1. Wars and Rumors of War
IDF, LAF soldiers exchange gunfire on Lebanon border
Five years after the Second Lebanon War broke out, Lebanese soldiers and IDF troops exchanged gunfire along the border on Monday.
IDF troops were operating along the border near the Hatzbani River when a Lebanese soldier opened fire at them. Israel returned fire at the Lebanese soldier. No IDF soldiers were injured in the incident. Lebanese media reported that one Lebanese soldier was injured from gunfire.
Palestinains say 2 killed in IDF raid
Two Palestinians were shot and killed by IDF soldiers during a raid on the Kalandiya refugee camp near Ramallah in the West Bank early on Monday, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.
The IDF stated that soldiers from the Kfir Brigade entered the camp in order to arrest two terror suspects when a violent riot broke out. Five soldiers were injured in the ensuing clashes. One soldier was evacuated to the hospital and four others were treated at the scene.
EU to toughen sanctions after Syria bloodbath
The EU is likely to toughen sanctions against the Syrian regime after some 100 people were reportedly killed in the city of Hama when government tanks stormed in on Sunday (31 July), crushing protests in the five-month-long stand-off with President Bashar Assad.
"I am shocked at the latest reports from Syria that large numbers of civilians have again been killed in a totally unjustified assault by Syrian security forces on the town of Hama, using tanks and other heavy weapons against citizens exercising their right to peaceful protest," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
USGS reports 6.8 magnitude off Papua New Guinea
Strong Quake (6.1) hits near Vanuatu
Strong Earthquake (6.4) Rocks NE Japan
How about "diverse places"?
Earthquake strikes near Choctaw, Oklahoma
Christians Under Fire in Laos
Authorities in the country’s north have ordered Christians to stop meeting in private, in their own homes, where they practice their beliefs. The edict followed the arrest of a pastor and several parishioners, and is being monitored by the US-based Human Rights Watch for Laos Religious Freedom (HRWLFR).
Pastor Seng Aroun of the Kon church in Luang Namtha, and three other Christians from the Sounya village church, had met at the house of a man identified as Kofa for Sunday mass. Provincial authorities arrested four and detained them in a local prison.
Atheists Cross Over "Cross"
Those God-obsessed "American Atheists" filed suit in New York state court on July 25 to remove the World Trade Center "Cross" from the National September 11th Memorial and Museum. They're seeking relief from Cross-related dyspepsia.
They also filed suit seeking the removal of roadside crosses honoring fallen Utah state troopers. A federal court ruled in favor of the crosses but an appeals court ruled against them. The Utah Attorney General has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the ruling and the American Civil Rights Union has filed an amicus brief in support.
Their WTC lawsuit admits that the 17-foot "Cross" of steel beams was found standing in the midst of the rubble two days after the twin towers collapsed as a result of the Jihadist attack on 9/11.
Besides acute, hyperactive frivolousness, the lawsuit claims that plaintiffs have suffered
"dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack and the lack of acknowledgement of the more than 1,000 non-Christian individuals who were killed at the World Trade Center."
Durban III: The Monaco Factor
On Sept. 22, the United Nations will strike a blow for bigotry, by hosting Durban III — the third in what has become a series of UN gatherings dedicated in name to fighting racism, but devoted in practise to whipping up and institutionalizing anti-Semitism.
The UN’s so-called “Durban process” singles out Israel for opprobrium.
The UN’s first Durban conference, held in South Africa, in 2001, turned into such a mob attack on Israel that the U.S. delegation walked out. The UN’s second Durban “review” conference, held in Geneva, in 2009, had its preparatory committee chaired by Libya, and featured as a star speaker Iran’s Holocaust-denier-in-chief, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Undeterred, the UN General Assembly is now planning to hold Durban III at the UN’s headquarters in New York, timed to coincide with the annual pileup of heads of state who come every September to tie up midtown Manhattan traffic and speak at the UN General Assembly’s annual opening.
4. The Rise of the "Kings of the East"
China's Plan to Beat U.S.:Missiles, Missiles and More Missiles
And forget using jet fighters armed with short-range weapons to attack the American navy. One Chinese analyst referenced in Chinese Aerospace Power estimated it would take between 150 and 200 Su-27-class fighters to destroy one U.S. Ticonderoga-class cruiser. The entire PLA operates only around 300 Su-27s and derivatives. The U.S. Navy has 22 Ticonderoga cruisers.
Again, missiles would compensate. A “supersaturation” attack by scores or hundreds of ballistic missiles has the potential of “instantly rendering the Ticonderoga’s air defenses useless,” Toshi Yoshihara wrote. Close to shore, China could use the older, less-precise, shorter-range missiles it already possesses in abundance. For longer-range strikes, the PLA is developing the DF-21D “carrier-killer” missile that uses satellites and aerial drones for precision targeting.
China Officially Offers J-10 Fighters to Pakistan
China is offering Pakistan a squadron of J-10B, the advanced multi-role, all-weather fighter aircraft. The official offer was presented to the Pakistan Army’s Chief of General Staff, Lt Gen Waheed Arshad, during a week long visit to Beijing. If such delivery takes place, Pakistan will be the first country, after China, to operate the J-10B, considered as one of China’s most advanced, operational combat aircraft.
China needs at least three aircraft carriers
"If we consider our neighbours, India will have three aircraft carriers by 2014 and Japan will have three carriers by 2014," General Luo Yuan, a senior researcher with the Academy of Military Sciences, was quoted as saying by Beijing News.
"So I think the number (for China) should not be less than three so we can defend our rights and our maritime interests effectively."
China recently confirmed it was revamping an old Soviet ship to be its first carrier, a project that has added to regional worries over the country's fast military expansion and growing assertiveness on territorial issues.
China's People's Liberation Army -- the largest armed force in the world -- is extremely secretive about its defence programmes, which benefit from a huge and expanding military budget boosted by the nation's runaway economic growth.
5. The Decline and Fall of the U.S.
The writing is on the wall for the U.S. and the dollar
In 2010, the combined US Federal, state and local government deficit was 11pc of GDP, marginally higher than Greece. Moreover, US net debt was 70pc of GDP and, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office, by 2021 it will hit 90pc. It could easily go higher. The UK's ratio was 60pc, and will probably peak below 80pc.
For several decades, the US has been the global hegemon and its currency the foundation of the world's financial system. The writing is on the wall for both. Like the British Empire, the American imperium will not end in a flash but rather fade away.
The loss of America's AAA credit rating would be much less momentous. Even so, future historians might well conclude it was an important marker during the process that saw power and prestige leaching, ineluctably, from West to East.
America's 'Great Recession' even greater than thought
The “Great Recession” was even greater than previously thought, and the U.S. economy has skated uncomfortably close to a new one this year.
The report also showed the current slowdown began earlier and has been deeper than previously thought, with growth in the first quarter advancing at only a 0.4% annual pace.
The recession was already the deepest since the Great Depression and, while it still pales in comparison, the data help explain why it is taking so long to shake off its legacy.
If the Republic Had Not Died A Long Time Ago, This Would Indeed Be The Death of the Republic
Looking at the “deal” being formed to solve the “debt ceiling crisis,” I thought it was appropriate to break out the old headline I used a few years ago. The current reference, of course, is to the extraordinary “special committee” or “Super Congress” which the deal intends to establish.
This is an unaccountable politburo which will be able to circumvent all normal democratic (and republican) principles and issue budget-slashing, tax-cutting legislation that cannot be debated or amended, but simply approved or rejected by the rest of the now-powerless representatives and senators.
And surely it would be superfluous in me to point out that these unaccountable “superpowers” will soon stretch to cover other areas of legislation beyond budgeting and taxes.
Behind all the flim-flammery of this manufactured “crisis”, we are watching the creation of a new form of government — or rather, the further mutation of the new form of government that the United States has been crawling toward for a long time. We called it a “neo-feudal oligarchy backed by a militarist police state” here the other day. No doubt there are many other ways you could describe this murderous, ravenous, lopsided monstrosity of a system. But the one thing you cannot call it is a “republic”.
6. Turmoil in the Middle East:
PM: Abbas determined to bring Palestinian state to UN vote
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is determined to bring Palestinian statehood to a UN vote in September.
"Abbas made a strategic decision to go to the UN," Netanyahu said. "He wants to get things done without a peace agreement."
He added: "We are working to ensure a US veto in the UN Security Council, but that will not prevent a majority in the General Assembly."
According to the prime minister, "no Israeli government can accept all of the Palestinians' demands. If we do, it will distance peace, not bring it closer."
Some Things You Probably Do Not Know About Islam
It should be enough to show you that the founder of Islam was a brutal warlord and that his words and deeds have given Islam its brutal and intolerant character. It is difficult to see what good can come from the teachings of a man like Muhammad.
Take a look at the world and you will see that many of the most oppressive, brutal and backward societies are strongholds of Islam. They have become like this by following the teachings of Muhammad.