Friday, July 31, 2015

Global Community

My Way News - Facebook ready to test giant drone for Internet service
My Way News reports: "Facebook says it will begin test flights later this year for a solar-powered drone with a wingspan as big as a Boeing 737, in the next stage of its campaign to deliver Internet connectivity to remote parts of the world. [...] The project is part of a broader Facebook effort that also contemplates using satellites and other high-tech gear to deliver Internet service to hundreds of millions of people living in regions too remote for conventional broadband networks."

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Pestilence

My Way News - Experimental Ebola vaccine could stop virus in West Africa
My Way News reports: "An experimental Ebola vaccine tested on thousands of people in Guinea seems to work and might help shut down the waning epidemic in West Africa, according to interim results from a study published Friday. There is currently no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola, which has so far killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa since the world's biggest outbreak began in the forest region of Guinea last year."

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Rumors of War - Iran

My Way News - Kerry off to Mideast with Egypt, Iran deal, Syria on agenda
My Way News reports: "Secretary of State John Kerry headed to the Middle East on Friday for security talks in Egypt and discussions in Qatar with Arab foreign ministers whose countries are wary of the nuclear deal struck with Iran. He will not visit Israel, America's foremost Mideast ally and the primary foreign opponent of the Iran agreement."

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

My Way News - Japan: Militarized islands would expand China influence
My Way News reports: "Japan's top naval officer says the entire South China Sea could fall under China's military sphere of influence if it uses the artificial islands it has built there for military purposes. Adm. Tomohisa Takei urged countries in the Indo-Pacific region to forge strong relations with the U.S., whose presence he said was needed for regional stability."

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Pestilence

My Way News - US expects to pay farmers $191 million for birds lost to flu
My Way News reports: "The U.S. government expects to spend $191 million to pay chicken and turkey farmers for birds lost to avian flu, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday as he called for Congress to consider a disaster program for poultry producers similar to that for other livestock farmers. [...] The bird flu killed 48 million birds, mostly turkeys and egg-laying chickens in 15 states as it swept through the Midwest. Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri lost the most birds."

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Rumors of War

My Way News - Egypt, Saudi Arabia aim to enhance cooperation
My Way News reports: "Egypt and Saudi Arabia say they aim to boost military, economic, and social ties and pursue their common interests. In a statement released after a meeting between President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday, el-Sissi's office says the two leaders also will work to create a joint Arab military force."

My Way News - US delivering 8 newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt
My Way News reports: "The United States Embassy in Cairo says the U.S. is delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt as part of an ongoing military support package. It says in a Thursday statement that the aircraft, of the current Block 52 production variant, will be flown in from the U.S. and delivered to an air base outside Cairo by Friday."

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Peace and Security of Jerusalem

My Way News - Israeli bulldozers start demolishing West Bank settlement
My Way News reports: "Israeli bulldozers began demolishing a contested housing complex in a West Bank settlement on Wednesday as the prime minister's office announced the "immediate construction" of some 300 new units at another location in the same settlement and advanced plans for about 500 new units in east Jerusalem. The move, which is likely to draw international rebuke, comes amid a standoff in the Beit El settlement, to the north of Jerusalem in the West Bank."

Comment: Israel is still building in Israel. I wonder what the world will say about that? Something tells me it won't be cheers. 

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rumors of War - Fear for the Future

My Way News - Scientists worry about arms race in artificial intelligence
My Way News reports: "Scientists and tech experts — including professor Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — warned Tuesday of a global arms race with weapons using artificial intelligence. [...] The signatories included leading figures globally in academia and business studying artificial intelligence — the idea that computer systems could replicate tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as language translation or visual perception. They were joined by philosophers, historians, sociologists and geneticists."

Comment: The first-mover advantage will likely override any sensible prohibitions they come up with.  Still, they are to be commended for trying. After all, international prohibitions have worked well in limiting the use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons...so far.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

War Update

My Way News - US, Turkey plan for 'safe zone' free of IS in northern Syria
My Way News reports: "Turkey and the United States have agreed on the outlines of a plan to rout the Islamic State group from a strip of Syrian territory along the Turkish border — a plan that opens the possibility of a safe haven for tens of thousands of displaced Syrians but one that also sets up a potential conflict with U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces in the area. The move further embroils Turkey, a key NATO ally, in Syria's civil war, and also catapults it into a front-line position in the global war against IS."

Comment: This is an interesting development as it has the potential to involve NATO in the Mideast conflict.  I suspect that once NATO arrives, it will never leave, which has profound implications for the Covenant With Many.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

War

My Way News - Reports: Turkish jets hit IS targets in Syria, Kurds in Iraq
My Way News reports: "Turkish jets flying from a base in Turkey's southeast have struck Islamic State group targets across the border in Syria for the second straight night, Turkish news reports said Saturday. The fighter jets also hit camps of Kurdish PKK militants in northern Iraq, the reports said."

My Way News - Turkey allows US to use key air base to strike Islamic State
My Way News reports: "Turkey has agreed to let the U.S. military launch airstrikes against the Islamic State from a key air base near the Syrian border, senior U.S. officials said Thursday, giving a boost to the U.S.-led coalition while drawing Turkey deeper into the conflict."

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wickedness Increases

My Way News - Official: 3 dead in movie theater shooting, including gunman
My Way News reports: "A gunman opened fire at a movie theater in Louisiana on Thursday evening, killing three people and injuring at least seven others before shooting himself, officials said."

Comment: The usual talking-heads will no doubt start blaming guns for this, but we know it's a heart problem.  There's only one way to save a lost heart and soul.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Fearsome Events

My Way News - Eruptions of ash at 5 volcanoes shroud skies in Indonesia
My Way News reports: "Eruptions of ash at five volcanoes shrouded the skies over parts of the Indonesian archipelago Wednesday, forcing three airports to close. [...] Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood-prone plains, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire,' an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin."

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

My Way News - Japan annual defense paper shows heightened worry over China
My Way News reports: "Japan emphasized China as a threat in escalating regional tensions in this year's annual defense report as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government tries to convince the public of the need to pass legislation to give Japan's military a greater role [...] to fight for foreign militaries even when it is not under attack, while expanding its role in international peacekeeping."

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Roaring Waves and Seas

My Way News - Annual checkup of Earth's climate says we're in hotter water
My Way News reports: "The report said ocean surface temperatures were the warmest in 135 years of records, with the seas holding record levels of heat energy down to 2,300 feet below the surface. Sea level also hit modern highs, partly because warmer water expands."

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Signs in the Stars

My Way News - Searching for ET: Hawking to look for extraterrestrial life
My Way News reports: "The search for extraterrestrial life received a major boost Monday with the launch of an ambitious $100 million program, backed by famed physicist Stephen Hawking and tech billionaire Yuri Milner. [...] The project will be 50 times more sensitive than earlier searches, and will cover 10 times more of the sky, organizers say."

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Covenant with Many

My Way News - EU seeks new format to help revive Mideast peace process
My Way News reports: "The European Union's top diplomat is looking for a fresh formula to revive the now moribund peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Federica Mogherini, who chaired negotiations that led to a deal on Iran's nuclear program, said Monday she's working on fleshing out an idea for 'an international support group.' The group would build on the existing 'quartet' of the EU, United States, Russia and the United Nations."

Comment: A group of ten countries might be workable, with a mix of great powers and regional powers combining their efforts to get a Mideast peace deal. 

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Rumors of War - Iran

My Way News - Iran FM criticizes US, Israel over threat of military action
My Way News reports: "Iran's foreign minister on Monday criticized the United States and Israel for not taking the threat of military action against Tehran off the table following the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. [...] U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said during a visit to Israel that the accord imposes no limits on what Washington can do to ensure the security of Israel and U.S. Arab allies."

My Way News - UN endorses Iran nuclear deal with 6 world powers
My Way News reports: "The U.N. Security Council on Monday unanimously endorsed the landmark deal to rein in Iran's nuclear program and authorized measures leading to the end of U.N. sanctions, but also approved a provision that would automatically reinstate the harsh measures if Tehran reneges on its promises. European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels immediately followed suit, endorsing the agreement between Iran and six major powers and taking the first step to lift EU sanctions."

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Rumors of War - War

My Way News - Iran supreme leader: Nuclear deal won't change policy to US
My Way News reports: "Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday a landmark nuclear deal won't change his country's policy toward the "arrogant" U.S., making his first public speech since the Islamic Republic's historic pact with world powers."

My Way News - Saudi Arabia says it stopped Islamic State attacks; 400 held
My Way News reports: "Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it has broken up planned Islamic State attacks in the kingdom and arrested more than 400 suspects in an anti-terrorism sweep, a day after a powerful blast in neighboring Iraq killed more than 100 people in one of the country's deadliest single attacks since U.S. troops pulled out in 2011. "

My Way News - Militants kill 5 at military checkpoints in Egypt's Sinai
My Way News reports: "Militants in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula attacked two military checkpoints, killing at least five soldiers Saturday in the latest violence there targeting security forces, officials and state media said. [...] An Egyptian navy vessel was targeted Thursday by militants affiliated with the Islamic State group, who claimed they destroyed it with a rocket while it was anchored off the Sinai's Mediterranean coast."

My Way News - Police: Militants ambush Algerian army, kill 11 soldiers
My Way News reports: "An Algerian police commander says Islamic militants have ambushed an Algerian army convoy in a forest west of Algiers, killing 11 soldiers. [...] Algeria, home of al-Qaida's North African branch, has long fought an insurgency of Islamic radicals who hide out in the country's rugged forests and mountains."

My Way News - 3 Frenchmen charged in alleged plot to attack military base
My Way News reports: "A French investigating judge has filed terrorism charges against three young Frenchmen for allegedly plotting an attack on a military base in southern France. [...]  Prosecutors say the men, who were arrested Monday, admitted under questioning that they plotted to attack the Mediterranean military base Fort Bear on orders from an Islamic State group contact in Syria."

My Way News - Military site shootings crystallize FBI terrorism concerns
My Way News reports: "The FBI has not detailed a motive, but Thursday's attacks that killed four Marines and one sailor are under investigation as a potential act of terrorism, with authorities combing through the gunman's past to look for travel, contacts and online writings. [...] One federal law enforcement official said investigators did not immediately find an extensive online presence involving the gunman, 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, or evidence that he was directly influenced or inspired by the Islamic State."

Comment: I'm starting to notice a trend. I'm fairly certain that if we give the mainstream media more time, they will also notice this trend. 

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Earthquakes

My Way News - Tsunami threat canceled after mag 6.9 quake in South Pacific
My Way News reports: "A tsunami threat was canceled Saturday after a strong earthquake struck the Santa Cruz Islands in the South Pacific and no damage or casualties were reported. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the quake measured 6.9, down from a preliminary magnitude of 7.5. It hit at a depth of 33 kilometers (20 miles) and was centered undersea 75 kilometers (47 miles) northwest of Lata in the eastern Solomon Islands, where the Santa Cruz Islands are located."

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Signs in the Stars - Knowledge Increases

My Way News - 'Beautiful eye candy': Frozen plains in Pluto's heart
My Way News reports: "Vast frozen plains exist next door to Pluto's big, rugged mountains sculpted of ice, scientists said Friday, three days after humanity's first-ever flyby of the dwarf planet."

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wickedness Increases - War

My Way News - 4 Marines and gunman die in attack on 2 military sites
My Way News reports: "A gunman unleashed a barrage of fire at a recruiting center and another U.S. military site a few miles apart in Chattanooga on Thursday, killing at least four Marines and sending service members scrambling for cover as bullets smashed through the windows. The attacker was also killed. Federal authorities said they were investigating the possibility it was an act of terrorism, and the FBI took charge of the case. Authorities identified the gunman as Kuwait-born Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, of Hixson, Tennessee, though the spelling of his first name was in dispute, with federal officials and records giving at least four variations."

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pestilence

My Way News - Liberia confirms 2nd Ebola death in resurgent outbreak
My Way News reports: "A second person in Liberia has died from Ebola in the latest resurgence of the deadly disease in the West African nation, an official said Wednesday. The woman in her early 20s who died on July 12 was linked to the 17-year-old boy who died last month, Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah told The Associated Press. Three other confirmed cases are being treated in Monrovia, he said."

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rumors of War - Iran

My Way News - Iran nuclear deal: Fine 'new chapter' or 'historic mistake'?
My Way News reports: "Overcoming decades of hostility, Iran, the United States, and five other world powers struck a historic accord Tuesday to check Tehran's nuclear efforts short of building a bomb. The agreement could give Iran access to billions in frozen assets and oil revenue, stave off more U.S. military action in the Middle East and reshape the tumultuous region. The deal sets in motion a years-long test of Iran's willingness to keep its promises to the world — and the ability of international inspectors to monitor compliance."

My Way News - Embattled Israeli leader faces tough task fighting nuke deal
My Way News reports: "The U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran on Tuesday dealt a heavy personal blow to Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, leaving him at odds with the international community and with few options for scuttling an agreement he has spent years trying to prevent. [...] Netanyahu said the agreement would lift painful economic sanctions against Iran — bringing in a much needed influx of funds — without stopping it from developing a capacity to produce nuclear weapons."

My Way News - After nuke deal, Saudi warns Iran against inciting turmoil
My Way News reports: "Saudi Arabia's state news agency says the kingdom has warned Iran against abusing funds that will follow from the landmark nuclear deal to incite turmoil in the region. "

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Rumors of War - Iran

My Way News - Diplomats: Iran nuclear agreement likely Tuesday
My Way News reports: "An Iran nuclear agreement appeared likely within hours, diplomats said late Monday after a day in which American and Iranian negotiators appeared to be struggling to clear final obstacles and looking like they'd miss their fourth deadline in less than two weeks. [...] The proposed pact would impose long-term and verifiable limits on Iran's nuclear program and provide the Islamic Republic tens of billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions."

Comment: This will be a bad deal, that outcome is simply inescapable.  Why? When this all started the goal was to prevent Iran from being in a position to build a nuclear bomb. Iran was able to change this goal over the long period of negotiations by letting the normal process of negotiations reach their logical conclusion. In a negotiation, all sides give ground and compromise until a mutually agreed solution is reached. We are now nearing that end stage in which the final deal emerges. The deal will leave Iran with working centrifuges, enriched uranium, and the infrastructure and expertise to resume an active nuclear program at some point in the future. Sanctions will also be lifted and trade deals will then allow an influx of capital that Iran can devote to all their economic and military plans. This deal cannot be described as a deal that ended Iran's nuclear program. At best, it can only be described as a deal that put their nuclear program on hold for a period of time. Is that a win? I suppose it depends on how you spin it. The U.S. and Iran will call it a win. I'm sure Israel and Saudi Arabia will use other terms to describe it. 

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Nations in Distress

My Way News - Greece strikes deal with creditors, avoids chaotic euro exit
My Way News reports: "After grueling, often angry negotiations that tested the limits of European unity, Greece struck a preliminary rescue deal with its creditors Monday that should avert an imminent financial catastrophe but also guarantees years more hardship and sacrifice for its people."

Comment: The sad reality is, the turmoil is not over. European-style austerity looks good on paper and it does help improve national accounts, but it kills economic momentum. People without money can't pay more taxes and or buy goods that have higher sales taxes. As for business expansion and hiring new workers, forget it.  Austerity only works if the car is accelerating, but if it's merely idling, it will stall.  This was a rescue package for the creditors, not the borrowers.

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Rumors of War - Iran

My Way News - Iran's leader calls for continued anti-US struggle
My Way News reports: "As negotiators at Iran nuclear talks labored to make headway, the country's supreme leader called Saturday for the struggle against the U.S. to continue, in comments suggesting that Tehran's distrust of Washington will persist no matter what the outcome of the talks. [...] Although it was unclear whether Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was preparing the ground for the failure of the talks, his comments were likely to add to skepticism over the outcome at the negotiating table."

Comment: This hardly seems the attitude one would expect from a country returning to the family of nations after being "rogue" for such a long time.  It appears that their national narrative may not allow for peace with the West in general and with the U.S. in particular.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Rumors of War - Iran

My Way News - Thousands of Iranians march in annual pro-Palestine rallies
My Way News reports: "Tens of thousands of Iranians chanted 'Down with America' and
'Death to Israel' during annual pro-Palestinian rallies nationwide on Friday, as a top leader said the U.S. would be making a "strategic mistake" if it pulled out of ongoing negotiations on Tehran's nuclear program. [...] Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani said at Friday prayers following the rally in Tehran, addressing the U.S. , 'And its outcome will not benefit you since Iran's nuclear staff are ready to accelerate nuclear technology at a higher speed than before.'"

Comment: And they wonder why we think it would be a problem for them to have nuclear weapons.

My Way News - Iran talks at impasse amid bickering, extended for 3rd time
My Way News reports: "The Iran nuclear talks shifted Friday to a blame game, as Iran's foreign minister accused the United States of shifting its demands and dismissed a warning that the U.S. was ready to quit the negotiations. [...] The scope of access to U.N. inspectors monitoring Iran's nuclear program remains one of the sticking points in the talks. The Americans want no restrictions, whereas Iranian officials say they are concerned that unrestricted monitoring could be a cover for Western spying."

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Earthquakes

My Way News - Strong quake rattles Solomon Islands; no damage reported
My Way News reports: "A powerful earthquake rattled the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on Friday, but officials said there was no tsunami threat and no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The 6.5-magnitude quake struck about 165 kilometers (100 miles) west of the capital, Honiara, at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a tsunami."

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Thursday, July 09, 2015

Rumors of War

My Way News - US: More than 21 million affected by government data breach
My Way News reports: "Hackers stole Social Security numbers, health histories and other highly sensitive data from more than 21 million people, the Obama administration said Thursday, acknowledging that the breach of U.S. government computer systems was far more severe than previously disclosed."

Comment: Cyberwarfare is no longer in the shadows. It will become increasingly difficult for governments around the world to conduct such operations as business-as-usual when their citizens start to feel violated in a very personal way. People will expect a response from their government and that can lead to the kind of tit-for-tat escalation that may trigger actual conflict.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

King of the North - Kings of the East

My Way News - Putin: Russia and China can overcome any difficulty together:
My Way News reports: "Welcoming China's leader to two summits in a Russian city, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia and China can overcome their countries' difficulties by working together. Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping both arrived Wednesday in the Russian city of Ufa for summits of the BRICS trade group and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization."

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Rumors of War

My Way News - Bad day for geeks: Tech disruptions plague United, NYSE, WSJ
My Way News reports: "It was a rough day for tech: The nation's biggest airline, its oldest stock exchange, and its most prominent business newspaper all suffered technology problems that upended service for parts of the day. Government officials said that it did not appear that the incidents were related, or the result of sabotage, counter to an endless stream of jokes and conspiracy theories posted on Facebook and Twitter — and even the suspicions of FBI director James Comey."

Comment: Chalk this up as a rumor of war - cyberwar.  It may well have been a coincidence that these glitches all happened on the same day, but it's also a good warning that we need to be more prepared. By all accounts, cyberattacks happen every day on a much smaller scale, but experts say it's only a matter of time before vital systems are hit.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Nations in Distress - Final Kingdom

My Way News - Greece gets until Sunday for proposals to stave off collapse
My Way News reports: "Frustrated and angry eurozone leaders fearing for the future of their common currency gave the Greek prime minister a last-minute chance Tuesday to finally come up with a viable proposal on how to save his country from financial ruin. [...] Underscoring the gravity of the challenge, European Union President Donald Tusk decided to call all 28 EU leaders to Brussels, because, for the bloc, it 'is maybe the most critical moment in our history.'"

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Monday, July 06, 2015

Persecution

My Way News - Day of extremist violence across Nigeria kills more than 60
My Way News reports: "A day of extremist violence against both Muslims and Christians in Nigeria killed more than 60 people, including worshippers in a mosque who came to hear a cleric known for preaching peaceful coexistence of all faiths. [...] Militants from Boko Haram were blamed for [...] a suicide bombing earlier at an evangelical Christian church in the northeastern city of Potiskum, and attacks in several northeastern villages where dozens of churches and about 300 homes were torched."

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Rumors of War - Persia

My Way News - Iran pushes for end to arms embargo in nuke deal
My Way News reports: "A day before the new deadline for a nuclear accord, Iran pushed on Monday for an end to the U.N. arms embargo on the country — a parallel deal that the United States opposes as it seeks to limit Tehran's Mideast power and influence. [...] After world powers and Iran reached a framework pact in April, the U.S. said 'important restrictions on conventional arms and ballistic missiles' would be incorporated in any new U.N. guidelines for Iran. It also said 'a new U.N. Security Council resolution ... will endorse' any deal."

Comment: You can generally get a sense for how negotiations are going by observing which side feels they have gained enough already that they can push for more, knowing that they already have all they needed out of the deal. It would appear that Iran's sudden move to put an end to the arms embargo on the table suggests that they are in that strong position. That's not a good sign. They should come away from this deal with cake, but no icing.

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Nations in Distress

My Way News - What's next, as Greece stumbles toward euro exit
My Way News reports: "Without a deal on more bailout loans, the heavily indebted country faces looming financial hurdles in the coming days. If it stumbles, it could leave the shared currency in a chaotic mess. [...] Chancellor Angela Merkel from Germany meets French President Francois Hollande on Monday evening. That's followed by a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Tuesday, and a full summit of the leaders of the 19 euro countries that evening."

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Friday, July 03, 2015

Rumors of War - King of the North

My Way News - Russia mulls new selective sanctions against Western nations
My Way News reports: "Russia will consider new selective retaliatory measures against some specific Western countries, the nation's security chief said Friday, pointing at Finland as a possible target. The tough statement appears to herald a new round in spiraling Russia-West confrontation over Ukraine."

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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Earthquakes

My Way News - China says 6.5 quake hits far western region of Xinjiang
My Way News reports: "A magnitude 6.5 earthquake shook buildings in China's far western region of Xinjiang on Friday, sending people out onto the streets, but there were no immediate reports of casualties from the sparsely populated area surrounding the epicenter."

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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Mark of the Beast

CNN - MasterCard will approve purchases by scanning your face
CNN reports: "This fall, MasterCard will start experimenting with a new program: approving online purchases with a facial scan. At checkout, you'll be asked to hold up your phone and snap a photo. MasterCard's thinking? It's easier than remembering a password."

Comment: This is an interesting convergence of biometrics and purchase approval, it will be interesting to see if this catches on. 

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