Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rondje eindtijd

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 2, 2012, 7:44 PM (GMT+02:00)
Tags:  Turkey   Hizballah   Israel   Iran   Israel   Scuds   Syrian rebels 
Scud D ground-to-ground missile

Two radical developments arising from the Syrian conflict are revealed by debkafile: In an astonishing about face, Turkey has abandoned its 14-month support for the Syrian revolt alongside the West and made common cause with Russia, i.e. Bashar Assad.  Further exacerbating fears of a “proxy war” involving Israel, Iran and Syria, the Lebanese Hizballah is preparing to transfer its Scud D missiles, capable of hitting any point in Israel, from Syria to Lebanon. Israel has threatened to stop their crossing by force.
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02 Jun 12
Ireland says Yes to EU fiscal pact
The Yes campaign, with the full weight of the government, establishment political parties, trade unions and big business behind it, won a clear victory with over 60 per cent of the vote. After a bad-tempered campaign marred by a lower than normal turnout of 50 per cent and deep social divisions, No campaigners, led by Sinn Féin conceded defeat with 39 per cent of the vote.  
Louisiana's bold bid to privatize schools
Louisiana is embarking on the nation's boldest experiment in privatizing public education, with the state preparing to shift tens of millions in tax dollars out of the public schools to pay private industry, businesses owners and church pastors to educate children. Starting this fall, thousands of poor and middle-class kids will get vouchers covering the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools across Louisiana, including small, Bible-based church schools.  
Syria conflict: Russia's Vladimir Putin stands firm
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has resisted diplomatic pressure from Western nations to support tougher action against Syria's government. Mr Putin, an ally of Syria, called for more time to be given to the peace plan of envoy Kofi Annan. The US and UK have called on Moscow to strengthen its condemnation of the Syrian regime since last week's massacre in Houla, where 108 died.  
China 'arrests high-level US spy' in Hong Kong - reports
A Chinese security ministry official has been arrested on suspicion of spying for the US and passing on state secrets, Hong Kong media reports say. The man, who was private secretary to a vice-minister in the security ministry, was arrested earlier this year, various press reports say. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declined to comment on the reports.  
Iran threatens to target US bases if attacked
Iran has warned the United States not to resort to military action against it, saying US bases in the region were vulnerable to the Islamic Republic's missiles, state media reported on Saturday. The comments by a senior Iranian military commander were an apparent response to US officials who have said Washington was ready to use military force to stop what it suspects is Iran's goal to develop a nuclear weapons capability.  
U.S. publishes satellite images of Syria
A U.S. government website on Friday published what it said was photographic evidence of mass graves and attacks on civilian areas by Syrian government forces. The website, operated by a bureau of the State Department, published a series of overhead photos, said to be taken earlier this week by commercial satellite, showing what it said were mass graves dug following a massacre near the town of Houla.  
Weak US job figures for May hit markets
Stock markets have fallen following worse-than-expected US job figures. The Dow Jones closed down 275 points, or 2.2%, while in Frankfurt the Dax was down 3.4%, in Paris the Cac 40 fell 2.2% and London's FTSE 100 lost 1.1%. The US economy added 69,000 jobs in May, well below forecasts. It was the smallest number created since May 2011.  
Syrian rebels kill 14 soldiers in Deraa, Damascus
yrian rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad killed six soldiers in the southern province of Deraa on Saturday and at least eight others in clashes on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, a monitoring group reported. "There were heavy clashes between Syrian forces and fighters from the opposition in (Deraa)... resulting in the death of at least 6 Syrian troops," the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement.  
Risks of boomerangs a reality in world of cyberwar
The Obama administration is warning American businesses about an unusually potent computer virus that infected Iran's oil industry even as suspicions persist that the United States is responsible for secretly creating and unleashing cyberweapons against foreign countries.  
Egypt's Mubarak sentenced to life in prison
Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison Saturday for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising that forced him from power. But the ousted president and his sons were acquitted of corruption charges in a mixed verdict that swiftly provoked a new wave of anger on Egypt's streets.  
Russia votes against UN resolution on Syria, backs Assad claim that rebels behind massacre
he U.N.'s top human rights body voted overwhelmingly Friday to condemn Syria over the slaughter of more than 100 civilians last week, but Damascus appeared impervious to the crescendo of global condemnation following a string of horrific massacres. Syria's most important ally and protector, Russia, voted against the measure by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. Russia has refused to support any move that could lead to foreign intervention in Syria, Moscow's last significant ally in the Middle East.  
Target sells T-shirts to help pro-gay marriage group
Two years after Target Corp. angered gay marriage supporters with a political donation that benefited a fiery gay marriage opponent seeking the governor's office, the retailer is now upsetting same-sex marriage opponents by selling T-shirts to raise money for a group working to defeat a gay marriage ban in Minnesota.  
Panetta: U.S. shifting 60% of warships to Pacific by 2020
The Pentagon will shift more Navy warships to the Asia-Pacific region over the next several years and by 2020, about 60% of the fleet will be assigned there as part of a new strategy to increase U.S. presence in Asia, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Saturday.  

01 Jun 12
Hague concerned 'Syria is on the brink of a vicious civil war'
"The Secretary General and I share a deep concern that Syria is on the brink of a vicious civil war. We agreed that President Assad must fulfill his commitment to implementing the Annan Plan if this scenario is to be averted. We resolved to continue to work tirelessly to solve the crisis and will consider all options available in doing so." – WILLIAM HAGUE, FOREIGN SECRETARY  
Shiveluch volcano (Kamchatka): powerful ash explosions, plumes reaching 7-10 km altitude
A strong eruption that produced an ash plume that rose to 6 km altitude occurred on 29 May, Russian scientists from KVERT report. According to a Itar-Tass news entry, the plume eventually reached 7.3 km and the eruption followed an increase of seismic activity. Another, probably stronger eruption seems to have occurred on 30 May. An ash plume from Shiveluch volcano was detected at 10 km altitude on satellite data (Tokyo VAAC).  
Eurozone is 'unsustainable' warns Mario Draghi
Mario Draghi said the central bank could not "fill the vacuum" left by member states' lack of action as it was claimed the zone is on the point of "disintegration". Amid escalating talk of a potential bail-out for Spain, the president of the ECB said the central bank was powerless to stop the debt tornado. "It's not our duty, it's not in our mandate" to "fill the vacuum left by the lack of action by national governments on the fiscal front," he said.  
Highly addictive drug blamed for cannibal attack in Miami a growing threat in Maritime Canada
“I’ve been working in addictions for 19 years . . . and this is the first drug which really has me concerned,” he said in a telephone interview. Since April, he says emergency rooms in Nova Scotia have had at least three cases a week of patients on bath salts, usually brought there by police. “Negative side-effects that we are seeing; Hallucinations, delusions, psychosis, being awake for one to two weeks straight with very little rest. Kidney failure. Aggressiveness, combativeness and extreme paranoia.  
Australian Professor: Christian Schools Promote Bad Values
The commonly-held belief is that Christian schools promote good values. But one Australian university professor claims just the opposite — that faith-based schools go against societal norms. Professor Marion Maddox, who serves as the director for research on social inclusion at Macquarie University in Australia, isn’t shy about her disdain for Christian education.  
Miami cannibal attacker attended Bible study, gave up pot in days before gruesome breakdown, friend says
Last Thursday, two days before he was shot, he went to Bible study with his friend, the Miami Herald reports. In a discussion about how to live a more holy life, Eugene vowed to stop smoking marijuana, according to his friend Bobby Chery. Not long after, Eugene’s life took a dramatic turn when he attacked, stripped and pummelled a homeless man before chewing off much of the man’s face. The 18-minute assault, caught on video by a surveillance camera, ended when police shot and killed Eugene after he refused to stop chewing the man’s face.  
China slowdown worsens amid signs U.S. losing steam
China's slowdown worsened in May as its factories saw a further deterioration in demand at home and abroad, dealing a new blow to a global economy struggling with a sharp downturn in Europe and a faltering recovery in the United States. The darkening outlook was underlined by data showing the fourth monthly decline this year in exports from South Korea, the first major economy to report May numbers, as shipments to the United States, Europe and China all fell.  
U.S. says it will fight push to move Internet control over to the UN
Lawmakers on Thursday said they are united when it comes to keeping the Internet free from centralized control and preventing the United Nations from gaining power over web content and infrastructure.  
Sinai peacekeeping force commander warns of weapons smuggling to Gaza
The commander of the Multinational Force and Observers in Sinai said this week that advanced Russian-made missiles were being smuggled from Libya, through Egypt, into the Gaza Strip. Speaking on Monday at a conference of the Evans Program for Conflict Resolution of Tel Aviv University, Maj. Gen. Warren James Whiting said that weapons smuggling is one of the biggest challenges facing his troops.  
Russia tests next generation missile
On May 23, Russia successfully tested a new intercontinental long-range missile at the Plesetsk space center which is located in its northwestern Arkhangelsk region. According to Russia's Defense Ministry, the missile's dummy warhead landed on target at the Kura testing range on the Kamchatka peninsula.  
Israeli officials link Tehran to Assad’s massacres
A day after Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran’s parliament, said a Western military intervention in Syria would “engulf” Israel, Israeli government officials tried to shine the light on Iranian involvement in the Syrian bloodshed.  
China and Japan to begin direct currency trading
China and Japan will start direct currency trading on Friday as Beijing marks another stage on its journey to internationalise the yuan. Forex traders will be able to swap Japanese yen for the Chinese unit without having to use the US dollar as an intermediary currency when markets open in Tokyo and Shanghai at 0000 GMT.  
Obama Tells Donors Health-Care Fight May Loom After Court Rules
President Barack Obama is confiding to Democratic donors that he may have to revisit the health-care issue in a second term, a position at odds with his publicly expressed confidence that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the Affordable Care Act, according to three Democratic activists. As he previewed his agenda for donors at a May 14 fundraiser, Obama said he may be forced to try to revise parts of his health-care plan, depending on how the court rules later this month...  
Paralysed rats 'learn to walk'
Paralysed rats have been able to walk again after their spinal cords were bathed in chemicals and zapped with electricity, scientists have shown. An injury to the spinal cord stops the brain controlling the body. The study, in the journal Science, showed injured rats could even learn to sprint with spinal stimulation.  
New Syria 'mass killing' reported ahead of UN meeting
Activists have released a video which they say shows another mass killing of civilians by a pro-government militia in Syria - the third in a week. Thirteen factory workers were forced off a bus and executed by shabiha members in a village near Qusair, in the west of the country, they said. Correspondents say the video shows a group of bodies with hideous injuries.  
Egypt state of emergency lifted after 31 years
Egypt's state of emergency, that gave security forces sweeping powers to detain suspects and try them in special courts, has ended after 31 years. It has been in place without interruption since the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Lifting the law was a key demand of activists in last year's uprising against President Hosni Mubarak.  
Venezuela bans private gun ownership
Venezuela has brought a new gun law into effect which bans the commercial sale of firearms and ammunition. Until now, anyone with a gun permit could buy arms from a private company. Under the new law, only the army, police and certain groups like security companies will be able to buy arms from the state-owned weapons manufacturer and importer.  

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