Foreign Affairs (News/Activism)

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  • Report: Prisoner swap with ISIS could be possible for captured Jordanian pilot

    12/25/2014 6:11:27 PM PST · by Dave346 · 3 replies
    Jerusalem Post ^ | 12/25/2014 | ARIEL BEN SOLOMON
    A prisoner exchange may be in the cards for a Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State fighters after his plane crashed in Syria, according to a report in the Arab press. Jordanian political activists told the London-based daily Al-Quds al-Arabi on Thursday that a prisoner exchange could be possible if the Jordanian government released people affiliated with the group al-Qaida in Iraq, the precursor to Islamic State. Tareq al-Fayed, a Jordanian political activist close to the Salafist movement mentioned Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman who was caught trying to blow herself up in a failed suicide bombing during a wedding...
  • Snow globe caused charity shop fire

    12/25/2014 3:50:34 PM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 8 replies
    belfast telegraph ^ | 25 December 2014
    The sun's rays ignited fake reindeer food and snow on display in the window of the shop in Bournemouth, Dorset. Firefighters from Dorset Fire Service attended the incident at the shop in Wimborne Road, Winton, at around 11.30am. Occupants of neighbouring properties were advised to evacuate and firefighters put the flames out within 10 minutes of arriving on the scene. A fire service spokesman said: "At the risk of sounding like a Christmas tale, the cause of the fire was believed to be sun refracting through a snow globe in the shop window which then ignited 'reindeer food' and fake...
  • Little Noticed in Immigration Overhaul: A Government Hiring Rush [Funded By Republicans!]

    12/25/2014 1:51:40 PM PST · by Steelfish · 12 replies
    NYTimes ^ | December 25, 2014 | MICHAEL D. SHEAR and ROBERT PEAR
    Little Noticed in Immigration Overhaul: A Government Hiring Rush By MICHAEL D. SHEAR DEC. 25, 2014 WASHINGTON — This is how a bureaucracy grows. Only 10 days after President Obama announced in a prime-time address that millions of undocumented people would soon “be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation,” an electronic bulletin reached inboxes across Washington. In a crucial detail that Mr. Obama left out, the Citizenship and Immigration Services agency said it was immediately seeking 1,000 new employees to work in an office building to process “cases filed as a result of...
  • Saudi women drivers referred to terrorism court

    12/25/2014 12:17:19 PM PST · by george76 · 10 replies
    cns ^ | December 25, 2014 | AYA BATRAWY
    Two Saudi women detained for nearly a month in defiance of a ban on females driving were referred on Thursday to a court established to try terrorism cases ... The Specialized Criminal Court, to which their cases were referred, was established in the capital Riyadh to try terrorism cases but has also tried and handed long prison sentences to a number of human rights workers, peaceful dissidents, activists and critics of the government. For example, this year it sentenced a revered Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a vocal critic of the government, to death for sedition and sentenced a prominent...
  • U.S. offering $5 million reward for Al Qaeda capo … who was released from Gitmo in 2006

    12/25/2014 9:51:41 AM PST · by SeekAndFind · 19 replies
    Hotair ^ | 12/25/2014 | AllahPundit
    I wish I could tell you that this is a bad Bush policy that Obama’s long since discontinued but we know better, don’t we? I wonder what reward we’ll be offering for this turd, say, circa 2020.The defense here, I take it, will be to point to the amount of time that’s elapsed since they released him and claim that no one could have known in 2006 that this guy would grow into a fish big enough to justify a multimillion-dollar reward. Which raises the question: What sort of fish did they think he’d grow into? A garden-variety battlefield...
  • Feds give emergency approval to new Ebola testing kit for Americans

    12/25/2014 7:02:13 AM PST · by Tolerance Sucks Rocks · 12 replies
    The Washington Times ^ | December 24, 2014 | Kellan Howell
    <p>The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency approval for a new diagnostic kit to test blood for the deadly Ebola virus, even as doctors are reporting a survival rate in one hard-hit area that has climbed to about 70 percent.</p>
  • Christian priest: Thanks to Israel, I can have a Merry Christmas

    12/25/2014 6:52:03 AM PST · by Biggirl · 9 replies
    Jihadwatch.org ^ | December 25, 2014 | Robert Spencer
    A message of truth going out to a world drowning in lies. “Thanks to Israel, I Can Have a Merry Christmas,” by Father Gabriel Nadaf (translated by Avi Woolf), Mida.org, December 24, 2014:"Right now, while Christians the world over are celebrating Christmas, entire communities of the followers of Christ cannot rejoice. The Middle East and parts of Africa continue to drown in rivers of blood, with various minorities being targeted by radical Islamic organizations such as ISIS, Hamas, Jabhat al-Nusra, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and others.
  • How the U.S. helped a Cuban prisoner impregnate his wife. (This is no joke.)

    12/25/2014 6:21:36 AM PST · by Din Maker · 15 replies
    Yahoo News ^ | December 22, 2014 | Caitlin Dickson
    Up until last week, it looked like Gerardo Hernandez would spend the rest of his life behind bars. Part of a spy cabal known as the “Cuban Five,” Hernandez had been in federal prison since 1998, serving out two consecutive life sentences for espionage. But in a prisoner exchange to free detained American contractor Alan Gross, Hernandez and two other members of the “Cuban Five” were released. At a public homecoming event, Hernandez was seen rubbing his wife Adriana Perez’s pregnant belly. He returned home just in time for the birth of their child, who they’d conceived long distance with...
  • Grisly finds in Iraqi Yazidi village taken back from ISIS militants

    12/25/2014 4:53:02 AM PST · by WhiskeyX · 12 replies
    Fox News ^ | December 24, 2014 | Associated Press (AP)
    HARDAN, Iraq – After he fled from this tiny northern Iraqi hamlet four months ago, Hayder Khalef got panicked phone calls from his relatives who had remained behind. They were at that moment being led by Islamic State group gunmen toward a checkpoint on the edge of town. "If you don't hear from us, you'll find our bodies near the checkpoint," Khalef said they told him in the calls.
  • Operation Christmas Child - Northern Iraq Airlift of Joy

    12/25/2014 4:27:40 AM PST · by WhiskeyX · 5 replies
    Samaritans Purse Canada ^ | Dec 12, 2014 | Samaritans Purse Canada
    Samaritan's Purse included 60,000 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes in our latest airlift from Baltimore to Erbil. These special gifts will bring much needed joy to children displaced by ISIS. Speakers: Franklin Graham and Greta Van Susteren www.samaritanspurse.ca/occ
  • FBI busts Colorado veteran for making violent threats online against police officers: report

    12/24/2014 10:57:33 PM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 32 replies
    New York Daily News ^ | December 24, 2014 | Adam Edelman
    In a series of comments written on YouTube earlier this month, Jeremiah Perez, under the name 'Vets Hunting Cops,' threatened violence against a variety of politicians, celebrities and police officers, the Smoking Gun reported Wednesday. 'Join us and kill any cop or any retired cop !!!!!!!' he wrote.(VIDEO-AT-LINK)An unstable Colorado military veteran was arrested by the FBI after he allegedly posted retaliatory threats online against police officers in return for no charges being filed against the cops who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner. In a series of comments written on YouTube earlier this month, Jeremiah Perez, under the name...
  • North Korea: No ‘physical reaction’ to new film

    12/24/2014 9:40:30 PM PST · by TigerLikesRooster · 26 replies
    WP ^ | December 24, 2014
    North Korea: No ‘physical reaction’ to new film By Associated Press December 24 at 5:21 PM UNITED NATIONS — North Korea says it likely will have no “physical reaction,” just condemnation, to the release of the comedy film “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of leader Kim Jong Un. A North Korea diplomat to the United Nations told The Associated Press on Wednesday that his country opposes the film’s release online and in over 300 U.S. theaters this week.
  • New issue of jihadist magazine produced by al-Qaeda in Yemen suggests attacks on U.S.

    12/24/2014 9:02:33 PM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 6 replies
    The Washington Post ^ | December 24, 2014 | Karen DeYoung
    A new issue of Inspire, the English-language online magazine produced by al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, is devoted to “jihad on America” and suggests targeting major American figures as well as Western commercial airliners, according to a report Wednesday by SITE Intelligence Group. The issue is the 13th since Inspire was first published online in 2010. Its founder, Samir Zafar Khan, was born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents but grew up in New York state. Khan, a blogger on jihadist themes who was well-known to U.S. intelligence, is believed to have traveled to Yemen and joined al-Qaeda in the Arabian...
  • As World Turns Its Back on Israel, a Surprising Ally Emerges in India

    12/24/2014 7:58:41 PM PST · by cold start · 20 replies
    BreakingIsraelNews ^ | 23rd December 2014 | Lea Speyer
    Benjamin Netanyahu, left, meets with Narenda Modi in New York City on September 28, 2014. (Photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO) With the EU moving farther away from its traditional support of Israel, it seems as if the Jewish state is finding a new ally in an uncommon place. According to The Hindu newspaper, India is considering moving away from supporting the Palestinian cause at the UN, Indian government sources said. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is looking to move his foreign policies regarding the Palestinians to a state of abstention, the two sources claimed. “Like other foreign policy issues, the Modi...
  • Chinese Gold Diggers Drop Their Shovels As Gold Miner Bankruptcies Begin

    12/24/2014 5:04:32 PM PST · by OneLoyalAmerican · 22 replies
    ZeroHedge ^ | 12/24/2014 | Tyler Durden
    For those wondering where US shale exploration and production companies will be in about 2-3 years, look no further than the gold miners, where the disconnect between undaunted physical demand and relentless paper supply (after rebounding above 0%, GOFO is once again negative through the 3 month mark), and where high production costs and low selling prices, after two years of balance sheet pain, is finally leading many over the cliff. Case in point, Canadian gold-miner San Gold, which had a capitalization of over $1 billion in 2010 just filed for bankruptcy protection. It isn't the first gold-miner to wave...
  • "As a Cuban exile, I feel betrayed by President Obama

    12/24/2014 4:58:48 PM PST · by Veto! · 30 replies
    Washington Post ^ | December 22, 2014 | By Carlos Eire
    I am furious, in pain, and deeply offended by those who laud this betrayal of the Cuban people as a great moment in history. My family and native land were destroyed by the brutal Castro regime. In 1959, as an 8-year-old, I listened to mobs shout “paredon!” (to the firing squad!). I watched televised executions, and was terrified by the incessant pressure to agree with a bearded dictator’s ideals. I am now a professor of history and religion at Yale University….
  • "Soldier's Christmas": How a Rock Band Is Raising Awareness For Military Families This Season

    12/24/2014 4:21:56 PM PST · by Kaslin · 1 replies
    Townhall.com ^ | December 24, 2014 | Kevin Glass
    Soldier's Christmas“Music with meaning.” It’s how rock band Madison Rising describes what they’re trying to accomplish, and this Christmas season, they’re putting their efforts to a good cause. They’ve released the song “Soldier’s Christmas,” which draws on lead singer David Bray’s experience as a member of the military and the band’s work with veterans’ groups to both raise awareness of what military families go through during the holidays and raise money directly for the families of the fallen. “It’s to bring awareness to those families,” Bray tells Townhall, “to say that we are grateful for the sacrifice and what they’ve...
  • CUBAN GOVERNMENT SINKS BOAT CARRYING 32 REFUGEES, INCLUDING CHILDREN

    12/24/2014 2:45:15 PM PST · by lowbridge · 37 replies
    breitbart ^ | december 23, 2014 | frances martel
    The maritime horror that has become a centerpiece of the Cuban experience will continue even after President Obama’s overtures to the communist regime, it appears. According to witnesses aboard, the Cuban government sank a boat attempting to reach American shores carrying 32 people, including an 8-year-old child, and some passengers remain missing. The Miami Herald reports that Masiel González Castellano, a woman who was aboard the boat with her husband and 8-year-old son, told reporters her husband remains missing after the assault. She and all those the government could pick out of the water were arrested, and the men remain under custody. “We...
  • Government Offers Bounty on Terrorist We Already Paid For

    12/24/2014 12:44:47 PM PST · by Kaslin · 9 replies
    Townhall.com ^ | December 23, 2014 | John Ransom
    The U.S. is now looking for a GITMO detainee released by the Bush administration who supposedly went through sensitivity training under the auspices of the Saudi’s Terror-to-Teachers program. The Saudi national is now head of Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula. “Now we learn that the U.S. government is secretly admitting that it erred in at least one case the release of a Saudi national named Ibrahim al-Rubaysh,” reports our friends over at Judicial Watch, who first reported the government snafu. “In late 2006 the Bush administration repatriated him back home under a Saudi Arabian ‘rehabilitation’ program that supposedly reformed...
  • How Turkey Went Bad

    12/24/2014 11:36:17 AM PST · by Jan_Sobieski · 16 replies
    Middle East Forum ^ | 12/13/2014 | Daniel Pipes
    Only twelve years ago, the Republic of Turkey was correctly seen as a stalwart NATO ally, the model of a pro-Western Muslim state, and a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. A strong military bond with the Pentagon undergirded broader economic and cultural ties with Americans. For those of us who work on the Middle East, time in Istanbul, Ankara, and other Turkish cities was a refreshing oasis from the turmoil of the region. And then, starting with the still-astonishing election of 2002, the country dramatically changed course. Slowly at first and then with increasing velocity since mid-2011, the...
  • India Hindu group to press ahead on conversions of Christians & Muslims in challenge to PM Modi

    12/24/2014 10:20:01 AM PST · by SeekAndFind · 14 replies
    Reuters ^ | 12/24/2014
    The head of India's most powerful Hindu group vowed to press ahead with a campaign to convert Muslims and Christians to Hinduism, stoking a sensitive debate that has stalled parliament and threatened the prime minister's economic reform agenda. Mohan Bhagwat of the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, which is also the ideological wing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party, said India was a "Hindu nation" where many Hindus had been forcibly converted to other religions. "We will bring back those who have lost their way. They did not go on their own," Bhagwat said in a speech late on Saturday. "They...
  • IS Shoots Down Warplane in Syria, Captures Jordanian Pilot

    12/24/2014 10:09:09 AM PST · by tcrlaf · 16 replies
    ABC News/AP ^ | 12-24-2014 | OMAR AKOUR and BASSEM MROUE
    The Islamic State group captured a Jordanian pilot after shooting down his warplane over Syria, Jordan said Wednesday, in the extremists' first successful downing of an aircraft from the international coalition waging an air campaign against the extremists. The show of the extremists' capabilities underscored the risks for the United States and the multiple Arab and European countries whose warplanes are participating in bombing campaign aimed at pushing back the jihadis' control across much of Syria and Iraq. It also posed Jordan with a nightmare scenario ? its pilot was the first foreign soldier to fall into the extremists' hands....
  • Opinion: Why the US isn't behind the North Korean Internet outage

    12/24/2014 8:14:45 AM PST · by SeekAndFind · 13 replies
    CS Monitor ^ | 12/24/2014 | Jason Healey, Passcode columnist
    North Korea has a fragile Internet, with a risk of being disconnected from the Web for any number of minor sneezes. But an attack of this nature can be easily attributed to the US and the administration should be up front about it. It's unlikely the US government was behind the recent disruption of the North Korean Internet. First, this kind of "you-slap-me-I-slap-you" response is not the US style. Instead, the Americans are more likely to come up with some epic, uber-technological hack that cleverly inverts the North Koreans internal systems, such as Stuxnet did to the Iranians. What's more,...
  • FBI warns of Islamic State threat to Mississippi River bridge

    12/24/2014 8:08:08 AM PST · by SeekAndFind · 12 replies
    The FBI has warned local authorities of a threat that Islamic State militants would blow up the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge spanning the Mississippi River, an agency spokesman said on Tuesday. The bridge is a major route connecting Tennessee and Arkansas. The Federal Bureau of Investigation passed the threat on to local police in a bulletin out of an "abundance of caution," spokesman Chris Allen said. "This is an unsubstantiated, anonymous threat," he said, adding that there was no useful intelligence arising from it.
  • A Maccabean solution for the Gaza Strip [Zephaniah 2]

    12/24/2014 7:39:55 AM PST · by Jan_Sobieski · 10 replies
    Jerusalem Post ^ | 12/22/2014 | Michael Freund
    This past Friday, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired a rocket into southern Israel without any provocation, setting off air-raid sirens and rekindling fears of a return to this past summer’s hostilities. Indeed, although barely four months have passed since the end of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas is said to be actively preparing for the next round of conflict, rebuilding its network of terror tunnels and working to improve the accuracy of its arsenal. It is no wonder, then, that Israel’s Military Intelligence is forecasting a possible resumption of fighting in 2015...
  • Women excised from public life, abused by Islamic State

    12/24/2014 7:33:31 AM PST · by pabianice · 7 replies
    Stars and Stripes ^ | 12/24/14 | Karam
    <p>BEIRUT — The gunmen came to the all-girls' elementary school in the Iraqi city of Fallujah at midday with a special delivery: piles of long black robes with gloves and face veils, now required dress code for females in areas ruled by the Islamic State group.</p>
  • 'Three Wise Men' fined for not wearing helmets

    12/24/2014 7:27:47 AM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 23 replies
    the Local (Spain) ^ | 23 Dec 2014 09:06 GMT+01:00
    Police in Zaragoza have fined the three kings who rode their motorbikes without wearing helmets while en route to an appearance at a local school. Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia reported that rather than wearing the legally required helmets, the three kings were sporting their usual headgear of golden crowns as they made their way to Recarte y Ornat primary school in Zaragoza.The three wise men were stopped by local police in the centre of the city and were made to wait for 45 minutes, while across the city 400 pupils eagerly awaited the arrival of the kings and their gifts.Organizers...
  • 1,000 Soldiers Deployed on French Streets to Combat Christmas Terror Attacks

    12/24/2014 7:23:22 AM PST · by PROCON · 6 replies
    breitbart ^ | Dec. 24, 2014 | Oliver Lane
    More than 1,000 soldiers have been deployed on the streets of France for Christmas after a spate of suspected festive-season terrorist attacks across the nation have left many French citizens critical of the government’s denialism, and fearful of increasing violence. The move stands in contrast to the official line of the French government that the attacks, in which the assailants were reported in all cases to have shouted the Arabic salutation “Allahu Akbar” as they commenced their rampages, had nothing to do with terrorism, and were completely unrelated. The government has come under fire from opposition parties for its denial...
  • Mum says toddler taken to Syria by Isis dad

    12/24/2014 7:21:12 AM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 6 replies
    The Local (Italy) ^ | 22 Dec 2014 16:30 GMT+01:00
    A mother has claimed to have recognized her three-year-old boy in photos distributed on jihadist forums promoting terrorist organization Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), more than a year after he disappeared from northern Italy. Lidia Solana Herrera, who was born in Cuba, claims her son Ismail Mesinovic was kidnapped by her estranged husband and son’s father, Ismar Mesinovic, from her home in Belluno in northern Italy in November 2013. Mesinovic, a Bosnian native, is alleged to have taken the child with him when he left Italy and volunteered to fight for Isis in Syria. The father has reportedly...
  • Former Fla. gov. Crist on reopening Cuba ties

    12/24/2014 7:02:04 AM PST · by shove_it · 16 replies
    SeeBSnews ^ | 17 Dec 2014
    Florida has long been the home of a large Cuban-American community. The issue of American-Cuban relations is a major issue in the state. Charlie Crist, Florida's former governor, joined CBSN on Wednesday to discuss how President Obama's move to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba will impact the state. According to Crist, the economic impact will be significant because the easing of restrictions on the island will spur redevelopment. Former Florida gov. Charlie Crist GETTY IMAGES "You talk about housing changes, schooling, infrastructure, the natural launching pad for much of that redevelopment is the state of Florida," Crist said. Cuba is...
  • Obama’s nominee for Pentagon post implicated in alleged theft of CIA documents

    12/24/2014 7:01:50 AM PST · by maggief · 20 replies
    FOX News ^ | December 24, 2014 | Jake Gibson, James Rosen
    The Obama administration's nominee for a senior legal position at the Pentagon is one of the congressional staffers accused by Republicans and intelligence officials of stealing classified documents from the Central Intelligence Agency, Fox News has learned -- and the controversy could imperil her shot at a major career promotion. Sources on Capitol Hill and in the intelligence community say Alissa Starzak, a majority staffer on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) who has been nominated for the position of general counsel to the U.S. Army, is one of two SSCI employees accused by the panel's Republicans, and by...
  • Circus tricked kids with dogs painted as pandas [Italy]

    12/24/2014 6:41:59 AM PST · by Red Badger · 51 replies
    The Local ^ | 12/23/2014 | Staff
    Two painted chow chow dogs posing as pandas have been seized from a circus in northern Italy, after tricking children into handing over cash, police have said. The male and female dogs were seized by police after it became clear that they were not, in fact, pandas. To an unassuming child visiting the circus in Brescia, a small furry animal with white and black stripes may do the trick. But The Local readers may notice a distinct difference. Here is a real panda: Panda photo by Shutterstock. And here are the dogs-in-disguise: The police were not fooled, who said the...
  • Major drug network busted in Macedonia

    12/24/2014 6:35:07 AM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 1 replies
    the Local (Austria) ^ | 22 Dec 2014 23:49 GMT+01:00
    Europol announced on Monday that it has busted a major heroin-smuggling network based in Macedonia, including distribution hubs in Austria and Germany, with the arrests of 400 people. The gang is suspected of having brought large quantities of drugs from Macedonia to the EU. According to a report from the Austrian Press Association, some 400 people have been arrested, with 100 kg of heroin, cocaine and cannabis seized, as well as a large amount of cash. The gang recruited its members mostly in Macedonia, who were then tasked with the packaging and smuggling of drugs into the EU through the...
  • Egyptian man in Austria cuts down 'eyesore' Jesus on cross

    12/24/2014 6:30:30 AM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 49 replies
    the Local (Austria) ^ | 24 Dec 2014 09:25 GMT+01:00
    An Egyptian man who moved into a house in Grossenzersdorf in Lower Austria told his neighbours the 60-year-old figure of Jesus on a cross outside his home was an 'eyesore' - so he cut it down with an angle grinder. Shortly after the man bought the house in Augasse, he was heard complaining to his neighbours about the two-metre high crucifix with the figure of Jesus that stood for several decades on the grass verge in front of his property. "I don't want that. It has to go!", he said, according to a report in the news daily Heute. Soon,...
  • Warplane downed by Islamic State and pilot taken hostage

    12/24/2014 6:03:26 AM PST · by huldah1776 · 30 replies
    ITV ^ | December 24, 2014 | N/A
    A warplane has been downed in an Islamic State-controlled region of Syria and the pilot taken captive, according to both a monitoring group and supporters of the extremist group. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain, said the plane came down near Raqqa - a major Islamic State stronghold. *** 3 hours ago Jordan Army confirms pilot captured by Islamic State The Jordan Army has confirmed one of its pilots has been captured in Syria during coalition air raids. In a statement, the army said Islamic State "bears responsibility for his safety". The pilot has been...
  • S. Korea: Deadline looms as hackers threaten to destroy control systems of nuclear facilities

    12/24/2014 5:36:20 AM PST · by TigerLikesRooster · 7 replies
    Arirang News ^ | 2014-12-24 | Connie Kim
    Deadline looms as hackers threaten to destroy control systems of nuclear facilities Updated: 2014-12-24 20:35:49 KST The investigation team is closing in on the hacker who is threatening to release thousands of nuclear reactor data. Authorities say they have traced the attack to multiple IP addresses in Shenyang, China. They haven't ruled out North Korea's involvement since the city is close to the border. Authorities believe the attack was planned for two years, and that more than one person is responsible. They had discovered earlier in the week that the Twitter ID being used by the hacker was registered in...
  • Russia’s central bank to help companies meet debts

    12/24/2014 5:35:30 AM PST · by Olog-hai · 1 replies
    Associated Press ^ | Dec 24, 2014 8:01 AM EST | Vladimir Isachenkov and Nataliya Vasilyeva
    Russia’s central bank on Wednesday launched another initiative to shore up the ruble, offering hard currency loans to help companies and banks service their debts. Stabilizing the ruble, which is one of the world’s worst-performing currencies this year following the slide in oil prices and the sanctions imposed on Russia for its involvement in Ukraine, is a priority for Russia’s monetary authorities. Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank, admitted again that it faced a run last week when the ruble was in freefall and individuals fretted over the value of their deposits. Its chairman, Alexander Torbakhov, conceded to Russian news agencies that...
  • Why there are so many kooky conspiracy theories about oil

    12/24/2014 4:50:47 AM PST · by thackney · 25 replies
    Washington Post ^ | December 23, 2014 | Chris Mooney
    The sudden, dramatic drop in oil prices has changed the world almost overnight. Russia's facing an economic crisis, and U.S. consumers are saving a fortune at the pump. The reasons for the sudden swing are not particularly glamorous: They involve factors like supply and demand, oil companies having invested heavily in exploration several years ago to produce a glut of oil that has now hit the market -- and then, perhaps, the "lack of cohesion" among the diverse members of OPEC. But now, right on cue, out come the conspiracy theorists — including Vladimir Putin — to tell us what's...
  • Obama Warmly Legitimizes Cuban Dictatorship

    12/24/2014 4:28:54 AM PST · by george76 · 11 replies
    Cato ^ | December 24, 2014 | Nat Hentoff
    I have long been reporting on Castro-ruled Cuba and, indeed, was there not long after Fidel Castro had taken over the country. What became clear, as the number of Castro’s political prisoners increased, was that his revolutionary Cuba was a dictatorship, like the regime he had ousted. After I wrote that, a member of his administration rebuked me for my rank ignorance. I responded by saying that he knew that if I were a Cuban in Cuba, I would be in prison. Later, at the United Nations, I was one of a number of reporters interviewing Che Guevara, the young,...
  • Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland blasts Gov. Kasich and AG DeWine's decision to join Texas lawsuit

    12/24/2014 2:29:07 AM PST · by ObamahatesPACoal · 10 replies
    Last week, the State of Ohio joined 19 other states in suing the federal government over President Obama's recent executive action on immigration. In addition to subjecting thousands of Ohio families to deportation, the lawsuit, if successful, would deny $41 million in much needed tax revenue to the state over the next five years. In the wake of this news, Ohio leaders have been quick to blast the decision by Governor John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine to join this frivolous lawsuit. Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland also added his voice to the mix, highlighting how DeWine’s action stands...
  • Iran Prods Russia To Send In S-300 Surface-To-Air Missile Despite US Sanctions

    12/24/2014 12:42:28 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 3 replies
    International Business Times ^ | 22 Dec 14 | Athena Yenko
    Iran demands for Russia to deliver its S-300 missile system as part of 2007 contract entered to by both countries despite sanctions imposed by the Western countries and the UN Security Council. Russia had illegally breached their contract following pressure from Israel and the United States, Iran's Defence Minister Hossein Dehqan said. Dehqan said the contract with Russia was signed before the sanctions were imposed, hence Iran will continue to insist for Russia to supply them with S-300 missile system. He said Russia had cancelled the contract under the guise of the sanctions imposed against both Iran and Russia but...
  • Has North Korea found a friend in President Putin?

    12/24/2014 12:19:34 AM PST · by elhombrelibre · 1 replies
    The Guardian ^ | 23 Dec 14 | Natalie Nougayrčde
    Has the age of cyber warfare dawned? Barack Obama refrained from calling the hacking of Sony an act of war by North Korea. He prefers to describe it as “cyber vandalism”, and has warned of a “proportionate” response. As experts ponder what form such retaliation might take – and we still don’t know what caused North Korea’s internet outage this week – there were interesting tweets from Toomas Hendrik Ilves, president of one of the smallest states in the world, Estonia. “Destructive cyber-attacks, as we have seen in the Sony case, threaten all our liberties worldwide if intimidation is allowed...
  • FBI Bulletin Warns Of Possible ISIS Terror Plot in Memphis

    12/23/2014 8:44:08 PM PST · by LSUfan · 37 replies
    My Fox Memphis ^ | 22 Dec 14 | Matt Gerien
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Memphis Division is warning police officers about a threat to blow up the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge sometime in December. FOX13 News obtained the FBI bulletin sent to Mid-South Law Enforcement agencies warning about a possible Islamic State terror plot targeting the I-55 Bridge.
  • Stalemate: How an Immigration Rewrite Died in the 113th Congress (Video)

    12/23/2014 8:30:16 PM PST · by ObamahatesPACoal · 8 replies
    Roll Call ^ | JM Rieger
    The 113th Congress began with an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws seeming likely, if not inevitable.
  • Bay of Pigs Survivors On US-Cuba Thaw: 'Two American Presidents Betrayed Us'

    12/23/2014 8:05:33 PM PST · by Steelfish · 66 replies
    Guardian (UK) ^ | December 23, 2014 | Richard Luscombe
    Bay of Pigs Survivors On US-Cuba Thaw: 'Two American Presidents Betrayed Us' Richard Luscombe 23 December 2014. It was presented to the world as a tearing down of barriers, a historic moment of reconciliation between the United States and Cuba’s communist government after half a century of hostility. But inside a small villa a stone’s throw from Calle Ocho in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana neighbourhood the talk is only of one word – betrayal. The house is the Bay of Pigs museum and library where the ageing survivors of Brigade 2506, the CIA-trained fighting unit that failed to...
  • Australia Anti-Terror Police Arrest Two In Sydney

    12/23/2014 7:04:33 PM PST · by Steelfish · 6 replies
    BBC News ^ | December 23, 2014
    23 December 2014 Counter-terrorism police in Sydney have arrested two men, charging one with possession of documents designed to facilitate a terrorist attack. The other suspect was charged with breaching a control order. The arrests were related a series of counter-terrorism raids in September, officials said. They come after Australia's prime minister said there had been heightened "terror chatter" since a cafe siege in Sydney last week. On Wednesday, Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan said the man arrested on the terrorism charge had documents that mentioned potential government targets. "I am confident that we've disrupted the activity that...
  • 2 Arrested in Sydney in Counterterror Operation

    12/23/2014 5:00:37 PM PST · by Oldeconomybuyer · 1 replies
    ABC News ^ | December 23, 2014 | By KRISTEN GELINEAU
    Two men were arrested as part of an ongoing counterterrorism investigation into a group that officials have accused of plotting to kill a random member of the public in Sydney, police said Wednesday, one day after the nation's prime minister warned of heightened terrorist chatter in the aftermath of a deadly siege in a Sydney cafe. Sulayman Khalid, 20, was charged on Tuesday with possession of documents designed to facilitate a terrorist attack, while a 21-year-old was charged with breaching a control order, police said.
  • It's Alarmingly Easy To Take North Korea's Internet Offline

    12/23/2014 3:51:37 PM PST · by SeekAndFind · 47 replies
    Business Insider ^ | 12/23/2014 | Armin Rosen
    The Sony hacking saga took an even stranger turn yesterday when North Korea lost internet access for roughly 9 1/2 hours. The cause of the outage can't be conclusively determined. But it appears likely that the country's paltry web infrastructure — which consists of a mere four networks and just over 1,000 IP addresses — was the target of a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) conceivably motivated in some way by the events surrounding last month's Sony breach and the controversy surrounding The Interview. The North Korean outage was both an utterly empty gesture and evidence of how nearly...
  • Mofaz: Netanyahu Caved to Hamas (Israeli left attacks Bibi from the right)

    12/23/2014 3:38:37 PM PST · by Dave346 · 3 replies
    Israel National News ^ | 12/23/2014, 2:13 AM | Hezki Ezra and Elad Benari
    Mofaz criticizes Netanyahu over Operation Protective Edge, says he is "losing sleep" over what Netanyahu would do against a bigger threat. Kadima chairman MK Shaul Mofaz on Monday criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over his conduct during this past summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Speaking at the Kinneret College, Mofaz said that Netanyahu caved to Hamas and did not make any achievements during the 51-day operation. "I'm a centrist with regards to peace and a political settlement [with the Palestinian Authority], and a rightist when it comes to security," Mofaz, who served in the past as IDF Chief of...
  • PM’s harsh reaction to EU initiatives may come back to haunt him

    12/23/2014 3:07:24 PM PST · by Eleutheria5 · 8 replies
    Times of Israel ^ | 19/12/14 | Raphael Ahren
    When it became clear earlier this month that Israel was headed for early elections, some international policymakers were undecided as to whether to maintain their push for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement or take a hiatus of three-plus months. Some European officials figured that it wouldn’t make much sense to press ahead until Israel had a new government with a fresh mandate from the people to take the decisions required for an accord. Overt pressure on Jerusalem in the course of the campaign would also likely help the right-wing parties, these officials calculated, and they consequently urged their governments to refrain from...