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Global Government Introduction:

 

      The move toward a global government received a big boost this summer by the introduction of a proposal for an International Criminal Court. Over U.S. objections, the United Nations Diplomatic Conference voted 120 to 7 in favor of establishing an international criminal court to try individuals accused of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.


[READ THE FULL INTRODUCTION]

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behold a Black Horse

 Behold a Black

Horse

 

 

Price R 249.00 

 

 

 

Behold a Black Horse:

 Economic Upheaval and Famine

DVD

by Dr. Chuck Missler

 

 

The third of the “Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse” brings inflation and famine on an unprecedented scale.
•What is the real cause of inflation?
•What are the real causes of famine?

Most famines are the direct results of government’s deliberate decisions. Germany sank into the most severe hyperinflationary period in recorded history after printing 1.3 trillion marks: that translates to about 4 trillion in today’s dollars. Ironically, that is almost exactly the same amount of money the United States government has printed since 2008. What are the implications for us today?

How can one use Bayes’ Theorem in “reverse probability”? (Can you form a hypothesis based on experience, common sense and whatever data are available; then test the hypothesis not by what has happened before, but by what comes after?)

The theorem has proved its worth, such as in 2012 when it was used to successfully predict the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in all 50 states before the final vote counts were available.

Join Dr. Chuck Missler in the Executive Briefing Room of the River Lodge, New Zealand, as he explores the identity of the third of the Five Horsemen of Revelation.

This briefing pack contains 2 hours of teaching
 

Available in the following formats

 DVD:

•2 MP3 files

•1 PDF Notes file

 

 

 
 
 

http://www.spacewar.com/Superpowers.xml

 

Ankara seeks to re-emerge from rubble of failed coup

 
‎Yesterday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:09:15 AMGo to full article
Ankara (AFP) July 20, 2016 - The 10-storey police headquarters in Ankara, meant to be a symbol of might and order, is now a wreck, gutted by a successive air raids during the night of Turkey's failed coup.

"I do not know how long the rebuilding will take. But we have started," a senior Turkish police official told AFP at the scene, surveying the extent of the damage.

The coup plotters, who sought to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power overnight Friday, targeted above all key institutions in the capital including this police headquarters, the parliament and the presidency itself.

The damage from these aerial attacks has been considerable to buildings that Turks consider sometimes ominous symbols of the state's power.

The coup plotters seized F-16 fighter jets and attack helicopters from air bases and then flew them above the capital, terrifying residents.

The facade of the police headquarters is now a distorted wreck while the ground in front is covered in broken glass which scrunches like icy snow underfoot.

Even the big letters of its official name have been hit. Some have fallen off while others hang precipitously, threatening to follow.

The air is still thick with dust from the rubble, making breathing uncomfortable.

The ground floor department used to handle thousands of people a day, handing out passports where computers and desks now sit forlornly in the ruins.

Upstairs the scene is even worse with office walls blown out. Pictures of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk stare down from remaining walls as if the country's greatest hero was appalled by the damage.

"We were under attack from helicopters and F-16s. Especially after midnight, the intensity increased," said the police official, who asked not to be identified.

"They would take a break, but then come back and with even more intensity."

- 'Hands tied up' -

In Golbasi, outside Ankara, 42 people were killed in two strikes by the rebel plotters on a special forces headquarters, in what appears to have been the deadliest single incident of the coup night.

One air attack hit the guard house where a security scanner still stands uselessly in the rubble.

Another struck the roof of the main building, blowing out the exterior walls and exposing the dormitory with the beds pillows and mattresses still in place as they were when the deadly strike hit.

Police stand guard outside the wrecked shell of the building as weeping relatives of victims try to come to terms with the devastation.

A different kind of trauma was experienced at the headquarters of state broadcaster TRT, stormed by the coup plotters who forced a news anchor to read a message declaring they had taken control.

"The staff had their hands tied behind their backs and were forced to the ground," said deputy head of news Kudret Dogandemir. "While at the same time F-16s flew low overhead."

Within days, normal routine has resumed in the same studio where the now infamous coup statement was read, with the newscaster, during a visit by AFP, presenting a feature on how the coup was defeated.

- 'Aim was to kill' -

But perhaps the most symbolic target of all was Turkey's parliament, where deputies gathered after the coup attempt began to send a message through the media that the putsch would be defeated.

Irfan Neziroglu, the general secretary of the parliament, said he had immediately rushed to the parliament building with other deputies when he heard the news of the coup.

"During this time the F-16s were flying very low. It was an unbelievable panic."

He said parliament was bombed three times by F-16s seized by the coup plotters and also hit by 10 noise bombs.

In what was once a pleasant atrium, cacti and ornamental ponds now lie in a bed of shards of glass. Walls have collapsed and plaster blown out.

Most of the windows in the parliament's vast imposing facade have been shattered and its massive golden doors forced off their hinges.

Yet two soldiers still maintain a ceremonial guard, standing stock-still in glass sentry boxes as if frozen in time.

"If one bomb had deviated by a few centimetres then all of us here in parliament would not be here today," said Neziroglu.

"The aim was to kill."

Turkey presses post-coup purge with over 7,000 arrests
Istanbul (AFP) July 19, 2016 - The Turkish government is expected to continue its crack down on suspected putschists Tuesday, while the US-based Muslim cleric accused by Ankara of orchestrating the coup attempt says he doesn't fear extradition.

Turkey has so far detained over 7,500 people and sacked almost 9,000 officials in its relentless purge of suspected plotters with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowing to wipe out the "virus".

Erdogan has blamed his arch-foe Fethullah Gulen, a moderate Turkish preacher living in the US, for being behind the attempted power grab that left more than 300 people dead, and has demanded that Washington extradite him.

But the 75-year-old categorically denies any involvement in the plot and has suggested it could have been staged by Erdogan himself.

"I have no concerns personally," Gulen said in an interview with several media outlets including AFP in the Pennsylvania town of Saylorsburg he has called home since 1999 under self-imposed exile.

The United States "is a country of law," he said. "I don't believe this government will pay attention to anything that is not legally sound."

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said Ankara would need to provide "evidence, not allegations" against Gulen.

The preacher's followers have a powerful presence in Turkish society, including the media, police and judiciary, and Erdogan has long accused him of running a "parallel state" in Turkey.

In remarks that have sparked concern among Western allies, Erdogan has said Turkey could bring back the death penalty for the coup plotters.

"There is a clear crime of treason," Erdogan told CNN in his first media interview since the chaotic events of Friday night.

"The leaders will have to come together and discuss it. If they accept to discuss it, as the president, I will approve any decision to come out of the parliament."

- Spate of arrests -

On Monday former air force chief General Akin Ozturk appeared in court, looking haggard and with an ear bandaged, and denied leading the failed coup.

"I am not the person who planned or led the coup. Who planned it and directed it I do not know," state-run news agency Anadolu quoted him as saying in his statement to prosecutors.

General Mehmet Disli, who conducted the operation to capture chief-of-staff Hulusi Akar during the coup, has also been detained.

With Turkey's big cities still on edge, Turkish security forces killed an armed attacker who shot at them from a vehicle outside the Ankara courthouse where suspected coup plotters were appearing before judges.

In another development, police on Monday detained seven soldiers after searching the key Incirlik air base in southern Turkey used by the US for air raids on IS jihadists, Anadolu reported.

Early Monday, special Istanbul anti-terror police units raided the prestigious air force military academy, detaining four suspects, Anadolu reported.

Two Turkish pilots who played a role in the downing of a Russian plane in November are also among those in custody.

A Greek court will Thursday decide the fate of eight Turkish military officers who fled across the border by helicopter after the coup, with Ankara seeking their extradition.

Meanwhile, Erdogan has urged citizens to remain on the streets even after the defeat of the coup attempt, in what the authorities describe as a "vigil" for democracy.

- 'Caprice and revenge' -

Western leaders have pushed Turkey to follow the rule of law as the massive retaliatory purge adds to existing concerns about human rights and democracy in the strategic NATO country.

"We also urge the government of Turkey to uphold the highest standards of respect for the nation's democratic institutions," US Secretary of State John Kerry said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman denounced "revolting scenes of caprice and revenge against soldiers on the streets" after disturbing pictures emerged of the treatment of some detained suspects.

The Council of Europe also joined the criticism, with its panel of constitutional experts saying: "Arrests and mass sackings of judges are not an acceptable way of restoring democracy."

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini responded bluntly to the suggestion the death penalty -- which Turkey abolished in 2004 as part of its long-running efforts to join the EU -- could be reinstated.

"Let me be very clear," she said. "No country can become an EU state if it introduces the death penalty."

Separately the turbulence has raised concerns about the stability of Turkey, which is part of the international coalition fighting Islamic State jihadists in Syria.

It has also hit financial markets, with the lira at one point losing five percent in value against the dollar although it rallied slightly Monday, while Sovereign debt rater Moody's said it was reviewing Turkey's credit rating for a possible downgrade.

 

 

Beijing to hold South China Sea war games after ruling

 
‎Yesterday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:09:15 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) July 18, 2016 - Beijing will close off access to part of the South China Sea for military drills, officials said Monday, after an international tribunal ruled against its sweeping claims in the waters.

An area off the east coast of China's island province of Hainan will host military exercises from Tuesday to Thursday, China's maritime administration said on its website, adding that entrance was "prohibited".

The area of sea identified is some distance from the Paracel islands and even further from the Spratlys. Both chains are claimed by Beijing and several other neighbouring states.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague last week ruled that there was no legal basis for Beijing's claims to much of the sea, embodied in a "nine-dash line" that dates from 1940s maps and stretches close to other countries' coasts.

Manila -- which lodged the suit against Beijing -- welcomed the decision but China dismissed it as a "piece of waste paper".

Despite Chinese objections, the European Union weighed in on the subject at a regional summit last weekend, with President Donald Tusk telling reporters the bloc "will continue to speak out in support of upholding international law", adding that it had "full confidence" in the PCA and its decisions.

China pressured countries in the ASEAN bloc of Southeast Asian nations not to issue a joint statement on the ruling, diplomats said.

- 'Flexing military muscles' -

During a meeting between top Chinese and US naval officials on Monday, Beijing remained defiant, asserting its right to continue controversial construction projects in the Spratly Islands, which are claimed by several countries in the region.

"We will never stop our construction on the Nansha Islands halfway," Wu Shengli, the commander of the People's Liberation Army Navy, told US counterpart Admiral John Richardson, reported the official Xinhua news agency.

Nansha is China's name for the Spratly Islands.

"The Nansha Islands are China's inherent territory, and our necessary construction on the islands is reasonable, justified and lawful," Wu added.

The commander said Beijing would not be intimated over the issue, adding: "Any attempt to force China to give in through flexing military muscles will only have the opposite effect."

Beijing held military drills in the South China Sea just days before the international arbitration court ruling, state media reported.

A combat air patrol was mounted over the sea recently and these would become a regular practice in future, an air force spokesman said separately.

Bombers, fighters and other aircraft were sent to patrol islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao, spokesman Shen Jinke was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying.

Huangyan Dao, known in English as Scarborough Shoal, is disputed with the Philippines and is seen as a particular flashpoint.

China has rapidly built reefs in the waters into artificial islands capable of military use.

In a separate message on its website, the maritime administration said last week that four out of five lighthouses built atop islands and reefs in the sea have been activated, and a fifth would be put into use soon.

 

 

Beijing vows to continue S. China Sea construction

 
‎Yesterday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:09:15 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) July 19, 2016 - Beijing will "never" stop building in the South China Sea prematurely, a top military official has vowed, despite an international ruling that its actions were illegal.

The pushback came as China launched war games in waters in the strategically vital region, where diplomatic tensions are high.

"We will never stop our construction on the Nansha Islands halfway," Wu Shengli, the commander of the People's Liberation Army Navy, told US counterpart Admiral John Richardson, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Nansha is China's name for the Spratlys, where Beijing has rapidly turned reefs into artificial islands with facilities capable of military use, including extensive runways.

The reef system has multiple claimants in the region.

"The Nansha Islands are China's inherent territory, and our necessary construction on the islands is reasonable, justified and lawful," Wu added.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague last week ruled that there was no legal basis for Beijing's claims to much of the South China Sea, embodied in a "nine-dash line" that dates from 1940s maps and stretches close to other countries' coasts.

Its extensive decision also said that China's construction on Mischief Reef had "violated the Philippines' sovereign rights with respect to its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf".

Manila -- which lodged the suit against Beijing -- welcomed the decision but China dismissed it as a "piece of waste paper".

Wu said Beijing would not be intimated over the issue, adding: "Any attempt to force China to give in through flexing military muscles will only have the opposite effect."

Despite Chinese objections, the European Union weighed in on the subject at a regional summit last weekend, with President Donald Tusk telling reporters the bloc "will continue to speak out in support of upholding international law", adding that it had "full confidence" in the PCA and its decisions.

China pressured countries in the ASEAN bloc of Southeast Asian nations not to issue a joint statement on the ruling, diplomats said.

The US, Japan and Australia, amongst others, have urged Beijing to fall into line and respect the tribunal's ruling.

- 'Flexing military muscles' -

An area off the east coast of China's island province of Hainan will host military exercises from Tuesday to Thursday, China's maritime administration said on its website, adding that entrance was "prohibited".

The area of sea identified is some distance from the Paracel islands and even further from the Spratlys.

Beijing held military drills in the South China Sea just days before the international arbitration court ruling, state media reported.

A combat air patrol was mounted over the sea recently and these would become a regular practice in future, an air force spokesman said separately.

Bombers, fighters and other aircraft were sent to patrol islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao -- the Chinese name for Scarborough Shoal -- spokesman Shen Jinke was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying.

Scarborough Shoal is disputed with the Philippines and is seen as a particular flashpoint.

In a separate message on its website, the maritime administration said last week that four out of five lighthouses built atop islands and reefs in the sea have been activated, and a fifth would be put into use soon.

 

 

Turkey escalates post-coup purge despite global alarm

 
‎Yesterday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:09:15 AMGo to full article
Istanbul (AFP) July 19, 2016 - Turkey widened its massive post-coup purge to the state education sector on Tuesday after vowing to root out supporters of an exiled cleric it accuses of orchestrating the attempted power grab.

Global alarm is mounting over the retaliatory action of the authorities since Friday's attempted putsch, which has seen a massive crackdown in the military, police and judiciary and thousands detained.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey had sent dossiers to the United States to back up its demand for the extradition of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's sworn enemy who lives in exile in Pennsylvania.

"We will pull them (Gulen supporters) out by the roots like a razor blade," he said.

In the latest action by the authorities, the education ministry said more than 15,000 state education employees had been suspended.

Already, around 9,000 people including police and government officials have been sacked and 7,500 people detained including top generals accused of masterminding the plot.

Nevertheless, Yildirim warned Turks against exacting revenge on backers of the attempted government overthrow, after disturbing pictures emerged of rough treatment meted out to suspects.

"Nobody can have a feeling of revenge. This is unacceptable in a state governed by rule of law," Yildirim said.

- 'Nonsensical' claims -

Ankara says the reclusive Gulen, who wields enormous influence in Turkey through supporters in various apparatus as well as a private school network school, hatched the plot to end Erdogan's 13 years in power.

Gulen, 75, has rejected the allegations, saying Erdogan himself may have staged the putsch, an idea dismissed by the presidency Tuesday as "nonsensical".

Turkey's Western allies have urged Ankara to abide by the rule of law amid fears about a worsening state of democracy and human rights.

Erdogan's suggestion the death penalty could be reinstated has also sent shudders through Europe, with the EU warning such a move would be the nail in the coffin of Turkey's already embattled bid to join the bloc.

An Ankara court on Monday charged and put in pre-trial detention 26 former generals over the putsch, including former air force chief General Akin Ozturk, painted by some Turkish media as the mastermind.

But Ozturk denied he was the coup ringleader.

"I am not the person who planned or led the coup. Who planned it and directed it, I do not know," state-run news agency Anadolu quoted him as saying.

Anadolu published images of a haggard-looking Ozturk, one ear heavily bandaged, and other suspects at the courthouse, their hands tied behind their backs.

- Revenge 'unacceptable' -

The coup bid was the most serious threat to Erdogan since he took power first as prime minister in 2003, and saw rebel troops close down bridges in Istanbul, parliament bombed from the sky and protesters shot in the streets.

It has raised deep concerns about the stability of the strategic NATO partner, which has a key base used in the US-led fight against the Islamic State group and which houses a large nuclear weapons stockpile.

A total of 208 people were killed, including 145 civilians, 60 police and three soldiers, along with 104 coup plotters, the government and army says.

The military has often had strained relations with Erdogan's Islamo-conservative government as the traditional guardians of Turkey's secular system and has carried out coups in the past.

But it said the vast majority of its forces had nothing to do with Friday's plot.

It said the "traitors" would be punished severely for the "humiliation and disgrace" of the Turkish republic.

UN rights chief Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein urged a fair trial for the suspects and voiced "serious alarm" over the mass suspension of judges.

- 'Betrayal of the nation' -

Turkey has blamed Friday's events on what it calls Gulen's "Fetullahci Terror Organisation" (FETO) and piled the pressure on Washington to extradite him.

The reclusive cleric said in an interview at his Pennsylvania compound that he had no concerns about the extradition request.

"The rule of law reigns supreme here. I don't believe this government will pay attention to anything that is not legally sound."

He called the putsch attempt "treason, a betrayal of the Turkish nation."

Erdogan told CNN in his first media interview since the coup bid that he would approve any decision by parliament to reintroduce capital punishment which was abolished in 2004.

But the EU -- which Turkey has for years tried to join in a stalled accession process -- warned of the consequences of such a move.

"No country can become an EU state if it introduces the death penalty," EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said.

Erdogan has remained in Istanbul since he flew back on Saturday from the holiday resort of Marmaris where he was staying when the coup struck.

The president, who critics have long accused of becoming increasingly autocratic, has spoken to supporters every night, urging them to maintain a "vigil" for democracy.

He told CNN his life had been in grave danger. "If I stayed (in Marmaris) 10, 15 minutes more, I would either have been killed or kidnapped and taken away by them."

 

 

Philippines rejects China conditions for sea row talks

 
‎Yesterday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:09:15 AMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) July 19, 2016 - Manila has rejected Beijing's demand that it "disregard" an international ruling that invalidated the Asian giant's claims to much of the South China Sea before negotiating on the issue, the Philippines' foreign secretary said Tuesday.

China last week denounced a UN-backed tribunal's finding that there was no legal basis for its claims to most of the strategic, resource-rich waters, provoking stern warnings from leaders from Japan to the EU that it must respect the rule-based global order.

Following the decision, Beijing asked Manila, which brought the case, "to open ourselves for bilateral negotiations but outside of and in disregard of the arbitral ruling", foreign minister Perfecto Yasay told broadcaster ABS-CBN.

"This is something that I told him was not consistent with our constitution and our national interest," he said.

The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled that Beijing had violated the Philippines' sovereign rights to exploit resources in waters up to 340 kilometres (230 miles) beyond its coast, called its exclusive economic zone.

It said there was no legal basis to China's claims to much of the sea, embodied in a "nine-dash line" dating from 1940s maps.

Yasay's comments were more forceful than previous Philippine reactions, with Manila's new President Rodrigo Duterte keen to restore relations with Beijing and promising not to "taunt or flaunt" the verdict.

Many other countries have been more outspoken.

At an Asia-Europe summit in Mongolia at the weekend, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Union President Donald Tusk took China to task for its refusal to respect the decision.

China has long denied the tribunal's authority to rule on the case, calling it a "fraud" and accusing its members of accepting money from Manila.

Yasay and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi discussed the possibility of talks on the sidelines of the Ulan Bator summit but made no headway, he said, quoting Wang as telling him: "If you will insist on the ruling, discussing along those lines, then we might be headed for a confrontation."

Direct talks were unlikely soon in the light of Beijing's refusal to accept the ruling, Yasay said.

- 'Let the dust settle' -

On Tuesday, China launched war games in waters some distance north of the contested area.

Beijing has built a series of artificial islands in the sea capable of supporting military operations, and a top Chinese military official told a visiting US admiral this week that it would "never stop our construction" prematurely.

The project has raised concerns that Beijing may seek to hamper the free movement of ships and aircraft through the region, and may even create an air defence identification zone over the sea, which would seek to put restrictions on foreign planes.

A combat air patrol was mounted over the sea recently and they will become a regular practise in future, an air force spokesman said separately according to the official news agency Xinhua.

China seized Scarborough Shoal -- known as Huangyan Dao in Chinese -- in 2012 after a brief stand-off with the Philippine navy. Manila lodged suit at the tribunal the following year.

Beijing, which justifies its extensive claims by saying it was the first to have discovered, named and exploited the sea, has said the tribunal ruling cannot be the basis of any discussions.

Duterte's "first and foremost" priority was to regain access to Scarborough Shoal for Filipino fishermen, Yasay said.

The new president said last week that he would send former president Fidel Ramos to China to start talks on the ruling, but Yasay did not know if Ramos would accept and did not know when that mission could be dispatched.

"Let the dust settle some more and let's see how we can open up the road for this kind of negotiation," Yasay added.

In the long term, he said, Manila had not ruled out the possibility of giving China a role as a contractor when the government moves to exploit the resources, including natural gas, in its exclusive economic zone.

 

 

Azerbaijan shuts down TV channel over Gulen interview

 
‎Yesterday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:09:15 AMGo to full article
Baku (AFP) July 18, 2016 - Azerbaijan on Tuesday shut down a private television channel over plans to broadcast an interview with Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara accuses of being behind the failed coup in Turkey.

Baku is an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has furiously pointed blame at his arch-enemy Gulen for the weekend's botched military takeover. The US-based preacher denies any involvement.

Azerbaijan's National Television and Radio Council said in a statement that it has "ordered temporary suspension of broadcasting by the ANS TV channel in order to avoid provocations aimed at damaging the strategic partnership between Turkey and Azerbaijan and to prevent obvious promotion of terrorism."

Erdogan wants Washington to extradite Gulen to Turkey, but US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that Ankara must produce evidence to support the extradition request.

The reclusive Muslim cleric lives in self-imposed exile in a mountain town in Pennsylvania. His Hizmet movement has a powerful presence in Turkish society, including the media, police and judiciary.

 

 

Erdogan foe Gulen dismisses Turkey extradition bid

 
‎Yesterday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:09:15 AMGo to full article
Saylorsburg, United States July 19, 2016 - Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric and bitter foe of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Monday dismissed as doomed to fail Ankara's bid to extradite him from the United States over a failed coup attempt. Gulen, the spiritual leader of the Hizmet movement -- which promotes moderate Islam across dozens of countries and is dubbed a terrorist group by Erdogan -- firmly denies Ankara's charge he was behind the coup bid. "I have no concerns personally," Gulen said in an interview with several media outlets including AFP at his compound in the Pennsylvania town of Saylorsburg he has called home since 1999 under self-imposed exile. The United States "is a country of law," added the cleric. "The rule of law reigns supreme here. I don't believe this government will pay attention to anything that is not legally sound. "As a side note, I will die one day. Whether I die in my bed or in prison, I don't care," said Gulen. Erdogan told CNN a formal request for the extradition of the 75-year-old Gulen would be submitted in the coming days. But US Secretary of State John Kerry said Ankara would need to provide "evidence, not allegations" against Gulen. The Turkish government previously sought -- unsuccessfully -- to extradite Gulen after the corruption scandal that shook the country in 2013 and triggered the resignation of three ministers. "Because those were not legal demands, the US government did not pay attention, did not take them seriously," Gulen said. "They were not acceptable, reasonable and legal requests... Now through this attempted coup, it looks like they have strengthened their hands. They will attempt to do the same thing." -'Betrayal of the Turkish nation'- In addition to denying his own involvement, Gulen "condemned" the coup attempt that left at least 300 dead. "I have always been against military interventions in domestic politics," Gulen said. He called the putsch attempt "treason, a betrayal of the Turkish nation." The spiritual leader said if he had prior knowledge of the plans to attempt overthrowing the government he would have urged plotters to reconsider. "I would call out and say if you are a nationalist by virtue of your values, please don't attempt such a thing," Gulen said. He did voice concern that Turkey's government is moving away from democratic principles. "In such a horrible picture, it's not possible to talk about democracy anymore," Gulen said. "This kind of regime resembles more like a clan or a tribal administration." - Turkey needs US more - Gulen -- who members of his circle say suffers from diabetes and cardiovascular disease -- was visibly tired, noting that he has barely left home for two years. While he may not be concerned about his own fate, the opposition leader said he was very worried about worsening relations between the United States and key NATO ally Turkey. He recalled that Turkish troops fought alongside their American counterparts during the Korean War, and that the two nations have been close allies for decades at the trans-Atlantic military alliance that Turkey joined in 1952. "If it is separated from NATO, Turkey would go into a chaos of problems. It would evaporate itself. It would really finish itself," Gulen said. "The United States could find other options, but I think Turkey needs the United States' partnership more than the US needs Turkish partnership." Turkey has sacked almost 9,000 officials in its relentless crackdown against suspected plotters of the coup attempt. Obama pledges US help to Erdogan in probing coup attempt
Washington (AFP) July 19, 2016 - US President Barack Obama on Tuesday pledged US assistance to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the investigation into last week's attempted coup, the White House said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the two leaders also discussed in their phone call Turkey's request to extradite US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, Erdogan's bitter foe who the Turkish government alleges was linked to the coup attempt.

Obama "lauded the Turkish people's resolve against this violent intervention and their commitment to democracy," the White House said in a statement, in reference to the coup bid.

"President Obama made clear that the United States is willing to provide appropriate assistance to Turkish authorities investigating the attempted coup."

Earlier Tuesday, Turkey presented "materials" to the US government "related to Mr Gulen's status," Earnest told reporters, stopping short of confirming that a formal request had been made because the documents are still being reviewed.

"The Department of Justice and the Department of State will review those materials consistent with the requirements of the extradition treaty between the United States and Turkey that's been on the books for more than 30 years now."

While Earnest would not confirm the US government's position on Gulen's possible extradition, noting that the decision is not that of Obama, he stressed that the reclusive cleric is entitled to certain rights by law.

"There also is due process to which people who live in the United States are entitled to. And we will make sure that due process is followed as well," he said.

The decision of whether to extradite Gulen "is a legal decision that is made pursuant to a legal process, part of which is codified in a long-standing treaty between United States and Turkey. So that's the process that (we) will follow," Earnest said.

Turkish authorities earlier scrapped all TV and radio station licenses linked to what they called the "Fethullah Terrorist Organization," the government's derogatory name for the Gulen movement.

Last week's coup bid was the most serious threat to Erdogan since he took power first as prime minister in 2003, and saw rebel troops close down bridges in Istanbul, parliament bombed from the sky and protesters shot in the streets.

It has raised deep concerns about the stability of the strategic NATO partner, which has a key air base used in the US-led fight against the Islamic State group that has a large nuclear weapons stockpile.

Obama "strongly condemned" the violent uprising in his phone call with Erdogan on Tuesday and "urged that the investigations and prosecution of the coup's perpetrators be conducted in ways that reinforce public confidence in democratic institutions and the rule of law," the White House statement said.

Turkey has launched a massive post-coup purge. The crackdown on military, police and the judiciary has now widened to include the media and schools. Thousands have been detained.

 

 

Tokyo seeks to pressure Beijing on S China Sea ruling

 
‎Yesterday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:09:15 AMGo to full article
Ulan Bator (AFP) July 16, 2016 - Tokyo raised pressure on Beijing at an Asia-Europe summit Saturday to respect an international tribunal's ruling that dismissed its claims to much of the South China Sea.

At a retreat outside the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the assembled leaders that the rule of law was "a universal principle that the international community must firmly maintain," according to Japan's Jiji Press.

"I strongly hope the parties to the dispute comply with the award and lead to a peaceful solution of the dispute in South China Sea," he said.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague on Tuesday ruled that there was no legal basis for Beijing's claims to much of the South China Sea, which are embodied in a "nine-dash line" that dates from 1940s maps and stretches close to other countries' coasts.

The case was brought by the Philippines but the ruling has proved a boon to Tokyo, which is embroiled in a separate territorial dispute of its own with Beijing and vies with it for influence across Asia.

China boycotted the PCA hearings, saying the court had no jurisdiction, and has reacted furiously, vowing to ignore the ruling and arguing that it misinterprets international law.

It also said the subject should not be brought up at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in the Mongolian capital.

But despite Chinese objections, the EU also weighed in on the subject, with President Donald Tusk telling reporters that the grouping "will continue to speak out in support of upholding international law", adding that it had "full confidence" in the PCA and its decisions.

"It's not so easy to agree with our Chinese partners when it comes to this issue" he said. "Our talks were difficult, tough, but also promising."

- 'Hyping up' -

The comments by Abe and Tusk on Saturday followed a blitz of meetings between the Japanese leader and officials from around the region, including his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, on the summit sidelines as he sought to build consensus on the issue.

Both countries have competing claims with Beijing in the strategically vital South China Sea, where tensions have mounted over the Asian giant's construction of artificial islands capable of supporting military operations and its claims on the region's marine resources.

The new government in Manila has promised not to "taunt or flaunt" the verdict in the case, which was brought by the previous administration of Benigno Aquino, and its public comments were less forceful than Abe's.

According to a Philippines foreign ministry statement, Yasay told him the decision provided "a legal basis to move forward", and Manila was studying it "very carefully".

In Abe's meeting with Phuc, the two leaders agreed that the tribunal's ruling should be observed, and Abe offered to increase cooperation on building Vietnam's maritime law enforcement capabilities, Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Yasuhisa Kawamura told AFP.

The Japanese prime minister also brought his argument directly to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a heated 30-minute meeting Friday.

Kawamura described the exchange as "frank and candid" and Chinese state media accounts described the Chinese leader telling Abe that Japan should "stop hyping up and interfering" in the dispute.

Beijing had hoped to use the ASEM summit -- official theme "Partnership for the Future through Connectivity" -- as an opportunity to showcase its global initiatives, such as the One Belt, One Road programme, an ambitious plan to build infrastructure projects across the Eurasian region.

China has sought to assert its claims in the South China Sea by building a network of artificial islands capable of supporting military operations, and this week reiterated its right to declare an Air Defence Identification Zone in the area, which would demand civilian flights submit to the authority of its military.

While the summit's final communique made no specific mention of the South China Sea, it said that leaders "reaffirmed their commitment" to maritime security and settling disputes according to the UN Convention on the Law of Sea.

 

 

Philippines to send envoy to China over sea row

 
‎Yesterday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:09:15 AMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) July 14, 2016 - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he would send ex-leader Fidel Ramos to China for talks after an international tribunal ruled against Beijing's claims to most of the disputed South China Sea.

Duterte asked former president Ramos "go to China to start the talks" with Beijing after the UN-backed tribunal's ruling on the strategically vital waters, though he did not specify a timeframe.

"War... is not an option. So what is the other side? Peaceful talks. I cannot give you the wherewithals now," Duterte said at a college alumni meeting that was also attended by Ramos.

"I have to consult many people, including president Ramos. I would like to respectfully ask him to go to China and start the talks."

Duterte's remarks came after a UN-backed international tribunal on Tuesday ruled against China's claim to most of the South China Sea in what is widely seen as a diplomatic victory for the Philippines.

However the decision has also raised tensions with China refusing to recognise it and warning its rivals that too much pressure on the issue could turn the resource-rich waterway into a "cradle of war".

Ramos, who served as president from 1992 to 1998, is known to favour close ties with China. But the 88-year-old hinted he might not accept the offer, citing his age and other commitments.

Aides have said Duterte is now open to bilateral talks with China, suggesting the Philippines is in better position to negotiate following the Hague-based tribunal's decision.

The Philippines had initially refrained from asking China to abide by the verdict -- in line with Duterte's directive to achieve a "soft landing" with Beijing on the issue.

Duterte, who took office on June 30, has said he wants better relations with China and to attract Chinese investment for major infrastructure projects.

China claims almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea, even over territory also claimed by the Philippines as well as Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Chile rejects Bolivia call for talks on sea access
Santiago (AFP) July 13, 2016 - Chile on Wednesday submitted legal papers to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) seeking to slap down persistent arguments from its landlocked neighbor Bolivia for negotiations on sea access.

Salvador's response to a suit started by Bolivia set out "legal and historical" grounds why talks on the issue should not happen, Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said in a voice recording made available to reporters.

"There exists no obligation to negotiate," he said.

Under an agreement by both sides, the substance of the submission was not divulged.

Bolivia lost its access to the sea to Chile in the War of the Pacific in the 19th century, and has stepped up efforts to get it back under President Evo Morales.

Relations remain frosty between the two countries, which have no formal diplomatic relations since 1978.

Recently, Chile opened a new case before the Hague-based ICJ over a disputed water course originating in Bolivia.

Morales has threatened to reduce the flow from the Silala, which Bolivia considers a spring artificially diverted to flow over the border into Chile's parched Atacama desert. He wants to charge fees for use of its water.

Chile is asking the ICJ to declare the water body an "international river" to which it has rights, but Bolivia has promised to countersue over the claim.

 

 

China must abide by same rules as everyone else: Biden

 
‎Yesterday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:09:15 AMGo to full article
Sydney (AFP) July 16, 2016 - China must abide by the same international rules as everyone else, US Vice President Joe Biden warned after a UN-backed tribunal ruled against Beijing's claims in the South China Sea.

The United States has no claims of its own within the vast area, but insists that all shipping has a right to pass through seas it regards as international waters.

It has previously deployed aircraft carriers and a host of other vessels to assert freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, through which a third of the global oil trade passes.

"We expect China to play by the same rules as everyone else," Biden told the Sydney Morning Herald in comments published Saturday, referring to the international rules-based system that governs claims to maritime territory.

He added that "we're urging both China and the Philippines to abide by the ruling".

Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost all of the strategically vital South China Sea, despite rival claims from its Southeast Asian neighbours, most notably Manila, a US ally which took the case to the tribunal.

China's claims, which include waters approaching neighbouring countries, are based on a vaguely defined "nine-dash-line" found on a 1940s Chinese map.

This week the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled China has no historic rights to resources within the area, a decision Beijing angrily rejected.

Biden, who arrives in Australia later Saturday for a visit in which he is expected to address Washington's military alliance with Canberra, said it was vital that freedom of navigation was maintained.

He said the US was working "with Australia, and countries throughout the region, to insist that the liberal international order be maintained as it relates to sustaining the free flow of commerce -- keeping sea lanes open and the skies free for navigation".

A US State Department spokesman earlier in the week described the UN ruling as "final and legally binding", while Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Beijing risked reputational harm if it ignored the decision.

EU urges 'peaceful' resolution to South China Sea row
Brussels (AFP) July 15, 2016 - The EU urged China and the Philippines to settle peacefully their dispute over the South China Sea but stopped short of pushing Beijing to abide by an international tribunal's ruling against Beijing's claims.

The watered-down statement, which came after days of arguments among member states, did not follow the lead of the United States in specifically calling on China to honour the decision by the UN-backed tribunal in The Hague.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement that the bloc's member states "acknowledge" the ruling but said the EU does not take a position on sovereignty rows.

She added that the union "expresses the need for the parties to the dispute to resolve it through peaceful means, to clarify their claims and pursue them in respect and in accordance with international law."

"The EU calls upon the parties concerned to address remaining and further related issues through negotiations and other peaceful means and refrain from activities likely to raise tensions," Mogherini said.

The statement came after days of wrangling over wording as eastern EU countries, including Slovenia and Croatia which also have territorial disputes before the tribunal, diplomats said.

"Two member states (Croatia, Slovenia) have a principle problem with arbitration judgements," an EU diplomat told journalists on condition of anonymity.

"It is a difficult balancing act. We have a legal position, but on the other hand we need China for a whole bunch of other topics," the diplomat said before the statement was agreed.

China asserts sovereignty over almost all of the strategically vital waters, despite rival claims from its Southeast Asian neighbors, most notably the Philippines.

China's claims, which include waters approaching neighboring countries, are based on a vaguely defined "nine-dash-line" found on a 1940s Chinese map.

The row has embroiled the United States, which has deployed aircraft carriers and a host of other vessels to assert freedom of navigation in the waters -- through which a third of the global oil trade passes.

The US put itself on a collision course with China on Tuesday when it described the ruling as "final and legally binding".

 

 

Turkey, Russia leaders in first contact since plane crisis

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Ankara (AFP) June 14, 2016 - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin marking Russia's national day, in their first contact since Ankara downed a Russian warplane in November, an official said Tuesday.

The letter was the most significant in a series of signals from Ankara in recent weeks that it is keen to repair ties that plunged to historic lows after Turkey shot down the Russian war plane on November 24.

"We confirm media reports the president sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of the Russian national day," the official said, referring to the Day of Russia marked on June 12.

"I hope our relations will reach a level they deserve," Erdogan told Putin in the letter, according to the private NTV television channel.

The full contents of the letter were not made public.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Erdogan had sent Putin the message, saying it was received "via diplomatic channels", the Ria-Novosti news agency reported.

- Ex-friends at odds -

Turkey's downing of the Russian jet on its border with Syria in November sparked an unprecedented crisis in the two nations' relationship, which was then exacerbated by Moscow's role in the Syrian war.

Turkey says the Russian plane strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, but Russia insisted it did not cross the border and accused Ankara of a "planned provocation."

Erdogan wanted to meet with Putin for face-to-face talks on the sidelines of a climate summit in Paris after the plane crisis, which was rebuffed by the Russian leader.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the occasion of the Russian national day, the Turkish official said.

Turkey did not participate at the ministerial level in the national day reception at the Russian embassy in Ankara last Friday.

In recent months, Turkish authorities have struck a reconciliatory tone to restore ties, with Erdogan hoping to get back to previous robust relations with Moscow.

Before the the plane crisis erupted, Turkey and Russia had strong cooperation on many issues, putting disagreements on Syria and Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine to one side.

Turkey is largely dependent on Russian gas and oil for its energy supplies and before the crisis the two sides had been targeting $100 billion (89 billion euros) in bilateral trade volume by 2023.

- 'Back to old days' -

Erdogan has admitted that ties with Moscow reached a "rupture point" over the plane crisis but expressed hope they would regain their former strength.

"With Putin, we brought bilateral ties to a very advanced level. Our trade volume with Russia was much more than that with America ... It is saddening to see such strong ties reach the current state," he said in comments published in the Hurriyet newspaper Saturday.

"I hope our relations will recover in a short time and we'll get back to our old days again with new vigour."

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has also suggested to form a joint working committee between the two countries to address problems.

However, Turkey has so far shown no sign of meeting Russia's key conditions of an apology and bringing to justice those responsible for the death of a Russian pilot of the downed plane.

The Turkish official said the letter should be seen as "a token of Turkey's goodwill" and expressed hope Moscow would also act "in a responsible and constructive manner".

The crisis in relations severely hit Turkey's tourism industry, with the number of Russian tourists drastically declining in southern holiday resorts along the Mediterranean coast.

 

 

Chinese spy ship entered Japan waters: Tokyo

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) June 15, 2016 - A Chinese spy ship entered Japan's territorial waters on Wednesday as Tokyo conducted a joint exercise with the United States and India, Japanese officials said.

Japan quickly voiced "concerns" over the intrusion as it came less than a week after another Chinese naval vessel sailed near islands at the centre of a Tokyo-Beijing sovereignty dispute in the East China Sea.

"The Chinese military vessel moved in after an Indian ship sailed into Japan's territorial waters as it participated in a Japan-US-India joint exercise," Gen Nakatani, defence minister, told reporters.

Japanese defence ministry officials declined to speculate why the 6,000-ton "information gathering" vessel sailed into the area, but Nakatani said China, as Japan's neighbour, must act "carefully".

A Japanese navy surveillance aircraft spotted the Chinese ship around 3:30 am (1830 GMT Tuesday) in territorial waters near Kuchinoerabu island in southern Japan, said Hiroshige Seko, a government spokesman.

Tokyo did not immediately say by how much the Chinese ship breached its territorial waters, which international law stipulates are a 12-nautical-mile band offshore.

The area is part of a Japanese island chain that divides the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and is not subject to the territorial dispute.

China's navy was conducting a "normal exercise" and passing through international waters in the Tokara Strait where "all countries can have the right of innocent passage," foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in Beijing.

"There is no need to provide notification or to get authorisation in advance," Lu told a regular briefing.

"So if Japan insists on hyping up this issue in the media, we have to question its motives."

China's defence ministry also said in a statement that its ship's actions were in accordance with international law.

The Chinese ship sailed southeast and exited Japanese waters around 5 am heading into the Pacific, Japan's Seko told a press briefing.

Wednesday's incursion came less than a week after another Chinese naval ship sailed close to the disputed islands further south in the East China Sea, though it did not enter what Japan sees as territorial waters.

- 'Thorough measures' -

Japan said last week that a Chinese frigate sailed into "contiguous waters" surrounding the contested East China Sea islands last Thursday.

Contiguous waters are a 12-nautical-mile band that extends beyond territorial waters. Under international rules, they are not the preserve of any single country, although the resident power has certain limited rights.

It marked the first time a Chinese navy ship had approached so close to the disputed islets and an angry Japan summoned Beijing's ambassador to protest.

Separately, China sent three coastguard ships inside territorial waters of the disputed isles on Wednesday afternoon, hours after Japan complained about the naval intrusion.

China does not recognise Japan's claim to the disputed islands -- known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China -- and says its ships have the right to sail freely in Chinese territorial waters.

International laws allow ships of all states to exercise the right of "innocent passage" -- cited by Lu -- through territorial sea.

A Chinese nuclear submarine entered Japanese waters in 2004.

Concerns over China's rising military presence in Asian waters have sparked worries in Japan.

Relations deteriorated in 2012 when Tokyo "nationalised" some of the disputed uninhabited islets. The countries have taken steps to mend fences but relations remain tense.

The response from Japan this time was more muted, however, with the government conveying its "concerns about the Chinese military's activities in general", Seko said.

"The government will continue to take thorough measures to patrol the air space and waters surrounding our nation," he added.

Japan has expressed concern over Chinese land reclamation and expansion of military facilities in the South China Sea, where Beijing has disputes with countries including Vietnam and the Philippines.

 

 

Obama to meet Dalai Lama at White House, defying Beijing

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) June 15, 2016 - President Barack Obama will meet the Dalai Lama at the White House on Wednesday, in a move likely to enrage China, which sees the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader as a separatist.

Obama's official schedule indicated that the pair, who have met several times previously, would talk behind closed doors in the Map Room at 10:15 am (1415 GMT).

The president usually speaks with dignitaries in the Oval Office. Previous encounters with the Dalai Lama have also been private and held outside the Oval Office to avoid risking relations with China.

Ahead of a February 2014 meeting, US officials at the time said the visit was arranged because the Dalai Lama is "an internationally respected religious and cultural leader" -- implying the face-to-face wasn't political.

Beijing has routinely accused Washington of meddling in its domestic affairs after such encounters.

China says the Dalai Lama is seeking to split Tibet from the rest of China and calls him a "wolf in sheep's clothing." But the spiritual leader has pressed more for Tibetan autonomy rather than outright independence.

Many Tibetans say China is repressing their Buddhist religion and culture, and preventing them from benefiting from the region's economic development.

Beijing vigorously lobbies against foreign leaders meeting the Dalai Lama "in any form."

Although Wednesday's meeting will certainly draw China's ire, the concrete consequences remain unclear.

Obama and the Dalai Lama -- both Nobel peace laureates -- appeared in public together for the first time last year at a high-profile prayer breakfast in Washington.

The president called the spiritual leader "a good friend" and described him as "a powerful example of what it means to practice compassion."

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since 1959 after a failed uprising in Tibet.

Last month, he warned of a growing divide among exiled Tibetans, saying morals are "degenerating" in the community, as the leader of its government-in-exile was sworn in at a ceremony in India.

The spiritual leader called on Tibetans to uphold traditions of love and compassion.

The recent race for political office, won by incumbent Lobsang Sangay, a 48-year-old Harvard scholar, was hit by reports of negative campaigning by candidates.

China rights lawyer ready for consequences over new book: daughter
Hong Kong (AFP) June 14, 2016 - A leading dissident lawyer in China is prepared to face the consequences over his new book predicting the possible collapse of the ruling Communist Party, his tearful daughter said Tuesday.

Gao Zhisheng has been under house arrest since 2014 after serving a three-year prison term on subversion-related charges -- a sentence which sparked an international outcry.

Daughter Grace Gao said the 52-year-old was about to publish a book written in custody and was ready to accept the consequences.

"He told us we (the family) should be prepared. To him he is physically and mentally prepared," the 23-year-old told a press conference.

Gao has indicated he is determined to sacrifice his freedom despite being separated from his family, she said, bursting into tears.

"He's determined he is not going to leave China... for things he thinks are right to do," Grace Gao said.

"He is putting his family aside... he thinks there are things bigger than ourselves."

Gao's wife Geng He fled to the United States in 2009 with Grace and their other child.

The wide-ranging book discusses the physical abuse Gao endured under detention, his faith in God and his belief that the Communist Party could collapse next year.

It has been brought out by a Taiwanese publisher and will go on sale there this week. But the publisher is still looking for a distributor in Hong Kong, said pro-democracy lawmaker Albert Ho.

The dissident lives in an isolated village in Shaanxi province. Ho, a friend of Gao, would not say how the manuscript was delivered to the publisher.

Gao fell foul of Chinese authorities by championing the rights of vulnerable people including underground Christians, aggrieved miners and members of the banned Falungong spiritual movement.

He was convicted in 2006 of "subversion of state power" and given a three-year suspended prison sentence.

State media said in 2011 that he had been ordered to serve the sentence after a Beijing court ruled he had violated the terms of his probation.

The decision was criticised by the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and rights groups such as Amnesty International.

Upon his 2014 release, his family said he had suffered abuse in prison and malnutrition that led to severe tooth damage.

Grace said her father was still living in "difficult" conditions and not receiving proper care.

China imprisons a number of high-profile critics including Liu Xiaobo, the writer and democracy advocate who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

 

 

ASEAN retracts South China Sea criticism: Malaysia

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) June 14, 2016 - Southeast Asian countries have reversed course on a statement that expressed deep concern over events in the South China Sea, where Beijing is embroiled in territorial rows, Malaysia said Tuesday, adding that "urgent amendments" would be made.

In a strongly-worded statement released to AFP by the Malaysian foreign ministry, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had earlier warned that recent actions in the disputed waterway -- where Beijing has been building militarised artificial islands -- had "the potential to undermine peace".

The statement came after what was characterised as "a candid exchange" -- language that hinted at a diplomatic set-to -- between the bloc's foreign ministers and their Chinese counterpart in the Chinese city of Kunming.

But just hours later, Malaysia said the ASEAN secretariat had issued a recall.

"We have to retract the media statement by the ASEAN foreign ministers... as there are urgent amendments to be made," a Malaysian foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

She said the Secretariat had approved the release of the statement, then later informed the ministry it was being rescinded.

The Chinese foreign ministry expressed puzzlement over the diplomatic dance, and denied any official document had been issued.

"We have checked with the ASEAN side, and the so-called statement reported by AFP is not an official ASEAN document," spokesman Lu Kang said.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea -- a vast tract of water through which a huge chunk of global shipping passes.

It has bolstered its claim by building artificial islands including airstrips in the area, some of which are suitable for military use.

The Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims to parts of the sea, which is believed to harbour significant oil and gas deposits.

- Arbitration -

The episode comes as the region braces for a ruling by a UN tribunal on a claim brought by the Philippines against China.

China does not recognise the arbitration and has reacted angrily to Manila's legal efforts over the Beijing-controlled Scarborough Shoal, off the main Philippine island of Luzon.

ASEAN has frequently struggled to reach consensus on issues involving China, which prefers to negotiate with individual countries, rather than the bloc.

Critics say this allows it to use its economic leverage on poorer members to water down criticism of its actions.

But the region appeared earlier Tuesday to be rallying around one of its chief democracies.

"We expressed our serious concerns over recent and ongoing developments, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and which may have the potential to undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea," the original statement said, without mentioning China by name.

"We emphasised the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities, including land reclamation, which may raise tensions in the South China Sea," it said.

"We articulated ASEAN's commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the region, as well as to the peaceful resolution of disputes," the statement said.

This includes "full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and the UN Charter".

Manila's case is being heard at The Hague under the provisions of UNCLOS.

China has been roundly criticised in the international community for its strong-arm tactics in the South China Sea.

Washington has repeatedly cautioned Beijing to exercise restraint in the region, and has sent warships through the waters on designated "Freedom of Navigation" missions.

It has also chided the Asian giant in recent weeks over what it says are "unsafe" intercepts of US spyplanes by Chinese fighter jets.

Beijing, which claims almost all of the South China Sea on the basis of a "Nine Dash Line" found on Chinese maps dating to the 1940s, says it will not budge.

China's stance on the sea is "in line with international law", its top diplomat Yang Jiechi said last month, insisting his country's position "will not change".

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US charges Chinese worker for IBM with 'economic espionage'

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) June 14, 2016 - US authorities charged a former Chinese employee of tech giant IBM with economic espionage Tuesday for allegedly stealing proprietary source code to hand over to a Chinese government agency.

The Department of Justice said Xu Jiaqiang had been a developer for an unnamed US company when he took the source code, intending to provide it to the Chinese National Health and Planning Commission, where he previously worked.

At the same time, he offered the code, the essential kernel of software programs often held tightly by their owners, to US FBI agents posing as tech company officials seeking software for their company.

After an investigation of more than one year, Xu was arrested last December and was charged with theft of trade secrets.

Tuesday's indictment supersedes that charge with three counts of economic espionage, each of which could bring 15 years in prison, and three counts of trade secret threat, which carry 10 year sentences apiece.

The indictment did not name IBM, and the company did not return queries. Justice officials would also not confirm IBM's involvement.

But the company website and a LinkedIn profile both name a Xu Jiaqiang as a developer at IBM, and press reports since the December arrest also put him at the company.

"Xu allegedly stole proprietary information from his former employer for his own profit and the benefit of the Chinese government," US Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said in a statement.

"Those who steal America's trade secrets for the benefit of foreign nations pose a threat to our economic and national security interests."

 

 

NATO boosts eastern presence ahead of key summit

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) June 14, 2016 - NATO defence ministers on Tuesday approved sending battalions to the three Baltic states and Poland just weeks before a landmark summit in Warsaw endorses a major build-up to counter a more assertive Russia.

Russia's 2014 intervention in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea stung NATO out of its post-Cold War complacency and into a major revamp to boost its readiness and resources to meet a host of new security challenges.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said ministers agreed to deploy four "robust" multinational battalions to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland -- all once ruled from Moscow and deeply suspicious of Russian intentions.

Additionally, "we will take tailored measures to enhance our defence and deterrence in the Black Sea region," Stoltenberg said, citing a Romanian offer to host a similar unit.

"This sends a clear message. If any of our allies is attacked, the whole alliance will respond as one," he said.

Stoltenberg stressed NATO did not seek confrontation with Russia and wanted a constructive dialogue but it would defend the 28 allies against any threat.

- Russian warnings -

Russia bitterly opposes NATO's expansion into its Soviet-era satellites and last month said it would create three new divisions in its southwest region to meet what is described as a dangerous military build-up along its borders.

NATO opened a missile defence base in Romania last month, sparking furious Russian warnings that this endangered its nuclear deterrent and it would have to consider retaliatory measures.

An increased NATO presence in Romania is additionally sensitive given that Russia's key Black Sea fleet has its historic base in Crimea.

Diplomatic sources say the four battalions in the Baltic states and Poland are likely to number 2,500-3,000 troops in total, with the small force designed to act as a tripwire once deployed from next year.

Officials said the United States, Britain and Germany had agreed to be lead nations for the battalions, with Canada expected to be the fourth.

- Cyber defence upgrade -

The Ukraine crisis also highlighted the new danger posed by "hybrid warfare," a mixture of conventional weaponry and information technology to weaken and destabilise an opponent without a formal declaration of hostilities.

Many in NATO were shocked by the speed and effectiveness of Russia's intervention in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea, and Stoltenberg said ministers had agreed to boost efforts to face the threat.

"We agreed that we will recognise cyberspace as an operational domain, just like land, sea and land," Stoltenberg told reporters at NATO HQ in Brussels.

"Most crises and conflicts today have a cyber dimension so treating cyber as an operational domain will enable us to better protect our missions and operations," he said.

NATO recognised two years ago that a cyber attack against a member state could be considered the equivalent of a military attack, triggering its 'one for all, all for one' Article 5 collective defence commitment.

- More defence spending -

Stoltenberg said NATO had now completed the "Readiness Action Programme" adopted at its 2014 leaders' summit in Wales, boosting resources and sharply improving response times to ensure it would not get caught napping again.

NATO leaders meet in Warsaw July 8-9 to sign off on the upgrade, which was topped off with a crucial commitment by member states to increase defence spending to two percent of annual economic output.

Stoltenberg said the alliance had finally reversed years of defence cuts in 2015, with spending up 0.6 percent and expected to increase another 1.5 percent in 2015.

"This is progress but I call on the allies to keep up the momentum and to do more because we need to match our defence spending with the challenges we face," he said.

The Warsaw summit will be hugely symbolic since the Polish capital gave its name to the Soviet-era Warsaw Pact, NATO's military adversary for nearly 50 years until the fall of Communism.

 

 

Chinese 'political prisoner' released from jail in Australia

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Sydney (AFP) June 15, 2016 - An Australian businessman jailed in China on bribery and embezzlement charges before being sent home to serve out his sentence was released Wednesday on compassionate grounds.

Matthew Ng, who worked for travel services group Et-China in the southern city of Guangzhou, was jailed for 13 years in 2011 in a case that drew top level interest in Canberra.

Chinese media at the time said the case related to Ng's role in Et-China's battle with a government-owned travel company for control of domestic travel agency GZL.

In 2014 Ng, who denied the charges, became the first Australian to benefit from a prisoner swap deal between the two countries.

Australia's department of foreign affairs has previously warned that any early release could negatively affect future cases, but Justice Minister Michael Keenan said there were "exceptional circumstances".

"Mr Ng applied for early release from prison based on his exceptional family circumstances," he said. "I am satisfied exceptional circumstances exist to justify Mr Ng's early release from prison."

Since he was jailed, Ng's wife Niki Chow has been diagnosed with breast cancer and one of his four children has reportedly died.

Ng's lawyer Tom Lennox told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last week his client was Australia's first Chinese political prisoner.

"A fair description of Matthew can be as Australia's first Chinese political prisoner -- that is, the subject of a state-imposed sanction whereby your liberty is denied for circumstances that would not constitute a crime on any reasonable test," he said.

Ng's arrest came just months after four employees of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto, including Australian passport-holder Stern Hu, were jailed in China on bribery and trade secrets charges.

Hu's trial strained relations between Beijing and Canberra, and stoked concerns among foreign investors about the rule of law in China, Australia's top trading partner.

mp/mfc/iw

STERN GROEP

RIO TINTO PLC

 

 

NATO to deploy 4 'robust' battalions in Baltics, Poland

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) June 13, 2016 - NATO will deploy four international battalions to Poland and the three Baltic states as part of the wider pushback against Russia's intervention in Ukraine, alliance head Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.

"We will agree to deploy by rotation four robust multi-national battalions in the Baltic states and Poland," Stoltenberg told a news conference ahead of a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.

"This will send a clear signal that NATO stands ready to defend any ally," he said, referring to a whole series of measures the US-led alliance has taken since the Ukraine crisis to counter a more assertive Russia.

NATO leaders are due to sign off on the programme at a July 8-9 summit in Poland, which has pushed for a much harder line, including having permanent bases in the east to counter Russia.

Stoltenberg did not say how many troops would be deployed in the four battalions but officials previously have said they will number 2,500-3,000, acting as a tripwire to deter Russia and reassure nervous alliance members once ruled from Moscow.

The NATO chief stressed that the deployment -- to be made on a rotational basis, not permanent so as not to infringe existing treaties with Russia -- was part of a much wider response to the Ukraine crisis.

This includes tripling the NATO Response Force to 40,000 men ready to move at short notice, creating a Spearhead force of about 5,000 on a just few days standby.

It also includes pre-positioning equipment and headquarters units so these troops can hit the ground running in any fresh crisis.

Topping off the revamp is a commitment by NATO's 28 member states to reverse years of spending cuts and devote two percent of total national economic output to defence within a decade.

Stoltenberg said progress was being made in this crucial area, with the allies spending 0.6 percent more on defence last year and an increase of 1.5 percent expected in 2016.

He repeated that NATO's response to the Ukraine crisis was purely defensive and that it did not seek any "confrontation" with Russia.

 

 

Philippine protesters say harassed by Chinese during flag stunt

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) June 13, 2016 - Filipino protesters said Monday that Chinese coastguard ships blocked and sprayed them with water as they sailed to a disputed South China Sea shoal to plant a Philippine flag for independence day.

China claims most of the strategic and resources-rich sea and has controlled Scarborough Shoal, just 230 kilometres (145 miles) off the main Philippine island of Luzon, since a 2012 standoff with the Philippine Navy.

The Kalayaan Atin Ito (Freedom This is Ours) group said 16 of its members arrived near the shoal early on Sunday, Philippine independence day, and their boat was promptly blocked by two Chinese coastguard vessels.

"Five of us attempted to swim to the rock to plant the Philippine flag and the UN flag but they harassed us," the group's coordinator Vera Joy Ban-eg, told AFP via text message.

"They chased us with their two speed boats and blocked our path, sprayed water on us. Two of the swimmers however were able to reach the ring of the shoal and raised the Philippine flag."

The incident comes at a particularly tense time in the long-running dispute between the Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal and other parts of the sea claimed by both.

China insists it has sovereign rights to nearly all of the sea, even waters close to the shores of its neighbours. Aside from the Philippines, other claimants are Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino's administration has taken China to a UN-backed arbitration tribunal in a bid to have Beijing's territorial claims declared illegal.

A ruling is widely expected over the next few weeks, although China does not recognise the arbitration and has reacted angrily to the Philippines' legal efforts.

Kalayaan Atin Ito has organised trips to Philippine-claimed or -controlled South China Sea islands in the past, sending 47 Filipino youths by boat to Filipino-garrisoned Thitu Island in the Spratly group in December.

The Philippine government has previously said it recognises the group's patriotism but has discouraged such trips, owing to safety concerns.

The group posted video clips and pictures of its latest trip on its Facebook wall.

One clip showed a group of young men and women singing the Philippine national anthem while they stood on the deck of a wooden-hulled boat flying Philippine and United Nations flags.

A larger, white-hulled vessel is seen shadowing the Filipino vessel from behind.

Ban-eg said 15 Filipino youths and an American national took part in the protest sail, but did not identify the foreigner beyond calling the person a "volunteer".

A Chinese embassy spokeswoman in Manila told AFP it may comment later.

cgm/kma/jah

Facebook

 

 

Chinese spy ship entered Japan waters: Tokyo

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎8:20:19 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) June 15, 2016 - A Chinese spy ship entered Japan's territorial waters on Wednesday as Tokyo conducted a joint exercise with the United States and India, Japanese officials said.

Japan quickly voiced "concerns" over the intrusion as it came less than a week after another Chinese naval vessel sailed near islands at the centre of a Tokyo-Beijing sovereignty dispute in the East China Sea.

"The Chinese military vessel moved in after an Indian ship sailed into Japan's territorial waters as it participated in a Japan-US-India joint exercise," Gen Nakatani, defence minister, told reporters.

Japanese defence ministry officials declined to speculate why the 6,000-ton "information gathering" vessel sailed into the area, but Nakatani said China, as Japan's neighbour, must act "carefully".

A Japanese navy surveillance aircraft spotted the Chinese ship around 3:30 am (1830 GMT Tuesday) in territorial waters near Kuchinoerabu island in southern Japan, said Hiroshige Seko, a government spokesman.

Tokyo did not immediately say by how much the Chinese ship breached its territorial waters, which international law stipulates are a 12-nautical-mile band offshore.

The area is part of a Japanese island chain that divides the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and is not subject to the territorial dispute.

The Chinese ship sailed southeast and exited Japanese waters around 5 am heading into the Pacific, Seko told a press briefing.

Wednesday's incursion came less than a week after another Chinese naval ship sailed close to the disputed islands further south in the East China Sea, though it did not enter what Japan sees as territorial waters.

Japan said last week that a Chinese frigate sailed into "contiguous waters" surrounding the contested East China Sea islands last Thursday.

- 'Innocent passage'

Contiguous waters are a 12-nautical-mile band that extends beyond territorial waters. Under international rules, they are not the preserve of any single country, although the resident power has certain limited rights.

It marked the first time a Chinese navy ship had approached so close to the disputed islets and an angry Japan summoned Beijing's ambassador to protest.

Separately, China sent three coastguard ships inside territorial waters of the disputed isles on Wednesday afternoon, hours after Japan complained about the naval intrusion.

China does not recognise Japan's claim to the disputed islands -- known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China -- and says its ships have the right to sail freely in Chinese territorial waters.

International laws allow ships of all states to exercise the right of "innocent passage" through the territorial sea. A Chinese nuclear submarine entered Japanese waters in 2004.

Concerns over China's rising military presence in Asian waters have sparked worries in Japan.

Relations deteriorated in 2012 when Tokyo "nationalised" some of the disputed uninhabited islets. The countries have taken steps to mend fences but relations remain tense.

The response from Japan this time was more muted, however, with the government conveying its "concerns about the Chinese military's activities in general", Seko said.

"The government will continue to take thorough measures to patrol the air space and waters surrounding our nation," he added.

Japan has expressed concern over Chinese land reclamation and expansion of military facilities in the South China Sea, where Beijing has disputes with countries including Vietnam and the Philippines.

 

 

NATO chief presses allies on defence spending vows

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
The Hague (AFP) June 9, 2016 - NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday called on allies to meet commitments made two years ago and boost defence spending as the alliance deals with a "challenging security environment."

He spoke after talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague and ahead of what he said would be a "landmark" leaders summit in Warsaw next month.

The Netherlands has already increased defence spending to try to help meet "current threats to the east and the south" of NATO's frontiers, Rutte told reporters.

Refusing to reveal any details about current cabinet discussions on the 2017 budget, Rutte added: "I do believe that over the next years we need to find room to go further."

Netherlands boosted its defence spending by 220 million euros ($248.8 million)in the 2016 budget, to a total of 7.5 billion euros. Spending is also set to increase a further 345 million by 2020.

In 2014, at a summit in Wales NATO allies agreed to halt defence budget cuts and aim to spend two percent of GDP on their militaries.

But Stoltenberg said there was still a long way to go for that commitment to be fully implemented, although it was understandable that at first defence cuts were stopped and then budgets gradually increased.

"I understand in a way it is hard to increase defence spending. All politicians and most people I meet, they would prefer to spend money on health, on education, on infrastructure and many other areas," Stoltenberg said.

"But we need to invest in our defence, because defence is a pre-condition for our safety and security and it is the only way to secure peace. We need strong defence not because we want to fight a war. We need strong defence because we want to prevent war."

NATO members are particularly worried about "a more assertive Russia in the east and turmoil and instability in the south," he said.

NATO leaders will meet in Warsaw in early July and discuss some options put forward by military planners to station "several battalions in eastern countries," Stoltenberg said.

"Tensions are going up, we are living in a more dangerous world," he warned.

Also Thursday NATO member Denmark affirmed its commitment to the alliance in announcing it would acquire 27 new F-35 fighter planes to replace its ageing F-16 fleet.

"Denmark will continue to contribute at a high level to NATO operations, exercises and capacity," said Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

The military investment approved by the Danish parliament is estimated to cost 2.7 billion euros.

 

 

China says US 'hyping' spy plane intercept

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) June 8, 2016 - Beijing accused Washington of "hype" on Wednesday after the US said two Chinese jets conducted an unsafe intercept of one of its spy planes over the East China Sea.

The spat came soon after the world's two largest economies concluded an annual dialogue overshadowed by disagreements over maritime issues.

US Pacific Command spokesman Commander David Benham said two Chinese J-10 fighter jets flew close to an American RC-135 reconnaissance plane that was on a routine patrol.

The Pentagon downplayed the encounter and blamed it on shoddy piloting.

"One of the intercepting Chinese jets had an unsafe excessive rate of closure on the RC-135 aircraft," Benham said, without specifying exactly where the incident occurred.

"The US once again is deliberately hyping this issue," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular briefing on Wednesday.

"The relevant Chinese military personnel have always acted professionally and in accordance with law."

He also called on the US to stop carrying out "close surveillance activity against China...to prevent similar incidents from happening again".

The East China Sea is part of the Pacific and home to small islands whose ownership is disputed by China, Japan and Taiwan.

China also claims a string of islets across the South China Sea and its military expansion in the contested waterway has sparked heightened tensions with regional neighbours and the United States.

Pentagon chief Ashton Carter attended a security summit in Singapore over the weekend, promising unspecified "actions" if China continued its buildup.

Last month the Pentagon said two Chinese jets conducted an "unsafe" intercept of a US reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea.

Still, PACOM head Admiral Harry Harris told reporters in Singapore on Saturday that such incidents were rare.

Tuesday's reported intercept came as US Secretary of State John Kerry urged China to settle its territorial rows peacefully and based on the "rule of law" on a visit to Beijing.

Beijing will not budge on its claims of ownership over a vast tranche of the South China Sea, a top official insisted Tuesday, as a key two-day annual meeting ended in the Chinese capital.

 

 

Japan protests as Chinese navy sails near disputed isles

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) June 9, 2016 - A Chinese naval ship sailed into waters surrounding disputed East China Sea islands for the first time early Thursday, prompting Tokyo to summon the Chinese ambassador to protest, the Japanese government said.

Russian naval ships were also seen in the area around the same time.

A Chinese naval vessel entered waters surrounding the Tokyo-administered isles, called Senkaku in Japan and also claimed as the Diaoyu islands by China, around 00:50 am (1550 GMT Wednesday), according to the Japanese foreign ministry.

It was a 3,963-ton Jiangkai class frigate, spotted by Japan's guided-missile destroyer Setogiri, the Japanese defence ministry said.

Contiguous waters are a 12-nautical-mile band that extends beyond territorial waters. Under international rules, they are not the preserve of any single country, although the resident power has certain limited rights.

"The fact that (China) sent a naval ship to the contiguous waters of our Senkaku Islands for the first time is an act that unilaterally increases tension and our nation is gravely concerned," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular briefing.

Relations between Japan and China deteriorated in 2012 when Tokyo "nationalised" some of the islets.

Since then, the two largest Asian economies have taken gradual steps to mend fences but relations remain tense.

Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki summoned Chinese ambassador Cheng Yonghua around 2:00 am to lodge a protest.

Saiki "expressed grave concerns and protested, while demanding the ship immediately leave our nation's contiguous zone," the ministry statement said.

During his meeting with Saiki, Cheng claimed the Chinese frigate was allowed to sail in the waters, Kyodo News said, citing an unnamed source.

The frigate left the zone at about 3:10 am, the Japanese government said.

Japan's Defence Minister Gen Nakatani, who was visiting Thailand, told Japanese journalists that Tokyo was taking a measured response.

"We will continue our calm handling of this issue so as not to unnecessarily escalate the situation," Nakatani said in an televised group interview.

"We will continue to act firmly in order to defend our territorial land, waters and air space," he said.

Chinese coast guard vessels routinely travel around the disputed islands.

Three Russian military vessels were also seen in the waters around the disputed islands around the same time, a Japanese defence official said.

The Russian ships entered the area around 9:50 pm Wednesday and left around 3:05 am Thursday, he said.

Suga said Japan was analysing whether the Chinese and Russian moves were in anyway related.

But he added that a lack of territorial disputes with Russia in the regional waters made its moves less concerning.

 

 

China blasts 'unilateral' Philippine move ahead of ruling

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) June 8, 2016 - China accused the Philippines Wednesday of ignoring requests for dialogue about their maritime dispute, as tensions rise before an international tribunal's ruling on the territorial row.

The Philippines has "unilaterally closed the door of settling the South China Sea issue with China through negotiation", China's foreign ministry said in a lengthy statement published by the official Xinhua news agency.

The statement came a day after the end of an annual meeting between the US and China in Beijing, at which the two countries failed to make progress on the issue.

China asserts ownership over nearly all of the sea despite competing claims by several of its Southeast Asian neighbours, and has rapidly built artificial islands suitable for military use.

Manila accuses China of effectively taking control of Scarborough Shoal, one of the contested areas, in 2012 and has brought a case against Beijing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.

China has shunned the proceedings and said it will not recognise any ruling.

In the statement, the foreign ministry said that in 1995 Beijing and Manila agreed to settle disputes through talks and negotiation. It accused the Philippines of ignoring proposals to create a consultation mechanism on disputes at sea.

The ministry did not specify how such consultations would be different from the numerous exchanges the countries have had on the issue.

It blamed Manila for the dramatic worsening in the two countries' relations and in the peace and stability of the South China Sea.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims to China, and object to its island-building.

Washington says such construction, which includes military-capable airstrips, threatens freedom of navigation. It has sent warships close to Chinese-claimed reefs, angering Beijing.

During the two-day meeting that ended Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged China to settle its territorial rows peacefully based on the "rule of law".

But Beijing's top diplomat Yang Jiechi said the US should butt out of disputes that were a long way from its shores, including the international arbitration case brought by the Philippines.

China's stance on the case is "in line with international law", Yang said, insisting that his country's position "has not and will not change".

 

 

One killed in Poland crash during NATO exercises

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Warsaw (AFP) June 8, 2016 - A Polish motorist died Wednesday after crashing into a United States military truck on a motorway in western Poland, where large-scale NATO war games are underway.

"The car's driver died while the passenger was injured," said Wojciech Kaliszczak, a spokesman for the Anaconda-16 manoeuvres involving 31,000 troops from 24 NATO and partner states.

"The large (US military) truck was travelling in a convoy with the Anaconda exercises," he added.

It was not immediately clear why the civilian car crashed into the truck while travelling on the A-18 motorway near the town of Swietoszow.

Police were investigating the causes.

Ben Hodges, Commanding General, US Army Europe, who is supervising the 14,000 US troops taking part in the manoeuvres, expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased.

NATO says the 10-day exercises are intended to shore up security on the alliance's eastern flank, where member states have been spooked by Russia's increasingly assertive actions.

 

 

Russia to set up joint air defence system with ex-Soviet allies

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Yerevan (AFP) June 8, 2016 - Russia is working on setting up a joint air defence system with all of its ex-Soviet military allies, a senior official said Wednesday.

"The merger of regional air defence systems will pave the way for creating a common air defence (system) over the entire territory of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation," Nikolai Bordyuzha, the head of the Russia-led alliance of six countries, told a press conference in the Armenian capital Yerevan.

CSTO, Russia's answer to NATO, groups Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

Moscow has a joint air defence system in place with Belarus and Kazakhstan, and the agreement to create one with Armenia "is being considered for ratification" by the two countries' parliaments, Bordyuzha said.

Moscow has stepped up military cooperation with its CSTO allies since becoming embroiled in its worst standoff with the West since the Cold War over its 2014 annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine and the subsequent start of a pro-Russian uprising in Ukraine's east.

Russia, for its part, accuses NATO of expanding its military reach close to its borders.

In May, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Washington that Moscow will consider measures to "end threats" from NATO's anti-missile systems in Europe that are based essentially on US technology.

The Western military bloc's missile shield includes the progressive deployment of missile interceptors and powerful radar in eastern Europe and Turkey.

NATO and the United States said this spring that they will switch their defence doctrine from assurance to deterrence in eastern Europe in response to a "resurgent and aggressive Russia".

 

 

Prince Philip, the 'strength' behind Britain's throne

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
London (AFP) June 9, 2016 - Britain's Prince Philip, who turns 95 on Friday, has been Queen Elizabeth II's constant companion for almost 70 years, offending and amusing in equal measure with his salty off-the-cuff comments and gaffes.

Known formally as the Duke of Edinburgh, the prince is a supporter of numerous charities and has been a reassuring presence at Elizabeth's side.

A self-described "cantankerous old sod", Philip's unvarnished humour endears him to some but often makes headlines for the wrong reasons.

In 2015 he was caught on camera appearing to tell a photographer "just take the fucking picture!" and asked a group of unpaid community workers: "Who do you sponge off?"

"You managed not to get eaten, then?" was one typical remark to a British student who had trekked in Papua New Guinea in 1998.

And on a historic state visit to China in 1986, Prince Philip warned a group of British students: "If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed."

Although garnering a reputation for coldness towards his children, the prince is considered by observers to be the glue that held the royal family together during a series of divorces by three of his four offspring.

In a rarely seen softer side, it emerged that the late Princess Diana addressed him as "Dearest Pa" in letters in which he offered solace over her deteriorating marriage to his eldest son Prince Charles.

- Exile from Greece -

The prince has been largely blessed with robust health, but was admitted to hospital with various complaints as he advanced into his 90s.

He suffered a bladder infection during the queen's diamond jubilee celebrations in 2012 and had a coronary stent fitted in 2011.

However, he accompanied the queen on overseas visits as recently as 2015, although was forced to miss a World War I commemorative ceremony last month on "doctors' advice".

Never one to talk about his own feelings, the prince admitted in a rare interview that he had carved out his own role by "trial and error".

Asked if he had been successful, he told the BBC: "I couldn't care less. Who cares what I think about it? I mean it's ridiculous."

But the queen was more forthcoming, calling him "my strength and stay all these years" in a golden wedding anniversary speech in 1997.

Prince Philip was born on a kitchen table on Corfu on June 10, 1921, the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece -- the younger brother of Greece's King Constantine -- and Princess Alice of Battenberg.

Aged just 18 months, he and his family were evacuated in a British Royal Navy ship from politically unstable Greece, with the toddler reputedly carried in a cot made from an orange box.

The family settled in Paris, sending the young Philip to preparatory school in England when he was just seven, then secondary school at Gordonstoun in Scotland, where he was head boy.

- Duty to serve -

He became a Royal Navy cadet following the outbreak of World War II in 1939, before serving on battleships in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean.

By 1945, he was a first lieutenant and witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay with the British Pacific Fleet.

Philip and the then Princess Elizabeth, the future queen, were formally introduced in July 1939 when her father King George VI and his family toured the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, on England's south coast.

They kept in touch during the war and met on a number of occasions. But it was not until July 1947 that their engagement was announced and they tied the knot that year on November 20 at London's Westminster Abbey.

Prince Philip's naval career was cut short after his wife ascended to the throne following the death of King George VI in 1952, but said "being married to the queen, it seemed to me that my first duty was to serve her in the best way I could".

In his spare time he is a keen horseman, competing at international level for Britain in the sport of carriage-driving.

He has also been patron of a number of organisations, including the WWF conservation group, and chancellor of the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh.

 

 

US firms 'increasingly unwelcome' in China

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) June 7, 2016 - US firms feel increasingly unwelcome in China, top American officials said Tuesday, as disagreements overshadowed an annual dialogue in Beijing.

The comments came as a survey of European firms said China's slowing growth was matched by an "increasingly hostile," business environment.

American companies are "questioning whether they are welcome in China", US treasury secretary Jack Lew told a meeting of CEOs on the sidelines of the Strategic and Economic dialogue.

"Concerns about the business climate have grown in recent years," he added.

Top US diplomat John Kerry urged Beijing to "get the barriers out of the way" of companies, adding that the two countries have yet to resolve concerns on intellectual property and clarify "the rules of the road".

"As every businessperson at this table knows, certainty, clarity, even-handedness ... and an equal application of the laws to everybody is critical to the confidence of the marketplace," he said.

He added that a Chinese law on foreign non-governmental organisations, including universities and professional groups, set to come into force next year would seriously curtail their ability of to work in China.

Lew and Kerry made their comments in a meeting with CEOs from US corporations including metals manufacturer Alcoa, which has accused China of dumping aluminium on world markets.

The group also included executives from China's Wanda Group, whose recent overseas buying spree included the purchase of Hollywood studio Legendary earlier this year.

China's vice-premier Wang Yang called on companies to seek "win-win results" while acknowledging that "in a market economy there will always be competition between our businesses".

The event came on the second day of the annual dialogue whose opening was marked by pointed exchanges on China's alleged overproduction of steel.

Lew said excess capacity had a "distorting and damaging effect" on world markets, but China's finance minister replied that the world was merely "pointing a finger" at his country.

bfc-nr/tjh/tm

ALCOA

 

 

Beijing refuses to move on sea disputes as US meet ends

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) June 7, 2016 - Beijing will not budge on its claims of ownership over a vast tranche of the South China Sea, a top official insisted Tuesday, as a key annual meeting with the US ended with no movement on the issue.

During a two-day confab in the Chinese capital, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged China to settle its territorial rows peacefully and based on the "rule of law".

But Beijing's top diplomat Yang Jiechi said the US should butt out of disputes that were a long way from its shores, including an international arbitration case brought by the Philippines.

China's stance on the case is "in line with international law", Yang said, insisting that Beijing's position "has not and will not change".

The case, he said, should be settled directly between the parties involved and called on Washington to "honour its promise of not taking a position in territorial disputes".

The South China Sea had been China's territory since ancient times and China had every right to uphold its territorial sovereignty and lawful and legitimate maritime entitlements, Yang said.

China claims nearly all of the strategically vital sea despite competing claims by several of its Southeast Asian neighbours, and has rapidly built artificial islands suitable for military use.

Washington has responded by sending warships close to Chinese-claimed reefs, angering Beijing.

The sour ending to the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue came despite efforts by both sides to smooth out the differences dividing the world's top two economies.

Speaking to reporters, the two sides seemed to talk past each other on the thorny question of how to settle a conflict in the region kicked off by the Chinese construction.

Both called for peaceful settlement of the issue and pledged to support freedom of navigation through the region's airspace and waters, but their remarks suggested very different visions for achieving those goals.

The US will continue its "fundamental support for negotiations and a peaceful resolution based on the rule of law", Kerry said.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have competing claims in the South China Sea, which encompasses vital global shipping routes and is believed to have significant oil and gas deposits.

Manila accuses China of effectively taking control of the Scarborough Shoal in 2012 and has brought a case against Beijing to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. China has shunned the proceedings and says it will not recognise any ruling.

- 'Growing restrictions' -

The meeting was also overshadowed by US views on an unfavourable business climate, steel overcapacity, and a restricted environment for foreign non-governmental organisations.

On Monday US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Chinese oversupply of steel was "damaging and distorting global markets", joining a chorus of criticism that blames Beijing for plant closures and job losses in the industry worldwide.

Washington also shared its concerns that a new law would hamper the ability of a wide range of American groups to operate in China, Kerry said, and over the "growing restrictions of freedom of expression and religion" in China, which has seen a crackdown on human rights lawyers and tightening controls on media.

But President Xi Jinping assured him that China "intends to remain open" and does not believe the restrictive law will impair its ability to do so, Kerry said.

A US official said the Americans brought up the law repeatedly during intense talks and considered it a major sticking point between the countries.

Foreign businesses also feel that the environment in China has become increasingly hostile, Lew said at an earlier meeting of CEOs on the sidelines of the dialogue.

But in closing statements top ministers from both countries stressed areas of agreement, and affirmed support for the denuclearisation of North Korea, cooperation on global health and ocean conservation, and joint efforts to combat bribery.

China and the US must "shelve" their differences and respect each others core interests, President Xi said in a top-level meeting that followed the dialogue.

bfc-nr/rb

KERRY GROUP

 

 

Beijing's artificial island includes operational farm

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:40 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jun 08, 2016 - While Washington has continuously accused Beijing of constructing islands in the South China Sea for military reasons, the true purpose may be agricultural. Ever since China began its land reclamation projects in the Spratly archipelago, the United States and its Pacific allies have cried foul, expressing particular concern over a military-grade runway atop Fiery Cross Reef.

But China has long maintained that the primary purpose of the artificial islands is for humanitarian reasons, and a number of facilities recently constructed in the Spratlys support that claim, including a lighthouse, hospital, and tourist resort. The latest development is no different.

According to state-owned Xinhua news, Fiery Cross Reef is now home to a farm. Nearly 4,000 square meters have been set aside for a vegetable garden, with more area reserved for a fishing pond. Roughly 500 livestock now call the island home, including geese, chickens, and pigs.

A hospital on Fiery Cross Reef is expected to be completed later this month. Covering nearly 160,000 square meters, the facility has a garden that includes coconut trees and tropical plants, according to Xinhua. The hospital will also feature state-of-the-art equipment for conducting operations and treating disease.

Naturally, these facilities require personnel, which is where that "military-grade" runway the US intelligence apparatus has been so panicked about apparently comes into play. The airstrip has been used by commercial jets to shuttle Chinese tourists.

A highly-contested region through which nearly $5 trillion in trade passes annually, most of the South China Sea is claimed by China, though there are overlapping claims by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

The United States has conducted a series of patrols within the 12-mile territorial limit of Beijing's land reclamation projects. Washington has also coordinated joint-military exercises with regional allies, in an effort to challenge China's influence.

On Sunday, the Chinese government responded to comments from US Secretary of State John Kerry in which he criticized Beijing's planned creation of a national air defense zone in the region.

"Countries from outside should honor their commitments and not make irresponsible remarks on issues involving territorial sovereignty," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

Sun Jianguo, deputy head of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army of China, had his own feedback for Kerry.

"We do not create problems, but are not afraid of trouble," he said, according to Reuters.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

 

 

 

 

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The History of the House of Rothschild

by Andrew Hitchcock

 

 

  • Hitchcock also wrote a history for the bankers:

 

 

  • One of our listeners added images and photos and turned this Rothschild document

into a PowerPoint presentation. It is very large; 67 megabytes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rothschilds have been in control of the world for a very long time, their tentacles reaching into many aspects of our daily lives, as is documented in the following timeline.  However, before you jump to the timeline, please read this invaluable introduction which will tell you who the Rothschilds are as oppose to who they claim to be.

The Rothschilds claim that they are Jewish, when in fact they are Khazars.  They are from a country called Khazaria, which occupied the land locked between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea which is now predominantly occupied by Georgia.  The reason the Rothschilds claim to be Jewish is that the Khazars under the instruction of the King, converted to the Jewish faith in 740 A.D., but of course that did not include converting their Asiatic Mongolian genes to the genes of the Jewish people.

You will find that approximately 90% of people in the world today who call themselves Jews are actually Khazars, or as they like to be known, Ashkenazi Jews.  These people knowingly lie to the world with their claims that the land of Israel is theirs by birthright, when in actual fact their real homeland is over 800 miles away in Georgia.

So, next time you hear an Israeli Prime Minister bleating about the so-called persecution of the Jews, consider this, every Prime Minister of Israel has been an Ashkenazi Jew.  Therefore when all these Prime Ministers have curried favour with the West for their re-establishment of a Jewish homeland, they have knowingly and deliberately lied to you, as they were never from that region, and they well know it, because it is they who call themselves Ashkenazi Jews.

The Book of Revelation, Chapter 2, Verse 9, states the following which would appear to be about these Ashkenazi Jews:

"I know thy works, and tribulation and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."
The most wealthy bloodline in the world bar none and the leader of the Ashkenazi Jews in the world today is the Rothschild family.  As you will see in the timeline, the Rothschilds have obtained this position through lies, manipulation and murder.  Their bloodline also extends into the Royal Families of Europe, and the following family names:  Astor; Bundy; Collins; duPont; Freeman; Kennedy; Morgan; Oppenheimer; Rockefeller; Sassoon; Schiff; Taft; and Van Duyn.

However, these are not the only bloodlines to worry about.  You are probably aware of the centuries old pratice undertaken by many Ashkenazi Jews whereby they would change their name, in order for them to appear part of the dominant race of the country in which they lived, so as they could obtain influential positions in that country, which they would then exploit to serve their real masters elsewhere.  There is plenty of evidence to prove the Rothschilds continue that deceptive tradition.

Furthermore the Rothschilds are known to sire many children secretly that they can put into positions of power when required.  This started with the very first man who took the name Rothschild, who had a secret sixth son.  Finally, remember the world is a diverse place, I could if I wanted change my name to Rothschild, or any of the names listed above, and that would not make me part of this family anymore than converting to Judaism in 740 A.D. will make these Ashkenazis Jewish.

Please, therefore, do not automatically assume someone you see with the name Rothschild or any of the names listed above are part of the Rothschild criminal network.  Furthermore and most importantly, the majority of Ashkenazi Jews are innocent and not part of this network.  Check the facts out for yourself first, this article is designed to inform people who the enemy is, not single out people of a particular race or people with a particular surname, who may have nothing to do with this Rothschild criminal network.
 

1743: Mayer Amschel Bauer, an Ashkenazi Jew, is born in Frankfurt, Germany, the son of Moses Amschel Bauer, a money lender and the proprietor of a counting house.

 

Moses Amschel Bauer places a red sign above the entrance door to his counting house. This sign is a red hexagram (which geometrically and numerically translates into the number 666) which under Rothschild instruction will end up on the Israeli flag some two centuries later.

 

1753: Gutle Schnaper, an Ashkenazi Jew (future wife of Mayer Amschel Bauer), born to respected merchant, Wolf Salomon Schnaper.

1760: During this decade Mayer Amschel Bauer works for a bank owned by the Oppenheimers' in Hanover, Germany.  He is highly successful and becomes a junior partner. Whilst working at the bank he becomes acquainted with General von Estorff.

Following his father's death, Bauer returns to Frankfurt to take over his father's business. Bauer recognises the significance of the red hexagram and changes his name from Bauer to Rothschild, after the red hexagram or sign signifying 666 hanging over the entrance door ("Rot," is German for, "Red," "Schild," is German for, "Sign").

 

Now Mayer Amschel Rothschild, he discovers that General von Estorff is now attached to the court of Prince William IX of Hesse-Hanau, one of the richest royal houses in Europe, which gained its' wealth by the hiring out of Hessian soldiers to foreign countries for vast profits (a practice that continues today in the form of exporting, "peacekeeping," troops throughout the world).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The European Union (flag pictured) is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe".

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South Sudan must sustain efforts to protect human rights, says UN official

Conflict in Darfur
Date 2003–2009 /2010

 

Location Darfur, Sudan
Belligerents
Sudan JEM factions
Bandera Darfur.svg SLM (Minnawi faction)
Sudan LJM
Allegedly supported by:
 Chad
 Eritrea
Sudan Janjaweed
Sudan Sudanese Armed Forces
Sudan Sudanese Police
Foreign Mercenaries
African Union
 
United Nations
Commanders and leaders
Sudan Khalil Ibrahim
Sudan Ahmed Diraige
Bandera Darfur.svg Minni Minnawi
Sudan Abdul Wahid al Nur
Sudan Omar al-Bashir
Sudan Musa Hilal
Sudan Hamid Dawai
Sudan Ali Kushayb
Sudan Ahmed Haroun
Rodolphe Adada
United Nations
Martin Luther Agwai
Strength
NRF/JEM: Unknown N/A 9,065
Casualties and losses
unknown
  • 178,258-461,520 excess deaths
  • 2,850,000 Displaced (UN estimate)
  • 450,000 Displaced (Sudanese estimate)
unknown 51 peacekeepers killed

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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