Korea Satellite Orbiting Normally as North Eyes Nuke Test
PYONGYANG UNVEILS PHOTOS OF LAUNCH AS WORLD SLAMS THE MOVE
(NEWSER) – Despite initial reports that North Korea’ssuccessfully launched rocket was “tumbling out of control,” South Korea now says that it’s orbiting normally, though what the space vehicle’s purpose is or if it’s functioning remains unclear, reports Fox News. Meanwhile, the world is lining up to slam the launch, with even Pyongyang ally China piling on. Kim Jong Un “knows the stakes are high … and it is really what he does next that matters,” says a US official. Pyongyang appeared indifferent, proudly releasing photos of the launch, as Reuters reports that it’s eying a nuclear test.“If sanctions get toughened, the likelihood of North Korea carrying out a nuclear test is high,” says an analyst. It would be the country’s third such test; one in 2009 came just a month after a previous rocket launch. Satellite photos reveal the country improving access to nuclear testing grounds. The UN Security Council still seems to think it can prevent new tests, Reuters notes. But the North may be looking for “negotiations aimed at slowing down or freezing, but not reversing,” the programs, an expert says. In that case, “the US … will have to provide generous ‘aid’ as a reward for North Koreans’ willingness to slow down.” Credit: By Matt Cantor, Newser Staff
Scuds? Why Syria May Be Using the Missiles
IT COULD BE A NOT-SO-SUBTLE WARNING ABOUT CHEMICAL WEAPONS
(NEWSER) – The New York Times broke the news earlier today that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad has fired Scud missiles at rebel positions in northern parts of the country. The White House sees it as a “serious escalation,” and the Washington Post explains that Scuds are an odd choice: They’re big, not that accurate, and more suited to attacks on foreign countries than on enemies within the border. So what’s going on? Some theories from the above sources and from the Danger Room blog at Wired:
- Chemical weapons: Scuds can be equipped with chemical warheads, and Assad might be sending a warning to rebels and to foreign nations that he’s prepared to let them fly.
- Desperation: Assad is losing and he knows it. He may be holding off on chemical weapons for now, but he’s” throwing everything else he has against the rebels,” writes Spencer Ackerman at Wired. “He’s even chucking naval mines onto dry land to attack his foes.”
- Rebels’ air defenses: Assad could be worried that his planes will be shot down by shoulder-fired missiles, says University of Kentucky professor Robert Farley. Scuds are used for “surprise, or because you’re concerned about enemy air defenses.”
Florida was among the first states in 1987 to require approval of concealed-carry licenses for any applicant who meets certain criteria, instead of giving local police discretion over those decisions. Today, 38 states have “shall issue” laws similar to Florida’s, according to the National Rifle Association, a firearms-rights group based in Fairfax, Virginia.
Florida, the fourth-most-populous state, had 887,000 active permits as of Dec. 31, 2011, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Pennsylvania had the second-most with 786,000.
In Florida, permits are issued to anyone who, among other things, is at least 21 years old and has never been convicted of a felony crime.
The number of concealed permits in Florida has nearly doubled since 2008. Putnam said he didn’t know what accounted for the increase in permits.
© Copyright 2012 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Billionaires Dumping Stocks, Economist Knows Why
Wednesday, 12 Dec 2012 08:37 AM By Newsmax Wires
With 70% of the U.S. economy dependent on consumer spending, Buffett’s apparent lack of faith in these companies’ future prospects is worrisome.
Unfortunately Buffett isn’t alone.
Fellow billionaire John Paulson, who made a fortune betting on the subprime mortgage meltdown, is clearing out of U.S. stocks too. During the second quarter of the year, Paulson’s hedge fund, Paulson & Co., dumped 14 million shares of JPMorgan Chase. The fund also dumped its entire position in discount retailer Family Dollar and consumer-goods maker Sara Lee.
Finally, billionaire George Soros recently sold nearly all of his bank stocks, including shares of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs. Between the three banks, Soros sold more than a million shares.
So why are these billionaires dumping their shares of U.S. companies?
After all, the stock market is still in the midst of its historic rally. Real estate prices have finally leveled off, and for the first time in five years are actually rising in many locations. And the unemployment rate seems to have stabilized.
It’s very likely that these professional investors are aware of specific research that points toward a massive market correction, as much as 90%.
One such person publishing this research is Robert Wiedemer, an esteemed economist and author of the New York Times best-selling book Aftershock.
Before you dismiss the possibility of a 90% drop in the stock market as unrealistic, consider Wiedemer’s credentials.
In 2006, Wiedemer and a team of economists accurately predicted the collapse of the U.S. housing market, equity markets, and consumer spending that almost sank the United States. They published their research in the book America’s Bubble Economy.
The book quickly grabbed headlines for its accuracy in predicting what many thought would never happen, and quickly established Wiedemer as a trusted voice.
A columnist at Dow Jones said the book was “one of those rare finds that not only predicted the subprime credit meltdown well in advance, it offered Main Street investors a winning strategy that helped avoid the forty percent losses that followed . . .”
The chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor’s said that Wiedemer’s track record “demands our attention.”
And finally, the former CFO of Goldman Sachs said Wiedemer’s “prescience in (his) first book lends credence to the new warnings. This book deserves our attention.”
In the interview for his latest blockbuster Aftershock, Wiedemer says the 90% drop in the stock market is “a worst-case scenario,” and the host quickly challenged this claim.
Wiedemer calmly laid out a clear explanation of why a large drop of some sort is a virtual certainty.
It starts with the reckless strategy of the Federal Reserve to print a massive amount of money out of thin air in an attempt to stimulate the economy.
“These funds haven’t made it into the markets and the economy yet. But it is a mathematical certainty that once the dam breaks, and this money passes through the reserves and hits the markets, inflation will surge,” said Wiedemer.
“Once you hit 10% inflation, 10-year Treasury bonds lose about half their value. And by 20%, any value is all but gone. Interest rates will increase dramatically at this point, and that will cause real estate values to collapse. And the stock market will collapse as a consequence of these other problems.”
See the Proof: Get the Full Interview by Clicking Here Now.
And this is where Wiedemer explains why Buffett, Paulson, and Soros could be dumping U.S. stocks:
“Companies will be spending more money on borrowing costs than business expansion costs. That means lower profit margins, lower dividends, and less hiring. Plus, more layoffs.”
No investors, let alone billionaires, will want to own stocks with falling profit margins and shrinking dividends. So if that’s why Buffett, Paulson, and Soros are dumping stocks, they have decided to cash out early and leave Main Street investors holding the bag.
But Main Street investors don’t have to see their investment and retirement accounts decimated for the second time in five years.
Wiedemer’s video interview also contains a comprehensive blueprint for economic survival that’s really commanding global attention.
Now viewed over 40 million times, it was initially screened for a relatively small, private audience. But the overwhelming amount of feedback from viewers who felt the interview should be widely publicized came with consequences, as various online networks repeatedly shut it down and affiliates refused to house the content.
“People were sitting up and taking notice, and they begged us to make the interview public so they could easily share it,” said Newsmax Financial Publisher Aaron DeHoog.
“Our real concern,” DeHoog added, “is the effect even if only half of Wiedemer’s predictions come true.
“That’s a scary thought for sure. But we want the average American to be prepared, and that is why we will continue to push this video to as many outlets as we can. We want the word to spread.”
Editor’s Note: For a limited time, Newsmax is showing the Wiedemer interview and supplying viewers with copies of the new, updated Aftershock book including the final, unpublished chapter. Go here to view it now.
© 2012 Moneynews. All rights reserved.
Gantz Responds to Criticism on Fleeing Soldiers Video
By David Lev
In his official reaction to a recent video uploaded to Youtube that shows IDF soldiers running from a mob of Arab rock throwers, rather than use their weapons to defend themselves, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said that “the IDF is ready for all eventualities, although we are not hungry for blood. Unfortunately in the recent operation in Gaza, there were some people who were killed who were not terrorists. In the future, we will continue to avoid hurting civilians.”
In the video that was released to Youtube over the weekend, IDF soldiers are seen running for cover as an Arab mob pelts them with stones and bricks. The soldiers are equipped with weapons, but they do not use them – and instead flee from a mob of Arab youths and adults, brandishing not their guns, but shields to protect them from the stones thrown by the mob.
The incident in the video took place in recent days in Shechem. Three IDF soldiers were injured in the incident, with one sustaining an injury to his hand, and another a wound to his head. A third soldier was injured when a smoke grenade he was about to throw blew up in his hand. The three were being treated at a hospital in Petach Tikvah. The incident was similar to another one that took place in Hevron last week, when IDF soldiers battled Palestinian Authority police and rioting Arabs. IDF officials said they considered the incident “serious,” and that an investigation had been opened.
The video has garnered a firestorm of criticism from Israelis, who are demanding that the IDF loosen its restrictions on rules regarding how and when soldiers can return fire against rioters who attack them with life-threatening rocks and bricks. IDF officials said that the incident was being investigated.
Gantz made the statement Tuesday during a candle lighting ceremony with President Shimon Peres(Credit:By David Lev)
Iran Launches Islamic YouTube Rival Website
By Rachel Hirshfeld First Publish: 12/10/2012, 10:08 PM
Iran has launched its own video-sharing website to compete with Google’s YouTube, whose content is deemed inappropriate by the Islamic regime, state television reported Sunday.
The website, “Mehr”, meaning “affection” in Farsi, aims to attract Persian-speaking users while promoting Iranian culture.
“From now on, people can upload their short films on the website and access (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) produced material,” said IRIB deputy chief Lotfollah Siahkali, according to AFP.
The regime has been attempting to block its population from accessing a number of foreign websites that authorities believe are offensive to Islamic values, including popular social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, as well as the online pages of many Western media outlets and blogs.
The United States has long accused Iran of seeking to implement an “electronic curtain” to cut its citizens off from the international community and global advancement.
The announcement came amid recent steps by the Islamic republic to establish a walled-off national Internet separate from the worldwide Internet, prompting web users in Iran to circumvent the censorship through the use of software known as a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which remains illegal in Iran. (Credit:By Rachel Hirshfeld)
Swedish Diplomat Insults Ahmadinejad with ‘Exposed Soles’
Newly appointed Swedish ambassador to Iran Peter Tejler apparently offended Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by crossing his legs, state media reported.
The offending act reportedly came during what was supposed to be the routine diplomatic procedure of presenting his letter of accreditation to the Iranian president.
Photos from the meeting, posted by Iranian website Asiran.com, show Tejler sitting cross-legged. The act seemed to have insulted the Iranian president, causing him to do the same.
“The ambassador’s actions are undiplomatic and impolite,” an Iranian website reported, adding that, “such behavior deviates from diplomatic and international norms.”
According to Muslim tradition, shoes are considered impure and exposing one’s shoes or their soles before a high-ranking official is considered a great insult.
“Pointing the soles of the feet towards someone is impolite because the soles of the feet [shoe] are considered dirty, closest to the ground, closer to the devil and farther away from God,” The Atlantic Wire reported. “When in the presence of Muslims, be careful not to raise or cross your legs in such a way that the sole of the foot faces others in the room.”
The website of the Swedish Embassy in Tehran confirmed that the ceremony and meeting took place on Monday, December 3, but has no mention of the ambassador’s or the president’s sitting poses.(Credit: By Rachel Hirshfeld)
Port Sudan and Eritrea’s neighbors “Pvrtsvdn” is also walking distance to the border with Eritrea.
The source added: Despite the low number of Israeli forces stationed in Eritrea, but they are very active and influential.
The report also states that in addition to Israel, Iran also has military forces in Eritrea.
Maryv continued: “Eritrea”, a friend of a friend of Israel and is working on his fight with “Ethiopia” is used.
Eritrea also works in collaboration with the Israeli Air Defense Network (air defense) to launch advanced to be able to take action against any air attack from Ethiopia.
In the past two months, the Iranian Navy warships twice Pvrtsvdan days in Port Sudan in the Red Sea were deployed. The action was announced refueling and logistics needs.
Some analysts see the move as a sign of high-level cooperation between Iran and Sudan were interpreted to Iran, saying the military presence in the Red Sea, Israel challenge.
The berthing of ships on the coast of Sudan, about a week after the bombing in the southern city of Khartoum, capital of Sudan Yrmvk armaments factory was great.
Israeli warplanes attacked the Sudanese authorities announced the bombing. Israeli officials refused to confirm or deny this.
Iranian Navy officials, the establishment of military vessels in the Red Sea part in securing the waterways, and expand the fight against Somali pirates in international waters were declared a marine force.
Ironically, the people, to deal with the bandits, even though their seats are out of their shops and they are attacked by thieves.
This kind of friendship and a sense of social responsibility in the sense that the film is clearly seen from two years ago, two years ago in Iran, Tehran residents in Pine Square, and on the ground, he saw a man eating knives were murderers, among the hordes of people that just watched from a distance and shoot with their mobile phones, they yelled and threatened.
Ironically, even the police were involved and eventually, assaulted persons, so that they will stay on the ground died.
Apathy is a major pest, which has contributed to the culture of today.
Assad’s Forces Fire Scud Missiles at Rebels
By Elad Benari
Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have fired Scud missiles at rebel fighters in recent days, Obama administration officials said on Wednesday, according to The New York Times.
The move represents a significant escalation in the fighting, which has already killed more than 40,000 civilians in a nearly two-year-old conflict and suggests increased desperation on the part of the Assad government, the report said.
A fresh wave of mayhem struck the Syrian capital Damascus on Wednesday, including a deadly triple bombing outside the Interior Ministry. One American official, who asked not to be identified because he was discussing classified information, told the New York Times that missiles had been fired from the Damascus area at targets in northern Syria.
“The total is number is probably north of six now,” said another American official, adding that the targets were in areas controlled by the Free Syrian Army, the main armed insurgent group.
It is not clear how many casualties resulted from the attacks by the Scuds, a class of Soviet-era missiles with a range of nearly 200 miles. It appeared, however, to be the first time that the Assad government had fired the missiles at targets inside Syria.
American officials did not say how they had monitored the missile firings, but American intelligence has been closely following developments in Syria through aerial surveillance and other methods, partly out of concern that Assad may resort to the use of chemical weapons in the conflict.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Tuesday that Syria had not taken any new steps in recent days that signal a readiness to use its chemical arsenal.
“At this point the intelligence has really kind of leveled off. We haven’t seen anything new indicating any aggressive steps to move forward in that way,” Panetta told reporters aboard his plane before landing in Kuwait, AFP reported.
However, a former top general in Syria’s chemical weapons program said on Monday he doesn’t doubt for a moment that Assad will deploy his chemical weapons arsenal as he tries to hold onto power.
“The regime started to fall and deteriorate. It’s coming to its end,” retired Major General Adnan Sillou told ABC News. “It’s highly possible that he’ll start using [chemical weapons] to kill his own people because this regime is a killer.”
The Obama administration views the Assad government’s use of Scud missiles as a “significant escalation” of the conflict, a senior official told The New York Times. It also shows, he said, the increasing pressure on Assad, since Scuds are primarily defensive weapons, being used by the government offensively against a counterinsurgency.
“Using Scuds to target tanks or military bases is one thing,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Using them to target rebels hiding in playgrounds at schools is something else.”
Among other repercussions the Obama administration fears is the possibility that Assad’s military could fire Scuds near, or over, the border with Turkey, which has become one of the Syrian president’s most ardent foes.
Military experts said the Assad government’s use of Scuds might reflect worries that its aircraft have been vulnerable to rebel air defenses. In recent weeks, rebel forces have captured Syrian military bases, seized air-defense weapons and used some of them to fire at Syria warplanes.
The Obama administration has yet to comment publicly on the missile attacks, but a senior administration official alluded to the development in a briefing for reporters on Tuesday.
“The Syrian regime has used aircraft,” the administration official said, according to The New York Times. “It has used artillery, and it appears that it has even used missile to attack the Syrian population and to attack what was a peaceful protest movement.”
The developments came as representatives of more than 100 countries and organizations that support the anti-Assad movement met in Morocco and endorsed a newly formed insurgent coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
President Obama also formally acknowledged that coalition, known as the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, in an interview on Tuesday with ABC News.
In Damascus on Wednesday, a car bomb and two other explosives went off outside the Interior Ministry headquarters — known as the House of Justice — in Kafar Souseh, on the southern outskirts, Syrian state media reported. Two Lebanese television channels that favor the Syrian government reported that there had been casualties, said The New York Times.
An activist in Damascus said Syrian security forces had sealed off Shami Hospital, a central Damascus facility used by Syria’s elite, in a possible indication of high-profile casualties in the blasts.
Government forces and rebels have been clashing for two weeks around Damascus as rebels try to take control of the airport road and security forces try to seal off the capital from a semicircle of increasingly rebel-held towns reaching from the northeast to southwest of Damascus’s suburban sprawl.
Dutchman’s “Noah’s Ark” Launched
“If you have faith, anything is possible.” -Johan Huibers
John 12:32 “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
(Dordrecht, Netherlands)—For 20 years, Christian ship builder Johan Huibers of the Netherlands has been building a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark.
As reported by the Associated Press, the end result was a 427-ft. long, 95-ft. wide and 75-ft. tall, fully operational ship. (Photo: Peter Dejong/AP)
On December 10, the ship was officially opened to the public with permission to receive 3,000 visitors per day.
The report quoted the Dutchman as saying he hopes his ark gets people to thinking that there is a purpose to being on Earth.
“I want to make people question that so that they go looking for answers,” said Huibers, and ultimately find salvation and eternal life.
As to where he may take the ark in the future, Huibers is reportedly considering sailing it across the Atlantic.
Source: Toby Sterling – AP
US Sends Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi 20 F-16 Warplanes
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Egypt’s increasingly unstable Muslim Brotherhood regime, voted into power on an anti-US and anti-Israel platform, is about to receive 20 F-16 fighters jets despite calls to suspend arms sales to Cairo, Fox News reported Tuesday.
The jets were ordered by deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and the Muslim Brotherhood is about to take over the inheritance.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, swept into power earlier this year on an Islamic campaign that promised reforms, has turned the Arab Spring revolution on its end by trying to usurp power. He has deployed armed soldiers and police to quell angry riots that have raised fears of a repeat of the violent suppression of anti-Mubarak protesters nearly two years ago.
Despite the instability, the United States is going ahead with the delivery of the F-16 jets, part of a two-year-old order for the planes.
The first four jets are to be delivered January 22, according to a source at the Texas air base where the planes are being tested. The date, by coincidence, is the same day that Israelis will vote for the next Knesset.
Fox noted that Egypt already has 200 F-16 warplanes and quoted Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute, as saying that the timing of the deliveries is more than questionable, but not because of the Israeli elections.
“Should an overreaction [by Egypt] spiral into a broader conflict between Egypt and Israel, such a scenario would put U.S. officials in an embarrassing position of having supplied massive amounts of military hardware … to both belligerents,” he said.
“Given Washington’s fiscal woes, American taxpayers should no longer be Egypt’s major arms supplier.”
Morsi has backed off his attempt to assume dictatorial powers, but he is trying to win approval of a new constitution that would place Islamic Sharia law in a more prominent place in Egypt.
“The Morsi-led Muslim Brotherhood government has not proven to be a partner for democracy as they had promised, given the recent attempted power grab,” a senior Republican congressional aide told FoxNews.com.
Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, recently said. “The Obama administration wants to simply throw money at an Egyptian government that the president cannot even clearly state is an ally of the United States.”
The order for the Lockheed-Martin planes is another win for the American military-industrial complex.
“This is a great day for Lockheed Martin and a testament to the enduring partnership and commitment we have made to the government of Egypt,” said John Larson, vice president, Lockheed Martin F-16 programs.
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Wesley Miller explained to Fox, “The U.S.-Egypt defense relationship has served as the cornerstone of our broader strategic partnership for over thirty years. The delivery of the first set of F-16s in January 2013 reflects the U.S. commitment to supporting the Egyptian military’s modernization efforts. Egyptian acquisition of F-16s will increase our militaries’ interoperability, and enhance Egypt’s capacity to contribute to regional mission sets.”
President Barack Obama had distanced himself from the Muslim Brotherhood until it became clear that it was a driving force following the fall of Mubarak. In a radical shift of foreign policy, Obama’s advisors, some of whom support a more liberal policy towards Hamas, began making contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood and eventually established open contacts with the radical Islamic party.
It campaigned on a strongly anti-American and anti-Israeli platform, but the U.S. State Department has reasoned that Egypt will remain an ally.
State Department official Andrew J. Shapiro was cited as stating last month, “I know that the uncertainty over the Egyptian transition has prompted some in Congress to propose conditioning our security assistance to Egypt.
“The administration believes that putting conditions on our assistance to Egypt is the wrong approach, and Secretary Clinton has made this point strongly. Egypt is a pivotal country in the Middle East and a long-time partner of the United States.
“We have continued to rely on Egypt to support and advance U.S. interests in the region, including peace with Israel [and] confronting Iranian ambitions…”