China-Iran Oil Deal Undermines the Dollar (Source thetrumpet.com) Iran struck a major oil deal with China at a meeting in August, reported the Petroleum Economist on September 3. The crude oil will be paid for in Chinese yuan. This is a blow to the United States dollar. China will invest $280 billion into Iran’s oil economy; an extra $120 billion will go toward improving transport infrastructure. The deal is a major step forward in shifting trade away from the American dollar. Using the yuan to conduct crude oil trade with Iran is a way to avoid American sanctions. Even if the deal is half as productive as China says it will be, it could reverse much of what U.S. President Donald Trump’s sanctions campaign sought to achieve. China’s decision may have complicated its trade war with America. But the fact that it is willing to make such bold claims shows its willingness to push the limits of diplomacy. Petroleum Economist also noted that China plans to deploy 5,000 armed guards to Iran to protect crude oil infrastructure. This would be a major leap forward for Chinese involvement in the troubled Middle East. Again, some have speculated that it may not materialize. But China and Iran did sign a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement in 2016. This is the strongest diplomatic agreement in Beijing’s arsenal. The U.S. dollar is often called the petrodollar because the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has conducted business with it since 1973. It has been the global oil trade’s preferred currency since the end of the Second World War. In September 2017, China took a major step away from the dollar by launching an oil futures index denominated in the yuan. For the first time, buyers could convert yuan to gold. This brings extra security and flexibility for nations participating in the index, as they are not forced to use the yuan or the dollar. As the world’s leading oil importer, China’s creation of this futures index dealt a blow to the dollar’s status. Russia, the world’s second-largest oil exporter, also began accepting yuan as payment for oil. Saudi Arabia recently threatened to sell oil in yuan as well. Many of America’s rivals are working around U.S. dominance.
Russia’s Kaliningrad Territory Is Armed to The Teeth. NATO Wants to Crush It in a War. (Source The National Interest) The Pentagon has a plan for destroying the defenses of Russia’s most heavily-armed European outpost, a top U.S. commander said in September 2019.
The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which lies between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea and is geographically separate from the rest of Russia, practically bristles with S-300 and S-400 air-defense missiles, Oniks anti-ship missiles and Iskander surface-to-surface missiles.
From Kaliningrad, Russia can threaten NATO aircraft, ships and ground forces for hundreds of miles in all directions.
But U.S. forces believe they know how to crack Kaliningrad, Gen Jeff Harrigan, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, told reporters including Breaking Defense’s Sydney Freedberg, Jr. “We train to that,” Harrigian said. “We think through those plans all the time, and… if that would ever come to fruition, we’d be ready to execute.”
“It would be a multi-domain, very timely and effective capability that we would bring to ensure we have the access we need in that environment,” Harrigian added.
“Unsurprisingly, the general didn’t give details on what that plan of attack would be,” Freedberg wrote. “But the unique position of Kaliningrad, nestled between Poland and Lithuania, well away from the rest of Russia, makes it both an excellent advance base and a highly exposed target.”
Moscow in recent years has been beefing up Kaliningrad’s defenses. Ground troops in the exclave are scheduled to receive Iskander-M ballistic missiles in 2019, “completing” the “rearmament of the missile formations of the land forces,” the Kremlin announced on Jan. 1, 2019.
missile brigade possesses more than 50 vehicles, including launchers, command
and maintenance vehicles and other support vehicles, according to the defense
ministry. The new Iskander-M rocket can carry a conventional or nuclear warhead
as far as 300 miles away.
Trump tells reporters border wall is ‘wired’, immediately after army general asks him not to discuss in public (Source The Independent)
Donald Trump touted the robust construction of his border fence on a visit to southern California, but risked the ire of one of his top generals by revealing the barrier would be “wired” to detect attempts to breach it. Flanked by engineers and the border patrol commissioner, the president talked up the steel-and-concrete fence’s technological elements during a press conference in San Diego. He said: “They’re wired, so that we will know if somebody is trying to break through.” Turning to Lt Gen Todd Semonite, chief of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Mr Trump added: “You may want to discuss that a little bit, general.” But he was told: “Sir, there could be some merit in not discussing it.” To nervous laughter from officials, Mr Trump continued: “Ok. I like that. That was a great answer. I’ll just tell you they’re wired, ok? They’re wired. They’re technologically very
advanced, all set up for cameras any place we want.
Navy SEAL who oversaw the bin Laden raid says China’s massive military buildup is a ‘holy s—‘ moment (Source Yahoo News)
China’s technological strategy and innovation are serious threats to US national security — now, according to retired Adm. William McRaven, the US has reached a ‘holy s—” moment and needs to invest more significantly in technology research and development to keep its edge.
McRaven said that “as we talk about the rise of China, the gap” between American and Chinese innovation “is narrowing.”
In some cases — like with 5G commercialization — China is already beating the US, and its intellectual-property theft of US technology only compounds the rapid pace at which it’s developing new technologies, a report by the Council on Foreign Relations released Wednesday said.
Russia detains shaman on mission to ‘banish Putin’ (Source AFP)
Russian police on Thursday said they had detained a Siberian shaman trekking towards Moscow on a mission to expel “demon” President Vladimir Putin, picking up a crowd of supporters on the way. Police in the eastern Siberian region of Buryatia told Interfax they had detained Alexander Gabyshev, the shaman, on a highway near Lake Baikal and would put him on a flight back to his home region where he is “wanted for committing a crime”. Gabyshev’s eccentric bid to walk from his home city of Yakutsk to Moscow, a distance of some 3,000 miles, has seen a group of followers join him on the way.
His simply expressed statements about Putin captured public attention, prompting opposition protests as well as a sharp response from the authorities and muck-raking reports on pro-Kremlin television. “God said that he’s a demon,” Gabyshev told the TV Rain channel in July. “Nature doesn’t like him. Where he is, there are cataclysms and acts of terror.” “Once he’s gone, there will be a thousand years of calm and prosperity,” he said, wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt and surrounded by supporters at a gathering in Chita. Gabyshev’s supporters on Thursday morning said in online videos that he was snatched from their camp by masked security officers in the night without explanation. The highway was blocked to carry out the detention.
Belgian F-16s scrambled to intercept 2 Russian nuclear-capable supersonic bombers over the Baltic Sea(Source Business Insider) Belgian Air Force F-16s scrambled to intercept two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack supersonic, nuclear-capable bombers, accompanied by two Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker fighters over the Baltic Sea on Tuesday. The Belgian Air Force has been guarding the Baltic airspace since September 3, when it took over the police mission from fellow NATO member Hungary, which was supported by Spain and the UK in its mission. Four Belgian F-16s and at least 60 soldiers have been deployed to protect Baltic airspace from unwelcome incursions, according to the Belgian Ministry of Defense. NATO countries share the mission of protecting Baltic airspace, as the Baltic countries — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — don’t have the infrastructure to protect their own airspace and are considered at risk of destabilization or invasion by Russia.
Putin proposes Russian weapons for Saudi Arabia after oil industry attacks (Source Reuters)
Russia is ready to help Saudi Arabia following attacks on the Saudi oil industry if needed, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with leaders of Turkey and Iran in Ankara on Monday, and proposed Russian weapons for purchase.
“We are ready to provide respective assistance to Saudi Arabia, and it would be enough for the political leadership of Saudi Arabia to make a wise government decision – as the leaders of Iran did in their time by purchasing S-300 and as (Turkish) President (Tayyip) Erdogan did by purchasing the latest S-400 ‘Triumph’ air defense systems from Russia,” Putin said. These Russian weapons would protect any infrastructure facilities of Saudi Arabia, he added.
Yemen’s Houthis threaten to attack United Arab Emirates targets (Source Reuters)
Yemen’s Houthi group said on Wednesday it had identified dozens of sites in the United Arab Emirates as possible targets, in an attempt to underscore its military clout following a weekend attack it claims to have carried out on Saudi oil facilities.
“To the Emirati regime we say only one operation (of ours) would cost you dearly,” Yahya Saria, the military spokesman for the Iran-aligned movement, said in a televised speech. “Today and for the first time we announce that we have dozens of targets within our range in the UAE, some are in Abu Dhabi and can be attacked at any time.”
In Riyadh, Saudi Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said the attack could not have come from Yemen, adding the Houthi movement was “covering up” for Iran.
Russia & Iran to switch to SWIFT-free banking system(Source RT) Russia and Iran will transfer payments using an alternative system to the internationally recognized SWIFT money transfer network, the governor of the Iranian central bank, Abdolnaser Hemmati, announced. Instead of SWIFT, a system that facilitates cross-border payments between 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries worldwide, the two countries will use their own domestically developed financial messaging systems – Iran’s SEPAM and Russia’s SPFS. Using this system for trade and business exchanges between EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) member states can help develop and expand trade exchanges between the member states as well,” Abdolnaser Hemmati said. Tehran is set to officially join the Russia-led free-trade zone, the EAEU, next month. The document on Iran’s participation was ratified in June by the nation’s parliament and President Hassan Rouhani has already ordered that the free trade zone agreement be implemented. Earlier this month, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov said that Tehran and Moscow are developing an alternative to SWIFT. Russia began development of SPFS in 2014 amid Washington’s threats to disconnect the country from SWIFT. The first transaction on the SPFS network involving a non-bank enterprise was made in December 2017. Around 500 participants, including major Russian financial institutions and companies, have already joined the payment channel, while some foreign banks have shown interest in joining.
A deadly mosquito-borne illness kills a third of the people it infects, and it’s spreading. Here’s what we know about the states affected(Source Insider)
Eastern equine encephalitis is a mosquito-borne virus that causes a rare, potentially fatal disease and seems to be spreading across the US.
There have been 12 human cases of the virus and two deaths so far this season. It’s also killed horses across the U.S. and been found in mosquitos in several states and in Canada. Here’s what we know about the places that have tested positive for EEE, and what you can do to stay safe. At least a dozen cases of eastern equine encephalitis, a dangerous mosquito-borne illness, have been confirmed across the U.S. so far this season. Two people have died from the disease. EEE, or “triple E,” is a rare but life-threatening virus that can wreak havoc in livestock and cause permanent brain damage in people, resulting in seizures, mental impairment, and even personality changes in survivors of the disease. EEE is incurable, but its symptoms can be successfully treated if it’s caught before it spreads to the brain. About a third of patients with EEE die, either within weeks of getting this disease or years later as a result of ongoing physical and mental impairment. Triple E is most often found in the northeastern United States in swampy, wooded areas from late spring to early fall. It can also be found in southern states into the winter months.