North Korea Launches Unidentified Projectiles Into Sea (Source Huffingtonpost.com)North Korea has fired multiple unidentified projectiles into the sea off its east coast, “_blank” South Korea’s news agency Yonhap reports. The launches on Friday build on growing tensions between the U.S. and the isolated nation in recent weeks. South Korea’s military said the projectiles flew more than 150 miles, and added it was still analyzing the development, according to Yonhap. The launches come days after the U.S. and South Korea started the 10-day exercise-ulchi-freedom-guardian- ” Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises, an annual joint military drill the two countries have held in some form for more than half a century. While the simulated war exercise is intended to help establish defense techniques for a potential attack, North Korea views the drills as confrontational. As the exercises commenced on Monday, North Korea once again denounced U.S. President /donald-trump?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313″ Donald Trump, who had promised donald-trump-north-korea-threat “fire and fury” earlier this month if Pyongyang threatened the United States.
US Takes Over Baltic Air Policing Mission on Russia’s Borders (Source defensetech.org) The U.S. will take over the Baltic air policing mission next month in an effort to guard airspace over Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, U.S. European Command said Wednesday. ” Air Force “http://www.military.com/equipment/f-15-eagle” F-15C Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing, “http://www.military.com/base-guide/raf-lakenheath” RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom, will lead the next NATO Baltic Air Policing rotation at Air Base in Lithuania, EUCOM said. The F-15s, acting as a quick reactionary force, will surveil the air until the end of the year. The US last was part of the Baltic Air Policing mission in 2014, the same time Russia annexed Crimea. The Air Force’s obligations to the Baltic countries — which lack capable air forces — came under scrutiny last year after then-President-elect Donald Trump criticized the U.S. for acting as the backbone to the NATO alliance, and left the door open on whether he would defend countries he deemed as not properly contributing. Then-Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James in December touted the policing mission as critical, given that the Russian air force conducted a flurry of unsafe maneuvers and flybys near or over the unprotected airspace.
U.S. Warns Cancun Travelers of Rise in Homicides at Resorts (Source Time) The U.S. State Department warned its citizens about traveling to parts of Mexico including Cancun and Playa del Carmen, as homicides rise at resorts popular with American tourists. The advisory issued on Tuesday upgraded the warnings for two states, Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur, saying turf wars between crime gangs have led to a surge in violence. The expanded travel advisory hits right at the heart of a tourism industry that brings in $20 billion a year for Mexico. The state of Quintana Roo, where the resorts of Tulum and Cozumel are also located, gets 10 million tourists a year, a third of the national total. The warnings come as homicides in Mexico are set to rise to their highest since at least the turn of the century. Quintana Roo alone has seen 169 murders this year. “Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured or killed, have occurred” in both states, the U.S. warned. “While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens.”
Wall Street Banks Warn Downturn Is Coming (Source Bloomberg)
HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley see mounting evidence that global markets are in the last stage of their rallies before a downturn in the business cycle. Analysts at the Wall Street behemoths cite signals including the breakdown of long-standing collapse-of-correlation-in-stocks-will-persist-citigroup-says”to view webpage.” relationships between stocks, bonds and commodities as well as investors ignoring valuation fundamentals and data. It all means stock and credit markets are at risk of a painful drop.
“Equities have become less correlated with FX, FX has become less correlated with rates, and everything has become less sensitive to oil,” Andrew Sheets, Morgan Stanley’s chief cross-asset strategist, wrote in a note published Tuesday. His bank’s model shows assets across the world are the least correlated in almost a decade, even after U.S. stocks joined high-yield credit in a selloff triggered this month by President Donald Trump’s political standoff with North Korea and racial violence in Virginia. Just like they did in the run-up to the 2007 crisis, investors are pricing assets based on the risks specific to an individual security and industry, and shrugging off broader drivers, such as the latest release of manufacturing data, the model shows. As traders look for excuses to stay bullish, traditional relationships within and between asset classes tend to break down.
“These low macro and micro correlations confirm the idea that we’re in a late-cycle environment, and it’s no accident that the last time we saw readings this low was 2005-07,” Sheets wrote. He recommends boosting allocations to U.S. stocks while reducing holdings of corporate debt, where consumer consumption and energy is more heavily represented. That dynamic is also helping to keep volatility in stocks, bonds and currencies at bay, feeding risk appetite globally, according to Morgan Stanley.
‘Protected by nukes’: Pyongyang-backed Russian tour agency touts ‘safe & unique’ trips to N. Korea (Source rt.com)
A tour operator offering Russians vacations in North Korea has opened its offices in Moscow with the full backing of Pyongyang, which has promised to protect its visitors with nuclear weapons. It says the trips are “safer than an evening stroll in London.”
HYPERLINK “http://nkorean.ru/” NKOREAN offers a variety of tours between four and 15 days for groups of up to 10 people. The most expensive is a 15-day “full immersion” trip into the secretive culture of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) costing 118,090 rubles ($1,997), which includes several days in Pyongyang to see the various sites and museums, trips to the mountains, caves, beaches, Buddhist temples and a communal farm, all accommodation, visa fees as well as flights to and from Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East.
The firm boasts multilingual guide tours in Russian, English, Chinese and other languages. There are, of course, some restrictions. Prospective visitors must be subject to a background check, and on arrival will be accompanied by guides who will ensure the “adequate behavior of the tourist and guarantee their safety” at all times. In addition, taking photos of government or military facilities is “prohibited” while “long conversations with people living in North Korea are not recommended for tourists.” Some more exotic rules include “not standing at the doorstep of a house, or else you will let evil spirits in,” “not talking about death, ruination or divorce” because it might bring bad luck, and not eating with your mouth closed. NKOREAN is said to be the first Russian company officially affiliated with Pyongyang. It is not possible to enter North Korea without going through an official tour operator or being invited by the government. The number of tourists going to North Korea is still very low – according to the Russian Union of Travel Industry, only 423 Russians visited the DPRK last year, most of them from the Far East.
World War 3: US sends military to North Korea BORDER as tensions with Pyongyang escalate(Source express.co.uk)
The daring move from Washington and Seoul follows “Armageddon trade” between Pyongyang and the Pentagon over Kim Jong-un’s threat to blast US territory Guam with nuclear missiles, which looked as though it was reaching boiling point last week.
But when Donald Trump warned the despot the US is “locked and loaded”, ready to respond to any strike, tensions simmered.
Yet when troops land on the peninsula, just miles form Jong-un’s territory, explosive consequences are feared. A staggering 80,000 troops will be involved in the military drills along with hundreds of thousands of first responders and civilians. The Ulchi-Freedom Guardian war games are computerized command and control exercises which take place every other year. So-called defensive exercises between the two nations are the world’s largest – and will simulate warfare with North Korea. But this year, it will be amid huge tensions over a nuclear war – which has, at times, appeared on the verge of kicking off. Experts have claimed the drills taking place from August 21 to 31, are more important than ever, while they are rejected by China. Nuclear weapons may not be Jong-un’s mode of attack, experts said, as information emerges over the country stockpiling chemical weapons. Military commanders fear it will spark provocation from North Korea, as Pyongyang could launch more Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). So far this year, ordnance has been blasted into waters outside Japan, while Pyongyang threatens mainland USA and the US territory of Guam.
China urges US to withdraw sanctions against its companies over N. Korea(Source rt.com) Beijing has urged the US to drop the new batch of sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals, saying that the restrictions do not contribute to defusing the Korean standoff.
The sanctions affect 16 mainly Chinese and Russian individuals and companies over alleged “support of the North Korean regime” and assisting Pyongyang in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. “China opposes the imposition of unilateral sanctions outside the framework of the UN Security Council, especially the ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ imposed on Chinese entities or individuals by other countries in accordance with their domestic laws. Our position is clear and consistent,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a regular press briefing. Beijing has always conducted a “comprehensive and earnest implementation” of the UNSC resolutions, the spokeswoman stated, adding that China would punish anyone caught violating the sanctions under Chinese law. The unilateral US actions contribute neither to solving problems on the Korean Peninsula, nor to Sino-US trust, the spokeswoman said, adding that Beijing has urged Washington to drop the sanctions. One of the Chinese companies hit by the new US sanctions, Dandong Rich Earth Trading Co., has firmly rejected the allegations of violating the UNSC resolutions. The US Treasury accused the company of purchasing vanadium ore from North Korea.
“We did not import vanadium ore from North Korea. We imported products based on vanadium and refined from coal impurities. This product was not under sanctions. That’s why we’ve been able to register respective import with the Chinese customs services,” Li Xiaoguang, a manager at the company, told RIA Novosti, dismissing the accusations that the company’s business helped Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs. He said the company “would have never been able to import sanctioned materials from North Korea, since they would not have passed through the Chinese customs,” the company representative added.
North Korea says its nuclear weapons pose threat only to US and not other countries(Source ibtimes.co.uk) North Korea has claimed that its nuclear weapons will pose a threat only to the US, and not the rest of the world. The latest comments from the Kim Jong-un regime come as tensions ease a bit after a heated war of words between the administration of US President Donald Trump and North Korea. “The US has exaggerated that we’re posing a grave threat to the entire world … But we won’t initiate or threaten a nuclear attack against any countries in the world, unless they participate in anti-North military actions by the US,” it said. The current tensions in the Korean peninsula started increasing following multiple missile tests by North Korea. While some have failed, how-far-can-north-koreas-icbm-reach-all-us-within-strike-range-threatens-kim-jong-“_blank” two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests in July raised concerns about the possibility of Pyongyang striking a US target. It later emerged that the Kim regime had worked out how to miniaturize nuclear warheads to be transported via ICBM, though there are doubts over their reliability.
“(North Korea) has not pursued nuclear and rocket development secretly. Instead, all processes of weapon development have been transparently disclosed, as part of (the North’s) efforts to deter a war,” the paper claimed. However, Seoul-based Yonhap news agency noted that the North Korean newspaper’s commentary is viewed as part of the reclusive state’s efforts to ease its isolation after the UN Security Council slapped harsher economic sanctions on Pyongyang over its repeated missiles launches.
Europe cannot rely on US support to defend itself – EU Commission chief (Source rt.com) European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has said the continent cannot rely on American military support in the long run, reiterating his previous calls for establishing Europe’s own integrated military. “It becomes clear that we cannot rely on American defense support in the long run,” Juncker auf-dem-stand-jean-claude-juncker-im-interview.csp” told the Austrian newspaper. Speaking about the current state of European affairs, he said Europe only became stronger and more inclined to stick together after the British voted to leave the EU in their landmark 2016 referendum. The 27-member bloc, he said, is steadily recovering from the crises it has faced since 2015, including the mass influx of refugees and the surprise election of Donald Trump as US president. The veteran politician has consistently suggested that Europe become less dependent on its transatlantic ally in terms of military support. In June, he argued the European Union should cease “outsourcing” defense matters. “The protection of Europe can no longer be outsourced. Even our biggest military powers – and I could count them on one, maximum two – cannot combat all the challenges and threats alone,” he said at the Prague Defense and Security Conference. Less than three percent of Europe’s troops are combat-ready and fit for deployment, he said, while alluding to the creation of European Defense Fund to conduct defense-related research.
Juncker said Washington now believes “they are shouldering too much of the burden for their wealthy European allies,” which in turn should make Europe more pro-active in defending their interests.
Calls for a greater European military integration have also been voiced by other senior officials. Hans-Peter Bartels, the German parliament’s Commissioner for the Armed Forces, said in June “there will be a European army in the end,” destined to unite “disorganized, technically fragmented and duplicate structures.”
Fellow Republicans rebuke Trump over government shutdown threat (Source Reuters) Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans rebuked the president on Wednesday after his threat to shut down the U.S. government over funding for a border wall rattled markets and cast a shadow over congressional efforts to raise the country’s debt ceiling and pass spending bills. Congress will have about 12 working days when it returns on Sept. 5 from its summer break to approve spending measures to keep the government from shutting down, and a deadline also is closing in for raising the cap on the amount the federal government may borrow. With those deadlines looming in late September and early October, Trump raised the prospect in a speech on Tuesday evening of a shutdown if Congress does not agree to fund his long-promised wall along the border with Mexico.
Trump made building a border wall to deter illegal immigration a central part of his 2016 election campaign but the issue of funding it has not gained traction as lawmakers, including many Republicans, question whether it is necessary. The top Republican in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, said on Wednesday that a wall was necessary but the government did not have to choose between border security and a government shutdown. “I don’t think anyone’s interested in having a shutdown,” he told reporters in Hillsboro, Oregon, where visited an Intel factory. “I don’t think it’s in our interest to do so.” Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a Republican who chairs a House Appropriations subcommittee, said shutting down the government was very “unwise” and such a move could backfire on the party that controls power in Washington.
“When you control the presidency, the Senate and the House, you’re shutting down the government that you’re running. I don’t think it’s smart politically and I don’t think it would succeed practically,” he told Reuters in an interview.