when using a hammer) is linked to two key evolutionary transitions in hand use: a reduction in arboreal climbing and the manufacture and use of stone tools. However, it is unclear when these locomotory and manipulative transitions occurred.

Dr Matthew Skinner, Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology and Dr Tracy Kivell, Reader in Biological Anthropology, both of Kent's School of Anthropology and Conservation, used new techniques to reveal how fossil species were using their hands by examining the internal spongey structure of bone called trabeculae. Trabecular bone remodels quickly during life and can reflect the actual behaviour of individuals in their lifetime.

The researchers first examined the trabeculae of hand bones of humans and chimpanzees. They found clear differences between humans, who have a unique ability for forceful precision gripping between thumb and fingers, and chimpanzees, who cannot adopt human-like postures. This unique human pattern is present in known non-arboreal and stone tool-making fossil human species, such as Neanderthals.

The research, titled Human-like hand use in , shows that , a 3-2 million-year-old species from South Africa traditionally considered not to have engaged in habitual tool manufacture, has a human-like trabecular bone pattern in the bones of the thumb and palm (the metacarpals) consistent with forceful opposition of the thumb and fingers typically adopted during tool use.

These results support previously published archaeological evidence for stone tool use in australopiths and provide skeletal evidence that our early ancestors used human-like hand postures much earlier and more frequently than previously considered.

© M.M. Skinner et al., Science, VOL347, ISSUE 6220 (2015)

Sagittal midline cross sections of the first metacarpal in Pan, recent H. sapiens, and fossil hominins. Recent and early H. sapiens demonstrate a palmar concentration of trabecular bone in the proximal base of the Mc1 consistent with forceful opposition of the thumb, which is distinct from the more homogeneous distribution of trabecular bone in Pan. A. africanus, Swartkrans specimen SK 84, and H. neanderthalensis also demonstrate the H. sapiens pattern, suggesting similar loading and use of the thumb. Swartkrans specimen SKX 5020 has a more homogeneous distribution of trabecular bone in the Mc1 base that is more similar to Pan. The distal heads of SKX 5020 and Amud 1, as well as the proximal base and palmar shaft of Qafzeh 9, are not fully preserved. Trabecular bone volume fraction is scaled to 0 to 45%.

© M.M. Skinner et al., Science, VOL347, ISSUE 6220 (2015)

Pattern of trabecular bone distribution in , and early . The composite includes StW 418 (left Mc1, mirrored), StW382 (left Mc2, mirrored), StW394 (left Mc3, mirrored), and StW 552 (right Mc4), as well as (*) Swartkrans specimen SK(W) 14147 (left Mc5,mirrored) associated with either or early Homo. Arrows point to regions of highest BV/TV (red), indicating a recent H. sapiens–like distopalmar and asymmetrical peak loading of the metacarpal heads in all fossil hominins that is distinctly different from the pattern found in Pan. Trabecular bone volume fraction is scaled to 0 to 45%.

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Mossad reportedly at odds with Netanyahu over imposing Congressional sanctions on Iran

© Reuters

Mossad director Tamir Pardo (L) confers with Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen

Israel's political leadership is in disagreement with top members of its intelligence services over the benefit of more Congressional sanctions on Iran as negotiations over its disputed nuclear program continue, Bloomberg News is reporting on Thursday.

The rift is so severe that it compelled the Mossad to contradict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and directly warn US Congressional officials that more sanctions against the Islamic Republic at this juncture could effectively spell the end of negotiations, according to Bloomberg.

Israeli intelligence officials have apparently come around to the same view shared by both the Obama administration as well as American spy agencies who say that any attempts by lawmakers to pass tougher anti-Iran legislation could chase Tehran from the negotiating table.

Netanyahu has gone on record as enthusiastically supporting sanctions while placing little faith that talks with the Islamic Republic would yield an agreement that would meet Israel's security needs.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers are expected to press ahead with a plan for more sanctions on Iran, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said last week, despite White House warnings that they risked derailing nuclear talks.

Lawmakers, who say they fear Obama administration negotiators may not take a hard enough line with Tehran, are also at work on a separate bill to have Congress approve any final agreement on Iran's nuclear program, Senator Bob Corker, the chairman, told Reuters in an interview.

"There's continual efforts to try to figure out a way for Congress to play a role to strengthen whatever final deal may occur," the Tennessee Republican senator said.

Republican Senator Mark Kirk and Democratic Senator Robert Menendez are finalizing a bill for tougher sanctions on Iran if there is no final nuclear deal by June 30.

The Senate Banking Committee is due to hold a hearing on Iran sanctions on Tuesday, said Corker, a member also of that panel.

Kirk and Menendez introduced a sanctions bill in December 2013, but it did not come up for a vote in the Senate, then controlled by President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats, who lost control of the chamber because of big losses in November elections.

The White House has insisted passage of a sanctions bill now - even one that would impose new restrictions only if there is no deal by the deadline - could prompt Iran to back out of the nuclear talks with six world powers.

According to Bloomberg, both the Prime Minister's Office as well as the influential America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have been pushing for the Kirk-Menendez bill, which would impose harsher economic penalties against Iran if there is no agreement in the P5+1 talks by the June 30 deadline.

Congressional leaders, however, were surprised to learn that Mossad officials had briefed a number of key lawmakers, lobbying against the bill. Bloomberg reported that the briefing prompted Menendez to seek clarifications from Israel's envoy to Washington, Ron Dermer.

"We met with a number of government officials from many different parts of the government," Republican representative John Barrasso, one of the deputies present during the Mossad briefing, told Bloomberg. "There's not a uniform view there."

The Iranian nuclear matter has apparently turned into the latest political football that has entailed the GOP Congressional leadership, the White House, the Prime Minister's Office, and the Mossad, which is being played against the backdrop of Israel's upcoming parliamentary elections.

In his State of the Union address before the nation on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama said that new sanctions on Iran would "all but guarantee that diplomacy fails," heightening the prospects of war.

"Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran, secures America and our allies - including Israel - while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict," the president said.

"There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran," he continued. "But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails."

The Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner, responded by inviting Netanyahu to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress, prompting an angry response from the White House.

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Disneyland measles outbreak now tied to 70 people

© AP Photo/, H. Lorren Au Jr.

A measles outbreak traced to Disney theme parks in California led to warnings against visiting the happiest place on Earth if tourists or their children have not been vaccinated against the highly contagious respiratory disease that has sickened 70 people.

New infections linked to the theme parks emerged Wednesday in the outbreak that has spread to five U.S. states and Mexico, though the vast majority - 62 - occurred in California.

People who have not received the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine are susceptible to contracting the highly contagious illness and should avoid Disney "for the time being," state epidemiologist Gil Chavez said.

The same holds true for crowded places with a high concentration of international travelers, such as airports, Chavez said. People who are vaccinated don't need to take such precautions, he said.

Disneyland Resorts spokeswoman Suzi Brown said officials agreed with the advice that "it's absolutely safe to visit if you're vaccinated."

The people who have been infected range in age from 7 months to 70 years old. The vast majority had not been vaccinated, and a quarter had to be hospitalized.

Among those sickened were five Disney employees, three of whom have since returned to work. The company previously said park employees who may have been in contact with infected people were asked to show proof of vaccination or have a blood test to show immunity against measles. Those with pending results were put on paid leave. Vaccinations are also being offered to all employees.

Measles has hit California hard recently, where four to 60 measles cases a year are typical.

"We are off to a bad start in 2015," Chavez said.

Since the outbreak, two dozen unvaccinated students at an Orange County high school were sent home for three weeks after an infected student showed up.

Measles can spread by air through coughing or sneezing. Symptoms include fever followed by cough, runny nose and a blotchy rash. Though the virus has been eradicated in the U.S. since 2000, it can still enter the country through an infected traveler.

While health officials said they likely may never find "patient zero," or the trigger of the outbreak, they believe it was either a resident from a country where measles is widespread or a Californian who went abroad and brought home the virus.

People at highest risk are those who are unvaccinated, pregnant women, infants under 6 months old, and those with weakened immune systems.

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Dead gray whale discovered at Seattle ferry terminal

© Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times

The nose of a dead whale bobs up and down directly under the Colman ferry dock on Seattle’s waterfront.

A 30-foot gray whale has turned up dead under the Washington state ferry terminal in downtown Seattle, where its stench is wafting into the noses of thousands of daily commuters.

A Washington State Ferries spokeswoman, Susan Harris-Huether, says the whale was found just before 11 p.m. Wednesday. She says people are reporting that the smell is "not good."

Harris says it's under a dock, but ferry service Thursday wasn't affected.

A spokesman with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that officials believe the whale may have been there for about a week. Michael Milstein says it's not known yet why the animal died, how it got there or other details.

He says NOAA will work with ferry officials and others to move the animal so a necropsy can be conducted.

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Destroying African agriculture with GMOs: U2's Bono partners with Monsanto

As his career continues to free fall into total irrelevance, pop star "Bono" of the rock group U2 has announced his support for a U.S.- backed plan to rape and pillage Africa by stealing its land and agricultural systems and replacing them with corporate-owned GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) and chemicals.

At the recent G8 Summit held at Camp David in Maryland, the Obama regime met with private industry leaders to announce the launch of the "New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition," a thinly-veiled Green Revolution 2.0 that aims to uproot autonomous family farming systems throughout Africa and replace them with toxic monoculture systems controlled by multinational corporations like Monsanto.

The deceptively titled scheme, which investigative journalist Rady Ananda describes as "a euphemism for monocultured, genetically modified crops and toxic agrochemicals aimed at making poor farmers debt slaves to corporations, while destroying the ecosphere for profit," follows the usual script - all those poor African people need American corporations to take control of their lives so they can be healthy and prosperous.

It is a tired mantra that, upon closer look, is easily exposed as a complete sham to both exploit the vulnerable for obscene profits and seize control over the food supply. And this overtly evil agenda is one that Bono apparently believes is good, at least for the American interests that are slithering their way into Africa under the guise of helping the poor.

"They're future consumers for the United States," stated Bono during a 2012 interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, referring to the people of Africa who have yet to be assimilated into the beast system.

"The president is talking business. This is good. It's a whole new development paradigm today. The old donor/recipient relationship... it's over."

A video clip of Bono speaking these menacing words is available here:


Africa says NO to agricultural genocide being foisted by USAfrica has long been a target of perverse American exploitation, with its rich diversity of minerals, gems and precious metals, a.k.a. lots of dollar signs for greedy mega-corporations. It is only natural, then, that this insatiable lust for filthy lucre extend to food and agriculture as well, much like it already has in the U.S. where GMOs and corporate monoculture rule the day.

Never mind that the African people are vehemently opposed to having their agricultural heritage stolen from them by U.S. interests. The African Civil Society Organizations recently had this to say about the so-called "public private partnerships" being established to eliminate African sovereignty over its own food supply:

"We request that: -- governments, FAO, the G8, the World Bank and the GAFSP [Global Agriculture and Food Security Program] reconsider their promotion of Public/Private Partnerships which, as they are now conceived, are not suitable instruments to support the family farms which are the very basis of African food security and sovereignty."

There's really no other way to interpret this than Africa telling the U.S. and its corporate masters across the globe to shove it and stay out of their land. The first Green Revolution was an absolute failure, and this second proposed one will be even worse. Nothing about the plan benefits ordinary farmers or citizens of Africa - it is all about enriching multinational corporations under the guise of humanitarian aid.

"All these systems are extremely tenuous, vulnerable, not robust, not resilient," explains a report by Volatility about the nature of corporate agriculture.

"They're all guaranteed to collapse. Hermetic monoculture, and industrial agriculture as such, is one big hothouse flower which requires perfect conditions to survive."







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Obama and Netanyahu face off over Iran as Bibi goes behind his back to meet U.S. senators

© Avi Ochayon/GPO

Israel was down to one mention in last night's stirring and progressive State of the Union Speech, and Palestine didn't even get a name-check. Two states living peacefully side by side? Nope; President Obama seems to be walking away from the futile peace process.

Israel came up in the context of the big political battle Obama faces, Iran sanctions. Last night he vowed to veto any new sanctions bill. Few people would have known just what was at stake as the president made that declaration, saying the American people want him to talk to Iran, not go to war:

Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we've halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material. Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran; secures America and our allies  -  including Israel; while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict. There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran. But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails  -  alienating America from its allies; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn't make sense. That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom.

Obama was warning the Israel lobby; bug out of these negotiations. That's the line he drew in the sand in the New York Times last week, criticizing donor pressure on Democratic senators.

Well, Congress has responded. This morning it invited Netanyahu to speak to a joint session in the House chamber on February 11 - a month before the Israeli elections (as noted).

House Speaker John Boehner's statement on the invite plays off of the Paris murders, and grants Netanyahu an authority he doesn't seem to grant Obama:

"Prime Minister Netanyahu is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people," Boehner said. "In this time of challenge, I am asking the Prime Minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life. Americans and Israelis have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again."

The Hill reports the invitation as a direct rebuke to Obama's Iran policy:

Boehner cast Netanyahu's address scheduled for Feb. 11 as being intended to rebuke to Obama's negotiations with Iran on that country's nuclear program...

[T]he president "expects us to stand idly by and do nothing while he cuts a bad deal with Iran [Boehner said]."

"Two words: "Hell no!" ... we're going to do no such thing," Boehner said.

says the White House's Josh Earnest "criticizes Netanyahu's planned trip to U.S., calling it 'departure from protocol'".

"Such invitations are usually made leader to leader."

AP reports that Earnest calls it a "breach of protocol."

Every time one thinks Netanyahu has taken the relationship with the White House to the lowest point ever, he manages to take it even lower

- Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) January 21, 2015

And on MSNBC today, Noga Tarnopolsky in Jerusalem says that Boehner and Netanyahu were "negotiating behind President Obama's back" to bring off the invitation.

Boehner's actual invitation sent out this morning says Netanyahu is being invited by the "bipartisan leadership" of the Senate and House. Says Scott McConnell of Netanyahu's visit to Congress: "The only question will be how many standing ovations will he receive? I think he had 29 last time around. Should we set up a betting pool on it?"

Netanyahu with seven senators in advance of State of Union speech

As Boehner aides pointed out to the Hill "there is bipartisan support for Iran sanctions legislation." That's true: Netanyahu met two days ago with a bipartisan group of seven senators. Dems were represented by Indiana's Joe Donnelly (second from the left) and Virginia's Tim Kaine (not in the picture), not to mention Angus King, the Maine Independent, at left. It was South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham's second visit to Jerusalem inside of a month. He can't stay away! (He fielded Chuck Todd's question about presidential hopes from Jerusalem.)

On NPR the other day, Steve Inskeep pointed out to Obama's chief of staff Denis McDonough that many Democrats support sanctions.

given that people in both parties want to act, is there anything Congress can do that the president would accept?

MCDONOUGH: I think what Congress should do is give us some time to see if these negotiations can work. I think in looking back at the last year under the agreement - the temporary agreement that we and the rest of the world struck with the Iranians - we've seen their program frozen in important ways and even rolled back in very important ways. So we've seen good progress against an elicit Iranian nuclear program as a result of these negotiations. So if Congress wants to act later in the year, we could consider that. But at the moment, they ought to give us the space to let these negotiations work...

Inskeep asked McDonough four questions on Iran - because it's a bipartisan issue in D.C. Last night on , Chris Matthews asked three Democratic leaders, Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer, and David Axelrod, zero questions about Iran. Because he knows, hawkishness is inside the Democratic Party, and it would have been divisive.

Today in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat Robert Menendez said of Obama's Iran passage in the State of the Union:

"The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran, and it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization when they are the ones with original sin... They get to cheat in a series of ways and we get to worry about their perceptions."

[embedded content]

Menendez is co-sponsor of the Iran sanction legislation Obama has promised to veto.

Here is part of the statement by B'nai B'rith International on Obama's speech. It praised him on immigration reform and human dignity and anti-Semitism. But it kept up the pressure for sanctions.

The president noted his commitment to pursuing diplomatic means to halt Iran's nuclear weapons development program. We must make it starkly clear to Tehran that the expanded deadline for talks must not merely serve as an opportunity for Iran to continue to build its nuclear program and deceive the world about its weapons-making progress. B'nai B'rith has consistently called for maintaining pressure on Iran and keeping all options open. We are pleased the president acknowledged that Iran's nuclear program has implications for the security of both the United States and Israel. But we remain concerned that removing sanctions as an option leaves an open door for Iran's delaying tactics. All options must remain on the table. Keeping up pressure on Iran reinforces a strong U.S. negotiating position.

We're moving toward a real confrontation. Let's hope that journalists inform the American people about what is at stake. Let's hope that M.J. Rosenberg gets out the epithet Israel Firster and heaves it around. How many Americans want another war in the Middle East?

: The story is making the cables. On CNN David Rohde says that Netanyahu seems to have challenged protocol by not consulting Obama before accepting the invitation. Boehner said he did not consult the president but "I don't believe I'm poking anyone in the eye." Netanyahu will be discussing jihadists and Iran, serious threats that Obama "papered over" in his State of the Union speech.

MJ Rosenberg is going after Netanyahu:

Bibi: "I wonder if I can get Schumer, Lindsey Graham. & my favorite gangster Bob Menendez, to lead Congress in singing Hatikva. YES!"

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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DPR press conference: 600 Ukrainians, mercenaries killed in action at Donetsk Airport


Motorola at the Donetsk Airport Terminal, recently liberated by the NAF.

Minister of Defense of DPR, Eduard Basurin: 597 Ukrainian soldiers died at the airport so far - and those are just the bodies found so far near the airport and Peski, 44 POWs, 49 tanks destroyed, 49 BMP's and BTR's - just destroyed by DPR, wounded evacuated - over 1,500 (Ukrainians). Large quantities of American weapons, a lot of religious literature in European languages. Found bodies in NATO uniform of contractors from foreign private military companies. Today there were 19 violations of ceasefire - 13 dead (on a Donetsk trolley). No dead among the militia.

Last night there was a massive artillery attack on Gorlovka, a daycare was destroyed, a five story house was destroyed. In many houses all windows are broken. Any point in Gorlovka is subject to shelling. A hospital was hit. It is difficult to see all this, after Poroshenko announces he is ready for peace talks. Despite everything, the residents believe that we will win. After the destruction that happened from Hurricanes - a terrible weapon, there were no dead, I believe this is a sign that God does exist. People help each other, don't think for themselves. These people cannot be defeated.

[embedded content]

Translated from Russian by Kristina Rus

Comment: In response to Kiev's failed push, the NAF is launching a successful counter-offensive: taking back several occupied towns and checkpoints, attacking others, shelling Ukrainian positions, all without a single reported Ukrainian breakthrough or successful counter-attack. Poroshenko had better take Zakharchenko up on his offer...

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Surprise! Monsanto once again developing herbicide resistant wheat

© examiner.com

Over a decade after consumer opposition halted multinational agrichemical business Monsanto's plans to develop genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-resistant wheat, the company is trying again. This time, Monsanto's goal is to create wheat that is resistant to three different herbicides; glyphosate, glufosinate , and dicamba. Although over 90% of corn, soybean, and cotton grown in the United States are GE, no GE wheat is currently allowed to be planted.

In 2013, a farmer in Oregon discovered the presence of Monsanto's original Roundup-Ready wheat, developed to be resistant to glyphosate, in his field despite the company's plans to abandon the strain and claims to have destroyed the crop a decade earlier. The company had restarted extensive field trials back in 2011. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) determined that the contamination was an "isolated incident." It was unable to determine exactly how the wheat came to grow in the Oregon farmer's field.

However, shortly after the agency closed its investigation, another farmer in Montana detected the GE strain in his wheat fields. The recurrence of this incident reveals the contamination event not to be an isolated incident. It instead demonstrates the threat that these crops pose to farmers and the environment, as well as the government's failure to recognize the pervasive and persistent nature of GE contamination.

In 2012, U.S. wheat exports were valued at $18.1 billion. Contamination events can cause significant economic harm to individual farmers, and even damage entire industries. Over 60 countries have bans on the production and import of GE crops. In response to the 2013 incident in Oregon, countries around the world, including Japan, South Korea, and the entire EU, enacted detrimental restrictions on the import of wheat.

In response to these trade barriers, wheat farmers in the Pacific Northwest launched a lawsuit against Monsanto. In November of last year, not wishing to engage in an extended legal battle with the growers, Monsanto announced a $2.4 million settlement.

In its intent to incorporate three levels of herbicide tolerance, Monsanto's new variety of wheat recognizes the failures of its Roundup-Ready farming system. Since such varieties were developed, weeds throughout the U.S. have displayed resistance to the company's flagship glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup. A study published in 2012 by Washington State University researcher Charles Benbrook, PhD, found that, rather than decrease herbicide use as chemical companies like Monsanto originally claimed, herbicide-tolerant cropping systems increased herbicide use from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to roughly 90 million pounds in 2011. "Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent," Dr. Benbrook said.

In response to widespread resistance, agrichemical companies have doubled-down and engineered new varieties of GE crops resistant to increasingly toxic herbicides. And regulators in USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have rubber-stamped these harmful products. In October of last year EPA approved a new herbicide to be used on a new form of corn resistant to 2,4-D and glyphosate, despite outcries from public health and environmental advocates.

As it stands, Monsanto has gained USDA approval on cotton and soybean plants tolerant of dicamba, and is waiting on regulatory decision from EPA on the "Xtend" herbicide that complements the crop. Increased use of dicamba is certain to induce dicamba-resistant weeds, similar to what is currently seen with Roundup. As a result of dicamba's high mobility in soils, contamination of groundwater is a significant risk. Dicamba has a high tendency to vaporize and drift, resulting in injury to sensitive crops. Abnormal leaf growth and floral development, reduced yield, and reduced quality have all been observed from dicamba drift. Moreover, studies have found that exposure to dicamba prior to conception is associated with increased risk of birth defects in male offspring. Dicamba has also been associated with a decrease in the ability to conceive, and cell death in developing embryos.

Contrary to industry proclamations, introducing wheat engineered to tolerate dicamba, glufosinate, and glyphosate will only keep farmers on a chemical treadmill that continues to propagate resistant weeds , endanger the environment, health, and agricultural economy.

For more information on the hazards associated with GE technology, visit Beyond Pesticides' Genetic Engineering webpage. The best way to avoid genetically engineered foods in the marketplace is to purchase foods that have the USDA certified organic seal. Under organic certification standards, genetically modified organisms and their byproducts are prohibited. For many other reasons, organic products are the right choice for consumers.

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BEST OF THE WEB: Another European Holocaust looms as Kiev mulls concentration camps to 'filter sub-humans out of Ukraine'

"Long live the White Races, and down with the Semite-led subhumans and interracial contacts".

Look at that slogan. Should this be regarded as a great and laudable sentiment or call-to-action?

If you think so, then here are some equally laudable sentiments, provided by the same person and organisation:

"The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led subhumans".


"Punish severely sexual perversions and any interracial contacts that lead to the extinction of the white man".


"Prepare for further expansion and to struggle for the liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of the internationalist speculative capital".

If you don't like or agree with these sentiments, then you are obviously not a citizen of any European Union country, or any NATO country, or of the United States of America.

Democracy in Ukraine post US coup d'etat

That is because the person who said this - on his own behalf, and on behalf of his organisation "Patriots of Ukraine" - is the commander of the unit which is currently fighting under the banner of the glorious and heroic "Azov Battalion ". The Azov battalion is - along with many other identically-orientated "Special Units" of the "National Guard" of Ukraine (established by the "Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine") - currently fighting to "liberate" Eastern Ukraine from "Semites" and "Semite-led subhumans"; with the full encouragement of the Ukrainian government.

The Ukrainian government, and all of the many organisations - such as the "Socialist-National Assembly", the "Patriots of Ukraine", the "Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists", the "Tryzub", the "Swoboda" and other such organisations - have taken over the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Internal Affairs and other Key Ministries within the current post-coup government of Ukraine. They are also providing the personnel from within their political party structures to form the "Special Units" of the "National Guard" - tasked with liquidating the (in their words) Semites and Semite-led subhumans in Eastern Ukraine. In this "historic mission" of theirs, they are being completely supported to carry it out with impunity by the member states of the European Union and NATO, and the United States of America.

In fact, it is only the financial, diplomatic and military support provided by the European Union, NATO and the United States of America that has enabled these views to prevail with impunity in Ukraine, and enabled corresponding acts to be perpetrated with impunity in Eastern Ukraine by those who hold these views, against the people that they regard as "Semites" (aka Ukrainian citizens who have the Jewish faith) and "Semite-led subhumans" (aka Ukrainian citizens who are of Russian ethnicity, and all Asians, Africans, Latin Americans, Arabic people and "non-White races"); as well as against those who engage in "interracial contacts".

It is therefore worth noting that if you are a citizen of any European Union or NATO country, or of the United States of America; seeing as these are democratic countries where the governments are elected by you to represent and carry out the will of their people (i.e. your will), and where they are funded by you to carry out your will through the money paid in taxes by their people (i.e. your money); it is, in fact, you who is facilitating, condoning, supporting and encouraging these views.

Consequently, if you are a citizen of the European Union, a NATO country or the United States of America, the question is, therefore - do you feel satisfied, or proud of yourself, for your association with these views?

Moreover, the people whose speech and views are being facilitated, supported and condoned don't just talk. They translate their words into deeds and actions - rapidly, efficiently and thoroughly.

That is why in the last two months, far more "Semites and Semite-led subhumans" (including very many women and children) have been killed in Eastern Ukraine through indiscriminate shelling and bombing - including by ballistic missiles - or burnt alive, beaten to death, shot or starved, than were killed in Gaza over the corresponding period. Moreover, over seven hundred thousand have fled to refugee camps in the Russian Federation, while over one hundred thousand more are internally displaced within the Donbass region of South Eastern Ukraine. All this has been done most efficiently and premeditatedly, by the people that the EU and NATO country governments, and the government of the USA, are facilitating, supporting, condoning and paying for.

To illustrate the level of impunity which this support has now led the persons implementing this "solution" to their "problem" enjoy, please see here a recent public quote from the Prime Minister of Ukraine; who was installed in his post not according to the will of the Ukrainian people, but rather according to the will of the USA's Department of State:

"They lost their lives because they defended men and women, children and the elderly who found themselves in a situation facing a threat to be killed by invaders and sponsored by them subhumans. First, we will commemorate the heroes by wiping out those who killed them and then by cleaning our land from the evil". ~ Arseniy Yatsenyuk - Prime Minister of Ukraine

According to him, the heroes of the Azov Battalion and other "Special Units" of the "National Guard" will be honoured, and the subhumans will be wiped out, after which the land will be cleaned of the subhumans' evil. Although the written record of his public comment was re-written to change "subhuman" to "inhuman" to cater for the required public narrative, a screenshot of the posting of his original speech is here. In any event, as that speech was broadcast live to the "subhuman" inhabitants of Eastern Ukraine, they all got it first-hand themselves, and they therefore know what awaits them - if the government in Kiev has its their way.

It seems that once the "heroic" wiping out of the subhumans has been completed in the main, the post-coup Ukrainian government also has a plan in place for how to deal with the ones who're still there. Here it is:

"There will be a thorough filtration of people. There will be special filtration measures put in place. We will filter out people, including women, who are linked to separatism, who were committing crimes on Ukrainian territory. Crimes related to terrorist activities. We have a lot of information about this, and we have a formidable framework to combat this. Various power structures will carry out this operation. ~ Mykhailo Koval - Minister of Defence of Ukraine

Read this quote carefully. Especially look at the phrase "Special 'Filtration' Activities ". One wonders what the Ukrainian government ministers and their advisors from other countries who formulated this plan had in mind. Perhaps if they closed their eyes and thought about it they could catch the faint sound of freight trains moving off into the dark of the night, travelling to parts unknown; full to the brim with an unusual cargo. It would not be the first time that something like this has happened in Ukraine .

The current post-coup government in Ukraine clearly has a problem with people that it perceives to be "Semite-led subhumans", and - according to Ukrainian political leaders - this problem must be attended to. In stirring up a section of their (presumably non-subhuman) population through rhetoric, it seems that they have driven many people to start "helping" with this, and helping most thoroughly. As such, their will will be done - in fact, it is currently being done. As for the survivors, it seems that they'll just be ethnically cleansed from the land (to make the land "clean", it seems).

As with all thorough plans, it also seems that the current Ukrainian government has already worked out how to recompense the people who are cleaning the land of the "evil of the subhumans". Here it is:

"Land parcels will be given out for free to the servicemen of the Armed Forces and other military formations, as well as to the employees of Interior Ministry and the Security Service that are defending territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country". ~ Land Agency of Ukraine

Clearly, according to the current Ukrainian government, the land, possessions and businesses of the subhumans will be taken over and given away to the "heroic" personnel of the "Special Units" of the "National Guard" for free . It seems that in the "New Ukraine", those classified as subhumans have no rights, so ownership and title don't apply to them. Not anyway in the "New Europe" being forged within Ukraine.

If any Ukrainian speaks out against these acts too loudly, they are, more and more, just grabbed off the street and "disappeared" . Also, if any Ukrainian wants to broadcast anything other than the required narrative on Television, such a person will be assaulted and forced to resign (in this case, being assaulted and forced to resign by the Member of Parliament of Ukraine responsible for "Free Speech") . Similarly, if any Ukrainian wants to speak out against this in the Ukrainian Parliament, they will similarly be silenced by force applied in the parliament building (and then have their political party banne d).

The iron-clad priority of the current Ukrainian government - and their supporters - appears to be that at all costs they must project the required narrative to outsiders in order to justify their conduct. The required narrative is that the prevailing situation is a war between Russia and Ukraine , not that it is a civil war inside Ukraine between Ukrainian citizens - with the Ukrainian "Special Units", "National Guard" and army killing and ethnically cleansing the "subhuman" category of the Ukrainian civilian population in the Donbass Region of South-Eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian SS soldiers slaughtering subhuman Ukrainians in 1941...

Ukrainian NATO soldiers slaughtering subhuman Ukrainians in 2014.

As for the so-called "subhuman" section of the population trapped inside South Eastern Ukraine, it is not as though these acts are being carried out against them in silence. They are being done openly. However, although the people trapped inside the surrounded cities are crying out for help most publicly, nobody's listening. It seems to be that the narrative has been accepted that all 8 million of these "subhumans" are "terrorists" , so their money can be taken from their bank accounts and from the money due for their pensions, insurance won't pay for their destroyed houses, businesses or possessions - and whatever's left can just be confiscated, and their water, electricity and gas supplies can be cut.

Moreover, it seems as though these people's residential houses can be rocketed and shelled and bombed with impunity, and their windows can be blown out and roofs destroyed. In that part of Europe this can force people to - in winter, with minus 40 degree centigrade weather - risk freezing to death or otherwise be forced to leave their homes.

Also, there are, apparently, no consequences incurred by the current Ukrainian government, their "National Guard" units, or their supporters for the daily contraventions of multiple Ukrainian and International Laws, including:

Even though more than enough documentary, photographic and video material already exists for criminal charges to be brought by any person or organisation, from any jurisdiction, for contravention of numerous of these laws and conventions against:

  • any private persons, or

  • any organisation leaders or members, or

  • any military leaders or soldiers, or

  • any private military company or organisation directors, leaders or members, or

  • any political party leaders or members, or

  • any government leaders or members,

  • from any country involved with these acts directly or indirectly,

  • for either their acts or their failures to act,

  • or against any person (or spokesperson) for aiding, abetting or encouraging such acts, or concealing information on such acts,

  • and although there is no statute of limitations for when these charges can be brought;

Total impunity for the members of the current Ukrainian government, the members of the "National Guard" and their supporters - in Ukraine and abroad - seems to be the order of the day. For now.

This is especially as very few foreign journalists are reporting from within the encircled cities or areas or the border of the Russian Federation; but also primarily because the "solution" being applied to this "subhuman terrorist" problem is being applied with the support and protection of the governments of the EU and NATO countries, and the USA. As a result, there is a total absence of balance when it comes to reporting of statements or to reporting of rebuttals from parties being mentioned in the media.

Other than this, all statements from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and any other party that doesn't follow the required narrative appear to being kept out of the primary media in many countries. Other events that are contrary to the required narrative also appear to be left out of primary media reports in some countries.

In amongst this situation have also occurred some very irregular events which do not and could not pass muster if measured against any yardstick of probity or decency whatsoever.

Moreover, since early 2014, Ukraine has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy due to default on tens-of-billions of dollars of debt. Where has that all suddenly disappeared to? Also, the requirement to pay back any of the other tens-of-billions of dollars in loans from multiple international creditors, or to pay for gas supplies, or any other normal requirement for any normal country in any normal situation seems to either have mysteriously disappeared, or be able to be totally ignored by the current government - primarily, it seems, due to external protection provided to Ukraine's current government by the governments of the EU and NATO countries, and the USA.

Similarly, despite Ukraine's financial bankruptcy, there is, however, suddenly and just as mysteriously - from thin air, it seems - a tremendous amount of money available for military spending. This is specifically for the current Ukrainian government to launch the very expensive and ongoing military operation against the eight million "subhuman terrorists". This includes money for the brand-new military equipment used by the "Special Units" of the "National Guard" to kill the terrorists, much of whose equipment does not come from Ukraine.

Perhaps it is time - as the "Watergate" saying went - to "follow the money", and see where it leads to.

For all of this, the citizens of EU and NATO countries, and of the USA - whose governments are covering for, or guaranteeing the cost of, this land-cleaning of the evil of subhuman terrorists - are morally co-responsible if you allow your governments to continue this policy of support, condoning or financing of these actions.

Therefore, look again at the headline of this article. Look at the quotes, in bold. Systematically review the documents and videos located at hyperlinks like this one in this article. Take your time and do it thoroughly. If they leave you cold, or if you agree with what is being done, well then - stand aside and let it happen, because then, you will never again have to concern yourself about it.

If, however, you are not in agreement with what is going on - whether you are a citizen of an EU or NATO country, the USA, or for that matter, any country - and it does not leave you cold, then there is some action required. You see, disagreeing but doing nothing is akin to consent. If you don't agree with what is being done, you have to actually do something to stop it. In doing so, you should take note of this very important point.

If you are a citizen of a democratic country, it is you who is the ruler. Your government is not elected to rule you, to tell you what to do or to do as it pleases. No indeed.

Your government - comprising citizens who are no better or worse than you, and no more or less worthy than you - is elected to serve you. To administer the affairs of your country on your behalf, according to your wishes. As such, you can compel them to accede to your will.

Regrettably, many of them lose sight of this fact once they are elected, and think they are kings or queens, so you may have to remind them of who, in fact, works for who.

One way to do this is through the use of the law.

Just as a company director can face legal consequences for reckless endangerment of a company, so can a political leader face legal consequences for reckless endangerment of a country or of people's lives. Just as a company director can face legal consequences for making false and misleading statements, so can a political leader. When a company director takes a company in a direction that the majority of its shareholders disagrees with, they can band together and force him out - and the same can be done with political leaders and citizens or voters. There are many avenues of recourse, and many intelligent and committed law firms and legal minds that know how to do this.

If this avenue is not open to you, then make your voice heard in any way that is possible. Doing anything - as long as it is non-violent and geared towards achieving positive change - is preferable to doing nothing.

Let your political leaders and governments know your thoughts. Make them comply with your will - for if you do not, they will condone or support the carrying out of these acts in your name.

Moreover, because this situation is being ignored or condoned by governments, and because many ordinary people think that the condoning of this situation by their governments is perverse, they are taking matters into their own hands, and what is happening in that region of Europe is starting to spread its tentacles far and wide - and very rapidly too.

Therefore, take note that as sure as night follows day, if you allow the Law of the Jungle to reign supreme in Ukraine today, you run the risk that tomorrow, when you open your front door, the jungle could be on your own doorstep.

A cold wind is blowing through Europe. It carries on it the sound of voices from the past - gone but not forgotten. Voices of people who cried out for help - but no help ever came. Mingling in are the sound of new voices, also crying out for help - but their cries too go unanswered.

Pay heed to this wind, and to the voices that it carries; for if you do not, this wind can become a storm; and if it does, you will find, when that storm arrives, that tomorrow belongs to you.

About the author

The writer is an executive at a multinational company based in Europe. Prior to his business career, he provided Strategic Geopolitical Consulting services to national and federal governments in Eastern and Western Europe and the CIS, as well as to international organisations. He is the author of geopolitical articles which are published in the press internationally, and is also a guest commentator on geopolitical affairs for international television stations. He has been a delegate and guest speaker at United Nations conferences. He has chaired a Humanitarian Organisation in Europe and a Military Veterans Organisation in South Africa as pro-bono activities. Prior to his career in Strategic Geopolitical Consulting, he was a Special Forces Operator and member of the Directorate of Special Tasks of Military Intelligence, and participated in the Angolan War, where he took part in combat operations against USSR and USSR-proxy forces during the Cold War.

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Miracle escape for couple as watery sinkhole swallows their car in Tampa, Florida

The car was removed from the water around 4am on Monday

A car plunged into a massive, watery sinkhole late Sunday evening - forcing the couple inside the vehicle to flee as it continued to be engulfed.

Ashley Guzman was with her boyfriend Christopher Atkinson when the incident took place at the intersection of North 20th Street and East Yukon Street in Tampa, Florida, she told WTVT.

'Right when I got out the car it just - like the floor just started cracking towards me,' she told the affiliate station. 'That's when I started panicking more and I started yelling at him so he could get out.'

[embedded content]

Guzman continued 'And the water, it just started flooding the whole street, it started going down, and after that the car just kept going down and it was just - I'm just very glad we didn't stay stuck in the car because if we would have stuck in the car it would have been real bad, you know?

'And I just thank god for that, that we actually, you know - we're good, we're not hurt or nothing. It's just the car.'

According to WFTS, it was slightly after 11pm when the hole opened due to a water main break - and the car was removed around 4am on Monday morning.

Guzman told the news outlet 'I started panicking, my legs were shaking real bad. I couldn't even talk to police on the phone. He was stuck still inside the car trying to back it up, trying to get it out, and he ended up having to get out.

'By the time he got out that's when the floor actually fell like how it is right now and the car just kept going deeper and deeper. At that moment we couldn't do nothing. We was just terrified.'

Guzman and Atkinson drove into the water, believing it to be surface water from a broken pipe - and the road sank when the vehicle traversed the intersection, WFTS reported. The couple told the station they ought to have turned the vehicle back instead.

'The neighbors around the streets was telling me that the water actually been running for three hours period to the time that the car accident happened,' Guzman told WFTS. She said there should have been a road block set up.

Police told the news outlet that they had gone through the neighborhood shortly ahead of the car's submersion.

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No honor among thieves: Oleg Tsarev predicts Poroshenko's overthrow in February

Oleg Tsarev

Chairman of Novorossia Parliament Oleg Tsarev gave an exclusive interview to . He said why the Kiev US embassy puppetmasters, together with Turchinov, Yatsenyuk, and the odious oligarch Kolomoysky who is always chasing dollars, want to see Poroshenko overthrown with every fiber of their beings.

: Oleg Anatolyevich, you said that the overseas patrons of Poroshenko are preparing his overthrow. How did he fail to satisfy the US president?

: There are three groups working on Ukraine in the US embassy. And even though they are competing for influence over policy, just as local elites compete for US approval, they are in agreement that Poroshenko needs to be replaced.

First of all, he has good relations with the Russian ambassador Zurabov and a profitable business in Lipetsk. There are also other factors which I don't wish to describe so as not to complicate the situation further.

Secondly, Poroshenko is more likely to conclude peace with the Donbass, while the US needs a war. Not because his conscience is bothering due to the innocently murdered children. Poroshenko understands that in peacetime he will have more power. Then he would become the second most important political figure in Ukraine. While the top of the podium is occupied by the US ambassador.

During the time of military operations MVD head Avakov has an advantage, and Avakov is a protégé of Turchinov and Yatsenyuk, who are Poroshenko's competitors. Then there's Kolomoysky, who has formed an entire army in the east of the country out of criminal elements, which does not take Kiev's orders. Poroshenko can deal with his competition only in peacetime.

: What are the disagreements between Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk, Turchinov, Kolomoysky?

: Poroshenko has been in conflict with Yatsenyuk and Turchinov since Yatsenyuk became prime minister. Yatsenyuk began to earn a lot of money off that job and did not want to share with anyone.

Poroshenko understands that one of them (Yatsenyuk or Turchinov) can occupy the president's seat. He did everything to exclude Yatsenyuk from the political team. But VP Biden flew in and insisted on a big coalition. Games continued up to then. On the one hand Yatsenyuk wanted a coalition without Poroshenko, on the other, Poroshenko wanted a coalition without Yatsenyuk.

Kolomoysky needs resources to improve his business, which is in a difficult situation. But Poroshenko did not give him refinancing. He received refinancing only once, after he established his assets in the Crimea. Then he threw means his assets onto the currency market, leading to a jump in national currency.

Incidentally, at the moment the hryvnya exchange rate is holding on only because all exchange points have been closed. There is an exchange rate, but dollars can be bought only from "bosses." The actual exchange rate is 30-40% higher than the state acknowledges.

Kolomoysky desperately needs money and is not getting them. That's why the conflict with Poroshenko. And, believe me, I know Kolomoysky well. If he thought such conflict were impossible, he would not have entered into it. Kolomoysky considers Poroshenko a very weak figure.

And that's all there is to it. Poroshenko has nobody to rely on. Americans don't like him, and neither does the internal competition. So the president is in a critical position. The stakes are very high. His competitors want to carry out another armed overthrow, and might simply kill Poroshenko. So for him what's at stake is not even money, but life.

: How are Poroshenko's opponents preparing?

Answer: Arseniy Yatsenyuk already held a closed meeting with Avakov and a few deputies. Yatsenyuk tasked them with organizing an information campaign against Poroshenko. He must be made appear guilty for the economic catastrophe. What's more, they'll blame Poroshenko for the course of the hryvnya, the failure of the military operation on the Donbass, and also appointing foreigners to ministerial posts.

Avakov reassured everyone that he will share with the media participating in the attack information from wiretaps on Poroshenko and from collected secret information.

: There is a version in the internet that at some point Ukraine will suffer an economic collapse, and the current Kiev regime will simply dissolve. How would you comment that?

: Things don't happen all by themselves. There is no reason for optimism. The US has many scenarios. First of all, they have created a whole slew of loyal politicians. Once the pro-US Poroshenko leaves, he'll be replaced by the pro-US Turchinov or Yatsenyuk. Then the mayor of Lvov Sadovy or someone else. They are all pro-US. There are no non-pro-US politicians capable of coming to power. The bench is well protected and will implement the will of the US.

During the Vietnam War, the pro-US authorities of that country changed many times. But the war continued. Every new leader shifted responsibility for earlier failures to the earlier one, and the cycle continued without pause. The war stopped only when the communist North won it. Neither the political situation nor the military nor economic influenced it.

: Are there also several scenarios for the Donbass?

: Absolutely. The first scenario is the military confrontation, which is showing its flaws. But the Ukrainian authorities believed they had enough military power to overcome LPR/DPR resistance. They considered two variants: a complete elimination of us - the separatists or, if the worst comes to worst, take three quarters of Donetsk and isolate LPR and DPR from one another. But it didn't work out like that.

Novorossia armed forces offered resistance and are now storming Avdeevka and Peski in order to stop the shelling of Donetsk. The Ukrainian army is panicking. The road from Donetsk to Kiev is full of vehicles, nationalists are fleeing with their loot. Something similar is taking place in Mariupol.

The second scenario is the economic isolation of the Donbass. LPR and DPR cannot run their economy without support. Russia will be forced to help. Then it faces a choice. If they help, Russia will be punished for military assistance, if no, they'll punish for economic support.

Right now none of the Ukrainian politicians are speaking of peace and restoring neighborly relations with Russia. They understand that the US will control the situation for some time to come and therefore are using the anti-Russian slogans just to survive. However, some of my fellow deputies are taking their families out of Kiev abroad or to other cities because they don't want to suffer from the vacuum of power that will occur in the event of a coup.

: So the Ukrainian tragedy will continue to make headlines for a long time?

: If nobody shows interest in Ukraine, for a very long time. Russia has not interfered in Ukrainian politics for over 20 years. Americans and Europeans entirely freely worked in the country. They spent billions of dollars. They created 5 thousand of NGOs, 150 thousand workers received their salaries. That's an entire army that obeyed orders and created the Maidan when it was needed.

Russia was working with individual members of the elite, not paying attention to the public opinion. And those representatives did not always discharge their responsibilities due to their personal mentality. That was a big mistake.

Also, when CIS was formed, Russia undertook not to work on the territory of adjacent states. It meant that Russia for a long time had no ability to influence CIS countries' public opinion.

Therefore right now we must not let the situation resove itself. The fascist regimes in Latin America survived for decades with US support. Political opponents were eliminated, death squads were at work, the masses suffered in poverty, the economy was destroyed, but nobody could do anything.

: So they'll overthrow Poroshenko, but the peaceful citizenry will continue to die...Minsk Agreements are not being implemented, the "Normandy Four" meeting was cancelled...

: Right now Russia is trying to establish some sort of a relationship with Poroshenko. But if he is overthrown, it will be an entirely different country. Even greater Russophobes will come to power, hard-core US puppets who have no ties to Russia.

Poroshenko spoke about his presidency already three years before coming to power. He came to Moscow, met with influential people. Poroshenko, as you may remember, was a minister of foreign affairs, he has excellent contacts.

I know that the overthrow is planned for the anniversary of the Maidan. On February 15 there will be a national assembly in Kiev. And it's entirely possible that about 8pm it will transform into an armed assault on the president's administration, as it did when Yanukovych was president.

Poroshenko understands the risks perfectly well. He already created a working group to prevent a coup. Its members are highly placed "power ministry" officials and those members of the administration who oversee the power structures.

Translator's Note: There are no indications the US is planning to open the spigots once Poroshenko leaves, and there is no anti-Poroshenko campaign in the Western media, which would be a sure sign of an impending overthrow. The people who are likely to be doing the overthrowing, the Right Sector et al., do not follow orders from the US or anywhere else - they are merely reacting to the weakness of the current system, including not only Poroshenko but also Yatsenyuk, Turchinov, and everyone else, who are as vulnerable as Poroshenko, if only because it's Yatsenyuk whose face is associated with the "shock therapy", not Poroshenko.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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