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Snakes in Suits

No surprise: UN Security Council imposes arms embargo on Houthis in Yemen

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© Reuters/Eduardo Munoz
The UN Security Council has imposed an arms embargo against the Houthi rebels in Yemen and the allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Fourteen members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution, Russia being the only abstention.

The Russian representative explained the move by saying that not all of Moscow's proposals had been included in the final text drafted by Jordan and Gulf Arab states.

"The co-sponsors refused to include the requirements insisted upon by Russia addressed to all sides to the conflict to swiftly halt fire and to begin peace talks," Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council after the vote.

Comment: No peaceful resolution to the Yemen crises as expected. The will of the elites trumps the will of the people.


Gold Coins

Russia officially joins $60B China-led infrastructure bank

© www.nihao-salam.com
On Tuesday Russia officially becomes a founder of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It means Russian companies can take part in infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region, and could attract foreign investment into Russia.

Russia applied for membership as a founding member of the AIIB 2 weeks ago, along with another 52 countries. The founding members have the right to establish the rules guiding the bank's activities. China reportedly had rejected requests from North Korea and Taiwan to join the AIIB. The final list of the bank's founding members will be announced on April 15.

"Russia as a country belonging to the target region of the bank's operations, and is meant to play an important role in investment decisions and also attract investment funds from the bank in the interest of improving the infrastructure of Siberia and the Russian Far East. We expect that the bank will become an effective tool for strengthening transcontinental links and will contribute to Eurasian integration," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said, according to RIA Novosti.

Comment: Money wars. Competition with the IMD and World Bank will be an interesting turn of events. Do we really think Christine Lagarde is "delighted?" Not too surprising that America's cohorts are abandoning ship the first chance they get and setting up new financial alliances.


Info

Euroskeptics befuddled as Russians arrive in Scotland to inspect NATO exercise

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© Reuters/Toby Melville
British Royal Navy frigate HMS Westminster.
To the befuddlement of Euro critics, Russian inspectors have arrived in the UK to oversee a mass NATO training exercise taking place in Scotland.

Despite current tensions between the West and Russia, the team from the Russian National Nuclear Threat Reduction Center is permitted to visit the country to observe military activities as part of a reciprocal agreement contained in the 2011 version of the Vienna Document.

The center is part of the Russian defense ministry. Its head, Sergey Ryzhkov, told the Daily Mail newspaper: "During the event, the inspectors will visit ranges and plan to hold command briefings on the conducted military activities."

The inspectors started their four-day visit on Monday after arriving at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

Comment: Situation normal but some will get themselves all worked up about it for nothing.


Radar

Drone wars: France develops anti-drone drone to find mystery UAV operators

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© AFP 2015/ ERIC PIERMONT
A system designed by a French robotics company promises to detect "malicious drone operators" in under a minute, in a country plagued by mysterious UAVs which have been sighted hovering over landmarks and military installations.

France's ECA Group has created new on-board technology for one of its small drones, the IT180, which promises to locate drone operators in under a minute.

France recently experienced a series of incidents where illegal drones flew over Paris landmarks as well as military installations. The new technology promises to help locate the source of drones if similar incidents occur in the future.

"Unlike the solutions available until now, which focus mainly on the neutralization of drones in flight, ECA Group has developed a solution that makes it impossible for malicious operators to disappear," the Group's press release said.

Comment: The drone wars.


Nuke

Iran & Israel cooperate over nuclear testing

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© Reuters / Majid Asgaripour
Iranian workers stand in front of the Bushehr nuclear power plant.
They may be bitter enemies, but Iran and Israel appear to have been cooperating within the boundaries of an international body that has been set up to monitor a ban on nuclear bomb tests.

"During the exercise, when we had our round-table discussions or dinner or lunches, you had Iranian experts and Israeli experts sitting at the same table," Lassina Zerbo, a leading commission member of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), told Reuters.

"It's not unusual that we see that in the technological field we have people who don't necessarily get together politically but who find things to agree on in the scientific framework," he added.

Comment: Well, well, well, leave it to the non-politicians to actually make sense of the nuclear situation.


Take 2

'Normandy Four' ministers begin Ukrainian crisis talks in Berlin

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© REUTERS/ Clemens Bilan/POOL
Foreign ministers of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine on Monday began a fresh round of talks on ways to resolve the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Sergei Lavrov, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Laurent Fabius, and Pavlo Klimkin are expected to focus on the implementation of the Minsk peace accords, including setting up working groups within the so-called Contact Group on Ukraine.

Steinmeier said, prior to the talks, that it was "too early to celebrate victory in Ukrainian crisis settlement despite notable progress," as infrequent violations of the ceasefire regime persist in some contested areas of eastern Ukraine.

Comment: We will see if these talks will help Europe decide to ease the sanctions against Russia. These talks probably won't do much for the Ukrainian crises.


Bomb

Oklahoma City bombing 20 yrs later: The facts that still go unreported

Next week will mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people including 19 children. The mainstream media will undoubtedly focus its attention on Timothy McVeigh, who was put to death in June 2001 for his part in the crime. They might also mention Terry Nichols, who was convicted of helping McVeigh plan the bombing and is serving a life sentence without parole.

There will be less discussion about how the FBI spent years hunting for a man who witnesses say accompanied McVeigh on the day of the bombing. They called this accomplice John Doe #2 and theories about his identity range from an Iraqi named Hussain Al-Hussaini, to a German national described below, to a neo-nazi bank robber named Richard Guthrie. The Justice Department finally gave up its search and said it was all a mistake— that there was never any credible evidence of a John Doe #2 being involved.

That reversal demonstrates a pattern of cover-up by authorities and limited media coverage in the years since the crime. This week, accounts will not repeat early reports of secondary devices in the building, or reports of the involvement of unknown middle-eastern characters. There will also be little if any mention of the extensive independent investigation into the crime that was conducted by leading members of the OKC community. Here are seven more facts that will probably not see much coverage on the 20th anniversary.

Bulb

UN peace envoy urges West to listen to Russia regarding Syria crisis

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© Sputnik/ Mikhail Klementiev
The world should put aside current political tensions and listen more to Russia when negotiating ways to try and stop the four-year long conflict in Syria, the United Nations' special peace envoy to the country says.

The UN's Syria peace envoy Staffan de Mistura, who has recently been directed to re-launch the failed Syrian peace process, says that Moscow could play a key part in helping find some solutions to the brutal conflict that has resulted in the deaths of more than 210,000 people and led to a devastating humanitarian crisis since fighting began in 2011.
Staffan de Mistura: Moscow's influence on Damascus should be used http://t.co/OpMDVdy2aJ

— Syria News (@SyriaTNews) April 13, 2015
"Russia has influence on Damascus, and it's very important that they get involved," he told UK newspaper, The Independent.

"The two countries' relationship goes back to the time when Bashar al-Assad's father was in power. Therefore the Russians do have a knowledge of the system and the way they [Syrians] think."

Comment: While this makes sense, the West does not wish to portray Russia as being anything other than the world's boogeyman. The reality is that the U.S. is who the world should be scared of and Russia is the one holding their psychopathic actions at bay as best they can.


Magnify

Why the Russia-China alliance makes sense

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© Flickr/ Mark Turner
Speaking to China National Radio on Sunday, Renmin University Professor Jin Canrong explained why Russia and China have a shared sense of historical memory regarding the Second World War, and why the partnership between the two countries is likely to be a lasting one.

In an interview with China National Radio published Sunday, Professor Jin Canrong of the Institute of International Relations at Renmin University explained Russia and China's common positions regarding the Second World War, noting that the Chinese leadership's participation in May's victory celebrations in Moscow signifies the high level of Russian-Chinese relations.

"Russia and China have similar positions on questions related to the Second World War," Professor Jin told the broadcaster. "Both countries made an enormous contribution to the war, and for both the price of victory was very high."

The professor noted that moreover, "both China and Russia are faced with the threat of historical revisionism; for example, at present, Japan is attempting to escape from its historical responsibility [for crimes committed in China and elsewhere]. There is a similar situation in Eastern Europe: in Lithuania and Estonia, for example, there have been cases of the destruction of monuments to soldiers of the Red Army. Moreover, in the Baltic countries, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Soviet soldiers are occasionally placed on a par with the Nazis. And this is very offensive."

Take 2

Putin lifts ban on delivery of S-300 missile systems to Iran

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© RIA Novosti/Andrei Aleksandrov
The Russian president has repealed the ban prohibiting the delivery of S-300 missile air defense systems to Iran, according to the Kremlin's press service. The ban was introduced by former President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010.

"[The presidential] decree lifts the ban on transit through Russian territory, including airlift, and the export from the Russian Federation to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also the transfer to the Islamic Republic of Iran outside the territory of the Russian Federation, both by sea and by air, of air defense missile systems S-300," says the information note accompanying the document, RIA Novosti reported.

The decree enters into force upon the president's signature.

Comment: Did the US see that coming?