World

Sinking US aircraft carriers will resolve tension in South China Sea, says Chinese admiral

The deputy head of a Chinese military academy told an audience in Shenzhen last month that tensions in the South China Sea could be resolved by sinking a pair of U.S. aircraft carriers, reports said. “What the United States fears the most is taking casualties,” said Rear Admiral Lou Yuan, deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, news.com.au reported. He said sinking one carrier would kill 5,000 and sinking two would double that number. Brad Glosserman, a China expert and professor at Tokyo’s Tama University, said Lou’s comments reflect a growing belief in China that the United States has lost its stomach for war, according to a report from military.com. The Chinese believe that “Americans have gone soft … [they] no longer have an appetite for sacrifice and at the first sign of genuine trouble they will cut and run,” Glosserman said. In his speech, Loui said there were “five cornerstones of the United States” open to exploitation: their military, their money, their talent, their voting system — and their fear of adversaries, according to the news.com.au report.

Interesting…  For more, click on the text above.

China willing to use ‘force’ to absorb Taiwan if necessary

Chinese President Xi Jinping stated outright on Wednesday that Beijing’s goal is to absorb Taiwan and that China could use “force” to achieve the goal if necessary. Mr. Xi’s comments, which are likely to elevate tension over the prospect of Taiwan’s independence from Communist mainland China, came a day after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen vowed the democracy-oriented island will forever resist the sort of reunification being pushed by Beijing. “Taiwan will never accept ‘one country, two systems,’ Ms. Tsai said in a speech Tuesday, referencing China’s long-held claim that it’s open to allowing Taiwan to have its own semi-autonomous government as long as the island’s sovereignty is fully folded under Chinese rule. Mr. Xi dismissed Ms. Tsai’s remarks Wednesday, delivering his own major speech marking the 40 year anniversary of Beijing’s efforts to improve ties with Taiwan, in which the Chinese president urged the Taiwanese to submit to the reality that they “must and will be” reunited with China. “We make no promise to abandon the use of force, and retain the option of taking all necessary measures,” Mr. Xi said in a speech to Chinese military officials and others gathered in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. According to a New York Times report from the Chinese capital, the section of Mr. Xi’s speech referencing “force” drew rousing applause from the crowd, with the president specifically asserting that it could be used against “intervention by external forces.” It was Mr. Xi’s first major speech on Taiwan during his seven-year tenure as Chinese president, and he suggested Beijing’s absorption of the island is becoming a growing priority of his ongoing push to strengthen China’s position on the global stage. While Mr. Xi did not explicitly reference the United States or U.S. military support for Taiwan, his comments on force may have been a reference to the prospect of a military clash with America over Taiwan, which China views as a breakaway province. China and Taiwan have been governed separately since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s when Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists lost to Mao Zedong’s Communists. The Nationalists subsequently fled the mainland and established their own government on the island of Taiwan. While Washington technically does not recognize Taiwanese sovereignty from China, it has a special relationship with the island democracy’s 23 million people and laws in place that require the United States to protect Taiwan from Chinese aggression. The issue of Taiwan-China relations is heated and complex one on the Taiwanese internal political landscape, with the latest back and forth between Mr. Xi and Ms. Tsai coming amid concern on the island over the prospect of a Chinese intervention of some kind. In her own speech Tuesday, Ms. Tsai said Taiwanese people treasure their autonomy from China. She then warned city and county officials on the island to exercise caution in any dialogue with officials from the mainland. Ms. Tsai spoke specifically of major gains that a Beijing-friendly opposition party made in Taiwan’s local elections in November. “The election results absolutely don’t mean Taiwan’s basic public opinion wants us to give up our self-rule,” she said, according to The Associated Press. “They absolutely don’t mean that the Taiwanese people want us to give ground on our autonomy.” Taiwan’s Nationalist Party, which in recent years has favored closer ties with Beijing, won 15 of 22 major seats in the local elections, reversing an advantage held by Ms. Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party, which projects a far more guarded view of relations with Beijing.

This is probably just Xi puffing his chest out and throwing red meat to his supporters.   But, definitely something to keep an eye on..

Putin to deploy new hypersonic missile system as arms race escalates

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday his army would deploy a new hypersonic nuclear-capable missile system next year, upping the ante in a high-tech arms race with the U.S. Mr. Putin made the announcement at a Kremlin meeting following tests of the hypersonic system known as Avangard. “The test was completely successful: all technical parameters were verified,” Mr. Putin said, according to Russia’s state-run TASS news agency. “Starting from next year, in 2019, a new intercontinental strategic system Avangard will enter service in the Russian army and the first regiment in the Strategic Missile Troops will be deployed,” Mr. Putin said. The Avangard is a strategic intercontinental ballistic missile system equipped with a gliding hypersonic maneuvering warhead. Hypersonic warheads travel faster than traditional ballistic missiles. They reach speeds of Mach 5 or five times the speed of sound, about one mile per second.

Analysis: How arrest of Chinese ‘princess’ exposes regime’s world domination plot

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in Vancouver on Dec. 6 led to immediate blowback. Furious Chinese Communists have begun arresting innocent Canadians in retaliation. So far, three of these “revenge hostages” have been taken and are being held in secret jails on vague charges. Beijing hints that the hostage count may grow if Meng is not freed and fast. Even for a thuggish regime like China’s, this kind of action is almost unprecedented. So who is Meng Wanzhou? Currently under house arrest and awaiting extradition to the US, she will face charges that her company violated US sanctions by doing business with Iran and committed bank fraud by disguising the payments it received in return. But to say that she is the CFO of Huawei doesn’t begin to explain her importance — or China’s reaction. It turns out that “Princess” Meng, as she is called, is Communist royalty. Her grandfather was a close comrade of Chairman Mao during the Chinese Civil War, who went on to become vice governor of China’s largest province. She is also the daughter of Huawei’s Founder and Chairman, Ren Zhengfei. Daddy is grooming her to succeed him when he retires. In other words, Meng is the heiress apparent of China’s largest and most advanced hi-tech company, and one which plays a key role in China’s grand strategy of global domination. Huawei is a leader in 5G technology and, earlier this year, surpassed Apple to become the second largest smartphone maker in the world behind Samsung. But Huawei is much more than an innocent manufacturer of smartphones. It is a spy agency of the Chinese Communist Party. How do we know? Because the party has repeatedly said so. First in 2015 and then again in June 2017, the party declared that all Chinese companies must collaborate in gathering intelligence. “All organizations and citizens,” reads Article 7 of China’s National Intelligence Law, “must support, assist with, and collaborate in national intelligence work, and guard the national intelligence work secrets they are privy to.” All Chinese companies, whether they are private or owned by the state, are now part and parcel of the party’s massive overseas espionage campaign. Huawei is a key part of this aggressive effort to spy on the rest of the world. The company’s smartphones, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray, can be used to “maliciously modify or steal information,” as well as “conduct undetected espionage.” Earlier this year the Pentagon banned the devices from all US military bases worldwide. But Huawei, which has been specially designated as a “national champion,” has an even more important assignment from the Communist Party than simply listening in on phone conversations. As a global leader in 5G technology, it has been tasked with installing 5G “fiber to the phone” networks in countries around the world. In fact, “Made in China 2025” — the party’s aggressive plan to dominate the cutting-edge technologies of the 21st century — singles out Huawei as the key to achieving global 5G dominance. Any network system installed by a company working hand-in-glove with China’s intelligence services raises the danger of not only cyber espionage, but also cyber-enabled technology theft. And the danger doesn’t stop there. The new superfast 5G networks, which are 100 times faster than 4G, will literally run the world of the future. Everything from smartphones to smart cities, from self-driving vehicles to, yes, even weapons systems, will be under their control. In other words, whoever controls the 5G networks will control the world — or at least large parts of it. Huawei has reportedly secured more than 25 commercial contracts for 5G, but has been locked out of an increasing number of countries around the world because of spying concerns. The “Five Eyes” — Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the US — have over the past year waged a concerted campaign to block the Chinese tech giant from dominating next-generation wireless networks around the world. Not only have they largely kept Huawei out of their own countries, they have convinced other countries like Japan, India and Germany to go along, too. Whoever controls the 5G networks will control the world — or at least large parts of it. Yet Huawei is far from finished. The company has grown into a global brand over the past two decades because, as a “national champion,” it is constantly being fed and nourished by the party and the military with low-interest-rate loans, privileged access to a protected domestic market, and other preferential treatment. These various state subsidies continue, giving Huawei a huge and unfair advantage over its free market competitors. Huawei stands in the same relationship to the Chinese Communist Party as German steelmaker Alfried Krupp did to Germany’s National Socialists in the days leading up to WWII. Just as Germany’s leading supplier of armaments basically became an arm of the Nazi machine after war broke out, so is China’s leading hi-tech company an essential element of the party’s cold war plan to dominate the world of the future. As far as “Princess” Meng is concerned, I expect that she will be found guilty of committing bank fraud, ordered to pay a fine, and then released. Even a billion dollar fine would be chump change for a seventy-five-billion-dollar corporation like Huawei. The real payoff of her arrest lies elsewhere. It has exposed the massive campaign of espionage that Huawei is carrying out around the world at the behest of the Party. It has revealed how that Party dreams of a new world order in which China, not America, is dominant. The two Chinese characters that make up Huawei’s name literally mean, “To Serve China.” That’s clear enough, isn’t it?

Agreed..  Thanks to Steven W. Mosher for that eye-opening piece.  Steven is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of “Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order.”

Desperate women fleeing Venezuela sell hair, breast milk, sex to get by

CUCUTA, Colombia – Although the sun has barely risen, this border city with Venezuela is already bursting with chaos. Thousands upon thousands of Venezuelans pour into Colombia over the crowded cross-country bridge, their faces gaunt, carrying little more than a backpack. Rail-thin women cradle their tiny babies, and beg along the trash-strewn gutters. Teens hawk everything from cigarettes to sweets and water for small change. The young, the old and the disabled cluster around the lone Western Union office – recently established to deal with the Venezuelan influx – in the hopes of receiving or sending a few dollars to send home. Without passports or work permits, the Venezuelans – many with university degrees or decent jobs in what was once the wealthiest nation in Latin America – are now resorting to whatever it takes to survive. “Hair, looking for hair,” an older man choruses through the crowd, turning to a group of women clutching their small children. Another man nearby holds a sign, “we buy hair.” More and more girls and women are turning to the cut the make ends meet, and feed their families for a few days. Women sell their locks to local wigmakers in Colombia for around $10-30, depending on length and quality. Other women sell their bodies. Girls as young as 14 line the Cucuta streets available “for hire,” earning around seven dollars “per service.” “Due to the brutal economic situation in Venezuela, they come to Colombia looking for a job, or at least for shelter and basic care. But they usually end up selling candles or coffee at traffic lights,” said Amy Roth Sandrolini, Chief of Staff at The Exodus Road, a U.S.-based organization devoted to fighting human trafficking globally. “Where they also become vulnerable to being recruited, to become victims of human trafficking.” Both men and women are exposed to sex trafficking along the route from Venezuela to Colombia. According to several walkers, some women “chose” prostitution as a means to make money and earn rides along the way. And some heterosexual men “sell themselves on the gay market” for a little money. Other women are manipulated or forced into giving “pimp types” their documents and identification cards, and are subsequently drawn into prostitution rings. That’s particularly the case in border areas, where many rebel and drug-trafficking groups operate. They come from a country they say now resembles a war zone. Their lives have been ripped apart by displacement, starvation, disease, desperation and torment. But now they’re in Colombia, where conditions are far from perfect, but are at least safer, and more stable. Inside Venezuela, health care has all but dissolved. Children are dying of malaria and hepatitis. They’re breaking bones and burning their bodies, having been left unattended while their parents comb the streets for work and food. Suicide rates too have skyrocketed, even among children. Specific numbers are impossible to come by as the government refuses to track or release accurate data, yet Venezuelan children’s rights group CECODAP estimates there has been at least an 18 percent rise in teens taking their own lives over the past year. There are next to no mental health services.

THIS is a classic study of a failed socialist state.  It’s also just another reason why we need to secure our southern border.  For more, click on the text above.  Awful..

Report: Afghan District Bordering Iran Embracing Crystal Meth Production

Nearly 80 percent of all households in the Afghan district of Ghoryan, located in Herat province along the Iranian border, are involved in some stage of the crystal methamphetamine-making process that is currently fueling addiction epidemics plaguing Afghanistan and Iran, TRT World reported this week. TRT is the national broadcaster of the government of Turkey. According to the United Nations, Herat is the top crystal meth-producing province in Afghanistan. Herat lies on Afghanistan’s border with Iran where crystal meth use is rampant. TRT suggested that the crystal meth epidemic gripping Iran has spilled over to Afghanistan, noting that many Afghan meth “cooks” learned their skills in the Islamic Republic.

For more, click on the text above.  Crazy..

What lies beneath the Transylvanian castle that imprisoned ‘Dracula’?

A historic Transylvanian castle that may have once imprisoned Vlad the Impaler — likely inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula — still stands today. But what lies beneath it? Because of centuries of rebuilding and additions, archaeologists weren’t sure where the castle’s original foundation lay. However, new research using radar scans of the ground beneath the structure is revealing what’s going on below the building’s imposing facade. The findings were presented on Wednesday (Dec. 12) here at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Castelul Corvinilor — also known as Corvin Castle, Hunedoara Castle or Hunyadi Castle — began as a fortress built in central Transylvania (now Romania). The structure’s oldest stone fortifications date to the 14th century, and its transformation from fortress into a castle was well underway by the 15th century, according to lead researcher Isabel Morris, a doctoral candidate with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University in New Jersey. In the 15th century, the bloodthirsty despot Vlad III, prince of Wallachia, aka Vlad the Impaler, was purportedly imprisoned in Castle Corvin by Hungarian Gov. John Hunyadi (Ioan de Hunedoara), who oversaw the castle’s first expansion, according to the Romanian tourism website Rolandia. Two more expansions to the castle, in the 17th and 19th centuries, followed Hunyadi’s efforts. Consequently, the building is a hodgepodge of construction from different periods, Morris said. It has also been the subject of numerous excavations; however, maps of the site are inconsistent, and much of the archaeological record is missing, presenting challenges to scientists exploring the castle today, Morris explained. For this reason, she and her colleagues chose ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to conduct their surveys. “In order to do a good job with our reconstruction, we need to know where all these pieces are,” she told Live Science. The scans helped the researchers identify an administrative complex built during the 17th century, Morris said. The radar also revealed places where parts of the castle were held up by bedrock and supported by built-up, human-made structures. “That’s important moving forward for conserving this exciting historic site,” Morris said. Already-reconstructed rooms in the castle’s depths include a torture chamber — with a model of an unfortunate victim bound and hung from the ceiling — but it is unknown if the grim chamber ever housed the infamous Vlad the Impaler.

Fascinating!!    🙂