Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Post

It's time for the week-end...

A North Korean banking manager has defected to Russia:

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper reported on Friday, citing an unidentified source.

Yun Tae Hyong, a senior representative of North Korea's Korea Daesong Bank, disappeared last week in Nakhodka, in the Russian Far East, with $5 million, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported.

The Daesong Bank is suspected by the U.S. government of being under the control of the North Korean government's Office 39, which is widely believed to finance illicit activities, including the procurement of luxury goods which are banned under U.N. sanctions.

The bank was blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2010.

The newspaper said North Korea had asked Russian authorities for cooperation in efforts to capture Yun.

(Sidebar: ?!?! Of all people, this guy must be aware that Russia will co-operate with North Korea.)

Britain raises the terror threat level:

Prime Minister David Cameron pledged Friday to plug gaps in Britain's armoury to combat terror, describing the extremist threat posed by the Islamic State group as being more dangerous than even that of al-Qaida.

Cameron's remarks came just moments after authorities raised Britain's terror threat level to severe, the second-highest level. The decision was related to developments in Iraq and Syria, but there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent.

"What we are facing in Iraq now with ISIL is a greater threat to our security than we have seen before," Cameron said, using an abbreviation for a longer name the Islamic State previously used: the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.

He told reporters that while the Taliban facilitated al-Qaida terrorism, the Islamic State group is "effectively a state run by terrorists." He said the ambition to create an Islamist caliphate isn't something that could be ignored.

"We could be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member," he said, referring to Turkey.

Intelligence and security services now believe around 500 Britons have gone to fight in Syria and potentially Iraq. Some of the plots are likely to involve fighters who have travelled from Britain and Europe to take part in fighting in the Middle East. ...

One action Cameron outlined was the possibility that passports could be taken away. He said further measures would be described in the House of Commons on Monday.

Britain also wants to revive a directive to enable police and security services to share passenger records in the European Union. Concerns about civil liberties have stalled the measure in the European Parliament.

"The root cause of this threat to our security is quite clear," Cameron said. "It is a poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism that is condemned by all faiths and faith leaders."

The last statement leads me to believe that Cameron is not serious about this but only wishes to be. It's the kind of political posturing without action and hard pragmatism that is more than often absent when threats like ISIS present themselves. There aren't roving gangs of Quakers rushing to the Middle East to fight nor are there Finnish Lutherans grooming girls as young as twelve for sexual purposes. Furthermore, ISIS remains standing instead of being vaporised as Obama could do but has no plans to.

Good-bye, Britain. You had a nice run on this planet but you blew it.

Also - bombing isn't a good idea because...?:

The White House isn't taking Weekly Standard founder and conservative pundit Bill Kristol's advice when it comes to battling the Islamic State forces in the Middle East.

Kristol argued in a radio interview on Monday that President Barack Obama should consider " bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens," according to audio posted by Mediaite

During a Friday afternoon media briefing, however, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest mocked the proposal. A fter one reporter grilled Earnest over why  Obama lacks a concrete strategy for combating the jihadist group in Syria,  Earnest, unprompted, pointed to Kristol's remarks as an example of what's "not ... a smart approach" towards the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Oh, yeah- you're not at war with ISIS:

The White House is insisting the U.S. is not at war with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, despite an aggressive air campaign and previously labeling the jihadist group an "imminent threat to every interest we have." 

"Before getting into the strategy, though, there seems [to be] a fundamental, existential question: Is the United States presently at war with ISIS — yes or no?" MSNBC host Chris Hayes asked President Barack Obama's top spokesman, White House press secretary Josh Earnest, on Thursday.
Earnest went with "no."

"No, Chris. What we are doing is we are working very aggressively with international partners, with Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, to take the steps necessary to mitigate the threat that's posed by ISIL," he responded.

Or nothing.

Ukraine asks for Canadian support:

"Nowadays when we see the Russians are fighting as the military are doing, we need more support. When we’re talking support nowadays, we’re talking about military support. At least we will need some military equipment," Prystaiko told the Citizen on Thursday.

"We’re asking all of the allies of NATO, ‘Guys, we understand it’s not your war, we understand nobody wants your people to die. And we also don’t want our people to die. But if you want to stop this war right now with a little blood before it gets really ugly, we have to act right now – immediately.’"

According to the report, Prystaiko wants Canada and its allies to provide things such as fighter jets, armoured vehicles and surveillance equipment. Moreover, he said that while it's not his country's official position, he personally would like to see NATO boots on ground.

This is a matter of Canada is able to do. I would suggest military training support.


The Ebola crisis continues to spread overseas, picking up speed and defying international attempts to slow its movement. And while the likelihood of reaching Canada is still considered low, health agencies across the country are preparing for the worst-case scenario at home.

At the latest count, the Ebola epidemic has spread to four countries and threatened several others. The World Health Organization has confirmed more than 3,000 cases and 1,550 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. WHO has predicted the spread could reach 20,000 people.

The agency admits the spread of the outbreak is not slowing the way they had hoped; in fact, it appears to have accelerated over the past 21 days.

That's nice, UN. Now, what are you going to do about it?

The civil war in Syria has forced 3 million people out of the country, including more than a million people who fled in the past year, creating a crisis that the U.N. refugee agency said requires the biggest operation in its 64-year history.

The tragic milestone means that about one of every eight Syrians has fled across the borders, and 6.5 million others have been displaced within Syria since the conflict began in March 2011, the Geneva-based agency said. More than half of all those uprooted are children, it said.

Syria had a prewar population of 23 million.

"The Syria crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them," said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

The agency had described the 3 million as a record, but later qualified that the Syrian crisis was record-breaking in terms of the unprecedented size and scope of the $3.74 billion operation needed to care for the refugees.

The recent surge in fighting appears to be worsening the already desperate situation for Syrian refugees, the agency said, as the extremist Islamic State group expands its control of broad areas straddling the Syria-Iraq border and terrorizes rivals and civilians in both countries.

The UN has been the platform on which tyrants and murderers can speak. It has never acted as an obstacle for mass murder and war. Giving it money, even to alleviate immense suffering such as this, only keeps the problem active.

Cut the UN off.

If Trudeau is desperate to get in mandatory voting, I would like an IQ or some similar test to qualify the electorate. For example, prospective Trudeau voters can be asked what kind of "basic dictatorship" does China have, where is the North Pole and how budgets balance themselves?

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