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Monday, May 27, 2013

The U.S. Dollar Collapse Is Accelerating

Japanese Stocks Extend Overnight Plunge Over 14%

As if the overnight session in Japan was not bad enough, futures markets are indicating yet more weakness from the market that seemed (until 3 days ago) incapable of falling. With a 14.3% drop from its May 22nd highs, Japan's Nikkei 225 is struggling to find buyers for this dip. What is interesting is the bid for European peripheral debt and equity markets this morning and the bounce in US futures (with no commensurate move in JPY which is hovering around 101). Gold and Silver are up around 1% with the USD unchanged. Treasury Futures imply a rise of 1-2bps in yield.

and just as the NKY saw its blow-off top, now US equities are ignoring the drop (for now)...

Russia to Deploy 4 New Arctic Warships by 2020

MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) - The coast guard division of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) will deploy four new warships to protect the nation's Arctic zone by 2020, the FSB press service said on Monday.

Eleven border protection facilities are to be built in the Arctic, while automated surveillance systems are to be deployed in the area as part of the Russian Federation State Border Protection program for 2012-2020, an FSB representative said.

Russia has officially set a goal of deploying a combined-arms force by 2020 to protect its political and economic interests in the Arctic, including military, border, and coast guard units.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in December 2012 that Russia risks losing its sovereignty by the mid-21st century if it does not assert its national interests in the Arctic today.

RIA Novosti

Hizballah fires rocket toward Israeli Metula

Residents of Israel’s northernmost town of Metula were roused before dawn Monday, May 27 by an exploding rocket fired from the Lebanese town of Marjayoun about 10 kilometers north of the border. It landed on open ground, causing no casualties or damage. DEBKAfile’s military sources report: Just 48 hours after Hassan Nasrallah’s war speech, Hizballah, Iran’s proxy, had joined the war of attrition President Assad has directed against Israel from the Golan.

The IDF has so far made no mention of the widely reported rocket attack although Lebanese media said an Israeli drone was hovering over the Marjayoun area.
Metula was attacked the day after three Grad missiles were fired from a point east of Mt Lebanon to explode in the Hizballah-controlled Dahiya district of Beirut, injuring five people and causing some damage.

It was fired by local Sunni elements sympathetic to the Syrian rebels. The Shiite Hizballah decided to retaliate against northern Israel – for a reason. It made clear that the position laid out by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon that “Israel is not involved in the Syrian war” is not reciprocated either by Syrian President Bashar Assad or Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Nasrallah’s strategy in the face of domestic criticism of his heavy military commitment to Assad is to demonstrate that the troops he sent to fight in the Shiite-Sunni conflict raging in Syria are in fact waging war on the common enemy, the Jewish state.

This rocket against Metula was also intended to direct attention away from the massive ongoing boost of the Lebanese terrorist group’s military contingents fighting in Syria. Sunday and early Monday, another 2,000 elite Hizballah combatants poured into Syria from Lebanon to augment the 5,000-6,000 already present there.

The new arrivals were transferred straight to the battlefront in south Damascus. Rebel forces report they are under assault by a combined force of Lebanese Hizballah and Iraqi Shiite fighters.

Neither the United States nor Israel or Turkey has raised a finger to block this dangerous influx of Hizballah fighting forces into Syria although it is strongly tipping the scales of war in Assad’s favor.

Sunday overnight, Hizballah secretly ordered the call-up of reserves to reinforce its strength for fighting on three active fronts, Syria, Israel and opponents at home. Its agents went around Hizballah centers in towns and villages across Lebanon with orders for members to report for duty at once.



A Supercomputer revolutionizes Cairo Geniza research

A supercomputer on the campus of Tel Aviv University is set to revolutionize research on one of the world’s most important repositories of ancient documents – the Cairo Geniza, which came to light 117 years ago behind the wall of an ancient synagogue.

The computer, fed more than 300,000 images of fragments from the geniza collection, began work on May 16. Over five weeks, it will make 12 billion visual comparisons between pieces, suggesting possible matches.

By Sunday afternoon, at the time of a briefing for reporters, it had conducted 2.8 billion comparisons. The computer is set to complete its work on June 25, marking perhaps the most dramatic leap forward in geniza scholarship in a century.

The Cairo Geniza collection includes around 320,000 fragments of parchment and paper documents from a millennium of Jewish life in the Muslim metropolis, beginning in the 9th century C.E. They include religious texts, contracts, recipes, magic amulets, letters among businessmen involved in trade with India, and even papers written by the famed 12th-century philosopher Maimonides.

The documents all bore the name of God, and so could not be thrown out according to Jewish law. Instead, for centuries Cairo’s Jews simply stuffed them through a hole in the wall of the women’s section of the Ben Ezra synagogue in the Fustat district and into a small room – known as a geniza, from the Hebrew word “to store” — where they were kept, preserved by Egypt’s dry climate, until coming to the attention of European scholars in 1896.

Understanding the documents from the geniza requires matching together scattered pieces of the same document. But the fragments are now scattered among 67 libraries across the world, making that difficult. Only about 4,000 such matches have been made in more than a century of research.

The new computation effort was made possible by the efforts of the Friedberg Genizah Project, based in Jerusalem, which since 2006 has been scanning fragments from nearly all existing collections and uploading them to a website, www.genizah.org.

The Cairo Geniza collection contains around 320,000 fragments scattered among 67 libraries. Pictured: Pages from Maimonides’ 12th-century philosophical work ‘Guide for the Perplexed’ (photo credit: Courtesy of the Cambridge University Library)

“This is the first time the whole geniza has been available to researchers anytime, anywhere,” said Yaacov Choueka, the computer scientist in charge of the project. Choueka was born in Cairo and left when he was 20, amid the exodus of the city’s Jews because of persecution in the mid-20th century.

For the first time since 1896, he said, the entire collection was together again.

“We want to restore the geniza to the way it was at the beginning, and release researchers from the need to look for matches all over the world,” he said.

Choueka’s son, Roni, is one of the computer specialists behind the work of the supercomputer. The recognition software, he said, looks at characteristics like the number of lines, the density of text, and the average width of a line, helping the computer select probable matches from hundreds of thousands of possibilities.

The efficacy of the software was demonstrated earlier this year when one researcher, Stefan Reif of Cambridge, was looking for a match for a vellum fragment of an 11th-century Passover Haggada that had been brought to the British university in 1897.

The Israeli geniza project was putting the finishing touches on its computer program. Researchers ran the image through the new software and immediately found a match: A sister fragment from the same Haggada was in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
The Times of Israel

Swiss riot video: Police clash with protesters

Demand for Physical Gold and Silver is Extraordinary


Jihadist persecution of Christians around the world is one of the biggest under-reported stories in media circles, says a Christian activist and expert on the issue.

Raymond Ibrahim, a Copt from Egypt—now living in the U.S.—says that Western weakness in confronting radical Islam has left the jihadists feeling emboldened. In his new book, Crucified Again, Ibrahim presents first-hand knowledge and investigation of widespread persecution.

“Although Muslim persecution of Christians is one of the most dramatic stories of our times, it is also one of the least known in the West,” he writes.

Ibrahim’s own country of Egypt is experiencing a resurgence of violence towards Christians, thanks to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood after the downfall of Hosni Mubarak.

“As one of the oldest and largest Muslim nations, with one of the oldest and largest Christian populations, Egypt is a kind of paradigm of Islam’s treatment of Christians,” Ibrahim states.

Although the violence is spreading and intensifying, Ibrahim insists that many in the Western media, including Christian media, are not picking up on it.

“CBN has been great in reporting on this phenomenon and promoting the book. One senior CBN reporter, Gary Lane, said ‘While I’ve read many books about Christian persecution over the years, none of those I’ve encountered provide a better historic and contemporary context of Christian suffering in Muslim countries than Crucified Again:Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.’ Unfortunately, most other evangelical churches and organizations have been indifferent and uncooperative about getting the story out on Christian persecution—and to this, I am at a loss.”

Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum, has some ideas about engaging American evangelicals in this gigantic issue:

“First, they need to acquire the proper knowledge of the situation—which is precisely why I wrote Crucified Again, to fill the vacuum the mainstream media has created by woefully failing to report the reality of Christian persecution under Islam. Christians should read the book, which makes everything clear, and addresses all the hows and whys. Even those who think they are aware of the situation will probably be overwhelmed by the reports in the book—the actual amount of persecution that goes on, and how widespread it is, from Morocco in the west to Indonesia in the east, from sub-Saharan Africa in the south, to Kazakhstan and Russia to the north, and even in European nations (as we recently saw with the London) beheading—a thing that happens often to Christians in the Islamic world.”

As for the Copts in Egypt, Ibrahim has direct knowledge of the growing danger:

Iraqi Christians murdered by jihadists in a church.

“Things just keep going from bad to worse. Persecution and discrimination, which was present under the Mubarak era, are now, under the Muslim Brotherhood, becoming legalized. For example, in the context of ‘blasphemy’ charges against Christians.

A homicide bomber in an Iraqi church

Most recently, a young female Christian school teacher was arrested and awaiting a prison sentence because a couple of her 10-year-old Muslim students accused her of looking ‘disgusted’ when teaching Islamic history. But if you read the book, you’ll see that her case is the tip of the iceberg, as many other Copts have been incarcerated under the accusation that they ‘insulted’ Islam. “

Jim Fletcher is a writer, researcher, and pro Israel activist. His work has appeared in the Jerusalem Post, WND, Beliefnet, OneNewsNow, and RaptureReady (weekly “Israel Watch”). Jim spent 15 years in the book publishing industry and now serves as managing editor of the Balfour Post.

Saudi Arabia warns against Iran's nuclear program

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has warned against the danger of Iran's nuclear program to the region's security and said Iran should not threaten its neighbors since countries in the region harbor no ill-intentions to the Islamic Republic.

"We stress the danger of the Iranian nuclear program to the security of the whole region," Prince Saud said Saturday in a joint news conference with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in the city of Jiddah.

Turning to Syria, he also that Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime should have no role in the country's future.

Saudi Arabia announced last week the arrest of 10 more members of an alleged Iranian spy ring.

Yahoo News

China's premier warns Europe over trade war

(Financial Times) -- China's premier has waded into an intensifying trade dispute with Europe, warning that EU investigations into Chinese-made solar panels and telecommunications equipment would backfire by hurting European consumers.

"The cases over these two types of products will hurt Chinese industries, business and jobs and also damage the vital interests of European users and consumers," Li Keqiang said en route to Berlin on Sunday during his first foreign trip since becoming premier. "We express firm opposition."

Mr Li's comments mark the first time that China's top leadership has weighed in on the trade disputes, and come as the solar case -- the EU's biggest ever trade investigation -- enters a critical phase.

The EU must decide before June 6 whether to go ahead with a proposal from Karel De Gucht, trade commissioner, to impose provisional duties averaging 47 per cent on imported Chinese solar products for dumping, or selling goods below cost.