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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More Russian Ships On Way to Syria

WASHINGTON — The United States says the Russian military was preparing to dispatch three more ships to Syria after a separate transport carrying attack helicopters turned back when its U.K. insurer removed its coverage.

But Pentagon officials noted that Moscow's stated intent was to send supplies and personnel to its naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartus.

"We have no indication that these vessels and that material is being sent to Syria for any other purpose than that which the Russian military has acknowledged themselves," Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain John Kirby said Tuesday.

"Russian citizens have been threatened there in Syria, and their stated intention is that this is for force protection reasons."

Interfax reported Monday that Russia was preparing to send two landing ships carrying marines to Syria in the event that it needs to protect personnel and remove equipment from the naval facility.

On Tuesday, a cargo ship carrying the helicopters, the Alaed, turned around off the British coast after it lost its insurance.

"I am pleased that the ship that was reported to be carrying arms to Syria has now turned back apparently towards Russia," British Foreign Secretary William Hague told Parliament.

"We have in place a European Union arms embargo on Syria. We discourage anyone else from supplying arms to Syria. We have had discussions with Russia about that specifically."

The ship's operator, Femco, operating the Alaed, offered no comment when contacted several times by Reuters about the ship and its cargo.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin made clear during talks this week that he does not want Bashar Assad to remain in power in Syria any longer, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Tuesday.

Cameron said Putin had shifted his view of the Syrian leader during talks with U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders at a Group of 20 summit in Mexico, and that discussions were now focused on a transition.

"There remain differences over sequencing and the shape of how the transition takes place but it is welcome that President Putin has been explicit that he does not want Assad remaining in charge in Syria," Cameron told reporters.

"What we need next is an agreement on a transitional leadership that can move Syria to a democratic future that protects the rights of all its communities."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Cameron were present with Obama for the talks with Putin.

Cameron warned that time was running out to put a stop to the violence in Syria, which shows scarce sign of stemming.

"There is little time left to resolve this, but we do now have clear agreement on the key principles, on the risks to Syria, on the need to stop the violence and the urgency of political transition," he said.

Obama said Russia and China have "not signed on" to any plan for the removal of Assad from power but that they recognize the dangers of an all-out civil war in the country.

Obama said Assad has lost all legitimacy and that it was impossible to conceive of any solution to the violence in Syria that would leave him in power.

He conceded that he had failed to make a breakthrough with the leaders of Russia or China, despite intensive talks with both Moscow and Beijing, which have shielded Assad from tougher UN sanctions.

"I wouldn't suggest that at this point the United States and the rest of the international community are aligned with Russia and China in their positions, but I do think they recognize the grave dangers of all-out civil war," he told reporters at a Group of 20 summit in Mexico.

Syria is Moscow's firmest foothold in the Middle East. The country buys weapons from Russia worth billions of dollars and hosts the Russian Navy's only permanent warm water port outside the former Soviet Union.

But Russia has faced increasing Western criticism over arms supplies to Syria, where the United Nations says government forces have killed more than 10,000 people in a crackdown.

Read more:http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/more-russian-ships-on-way-to-syria/460709.html#ixzz1yMxxsiAz
The Moscow Times

Infinity and Randomness - Chuck MIssler

Magnitude 5.4-strong earthquake shakes Victoria

Earthquake Morwell

UPDATE: A MAN who lives at the epicentre of last night's earthquake says he heard a loud bang and a crack and thought he was in a landslide.


"The house was shaking so much I thought it was a landslide," he said.Coalville resident Glenn Mason thought a truck had crashed through a wall retainer.

"I was waiting for the truck to come through our lounge room.

"I just heard this trembling then a bang and a crack.

The magnitude 5.4 earthquake shook homes, cracked windows and walls, and threw residents from their chairs.

Millions across the state felt the tremor, which had an epicentre 16km southwest of Moe at Coalville, in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria's east.

The quake struck at 8.53pm and lasted for 30 seconds, Geoscience Australia spokesman Chris Thompson said.

Mr Mason was shocked to find no damage to his home.

"When I woke up I thought gees how bad is all this going to be' but I was surprised everything was normal."

Herald Sun

Verichip Corp. RFID Microchip TV Commercial

Revelation 14:9-12

King James Version (KJV)

9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Verichip Corp. RFID Microchip - First Official TV Commercial from Now The End Begins on Vimeo.

Us plans significant military presence in Kuwait to respond regional conflicts

The United States is planning a significant military presence of 13,500 troops in Kuwait to give it the flexibility to respond to sudden conflicts in the region as Iraq adjusts to the withdrawal of American combat forces and the world nervously eyes Iran, according to a congressional report.

The study by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee examined the U.S. relationship with the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman -- against a fast-moving backdrop. In just the last two days, Saudi Arabia's ruler named Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz as the country's new crown prince after last week's death of Prince Nayef, and Kuwait's government suspended parliament for a month over an internal political feud.

The latest developments inject even more uncertainty as the Middle East deals with the demands of the Arab Spring, the end to U.S. combat operations in Iraq at the end of 2011 and fears of Iran's nuclear program.

"Home to more than half of the world's oil reserves and over a third of its natural gas, the stability of the Persian Gulf is critical to the global economy," the report said. "However, the region faces a myriad of political and security challenges, from the Iranian nuclear program to the threat of terrorism to the political crisis in Bahrain."

The report obtained by The Associated Press in advance of Tuesday's release provided precise numbers on U.S. forces in Kuwait, a presence that Pentagon officials have only acknowledged on condition of anonymity. Currently, there are about 15,000 U.S. forces in Kuwait at Camp Arifjan, Ali Al Salem Air Base and Camp Buehring, giving the United States staging hubs, training ranges and locations to provide logistical support. The report said the number of troops is likely to drop to 13,500.

Several members of Congress, most notably Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., had pressed for a residual U.S. force to remain in Iraq, but the failure of the two countries to agree on whether American troops should be granted legal immunity scuttled that idea. Instead, officials talked of positioning a strong U.S. force just across the border in Kuwait. The strategy preserves "lily pad" basing that allows the military to move quickly from one location to the next.

As it recalibrates its national security strategy, the United States is drawing down forces in Europe while focusing on other regions, such as the Middle East and Asia. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said he envisions about 40,000 troops stationed in the Middle East region after the withdrawal from Iraq. By comparison, a cut of two Army combat brigades and the withdrawal of two other smaller units will leave about 68,000 troops in Europe.

During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, some half a million U.S. forces were in the Middle East region. The United States maintained about 5,000 troops in Kuwait from the end of the Gulf War to March 2003, when U.S. and coalition forces invaded Iraq to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein. The U.S.-led invasion was in response to reports, later discredited, that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/06/19/us-plans-significantly-increase-military-presence-in-kuwait/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Fpolitics+%28Internal+-+Politics+-+Text%29&utm_content=Google+Reader#ixzz1yLQLfalb

Russian Cosmonauts Have 'Alien Instructions'

The UN has developed detailed instructions in case of a first contact with aliens, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka said answering a question on Chinese TV.

“The UN and representatives of China have developed detailed instructions in case of the first contact,” Padalka said.

The cosmonaut shared his opinion saying that human beings are not alone in the universe. “Sooner or later we will meet our like-minded brothers,” Padalka added.

A teleconference between Mission Control and the International Space Station marked the launch of China’s Shenzhou-9 spacecraft with three crew members on board, including China’s first female astronaut, 33-year-old Liu Yang, Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang.

RIA Novosti

Ahmadinejad: I will retire from politics in 2013

He has sworn that he will unleash the apocalypse to bring his world leader...
Maybe he has some plans between 2012 and 2013!!!

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to retire from politics when his second term ends next year, AFP quoted him as saying on Saturday in an interview with theFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, scheduled to be published on Sunday.

“Eight years is enough,” Ahmadinejad, 55, told the German paper.

Iran’s constitution prohibits a president from serving more than two consecutive terms, but Ahmadinejad also ruled out the possibility that he would let someone serve one term and then return to office four years later, as Russian President Vladimir Putin recently did.

Ahmadinejad said that he would likely return to academia. “Maybe I’ll involve myself in politics at the university, but I will not form a political party or group,” he said.

Relations between Ahmadinejad and parliament have become increasingly strained in recent years, particularly over budget matters. The legislature, which has the power to impeach the president, accused him of economic mismanagement and making illegal appointments.

In March, he became the first president in the Islamic Republic’s history to be summoned to the assembly for questioning.

Ahmadinejad served as Tehran’s mayor before being elected president in 2005. He was reelected in 2009 in an election that was widely thought to be fraudulent. The allegedly rigged election was followed by eight months of street protests that the Iranian government violently quelled.

Ahmadinejad was an engineer and a former Revolutionary Guard officer before being elected Teheran’s mayor in 2003.

Jerusalem Post

G20 warns US over deficit amid fears it is the next crisis to hit

The warning came at the end of a fraught two-day summit in Mexico dominated by Europe's debt crisis. While the world's most powerful economies urged European governments to do more to end their crisis, the rebuke to The White House reflects increasing concern that America's struggle with its own $15trillion of debt will be the next to hit the world economy.

Efforts by President Barack Obama and Congress to agree on a grand plan to cut the country's deficit have so far failed.

A series of short-term compromises have left the US facing $1trillion in spending cuts at the start of next year. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has warned that the cuts, alongside the expiration of tax cuts first introduced by George W. Bush, leave the US facing a fiscal contraction that could plunge the country back into recession.

The G20 urged the US to "calibrate the pace of its fiscal consolidation by avoiding a sharp fiscal contraction in 2013 while insuring that its public finances are placed on a sustainable long-run path," according to the communique.

With the presidential election happening less than two months before the tax increases and spending cuts are due, financial markets are fearful that Congress will fail to reach an agreement to delay some of the measures.

The Telegraph

US not aligned with Russia, China on Syria

President Barack Obama says China and Russia are "not aligned" with the U.S. and other nations on Syria but says both countries' leaders recognize the dangers of a civil war.

Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin (POO'-tihn) and Chinese President Hu Jintao (hoo jihn-tow) on the sidelines of an economic summit. Syria was a top subject.

China and Russia have close ties to Syria and have vetoed two U.N. resolutions that mentioned the threat of sanctions against President Bashar Assad's (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) regime. China and Russia, however, did support an observer mission in Syria and a plan by special envoy Kofi Annan (KOH'-fee AN'-nan) to end the violence.

Obama said Russia and China believe "everyone would be better served" if Syria had a mechanism for ceasing the violence."


Gerald Celente: A War With Iran is Imminent

In Case of QE3, Gold setTo be at $1,900-$8,500 Says Societe Genenerale

In a previous post we showed how, despite Goldman's best wishes, the market may have just priced itself out of a treat from the Fed tomorrow, and right into a trick. That said, in case the Fed has in fact succumbed to the pleadings of its superiors (read Primary Dealers) and does proceed with some seriously unsterilized dollar mauling, the next question is what is the best hedge.

SocGen asked the same, and provided several strategies to take advantage of central planners exhibiting a rare case of Einstein's definition on insanity... over and over. Their "Strategy #1: Bolster Positions In Gold Ahead of QE3." Why? Because once the next round of the gold juggernaut is unleashed, gold may go to anywhere between $1900, just shy of the all time nominal high, and $8500... just a tad higher than the nominal high.

From SocGen:
USD 1900/Oz: To close the gap with the monetary base increase since July 2007, gold would have to rise to $1,900/oz, assuming full transmission from the monetary base increase to the gold price USD 8500/Oz: If gold catches up with the increase in the monetary base
since 1920 (as it did in the early 80s), its price would rise to USD 8500/Oz.

Zero Hedge

Spain and Italy to be bailed out in €750 bn deal

Two rescue funds are to be used to buy the debts of the troubled economies, the cost of which have reached record highs in recent weeks.

It is hoped that the move, which represents a substantial shift in policy for Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, will send a strong signal to financial markets that Europe’s biggest economy is finally prepared to back its weaker neighbours.

Mrs Merkel and other European leaders have come under intense pressure at this week’s G20 summit to take radical action to stem the growing euro crisis which has pushed up the cost of Spanish bonds to unsustainable levels. The communiqué issued at the end of the G20 summit, which finished in Mexico last night, said that European leaders had agreed to take action to bring down borrowing rates.

Under the proposed deal, two European rescue funds – the £400 billion (€500  billion) European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the £200 billion (€250  billion) European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) – will buy bonds issued by European countries.

Previously, money in these funds — which has been provided by members of the single currency — has been used to bail out smaller European countries such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Governments in these countries were offered money directly in return for agreeing to austerity programmes. Under the new plan, the money in these funds will not be given directly to governments but will instead be used to buy up debts on the financial markets.

The European Central Bank previously bought about £170 billion (€210 billion) of bonds in this way but stopped last year. It is hoped the new plan will drive down the cost of Spanish and Italian bonds by showing that the eurozone is prepared to stand behind the debts of its members.

President Barack Obama met David Cameron and other European leaders yesterday to discuss the proposed deal and an EU-American trade deal.

Speaking before the meeting, François Hollande, the French president, said: “It’s not on growth. It will be more on mechanisms that allow us to fight speculation.”

Mr Hollande said rates paid by Spain and Italy to borrow on debt markets were unacceptable. “We must show a much faster capacity for action,” he said.

Experts said it was a step towards establishing shared Eurobonds, where debt from across the single currency area is shared and effectively underwritten by Germany.

At a press conference to mark the end of the G20 summit, David Cameron welcomed the assurances given by eurozone leaders.

He said: "What I've sensed at this summit is that there is a fresh impetus - using all the mechanisms, institutions, firepower they have."

He added that European leaders would put the future of the euro "beyond doubt". White House sources indicated that a "new framework" to shore up the single currency would be unveiled at next week's summit in Brussels.

Timothy Geithner, the US Treasury Secretary, said the new deal would help Spain and Italy to borrow money at lower rates.

Last night, George Osborne, the Chancellor, indicated that he was optimistic a deal could be agreed. “We will see what the eurozone announce over the next couple of weeks, but there is no doubt that they realise that individual measures in individual countries – like recapitalising Spanish banks and getting a Greek government that is in favour of staying in the euro and doing what is necessary to stay in the euro — are not by themselves enough,” he said.

“These are systemic problems in the eurozone which require a systemic answer and we need to see measures from the eurozone that help bring borrowing costs down, that help ensure that there are common resources transferred from richer countries to poorer countries, that the whole eurozone stands behind the banks of the eurozone.”

He added: “The eurozone is inching towards solutions. Basically, we do need to see the richer countries, like Germany, like Holland, spend some of their resources in propping up the weaker countries of the eurozone.

“Obviously it is difficult for them to do that, it is not a popular thing to do but it is absolutely necessary.

“I think there are signs that the eurozone are moving towards richer countries standing behind their banks and standing behind the weaker countries.”

The emergence of an outline rescue deal for Spain and Italy comes after Spanish bond yields increased sharply to more than seven per cent after the re-run of the Greek election last weekend.

Talks continued yesterday between the main Greek political parties to form a new coalition government. The new administration, which is expected to be led by the New Democracy party, is likely to attempt to renegotiate the terms of the Greek bail-out. The new government is hoping to water down or delay the country’s austerity programme. However, this is likely to be blocked by the German government and it is feared that this may lead to renewed turmoil in Greece.

Alongside discussions of the eurozone deal at the G20 summit, world leaders agreed to increase resources to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). China offered another £27 billion, and countries including Brazil, Russia and India each pledged £6.3 billion, under a scheme to double the IMF’s fighting fund. The US refused to contribute further funds.

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, said: “These resources are being made available for crisis prevention and resolution and to meet the potential financing needs of all IMF members.”

Leaders of major European countries meet in Rome on Friday ahead of a crucial EU-wide summit next week. Negotiations at the summit are expected to focus on plans for a European-wide banking union. However, this may prompt concerns in Britain over what safeguards will be offered to the City.

The Prime Minister will today travel to Mexico City for talks with the outgoing Mexican president. He may also meet Carlos Slim, the Mexican tycoon who is the world’s richest man.

The Telegraph

US & Russia Deploy in Syria