Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday Post

Russia has sped up its invasion of Ukraine:

Russia has masterminded a counteroffensive by Ukrainian rebels, with well over 1,000 Russian troops operating inside Ukraine to man sophisticated weaponry and advise the separatists, according to NATO. 

Rebel forces have opened a second front in southern Ukraine, forcing Ukraine's army to divert some of its firepower, Brigadier General Nico Tak told reporters at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's military headquarters in Mons, Belgium. The second front along the northern edge of the Sea of Azov could also be a prelude to establishing a land corridor with Crimea, the NATO officer said.


A feud has broken out on social media between the Canadian and Russian NATO delegations following troubling reports out of Ukraine, spurred by video that appeared to show Russian soldiers inside the country's eastern border. ...

The Canadian Joint Delegation to NATO issued a sarcastic message to Moscow on Wednesday, attempting to show Russian soldiers the difference between Russia and Ukraine. ...

On Thursday, Russia's delegation fired back with their own map, which included Crimea as part of Russia and another region (which had declared independence from Georgia) as a shaded area (perhaps meant to indicate "Future Russia").

Is the Volga German by any chance?




More ISIS butchery:

Islamic State fighters executed scores of Syrian soldiers captures when the militants seized an airbase in the province of Raqqa at the weekend, according to a video posted on You Tube on Thursday. 
The video, confirmed as genuine by an Islamic State fighter, showed the bodies of dozens of men lying face down wearing nothing but their underwear. They were stretched out in a line that appeared to be dozens of metres long. 

A separate pile of bodies was shown nearby. Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.

The caption beneath it said the dead numbered 250. An Islamic State fighter in Raqqa told Reuters via the Internet: "Yes, we have executed them all." 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors violence in the war, put the death toll at more than 120.


Syrian war atrocities are spreading across the country and region, the United Nations said in a report that took the international community to task for not doing more to stop the violence.

Kidnapping, rape and torture are among the crimes against humanity committed by both sides of the three-year long conflict, the UN’s Geneva-based Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said Wednesday in a 45-page report. 

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is recruiting and training children as young 10 years old to fight in their ranks, the report claims. Meanwhile, the Syrian government unleashed a chemical agent, likely chlorine, on civilians in northern villages eight times in April, the commission said.

The Chinese are intercepting American surveillance planes:

One Chinese naval officer has advice for fighter pilots intercepting U.S. surveillance planes in the wake of an incident over the South China Sea last week that Washington condemned as dangerous - fly even closer.
The comments by Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong from the National Defense University in Beijing, reported in state media this week, reflect what Chinese military experts say is China's determination to shield its expanding ballistic missile submarine fleet from U.S. spy planes.

Risky intercepts off China's coast are likely to continue, even intensify, the experts said, adding that such actions could represent a directive from above rather than the actions of rogue pilots.

No need to worry about an emboldened China unless you're Japan:

 Japan's defense planners are seeking its biggest budget ever for the coming fiscal year, including a bulk order of patrol planes and a stealthier submarine, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bolsters the military in the face of a territorial spat with China and North Korea's nuclear program.

The Defense Ministry on Friday requested a 3.5 percent increase to 5.05 trillion yen ($48.7 billion) for the year starting next April. If approved, this third increase in a row will more than reverse the decade of cuts that Abe ended after coming to office in December 2012. 

The hawkish premier, taking a more assertive stance on national security, has also ended a ban on Japanese soldiers fighting abroad and eased curbs on weapons exports.

By testing the constraints of Japan's pacifist postwar Constitution, Abe has angered some neighbors, especially Beijing, which accuses him of reviving the nation's wartime militarism.

Japan, in turn, is wary of the rapid military buildup in China, which has overtaken Japan in recent years as the world's second-biggest economy. Beijing's military budget has jumped fourfold over the past decade to 808 billion yuan ($132 billion), nearly triple Japan's.

And now, he is the hero Chiba deserves:

Batman is real, and he lives in the Chiba Prefecture in Japan.

The so-called “Chibatman” has been spotted by several people so far, with the most recent sighting being earlier this week.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Chibatman was first mentioned on Twitter about three years ago, but this new video is probably the best evidence yet. It shows the caped crusader in all his glory, speeding along the road on a three-wheeled Batcycle and wearing a very convincing version of the costume worn by Christian Bale in the Dark Knight movies.

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