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Monitor The Strategic Trends

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.










PRICE R 299.00






With the wealth of information at our fingertips, it is sometimes hard to see the ‘’forest for the trees’’. In this Strategic Briefing, we will give you a current perspective on many of the trends that shape our world and their relevance to Biblical Prophecy. Now, more than ever, we need to stay informed about what is really going on.

What is REALLY going on in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt?
Who is going to deal with the nuclear Iran?
Will Israel go it alone?
What about America’s political future and what is on its' 2013 horizon?

Most Americans are totally unaware that the sacred Bill of Rights has been essentially
eliminated; how, when and by whom?

Europe - The State of Dis-Union and its Islamization.

Join Dr. Chuck Missler and Ron Matsen in the Executive Brie fing Room of
The River Lodge, New Zealand, in an intensive summary of some of the
Strategic Trends that will impact all of us.

© 2012 Koinonia House Inc.

This briefing pack collection contains 4 hours of teaching


2 Disks
4 M4A Files
Color, 16:9, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, Region 0 encoding

 This DVD will be viewable in other countries WITH the proper DVD player and television set.)



Thumbnail 4:47



Uploads by TheAlexJonesChannel

UK Liberals Call for Knife Ban

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎02:35:37 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
It had to happen. We've been told for decades that gun control has curtailed violence in Great Britain. With no guns around, people who are intent on doing harm are using knives. So, of course,...
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Homeschool Raid Ruled Unconstitutional by Missouri Court

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Ferguson: State Managed Riot

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎02:34:45 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
Video Starts with 30 of Still Join Infowars Nighlty News for four hours of "Live" as the verdict to the Michael Brown grand jury investigation. Rob Dew and David Knight host in the central...
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BREAKING: Ferguson Grand Jury Won't Indict Officer Darren Wilson

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎02:33:50 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
The Grand Jury in Ferguson, MO just announced their verdict in the shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. Follow Alex on TWITTER - https://twitter.com/RealAlexJones Like...
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Infowars Nightly News: Grand Jury Verdict Fallout

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎02:32:46 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
Join us for live coverage in Ferguson with reporters Jakari Jackson and Joe Biggs as we detail events in the aftermath of grand jury verdict. You can watch the coverage at http://www.youtube.com/T...
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Irish Man Demands Reparations For Slavery!

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎02:31:34 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
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The Truth about Hood Billionaire Rick Ross and Prison for Profit

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The only way to continually feed the prison-industrial complex is by ensuring a constant stream of new inmates. Here's the truth behind gangster rap. Freeway Rick Ross: The Untold Autobiography...
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Where Is The 6th Amendment In The Mike Brown Trial?

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎02:26:04 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
100+ days after the shooting there is still no grand jury decision.
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The Secret Tactics Used In Grand Juries

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎02:24:06 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
David Knight takes the studio for Alex Jones and talks about how grand juries can be used to get an outcome the prosecutor wants. http://www.infowars.com/ferguson-grand-jury-reaches-decision/...
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Homeschoolers More Dangerous Than ISIS

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎02:14:37 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
David Knight takes the studio for Ales Jones and covers the news and discusses how a homeschooling family was assaulted for having a "messy house". http://www.infowars.com/court-rules-violent-raid ...
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Businesses Board Up Ahead Of Grand Jury Decision

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎01:47:23 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
Businesses aren't taking any chances.
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The Police State Is Above The Law

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎01:10:52 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
David Knight takes the studio for Alex Jones and breaks down the continual abuse of power by police and what needs to be done to bring them back into check. http://www.infowars.com/killings-by-uta...
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Obama's Climate Deal with China Will Spike U.S. Energy Prices

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎11:48:28 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
WASHINGTON — Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Wednesday blasted the Obama Administration for cutting a climate change deal with China, which the Alabama senator says gives the United States'...
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Caught On Tape: Car Crashes During Ferguson Protest

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎11:02:48 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
While streaming live on http://www.ustream.tv/alexjoneslive & http://www.ustream.tv/realalexjones Jakari Jackson caught a car swerve into a light pole. The grand jury decisions is immanent...
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Brooklyn Man Killed by NY's Finest Gets Slap on The Wrist

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎10:22:14 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
A rookie New York City police officer shot and killed an unarmed 28-year-old man in a darkened stairwell in Brooklyn late Thursday night, according to the police. http://www.infowars.com/brooklyn-m...
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Guccifer Claims Second US City To Be Nuked

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎10:11:17 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
David Knight talks with Paul Joseph Watson in the UK about the claims of famous hacker Guccifer, he claims that a city in Pennsylvania has been targeted for a nuclear false flag. http://www.infowa...
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British Elite Coverup Pedophile Crimes

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎10:10:51 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
David Knight takes the studio for Alex Jones and breaks down the news that the British government has been covering up pedophile lobbying and crimes for years. http://www.infowars.com/child-traffi...
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Police Massing in Preparation of Grand Jury Report

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:34:06 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
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Grand Jury Announcement Tonight

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:04:28 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
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Obama’s Rogue Amnesty Is “Impeachable Act”

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:40:09 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
"We have just taken a monumental step away from republicanism toward Caesarism" http://www.infowars.com/buchanan-rogue-obamas-amnesty-is-impeachable-act/ Follow Alex on TWITTER ...
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Mexico Charges Americans for Crossing Border

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:33:32 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
U.S. citizens entering Mexico on foot are being charged a $28 fee as part of a new pilot program that aims to track travelers throughout the country. http://www.infowars.com/mexico-charges-american...
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Police Accountability Protestors Take Their Message Across St. Louis *Explicit Content*

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎05:58:05 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
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Obama's Amnesty by Royal Decree

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎05:30:19 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
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Secret Army Guards Missouri Courthouse

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:59:13 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
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More Arrests Outside Ferguson Police Station *Explicit Content*

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Public Calls New Amnesty Law by Executive Fiat Criminal

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎01:15:17 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
we've had Obama-care and Obama-phone, now comes Obama-law, and he's going to do more! Fill-in host David Knight looks at Obama's gloating about his ruling by fiat, the Republican reaction,...
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Outrage: Drug Cartels Kill 43 Students in Mexico

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎01:03:26 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
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Journalist Arrested In Ferguson

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:59:59 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
Joe Biggs documents a journalist being arrested on http://www.ustream.tv/realalexjones . Apparently he was standing on the side walk when this occurred. Follow Alex on TWITTER - https://twitter.co...
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Obama: America's First Emperor

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:14:17 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
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Illegal Stabs American Senselessly

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:53:17 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
A convenience store confrontation over the weekend ended in tragedy after a man suspected of being in the country illegally approached and stabbed a college football player to death. http://www.in...
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Downtown Clayton, MO Prepares For The Worst

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎02:45:57 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
With the grand jury decision looming some Clayton buildings have boarded up their entrances.
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Rick Ross' Most Dangerous Story

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎01:25:02 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
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Author: America Obsessed With Race

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎01:11:27 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
David Knight and Paul Joseph Watson talk with Erik Rush author of Negrophilia: Slave Block to Pedestal. http://www.infowars.com/special-report-fbi-attacks-black-panther-for-not-being-racist/...
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Clayton Justice Center Barricades Building For Possible Civil Unrest

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:38:31 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
The Clayton justice center and police department aren't taking threats of civil unrest lightly. They have begun barricading off the area in case war breaks loose. Police presence is much higher...
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Obama's Amnesty Creates Entitlement Program For Illegals

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎03:28:57 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
Rand Paul shot back at Barack Obama's vow to use executive orders to implement his amnesty program by accusing the President of betraying the founding principles of America. http://www.infowars.c.
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Feds Want To Turn Cops Into Killers

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎03:26:21 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
David Knight and Paul Joseph Watson discuss the epidemic of police brutality around our country and why it is continuing to grow. http://www.infowars.com/grand-jury-findings-could-result-in-lock-d...
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112 ratings
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FBI Attacks Black Panther For NOT Being Racist!

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎03:19:34 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
Darrin McBreen talks to former member of the original Black Panther Party, Larry Pinkney about a recent FOIA request that reveals the FBI's intent to neutralize him. FORMER BLACK PANTHER:...
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Police Presence Grows In Ferguson

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎03:18:45 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
Following arrest of protestors a helicopter kept a watchful eye on remaining demonstrators. Follow Alex on TWITTER - https://twitter.com/RealAlexJones Like Alex on FACEBOOK - https://www.facebook.
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Was FSU Shooter On Mass Murder Pills?

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎03:18:10 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
FSU shooter Mayron May was said to have a deteriorated mental condition and taking medication for ADHD. Of the top ten prescription drugs linked to violence toward others, a 2010 study based...
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Top Economist: Hillary Clinton Will Lead Us To WWIII

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎03:13:48 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
David Knight and Paul Joseph Watson talk with economist Paul Craig Roberts about what to expect in the future if Hillary is elected in 2016. http://www.infowars.com/gop-suing-obama-for-rewriting-f...
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Buffalo Braces For More Record Snow

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎03:12:23 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
Shivering under up to 6 feet of snow in its hardest-hit sections, Buffalo, New York, may see another 3 feet Thursday. If the forecast holds, that's more than a year's worth of snow in...
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Breaking! Hospital Prepares Three Floors For Rioting Victims

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎03:03:22 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
David Knight talks with Infowars reporters Jakari Jackson and retired Army Staff Sergeant Joe Biggs who have boots on the ground in Missouri and break the news that a hospital is preparing...
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Ferguson Prepping For Mass Riots

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎02:53:33 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
David Knight and Paul Joseph Watson take the studio for Alex Jones and talk with Infowars Reporters Jakari Jackson and retired Army Staff Sergeant Joe Biggs about what they are witnessing in...
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Police Wrestle With Protestors In Ferguson *Explicit Content*

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎02:18:25 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
Explicit Content* Another traffic stopping demonstration in Ferguson turned ugly when police and demonstrators both demanded their way. Follow Alex on TWITTER - https://twitter.com/RealAlexJone...
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323 ratings
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Amnesty Is A Trainwreck For Our Country

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:08:10 AM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
David Knight and Paul Joseph Watson take the studio for Alex Jones and cover the news including Obama's amnesty announcement.
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90yr Old Activist: ‘Police Need to Learn Humanity 101’

‎23 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎10:25:55 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
Infowars invites Love Thy Neighbor founder Arnold Abbott to discuss why his organization continues feeding the homeless, despite multiple police citations ordering them not to. http://lovethyneighb...
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Ferguson Rioters Announce Their Targets

‎22 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:00:37 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
If the grand jury in Clayton, Missouri exonerates Officer Darren Wilson, the protest group Justice For Mike Brown plans to make companies and institutions completely unrelated to the case suffer....
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Shocking: Live Streamers Loose Feed As Ferguson Police Advance

‎22 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎05:19:19 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
Multiple videographers reported the lose of live streams during a recent Ferguson protest.
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281 ratings
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Grand Jury Findings Could Result In Lock Down Of Medical Facilities. #Ferguson

‎22 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎03:24:59 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
A local tenant who manages a building housing medical practices warns tenants it could be placed on lockdown for an extended period of time if civil unrest explodes due to GJ findings. Warning...
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129 ratings
Time: 02:23 More in People & Blogs

Indian Man Isolated with Ebola-Infected Semen

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎09:06:26 PM | TheAlexJonesChannelGo to full article
A 26-year-old Indian man who recovered from Ebola in Liberia has been placed in isolation at the New Delhi airport after traces of the virus were found in his semen, India's Health Ministry...
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Russia urges Ukraine not to join NATO

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:54 AMGo to full article
Moscow (AFP) Nov 19, 2014 - Russia on Wednesday called for Ukraine to stay out of the NATO alliance, insisting that a "non-aligned status" was in the interests of the ex-Soviet country.

"There is no doubt that (Ukraine's) non-aligned status is important not only from the point of view of ensuring stability in the European Atlantic but also from the point of view of fundamental national interests of the Ukrainian people," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.

He said Russia had long proposed a legally binding agreement that would honour the principles of "indivisibility of security" but the West had shot down the idea.

He spoke after Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman told BBC that Russia needed "a 100 percent guarantee that no-one would think about Ukraine joining NATO."

Reached by AFP, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined further details.

Speaking after talks with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto, Lavrov said that verbal guarantees from the West that NATO would not be expanding to the east were not enough.

He said it was "real potential" and intentions that mattered.

"We've been forced to take this into account and are continuing to take this into account," Lavrov said.

In September, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko pleaded with the United States to provide his country with "special", non-NATO security status to help beef up its defences against aggression from Russia.



Complex turns for Xi on China's diplomatic path

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:54 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Nov 19, 2014 - In a flurry of diplomacy, Chinese President Xi Jinping has agreed environmental targets with the US, held a first formal summit with Japan and pledged friendship with Vladimir Putin, even as the Russian leader is ostracised by Western countries.

Two years since becoming head of the ruling Communist Party, Xi, an establishment scion of the country's post-1949 elite, has moved from offering his own country a "Chinese dream" to an "Asia-Pacific dream" for the region, with China at its centre.

The expansion symbolises the way the world's second-largest economy is seeking a greater global diplomatic role fitting to its commercial heft -- as other rising powers, such as the United States, have before it.

But as it further engages with the world, analysts say China will have to perform ever more complicated balancing acts to meet its international responsibilities and domestic goals.

Jia Qingguo, professor of international relations at Peking University, said Beijing is still trying to establish what its interests are and strike the right balance between them, given that they vary depending on its own complex and competing identities.

"As a developing country we want to have the right to development on the climate change issue," he said. "But at the same time, as a developed country we want to cut emissions to reduce the problem of PM 2.5," he added, referring to tiny particulates which have become an emblem of the country's pollution crisis.

"China has to take up certain responsibilities," he said. "It increasingly finds it difficult to take a free ride," stressing that if the US ignored its global responsibilities, the international system would "collapse".

- Successive summits -

Chinese state media have lauded Xi, but the Communist leader's interactions with other heads of state, at a series of summits in recent weeks, tell a more nuanced story of the challenges China faces.

Under Xi, Beijing has been increasingly assertive in pursuing territorial claims against Tokyo in the East China Sea and other neighbours in the South China Sea.

Xi's awkward meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last week followed a narrowly-crafted agreement which both sides could spin as a victory on their own terms, and was marked by barely concealed mutual distaste, evident from images of the two leaders shaking hands.

Despite the dramatic emissions targets announced with US President Barack Obama in Beijing, the two sides made clear they hold fundamentally opposite positions on multiple issues including human rights and regional security.

Both Abe and Obama were in Beijing this month to participate in the APEC forum leaders' meeting, the first of three successive regional and global summits that culminated with the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia -- which China will host in 2016.

China's role at the centre of proceedings contrasted noticeably with that of fellow UN Security Council permanent member Russia, whose president left the G20 early as Western countries criticised him over Ukraine and other issues.

- Compete and cooperate -

But China's potential as a diplomatic middleman is constrained by history and its domestic priorities.

Kim Han-Kwon, an expert at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, said that China's Communist leaders have embraced "patriotic nationalism" since the end of the Cold War to replace socialist ideology as a unifying internal glue.

As a result they are pushed "to show a more strong and stern image of China to protect China's own national interest", he said.

Before Xi and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a deal to slash trade barriers, Obama warned of the dangers of outright conflict in Asia as China contests disputed territory.

The US, Japanese and Australian leaders committed their countries to deepening existing strong security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific -- with China the obvious object of their attentions.

Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese politics at the University of Sydney, said that Xi does not want "challenges from the external world" to distract China from internal changes such as transforming the economy towards more stable and sustainable growth.

"The question now is will the rest of the world let it do this without making more demands on it," he said.

That may be unavoidable. At the global level the US and China both compete and cooperate on issues such as climate change and the denuclearisation of North Korea, said Kim of the Asan Institute.

But he added that in the realm of "regional international politics in Northeast Asia, strategic competition between the US and China has increased".



Hollande on first state visit by French president to Australia

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:54 AMGo to full article
Sydney (AFP) Nov 18, 2014 - Francois Hollande on Tuesday became the first French president to make a state visit to Australia, pushing to strengthen ties almost two decades after nuclear tests in the South Pacific sparked fierce criticism of Paris.

The president, welcomed with a 21-gun salute in parklands on Sydney harbour, said his visit was also designed to underline France's presence in the Pacific and its intention to remain there.

Hollande, who is leading a major business delegation, is trying to strengthen historical links and economic relations with Australia, which has enjoyed decades of growth.

"We are in a position where we can have closer and further economic ties," Hollande told the Australian Business Council.

"What I am saying is we need to push our aspirations further," he added, describing French companies such as satellite giant Arianespace as at the "forefront of technology".

Relations suffered during nuclear testing in Polynesia in the 1990s and the sinking by French agents of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland in 1985 as it prepared to lead protests around Mururoa Atoll.

However Australia and France signed a strategic partnership in January 2012 and have worked closely on Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and other major crises in recent years.

"We have a trump card to play in this country which is in its 24th year of uninterrupted growth and has launched major projects in sectors such as telecommunications, new technologies, infrastructure and transport," said one French official.

Hollande's delegation includes heads of the country's leading companies such as Vinci construction, the national rail firm SNCF, defence specialists Thales and Safran, energy giants GDF Suez, and global luxury house LVMH.

Two-way trade in goods and services was worth US$6.9 billion (5.4 billion euros) in 2012-2013.

Hollande said his two-day Australia state visit would also highlight "the presence of France in the Pacific Ocean region.

"We are in fact neighbours since France is present in Polynesia, the Wallis and Futuna islands and New Caledonia," he said, listing French territories.

"We want to remain present in this area for reasons of stability, of security and also for future development."

The French leader, who arrived from the New Caledonian capital Noumea after attending the G20 summit in Brisbane at the weekend, was to visit the capital Canberra on Wednesday.

In Noumea he vowed Paris would remain neutral in a self-determination referendum due to be held in the French Pacific possession by 2018.

"It's the Caledonians who will have the last word," Hollande told members of the local Congress on Monday.

He was due to meet Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday when he would also lay a wreath at Australia's War Memorial.

Some 400,000 Australians -- 10 percent of the population -- fought in World War I and of the 60,000 who died, 40,000 of them fell in France.

Hollande will host a reception Tuesday evening at Sydney's iconic harbourfront Opera House for the French community, which has been boosted this year by 26,000 youngsters on working holiday visas.



NATO sees 'very serious' Russian military Ukraine build-up

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:54 AMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) Nov 18, 2014 - Russia has launched a "very serious" military build-up inside Ukraine and on their shared border, deploying troops and sophisticated equipment including air defence systems, NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday.

Troops, artillery and "very modern" air defence weapons could be seen "both inside of Ukraine and also on the Russian side of the border," Stoltenberg said as he arrived for a meeting with European Union defence ministers.

"It is a very serious build-up," Stoltenberg said, urging Russia to reverse course and meet its commitments under a September ceasefire and peace plan signed by Kiev and pro-Kremlin rebels.

"Russia has a choice. Russia can either be part of a peaceful negotiated solution or Russia can continue on a path of isolation," Stoltenberg said.

"The international community calls on Russia to be part of the solution."

But for the moment "we see that Russia is still destabilising Ukraine. We see movement of troops, tanks, artillery, air defence systems in violation of the ceasefire," the former Norwegian premier said.

Air defence systems are a particular concern after the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July, which Western governments allege was carried out by pro-Kremlin rebels.

Stoltenberg took office in October with the Ukraine crisis top of his agenda as the US-led military alliance beefed up its readiness in response to Russia's actions which spooked newer NATO members such as Poland and the Baltic states once ruled from Moscow.

He is visiting the Baltic states later this week.

NATO has deployed aircraft and personnel on a rotational basis through its eastern member states in an effort to reassure them and embarked on longer term planning in the face of what it sees as a more assertive Moscow under President Vladimir Putin.

Putin insists Russia has no presence in eastern Ukraine where the rebels appear to be consolidating areas under their control.



'Big guy' China is committed to peace, says Xi

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:54 AMGo to full article
Sydney (AFP) Nov 17, 2014 - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday vowed always to use peaceful means in pursuit of Beijing's goals, including in maritime disputes, just days after US President Barack Obama warned of the dangers of outright conflict in Asia.

Addressing the Australian parliament in an honour bestowed only on one other Chinese leader, Hu Jintao in 2003, Xi said: "China remains unshakeable in its resolve to pursue peaceful development."

"Neither turbulence nor war serves the fundamental interests of the Chinese people."

"There's only one trend in today's world, that is, the trend of peace and development and win/win cooperation," he added in a candid address in which he also reminisced about kangaroos and koala encounters during previous visits to Australia.

The Chinese president evoked history to make the point that no one ever benefited from conflict, after Obama at the weekend G20 summit in Brisbane again stressed that Beijing must be a responsible actor on the world stage.

China is locked in disputes with four Southeast Asian countries over lonely outcrops in the South China Sea, and with Japan over another set of islets.

"A review of history shows that countries that attempted to pursue development with force invariably failed," Xi said through a translator. "This is what history teaches us. China is dedicated to upholding peace. Peace is precious and needs to be protected."

But he added: "We must always be on high alert against the factors that may deprive us of peace."

The leaders of the US, Australia and Japan on Sunday called for the peaceful settlement of the maritime disputes. The day before, Obama had warned of "disputes over territory -- remote islands and rocky shoals -- that threaten to spiral into confrontation".

- Open to dialogue -

Xi said he was open to dialogue.

"It is China's longstanding position to address peacefully its disputes with countries concerned and territorial sovereignty and maritime interests through dialogue and consultation," he said.

"China has settled land boundary issues with 12 out of its 14 neighbours through friendly consultation. And we will continue to work in this direction," added Xi.

"The Chinese government is ready to enhance dialogue and cooperation with relevant countries to maintain freedom of navigation and the safety of maritime routes, and ensure a maritime border of peace, tranquility and cooperation."

Xi made the comments as he sealed a long-awaited free trade agreement with Australia -- a country that has long profited from China's voracious demand for its natural resources -- after nearly a decade of talks.

In his speech, the Chinese leader pointed to the opportunities his country's giant economy offered the world, and pledged to continue the "win/win strategy" of opening up and developing a modern economy.

"With over 1.3 billion people, China is a market of immense potential," he said.

"The enormous progress China has made in reform and opening up in the last 30 years and more is possible both because of its own hard work and also an inclusive and open Asia-Pacific region."

But he also acknowledged Australian concerns about engagement with his country.

Xi said that while many applauded China's achievements, others "find fault with everything China does" -- something he said was to be expected given the nation's huge population.

"It is like the big man in the crowd," he said, adding others were concerned about which way it would move.

Xi, making a state visit following the G20 summit, also reminisced about previous trips Down Under before he assumed his role as one of the world's most powerful figures.

"I have visited five states and two territories of Australia, except Tasmania. These visits have left a great impression on me," he said.

"And I still cherish vivid memories of a strange-looking kangaroo, the cute koala, flocks of white sheep, the ingenious Sydney Opera House, and the boundless expanses of the outback."

Ahead of his parliamentary address, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan were introduced to a 10-month-old baby wombat named Walnut before viewing kangaroos from a golf buggy near Canberra.



Hollande pays first visit to Australia by a French president

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:54 AMGo to full article
Sydney (AFP) Nov 18, 2014 - Francois Hollande Tuesday became the first French president to make a state visit to Australia, pushing to boost ties almost two decades after its nuclear tests in the South Pacific drew fierce criticism of Paris.

Hollande is leading a major business delegation and seeking to "strengthen the historic links and economic relations" between the two countries, his Elysee office said in a statement.

He was officially welcomed by an honour guard and a 21-gun salute in parklands on Sydney Harbour.

Paris-Canberra ties suffered during nuclear testing in Polynesia in the 1990s and the sinking by French agents of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland in 1985 as it prepared to lead protests around Mururoa atoll.

However Australia and France signed a strategic partnership in January 2012 and have worked closely on Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and other major crises in recent years.

French officials said they see strong opportunities to develop trade with Australia.

"We have a card to play in this country which is in its 24th year of uninterrupted growth and has launched major projects in sectors such as telecommunications, new technologies, infrastructure and transport," said one official.

Hollande's delegation includes heads of France's leading companies such as Arianespace, the national rail firm SNCF, the Vinci construction company, energy giants GDF Suez and global luxury house LVMH.

Trade in goods and services between the countries was worth US$6.9 billion (5.4 billion euros) in 2012-2013.

The French leader, who arrived from New Caledonia after attending the G20 in Brisbane at the weekend, was to visit the capital Canberra on Tuesday.

In Noumea, Hollande vowed Paris would remain neutral in a self-determination referendum that is due to be held in the French Pacific territory by 2018.

"It's the Caledonians who will have the last word," Hollande told members of the local Congress on Monday.

He was due to meet Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday when he would also lay a wreath at Australia's War Memorial.

Some 400,000 Australians -- 10 percent of the population -- fought in World War I and of the 60,000 who died, 40,000 of them fell in France.

Hollande will throw a reception Tuesday evening at Sydney's iconic harbour-front Opera House for the French community which has been boosted this year by 26,000 youngsters on working holiday visas.



Putin under fire over Ukraine at G20 summit

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:54 AMGo to full article
Brisbane, Australia (AFP) Nov 15, 2014 - Russian President Vladimir Putin faced Western scorn and scepticism over Ukraine at a G20 summit in Australia on Saturday, underscoring the deepest chill in relations with the West since the Cold War.

At one stage, a member of the Russian delegation told AFP Putin would cut short his visit by skipping the annual summit's final lunch, upending a meeting focused on revamping the global economy and addressing the Ebola epidemic in west Africa.

But the Kremlin quickly stepped in to deny the Russian leader was leaving early under pressure over the Ukraine crisis.

"The G20 summit will be over tomorrow (Sunday), Putin will certainly leave it, when all the work is completed the president will leave," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Russian radio, without specifying whether the Russian leader would attend the lunch.

The Group of 20 nations, which includes the United States and China, found agreement in vowing to "extinguish" the Ebola outbreak -- albeit without any promise of hard cash -- as it worked to reboot growth in the world economy after the shock of the 2008 financial crisis.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Brisbane that the tensions over Ukraine were hindering efforts to boost economic growth.

"It's clear that these geopolitical tensions, including relations with Russia, are not really conducive to promoting growth," she said. "We are all striving to do everything diplomatically possible to see improvements."

Ukraine is the most pressing test of the club's ability to marry its economic heft to diplomatic troubleshooting, given the Cold War-style divisions between Russia and the West exposed by the former Soviet satellite's separatist crisis.

There was no immediate comment from the G20's Australian hosts or other delegations to Putin's apparent desire to leave early, which came after some testy exchanges in Brisbane.

A Kremlin statement said Putin held "rather lengthy and detailed discussions" with Merkel and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Junker.

"An exchange of opinions on the situation in the southeast of Ukraine took place" in the meeting between Putin and Merkel, the Kremlin said. "Vladimir Putin in detail explained Russia's approach to the situation."

Before his own tense meeting with Putin on the G20 sidelines, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Russia faced a choice, with one option to implement an agreement to allow stability to return to Ukraine free of Moscow's meddling.

"It's important to warn of the dangers if Russia continues to head in the other direction," Cameron said, bluntly warning that Putin had failed to serve Russia's own interests by exposing it to punishing Western sanctions.

"If that path continues and if that destabilisation gets worse, the rest of the world, Europe, America, Britain, will have no choice but to take further action in terms of sanctions," he said.

G20 host Tony Abbott went into a week of Asia-Pacific summitry vowing to confront Putin, particularly over the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over Ukraine in July.

- Koala diplomacy -

In the event, on Saturday, the Australian prime minister was all smiles as he posed for a handshake with a similarly grinning Putin -- before the two leaders were photographed holding koala bears together.

However, the koala diplomacy was followed by less cuddly talks on the G20 sidelines.

When Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was approached by Putin to shake hands he said, according to Canadian media: "Well, I guess I'll shake your hand, but I only have one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine."

In contrast, there was concordance at the G20 on the need to turn back an outbreak of Ebola that has so far claimed more than 5,000 lives across eight countries, particularly in west Africa.

"G20 members are committed to do what is necessary to ensure the international effort can extinguish the outbreak and address its medium-term economic and humanitarian costs," the leaders said.

However, there was no G20 cash commitment to back up the statement.

Across the globe in London, the Ebola crisis got some help from rock music stars Bob Geldof, One Direction, Bono and around 30 others. They gathered in a studio to record a 30th anniversary version of the Band Aid charity single to raise money to fight the deadly virus.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned the secondary impacts of the health crisis could include serious disruption to farming in the west African countries that "could provoke a major food crisis affecting one million people across the region".

Ban also echoed former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev's fears that tensions between Russia and the West had brought the world to the brink of a new Cold War, and described climate change as "the defining issue of our times".

But Abbott -- who is sceptical about man-made climate change -- has fought hard against mentioning global warming in the G20's closing statement.

However, Obama said a Sino-US breakthrough in Beijing this week on reducing carbon emissions proves that a post-Kyoto deal to arrest climate change is achievable, as he unveiled a $3 billion pledge to a UN-backed climate mitigation fund.

"If China and the US can agree on this, then the world can agree on this -- we can get this done," he said in a speech in Brisbane.



Japan's Okinawa elects governor opposed to US base

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:54 AMGo to full article
Naha, Japan (AFP) Nov 16, 2014 - Residents of Japan's Okinawa Sunday elected a governor who opposes plans to relocate a US military base within the island chain, a fresh setback in efforts to resolve a thorny issue in military relations.

Voters in the southern prefecture chose Takeshi Onaga over the incumbent Hirokazu Nakaima, Kyodo News agency reported, citing the local election board in Okinawa.

Kyodo described the victory as a "landslide" win for Onaga, who secured 360,820 votes to incumbent Nakaima's 261,076, according to Okinawa's local election board.

Onaga's apparent victory is a significant blow to the central government because the governor can veto the landfill work needed for a new base to be built.

In his first comments, the 64-year-old indicated he would do just that.

Any veto would leave Prime Minister Shinzo Abe having either to overrule locally-elected officials -- risking charges of authoritarianism -- or reverting to the cajoling and persuading of recent years, which would not be popular with Japan's close ally the United States.

It would also take some of the wind out of Abe's sails just days before he is expected to announce a snap general election.

Years of deadlock on the planned base relocation have frustrated the Americans and been a thorn in the side of successive Japanese governments.

Okinawa is home to more than half of the 47,000 US service personnel stationed in Japan, and strategically key to the US-Japan security alliance at a time of simmering tensions in East Asia.

But there is widespread local hostility to the military presence, with complaints over noise, the risk of accidents and a perception that the presence of so many young servicemen is a source of crime.

There have been plans for years to move the US Marines' Futenma Air Station from a crowded urban area to a sparsely populated coastal district elsewhere on Okinawa -- some 50 kilometres (30 miles) to the north of the current location.

But opponents like Onaga say Okinawa already hosts a disproportionate share of the US military presence in Japan, and the US base should be moved outside the islands altogether.

Incumbent governor Nakaima stands accused of betraying the islanders after striking a deal with Tokyo last year to approve the relocation within Okinawa.

In what critics said amounted to a bribe, Abe pledged a huge cash injection to the local economy in return for Nakaima reversing years of opposition to the move, which was first mooted in the 1990s.

Katsuji Miyagi 64, a retiree, told AFP he voted for Onaga.

"Four years ago I voted for Nakaima but he broke his promises," he said.

"I've had enough of these bases. I want no more bases in Okinawa."

- Bitter memories -

"I'd like to convey the message to the governments of Japan and the United States... that the wishes of the people here are different from the administrative action in December last year," Onaga told reporters, referring to his predecessor's about-face.

Onaga, quoted by Jiji Press, said he would "act with determination" towards retracting approval for the landfill work.

The current base sits in a residential district whose inhabitants bitterly recall a 2004 military helicopter crash in the grounds of a local university, and who resent the sound of roaring engines metres from their backyards.

Nakaima says the relocation plan is the only realistic option to eliminate the danger of the Futenma base.

The dispute taps into a vein of historical resentment. Previously an independent kingdom, Okinawa was annexed by Japan in the 19th century and was under US rule for almost three decades after World War II.

In talks with US President Barack Obama Sunday, Abe stressed the importance of the security alliance with Washington. He also called for US cooperation in "easing Okinawa's burden" of hosting US forces in Japan as part of a wider realignment plan, Japanese media reported.

They met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in the Australian city of Brisbane.



'Cold War' fears over Ukraine overblown, say experts

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:54 AMGo to full article
Paris (AFP) Nov 15, 2014 - Secret "Russian subs" off Sweden, tit-for-tat sanctions, NATO fighters scrambling to intercept Russian warplanes: relations between the West and Moscow over Ukraine have sparked incidents reminiscent of the Cold War that terrified the world for decades.

Even Cold War doyen Mikhail Gorbachev used the highly symbolic 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall to warn the world was "on the brink of a new Cold War", adding that "some are even saying that it has already begun".

And it's not just former leaders. Finland's Prime Minister Alexander Stubb also sounded the alarm, saying that Russia's actions over Ukraine were bringing the world to the "brink of a Cold War."

But while experts agree that the current situation is extremely dangerous, they say it is very different to when the two nuclear-armed superpowers faced off, seemingly only minutes away from all-out global destruction.

Instead of a Cold War, experts see a period of geopolitical rebalancing after years of the United States assuming the role of sole superpower.

"Saying that we're in a Cold War is to misunderstand the situation," says Vladimir Evseev, director of the Moscow-based think-tank NCO Public Political Studies Center.

"This isn't a Cold War, but a period of transition. Western domination is coming to an end. The West can no longer impose its will on the world," added the expert.

- 'Expansionist, ideological power' -

Several factors in the current tension between Washington and Moscow differ from the terrifying limbo that existed between the superpowers until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, experts say.

Firstly, the Cold War was more than a conflict between two competing superpowers, it was a battle of ideology, a battle of ideas, which simply no longer exists, Evseev told AFP.

"There are ideological differences, but the Iron Curtain no longer exists and it cannot exist in our time."

Quite simply, as unpalatable as Vladimir Putin's Russia is to the West at the moment, it is a long way from being the Soviet Union that antagonised Washington and Europe for decades.

"The Soviet Union was an expansionist, ideological power with global ambitions and deep hostility to Western interests," wrote analysts Samuel Charap and Jeremy Shapiro in a recent commentary in Current History.

"Post-Soviet Russia is unpleasant, and has transgressed a number of key international norms in the past year, but it is not the Soviet Union."

Seismic changes have also taken place politically and economically since the collapse of the Iron Curtain, making it impossible to talk of a re-run of the Cold War.

Despite sanctions over Ukraine, the Russian and Western economies are deeply intertwined and politically, Moscow and the West work together on several other thorny issues, notably on preventing Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb.

"The most important difference today is the factor of China," said Sergey Radchenko, an expert on Russia and the Cold War at Britain's Aberystwyth University.

"Today, China is the greatest assurance Russia has that it will not be isolated, neither politically nor economically. The difference is great, and the gist of it is that the West will find it a lot more difficult to deter Russia through a show of force," Radchenko told AFP.

- 'Cold peace' -

So what do we have if not a Cold War? Camille Grand from the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research says he prefers the term "Cold Peace".

"We're in a new post-Cold War architecture where the idea that cooperation is the natural way of dealing with Russia is no longer valid," he told AFP.

"In the long term, Russia does not have the means to be a superpower. That is a sort of illusion to please the Russian people."

The West has to realise that it has entered a new period in geopolitics and "stop wasting our time hoping it will go back to normal," said the analyst.

However, Radchenko points out one similarity with that period in history: the conflict in Ukraine is being "pursued through proxies".

"In this sense, what we are seeing in East-West relations today is a replay of the Cold War -- yes, on a smaller scale but with equally dangerous possibilities of escalation."



Obama warns Asian territorial rows could 'spiral into confrontation'

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:54 AMGo to full article
Brisbane, Australia (AFP) Nov 15, 2014 - US President Barack Obama on Saturday warned of the dangers of outright conflict in Asia, as China squares off against rival claimants over disputed territories, but vowed that Washington would remain anchored in the region.

In a speech at Brisbane's University of Queensland, Obama insisted that his "pivot" of US policy back to Asia was real and here to stay.

In the talk, given on the margins of the G20 summit, the president reviewed the stunning economic progress seen in East Asia since World War II.

"Yet alongside this dynamism, there are genuine dangers that can undermine this progress," he said, citing North Korea for one and adding: "Disputes over territory -- remote islands and rocky shoals -- that threaten to spiral into confrontation."

China is locked in dispute with four Southeast Asian countries over lonely outcrops in the South China Sea and with Japan over another set of islets.

Obama repeated his insistence given in Beijing this week, after talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, that the United States welcomes the rise of China provided it is a peaceful and responsible player on the world stage.

But China, he stressed in Brisbane, must "adhere to the same rules as other nations, whether in trade or on the seas".

And the United States will continue to be "frank where there are differences" with Beijing, Obama said.

An effective security order for Asia must be based "not on spheres of influence, or coercion or intimidation where big nations bully the small", he said, but on alliances built on respect.

Four members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam -- claim parts of the South China Sea, a key shipping lane believed to be rich in undersea gas deposits.

But China says almost all of the sea is its own, including waters near to the shores of its smaller neighbours.

- Don't question our resolve -

A series of incidents earlier this year led Vietnam and the Philippines to decry Chinese acts of aggression at sea, plunging relations with Beijing to a nadir.

Both China and ASEAN need "peace and stability", Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech at Thursday's East Asia Summit in Myanmar that included ASEAN leaders and Obama.

In an apparent bid to defuse the regional tensions, Li offered $20 billion in Chinese loans and a telephone hotline, and floated the possibility of a "friendship treaty" with ASEAN nations.

The hotline has been among the proposals in low-level talks between ASEAN and Chinese officials on a legally binding code of conduct to ease tensions in the South China Sea.

Militarily and economically weaker than China, Southeast Asian countries are desperate for a multilateral code, but accuse their giant neighbour of stalling, and are also anxious to retain US support.

China prefers to use its economic and political clout in one-on-one negotiations with rival claimants.

And in a sign of the lingering challenges ahead, Li also warned that "China's resolve to safeguard territorial sovereignty is clear".

Obama spelt out the enduring stakes for the United States.

"Generations of Americans have served and died here so that the people of the Asia-Pacific might live free. So no one should ever question our resolve or our commitments to our allies," he said in his Brisbane speech.

"Day in, day out, steadily, deliberately, we will continue to deepen our engagement using every element of our power -- diplomacy, military, economic, development and the power of our values."



G20 urges 'strong and effective action' on climate change

‎18 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:27:55 AMGo to full article
Brisbane, Australia (AFP) Nov 16, 2014 - The world's most powerful economies urge "strong and effective action" on climate change, catapulting the issue up the G20 agenda in a new boost for campaigners after a surprising Sino-US breakthrough.

The grouping, which includes the world's worst greenhouse gas polluters -- the United States and China, also threw its support behind a United Nations fund aimed at helping poorer countries deal with the problem.

"We support strong and effective action to address climate change," G20 leaders said in a communique after weekend talks in Brisbane.

"We reaffirm our support for mobilising finance for adaptation and mitigation, such as the Green Climate Fund."

The G20 talks follow the breakthrough between China and the United States on curbing carbon emissions last week, and calls from US President Barack Obama and European leaders demanding action at the G20 on climate.

Australian host Prime Minister Tony Abbott had pushed economic issues to be the main thrust of the two-day talks, focussing on a push towards extra economic growth of 2.1 percent and creating jobs.

Abbott, who since coming to power a year ago has dismantled a carbon tax designed to combat climate change, had resisted some language on climate proposed for the G20 communique, with one European diplomat likening the negotiations to "trench warfare".

But he insisted that it "goes without saying that G20 leaders, all of us, support strong and effective action to address climate change".

"Our actions will support sustainable development, economic growth and certainty for business and investment and of course we will all work constructively towards the climate change conference in Paris next year," he told reporters.

- Climate change real -

In their declaration, G20 leaders said they aimed to support sustainable development, economic growth, and certainty for business and investment and would press for a post-Kyoto deal in the French capital in December next year.

The declaration also called on members to communicate their national contributions well in advance of this meeting, preferably by the first quarter of 2015 if possible.

"Australia has always believed that climate change is real, that humanity makes a contribution and that strong and effective action against it should be taken," Abbott said, adding his government was committed to reducing harmful emissions.

"I don't say that there weren't at different times discussions about what is the 'mot juste' but certainly it has been a very harmonious, constructive and collegial process."

Japan confirmed plans to give up to $1.5 billion to the UN-backed Green Climate Fund, joining a US pledge of $3 billion to mitigate the impact of global warming on poorer nations.

The GCF is designed as a way for wealthy countries to help poorer ones to become greener and to bolster their defences against the effects of climate change.

France and Germany have already pledged to contribute $1 billion each to the UN's new climate framework while world leaders have spoken repeatedly of climate change ahead of the G20 summit.

In Brisbane, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon labelled it "the defining issue of our times" while Obama said he wanted to halt global warming so his grandchildren could visit Australia's Great Barrier Reef "50 years from now".

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi added his voice to the calls for action, saying Sunday the damage humans had done to the planet over the centuries was heavy.

Campaigners, who had taken to the sweltering streets of Brisbane in vibrant protests during the week, said climate change had prevailed as a dominant economic agenda item for G20 leaders.

"Brisbane G20 may well become known as the 'de facto' climate change summit," said WWF-Australia chief Dermot O'Gorman, adding that Turkey had promised to make climate change a top priority when it hosts the group next year.



Blind man's bluff

‎18 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:27:55 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (UPI) Nov 13, 2014 - President Barack Obama evidently has learned little from the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan. And even less about the 16-year-war in Vietnam. As for the Korean War, it might be worth remembering the U.S. Army is still there after 64 years.

The 13-year Afghan war, designed to punish and eliminate Taliban for its support for al-Qaida following 9/11, is grinding down after well over $1 trillion spent, 2,250 U.S. killed and 19,000 wounded.

And what happened to Taliban? As the U.S. kept shrinking its presence, Taliban kept expanding.

As POTUS plunges back into Iraq with U.S. military advisers in the fight against the spreading Islamic State cancer, U.S. generals are warning that we must reckon on a multi-year commitment.

U.S. air power coupled with military advisers but without U.S. ground troops cannot do much without a muscular Iraqi army. Iraq once had such a force but it was disbanded following the U.S. invasion of 2003 to depose Saddam Hussein and neutralize his nuclear arsenal.

The arsenal turned out to be figment of a defector's imagination, swallowed hook, line and sinker by U.S. intelligence.

Russia and China, meanwhile, are edging cautiously to a de facto alliance as the one-time U.S. global giant has opted once again for the quicksands of Iraq, where Iran now appears to have gained the upper hand.

President Obama evidently believes that he has put the U.S. relationship with China back on track with a long-range deal to cope with their respective carbon polluters. The U.S. agrees to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025, and China will try to reach peak emissions by 2030 before reducing.

Before the ink was dry, Republican spokesmen warned such a deal would be blocked by their newly elected majority in both houses of Congress.

"It is the latest example of the president's crusade against affordable, reliable energy that is already hurting jobs and squeezing middle-class families," said House Speaker John Boehner.

For the immediate future, China can see the U.S. saddled with a dysfunctional system of government, crumbling national infrastructure, while at the same time doubling down in Iraq.

As President Xi Jinping reads the U.S. tea leaves, public opinion is more interested in what Washington plans to do about crumbling national infrastructure than the much-touted "pivot to Asia."

For detached observers, both foreign and domestic, there now appears to be a pivot back to a no-win war in Iraq.

China and Russia now see the U.S. giant saddled with a gridlocked dysfunctional system in a new world where national sovereignty demonstrates daily it does not have the answers for transnational crime and terrorism.

Retired U.S. army lieutenant general Daniel R. Bolger, the author of "Why We Lost," argues that another surge in Iraq cannot win the day against IS. "If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, I think we're there."

The alternative to another defeat, Bolger argues, is to keep harassing the Islamic state, degrade its forces, and play the long game at the lowest possible cost.

This, too, sounds like recipe for another military boondoggle with the worst aspects of the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghan wars.

President Obama evidently believes the U.S. finally has a reliable partner in Baghdad. The notion that the al-Abadi government is now inclusive and reliable is greeted with derision.

Government-sanctioned violence against Sunnis continues in Diyala province where they suffered torture and executions. And in northern Iraq, Shiite militia are seen as almost as bad as IS.

U.S. supplied weapons in Baghdad are known to have been used by Shiite factions to suppress Sunni militia. An inclusive government in the Iraqi capital is still a fantasy in some intelligence reports.

This week, the Iraqi military announced dramatic changes in its command structure to fight corruption. Twenty-six senior military officers were removed from their commands. Ten were forced to retire, including Army Chief of Staff Babacar Zebari.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the time has come to restore the public's confidence in the military after a string of defeats required drastic action against corruption, which he described as big a threat as terrorism.

The most concerned countries about Iraq in the Middle East are Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. But they all want the U.S. to do the job for them.

In bottom line Arabic, isn't the time at hand for the U.S. to tell its Arab and regional friends and allies that history beckons?

We are told they are all fearful of extremist Islamist backlashes on their home fronts? Egyptian cleric Mahmoud Shaaban says yes to dialogue with IS and no to fighting it "and wreak vengeance upon the treacherous Americans, wherever they may be."

But wouldn't this be a lot more serious if IS were allowed to prevail in Iraq?



Cold shoulders and effusive smiles in Beijing's diplomatic wonderland

‎18 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:27:55 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Nov 12, 2014 - From Cheshire Cat-like grins to gloom invoking Eeyore the donkey, the diplomatic menagerie surrounding an annual Asia-Pacific summit meeting left observers with a "through the looking glass" sense of the absurd.

A week of summitry in Beijing offered insights into the diplomatic relationships -- strained as well as warm -- and the shifting dynamics of power between globetrotting leaders.

Ahead of a private dinner at the exclusive Zhongnanhai leadership compound near the Forbidden City, Barack Obama and Xi Jinping strolled through the grounds each accompanied only by a single aide, and neither of them in a tie, as the host pointed out ornate architectural features.

But despite their open collars they still appeared buttoned up, and while Obama touched Xi's shoulder at the opening of Wednesday's press conference, when they made a joint climate announcement, they remained far apart on several other issues.

Earlier, Beijing put on a spectacular welcome ceremony for the arriving leaders, who wore Chinese-style tunics.

But Obama's noticeable chewing of what was widely believed to be nicotine gum riled Chinese netizens, who saw it as disrespectful.

Winter is coming to the Chinese capital, and at a fireworks display Russia's Vladimir Putin briefly slipped a brown blanket over the shoulders of Xi's wife Peng Liyuan -- a former People's Liberation Army singer who held a general's rank.

Peng gave the gesture a cold shoulder, immediately standing up to have her aides replace it with her own rather more stylish black coat, but the moment still provoked online praise for Putin's gallantry -- along with lurid reports that the divorced Russian leader was "hitting on" her.

"Putin is a real lady killer," said one Chinese poster, "always being very nice to other people's wives".

Relations between the men from Moscow and Washington were frostier, though, with Obama barely responding when Putin said to him "It's beautiful, isn't it?" as they walked, on either side of Xi, into a colonnaded teakwood room with elaborate wall carvings and an inlaid ceiling.

They met three times for a total of 15 to 20 minutes during the day, a White House official said, with some of their most intense disagreements -- including Ukraine and Syria -- on the agenda.

- 'Point one to the Chinese' -

For sheer effusiveness there was little to match Abbott's ecstatic grin as he clasped Xi's hand for several seconds when the Chinese leader welcomed him to the gathering of 21 member economies which range from Peru to Papua New Guinea.

But the most awkward of all the encounters was undoubtedly Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's handshake at their long-awaited first official summit meeting in Beijing on Monday.

It came as the two countries appeared to be making efforts to reduce high tensions over Japanese aggression in World War II and competing claims to a set of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

Xi did not smile or speak, turning away from his visitor to face the cameras even before the translator had finished speaking, and looked distinctly unimpressed.

Netizens quickly compared the pair to Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore -- Abe taking the role of the miserable, downtrodden donkey of the AA Milne novels -- drawing on last year's comparisons with Xi and Obama at Sunnylands in California, when the US President was cast as Tigger.

"We can see that both leaders are doing their best to look bored and disinterested -- in effect saying, 'This is not a big deal'," body language expert Nick Morgan told AFP.

"This is a low-trust, cold greeting. This is not the greeting, obviously, of two old friends! And second, the Chinese leader is taking up more space; he is dominant. He has invaded the Japanese leader's 'territory' -- his hand reaches further into the personal space of the other.

"Point one to the Chinese. But it's a long game both are playing."



Ukraine says preparing for combat in face of Russian build-up

‎18 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:27:55 AMGo to full article
Donetsk, Ukraine (AFP) Nov 12, 2014 - Ukraine said Wednesday it was readying for fresh combat operations in the war-torn east as NATO backed claims that Moscow has poured columns of military hardware across the border.

Kiev's warning will fuel fears of a return to all-out conflict despite a two-month-old ceasefire deal which has halted fighting along much of the frontline but not stopped shelling at strategic flashpoints.

Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said Kiev was preparing for a new round of fighting after seeing "increased activity" by Russia and pro-Moscow rebels across the region.

"The main task I see is to prepare for combat operations. We are doing this, we are readying our reserves," Poltorak said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

"We observe their movements, we know where they are and we expect unpredictable actions from them."

He said the situation in the conflict zone was "complicated but stable" for now.

His comments came as NATO's supreme commander threw his weight behind allegations that Moscow has stepped up the flow of armaments across the frontier.

"We have seen columns of Russian equipment, primarily Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defence systems and Russian combat troops entering into Ukraine," US General Philip Breedlove said in Sofia.

Moscow has consistently denied that it is involved in the fighting in east Ukraine.

But it openly gives political backing to the self-declared separatist statelets and it is unclear how else the rebels could have acquired the heavy weaponry typical of a regular army.

Moscow deployed unmarked troops to seize the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in March, first denying they were its forces before admitting it had sent in soldiers.

The UN Security Council was set to hold an emergency session to discuss the Ukraine crisis later Wednesday, with representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) set to give an update on the situation on the ground.

The OSCE, which is monitoring the ceasefire, warned Tuesday there was a "rising" risk of an escalation in the conflict, which has claimed more than 4,000 lives since April, according to UN figures.

Its observers also reported seeing a convoy of 43 unmarked military trucks -- five towing Howitzer heavy artillery pieces and another five towing multi-launch rocket systems -- travelling into the rebel stronghold of Donetsk on Tuesday.

It was the latest in a string of recent sightings of unmarked trucks and heavy weapons heading towards the frontline in rebel-controlled areas.

- Heavy shelling in Donetsk -

On the ground, several hours of heavy artillery fire rocked Donetsk, the most intense fighting since the weekend.

The explosions of mortars being fired from near the city centre towards government positions at the ruined airport continued throughout the morning but had calmed down by early afternoon, an AFP correspondent said.

Ukraine's military said one soldier had been killed and five wounded as its positions came under repeated shelling around the region over the past 24 hours.

Government forces also accused the insurgents of trying to capture a strategic location along the volatile frontline, delineated as part of the ceasefire deal, north of the second-largest rebel stronghold Lugansk.

The Ukraine crisis has sent relations between Russia and the West plummeting to their lowest point since the Cold War.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was facing renewed Western diplomatic pressure over the conflict during a week of high-level international talks.

Putin discussed Ukraine with US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at a trade summit in Beijing on Tuesday.

Australia will host this week's G20 summit in Brisbane which Putin is also to attend amid public anger over allegations Russia supplied rebels with the missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July, killing all 298 people onboard including 38 Australian citizens and residents.

Dutch investigators were back at the rebel-controlled crash site on Wednesday looking for body parts but could not say when they would be able to start work on removing the wreckage because of the fragile security situation.



How a GOP Congress could accommodate Obama's agenda

‎18 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:27:55 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (UPI) Nov 11, 2014 - Getting elected is tough but for the new Republican majority in Congress, working with President Obama could prove downright daunting.

After the drubbing Democrats took in the mid-term elections, the president oddly pronounced if the GOP has some ideas to fund more infrastructure investment, advance early childhood education or improve Obamacare, he is open to listening.

That may not quite be what congressional Republicans have in mind, but if I were Senator McConnell or Speaker Boehner, I could work on those issues -- but with measures that get to the root of some of country's growth problems.

America spends plenty on infrastructure but it spends it badly -- and that impedes new investments in housing and jobs.

State and local governments, bending to powerful construction and homebuilder lobbies, place too much emphasis on expanding highways to ever more distant suburbs. Specifically, millennials show a much greater appetite than their parents for living in or near cities and short commutes. New home construction has shifted towards urban redevelopment, but young folks face daunting transportation problems on overtaxed roads and transit systems.

The "prevailing wage" provision of the Davis-Bacon Act generally requires excessively-high union wages on federally assisted projects. No matter that grossly inflates construction costs and reduces the number of projects undertaken, and organized labor represents only 6.7 percent of the private sector labor force these days.

The gasoline tax was last raised since 1997, and the federal highway trust fund is broke. The GOP leadership should craft a bill that increases the tax in line with inflation but refocuses spending more on relieving congestion and bottlenecks on urban roads and rail, and repeals Davis-Bacon.

Obama always likes more taxes, and he would find the urban emphasis, serving the needs of his young constituents, intriguing -- but develop apoplexy about repealing Davis- Bacon.

McConnell and Boehner could refer him to Governor Scott Walker who has cleaned out union obstructions to growth and has Wisconsin's economy firing on all cylinders. And the governor won his reelection the same day the president took his national shellacking.

Hardly anyone likes the IRS. Junking the federal income tax for a simpler to implement value-added tax would better encourage investment and growth, but that would impose greater burdens on parents of young children who by necessity save less and spend more on items that would be subject to the new levy. To compensate, Congress should also create a childcare allowance, and permit parents to spend that money on pre-school or to defer the cost of "home schooling" for stay-at-home parents.

We could count on the president balking at funding for home schooling, in deference to Democratic-leaning teachers' unions, but it's time for the GOP to stand up for America's moms -- including those who stay at home.

The Affordable Care Act states that health insurance subsidies be paid through exchanges "established by the states," but 36 states have balked at creating on-line marketplaces. The IRS unilaterally decided ACA subsidies may be paid through the federal market-place, despite the fact that law was written to explicitly encourage states to set up exchanges.

The Supreme Court is reviewing legal challenges to the IRS's peculiar interpretation of the law. Disallowing the subsidies, absent state exchanges, would all but kill the ACA, and Congress should help stiffen the court's allegiance to the clear reading of statutes by restating its will.

Supporting state governors who have determined the ACA is an unworkable morass, the Congress should quickly put an appropriation bill on the president's desk that eliminates funding for subsidies in states without exchanges.

It all sounds radical, but when the president was winning majorities in Congress, he was fond to say "elections have consequences."

It's time for the president to live by his own admonitions and bear the consequences of a conservative majority in the Congress.

Peter Morici is an economist and business professor at the University of Maryland, national columnist. He tweets @pmorici1



West confronts Putin at Asia-Pacific summit

‎18 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:27:55 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Nov 11, 2014 - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday had a close-up brush with Western anger over the Ukraine crisis and the downing of Flight MH17, as the White House warned that his sanctions-hit government was staring at "isolation".

Putin held separate bilateral meetings in Beijing with US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott -- after the latter had used colourful sporting terminology to demand a face-to-face encounter with the Russian strongman.

But the Kremlin said that on the fate of the Malaysia Airlines plane at least, which the West says was downed by a Russian missile supplied to pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine, Putin was not standing in the way of a full and transparent accounting.

The White House said Obama and Putin had met three times on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in the Chinese capital, which was taking place ahead of a G20 summit to be hosted by Abbott in Australia this weekend.

"Their conversations covered Iran, Syria, and Ukraine," National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told reporters in Beijing.

Both Russia and the United States are involved in the P5+1 talks on Iran's nuclear programme, but on Syria Moscow is a key ally of Bashar al-Assad's government and has supported him throughout the uprising that began in March 2011.

The biggest current differences between the US and Russia, though, are over Ukraine.

In mid-October, Putin accused Obama of having a hostile attitude towards Russia, while Obama decried "Russian aggression in Europe" in a recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

Earlier Tuesday US deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters in Beijing: "We continue to be deeply troubled by Russian activities. If they continue... it's a recipe for isolation."

Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union's last leader, reportedly warned at the weekend that the world was on the "brink of a new Cold War" at an event to mark 25 years since the Berlin Wall's fall.

- 'No shirtfront' -

Heading into Tuesday's meetings, Abbott had pledged to "shirtfront" Putin over the fate of Flight MH17, which came down in July with the loss of 298 lives, including 38 Australian citizens and residents.

"Shirtfront" is an Australian Rules Football term in which a player violently charges an opponent.

"The leaders have robustly spoken out in favour of speeding up the investigation of the reasons for the tragedy," the Kremlin said after Putin and Abbott met Tuesday at the APEC summit.

"Vladimir Putin stressed that from the very beginning Russia consistently demanded that the investigation be unbiased, quick and effective," it said.

Abbott's office underlined that evidence suggesting a Russian-supplied missile had blown MH17 out of the sky over eastern Ukraine, from a launcher that was then returned to Russian territory, was "a very serious matter".

Both leaders agreed that the international investigation into MH17 should proceed with all relevant information made available, Abbott's office said in a statement.

But Abbott also pointed out to Putin that the United States, after it downed an Iranian passenger jet over the Gulf in 1988, had expressed its regrets "and made appropriate restitution".

"He commended the precedent to President Putin," the statement said.

However, despite the strong words heading into the meeting, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Abbott had not delivered on his "shirtfront" threat.

"It appears that he did not try," Peskov told the state news agency RIA Novosti.

Anger at Putin was so fierce after the MH17 tragedy that some said he should be banned from visiting Australia for the G20 summit in Brisbane.

But Abbott wants the G20 to stay focussed on its economic remit, and sought instead to meet Putin in Beijing rather than Brisbane, to get the MH17 conversation out of the way.

- No compromise in sight -

"There was this idea, in Australia in particular, to turn the G20 into a place where Russia would be stigmatised for its aggression against Ukraine," said Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the Kremlin-connected Council on Foreign and Defence Policy.

"That won't happen because half of the G20 members are not interested in seeing so much hype about this," he told AFP.

Western sanctions, as well as falling oil prices, appear to have only antagonised the Russian leader instead of forcing him to change tack.

Putin seems unlikely to back down, experts said heading into the G20.

"I doubt that there will be any fundamental reduction in the confrontation between Russia and the West," Hugh White, professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University, told AFP.

"That confrontation has its roots in deep differences about the future of the international order in Eastern Europe, on which neither side seems willing to compromise significantly."



Power struggle plunges Georgia in turmoil

‎07 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:04:44 AMGo to full article
Tbilisi (AFP) Nov 05, 2014 - Georgia on Wednesday plunged into political crisis after its youthful prime minister sacked his hugely popular defence minister and the foreign minister resigned in protest.

In the ensuing political turmoil in the pro-Western Caucasus nation, Irakli Alasania -- who was fired in a surprise move on Tuesday -- said his Free Democrats party was leaving the ruling coalition, robbing Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, 32, of a parliamentary majority.

"Free Democrats will no longer be in the coalition," the photogenic ex-defence minister, 40, told reporters.

The ruling Georgian Dream coalition was left with only 73 seats in the 150-member legislature after Free Democrats' 10-member-strong parliamentary faction quit.

Observers said the row had all the trappings of a bitter power struggle in which Garibashvili got rid of his charismatic, influential opponent.

"Internal infighting between the Georgian Dream leaders is a primary cause for the crisis. Alasania has become too popular," independent political analyst Gia Nodia told AFP.

"Foreign policy disagreements between Garibashvili and strongly pro-Western Alasania are a secondary factor."

Opinion polls have repeatedly shown that Alasania is the most popular politician in the ruling coalition.

Garibashvili sacked Alasania after a raft of corruption charges were brought against high-ranking defence ministry officials.

He nominated his little-known 36-year-old national security advisor, Mindia Janelidze, as his new defence minister.

Alasania shot back by saying the charges were "groundless and politically motivated" and levelled mainly because of his faction's support for closer ties with the West.

Alasania had been pushing for the former Soviet state to join NATO and the EU.

"We are dealing with a deliberate attack against the defence ministry, which is a direct link in our country's chain with NATO and the European Union," he told a news conference.

Garibashvili dismissed the counter-allegations as "irresponsible speculation," saying Georgia's pro-Western orientation was "irreversible".

"Georgia's membership in NATO and the European Union is the choice of our people," he said.

The future of the ruling coalition remains unclear for now.

At least 76 votes are required for a cabinet to win a confidence vote in the parliament but the Georgian Dream coalition could draw support from some 16 independent lawmakers.

-'Democracy in danger'-

Shortly after he was sacked, Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said that she and her four deputies were resigning "to show what threats the country is facing."

Alexi Petriashvili, the minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration and a close ally of Alasania, also resigned in protest on Tuesday.

"Dictatorship is coming to Georgia, our democracy is in danger," Petriashvili said late on Tuesday.

Georgia's pro-Western President Giorgi Margvelashvili denounced the "political confrontation that endangers the functioning of state institutions and the country's Euro-Atlantic integration."

The US ambassador to Georgia, Richard Norland, said he was concerned that recent legal action against Georgian officials could pursue political ends.

"The number and scope of prosecutions of former and current officials raises legitimate concern that the judicial system is being used in a politicised way, or for political purposes," the diplomat said.

Georgian Dream coalition was assembled by former prime minister and billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, who came to power in 2012, ending a decade-long rule of the pro-Western president Mikheil Saakashvili and his United National Movement (UNM) party.

Scores of former top Saakashvili officials have been arrested and thousands of UNM supporters interrogated over the last two years for alleged wrongdoing, prompting warnings from the West over selective justice and persecution of political opponents.

Ivanishvili stepped down in 2013 and chose his protege Garibashvili to take over as premier, but the tycoon is widely believed to continue to wield power over the tiny Caucasus nation behind the scenes.



Anger in Hong Kong as protesters compared to slaves

‎07 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:04:44 AMGo to full article
Hong Kong (AFP) Nov 01, 2014 - A prominent businesswoman has sparked outrage in Hong Kong by comparing the city's pro-democracy protesters to African-American slaves, suggesting they might need to "wait for a while" to win the freedoms they are seeking.

"American slaves were liberated in 1861 but did not get voting rights until 107 years later, so why can't Hong Kong wait for a while?" Laura Cha, an HSBC board member, was quoted as saying by The Standard newspaper on Friday.

An online petition calling for her to apologise, and for her fellow HSBC board members to denounce the comments, has gathered nearly 7,000 signatures.

Pro-democracy demonstrators have held mass street rallies in Hong Kong for more than a month, demanding Beijing grants free leadership elections to the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

The Chinese government insists that candidates for the 2017 vote must be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee, which the protesters say amounts to "fake democracy".

Cha -- who also sits on Hong Kong's Executive Council, which advises leader Leung Chun-ying -- has said she did not mean any disrespect with the comments and "regrets" that they have caused concerns.

But the online petition described the remarks as "deeply insulting", as well as showing a "lack of understanding of American history".

"We find it extremely distasteful and insensitive to compare the voting rights of average, natural-born citizens of Hong Kong to the path of voting rights of slavery," wrote Jeffrey Chan, who started the petition on Change.org.

The protesters have occupied several major thoroughfares in the former British colony since September 28.

Photographs circulating on social media Saturday showed the city's last colonial leader Chris Patten holding an open yellow umbrella -- the symbol of the pro-democracy movement -- in an apparent gesture of support at Oxford University, where he is chancellor.



Taiwan defence minister visits disputed Spratlys

‎07 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:04:44 AMGo to full article
Taipei (AFP) Nov 05, 2014 - Taiwan's defence minister visited a disputed island in the South China Sea Wednesday, the first such trip by a Taiwanese military chief for more than five years, amid growing tensions in the region.

Yen Ming, together with two legislators and several reporters, flew to Taiping, a Taiwan-administered island which is part of the Spratlys -- a chain also claimed in whole or in part by China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei.

The defence ministry confirmed the visit but declined to provide details.

It was the first by a Taiwanese defence minister since January 2009 when then-defence minister Chen Chao-min flew to the island more than 800 nautical miles (1,482 kilometres) from Taiwan.

Yen inspected the coastguards guarding the island and called for peace, saying it was not Taiwan's desire to spark tensions there, the state Central News Agency reported.

The visit comes amid reports that China has been reclaiming more land atop five reefs in the region.

Noting that the reefs are only dozens of miles away from Taiping, Taiwan parliamentarian Lin Yu-fang said last week it would take only minutes for Chinese helicopters to fly from them to Taiping.

"This would pose grave threats to the defence of the garrisons on Taiping," Lin said.

Lin said it was time to review the defences on the island, highlighting what he called the continued military build-ups by Vietnam and the Philippines.

A six-point measure proposed by Lin was approved last week by parliament's diplomacy and defence committee, of which he is a member.

Among other points, the committee called for studies of the possible deployment of air defence missiles and the permanent stationing of warships in the Spratlys.

Taiwan in April conducted its largest military exercise since 2000 near the Spratlys. The scenario involved the retaking of Taiping after it had been seized by invading troops.

Taiping is currently guarded by a 130-strong coastguard detachment.

All claimants to the Spratlys, apart from Brunei and Taiwan, have troops based on the archipelago of more than 100 islets, reefs and atolls.

They cover a vast area but have a total land mass of less than five square kilometres (two square miles).



Obama doing 'insipid job', China paper says ahead of visit

‎07 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:04:44 AMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Nov 05, 2014 - China's state-run media on Wednesday decried Barack Obama as a banal leader who has done an "insipid job", days ahead of a visit by the US president.

The editorial in the Global Times, which has close ties to China's ruling Communist Party, came as the Republicans took control of the US Senate from Obama's Democrats.

"Obama always utters 'Yes, we can,' which led to the high expectations people had for him," the Global Times wrote, referring to Obama's 2008 campaign-trail mantra.

"But he has done an insipid job, offering nearly nothing to his supporters."

"US society has grown tired of his banality," it added.

Although the US economy has improved gradually since the 2008 recession, the national mood is far from buoyant, with a CNN exit poll on Tuesday showing 54 percent of voters disapproved of how Obama was handling his job.

The US president will be in China from November 10 to 12 for a two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, followed by a state visit.

In a speech in Washington ahead of the trip, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday called the US-China relationship the "most consequential" in the world, warning that it needed to be "carefully managed".

He maintained that the US remains "deeply concerned" by mounting regional tensions -- Beijing has disputes with Japan and several of its South China Sea neighbours -- and that "we do not simply agree to disagree when it comes to maritime security".

Beijing's foreign ministry responded Wednesday that differences between China and the US are "natural" given the two countries' "different histories, cultures, social systems and economic development status".

"Both sides should respect each other, seek common ground, and handle these differences in a constructive way," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

The Global Times spared no criticism of Obama, particularly on foreign policy. In its editorial, the paper argued that Obama took "US troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, but left no peace".

"Osama bin Laden was killed during his tenure, but the (Islamic State) has emerged from the Middle East," it wrote.

The newspaper noted the "many thorny problems" Obama has encountered during his six years in office, including the "limited tolerance and acceptance" he has received as the first African-American president.

It also observed that his tenure came "in the midst of a time when partisan politics is becoming more extreme".

Obama's "best performance is empty rhetoric", the paper said, and suggested that Western political systems were fundamentally flawed.

"Bush, who dared to do everything, and Obama, who dares to do nothing, come from different parties but have the same destiny," the paper wrote. "Is this their problem or the problem of the US system?"

"With China's rise, we gradually have the ability to have a clear understanding of the US," the paper concluded. "The country is too lazy to reform."



Echoes of WWI battle in China resonate over Japan ties

‎07 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:04:44 AMGo to full article
Qingdao, China (AFP) Nov 06, 2014 - A century ago on Friday German troops raised the white flag over a fortress on the Chinese coast, surrendering to Japan as Tokyo expanded its presence, fuelling animosity that hampers relations with Beijing to this day.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have yet to hold a formal summit and despite Abe's desire for one next week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Beijing, the prospects are murky against a backdrop of territorial disputes and historical resentment.

The Siege of Tsingtao was the sole battle of World War I fought in East Asia, and total deaths were in the hundreds, far from the carnage Europe would see during its four-year slaughter.

But the battle's implications were far-reaching, highlighting China's impotence in the face of machinations by foreign powers on its own soil as German control was ceded to Japan, and contributing to an ongoing awakening in Chinese national consciousness.

"This is a small, relatively forgotten battle but it's emblematic both of the way that foreign powers fought one another, handed out territory between themselves and so on in China with no reference to the Chinese at all," British author Jonathan Fenby, who published a history of the siege, said at a talk in Beijing.

It was a milestone in the relationship between China and Japan he said, adding: "One underestimates the hostility there at one's peril."

Contemporary relations between the Asian giants remain haunted by history, particularly the legacy of Japan's World War II aggression and a still simmering dispute over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea controlled by Japan but also claimed by China.

Contacts between the two sides have increased in recent weeks and a handshake between Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at an October meeting of European and Asian leaders in Milan added to speculation a significant meeting with Xi at APEC was possible.

But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei declined to be drawn on the prospect Thursday, offering only Beijing's stock response that Japan should "show sincerity" and "take concrete measures" to improve relations.

- 'National Humiliation' -

Many ordinary Chinese citizens remain deeply suspicious of their neighbour across the water.

"The Japanese just want to pick a fight, like Abe," said an unemployed man visiting a park that used to house German military facilities in Qingdao -- the modern transliteration of the city's name.

When World War I broke out in the summer of 1914, China was in political turmoil after the fall of the Qing Dynasty just three years earlier. Foreign countries controlled key ports and enjoyed extraterritorial rights for their citizens.

One of them was Germany. A relative latecomer to colonial adventures, Germany in 1897 seized the Yellow Sea port of Qingdao, which became its key naval base in Asia and the Pacific, where it also had possessions in far-flung New Guinea, Samoa and the Marshall Islands, among others.

German-style architecture can still be seen in Qingdao, a hilly, verdant city known throughout China for another German cultural legacy -- its namesake Tsingtao beer.

Japan, for its part, was a fast modernising power coming off military victories over the Qing and Imperial Russia. And when World War I broke out it supported its ally Britain, some of whose troops also took part in the siege.

Hostilities commenced in late August with a blockade, while the full-scale siege began on October 31. When it was over eight days later Japanese authority replaced Germany's in Qingdao in a transfer later formally endorsed by the Treaty of Versailles.

Noriyuki Nakama, a Japanese businessman visiting Qingdao, said that his nation's actions should be seen in the context of geopolitics a century ago, when he said Japan's own fears of Western colonialism drove it to strengthen itself and embrace expansion as a result.

"Considering the current of the times, well, I think it couldn't really be helped," he said.

But for the Chinese, Qingdao's fall from one foreign hand to another is part of a long string of historical ignominy that began with the 19th-century Opium Wars.

"Never Forget National Humiliation", reads an inscription at the park in Qingdao, one small example of how the Communist Party stokes patriotism and its own claim to legitimacy by stressing a narrative of national victimisation, with Japan a conspicuous target for criticism.

"Every single Chinese in our country knows that China-Japan relations aren't good," said Zhu Yuhua, a cultural heritage specialist visiting a museum dedicated to the siege, who cited earlier and later wars between them in 1894-95 and 1937-45.

"This isn't in doubt, it's common understanding."



US-China ties will help shape 21st century: Kerry

‎07 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:04:44 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Nov 04, 2014 - Top American diplomat John Kerry said Tuesday the relationship between the United States and China was the "most consequential" in the world today, warning it needed to be "carefully managed."

Ties between the two powerful economies will "do much to determine the shape of the 21st century," Kerry said, before leaving on what will be his fourth trip to China since becoming secretary of state 21 months ago.

The two major powers "have a profound opportunity to set a constructive course on any number of issues, from climate change to global trade," Kerry insisted.

"For that reason, our relationship has to be carefully managed and guided, not by news hooks and grand gestures, but by a long-term strategic vision, by hard work, by good diplomacy and by good relationships."

Shortly after speaking, Kerry left on a new diplomatic trip, heading first for Paris where he will meet French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

He will then fly to Beijing to join Asia-Pacific foreign ministers and lay the groundwork for the annual APEC summit hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping and to be attended by US President Barack Obama in China next week.

America's China policy was founded on two pillars, Kerry told an audience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

The goals were "constructively managing our differences -- and there are differences -- and just as constructively coordinating our efforts on the wide range of issues where our interests are aligned."

But Washington was not giving Beijing a free pass when it came to voicing differences over regional tensions or human rights, Kerry stressed.

"We do not simply agree to disagree when it comes to maritime security, especially in the South and East China Seas," he insisted, referring to Beijing's territorial claims to vast swaths of the two seas.

"We take a strong position on how those claims are pursued and how those disputes are going to be resolved," he said, adding the US was "deeply concerned" by the mounting regional tensions.

On the issue of cyber-hacking and the theft of intellectual property by Chinese authorities and industry, Kerry said Washington had been equally firm.

"We've been very clear about how strongly we object to any cyber-enabled theft of trade secrets and other sensitive information from our companies," he said.

And he pledged the United States would continue to press China's communist authorities to respect human rights and freedom of speech, including in Hong Kong.

- Shared responsibility -

But even though "our differences will undoubtedly continue to test the relationship," the two nations should be able to cooperate on a wide range of issues, and not just on economic and trade ties.

"There is both opportunity and necessity to coordinate our efforts to address global security concerns. Our shared efforts to respond to the global threat of climate change are a perfect example," Kerry said.

China and the United States are the world's two largest energy consumers, and the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, blamed for global warming, and therefore had a "shared responsibility" to seek solutions through a wise energy policy.

"The solutions are within reach. But they will require ambitious, decisive and immediate action," Kerry said.

The top US diplomat will also visit Oman on this trip, where he will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as a deadline for a deal on Iran's nuclear program looms.

He will then fly back to Beijing to accompany Obama.



EU says Ukraine rebel vote risks 'closing' window for peace

‎07 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:04:44 AMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) Nov 04, 2014 - Elections held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine threaten to close the "window of opportunity" for a peaceful solution to the bloody crisis, EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said Tuesday.

"The main risk I see now is that we close this window of opportunity for internal dialogue and for dialogue with Russia" on implementing a peace plan all sides agreed on in September, Mogherini told a press conference with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

"They risk to put in serious danger the path of dialogue and peace" set down in the Minsk accords, she said, repeating that the polls held by separatists were illegal and would not be recognised.

"The main topic today should be how to make sure that we find a solution to the conflict," Mogherini said when asked if the polls justified further European Union sanctions against Russia for its role in a conflict which has so far cost some 4,000 lives.

The EU has kept the issue constantly under review and sanctions, as had been made clear repeatedly, could be changed depending on developments on the ground, she said.

For his part, Stoltenberg said the "so-called elections ... run directly counter" to the ceasefire and peace protocols agreed in the Belarus capital Minsk.

Russia backed the accords but then said it would recognise the rebel elections, threatening to deepen divisions on the ground in eastern Ukraine.

While the fighting has eased since the Minsk agreements, there have been major breaches on all sides, with the death toll steadily mounting.

Stoltenberg said Russia continued to arm, train and support the rebels, with special forces still inside Ukraine itself, while also moving troops along the border.

He repeated calls on Russia to use its influence with the rebels to support and implement the Minsk accords.

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko meanwhile said Kiev remained committed to the Minsk agreements but "other participants" were not living up to their commitments.



Pentagon spy agency trimmed after lawmakers voice concern

‎07 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:04:44 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Nov 02, 2014 - A Pentagon plan to create an overseas intelligence agency is being trimmed after lawmakers voiced concern with its price and purpose, The Washington Post reported.

The new Defense Clandestine Service, announced by the Pentagon more than two years ago, is to use existing agents, authorities and assets and work closely with the Central Intelligence Agency to track emerging threats.

But a report by the Post late Saturday said that the US military's Defense Intelligence Agency would train and deploy at most only 500 undercover officers, approximately half of what was initially planned.

Cutbacks also include a scaled-down training schedule and steering most of those involved towards more traditional DIA roles.

Although case officers from the DIA already secretly gather intelligence outside of conventional battle zones, the Defense Clandestine Service, or DCS, is meant to further cement cooperation between the military and the CIA.

But Congress, including members of the Senate Armed Forces Committee in particular, voiced concern that the Pentagon would be picking up the tab for CIA duties, the Post said.

"We did reevaluate the DCS program after initial discussions with Congress," Pentagon spokeswoman Navy Commander Amy Derrick-Frost said in the Post.

The former head of the DIA, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, was pushed out of his post earlier this year, according to the Post, after disagreements with other senior figures and amid efforts to speed up the plan to deploy more spies.



Russian warplanes send 'great power' message: NATO

‎07 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:04:44 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Nov 03, 2014 - Russia's recent military flights into European airspace are meant to demonstrate to the West that the country is a "great power," NATO's supreme allied commander said on Monday.

Although there has been an increase in Russian air activity over Europe during the past year, last week marked the first time Moscow had sent in larger formations of warplanes, General Philip Breedlove told reporters.

"My opinion is they're messaging us. They're messaging us that they are a great power," Breedlove said.

Moscow wanted to show it can exert influence on the alliance's calculations, he said.

NATO last week reported a series of flights by Russian fighter jets, long-range bombers and tanker aircraft over the Baltics, North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, days before a controversial election held by pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine on Sunday.

NATO fighter jets quickly intercepted the Russian planes and escorted them out of European airspace without incident.

In the past, Russian flights were carried out by small groups of one or two aircraft, he said.

"And what you saw this past week was a larger, more complex formation of aircraft, carrying out a little deeper -- I would say a little bit more provocative flight path," the US general said.

The flights were cause for "concern" and "do not add to or contribute to a secure and stable situation."

Russian naval forces also have taken similar provocative steps over the past year in the Black Sea, the North Sea and even in the Pacific Ocean, Breedlove said.

The head of NATO forces and top US general in Europe spoke a day after controversial elections held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, which have been denounced as illegitimate by the United States and European governments.

Breedlove said it was too early to say how the polls would affect the security situation in Ukraine, but he said the elections were opposed all along by the United States and that it was "not helpful" to efforts to end the conflict.

-- More US troop deployments --

Citing a "revanchist Russia," Breedlove said he favored increasing the number of US troops in Eastern Europe on temporary deployments, in addition to measures already taken to reassure anxious partners on NATO's eastern border.

"Because of the increased pressure that we feel in Eastern Europe right now and because of the assurance measures that we're taking in the Baltics, in Poland, in Romania, we require additional rotational presence," he said.

There already have been modest reinforcements for aviation units in Europe flying C-130 cargo planes and F-16 fighter jets, he said.

Breedlove also said he has conferred with US military chiefs on the possibility of stationing more supplies and military hardware at key bases in Europe "to give us a more responsive capability if we were to need it in the future."

About 750 US troops are now in Poland and the Baltics from the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, equipped with M-1 Abrams tanks and Bradley infantry armored vehicles. In a deployment meant to show solidarity with eastern NATO allies, the soldiers from the "Iron Horse brigade" out of Fort Hood, Texas, are on a three-month mission focused on training exercises with alliance members.

Since a ceasefire was agreed between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists in September, fighting has continued but the line of demarcation between the two sides has solidified while the eastern border with Russia has "become completely porous," Breedlove said.

There has been no let-up in Russian supply convoys moving across the border into eastern Ukraine, he said.

Russian forces remain in place near Ukraine's border, with about seven battalions deployed in the area, down from a high of 18 battalions at one point, he said. There are roughly 800 to 1,000 soldiers in a Russian battalion.

Inside Ukraine, Russia has about 250-300 troops who are training and equipping the separatists, Breedlove said.



US Navy cancels port calls amid Philippine anger over killing

‎07 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:04:44 AMGo to full article
Manila (AFP) Nov 03, 2014 - The US Navy has cancelled visits to the Philippine port of Subic amid public anger over accusations that a US Marine killed a Filipino on the city's outskirts, officials said Monday.

Foreign Department spokesman Charles Jose said the visits of three US ships to Subic this month had been cancelled, while the head of the Subic freeport said nine such visits scheduled for this year had been called off.

"The DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) was informed through normal diplomatic channels of the cancellation of the visits to Subic of three ships for operational reasons," he said.

Jose told reporters he did not believe the cancellations were linked to anger stirred by the investigation of a US Marine for the killing of a Filipina in Olongapo City last month.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman Robert Garcia said nine US ships due to dock at Subic this year had cancelled their visits.

He told AFP that two US Navy ships were still scheduled to make port calls in Subic for "emergency repairs" but their crews would not be allowed to disembark.

Normally, two or three US Navy ships make routine port calls every month for resupply in Subic, a former US naval base about an hour's drive from Manila, said Garcia.

He said the authority had been informed of the cancellations by the Subic chamber of commerce, which includes the company that services US ships.

However Garcia could not say why the visits were cancelled. US embassy officials declined to comment.

Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender Filipina, was found dead on October 12 in a cheap hotel near Subic with marks of strangulation on her neck.

US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, who had just finished taking part in US-Philippine military exercises in Subic, had checked into the hotel with Laude and was the last person seen with her, police said.

Pemberton is now detained at Philippine military headquarters while prosecutors consider charging him.

Activist groups have seized on the incident to attack the defence ties between the United States and its former colony.

Frequent street protests have been staged against the US forces.



China stresses Communist party's control over military

‎04 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:34:11 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Nov 03, 2014 - Anyone calling for China's People's Liberation Army to be loyal to the state rather than the Communist party has a "very black heart", military media said Monday, after President Xi Jinping stressed: "The party commands the gun".

Xi vowed to maintain his anti-corruption drive, days after military prosecutors said Xu Caihou, formerly the second-highest ranking officer in 2.3-million strong PLA, had confessed to bribery.

Questions over whether the PLA should become an army of the country rather than an army of the party -- so-called "nationalisation" -- have mounted in recent years but Xi made clear the change was off the agenda.

"We must face up to the outstanding issues which face us in building up the military, especially on our political thinking," the official Xinhua news agency quoted him saying at a two-day meeting in a former revolutionary base in the southern province of Fujian.

Xi urged troops to prioritise the Communist party, saying there were problems with party principles, revolutionary spirits and ideology in the PLA.

"We must profoundly recognise the important role of political work in the army building and pass on to the following generations all the great traditions which were forged in blood by our ancestors," Xi said, according to the Xinhua report.

State-run media decried the concept of a state-controlled army on Monday, with an editorial in the official PLA Daily saying: "Those who spread the call for nationalisation of the military can be described as having a very black heart."

Other publications blamed the suggestion on foreigners intent on weakening the ruling party, with an editorial in the Global Times saying its backers had "obviously been influenced by the West".

The involvement of foreign forces in the argument "directly advocates depriving the Party's leadership of the military and shaking the foundation of the Party's power", added the paper, which is close to the ruling party.

Xi vowed to continue the fight against corruption in the military, part of his much-publicised wider campaign to root out the scourge that threatens to weaken the party's 65-year grip on power.

The PLA has come under intense scrutiny as part of the crackdown and Xu, formerly a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, is being prosecuted for taking bribes in exchange for granting promotions.

A lack of discipline and faith still plague the military, Xi said according to Xinhua, adding that oversight of officers was "too lax". The system that supervises senior military officials still had flaws, he said.



Russian flights over Europe raise tension: US military

‎04 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:34:11 PMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Oct 31, 2014 - Russian military flights over European airspace are raising tensions and pose a potential danger to security and to civilian aircraft, a US military spokesman said Friday.

The United States was concerned about the flights of Russian warplanes and was tracking the activity "very closely," Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.

"We certainly don't see these increased flights and activity as helpful to the security situation in Europe. Clearly, they pose the potential risk of escalation," he said.

The flights also represented "a potential risk to civil aviation just in the sheer number of and size of and scope of these flights," Kirby said.

There was another round of flights on Friday, with NATO monitoring Russian planes over the Baltics, the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

"The aircraft involved fighter jets, long-range bombers and tanker aircraft," Kirby said.

He added that the United States wants Russia "to take steps, concrete tangible steps to reduce tension, not increase it."

NATO this week said Russian military aircraft engaged in large-scale flight operations in European airspace and alliance planes were sent up to intercept and identify them.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the transatlantic alliance remained vigilant in the face of the Russian flights.

The air activity follows Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, which NATO has condemned, calling it the most serious threat to transatlantic security since the Cold War.

NATO says there have been more than 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft in 2014 to date, about three times the number in 2013.



Back to Cold War as Russia probes NATO defences

‎04 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:34:11 PMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) Oct 31, 2014 - Nuclear-capable Russian bombers in European airspace, NATO intercepts, a foreign submarine in Swedish waters -- the fall-out from the Ukraine crisis feels like a return to Cold War days.

NATO has intercepted Russian aircraft on more than 100 occasions so far this year, three times more than all 2013, its new head Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

"We have seen a substantial increase but we are doing what we are supposed to do. We intercept, we are ready and we react," Stoltenberg said, repeating that NATO must deal with Russia from a position of strength.

Earlier this week, NATO tracked and intercepted four groups of Russian warplanes, including long-range TU-95 strategic bombers and sophisticated fighters "conducting significant military manoeuvres" over the Baltic Sea, North Sea/Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea.

"These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity," NATO said.

A few days earlier, a Russian Ilyushin IL-20 spy plane which took off from the Russian Baltic coast enclave of Kaliningrad briefly crossed into Estonian airspace, all part of a pattern of increased testing of NATO's eastern flank.

The US-led military alliance has deployed more aircraft, ships and personnel, aiming especially to reassure newer members such as the Baltic states and Poland, once ruled from Moscow, who have been unnerved by Russia's intervention in Ukraine.

NATO has to send "a very clear message" to Moscow, Stoltenberg said.

Russia asserts itself
Viewed from Moscow, there is no cause for concern -- Russia is simply asserting its position after long years of decline and NATO and the West had better get used to it.

"Before, our aircraft did not fly. Now they do," said Igor Korotchenko, a member of the Russian defence ministry's advisory group.

"This is nothing but a return to the military practices of a country which thinks about its defence and the readiness of its military," Korotchenko told AFP.

"The airforce trains and mounts reconnaissance missions to better understand what our NATO colleagues are up to."

Brooks Tigner, NATO specialist for IHS Jane's Defence, said "these kind of provocative actions have been going on ever since the Cold War stopped ... but it wasn't reported on."

Now the Russians are putting up more complex formations -- some of this week's flights involved eight aircraft -- and flying closer to major population centres, Tigner said.

"This is indicative of a more assertive attitude by Russia. This signals 'We are a world player so watch out NATO'," he said.

'Game of brinkmanship'
Other analysts said the increased activity recalled Cold War days when both sides probed and tested each other in sometimes risky manoeuvres.

"It is a game of brinkmanship ... trying to get your opponent to make concessions," said Pavel Felguenhauer, a military analyst based in Moscow.

In this case, Russia wants to get the West to reverse the tough economic sanctions imposed over the Ukraine crisis and which have caused real pain to an already struggling economy, Felguenhauer said.

To do that, it aims to "frighten the Europeans, to make them believe that Russia is ready to do anything to get what it wants," he added.

That rings true, said Igor Sutyagin at RUSI in London, recalling that President Vladimir Putin had only recently warned "that Russia was heading towards a confrontation with the West".

"Military might is the only remaining tool to show Russia's desire to be taken seriously," Sutyagin said, and the government "thinks the West is not willing to fight, that it is easy to win."

The message from Moscow, said Sutyagin, is clear: "Look you had better be a friend; if you don't, this is what you will have."

It is a strategy, not far removed from the one that dominated the mid-20th century, designed to "intimidate the West into having a partnership with Russia" on its own terms.



Japanese aircraft scrambles endangering safety: China

‎04 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎04:34:11 PMGo to full article
Beijing (AFP) Oct 30, 2014 - Japan's increased scrambling of military aircraft in response to Chinese flights is endangering safety between the Asian powers in the air and at sea, Beijing's defence ministry said Thursday.

The defence ministry in Tokyo announced earlier this month that the country's military had scrambled aircraft a total of 207 times to respond to incursions by Chinese aircraft between April and September, up from 149 cases during the same six-month period last year.

Asked about the Japanese statistics at a monthly press conference, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) spokesman Yang Yujun said the numbers showed that Japan was endangering safety.

"These statistics themselves show that the frequency of Japanese military aircraft close-in surveillance and monitoring of Chinese military aircraft are on the rise," Yang said.

Such action "is the root cause for safety issues in the air and at sea between China and Japan", he added.

"We urge Japan to stop such dangerous activities."

Beijing and Tokyo have been at loggerheads for two years over a longstanding territorial conflict, against a backdrop of Chinese anger over Japan's aggression in the first half of the 20th century, although signs of a thawing have emerged in recent weeks.

Japan controls the uninhabited Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, which are also claimed by China which calls them Diaoyus, and the tensions have raised fears of armed clashes in the area.

Last month, however, senior officials of the two countries agreed to resume stalled talks over setting up a hotline between defence officials to prevent an unintended conflict.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping have not held formal talks, but the Japanese leader made brief contact with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang earlier this month at an international gathering in Italy, following other meetings involving senior officials and business leaders.

Last week, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso and China's Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli briefly chatted on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation finance ministers' gathering in Beijing, ahead of the forum's annual summit next month.

Speculation has increased that Abe and Xi may finally hold an official meeting of some kind on the sidelines of that event.






UN News Centre - Top Stories


Security Council strongly condemns terrorist attack in Kenya

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎01:37:52 AMGo to full article
The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned Saturday’s attack in Mandera, Kenya for which Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility and which has caused the deaths of numerous innocent people.

At UN meeting, prevention cited as key factor in fight against terrorism-related kidnapping

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:48:01 AMGo to full article
The practice of kidnapping for ransom and hostage-taking continues to provide the world’s terrorists with a reliable source of income to fund their operations, United Nations Member States were told today at a meeting jointly held by the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) and Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) in New York.

Madagascar: UN health agency warns of ‘rapid’ spread of plague in capital city

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:36:03 AMGo to full article
The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a “rapid” spread of the plague in the capital of Madagascar, where health authorities have reported 119 cases of the bacterial disease, including at least 40 deaths in the island nation.

Ban applauds Tunisian presidential vote as country’s democratic transition continues

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:14:08 AMGo to full article
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today extended his congratulations to the people of Tunisia on the occasion of their first presidential election since revolution swept the country and ushered in an era of democratic change.

‘Peace process hangs from a thread,’ UN warns ahead of Day of Solidarity with Palestinians

‎25 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:11:17 AMGo to full article
United Nations officials today voiced their solidarity with the people of Palestine, while calling on both sides involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to cease acts of violence, overcome their differences, and resume peace talks with a clear framework towards resolving the decades-long dispute.

Top UN health officials take joint mission to Mali in support of Ebola response

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎10:26:01 PMGo to full article
The Executive Director of Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibé and the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, have visited Mali in a joint mission to support the country in its efforts to curb the spread of Ebola, as authorities there announced one new case and that two more suspected patients were being tested.

UN says Palestinian refugees from Syria face ‘increasingly grave’ situation region wide

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎09:42:58 PMGo to full article
The plight of Palestine refugees from Syria in the Middle East is becoming increasingly grave caused by closed borders and a series of forced returns from neighbouring countries, Chris Gunness, spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said today.

In Central African Republic, UN team investigates outbreak of sectarian violence

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎09:38:24 PMGo to full article
A United Nations humanitarian mission has visited a town in the Central African Republic (CAR) amid an outburst of violence that left at least 14 people injured and three killed, the Organization’s humanitarian relief office announced today.

#OrangeUrHood campaign kicks off UN-led effort to end violence against women

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎09:00:22 PMGo to full article
Tonight, for the first time ever, both the iconic United Nations Headquarters complex and the Empire State Building in New York are bathed in orange light to kick off the “Orange YOUR Neighbourhood” campaign ahead of the International Day to End Violence Against Women.

UN committee to examine inscription requests for lists on intangible cultural heritage

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:04:06 PMGo to full article
A United Nations committee tasked with protecting the world’s oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, craftsmanship and knowledge of nature will begin examining requests today for inscription on the two lists of intangible cultural heritage, as part of its current session meeting in Paris this week.

Ban urges dialogue as Burkina Faso interim Government holds first cabinet meeting

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:56:52 PMGo to full article
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on all appointed transitional leaders in Burkina Faso to work in a “collaborative and harmonious manner,” as the inaugural Cabinet meeting of the transitional Government was held today.

New bird flu strain in Europe threatens poultry sector, UN agency warns

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎06:39:51 PMGo to full article
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today warned that a new bird flu strain detected in Europe poses a significant threat to the poultry sector, especially in low-resourced countries situated along the Black Sea and East Atlantic migratory routes of wild birds.

Trafficking in children on the rise, says new UN report

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎06:36:07 PMGo to full article
One in three known victims of human trafficking is a child, and girls and women are particularly targeted and forced into “modern slavery,” according to the 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, released today by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna.

Amid ‘anaemic’ job creation, Greece risks prolonged social crisis – UN report

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎05:59:06 PMGo to full article
Faced with an “anaemic” pace of job creation and nearly 1.3 million unemployed citizens, Greece risks a prolonged social crisis unless urgent measures are taken, warns a new report out today from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Afghanistan: UN strongly condemns suicide bombing at volleyball match

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎05:52:34 PMGo to full article
A brutal terrorist attack which killed at least 50 civilians in Afghanistan over the weekend is an “atrocity” and may amount to a war crime, the top United Nations envoy to the country declared today as he condemned the indiscriminate suicide bombing in “the strongest terms.”

DR Congo: UN special envoy condemns ‘trend of massacres’ in eastern province

‎24 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎05:25:38 PMGo to full article
The security situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is “worsening,” a senior United Nations official has warned, citing an escalating trend of massacres in the town of Beni – the site of continuing flare-ups of deadly violence between armed groups, including Ugandan-based rebels operating in the area.

UN chief condemns latest terrorist attack in Kenya

‎22 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the brutal killing of 28 people on a bus in Mandera, Kenya in the latest spate of terrorist violence to afflict the East African nation.

Darfur: amid mass rape allegations, UN-backed event promotes role of women in peace processes

‎22 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
As it continues its investigations into the mass rape of 200 women and girls in North Darfur, the United Nations-African Union hybrid mission in Darfur this week organized a forum focusing on the importance of integrated gender perspectives and women leaders in all peace processes – from peacemaking to peace building.

Improving system for person with disabilities good for all says US advocate on tour of UN accessibility centre

‎22 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎02:05:24 AMGo to full article
On a tour of the United Nations Accessibility Centre for the audio, visual, and physically impaired today, United States Senator Tom Harkin said that “when you make a system better for a person with a disability it makes it better for people without disabilities.”

UN agency unveils push to make cooking safe for 10 million people by 2020

‎22 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:55:22 AMGo to full article
Every year, household air pollution from cooking kills over four million people and sickens millions more, the United Nations spotlighted at a New York conference on cookstoves, as it urged Governments to take action to accelerate the adoption of clean cooking solutions.

Slovenia: UN expert urges focus on ‘vulnerable’ ostracized older persons

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎11:47:51 PMGo to full article
Following her first official visit to Slovenia, the United Nations independent expert on the human rights of older persons hailed efforts by the country’s Government in ensuring the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, but urged authorities to focus on those being ostracized, as they are “the vulnerable of the vulnerable.”

Burkina Faso: UN chief urges continued dialogue as transitional Government takes power

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎10:57:39 PMGo to full article
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reiterated his call for all Burkinabé stakeholders to ensure Burkina Faso’s seamless transition to democracy amid an ongoing constitutional crisis in the West African country, a United Nations spokesperson has confirmed.

UN conference generates renewed global momentum to eradicate malnutrition

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎10:53:41 PMGo to full article
In a move hailed as renewed global momentum to end hunger, leaders from over 170 countries attending a United Nations nutrition conference which concluded today, pledged to establish national policies aimed at eradicating malnutrition – in all its forms from, hunger to obesity – and transform food systems to make nutritious diets available to all.

Ebola: Ban hopeful of outbreak’s end by mid-2015; UN to set up response office in Mali

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎09:50:08 PMGo to full article
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said that by continuing to scale up the global fight against Ebola, there is hope the outbreak could be contained by mid-2015, but he emphasized that results to date are still uneven, and announced that the Organization’s top health officials will head to Mali, where the situation is still a cause of "deep concern.”

Sectarian clashes displace thousands in south-eastern Central African Republic, UN warns

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎09:10:32 PMGo to full article
An upsurge in violent attacks this week between communities in a town near the Central African Republic’s border with South Sudan has left at least 10 people injured and thousands more displaced, marking the first major inter-community incident in the region since the country’s crisis began in 2012, the United Nations humanitarian relief office said today.

Middle East: UN-backed reconstruction efforts set to kick-off in Gaza next week

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:59:49 PMGo to full article
The next phase in reconstruction efforts for war-ravaged Gaza is slated to begin as early as next week following an updated “understanding” between Israeli and Palestinian stakeholders, the United Nations special envoy in the region has announced.

As challenges mount for displaced in eastern Ukraine, UN agency ramps up food voucher plan

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:21:36 PMGo to full article
Key steps have been taken recently to deliver food vouchers to some 10,000 internally displaced people in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reported today, while underscoring that ensuring access to food in the country’s crisis-gripped eastern region remains a “priority concern.”

South Sudan: UN relief official urges respect for ceasefire, scaling up of aid operations

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:15:50 PMGo to full article
Concluding a three-day mission to South Sudan, a senior United Nations relief official has called on all parties to the conflict there to respect their ceasefire commitments, while urging the international community to continue providing support to enable humanitarians to scale up and expand critical aid operations.

UN agency’s innovative standards to boost TV viewing experience for millions

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:25:39 PMGo to full article
The technological advancement of the television medium – a critical tool for “informing, channelling, and affecting” public opinion – is necessary for the improvement of communication and globalization, the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) declared today, as it announced new measures aimed at heightening television viewing for millions of people around the world.

‘Time is growing short,’ UN warns as it boosts delivery of winter kits to displaced in Iraq

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎06:42:24 PMGo to full article
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is stepping up its efforts in Iraq to deliver winter aid to people displaced by this year’s conflict including Thursday with the landing in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region the first in a series of flights carrying supplies aimed at mitigating the impact of the harsh months ahead.

UN warns Pacific islands of extreme weather risks during upcoming wet season

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
Extreme weather conditions predicted for the Pacific Ocean pose a significant threat for island states' industry and infrastructure, warns a new advisory note from the United Nations, encouraging the establishment of a regional mechanism for better preparedness.

UN humanitarian news service to be spun off

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎01:33:57 AMGo to full article
The humanitarian news service IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks), after nearly 20 years as part of the United Nations, announced today that it will spin off to become an independent, non-profit media venture, with the support of a major private donor.

Ban urges Israeli, Palestinian leaders to stand up to extremists on both sides, end surging violence

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎01:23:22 AMGo to full article
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he was shocked by the recent deadly attack on a synagogue in West Jerusalem and “at this delicate and dangerous juncture” both leaders must show the courage to do everything necessary to end the surging violence.

Iraq: UN envoy sees inclusive political process as critical to resolving crisis

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:54:48 AMGo to full article
As Iraq struggles to deal with the increasing security threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as well as with dire financial and humanitarian conditions, the United Nations envoy to the country has cited an inclusive political process as vital to finding comprehensive solutions.

Anaemic growth for shipping industry amid ‘stumbling’ global economy – UN report

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:35:09 AMGo to full article
The growth of global seaborne shipping over the past year has reflected the “stumbling” progress of the world economy, the United Nations trade and development body announced today as it presented its latest report on the “volatile and gloomy” state of the shipping industry.

Ban to take up fight against Ebola with heads of all UN organizations

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:24:50 AMGo to full article
On the eve of a meeting of United Nations agency chiefs to discuss ways to jointly tackle the Ebola outbreak, the World Bank reported today Liberia’s labour sector has suffered a huge blow since the start of the crisis, as a “massive effort” was underway in Mali to halt the spread of the re-emerged virus.

Security Council adopts first-ever resolution on ‘invaluable role’ of UN police operations

‎21 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:04:19 AMGo to full article
The United Nations Security Council today adopted its first-ever resolution focusing on the world body’s policing operations, stressing their invaluable contribution to peacekeeping, civilian protection and the rule of law, and pledging to give clear mandates as well as appropriate resources to UN police-related work.

UN champions children as ‘fundamental building blocks,’ marking 25th anniversary of historic treaty

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎10:07:35 PMGo to full article
As countries around the world celebrate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations family today hailed the landmark treaty as a powerful human rights tool, while taking stock of the long-standing disparities that must be addressed to propel actions for the well-being of all children into the future.

UN agency chief reports on Iran, DPR Korea nuclear files, measures to curb climate change

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎09:57:28 PMGo to full article
The safe and limited use of nuclear energy can help reduce the impact global energy demand is having on our planet’s volatile climate, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said today as he launched his agency’s latest report on the issue and discussed the nuclear programmes of Iran and the Democratic republic of Korea (DPRK).

Pope Francis urges concrete action in global nutrition challenge at UN conference in Rome

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:24:43 PMGo to full article
Pope Francis today urged leaders attending a United Nations Food and Agriculture (FAO) nutrition conference in Rome to view food and nutrition and the environment as global public issues at a time when nations are more tightly linked with each other than ever before.

Ban welcomes $9 billion in pledges to Green Climate Fund at Berlin Conference

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎08:16:58 PMGo to full article
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the pledges of more than $9.3 billion made by Governments towards the initial capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at the first pledging conference for the mechanism, being held in Berlin, Germany.

UN rights chief criticizes legal amendment in Gambia targeting homosexuals

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:25:54 PMGo to full article
The top United Nations human rights official today criticized a recent amendment to the criminal code of The Gambia that creates a broad and vague offence of “aggravated homosexuality” punishable by life imprisonment, and expressed alarm at reports of a wave of arbitrary arrests and detention of individuals perceived to be homosexual in the country.

In latest report, UN rights office says nearly 1,000 dead amid shaky Ukraine ceasefire

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:18:16 PMGo to full article
Almost 1,000 people have been killed in Ukraine since a tenuous ceasefire was established there in early September amid efforts to end the violence between armed rebel groups and the Government, the United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said today as it released its latest report on the situation in the country.

Clean industrialization critical for Africa to ‘leapfrog’ outdated technologies – Ban

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
Africa needs a green, clean industrialization that leapfrogs outdated, polluting processes and platforms and benefits from new technologies, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today as the world body marked Africa Industrialization Day.

On World Philosophy Day, UN lauds role of dialogue, diversity in multicultural world

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
The head the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today marked the twelfth edition of World Philosophy Day with a widespread appeal for dialogue in diversity, adding that only by embracing the intellectual pluralism of our global society can the foundations of a truly global community be laid.

Leveraging innovation key to advancing progress on child rights &#8211 UNICEF

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎07:00:00 AMGo to full article
Despite progress in advancing child rights over the past 25 years, including a marked reduction in the number of children dying before the age of five and increased access to education and clean water, urgent action is needed to prevent millions of children from missing out on the benefits of innovation, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a new report.

Security Council strongly condemns ‘despicable terrorist attack’ in Jerusalem synagogue

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎01:28:11 AMGo to full article
The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned yesterday’s “despicable terrorist attack” in a synagogue in Jerusalem, resulting in the murder of four innocent civilians worshipping there and a police officer, as well as the injury of many more.

UN spotlights children’s rights as world gears up to mark 25th anniversary of landmark treaty

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎01:08:06 AMGo to full article
As the global human rights community readies to celebrate tomorrow the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations committee charged monitoring with its implementation highlighted the right of children to actively participate – and not just be heard – in discussions that affect their lives and communities.

Ebola cases no longer rising in Guinea, Liberia, UN health agency reports

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:34:14 AMGo to full article
The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today that the number of Ebola cases is “no longer increasing nationally in Guinea and Liberia, but is still increasing in Sierra Leone”, and that preparedness teams have been sent this week to Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Senegal.

‘Insecurity on the march again’ in Africa’s Sahel region, UN relief official warns

‎20 ‎November ‎2014, ‏‎12:11:59 AMGo to full article
Insecurity is on the march again in the countries of Africa’s Sahel belt, where extremists have displaced 1.5 million people in Nigeria and the threat of Ebola is exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis, the United Nations humanitarian regional coordinator said today.


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The History of the House of Rothschild

by Andrew Hitchcock



  • Hitchcock also wrote a history for the bankers:



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

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









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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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
















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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
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Sudan Abdul Wahid al Nur
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Sudan Musa Hilal
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Rodolphe Adada
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Martin Luther Agwai
NRF/JEM: Unknown N/A 9,065
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  • 450,000 Displaced (Sudanese estimate)
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