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Israel finalizes purchase of sixth German-made submarine

© Tomer Appelbaum
One of the Israeli (pirate) navy’s Dolphin submarines off the Israeli coast in 2008.
Price negotiations had balked last year when Berlin, beset by budgetary constraints, would not sell the submarine with the deep discount provided for the first three vessels of the Dolphin fleet.

Israel has finalized the purchase of a sixth submarine from Germany, with payment to be spread over several years, an Israeli official said on Thursday.

The proposed expansion of the diesel-powered Dolphin submarine fleet, considered Israel's vanguard against foes like Iran, had been held up by wrangling with Berlin over the $500 million to $700 million price tag.

Comment: From our archives in 2010:

Israeli cabinet's guilt trip to Germany: Merkel 'donates' nuclear submarine to Netanyahu

Israel Stations Nuclear Missile Subs Off Iran


US: Cigar shop smoking ban snuffed out of workplace smoking bill

man smoking
© AP Photo/ Ross D. Franklin, File.
A man smokes in 2007 in a a Phoenix cigar shop.
A provision to ban lighting up at cigar and tobacco shops has been snuffed out of a Senate bill targeting exemptions to the state's 1994 workplace smoking ban.

Senate Bill 575, by Democratic Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, would add sites such as hotel and motel lobbies and banquet rooms, warehouse facilities, employee break rooms and small and owner-operated businesses to the list of smoke-free zones.

The measure originally targeted cigar and tobacco retailers and lounges. But DeSaulnier decided to cut that provision from the bill this week after facing stiff opposition from shop owners and stogie lovers, including an international trade association based in Georgia, which argued such a ban would unfairly hurt their business and undermine their ability to serve their customers who come to the sites to smoke.


France probes ex-minister's child orgy claim

© Unknown
Ex-minister Luc Ferry is now being questioned by French police about his claim that another former minister organized orgies "with little boys" in Morocco.
Paris - The French prosecutor's office opened a preliminary investigation Wednesday after a former government minister alleged that another ex-minister had participated in an orgy with young boys in Morocco.

Former Education Minister Luc Ferry will likely be questioned after alleging during a television show that another minister was caught at an orgy in Marrakech, a judicial official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity since she wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

The preliminary investigation is aimed at seeking more precise information from Ferry, the official said.

In France, a preliminary investigation is conducted to see if a case should be pursued.


Dispute Grows as Egyptian Gas Is Still Not Flowing to Israel

Egypt gass explosion
© European Pressphoto Agency
Explosions damaged an Egyptian natural gas pipeline in February, above, and April. Despite successful repairs, deliveries to Israel have not resumed.
More than a month after saboteurs blew up an Egyptian pipeline supplying natural gas to Israel, the line is repaired but gas is not flowing and foreign shareholders of the company suspect politics to be the reason. They are threatening legal action against Egypt.

American and Thai shareholders in the pipeline have demanded urgent consultations to avoid resorting to binding arbitration based on trade treaties. One letter to Egyptian ministries from an American company with an Israeli chairman threatens a lawsuit of $8 billion.


E. Coli + Germany + Bio Weapon

© Miller and Hanley
There seems to be an incredibly deadly strain of the E-coli bacteria in Germany at the moment.

It is a very virulent strain, and according to some doctors and researchers, the most virulent they have ever seen.
"Helge Karch, the director of the RKI's EHEC consulting laboratory at the Münster University Hospital in western Germany, has devoted almost his entire life as a researcher to EHEC bacteria.

"But I've never encountered something like this," he says.
The bacterium that is currently being experienced in Germany is an enterohemorrhagic strain of the bacterium Escherichia coli (EHEC), a close relative of harmless intestinal bacteria, but one that produces the dangerous Shiga toxin. All it takes is about 100 bacteria -- which isn't much in the world of bacteria, which are normally counted by the millions -- to become infected. After an incubation period of two to 10 days, patients experience watery or bloody diarrhea.

Comment: Along this line of thinking, readers might be interested in reading this.


Wall Street Baffled by Slowing US Economy, Low Yields: Trader

Wall Street is having a hard time figuring out what to do now that the U.S. economy appears to be sputtering and yields are so low, Peter Yastrow, market strategist for Yastrow Origer, told CNBC.

"What we've got right now is almost near panic going on with money managers and people who are responsible for money," he said. "They can not find a yield and you just don't want to be putting your money into commodities or things that are punts that might work out or they might not depending on what happens with the economy.


Horror for US Economy as Data Falls off Cliff

US data cliff
The last month has been a horror show for the U.S. economy, with economic data falling off a cliff, according to Mike Riddell, a fund manager at M&G Investments in London.

"It seems that almost every bit of data about the health of the US economy has disappointed expectations recently," said Riddell, in a note sent to CNBC on Wednesday.

"US house prices have fallen by more than 5 percent year on year, pending home sales have collapsed and existing home sales disappointed, the trend of improving jobless claims has arrested, first quarter GDP wasn't revised upwards by the 0.4 percent forecast, durables goods orders shrank, manufacturing surveys from Philadelphia Fed, Richmond Fed and Chicago Fed were all very disappointing."

"And that's just in the last week and a bit," said Riddell.


US: Ron Paul Warns of 'Dictatorship in Washington DC'

Ron Paul
© Unknown
GOP Presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on Tuesday warned of too much "dictatorship in Washington D.C." while on a campaign stop in Mason City, Iowa.

"We're not on the verge of having a king, but we are on the verge of having way too much dictatorship in Washington, D.C.," Paul said, comparing the U.S.'s current situation to a Biblical tale in which the ancient Israelites demanded, against their own good, that a king rule their land instead of God.

"Our rights come from our creator, not our government," added Paul according to the The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.


"Boots on the Ground": Sarkozy and Cameron Prepare to Land in Libya

© Unknown
At the end of the G8 summit, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he would visit Benghazi with the British Prime Minister David Cameron, since "we think alike," essentially they agree that they "cannot negotiate with Gadhafi." President Barack Obama expressed the same thought: "We will not relent until the people of Libya are protected, and the shadow of tyranny is lifted." In other words, they are preparing to occupy Libya.

And while the G8 demands from Tripoli "the immediate cessation of the use of force," NATO intensifies air raids; in less than eight weeks more than 8,500 have occurred. Most of the planes leave from bases in southern Italy, with supplies coming from others. Pisa is continually crossed over by C-130J and other cargo planes that, from the U.S. Camp Darby base, transport bombs and missiles to bases in the South (foreshadowing what will come into operation when the national air hub opens and begins to transit all troops and materiel to the operational theaters of war.) That the air strikes are preparation for a landing is confirmed by the entry into operation of the French Tiger helicopter, probably accompanied by the British Apache.


Military Escalation: "Phase Two" of the War on Libya


Psychopathology writ large
A new phase of the war is unfolding leading to a process of military escalation as well as the eventual landing of US-NATO commandos on Libya's shores.

An unprecedented deployment of naval power in the Mediterranean is occurring.

The USS George H W Bush supercarrier, the most advanced vessel in the US naval arsenal, together with its strike and carrier group has entered the Mediterranean, to join up with the Sixth Fleet in Naples.

Aircraft supercarrier USS George H W Bush (CVN77) is the World's largest naval vessel: with "four-and-a-half acres of space on its flight deck, making it capable of housing 90 jets and helicopters. It is home to 5,500 crew". Equipped with sophisticated electronic warfare systems, it is the World's largest "mobile military base" (Manlio Dinucci, "Boots on the Ground": Sarkozy and Cameron Prepare to Land in Libya, Global Research, May 31, 2011).

The USS George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group was sent on its "maiden voyage" to the Sixth Fleet area of naval operations, namely the Mediterranean. It was "certified ready for combat operations" a month before the onset of the war on Libya. (USS George H.W. Bush Strike Group Certified Combat Ready, February 21, 2011)