Steemians - Check out my synopsis and curation below of significant global happenings during week 25. All sources have been provided in "Reference Links" section at the end of this synopsis.
1. US President Trump directed Pentagon and DoD to establish a Space Force as the 6th branch of the armed forces, the existing 5 namely Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines and Air Force. Trump declared that America was “first in flight, first to the Moon,” and “will always be first in space.” Given increasing reliance of US on satellite based systems, and that U.S. adversaries have been investing heavily in anti-satellite weapons for years, without adequate defenses, space could become a vulnerability for America’s high-tech forces.
2. Update on Yemen war situation – On June 21st, Houthis repelled a large attack of the Saudi-led coalition and its proxies on the airport of al-Hudaydah along the western coast of Yemen, according to the Yemeni al-Masirah TV. Yemeni sources said that the Houthis also managed to recaptured most of the positions they had lost inside the airport. In spite of their superior weapon systems and heavy fire power, Saudi-led coalition forces appear to be unable to overrun the Houthis’ defenses in the airport. The problems in this advance are mostly linked to the problems of the coalition-led forces’ supply lines. Houthi forces attacked positions of the coalition in the areas of Mdjelis and Makhliki cutting off a force of the coalition involved in the battle for al-Hudaydah from the rest of the coalition-occupied area.
According to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, the Iranian naval group of 2 warships composed of the Kharg Helicopter Carrier and Sabalan Destroyer, has been dispatched for the port city of al-Hudaydah. The Iranian side publicly describes its move with a need to secure naval routes and protect merchant vessels and oil tankers against pirates.
3. Gonen Segev, former Israeli Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, has been *arrested on charges of spying for Iran, allegedly giving Israel's chief regional foe classified information on the locations of security centers and the country's energy industry. Segev had frequent legal troubles leading to jail time for charges of drug smuggling, forgery, and electronic commerce fraud, and lived in Nigeria in recent years. This included a prior 5-year stint in prison (2005-2010) for attempting to smuggle 32,000 ecstasy (MDMA) tablets from the Netherlands into Israel.
4. Israel carried out massive airstrikes against pro-Iran Iraq's paramilitary forces close to the Iraq-Syria border reportedly killed over 30 Syrian government soldiers and Iraqi forces. This is the first time in the war that Iraq's paramilitary forces have been targeted by Israel. Interesting to note here that as the Syrian army conducts operations increasingly close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights tofree every inch of the country as Assad promised, the likelihood of more direct Syria-Israel clashes to come is high.
5. Jammu and Kashmir, India's Achilees heel was this week placed under Governor's rule after the BJP pulled out of their coalition with Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party. Immediately following this government collapse, NSG (National Security Guards) Commandos, India's "Tropa De Elite" famous for being ruthless killing machines, was deployed at Kashmir to beef up 'anti terror' operations in the valley that is seeing an increasing number of ceasefire violations and violence over last few months. Interestingly enough, immediately after this deployment news, the Indian police of Jammu and Kashmir claim to have eliminated four DAESH terrorists in an encounter, and the reason for their presence in Kashmir (instead of Syria) is unknown.
6. Despite the recent agreement at Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un, President Donald Trump is renewing US sanctions on North Korea for another year, justified by “an unusual and extraordinary” nuclear weapons threat.
“The actions and policies of the government of North Korea, including its pursuit of nuclear and missile programs; and other provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies… continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the United States,”
7. US President Donald Trump signed an executive order this week that he claims will end the highly-criticized practice of separating families at the border who are trying to enter the country illegally. The order still permits the US government to detain families trying to enter the country indefinitely, the New York Times reported, but now families won't be split up while they are in US custody.
8. Hungary’s parliament has passed a law, popularly called "Stop Soros", that could see anyone helping illegal immigrants claim asylum in the country imprisoned. Under the law, individuals who aid migrants, informing them about the asylum procedure or “providing financial or property benefit” will be liable for a 12-month prison sentence. NGOs working with migrants will need to seek licenses and will see the scope of their work severely restricted. Orban has accused Soros of attempting to use mass migration to undermine Europe’s stability, aka Kalergi plan.
9. Israeli warplanes on Monday conducted air strikes in the northern Gaza Strip in response to incendiary kites being sent into Israeli territory, the military said. Israel said it had carried out nine strikes targeting two Hamas compounds and one Hamas weapons manufacturing site and photos showed explosions lighting up the Gaza City skyline.
Colourful kites decorated with flags, slogans and patterns have become a symbol of resistance in the face of overwhelming Israeli military force during weeks of demonstrations, reported Antimedia.
1. The Dragon-Eagle trade war heats up - China made sure it isnt going to be pushed around by the big bully US. Updates from this week-
CHINA SAYS TO HIT BACK IF U.S. ROLLS OUT NEW TARIFF LIST
CHINA MOFCOM SAYS U.S. TARIFF DECISION AGAINST MARKET RULES
CHINA WILL TAKE STRONG COUNTERMEASURES IF U.S. ISSUES NEW LIST
CHINA COMMERCE MINISTRY SAYS IF U.S. PUBLISHES ADDITIONAL IMPORTS TARIFF LIST, CHINA WILL HAVE TO ADOPT COMPREHENSIVE MEASURES TO FIGHT BACK FIRMLY: RTRS
CHINA COMMERCE MINISTRY SAYS U.S. THREATS ON $200 BILLION TARIFFS LIST DISOBEYS NEGOTIATION AND CONSENSUS REACHED PREVIOUSLY BETWEEN TWO COUNTRIES: RTRS
Chinese investments totaled $1.8 billion from January through May, representing a 92-percent drop against the same period a year ago. That’s the lowest level in seven years, according to the latest report by Rhodium Group, a research provider that tracks Chinese foreign investment.
However, China hasn't considered dumping FX reserves (either bonds or equities), or devaluing the currency, yet.
Interestingly, President Trump hit China with a potential double whammy as he directed the U.S. Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of China goods for additional 10% tariffs.
As reported in last week's synopsis, India joined the trade war bandwagon and imposed tariffs on a slew of items, including walnuts, almonds, boric acid, apples, diagnostic reagents and some hot-rolled coil products.
2. The Pakistani rupee fell from 115.63 at the start of last week to its lowest value ever of 121.39 against the US dollar by day-end on Thursday, ahead of the Eid holidays. While another bailout appears to be the only way out for the economy, the current caretaker government has ruled out talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout program. Finance ministry insiders also reveal that Pakistan is “far behind schedule” in its international debt obligations owing to the balance of payment crisis.
3. Trump might sign into law the NOPEC legislation that is currently making its way through Congress. The bill would allow America to pursue litigation against OPEC on anti trust grounds. NOPEC isn’t a totally new concept, as it has been drafted and voted through Congress some 16 times over the past 18 years, but never made it past the President’s desk, whether it was Bush or Obama. But Trump could give NOPEC a different sort of ending, one which could see it taking up the status of US law.
“Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!”, Trump wrote last week. And in April: “Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!”
Chart below shows Average annual OPEC crude oil price -
4. Moscow and Delhi are seeking to bypass US sanctions by using the rupee and the ruble in facilitating military deals, according to Indian daily, the Economic Times.
The paper reports that US sanctions are hampering $2 billion in defense deals between Russia and India, as payments are getting stuck. The countries are seeking to avoid this by switching to settlements in domestic currencies and ditching the greenback. The countries have discussed various ways of bypassing US sanctions, including payment in third currencies like the Singapore dollar. Talks are being conducted between Vijaya Bank and Indian Bank on the Indian side and Russia’s top creditor Sberbank.
1. Bitthumb hack - South Korea’s second largest crypto-currency exchange by trade volume, Bithumb, notified customers that it had been the victim of crypto-currency theft. The news sent another predictable shockwave through the crypto community and a selloff ensued that resulted in almost $10 billion leaving crypto markets in just over an hour.
Bithumb’s Twitter announcement informed customers that some of the exchange’s crypto-currencies, “valued about $30,000,000, was stolen. Those stolen cryptocurrencies will be covered from Bithumb and all [the] assets are being transferred to cold wallet [an offline storage method].” Over the past month the total market capitalization for all crypto-currencies has lost 27% and has dropped from $390 billion to now hover around $280 billion.
2. EOS block producers (BPs) have reportedly received an emergency order to refuse to process transactions for 27 accounts, according to a tweet posted yesterday, June 22. EOS BPs had come under fire from crypto Twitter earlier this week when they had overridden an ECAF decision and frozen seven accounts associated with phishing scams. The ECAF later retroactively ordered the accounts frozen, but the publicized EOS BP conference call-based decision process has caused some to question EOS’ decentralized system.
Miscellaneous/ Of Note
1. #Geoengineering / Spraying like a dick - Military personnel and civilians of Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska spotted some rather unusual cloud formations last week courtesy of Air Force pilots from the 354th Fighter Wing (354 FW) assigned to the Eleventh Air Force of the Pacific Air Forces. The moderately flaccid sky penis drawn across the gorgeous blue skies above the air base was initially posted on the Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook group on Wednesday; however, it seems as officials have quickly deleted the post.
To know more about Geoengineering, refer to these posts I wrote recently-
2. Oh Cannabis - Canad becomes second nation after Uruguay to legalize weed. On Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that marijuana will become legal nationwide starting October 17. Canada’s Senate passed the federal government’s bill to legalize marijuana nationwide Tuesday in a 52-29 vote.
3. A California judge has ruled that social media giant Twitter can be sued for falsely advertising free speech. As Bloomberg reports, the judge said that Twitter’s policy of banning users “at any time, for any reason or for no reason” may constitute an “unconscionable contract” for a company which advertises free speech. This is the first time that a social media company’s argument that it can censor user speech has been rejected by a court.
Twitter’s double standards can be seen in the way it handles complaints of abuse against conservatives and individuals linked to conservatives. But it isn’t just Twitter who is attempting to censor and suppress free speech. YouTube, Google, and Facebookare on the front lines of the fight for totalitarianism by silencing those with whom they disagree, much like the Nazis of Hitler’s regime.
4. The pro-NATO Atlantic Council think tank is set to honor former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Syrian child activist Bana Alabed at its Freedom Awards this week. There has been much uproar on social media on the decision to chose Albright, given she is known around the world for defending US sanctions on Iraq which caused the deaths of more than half a million Iraqi children. When asked in an infamous 1996 interview if she thought the sanctions were “worth” the price — the price being hundreds of thousands of dead children — Albright replied almost without hesitation, that “the price is worth it.”
5. Michael Bloomberg, former NY city Mayor, plans to peel off $80 million of his estimated $52 billion fortune to help Democrats retake the House of Representatives in the upcoming midterm elections, reports the New York Times, citing Bloomberg's advisers. Bloomberg,76, a political chameleon who turned Independent in 2007 while still running for Mayor on the Republican ticket, has been a champion of various liberal policies such as gun control, immigration and the environment. The former NYC mayor is on track to exceed that of Republican donor Sheldon Adelson - a Republican Casino mogul who recently donated $30 million to a super-PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Bloomberg issued a statement Wednesday outlining his intentions, and letting us know he's not partisan (just pro-establishment, and very against guns like the ones his armed security detail carries).
My Pick of the week : Cartoon / Meme
My Pick of the week : Reading
My Pick of the week : Video
My Pick of the week : Interview
Some other Posts of mine you may like :
Series : Geoengineering | NEXRAD/HAARP : Changing weather one RADAR at a time | Post 3
Series : Geoengineering | The not so cool "Cooling Towers" | Post 2
Series : Geo Engineering | Intro - Unnatural clouds or Pareidolia? | Post 1
India plays its own HAARP | #Geoengineering