The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Saturday that South Korea may have to brace for a drawn-out battle against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), saying that its outbreak is "large and complex."
The warning comes as the daily tally of confirmed MERS cases in South Korea shows signs of a rebound. A dozen new infections were found on Saturday, raising the total to 138, The death toll stood at 14.
More alarming was the first report in the country of a fourth-phase infection despite the government's all-out efforts to curb the spread of the MERS coronavirus.
The 12 new patients include an ambulance driver who last week transported two people diagnosed with the potentially deadly virus in the third-phase endemic.
After a weeklong on-site review, the WHO predicted additional infections.
"Because the outbreak has been large and is complex, more cases should be anticipated," Keiji Fukuda, the WHO's assistant director-general of health security, said at a press conference in the administrative town of Sejong, some 130 kilometers south of Seoul.
The fatality rate of MERS has been estimated at 30-40 percent, but in South Korea it hovers at 10 percent, with most people who succumb to the MERS virus already having underlying medical conditions such as weak respiratory systems, hypertension, diabetes, heart and lung diseases and cancer.
Meanwhile, Samsung Medical Center in Seoul announced it will partially suspend operations and not receive outpatients after a joint government task force charged with containing the outbreak, warned there is a chance that the virus may spread again at the hospital.
This week, the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, made an alarming revelation to the Australian newspaper, which was picked up by Britain’s Independentand then by the world. ISIS, she said, presently has the capacity to build a large, radioactive disbursal device known as a “dirty bomb.”
If this is true, no one doubts the willingness of the Islamic State (IS, or ISIS) to use such a terror-inducing bomb on any target it wants. ISIS has bragged about its desire to obtain an actual nuclear bomb, not just a dirty bomb, on the open market from Pakistan. This aspiration was reported in a propaganda letter written last month by ISIS mouthpiece, British hostage John Cantile.
And it seems likely that ISIS has already used chemical weapons against the Kurdish fighters encircling Mosul, in the form of chlorine gas. The Kurds claimedthree months ago to a Reuters reporter that ISIS had used chlorine against their Peshmerga fighters; apparently several dozen fighters had experienced “dizziness, nausea, vomiting and general weakness” after being exposed to the green gas. Kurdish officials relayed to the AP that a chemical analysis of clothing and soil near where an ISIS truck was blown up proved the presence of chlorine gas.
Then there are, of course, the chemical weapons left over from Saddam Hussein’s stockpiles. ISIS overran the al-Muthanna facility last fall, which was stuffed with discarded regime leftover shells of mustard, sarin and other chemical weapons. Al-Muthanna was a declared chemical weapons site by the post-Saddam era Iraqi government. Now it’s in the hands of ISIS.
Where would ISIS have gotten the materials for a radioactive dirty bomb? Foreign minister Bishop, citing NATO intelligence reports, said that ISIS has overrun and seized specialized, government-only “research centers and hospitals” which contain the material.
There is a question about just how destructive such a dirty bomb would be using only the conventional explosive plus radioactive materials ISIS could get its hands on from research centers and hospitals. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission describes a dirty bomb not as a weapon of mass destruction, but one of mass “disruption,” where “contamination and anxiety are the terrorists’ major objectives.”
The explosion itself would cause the vast majority, if not all, of the casualties. The NRCC’s website is quick to reassure the public, pointing out that “it is extremely unlikely that anyone who survives the explosion will become sick from radiation.”
But to focus on just the body count ignores the psychological effects on the city and the nation of such an attack. Imagine, for a moment, what would happen if ISIS were able to smuggle and detonate an actual dirty bomb into an American city. Large portions of that city—say Washington, D.C.—would be likely uninhabited for the foreseeable future, because the cleanup would be long and expensive. Few, it seems, would psychologically want to continue residing and working in an active radiological cleanup site, however low the actual danger to health would be.
If the target turned out to be the Capital, the federal government, as we know it, would have significantly impaired function as tens of thousands of workers flee the blast radius for a perceived safer area. Paralysis and terror would take hold nationwide as the 24-hour news cycle endlessly runs stories on the attack. And of course, that would be the point of the attack in the first place.
For her part, Foreign Minister Bishop is sounding the alarm about ISIS as loudly as possible. During the multi-nation anti-proliferation meeting last Friday in Perth, Australia, Bishop warned the world not to accept comfortable assumptions about ISIS’ capabilities:
Whether ISIS brings chemicals or the components of a dirty bomb to our shores, or those of our allies, few doubt that the outcome will be mass terror and paralysis, even if not mass death.
U.S. President Barack Obama has for years been negotiating with European and Asian nations — but excluding Russia and China, since he is aiming to defeat them in his war to extend the American empire (i.e, to extend the global control by America’s aristocracy) — three international ‘trade’ deals (TTP, TTIP, & TISA), each one of which contains a section (called ISDS) that would end important aspects of the sovereignty of each signatory nation, by setting up an international panel composed solely of corporate lawyers to serve as ‘arbitrators’ deciding cases brought before this panel to hear lawsuits by international corporations accusing a given signatory nation of violating that corporation’s ‘rights’ by its trying to legislate regulations that are prohibited under the ’trade’ agreement, such as by increasing the given nation’s penalties for fraud, or by lowering the amount of a given toxic substance that the nation allows in its foods, or by increasing the percentage of the nation’s energy that comes from renewable sources, or by penalizing corporations for hiring people to kill labor union organizers — i.e., by any regulatory change that benefits the public at the expense of the given corporations' profits. (No similar and countervailing power for nations to sue international corporations is included in this: the ‘rights’ of ‘investors’ — but really of only the top stockholders in international corporations — are placed higher than the rights of any signatory nation.)
These are in no way democratic legal proceedings; they’re the exact opposite, an international conquest of democracy, by international corporations.
After World War II, the ‘former’ Nazi, Prince Bernhard, took up the fascist (lower-case f, indicating the ideology, instead of Mussolini’s Fascist political party; Bernhard had belonged instead to Hitler’s Nazi Party) cudgel, when he created in 1954 his then-secret (and still secretive today) Bilderberg group, which brings together the leaders, and the advisers to the leaders, of international corporations, meeting annually or bi-annually, near the places where major national leaders or potential future leaders have pre-scheduled to congregate, such as this year’s G-7 meeting in Bavaria, so that even heads-of-state (and/or their aides) can quietly slip away unofficially to join nearby the Bilderbergs and communicate privately with them, to coordinate their collective international fascist endeavor (and decide which presidential candidates to fund), to institute a fascist world government that will possess a legal control higher than what’s possessed by any merely national government.
Bilderbergers have always been opposed to the old ideal of an emerging global federalism of democracies to constitute an ultimate world government; they instead favor a dictatorial world government, imposed by (the controlling owners of) international corporations.
The major international corporations are controlled by perhaps fewer than a hundred people around the world; and, the other billions of people, the mere citizens, will, in this plan, as realized under Obama’s ‘trade’ deals, be fined if a three-person panel of servants (the ‘arbitrators’) to that perhaps fewer than 100 people, rule to say that the given nation has violated the ‘rights’ of those ‘investors,’ and assesses the ‘fine’ against those taxpayers.
The world is already almost completely fascistic. As I previously reported, it really, truly, is the case that the “World’s Richest 80 People Own Same Amount as World’s Bottom 50%.” And, furthermore, the only rigorous scientific study that has ever been done of the extent to which a recognized ‘democratic’ country actually is a democracy found that that nation definitely is not. The nation was the United States. The U.S. was discovered to be, and long to have been, a dictatorship, in which the people who are not in the richest 10% have no impact whatsoever on the nation’s policies. A brief video accurately summarized that study (by Gillens and Page) and explained why its findings are that way.
"Our findings also point toward the need to learn more about exactly which economic elites (the ‘merely affluent’? the top 1%? the top 0.01%?) have how much impact upon public policy.” However, the most detailed study of the flow of economic benefits and costs in the United States since 2000 has found that all of the economic benefits from ‘America’s economic recovery’ and ‘the end of the recession,’ etc., have gone only to the top 1%.
The fact that these ‘trade’ deals are being pushed right now, means that the people who are in power have concluded that, already, ‘the free world’ is so dictatorial, that the chances that their plan can now be imposed globally are about as good as is likely ever to be the case again. The time is ripe for them to establish a global corporate dictatorship. The political money this year will be flowing like never before.
Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP) is “secret national security legislation” that President Obama and both parties’ “leaderships” refuse to disclose to the American public, and only visible from WikiLeaks. President Obama attempted “fast track” dictatorial power for Congress to vote for TPP without access to full text or public consideration. “Fast track” violates the US Constitution’s requirement for the Senate to ratify all treaties with 2/3 vote by claiming that 50% is somehow the same (a tie is broken by the VP, so 50% is enough). President Clinton’s justification of “fast track” is here.
TPP is Emperor’s New Clothes’ unconstitutional because it allows a foreign three-person tribunal chosen by the same .01% oligarch powers that created TPP to have power to tax Americans billions of our dollars for claimed “damages” of corporations. These three persons appointed by TPP interests would have dictatorial power to protect corporate claimed “future profits.”
President Obama led the lies of commission and omission for TPP: “If we don’t write the rules, China will.” Obama’s actions reminds of Bush Jr.’s Senior Advisor, Karl Rove’s admission:
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.”
Readers and writers in alternative media can explain, document, and prove that much of these “created realities” like TPP are “Big Lie” crimes, objectively not even close to the foundational principle of “limited government” within the US Constitution, and “created” with whatever bullshit rhetoric their focus groups conclude most likely to sell (thank you, Professor Frankfurt, for your bestseller making BS an academic term).
Readers and writers in alternative media observe escalating US and developed nations’ “created reality” crimes in ~100 areas, but perhaps most easily recognized in:
- Unlawful and lie-began war,
- So-called money
- “Crime-coverage” by corporate media.
Greek bailouts talks collapsed on Sunday evening (14 June) over what the EU Commission said was "a significant gap" between the Greek government and its creditors.
A meeting presented as a "last try" to reach a agreement before Thursday's (18 June) Eurogroup lasted less than 45 minutes at the Commission building is Brussels.
"While some progress was made, the talks did not succeed as there remains a significant gap between the plans of the Greek authorities and the joint requirements of Commission, ECB and IMF," the Commission sad in a statement.
That leaves Greece at the brink of a default at the end of the month if no solution is found to unblock a €7.2 billion loan before the end of the current bailout programme on 30 June.
On that day Greece must also repay €1.6 billion to the IMF, and it is unclear if the country will have enough liquidity.
Over the weekend, the Greek negotiating team, headed by state minister Nikos Pappas, submitted three proposals to the creditors' side represented by Martin Selmayr, the chief of staff of commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
But the proposals did not meet the creditors' demands on pension reforms and VAT levels and would make Greece fall short of completing its budget targets by €2 billion a year unless other savings are found, according to EU sources.
"This is very disappointing and sad. It was a last attempt to bridge our differences but the gap is too large. One can discuss a gap, but this is an ocean," said a source quoted by the Reuters news agency.
In a column published in Germany’s Bild on Monday, German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel warns that “the shadow of a Greek exit from the euro zone is becoming increasingly perceptible”.
The failure of the talks at a technical level leave EU leaders as the last resort.
Now that an agreement endorsed by the eurozone Finance minister at Thursday’s (18 June) Eurogroup meeting looks almost impossible, the onus will be on EU leaders when they meet a summit on 25 and 26 June.
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his ministers have repeatedly said that they wanted a political agreement.
"The decision is now not in the hands of the institutions, which in any case - with the exception of the European Commission - are not elected and are not accountable to the people, but rather in the hands of Europe’s leaders," Tsipras wrote in an op-ed published by Le Monde newspaper in May.
Faced with growing opposition from the hard-left in his party, the Greek PM needs to show that he fought to the last minute and forced concessions from his creditors and EU partners.
But the Greek government has also a more fundamental aim stopping austerity measures and getting debt relief.
This is something Greece creditors have not yet considered.
"We don't want any more money," Greek Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said in an interview to Bild on Monday.
Varoufakis asked for a restructuring of Greek debt and appealed to German chancellor Angela Merkel to personally get involved.
"An agreement could be reached in one night. But the chancellor would have to take part," he said.
What to do with Greek debt has been dividing the country's creditors - the EU, the European central bank (ECB) and the International monetary fund (IMF).
The EU has been ready to accept lower targets for the budgetary primary surplus and less cuts in pensions, provided that savings are found elsewhere. But a debt haircut has been ruled out for financial and political reasons. The IMF said that the Greek debt would not be sustainable if surplus targets are too low and pensions not dramatically reformed.
In a blog post published on Sunday, IMF's chief economist Olivier Blanchard warned that "a credible deal will require difficult decisions by all sides".
"On the one hand, the Greek government has to offer truly credible measures to reach the lower target budget surplus, and it has to show its commitment to the more limited set of reforms," Blanchard wrote.
"On the other hand, the European creditors would have to agree to significant additional financing, and to debt relief sufficient to maintain debt sustainability," he added.
"We believe that, under the existing proposal, debt relief can be achieved through a long rescheduling of debt payments at low interest rates. Any further decrease in the primary surplus target, now or later, would probably require, however, haircuts."
A senior Russian Defense Ministry official warned on Monday that Moscow would boost its forces on its Western flank should the United States store heavy arms in the Baltic states and eastern Europe.
A U.S. official said over the weekend that Washington planned to store heavy military equipment in the Baltics and eastern Europe to reassure allies unnerved by Russia's role in Ukraine and to deter aggression.
The Russian official, General Yuri Yakubov, was quoted as saying any such move would be "the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO" since the Cold War.
"Russia would be left with no other option but to boost its troops and forces on the western flank," Yakubov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
He said Russia would first add new tank, artillery and air units on its western border. It would also accelerate the deployment of new Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave and shore up its troops in Belarus, he said.
Poland and Lithuania have confirmed they are in talks with Washington on stationing heavy arms in warehouses in the region.
Russian officials were not in touch with their U.S. counterparts at the weekend to learn more about the plans that come as ties between Moscow and the West have hit new lows over the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia has long protested against what it describes as Western attempts to encroach on its territory, including by bringing former Soviet republics and countries once in its orbit in Soviet times into the NATO military alliance.
Russian jet flies close to Nato ships in the Baltic Sea in a show of military force - Europe - World - The Independent
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