The Battle Against Caliphate
|Shannon Collins||April 15th 2017|
The “Mother of All Bombs,” the GBU-43/B Massive Air Blast, is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in America’s arsenal, and it was used for the first time in combat on April 13 in Afghanistan against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
If you’ve never heard of this bomb, you’re likely not alone. To help you get educated about it, here are some facts to know:
According to globalsecurity.org, it’s the largest-ever satellite-guided, air-delivered weapon in history, made to replace the unguided 15,000-pound BLU-82 Daisy Cutter that was used in Vietnam and early on in Afghanistan.
The MOAB was developed in only nine weeks in 2003 to be available for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said it was created to put pressure on Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to stop fighting against the coalition. The smart bomb was never used during that war.
The MOAB was loaded into a C-130 Hercules, where it sat in a cradle on an airdrop platform until the whole platform was pulled off the plane at a high altitude by a drogue parachute, which is used to slow it down. Once in the air, the weapon was quickly released from the platform to keep up its forward momentum. The grid fins then opened to stabilize it and guide it to its target.
According to globalsecurity.org, on Sept. 11, 2007, the Russian military announced it had tested the “Father of all Bombs,” the world’s most powerful non-nuclear air-delivered munition. Read more ..
The Battle For Syria
Mideast Eye and agencies
Read more ..
The United States intercepted communications between Syrian military and chemical weapons experts discussing plans for a poison gas attack in Idlib province, CNN reported, citing an unidentified senior intelligence official. The White House said in a declassified intelligence assessment that it "is confident that the Syrian regime conducted a chemical weapons attack, using the nerve agent sarin".
The US report alleges that the chemical agent was delivered by a Syrian Su-22 fixed-wing aircraft that flew over the village of Khan Sheikhun at the time of the attack, which killed at least 87 civilians, including 31 children, on 4 April.
"Additionally, our information indicates personnel historically associated with Syria's chemical weapons programme were at Shayrat airfield in late March making preparations for an upcoming attack in northern Syria, and they were present at the airfield on the day of the attack," the US government report reads.
Israel on Edge
|Edwin Black||April 10th 2017|
pproximately two million Children of Israel are now encamped in the Sinai following their extraordinary exodus from Egypt yesterday. Just days ago, they were slaves to Pharaoh. Today, they are free men and women, destined for self-determination in a land of their own. Only now are the details of their fantastic experience coming to light.
The dramatic sequence of events began some weeks ago with the unexpected return of exiled prince Moses, who previously fled Pharaoh’s wrath after slaying a taskmaster. In his daring appearance at the Palace, the inarticulate Moses, speaking through his brother Aaron, declared himself to be the personal emissary of a powerful new “God,” previously unknown to the Royal Court. Moreover, Moses asserted that his God was the protector of the Children of Israel, who have been in bondage for more than four centuries in Egypt.
The entire Royal Court was aghast as Moses demanded that the Children of Israel be permitted to travel three days into the desert for an unprecedented “feast and sacrifice” to their God. Making clear that he was not asking a Court indulgence, Moses looked straight at Pharaoh, stamped his roughhewn staff and issued the ultimatum that would be his rallying call during the coming days: “Let my people go.”
Laughter echoed throughout the hall as Pharaoh sneered, “Who is your ‘God?’ I know him not. Nor will I let Israel go!” Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Courtney Kube, Alex Johnson, Hallie Jackson||April 7th 2017|
The United States fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria overnight in response to what it believes was a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 100 people. At least six people were killed, Syria claimed, but the Pentagon said civilians were not targeted and the strike was aimed at a military airfield in the western province of Homs. The action completed a policy reversal for President Donald Trump — who once warned America to stay out of the conflict — and drew anger from Damascus and its main ally, Russia.
The missiles were launched from the USS Ross and the USS Porter in the Mediterranean Sea toward Shayrat Airfield. American officials believe it was used by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad to carry out a strike on Tuesday involving chemical weapons that resulted in the deaths of more than 100 people. Read more ..
Media on Edge
|Mark Hemingway ||April 6th 2017|
Bloomberg's Eli Lake dropped a bombshell on Monday: Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice was responsible for "unmasking" the identities of Trump officials in intelligence intercepts, and spreading this information around the government.
Now House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has emphasized that the fact identities were unmasked does not validate President Trump's claim Obama surveilled him and his campaign. Further, there is no evidence that Rice did anything illegal and, given the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation, reasons may yet emerge to justify the unmasking. Read more ..
UK on Edge
|George Friedman||April 5th 2017|
Splitting from the European Union will inevitably strain the United Kingdom's territorial integrity. Those pushing for Scotland and Northern Ireland to secede from the United Kingdom are using Brexit to justify their agendas. Brexit will also open a debate between the central government in London and the country's devolved governments about who will control the powers that will be repatriated from Brussels. With authority over policy areas such as agriculture, fisheries, industry and the environment returning to the United Kingdom after Brexit, the administrations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will push London to transfer many of those attributions to them.
The United Kingdom has a devolution system, according to which different policy powers from the United Kingdom's Parliament have been transferred to assemblies in Cardiff and Belfast, and to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Read more ..
On Monday, the alternative news media went viral over reports that Susan “Benghazi” Rice, who had served as President Obama’s national security adviser, was the so-called anonymous “senior official” mentioned in previous reports of the unmasked names of the Trump transition team.
According to a growing number of sources, the woman who went on television news shows and openly lied repeatedly about the Battle of Benghazi in 2012, the had the identities of the GOP presidential candidate and his staff leaked to the news media, always on board with Democrats bashing President Trump.
Read more ..
Veteran Bloomberg News reporter Eli Lake, who is celebrated as a reliable and honest newsman, reported that it was Obama’s dishonestly partisan National Security Adviser Susan Rice who was the person who ordered the “un-masking” of the U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports. Lake also reported that she directed intelligence officials to unmask — identify — members of the Trump transition team.
Defeating the Caliphate
|Michael R. Gordon||March 31st 2017|
Read more ..
A United States military spokesman said Thursday that Islamic State fighters had been herding local Iraqi residents into buildings in western Mosul, calculating that rising civilian casualties would restrain the United States from using airstrikes to help retake that half of the city.
“What you see now is not the use of civilians as human shields,” said Col. Joseph E. Scrocca, a spokesman for the American-led task force that is battling the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. “ISIS is smuggling civilians into buildings so we won’t see them and trying to bait the coalition to attack.”
Turkey on Edge
|Burak Bekdil||March 30th 2017|
The Gatestone Institute
In 2005, the Turkish prime minister at the time, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with his Spanish counterpart, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, became the co-chairs of a United Nations-sponsored global effort that went by the fancy name "Alliance of Civilizations." Twelve years later, Zapatero is a retired politician, the Western world faces different flavors of Islamist-to-jihadist threats and Erdogan is at war with Western civilization.
Erdogan, who was labelled as the most virulent anti-Israeli leader in the world, once likened Israel's operations in Gaza to Hitler's: ("Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism.") Recently, Erdogan said that today's German practices -- presumably Germany's blocking Turkish politicians speaking at German rallies to support Erdogan's upcoming referendum in Turkey -- are "not different from the Nazi practices of the past." Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Martin Barillas||March 25th 2017|
Read more ..
A federal judge in Virginia ruled Friday against blocking President Trump’s executive order that called for temporarily stopping the entry of immigrants from six majority-Muslim nations and refugee admittance overall.
Judge Anthony Trenga of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia found on Friday that President Trump indeed has the authority to impose a travel ban on certain Muslim-majority countries, while he also agreed that the president’s executive order does not discriminate against Muslims. Linda Sarsour -- a Muslim activist who was an organizer of the January 21 Women’s March on Washington -- had initiated an injunction against the executive order with legal counsel from an attorney of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The Trump Era
|Peter Hoekstra||March 24th 2017|
I couldn’t have seen those transcripts when I led the House intel committee.
It was remarkable when Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, revealed Wednesday that Trump campaign officials were caught up in the inadvertent collection of intelligence. Read between the lines with a clear understanding of the intelligence community, and it’s positively astonishing.
Starting with the premise of Mr. Nunes’s announcement, there’s evidence to show that communications involving people connected with the Trump transition were collected by America’s intelligence apparatus. We don’t know the particulars, but it could include conversations between Trump transition staff and foreign officials whose conversations were subject to intelligence monitoring. Read more ..
The Economy on Edge
|George Friedman||March 20th 2017|
Read more ..
It has been a busy couple of days for the world's central banks. Since the U.S. Federal Reserve made its decision to hike interest rates, rate announcements have followed from the People's Bank of China, the Bank of Japan, the Swiss National Bank and the Bank of England. This confluence of activity from most of the key guardians of the global economy provides a good opportunity to take stock of where things stand.
The Federal Reserve had telegraphed its intent to raise its benchmark rate well before Wednesday's announcement, so it came as no surprise. In the past few weeks, various Fed governors had conducted a coordinated speaking campaign to prepare the markets, and Friday's report showing strong U.S. jobs numbers removed its last impediment to action. With recent U.S. economic data generally robust, the Fed wants to give itself room to boost rates two or possibly even three more times during the year.
Jewry on Edge
|Asaf Romirowsky||March 15th 2017|
Unwittingly, Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, PA, a well-regarded Quaker establishment, has once again come under fire for its ties to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement supported by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
The school operates in accordance with the Quaker philosophy of "simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship. Underlying all facets of School life is the belief that 'there is that of God in everyone.' Meeting for Worship is central, providing time for connections among members of the community and between individuals and their spiritual sources. Peaceful resolution of conflicts, seeking truth and collaboration are key aspects of a Friends' Central education."
The Quakers have cultivated their image as peaceful and supremely benign. Few suspect, much less know, that one of their central missions is promoting the BDS movement that opposes Israel's existence. Read more ..
The Edge of Physics
|Elizabeth Gibney||March 14th 2017|
Christopher Monroe spends his life poking at atoms with light. He arranges them into rings and chains and then massages them with lasers to explore their properties and make basic quantum computers. Last year, he decided to try something seemingly impossible: to create a time crystal.
The name sounds like a prop from Doctor Who, but it has roots in actual physics. Time crystals are hypothetical structures that pulse without requiring any energy—like a ticking clock that never needs winding. The pattern repeats in time in much the same way that the atoms of a crystal repeat in space. The idea was so challenging that when Nobel prizewinning physicist Frank Wilczek proposed the provocative concept in 2012, other researchers quickly proved there was no way to create time crystals.
But there was a loophole—and researchers in a separate branch of physics found a way to exploit the gap. Monroe, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park, and his team used chains of atoms they had constructed for other purposes to make a version of a time crystal. “I would say it sort of fell in our laps,” says Monroe. Read more ..
|Yochanan Visser||March 9th 2017|
Iran is using its strategic relationship with North Korea to advance its nuclear weapon program, two Israeli experts of the Begin Sadat Center revealed in a study published Tuesday. Lt. Col. (ret.) Dr. Refael Ofek and Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham say that Iran is circumventing the restrictions on its nuclear program under the nuclear agreement with the P5+1 countries by collaborating with North Korea on missile development and modifying missiles for nuclear weapons. They also work together on programs meant to upgrade gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment, the Israeli experts claim.
“This kind of strategic, military-technological collaboration is more than merely plausible. It is entirely possible, indeed likely, that such a collaboration is already underway,” the two Israeli experts wrote. The pair also noted the two countries have developed almost identical ballistic missiles which can carry nuclear warheads. Read more ..
The Edge of Film
|Penelope Poulou||February 10th 2017|
The 89th Academy Awards are upon us, and critics and Hollywood insiders are placing bets on which nominees will go home with the coveted statuette. The idea of the Academy is to judge films on their artistic merit, but as always, political considerations and even current events can have an impact on who wins an Oscar.
Damien Chazelle’s nostalgic musical La La Land may be the big winner this year. The film offers a tribute to Hollywood musicals, has great cinematography, good music and a tear-jerking story; but, some critics question if the film really deserves all of its 14 nominations. That number has been equaled by only two other movies throughout Hollywood history: the 1950s drama All About Eve starring Bette Davis, and James Cameron’s 1997 Titanic.
Ads, money influence Oscars
Giovanna Chesler, director of the Film and Video Studies program at George Mason University in Virginia, says that as in any other campaign, robust advertising and a large amount of money can have as much influence as artistic merit in securing a film’s road to the Oscars.
She says that in some categories, such as the Documentary category, filmmakers have to submit a $50,000 fee just to be considered for a nomination. She says such fees guarantee screenings of the prospective nominees’ films in core markets during the Oscar season.
A filmmaker herself, Chesler says she has renewed faith in the Oscars because, as she puts it, “in this year’s nominees you see more talent reflected, not just the marketing ability of the industry.”
Oscars less white
There are more nominations for minority films and actors. She points to art films like Moonlight, a coming-of-age drama about an African-American boy growing up in a drug-infested community, and Denzel Washington’s movie adaptation of the play Fences, about a struggling husband and father who, despite his personal flaws, is working hard to make his mark in the world. Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Karin Laub and Mohammed Daraghmeh, ||February 9th 2017|
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who spent hundreds of hours on the phone and in meetings with U.S. presidents and secretaries of state in the past 12 years, has tried unsuccessfully to reach out to President Donald Trump. Abbas and his aides are alarmed by the possibility of being sidelined at a time when the administration is embracing Israel's prime minister who heads to the White House next week. Here's a look at what's at stake for Abbas and Palestinian hopes for statehood.
ARE THE PALESTINIANS REALLY BEING IGNORED?
In December, the Trump transition team refused to meet with Palestinian officials visiting Washington, putting them off until after the Jan. 20 inauguration, according to senior Abbas aide Saeb Erekat, the main point man for official contacts with the United States. Other advisers say Abbas tried to arrange a phone call with Trump after the November election and again after the inauguration, but received no response to his requests. The White House did not respond to a January letter in which Abbas expressed concerns about possibly moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to contested Jerusalem. Read more ..
Jewry on Edge
|Edwin Black||February 6th 2017|
Cutting Edge contributor
Three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit surprisingly rejected the appeal of Susan Abeles a Washington D.C., Orthodox Jew, who was punished by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) because she took off work for the last two days of Passover 2013, as she had done for the past 26 years that she worked at the agency. Abeles’ closely-watched case evoked amicus briefs by the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA) as well as The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and the American Jewish Committee. Ms. Abeles' lawyer is Nathan Lewin, the well-known advocate for Jewish religious rights."
For each of the 26 years Abeles worked for the Airports Authority since 1987, she took off for all Jewish holidays on which work is prohibited, including the last two days of Passover. Everyone at her job knew she was an Orthodox Jew. She consistently gave her supervisors a list of the dates of Jewish holidays at the beginning of each calendar year and her supervisors accepted that list as a request for annual leave on the specified Jewish holidays. Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Shoshana Bryen||February 4th 2017|
It is hard to complain about Australia — democratic, sunny, cheerful, and oh, those koalas and kangaroos. On a more serious note, Australia is a welcome ally, participating in military operations around the world with American forces and sharing our concerns about aggressive Chinese behavior in the South- and East China Seas. Australia is spending billions to modernize its military forces.
But a few things about Australia should be made clear as President Trump scuttles an Obama-administration deal to take 1,250+ refugees currently in Australian-run internment camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Internment camps? Papua New Guinea and Nauru?
The Wall Street Journal explains:
“Under laws first put in place in 2001, successive Australian governments have required asylum seekers coming by boat to be intercepted. The conservatives, on winning power in 2013, set up a maritime blockade that Mr. Turnbull has offered as a model for Europe. But the system began to unravel after Papua New Guinea’s highest court last year ordered the closure of the Australian-operated immigration center on Manus Island, ruling asylum seekers were being held illegally.” Read more ..
Covenant of Democratic Nations
|Edwin Black||January 30th 2017|
Times of Israel
For years, foreign policy critics, politicians, and outraged members of the general public have been militating to defund and quit the United Nations. Some have advocated that a rival or successor organization be established. Now, the empty sheet of bitter discontent with the UN has been filled in with a new name, and a new movement calling to “defund and replace” troubled organization with a new world body: The Covenant of Democratic Nations. This writer has been a participating witness to the birth of this movement.
Just days after controversial UN Resolution 2334 declared, among other things, that Israel’s Jewish connection to the Western Wall was effectively illegal, to ambassadorial applause in the room, concrete replacement action began. It has started with a conversation of ideas proposing an official international conference which would carefully propound a multilaterally-signed diplomatic convention that would be ratified by countries as a binding treaty that would juridically forge the Covenant into operational reality. The entire process— fraught with hazy puzzlements over a terrain of “what ifs”—would be limited to nations governed by democratic principles. Each member would or could defund the United Nations while it labored to construct a successor entity dedicated to world peace along democratic principles with equal respect for all people regardless of religion, gender, race, identity, or national origin, as well as formulating a mechanism to resolve disputes.
A prime mission of the new world body would be to re-ratify, amend, or nullify all acts and resolutions of the United Nations and its agencies such as UNESCO. Thus, the Covenant would create a new body of long-overdue, reformed, clarified, and updated international law. Just as unjust American laws perpetrating slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and institutional inequality were overturned, updated, and reformed during the civil rights era and right through our present decade, so too, the damage, inequity, and misuse of international law and process would be overturned by the CDN. Sensibly, most CDN nations would remain as vestigial members of the UN overseeing its collapse from economic and bureaucratic processes just as was done when the League of Nations was dissolved after World War Two and replaced with the present UN. Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Martin Barillas||January 28th 2017|
Read more ..
The new US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said today at the headquarters of the international body that her country will show strength in international affairs. She also delivered blunt warnings from the Trump administration. The former governor of South Carolina told UN the media before meeting Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, "For those who don't have our backs: we're taking names." Haley said, "We will make points to respond to that accordingly."
"Our goal with the administration is to show value at the UN, and the way that we will show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies and make sure that our allies have our back as well," she said. Haley presented her diplomatic credential today to Guterres, who is also new to his position.
The Covenant of Democratic Nations
|Kenneth L. Marcus||January 25th 2017|
As British Prime Minister Theresa May plans a Brexit from the EU, Americans may soon ask what kind of exit we want from another international institution.
In our case, the organization is not the European Union, but the United Nations. Earlier this month, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a bill to block taxpayer dollars from going to the UN. These senators, like many Americans, are incensed by a recent anti-Israel resolution adopted by the world body. But the US’ problems with the UN run deeper than one bad resolution. They are endemic to the institution. At some point, our elected leaders will ask whether the time has come not just to defund, but also to depart — and then replace the UN with something better.
That point may come sooner rather than later. Read more ..
Obama and Israel
|Matthew Lee and Richard Lardner||January 24th 2017|
Officials say the Obama administration in its waning hours defied Republican opposition and quietly released $221 million to the Palestinian Authority that GOP members of Congress had been blocking.
A State Department official and several congressional aides said the outgoing administration formally notified Congress it would spend the money Friday morning. The official said former Secretary of State John Kerry had informed some lawmakers of the move shortly before he left the State Department for the last time Thursday. The aides said written notification dated Jan. 20 was sent to Congress just hours before Donald Trump took the oath of office. Read more ..
The Race for Flying Cars
|Christoph Hammerschmidt ||January 19th 2017|
Read more ..
At the DLD digital technology conference in Munich, Airbus Chief Executive Office Tom Enders said the company is in the process of developing flying cars – and a prototype will be available before the end of the year. The self-piloted flying car could be seen as a way of avoiding gridlock on city roads, Enders said according to media releases.
The Islamic State
|Kareem Shaheen||January 18th 2017|
Islamic State fighters have broken through government defensive lines in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, surrounding a military airport and cutting off food supplies for roughly a quarter of a million civilians in what could become a major humanitarian disaster.
Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria is divided between the militants and the government of Bashar al-Assad. The areas controlled by the government have long been under siege but were sustained by supplies flown in to the nearby military airport and by airdrops from the World Food Programme.
But on Monday, Isis fighters, which sources from the city said were primarily reinforcements coming over the border from Iraq’s Anbar province, broke through government lines, splitting its territory in half and taking control of the area where the WFP’s airdrops landed. Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Martin Barillas||January 11th 2017|
Read more ..
Opponents of President-elect Donald Trump are planning huge demonstrations in Washington DC during the month of January. At least one large-scale protest by leftists and progressives is planned for January 20: Inauguration Day. Police are expecting tens of thousands of protesters in what could well become like the large-scale Occupy Wall Street protests and raucous anti-war protests of the last decade.
Here are some major protests related to Donald Trump’s inauguration day.
January 14, 2017: We Shall Not Be Moved March
Al Sharpton will lead a major protest at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on January 14, six days before the inauguration. Sharpton, who is a contributor to CNN, has long been a gadfly to Republicans and has made plain his opposition to Trump. And make no mistake. This march is all about Trump. Sharpton has been quoted as saying that the rally will seek to protect civil rights and voting rights for “people that have been excluded,” and also push for healthcare and equal opportunity for Americans.
The Trump Era
|Bernie Woodall and David Shepardson ||January 3rd 2017|
Ford Motor Co (F.N) said Tuesday it will cancel a planned $1.6 billion factory in Mexico and will invest $700 million at a Michigan factory, after President-elect Donald Trump had harshly criticized the Mexico investment plan.
The second largest U.S. automaker said it would build new electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles at the Flat Rock, Michigan plant.
Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields said the decision to cancel the new Mexico factory was in part related to the need to "fully utilize capacity at existing facilities" amid declining sales of small and medium sized cars such as the Focus and Fusion. Fields also endorsed "pro growth" tax and regulatory policies advocated by Trump and the Republican-led Congress. "This is a vote of confidence for President-Elect Trump and some of the policies he may be pursuing," Fields said. Read more ..
The Battle for Syria
|Edy Cohen||January 3rd 2017|
Read more ..
Over the past century, various Palestinian leaders have fostered alliances that were either unsuccessful or not particularly useful to them.
Take the alliance formed by the grand mufti of Jerusalem during the British mandate period, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who during World War II supported Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Al-Husseini hoped the Germans would win the war and Hitler would become fuhrer of the Middle East. After the Nazis lost the war, however, the West did not forgive al-Husseini, which severely damaged the Palestinian cause for over two decades.
Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat erred in 1990 when he supported Iraq in its invasion of Kuwait. Palestinian public support for the invasion led to a great deal of suffering for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians then living in Kuwait and the Persian Gulf, who paid the price for Arafat's support of the tyrannical Saddam Hussein.
The Robotic Age
|Nick Statt||December 31st 2016|
Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant behind Apple’s iPhone and numerous other major electronics devices, aims to automate away a vast majority of its human employees, according to a report from DigiTimes. Dai Jia-peng, the general manager of Foxconn’s automation committee, says the company has a three-phase plan in place to automate its Chinese factories using software and in-house robotics units, known as Foxbots.
The first phase of Foxconn’s automation plans involve replacing the work that is either dangerous or involves repetitious labor humans are unwilling to do. The second phase involves improving efficiency by streamlining production lines to reduce the number of excess robots in use. The third and final phase involves automating entire factories, “with only a minimal number of workers assigned for production, logistics, testing, and inspection processes,” according to Jia-peng.
The slow and steady march of manufacturing automation has been in place at Foxconn for years. The company said last year that it had set a benchmark of 30 percent automation at its Chinese factories by 2020. The company can now produce around 10,000 Foxbots a year, Jia-peng says, all of which can be used to replace human labor. In March, Foxconn said it had automated away 60,000 jobs at one of its factories. Read more ..
The Trump Era
|Edwin Black||December 27th 2016|
On December 14, 2016, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (the Presidents Conference) in concert with the Embassy of Azerbaijan held a historic Chanukah party in Washington, D.C. that will be talked about for some time. Controversy continues to swirl over not only who attended the party, but who did not; how many were clicking glasses inside and how many were scowling outside. Ironically, this special event was singularly memorable not only for its historic collection of diplomatic personalities but also for the landmark under-reporting and misreporting of the event.
The Presidents Conference is comprised of the presidents of 50-plus so-called “major” Jewish organizations, although some are so small few have heard of them. Malcolm Hoenlein serves as executive vice chair of the conference.
The Conference Hanukkah party was timed to intersect with the official White House Chanukah party being held a few blocks away the same evening. Included among the approximate 150-200 attendees were at least 13 ambassadors and other senior diplomatic envoys, many from predominantly Muslim countries, along with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. The senior diplomats hailed Turkey, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan, as well as Belarus, Romania, Russia, Greece, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and even the PLO Mission, along with the Azerbaijan Embassy sponsors and Israel’s Ambassador.
Around Washington, D.C., it is not hard to attract senior personalities and officials to a party. Top congressmen and senators are always special guests and speakers at luncheons, conferences, and receptions. Typically, they dash in and dash out, within moments of their appearance, lingering just long enough to read a short political statement and then exit. Read more ..
The Battle for Syria
|Harold Rhode||December 21st 2016|
The Syrian government, Russia, and Iran (SRI) are trying to change the demographic makeup of Syria. They aim to depopulate Syria of the Arab Sunnis, which, before the Arab Spring was the largest religio-ethnic group in Syria. They mostly inhabited a very fertile strip of land between Aleppo in the north, down to Damascus, and then southward to the Jordanian border. Those Arab Sunnis who did not leave are being forced to move to Idlib and Raqqa, near the Turkish border.1
Read more ..
Examining SRI’s military campaign and its policy towards the refugees they have created suggests this SRI strategy. The groups and places which the Russians have been attacking are the traditional strongholds of the Sunni Arab population – as of late Aleppo – the largest city in Syria.
The Trump Era
|Steven Robert Howard||December 20th 2016|
President-Elect Trump has the unprecedented opportunity to eliminate thousands of useless federal regulations without any Congressional involvement. Trump is uniquely not beholden to a political party, patrons, pollsters, pundits, lobbyists or ideologues. His Cabinet and federal agency appointees can use the Administrative Procedure Act to rescind eighty years of outdated, useless and, in some cases, stifling regulations that have impeded business and stunted the growth of the US economy.
Mr. Trump, not Congress, should appoint "a Special Advisor to the President for Deregulation" who would work out of the White House with all Cabinet members and agency heads to implement the Deregulatory Revolution.
In 1762 Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote the immortal words that launched the Age of Revolution throughout Europe and America (somewhat contemporized): "Man is born free and everywhere he is in the chains of excessive regulation!" Right now in America before the beginning of the Trump Presidential Administration in January 2017, we are on the eve of a deregulatory revolution that will be unprecedented in American history. Read more ..
Israel and Muslim World
|Martin Barillas||December 15th 2016|
On December 14, 2016 the Conference of Presidents and the Embassy of Azerbaijan co-hosted nearly two hundred guests who filled the room for a reception in Washington, DC to celebrate the upcoming Chanukah holiday and honor those countries and others that provided crucial firefighting personnel and equipment to assist Israel in battling the devastating fires last month.
The event was attended by the ambassadors representing the diverse group of nations and others who aided Israel, leaders from many important American Jewish organizations, Ambassador Ron Dermer of Israel and other honored guests, including members of Congress. Joining Ambassador Suleymanov of Azerbaijan were ambassadors and diplomats from Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, the PLO, Romania, Russia, Tajikstan and Turkey.
The event also followed by one day the visit to Azerbaijan of Prime Minister Netanyahu for meetings with President Ilham Aliyev which resulted in stronger ties between the two countries.
Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO said, “Last night, in a spirit of celebration, mutual respect and gratitude, we brought together a full house of guests from many different faiths, cultures and countries who joined together with us to reaffirm our common humanity.”
In his address to the capacity crowd, Ambassador Suleymanov stressed the value Azerbaijani society has historically placed on acceptance and respect for religious diversity and saying “it is who we are as a people and a nation.” He added that the centuries old Jewish community is and has always been an integral part of Azerbaijan. Read more ..
Obama and Israel
|Edwin Black||December 7th 2016|
Anxiety continues to roil through the pro-Israel world over a possible last-minute political move by the Obama administration that could permanently alter the Israeli-Palestinian geo-political landscape.
Forty-eight hours after the November 8 election, I flew to South Florida for a series of lectures and briefings organized by StandWithUs, NOVA Southeast University and other organizations as part of the State Department’s International Education Week, this to analyze the prospects regarding relations with Israel in the last weeks of the Obama administration. Everywhere, audiences were on the edge of their seats asking whether President Obama would take extraordinary passive or active steps in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to recognize a Palestinian state or impose a peace settlement, including a territorial mandate following the lines of the 1948 truce. Unlike General Assembly resolutions, which are not binding, the UNSC generally creates lasting pillars of international law.
As we approach Noon, January 20, 2017, uncertainty continues to abound among even the most astute of political insiders.
President Barack Obama remains personally silent. Administration assurances in recent days proffer comfort to those hanging on every word to discern a course of action. But embedded ambiguities in each of those assurances only increases the speculation.
For example, in recent days, unnamed administration sources were quoted by the Associated Press suggesting that President Obama "has nearly ruled out any major last-ditch effort to put pressure on Israel over stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians." The phrase "nearly ruled out" shines brightly in that report to emphasize that no decision has been made. Read more ..
|Anna Borshchevskaya||December 6th 2016|
On June 23, 2015, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesman of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, declared the formation of a new wilayat, or governorate, in Russia’s North Caucasus.(1) The announcement was a watershed; as news agencies noted at the time, never before had the group made a territorial claim inside Russia. But it was also a sign of something bigger; al-Adnani’s announcement came just days after reports that thousands of Islamic militants in Russia’s restive regions of Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria—four provinces of the Caucasus Emirate, Russia’s most potent jihadi group—had formally pledged allegiance to IS. In doing so, they echoed an earlier, December 2014 declaration by several of the Emirate’s senior militants.(2) Read more ..
The Battle for Syria
|Louisa Loveluck||November 30th 2016|
Syrian government forces seized full control of northeast Aleppo on Monday, overrunning a third of what remained of the rebel enclave and sending thousands of civilians into panicked flight.
The area’s recapture brings President Bashar al-Assad’s troops closer than ever to realizing their biggest victory of the five-year-old civil war: retaking full control of what was once Syria’s commercial capital.
The reconquered neighborhoods in Aleppo had been among the first to throw off government control in 2012. On Nov. 15, government forces launched a final push to take them back, supported by Russian warplanes and Iranian-backed troops. Read more ..
The US and China
|Daniel R. Corrin||November 29th 2016|
Depending on how one crunches the numbers, China’s economy has either already surpassed, in size, that of the United States, or will do so in a within a couple of years. According to data from the World Bank, it is the former, China’s nominal GDP was $19.3 trillion in 2015, while U.S. GDP came in at $17.9 trillion. One difficulty in comparing national economies is calculating each country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in a common currency—usually in U.S. dollars. A second is adjusting the GDP numbers to take into account purchasing power parity (PPP).
Whether or not China’s economy is larger than the U.S., the former’s economic growth over the past three decades is nothing if not incredible. In turn, it has created some angst among Americans. Mike Patton writes in Forbes: “China’s economy will become more significant than America’s. How is this possible? Is the golden era of “Made in America” in our rearview mirror? Is China entering a modern-day economic dynasty?” Based solely on the dollar size of GDP, yes China is projected to far surpass the U.S. in the coming years. Read more ..
Obama and Israel
|Mallory Shelbourne||November 22nd 2016|
Read more ..
Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton warned Sunday that President Obama should not take any actions before leaving office that could hurt Israel at the U.N.
Bolton said during an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis that there is "a lot of speculation over in Turtle Bay at U.N. headquarters about resolutions that recognize a Palestinian state or that try and set a boundary for Israel based on the 1967 ceasefire lines."
"I think that’d be very inadvisable for the president to do that," he said. Obama said during his final speech as president at the U.N. General Assembly that Israel would be in a better position if it did not “permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land" and Palestinians would be better off if they were to “reject incitement," according to the Jerusalem Post.
The Trump Era
|Dina Fine Maron||November 12th 2016|
Read more ..
Obamacare’s days may be numbered. The Affordable Care Act has survived dozens of recall attempts by the House of Representatives and two challenges brought to the U.S. Supreme Court. But with a Donald Trump presidency and a new Republican-led House and Senate, the bill—or at least certain key provisions—is almost certainly headed for the chopping block.
The question now is what provisions may survive and when the death knell of the others will sound.
President-elect Trump campaigned on repealing the law and its requirement for Americans to carry health insurance. Trump says the private market should step in with the sale of insurance plans across state lines to help drive down costs through competition. He has said he will dismantle Medicaid and transform it into a system of state grants to provide assistance for low-income residents.
|Martin Barillas||November 6th 2016|
Read more ..
In a far-ranging interview with Australian journalist John Pilger, open-government activist Julian Assange spoke of revelations not only about Hillary Clinton’s fundraising among foreign nations for the Clinton Foundation, but also linkage to funding for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks hacking organization, claimed that there is a broad conspiracy to obstruct Donald Trump’s candidacy. Broadcast on Russian state television, Assange was asked by journalist John Pilger to comment on the significance of the reopening of the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.
Assange started the conversation by denying that WikiLeaks has anything to do with the Russian security apparatus, as asserted by the Obama administration and trumpeted by the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign has sought to link Russia and the embarrassing hacked emails to Donald Trump as well.
See Earlier Stories 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40