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The Trump Era

Trump Meets Son of Martin Luther King Jr.

January 17th 2017

Donald Trump Laconia NM Michael Vadon Jul 16 2015 03

Besides posting on Twitter his call for Americans to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President-elect Donald Trump received the son of the civil rights icon today at Trump Tower. Martin Luther King III said in the lobby of the building that the meeting with Trump was “constructive.”

The son of the revered civil rights leader, when asked what his father’s message to Trump would be, answered: “I think my father would be concerned about the fact that there are 50 million people living in poverty in this country. We have to create a climate for all votes to be lifted. It’s insanity we have poor people in nation.”

“When we work together, we know we can roll up our sleeves,” he said. “There is nothing we as Americans can’t do.”

Read more ..

The Race for EVs

Tesla Gigafactory Starts Vattery Production

January 9th 2017

Better Place EV charging

Tesla (Palo Alto, CA) and Panasonic (Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, Japan) have started production of lithium ion battery cells at Tesla's 'Gigafactory' in Nevada.

The factory started production of cylindrical 2170 cells that will be used for battery packs in Tesla's Powerpack and Powerwall home energy storage systems (above). Cells for the Model 3 electric vehicles will follow in Q2 of 2017.

The cells are jointly developed by the two companies and are 21mm in diameter and 70mm high, giving the 2170 designation, with a capacity of 5175mAh. This is wider and longer than the previous cells that have been used in Tesla systems from third party suppliers. 

Read more ..

The Trump Era

Sen. Charles Schumer Regrets Democrats Created "Nuclear Option"

January 5th 2017

Lobbyist

The new Senate minority leader, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) said this week that he regrets using the so-called “nuclear option” that changed the deliberative body’s parliamentary rules. The “nuclear option” allows the confirmation of Cabinet nominees with just 51 votes instead of 60 votes. Speaking in an interview with CNN, Schumer mused, “Wish it hadn’t happened.”
 
 
Democrats were in the majority in 2013 when the reform was passed and when they were anxious to confirm President Barack Obama’s nominees. Ironically, it now makes confirming President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees easier for Republicans.
Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Slain Partiers Came To Istanbul From Near And Far To Celebrate The New Year

January 2nd 2017

Turkish KFOR soldiers riot training

Leanne Nasser was a bright-eyed Arab Israeli teenager, in Istanbul with friends for New Year’s despite her father’s concerns about safety. Fatih Cakmak, who survived a bomb attack only weeks ago, was hired to work security for a popular nightclub.

Both were among those who died early Sunday when a gunman, brandishing an assault rifle, stormed Istanbul’s famed Reina club on the banks of the Bosporus, gunning down unsuspecting New Year’s revelers in a rampage that was one of the city’s worst mass killings in recent memory.

The assailant remained at large Sunday night and unidentified except for blurred glimpses of him in security camera footage that showed gunshots sparking off the pavement and victims crumpling to the ground. Thirty-nine people were killed, many of them foreigners, in the latest in a string of assaults that have roiled Turkey as it battles insurgents at home and across the border in war-torn Syria. At least 70 people were wounded.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

Judges Rule that Hillary Clinton's Hidden Emails Must Be Referred for Criminal Action

December 28th 2016

Hillary Clinton

The three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously today that an Obama appointee to a lower court had erred when he threw out a pair of lawsuits that had sought to force the State Department and the National Archives to refer thousands of Hillary Clinton’s hidden emails to the Department of Justice. Judicial Watch and Cause of Action both filed separate lawsuits in 2015 that called on Secretary of State John Kerry and National Archivist David Ferriero to require that they refer Clinton’s emails for a possible civil suit.
 
The issue of Clinton’s private email server and the thousands of emails she has yet to submit for scrutiny dogged her throughout her unsuccessful presidential campaign. Donald Trump said during one of their several debates that he would demand a criminal investigation of her tenure at the State Department.
 
Writing for the federal appeals court, D.C. Circuit Judge Stephen Williams stated that the State Department’s multiple requests to Clinton and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for copies of Clinton's emails were not necessarily enough to fulfill the department's obligation to seek missing messages. "Even though those efforts bore some fruit, the Department has not explained why shaking the tree harder — e.g., by following the statutory mandate to seek action by the Attorney General — might not bear more still.
Read more ..

The Caliphate

'Islamic State' Claims Responsibility for Berlin Attack

December 21st 2016

ISIS Army

The so-called "Islamic State" (IS) on Tuesday said the driver of the truck that plowed into a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday evening was "targeting citizens of the Crusader coalition," according to the group's news agency Amaq. 

Earlier, German prosecutors announced the release of a 23-year-old Pakistani detained in connection with the truck attack, citing a lack of evidence.

On Tuesday night, following the announcement that the suspect had been released, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told broadcaster ZDF that "it is true that one cannot rule out that the perpetrator is still at large." He also warned that it was too early to draw political conclusions from the incident.

Authorities had arrested the asylum seeker on suspicion of driving the truck, which killed 12 and injured at least 48.  Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Prosecutors Try to Refocus Rasmieh Odeh Case

December 14th 2016

jail door blue

Attorneys for Palestinian bomber Rasmieh Odeh want to delay her re-trial on naturalization fraud for two months, pointing to a superseding indictment in the case.

The new charging document, which has not yet been filed publicly, still includes just the one count of naturalization fraud against Odeh, who has become a heroic figure among Palestinian advocates. But it includes "additional facts to support the charges," a press release Tuesday from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit said.

The original indictment emphasized Odeh's "no" answers to immigration officials when asked several times whether she ever had been arrested, convicted or imprisoned. During her 2014 trial, Odeh claimed she thought the question only applied to her time in the United States. In fact, she was arrested and spent 10 years in an Israeli prison for her role in two 1969 bombings, one of which killed two college students.

"The new indictment ... also alleges that Odeh, in seeking naturalization, also falsely answered two additional questions on her application form relating to her association with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a designated terrorist organization," the government news release said.

By emphasizing Odeh's membership in a terrorist organization, the prosecution appears to be trying to narrow the focus of the case just a week after a federal judge's ruling broadly expanded it.

U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain granted Odeh a new trial, this time allowing testimony claiming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, triggered by alleged Israeli torture, caused her to "filter" out her terrorist past when answering the immigration questions. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Democrats Challenge Obama on Withholding Unclassified Iran Deal Docs

December 7th 2016

Iranian clerics

Top Democratic lawmakers are challenging the Obama administration's decision to keep a range of unclassified documents related to the Iran nuclear deal away from the public eye, amid mounting calls from Trump insiders and Republican lawmakers urging the incoming Trump administration to release the documents.

Democratic senators who both supported and opposed the Iran deal told THE WEEKLY STANDARD on Tuesday that the relevant documents, which have been reported to include secret concessions to Iran, should not be kept in the secure locations on Capitol Hill known as Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs), where they cannot be accessed by the public and some congressional staffers. Read more ..


Vote 2016

Obama-appointed Judge allows Stein to Jump Gun in Vote Recount

December 5th 2016

Vote Buttons

A federal judge appointed by President Barack Obama has ordered a hand recount of 4.8 million ballots in the state of Michigan. The order was issued past midnight during the pre-dawn hours of December 5. Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein has succeeded in getting recounts considered in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, while Hillary Clinton’s campaign has decided to participate as well.
 
The decision came even though the balloting for Michigan was called in favor of Donald Trump on November 28, twenty days after the general election. Trump won by a bare margin of 11,000 votes. Michigan has sixteen Electoral College votes. 
 
A full recount of the ballots in Michigan is believed to be impossible by the December 13 deadline. There has been no evidence offered of fraud. In addition, Michigan uses paper ballots instead of electronic voting machines (as is the case in Pennsylvania) that can be remotely hacked.
Read more ..

The Iranian Threat

Iran May Seek Naval Bases In Yemen Or Syria: Chief Of Staff

November 28th 2016

Iranian navy ship and guard

Iran may seek to set up naval bases in Yemen or Syria in the future, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces said in remarks published on Sunday.

His comments, likely to be of concern to Shi'ite Iran's Sunni regional rival Saudi Arabia and its allies, raised the prospect of distant footholds perhaps being more valuable militarily to Tehran than nuclear technology.

"We need distant bases, and it may become possible one day to have bases on the shores of Yemen or Syria, or bases on islands or floating (bases)," said General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, quoted by the Shargh daily newspaper.

"Is having distant bases less than nuclear technology? I say it is worth dozens of times more," added Baqeri, who was speaking at a gathering of naval commanders.

Read more ..

Japan on Edge

All Tsunami Alerts Lifted After 7.4 Quake Rocks Northern Japan

November 22nd 2016

sunset in japan

Japan lifted all tsunami alerts after a magnitude 7.4 earthquake off the coast of Fukushima, home to the nuclear power plant crippled in the March 2011 triple disaster.

The temblor, an aftershock of the magnitude 9 quake five years ago, briefly knocked offline a cooling system for spent nuclear fuel at a separate Fukushima plant, and prompted authorities to issue the highest tsunami warnings for five years.

It struck at 5:59 a.m. local time Tuesday at a depth of 25 kilometers (15.5 miles), according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, causing a tsunami of more than 1 meter on the coast of Miyagi prefecture and smaller waves elsewhere. Read more ..


The Trump Era

Bernie Marcus, Home Depot Founder/Pro-Israel Philanthropist Defends Bannon

November 17th 2016

Donald Trump Laconia NM Michael Vadon Jul 16 2015 03

The Republican Jewish Coalition is defending Breitbart News chairman and newly-named chief White House strategist Steve Bannon from charges of anti-Semitism.

“I have been shocked and saddened to see the recent personal attacks on Steve,” RJC board member Bernie Marcus said in a Tuesday statement to Time. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

President-elect Donald Trump drew criticism on Monday by granting Bannon a senior role in his administration despite Breitbart’s prominent role in promoting the anti-Semitic alt-right. The Anti-Defamation League said that “he & his alt right are so hostile to core American values,” while the Southern Poverty Law Center pointed outthat Bannon’s appointment was met with cheers from white supremacist websites. Read more ..


Vote 2016

Trump Affirms U.S. Embassy Move To Jerusalem

November 3rd 2016

Jerusalem-Temple and Wall

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has signed onto a pro-Israel letter, presented to him by a Christian Zionist group, calling for, among other things, the U.S. Embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.

The letter was initiated by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, a Christian Zionist organization, and its network, the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI), which represents 60 million evangelical Christians.

In the letter, the ACLI asked both presidential candidates to affirm the following: relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, renew and strengthen America’s Memorandum of Understanding with Israel, combat efforts to boycott, divest or sanction Israel, monitor and impose any new sanctions on Iran and oppose any outside solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Read more ..

The Battle for Iraq

U.S. Artillery and Airstrikes Pound ISIS Defenses in Mosul

November 3rd 2016

USAF Desert Storm

As Iraqi and Kurdish forces tighten the noose around Islamic State fighters in Mosul, the U.S. is helping them blast through enemy defenses.

The offensive to liberate Mosul is in its third week. Iraqi security forces and Kurdish fighters plan to advance to the center of the city, but the Islamic State group has thrown suicide car and truck bombs against them to slow their progress.  Bad weather has led to a temporary halt in the operation.

Islamic State fighters have had more than two years to prepare fortifications in and around Mosul, but the U.S. is providing air and artillery support to obliterate obstacles in the Iraqis and Kurds’ path, said Lt. Gen. William Beydler, head of Marine Corps Forces Central Command. Read more ..

Vote 2016

Pennsylvania Progressive Group Accused of Voter Registration Fraud

November 2nd 2016

Election ID Support

In Delaware County, Pennsylvania, state troopers descended on the Norwood office of FieldWorks, seeking to find evidence of possible voter-registration fraud. A warrant that was filed last week in a Delaware County court indicated that prosecutors are looking for financial information, documents, and names of the employees of FieldWorks LLC, a national organization that often organizes voter canvassing and other campaigns for Democrats and progressive causes.
 
While the warrant does not describe the nature of the investigation, law enforcement is seeking "templates . . . utilized to construct fraudulent voter registration forms," as well as "completed voter registration forms containing same or similar identifying information of individuals on multiple forms."
Read more ..

Vote 2016

Clinton Emails -- A Dark Sampling

October 28th 2016

Hilary Clinton

Most Americans know very little about the leaked Clinton emails.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Major news organizations buried the most damaging. So we’re sharing some with you.

The FBI and State Department used the term “quid pro quo” in secret negotiations to alter the Clinton investigation in exchange for more embassy assignments.

The campaign strategized on political contributions from lobbyists of foreign governments.

The term “pay-to-play” was used in selling ambassadorships to donors.

The New York Times coordinated its criticism of Trump with Clinton officials.

The campaign chair [John Podesta] was disappointed the San Bernardino terrorist was Muslim and not a white guy.

[A lobbyist offered $5,000 in return for a White House meeting.

Staffers consider Chelsea “a spoiled brat kid.”]

Chelsea used charity money in her for-profit business.

Obama used Clinton’s private email while claiming he didn’t know about it.

Staff mocked Catholics, evangelicals, Bernie Sanders voters and Hispanics. And called southern states the “confederacy.” Read more ..


Vote 2016

Trump Calls to Investigate Obama

October 26th 2016

Obama speechifying

Donald Trump said today that an investigation into the involvement of President Barack Obama is warranted, following the release of emails from the account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. The WikiLeaks hacking organization revealed that among the thousands of emails it stole from Podesta’s account that there is evidence that President Obama was aware of Clinton’s use of a private email server. 
 
Speaking today in an interview with Reuters, Trump said that it is “a big thing." He said, "This means that he has to be investigated."
Read more ..

Vote 2016

Alleged Assault by Trump Supporter Questioned After Undercover Video

October 22nd 2016

Hillary Clinton

Videographer and muckraker James O’Keefe has already revealed the machinations of groups affiliated with the Democratic National and Hillary Clinton that have sowed violence and disruption at rallies for Donald Trump. In another reveal, O’Keefe has found that a 69-year-old protester, who had accused of being sucker-punched by a Trump supporter this summer in North Carolina, has changed her story.

Media reported that Shirley Teeter (69) of Asheville NC claimed that Richard L. Campbell (73) “cold-cocked” her in the jaw. Teeter told ABC News “I said, ‘You better learn to speak Russian,’ and I said, ‘The first two words are going to be ha ha.’ He stopped in his tracks, and he turned around and just cold-cocked me.” She claims she was punched in the face and fell on her oxygen tank, injuring her ribs, jaw, and elbow. She later went for treatment at a hospital.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

GOP HQ Firebombed in North Carolina

October 17th 2016

Donald Trump Laconia NM Michael Vadon Jul 16 2015 03

The Republican party of North Carolina tweeted images of a field office in the central part of the state that was allegedly firebombed today.  In a statement, Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina said, “The firebombing of a local political headquarters in Orange County is clearly an attack on our democracy. Violence has no place in our society - but especially in our elections. Fortunately no one was injured; however, I will use every resource as governor to assist local authorities in this investigation.”

Donald Trump has blamed "animals representing Hillary Clinton" for an apparent firebomb attack on one of the Republican's campaign offices. The presidential candidate took to Twitter after the office in Orange County, North Carolina, had been damaged when a petrol bomb was thrown through a window. The walls of the office were charred and a sofa burned in the attack, but no one was hurt. Read more ..


The Islamic State

ISIS Crushes Revolt Plot

October 15th 2016

ISIS Group

The Islamic State group has crushed a rebellion plot in its stronghold city of Mosul in Iraq, Reuters reported Friday.

The conspiracy was reportedly lead by one of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's own aides, who along with 57 others, were executed for treason. The accused were drowned and their bodies dumped in a mass grave located somewhere in the barren outskirts of the city. The militants also known as ISIS responded to inquiries by family members regarding the whereabouts of their loved ones by refusing to provide any details except for a list of names of the "apostates" and indicating that they  could not be buried in Muslim cemeteries.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

WikiLeaks: Hillary Clinton personally deleted emails as Secretary of State

October 11th 2016

Hillary Clinton

WikiLeaks has released a treasure trove of emails purloined from Hillary Clinton’s campaign that have made a number of revelations of her conduct as a candidate and as Secretary of State in the Obama administration.
In an email drafted by campaign staffer Erika Rottenberg June 21, 2015 to Stephanie Hannon and Anne O'Leary, they were preparing for a meeting on strategy.
 
In the email, Rottenberg expressed puzzlement over why it was that Hillary Clinton, while serving as secretary of state, actually deleted emails after reviewing them “without providing anyone outside her circle a chance to weigh in.” Rottenberg said that her lawyer friends were “struggling with what happened to the emails and aren’t satisfied with the answers to date.” Here follows the relevant excerpt:
 
*For my question*, it's basically some variation of [not quite phrased right yet]: I know when I talk to my friends who are attorneys we are all struggling with what happened to the emails and aren't satisfied with answers to date. While we all know of the occasional use of personal email addresses for business, none of my friends circle can understand how it was viewed as ok/secure/appropriate to use a private server for secure documents AND why further Hillary took it upon herself to review them and delete documents without providing anyone outside her circle a chance to weigh in. It smacks of acting above the law and it smacks of the type of thing I've either gotten discovery sanctions for, fired people for, etc."
Read more ..

Vote 2016

Republican Voters Ready to Stand by Trump Despite Lewd Comments Video

October 10th 2016

Donald Trump Laconia NM Michael Vadon Jul 16 2015 03

Republican voters are very aware of the released video of Donald Trump making lewd comments about women, but a majority of them are willing to stand by their Republican nominee, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll.

Seventy-four percent of Republicans think that party leaders should stand behind Trump, while 13 percent think they should abandon him.

A huge majority of Americans are aware of the video (79 percent), and agree that it makes Trump look bad, (74 percent), but they don’t think it’s enough to kick him to the curb. Forty-five percent of all voters think that Trump should not drop out of the presidential race, while 39 percent think he should drop out — a six point margin. Read more ..


Significant Lives

Former Israeli President, Prime Minister Shimon Peres Dead at 93

September 28th 2016

Israeli flag and clouds

Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres died early Wednesday morning at the age of 93, according to Hebrew media reports.

His condition had deteriorated on Tuesday, two weeks after he suffered a major stroke, and his family was summoned to his side at Tel Aviv’s Tel Hashomer Hospital to say their final goodbyes.

Peres, who also served in a host of other government positions, was most recently the Jewish state’s president from 2007-2014. He emigrated from Poland to Palestine in 1932, before the founding of modern Israel in 1948. He was considered the last of Israel’s founding fathers.

He led the creation of Israel’s defense industry, negotiated key arms deals with France and Germany and was the prime mover behind the development of Israel’s nuclear weapons. But he was consistent in his search for an accommodation with the Arab world, a search that in recent years left him orphaned as Israeli society lost interest, especially after the upheavals of the 2011 Arab Spring led to tumult on its borders. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

Syria Announces New Offensive, Truce Collapses

September 26th 2016

Syria fighting injured baby

Syria announced a new offensive against rebel-held areas of Aleppo on Thursday while diplomats failed to find a way in New York to revive a U.S. and Russian-brokered ceasefire that collapsed this week.

Warplanes mounted the heaviest air strikes in months against rebel-held districts of Syria's commercial hub and largest city, dealing a fresh blow to efforts to end Syrian civil war that has raged since 2011.

Rebel officials and rescue workers said incendiary bombs were among the weapons that rained down on Aleppo. Hamza al-Khatib, the director of a hospital in the rebel-held east, told Reuters 45 people were killed."It's as if the planes are trying to compensate for all the days they didn't drop bombs" during the ceasefire, Ammar al-Selmo, the head of the civil defense rescue service in opposition-held eastern Aleppo, told Reuters.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

MSNBC Claims Democrats to Consider Replacement for Hillary

September 13th 2016

Hillary Clinton in blue

MSNBC reporter David Shuster has tweeted, following Hillary Clinton's collapse in New York City after unexpectedly leaving a commemoration of 9/11, that officials within the Democratic party are planning to convene an emergency meeting to consider a replacement for Clinton.
 
While Clinton's personal physician announced today that the candidate is receiving antibiotics for pneumonia, it was revealed later that the diagnosis came on September 9.
 
Earlier, Clinton's persistent coughing fits have been attributed to "allergies." After a two-minute coughing jab on Labor Day in Cleveland, Clinton joked that it came because she is "allergic to Trump."
Read more ..

Israel and the New Palestinians

Israel and Palestinians May Return to Peace Talks in Moscow

September 9th 2016

Bibi arguing

Israeli and Palestinian leaders have agreed "in principle" to resume peace talks in Moscow, the Kremlin announced Thursday.

There is no timetable yet for the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu has repeatedly said he would meet with Abbas anywhere and at any time, as long as there were no preconditions for the talks.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said both sides have to show they are committed to a two-state solution before there can be any successful negotiations.

"It's our belief that — and this speaks broadly to any peace negotiations, but certainly in this case ... if you don't have the right climate for them to be successful, then it's not worth having it," Toner said.

Read more ..

The Refugee Crisis

Emulating Trump, Britain is Building a Wall

September 8th 2016

Syrian Refugees

The United Kingdom has announced plans to build a "big new wall" to prevent illegal immigrants from entering British territory. The wall would be built at the border port at Calais in France. Nearby there are camps of migrants from a number of countries who seek admission to the UK. Known as "The Jungle," the camp has been noted for several years for riots and occasional raids by French police. Of late, squatters have assaulted vehicles headed for the Chunnel that goes beneath the English Channel and leads to the UK. British nationals and others have been injured and frightened by a number of spectacular attacks by migrants. Migrants have sought to commandeer vehicles, including commercial trucks, in order to enter the UK.
Read more ..

Iran's Nukes

Iran Nuclear Exemptions Revealed

September 5th 2016

Bushehr plant and guard

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) placed detailed limitations on facets of Iran’s nuclear program that needed to be met by Implementation Day, which took place on January 16, 2016. Most of the conditions were met by Iran. However, we have learned that some nuclear stocks and facilities were not in accordance with JCPOA limits on Implementation Day, but in anticipation the Joint Commission had earlier and secretly exempted them from the JCPOA limits. The exemptions and in one case, a loophole, involved the low enriched uranium (LEU) cap of 300 kilograms (kg), some of the near 20 percent LEU, the heavy water cap, and the number of large hot cells allowed to remain in Iran. One senior knowledgeable official stated that if the Joint Commission had not acted to create these exemptions, some of Iran’s nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the JCPOA by Implementation Day. Read more ..


Vote 2016

Trump Surging in Iowa and Virginia

September 4th 2016

Click to select Image

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is surging in battleground states Iowa and Virginia in newly released polls, consistent with the national trend reported this week by Reuters-Ipsos and other major polling operations.

A handful of swing states—experts always mention at least five, and no more than eleven—will determine the winner of the presidential race, mainly concentrated in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Southwest.
Polling numbers from two of those states seem to fit a larger trend over the past two weeks of improving chances for Donald Trump to defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Read more ..


The Edge of Technology

Apples Owes $14.5 Billion in Back Taxes, EU Rules

August 31st 2016

Euro Symbol

The European Commission has ruled that over several years Ireland has granted unjustifiable tax benefits to Apple worth up to €13 billion (about $14.5 billion), which the US computer company must now pay back to the Irish state – plus interest.

The ruling is that Ireland allowed Apple to organize its business in a way that allowed it pay substantially less tax than other businesses and that this is illegal under European Union state aid legislation.

The conclusion comes at the end of a European Commission investigation that began in June 2014 and found that two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple have artificially lowered the tax paid by Apple in Ireland since 1991. The European Commission ruling only covers the period 2003 to 2014.

Read more ..

The Edge of Space

Mysterious Signal Prompts SETI Hopes

August 30th 2016

Solar System Birth

A powerful signal has been spotted coming from the vicinity of a sunlike star, and now astronomers are trying to figure out what it means.

In May 2015, researchers using a radio telescope in Russia detected a candidate SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) signal that seems to originate from HD 164595, a star system that lies about 94 light-years from Earth, the website Centauri Dreams reported over the weekend.

The astronomers have not yet published a study about the detection; they plan to discuss it next month at the 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico, according to Centauri Dreams' Paul Gilster, who wrote that one of the team members forwarded him the IAC presentation. [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Alien Life]

Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

17,000 Killed in Syrian Prisons Since 2011, Says Amnesty International

August 18th 2016

Syrian security forces

A new Amnesty International report details allegations of systematic torture of political prisoners and accuses the Syrian government of killing more than 17,000 people held in custody from the outset of the conflict in 2011 to December 2015.

The report is based on the recollections of 65 torture survivors.

The "catalog of horror stories" included in the report "depicts in gruesome detail the dreadful abuse detainees routinely suffer ... in Syria's notorious intelligence facilities," said Philip Luther, Amnesty's director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Torture has long been used in Syrian prisons, but its scale has increased “dramatically" since the 2011 conflict began, according to Amnesty’s Syria expert Claudia Scheufler, who was instrumental in putting the report together. Read more ..


Vote 2016

Obama Slams Trump-- Calls on GOP to Repudiate Candidacy

August 2nd 2016

Obama downcast

President Barack Obama said today that Donald Trump is “unfit to serve as president,” while calling on Republicans to repudiate their nominee. Obama claimed that criticisms coming from the GOP “ring hollow” if its’ leaders support the Trump candidacy, especially since the dust-up between Trump and Pakistani-born lawyer, Khizr Khan, that began when Khan excoriated Trump at the Democratic National Convention.
 
“The question they have to ask themselves is: If you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?”  Obama said at a news conference. 
Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Islamic Terrorists Slaughter Catholic Priest in France

July 26th 2016

ISIS Army

Two Muslim terrorists allied with the Islamic State stormed into a Catholic church in northern France during the midst of the celebration of Mass. They took hostages and then cut the throat of the 86-year-old priest in the church. A team of police trained in special weapons and techniques came to the scene and shot the two militants to death. Bomb disposal units are on hand, seeking any possible explosive devices left behind by the attackers. Two of the hostages were nuns.
 
In Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, about 35 miles southeast of the port of Le Havre in Normandy, French soldiers are patrolling the narrow streets near the church where the martyrdom took place. Mourners are gathering at the little church. One of the hostages who survived the assault is being treated for life-threatening injuries, said Pierre-Henry Brandet.
Read more ..

The Edge of the Solar System

Juno Arrives at Jupiter

July 8th 2016

Jupiter

NASA's Juno spacecraft has successfully entered orbit around Jupiter. At 8:53 P.M. Pacific time, ground controllers received a telemetry tone of 2,327 hertz -- equivalent to the highest D note on a piano keyboard—indicating that Juno's 35-minute engine burn had slowed the spacecraft enough to slip into the giant planet’s gravitational embrace. Launched in 2011 on a nearly five-year interplanetary voyage, Juno is only the second spacecraft to ever orbit Jupiter, after the Galileo mission that explored the giant planet from 1995 to 2003. During its capture into orbit Juno passed just 4,490 kilometers above the Jovian cloud tops, so close that the planet filled half its sky. Even so, Jupiter is so immense that an astronaut riding along would have seen only about 5 percent of the planet’s cloud-shrouded face.

At 9:50 P.M., the maneuver was officially complete as the spacecraft turned its solar arrays back toward the sun. “I won't exhale until we’re sun-pointed again,” Juno's principal investigator Scott Bolton had said at a press conference earlier in the day.

The spacecraft plummeted in from interplanetary space over Jupiter's north pole at about 7:30 P.M., falling ever faster as it plunged deeper into the planet’s gravitational field. Just two days ago its speed relative to Jupiter was nine kilometers per second; midday yesterday, 12 kilometers per second; and by the rocket burn, 54 kilometers per second. The burn reduced its speed by just 1 percent, but that was enough. (Theoretically, the spacecraft was captured by the planet at 8:38 P.M., about halfway through the burn, but confirmation did not come until later.) After skimming so close to Jupiter's upper atmosphere, the spacecraft soared back up from the planet’s cloud tops at about 9:30 P.M. into a looping, elongated orbit out to 8.1 million kilometers.

Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Iran Orders Hezbollah to target Saudi Arabia

May 18th 2016

Hezbollah

The military wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The instruction comes in the wake of widespread anger at the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria and head of the movement's military wing, which Hezbollah blamed on “takfiri” forces supported by Riyadh.

According to well informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who came to Beirut to give his condolescences.

Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies, which is believed to be an unprecedented move in the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese movement. Previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hezbollah in consultation with Iran, MEE understands.

Badreddine’s replacement is Fuad Shukr, whose nom de guerre is al-Hajj Mohsen, the sources told MEE. 

Aged 55 and from the village al-Nabi Sheeth in the Bekaa Valley, Shukr comes from the core group which started Hezbollah along with Imad Mughniyeh, Badreddine, and Mustafa Sahadah.

Whereas his predecessors came from the intelligence and security wing of the organisation, Shukr came to prominence as a military man, responsible for operations against Israel, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. 

A graduate of the Imam Hussein University in Tehran, Shukr is regarded as well trained. Soleimani not only named the new head of Hezbollah’s military wing, but his two deputies as well, sources told MEE. They are Ibrahim Aqil, also know as al-Hajj Tahsin, but whose current pseudonym is al-Hajj Abdul Khader, and Talal Hamiah.

Shukr's appointment comes despite earlier reports in the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat suggesting that Badreddine’s nephew Mustafa Mughniyeh would be named as his successor.

MEE understands these reports to be incorrect.

Iran’s order to Hezbollah, and the fact that they have gone to such lengths as to appoint a successor, confirms the significance to Iran of Badreddine’s death, the exact circumstances of which are still a matter of speculation. His death near Damascus airport was initially blamed on an Israeli covert operation, but this was contradicted by a Hezbollah statement.

It read: ”Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri [Sunni militant] groups in the area."

The nearest opposition artillery positions however were 20 kilometres away and there are doubts that their shells could achieve pinpoint accuracy from that distance.

Hezbollah slogans at Badreddine’s funeral left little doubt that they held Saudi Arabia responsible for their military commander’s death.

Ever since Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations after the storming of their embassy in Tehran following the execution of the Shia leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, relations between the rival regional powers have plummeted. 

The latest sign of this was the failure to agree on arrangements for Iranian pilgrims to travel to this year’s Hajj.

The failure of four days of talks between the two sides last month has led to statements of mutual recrimination which will mean that Iranian pilgrims will almost certainly miss this year’s ceremonies.

Iran said that its citizens would not participate in the Hajj and blamed Saudi Arabia for the problem. Last year’s Hajj was marred by the death of at least 769 pilgrims, many of them Iranian, in a stampede at Mina on the outskirts of Mecca.

According to MEE sources the instruction Iran gave was to initiate actions against Saudi Arabia before the beginning of the Hajj in September. Shukr's task is to co-ordinate military actions with an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, and a shia group in Bahrain Saraya al-Mukhtar.

Hezbollah operatives have been used in the past in the Gulf. A member of the al-Dawa militant group, Badreddine was arrested along with 17 others after the truck bombings of the US and French embassies in Kuwait City in 1983. In 1985 Badreddine was also reportedly involved in a failed assassination attempt of the Kuwaiti emir.

Amed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, a Saudi Shia member of Saudi Hezbollah who allegedly masterminded the attack on the US military barracks in Khobar in 1996, was captured last year after a 20-year manhunt. Saudi Hezbollah, also called Hezbollah el-Hajaz, is close to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the IRGC.

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-iran-orders-hezbollah-target-saudi-arabia-903428016#sthash.IOChq2UG.dpuf

The military wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The instruction comes in the wake of widespread anger at the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria and head of the movement's military wing, which Hezbollah blamed on “takfiri” forces supported by Riyadh.

According to well informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who came to Beirut to give his condolescences.

Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies, which is believed to be an unprecedented move in the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese movement. Previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hezbollah in consultation with Iran, MEE understands.

Badreddine’s replacement is Fuad Shukr, whose nom de guerre is al-Hajj Mohsen, the sources told MEE. 

Aged 55 and from the village al-Nabi Sheeth in the Bekaa Valley, Shukr comes from the core group which started Hezbollah along with Imad Mughniyeh, Badreddine, and Mustafa Sahadah.

Whereas his predecessors came from the intelligence and security wing of the organisation, Shukr came to prominence as a military man, responsible for operations against Israel, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. 

A graduate of the Imam Hussein University in Tehran, Shukr is regarded as well trained. Soleimani not only named the new head of Hezbollah’s military wing, but his two deputies as well, sources told MEE. They are Ibrahim Aqil, also know as al-Hajj Tahsin, but whose current pseudonym is al-Hajj Abdul Khader, and Talal Hamiah.

Shukr's appointment comes despite earlier reports in the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat suggesting that Badreddine’s nephew Mustafa Mughniyeh would be named as his successor.

MEE understands these reports to be incorrect.

Iran’s order to Hezbollah, and the fact that they have gone to such lengths as to appoint a successor, confirms the significance to Iran of Badreddine’s death, the exact circumstances of which are still a matter of speculation. His death near Damascus airport was initially blamed on an Israeli covert operation, but this was contradicted by a Hezbollah statement.

It read: ”Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri [Sunni militant] groups in the area."

The nearest opposition artillery positions however were 20 kilometres away and there are doubts that their shells could achieve pinpoint accuracy from that distance.

Hezbollah slogans at Badreddine’s funeral left little doubt that they held Saudi Arabia responsible for their military commander’s death.

Ever since Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations after the storming of their embassy in Tehran following the execution of the Shia leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, relations between the rival regional powers have plummeted. 

The latest sign of this was the failure to agree on arrangements for Iranian pilgrims to travel to this year’s Hajj.

The failure of four days of talks between the two sides last month has led to statements of mutual recrimination which will mean that Iranian pilgrims will almost certainly miss this year’s ceremonies.

Iran said that its citizens would not participate in the Hajj and blamed Saudi Arabia for the problem. Last year’s Hajj was marred by the death of at least 769 pilgrims, many of them Iranian, in a stampede at Mina on the outskirts of Mecca.

According to MEE sources the instruction Iran gave was to initiate actions against Saudi Arabia before the beginning of the Hajj in September. Shukr's task is to co-ordinate military actions with an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, and a shia group in Bahrain Saraya al-Mukhtar.

Hezbollah operatives have been used in the past in the Gulf. A member of the al-Dawa militant group, Badreddine was arrested along with 17 others after the truck bombings of the US and French embassies in Kuwait City in 1983. In 1985 Badreddine was also reportedly involved in a failed assassination attempt of the Kuwaiti emir.

Amed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, a Saudi Shia member of Saudi Hezbollah who allegedly masterminded the attack on the US military barracks in Khobar in 1996, was captured last year after a 20-year manhunt. Saudi Hezbollah, also called Hezbollah el-Hajaz, is close to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the IRGC.

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-iran-orders-hezbollah-target-saudi-arabia-903428016#sthash.IOChq2UG.dpuf

The military wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The instruction comes in the wake of widespread anger at the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria and head of the movement's military wing, which Hezbollah blamed on “takfiri” forces supported by Riyadh.

According to well informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who came to Beirut to give his condolescences.

Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies, which is believed to be an unprecedented move in the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese movement. Previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hezbollah in consultation with Iran, MEE understands.

Badreddine’s replacement is Fuad Shukr, whose nom de guerre is al-Hajj Mohsen, the sources told MEE. 

Aged 55 and from the village al-Nabi Sheeth in the Bekaa Valley, Shukr comes from the core group which started Hezbollah along with Imad Mughniyeh, Badreddine, and Mustafa Sahadah.

Whereas his predecessors came from the intelligence and security wing of the organisation, Shukr came to prominence as a military man, responsible for operations against Israel, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. 

A graduate of the Imam Hussein University in Tehran, Shukr is regarded as well trained. Soleimani not only named the new head of Hezbollah’s military wing, but his two deputies as well, sources told MEE. They are Ibrahim Aqil, also know as al-Hajj Tahsin, but whose current pseudonym is al-Hajj Abdul Khader, and Talal Hamiah.

Shukr's appointment comes despite earlier reports in the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat suggesting that Badreddine’s nephew Mustafa Mughniyeh would be named as his successor.

MEE understands these reports to be incorrect.

Iran’s order to Hezbollah, and the fact that they have gone to such lengths as to appoint a successor, confirms the significance to Iran of Badreddine’s death, the exact circumstances of which are still a matter of speculation. His death near Damascus airport was initially blamed on an Israeli covert operation, but this was contradicted by a Hezbollah statement.

It read: ”Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri [Sunni militant] groups in the area."

The nearest opposition artillery positions however were 20 kilometres away and there are doubts that their shells could achieve pinpoint accuracy from that distance.

Hezbollah slogans at Badreddine’s funeral left little doubt that they held Saudi Arabia responsible for their military commander’s death.

Ever since Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations after the storming of their embassy in Tehran following the execution of the Shia leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, relations between the rival regional powers have plummeted. 

The latest sign of this was the failure to agree on arrangements for Iranian pilgrims to travel to this year’s Hajj.

The failure of four days of talks between the two sides last month has led to statements of mutual recrimination which will mean that Iranian pilgrims will almost certainly miss this year’s ceremonies.

Iran said that its citizens would not participate in the Hajj and blamed Saudi Arabia for the problem. Last year’s Hajj was marred by the death of at least 769 pilgrims, many of them Iranian, in a stampede at Mina on the outskirts of Mecca.

According to MEE sources the instruction Iran gave was to initiate actions against Saudi Arabia before the beginning of the Hajj in September. Shukr's task is to co-ordinate military actions with an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, and a shia group in Bahrain Saraya al-Mukhtar.

Hezbollah operatives have been used in the past in the Gulf. A member of the al-Dawa militant group, Badreddine was arrested along with 17 others after the truck bombings of the US and French embassies in Kuwait City in 1983. In 1985 Badreddine was also reportedly involved in a failed assassination attempt of the Kuwaiti emir.

Amed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, a Saudi Shia member of Saudi Hezbollah who allegedly masterminded the attack on the US military barracks in Khobar in 1996, was captured last year after a 20-year manhunt. Saudi Hezbollah, also called Hezbollah el-Hajaz, is close to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the IRGC.

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-iran-orders-hezbollah-target-saudi-arabia-903428016#sthash.IOChq2UG.dpuf

The military wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The instruction comes in the wake of widespread anger at the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria and head of the movement's military wing, which Hezbollah blamed on “takfiri” forces supported by Riyadh.

According to well informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who came to Beirut to give his condolescences.

Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies, which is believed to be an unprecedented move in the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese movement. Previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hezbollah in consultation with Iran, MEE understands. Read more ..


Israel on Edge

CUFI Action Fund Expands Legislative Staff

March 18th 2016

Pastor John Hagee

The Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Action Fund has hired longtime political operative Jason Stverak to lead its legislative efforts in Washington and state capitals around the country. Stverak, who will serve as the Action Fund’s Legislative Director, most recently worked as Communications Director for Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and previously served as the Executive Director of the North Dakota Republican Party and later as the founder and President of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.

"The year ahead promises to be full of challenges for the U.S.-Israel alliance and Middle East peace. But given Jason's stellar record and astute understanding of Washington’s inner workings, I know he will be a tremendous asset to our team," said Gary Bauer, Washington Director of the CUFI Action Fund.

"I’m very excited to be joining the Action Fund at this pivotal time. With an ascendant Iran, near daily Palestinian terror attacks, relentless persecution of Christians at the hands of radical Islamic extremists, and the rise of the BDS movement across the United States, now more than ever America’s Christian Zionists need to ensure our elected officials know exactly where we stand," said Stverak. Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Iran Seized U.S. Navy Sat-Phone SIM Cards; May Have Accessed Classified Information

January 24th 2016

Iranian navy ship and guard

Read more ..

The iranian Threat

Iranian Naval Commander Says US Aircraft Carrier Was Potential Target of Missile Attack

January 14th 2016

Iranian Admiral Habibullah

An Iranian naval commander revealed that his forces had locked their missiles on a US aircraft carrier, semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Wednesday. Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, said that the incident occurred during Iran’s seizure Tuesday of two US naval boats and their 10 sailors — who were released Wednesday. Fadavi said that after the aircraft carrier USS Truman displayed “unprofessional moves,” Iranian naval forces went on high alert. “We prepared our coast-to-sea missiles, missile-launching speedboats and our numerous capabilities, to strike if they made a hostile move,” he said. Fadavi said that the IRGC Navy warned the Truman to change course. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Minnesota Man Facing Terrorism Charge Once Worked at Airport

December 23rd 2015

United Airlines jet liner

A Minnesota man who faces terrorism-related charges once boasted that he was capable of building rockets that could threaten planes landing at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and also once worked at the airport as a baggage handler, an FBI agent testified Tuesday.

FBI Special Agent Daniel Higgins spoke at a hearing for Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, 20, of Eagan. Warsame was the 10th young man from Minnesota's Somali community to be charged since April with terrorism-related counts accusing them of plotting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group. He was arrested and charged Dec. 9 with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of providing such support. Read more ..



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