Friday, January 31, 2014

In The News: UK Bracing For Massive Storm, Turmoil In Middle East,Financial Collapse, NAU Planning, Pestilence, War Preps...The Usual

It's amazing what one day of prophetically related news can bring. Today seems to have it all:

The shock is already before our eyes as Turkey, India, and South Africa hit the brakes, forced to defend their currencies as global liquidity drains away.
The World Bank warns that withdrawal of stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve could throw a “curved ball” at the international system. “If market reactions to tapering are precipitous, developing countries could see flows decline by as much as 80% for several months,” it said. They may need capital controls to navigate the storm.

William Browder from Hermitage says that is exactly where the crisis is leading, and it will be sobering for investors to learn that their money is locked up – already the case in Cyprus, and starting in Egypt. The chain-reaction becomes self-fulfilling. “People will start asking themselves which country is next,” he said.
Roughly US$4-trillion (pounds 2.4-trillion) of foreign funds swept into emerging markets after the Lehman crisis, mostly by then “momentum money” late to the party.
The IMF says US$470-billion is directly linked to money printing by the Fed. “We don’t know how much of this is going to come out again, or how quickly,” said an IMF official.
One country after another is now having to tighten into weakness. The longer this goes on, the greater the risk that it will morph into a global deflationary shock.

China is marching to its own tune with a closed capital account and US$3.8-trillion reserves, but it too is sending a powerful deflationary impulse worldwide. Last year it added US$5-trillion in new plant – as much as the US and Europe combined – flooding the global economy with yet more excess capacity.

The currencies of Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and India have all been hit in this latest sell-off due to Chinese growth fears and the flow of cash back to the U.S. with the Federal Reserve "tapering" its bond purchases. 

"Rusal is perhaps the ultimate rouble devaluation play," analysts at the French lender said in a research note. For every 1 percent drop in the ruble against the dollar, they see it erasing $50 million from its operating cash costs.

Investors are lining up to short the Russian ruble as the sell-off in emerging markets pushes the currency to historic lows. But several analysts see an upside to the rout, seeing it as "easy money" for the government's coffers. 
The dollar has appreciated over 7 percent against the ruble since the start of the year. At 1.00 p.m. London time Thursday, the ruble stood at $35.18 – close to levels not matched since the height of the global financial crisis in 2009, when the dollar peaked at $36.34 against the ruble.

Republicans said Thursday the Obama administration should take action over an apparent Russian violation of the treaty banning testing of medium-range missiles.
Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee issued a statement slamming the administration for ignoring the Russian treaty violation and not acting.

“If the Administration wishfully waves away blatant infractions on current agreements, how are we supposed to trust future pacts?” Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and three GOP subcommittee chairs asked in a statement.
“Since 2012, Congress has pushed the Administration to take Russian cheating on nuclear treaties seriously,” the committee members said. “We have been ignored, as has Russia’s material breach of the central arms control treaty of the nuclear era. Treaties are meaningless unless both sides sign in good faith.”
The New York Times reported Thursday the United States informed its NATO allies this month that Russia had tested a new ground-launched cruise missile, in violation of the 1987 treaty signed by President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

The plans of the last decade for a North American Union (NAU) led by Robert Pastor, director of the Center for North American Studies at American University (AU) in Washington D.C. have accelerated in recent months under different cover. Pastor died on January 8, but not without having done serious damage to American sovereignty. Through his work toward regionalization of Canada, Mexico, and the United States via NAFTA-style trade agreements, such as those repackaged as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), he helped set the stage for the “need” for those trade agreements now being fast-tracked by the Obama administration.

Analysts note that while statists who press for a regional, then a world, government owe much to Pastor’s leadership, it is an idea not likely to lose much momentum with his death.

 In fact, Canada and Mexico, two of the three nations to have been integrated via the NAU, are now targeted as two of 12 nations to be included in the TPP. As The New American has noted, the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been designed to follow the EU example of relentless widening and deepening, constantly eroding national sovereignty, while building “transnational governance” that is not restrained by the checks and balances of national constitutions.

Secretary of State John Kerry said no less in a meeting between himself, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, and Mexican Foreign Secretary José Antonio Meade Kuribreña. A January 17, 2014 press release of the event announced the collaboration of the three leaders for the purpose of furthering integration of the three nations. “The second lesson that we can learn from the past couple of decades is that globalization isn’t slowing down any time soon.”

When asked by a reporter if the United States intended to expand NAFTA, Kerry’s answer “suggested that with the expected ratification by Congress of the TPP, the Obama administration already considers the U.S., Mexico and Canada as part of a ‘post-NAFTA’ world.”
Kerry's answer? “I think that stepping up, all of us, to the TPP, is a very critical component of sort of moving to the next tier, post-NAFTA. So I don’t think you have to open up NAFTA, per se, in order to achieve what we’re trying to achieve.”
Toward that end, leaders of the three nations will meet at the North American Leaders Summit on February 19 in Toluca, Mexico. It signals what Corsi calls the kick-off of the ‘post-NAFTA’ era. The meeting between President Obama, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is almost a copy of one that took place a decade ago in 2005 in Waco, Texas. At the earlier meeting, President Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin met to establish the Security and Prosperity Partnership, fostered by Pastor.

[This comes from Jan. 8, but is worth reading in the context of today's news...Additionally, one can't help but wonder if we are seeing the evolution of the world into 10 regions - soon to be called the "10 kings" ?]

In fact, we’ve been writing about this a lot lately because it’s obvious. Now that Obamacarehas been implemented, next on the agenda is “immigration reform,” which is another step toward full “North American” integration.
The mainstream media is useless in this regard. Not a single major outlet that we can tell stayed on the story of Mexico’s legislative creation of a single-payer health system. Maybe it was major news in Mexico, but not in the US.
So many secrets; and we are supposed to learn only a little: Those who promoteinternationalism and have the clout are inexorably building one trans-regional union after another. There are African unions, Asian unions and Mercosur in South America.
Want to merge a region? Merge the industrial interests and the sociopolitical structure will follow.
Thank goodness for the Internet, which lets us understand finally how all this works. But in the short term, knowledge doesn’t slow the momentum.

The fundamentals also favour a resurgence in North American trade. Mr Alcocer talks of a “rejuvenated” region benefiting from cheap and abundant energy, a young workforce, and costs that are increasingly competitive with those in China.
The aim, though quietly stated, is to develop a “Factory North America” to rival “Factory Asia”.
In the longer term, two further things favour North America; demography and energy. Two-fifths of Mexicans are under 20. Between 2000 and 2030, BCG expects Mexico’s labour force to grow by 58% and the United States’ by 18%, as China’s shrinks by 3%.

And Mr Alcocer says the shale-gas revolution, the development of Canada’s oil sands, and a constitutional change in December allowing private firms to invest in Mexican energy, could give the industries employing those people secure supplies of low-cost energy for the foreseeable future.
… A more seamless North America should help reduce the differences between living standards around the region, which would benefit all three countries—not least because a richer Mexico would mean fewer problems of illegal immigration, violence and corruption in the neighbourhood.
Can it be any clearer than this? The whole article is merely a pumping-up of the benefits to be had from “closer” (and closer still) industrial relations.

Directed history – that’s the phrase that comes to mind. Create a treaty to force trade in a certain direction and then use the results to make the argument for a “closer union.”
Notice the code words in this Economist article: “Factory North America,” and “Rejuvenated region.” Who exactly is rejoicing over all this? What businesses asked for NAFTA? And what businesspeople are now requesting “Factory North America”?
Presumably the same people who are campaigning for “immigration reform,” which is merely shorthand for free passage of US and Mexican citizens from one country to the other.

With the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the process of creating continent-wide government began anew, but this time on the other side of the Atlantic. Having had so much success in building a regional government in Europe using free trade as a pretext, the globalists, who have always had international — and eventually global — government as their overarching goal, decided to recycle the formula in the New World.

NAFTA was sold to Congress and the American public as a “free trade agreement.” But instead of creating conditions for free trade (borders transparent to the flow of goods, services, and people), NAFTA set up a complex bureaucracy tasked with managing and controlling North American trade and with adjudicating trade disputes. In other words, NAFTA was not a “free trade” but rather a “managed trade” agreement, in complete conformity with the creed of socialists of every hue that the free market cannot be trusted, and that all mercantile activity must be closely monitored and managed by allegedly benevolent bureaucrats who can determine, better than market forces, how much of a given good to produce, at what price, and up to what standards.
Moreover, NAFTA, by imposing such a managed trade regime across international boundaries, was not merely an “accord” but also a first layer of regional international government where none had existed before. 

The entire country faces at least three days of torrential downpours, savage 150mph gales and weeks of relentless flood misery.
Storm Brigid is expected to first hit UK shores later this afternoon before the full force of the onslaught rips into the country tomorrow.
Experts say it threatens to cause destruction on a par with the ferocious October St Jude’s Day Storm and subsequent Storm Emily which hit in December.
It came as figures show some areas of England have already had their wettest January since records began.
The Met Office said much of the south and Midlands already had twice the average rainfall for January by midnight on Tuesday - with three days still left in the month.
Several inches of rain are likely to fall in a matter of hours through the next few days, sealing the record for England’s wettest winter in history.
So far eight inches of rain have fallen since the beginning of December, with just eight more needed to beat the 1914/15 record of 16.
Officials have warned Britain will be crippled by frenzied winds capable of up ripping trees and tearing roof slates from buildings.

Thousands of Israeli Jewish hardliners gathered at the Western Wall imploring God to throw a wrench in a peace plan proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry, which would see a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem and other territorial compromises.
Police say around 2,000 people attended the gathering in Jerusalem’s Old City, where participants called on God to strike fear in the hearts of those who might cause harm to the land of Israel.
Housing Minister Uri Ariel and other members of the far-right Jewish Home party, which forms part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition but fiercely opposes a two-state solution, were in attendance.
In a not-so-veiled reference to Kerry’s role in peace negotiations, Ariel said "thousands of people came to pray for the people of Israel, to strengthen the government and the one who stands at its head, that he may be able to stand firm against the different pressures coming from the other side of the ocean," Israeli National News reported.
Since initiating the latest round of talks in July, Kerry has been working to push Israelis and Palestinians toward a framework agreement in the run-up to an agreed April deadline.
Kerry, who is set to visit Israel for the 11th time in under a year, has enraged hardliner Israelis with a peace plan that reportedly includes an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Although certain settlements will not be included in the withdrawal, Palestinians will be compensated with Israeli territory.
Moshe Cohen, of the Beit El settlement, who was one of the Western Wall event's organizers, told AFP:"Kerry's plan endangers us since he wants to separate between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel."

A video of Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi calling on the U.S. government to wage jihad for Allah in Syria, is currently making the rounds on Arabic media and Facebook, to mockery and dismay. 

Then, while working himself up because the U.S is only providing weapons to the jihadis in Syria, as opposed to directly intervening, Qaradawi declares in frustration: “We want America to take a manly stand—a stand for Allah!”

Needless to say, all Muslim Brotherhood opponents in the region are pointing to this as yet more proof that Qaradawi and the Brotherhood are mercenaries who interpret jihad any which way, so long as it helps them consolidate power: otherwise, how can “infidel” America take “a stand for Allah” by waging jihad on fellow Muslims?
It should further be noted that the classic formulation of the Arabic wordjihad, as in “fight,” appears in the Koran with the addition fi sabil Allah, that is, “fight in the cause of Allah.”
In other words, calling on the U.S. to strike Syria’s Bashar Assad—and calling it “a stand for Allah”—is essentially synonymous with calling on the U.S. to fight “in the cause of Allah.”

But there is a more pertinent observation, from an American perspective: By openly asking U.S. leadership to wage jihad in the cause of Allah, is Qaradawi, as many in the Mideast are saying, losing his mind in desperation, or could it be that he unwittingly let out a “Freudian slip”: namely, that he knows U.S. leadership, hand in hand with the global Islamist movement, is “taking a stand for Allah” throughout the Middle East in the context of “liberating” it.  (As documented here, Muslim countries that the U.S. has invaded and “liberated”—Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and ongoing Syria—have all become much more radicalized and hostile to non-Muslims, chief among them Christians.)

 Members of the Chinese military are looking to use an electromagnetic pulse as part of a “one-two punch” to knock out – literally within seconds – all defensive electronics not only on Taiwan but also on U.S. warships that could defend the island.

This revelation comes in an article by Lou Xiaoqing who says the People’s Liberation Army sees an EMP weapon as the primary means of incapacitating Taiwan and disabling American defenders nearby.
Given that such a strategy was made public in an article entitled “Electromagnetic pulse bombs are Chinese ace,” it is seen as reflecting the official Chinese government position.
Xaoqing said that if the Chinese were to use a high-altitude nuclear device which would create the destructive EMP impact on Taiwan’s electronics, it would be exploded at an attitude of 18 miles to avoid damaging civilian and military equipment on the Chinese mainland, which might happen if the bomb exploded at a higher altitude.
“China is attracted to the fight against the U.S. military after the effective range, using them as a means of surprise attack or an intimidation factor,” Xaoqing said. “The United States will abandon the use of aircraft carrier battle groups to defend Taiwan.”

Xaoqing said that the Chinese military has calculated that the U.S. military is too fragmented and, coupled with the downturn in the economy, would be less likely to come to Taiwan’s assistance, forcing Taiwan to defend itself.
Contrary to popular belief, the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act does not require the United States to intervene militarily if the Chinese mainland attacks Taiwan. Instead, it has adopted what is called a policy of “strategic ambiguity” in which the U.S. neither will confirm nor deny that it would intervene on Taiwan’s behalf.

It’s happening.
The avian flu virus, which up until last year infected poultry exclusively, has now mutated and crossed over to humans.
What’s even scarier is the fact that the Chinese have been unable to contain the novel H7N9 strain of the virus and health officials the world over are getting ready for the worst. It’s spreading and we now have confirmation that the virus has begun appearing in other countries.

On Thursday, billions of Chinese will be on the move to celebrate the Lunar New Year, creating ripe conditions for the spread of the influenza virus from those already infected. And many of those celebrations will include chickens, the primary carriers of H7N9. In addition, with the Winter Olympics, one of the world’s largest sporting events, just two weeks away, the virus could find the ideal conditions for breaking out.
And that means the next plane could bring a pandemic to the U.S. or anywhere else around the world. “The bottom line is the health security of the U.S. is only as strong as the health security of every country around the world,” says Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
“We are all connected by the food we eat, the water the drink and the air we breathe.”

But that’s not the worst of it. Last year the World Health Organization warned that H7N9 is one of the most lethal influenza strains ever identified.
Of the nearly 250 officially confirmed reports of human infection since last year, a quarter of those infected have died.
Those are the official numbers, but it is likely that the number of active infections could be a hundred-fold (or more) higher.
Moreover, like any flu virus, H7N9 continues to mutate and scientists recently suggested that all it would take for this particular strain to become a deadly global pandemic is an increase in its transmission rate.

It was initially thought that the virus only spread through human contact with poultry, but that theory was quickly turned on its head when a team of researchers at the University of Hong Kong confirmed that the virus had gone airborne.
If H7N9 mutates to transmission rates of other flu viruses, which is certainly a possibility, then we could well be looking at a mass global pandemic – and according to WHO the H7N9 is mutating eight (8) times faster than a typical flu virus.
To put this in perspective, the 1918 Spanish Flu infected as many as half a billion people (about a quarter of the world’s population). The mortality rate was somewhere in the area of 5% to 10%, with a final death toll of around 50 million people.

At a 25% mortality rate the H7N9 avlian flu, combined with modern transportation systems and metropolitan areas housing tens of millions of people, there is serious potential for a globally significant catastrophe.
Should this virus increase its transmission rate we could be looking at a scenario where a billion or more people contract the virus around the world.
The math is straight forward. One in four will perish.
While we’ve had pandemic scares in the recent past, this one really has researchers and global health officials spooked:

The fast mutation makes the virus’ evolutionary development very hard to predict. “We don’t know whether it will evolve into something harmless or dangerous,” He said. “Our samples are too limited. But the authorities should definitely be alarmed and get prepared for the worst-case scenario.”

As of yet, there is no available vaccine, and one novel mechanism of action for H7N9 is that as soon as it infects its host it develops rapid antiviral resistance, so traditional medicines like Tamiflu don’t work.
One infected student at a local school, or a restaurant worker, or a passenger on an airplane could take this to the next level.
And once it takes hold, there will be no stopping it.

Famed liberal Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz joined other legal experts in slamming the Obama administration for targeting conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza for campaign finance law violations.

“This is clearly a case of selective prosecution for one of the most common things done during elections, which is to get people to raise money for you,”Dershowitz told Newsmax. “If they went after everyone who did this, there would be no room in jails for murderers.”
D’Souza was indicted last week for making illegal political contributions in the names of others. News of his felony arrest prompted ”Schindler’s List” producer Gerald Molen to say, “I never had the thought that I had reason to think I had to look over my shoulder until now.”

The incident reminded Dershowitz of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s feared secret police chief, Lavrentiy Beria, who said, “Show me the man, and I’ll find you the crime.”
“This is an outrageous prosecution and is certainly a misuse of resources. It raises the question of why he is being selected for prosecution among the many, many people who commit similar crimes,” Dershowitz said. “This sounds to me like it is coming from higher places. It is hard for me to believe this did not come out of Washington or at least get the approval of those in Washington.”

Top officials from the United Nations, United States, Russia and European Union will meet on Saturday to discuss how they can help US Secretary of State John Kerry's drive for a Middle East peace deal, the EU said on Friday.
The meeting of the so-called Quartet of Middle East peace mediators will be held in Munich on the sidelines of the annual security conference there.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she would chair the meeting with Kerry, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Quartet envoy Tony Blair, the former British prime minister.

"This meeting takes place in a moment when difficult and bold decisions need to be made. The dividends of peace for Israelis and Palestinians are enormous," Ashton said in a statement.

"I hope that together we can help those decisions to become a reality to continue working towards a negotiated peace agreement, setting an end to the conflict and fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of both parties," she said.
Kerry has toiled for six months to push Palestinians and Israelis towards an elusive peace deal to end their generations-old conflict.
A handful of diplomats remain hopeful he will defy the pessimists and secure at least a framework deal in the coming weeks to allow detailed talks to continue beyond the original nine-month deadline, which expires on April 29.
But, with both sides far apart on many core issues including borders, security, the right of return for Palestinian refugees and the future status of Jerusalem, many Palestinians and Israelis believe the talks are going nowhere.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

World Bank Economist: Replace Dollar With Super Currency

Once again, we see the "road-paving" process as we race towards the Tribulation. There will be a world financial system and a world currency, and as George Soros is fond of saying, the U.S. dollar must collapse first.  

The World Bank's former chief economist wants to replace the US dollar with a single global super-currency, saying it will create a more stable global financial system.
"The dominance of the greenback is the root cause of global financial and economic crises," Justin Yifu Lin told Bruegel, a Brussels-based policy-research think tank. "The solution to this is to replace the national currency with a global currency."
Lin, now a professor at Peking University and a leading adviser to the Chinese government, said expanding the basket of major reserve currencies — the dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen and pound sterling — will not address the consequences of a financial crisis. Internationalizing the Chinese currency is not the answer, either, he said.
Lin urged the international community, especially the US and European Union, to play a leading role in currency and infrastructure initiatives. To boost the global economy, he proposed the launch of a "global infrastructure initiative" to remove development bottlenecks in poor and developing countries, a measure he said would also offer opportunities for advanced economies.
"China can only play a supporting role in realizing the plans," Lin said. "The urgent thing is for the US and Europe to endorse these plans. And I think the G20 is an ideal platform to discuss the ideas," he said, referring to the group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 major economies.

The concept of a global "super currency" tied to a basket of currencies has been periodically discussed by world leaders as well as endorsed by 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz. A super currency could also be tied to a single currency, but the interconnectedness of world financial markets and concerns about the volatility that can occur as a result of the system being tied to one currency have made this idea less popular.

Eswar Prasad, a trade-policy professor at Cornell University who also is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said he disagrees that a super currency would protect the global financial system against breakdowns such as the 2008 downturn which plunged the world economy into its most dangerous crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Arguments in favor of a global currency resurfaced during October's US budget impasse, which forced the government to shut down.
"It is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world," a Xinhua News Agency commentary said on Oct 14. The piece argued that creating a new international reserve currency to replace reliance on the greenback, would prevent government gridlock in Washington from affecting the rest of the world.
In March 2009, China's central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, called for the creation of a new "super-sovereign reserve currency" to replace the dollar. In a paper published on the People's Bank of China's website, Zhou said an international reserve currency "disconnected from individual nations" and "able to remain stable in the long run" would benefit the global financial system more than current reliance on the dollar.

Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a government think-tank, said, "A supranational currency may be a new direction for development of the global financial system. It also requires different countries to cooperate in coordinating macroeconomic policies."

"We need to be extremely vigilant," said the IMF's Christine Lagarde in Davos. "The deflation risk is what would occur if there was a shock to those economies now at low inflation rates, way below target. I don't think anyone can dispute that in the eurozone, inflation is way below target."
It is not hard to imagine what that shock might be. It is already before us as Turkey, India and South Africa all slam on the brakes, forced to defend their currencies as global liquidity drains away.
The World Bank warns in its latest report - Capital Flows and Risks in Developing Countries - that the withdrawal of stimulus by the US Federal Reserve could throw a "curve ball" at the international system.

The report said they may need capital controls to navigate the storm - or technically to overcome the "Impossible Trinity" of monetary autonomy, a stable exchange rate and free flows of funds. William Browder from Hermitage says that is exactly where the crisis is leading, and it will be sobering for investors to learn that their money is locked up - already the case in Cyprus, and starting in Egypt. The chain-reaction becomes self-fulfilling. "People will start asking themselves which country is next," he said.
One country after another is now having to tighten into weakness. The longer this goes on, and the wider it spreads, the greater the risk that it will metamorphose into a global deflationary shock.
The implications are obvious. China may at some stage try to steer down the yuan to hold on to market share, whatever they say in the US Congress, partly to stop Japan stealing a march with its 30pc devaluation under Abenomics. Albert Edwards from Societe Generale say this may prove the ultimate deflationary shock, dwarfing the 1998 Asia crisis.
Those who think deflation is harmless should listen to the Bank of Japan's Haruhiko Kuroda, who has lived through 15 years of falling prices. Corporate profits dried up. Investment in technology atrophied. Innovation fizzled out. "It created a very negative mindset in Japan," he said.

Any such outcome in Europe would send Club Med debt trajectories through the roof. It would doom all hope of halting Europe's economic decline or reducing mass unemployment before the democracies of the afflicted countries go into seizure. So why are they letting it happen?

Also see:

Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas espoused more “anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli venom” than any other world leader.
Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies on Wednesday, Steinitz said that “while Abu Mazen (Abbas) doesn’t fund terrorism, he who was a Holocaust denier in his youth now denies the very existence of the Jewish people and their right to a state.”
He was likely referring to Abbas’s 1982 doctoral dissertation, which was titled “The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.”
“We must not deceive ourselves,” said Steinitz, who is considered a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “There is no peace process. There is a diplomatic process… it has some chances, it has significance, but to my great sadness we’re not seeing even the faintest signs that the other side, and the Palestinian leadership, has true intentions of peace.”

He declared that under Abbas’s stewardship the level of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incitement in the PA had “reached record highs.”

Jewish Home party MK insinuated on Thursday morning that US Secretary of State John Kerry was at least partially motivated by anti-Semitism in his efforts to forge a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.

“The prime minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) is maneuvering under the obsessive and unprofessional pressures that might also bear an undertone of anti-Semitism on Kerry’s part,” MK Moti Yogev told Israel Radio.
“He has an anti-Israel foundation in that he does not come to compromise, but instead comes with unequivocal answers about shrinking the Land of Israel and establishing a Palestinian state,” Yogev added. “The members of my faction also think that he is not a fair broker and he is not fit to mediate here because his positions are predetermined.”

Iran now has all the technical infrastructure to produce nuclear weapons should it make the political decision to do, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote in a report to a Senate intelligence committee published Wednesday. However, he added, it could not break out to the bomb without being detected.
In the “US Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessment,” delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper reported that Tehran has made significant advances recently in its nuclear program to the point where it could produce and deliver nuclear bombs should it be so inclined.
“Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas — including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles — from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. “These technical advancements strengthen our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.”

China is developing anti-satellite missiles and other exotic weapons that can destroy or disrupt vital U.S. military and commercial communications, space warfare experts told Congress on Tuesday.
“The current and evolving counterpace threat posed by China to U.S. military operations in the Asia Pacific theater and outside is extremely serious,” said Ashley J. Tellis, a former State Department and National Security Council strategic specialist.

“And the threat ranks on par with the dangers posed by Chinese offensive cyber operations to the United States more generally,” said Tellis, now with the Carnegie Endowment.
China’s growing space warfare capabilities were the subject of a hearing at the House Armed Services joint subcommittees on strategic forces and seapower.

Robert L. Butterworth, a former chief of strategic planning at Air Force Space Command, said China’s growing space weapons include cyber weapons, electronic jammers, laser, both high- and low-earth orbit ASAT missiles, and recently the launch of small maneuvering satellites capable of attacking or grabbing U.S. satellites.
China’s military is preparing for a future military conflict with the United States, and as a result its counterspace weaponry is being developed to limit U.S. joint warfighting that currently is very reliant on satellites for communications and the maneuvering forces over long distances, Butterworth said.

North Korea is threatening nuclear war in the run up to scheduled, soon-to-start, joint military maneuvers between the US and South Korea.
North Korea's increasingly shrill opposition to the annual joint drills named Foal Eagle looks very similar to the kind of vitriol that preceded the start of the same exercises last year and led to a steep rise in tensions on the Korean Peninsula. That round of escalation culminated in threats of a nuclear strike on Washington and the flattening of Seoul before the maneuvers ended and both sides went back to their corners.
It appears the first stages of this year's battle have already begun - though some experts say they don't think it will be as high-pitched as last year's.
In the latest of North Korea's increasingly frequent salvos against the exercises, it said through its state-run media that the United States is building up its military forces in Asia so it can invade the country - formally called the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK - and take control of the whole region.