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Sun, 04 Dec 2016
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Nuke

Japan plans to use Pokémon Go to lure tourists back to quake hit regions, including Fukushima

© SBS
Officials for four prefectures in Japan have announced they are partnering with the Japanese subsidiary of Niantic, the US company behind the Pokemon Go game.

They hope that creating virtual attractions in the popular location-based game will help draw people back to the natural disaster affected areas.

Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures are located in the north of the country and were heavily impacted by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Kumamoto, located in southern Japan, suffered a series of earthquakes in April this year.

The game is already live in Japan, but players would find extra goodies in the four prefectures under the plan. Game-makers will add more PokeStops - places where treasured items can be found, and more Pokemon Gyms - locations where people can meet and send their captured monsters into battle.

Officials say they will also place more rare Pokemon in the areas for players to hunt. Tourism promotions say that less than 10 per cent of Fukushima is affected by radiation exclusion zones, insisting that other areas are safe to visit.

Comment: Fukushima to Pokémon Go: 'Stop sending monsters into radioactive areas!'


Snowflake Cold

US airbase puts nail in the coffin of Iceland's neutrality

© AFP 2016/ Thorvaldur Orn Kristmundsson
Instead of maintaining political neutrality, Iceland chose to become a "vassal of NATO" by once again hosting a US military base.

Citing a need to contain the "Russian aggression," the US military made a move to restore its Keflavik airbase in Iceland. But instead of recognizing the true intentions of the US and of the other NATO member nations, Iceland decided to "score points" with Washington, German media outlet Bürgerstimme remarks.

Rocket

Shoigu: Russia saved Syria from 624 NATO cruise missiles in 2013

Moscow's actions following the Syrian chemical weapons attack in 2013 could as well have saved the country from a possible massive strike by NATO forces, Sergey Shoigu, Russia's defense minister, said. Such a strike could have involved over 600 cruise missiles, he added.

"What would've happened if our president [Vladimir Putin] failed to be convincing and implement the idea of surrendering and destroying the chemical weapons? If we only talk about cruise missiles ... 624 cruise missiles, as far as I remember, were prepared to carry out a massive strike against Syria within 24 hours," Shoigu told state television channel Rossiya-24.

It would've been "very hard" to restore the Syrian state structure after such a large-scale attack, he said.

Back in 2013, US President, Barack Obama, authorized strikes against Syria, blaming Assad's government for a sarin gas attack on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.

Comment: More from Shoigu, and the recent Lavrov-Steinmeier meeting: German, Russian foreign ministers meet in Russia to discuss Ukraine, Syria


Nuke

Despite security concerns, US considers sending enriched uranium to Belgium

© IAEA Imagebank / Flickr
The US nuclear regulator is to decide whether to continue supplying highly enriched uranium (HEU) to a Belgian research reactor that produces radioactive isotopes for medicine, but critics have been calling for a switch to uranium not suitable for bombs.

A decision from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission on whether to permit the Belgian Nuclear Research Center (NRC) to obtain 144 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium is currently pending. The NRC says it needs the new material to keep its medical research reactor going for the next decade. The facility produces radioactive isotopes for fighting cancer.

The US has been reluctant to provide foreign partners with weapon-grade uranium as of late because of fears that it could fall into the wrong hands or set back global efforts to limit nuclear proliferation.

The US and Belgian centers have been doing business for decades, and the Belgian side has promised to modernize its production process to use low-enriched uranium (LEU) instead of the HEU used to produce nuclear bombs.

War Whore

War with Russia could be the stupidest idea Washington ever thought up

Don't look for a walk-over. The T14 Armata, Russia's latest tank. You don't want to fight this monster if you can think of a better idea, such as not fighting it. Russia once made large numbers of second-rate tanks. That worm has turned. This thing is way advanced and outguns the American M1A2, having a 125mm smoothbore firing APFSDS long-rods to the Abrams 120mm. (As Hillary would know, that's Armor-piercing, fin-stabilized, discarding-sabot. You did know, didn't you, Hill?) This isn't the place for a disquisition on armor, but the above beast is an very advanced design with unmanned turret and, well, a T34 it isn't. (I was once an aficionado of tanks. If interested, here and here.)

A good reason to vote for Trump, a very good reason whatever his other intentions, is that he does not want a war with Russia. Hillary and her elite ventriloquists threaten just that. Note the anti-Russian hysteria coming from her and her remoras.


Comment: People would be wise to keep in mind that politicians say a lot of things to get elected. It doesn't mean they are going to follow through. Most politicians say what they think the voters want to hear, and then when they are in office will do whatever they want. So despite the many alternative writers who believe Trump is the right person to vote for because of anything he has said on his campaign, it would be wise to temper one's enthusiasm for a political candidate. They are known for lying.


Such a war would be yet another example of the utter control of America by rich insiders. No normal American has anything at all to gain by such a war. And no normal American has the slightest influence over whether such a war takes place, except by voting for Trump. The military has become entirely the plaything of unaccountable elites.

A martial principle of great wisdom says that military stupidity comes in three grades: Ordinarily stupid; really, really, really stupid; and fighting Russia. Think Charles XII at Poltava, Napoleon after Borodino, Adolf and Kursk.

Heart - Black

Militants killed in northern Syria were headed to Turkey for medical treatment

© Iliya Pitalev/Sputnik
Syrian army artillery soldiers in Idlib province in northwestern Syria
Militants from the Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki group and Falak al-Sham were killed on the Syrian-Turkish border in a bus in the northern Idlib province, according to a milita source.

Militants who were killed on the Syrian-Turkish border in a bus in the northern Idlib province were heading to Turkey for treatment after taking part in hostilities against government forces, a militia source told RIA Novosti on Monday.

On Sunday, the bus with militants was destroyed at the Atimah checkpoint in Idlib. Over 30 were killed and another 50 were wounded.

"According to our intelligence, the majority [in the bus] were from the Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki group and Falak al-Sham [both part of the militant union under Jabhat Fatah al Sham command] and others. All of them, as usual, were traveling to Turkey for treatment and rest under the standard rotation," the source said.

The source said that the bus was blown up at the checkpoint already on the Turkish side, adding that it was not a suicide bomber, the bus was either mined in advance or explosive device was planted on the road along the route of militants.

Comment: There is some conflict regarding the source of the blast. While the source for this article says the bus either had explosive planted in it or hit a mine on the road, Reuters carried a story of Islamic State claiming the bus carried a suicide bomber to attack members of U.S.-backed rebel groups.


Dollar

Test case for the West? Wealth tax looms as Greeks forced to declare all 'assets' to tax authority

In Greece's ongoing collapse into utter farce, The Greek finance ministry confirmed some more details of the long-planned registration of all kinds of private wealth that will go into effect in February 2017. As KeepTalkingGreece reports, more than 8,500,000 tax payers registered in Greece will be called to declare all moveable and immovable assets, their total "wealth", and even cash they possess even if it is below 100 euro. Furthermore, the taxpayers will have to register changes in their assets when they occur and not annually.
Tax authorities will upload on their website pre-filled data like real estate, declared income, income from rents, loans, vehicles etc - practically the pre-filled data will refer to data given by taxpayers in their income declaration.

And under the new scheme, Greeks are mandated to have registered everything they own, with taxpayers having to add moveable and immovable possessions such as paintings, antiques, jewelry, even historical weapon, etc but also the cash they have in their wallets or under the mattress.

"Taxpayers must declare all the cash they have in their hands, even one euro!" an official from the Finance Ministry told newspaper To Vima on conditions of anonymity.

The Greek finance ministry apparently does not know yet what value the taxpayers will have to declare if they possess a necklace and a ring, a painting made by the cousin and a sculpture made by the sister in the ceramics course. The Ministry has also no idea, who will estimate the value and how.

Within a month, the taxpayer will have to submit a modification statement, if there are any changes in his possessions status.

"This will affect any case of property transfer or acquisition, but not of income, which is being declared each year, and are directly updated by the tax authorities. To Vima stresses.

Comment: Greece could certainly be a test case for how the population of Western countries are going to treated as the worldwide economy continues to deteriorate.


Rocket

Russian warships in Mediterranean Sea attack terrorists in Aleppo

The Russian naval force in the Mediterranean Sea targeted the terrorist groups stationed in the military academy region in Aleppo.

Al-Hadath news website quoted military sources as saying that the Russian warships launched cruise missile attacks against the terrorists' positions at the arms college in the military academy region.

It was the first time that Russia struck the militants in Aleppo with missiles from the Mediterranean which shows the country's preparedness to support the Syrian ground forces in the region.

There is yet no report on the number of casualties and damages inflicted on the terrorists by the missile attack.

Chess

Trading places: After Turkish-Russian re-set, Ukraine escalating conflict with Russia

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is reportedly reinforcing military units on the frontiers bordering Crimea and the Donbass now. This development comes on the heels of Kremlin reports Russia's security service having foiled a terrorist attack in Crimea plotted by Kiev. The paper thin ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk, seems all but useless given these recent events. Russian President Vladimir Putin sits weighing options, as new western provocations develop.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) reported early in the week, it found a group of infiltrators in Crimea, near the Ukrainian border, preparing attacks on Crimea infrastructure. FSB chiefs said two people were killed fending off these attacks, and now Mr. Putin has reportedly pulled out of the Minsk talks. President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Ukraine has turned to "the practice of terrorism" and "is playing a dangerous game". Putin called Kiev's actions "stupid and criminal," then later met with members of his security council. The logic of a Kiev incursion is baffling for some, but given NATO reeling over the recent developments in the Turkey-Russia relationship, some counter move was probably expected by the Kremlin. Whatever the run up was, now our sources' claims UKROP offensive is coming by September seem all the more real.

Comment:



Info

Russia, US in active phase of talks to resolve Aleppo crisis

Moscow and Washington are in direct talks to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, Syria, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.

"We are in a very active phase of talks with our American counterparts both in Geneva and in Amman; we are frequently in touch with Washington," Shoigu told TV channel Rossiya 24 on Monday.

"We are moving step by step closer to a plan - and I'm only talking about Aleppo here - that would really allow us to start fighting together to bring peace so that people can return to their homes in this troubled land."