Monday, May 30, 2016
AN ISLAMIC body which advises the Pakistan government has proposed a law to allow men to “lightly beat” their wives for refusing to have sex, wear a hijab or those who talk loudly “so the neighbours can hear”.
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) also suggested in its report men should use “limited violence” on spouses who do not bathe after intercourse or during menstruation.
It also provided guidelines on how to inflict the beatings.
Critics fear the legitimizing of spousal violence in one part of the Islamic world would inevitably lead to the same abhorrent mindset spreading to Britain.
CII leader Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani told a press conference in Islamabad this week: “Do not use shoes or a broom on the head, or hit her on the nose or eyes.
"Do not break any bones or cut her skin or leave any marks.
"Do not hit her vindictively, but only for reminding her about her religious duties."
Credit to express.co.uk
The head of the Russian parliament’s international affairs committee, Alexei Pushkov, has accused the United States military of deliberately bombing the desert instead of hitting terrorist targets in Syria for the past year.
Writing on his Twitter account, Pushkov said that US Senator John “McCain accused us of striking out at US-trained insurgents… However, since they have either run away or joined al-Qaeda, hitting them is a mission impossible.”
In a separate interview with France’s Europe 1 Radio service, Pushkov said that the Russian aerial campaign in Syria would take three to four months.
“The US-led coalition spent a whole year pretending they were striking ISIL targets but where are the results of these strikes?” Pushkov asked.
The Americans have been “pretending” all along, he continued. “It’s the intensity that is important. The US coalition pretended to bomb Daech for a year, but there are no results. If you do it in a much more efficient way, the results will be seen.” He added that in his view, 80 percent of all the US strikes have been pointless.
Turning to Russian intervention in Syria, he ruled out ground forces becoming involved in the war, and said that Russia was intervening to “maintain Syria as an independent state” but also to provide protection for Russia.
“The Islamic state is an expansionist organization. They indicated that they had very important goals in Central Asia, our military allies,” he said, referring to the possibility of militant Islam spreading throughout the former Soviet states to the south of Russia, and even into the Russian state.
According to a report in Russia’s Sputnik News (the former Pravda news service), the American government had earlier accused the Russian air force of “targeting areas in Syria where ISIL militants were nowhere in sight.”
McCain, who is chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, said that he could “absolutely confirm” that Russian air strikes had hit mythical “Free Syrian Army” recruits who had been armed and trained by the US.
Credit to forzanuova-us.org
Amnesty International warned on Friday that a surge in executions carried out by Saudi authorities could see more than 100 people put to death in the first six months of 2016.
The London-based watchdog says that the kingdom carried out at least 158 death sentences last year, making it the third most prolific executioner after Iran and Pakistan.
This year, at least 94 people have been executed so far, “higher than at the same point last year,” Amnesty International said.
If executions continue at the same pace, “Saudi Arabia will have put to death more than 100 people in the first six months of this year,” the human rights group warned.
“Executions in Saudi Arabia have been surging dramatically for two years now and this appalling trend shows no sign of slowing,” said Amnesty International’s MENA deputy director James Lynch.
Lynch spoke of “pervasive flaws” in the kingdom’s justice system “which mean that it is entirely routine for people to be sentenced to death after grossly unfair trials.”
Murder and drug trafficking cases account for the majority of Saudi executions, although 47 people were put to death for “terrorism” on a single day in January.
Among those was Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr whose execution sparked a diplomatic rift between Riyadh and Tehran. Nimr was a driving force of the protests that broke out in 2011 in the kingdom’s east, an oil-rich region where the Shia minority of an estimated two million people complains of marginalisation.
Nimr’s execution sparked protests after the death sentence was handed down based on confessions he says were extracted through torture. The case “provides a glaring example of the arbitrary use of the death penalty after proceedings that blatantly flout international human rights standards,” said Amnesty.
Following Nimir’s execution sources in the kingdom told Middle East Eye that prisoners arrested when they were children and others suffering from mental illness were among dozens of inmates executed in Saudi Arabia in January. One security source who witnessed the executions told MEE: “It was a massacre. There was blood and body parts everywhere.”
Nimr’s execution sparked protests in Iran, where mobs ransacked and set fire to the Saudi embassy, leading to Riyadh severing ties with Tehran and plunging the two regional rivals into a diplomatic crisis.
Nimir’s nephew, Ali al-Nimr, who was arrested with two others while they were still minors, is currently on death row.
Lynch urged Saudi authorities to “quash his conviction and order a re-trial immediately in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty.”
Saudi Arabia has a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.
“The Saudi Arabian authorities should end their reliance on this cruel and inhuman form of punishment and establish an official moratorium on executions immediately,” said Lynch.
Most people put to death in Saudi Arabia are beheaded with a sword.
Credit to zero hedge
Chemical castration, genital mutilation and mental illness run amok….
The science is clear: The biology of gender is a physical reality that’s not subject to “impersonation”
Transgender advocacy called “child abuse” by the American College of Pediatricians
It’s time to stop the transgender programming of children in our society
Credit to Common Sense
A mind-reaching machine that can translate thoughts into speech is coming closer to reality.
The research has been ongoing for several years, and recently, scientists successfully managed to playback a word that someone is thinking by monitoring their brain activity.
While there remains a long way to go, they say this could help victims of stroke and others with speech paralysis to communicate with their loved ones.
A mind-reaching machine that can translate thoughts into speech is coming closer to reality. The research has been ongoing for several years, and recently, scientists successfully managed to playback a word that someone is thinking by monitoring their brain activity
Professor Robert Knight and his team at UC Berkeley have been studying how hearing words, speaking out loud and imagining words involves brain areas that overlap.
'Now, the challenge is to reproduce comprehensible speech from direct brain recordings done while a person imagines a word they would like to say,' said Knight, who is also the Founding Editor of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
Knight says the goal of the device is to help people affected by motor disease such as paralysis and Lou Gehrig's Disease.
'There are many neurological disorders that limit speech despite patients being fully aware of what they want to say,' Knight said.
'We want to develop an implantable device that decodes the signals that occur in the brain when we think about a word, then turn these signals into a sound file that can be reproduced by a speech device.'
Such a novel device would communicate people's intended thoughts via an electronic speaker or writing device, but the team still has a lot more research to conduct.
They have been able to reproduce a word a person has just heard on a machine, by monitoring temporal lobe activity in a neurosurgical setting.
Credit to Dailymail.co.uk
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3613443/The-device-eavesdrops-voices-head-Mind-reaching-machine-soon-turn-secret-thoughts-speech.html#ixzz4A5c9ehZM
It took them 20 years to realize it.....
In a stunning reversal for an organization that rests at the bedrock of the modern "neoliberal" (a term the IMF itself uses generously), aka capitalist system, overnight IMF authors Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri issued a research paper titled "Neoliberalism: Oversold?" whose theme is a stunning one: it accuses neoliberalism, and its immediate offshoot, globalization and "financial openness", for causing not only inequality, but also making capital markets unstable.
There are aspects of the neoliberal agenda that have not delivered as expected. Our assessment of the agenda is confined to the effects of two policies: removing restrictions on the movement of capital across a country’s borders (so-called capital account liberalization); and fiscal consolidation, sometimes called “austerity,” which is shorthand for policies to reduce fiscal deficits and debt levels. An assessment of these specific policies (rather than the broad neoliberal agenda) reaches three disquieting conclusions:
- The benefits in terms of increased growth seem fairly difficult to establish when looking at a broad group of countries.
- The costs in terms of increased inequality are prominent. Such costs epitomize the trade-off between the growth and equity effects of some aspects of the neoliberal agenda.
- Increased inequality in turn hurts the level and sustainability of growth. Even if growth is the sole or main purpose of the neoliberal agenda, advocates of that agenda still need to pay attention to the distributional effects.
Wait... you mean that the IMF becoming, gasp, Marxist? Did last summer's dramatic interaction with Greece and its brief but memorable former Marxist finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, leave such a prominent mark on the IMF's collective subconsiousness, that it is now overly rejecting the tenets on which the IMF was originally founded?
Let's read on for the answer.
Here is a very notable segment on "globalization" aka financial openness:
In addition to raising the odds of a crash, financial openness has distributional effects, appreciably raising inequality. Moreover, the effects of openness on inequality are much higher when a crash ensues .
It gets better:
The mounting evidence on the high cost-to-benefit The mounting evidence on the high cost-to-benefit ratio of capital account openness, particularly with respect to shortterm flows, led the IMF’s former First Deputy Managing Director, Stanley Fischer, now the vice chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, to exclaim recently: “What useful purpose is served by short-term international capital flows?” Among policymakers today, there is increased acceptance of controls to limit short-term debt flows that are viewed as likely to lead to—or compound—a financial crisis. While not the only tool available—exchange rate and financial policies can also help—capital controls are a viable, and sometimes the only, option when the source of an unsustainable credit boom is direct borrowing from abroad.
The IMF then goes full-Magic Money Tree and reverts back to a mode first observed several years ago when it said that not only is austerity bad, but that unlimited debt issuance is probably good.
Markets generally attach very low probabilities of a debt crisis to countries that have a strong record of being fiscally responsible. Such a track record gives them latitude to decide not to raise taxes or cut productive spending when the debt level is high. And for countries with a strong track record, the benefit of debt reduction, in terms of insurance against a future fiscal crisis, turns out to be remarkably small, even at very high levels of debt to GDP. For example, moving from a debt ratio of 120 percent of GDP to 100 percent of GDP over a few years buys the country very little in terms of reduced crisis risk.But even if the insurance benefit is small, it may still be worth incurring if the cost is sufficiently low. It turns out, however, that the cost could be large—much larger than the benefit. The reason is that, to get to a lower debt level, taxes that distort economic behavior need to be raised temporarily or productive spending needs to be cut—or both. The costs of the tax increases or expenditure cuts required to bring down the debt may be much larger than the reduced crisis risk engendered by the lower debt. This is not to deny that high debt is bad for growth and welfare. It is. But the key point is that the welfare cost from the higher debt (the so-called burden of the debt) is one that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered; it is a sunk cost. Faced with a choice between living with the higher debt—allowing the debt ratio to decline organically through growth—or deliberately running budgetary surpluses to reduce the debt, governments with ample fiscal space will do better by living with the debt.
Of course, what both the IMF and the Magic Money Tree lunatics fail to grasp, is that the only reason debt interest hasn't exploded in a world that has never had more debt (a process that inevitably ends in war) is thanks to central bank monetization of said debt, and third party investors frontrunning said central banks. Let's revert to the "low costs of debt" if and when runaway inflation forces central banks to reverse what has been a 30+ year process that started with the great moderation and will end either with helicopter money (and thus hyperinflation) or central banks owning every single assets (and thus the death of capitalism.
But back to the IMF's rant, just in case the IMF's dramatic U-turn on its support for a neoliberal agenda was not clear, here is another reiteration:
In sum, the benefits of some policies that are an important part of the neoliberal agenda appear to have been somewhat overplayed. In the case of financial openness, some capital flows, such as foreign direct investment, do appear to confer the benefits claimed for them. But for others, particularly short-term capital flows, the benefits to growth are difficult to reap, whereas the risks, in terms of greater volatility and increased risk of crisis, loom large. In the case of fiscal consolidation, the short-run costs in terms of lower output and welfare and higher unemployment have been underplayed, and the desirability for countries with ample fiscal space of simply living with high debt and allowing debt ratios to decline organically through growth is underappreciated.
The IMF's punchline:
[S]ince both openness and austerity are associated with increasing income inequality, this distributional effect sets up an adverse feedback loop. The increase in inequality engendered by financial openness and austerity might itself undercut growth, the very thing that the neoliberal agenda is intent on boosting. There is now strong evidence that inequality can significantly lower both the level and the durability of growth.
And here is the IMF doing the unthinkable, and waving to Marx:
The evidence of the economic damage from inequality suggests that policymakers should be more open to redistribution than they are.
As a reminder, this is taking place just days after the St. Louis Fed admitted the Federal Reserve itself is, indirectly, a primary reason for the current record wealth inequality thanks with its focus on the "wealth effect" and boosting asset prices.
* * *
What is the conclusion from all this? Perhaps that the push for global wealth redistribution, and an end to conventional capitalism, is in the works.
How this transition takes place is unknown: whether by government decree, by regime change, by a - paradoxically - global government (one in which the IMF would be delighted to administer global monetary policy) to rein in globalization, or simplest of all, by helicopter money, is still unclear.
Whatever it is, something is coming, because for a stunning paper such as the one below to be published, it certainly had to be vetted not only at all executive levels of the IMF, but was surely preapproved by all legacy financial institutions.
And that should be the basis for great concern.
Here is the original IMF paper "Neoliberalism: Oversold?" (IMF)
Credit to Zero Hedge
A video has appeared on the Internet showing the capabilities of a new German tank – the MBT Revolution.
The video is said to have been posted on the German group Rheinmetall’s official YouTube channel, according to the website warspot.ru.
The vehicle, according to the developers, is planned to become a serious competitor to Armata tanks, however if that is the case it will happen no earlier than 2030.
In fact, this model is a modernized version of the Leopard 2A4 using the modular technology. It should not only replace its predecessor in Germany, but also the Leclerc tank which is in service with the French army.
Rheinmetall group has been working on this project for six years now. The video is yet more proof of the achieved results.
The video shows the tank turret full of electronics. There is also a video guidance system that allows complete visibility. The dashboard gunner is also fully computerized.
The MBT Revolution seems like an exceptionally fast vehicle, according to the video.
The developers boast its system stabilization tools. When the tank is moving over rough terrain, the cannon remains almost motionless.
As explained by its developers, the MBT Revolution can adapt to any climatic conditions and can combat during both day and night.
Credit to Sputnik
Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20160529/1040449923/new-tank-capabilities.html#ixzz4A5lHNqYD