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Putin offers Japan’s Abe peace treaty by end of year without preconditions

Putin offers Japan’s Abe peace treaty by end of year without preconditions (Source RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Japanese leader Shinzo Abe a peace treaty without preconditions by the end of the year. Decades after the end of WWII, the two states have yet to sign an agreement. The two leaders met on Wednesday at the Eastern Economic Forum taking place in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East

“Let’s conclude a peace treaty – not now but by the end of the year, without any preconditions,” the Russian president said. The Japanese prime minister agreed that both states should aspire to reach such a deal in the future. “Let us move forward, asking ourselves the questions like, ‘if we won’t do it [conclude the peace treaty] now, then when? If we don’t do it now, then who will do it if not us?’” Abe said. Shinzo Abe also said the living generation has the responsibility to “completely remove the post-war scenery” from the region. Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov later clarified that the Japanese leader is yet to give an official reply to Putin’s idea. Russia and Japan did not sign a formal peace treaty after the end of WWII in 1945, and the absence of an agreement has strained relations ever since.

The main obstacle to signing a peace treaty is Tokyo’s long-standing claims to the southern part of the Russian Kuril Islands, collectively known in Japan as the ‘Northern Territories’.


Russian gas mega project to China close to completion

Russian gas mega project to China close to completion (Source RT) Gazprom will soon complete its part of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline to China, the Russian company announced on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. The pipeline will be one of the world’s largest.

We have to weld 40 kilometers,” Gazprom Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee Vitaly Markelov.

Last week, on September 5, Gazprom reported that 2,000 kilometers of pipes were welded and laid from Yakutia, Russia to the Russian-Chinese border, which is 93 percent of its length. Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed an agreement for gas to be supplied via the eastern route (the Power of Siberia gas pipeline) in 2014. The 30-year agreement provides for Russian gas deliveries to China at 38 billion cubic meters per year. Gas supplies will start in December 2019.

The construction was hardly easy for Gazprom, since the pipeline route passes through swampy, mountainous areas, with the extreme environmental conditions of Siberia. By building it, Gazprom intends not only to supply gas to China, but also contribute to the social and economic development of Russia’s Far East and gasification of the Russian regions.


America Could Soon Have a New Way to Start a Nuclear War

America Could Soon Have a New Way to Start a Nuclear War (Source The National Interest)

US Air Force weapons developers are working with industry to pursue early prototypes of a new air-launched, nuclear-armed cruise missile able to pinpoint targets with possible attacks from much farther ranges than bombers can typically attack. Service engineers and weapons architects are now working with industry partners on early concepts, configurations and prototypes for the weapon – which is slated to be operational by the end of the next decade – late 2020s. Many senior Pentagon and Air Force officials believe the emerging nuclear-armed Long Range Stand-Off weapon will enable strike forces to attack deep within enemy territory and help overcome high-tech challenges posed by emerging adversary air defenses.

The Air Force awarded two $900 million LRSO deals last year to both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin as a key step toward selecting one vendor for the next phase of the weapon’s development. Due to fast growing emerging threats, the Air Force now envisions an operational LRSO by the end of the 2020s – as opposed to prior thoughts they it may not be ready until the 2030s. While many details of the weapons progress are not available naturally for security reasons, Air Force officials tell Warrior Maven that plans to move into the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase are on track for 2022. A cruise missile armed with nuclear weapons could, among many things, potentially hold targets at risk which might be inaccessible to even stealth bombers in some instances.




Russia joins forces with China in largest war games since Soviet era

Russia joins forces with China in largest war games since Soviet era (Source

Russia began its largest war games since the Cold War on Tuesday, drilling hundreds of thousands of troops alongside forces from its growing ally China.

With 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 vehicles, 1,000 aircraft and 80 ships, the Vostok exercises in eastern Russia will be even bigger than the USSR’s 1981 Zapad training, according to defence ministry claims. They will last a week and take place across nine training grounds as well as in the Sea of Japan and near the Bering Strait.

Defence ministry video showed tanks and missile launchers streaming across dusty fields, rocket launchers and artillery loading onto ships and marines landing on the Arctic coast under the cover of attack helicopters.

As their forces began the movements, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping baked crepes, filled them with caviar and washed them down with vodka shots at the eastern economic forum in Vladivostok. The manoeuvres are a triumphant moment for Mr Putin, who has made the military modernisation a top priority following post-Soviet stagnation and highlighted fantastic-sounding new nuclear weapons in his state-of-the-nation speech in March. A US spy plane reported over the Sea of Japan hinted at the unease of Western countries with Russia’s biggest-ever exercises. Coming a week before a summit between the leaders of North and South Korea, the war games will reiterate Moscow’s bid to become a major military and diplomatic player in the region.

China’s Xi calls for Moscow and Beijing to unite to fight protectionism

China’s Xi calls for Moscow and Beijing to unite to fight protectionism (Source Reuters)

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that Russia and China should work together to oppose trade protectionism and what he called unilateral approaches to international problems, a veiled reference to U.S. foreign policy. Xi made the comments at a news conference in Vladivostok in Russia’s far east after holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of an economic forum. Xi, whose country is locked in an escalating trade showdown with the United States, did not mention Washington by name but his comments made it clear he was referring to the U.S. and what Moscow and Beijing regarded as its unacceptable unilateralism.

“In a rapidly changing international situation with growing instability and unpredictability, cooperation between Russia and China takes on even more importance,” said Xi, according to a transcript on the Kremlin’s website.

“Together with the international community we will advance political solutions to current problems, conflicts, unflinchingly defend the aims and principles of the U.N. charter, jointly oppose unilateralism and trade protectionism, and advance a new type of international relations.”

Germany Plans SWIFT Destruction of U.S. Financial System

Germany Plans SWIFT Destruction of U.S. Financial System (Source Europe’s declaration of independence from the United States reached the economic realm last week. Last Monday, France and Germany announced that they were working on a new international trading system beyond U.S. control.

“We must increase Europe’s autonomy and sovereignty in trade, economic and financial policies,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. “It will not be easy, but we have already begun to do it.” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire agreed, saying, “With Germany, we are determined to work on an independent European or Franco-German financing tool which would allow us to avoid being the collateral victims of U.S. extra-territorial sanctions. I want Europe to be a sovereign continent, not a vassal, and that means having totally independent financing instruments that do not today exist.” One of the most concrete of these is a plan to create a European rival to the swiftinternational payment system. “If that does happen, it could possibly lead the way towards Europe redefining itself geopolitically in terms of its military and strategic independence,” wrote Pepe Escobar for the Asia Times.

It may sound like a technical problem, but this is about Europe joining Russia and China to shut the U.S. out of global trade, just as the Trumpet has been warning for years.

When China outlined its plans for a new version of swift, the Trumpet’s Robert Morley called it a possible “turning point for the … United States’ economic dominance.”

swift is a messaging system that allows banks to send transaction details to each other. It is the main form of international communication for banks, transmitting 15 million messages per day. swift is based in Brussels, but it takes orders from the U.S. America uses this power to cut off nations from the global financial system.

Most recently, the U.S. ordered swift to cut off Iran, starting November 4. Without swift, Iranian banks will have no way to communicate with the global banking community. Combine America’s power over swift with the fact that the dollar is the world’s most common reserve currency and the most used currency in world trade, and it means America is an economic superpower. The rest of the world is not happy about this. Europe may want to trade with Iran. But unless it makes some big changes, starting on November 4, it will be very hard for it to do so. China created its China International Payment System (cips) as an alternative to swift in 2015. Early this year Russia tested its own version of swift. Now Europe is working on its own system. This is a huge shift. China’s yuan has a long way to go to challenge the dollar’s supremacy. It is used in only 1.6 percent of international payment transactions. The Russian ruble is even further from being able to challenge the dollar. But the euro has almost caught up already: It is used in 36 percent of international transactions, versus the dollar’s 39.9 percent. The euro’s use as a reserve currency is still a long way behind the dollar. Europe needs to come up with a convincing and permanent solution to the euro crisis to gain the long-term trust of investors. But once that happens, the euro will become a very credible challenger to the dollar.

Prof. Christopher Bovis told Deutsche Welle that Europe’s work on an alternative swift had already begun: “The European Commission has been developing a system, a parallel system to swift, which will allow Iran to interface with European financial systems, European clearing systems, using the nominations supported and created by the European Investment Bank based on the euro.”

California Wildfire Map: Delta Fire Closes Down 50 Miles of I-5, Showing No Sign of Slowing

California Wildfire Map: Delta Fire Closes Down 50 Miles of I-5, Showing No Sign of Slowing (Source

California’s Delta Fire has continued to spread, shutting down 50 miles of I-5 as passengers were forced to abandon their cars and flee to safety. The wildfire, which started near Lake Shasta last Wednesday, has already burned through 25 square miles. On Wednesday the fire spread more rapidly, burning through 15,000 acres in California’s Shasta County in just one day. As of Thursday morning, the Shasta County Sheriffs Office issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents living along Interstate 5 from exit 707 to 714. Residents of nearby Dunsmuir, Calif., have been told to be ready to evacuate as the wildfire shows no sign of slowing down due to weather conditions. The California wildfire map below shows how far the Delta fire has spread. Dry bush and low humidity has challenged firefighters as they attempt to tame the blaze. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but was listed as “human”- meaning it could have been accidental or purposely started. Fire officials say they expect the fire to spread further north towards Gibson, east towards Green Mountains and west towards Damnation Peak. Fire officials added that by Friday the wildfire could reach the area recently ravaged by the Hirz Fire, which is currently 75% contained. The California Interagency Incident Management Team assumed command over the Delta wildfire as of Wednesday. They posted an update on their website on Thursday afternoon and said it continued to grow aggressively with flame reaching 300 feet high.

“Firefighters are working quickly to protect communities and structures immediately threatened by the fire. Dozers are being mobilized to construct fuel breaks and control lines north of the fire front to assist with protecting life and property. Aircraft will be used extensively for water and retardant drops in order to assist with protecting values at risk and slowing the fire’s progression.”


Japan earthquake: Eight dead and dozens missing in landslides

Japan earthquake: Eight dead and dozens missing in landslides (Source Yahoo)At least eight people were killed killed and 32 were missing, Japanese media reported, after a powerful earthquake paralysed the northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, triggering landslides and knocking out power to its 5.3 million residents.

Aerial footage showed dozens of landslides exposing barren hillsides near the town of Atsuma in southern Hokkaido, with mounds of reddish earth and fallen trees piled up at the edge of green fields. The collapsed remains of what appeared to be houses or barns were scattered about.

Six of the deaths were in the village of Atsuma, National broadcaster NHK reported. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that 25,000 troops and other personnel were being dispatched to the area to help with rescue operations.

Hurricane Florence expected to strengthen as it nears the East Coast

Hurricane Florence expected to strengthen as it nears the East Coast (Source Florence continues to creep closer to the United States – but whether, where and when it might strike remains a mystery.

Still almost 1,800 miles from the East Coast, the Category 1 storm remains a week away, according to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

“It is far too soon to speculate what, if any, impacts Florence may have on the U.S. East Coast next week,” the hurricane center said Thursday afternoon. But in the meantime, waves from the distant storm will soon start to affect coastal communities. “Regardless of Florence’s eventual track, large swells emanating from the hurricane will reach Bermuda beginning on Friday and portions of the U.S. East Coast this weekend, resulting in life-threatening surf and rip currents,” the hurricane center said. Florence was east of the Bahamas on Thursday afternoon and moving northwest at 10 mph.

Most storms in that region tend to curve away from the United States. But an unusually strong ridge of high pressure could block that path, meteorologist Ryan Maue said. “If you live anywhere from coastal Georgia to coastal Massachusetts, start planning now,” Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Bettes said.

Winds peaked at 130 mph Wednesday before weakening to 80 mph on Thursday. They’re expected to weaken further over the next couple of days – potentially down to tropical storm status – before regaining strength to 120 mph, a Category 3 hurricane by early next week.


New York and New Jersey probe Catholic clergy abuse allegations

New York and New Jersey probe Catholic clergy abuse allegations (Source

The attorneys general in New York and New Jersey have launched investigations into sex abuse allegations against Catholic priests. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has subpoenaed all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in the state. Her office is pursuing a civil investigation into the church’s handling of sex abuse allegations. She has also authorized local prosecutors to convene grand juries to pursue criminal investigations, if necessary. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York said in a statement that the dioceses are “ready and eager to work together with [Underwood] in the investigation.” (The state’s eight dioceses are the Archdiocese of New York and the dioceses of Albany, Brooklyn, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Ogdensburg and Rockville Centre.)

In July, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick resigned and retreated into seclusion after he was accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with seminarians when he was the archbishop of Newark. Then three weeks ago, a grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania found that about 300 priests sexually abused more than a thousand children.