Monday, May 22, 2017

On a Monday

A merry Victoria Day to all y'all

Either Trump doesn't know what he is doing or he is exercising the age-old tact of dividing and conquering:

President Donald Trump opened his first visit to Israel Monday, saying he sees growing recognition among Muslim nations that they share a “common cause” with Israel in their determination to counter the threats posed by Iran.

Arriving directly from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Trump expressed his hope for co-operation among U.S. allies in the Middle East. His second stop on the nine-day tour aimed to test the waters for reviving the dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process. 

Trump, who had previously suggested that it would be easier than anticipated to solve the conflict that has vexed his predecessors for decades, said that conditions were right in both Israel and the Arab world to strike what he has called “the ultimate deal.” 

“We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people,” Trump said upon his arrival in Tel Aviv. 

And then he will move on to those who fund terrorism?


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday stability could not be achieved in the Middle East without Tehran's help, responding to criticism of the Islamic Republic from U.S. President Donald Trump who is visiting the region.

Trump called for a U.S. alliance with Muslim countries on Sunday aimed at fighting terrorism, singling out Iran as a major source of funding and support for militants in the Arab world.

Rouhani, a pragmatist who won last week's presidential election, hit back hard by dismissing the summit as a "ceremonial (event) that had no political value and will bear no results".

"Who can say regional stability can be restored without Iran? Who can say the region will experience total stability without Iran?" he said at a news conference.

Stability with the bomb? Okay ...

China admits to killing CIA assets:

The Chinese government “systematically dismantled” CIA spying operations in China starting in late 2010 and killed or imprisoned at least a dozen CIA sources over the next two years, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The newspaper cited 10 current and former U.S. officials, who described the intelligence breach as one of the worst in decades. They spoke on condition of anonymity.

The report said U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies scrambled to stem the damage, but were bitterly divided over the cause of the breach. Some investigators were convinced there was a mole within the CIA, while others believed the Chinese had hacked the covert system the CIA used to communicate with its foreign sources. The debate remains unresolved, the paper said.

(Sidebar: I think I know who the mole is.)

Even if this paper tiger lives long enough, it will soon crumble. No empire lives forever.

Also - China and Russia have plenty in common. Like North Korea, for example:

So, Russian-Chinese relations are developing according to their previous logic: On the whole, Russia supports China on North Korean issues. And China, by and large, supports Russia’s position on Syria, but typically backs off at the most critical moments. (For example, during the storming of Aleppo in 2016 and after the chemical weapons attack on Idlib in 2017, China abstained from voting in the UN Security Council.)

North Korea fires yet another missile:

North Korea fired a medium-range missile on Sunday, U.S. and South Korean officials said, the latest ballistics test for a country speeding up its development of nuclear weapons and missiles.

The rocket was fired from an area near the North Korean county of Pukchang, in South Phyongan Province, and flew eastward about 500 kilometres, said South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. The U.S. Pacific Command said it tracked the missile before it landed into the sea.

Has anyone given a first or second thought to the Arctic?

If war were to break out with Russia tomorrow, the United States would have just one solitary heavy icebreaker — the 50-year-old Polar Star — to clear the way for its warships. Meanwhile, across the Arctic Sea, is a Russian icebreaker fleet of some 40 ships. Several are nuclear-powered, giving them incredible range and endurance — and more are on the way.

Cambodians prepare for their election:

Cambodia’s main opposition party believes it has momentum on its side in next month’s local elections, which will gauge the support for Prime Minister Hun Sen ahead of national polls next year.

The U.S. State Department called on the government to avoid threats and political intimidation as the two-week campaigning for the June 4 communal elections started Saturday with tens of thousands of supporters of Hun Sen’s ruling party and the main opposition party flooding the streets of the capital.

Hun Sen has ruled for three decades, and he has warned of civil war if voters do not support his ruling Cambodian People’s Party. In the last communal elections in 2012, his party received 60 percent of the vote compared to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party’s 30.6 percent.

But the opposition now says it has a better chance of winning after it nearly upset the ruling party in general elections in 2013, triggering its boycott of the legislature that ended with the opposition returning to parliament after it struck a deal with the longtime ruler.

Relics of Saint Nicholas are being transferred to Russia:

Relics of the fourth-century saint Nicholas, who inspired the beloved figure of Santa Claus, have left Italy for the first time in nearly 1,000 years, arriving in Moscow for veneration by the Russian Orthodox Church.

The remains of St. Nicholas have been housed in the southern Italian city of Bari since 1087, when they were brought over from present-day Turkey by a group of Italian merchants.

In what is being described as “a historic event,” a “gesture of love and peace” and a “seed of ecumenism,” relics of the saint have left Bari for the first time in 930 years, transferred to Moscow where the sainted bishop of Myra is especially loved.

A five-inch bone fragment from the saint’s rib was deposited in a a golden reliquary adorned with precious stones and bas reliefs that recount the life and miracles of Nicholas. The relic arrived in Moscow on a special flight from Italy on Sunday afternoon and will stay there for a week before being transferred to Saint Petersburg, and eventually back to Italy.

The sharing of the relic is being touted as fruit of the historical encounter between Pope Francis and Russian Patriarch Kirill in Cuba, just prior to the Pope’s visit to Mexico in February 2016.

The gesture is also being seen as an overture on the part of the Catholic Church toward closer relations with the Orthodox Church, who split in the Great Schism of 1054.
They had better get those back.

And now,  an outline to define one of life's most controversial questions:


Maybe there are no wrong answers here, only more delicious ones.

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