Wednesday, May 16, 2018

In the news, Wednesday, April 25, 2018


APR 24      INDEX      APR 26

Information from some sites may not be reliable, or may not be vetted.
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from Asia Times Online

Balochistan is being left behind by CPEC
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, has become an economic national anthem in Pakistan. It comprises of a portfolio of projects whose value has reached US$60 billion. Since the signing of the CPEC agreement in 2015, politicians in two small western provinces of Pakistan, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, have repeatedly claimed that they are not getting their due share of CPEC projects. They allege that Punjab and Sindh, two relatively developed provinces, are the beneficiaries of Chinese development projects in Pakistan.

The sad history behind the Syria crisis
On February 3, 1982, an armed insurgent group belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood took control of a substantial part of the city of Hama in central Syria. The reaction of the Syrian regime headed by Hafez al-Assad, the father of Bashar, was immediate. After blockading the parts of the city controlled by the insurgents, he unleashed against them the full force of his air force and artillery. For 27 days an unrelenting barrage of fire descended on the city, sparing neither schools, hospitals, public facilities nor private homes. When the siege was finally lifted, the parts of Hama controlled by the insurgents had been reduced not so much to rubble as to dust. And as for civilian casualties, they numbered between 10,000 and 40,000. The lessons of Hama were not lost on potential opponents of the Assad regime. For 29 years the regime, where power had passed from Hafez al-Assad to his son Bashar, stood unchallenged. Then, in March 2011, in the wake of the Arab Spring protest rallies, a small group of youngsters held a demonstration against the regime in the city of Daraa. The protesters were few and their action inconsequential, and it could easily have been circumscribed had the regime acted with some restraint.

Why Europe is afraid of the New Silk Roads
Many EU countries are concerned about one-way traffic along the new trade routes Beijing is trying to set up to Europe. It came out as a sort of minor scandal – considering the ’24/7 post-truth news cycle.’ Of the 28 EU ambassadors in Beijing, 27, with the exception of Hungary’s, signed an internal report criticizing the New Silk Roads as a non-transparent threat to free trade, allegedly favoring unfair competition by Chinese conglomerates.

Is North Korea really ready to denuclearize?
Is North Korea ready to dismantle its nuclear program? Kim Jong-un’s surprising moves in recent months, from inviting South Korean envoys to visiting China, give reason for optimism. It is indeed worth noting that for the first time since the Korean War, a North Korean leader will be visiting South Korean territory. We will also see a first-ever meeting between the incumbent heads of the United States and North Korea.

Growing bloc aims to dethrone US dollar
Slowly, but surely, a small group of countries are moving to throw off the shackles of the greenback. The US dollar, which settles almost half of all international transactions, has what appears today to be an unassailable stranglehold on international markets. With close to 60% of all countries pegging exchange-rate regimes to the dollar in some form, its dominance is not in peril – yet. China has for years envisioned an internationalization of the yuan which befitted the country’s global economic clout. Now, with America’s continued aggressive use of sanctions, there is a new found urgency for other countries to support China’s efforts, or initiate their own.

Trump still seeking ‘detente’ with Russia, says US envoy
US president determined to engage with Putin; Moscow expresses skepticism amid sanctions. While lawmakers in Washington, along with certain members of the current US administration, continue to ratchet up criticism directed at Moscow, the president himself is apparently undeterred in his desire to build a relationship with his Russian counterpart. That is the message the US ambassador to Russia delivered to media at an event in Vladivostok on Tuesday.

from Competitive Enterprise Institute

Some Context for the Astronomical Cost of Government Regulation
There is no accounting for taste. To some extent, the same is true of regulatory costs—both are subjective. This year’s edition of the study “10,000 Commandments,” for example, estimates the federal regulatory burden at $1.9 trillion per year. But a 2014 estimate from the National Association of Manufacturers pegs the cost at $2.029 trillion. Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget, in a report that anti-market folks like to cite, estimates the annual burden to be between $78 billion and $115 billion. Of course, to get the number this low, OMB analysts counted only regulations passed during 2006-16 that met the legal definition of “major,” which is a small percentage of all rules.


from EUobserver
Media/News Company in Brussels, Belgium

Whistleblowers could be enforcers of rule of law in Europe
The proposal by the European Commission for a directive protecting whistleblowers could be a true turning point in how corruption and abuse of law is fought in the EU. At a time in which liberal values are deeply challenged in Europe by governments with no regard for the rule of law, this directive offers a powerful yet subtle new approach to oversee the respect of EU fundamental values.

EU shelves Macron idea for 'European Darpa'
Europe will not have a pan-European innovation agency comparable to the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), as proposed by French president Emmanuel Macron last year. "I think that the approach that we want is a little bit different," said EU commissioner for research and innovation Carlos Moedas, at a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday (25 April).


from FEE (Foundation for Economic Education)
RIGHT-CENTER BIAS, HIGH, non-profit organization

In Les Misérables, the Revolutionaries Are (Also) the Villains
In most wars, the revolutionaries are just as guilty as the state they’re revolting against.

Can Comedy Change the World?
In the wide variety of tools capable of changing hearts and minds, humor is one of the most powerful.


Education Website

Population Panic and the Reverse "Handmaid's Tale"
Unfounded overpopulation fears led to millions of forced sterilizations in many countries and China's brutal one-child (now two-child) policy. Chillingly, many public figures want coercive population control measures in the U.S. as well.


from Lemonde

"Firmness is today the condition of the dialogue with Russia"Westerners have two levers to convince Moscow: their own defense effort and economic sanctions. In recent years, Westerners have chosen the convenient symbolism of sanctions. This choice shows its limits today: their accumulation leads to the gradual exclusion of Russia from the circuits of the global economy, which, pushed to the end, would be disastrous for all. The self-sufficient USSR of the Cold War was only held by ideological mobilization. Today, an autarkic Russia would almost inevitably slip into ultranationalism. The stakes are high: we must persuade Russia to stop exploiting by military force the ambiguities of an unstructured international system, without going as far as a rupture that leads to the clash of nationalisms. It is not a question of resigning oneself to a new arms race, but of increasing the costs and the risks of a policy of force, without closing the door to a more peaceful relationship. Firmness, including on a military level, is today the condition of dialogue.


from LifeZette (& PoliZette)
Media/News Company in Washington, D. C.

Macron Credits Trump, Condemns ‘Virus of Fake News’
French president borrowed U.S. chief executive's language during an enthusiastically greeted address before joint session of Congress

Sanders Rebukes Acosta Questions That Don’t ‘Help the American People’
White House press secretary ripped the adversarial correspondent, insisted Trump supports a 'free' and 'fair' press. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders rebuked CNN’s Jim Acosta for asking questions “in a tone that’s completely unnecessary, unneeded and frankly doesn’t help further the conversation or help the American people” on Wednesday during the daily press briefing.


from Miami Herald

Dear Sen. Marco Rubio: So I see where you came after me on Twitter. I’m flattered. Never knew you cared. “This well known national writer,” you tweeted about my last column, “states very clearly that the 63 million Americans who voted for Trump are haters who should not be heard from or engaged in dialogue. It’s a view widely held by many elites on left, but very few of them so openly admit to it.”


from NPR (& affiliates)
Nonprofit Broadcasting & Media Production Company

High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University
While a shortage of workers is pushing wages higher in the skilled trades, the financial return from a bachelor's degree is softening, even as the price — and the average debt into which it plunges students — keeps going up. But high school graduates have been so effectively encouraged to get a bachelor's that high-paid jobs requiring shorter and less expensive training are going unfilled. This affects those students and also poses a real threat to the economy.


from SPIEGEL International (Der Spiegel)
News & Media Website in Hamburg, Germany

Political Poison: The Fraught Cold War History of Novichok
The attack on former spy Sergei Skripal thrust the nerve agent Novichok into the spotlight. For many, it was the first time they had heard of the poison, but it has long been a bone of contention between Moscow and the West.


from The Spokesman-Review
Newspaper in Spokane, Washington


from Sputnik
RIGHT-CENTER BIAS, MIXED, Broadcasting & Media Production Company out of Moscow, Russia

Russian OSCE Envoy Urges to React on Rights Activist's Detention in Latvia
Russian Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Alexander Lukashevich on Tuesday called on the organization to react to the detention of human rights activist Alexander Gaponenko in Latvia. Gaponenko, who advocates the preservation of Russian-language secondary school education in Latvia, was detained in the country on Friday.

‘They Want People to Support a Big War’: Media Stokes Fears After Toronto Attack
Canadian police on Monday steered clear of suggesting that 25-year-old Alek Minassian, believed to have driven a van into a group of pedestrians, killing 10, is Muslim, or the attack part of a terrorist plot. But that didn’t stop media networks from reporting on his religion and calling for controls on immigrants into the US and Canada.

Washington Fears North, South Korea Talks Will Show ‘The Problem Is the US’
The US media has taken a negative view of the possibility of peace on the Korean Peninsula - afraid perhaps, of what the US government also fears, that Seoul will conclude that “the problem is not the North Koreans; the problem is the United States,“ journalist Steve Gowans told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear.


from Task & Purpose
Media/News Company in New York, NY

3 Reasons The Legendary B-52 Bomber Will Outlive All Of Us


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