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China: Philippines turn-around has defeated 'conspiracies' to stir up trouble in the South China Sea

© Bloomberg
China's success at turning around relations with the Philippines under its new president Rodrigo Duterte show the "conspiracies" of certain countries to stir up trouble in the South China Sea have been defeated, China's foreign minister said on Saturday.

In July, the Philippines won a case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague challenging China's sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, which infuriated China. But Duterte has sought to turn foe to friend, visiting Beijing in October, largely putting aside the dispute.

Speaking at an academic forum, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Duterte's visit signaled an important improvement in ties. "This marks the return of the South China Sea issue to the correct track of resolution via dialogue and consultation, and means the conspiracies of relevant countries to use the South China Sea issue to disorder the region have been thoroughly broken," he said.

Wang did not name any countries, but China has frequently blamed the United States and its allies in the region like Japan and Australia for interfering in the South China Sea. Wang's comments were carried on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's website.

Comment: This round of the non-battle goes to Duterte...a much different outcome with China than the US intended or expected.


Russia warns Japan: US missile defense poses security risks in Asia-Pacific

© Evgeny Biyatov / Reuters
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Moscow has brought the threats posed by the deployment of US missile defense systems in the Asia-Pacific region to Tokyo's attention, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said following a meeting with his Japanese counterpart.

"We turned the attention of our Japanese colleagues to the threats posed to the region by the deployment of the US global missile defense system. Russia believes that regional security cannot be provided by military blocs, but through equal and universal dialogue based on the principles of integrity and security," Lavrov said at a meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, as quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.

Earlier this year, the US and South Korea unveiled plans to deploy THAAD [Terminal High Altitude Area Defense] antimissiles by the end of 2017. China strongly objects to the move, saying it would compromise its own capabilities. Despite growing Russian and Chinese concerns over security in the region, Washington argues that THAAD only aims to counter threats from North Korea by keeping Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions at bay.

Comment: As weapons, the THAAD system is relatively useless against North Korea. North Korean Nodong missiles travel at lower altitudes. DPRK missiles travel at an altitude of 20-30 km. The U.S. anti-missile system is designed to shoot down missiles at a much higher altitude of 40-150 km." THAAD technology has tested more successfully since 2005 against terminally-high altitude threats weapons that only Russia and China possess.

Comment: Japan has some decisions to make regarding its old loyalties and its future well-being. Russia is using economics and friendly but firm persuasion. The US has military bases in Japan which are a non-dialog form of persuasion. However, wild card Trump could change stale dynamics for fresh ideas and regional cooperation.


Sputnik inadvertently backs color revolution narrative with its coverage of Thailand's new king

Sputnik cites iLawFX, a US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Open Society funded front.
Sputnik International is a Russian-based media platform that has added depth and reach to the alternative media.

It was unfortunate then, to see their article, "Dislike: Thai Activist Arrested for Posting Unflattering Article About the King," which carelessly repeated Western media propaganda regarding Thailand.

Aiding and Abetting Western Colour Revolutions...

The story involves alleged "activist" Jatupat Boonpattararaksa of the "New Democracy Movement," a US-EU-backed opposition movement meant to create in Thailand the same instability Western-backed "colour revolutionaries" have caused across Eastern Europe and the Middle Eastern and North African region (MENA).

Jatupat was detained for distributing a BBC Thai article claiming to be a "biography" of Thailand's new king and head of state, King Maha Vajiralongkorn. The BBC biography was rife with disinformation and slander aimed at undermining the new head of state's role in unifying and moving the nation forward after over a decade of political turmoil brought about by the US-European backed government of Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Comment: See also:


Austrian presidential election: Left-leaning Van der Bellen wins as right-wing Hofer concedes defeat

© Heinz-Peter Bader / Reuters
Austrian presidential candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, who is supported by the Greens, and his wife Doris Schmidauer leave polling station in Vienna, Austria, December 4, 2016.
The first official results released shortly after polls closed in Austria indicate that left-leaning candidate Alexander Van der Bellen is winning the re-run presidential election with 53.5 percent of the vote. Right-wing Norbert Hofer has 46.4 percent.

Only 58 percent of total votes has been counted so far, but experts say the current results are unlikely to change.

Hofer, a member of the right-wing Freedom Party (FPO), has already conceded defeat and congratulated his rival on his election victory.

"I congratulate Alexander Van der Bellen on his success and call on all Austrians to stick together and to work together," he wrote in a Facebook post, in which he also expressed gratitude to his supporters.

"I thank you [for] ... your great support and I am endlessly sorry that I did not make it," he wrote.

Comment: The EU can be heard breathing a sigh of relief on this outcome as Bellen is seen as part of the 'establishment'. The "Trump effect' did not carry through:
Observers had feared that a win for the Austrian far-right could trigger a domino effect with key elections next year in France, Germany and The Netherlands.

"From the start I have always fought and argued in favour of an Austrian that is pro-European," a visibly relieved Van der Bellen said on public television.

Meanwhile there was palpable disappointment in the FPOe Vienna headquarters, where several people including Hofer's young daughter burst into tears after the results emerged.

"It's clear that nothing will change in Austria because with Van der Bellen the two main parties can continue without being challenged," Johannes Huebner, 60, told AFP.

Life Preserver

Russia delivers massive 150 tonnes of aid to Aleppo residents

© REUTERS/ Omar Sanadiki
Syrians who have been evacuated from eastern Aleppo, reach out for Russian food aid in government-controlled Jibreen area in Aleppo, Syria November 30, 2016.
Russia has delivered over 150 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the residents of areas of Syria's besieged city of Aleppo this week, the Russian military said Sunday.

"The cargo was delivered from Russia early in the week using marine transport bulk carriers. A total of 15 40-feet containers with humanitarian aid were delivered for those residents of Aleppo affected by the fighting," the military's communications center representative Eduard Goryunov told reporters.

A total of 280 tonnes of aid were delivered to Syria by the Russian convoy. The shipment included essentials such as rice, sugar, flour, canned foods and tea, according to the Russian center for reconciliation in the Arab country. The cargo was delivered to refugee camps on trucks.

Comment: And the UN has nothing to show in its humanitarian aid efforts except excuses.


Multipolar world reality: Syrian army success in Aleppo vividly indicates the end of 'triumph of the West'

© AFP 2016/ George OURFALIAN
As Syrian government forces advance in east Aleppo, liberating 50 percent of the area from the jihadists, Western journalists are calling it the "end of the Western dominance," namely that of the US, on the international arena; meanwhile Russian Middle East experts warn against connecting the success in Syria with the political changes in the US.

Syrian army spokesman Brigadier General Samir Suleiman announced that the military has regained control of 45 to 50 percent of east Aleppo, as the government forces continue to advance in the besieged city. On Saturday, the Syrian Army General Command called on the residents of the eastern districts of Aleppo to return to their homes after security and stability has been restored, as well as of public institutions going back to work in these areas.


Trump declares support for Dakota Access Pipeline ahead of evacuation order against protesters

US President-elect Donald Trump expressed his support for the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) ahead of an evacuation order, due to go into effect on Monday, against thousands of people protesting the oil pipeline project.

Trump's transition team released a statement reaffirming his support for the $3.8 billion project and claiming that this position is not related to his personal investment of $500,000 in Energy Partners, the Texas-based company that is leading the project. In his speech in Cincinnati on Tuesday, Trump pledged to "eliminate every single wasteful regulation" and remove all "restrictions on the production of shale energy, oil, natural gas and clean coal."

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a 1,172-mile underground pipeline under construction that would connect the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to southern Illinois, passing through the states of South Dakota and Iowa. It would also pass through North American tribal lands, including the Standing Rock Indian Reservation of Sioux tribes that includes parts of North and South Dakota.


Syrian governmental forces now control 52 percent of eastern Aleppo - Russian MoD

© SANA / Reuters
A Syrian government soldier gestures a v-sign under the Syrian national flag near a general view of eastern Aleppo after they took control of al-Sakhour neigbourhood in Aleppo, Syria, November 28, 2016.
Syrian governmental forces have taken control of 52 percent of eastern Aleppo and are now in control of over 30 of the city's neighborhoods, the Russian Defense Ministry says.

The ministry went on to say that the Syrian army is still successfully advancing in eastern Aleppo, seized a neighborhood occupying three square kilometers over the past 24 hours.

In late November, the ministry announced that the Russian-backed Syrian operation had made a breakthrough in its push to retake eastern Aleppo, as Syrian troops liberated 80,000 people living in neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city.

At that time, the Russian Center for Reconciliation reported that 12 neighborhoods comprising roughly 40 percent of the territory previously controlled by the militants had been cleared.

Comment: See also:
  • Aleppo's liberation is near! Water supply restored, thousands escape to safety of Syrian government (PICS, MAPS, VIDS)
  • Over 2,500 Syrian militants have been pardoned over past week - Reconciliation Center


Obama TV? Rumors swirl that the Prez may start his own network after leaving the White House

With the mainstream media pushing the false narrative of "fake news" acting as a pox on society, it may come as no surprise to some that President Barack H. Obama is reportedly getting into the news business. Yes, that's right. Sources say the soon to be former president is considering starting his own media company, which could resemble something like a liberal version of Alex Jones, for example.

So, could it be that the mainstream media is in the tank for Obama, helping him launch his new career in media, by recklessly driving home a false narrative on the American people that their alternative news sources simply cannot be trusted? Maybe. But no one appears to be holding their breath that the outgoing president will follow the example of his predecessor, George W. Bush, from whom the public has heard very little over the last eight years — outside of random appearances during which he laughs at murdered police officers' funerals.

The White House communications director Jen Psaki denied the rumors, telling Policy.Mic in a statement, "While the president will remain actively engaged in inspiring young people and he is interested in the changing ways people consume information, he has no plans to get into the media business after he leaves office."


7 reasons that the corporate mainstream media is pro-war

American media is always pro-war:
Can you name a single paper, or a single TV network, that was unequivocally opposed to the American wars carried out against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Panama, Grenada, and Vietnam while they were happening, or shortly thereafter? Or even opposed to any two of these seven wars? How about one?

In 1968, six years into the Vietnam War, the Boston Globe (Feb. 18, 1968) surveyed the editorial positions of 39 leading U.S. papers concerning the war and found that "none advocated a pull-out." Has the phrase "invasion of Vietnam" ever appeared in the U.S. mainstream media?

In 2003, leading cable station MSNBC took the much-admired Phil Donahue off the air because of his opposition to the calls for war in Iraq.

There are seven reasons that the mainstream media and many of the largest "alternative" media websites are all pro-war.

1. Self-Censorship by Journalists

There is tremendous self-censorship by journalists.

A survey by the Pew Research Center and the Columbia Journalism Review in 2000 found:
Self-censorship is commonplace in the news media today .... About one-quarter of the local and national journalists say they have purposely avoided newsworthy stories, while nearly as many acknowledge they have softened the tone of stories to benefit the interests of their news organizations. Fully four-in-ten (41%) admit they have engaged in either or both of these practices.