Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Global Terrorist Threats - Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey, and National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen testified at a House… | International Statesmen Call for Experimenting with Drug Legalization

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Global Terrorist Threats

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey, and National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen testified at a House…

New ISIS video plays like movie trailer

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Slow-motion explosions, flames engulfing American troops, cameos from Presidents Bush and Obama: This is "Flames of War," a slick and ominous new video from the ISIS media center.

Russian lawmakers propose cutting foreign ownership in media

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian lawmakers proposed cutting foreign ownership in Russian media assets to 20 percent in an attempt to limit outside influences and protect Russia's "information sovereignty", a copy of a draft law showed on Wednesday.


AP Interview: Iraq Premier Says No Foreign Troops - ABC News

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ABC News

AP Interview: Iraq Premier Says No Foreign Troops
ABC News
Iraq's prime minister strongly rejected the idea of the U.S. or other nations sending ground forces to his country to help fight the Islamic State group, saying Wednesday that foreign troops are "out of the question." In his first interview with foreign media since ...

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Obama, U.S. Military Commanders Discuss Fight Against Islamic State

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Obama was meeting with U.S. military commanders overseeing the expanding U.S. air war against Islamic militants, as the Pentagon's top uniformed officer warned that American advisers may be needed on the front lines.

Hearing Global Terrorist Threats | Video

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Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey, and National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen testified at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on terrorist threats.
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U.S. airstrikes boost Islamic State, more hostages possible: FBI

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Support for Islamic State increased after U.S. airstrikes began in Iraq and the militant group may take more hostages to try to force concessions from Washington, the FBI director told Congress on Wednesday.

At City Hall, a Tussle Over Bloomberg’s Legacy

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As Mayor Bill de Blasio and his surrogates continue to issue pointed barbs at Michael R. Bloomberg, former Bloomberg administration officials have increasingly moved to defend him.

Is U.S. Policy on Fighting ISIS Already Changing?

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A week ago, President Obama stood before the American people and promised that the expanding fight against the Islamic State — a vicious Sunni militant group known as ISIS or ISIL that is terrorizing parts of Iraq and Syria — would not mean a commitment of American ground troops. “As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission,” he said.
On Tuesday, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had a very different message when he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I’ll recommend that to the president,” he said, citing a potential attempt to retake the strategic important Iraqi city of Mosul as an example.
There is no way to read this other than as a reversal from the firm commitment Mr. Obama made not to immerse the country in another endless ground war in the Middle East.
Even though General Dempsey’s remarks were conditional, the Obama administration has turned on a dime in record time and opened the door to deeper, more costly American involvement even before the strategy is fully sketched out. And this is happening without Congress ever giving Mr. Obama the authority to wage war.
It’s impossible to believe that General Dempsey was speaking just for himself, though administration officials said his remarks were not cleared by the White House. His initial comments were contained in written testimony, so they would have gone through a review process, at least by Pentagon officials, and scrubbed in advance for errors and misstatements.
He reinforced his position under questioning by members of the Senate committee. American forces in Iraq “are not participating in direct combat. There is no intention for them to do so,” he said, but “I’ve mentioned, though, that if I found that circumstance evolving, I would, of course, change my recommendation.”
So what changed in the last week? Has there been some new intelligence assessment about the Islamic State’s strengths that requires an urgent shift in policy? Has the administration run into difficulty persuading Arab countries and others to join its mission, which cannot succeed without their support? Or was General Dempsey leaving his options open to a ground war, as military leaders like to do, despite what Mr. Obama has promised?
These possibilities are highly disturbing, and they certainly do not provide any basis for considering a move toward a ground war.
White House officials insisted after General Dempsey’s testimony that there is no change in Mr. Obama’s policy. The best proof of that would be for Mr. Obama to reassert his pledge and stick to it.
If there is any lesson to be taken from recent military conflicts, it is how easily the country can slip into an intractable war, with consequences that cannot be fully foreseen, and the fight against the Islamic State is more complicated and multidimensional than most.
The international coalition that Mr. Obama says is crucial to his plan is just being formed. While there have been positive steps toward a new government in Iraq, the positions of defense and interiors ministers remain unfilled as politicians continue to fight for power. Meanwhile, American-led training of forces in Iraq and Syria (the so-called moderate opposition) that are supposed to be central to the military campaign will take months, and congressional approval of the $500 million that Mr. Obama has requested for training and equipping Syrian rebels is far from certain.
The alarming uncertainty that General Dempsey has injected into the still evolving military strategy makes it even more important that Congress carry out its constitutional duty and debate and vote on the new mission in Iraq and Syria.
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From the Opinion section of The New York Times:

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From the Opinion section of The New York Times:

Op-Ed Columnist: ISIS and the Arab World
Let’s ponder a few important questions about ISIS and the Arab world.

Explore our updated maps that explain the crisis in Ukraine.

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Explore our updated maps that explain the crisis in Ukraine.

Ukraine Crisis in Maps
The latest updates to the current visual survey of the continuing dispute, with maps and satellite imagery showing rebel and military movement.

Globalization Is in Retreat? Not So Fast

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Not long ago, executives at the Dutch multinational Royal DSM, a globe-girdling maker of nutritional supplements and high-tech materials, used to require a battery of internal studies to decide where to do a deal or locate a new manufacturing plant.
But today, “we won’t even do the study,” Stephan B. Tanda, the managing board member with responsibility for the Americas, told me. “It’s clear it will be the United States.”
The United States, he points out, has lots of cheap natural gas and a very lightly regulated labor market. At the same time, China, where Royal DSM has some 40 plants, is losing its edge. “It is less attractive than it used to be as a source from which to serve the world,” Mr. Tanda said.
For the last time the United States was as competitive as it is now, he added, “you have to go back to before the first oil shock in the 1970s.” Of the $3.6 billion in acquisitions by Royal DSM since 2010, 80 percent has come to the United States.
Could globalization make a U-turn?
Over the last year or two, a growing number of business analysts have been arguing that we are entering a new era of global manufacturing, with the United States at center stage.
Last month, the Boston Consulting Group, following up on an earlier survey that suggested “reshoring” of factories back to the United States was the new name of the game, issued a report that argued that the United States had the lowest manufacturing costs among major exporters in the developed world and was nearly competitive with China.
But before becoming overly excited about the prospects for an American industrial renaissance, it is worth looking more skeptically at the claim that globalization has run its course.
“I don’t agree that China’s moment is coming to an end,” said Karl P. Sauvant at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. “The most important determinant of investment is market size and market growth, and China remains a big market and continues to grow at a reasonable pace.”
So what if workers in China’s coastal areas are becoming more expensive? The country will move up the value-added ladder to make more sophisticated stuff. Indeed, countries tend to trade more as their incomes converge, not less. Manufacturers seeking cheap labor still have plenty of places to go, like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Mexico or even China’s heavily populated hinterland, which will benefit from Beijing’s huge investments in transportation infrastructure connecting it to the coast.
There are dynamics that could put a real dent in globalization. If energy prices take off again, that will favor regional rather than global production networks. Intellectual property piracy in China might temper multinational corporations’ appetite to invest in advanced industries there.
Technologies that allow fewer workers to perform more sophisticated tasks — 3-D printing, say — might encourage more production in rich countries, near consumer markets.
Already, slow growth is undermining the case for open markets that globalization rests on. Trade has slowed significantly since the Great Recession. Small-scale protectionist measures have multiplied as countries have sought to protect domestic producers.
Terrorism and political instability could slow the process further, adding another layer of cost to global production networks.
Perhaps China’s rising costs will finally provide a break to American workers who have been losing ground for two decades to a once-bottomless pool of cheap workers.
“Workers may have the opportunity to gain back lost shares of output in the decades ahead,” Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research suggested this year in a short essay that also argued that no other nation would be able to duplicate China’s successes.
Still, Richard Baldwin of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Genevapoints out that the convergence in incomes driven by the fast industrialization of China and some other countries like Brazil and India is unlikely to stop soon. In 1988, the share of world income held by the seven richest nations peaked at two-thirds. By 2010 it was down to half. It is, Mr. Baldwin proposes, “likely to continue to sag for decades.”
Evidence that globalization might be going into reverse is hard to find in the data. Global foreign direct investment flows remain substantially below the record $2 trillion of 2007. But last year they rebounded 9 percent, to $1.45 trillion, according to United Nations data. More than half went to developing countries and China received $124 billion, nearly a record and roughly 50 percent more than six years ago.
Even if the United States draws a larger share of global manufacturing, lots of high-wage jobs are unlikely to follow.
Jan Svejnar at the Center on Global Economic Governance at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs is optimistic about American prospects. “The most promising emerging market in the world is the United States,” he told me. But any new manufacturing that develops here will be capital-intensive, he added, relying on far fewer factory workers than in the past.
And for all the hope that cheap and abundant American energy or rising Chinese labor costs might drive a wave of reshoring, it isn’t happening yet.
James B. Rice Jr. and Francesco Stefanelli at the Center for Transportation and Logistics of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked carefully at some 50 American companies — including Apple and General Electric — that have announced they were bringing jobs home. Most have yet to make any move.
“We don’t think that’s really what’s happening,” Mr. Rice told me.
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Economic Scene: Globalization Is in Retreat? Not So Fastnyti.msWhile some observ... 

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Economic Scene: Globalization Is in Retreat? Not So Fast
While some observers see a “reshoring” of global manufacturing to the United States, the globalization trend is far from over.

Azerbaijan Keeps Mum About Bust On Georgia Heroin ...

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Both countries cooperate with the United Nations and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to crack down on international trafficking rings. In the first nine months of 2012, the latest ... The State Department wrote in its International Narcotics Control Strategy Report that the DEA, which has trained Azerbaijani state employees in anti-narcotics work, “helped Azerbaijan pursue international drug trafficking organizations in 2013.” It noted that Baku has provided ...

Leader of Colombian Drug Trafficking Organization ... 

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Leader of Colombian Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 18 Years in Federal Prison #OperationPanamaExpress. Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to ... and dispatching cocaine-laden go-fast vessels (GFVs). Boxton is accountable for the GFV TAUPLY, interdicted by the United States in the Caribbean Sea on May 31, 2012, on the high seas and ininternational waters, approximately 85 nautical miles southeast of Nicaragua.

Hugo Carvajal Arrives in Venezuela – Venezuela Solidarity ...

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... Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Venezuelan Foreign Relations Minister Elias Jaua received Carvajal and the deputy Minister of Foreign Relations to Europe, Calixto Ortega, at the MaiquetiaInternational Airport, some 18 miles from the capital's city of Caracas. ... “Hugo Carvajal broke world records by arresting over 75 heads of drug trafficking organizations,” said Maduro during the second day of the Third National Congress of the PSUV. Carvajal was standing next to Maduro ...

From California to Orlando's I-Drive Hotels: 26 Arrested in ...

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Agents of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation said Friday, 26 arrest warrants have been issued for defendants in a drug trafficking organization which stretches from California to International Drive, the heart of Orlando's ...

leader of maritime international drug transportation ... 

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Estupinan-Montano allegedly worked closely with the violent “Los Rastrojos” drug trafficking organization, a paramilitary organization that employed hundreds of individuals and controlled drug trafficking along the Pacific ...
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Saudi Arabia: Four Men Beheaded For Smuggling Marijuana

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Just four days ago, Sultan Hussein Khadim, a Pakistani man, was also put to the sword in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province for drug trafficking, according to the government, reports Agence France-Presse. “The recent ... Relatives of the men contacted Amnesty on Thursday “asking for help amid fears that the executions were imminent,” and later the families were told by the Saudi interior ministry to stop contacting the international human rights organizationDrug ...

Patriarch of Guatemalan Drug Trafficking Organization ...

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This case once again affirms the Justice Department's unwavering commitment to working with ourinternational law enforcement partners to bring transnational drug traffickers, wherever they may reside, to justice for their ...

Yerevan hosts regional conference on international drug trafficking ... 

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The purpose of these conferences is to support and enhance international efforts to combatinternational drug-trafficking organizations, by developing the capabilities of investigators, prosecutors, and judges to investigate, ...

Large-scale law enforcement effort targets downtown Los Angeles ... 

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"Unscrupulous companies that help cartels cover their financial tracks by laundering their illicit funds are contributing to the devastation wrought by the international drug trade. ... This BMPE scheme – which is also known as trade-based money laundering – is often used by Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations to collect money from their drug sales in the United States without having to take the risk of smuggling bulk amounts of U.S. currency across the Mexican ...

FBI: “Twenty-Six People Indicted in Drug Trafficking Conspiracy in ... 

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... of the international drug trafficking connections that are plaguing our communities with danger and heroin,” Anthony said. “The FBI will continue collaborative law enforcement efforts to combat these violent organizations.”.

OFAC: “Treasury Targets Honduran Drug Trafficking Organization ... 

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced the designation of the Los Valles drug trafficking organization in Honduras and Honduran national Miguel Arnulfo Valle Valle as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act. ... Since June 2000 more than 1600 individuals and entities have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking.
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International Statesmen Call for Experimenting with Drug Legalization 

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But let's also allow and encourage countries to carefully test models of responsible legal regulation as a means to undermine the power of organized crime, which thrives on illicit drug trafficking.” The top recommendations of the report are to put health and safety first, to stop criminalizing people for druguse, focus on reducing the power of criminal organizations, find alternatives to incarceration for low-level parts of the drug market, and encourage diverse experiments ...