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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Arab ground troops deployed in south Yemen's Aden province

Sunday, 03 May 2015

An Arab military force on Sunday joined militants loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi fighting against Shia Houthi militants around the airport of Yemen's southern Aden city, local sources have said.

The Arab ground troops arrived earlier Sunday in Aden and joined the clashes around Aden International Airport on Sunday, pro-Hadi militant sources told Anadolu Agency, without providing information on the troop's mode of transportation.

The sources added that the Arab force joined pro-Hadi militants, who've been besieging the airport for days.

"We have been unable to completely take control of the airport, because Houthi militants are barricaded in vital spots," one source said.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel, for its part, quoted Riyadh-led coalition spokesman Ahmed al-Asiri as denying the deployment of any coalition ground troops in Yemen.

Earlier in the day, local sources told Anadolu Agency that some 30 soldiers belonging to the Saudi-led Arab coalition reached the coast of Al-Buraiqeh district in the southern province in Aden on Saturday.

This is the first deployment of Arab ground troops in Yemen since Saudi Arabia and several Arab allies launched a military campaign against positions of the Shiite Houthi group across the country in late March.

Riyadh says the anti-Houthi campaign is in response to appeals by Hadi – currently in Riyadh – for help against the Shia militia.

The Houthis, for their part, denounce the ongoing offensive as unwarranted "Saudi-American aggression" on Yemen.

Source: Middle East Monitor.
Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18406-arab-ground-troops-deployed-in-south-yemens-aden-province.

Saudi-led coalition airdrops arms to Yemeni forces

April 03, 2015

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A Saudi-led coalition trying to halt the advance of Yemen's Shiite rebels airdropped weapons to beleaguered fighters in a southern port city on Friday, while al-Qaida militants overran a key military base in eastern Yemen, further expanding their gains in this violence-wracked country.

The developments underscore the magnitude of Yemen's turmoil and the swift unraveling of the country's military and other forces still loyal to embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled Yemen to Saudi Arabia last week.

On one side, there is the ferocious fighting between Shiite rebels known as Houthis and southern militias loyal to Hadi. On the other, Yemen's al-Qaida branch has been widening its area of influence in the country and gobbling up more territory.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as the branch is named, has benefited from Yemen's political crisis ever since the Houthis first surged from their northern strongholds last year to take over the capital, Sanaa, and much of the north. The rebels are backed in their push by military and police forces loyal to Hadi's predecessor, ousted autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh.

On Thursday, al-Qaida militants overrun Mukalla, a major port city in southern Yemen and the provincial capital of the country's largest province, Hadramawt, seizing government buildings and freeing inmates from a prison, including a top Saudi-born leader.

The militants consolidated their hold of Mukalla on Friday, capturing its port and a major army base in the city, facing little resistance, said military officials. Soldiers fled the base without a fight as the militants advanced toward the city's airport.

Hadramawt, which had been mostly peaceful as the crisis in Sanaa and Aden was building up, has a long stretch of the border with Saudi Arabia on one side and lies on the Arabian Sea on the other, making it strategically significant. It also houses key oil companies and close to the Mukalla port are fuel tanks that feed three major provinces.

Hadramawt's governor, Adel Ba-hamed, described the fall of Mukalla as part of a "scenario aimed at dragging the province and its residents" into the chaos across Yemen. "The changes are terrifying," said activist Mohammed al-Sharafi, adding he worries al-Qaida's presence will bring the Houthis to fight the militants, which in turn could invite Saudi-led airstrikes.

To the west of Mukalla, coalition airstrikes continued to target Shiite rebels advancing on the southern port city of Aden, Yemen's major hub and the embattled Hadi's last seat of power before he fled to Saudi Arabia.

Coalition planes airdropped weapons to fighters battling the Houthis in Aden early Friday, the first such airdrop since the strikes began nine days ago. Saudi Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri, the coalition spokesman, told reporters in Riyadh that the fighters in Aden have managed to "change the situation on the ground." He said the coalition was giving them "logistical support."

Street battles intensified in several Aden districts Friday, including the vicinity of a major weapons depot, according to the military officials. They said that weapons were dropped above the city's port.

Local pro-Hadi fighters, who are poorly armed, have been trying to keep the Houthis from overrunning Aden and the surrounding province and have often complained of lack of weapons and leadership. Ali Hussein, one of the fighters, told The Associated Press over the phone that there is "near absence of leadership and coordination."

Overnight airstrikes focused on Aden's rebel-held airport, and at least 30 rebels and Saleh's forces were killed in the strikes, according to medical officials. In the town of al-Mualla, also in Aden province, pro-Hadi fighters fought with the rebels on Friday, leaving at least eight dead on both sides, according to medical officials there. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

To the north of Aden, the rebels and Saleh loyalists shelled the city of Dhale and its surroundings for more than two hours on Friday, according to activist Ahmed Harmal. They area is a gateway to Aden.

Coalition planes also bombed the rebel-held municipal council building in Sanaa, killing three guards and wounding 32 civilians, the Interior Ministry said Friday. The U.N. under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Valerie Amos, said Thursday that the violence in Yemen has killed an estimated 519 people in the past two weeks, 90 of them children, and that tens of thousands are fleeing their homes.

According to Abdel-Nasser al-Wali, a top medical official in Aden, 150 civilians were killed in Aden alone since March 28. The official said two Red Crescent ambulance workers were also killed by the rebels, who seized their vehicles.

Late Friday, the Saudi Interior Ministry said two border guards on the kingdom's frontier with Yemen were killed in a cross-border shootout, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. It was the second reported fatal shooting along the border since the airstrikes started; a Saudi border guard was reported killed earlier this week in a similar incident.

The coalition also continued to strike an island in the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait, the southern entrance to the Red Sea, officials said. Rami Tawfiq, a relief worker, said the airstrikes forced some 250 of the islanders, mostly fishermen, to flee across the sea toward Djibouti. The Houthis captured the island early Thursday.

Saudi and Egyptian warships have been deployed to Bab al-Mandab, which provides the only access to Egypt's Suez Canal from the Arabian Sea and is a vital passage for shipping between Europe and Asia.

Saudi-led forces strike Yemen rebels, blockade ports

March 30, 2015

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Saudi-led naval forces imposed a blockade on Yemen's ports as coalition airstrikes on Monday repelled an advance on the southern port city of Aden by Shiite rebels and forces loyal to a former president, in what appeared to be the most intense day of fighting since the air campaign began five days ago.

The move to block ports appeared aimed at preventing the rebels, known as Houthis, from rearming, and comes after the coalition achieved full control of the skies and bombed a number of rebel-held airports. The rebels are supported by Iran, but both Iran and the Houthis deny Tehran has armed them.

As night fell, intense explosions could be heard throughout the rebel-held capital Sanaa, where warplanes had carried out strikes since the early morning. Military officials from both sides of the conflict said that airstrikes were targeting areas east and south of the third largest city of Taiz, as well as its airport, while naval artillery and airstrikes hit coastal areas east of Aden.

"It's like an earthquake," Sanaa resident Ammar Ahmed said by telephone. "Never in my life have I heard such explosions or heard such raids." He said he could hear missiles whistling through the air and see flames rising from a military area in the southern neighborhood of Faj Attan, where Scud missiles are believed to be stored.

Saudi Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri, the coalition spokesman, told reporters in Riyadh that naval forces are blocking the movement of ships to prevent weapons and fighters from entering or leaving Yemen. He said they had not yet intercepted anything.

The airstrikes have targeted at least nine of Yemen's 21 provinces and have prevented the Houthis from reaching Aden, the former capital of the once-independent south, where President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi declared a temporary capital after fleeing rebel-controlled Sanaa.

Hadi, who was a close U.S. ally against a powerful local al-Qaida affiliate, fled the country last week, but remains Yemen's internationally recognized leader. The U.S. has provided support to the Saudi-led coalition but is not carrying out direct military action.

The conflict marks a major escalation in the regional struggle for influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which also back rival sides in Syria's civil war. Arab leaders unveiled plans Sunday to form a joint military intervention force, which could raise tensions further.

Asiri said much of the airstrikes on Sunday and Monday focused on slowing the Houthi advance on Aden. He said the Houthis tried to fire ballistic missiles on Monday but that they malfunctioned. Warplanes then struck the force that had tried to launch them, he said, without providing further details.

The Houthis' TV network said the coalition bombed a displaced persons camp in the northern rebel stronghold of Saada, killing 40 people. Doctors Without Borders tweeted that 29 people from a displaced persons camp were dead on arrival at a hospital it supports and that it treated two dozen injured, among them women and children.

However, witnesses told The Associated Press that the camp — used to house people displaced by an earlier conflict that ended five years ago — is now occupied by Houthi forces and that most of those killed were fighters.

When asked about the allegations, Asiri said the Houthi fighters operate among civilians. It was not immediately possible to resolve the conflicting accounts. The Houthis and security forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh had earlier launched a fresh offensive against Aden, shelling it and battling local militias, but were pushed back by at least two airstrikes, security officials said. Saleh stepped down following a 2011 Arab Spring uprising, but has maintained wide influence through loyalists in the security forces.

Yemeni security officials say the combined force of Houthis and Saleh loyalists is positioned about 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Aden, near the southern city of Zinjibar. The rebels have used artillery to target pro-Hadi militias known as the Popular Committees. Battles are also underway near the airport. Fighting in the area continued late into the night.

Reached by telephone, Aden resident Shakib Rajah said that the toughest fighting was taking place near the city's northern Dar Saad neighborhood, where heavy weapons including tanks were being used. The account of the fighting was confirmed by four military and security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

Emboldened by the airstrikes, the Popular Committees have largely held their ground in Aden province and still control most of the city. The death toll from the ground fighting in Aden since Thursday has reached at least 86, with some 600 people wounded, according to Abdel-Nasser al-Wali, head of a local medical center.

The strikes in Sanaa have targeted militants, jets, air defense systems and Scud missile launch pads that could threaten Saudi Arabia. Officials said aircraft struck areas near the presidential palace in Sanaa and several other sites across the city, sending fireballs rising into the sky, shattering windows and shaking houses. The thunder of rockets, artillery and tank rounds echoed through the streets.

The daily airstrikes have bred a climate of anxiety and uncertainty in Sanaa. Schools are shuttered, residents are staying indoors, and hundreds have fled to the safety of nearby villages. In the southern city of Baihan in Shabwa province, airstrikes mistakenly struck a gathering of anti-Houthi tribesmen, causing a number of deaths and injuries, a tribal leader said on condition of anonymity, citing security concerns. It was not clear how many were killed.

In the western coastal city of Hodeida, medical officials said one person was killed and others wounded when the Houthis dispersed a demonstration denouncing their takeover and demanding the release of detainees.

Fighting meanwhile intensified in the southern city of al-Dhale, where the Houthis and Saleh loyalists have been trying to open up a corridor to Aden. They have met fierce resistance there, and the city is currently split between supporters and opponents of the rebels.

Since the air campaign began, the Houthis have arrested some 140 foreign nationals on suspicion that they are providing the Saudis with intelligence on the locations of army barracks, radars and air defense positions, according to the rebel-controlled Interior Ministry.

New Afghan Taliban leader promises to continue insurgency

August 02, 2015

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Political uncertainty inside the Taliban has cast doubt on the prospects for an end to the war in Afghanistan. On Saturday the Taliban's controversial new leader vowed to continue fighting while urging unity among his followers in a message aimed at preventing a split in the group between those who want peace and those who still believe they can win.

An audio message purportedly from newly elected Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor came as cracks in the Taliban's previously united front widened, two days after the group confirmed an Afghan government report that reclusive longtime leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, had died. The 30-minute speech attributed to Mansoor was emailed to The Associated Press by the Taliban's spokesman. It could not be independently verified.

In it, the man purported to be Mansoor seemed to be carefully parsing his words to calm internal dissent and solidify his political base inside the Taliban, urging his fighters to remain unified and continue the jihad, or holy war, to establish an Islamic state in Afghanistan. He did not endorse or reject the nascent peace talks with the Afghan government despite the fact that, according to the government, Mansoor has been effectively running the Taliban for more than two years and the group's decision to participate in landmark face-to-face talks in Pakistan last month took place under his leadership. A second round of talks, which has been scheduled to begin Friday in Pakistan, has been indefinitely postponed.

"We have to continue our jihad, we shouldn't be suspicious of each other. We should accept each other. Whatever happens must comply with Sharia law, whether that be jihad, or talks, or an invitation to either. Our decisions all must be based on Sharia law," he said.

Mansoor took over the Taliban after the group on Thursday confirmed that Mullah Omar had died and said they elected Mansoor as his successor. The Afghan government announced Wednesday that the reclusive mullah had been dead since April 2013; the Taliban has remained vague on exactly when Mullah Omar died.

Mansoor's first priority seems to be quelling internal opposition to his election. Mullah Omar's son Yacoob has publicly rejected Mansoor's election, which was held in the Pakistani city of Quetta. He said the vote took place among a small clique of Mansoor's supporters and demanded a re-election that includes all Taliban commanders, including those fighting in Afghanistan.

"We should keep our unity, we must be united, our enemy will be happy in our separation," Mansoor purportedly said in the message. "This is a big responsibility for us. This is not the work of one, two or three people. This is all our responsibility to carry on jihad until we establish the Islamic state."

Observers said the coming days should reveal how the Taliban leadership crisis plays out — a process which could have a seismic effect on Afghanistan's political landscape. "There's a lot of unknowns right now, but hopefully within the next few days we would know more about what will be the intentions of the new leadership and if the new leader would be able to keep unity within the Taliban," said Haroun Mir, a political analyst.

If Mansoor fails to appease his fighters and field commanders on the ground, the ultimate beneficiary could be the Islamic State group. The rival Islamic extremist group, which already controls about a third of Syria and Iraq with affiliates in Egypt and Libya, has established a small foothold in Afghanistan and is actively recruiting disillusioned Taliban fighters, according to Afghan government and U.S. military officials.

The position of the Afghan government was also unclear, he said, as President Ashraf Ghani — who has made peace a priority of his administration — is in Germany for medical treatment. "We are hopeful that when President Ghani returns to Kabul, he will make a statement about this new event and about the future of the peace process," Mir said.

Mullah Omar was the one-eyed, secretive head of the Taliban, who hosted Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaida in the years leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He had not been seen in public since fleeing over the border into Pakistan after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban from power.

Under Mansoor's shadow leadership, the Taliban has participated in a series of indirect meetings with government representatives, culminating in last month's landmark meeting. But the Taliban has simultaneously intensified its attacks on Afghan security forces, expanding its footprint into the previously peaceful northern provinces after NATO and U.S. troops ended their combat mission and handed over security to local forces at the end of last year.

Officials said on Saturday that Taliban gunmen had surrounded a police station in southern Uruzgan province and were holding 70 police officers hostage. The head of the police in Khas Uruzgan district said that five police officers had been killed and four wounded in fighting so far.

"If we don't get support then all 70 police will be either dead or captured," he said. In a separate statement on Saturday, the Taliban refuted media reports that the leader of the Haqqani Network, Jalaluddin Haqqani, had died in eastern Afghanistan a year ago.

"These claims have no basis," the statement said. It said the leader of one of the country's most brutal insurgent groups, based in Pakistan's tribal belt with links to al-Qaeda, "has been blessed with good health for a long time now and has no troubles currently."

Like Mullah Omar, Haqqani has been reported dead on a number of occasions, but the reports have not been independently verified. Jalaluddin's son Sirajuddin was elected as the Taliban's deputy to Mansoor — a move possibly aimed at ensuring a steady cash flow from the Haqqani's wealthy backers and appeasing hardliners.

The Haqqani Network is considered one of the country's most vicious militant organizations, responsible for complex and well-planned attacks that often involve large numbers of suicide bombers and produce heavy casualties.

More than 100,000 protest against Assad during funeral of Kurdish opposition figure

Saturday, 08 October 2011


More than 100,000 Syrians rallied against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday during the funeral of Mishaal Tammo, a Kurdish opposition figure slain the previous day, Abdessalam Othman, of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria, told Al Arabiya.

Othman said security forces in civilian clothing randomly opened fire on demonstrators, killing five and wounding dozens.

Earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that more 50,000 people were participating in the Tammo’s funeral.

Protesters also took on the streets in the northern eastern cities of Amouda and al-Dirbasiya.

In the central city of Homs, roads were blocked to prevent protesters from demonstrating and communication was cut.

Gunmen shot dead Tammo on Friday in his home in the east of the country, activists said.

Rami Abdel-Rahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said four gunmen entered the house in Qamishli, shooting Tammo dead and wounding his brother, Reuters reported.

The opposition Local Coordination Committees said Tammo “was killed on Friday at his home by unidentified men. His son as well as female activist Zahida Rashkilo were wounded.”

The official SANA news agency reported “the assassination,” but gave a different account of Tammo’s death. It said he was killed “by gunmen in a black car who fired at his car.”

Tammo founded the liberal Kurdish Future Party, which considers the Kurds to be an integral part of Syria.

He was a member of the newly formed opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) and had been released recently after spending three and a half years in prison.

Tammo’s killing sparked indignation at home and abroad.

The United States said Assad’s regime is escalating its tactics against the opposition with bold, daylight attacks on its leaders, while France said it was “shocked” by the news of the murder.

“This is a clear escalation of regime tactics,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, referring to reports of Tammo’s murder, as well as the beating on Friday of former MP Riad Seif.

Nuland said both opposition leaders were attacked in broad daylight.

France condemned the regime’s “brutal violence” in its crackdown on the opposition.

“We are shocked by the assassination of opposition figure Mishaal Tammo... and by the attack on opposition figure Riad Seif,” a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.

Seif, a former lawmaker, had to be given hospital treatment after being beaten outside a mosque in the capital's commercial neighborhood of Medan.

Before the news of Tammo’s killing, a prominent Sheikh from the opposition was killed.

Source: al-Arabiya.
Link: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/10/08/170791.html.

Protests in the West Bank in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners

GAZA (BNO NEWS) -- Protests in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, who have been holding a hunger strike in Israeli jails for 12 days, took place on Friday in the West Bank, Palestinian media reported on Saturday.

In the southern West Bank village of al-Walajeh, Israeli soldiers allegedly shot tear gas canisters to end a demonstration of about 50 people. At least three Palestinians and one German solidarity activist were arrested, Palestine News Network (PNN) reported.

Two people were reportedly injured in nearby al-Ma'sara village when Israeli soldiers suppressed a protest. In the central West Bank village of Bil'in, popular committee media coordinator Ratib Abu Rahma said that dozens of Palestinians suffered from "severe tear gas inhalation."

Violent clashes were also reported in the central West Bank village of al-Nabi Saleh, where three Palestinians were hit by Israeli tear gas canisters.

Hundreds of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli jails have been refusing to eat since September 27 in protest of what they call 'worsening' prison conditions. The main demands of the prisoners are to end an alleged policy of isolation and of collective punishment. They also demand that Israeli authorities allow their families to visit them without restrictions and shackles, PNN reported.

The strike includes at least 500 people as of Friday. There are almost 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel, including 143 people who have been detained for more than 20 years for serious crimes.

The hunger strike was called after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the country would revoke benefits and privileges from Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli prisons. Netanyahu was responding to Hamas' refusal to let the International Red Cross visit soldier Gilad Schalit.

On June 25, 2006, Shalit, a Staff Sergeant with the Israeli Defense Forces, was abducted by Hamas militants and has been held in captivity since. His family has been trying to have contact with him without avail.

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Source: Wire Update.
Link: http://wireupdate.com/news/protests-in-the-west-bank-in-solidarity-with-hunger-striking-palestinian-prisoners.html.

Saudi official says bin Ladens killed in England plane crash

August 01, 2015

LONDON (AP) — Family members of the late al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden were among four people killed in a private jet crash in southern England, the Saudi ambassador to Britain said.

He did not further identify the dead, but Arab media and NBC News reported they included a sister, brother-in-law and stepmother of Osama bin Laden. The plane's Jordanian pilot also died. The ambassador, Prince Mohammed Bin Nawaf Bin Abdel-Aziz, offered his condolences to the wealthy bin Laden family, which owns a major construction company in Saudi Arabia.

"The embassy will follow up on the incident and its circumstances with the concerned British authorities and work on speeding up the handover of the bodies of the victims to the kingdom for prayer and burial," the ambassador said in a statement tweeted by the embassy late Friday.

Police say a pilot and three passengers died when an executive jet crashed into a parking lot and burst into flames while trying to land at Blackbushe Airport in southern England Friday afternoon. The plane had been flying from Malpensa Airport in Milan.

No one on the ground was hurt. Police and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch launched a joint investigation. Blackbushe Airport said the Embraer Phenom 300 jet crashed near the end of the runway while trying to land at the airfield about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southwest of London, which is used by private planes and flying clubs.

Andrew Thomas, who was at a car auction sales center based at the airport, told the BBC that "the plane nosedived into the cars and exploded on impact." He said he saw the plane and several cars in flames.

The official Saudi Press Agency earlier identified the plane as Saudi-owned without mentioning the bin Ladens. It said a Saudi official would work with British authorities in investigating the crash. The plane's pilot was Mazen Salem al-Dajah, a Jordanian in his late 50s. His brother Ziad told The Associated Press that al-Dajah's family had been told of his death by a representative of the bin Laden family's corporation. He said al-Dajah received his pilot's license in California about 25 years ago and had been employed by the bin Laden family.

The bin Laden family disowned Osama in 1994 when Saudi Arabia stripped him of his citizenship because of his militant activities. The al-Qaida leader was killed by U.S. special forces in Pakistan in 2011.

The family is a large and wealthy one. Osama bin Laden's billionaire father Mohammed had more than 50 children and founded the Binladen Group, a sprawling construction conglomerate awarded many major building contracts in the Sunni kingdom.

Mohammed bin Laden died in a plane crash in Saudi Arabia in 1967. One of his sons, Salem, was killed when his ultralight aircraft flew into power lines in San Antonio, Texas, in 1988.

Gambrell reported from Cairo. Associated Press writers Maamoun Youssef in Cairo and Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan contributed to this report.

Yonaguni: Mysterious Underwater Pyramid in Japan

By Ramzan Rafeek
October 7, 2011

Footage of Various Features at Yonaguni

Where can you find pyramids apart from Egypt? Maybe you’ve heard of the Incan pyramids in Peru, the pyramids of Nubia (Sudan), or the ruined pyramids of ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Persia (Iran) known as ziggurats?

What you may not know is that the list was expanded in 1987, when dive tour operator Kihachiro Aratake discovered a massive stone structure in Japan, off the island Yonaguni, south of Okinawa.

This terraced pyramid appears to have been created using skilled craftsmanship and advanced technology yet belongs to prehistory. It did not attract much attention until experts and adventurers repeatedly dived at the site, photographing and unearthing this breathtaking structure and various features.

Dr. Masaaki Kimura, a marine geologist from the University of the Ryukyus, has been diving there for more than 18 years to measure and map the features of the Yonaguni Monument, as it has come to be called. The structure consists of a huge network of buildings, including castles, monuments, and a stadium, all connected by an elaborate system what seems to be roads and waterways.

It was most likely submerged during a massive earthquake and tsunami-like disaster. Japan is located in a region of great tectonic instability—the Pacific Ring of Fire. Severe earthquakes are very common in this area.

The world’s largest recorded tsunami struck Yonaguni in 1771 with an estimated height of more than 131 feet (40 meters). Such an event may have befallen the ancient civilization associated with this structure.

Kimura presented his research and a computer-generated model of the ruin site at a scientific conference in Japan in 2007.

According to Kimura, there are 10 submerged structures off Yonaguni, and a further five similar structures off the main island of Okinawa.

Massive ruins cover an area spanning more than 48,400 square feet (approx. 4,500 square meters). Kimura believes the ruins date back at least 5,000 years, based on the ages of stalactites found in underwater caves that he thinks sank with the city.

In fact, there are many underwater caves with stalactites in the waters off Okinawa. Stalactites and stalagmites can only form above water during an extremely slow process. Submerged caves with stalactites found around Okinawa indicate that much of the area was above water at one time.

Next Page: Another Sphinx Discovered at Yoganuni?

Natural or Man-Made?

“The largest structure looks like a complicated, monolithic, stepped pyramid that rises from a depth of 25 meters [82 feet],” Kimura told National Geographic News in a 2007 interview.

Over the years, he has created a detailed picture of this ancient site and has found many similarities between the underwater structures and archaeological sites on land.

For example, a semicircular cut in a rock platform matches a castle entrance in ruins on land. Nakagusuku Castle of Okinawa has a perfect semicircular entrance typical of gusuku (castles) of the Ryukyu Dynasty from the 13th century.

Two underwater megaliths—huge, 6-meter-tall, upright standing-stones positioned next to each other—also have similarities to twinned megaliths in other parts of Japan, such as Mt. Nabeyama in Gifu Prefecture.

But many scholars argue that all such structures are natural formations shaped by the actions of waves on the rocks over thousands of years.

Boston University geologist Robert M. Schoch, known for his work on re-dating the Sphinx to a much earlier age, has varied in his opinion of the Yonaguni structures. Initially, he thought the platforms and terrace-like structures were entirely natural formations after making a few dives at the site.

Schoch took some rock samples and analysis showed they were mud and sandstones from the formation called the Lower Miocene Yaeyama Group, which was deposited some 20 million years ago.

Kimura acknowledges that the basic rock structure is natural, but asserts that it has been “terraformed” by humans. For instance, two pairs of steps rising from the “main terrace” to the “upper terrace” are hard to explain by natural erosive forces.

Kimura also points out that rubble and lose blocks are not found at the base of many of the structures, or in the rock-cut channels, which would be expected if they had been produced by natural erosion.

Following later dives, Schoch agreed that: “We should also consider the possibility that the Yonaguni Monument is fundamentally a natural structure that was utilized, enhanced, and modified by humans in ancient times,” he wrote in an article in 1999.

Ancient and modern civilizations have utilized natural rock formations for a variety of purposes. The best example is the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt that is carved out of the “living bedrock;” others include the temples of Petra in Jordan and Mahabalipuram in south India.

Another Sphinx?

Many structures have been discovered as researchers and divers keep exploring. One has the shape of a seated statue, similar to the Sphinx.

“One example I have described as an underwater sphinx resembles a Chinese or ancient Okinawan king,” Kimura told National Geographic.

This enigmatic carved structure is now called “the goddess rock,” and was discovered at a depth of about 50 feet. Looking closely, you can make out a worn headpiece and long arms like those of the Egyptian Sphinx.

Also discovered is a large round rock resembling a human face. In a similar tradition to the “Moai” figures of the Easter Islands off Chile, this giant head is resting on the ground, perhaps gazing out at a distant skyline. Some believe this figurehead forms a virtual axis or a focal point. Alternatively, it could be a legendary Atlas giant that glorified this lost city.

Several divers and researchers have noted script-like carvings on rock surfaces around the monument, and some have claimed to see animals carved in rocks.

Stone tablets recovered from the vicinity, one known as the “Okinawa Rosetta Stone,” are engraved with symbols that are similar to Egyptian hieroglyphics. The message has not been deciphered, but could be the story of the lost city as the pyramid symbol is repeatedly engraved.

Stone tools have also been recovered from the waters nearby.

The submarine pyramid and other relics discovered at Yonaguni could offer tantalizing proof of a sophisticated civilization that existed during the last ice age.

Most archaeologists believe that human civilization arose about 5,000 years ago, but a small yet persuasive number of experts think that “advanced” societies may have existed as long as 10,000 years ago and were wiped out in some sort of catastrophes.

Source: The Epoch Times.
Link: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1493342-yonaguni-mysterious-underwater-pyramid-in-japan/3/.

Ukraine calls on Russia to negotiate end to war in east

August 01, 2015

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Ukraine's foreign minister is calling on Russia to come to "real negotiations" about a cease-fire and stabilization in Ukraine's war-torn east which will require fair elections that are internationally monitored.

Pavlo Klimkin said in an interview with The Associated Press that Russian military and special forces are "in full command" in the rebel-controlled eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. He cited Ukraine's capture a few days ago of a large Russian truck filled with weapons that was driven by a Russian special forces officer as one of many examples of Russia's presence. Russia has scoffed at the allegations and pro-Russia rebels dismissed the Ukrainian claim as a fabrication.

The Kiev government has had no control over parts of eastern Ukraine since pro-Russian separatist rebels began fighting government forces in April 2014, a conflict that has since claimed more than 6,400 lives and displaced more than 1.5 million people. An armistice signed in the Belarus capital Minsk in February requires both sides to pull back heavy weapons from the front line, but international observers vetting that process regularly note violations.

Klimkin said the rebels are persisting only because of Russian weaponry and military personnel crossing the border into eastern areas which the government doesn't control. He said international monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe must have access to all areas in Donetsk and Luhansk. Now, he said, they don't have access to up to 50 percent of the territory in the coal mining region.

The OSCE must also be present in the east from the very beginning of preparations for any election and must remain to ensure that voting is free and fair, he said. Klimkin said Ukraine "can't win militarily," but it can be successful in the war because it has the support of an international community that views Russia as the aggressor.

Russia's U.N. mission didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied Ukrainian and Western allegations that Russia has sent troops and weapons to back the rebels. It has also blamed Ukraine for failing to abide by the terms of February's peace agreement signed in Minsk, in particular by failing to engage in talks with the rebels about the region's future status and continuing an economic blockade of the rebel-controlled territories.

Klimkin said Ukraine reached "a point of no return" from the post-Soviet era after the revolution that began on Independence Square in the capital Kiev in November 2013, which led to the collapse of the pro-Moscow government then in power.

Ukraine is committed to undertake major reforms "to fully depart from this post-Soviet reality," including tackling corruption and decentralizing the country, with the goal of joining the European Union and becoming part of "the European family," Klimkin said.

"A democratic and European Ukraine is a nightmare for Russia," he said, but Ukraine won't be deterred. Ukraine's economy has been battered. The International Monetary Fund announced a $40 billion support package for Ukraine in February over the next four years, but only $15.5 billion of that amounts to new IMF funding, with smaller sums from other sources. More than a third of the total is meant to be unlocked by the renegotiations of debt.

Ukraine has delivered on all benchmarks for $1.7 billion of the IMF loan, Klimkin said, and it has been talking to private creditors about a number of loans taken by the previous government on conditions which are "mind-blowing in the sense of being extremely negative for Ukraine."

"Now we need a comprehensive solution of that," he said, "and we are not saying we're not able to pay." Klimkin spoke to AP on Thursday, the day a preliminary hearing started in southern Russia for Ukrainian military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko who was captured by rebels and brought to Russia under murky circumstances and is charged in the deaths of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine last year. He reiterated she had nothing to do with the journalists' deaths.

Asked about a possible exchange for two Russian officers arrested in Ukraine in May, Klimkin stressed that Savchenko is one of 10 Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and the government is trying to win freedom for all of them. He said the case of the Russian officers, who were caught on Ukrainian territory with weapons, is very different and is still under investigation.

After the investigation and any court action are complete, he said, "there could be (a) decision about any sort of further procedure."

Poles vote in parliamentary elections

09 Oct 2011

Poles are voting in parliamentary elections that will determine whether the country continues on its conciliatory course with Russia and Germany, or whether it returns to a more combative stance with its historic foes.

Polls showed incumbent prime minister Donald Tusk's centrist and pro-EU party in the lead ahead of Sunday's vote , but outspoken former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's conservative-nationalist Law and Justice party narrowed the gap in some polls at the end of campaigning.

No party is expected to be able to rule alone and Tusk is likely to turn to his current coalition partners, the Peasants' Party, if he wins.

But opinion polls suggested the left-wing Palikot's Movement, a new party which supports gay rights, abortion and legalization of soft drugs, could emerge as a potential partner.

Tusk, who steered the country of more than 38 million people safely through the 2008-09 global financial crisis, has portrayed himself as a guardian of stability and said he will continue his cautious approach to economic reforms if he wins.

"At stake in this election are security and the stable development of our country. In my view, only PO [Civic Platform] guarantees that," Tusk said on Friday.

To his supporters, Tusk is a moderate leader who has promoted stability and good relations with Germany, Russia and the EU. They point to the fact that the economy has grown steadily on his watch.

His opponents accuse him of lacking the courage to make ambitious reforms in a country with significant problems, like high unemployment at around 11 per cent and heavy state regulation that stifles businesses.

Law and Justice leaders have promised more state involvement in the economy, including a bank tax and higher taxes for the rich, and vowed to wind down large-scale privatization carried out since Civic Platform took power in late 2007.

"If Poland becomes a strong, developed country, we won't have to privatize Polish companies, sell state firms for peanuts or privatize hospitals," Kaczynski told the Fakt tabloid.

Immediate challenge

Poland's main immediate challenge is to curb the public debt and deficit, which ballooned during the financial crisis.

Ratings agencies have said they could downgrade Poland if it does not swiftly act to reduce the budget deficit, expected to reach 5.6 per cent of gross domestic product this year, and the public debt, expected to reach 53.8 per cent of GDP this year.

Economists doubt Law and Justice would be able to meet the challenge and a short-term sell-off would be likely on Polish financial markets if it won.

The current coalition, however, has failed to deliver on the far-reaching liberal market reforms Tusk originally promised.

The rise in support for Palikot's Movement came as a surprise. It was founded by a maverick lawmaker, Janusz Palikot, who is fighting the power of the Roman Catholic church and favors many liberal causes.

Palikot's party was in third place in some recent polls, ahead of some established parties, and appears to be benefiting from disillusionment with them and increasing secularism in this conservative, mainly Catholic country.

If Tusk's Civic Platform wins on Sunday, it would make history by becoming the first to ever win two consecutive terms since the fall of communism in 1989.

However, polls show it unlikely to win enough votes to have an outright majority in parliament, meaning it would likely need to find a coalition partner. And any prolonged uncertainty over the shape of the coalition

could unsettle financial markets in Poland.

More than 30 million people are eligible to vote. They will elect 460 legislators in the lower house, the Sejm, and 100 to the upper chamber, the Senate.

Source: al-Jazeera.
Link: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2011/10/201110905723690987.html.

Soldiers in Hungary begin building fence to stop migrants

August 03, 2015

ASOTTHALOM, Hungary (AP) — Hungarian soldiers started building a fence Monday on the border with Serbia, an effort meant to stop the rising flow of migrants trying to enter the European Union.

On the outskirts of the southern village of Asotthalom, soldiers were using heavy machinery to drive metal rods into the ground, the first steps in the construction of the nearly 4-meter (13-foot) high fence, which the government wants to finish by Aug. 31 along the 175-kilometer (109-mile border).

On July 16, government officials had presented a 150-meter (164-yard) sample section of the fence at the border, built to test different construction techniques and materials, but construction began in earnest on Monday.

Work on the fence is being carried out at several locations at once, with around 900 soldiers taking part in the project. Some elements of the fence, including the razor wire to be placed on top of the barrier, is being prepared by inmates from Hungarian prisons, and people in a state work program may also be sent to help the soldiers.

More than 100,000 migrants have reached Hungary on routes across the Balkans so far in 2015, compared with fewer than 43,000 asylum seekers last year and 18,900 in 2013. The initial sections of the fence will be built in the areas, like those near Asotthalom, which are most heavily used by human smugglers, blamed by Hungarian authorities for the jump in the number of migrants.

In the latest case, prosecutors said Monday they had arrested five people, including three police officers, suspected of smuggling migrants in southern Hungary. Between Friday and Sunday, nearly 4,500 migrants were caught entering Hungary without permission.

While earlier most of the migrants were from Kosovo, over the past several months about 80 percent of them are from war zones like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly all request asylum in Hungary but try to move to EU countries further west like Germany, Sweden or Britain before their claims are settled.

Ahmed Saad, a refugee from the Yazidi Kurdish community in Iraq, said his group had walked across Turkey and Bulgaria from their hometown of Sinjar. "We left all — my job, all my car, my house, all things, because we ran going to Germany," Saad said near Asotthalom shortly after crossing into Hungary.

From this month, the Hungarian government has also enacted tougher migration rules like speedy procedures to determine the merit of asylum requests and the possibility to detain refugees for longer periods.

1,300 march in Berlin in support of 2 journalists

August 01, 2015

BERLIN (AP) — Some 1,300 people have rallied in Berlin in support of two journalists who prosecutors are investigating for treason over two reports revealing authorities' plans to expand surveillance of online communication.

Website Netzpolitik.org, which covers digital rights issues, said Thursday it was notified by federal prosecutors of the probe against its staff and an unidentified source over the two reports. Ahead of Saturday's demonstration in downtown Berlin, the revelation had already prompted strong criticism from free speech activists and Germany's justice minister on Friday questioned the decision by prosecutors to open the investigation in the first place.

Some politicians have also called for Chief Federal Prosecutor Harald Range to resign. The investigation, currently on hold, stemmed from a criminal complaint filed by Germany's domestic intelligence agency.

Putin puts Crimean site under federal control after scandal

August 01, 2015

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Saturday placed a major archaeological site in Crimea, which he has hailed as the country's most sacred spiritual symbol, under federal control following turmoil over the appointment of its director.

The Kremlin said that Putin ordered the area of the ancient Greek city of Chersonesus to be placed under federal oversight. The site is located just outside Sevastopol, the main port city in Crimea, the Black Sea Peninsula annexed by Russia from Ukraine last year.

Putin's order followed the Sevastopol governor's decision last month to appoint a Russian Orthodox priest as director of the Chersonesus museum, a move that has angered its keepers and fueled strong public criticism that the appointee lacked education and experience.

While presenting the new director to museum workers, the governor, Sergei Menyailo, reportedly sought to counter protests by saying that "religion has always dealt with science," a comment that drew mockery on Russian social networks. Menyailo's claim that he had received Moscow's approval for the appointment was denied by officials in Moscow.

Putin's adviser for cultural issues, Vladimir Tolstoy, a descendant of novelist Leo Tolstoy, was among those who criticized the governor's decision, saying the museum chief should be a professional. Tolstoy was quoted by the Interfax news agency Saturday as saying that the Culture Ministry will now be in charge of Chersonesus and choose its new director.

Excavations in Chersonesus, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, began in 1827. The city was founded by Greek colonists about 2,500 years ago, and later became part of the Byzantine Empire. The Kievan Rus ruler, Prince Vladimir, was baptized there in 988 before bringing Christianity to the region.

Putin has hailed the spiritual importance of Chersonesus for Russia, saying in last year's state-of-the nation address that the site has a "huge civilizational and sacred meaning" for the Russian Orthodox Christians, just as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is to Jews and Muslims.

'Occupy' protests continue in Washington

09 Oct 2011

Protesters have scuffled with security guards at a Washington museum and marched through New York City in the latest popular demonstrations in the US inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Al Jazeera's Monica Villamizar, reporting from Washington, said Saturday's protests were organised to oppose the use of drones by the US military.

"Protesters walked to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and tried to go in with a banner against the use of drones," our correspondent said.

Hundreds of people and groups, including anti-war activists, joined the Occupy DC protests in opposition to the use of unmanned aircraft by the US military, she said. The protest coincided with the 10th anniversary of the start of the Afghanistan war, where drones have frequently been used.

A museum spokesperson said one person was arrested as up to 200 protesters attempted to enter the museum, blocked by six guards.

"There was a lot of shoving going on," Isabel Lara said, adding that one of the guards was surrounded and used pepper spray before the demonstrators were moved outside.

The shoving match broke out in the entrance after guards told the protesters they could not enter with signs, Lara said. She said she was not aware of any injuries.

Elsewhere in the US, protests were ongoing.

'Occupying' America

Several thousand Occupy Wall Street protesters marched to New York City's Washington Square Park for a meeting which they described as a "general assembly", on Saturday.

Demonstrators peacefully marched from Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, the group's unofficial headquarters dubbed "Liberty Plaza" by the group, where protesters have been camping for more than three weeks. They met to discuss expanding their protest to other sites.

Lucas Vasquez, a student leading the march, said protesters were looking at setting up camp in Washington Square and Battery Parks.

In Alabama, meanwhile, Kristin Thompson, a 22-year-old teacher and one of hundreds of protesters in

the town of Mobile said, "We're tired of other people controlling, or thinking they control, our lives and our livelihoods."

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, about 250 protesters lined the streets outside a Bank of America branch, waving signs at passing vehicles.

"We are all in this together," said Ramona Beene, 45, who owns a cake company. She said her two college-age children were "spending thousands of dollars and won't have jobs after they graduate".

The Occupy Wall Street movement started in New York on September 17, spreading to over cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Austin and Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Washington DC.

Dozens of protesters were arrested in New York on Wednesday when thousands marched on Wall Street in their biggest show of support yet.

The same day, 25 people who were part of the Seattle, Washington's 'Occupy' protest were arrested and police confiscated demonstrators' tents and other belongings.

Seven hundred people were also arrested in New York the previous Saturday after spilling onto the roadway while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

Protesters say they are speaking out against corporate greed and the gap between the rich and poor. They say they have no leaders and are making decisions by consensus.

Source: al-Jazeera.
Link: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2011/10/201110952635234623.html.

WSJ: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs buried on Friday

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA (BNO NEWS) -- Steve Jobs, the iconic entrepreneur who co-founded Apple in the 1970s, was buried on Friday during a private funeral at an undisclosed location, a news report said.

According to the Wall Street Journal, citing a person familiar with the matter, Jobs' funeral took place on Friday and was characterized as a small private gathering. "The person wouldn't say where or when the event was taking place, citing respect for Mr. Jobs and his family's privacy," the report said.

Jobs died at his home in Palo Alto, California on Wednesday after a long battle with various health issues, although the exact cause of his death has not yet been disclosed. His family said in a statement that Jobs died peacefully while surrounded by his family.

"We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve," Jobs' family said in its statement, hours after his death. "We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief."

Apple is not expected to organize public services for Jobs, but Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees in an email on Wednesday that the company is planning a celebration for Apple employees of Steve's 'extraordinary' life.

Steve Jobs was 56.

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Source: Wire Update.
Link: http://wireupdate.com/news/wsj-apple-co-founder-steve-jobs-buried-on-friday.html.

First Occupy Wall Street Now Occupy the Fed

Friday, 07 October 2011
by Raven Clabough

Perhaps surprising to some, many conservatives sympathize with the Occupy Wall Street protesters because they understand the motivating factors behind the protests: increased costs on everyday items, unemployment, inflation, etc. However, those conservatives recognize that much of the anger of the protesters is directed at the wrong target. The real enemy, they contend, is the Federal Reserve, and it is for that reason that those conservatives have chosen to use the momentum of the Occupy Wall Street protests to stage Occupy the Fed protests instead.

One organizer, known only as “Anonymous A99,” announced the first operation targeting the Fed, called “Operation Empire State Rebellion,” on March 12. The announcement explained that the movement was intended to be a “decentralized non-violent resistance movement.” Anonymous A99 said of the intent of the organizers:

Above all, we aim to break up the global banking cartel centered at the Federal Reserve, International Monetary Fund, Bank of International Settlement and World Bank.

We demand that the primary dealers within the Federal Reserve banking system be broken up and held accountable for rigging markets and destroying the global economy, effective immediately.

As a first sign of good faith, we demand Ben Bernanke step down as Federal Reserve chairman.

Until our demands are met and a rule of law is restored, we will engage in a relentless campaign of non-violent, peaceful, civil disobedience.”

Those protests commenced on June 14, and took place in over 20 cities, but were scarcely reported on by the mainstream media. In some areas, they have been going on ever since.

More recently, protests against the Federal Reserve have been launched by a number of groups, including some which were part of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

One leader of the demonstrations against the Federal Reserve is blogger and radio personality Alex Jones. His website, infowars.com, issued a press release advertising the protests, which read:

Public sentiment has shifted — against the trends of Washington and Wall Street — and now, against the private Federal Reserve bank which controls or influences so much of the world’s finances. Whereas only a few years ago many Americans were unaware of the true nature of the shadowy organization, recent polls confirm that the public overwhelmingly wants to audit and even abolish the Federal Reserve bank.

Explaining the growing animosity towards the Federal Reserve, Jones continues:

By striking at the root of the true problems, we can attempt to reign in the predatory banking powers that plague our nation and begin to restore the Republic.

The Federal Reserve banking system is at the root of that problem and a perpetual impediment towards ending the global economic crisis that continues to grow.

The Federal Reserve has been harshly criticized by a number of individuals and groups, particularly those who are proponents of Austrian economics. GOP presidential contender Ron Paul has been a leading advocate of eliminating the Federal Reserve and restoring the free market economy. He has spent virtually his entire political career vocalizing his disdain for the unconstitutional system.

In 2002, Paul said of the Federal Reserve:

Since the creation of the Federal Reserve, middle- and working-class Americans have been victimized by a boom-and-bust monetary policy. In addition, most Americans have suffered a steadily eroding purchasing power because of the Federal Reserve's inflationary policies. This represents a real, if hidden, tax imposed on the American people.

Paul has often addressed how the Federal Reserve continues to serve the needs of a few, while imposing negative consequences on the average American:

Though the Federal Reserve policy harms the average American, it benefits those in a position to take advantage of the cycles in monetary policy. The main beneficiaries are those who receive access to artificially inflated money and/or credit before the inflationary effects of the policy impact the entire economy. Federal Reserve policies also benefit big spending politicians who use the inflated currency created by the Fed to hide the true costs of the welfare-warfare state. It is time for Congress to put the interests of the American people ahead of the special interests and their own appetite for big government.

Above all, Paul notes that the Federal Reserve is an unconstitutional establishment that has ultimately stripped Congress of powers that were assigned to it by the Constitution:

Abolishing the Federal Reserve will allow Congress to reassert its constitutional authority over monetary policy. The United States Constitution grants to Congress the authority to coin money and regulate the value of the currency. The Constitution does not give Congress the authority to delegate control over monetary policy to a central bank. Furthermore, the Constitution certainly does not empower the federal government to erode the American standard of living via an inflationary monetary policy.

According to Paul, it is the policies of the Federal Reserve that have driven people to protest: “It is no wonder they are up on Wall Street raising Cain because they know the system is biased against the average person.”

Protesters outside of the Federal Reserve were seen bearing signs targeting the Fed’s destructive economic policies, as well as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. One protester held a sign of Bernanke wearing Muslim garb that read, “Osama Bin Bernanke.”

In Chicago, anti-Fed protesters have been stationed outside of the Federal Reserve bank since September 24. On Monday, nearly one dozen people sat outside of the Federal Reserve Bank with protest signs and hampers filled with food and blankets. The demonstrators claim that so much has been donated to them that they have actually begun to give the excess food and blankets to homeless people.

In Dallas, hundreds of protesters marched from Pike Park to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, demanding change.

Clearly, at least in some instances, Ron Paul’s assertions that the Fed has driven people to the streets to protest are true, but the protests have become so widespread that it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine who is behind them and what their political philosophies are.

Some media outlets are reporting that the Wall Street protesters are “libertarian,” which could be true of those who have focused their attention on the Federal Reserve.

However, the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York include a number of unions and socialist groups which hold very different political stances from libertarians. Their list of demands have included more big government and more regulation, items that would not be supported by libertarian-minded or conservative demonstrators.

Likewise, The New American's Alex Newman has revealed that leftist billionaire George Soros' money has been tied to the Occupy Wall Street protests.

In other words, the protests have encompassed a wide spectrum of political philosophies.

According to The Daily Campus, a publication of the Southern Methodist University, those present at the Dallas protest hailed from a variety of backgrounds: “Followers of the Tea Party movement, Ron Paul supporters, and the Dallas Young Democrats all had strong showings.”

Whether the protests against the Federal Reserve will help to bring about major change remains to be seen, but some analysts contend it is encouraging just to see people turn their attention to the Federal Reserve and finally take notice of the type of destruction it has imposed on the American people.

We contacted John Birch Society President John McManus, who said, "Targeting the Federal Reserve is correct inasmuch as there is no constitutional justification for its existence and it possesses enormously harmful powers. But it was created by Congress and, therefore, can be abolished by Congress. Demonstrating against the Fed by camping out in the streets, especially if funding for such activity comes from the likes of George Soros, should be labeled a counterproductive exercise. These demonstrations seem designed to deflect attention and anger away from the Fed's creator, the Congress of the United States."

Source: The New American.
Link: http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/9746-first-occupy-wall-street-now-occupy-the-fed.

Russia creates Aerospace Forces by merging military branches

August 03, 2015

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has merged several branches of its military into the Aerospace Forces — a reorganization aimed at enhancing coordination and efficiency, officials said Monday.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the decision offers "the optimal way of improving the system of the nation's aerospace defense." The new branch will include the nation's air force, air defense, anti-missile and space forces.

Shoigu said that its creation has been prompted by the increasing importance of air and space components in modern warfare. The air force chief, Col.-Gen. Viktor Bondarev, has been put in charge of Aerospace Forces.

President Vladimir Putin has launched an ambitious program of modernizing Russia's military arsenals. The Kremlin has been keen to show off the nation's military muscle amid tensions with the West over Ukraine.

Shoigu said that the military has received about 200 new planes and helicopters, and is to get the same number this year. He also mentioned a plan to repair and upgrade 108 of the air force's 125 airfields by 2020.

While pilot training has steadily increased in recent years as part of the Kremlin's efforts to beef up the military, a recent spate of crashes of combat aircraft has raised concerns about safety standards.

Sunday's crash of a Mi-28 helicopter gunship from an elite aerobatic squadron, which killed its pilot during an air show, was the seventh military crash this summer.

India, Bangladesh swap border enclaves, settle old dispute

August 01, 2015

NEW DELHI (AP) — Tens of thousands of stateless people who were stranded for decades along the poorly defined border between India and Bangladesh can finally choose their citizenship, as the two countries swapped more than 150 pockets of land at the stroke of midnight Friday to settle the demarcation line dividing them.

Television images showed people bursting firecrackers and raising an Indian flag in the Masaldanga enclave, which became part of India. On the other side of the new border, thousands of people who have been living in the enclaves in Bangladesh cheered, danced and chanted "Bangladesh, Bangladesh."

They lit 68 candles and released 68 balloons, then marched through the village of Dashiarchhara, highlighting that it took 68 years to settle the border dispute. The village in Kurigram district is 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital.

India's External Affairs Ministry described July 31 as a historic day for both India and Bangladesh as "it marks the resolution of a complex issue that has lingered since independence" from British colonialists in 1947.

"We are very happy, our children will no more need to hide their identity to go to schools," said Bashir Mia, 46. Many people posed as Bangladeshis to get their children admitted to schools in Bangladesh.

"We are free now, we are Bangladeshis," he said. Nearly 37,000 people lived in 111 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh, while 14,000 lived in 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India. They now get citizenship of their choice as a result of the agreement between the two countries.

Relations between India and its smaller neighbor have significantly improved since Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised that her administration would not allow India's separatist insurgents to use the porous 4,000-kilometer (2,500-mile) border to carry out raids in India.

Aided by India, Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan following a bloody nine-month war in 1971. The boundary dispute has been lingering since British colonialists carved Pakistan out of India in 1947, and granted independence to the two countries.

None from Bangladeshi enclaves within India opted for Bangladesh, while 979 people from Indian enclaves living inside Bangladesh applied for Indian citizenship, said Akhteruzzman Azad, the chief government administrator for Bangladesh's Kurigram district.

The shifting of the people to the Indian side will be completed by November this year. Several television news channels in both countries broadcast the celebrations live. "This will end nearly seven decades of deprivation the people living in the enclaves have had to suffer being virtually owned by no one," said the Bangladeshi English language Daily Star newspaper.

The two countries are implementing the Land Boundary Agreement in line with a deal signed in 1974, and approved by India's Parliament recently.

Associated Press writer Julhas Alam in Dhaka, Bangladesh, contributed to this report.