Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
A new Gold Standard is being born
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
The world is moving step by step towards a de facto Gold Standard, without any meetings of G20 leaders to announce the idea or bless the project.
Some readers will already have seen the GFMS Gold Survey for 2012 which reported that central banks around the world bought more bullion last year in terms of tonnage than at any time in almost half a century.
They added a net 536 tonnes in 2012 as they diversified fresh reserves away from the four fiat suspects: dollar, euro, sterling, and yen.
No Matter what Happens with the US Debt Crisis,
Gold will Come out Shining
By Tim Iacono - OilPrice.com
I don't know if anyone else is calling the debate over the U.S. debt that is now heating up in Washington a crisis, but, based on how the two sides have staked out their positions on raising the debt ceiling and the looming budget problems that will immediately follow in the unlikely event that the debt ceiling is raised in a timely fashion, there doesn't seem to be any reason to delay any longer in applying that moniker.
Currency Wars Should Provide Support for Precious Metals
BY SOBER LOOK - FinancialSense.com
As nations see Japan's success in weakening the yen (see discussion), some begin to take notice. Emerging markets nations often attempted to devalue their currencies in the past in order to improve competitiveness. But these days developed economies are doing it as well. This morning the Russians called these policies "currency wars", which is a good way to describe the latest developments. And such policies are not limited to Japan.
Bloomberg: - The alert from the country that chairs the Group of 20 came as Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker complained of a "dangerously high" euro and officials in Norway and Sweden expressed exchange-rate concern.
H.R. 73: To abolish the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks, to repeal the Federal Reserve Act, and for other purposes.
House Republicans weighing short-term debt limit increase
by Rosalind S. Helderman and Ed O'Keefe - WashingtonPost.com
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — House Republicans are weighing a plan to raise the nation's legal borrowing limit for just a few months, a move that could shift debate over the debt ceiling into March, when Congress will face other major fiscal decisions, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday.
But, speaking to reporters at the annual House Republicans retreat at Williamsburg's storied Kingsmill Resort, Ryan said Republicans are still in intense discussions about how to approach the difficult question of raising the debt ceiling. He said House leaders were using closed-door sessions Thursday to educate their own members, many of them itching for a fight with President Obama over the debt limit, about the potential consequences of failing to raise the limit.
The Legacy of Timothy Geithner
By Simon Johnson, Economix NYTimes.com
"Too big to fail is too big to continue. The megabanks have too much power in Washington and too much weight within the financial system." Who said this and when?
The answer is Peggy Noonan, the prominent conservative commentator, writing recentlyin The Wall Street Journal.
As Timothy F. Geithner prepares to leave the Treasury Department, most assessments focus on how his policies affected the economy. But his lasting legacy may be more political, contributing to the creation of an issue that can now be seized either by the right or the left. What should be done about the too-big-to-fail category of financial institutions?
IMF chief Lagarde: We can't 'relax' on global rebound
By Tim Devaney-The Washington Times
In her first major speech of the new year, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde on Thursday called for "all sides to pull together" in Washington to solve the country's debt and growth problems, saying the world's leading economies must follow through on fiscal and market reforms to avoid slipping back into recession.
"My sense is that we have stopped the collapse," she told reporters at IMF headquarters in the District. "We should avoid the relapse, and we cannot relax."
AT&T Records $10 Billion Pension Charge
By Nick Turner - Bloomberg.com
AT&T Inc. (T), the largest U.S. phone company, recording a $10 billion fourth-quarter charge for its pension plan and said smartphone subsidies put pressure on profit in the period.
The company lowered its expected long-term rate of return for the pension to 7.75 percent, citing "continued uncertainty" for the stock market and the U.S. economy, according to a filing today.
Social Security teetering on the 'debt cliff'
By Andy Landis - MarketWatch.com
The fiscal cliff may be behind us, but the "debt cliff" looms ahead.
That's the federal debt ceiling that Congress must raise in the next four to eight weeks, or have the U.S. fail to pay its bills. Some in Congress demand spending cuts that equal any increase in the debt ceiling; some seem willing to risk default.
Programs on the block include Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. For Social Security, two dangers surface.
CEOs prose benefit cuts for elderly Business Groups Propose Raising Age for Entitlement Benefits
By Heidi Przybyla - Blooomberg.com
The Business Roundtable, which represents chief executives of major U.S. companies, proposed shoring up Social Security and Medicare by raising the eligibility age without increasing taxes on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax.
For Social Security, the group's plan released today in Washington would gradually raise the retirement age to 70 from 67, scale back benefits for wealthier recipients and switch to a method of calculating inflation that would result in lower cost- of-living payments for current and future retirees.
Credit Swaps in U.S. Decline;
JPMorgan Sells $6 Billion of Bonds
By Madhura Karnik - Bloomberg.com
A gauge of U.S. corporate credit risk fell after housing starts jumped to a four-year high and jobless claims declined.
The Markit CDX North American Investment Grade Index, a credit-default swaps benchmark that investors use to hedge against losses or to speculate on creditworthiness, decreased 1.1 basis points to a mid-price of 87.6 basis points at 5:09 p.m. in New York, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg. The measure has declined from 89.6 on Jan. 14, the highest level this month.
Deutsche Bank Derivative Helped Monte Paschi Mask Losses
By Elisa Martinuzzi & Nicholas Dunbar - Blooomberg.com
Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) designed a derivative for Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA at the height of the financial crisis that obscured losses at the world's oldest lender before it sought a taxpayer bailout.
Germany's largest bank loaned Monte Paschi (BMPS) about 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) in December 2008 through the transaction, dubbed Project Santorini, according to more than 70 pages of documents outlining the deal and obtained byBloomberg News. The trade helped Monte Paschi mitigate a 367 million-euro loss from an older derivative contract with Deutsche Bank. As part of the arrangement, the Italian lender made a losing bet on the value of the country's government bonds, said six derivatives specialists who reviewed the files.
Keiser Report: Devil's Deadly Derivatives (E394)
In this episode, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the risk of toxic derivatives, annoying neighbors and Glenn Beck's 'libertarian' paradise. They also discuss the belief that markets can predict stock prices, which they can't . . . unless they're rigged, which they are. In the second half of the show, Max Keiser talks to Nick Dunbar, author of The Devil's Derivatives and Inventing Money and journalist at Bloomberg, about the Escher painting that is the global derivatives market where bankers are trading an option on an option that is a bet upon a bet upon a bet on a bet on a bet upon which there may be no collateral.
Taxpayer money used to pay for $222K renovation
to official's bathroom
By Scott MacFarlane, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — Channel 2 Action News has obtained photos of a costly renovation of a government official's bathroom.
Channel 2's Scott MacFarlane secured images inside the office at the Washington headquarters of the U.S. Interior Department.
The renovation was done on the interior secretary's private office bathroom. The bathroom is approximately 100 square feet and cost about $222,000 to renovate, making it more expensive that many homes.
Dysfunction Capital of U.S. Moves to Illinois
By Tim Jones - Bloomberg.com
Three brawling Illinois Democrats are presiding over a fiscal muck that has made the state the new archetype of dysfunction as longtime champion California last week projected its first surplus in a decade.
Years of indecision, gridlock and mismanagement have produced a $97 billion pension-funding deficit and more than $9 billion in unpaid bills, saddling Illinois with the nation's lowest rating from Moody's Investors Service. As a result, taxpayers are paying more to borrow, and the state's ability to provide essential services is withering as annual retirement obligations devour more money.
50 Shocking Questions That You Should Ask
To Anyone That Is Not A Prepper Yet
By Michael Snyder - TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com
Share this list of shocking questions with everyone you know that needs to wake up. Sometimes asking good questions is the best way to get someone that you care about to understand something. When I attended law school, I became very familiar with something called "the Socratic method". It is a method that has been traditionally used in law schools all over the United States. Law professors will bombard their students with questions, and the goal is to stimulate critical thinking and allow students to discover the answers for themselves. Many times those of us that can see what is happening to this country get frustrated when we try to get others to see what is so apparent to us. But instead of preaching to them, perhaps asking questions would be more helpful. When you ask someone a question, they are almost forced to think about what you just said and come up with a response. And without a doubt, the fact that America is in decline is undeniable. Those that would choose to blindly have faith in the system are foolish, because it is glaringly obvious that the system is failing. Our economy is heading for collapse and the world around us is becoming more unstable with each passing day. So it shouldn't be a surprise that the number of preppers in the United States is absolutely exploding. Some estimates put the number of preppers in the U.S. as high as 3 million, and the movement continues to explode.
Don't Confuse My Heartfelt Convictions With Racism
By Charlie Daniels - CNSNews.com
Being born in the Deep South when the Jim Crow laws were in full force and seeing, firsthand, the cruelty and downright stubborn foolishness of segregation and all it's attendant inequities, I have a very vivid and candid impression of what the word "racist" really means.
Having lived through those days and, on my own, shook off the yoke of racial prejudice that was once so firmly ingrained in me, I deeply resent the careless and reckless use of the word by people who are merely trying to be insulting, having absolutely no idea of the gravity of it's meaning.
US Army Completes World's Largest
Low Concentration Solar Plant
By James Burgess - OilPrice.com
The US Army has just put its new White Sands Missile Range Solar Power System online, making it the largest low concentration solar power plant in the world. The plant cost $16.8 million to develop, has a capacity of 4.1MW, more than double the previous record holder, and is made up of over 15,000 solar modules spread out across 42 acres.
Low concentration solar systems are not as efficient as high concentration versions, but they are far cheaper to construct, especially when real estate is cheap and plentiful. The White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico covers 3,200 square miles so land was not an issue to the Army, and thanks to a power purchase agreement they didn't actually have to pay any money upfront.
Oil Exports, Politics and Propaganda
By Jen Alic - OilPrice.com
Iran is one of the world's top fuel oil exporters, despite sanctions; the US is poised to overtake Saudi Arabia in terms of "hydrocarbon" production; Pakistan has enough oil to become a second Dubai …
It's a propaganda race to see who can come out on top—at least in the media. Muddling through media reports that are definitively political along an East-West divide can be confusing. So let's look at it without the political compass.
Why Shale Oil is Not the Game Changer
We Have Been Led to Believe - Part 1
By Chris Martenson - OilPrice.com
There has been a very strong and concerted public-relations effort to spin the recent shale energy plays of the U.S. as complete game-changers for the world energy outlook. These efforts do not square up well with the data and are creating a vast misperception about the current risks and future opportunities among the general populace and energy organizations alike. The world remains quite hopelessly addicted to petroleum, and the future will be shaped by scarcity – not abundance, as some have claimed.
This series of reports will assemble the relevant data into a simple and easy-to-understand story that has the appropriate context to provide a meaningful place to begin a conversation and make decisions.
The War Between the Amendments
By Victor Davis Hanson - PatriotPost.us
The horrific Newtown, Conn., mass shooting has unleashed a frenzy to pass new gun-control legislation. But the war over restricting firearms is not just between liberals and conservatives; it also pits the first two amendments to the U.S. Constitution against each other.
Apparently, in the sequential thinking of James Madison and the Founding Fathers, the right to free expression and the guarantee to own arms were the two most important personal liberties. But now these two cherished rights seem to be at odds with each other and have caused bitter exchanges between interpreters of the Constitution.
The $500,000 inauguration fantasy weekend Big Spender: Worth a king's ransom
to attend Obama's swearing-in?
By Charles Passy - MarketWatch.com
It's oath-taking time for Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., and the Presidential Inaugural Committee is promising visitors a memorable experience, saying the upcoming event "will attract people from across the country and all over the world to once again be part of history." But for those seeking a party with a little more panache — and a lot more exclusivity — there are options aplenty for indulging in the ultimate inaugural weekend.
An Imperial President
By Cal Thomas - PatriotPost.us
One definition of "imperial" on dictionary.com is, "of the nature or rank of an emperor or supreme ruler."
At his news conference Monday, a petulant, threatening and confrontational President Obama spoke like an emperor or supreme ruler. All that was missing was a scepter, a crown and a robe trimmed in ermine.
This president exceeds even Bill Clinton in his ability to evade, prevaricate and dissemble. I didn't think that possible.
Not only did he supply long answers to relatively easy questions, but much of what he said bore no relation to reality.
Weapon Makers See Danger in Cooperating Over Safety
[Google title for free article pass]
By GARY FIELDS - WSJ.com
WASHINGTON—One of the biggest challenges facing the Obama administration as it seeks to overhaul gun laws will be winning the cooperation of the firearms industry. Gun makers see a danger in working with the government that can be summed up in one name: Smith & Wesson.
In 2000, Smith & Wesson, then a subsidiary of the U.K.'s Tomkins PLC, signed an agreement with the Clinton administration to escape potentially ruinous lawsuits over the cost of gun violence filed by municipalities and counties. Among other things, the company promised to bar any sale of its products without a background check. It also agreed to install locks on all its guns and to develop high-tech firearms that could be fired only by their owner.
'America's Largest' Gun Shop:
Stop 'Whining To Other Gun Owners' And Take Action
By Joe Schoffstall - CNSNews.com
Hyatt Gun Shop in Charlotte, N.C, which calls itself "America's largest independently owned gun store," is urging gun rights advocates to "take action today" and push back against gun control measures before people "give away" their rights.
A Washington Examiner column reporting the call to action says, "Hyatt has turned part of its retail webpage over to the plea for action."
The post on the Hyatt website calls supporters of the 2nd Amendment stop complaining and take action by contacting their members of Congress before any more measures are taken:
Why Obama Gives Video Game Violence a Pass For the Left, the entertainment industry is sacrosanct.
By Arnold Ahlert - PatriotPost.us
Using children whose letters pleading for gun control were released to the Associated Press as props for his political theater, President Obama unveiled a panoply of sweeping proposals aimed at ostensibly curbing gun violence. Included in those proposals were 23 executive orders that run the gamut from unnecessary, in that they don't really require an executive order to carry out, to those that come perilously close to violating privacy and infringing on states' rights. Bowing to constitutional reality, the president further noted that congressional approval is required for the more restrictive measures. "To make a real and lasting difference, Congress must act," Obama said. "And Congress must act soon." Thus, the president has focused on most every factor related to lawful gun use. Conspicuously absent from the conversation are violent video games and other aspects of the sacrosanct entertainment industry.
Rand Paul on Gun Control Executive Order:
Obama is Not 'King' - CBN News 1/14/2013
"I'm against having a king," Paul said. "I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress -- that's someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch."
"I've been opposed to executive orders, even with Republican presidents. But one that wants to infringe on the Second Amendment, we will fight tooth and nail," he continued.
"And I promise you, there'll be no rock left unturned as far as trying to stop him from usurping the Constitution, running roughshod over Congress," he vowed. "And you will see one heck of a debate if he decides to try to do this."
Why President Obama might choose to lose on guns
By GLENN THRUSH - Politico.com
President Barack Obama — hardheaded architect of many grand but flawed compromises in his first term — has always preferred winning ugly to losing nobly.
Over the years, Democrats have jokingly referred to what they call the "Obama rule," enshrining the president's practice of not forcing legislative action on anything, no matter how noble, that can't pass both houses.
Obama: U.S. will be 'judged' on guns Defends list of executive orders
as 'first task' to keep children safe
By David Sherfinski and Dave Boyer-The Washington Times
President Obama set up the first major fight of his second term on Wednesday as he vowed to directly confront gun rights supporters and called on average Americans to back him in his bid to limit ammunition and semi-automatic firearms sales, expand background checks to all gun purchases and encourage doctors to ask certain patients whether they own guns.
Speaking little more than a month after the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Mr. Obama unveiled his proposals surrounded by victims' families and four children who had written him letters fearing they or their families could be the next targets of gun violence.
Guns and freedom
By Judge Andrew Napolitano - JudgeNap.com
The right of the people to keep and bear arms is an extension of the natural right to self-defense and a hallmark of personal sovereignty. It is specifically insulated from governmental interference by the Constitution and has historically been the linchpin of resistance to tyranny. And yet, the progressives in both political parties stand ready to use the coercive power of the government to interfere with the exercise of that right by law-abiding persons because of the gross abuse of that right by some crazies in our midst.
When Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, he was marrying the nation at its birth to the ancient principles of the natural law that have animated the Judeo-Christian tradition in the West. Those principles have operated as a break on all governments that recognize them by enunciating the concept of natural rights.
'Gun Culture' -- What About the 'Fatherless Culture'?
By Larry Elder - PatriotPost.us
The face of gun violence is not Sandy Hook. It is Chicago.
In 2012, President Barack Obama's adopted hometown had 506 murders, including more than 60 children. Philadelphia, a city that local television newscasters frequently call 'Killadelphia," saw 331 killed last year. In Detroit, 386 people were murdered.
Since 1966, there have been 90 school shootings in the U.S., with 231 fatalities. Yes, Sandy Hook shocked us. But the odds of a child being killed at a school shooting are longer than the odds of being struck by lightning.
Doctors as snitches for guns? REID'S OBAMACARE AMENDMENT BLOCKS
USING DOCTORS TO COMPILE GUN REGISTRY
by AWR HAWKINS - Breitbart.com
When Obama signed his 23 Executive Orders this morning, #16 was to clarify that Obamacare "does not prohibit doctors [from] asking patients about guns in their homes." Yet it must be understood that even if they ask these questions, they can't compile their answers into a list which they then pass on to the government.
This prohibition comes courtesy of Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
When Obamacare was being debated in the Senate in 2010, Reid inserted an amendment that forbids the government from using doctors to compile information for a gun registry.
Dem hopefuls see political gain in gun fight
By MAGGIE HABERMAN and ALEXANDER BURNS - Politico.com
The "It" issue energizing the Democratic base heading into the 2012 election was gay marriage — whether President Barack Obama would ultimately support the concept, whether the first statewide ballot initiatives supporting it would pass and whether the party could channel the passion around this latest cultural barrier into electoral gains.
Religious Prohibition for Guns The Religious Left is all fired up — and half-cocked —
about its new opportunity.
By MARK TOOLEY - Spectator.org
In a testimony to America's ongoing religiosity, virtually every public debate has religious voices arrayed on both sides. But typically religious voices of the left are more intensely focused on detailed politics because of their greater faith in perfecting society through politics. Gun control debates since the horrific Newtown murders exemplify this confidence, with the Religious Left certain that gun control is the main answer.
And no Religious Left campaign is complete without Sojourners activist Jim Wallis. He joined several dozen clergy and other religionists at a January 15 press conference at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill to urge gun control legislation and to denounce the National Rifle Association. They claimed to represent 80 million Americans, which might be news to many within their supposed constituency. Particularly repugnant to Wallis et al. apparently was NRA chief Wayne LaPierre's suggestion of armed guards at schools.
New Massachusetts Gun Law Revealed:
One Gun A Month, Seven Round Mag Limit, Etc.
by Robert Farago - TheTruthAboutGuns.com
Massachusetts Governor Patrick's office has released the text of An Act To Strengthen and Enhance Firearms Laws in the Commonwealth [Click here for the text of the bill. Click here for the Governor's Press Release touting the civilian disarmament package]. TTAG legal eagle Chris Dumm parsed the laws and provided the following bullet points. Make the jump for the key text change on magazine capacity.
Anonymous -- Response To Obama's 2013 Gun Control Policy Please share this video with your family, friends, and co-workers. Most of all, share with people who are anti-gun. Please explain to them that losing the 2nd Amendment is not just about guns, but that it will open the door to the future restrictions of the Rights of ALL Americans.
Tell them to imagine what it would be like to lose the Right to Free Speech, or the Freedom of Religion. Explain to them that history has proven many many times that once a government starts restricting the Rights of their people, it quickly becomes easier to do so, and impossible to stop once it has started. Show them unbiased research.
Also explain to them that by restricting Law Abiding citizens from owning firearms, their safety will be placed further into jeopardy by even bolder criminal acts. Let them know that even though they themselves may not choose to own or carry a firearm, by the fact that other law abiding people do choose to arm themselves, it does actually make them safer. Criminals who commit their crimes now, do so with the full knowledge that there is a strong possibility they will run into a gun owner. And criminals choose their victims based on this knowledge. They try to choose victims who are unlikely be armed. But once criminals know the public is disarmed, they will be able to commit even more violent crimes with NO FEAR that a victim might have the ability to fight back.
Alaska: Gas Rich, but No Longer Relevant
By Jen Alic - OilPrice.com
The natural gas boom in the US has rendered Alaska's otherwise bountiful reserves less relevant. Never fear, Japan may turn out to be an alternative market for Alaskan gas.
Of course, all of this depends on whether the US decides to go ahead with natural gas exports, an increasingly controversial issue.
This week, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski will broach the subject in Japan, as her state reels from its new market irrelevance in the US.
US diplomat Kurt Campbell warns North Korea on nuclear test
Agence France-Presse in Seoul - SCMP.com
The top US diplomat for East Asian affairs warned North Korea yesterday against any "provocative" act, as concerns grow that Pyongyang might be preparing a nuclear test.
"We are very clear in our position that provocative steps are to be discouraged," assistant secretary of state Kurt Campbell said in Seoul when asked about nuclear test speculation. He was in Seoul to meet with top officials, including president-elect Park Geun-hye.
US pivot sparks Asian arms race
By Richard Heydarian - ATimes.com
MANILA - Against the backdrop of renewed large-scale US military sales to Asian allies, and with newly re-elected US President Barack Obama choosing the region as his first official foreign destination, regional maritime disputes between China and Southeast Asian states are poised to intensify in the months ahead.
Under the new leadership of Xi Jinping, China has progressively buttressed its maritime claims across the South and East China Seas on both diplomatic and military fronts. Other Pacific powers, namely Japan and India, have also begun to deepen their strategic engagements with Southeast Asian partners, including through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) multilateral mechanisms.
Japan plays down territorial dispute
with China over Diaoyu Islands To protect its business interests,
Tokyo is trying hard not to inflame the situation with Beijing
By Julian Ryall in Tokyo - SCMP.com
The notion that a territorial row between China and Japan is escalating appears to be lost on the Japanese side of the equation.
Despite reports this week that China is planning to carry out a thorough geographical survey of the disputed Diaoyu Islands - known as the Senkakus in Japan - little public attention is being paid to the dispute.
Faded war wounds still raw in Asia
By Francesco Sisci - ATimes.com
In analyzing how the legacy of World War II and the Cold War impacts on European and Asians countries today, it is only fair for this author, as an Italian, to start with Italy. The country was the third and weakest member of the Axis nations defeated in World War II, yet it emerged from the conflict still claiming it had won at least half of it.
In 1943, half of the country switched sides, allying with the Americans and organizing partisan guerrillas. The myth was that these forces contributed to the total victory against Hitler; the reality is that Italy felt - and still feels - weak on both sides of history. We were weak as allies of the Germans (we contributed to their defeat) and weak as allies of the Americans (we didn't contribute significantly to their victory).
High-stakes stand-off between Japan and China
won't come to war Trefor Moss says while a skirmish resulting from miscalculation is entirely possible, a war between China and Japan over disputed islands is not, because there's just too much to lose
By Trefor Moss - SCMP.com
Let's spare a moment to feel absolutely terrified. China and Japan, with all the forethought of two angry bulls, appear to be spoiling for a fight with the potential to wreck East Asia.
A Sino-Japanese war would be calamitous for both countries, win or lose, and for the rest of us besides. Even so, some respected observers are warning that the brinkmanship of 2012, far from cooling heads in Beijing and Tokyo, was only a prelude to full-bore hostilities later this year.
Algeria the cradle of Islamist militants in North Africa Algeria is the birthplace
of many North African Islamist extremists
By Edward Cody - WashingtonPost.com
PARIS — Algeria gave birth to most of the hardened Islamist militants who over the past two decades have created the well-armed North African extremist movements that arefighting France from desert redoubts in Mali and took the Western hostages at an Algerian gas production site near Libya.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, 40, the one-eyed chieftain whose gunmen captured the American and other hostages Wednesday, is a prime example. Born in Algeria in 1972, he departed for combat in Afghanistan while still a teenager and returned two years later, having lost his left eye and earning the nickname "one-eye."
Algerian Forces Surround Gas Facility
after Terrorist Group Takes Hostages
By Joao Peixe - OilPrice.com
At 4.30am local time, armed men infiltrated a facility located in the Ain Amenas gas field in south-eastern Algeria, close to the border with Libya, and took the workers hostage, according to the state run Algerian Press Service.
The attack began when three vehicles of armed men attempted to ambush a bus carrying employees from the site to a nearby airport. The attack was driven off, at which point the group headed towards the facility's living quarters where the hostages were taken.
Some hostages are reported killed in Algerian operation
By Anthony Faiola - WashingtonPost.com
LONDON – The Algerian government on Thursday launched a high-stakes military strike against Islamist militants who took scores of hostages including Americans at an international gas complex in the Sahara, with reports on the ground suggesting a tragedy of some scale had unfolded in the desert.
Details from the remote outpost near Algeria's border with Libya remained sketchy, with conflicting accounts nevertheless indicating a potentially significant number of casualties among hostages and captors.
Algeria hostages killed, as EU talks of 'evil' in Mali
BY ANDREW RETTMAN - EUObserver.com
BRUSSELS - Reports say several hostages were killed when the Algerian army stormed the Tigantourine gas plant in the south-east of the country on Thursday (17 January).
The operation came after militants seized the facility - which housed workers from EU states as well as Japan, Norway and the US - following French air strikes on Islamic extremists in neighbouring Mali.
The Mauritanian news agency, ANI, said 34 hostages and 14 militants died, while other reports gave lower numbers.
Iran Navy to Deploy to Mediterranean
MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA Novosti) - Iran will deploy a fleet of warships to the Mediterranean Sea, Navy chief Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said on Wednesday.
"The Navy's 24th fleet of warships will patrol the north of the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden, Bab-el-Mandeb, the Red Sea, Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea for three months and will even sail as far as southeastern Asian countries," Sayyari was quoted by Press TV as saying.
The 23rd fleet of warships will return to the country next week, he added.
Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition
By Burt Prelutsky - PatriotPost.us
My title refers to the title of a popular song during World War II. Today, as we know, both pieces of advice are frowned upon in left-wing circles. The irony is that at the very same time that Obama and his favorite Munchkins are doing their level best to disarm Americans, the same crowd is gift-wrapping 20 F-16 fighter jets and sending them to the Muslim Brotherhood, the folks running the show in Egypt.
Now a sane person might wonder why liberals trust our sworn enemies more than they do law-abiding American citizens. But once you begin asking liberals to make sense, you might as well start expecting dogs to write sonnets and horses to compose concertos.
Stop Funding Egypt & Defend Israel
Petition - ACLJ.org
Egypt's anti-Israel and anti-American Muslim Brotherhood government is implementing Shariah Law. Its new constitution strips religious liberty from Egypt's Christians and is on the verge of passing. In response, the Obama Administration is going to give Egypt 20 new American-made F-16 fighter jets and 200 new American-made tanks.
The ACLJ is demanding that President Obama suspend all aid to Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood. All support must be cut off until Congress can certify that such aid supports U.S. national security and the security of the Israeli people.
Obama v. Israel, cont'd
By DONOVAN SLACK - Politico.com
The White House is not denying a report that President Obama repeatedly said that "Israel doesn't know what its own best interests are."
The comment, reported in a Bloomberg View column by Jeffrey Goldberg on Monday, came after the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced it would advance plans for settlements in the West Bank following recognition by the United Nations in November of the Palestinan Authority as an observer "state."