Tag Archive: United States

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Groups Issue Warning: Pro-Corporate TPP Could Kill the Internet

“What we’re talking about here is global Internet censorship.”

Digital rights groups warn that TPP “will criminalize our online activities, censor the Web, and cost everyday users money.” (Photo: Getty)

The “disastrous” pro-corporate trade deal finalized Monday could kill the Internet as we know it, campaigners are warning, as they vow to keep up the fight against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations.

“Internet users around the world should be very concerned about this ultra-secret pact,” said OpenMedia’s digital rights specialist Meghan Sali. “What we’re talking about here is global Internet censorship. It will criminalize our online activities, censor the Web, and cost everyday users money. This deal would never pass with the whole world watching—that’s why they’ve negotiated it in total secrecy.”

“The TPP will criminalize our online activities, censor the Web, and cost everyday users money. This deal would never pass with the whole world watching—that’s why they’ve negotiated it in total secrecy.” —Meghan Sali, Open Media

TPP opponents have claimed that under the agreement, “Internet Service Providers could be required to ‘police’ user activity (i.e. police YOU), take down Internet content, and cut people off from Internet access for common user-generated content.”

Among the deal’s provisions are rules that could criminalize file-sharing, whistleblowing, and breaking digital locks, even for legitimate purposes. Of course, because the contents of the pact have been negotiated largely in secret, the exact implications of the TPP on user rights is yet to be seen.

However, Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Maira Sutton wrote on Monday, “We have no reason to believe that the TPP has improved much at all from the last leaked version released in August, and we won’t know until the U.S. Trade Representative releases the text. So as long as it contains a retroactive 20-year copyright term extension, bans on circumventing DRM, massively disproportionate punishments for copyright infringement, and rules that criminalize investigative journalists and whistleblowers, we have to do everything we can to stop this agreement from getting signed, ratified, and put into force.”

Furthermore, “The fact that close to 800 million Internet users’ rights to free expression, privacy, and access to knowledge online hinged upon the outcome of squabbles over trade rules on cars and milk is precisely why digital policy consideration[s] do not belong in trade agreements,” Sutton added, referring to the auto and dairy tariff provisions that reportedly held up the talks.

“The fact that close to 800 million Internet users’ rights to free expression, privacy, and access to knowledge online hinged upon the outcome of squabbles over trade rules on cars and milk is precisely why digital policy consideration[s] do not belong in trade agreements.”  —Maira Sutton, EFF

With a major protest against the TPP and other secret trade deals planned for November in Washington, D.C., EFF is crowdsourcing slogans related to how the TPP threatens digital rights and freedoms around the world.

“Successive leaks of the TPP have demonstrated that unless you are a big business sector, the [U.S. Trade Representative, or USTR] simply doesn’t care what you have to say,” wrote EFF’s Jeremy Malcolm.

“Enough’s enough,” reads the group’s call-to-action. “The time for whitepapers and presentations is past. The USTR has failed us, so now it’s time for the public to rise up and take their message about the TPP’s threats to user rights to Congress, which has the ultimate authority to approve or reject the deal for the United States.”

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End Of The American Dream
The American Dream Is Becoming A Nightmare And Life As We Know It Is About To Change

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Permanently Locking In The Obama Agenda For 40 Percent Of The Global Economy

Obama Laughing


We have just witnessed one of the most significant steps toward a one world economic system that we have ever seen.  Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership have been completed, and if approved it will create the largest trading bloc on the planet.  But this is not just a trade agreement.  In this treaty, Barack Obama has thrown in all sorts of things that he never would have been able to get through Congress otherwise.  And once this treaty is approved, it will be exceedingly difficult to ever make changes to it.  So essentially what is happening is that the Obama agenda is being permanently locked in for 40 percent of the global economy.

The United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam all intend to sign on to this insidious plan.  Collectively, these nations have a total population of about 800 million people and a combined GDP of approximately 28 trillion dollars.

Of course Barack Obama is assuring all of us that this treaty is going to be wonderful for everyone

In hailing the agreement, Obama said, “Congress and the American people will have months to read every word” before he signs the deal that he described as a win for all sides.

“If we can get this agreement to my desk, then we can help our businesses sell more Made in America goods and services around the world, and we can help more American workers compete and win,” Obama said.

Sadly, just like with every other “free trade” agreement that the U.S. has entered into since World War II, the exact opposite is what will actually happen.  Our trade deficit will get even larger, and we will see even more jobs and even more businesses go overseas.


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Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal Struck As “Corporate Secrecy” Wins Again

Once again the corporatocracy wins as the so-called “Trojan horse” Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement has been finalized. As WSJ reports, the U.S., Japan and 10 countries around the Pacific reached a historic accord Monday to lower trade barriers to goods and services and set commercial rules of the road for two-fifths of the global economy, officials said.

For the U.S., the TPP (reportedly) opens agricultural markets in Japan and Canada, tightens intellectual property rules to benefit drug and technology companies, and establishes a tightknit economic bloc to challenge China’s influence in the region (likely forcing their hand into separate trade agreements).

However, Obama is likely to face a tough fight to get the deal through Congress(especially in light of presidential candidates’ opposition).

The US, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim economies have reached agreement to strike the largest trade pact seen anywhere in two decades, in what is a huge strategic and political win for US President Barack Obama and Japan’s Shinzo Abe.


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‘Massive’ Media Hype for TPP

It is amazing how the elite media can be dragged along by their noses into accepting that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) can have a big impact on trade and growth. If I had a dollar for every time the deal was described as “massive,” or that we were told what share of world trade will be covered by the TPP, I would be richer than Bill Gates. The reality is that the vast majority of the trade between the countries in the TPP is already covered by trade agreements, as can be seen:

TPP countries with and without current trade agreements with the US. Source: International Monetary Fund

We continue to hear superlatives even as the evidence suggests the trade impact will be trivial. For example, the New York Times reported that US tariffs on Japanese cars will be phased out over 30 years. Wow! The most optimistic growth estimates show a cumulative gain by 2027 of less than 0.4 percent, roughly two months of normal GDP growth.

This doesn’t mean that the TPP can’t have an impact. It will lock in a regulatory structure, the exact parameters of which are yet to be seen. We do know that the folks at the table came from places like General Electric and Monsanto, not the AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club. We also know that it will mean paying more for drugs and other patent and copyright-protected material (forms of protection, whose negative impact is never included in growth projections), but we don’t yet know how much.

We also know that the Obama administration gave up an opportunity to include currency rules. This means that trade deficit is likely to persist long into the future. This deficit has been a persistent source of gap in demand, leading to millions of lost jobs. We filled this demand in the 1990s with the stock bubble and in the last decade in the housing bubble. It seems the latest plan from the Fed is that we simply won’t fill the gap in this decade.

Economist Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. A version of this post originally appeared on CEPR’s blog Beat the Press (10/6/15).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

K-9 Kraving Dog Food is voluntarily recalling their Chicken Patties Dog Food because it may be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. No illnesses have been reported to date, although listeriosis, the illness caused by Listeria bacteria, can take up to 70 days to manifest.

Puppy Eating Dog Food


The recalled product was shipped between July 13 and July 17, 2015 and distributed to retail stores only in Maryland. No other K-9 Kraving Dog Food products are affected by this recall.

Pets can be sickened with Salmonella and Listeria bacteria, and there is a risk to people handling contaminated pet products. Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea that may be bloody, abdominal cramps, and fever. A Listeria monocytogenes infection in dogs can cause lack of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, high fever, and excessive drooling. If left untreated, a Listeria infection in a dog can lead to paralysis and brain swelling. If your dog has been sick and you have fed him this product, see your veterinarian.


Read More Here

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Consortium News

US Tax Dollars and Ukraine’s Finance Minister

Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko.

Special Report: Though touted as the face of reform inside Ukraine’s post-coup regime, Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko enriched herself at the expense of a U.S.-taxpayer-financed investment fund – and USAID now says it’s missing some of the audit records detailing Jaresko’s dealings, reports Robert Parry.


By Robert Parry


The U.S. government is missing – or withholding – audit documents about the finances and possible accounting irregularities at a $150 million U.S.-taxpayer-financed investment fund when it was run by Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, who has become the face of “reform” for the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev and who now oversees billions of dollars in Western financial aid.

Before taking Ukrainian citizenship and becoming Finance Minister in December 2014, Jaresko was a former U.S. diplomat who served as chief executive officer of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), which was created by Congress in the 1990s with $150 million and placed under the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help jumpstart an investment economy in Ukraine.

After Jaresko’s appointment as Finance Minister — and her resignation from WNISEF — I reviewed WNISEF’s available public records and detected a pattern of insider dealings and enrichment benefiting Jaresko and various colleagues. That prompted me in February to file a Freedom of Information Act request for USAID’s audits of the investment fund.

Read More Here

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The U.S. national debt grows at a rate of 45.486 dollar per second!


10/05/15  6:28pm CDT

$ 65.903

Debt per citizen

$ 113.353

Debt per taxpayer

x billion U.S dollar
2004  7.379
2005 7.933
2006 8.507
2007 9.008
2008 10.025
2009 11.910
2010 13.562
2011 14.781
2012 16.059
2013 16.732
2014 17.810

For Real Time National Debt Numbers Visit The US Debt Clock


Since our worlds collided on that  fated day in 2008 when the American dream became even more elusive for the majority of us there  has been some time to reflect on our mistakes.  Some of us have learned from  what  we have lived and  experienced.  Others, however, are still stuck in the  partisan la la land of Rabid Conservatism or Rabid Liberalism.  Each side pulling for its own without  taking pause to understand the long-range  consequences of their actions.

Politicians will do  what  politicians do best,  protect their pockets and those  who  keep them full.  What excuse do the common folk (non-corporate or  lobbyist) have?  You vote  Republican or Democrat  because they hold the best  future for our  country?  Or do you vote because  it is all you  know  and  you cannot  fathom the  fact that  both  sides of the  aisle  serve the  same  master?  It  has  gone  way  beyond the  scope  of  political  party  or leanings.  It is time to  put those patriotic gestures, slogans  and  mindsets  to  actual  use by truly  putting  your  country  first.  We must  put a  stop to  the criminal Washington/Corporate  agenda  that  is  killing us.

Until we truly and  seriously address the  criminals  who are  selling our  Nation and  our  children’s  future to the  highest  bidder we  are  doomed.  Are  you ready to  face the  truth  or  will you  just  sit back and blame another  while  you  do  nothing to  change the problem?

The  only answer to  the putrefaction that  is taking  place  all across this  nation is in the  hands  of the  people.  Many  laughed  at the  Occupy  movement.  Some vilified those  who wanted  to make a  difference  and  voice their displeasure with the  status quo.  How many  of  you have  done  anything to make a  change?  How many  of you have cared  enough  to even consider  what role  you  may have to play?

Truly, I do not see a way  out of this  unless people  stop seeing right or left and  start seeing stars and  stripes.  This  nation depends on  it’s People, not its politicians.  Why have  we become so  complacent that we are  no longer  willing to  fight the  good  fight  for our  freedom and  our  way  of life?  When did  this  nation  become  the  home  of the  lazy and  the  weak?  It is  time the  strong  and the  brave stood up, if  there  are  any left.

What  will it take  to  make  you  see that politics is a trap?  An illusion to make  us  believe  we  have a  choice  when in reality  we have  none.  They  have  both  evolved to  serve the  same  masters and  fulfill the  same  agenda.  An agenda  that  serves  neither  you  nor me.  When will you  wake  up from  your  blue  and  red  slumber  to  see that we have all been  lied  to ?

When do we take  America back as a  People  not  a political party?

The  time is  growing  short  people!  Unless you open  your  eyes  and  understand  what  is truly  at  stake.  You  will never live in America  the Land  of  the  Free and the  Brave  again.  We will simply  exist in a land run by petty politics  and  corrupt corporations willing to  do  whatever it takes to  maximize their  bottom line.  Even if it means exploiting our children’s lives and futures.

Is that  an outcome you are willing to live with ?


Just  in case  you still don’t have a  clue  what  I am  talking  about.  Here  is  a  very short list  of examples of the  Corporate Assault on Our Lives And Our Health   that  our  politicians have  allowed to take place for a  price.

GMO’s  in our food supply

Digestive disorders, Obesity,Endocrine disorders on the rise

Glyphosate in our foods, our water and our  breast milk

Kidney and  Liver  damage on the rise

Fracking chemicals in the water supply

Cancers on the rise

Fluoride in the  water  supply

Vaccines causing deadly reactions in children and adults

Autism on the rise

Heavy metals in our food supply

Alzheimer’s on the rise

Deadly chemicals being pawned off as  sugar  substitutes from saccharine  to splenda all have  been  found  to  cause  cancer in  animal studies.  The  biggest  culprit and most  dangerous  thus  far  being  Aspartame.

Life saving  drugs monopolized  by Big Pharma to  bloat prices beyond  most people’s  reach.  Daraprim being the latest going  from  $13.50 per pill to  $750.00.  Basically condemning those who cannot afford them to die.

There  are  so many  more examples  you  just  need to  open  your  eyes  and  want to see the truth

~Desert Rose~


David Korten: From Serving Money to Serving Life: A Sacred Story for Our Time

Published on May 5, 2015

When we get our story wrong, we get our future wrong. Much like the Trans-Pacific Partnership “trade deal”, everything we are told about capitalism and our economy is a pack of lies. Time for a new story, says preeminent scholar and critic of corporate globalization, David Korten, the best-selling author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning. David has a brand new book, Change the Story, Change the Future – a Living Economy for a Living Earth. He is the co-founder and board chair of YES! Magazine, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, founder and president of the Living Economies Forum (formerly the People-Centered Development Forum), a member of the Club of Rome, and a former board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and associate of the International Forum on Globalization.

This Earth Day address was recorded April 22, 2015 at Seattle University Pigott Auditorium.


Local Communities Dismantling Corporate Rule, part 1

Published on Feb 12, 2014

Community Rights educator Paul Cienfuegos explains how “We The People” are exercising the authority to govern ourselves and dismantle corporate rule. When small farmers in rural Pennsylvania wanted to say “no” to a corporate factory farm coming into their community, they learned they couldn’t, because it would violate the corporation’s “rights” and state pre-emption laws. So they did something technically illegal – their town passed an innovative ordinance banning corporate factory farming. It worked! The corporation left town. Pittsburgh upshifted the approach: Rather than define what we don’t want, define what we DO want. Their “Right to Water” stopped natural gas fracking in the city. Ordinances like this have been passed in over 150 communities in 9 states. Tune in to learn how this works. Episode 258. [paulcienfuegos.com, celdf.org, YouTube channel “Community Rights TV” and communityrightspdx.org]

Peak Moment TV exists because of viewers like you. Subscribe to news and donate at http://www.peakmoment.tv, right side. Thanks for being in the Peak Moment community.

Local Communities Dismantling Corporate Rule, part 3


Why Is Congress Ignoring Our $18.4 Trillion National Debt?

Have we forgotten about the national debt? Congressional Republican leaders and the Obama administration have begun private talks about a new two-year spending plan that would keep the government operating beyond the 2016 election but would do little to address more fundamental structural problems, including entitlement and health care spending for an aging population.

Even before Congress completed work on a short-term spending measure to avert a government shutdown at least until early December, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and President Obama held preliminary talks on a possible multi-year budget agreement to increase spending for both defense and domestic programs by lifting fiscal 2016 discretionary spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Related: New CBO Director Renews Warning on Long-Term Debt

The agreement would be similar in scope to a two-year mini-budget agreement that was struck by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) following a 16-day government shutdown in late 2013 that temporarily put an end to inter-party budget warfare. That agreement allowed for $45 billion more in spending above the caps in 2014 and $20 billion more in 2015, as well as $20 billion of deficit reduction.

Read More Here


The Daily Signal

Obama Is Willing to Put Our National Security at Risk With a Veto

USS Ronald Reagan and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (Photo: U.S. Navy Specialist 2nd Class Paolo Bayas)

The Russians are bombing CIA-backed rebels in Syria and continuing to hold parts of Ukraine. ISIS continues to spread in the Middle East and inspire attacks around the world. Iran is receiving hundreds of billions in sanctions relief, some of which will likely go to destabilizing the Middle East. China is building illegal islands in the South China Sea. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are streaming across Europe. The Taliban is on the rise in Afghanistan. And our national secrets are being vacuumed up by Chinese hackers.

At the same time, our national defense budget is being slashed.

Since 2011, the defense budget has been cut by 15 percent in real terms. If you include the war budget, which has been going down as we reduce troops in Afghanistan, the national defense has been cut 25 percent in four years.

As a result of these budget cuts, the U.S. military is smaller than it was on 9/11 and in many cases the smallest it has been in recent history.

The world is a mess, our military is being slashed, and now President Obama is going to veto a bipartisan bill that would increase the national defense budget by 6 percent in real terms.

The House of Representatives just passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA), and it is headed to the Senate. This is a bipartisan bill that has been signed into law every year for 53 straight years, but Obama plans to veto it for one simple reason: it doesn’t increase non-defense spending. The president believes that defense and non-defense spending should be increased, and, according to the White House, “he will not fix defense without fixing non-defense spending.”

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John Boehner Admits Republicans are Willing to Put U.S. at Risk to Play Partisan Politics

February 16, 2015 By Allen Clifton
Republicans are anything if not predictable. The moment they gained power back in the Senate it was obvious that they were going to use that power to play petty partisan politics. The truth is, controlling Congress means very little as long as the person in the White House has veto power.
So no matter what sort of propaganda Republicans spew about the nonsense they’re going to undoubtedly shove through Congress, it’s still on them to send the president legislation that they know he will sign, otherwise they’re essentially just wasting time.
The president is the one person who’s voted into office on a national scale, meaning that they’re the one individual who truly “represents the majority of the people.” So no matter what anyone in Congress says, it’s beholden upon them to make sure whatever bills they’re sending to the president’s desk actually have a chance at being signed. It’s extremely rare for both the House and Senate to have the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto.
All that being said, as many already know the Department of Homeland Security is set to run out of funding fairly soon. Normally this wouldn’t be a huge deal; all it would take is for Congress to pass a bill funding the department, which would almost certainly be signed by President Obama.
Simple, right?

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Health Impact News

Vaccine in vial with syringe. Vaccination concept. 3d



by Jefferey Jaxon
Health Impact News

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) own statistics, the seasonal flu vaccine for the 2014-2015 season was only 19 percent effective. So why is there a worldwide push for flu vaccination? What are the risks inherent in a flu vaccination and are they worth it? These questions have been deleted, ignored, omitted, and crossed out by most in favor of what appears to be a dose of drug company profit mixed with political agenda.

There is a full court press on many levels to usher in a new medical model with an ever-increasing vaccine schedule at its core. Vaccine profits are being maximized by drug manufacturers who are absolved of all financial and legal repercussions as they are cradled tight by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. As vaccine mandates are attempting to become law, doctors, nurses, educators, and organizations are being hit with vaccine propaganda to transform their organizations into foot soldiers to carry out unethical and unlawful orders in your community.

Physicians: You Are the Vaccine Fraud Tipping Point


The American College of Physicians (ACP) has recently been awarded with a $1,002,884 Cooperative Agreement by the CDC to focus on increasing vaccination rates in adults. According to the press release:

The [ACP’s] initiate will aim to reach the federal government’s 2020 immunization goals, which includes reaching an 80% to 90% rate of seasonal influenza vaccination among adults (the current rate is 42%).


Read More Here

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The Desert Sun

They stumbled upon a child porn ring, then did nothing

‘The most secretive system’

John David Yoder, a Desert Hot Springs child porn suspect,

John David Yoder, a Desert Hot Springs child porn suspect, looks at the camera during a court appearance on Feb. 19. Six weeks before Yoder was arrested, social workers found pictures of boys posing in their underwear while inspecting Yoder’s home.
(Photo: Omar Ornelas/The Desert Sun)


The tip came in six days before Christmas. Someone called a child abuse hotline, reporting that a parent in Desert Hot Springs was molesting two boys. The caller said the man also kept pictures of boys posing in their underwear on his computer.

And so, as it often does, Riverside County sent social workers to investigate the man, a licensed foster parent. He lived in a two-bedroom house with two adopted sons, a preteen boy for whom he was seeking guardianship, and a neighborhood teenager who had moved in after an argument with his parents.

When questioned, the children denied the abuse. But the tipster, it seemed, had been at least half right. Searching the man’s computer, social workers found two photos of children, unrelated to the parent, posing in their underwear. The pictures had been taken by one of the foster parent’s friends, one of the boys said. Sometimes they spent time with that friend, the boy said.

To these social workers, these underwear pictures were concerning, but they were not concerning enough. Social workers classified the investigation as “inconclusive,” then closed their inquiry, according to Riverside County court documents.

The boys were left in the man’s home. His foster license was left intact.

Today, that same parent, John David Yoder, sits behind bars, a suspect in what officials have called one of the worst child pornography rings in Southern California in recent years. Yoder and three other suspects have been accused of victimizing as many as 15 children in Desert Hot Springs, including some of the boys that lived with him. Yoder was arrested in February as result of a separate investigation by law enforcement in Nevada. The charges he now faces are nearly identical to the allegations that were reported to the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services shortly before Christmas.


Read More Here



The Desert Sun

John David Yoder: ‘I have been falsely accused’

Brett Kelman 3:42 p.m. PDT May 27, 2015

John David Yoder, a suspect in a high-profile Desert Hot Springs child pornography ring, says county prosecutors are targeting him without evidence because he is gay.

Yoder made this claim in a jailhouse letter sent to The Desert Sun this month. The letter, which spans five handwritten pages, is the first time that Yoder has spoken publicly since his arrest in February.

“It is my belief that I am being unjustly scrutinized beyond the scope of reason because I am a homosexual,” Yoder wrote to the newspaper.

“I have been falsely accused,” Yoder added.

Yoder also wrote that he could not have committed the crimes he is accused of because his home was “buzzing” with therapists, social workers and lawyers due to his status as a foster parent. Finally, Yoder chastises the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office for prosecuting him by convening a grand jury, a court proceeding that does not allow him to defend himself.

The DA’s office declined to comment on Yoder’s letter on Tuesday.


Read More and Watch Video Here

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Fires burn in part of the MSF hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz after it was hit by an air strike on October 3, 2015 © MSF

Yves Daccord Retweeted MSF International

Tragic news. please accept our condolences for the killing of your colleagues & patients in .

Yves Daccord added,


  • 19:56 GMT

    The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement extending condolences to the families and colleges of those killed and injured in the bombing.


WHO once again urges all parties in the conflict to respect the safety and neutrality of health workers & health facilities

WHO calls on all govts & military officers to observe their obligations under intl law, ensure protection of health serv in conflict

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A Sukhoi 25 airplane © Vladimir Astapkovich
There isn’t a grain of truth in John Kerry’s statement the Assad government isn’t trying to stop ISIS; the Syrian army has been fighting terrorists, while the West watched the country being destroyed, says Syrian presidential adviser Bouthaina Shaaban.

RT:Russia has joined the fight against Islamic State. How long have you been negotiating the move with Moscow?

Bouthaina Shaaban: The dialogue between us [Damascus] and Moscow has been ongoing since the beginning of the crisis. And, as you noticed, that Russia and China took a double veto four times against all that the West was trying to impose on Syria. Because the West didn’t understand what’s happening in Syria, while Russia understood all the way along. So, the dialogue between Damascus and Moscow is ongoing… [since] a decade ago; but during this crisis it has been intensive, it has been real, it has been continuous.


READ MORE: Russian Air Force in Syria deploying over 50 planes & choppers – Defense Ministry


RT:Is the involvement of Russian aviation a game changer in the fight against IS?

BS: Well, there are no Russian troops on the ground as you heard Putin and Lavrov [saying] – “our assistance is only [fighter jets].” But it’s not only against IS. I don’t know why people… forget about Jabhat Al-Nusra, although the [UN] Security Council resolution spoke about or considered both Al-Nusra and ISIL as terrorist organizations.

Besides these, there are tens of terrorist organizations in Syria. There are thousands of mercenaries and terrorists coming from all over the world. So, we certainly hope that with the help of the Russian assistance we will be able to undermine terrorism in Syria and we’ll be able to restore peace and security in our country.


Read More Here

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The Irish Times

The Syrian conflict has lasted more than four years, displacing 11m Syrians and killing 250,000. Russia’s intervention this week raises the dim prospect of an end to the conflict

The timeline of Syria’s grinding civil war is dotted with illusory turning points. These were atrocities or grim milestones that the world assumed would usher the conflict towards an endgame but served only to reinforce its horrendous, unswerving trajectory. The use of chemical weapons was one. The advance of Islamic State was another.

The pattern has held with almost every town that has fallen (Raqqa, Palmyra) or been razed (Aleppo, Homs), and with each new intervention by a foreign power. None has been decisive.

Instead the dynamic of the conflict has held firm. Four and a half years after it began amid the optimism of the Arab Spring, the war’s aftershocks are still pulsing outwards, across the Middle East and into Europe, and the outside world is steadily and with varying degrees of reluctance being drawn further in.

Read More Here


The World Post


Putin Scores Another Much-Needed Win in Syria

Posted: 10/02/2015 9:18 am EDT Updated: 10/02/2015 9:59 am EDT

When Boris Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin prime minister in 1999, Putin had an approval rating in Russia of 31 percent. About 37 percent of Russians didn’t even know who he was. After a series of mysterious bombings in Moscow, Putin blamed Chechen separatists and promised to flush Chechens down their toilets (his words). Bombing began in October of that year. By 2000, Putin’s poll numbers hit 84 percent. Putin needed a win, and he got one. That was a formative political experience.

Times are hard in today’s Russia. Falling oil prices have taken a serious toll, and Western sanctions haven’t helped. Prices have surged 16 percent since August, and the ruble has fallen 5.5 percent against the dollar. Russia’s economy will shrink 3.4 percent this year. No one, not even Russian state officials, expects economic conditions to improve much anytime soon.

With power comes responsibility. That’s the downside of being as powerful as Putin is in Russia. He can blame others for Russia’s problems but he needs to keep putting wins on the board. On Feb. 22, 2014, Ukrainian protesters infuriated the Kremlin by ousting then-President Viktor Yanukovych, Moscow’s man in Kiev, and Putin moved quickly to flex his muscles. By Feb. 27, the streets of Crimea were filled with men in ski masks carrying automatic weapons. Locals then voted in a referendum to trade Ukrainian for Russian citizenship, and Putin held aloft his trophy for all to see. Within a few more days, his domestic approval numbers spiked from 65 percent to 80 percent, and he is still riding that wave of popularity.

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