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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.










Behold a Black Horse

 Behold a Black




Price R 249.00 




Behold a Black Horse:

 Economic Upheaval and Famine


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


•2 MP3 files

•1 PDF Notes file





Japan's ageing emperor hints at abdication

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:12:04 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 8, 2016 - Emperor Akihito said Monday his advancing age and weakening health mean he may no longer be able to carry out his duties, setting the stage for Japan to prepare for an historic abdication.

"There are times when I feel various constraints such as in my physical fitness," the 82-year-old said in a national address.

"As we are in the midst of a rapidly ageing society, I would like to talk to you today about what would be a desirable role of the emperor in a time when the emperor, too, becomes advanced in age," he said.

Speculation about Akihito's future emerged last month with reports he had told confidantes that he would like to step down in a few years, in what would be the first abdication from the Chrysanthemum Throne in two centuries.

"I am worried that it may become difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the state with my whole being as I have done until now," he said, wearing a dark suit and sitting at a table in the pre-recorded video.

Akihito spoke obliquely -- never mentioning the word abdication and stressing he is legally prevented from commenting on the imperial system -- but analysts and media said his intention was clear.

"His majesty the emperor hints at abdication", read a two-page extra edition by the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun daily.

The comments will now allow the government to begin creating the legal mechanism for a royal departure, which currently does not exist.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a swift response, said the government would take his remarks "seriously".

"Considering the emperor's duties, as well as his age and the burden (of the job), we have to firmly look at what we can do," he said.

Tomitaro Hashimoto, an assistant professor at Reitaku University, said while the emperor did not use the word abdication, "his message clearly called on the public to concretely consider the way for that in the future".

"Legally, he can't request a revision of law," said Hashimoto, an expert on the imperial system. "That's why he can't ask directly."

Any eventual move by Akihito to step down, which would see him replaced by his eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito, appears to have wide support.

A survey by the Asahi Shimbun daily published Monday showed that 84 percent of people surveyed backed the idea.

- 'Sense of relief' -

Akihito has had surgery for prostate cancer and heart problems, both of which he alluded to in his address, though he stressed that he currently enjoys good health.

Public reaction to the speech was sympathetic.

"Since his majesty is getting so old, I was worried about his health, but he made his intention clear and the abdication issue came up," said 20-year-old Ryota Utsumi.

"It gives me a sense of relief," added Utsumi, who watched the address on a big screen in a busy Tokyo shopping area.

It was only the second time Akihito had spoken directly to the nation. The first was in the days after the March 2011 triple earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster as he sought to calm a nation undergoing its worst crisis since the war.

Japan's imperial house is said to be the world's oldest hereditary monarchy, and according to legend stretches back some 2,600 years in an unbroken line. It is deeply ingrained in the nation's native Shinto religion.

The speech came in a historically sensitive month. The country commemorated the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Saturday and does so again on Tuesday for Nagasaki.

And next Monday Japan pauses to recall the anniversary of its defeat in World War II under Akihito's father Hirohito, an annual event at which the emperor delivers a speech.

At last year's event Akihito expressed "deep remorse" over World War II.

He has keenly embraced the role of symbol of the state imposed after the conflict ended. Previous emperors including his father had been treated as semi-divine.

Akihito is credited with seeking reconciliation both at home and abroad over the legacy of the war fought in his father's name.

He has ventured to a number of locales that saw intense fighting, including Okinawa at home and Saipan, Palau and the Philippines abroad, offering prayers for the souls of all the dead and not just Japanese.

His life has also been characterised by a more personal openness previously unknown among Japanese royals.

His wife Empress Michiko was a commoner when they met and they chose to raise their children themselves, forgoing the traditional use of nannies.



Putin and Erdogan meet to mend ties after jet downing rift

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:12:04 AMGo to full article
Saint Petersburg (AFP) Aug 9, 2016 - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan jets into Russia Tuesday for his first meeting with counterpart Vladimir Putin since the two strongmen leaders began healing a bitter feud over Ankara's downing of a Russian warplane.

Erdogan's visit to Putin's hometown of Saint Petersburg is also his first foreign trip since the failed coup against him last month that sparked a purge of opponents and cast a shadow over Turkey's relations with the West.

"This visit seems to me a new milestone in bilateral relations, beginning with a clean slate, and I personally, with all my heart and on behalf of the Turkish nation salute Mr Putin and all Russians," Erdogan said in an interview with Russian state media.

The shooting down of a Russian fighter jet by a Turkish F-16 over the Syrian border last November saw a furious Putin slap economic sanctions on Turkey and launch a blistering war of words with Erdogan that seemed to irrevocably damage burgeoning ties.

But in a shock reversal in late June, Putin accepted a personal expression of regret over the incident from Erdogan as an apology and immediately rolled back a ban on the sale of package holidays to Turkey and signalled Moscow would end measures against food imports and construction firms from the country.

Now in the wake of the failed July 15 coup attempt in NATO-member Turkey, ties between the two sides could be bolstered even further -- with Erdogan bluntly making it clear he feels let down by the United States and the European Union.

Putin was one of the first foreign leaders to phone Erdogan offering support and, unsurprisingly, sharing none of the scruples of EU leaders about the ensuing crackdown.

"While Turkish-Russian ties are subject to their own uncertainties, this deterioration of relations with Western powers could accelerate a Turkish-Russian rapprochement," said analysts from the European Council on Foreign Relations.

- Back to business -

Relations between Turkey and Russia -- two powers vying for influence in the strategic Black Sea region and Middle East -- have never been straightforward and their predecessor Ottoman and Russian empires fought three centuries of war.

Yet before the plane crisis, Moscow and Ankara managed to prevent disputes on Syria and Ukraine harming strategic cooperation on issues like the TurkStream gas pipeline to Europe and a Russian-built nuclear power station in Turkey.

Those projects were all put on ice with trade between the two countries falling 43 percent to $6.1 billion in January-May this year and Turkey's tourism industry seeing numbers from Russia fall by 93 percent.

Now with Russia mired in economic crisis due to Western sanctions over Ukraine and lower oil prices and Turkey's outlook flagging, both men want to get business started again.

Erdogan told Russian media that he wants to "immediately take steps" towards getting the TurkStream project -- that was to have pumped 31.5 billion cubic metres of gas a year -- going again and to finish the Akkuyu power plant.

- Friends for real? -

The earlier uptick in relations was built on a macho friendship between Putin and Erdogan, two combative leaders in their early 60s credited with restoring confidence to their nations in the wake of financial crises but also criticised for clamping down on human rights.

But after such a bitter dispute -- which saw Putin accuse Erdogan of stabbing Russia in the back and having links to the illegal oil trade with the Islamic State group -- it will take a lot for the pair to reheat ties.

"What we are going to see is a longer-lasting but more pragmatic type of relationship built not on a personal friendship or ideology but on common material interests," said Alexander Baunov, a senior associate at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

Russia, which is flying a bombing campaign in support of Erdogan's foe President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, transformed the balance of the Syrian civil war last September when it intervened militarily, to Turkey's consternation.

Erdogan insisted to Russian media that Assad must still go -- a position opposed by Putin -- but did say that the conflict at the heart of the falling out with Moscow could now also become the focus for renewed cooperation between the two sides.

"Russian is a main, key and very important player in establishing peace in Syria," Erdogan said in comments translated into Russian. "The problem needs to be solved with help of joint steps between Russia and Turkey."

Events in Turkey since attempted coup
Ankara (AFP) Aug 8, 2016 - Turkey held huge rallies Sunday in a show of unity with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after last month's failed coup which he says was plotted by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Erdogan has launched a sweeping crackdown on alleged coup plotters, with more than 60,000 people from the military, judiciary, civil service and education dismissed, detained or under investigation for suspected links to the Gulen movement.

Gulen has denied the charges and the mass purge has strained Turkey's relations with its Western allies.

Here is a recap of the key events as they unfolded.

- Bloody putsch attempt -

FRIDAY, JULY 15: Around 11:00 pm, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim denounces an attempt to overthrow the government after mutinous soldiers block Istanbul bridges over the Bosphorus.

Just before midnight, a group calling itself the "Council for Peace in the Homeland" declares martial law and a curfew as its troops deploy in Istanbul and Ankara.

Erdogan calls on the nation from a seaside resort in Marmaris to oppose the coup, speaking via a FaceTime cellphone link broadcast by CNN-Turk television.

Tens of thousands of citizens respond to Erdogan's call and huge crowds confront the putschists. Bloody clashes break out between the two sides.

- Erdogan accuses Gulen -

SATURDAY, JULY 16: Erdogan flies to Istanbul where a large crowd awaits, and declares the coup plotters guilty of "treason" and accuses them of ties to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

In Pennsylvania, Gulen condemns the coup and rejects charges he orchestrated it.

Interim army chief of staff General Umit Dundar says the putsch has been defeated. Jubilant crowds pour onto the streets of Istanbul to show support for Erdogan, who demands that the US expel Gulen.

- Return of death penalty? -

SUNDAY, JULY 17: Erdogan vows to crack down on Gulen backers and "to clean the virus from all state bodies", while urging supporters to remain in the streets.

He suggests Turkey might reinstate the death penalty, which was officially abolished in 2004.

- Western warnings -

MONDAY, JULY 18: The European Union, NATO, and the United States warn Turkey to respect the rule of law after the start of a massive crackdown on suspected plotters.

European leaders warn that reinstating capital punishment would end Turkey's hopes of joining the EU.

- Purge spreads -

TUESDAY, JULY 19: A purge that began with rebel army units and officers quickly spreads to all sectors suspected of being infiltrated by Gulen supporters, including the justice and education ministries and religious organisations.

Licences are scrapped for television and radio stations linked to Gulen.

A spokesman for US President Barack Obama says he is "willing to provide appropriate assistance to Turkish authorities investigating the attempted coup".

Secretary of State John Kerry adds Turkey must send "evidence, not allegations" in its demand for Gulen's extradition.

- State of emergency -

JULY 20: Erdogan returns to Ankara for the first time since the attempted coup, and shortly before midnight declares a three-month state of emergency.

JULY 23: Erdogan's cabinet decrees that police can now hold suspects for one month without charge. Turkey disbands the elite presidential guard after detaining almost 300 of its members.

JULY 24: Thousands of Turks, including Erdogan's ruling Islamic-conservatives and the opposition secular camps, gather in Istanbul for the first cross-party rally to condemn the coup attempt.

- Tightens grip on army -

JULY 28: Turkey reshuffles key military commanders, sacking almost half of its generals.

JULY 29: Authorities detain three top tycoons as part of investigations into Gulen's activities.

JULY 30: Erdogan says he wants to introduce constitutional changes to bring the spy agency and military chief of staff directly under his control.

- Show of support -

JULY 31: Tens of thousands of Erdogan supporters rally in the German city of Cologne.

AUGUST 2: Erdogan accuses Western countries of supporting "terror" and the coup plotters, saying the failed putsch was a "scenario written from outside".

AUGUST 4: An Istanbul court issues an arrest warrant for Gulen.

AUGUST 7: Mass rallies mark the end of the daily protests held in a show of unity against the coup plotters.



Uncertain future for landmark Istanbul military school

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:12:04 AMGo to full article
Istanbul (AFP) Aug 8, 2016 - With its twin pointed towers and brilliant white facade stretching along the Bosphorus, the Kuleli Military High School is one of the most striking late Ottoman sights in Istanbul, a symbol of power and continuity.

Yet after over one and a half centuries of use, the future of the famed building -- designed by a great Ottoman Armenian architect --is in doubt after it played an important role in the failed coup aimed at unseating President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

After several officers working at the school were implicated in the July 15 coup attempt, the school will not continue in its current form, as the authorities seek to flush out all influence of the Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed for the putsch.

Turkey last month released from jail 62 students at Kuleli -- believed to be teenagers unwittingly caught up in the failed putsch and used by their superiors.

Turkish state media had quoted the students as saying they were told an operation was under way on July 15 without having any idea of what it was.

"We learnt the true face of what happened after police came in the morning to get hold of us," one student Ali Akdogan told the Anadolu news agency. "We were deceived."

- 'Etched in Istanbul's memory'-

The government has issued a decree closing military high schools in the wake of the coup, so the future for Kuleli is unclear, with options mooted including a museum of democracy or even a luxury hotel -- an idea which has appalled traditionalists.

Tayfun Kahraman, head of the Istanbul City Planners' Chamber, described the building as "iconic and etched in the memory of Istanbul."

"In the future uses of the building, the same memory must be protected," he told AFP.

He said the Kuleli school -- which as well as its famous building also boasts vast parklands -- should open to public with a green space concept like the Luxembourg Gardens.

"There are many examples in Europe: Take for example, the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. It is a palace garden but in its current form, it is open to public," Kahraman added.

The Luxembourg Gardens, or Jardin du Luxembourg in French, is one of the oldest gardens in Paris dating back to the 17th century, and home to a palace harbouring the Senate as well as a museum open to public.

"The same could apply to the Kuleli military school with its forested area when Istanbul's need for green spots are so obvious," Kahraman said.

Situated on the Asian side of the Bosphorus in the Istanbul suburb of Cengelkoy near the first bridge, the school's facade -- spectacularly lit at night -- wows tourists on cruises even if few are aware of its history.

- 'Cultural heritage'-

The school was designed by Ottoman Armenian architect Garabet Balyan who left an extraordinary architectural legacy in the city, including the Dolmabahce Palace of the late Ottoman Sultans.

The barracks were transformed into a hospital during the notorious Ottoman-Russian wars in 1877-1878.

The building was used by the British when Istanbul was occupied in 1920 and later given to the Armenian community at the end of World War I to be used as a dormitory for Armenian orphans whose families were forcibly deported during the war.

After the Turkish war of independence the building was given back to Turks under the Lausanne Treaty -- founding treaty of the republic -- and became a military school again in 1925.

There has been speculation the building -- which has a splendid view over the Bosphorus -- could be used as a hotel, an option dismissed by the government.

"For God's sake, who came up with the idea of converting the Kuleli military school building into a hotel?" Defence Minister Fikri Isik told the Hurriyet newspaper. "This is not on our government's agenda right now."

Can Atalay, a prominent lawyer, said the building could continue in its current role.

"The building had been designed as a military school and used for this purpose for over a century and a half," he told AFP.

"There's no obstacle standing in the way of the building staying as a school. The coup attempt should not be abused to gain advantages," he warned.

Fishing in front of the Kuleli building, Ahmet, in his 30s said: "I hope the building will become a museum, not a hotel. Wouldn't it be much better?"



Xi's here to stay: China leader tipped to outstay term

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:12:04 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Aug 9, 2016 - Already China's most powerful leader in decades, President Xi Jinping will probably seek to extend his term to more than 10 years, analysts say, the first Communist Party chief to do so since Deng Xiaoping.

The ruling party's leaders have reportedly gathered at their secretive annual Beidaihe retreat on the northern Chinese coast, where discussions are expected to focus on the composition of its next all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee (PSC).

The 19th Party Congress, slated for next year, will decide a new PSC line-up, traditionally seen as indicating Xi's most likely successor after he steps down, due in 2022.

But Xi has thus far delayed anointing an heir. And while Chinese Communist leaders have often maintained influence after their official retirement, scholars and analysts increasingly believe Xi will try to stay in office beyond his standard term.

"A lot of analysts now see it as a given" that Xi will seek to stay party general secretary, the country's most powerful post, said Christopher K. Johnson, a former CIA analyst and now China specialist at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Willy Lam, expert on politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said there was a 60 to 70 percent chance that Xi would refuse to give up the role.

Doing so would violate the unofficial rule set by Deng Xiaoping, who led China from 1978-1989, that general secretaries stay in office no longer than 10 years. That principle has helped smooth transfers of power within the party since the 1990s.

As well as ensuring regular renewal at the top, and opportunities for different Communist Party factions to dominate at different times, the concept also seeks to prevent the emergence of a despot.

- 'No heir apparent' -

China's constitution sets term limits for presidents and ministers, but there is no such rule for the party secretary.

Analysts say if Xi's close ally Wang Qishan, a PSC cadre who is due to retire, is allowed a second term it could establish a precedent for the party chief.

Xi has made his enduring ambition clear by installing himself as chairman of most of the powerful new groups within the party, said Victor Shih, professor at the University of California, San Diego.

Doing so "increases the threshold for anyone to replace him," he told AFP. "Moreover, there is no heir apparent now."

Xi has already smashed several unwritten party rules since ascending to general secretary in 2012, Johnson noted.

His anti-corruption drive felled the once hugely powerful security chief Zhou Yongkang, breaking the tacit understanding that former top leaders were immune to such campaigns -- and giving him an incentive to stay in power.

More time as president could allow Xi to follow through on long-promised reforms and bolster his more assertive foreign policy in the South China Sea, experts say.

Xi's allies could argue a longer term would let him pursue his ambitious targets of national rejuvenation and doubling 2010 per capita income by 2020, in time for the 100th anniversary of the party's founding.

- Modelled on Putin -

Xi has already reduced the strongest potential source of challenges by establishing his grip over the military and police, Lam said.

The Party last week imposed tighter controls on the Communist Youth League, a key power base of Xi's rivals which has produced some of the country's top leaders, including former president Hu Jintao as well as premier Li Keqiang.

Analysts say Xi sees an enviable model in Russia's Vladimir Putin, who has successfully kept power for well over a decade by bouncing between the offices of president and prime minister.

"Like his good friend Putin, (Xi) wants to have more than two terms in power," said Lam.

But while Xi has openly admitted he admires Putin, following his example presents challenges, said Bo Zhiyue, professor of Chinese politics at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

"Putin can switch his positions without losing his power, but in Chinese politics that's not possible," he told AFP, adding that staying on as general secretary but not retaining the presidency would make Xi a "less powerful leader".

And the collapse of Russia's own Communist predecessor, the Soviet Union -- something Xi sees as anathema -- itself holds warnings for the Chinese leader, said the University of California's Shih.

In Moscow, a series of increasingly geriatric leaders held power until their deaths, he pointed out, which was "partly responsible for the sclerosis in late Soviet politics".





Japan summons Chinese envoy amid ship 'incursions'

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:12:04 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 9, 2016 - Japan summoned China's ambassador Tuesday after the country's ships were spotted near disputed East China Sea islands for a fifth straight day.

Foreign minister Fumio Kishida called in Cheng Yonghua, Beijing's envoy to Tokyo, the foreign ministry said -- the second such summons since Friday.

"The situation surrounding the Japan-China relationship is markedly deteriorating," he told Cheng, according to the ministry's statement on its website.

"We cannot accept that (China) is taking actions that unilaterally raise tensions."

The two countries are locked in a long-running dispute over the uninhabited islets known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

The move comes after repeated protests by Japanese foreign ministry officials since Friday over what Tokyo calls "intrusions" by Chinese ships in the territorial and contiguous waters of the rocky islands.

Cheng was also summoned on Friday by vice minister Shinsuke Sugiyama after two Chinese coast guard and fishing vessels entered Japan's territorial waters.

On Tuesday morning, the Japan Coast Guard said it spotted Chinese ships in the country's territorial waters surrounding the islands and about a dozen others nearby.

The Japanese coastguard a day before caught sight of 15 Chinese coast guard ships near the islands -- the highest number ever spotted.

Some 230 Chinese fishing vessels and seven coast guard ships, including four apparently carrying weapons, sailed into waters close to the disputed island on Sunday.

It is rare for so many Chinese fishing vessels to be seen in the disputed waters.

Tensions over the islands have been a frequent irritant and have strained bilateral relations, though tensions had markedly relaxed over the past two years as two sides took steps to ease the pressure through dialogue.

But the fundamental divide over the islands remains unresolved.

Japan's Kyodo News reported Monday that Japan wants "high-level" talks with China over the incursions as they have not stopped despite Tokyo's protests.

Citing a government source, it said that Japan wants to bring up the issue in talks between the country's leaders and foreign ministers.

Japan protested in June after it said a Chinese navy frigate sailed close to territorial waters near the islands for the first time.



Japan spots 230 Chinese fishing boats off disputed islets

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:12:04 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 6, 2016 - Some 230 Chinese fishing vessels and seven coast guard ships, including four apparently carrying weapons, sailed into waters close to disputed East China Sea islands on Saturday, Japan's foreign ministry and coastguard said.

Six Chinese coast guard ships were spotted earlier in the day and late Saturday afternoon Japanese officials said they spotted another, which seemed to be carrying arms, in the contiguous waters of the uninhabited islands.

The two countries are locked in a long-running dispute over the rocky islets -- known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China -- but it is rare for so many Chinese fishing vessels to be spotted in the disputed waters.

"We cannot be sure about what the Chinese coast guards are doing for what purposes in the waters," a Japanese coast guard official told AFP.

The 230 fishing vessels and seven coast guard boats remained in the area nine hours after they were first spotted, he added.

The fishing vessels appeared to be engaged in operation, he said.

After catching sight of the coast guard ships in the contiguous waters at 8:05 am (2305 GMT, Friday), the Japanese foreign ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau lodged a strong protest with the Chinese embassy in Tokyo, it said.

The foreign ministry, which also submitted a protest through its embassy in Beijing, demanded the vessels leave the disputed waters immediately and "never enter Japan's territorial waters", the ministry said in a statement.

"Japan can never accept activities by (Chinese) official vessels near the Senkaku islands, because it will unilaterally escalate the situation and raise tensions in the area," it said.

Saturday's protest came a day after Japanese vice foreign minister Shinsuke Sugiyama summoned Cheng Yonghua, Beijing's ambassador to Tokyo, to protest over intrusions into its territorial waters by Chinese coast guard and fishing vessels on Friday afternoon.

Tensions over the islands have seriously harmed bilateral relations.

The two sides have gradually taken steps to ease tensions through dialogue but the fundamental divide over the islands remains unresolved and tensions occasionally flare up.

Japan also lodged a protest in June after it said a Chinese navy frigate sailed close to territorial waters near the islands for the first time.



China must prepare for 'people's war at sea': minister

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:12:04 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Aug 2, 2016 - China's Defence Minister has urged preparations for a "people's war at sea" to counter offshore security threats and safeguard sovereignty, state media reported Tuesday.

Chang Wanquan's comments came several weeks after an international tribunal dismissed the country's claim to most of the South China Sea, a judgement it angrily rejected.

Chang "called for recognition of the seriousness of the national security situation, especially the threat from the sea", Xinhua news agency said.

The military, police and people should prepare to mobilise to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, he was quoted as saying during a tour of the coastal province of Zhejiang.

The agency did not say what day he was speaking or elaborate further.

Several Asian states have counter-claims in the South China Sea, where China has reclaimed reefs and islets to build airstrips and other major facilities.

The United States says it will continue naval patrols close to the reefs and outcrops to assert the principle of freedom of navigation, a move which has angered Beijing.

Ealier Tuesday China announced penalties for "illegal" fishing in its waters, including disputed areas.

The Supreme Court defined penalties for boats operating in "sovereign" areas including the South China Sea, in what appears to be an attempt to strengthen Chinese governance of the waters.

The question of who has the rights to fish in the disputed Sea has been a major bone of contention between Beijing and Manila, which brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

Beijing and Jakarta have also clashed over maritime rights, with Beijing claiming "historic" fishing grounds close to Indonesia's Natuna Islands.

The new regulations outline penalties for both Chinese and "foreign" fishermen operating "illegally" in Chinese waters, including its "exclusive economic zone" (EEZ), a 200-nautical mile region surrounding a country's territory.

The UN-backed tribunal denied China's claims to an EEZ in the Spratly Islands, where the Chinese coastguard regularly expels fishing vessels from the Philippines.

Beijing refused to accept the ruling, saying the court had no jurisdiction.

Those boats that "illegally enter" Chinese waters more than once in a year or refuse to leave the waters will be subject to fines and up to a year in jail, a posting on the court's website said.

It also established penalties for harvesting coral and giant clams, as well as other endangered species.

Any foreigners who believe that Beijing has violated their rights are welcome to take their claims to Chinese courts, the ruling said.

China also has maritime disputes with a number of other countries, including Japan and Vietnam.

Beijing risks triggering unintended conflict with Asian rivals through its aggressive stance in maritime disputes, Japan warned Tuesday in an annual security assessment.



Trump's economic plan

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:12:04 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Aug 8, 2016 - Donald Trump on Monday laid out his plan to lower taxes, freeze financial regulations and trigger an energy revival which he said would spur economic growth and "open a new chapter in American prosperity."

It was a broad-brush outline with some meaty specifics, aimed in part at reviving the Republican presidential nominee's flagging campaign after a series of missteps in recent weeks that sent him careening off message.

Here are highlights of the Trump economic plan.

- Lower taxes -

The lynchpin of Trump's plan is the slashing of various taxes on American individuals and corporations, a proposal he said would lead to the biggest tax reform since president Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

He would sharply reduce corporate tax to 15 percent from the current 35 percent, and set a 10 percent tax on what he described as trillions of dollars that US businesses have "now parked overseas" but want to repatriate into the country.

Personal income tax rates would be compressed from seven brackets to just three, with today's highest rate of 39.6 percent shrinking to 33 percent.

He would also abolish the estate tax, and said he would allow parents to "fully deduct" the cost of childcare spending from their taxes.

- Moratorium on regulations -

Trump would immediately slap a moratorium on all federal agency regulations that he believes are needlessly killing jobs. He said he would "cut regulations massively."

Already on the chopping block would be the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, which forces investment in renewable energy at the expense of coal and natural gas, and the Interior Department's moratorium on coal mining permits.

He would also repeal President Barack Obama's landmark health care law.

- Trade reform -

Trump is opposed to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership backed by Obama and Republican congressional leaders. It was signed by his administration and 11 other nations in 2015, but hit a snag in Congress.

He wants to abolish the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico that was signed into law in 1994, describing it as a pact that has "shipped your jobs to Mexico and other countries."

Trump reiterated his support for strengthened protections against currency manipulation that allow other countries to "cheat by unfairly subsidizing their goods."

China, warned Trump, "is responsible for nearly half of our entire trade deficit." He said he would go after Beijing for its "rampant" theft of intellectual property, its dumping of Chinese products on the US market and currency manipulation.

- Energy revival -

Trump called for an "energy revolution," starting with cancellation of Obama's climate plan and the Paris Climate Agreement, and a halt of US payments to United Nations global warming programs.

He would also expand offshore drilling, increase natural gas production, and reverse what he called Obama's "war on coal" that led to the loss of thousands of energy industry jobs.

He would call on Canadian firm TransCanada to renew its permit application for building Keystone XL, the crude oil pipeline between Canada and US oil refineries rejected by the Obama administration last year.



China installs radar in disputed waters: Japanese media

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:12:04 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 7, 2016 - China has installed a radar with potential military functions in a disputed area of the East China Sea, Japanese media said Sunday, in the latest flare-up of tensions between the two countries.

The Japanese foreign ministry said China had placed a surface search radar and surveillance camera on one of its structures in a gasfield which is claimed by both countries, the Nikkei business daily reported.

The ministry on Friday complained to Beijing through diplomatic channels, the newspaper reported.

The paper said it was the first radar unit known to have been installed on any of the Chinese structures in the area, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits.

Tokyo is analysing the radar's capability and is concerned that Beijing could be intending to strengthen its military power in the East China Sea.

The foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the report.

Japan and China agreed in 2008 to jointly develop the undersea reserves in the disputed area, with a ban on unilateral drilling.

But negotiations stalled and Tokyo suspects China has some drilling rigs in operation near its de facto maritime border with Japan.

On Sunday Tokyo separately protested to Beijing after two Chinese ships entered Japanese waters near disputed islands also in the East China Sea.

Japan's government said the two Chinese coastguard ships were sailing some 20 kilometres (12 miles) west of one of the Senkaku islands, known as the Diaoyus in Chinese, on Sunday morning.

"The intrusion violates our country's sovereignty and is completely unacceptable," Japanese vice foreign minister Shinsuke Sugiyama told Cheng Yonghua, Beijing's ambassador to Tokyo, by phone, according to a government statement.

The two vessels left the waters later in the day, the Japanese coastguard said.

On Saturday Japanese maritime officials reported seeing some 230 Chinese fishing vessels and seven coastguard ships, including four apparently carrying weapons, sailing into the same waters.



Turkey ruling party orders purge after coup attempt

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎8:12:04 AMGo to full article
Istanbul (AFP) Aug 6, 2016 - Turkey's ruling party on Friday ordered a purge from its ranks of supporters of US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, accused of plotting last month's failed coup.

The "urgent clean-up in the party organisation" was aimed at expelling those linked with the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation, as Ankara calls the movement blamed for the July 15 attempted putsch, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

It comes as Turkey announced a visit later this month from US Secretary of State John Kerry, which would be the first by a western diplomat since the failed effort to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

Turkey's hardline response to the coup has escalated tensions with Europe, while the United States, where Gulen has been in self-imposed exile since 1999, has not yet confirmed the key visit by its top diplomat.

Ankara has accused Erdogan's arch-foe Gulen of running a "parallel state" and on Thursday issued a warrant for his arrest for "ordering the July 15 coup" -- which the reclusive cleric vehemently denies.

The Muslim cleric has denounced the arrest warrant as meaningless, and his lawyer told reporters in Washington Friday that Turkey did not have any evidence linking Gulen to the failed coup.

"We haven't seen any evidence, direct or indirect... a scintilla of evidence, electronic or otherwise, implicating Mr Gulen," said attorney Reid Weingarten.

Turkey has frequently called on the United States to extradite Gulen, sending documents to Washington as evidence of his alleged involvement in the putsch attempt.

But Weingarten accused Erdogan of betting on "power and politics" to make Washington grant the extradition.

"The bottom line is that the conspiracy theories and the threats of Mr Erdogan are not strong enough to overwhelm the American legal system. And for these reasons, we believe that Mr Gulen should not and will not be extradited," Weingarten said.

- Links to Kazakhstan -

Turkish authorities have implemented a relentless crackdown in the wake of the coup.

Over 60,000 people within the military, judiciary, civil service and education have been dismissed, detained or are currently under investigation for suspected links to the Gulen movement.

A German national has also been caught up in the purge, Berlin confirmed Friday.

A woman was arrested several days ago after books were found at her home suggesting she had links with the Gulen movement or was a member of it.

The German embassy in Ankara has been trying to contact the woman for several days, without success, said the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, which initially reported the arrest.

Turkey is also pressing Kazakhstan over its schools linked to Gulen, with Erdogan expressing the hope on Friday that the Central Asian country would take steps to close them.

"They (Gulenists) have 33 schools in Kazakhstan. We have delivered them the list," Erdogan told reporters in Ankara with Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first foreign head of state to visit Turkey after the failed coup.

The Kazakh leader said 90,000 students were registered at those schools.

"If there are any among them linked with terrorism... we will respond to Turkey's demand," he said.

Ankara's crackdown on the Gulen movement has also targeted journalists accused of links to the preacher.

Twelve out of 14 journalist suspects from the Zaman daily were remanded in custody, Anadolu reported on Friday, less than a week after six others were arrested.

Mumtazer Turkone, former columnist of the newspaper, was one of the journalists arrested by an Istanbul court, on charges of "serving FETO's purposes," it added.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu escalated a war of words with Austria on Friday, calling it the "capital of radical racism" after Vienna urged an end to Ankara's EU membership talks.

"Racism is an enemy of human rights and humanitarian values and the Austrian chancellor should first look at his own country," he told TGRT news channel.

"Austria is the capital of radical racism," he added.

Reacting on Twitter soon after Cavusoglu made those comments, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz urged his counterpart to "exercise restraint".

"Turkey needs to moderate its choice of words and actions," he said.




Turkey, US meet after power grab attempt

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:30:40 AMGo to full article
Istanbul (AFP) Aug 1, 2016 - Turkey's military and political leaders were to meet on Monday in Ankara with the top US military commander in the first direct talks since last month's failed coup.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, will meet with Turkish chief of staff General Hulusi Akar and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in the Turkish capital.

Tensions between the two NATO allies have been aggravated by the foiled July 15 putsch by rogue elements in the military who sought to bring down the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

And some Turkish officials have even alleged that Washington could have had a hand in the plot, although the suggestion has been firmly denied by top US officials.

Turkey successfully thwarted the attempted coup, blaming it on a military faction loyal to Erdogan's arch-foe Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric who has been in self-imposed exile in the United States for years.

From his secluded compound in Pennsylvania, the preacher has denied the charges.

Ankara has dispatched dossiers to Washington which it says proves Gulen's involvement in the putsch, with the White House on Friday confirming it had received documents from the Turkish government requesting the cleric's extradition from Pennsylvania.

Last week, Erdogan lashed out at the top US general in the Middle East after he expressed concerns over military relations between the two allies in the wake of the putsch.

Quoted by US media, US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel had said the failed coup and subsequent round-up of dozens of generals could affect American cooperation with Turkey.

"You are taking the side of coup plotters instead of thanking this state for defeating the coup attempt," the Turkish leader said.

The US State Department has rejected suggestions it had any hand in the coup as "ludicrous".

Dunford will also visit the Incirlik air base, which is used by the US-led coalition for air raids against Islamic State jihadists, a US official told AFP.

Ankara suspects that the base in southern Turkey was used by putschists to resupply war planes involved in the July 15 operation.

Turkish authorities had temporarily cut power to the huge base in the wake of the aborted coup, later restoring electrical power supplies.



Russia invites NATO experts for security talks

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:30:40 AMGo to full article
Moscow (AFP) Aug 1, 2016 - Russia's defence ministry said Monday it had invited NATO experts to Moscow for talks next month in a bid to increase security in Europe as tensions with the Western alliance linger.

The announcement comes after a string of incidents and near-misses in Baltic Sea airspace that fuelled strife between Moscow and NATO.

"NATO military experts are invited to Moscow in September 2016 for consultations on the military and political situation in Europe," deputy defence minister Anatoly Antonov said in a statement, without specifying specific dates.

Antonov said Russia considered the safety of military flights over the Baltic Sea a "priority" and that representatives of non-NATO members in the region had also be invited for the talks.

Russia's NATO-member Baltic neighbours have accused Moscow of regularly violating their airspace in recent months and flying with switched-off transponders, devices which allow radars to identify planes and prevent collisions.

President Vladimir Putin last month backed a call for all military aircraft flying over the Baltic region to keep their transponders on.

A NATO official in Brussels told AFP the alliance had received details of the "several proposals" for cooperation Moscow had made at the NATO-Russia Council last month.

"Allies will consider them carefully, before determining next steps," the official said.

"Reciprocal military transparency and risk reduction has considerable potential to improve stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic area."

Relations between NATO and Russia have soured since Moscow annexed the Crimea peninsula of Ukraine in March 2014, and eastern European countries are worried that they too could be targets of Russian aggression.

NATO vowed at a summit in Warsaw in July to bolster its eastern flank to counter a resurgent Russia, agreeing to deploy four battalions in Poland and the Baltic states.

Moscow slammed the decision, accusing NATO of working to counter a "non-existent threat."

Russia's defence ministry also said Monday that it was ready to hold consultations with the "defence ministries of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Sweden and Finland to address mutual concerns regarding military activities in the border areas."




Turkey summons senior German envoy over Cologne rally

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:30:40 AMGo to full article
Istanbul (AFP) Aug 1, 2016 - Turkey summoned a senior German diplomat on Monday, a day after a rally in Cologne in support of the Turkish president who was not permitted to address the crowd by video link.

Turkish officials were also to meet with the top US military commander in the first direct talks since a failed coup on July 15, with Washington under pressure from Ankara to extradite the alleged mastermind, Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.

The coup aimed to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has since launched a sweeping nationwide purge of suspected Gulen supporters, dismissing tens of thousands from their jobs and detaining almost 19,000 people.

The crackdown has sparked international alarm, with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim admitting there may have been some unfair treatment in the dismissals.

"There must definitely be some among them who were subjected to unfair procedures," he said in comments published by state-run Anadolu news agency on Monday.

"We will make a distinction between those who are guilty and those who are not."

- German rally -

In Germany, home to Turkey's largest diaspora, tens of thousands of Erdogan supporters rallied in Cologne on Sunday to demonstrate their opposition to the coup in an event held under tight security.

Hours before the demonstration, Germany's constitutional court rejected an application to show via video link live speeches from Turkey by politicians including Erdogan, over fears they could work up the crowd.

The decision sparked anger in Turkey, with presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin calling the move unacceptable and a "violation of the freedom of expression and the right to free assembly".

A spokeswoman for the German embassy told AFP that the charge d'affaires had "been summoned to the Turkish foreign ministry at 1:00 pm (1000 GMT)" on Monday over the rally.

But Berlin played down the incident, saying such "invitations" were nothing out of the ordinary.

"In the day-to-day dealings between countries, it is a daily event -- normal for a representative of a country to be called in to the foreign ministry of his host country," German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told journalists.

The tension comes as ties between Germany and Turkey were already strained over the German parliament's decision to brand as genocide the World War I-era Armenian massacre by Ottoman forces.

- Tensions with Washington -

Also on Monday, General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, was to meet with Yildirim and Turkish chief of staff General Hulusi Akar.

Tensions between the two NATO allies have been aggravated by the foiled putsch, with some Turkish officials even alleging that Washington could have had a hand in the plot. The suggestion has been firmly denied by top US officials.

Turkey is now requesting the extradition of Gulen -- who has lived in self-imposed exile since 1999 -- from his leafy compound in Pennsylvania.

"We do not want (the US) to be in a position that will make us question our friendship," Yildirim said.

"If they keep on dragging (their) feet on the Gulen issue... then things will take a different course, because events of July 15 are crystal clear."

After a cabinet meeting in Ankara, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters that Washington would have to chose between support for a "terrorist chief" and the citizens of Turkey.

Last week, Erdogan lashed out at the top US general in the Middle East, General Joseph Votel, after he expressed concerns about the future of military relations between the two allies in the wake of the putsch.

Meanwhile Turkey on Monday said it had arrested 11 fugitive soldiers suspected of involvement in an attack on Erdogan's hotel during the night of the coup, Kurtulmus said.

Erdogan was staying in the western seaside resort of Marmaris on July 15 but dashed to Istanbul just before the hotel came under attack from rebel soldiers determined to oust him from power.

Just one soldier from the attack group now remains at large, Kurtulmus added.



FBI technician pleads guilty to acting as China agent

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:30:40 AMGo to full article
New York (AFP) Aug 1, 2016 - A 46-year-old FBI electronics technician pled guilty in New York on Monday to acting as an agent of China and passing along sensitive information to a Chinese government official.

Kun Shan Chun, also known as Joey Chun, faces up to 10 years behind bars when sentenced by a federal judge on December 2, US prosecutors said.

He was arrested in March, having worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation for nine years and getting top secret security clearance in 1998.

He confessed to collecting sensitive information and allowing it to be passed onto a Chinese official in exchange for financial reward and concealing that relationship from the FBI.

Information that he disclosed included the identity and potential travel patterns of an FBI agent, information about the internal structure of the bureau and surveillance technologies used by the FBI, US officials said.

Chun, who was born in China and became a naturalized US citizen after moving to America, pled guilty to one count in court on Monday.

Manhattan's top prosecutor, Preet Bharara, said the crime "betrays our nation and threatens our security."

"When the perpetrator is an FBI employee, like Kun Shan Chun, the threat is all the more serious and the betrayal all the more duplicitous," he said.



Erdogan says wants Turkey spy agency, chief of staff under his control

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:30:40 AMGo to full article
Ankara (AFP) July 30, 2016 - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said he wanted to introduce constitutional changes to bring the Turkish spy agency and military chief of staff directly under his control after the failed coup.

"We are going to introduce a small constitutional package (to parliament) which, if approved, will bring the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) and chief of staff under the control of the presidency," he told A-Haber television in an interview.

The government would need support from opposition parties to push through the shift as a super majority of two-thirds of deputies is needed to make constitutional changes.

Erdogan added that in the wake of the July 15 coup bid "military schools will be closed... and a national military university will be founded" as part of a wide-ranging shake-up of the army.

He also said that in future the heads of the land, sea and air forces will also have to report directly to Defence Minister Fikri Isik.

The changes, announced just over two weeks after the coup, appear aimed at giving Erdogan more control over the armed forces and intelligence.

Rogue elements in the military -- who Erdogan says were controlled by the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen -- surprised the authorities by launching the coup while the president has also complained of intelligence failures.

Erdogan also said a three-month state of emergency declared in the wake of the coup could be extended, as the French authorities did after a string of jihadist attacks in the country.

"If things do not return to normal in the state of emergency then like France we could extend it," Erdogan said.

The president said that until now 18,699 people had been detained in the legal crackdown after the coup, with 10,137 of them placed under arrest.

Turkey dismisses 1,400 troops as Erdogan tightens grip
Ankara, Turkey (AFP) July 31, 2016 - Turkey's government on Sunday dismissed nearly 1,400 military personnel, including a top aide to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the latest round of a sweeping purge following a failed coup.

The announcement in the official gazette came as Erdogan sought to tighten his grip over the country by bringing the armed forces and spy agency under his control.

The coup saw a rogue group within the military unsuccessfully attempt to depose Erdogan, who has since launched a huge crackdown on those suspected of complicity.

Erdogan's aide-de-camp Ali Yazici, who was arrested five days after the July 15 putsch, was among the 1,389 dismissed by a new decree in the official gazette.

Chief-of-staff Hulusi Akar's aide-de-camp Levent Turkkan and Defence Minister Fikri Isik's executive assistant Tevfik Gok were also discharged.

State-run news agency Anadolu said the soldiers were dismissed because of alleged links to the movement led by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of masterminding coup.

Gulen strongly denies the charges.

The latest expulsions followed the dishonourable discharges of 149 admirals and generals -- almost half the military's entire contingent -- along with 1,099 officers and 436 junior officers.

Erdogan told the A-Haber television channel late Saturday that he wanted to introduce constitutional changes to bring the Turkish spy agency and military chief of staff directly under his control, which would need parliamentary approval.

The new degree also confirmed his announcement that a new national military university would be established within the defence ministry, while military schools and academies would be closed down.

Military hospitals are to come under the control of the health ministry.

Anadolu meanwhile said Turkey's deputy prime ministers and the ministers for justice, interior and foreign affairs have all become members of the Supreme Military Council, which determines the armed forces' agenda.

More than 50,000 people have lost their jobs nationwide and more than 18,000 have been detained since the coup, in which rebel soldiers came up against loyal supporters of the president.

In Germany, home to the biggest Turkish diaspora, tens of thousands of Erdogan's followers were due to rally later Sunday in the city of Cologne, where tensions over the coup have put authorities on edge.



Turkey jails journalists after coup as Erdogan slams West

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:30:40 AMGo to full article
Ankara (AFP) July 30, 2016 - Turkey was on Saturday holding 17 journalists on charges of "terror group" membership as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Western critics to "mind your own business" over a relentless crackdown following a failed coup.

But in a goodwill gesture two weeks after the July 15 coup bid, Erdogan also announced he was withdrawing thousands of lawsuits against individuals accused of insulting him.

Turkey has detained more than 18,000 people over the attempted putsch which has been blamed on the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen -- a charge he denies -- with the crackdown sparking warnings from Brussels that Ankara's EU membership bid may be in danger.

Seventeen journalists remanded in custody by an Istanbul court over links to Gulen woke up in jails across the city on Saturday as international concern grows over the targeting of reporters in the wake of the thwarted putsch.

Twenty-one journalists had appeared before a judge in hearings lasting until midnight on Friday. Four were then freed but the rest were placed under pre-trial arrest, charged with "membership of a terror group", the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Those held include the veteran journalist Nazli Ilicak as well as the former correspondent for the pro-Gulen Zaman daily Hanim Busra Erdal.

Among those freed was prominent commentator Bulent Mumay who was given a rapturous welcome by supporters.

"I could never have imagined being accused of such a thing. It was madness. It's not right to arrest journalists -- this country should not make the same mistakes again," he said, quoted by the Dogan news agency.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu defended the detention of reporters, saying it was necessary to distinguish between coup plotters and those "who are engaged in real journalism".

Erdogan also announced that as a gesture of goodwill after the coup he was dropping hundreds of lawsuits against individuals accused of "disrespectful" insults against him.

Earlier this year, officials had said more than 2,000 people were being prosecuted on charges of insulting the president, from a provincial schoolboy to a former Miss Turkey.

- 'Mind your own business!' -

Thousands of those detained after the coup have now been released, with an Istanbul court freeing 758 soldiers late on Friday, adding to another 3,500 former suspects already set free.

Among those released were 62 students from Istanbul's military academy -- many said to be in their teens -- who left Maltepe jail to an emotional reunion with relatives, Dogan news agency said.

But with concern growing about the sheer numbers rounded-up, EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn said he needed to see "black-and-white facts about how these people are treated".

"And if there is even the slightest doubt that the (treatment) is improper, then the consequences will be inevitable," he told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

In a speech at his presidential palace late on Friday remembering those killed during the failed coup, Erdogan angrily denounced the criticism and accused the West of deserting Turkey in its hour of need.

"Some people give us advice. They say they are worried. Mind your own business! Look at your own deeds," Erdogan said.

One of the very few EU officials of any rank to visit Turkey in the wake of the coup was Alan Duncan, a junior minister within Britain's foreign office.

Erdogan on Saturday met with Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdulrahman al-Thani of Qatar, one of Turkey's closest allies.

Tens of thousands of Erdogan supporters are due to rally in the German city of Cologne on Sunday with the German authorities on edge to prevent any clashes.

- 'Taking the plotters' side' -

Turkey implemented a shake-up of the military on Thursday after nearly half of its 358 generals were sacked for complicity in the coup.

A senior official said on Saturday that Turkey had intercepted encrypted messages sent by followers of Gulen on the app ByLock well before the coup attempt, giving Ankara names of tens of thousands within the preacher's network.

Erdogan had earlier also lashed out at a top US general who had expressed concerns about military relations after the putsch, accusing him of "taking the side of the plotters".

Quoted by US media, US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel said on Thursday that the coup bid and subsequent round-up of dozens of generals could affect American cooperation with Turkey. Votel swiftly denied any link to the coup however.



China confirms probing Japanese for 'endangering security'

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:30:40 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) July 31, 2016 - Beijing has confirmed it is investigating a Japanese suspected of "endangering China's national security", following Japanese reports that he had been detained, the latest irritant in relations between the two nations.

The foreign ministry gave the confirmation in a statement quoted by China's Global Times newspaper late Saturday, but did not specifically state that he had been detained.

The claim of endangering security is often used in cases of suspected espionage. The ministry said the Japanese embassy had been informed of the case.

There have been multiple reports in the Japanese press since mid-July about the man's disappearance. The Nikkei Business Daily identified him as the head of an organisation working to improve ties between the two nations.

He was due to spend four days in Beijing for work but did not return home and has not been answering his mobile phone, Japan's Kyodo news agency said Saturday, quoting Japanese government and other sources.

The Japanese government's top spokesman Yoshihide Suga denied his country was involved in spying "against any nation", Kyodo added.

Chinese authorities earlier this year arrested four Japanese on suspicion of spying.

The two countries have been taking steps for more than a year to improve relations that remain plagued by tensions over the legacy of World War II as well as a maritime dispute.

Ties, however, remain shaky and Chinese allegations of espionage by Japanese have become a new source of friction.



Tensions as tens of thousands rally for Erdogan in Germany

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:30:40 AMGo to full article
Cologne, Germany (AFP) July 31, 2016 - Tens of thousands of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rallied in the German city of Cologne on Sunday as tensions over Turkey's failed coup put authorities on edge.

Waving the Turkish flag and chanting "Turkey", the demonstrators turned the rally site next to the River Rhine into a sea of red as they began the demonstration by singing the Turkish and German national anthems. Some held banners saying "Erdogan, fighting for liberty".

"We are here because our compatriots in Germany are standing up for democracy and against the attempted military coup in Turkey," said Turkey's Sports Minister Akif Cagatay Kilic at the rally, Tagesspiegel daily reported.

"The message to be sent from the event is that in Turkey, all parties and NGOs want to stand together against the coup and to defend democracy," added the minister, who was born in Germany.

Police said the gathering, organised by groups including the pro-Erdogan Union of European-Turkish Democrats (UETD), broke up around 1600 GMT with the crowd estimated at 40,000.

Since the attempted July 15 power grab, Erdogan's government has launched a huge crackdown, detaining almost 19,000 people and sparking international concern.

Ratcheting up its clampdown on the military, Ankara on Sunday dismissed nearly 1,400 military personnel, including a top aide to Erdogan, and confirmed it would close military schools and academies.

Erdogan -- who says a group within the military acted on the orders of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen -- has also said he will bring the country's spy agency and military chief of staff directly under his control.

The drama has spilled over into Germany, home to three million ethnic Turks -- the biggest Turkish diaspora in the world.

Hours before the Cologne rally Germany's constitutional court banned an application to show live speeches from Turkey by politicians including Erdogan, amid fears they could work the crowd up further.

The decision sparked anger in Turkey, with presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin calling the ban unacceptable and a "violation of the freedom of expression and the right to free assembly".

- 'Don't bring Turkey tensions here' -

Meanwhile, skirmishes broke out at several smaller counter-demonstrations, with police moving in to separate around 80 right-wing nationalist Turks and 100 Kurds.

Some 250 far-right extremists, including many hooligans, had also come together before being dispersed by police. No injuries were reported.

The tension comes at a time when relations between Germany and Turkey are already strained over the German parliament's decision to brand as genocide the World War I-era Armenian massacre by Ottoman forces.

German politicians led by Chancellor Angela Merkel have also issued strongly-worded statements against Erdogan's crackdown following the failed putsch.

The hardline response "flouts the rule of law", Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert has said, also blasting "revolting scenes of caprice and revenge" in the wake of the failed coup.

At the same time, Ankara is demanding that Germany extradite suspects linked to Gulen. The 75-year-old cleric has strongly denied any involvement.

Erdogan enjoys large support among the diaspora in Germany, where around 1.5 million people with Turkish nationality can vote in Turkish elections.

His AKP party won 60 percent of votes cast in Germany in last November's election, a bigger share of the vote than in Turkey.

In the days following the botched coup, pro-Erdogan activists have stormed locations in Germany popular with Gulen's followers.

Critics of the Turkish president have also complained of abuse and threats against them on social media.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Saturday warned in an interview with Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily: "It is not right to bring Turkey's domestic political tensions here... and intimidate people who have other political convictions."

Meanwhile his Turkish counterpart has warnings for the European Union.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to appear Monday that Ankara could withdraw from the EU-Turkey accord on refugees if Europe fails to allow visa-free travel for Turks by October.



Ankara mayor to US: deliver Gulen

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:30:40 AMGo to full article
Ankara (AFP) July 31, 2016 - The United States must extradite Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen to Turkey to remove any suspicion that Washington was involved in the failed July 15 coup, the mayor of Ankara Melih Gokcek said.

Gokcek, mayor for over 22 years and one of the most senior figures in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also told AFP in an interview he feared Turkey was entering a period where top officials could be at risk of assassination.

Turkey has squarely blamed Gulen for masterminding the rebellion, saying he assiduously built up a "parallel state" with followers in all institutions. From his secluded compound in Pennsylvania, the preacher has denied the charges.

Turkish authorities have launched a sweeping nationwide purge of suspected Gulen supporters since the coup, dismissing more than 50,000 people from their jobs and detaining more than 18,000.

With some officials now even alleging that Washington could have had a hand in the putsch, Ankara wants the United States to send back Gulen to face trial in the country he left in 1999.

"For America to prove it is not behind the coup, there is only one thing to do, deliver (him) to Turkey," Gokcek told AFP in the capital.

He claimed that the US had already given "signals" it was involved in the coup after a top American general expressed concern that many of Washington's former Turkish military interlocutors were now in jail.

"How will it be known whether America is or is not involved in this business? If they deliver (Gulen) there is no problem. But if they don't the United States will not escape from the dock."

Gokcek, who had previously suggested Gulen was hypnotising people, expressed bewilderment that Washington had tolerated the cleric's presence and allowed his foundations to open up schools in the US.

"For America to tolerate this, it seems there are connections to FETO," he said, referring to what Turkey calls the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO).

The US State Department has rejected suggestions it had any hand in the coup as "ludicrous".

- 'Risk of assassinations' -

Gokcek said Gulen's role in Turkey went back to the premierships of Bulent Ecevit in the 1970s and admitted the AKP had mistakenly formed an alliance with his similarly Islamic-leaning supporters when it first came to power in 2002.

"But their biggest aim was to use us and to get their own people inside the army," he said.

Gokcek, one of the most outspoken senior figures in the AKP who regularly updates 3.4 million followers on Twitter with his views, said there would no longer be a risk of coups in Turkey but rather of assassinations.

"Politicians will be at risk of assassinations... of course I have increased my security," he said.

- 'Don't care about EU' -

The mayor was quick to take to Twitter on the night of the turbulence, describing it as a Gulen-backed coup minutes after the first reports emerged and then calling all supporters out into the streets.

He claims to have been number six on a hit list -- topped by Erdogan -- to be killed by Gulen followers after the power grab.

Gokcek said he was "absolutely in favour" of the death penalty for the coup plotters and brushed off warnings from the European Union that reinstating capital punishment could end Turkey's decades-long bid to join the bloc.

If Turkey is told it can't enter the EU, "well I swear to God, we don't care. Let us not enter," said Gokcek, adding that he had been a champion of EU integration in the past.

"When we were close, you were far away. Europe is not the only place in the world... We will find others."

He said if parliament passed a law reversing the 2004 death penalty abolition, it should then be put to a referendum.

"The world can then see if the people want it or not."



Turkey intercepted Gulen followers' encrypted messages: official

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎3:30:40 AMGo to full article
Ankara (AFP) July 30, 2016 - Turkey intercepted encrypted messages sent by followers of US-based Fethullah Gulen well before the July 15 coup attempt, giving Ankara names of tens of thousands within the preacher's network, a senior official said on Saturday.

Turkey says Gulen masterminded the failed coup from his compound in Pennsylvania, using followers in Turkey who for years had built up a top-level presence within state institutions. The reclusive preacher denies the charges.

The Turkish official -- speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the informatiom -- said Turkey's National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) began decrypting messages sent on the app ByLock in May last year.

Almost 40,000 names of Gulen followers, including 600 ranking military personnel, were identified by MIT through the intercepted messages.

The official added that "a large number of people identified via ByLock were directly involved in the coup attempt".

The official said that since December 2013, Gulen followers used encrypted messaging apps to communicate securely, and had started using ByLock in 2014.

A corruption scandal erupted in December 2013 that Erdogan blamed on Gulen and which represented one of the most serious challenges to his rule.

"The ByLock data made it possible for us to map their network -- at least a large part of it. They (later) switched to another app when they realised that ByLock was compromised," said the official.

Turkish officials have said that by the time of the coup the plotters were communicating via the better-known messaging service WhatsApp.

Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak said this week that Ankara had already prepared lists of suspected Gulenists in major institutions before the coup and had been planning a major purge this summer.

Analysts had said the speed of the crackdown after the coup -- which has seen some 18,000 people detained -- suggests the authorities were preparing a swoop and knew who to target.

But the government has also admitted there were intelligence weaknesses leading up to the coup. Reports have suggested that the MIT got wind of the plot hours before it happened but did not inform politicians.

There has been speculation that the powerful head of MIT Hakan Fidan will have to resign, but so far he has kept his job.



Philippines lobbied ASEAN on sea row verdict: govt

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:26:24 AMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) July 27, 2016 - The Philippines said Wednesday it had "vigorously" lobbied Southeast Asian nations to take a united stance critical of Beijing's claims to most of the South China Sea, but insisted a diluted statement remained a victory.

After initially denying doing so, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said he lobbied his counterparts at a meeting of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Laos this week to refer to the verdict in a statement issued on Monday.

The statement avoided mentioning this month's ruling by a UN-backed tribunal in The Hague that Beijing's claims to almost all of the strategic waterway had no legal basis, instead calling merely for "self-restraint".

Asked at a news conference in Manila if he pushed for ASEAN to refer to the ruling, Yasay said: "Yes, vigorously".

However he said the statement was a "victory" for ASEAN, as it referred to upholding principles of international law.

The Philippines, under the previous administration of Benigno Aquino, launched the legal challenge in 2013 against China's claims to most of the sea.

China insists it has sovereign rights to nearly all of the sea, including waters approaching ASEAN members the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

Efforts to forge a united ASEAN front on the issue have crumbled in recent years as China has successfully lobbied Cambodia and Laos, which are members of the bloc but Chinese allies.

The Philippines has also adopted a more moderate stance on China under the new government of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has courted closer Chinese economic and political ties since taking office on June 30.

Yasay initially said on Tuesday he had not asked ASEAN members to refer to the ruling in its end-of-meeting statement.

"No. Never, never did. Please don't put words into my mouth," Yasay told reporters in Vientiane when asked if he had called for a reference.

"The other countries are not part of our filing of the case before the arbitral tribunal so why would we insist that it be put in the ASEAN statement?"

Back in Manila on Wednesday, Yasay denied making those comments.

"I never said those things, all right? And please don't put words into my mouth," he told reporters.

A recording of Tuesday's interview in Vientiane by an AFP reporter confirmed Yasay's initial comments.

When asked to explain why Yasay denied lobbying, a foreign affairs spokesman said Wednesday he was unable to clarify.

Diplomats attending the meeting also told AFP that Yasay had pushed for a reference to the tribunal's verdict.

Adding to the confusion, Cambodia's foreign ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said his nation had not vetoed Philippine efforts.

He said Yasay withdrew his request for the tribunal mention, after discussions in which Cambodia made clear it wanted to remain "neutral".

"The Filipino foreign minister himself decided to remove (it) and not to mention the ruling," Chum Sounry said.



Turkey issues warrants for 47 ex-staff of Zaman daily

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:26:24 AMGo to full article
Ankara (AFP) July 27, 2016 - Turkey issued arrest warrants Wednesday for 47 former staff of the Zaman newspaper, an official said, in a growing crackdown on citizens suspected of links to alleged coup mastermind Fethullah Gulen.

The official, declining to be named, said the swoop covers "executives and some staff including columnists", describing Zaman as the "flagship media organisation" of the movement led by Gulen, a US-based preacher.

In March, Zaman and its sister English-language newspaper Today's Zaman were taken over by state-appointed administrators and it has since taken a strongly pro-government line.

The official insisted the warrants were not related to what individual columnists had previously said or written.

But "prominent employees of Zaman are likely to have intimate knowledge of the Gulen network and as such could benefit the investigation", the official explained.

In the attempted coup of July 15, renegade soldiers sought to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but were stopped by crowds of civilians and loyalist security forces. At least 270 people were killed on both sides.

The failed power grab sent shockwaves through Turkish life, and 13,000 people have since been detained.

More than 9,000 of them have been placed in custody ahead of trial over the coup, which the Turkish authorities blame on reclusive Pennsylvania-based cleric Gulen.

He strongly denies Ankara's accusations and demanded Tuesday that the United States resists demands for his extradition.

"Turkey's president is blackmailing the United States," he wrote in a New York Times opinion piece.

- Ex-editors wanted -

The swoop on newspaper staff came after authorities on Monday issued another 42 arrest warrants for journalists, including prominent veteran reporters.

London-based rights group Amnesty International said that they represented a "draconian clampdown on freedom of expression".

Among those wanted in the new set of warrants are former Zaman editor-in-chief Abdulhamit Bilici, and former Today's Zaman editor-in-chief and columnist Bulent Kenes, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.

Kenes was previously accused of insulting Erdogan in a series of tweets in late 2015.

Several former Zaman staff are believed to be outside the country following the March takeover of the newspaper.

A major shake-up of the Turkish armed forces is expected to be announced on Thursday when the country's Supreme Military Council meets.

With 143 generals and more than 3,000 soldiers arrested on suspicion of links to the coup, there are gaping holes in the command structure which will have to be filled.

Erdogan is also set to visit Russia on August 9 to repair ties harmed by the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkish jets last year, officials said Tuesday, in an apparent sign of Turkey's post-coup diplomatic strategy.





Turkey has chance to end polarisation after coup: opposition chief

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:26:24 AMGo to full article
Ankara (AFP) July 27, 2016 - The failed coup in Turkey offers a unique chance to end the dangerous levels of polarisation in the country, the main opposition leader told AFP Wednesday.

In an interview at the Republican People's Party (CHP) headquarters in Ankara, Kemal Kilicdaroglu also urged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to uphold the rule of law during his post-coup purge.

The CHP leader held an unprecedented meeting two days ago with Erdogan at his presidential palace in a bid to forge national unity in the wake of the July 15 coup.

Turks of all political affiliations poured into the streets that night to oppose the renegade soldiers -- a rare show of harmony in a country that has at times seemed hopelessly divided.

"There is a real polarisation in Turkey and Turkey must be saved from this polarisation," Kilicdaroglu told AFP.

"I hope we all learn a lesson from these events, not least those in charge of the country," he added.

Kilicdaroglu's meeting on Monday with Erdogan -- which also included Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli -- was a major turnaround for the CHP leader.

He had previously denounced the president as a "tinpot dictator" and refused to set foot in his "illegal palace".

"I will criticise Erdogan and I have not finished criticising Erdogan. I went there (the palace) for Turkey's normalisation, for it to be secure and to make sure coups do not happen again."

He said there was an "intent to have warmer relations" with Erdogan but this had to be translated into political rhetoric.

- 'Break this picture' -

The president is considering dropping slander lawsuits against opposition leaders as a sign of thanks for their conduct in the coup, an official said on Wednesday.

Ahead of the coup, divisions in Turkey had reached a new intensity, with political parties flinging insults at each other and the dominant personality of Erdogan splitting the country.

There has been an upsurge of violence in the southeast where the Kurds, Turkey's biggest ethnic minority, predominate.

Meanwhile Alevis -- who adhere to an offshoot of Shia Islam and are the biggest religious minority in the mainly Sunni country -- have complained of being sidelined.

"In Turkish politics, because there is an axis towards religion and ethnicity, there is polarisation," said Kilicdaroglu.

"We have to break this picture."

The CHP was founded in 1923 by Turkey's first post-Ottoman leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and sees itself as the guardian of the secular and pro-Western foundations on which he set up the modern Turkish Republic.

But since Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, the CHP has found itself thrashed at the ballot box.

Kilicdaroglu stabilised what was a dangerously sinking ship mired by scandal when he took over in 2010. But in the last elections in November 2015, the party gained less than 25 percent of the vote.

The CHP chief, who spoke to thousands Sunday at an anti-coup rally in Istanbul organised by his party but backed by the AKP, said there now had to be a "new era" of Turkish politics.

"Democracy, rule of law and secularism must be accepted," he told AFP. "There must be a politics of understanding... a different kind of politics."

- 'Don't be like putschists' -

He warned the authorities to act within the rule of law in a post-coup crackdown that has so far seen more than 15,000 detained.

"Having a coup was one mistake. But a country that believes in the rule of law will fight for the rule of law also for the putschists," he said.

"To arrest journalists, to detain people, to throw them into jail and say 'it is not important', to fill the prisons with thousands of people is not right.

"If we behave in the same way as they behaved, if we treat them badly, then there is no difference between us and the putschists."



Turkey was planning anti-Gulen army purge before coup: minister

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:26:24 AMGo to full article
Ankara (AFP) July 27, 2016 - Turkish authorities were planning a major shake-up of the military to remove elements linked to US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen just ahead of the failed coup, a key minister said Wednesday.

Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, suggested parts of the military had wanted to act against the government as they knew they were about to be purged.

Albayrak, who was with Erdogan throughout the night of the botched putsch on July 15, said the president had first been warned about the coup by a civilian and it was only later that the gravity of the situation became clear.

In his first meeting with foreign reporters since the coup night, Albayrak revealed that Turkey's Supreme Military Council (YAS) had this summer been planning to meet to expel all officers linked to Gulen, who Turkey blames for masterminding the putsch.

"They were going to take really important steps to remove Gulenist officers and generals from the armed forces. We were already working on this."

He said this would have been part of a general purge against pro-Gulen elements that would have also extended to the legal system and other institutions.

"These people (linked to Gulen) were detected and the related lists had been conveyed to the line ministries."

He added: "After they (the plotters) realised things were going like this, at their last breath, they took their final step (the coup)."

- 'A coordinated coup' -

He said only a small proportion of the NATO member's 750,000-strong military supported the coup but alleged pro-Gulen figures had successfully infiltrated the high and middle ranks in large numbers.

"If we are speaking especially at the level of general we understand the level of the problem."

Albayrak, who is married to Erdogan's eldest daughter Esra, was with the president at the holiday resort of Marmaris in southwestern Turkey when they received news of the coup.

"We received the first phone call from a civilian from the Istanbul area -- you cannot rationalise something based on one phone call," he said.

It was only after Erdogan could not reach important figures like chief of staff Hulusi Akar -- who had been abducted -- that the gravity of the situation became clear.

"We had phone calls with ministers and we realised this was not a simple thing but a coordinated coup d'etat," Albayrak said.

He said the president then spoke to Turkish media from his hotel but because some media -- such as state-run TRT -- had been taken over by the plotters the remarks were not broadcast.

"So Turkey did not hear us," he said.

It was at this point that, through FaceTime and using channels that had not been taken over, Erdogan made his now famous call to citizens to defeat the coup, Albayrak explained.

"This was one of the most important turning points," he said, recalling how crowds of Erdogan supporters then poured onto the streets to defeat the rebels.

The president then decided to fly back to Istanbul from the nearby airport of Dalaman to direct measures to stop the coup.

"Until the last minute it was not clear which place we were going to choose" to fly back from, Albayrak said.

Turkey PM warns post-coup crackdown not over
Ankara (AFP) July 27, 2016 - Turkey's prime minister warned Wednesday that the crackdown following a failed coup was not over, as authorities issued arrest warrants for dozens of former newspaper staff.

A senior minister also revealed that a major army shake-up had been planned just before the putsch -- suggesting elements in the military made the dramatic move because they knew they were about to be purged.

Since the attempted power grab on the night of July 15, more than 15,000 people have been detained and more than 8,000 of them remain in custody, according to the latest interior ministry figures.

"The investigation is continuing, there are people who are being searched for. There could be new apprehensions, arrests and detentions," Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told Sky News, according to the network's translation of his remarks.

"The process is not completed yet," he said.

In the attempted coup, renegade soldiers sought to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but were stopped by crowds of civilians and loyalist security forces.

At least 270 people were killed on both sides.

Turkey blames the botched putsch on US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who strongly denies the accusations and demands that the United States resist calls for his extradition.

But Yildirim said Turkey was "determined" to secure his removal.

"We shared all the details with them and, from this point on, the task falls on the shoulders of the US government," the prime minister said.

- 'Planned purge' -

Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan's son-in-law, said Turkish authorities had been planning a major purge of the military and other institutions to remove Gulen-linked elements ahead of the coup attempt.

"They were going to take really important steps to remove Gulenist officers and generals from the armed forces. We were already working on this," said Albayrak, who was with Erdogan on the coup night.

Turkey on Wednesday issued arrest warrants for 47 former staff of the once pro-Gulen Zaman newspaper suspected of links to the reclusive cleric.

An official who declined to be named said the swoop covered "executives and some staff including columnists", describing Zaman as the "flagship media organisation" of the Gulen-led movement.

In March, Zaman and its English-language sister newspaper Today's Zaman were taken over by state-appointed administrators and it has since taken a strongly pro-government line.

Several former staff are believed to have since left Turkey.

The official insisted the warrants were not related to what individual columnists had previously said or written.

But "prominent employees of Zaman are likely to have intimate knowledge of the Gulen network and as such could benefit the investigation", the official explained.

Earlier in the week, Turkey issued another 42 arrest warrants for journalists, 16 of whom have so far been detained according to state-run news agency Anadolu.

- Military reshuffle -

A large-scale shake-up of the Turkish armed forces is expected to be announced when the country's Supreme Military Council meets on Thursday.

More than 10,000 soldiers and around half of the 358 generals serving in Turkey have been detained, leaving gaping holes in the command structure to be filled.

Tens of thousands of Turkish civilians have lost their jobs since July 15.

The first worker in the private financial sector to be affected is AK Investment's research director Mert Ulke, after the financial regulator cancelled his licence following his report on the failed coup.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday expressed deep concern about the ongoing wave of arrests in Turkey following the putsch.

The EU meanwhile appointed a new ambassador to Turkey and repeated warnings that Ankara must respect democracy and human rights for ties to prosper.



US tells Beijing sea patrols will continue: official

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:26:24 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) July 26, 2016 - The US will continue naval patrols in the disputed South China Sea, Washington's National Security Adviser Susan Rice told Chinese representatives during a series of meetings in Beijing, a senior American official said Tuesday.

Rice is among the highest-level US officials to visit China since an international tribunal this month rejected its vast territorial claims in the strategically vital region -- infuriating Beijing and fuelling tensions with Washington.

Her trip was intended to prepare for a visit by President Barack Obama to a G20 summit in Hangzhou in September.

But the question of how to deal with the festering issue, in which Washington has played a prominent role, cast a long shadow over the talks, which included a meeting with President Xi Jinping.

In recent months Washington has sent naval vessels close to reefs and outcrops claimed by Beijing to assert the principle of freedom of navigation, sparking anger in China which has built a series of artificial islands in the area capable of supporting military operations.

In her meetings with top diplomatic and military officials, Rice told her counterparts that "those operations are lawful. They will continue", according to a senior US official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the sensitive subject.

The issue was not directly raised with Xi, he said, describing the conversation as "incredibly positive", although "there was a very clear recognition that we face a number of challenges".

In general terms, he said, "both sides were very clear with one another".

"There's no room for ambiguity," he added. "That kind of clarity... promotes stability and reduces the risk of miscalculation."

- 'Risk of miscalculation' -

A tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on July 12 denied the legal basis for Beijing's claim to nearly all of the sea, parts of which are also claimed by neighbouring nations.

Beijing rejected the ruling as "waste paper" and asserted its right to declare an Air Defence Identification Zone controlling flights over the area.

Rice "stressed the importance of all parties taking steps to reduce tensions. To avoid taking actions that... could raise the risk of miscalculation", the official said.

Instead, Rice called on Beijing to use the ruling as an opportunity to "reinvigorate diplomacy" in the region, he added.

In remarks before the meetings Monday, Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission warned that ties between the two powers could easily fray.

"We should be honest with ourselves that deep down in this relationship we're still faced with obstacles and challenges," he said, adding that military ties had been "impacted by some complicated and some sensitive factors".

"If we do not properly handle these factors it will very likely disturb and undermine this steady momentum of our military-to-military relationship," he warned.

Beijing objects to an agreement by Washington and Seoul to deploy a US missile defence system to South Korea.

Rice told Fan the move was "purely a defensive measure" and "not aimed at any other party other than North Korea and the threat it poses," the official said.



Turkey detains generals, journalists in widening purge post-coup

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:26:24 AMGo to full article
Ankara (AFP) July 26, 2016 - Turkey on Tuesday detained prominent journalists and two top generals serving abroad in a widening of the relentless legal crackdown after the July 15 coup that has caused growing alarm in the West.

The coup, which tried to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but lost momentum within hours, has sent shockwaves through all aspects of life in Turkey which are still being felt almost two weeks on.

Over 13,000 people have been detained and tens of thousands more have lost their jobs over the coup, which the Turkish authorities blame on the reclusive Pennsylvania-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.

The crackdown and announcement of a three-month state of emergency has prompted sharp exchanges with the European Union, which Turkey has for years sought to join but which has sternly warned Ankara to obey the rule of law.

In a sign of the shifting priorities in Turkish diplomacy after the coup, Erdogan will visit Russia in August to repair ties harmed by a row over the shooting down of a Russian warplane, officials said.

Turkish authorities detained veteran female journalist Nazli Ilicak as part of the investigation into the coup after issuing arrest warrants for over 42 reporters a day earlier in a move that caused international concern.

She was detained early on Tuesday during a traffic check in the southwestern Bodrum region, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Ilicak is now being taken to Istanbul where she will later appear in court to learn if she will be remanded in custody.

According to the Dogan news agency, eight of the 42 journalists have now been detained including Ilicak and the former pro-Gulen Zaman newspaper writer Hanim Busra Erdal who was picked up in the western city of Manisa.

- 'Top Afghanistan general held' -

Meanwhile, two Turkish generals serving in Afghanistan were detained in Dubai on suspicion of links to the failed coup, an official said.

Major General Mehmet Cahit Bakir, the commander of Turkey's task force in Afghanistan, and Brigadier General Sener Topuc were detained at Dubai airport, said the official, who asked not to be named.

The detentions followed cooperation between the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) and the UAE authorities, the state-run Anadolu news agency added, saying the pair were now being brought to Turkey.

In a separate development, the former governor of Istanbul Huseyin Avni Mutlu was held in the coup investigation, Anadolu said.

Two senior foreign ministry diplomats -- Gurcan Balik and Tuncay Babali -- have been also removed from their posts, a Turkish official said.

The government says the stringent measures are needed to clear out the influence of Gulen from Turkey's institutions, claiming he has created a "parallel state" inside Turkey.

Gulen -- who lives in a compound in rural Pennsylvania and whose foundation runs a global network of schools, charities and media interests -- has strongly denied the accusations.

In an article for the New York Times, Gulen said he wanted Turkey never to have to endure the "ordeal" of military coups again while accusing Erdogan of a "dangerous drive toward one-man rule".

- 'Erdogan to meet Putin' -

Turkey has undergone a seismic shift since the night of violence when renegade soldiers sought to topple Erdogan but were stopped by crowds of civilians and loyalist security forces. At least 270 people were killed on both sides.

A bridge over the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul -- which saw some of the fiercest fighting -- is to be renamed July 15 Martyrs' Bridge after the victims of the failed coup bid, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.

Thousands of Erdogan supporters continue to fill city squares across Turkey every night with the president telling them to stay until further notice in a "vigil" for democracy.

Erdogan will visit Russia on August 9 for his first face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin since Moscow and Ankara mended ties damaged by the downing of a Russian jet last year, a top Turkish official said.

The announcement was made by Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, the highest ranking Turkish official to visit Russia following the November downing of the Russian jet on the Syrian border.

Erdogan meanwhile kept up his tough rhetoric against the European Union, accusing Brussels of not paying its way under a deal to send Syrian refugees back across the Aegean.

"The (European) governments are not honest," Erdogan told German public television station ARD.





Humiliated Turkish army still faces twin challenge

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:26:24 AMGo to full article
Istanbul (AFP) July 26, 2016 - The failed coup of July 15 left the Turkish army humiliated and weakened at a time when it must tackle the twin challenges of fighting guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) group.

Its future will partly be decided on Thursday at a meeting of the Supreme Military Council in Ankara, which Turkish media have said could force through a "historic" transformation in the armed forces.

In a sign of the army's weaker post-coup status, the meeting will be held at the Cankaya Palace of the Turkish premier and not as in the past at military headquarters.

What now for the army?

With 750,000 men, mostly conscripts, Turkey's army is the second largest force in the NATO military alliance.

Until 2010, the constitution made it "the guardian of the Republic of Turkey" and the country's secularism. A bygone prestige, with more than 3,000 soldiers now arrested for taking part in the coup.

Today, close to a third of the army's generals -- 143 -- have been remanded in custody, in an unprecedented purge under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

For Sinan Ulgen, chairman of the Istanbul-based Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, "the botched coup will have repercussions on Turkey's ability to contribute to regional security".

Along with the affect on army morale, "weakened trust" following the coup will make cooperation between police, military and intelligence services "particularly problematic," Ulgen wrote.

The government has already announced the gendarmerie, which looks after domestic security, and coastguard will now be under control of the interior ministry, in a huge blow to the army's powers.

Francois Heisbourg, at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the episode would "confirm the removal of the army" from the political arena, while Erdogan's capacity to motivate the army would be "weak".

But the purge will open the field "to unexpected promotions, which is very motivating". These new cadres will make their mark "in a matter of months rather than years," the researcher told AFP.

What consequences for the battle with IS?

Since last year US air force bombers have taken off from the Incirlik base in southern Turkey to pound jihadists in Syria.

But electricity at the base was cut off after the attempted coup, forcing the Americans to use their generators.

Incirlik was a key point in the failed putsch and its commander, General Bekir Ercan Van, was arrested.

For Stephen Biddle, at the Council on Foreign Relations based in Washington, Incirlik is "not decisive for the campaign" against the IS group.

"It makes US air strikes cheaper and more efficient, but we can reach Syrian targets from other bases if we need to," he said, adding that ensuring proper security on Turkey's border with Syria was more important.

A blow to anti-PKK fight?

Hostilities resumed a year ago in Turkey's southeast against the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), claiming the lives of nearly 500 members of the security forces.

General Adem Huduti, commander of the second army in charge of this counter-insurgency, must now be replaced as he is behind bars.

"The shakeup looks set to impinge Turkey's ability to fight the PKK," says Lale Sariibrahimoglu of Jane's Defence Weekly.

But "most of the fighting is done by the gendarmerie", said Bulent Aliriza, at the US-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

"It's too early to tell" the consequences of this reorganisation, said Aliriza. And it will be difficult to detect from the outside given the institution's opacity.

Does Turkey remain a reliable ally?

The response of Ankara to the putsch has "raised questions about Turkey's reliability as an ally," said Marc Pierini, former EU ambassador to Ankara and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Europe think-tank.

Many regular Turkish interlocutors for the Americans and NATO forces are today in detention.

After the night of chaos and in the acrimonious context with Ankara, US officials "cannot not ask" the question of what to do with their nuclear warheads stored at Incirlik, said Heisbourg.

But moving them would again damage relations with the Turks.

These doubts about Turkey, a member of NATO since 1952, are not new -- but they are reinforced amid tensions between the West and Russia.

Yet after several frosty months, relations between Ankara and Moscow are warming: Erdogan is scheduled to meet his counterpart Vladimir Putin in Russia in early August.

Bruno Tertrais at the Foundation for Strategic Research, based in Paris, said a break with NATO "would not be to Ankara's advantage, but Erdogan is capable of decisions that have little rationality".



Media targeted in Turkey's post-coup crackdown

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:26:24 AMGo to full article
Istanbul (AFP) July 26, 2016 - Turkish media played a crucial role in averting the coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, yet dozens of journalists are now being targeted in the sweeping crackdown after the failed putsch.

Since July 15, reporters have been arrested or suspended, accused of conspiring against Erdogan, while authorities have raided newspapers and scrapped TV licences over links to the man they blame for the coup, US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Istanbul anti-terror prosecutors on Monday issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists, having already detained over 13,000 soldiers, police, judges and civil servants.

Eight of those journalists have been detained so far, while 11 were believed to have left the country, Dogan news agency said.

"It is saddening and unacceptable," Turgay Olcayto, president of the Turkish Journalists' Association told AFP.

"We are concerned about the detentions," he said, citing the fact that suspects can be held without charge for as long as 30 days because of the state of emergency.

"We want colleagues who are engaged in real journalism to be unharmed in this process. That's the only thing we want from the government," Olcayto said.

London-based rights group Amnesty International said that the warrants represented a "draconian clampdown on freedom of expression".

International Federation of Journalists president Philippe Leruth said the new arrest warrants "are aimed, one more time, at targeting journalists who are simply doing their jobs."

Yet Turkish officials say the journalists concerned are a tiny proportion of those working in Turkey and all will be given a fair hearing to see if they have links to the coup.

- 'Witch-hunt' -

Among those detained was prominent, veteran journalist Nazli Ilicak who was fired from the pro-government Sabah daily three years ago for criticising ministers embroiled in a corruption scandal.

"She is an experienced journalist. I don't believe she might have a link with (the coup)," said Olcayto.

Also detained was Hanim Busra Erdal, a former writer for the Zaman daily, which was a pro-Gulen newspaper until authorities took over it earlier this year.

Other prominent journalists hit with warrants include the commentator Bulent Mumay and the news editor of Fox TV in Turkey, Ercan Gun.

Erdogan's government denies it is systematically curbing press freedom, arguing that it needs to pursue "traitors" and "terrorists" threatening the state.

European NATO allies have charged that the latest sweep further darkens the picture for press freedom in Turkey after Zaman, which was the biggest-selling daily newspaper, was raided by police and state administrators were brought in.

"A country that jails its own university professors and journalists imprisons its future," said Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

The group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks Turkey 151st out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index.

Its own country representative, Erol Onderoglu, was detained for ten days in June for "terrorist propaganda" after he guest-edited a pro-Kurdish newspaper.

Since the coup, RSF argues, "the government's response seems more and more like a witch-hunt", compounding an already tough environment for the press.

In the best-known case, the editor of the Cumhuriyet daily Can Dundar was sentenced to five years and 10 months for revealing state secrets over a story on arms deliveries to Syria.

"A cloud of fear hangs over the country," Dundar, who is free pending appeal, wrote in the Guardian after the coup.

- 'Journalists aren't terrorists' -

Ironically, it was Erdogan's impromptu use of old and new media that brought the surreal turning point of the coup.

Late at night, a pale-faced Erdogan, speaking from a seaside holiday resort, called on the Turkish people to take to the streets.

He was speaking via the FaceTime video phone app, with CNN-Turk's cameras trained on the screen of an iPhone in the hand of a news presenter.

The broadcast, watched live by millions, helped to mobilise the crowds who faced down the coup.

Shortly after it ended, renegade soldiers stormed the CNN studios and the screen went blank, while gunfire could be heard.

RSF secretary general Christophe Deloire, pointing to the commitment to democratic principles shown by Turkish journalists, urged authorities "to stop treating critical journalists as traitors and terrorists".



Kerry: US avoiding 'confrontation' in sea row

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:26:24 AMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) July 27, 2016 - US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday said Washington wanted to avoid "confrontation" in the South China Sea, after an international tribunal rejected Beijing's claims to most of the waters.

Kerry made the remarks after meeting with Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay in Manila where they discussed the Southeast Asian nation's sweeping victory in the arbitration case against China.

America's top diplomat said the United States wanted China and the Philippines to engage in talks and "confidence-building measures".

"The decision itself is a binding decision but we're not trying to create a confrontation. We are trying to create a solution mindful of the rights of people established under the law," Kerry said.

A tribunal based in The Hague this month ruled that China's claim to most of the strategic waterway was inconsistent with international law. The decision angered Beijing, which vowed to ignore the ruling.

But Kerry said the United States saw an "opportunity" for claimants to peacefully resolve the row.

"We hope to see a process that will narrow the geographic scope of the maritime disputes, set standards for behaviour in contested areas, lead to mutually acceptable solutions, perhaps even a series of confidence-building steps," he said.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to the South China Sea, a vital waterway through which $5 trillion in annual trade passes. It is also believed to sit atop vast reserves of oil and gas.

Kerry, who arrived in Manila on Tuesday after attending a regional summit in Laos, met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after Yasay.

On Tuesday, Kerry said he would encourage Duterte, who assumed office on June 30, to engage in dialogue and "turn the page" with China.

Kerry was also expected to raise with Duterte US concerns about human rights and the rule of law.

"The Philippines has an unhappy history of extrajudicial killings and violence (against) journalists and others," a US official told reporters travelling with the secretary.

"We hope to hear more from President Duterte about ... protecting human rights (and) maintaining the rule of law."

Duterte has launched a bloody war on crime, urging law enforcers, communist rebels and even the public to kill criminals.

Since he took office, police reported over 200 deaths while media tallies have said more than 300 have died, including suspected extrajudicial killings.

Even before he assumed the presidency, Duterte drew criticism from United Nations chief Ban Ki-Moon and human rights advocates for his calls to kill criminals, as well as comments stating that corrupt journalists deserved to die.



China victory as SE Asian nations go easy on sea row

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:26:24 AMGo to full article
Vientiane (AFP) July 25, 2016 - Southeast Asian nations Monday ducked direct criticism of Beijing over its claims to the South China Sea, in a diluted statement produced after days of disagreement that gives the superpower a diplomatic victory.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) avoided mention of a ruling by a UN-backed tribunal in early July that rejected China's territorial claims and infuriated Beijing.

Instead, ASEAN, gathered in the Laos capital Vientiane for the first time since the ruling, called for "self-restraint" from all parties in the strategic waterway in a soft statement that edged away from a showdown with regional powerhouse China.

The contested sea, through which some $5 trillion in shipping passes annually, has been a source of increasing tension between China and its Southeast Asian neighbours along with the United States.

The Philippines launched the legal challenge against China which claims vast swathes of the waters, including areas approaching its coasts and other Southeast Asian nations.

Three other members of the bloc -- Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei -- also have competing claims with Beijing over parts of the South China Sea.

But the statement that finally emerged after days of wrangling has exposed deep divisions within the regional grouping.

With the bloc faltering in its response to the region's major security challenge of the day, analysts say it risks becoming a talking shop lacking in diplomatic clout.

Staunch Beijing ally Cambodia has been accused of scuppering efforts by the bloc to unite in a call for China to abide by the tribunal's verdict.

While most members want to keep pressure on China over its campaign of island-building in the contested water, they are wary of angering such a vital trading partner.

"With Cambodia marching to its own drum the erosion of ASEAN solidarity is on display for all to see," regional expert Carl Thayer told AFP.

- Beijing wins the day -

Asked if Monday's statement had been watered down one diplomat involved in the talks simply said "we had to come out with a statement," adding "we don't want the world to say that ASEAN is in disarray."

The decision is a boon to China and it quickly praised Cambodia -- to whom it ladles out aid and loans -- for holding out against fellow members.

Beijing also thanked other staunch ally Laos for remaining "objective" during discussions.

At a press conference after the statement was issued, Wang said regional leaders had "made it very clear that ASEAN does not take sides on the arbitration case or the so called ruling".

He also accused countries outside the region of "keeping the temperature high" over the sea, a clear rebuke to the United States.

After meeting Wang for talks late Monday Kerry remained upbeat describing the US relationship with China as "the most consequential bilateral relationship on the globe".

"We have differences... and we work to manage those differences," he added.

The US says it takes no position on the territorial disputes but argues for free sea and air passage through what it considers international waters.

It has called on Beijing to accept the tribunal ruling.

Earlier speaking to Southeast Asian ministers Kerry said the US would continue to push "a rules-based international system that protects the rights of all nations whether big or small".

Tensions on the Korean peninsula are also likely high on the agenda for both China and the US.

Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, followed by a series of ballistic missile tests including one last Tuesday.

In response Seoul announced plans to host a US missile defence system on its territory, sparking fury in Pyongyang and concern in Beijing.

North Korea's newly minted Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho is attending the Laos gathering, a rare moment at which senior officials from Washington, Beijing and Pyongyang will be in the same room.

Earlier in the day he met with Wang on the sidelines of the meeting.

However, Washington has played down the likelihood of talks between the two countries during the summit.






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The History of the House of Rothschild

by Andrew Hitchcock



  • Hitchcock also wrote a history for the bankers:



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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
Sudan JEM factions
Bandera Darfur.svg SLM (Minnawi faction)
Sudan LJM
Allegedly supported by:
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
NRF/JEM: Unknown N/A 9,065
Casualties and losses
  • 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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