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Posts Tagged ‘Cary Johnston’

Not so noble: EU’s Peace Prize win sparks debate over legitimacy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 11, 2012

The European Union’s presidents have received this year’s Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the 27-member group. However, growing numbers of critics have pointed to the EU’s economic and foreign policy failures, arguing the prize is undeserved.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz have accepted the 930,000-euro ($1.2 million) award on behalf of the EU.

In his acceptance speech, Van Rompuy praised postwar leaders in France and Germany who created the EU by uniting their economic interests: “The EU’s secret weapon – an unrivalled way of binding our interests so tightly that war becomes impossible.”

The French and German representatives at the ceremony – President Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel, respectively – greeted the award with standing ovations.

But critics argued the award was an inappropriate honor. Six EU leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, did not attend the event. The initial news that the European Union won the 2012 Peace Prize sparked heated debate over whether the award was being discredited, a debate that also raged after US President Barack Obama’s win in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

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S. Korea threatens to gun down North’s rocket

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 26, 2012

The South Korean government has threatened to shoot down a North Korean rocket due for launch in April. The rocket mission has sparked international controversy, the US labeling it a test for a long-range missile that could carry nuclear warheads.

“We are studying measures such as tracking and shooting down [parts] of a North Korean missile in case it strays out of its normal trajectory” and violates South Korean airspace, said Yoon Won-shik, a spokesman at the South’s Defense Ministry.

He described the launch as a “reckless and provocative act that undermines peace on the Korean peninsula.”

Japan has also rattled the saber, saying it will shoot down the missiles with AEGIS warships if the rocket threatens their country.

The international community has condemned the launch amid calls from the US and South Korea to abort the mission immediately.

Washington suspects that North Korea’s rocket launches are a front for the testing of nuclear warhead delivery methods.

According to a UN resolution, ballistic missile launches by North Korea for any purpose are outlawed.

Both the US and South Korean military are currently monitoring the situation for developments. Recent reports say that the rocket has been moved to the village of Tongchang-ri and is prepping for launch. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iranian ultimatum: Yield now or be attacked by year’s end

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 14, 2012

The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brooks B. Patton Jr./Released)

The US wants Russia to deliver a message to Iran: Tehran has one last chance for talks. If it is wasted, an attack will happen in a matter of months, according to Russian diplomatic sources.

The threat was voiced by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a meeting with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in New York on Monday, a diplomatic insider told Kommersant daily.

“The invasion will happen before year’s end. The Israelis are de facto blackmailing Obama. They’ve put him in this interesting position – either he supports the war or looses the support of the Jewish lobby,” the diplomat told the Russian newspaper.

The source said Washington has given Tehran one last chance to solve the conflict peacefully and wants Moscow to deliver the message. Iran has to make progress with the P5+1 group, which consists of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

The group is to negotiate Iran’s controversial nuclear program with Iranian officials sometime in April. The exact timing and place of the talks are still under consideration. The negotiators want clarity from Iran over the potential militarization of its nuclear program.  They also demand access for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to a suspected nuclear site in Parchin.

Such an inspection took place in 2005 and nothing suspicious was found. But now the nuclear watchdog believes Iran is using the military complex to test technology needed to trigger a nuclear device. IAEA monitors were barred form visiting part of the facility during their latest visit, prompting accusations that Iran may be trying to cover-up evidence of wrong-doing. Tehran dismissed the allegations and promised to let inspectors in. Read the rest of this entry »

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Obama’s new fairytale: Peace and prosperity for war-bent US

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 25, 2012

As the US presidential race picks up pace ahead of November’s vote, Barack Obama is trying to ratchet up support for re-election. In his third State of the Union speech, he pledged another program for change.

President Obama’s Tuesday night address to Congress was his final State of the Union speech before he runs for re-election. It was crafted by the White House to set the tone for the 2012 congressional session, and for the re-election campaign. Obama’s goal was to highlight his achievements, and lay out his promises.

The president started his address praising those who fought in Iraq, “generation of heroes” who “have made the United States safer and more respected around the world.”

Indeed, the speech was full of success stories.

“For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al-Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home,” the president said.  Read the rest of this entry »

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‘US government does not seek confrontation over the Strait of Hormuz, but…’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 4, 2012

The US says its warships will continue their mission in the Persian Gulf, in defiance of Iran’s warning to keep the aircraft carriers well away from its waters.

Iran has been holding naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz since December 23, and has threatened to close the key oil supply route if new US sanctions hit its exports. It later backed down. However, in an escalating war of words, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today that closure of the Strait would not be tolerated.

Tensions rose as the USS John Stennis passed through an area where Iran was holding 10-days of naval war games. The drill also saw a number of missiles tested which were said to be long-range, though the Russian military says Iran does not have the capacity to produce inter-continental ballistic missiles.

“Such regularly scheduled movements are in accordance with longstanding US commitments to the region’s security and stability, and in support of ongoing operations,” Little told reporters, speaking of USS John Stennis’ route. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kim Jong Il Dead, North Korean State Media Reports (Photos)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 19, 2011

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is dead, state television in Pyongyang has announced.

Kim, who was known as the “dear leader” by his people, reportedly died “from great mental and physical strain” on a train on Saturday 17 December.

Power in the nuclear-armed state is now expected to transfer to Kim’s son Kim Jong-un, who is believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s and was named as successor before his father’s death.

“All party members, military men and the public should faithfully follow the leadership of comrade Kim Jong-un and protect and further strengthen the unified front of the party, military and the public,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

KCNA added in a release titled ‘Medical Analysis of Kim Jong Il’s demise’ that Kim suffered an “advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock.”

The leader, who took power in 1994 after the death of his father Kim Il-Sung, was reported to have suffered a stroke in 2008. However he had appeared relatively healthy on recent trips around Asia, despite reports he may have been suffering from cancer.

Kim’s funeral will be held in Pyongyang on 28 December, and his son will lead the funeral committee state media reported. There will be a period of national mourning from 17 to 29 December.

State media portrayed the reaction inside North Korea as one of deep sadness and shock. News announcers shook and wept as they announced the news.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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WTO = Waiting Time Over for Russia

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 16, 2011

Russia has been officially welcomed to the World Trade Organization, after nearly two decades of talks. The long-anticipated accession will be a boon for some industries, but is likely to hit tough on others, so Russians greet it with mixed feelings.

The agreement on Russia’s accession to the WTO has been signed at a WTO Ministerial conference on Friday by Russian Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina and WTO General Secretary Pascal Lamy, after the working group unilaterally approved Russia’s bid to become part of the 153-strong trade club.

Ratification by the Russian parliament is now the only necessary step before receiving the membership.

“Russia is the world’s 12th largest trading nation ($400 billion in exports and $250 billion in imports) and until we have this important country among our members, we cannot truly be the World Trade Organization,” pointed out Pascal Lamy, the Director-General of the WTO, in an article published by ITAR TASS news agency. Read the rest of this entry »

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American police: To serve and protect (the 1%)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 7, 2011

The ongoing anti-greed Occupy protests have seen too many instances of police using brutal tactics against demonstrators. Some says the US is militarizing its police force and squashing the very freedoms it is so keen to preach internationally.

In recent months, US police officers have made an enemy out of those citizens using their freedom of speech to protest against corporate greed and corrupt politics, reports RT’s Marina Portnaya.

Today’s breed of law enforcers are dressed in riot gear and armed with heavy weaponry, body armor, flash bangs, tear gas, and potentially lethal projectiles. As tens of thousands of Americans assemble, cops have been accused of creating confrontation, not defusing it. Some veterans of the force can’t help but resent the situation.

“It’s a travesty of democracy, the way the police are totally suppressing the people’s right to assemble and to protest. I joined the force to protect people’s rights to assemble and protest, not to squash them,” said Ray Lewis, retired Philadelphia police captain. Read the rest of this entry »

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US AMD dilemma: Big dollar or world peace?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 27, 2011

Russia’s President Medvedev sent a sharp warning this week to Western powers over the planned NATO missile shield in Europe. He said if the plans go ahead without guarantees of Russia’s safety, Moscow would deploy missiles of its own.

Years of negotiations over the proposed shield, which America wants to place in Turkey and in former Warsaw Pact countries on Russia’s western border, have been deadlocked over the US refusal to agree to Russian participation in the project.

America says the anti-missile shield is aimed at protecting Europe from so-called rogue states like North Korea and Iran, but Russia sees it as a threat to its own national security.

Russia says the US has still not given adequate assurances over who will be targeted, prompting stern words from President Dmitry Medvedev and a pledge that Moscow will deploy its own state-of-the-art missiles on Europe’s eastern flank.

“If other measures are insufficient, Russia will deploy contemporary strike systems in the west and south in order to prevent fire damage from US missile defenses deployed in Europe,” he declared. “The deployment of the Iskander missile system in the Kaliningrad region will be one such step.” Read the rest of this entry »

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A Sleepy Campus In Crisis: Pepper Spray at UC Davis Sparks Online Uproar, Calls for a Chancellor’s Resignation

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 21, 2011

By JENS ERIK GOULD

In this image made from video, a police officer uses pepper spray as he walks down a line of Occupy demonstrators sitting on the ground at the University of California, Davis on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011.

When campus police demanded that 21-year-old Sophia Kamran and her fellow protesters dismantle the tents they had pitched on the quad at the University of California, Davis to protest tuition increases, they refused. Instead, as online videos of the incident depict, they sat peacefully with arms crossed as officers marched up to the protest line, one brandishing a can of pepper spray to those gathered, before dousing students repeatedly at point blank range. Protesters who covered their faces were sprayed under their shirts, and Kamran said one student vomited profusely after being sprayed directly in the mouth. “It was such an intense feeling. It felt like acid was being poured on our faces,” said Kamran, a philosophy and comparative literature major. “I was basically immobile and in a lot of pain.”

Friday’s pepper spray incident — which quickly went viral over the weekend after videos of the confrontation appeared online — seems to have only emboldened Occupiers at Davis, and some say it may fortify similar protests across the country. In Davis, protesters are using the well-publicized incident to focus attention on their pleas to end tuition hikes and to bring an end to heavy-handed police action at student protests. Students say they now expect thousands of people to show for a rally and general assembly on Monday, at which they will call for the resignation of the school’s chancellor and the UC Davis police chief. If Chancellor Linda Katehi declines, students plan to force the issue at an upcoming meeting of the UC Regents. “Students are much more engaged right now than we’ve ever seen,” said Nick Perrone, a graduate student and union organizer who is part of the movement at Davis. “I’ve heard from faculty that they’ve never seen Davis activated the way it is today.”(See a video of the confrontation at UC Davis.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Chips off the old bloc: Eurasian Union

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 19, 2011

The creation of the Eurasian Union serves as a statement of Moscow’s global ambitions and a powerful move to form a supranational alliance to eventually counterweight the unipolar world built after the end of the Soviet Union.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wants to justify his political decision to run for president for the third time, revealing this time a truly global agenda to be fulfilled, acknowledges international affairs analyst Aleksandr Selivanov.

“It sends a clear message to the rest of the world and to the West that Russia is interested in elevating its economical interests from just national level to a supranational level, engaging in building an original project similar to the European Union, but with the lessons learnt from its operations,” considers Selivanov.

Whether the Eurasian Union be only economical, or it will transform into a political one as well is an open question.

Speaking of the new economic body possibly becoming a counterbalance to the economical weight of the EU, political analyst Aleksey Pushkov, said that “the economic weight of the EU has been somewhat damaged by the crisis” and is unlikely to recover in foreseeable future.

“I think this has nothing to do with the European Union, this is an independent economic union in the post-Soviet space, where people know each other, where they are used to each other, they are used [to having] a joined economy. In a way [it is] rebuilding the ties, which were severed during the fall of Soviet Union,” Pushkov said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russian solar probe to predict Earthly cataclysms

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 29, 2011

Some scientists believe bursts of solar activity cause natural disasters on our planet, but until now the star has been too

difficult to reach or explore in any detail. Some Russian researchers think they have the solution.

Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis – apocalyptic pictures are becoming an ordinary part of news bulletins across the globe. And scientists are not giving out reassuring forecasts.

“Unfortunately, we’re expecting more severe cataclysms which may lead to large-scale human losses and destruction,” says Baku-based Professor Elchin Kakhalilov of the Global Network for the Forecasting of Earthquakes.“I’m talking about even a possible shift of the centers of our entire civilization.”

The change in the Earth’s seismic activity coincides with the rise of activity on the sun. Scientists have been witnessing gigantic bursts of plasma on its surface and say they are affecting our planet, even though it is over 90 million miles away.

Each burst sends billions of particles into space which impacts the Earth’s magnetic field. This may trigger some of the processes going on deep bellow its surface, leading to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Scientists predict solar activity will increase and say in the next few years, large-scale disruptions of electronic equipment, radio transmissions, computer failures and massive black-outs could become parts of everyday life.

The sun is currently monitored either by stations on Earth or in orbit. But sending a probe four times closer to the star would be far more helpful. And it may not be science fiction much longer, thanks to a project currently being developed by the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). Read the rest of this entry »

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UK pulls out of Iraq amid public discontent over Libyan mission

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 22, 2011

The British military operation in Iraq is finally ending after more than eight years. The last group of royal navy training staff is pulling out on May 22.

The UK joined the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, under the pretext of destroying Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. But when it turned out he never had any, the war fell out of favor with the British people.

Most of the UK’s military forces withdrew two years ago, after losing 179 of its personnel in the war. RT contributor Ekaterina Zatuliveter says the British campaign in Iraq leaves a bitter legacy.

“Why now, why so suddenly – with only four days notice prior to the withdrawal? The answer is simple: the growing dissatisfaction of British people with the British involvement in Libya. The British government felt it needed to do something very quickly, so it ticked off one of the boxes – Iraq,” Zatuliveter told RT.

Still, it seems that the long presence of the British troops in Iraq has brought nothing but grief to the country.

“Constant violence, unstable government, poverty and unemployment. People suffer from various diseases caused by the use of depleted uranium in the bombings,” stated Zatuliveter. Read the rest of this entry »

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WikiLeaks revelations only tip of iceberg – Assange

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 3, 2011

The man behind WikiLeaks says his website’s revelations are just the tip of the iceberg. In an exclusive interview with RT, Julian Assange said it is only a matter of time before more damaging information becomes known.

Watch the full version of RT’s exclusive interview with Julian Assange (part 1)

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Watch the full version of RT’s exclusive interview with Julian Assange (part 2)
For the clip click here
The publication of confidential cables proved deeply embarrassing for the US and other countries.

If we look at our work over the last 12 moths, think about that. All these stories that have come out actually happened in the world, before 2010, but people didn’t know about it. So what is it that we don’t know about now? There’s an enormous hidden world out there that we don’t know about. It exists there right now.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Bin Laden dead, global terrorism alive

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 2, 2011

While the US is celebrating victory over the national threat, as Bin Laden has become regarded after 9/11, Russia’s most wanted terrorist Doku Umarov is still at large with his allies from Al-Qaeda.

Hundreds of Americans have gathered in front of the White House to celebrate Washington’s victory over Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda, whose death was confirmed by US President Barack Obama late on Sunday. US embassies warn of anti-American aggression and note that the risk of an attack anywhere where Americans gather is very high right now, after Bin Laden’s death.

Russia was the scene of two recent major terror attacks: the bombing of the Moscow Metro in 2010 and the blast atDomodedovo Airport in January 2011, the latter targeting not only Russians, but also international visitors.  Read the rest of this entry »

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