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Sun, 19 Nov 2017
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Tories accused of stealing ideas from UKIP & Labour

© Oli Scarff / AFP
Officials of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) have accused Theresa May's Conservative Party of stealing their proposals, while vowing that the party will not be irrelevant after Brexit.

Patrick O'Flynn, UKIP's economic spokesman, mocked the Tories by urging them to "steal another policy" from the Euroskeptics' manifesto.

"We could, I think, be forgiven for finding it galling that the ever-pragmatic Tory party has lately donned so many of our clothes,"O'Flynn added.

Blue Planet

Game changer for the global economy: China widens its Silk Road to the world

Beijing hopes its top-level two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, starting this Sunday, will be a game-changer for globalization

Let's cut to the chase. China's new 'Silk Road' initiative is the only large-scale, multilateral development project that the 21st century has seen so far.

There is no counter-offer from the West.

Which is why the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, starting this Sunday in Beijing, is being set up as a game-changer for the global economy. Here the initiative looks likely to switch to Mark II mode, accelerating into what President Xi Jinping dubbed, at Davos in January, "inclusive globalization."



Win-win partnerships: Alibaba's Jack Ma sees 'One Belt One Road' strategy as uniquely effective and inclusive globalization

© Getty
Alibaba founder Jack Ma
China's ambitious investment project, part of its 'One Belt, One Road' strategy, is uniquely effective and inclusive, according to a Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

"The greatest difference between the Belt and Road Initiative and general globalization lies in the inclusion of young people, women, smaller enterprises and developing countries. It aims to reach more people. This is both a responsibility and an opportunity," the billionaire said in an interview with the People's Daily on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

The Alibaba founder praised the vision of Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying the project was an excellent opportunity for individuals and countries.

Comment: Further reading:

Arrow Down

Hong Kong rejects asylum applications of refugees who helped Snowden escape in 2013

© Bobby Yip / Reuters
Hong Kong has rejected the asylum applications of seven refugees who helped hide NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden during his time in the city in 2013. Their lawyer believes the decision was linked to Snowden's case and was, in fact, made long ago.

The asylum-seekers are Ajith Pushpakumara, a former soldier from Sri Lanka, as well as a family of four from the same country, including Supun Thilina Kellapatha, his wife Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis, and their two children. Also at risk of deportation is Vanessa Mae Rodel, a Filipino woman who has a Hong Kong-born daughter, according to the South China Morning Post.

The ruling of Hong of Kong's Immigration Department to reject their cases was "completely unreasonable," said Robert Tibbo, a Canadian lawyer representing the refugees, who added that the decision included many "factual errors." He also accused the authorities of deliberately trying to force his clients out of the city.

Comment: Snowden escaped the clutches of U.S. with help from Hong Kong asylum seekers


US-led coalition raids in Syria kill 26 civilians

At least 26 people were killed during the US-led anti-ISIS coalition air raids in the eastern countryiside of the Syrian province of Raqqah. 20 were reportedly injured.

According to local sources, the incident occurred in the village of Aakerchi, where coalition aircrafts targeted three vehicles that were transporting workers, employed in the agricultural sector.

26 people, including 24 female workers and 2 male drivers, were killed during the raids. 19 other female workers and a third driver fortunately managed to survive the assault.


President Trump, toss your Generals' war escalation plans in the trash

By the end of this month, Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Advisor HR McMaster will deliver to President Trump their plans for military escalations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. President Trump would be wise to rip the plans up and send his national security team back to the drawing board - or replace them. There is no way another "surge" in Afghanistan and Iraq (plus a new one in Syria) puts America first. There is no way doing the same thing over again will succeed any better than it did the last time.

Near the tenth anniversary of the US war on Afghanistan - seven years ago - I went to the Floor of Congress to point out that the war makes no sense. The original authorization had little to do with eliminating the Taliban. It was a resolution to retaliate against those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. From what we know now, the government of Saudi Arabia had far more to do with the financing and planning of 9/11 than did the Taliban. But we're still pumping money into that lost cause. We are still killing Afghanis and in so doing creating the next generation of terrorists.


Trump and the big picture - is it all bad?

© RT
Let's take a look at the things that are going well for President Trump, and the things that are not, and see if there is a pattern. Here I will include topics that are not necessarily the president's accomplishments or faults. I'll simply describe the current state of things.


Carving out 'Kurdistan' is the new US end game in Syria

As one regional war ends, another conflict may begin.

The War on Syria has taken many twists and turns over the past six years, but the conventional part of the campaign seems to be drawing to an end. Russia's anti-terrorist intervention turned the tables on the "moderate opposition rebels" and forever precluded any chance that they'd succeed in violently toppling the democratically elected and legitimate government of President Assad. The militant promotion of regime change is no longer in the cards for Syria, and great advances have been made on the anti-terrorist front against Daesh, but that doesn't mean that the US isn't still a danger to the Arab Republic.


Spreading peace, harmony and happiness - Xi speech outlines how One Belt, One Road initiative will change the world

© Reuters
Honour guards march before a welcoming ceremony ahead of the Belt and Road forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on May 13
President Xi Jinping, in his keynote speech that opened the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, did his best to explain the future of the New Silk Roads.

Xi said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - that what was once "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) - is a multilateral project set to bring "peace, harmony and happiness" across Eurasia by "strategically connecting" nations as diverse as Russia, Mongolia, Turkey and Vietnam through development plans that are already operational. And, he added, they will be a success because extra funds are already on their way.

Xi told his audience, that included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and a host of other world leaders and top ranking officials, that he had proposed an additional RMB 780 billion (approximately US$113 billion) to be disbursed through multiple sources.

These include the Silk Road Fund; the China Development Bank; the Export and Import Bank of China and also overseas capital provided by Chinese banks. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is not part - at least not yet - of this proposed package.


Trump's bluff about N. Korean war 2.0

The fact that April has passed with no military action in the Korean Peninsula taking place and the crisis unresolved shows talk of unilateral US military action was a bluff.

News that North Korea has tested a ballistic missile which hit the Sea of Japan 500 kilometres from the Russian coastline begs the question of what happened to the great crisis in the Korean Peninsula that the world media was talking about so excitedly throughout much of April?

As The Duran's readers may recall, during April the headlines were filled with stories of North Korea planning a sixth nuclear test, of President Trump warning of the US being prepared to take unilateral action if North Korea's nuclear programme was not stopped, of the the US carrier Carl Vinson with its accompanying "armada" closing on North Korea and of the US submarine USS Michigan with its vast battery of cruise missiles doing the same, of the entire US Senate being called to the White House to be briefed about the threat from North Korea, of the 'Mother of All Bombs' being dropped on ISIS in Afghanistan as a 'warning' to North Korea, and of Wang Yi - China's Foreign Minister - warning that war might break out on the Korean Peninsula at any moment.

In the event April has passed with no sign of a North Korean nuclear test and no military action by the US. North Korea since then has dropped out of the news whilst South Korea has elected a new more liberal minded President - Moon Jae-in - who seems intent on reducing tensions in the Korean Peninsula, has spoken of his desire to travel to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong-un, and who within a day of his inauguration spoke over the telephone with Russia's President Putin, with the Kremlin's summary of their conversation containing these interesting words that appear to signal Moon Jae-in's strong opposition to any attack on North Korea.

While exchanging views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula, both leaders underlined the importance of finding ways to resolve the crisis politically and diplomatically.

Whilst unilateral military action against North Korea by the US against South Korean opposition might in theory be possible, in practice it would be politically extremely difficult. The fact that President Moon Jae-in appears to oppose it makes it extremely unlikely it will happen.