Cracks are appearing in the edifice of modern agriculture: Australia’s biggest grain producer’s revenue collapses after horrific crop losses. Open the Video
Study confirms 90% of people still believe the CO2/global warming hoax — humanity is walking unaware into #GlobalCooling in the #GrandSolarMinimum. Christian breaks it down, encourages you to grow your own food, and–by all means–spread the word.
A confrontation in this vital sea-lane will affect oil trade and the entire world.
After United States President Donald Trump announced that sanctions will apply to all nations importing oil from Iran, Gen. Alireza Tangsiri, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (irgc) Navy, threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran’s biggest oil customers are China, India, Japan and South Korea. After withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement, the Trump administration granted waivers to China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey. The waivers were intended to provide time for these nations to transition to alternate suppliers. Italy, Greece and Taiwan have already made the transition and complied with American directives, but others, including American allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, have continued importing Iranian oil and asked for their waivers to be extended. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on April 22 that no waivers would be extended and sanctions would come into effect on May 3.
On April 8, President Trump also officially designated the irgc as a terrorist organization. General Tangsiri stated on April 22, “In case of any threat, we will have not even an iota of doubt to protect and defend the Iranian waters. … [I]f we are barred from using it, we will shut it down.”
The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most important waterways. It is the fastest route to Europe for Gulf states and the most traveled route for shipping from Saudi Arabia, Iran and other nations. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that as much as 18.5 million barrels of oil passed through the strait in 2016, accounting for 30 percent of the world’s seaborne oil trade. Oil accounts for 82 percent of Iranian exports.
The U.S. Navy could easily destroy the Iranian Navy head-to-head on the open sea. However, the Iranians can effectively close the strait to commercial shipping. Although they would not be able to hold off the American 5th Fleet for long, they would be able to strike fear into commercial shipping companies, causing rerouting, delays and soaring oil prices.
One way Iran could disrupt shipping is by using its swarm of speedboats. Some speedboats are reportedly unmanned, and most are armed with anti-ship missiles or rockets in addition to smaller guns. They practice attacking in formation and overwhelming the adversary with fire from all directions at once. According to Military Watch magazine, this capability turns the strait into a “Piranha tank” for larger American ships, whose design and crews are less suited to engage small and fast targets. Forces trying to reopen the strait would also have to combat Iran’s Russian-made Kilo-class submarines, which have been nicknamed “the black hole” by nato forces due to how difficult they are to detect.
National Interest wrote, “The real danger isn’t Iranian anti-ship missiles or rockets—it’s the lowly, oft-neglected threat of sea mines.” Mines are easy and inexpensive to manufacture. Iran has developed a large number of mines of several types. A mine (with a design from World War i) nearly sank uss Samuel B. Roberts in 1988. Mines costing less than $25,000 each crippled the uss Princeton and two amphibious assault ships in 1991 at the beginning of the Gulf War. The majority of U.S. Navy vessels lost since World War ii were sunk by mines.
Iran doesn’t have to permanently close the strait to cause a lot of damage. Just closing it down for weeks or days would cause major delays, soaring oil prices and other problems.
The Trumpet watches Iran’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy and warns of the danger it poses to those nations that rely on the Strait of Hormuz for oil imports and other vital shipping. Iran’s aggression is dangerous for the world, especially Europe. It will lead to a clash of civilizations, which the Bible predicted thousands of years ago.
Iran is the head of radical Islam. It is a state sponsor of terrorism, recognized officially as such by the U.S. government. In the Bible, radical Islam led by Iran is called “the king of the south.” This power “pushes” at its neighbors (Daniel 11:40).
Today, Iran repeatedly pushes against Europe by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, by sponsoring terrorism, and by other means. What will be the result? “[T]he king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (verse 40).
The king of the north refers to a European power that will initiate all-out war against Iran and its radical Islamist allies.
Whether Iran closes the strait or not, the Bible makes clear that its pushy foreign policy will continue.
To learn more about the future of Iran, Europe and this oil-dependent world, and how your life will be affected by these prophecies as they are fulfilled, request our free booklet The King of the South, by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry.
English media claims to have exposed that the terrorist group “Islamic State”, or ISIS, as they are losing control over Syria, have planned terrorist attacks in Europe. This much is said to be revealed in documents found in the territories liberated from the militants, The Sunday Times reported .
According to the publication, the plan involves the use dormant cells located in the West, also known as sleeper cells, to carry out the attacks. In the last number of years, there have been a number of terrorist attacks in Europe.
The year 2016 was perhaps the most volatile, and came during the time that Russia was most heavily engaged in fighting ISIS in Syria. It is widely believed that these attacks were carried out in Europe with the intended outcome of stoking a ‘clash of civilizations’ discourse, in which European citizens would be more supportive of any NATO initiative to support US efforts in the Syrian conflict.
The authenticity of the report did not raise doubts among journalists, as Gazeta.ru reports, as they were allegedly taken from a hard drive abandoned by ISIS terrorists, which is also said to contain references to real names, the group’s financial statements, and data on real clashes that were confirmed to have taken place already.
On March 23rd, US President Donald Trump announced the complete destruction of the self-proclaimed IS caliphate in the territories of Syria and Iraq. While this news gives Syrians hope, insofar as it eliminates one of the primary justifications for the US entanglement in Syria, experts and analysts have long noted that it was the Syrian and Iraqi army efforts in conjunction with their Russian and Iranian allies that were able to eliminate the ISIS threat from Syria and most of Iraq.
The commander of the coalition forces, Colonel-General Paul Lakamera, said that the surviving ISIS terrorists are hiding in remote areas and camps for temporarily displaced persons. According to him, they are waiting for the right moment to act.
On Tuesday, health officials revealed that the HIV epidemic is growing at an “alarming pace” in Europe.
According to a joint report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), more than 160,000 people contracted HIV in 53 European countries in 2016.
The number of newly-diagnosed infections in Europe has increased from 12 in every 100,000 people in 2007 to 18.2 for every 100,000 in 2015, with most of the new cases appearing in Eastern Europe.
“The HIV epidemic continues to rise at an alarming pace in the European Region, mostly in its eastern part, which is home to almost 80 percent of the 160,000 new HIV diagnoses. This is the highest number of cases ever recorded in one year. If this trend persists, we will not be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030,” WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab said, according to a Tuesday press release.
The findings reveal that many patients have HIV for several years before it is diagnosed, increasing the probability of the virus being passed on to others.
“Testing people late, particularly those at higher risk of infection, results in late treatment and further contributes to the ongoing spread of HIV. The later people are diagnosed, the more likely they are to develop AIDS, thus leading to more suffering and death,” Jakab explained.
Andrea Ammon, director of the ECDC, also explains that “Europe needs to do more in its HIV response,” especially since the average time from infection to diagnosis of HIV is three years, which is “far too long.”
“Two-thirds, that’s 68 percent of the new AIDS diagnoses in the European Union and European Economic Area, happened only within three months after the HIV diagnosis, which indicates that these people have had the infection for many years previously,” Ammon said.
The report also discusses the need for new ways to widen HIV testing by potentially introducing self-testing services and offering more counselling and testing opportunities by community care providers.
NATO’s urging its members to make its civilian infrastructure suitable for military maneuvers is a “bad sign,” a three-star Russian general told RT. He argued that it shows Washington would like to see Europe and Russia battling each other.
“This is a bad signal,” Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, formerly a high-ranking Defense Ministry official, told RT on Wednesday. “NATO has no near-peer opponent in terms of the overall amount of divisions and military equipment, as well as command structures.”
Ivashov, now president of the Moscow-based Academy for Geopolitical Problems think-tank, added that new developments in Europe may indicate the military bloc is preparing to target Russia.
(Natural News) It’s a war of the experts, and Monsanto – the world’s most evil corporation – has billions of dollars riding on the outcome. Highly respected scientists have released reports insisting that glyphosate – the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller – is a probable carcinogen (cancer-causer), while other, equally respected scientists are insisting that it’s as safe as houses. Monsanto obviously has a huge vested interest in which of these scientific groups’ findings are accepted by governments as gospel. And they’re willing to fight dirty – as always – to get the results they want.
EU member states are engaged in a tug-of-war trying to determine whether the license for glyphosate should be renewed. While each member state gets to decide whether or not to use a certain pesticide in their country, as well as in what quantities and for which applications, the active ingredients in all such pesticides first have to be approved at the EU level. In other words, if the EU as a body approves of the use of a certain chemical, then each member state can go on to decide whether or not to allow the use of that chemical in their country. On the other hand, if the EU does not approve a certain chemical, then no EU member state may use that chemical at all.
The use of glyphosate has been approved in EU member states since 2002. However, in the EU, once approved is not always approved.
A European Commission press release explains:
The EU has one of the strictest systems in the world for the assessment of pesticides. Hundreds of active substances, like glyphosate, have gone through or are going through a stringent scientific assessment process. The EU approval of an active substance is only granted for a limited period of time (up to 15 years) and must be renewed regularly.
With regard to glyphosate, an evaluation has been under way in the EU for the past three years to try to determine whether or not to renew the chemical’s license.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared in March 2015:
For the herbicide glyphosate, there was limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The evidence in humans is from studies of exposures, mostly agricultural, in the USA, Canada, and Sweden published since 2001. In addition, there is convincing evidence that glyphosate also can cause cancer in laboratory animals.
On the other hand, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) insists that glyphosate “is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.” EFSA claims that there is no evidence to link glyphosate to stomach, colon, lung, kidney, brain or prostate cancer, although it does admit that there is “conflicting evidence” when it comes to non-Hodgkin lymphoma – the very cancer the IARC did find a link to.
Critics on both sides have accused the scientists of fudging the results.
And with Monsanto’s near perfect record of evilness, it is incredibly likely that there has been some tampering somewhere along the line. And it is highly unlikely that it was the IARC researchers on the receiving end of backhanders, since their report has single-handedly created a record number of lawsuits against Monsanto alleging that glyphosate caused plaintiffs to get non-Hodgkin lymphoma. (Related: Customers as young as 10 damaged by Roundup weedkiller now suing Monsanto.)
Regardless, a frustrated EU member panel decided unilaterally to extend glyphosate’s license for a limited time while the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) finalizes yet another review into glyphosate’s links to cancer. This, after the three powerhouse member states – Germany, France and Italy – refused to vote for the relicensing of the herbicide earlier this year. Or, as the EU member panel put it, “Member States failed to take responsibility (no qualified majority was reached at either the Standing Committee or the Appeal Committee).”
And now the world – and Monsanto – waits with bated breath for the findings of the ECHA inquiry.
Russia will consider the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights null and void in the event the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe refuses to reinstate the Russian delegation in 2018, Valentina Matvienko, the Speaker of the Council of the Federation said.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe will be elected in 2018. There is awareness that without the participation of any delegation, in particular, the Russian one, the election of the head of this organization is not going to be completely legitimate. This applies to the elections of the judges of the ECHR too,” Matvienko said on Monday on Rossiya 24 television channel.
When asked whether the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights are going to be considered illegitimate on the territory of the Russian Federation, Matvienko responded: “Naturally, of course.”
In this connection, Russia may reinstate the death penalty as a form of capital punishment for grave crimes. Will Russia make such a move?
Russia was invited to the Council of Europe in 1996. The abolition of the death penalty was a mandatory condition for Russia to join the international European organization. In 1997, Russia signed Protocol No. 6 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms concerning the abolition of the death penalty (in peacetime). The protocol was not ratified, but Russia has not been practicing death penalty since 1996. Russia does not resort to capital punishment under the Vienna Convention, because a signatory state is supposed to follow the provisions of the protocol before it is ratified.
Can Russia reinstate the death penalty and should we do it indeed? We talked about the problem in a brief interview with first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, Franz Klintsevich.
According to the senator, the Council of the Federation has recently had a heated discussion about a bill, according to which those convicted for terrorism should be provided with conditions to communicate with their relatives and friends. This is also part of Europe’s requirements, Franz Klintsevich noted.
“Members of the committee have expressed harsh reactions on the subject, but we have made a decision in accordance with requirements of the international law. We have also set up a conciliation commission to revise the document. As for the remarks by Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, I also believe that we should defend our interests more rigidly and look at things the way many people look, including the Americans. I am talking about the need to take into account the mentality of our own people, without being fixated on the things that they impose on us from the outside,” the senator said.
Germany’s Office for Radiation Protection reported increased radioactivity in parts of central and western Europe over the past week. The heightened levels were detected at several trace measuring stations in Europe, and at six locations in Germany.
The particles are ruthenium-106, an isotope used in radiotherapy for eye tumors, and at times in radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) which provide power to satellites. An increase of ruthenium-106 has been detected in the air in Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
While officials say there is no need to panic, they don’t know where the material has come from. The elevated radiation levels do not present a threat to human health.
“New analyses of the source of the radioactive material are likely to indicate a release in the southern Ural,” the Office for Radiation Protection said, “but other regions in Southern Russia can not be excluded.”
It said that because only ruthenium-106 has been detected, a nuclear power plant accident can be ruled out.
The Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, however, rejected the report, saying that “the radiation situation around all Russian nuclear facilities is within the norm and corresponds to natural background radiation.”
The Wednesday statement also noted the data of Roshydromet ,Russia’s meteorology service, indicated that ruthenium-106 hasn’t been detected on Russian territory, only excluding St. Petersburg, from September 25 to October 7. However, the ruthenium-106 concentration in St. Petersburg last week was “insignificant,” and was four times lower than the allowed level, it added.
Russian nuclear facilities cannot be seen as the source of the reported release, Rosatom said, calling the speculation about a Russian origin “invalid.”
Similar spikes in radioactive particles have occurred across Europe in the past, but they are rare.
In February, trace amounts of radioactive iodine-131 were detected across parts of Europe. The iodine faded, and the source of the radioactivity wasn’t identified, Motherboard reports.
France’s IRSN institute announced the trace amounts were detected over Norway, Finland, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, France and Spain.
A 2015 OECD study found workers in the developed world could expect governmental programs to replace on average 63% of their working-age incomes. Not so bad. But in the UK that figure is only 38%, the lowest in all OECD countries.
This means UK workers must either build larger personal savings or severely tighten their belts when they retire. Working past retirement age is another choice, but it could put younger workers out of the job market.
UK retirees have had a kind of safety valve: the ability to retire in EU countries with lower living costs. Depending how Brexit negotiations go, that option could disappear.
Turning next to the Green Isle, 80% of the Irish who have pensions don’t think they will have sufficient income in retirement, and 47% don’t even have pensions. I think you would find similar statistics throughout much of Europe.
A report this summer from the International Longevity Centre suggested that younger workers in the UK need to save 18% of their annual earnings in order to have an “adequate” retirement income.
But no such thing will happen, so the UK is heading toward a retirement implosion that could be at least as damaging as the US’s.
The Swiss Are No Different Despite the Prudence
Americans often have romanticized views of Switzerland. They think it’s the land of fiscal discipline, among other things. To some extent that’s true, but Switzerland has its share of problems too. The national pension plan there has been running deficits as the population grows older.
Earlier this month, Swiss voters rejected a pension reform plan that would have strengthened the system by raising women’s retirement age from 64 to 65 and raising taxes and required worker contributions.
From what I can see, these were fairly minor changes, but the plan still went down in flames as 52.7% of voters said no.
Voters around the globe generally want to have their cake and eat it, too. We demand generous benefits but don’t like the price tags that come with them. The Swiss, despite their fiscally prudent reputation, appear to be not so different from the rest of us.
This outcome in Switzerland captures the attitude of the entire developed world. Compromise is always difficult. Both politicians and voters ignore the long-term problems they know are coming and think no further ahead than the next election
Switzerland and the UK have mandatory retirement pre-funding with private management and modest public safety nets, as do Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, and Hungary.
Not that all of these countries don’t have problems, but even with their problems, these European nations are far better off than some others.
France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Spain Are in Deep Trouble
The European nations noted above have nowhere near the crisis potential that the next group does: France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Spain.
They are all pay-as-you-go countries (PAYG). That means they have nothing saved in the public coffers for future pension obligations, and the money has to come out of the general budget each year.
The crisis for these countries is quite predictable, because the number of retirees is growing even as the number of workers paying into the national coffers is falling.
Let’s look at some details.
Spain was hit hard in the financial crisis but has bounced back more vigorously than some of its Mediterranean peers did, such as Greece. That’s also true of its national pension plan, which actually had a surplus until recently.
Unfortunately, the government chose to “borrow” some of that surplus for other purposes, and it will soon turn into a sizable deficit.
Just as in the US, Spain’s program is called Social Security, but in fact it is neither social nor secure. Both the US and Spanish governments have raided supposedly sacrosanct retirement schemes, and both allow their governments to use those savings for whatever the political winds favor.
A 25% unemployment rate among younger workers doesn’t help contributions to the system, either.
Overall, public pension plans in the pay-as-you-go countries would now replace about 60% of retirees’ salaries. Plus, several of these countries let people retire at less than 60 years old. In most countries, fewer than 25% of workers contribute to pension plans. That rate would have to double in the next 30 years to make programs sustainable.
Sell that to younger workers.
The Wall Street Journal recently did a rather bleak report on public pension funds in Europe. Quoting:
Europe’s population of pensioners, already the largest in the world, continues to grow. Looking at Europeans 65 or older who aren’t working, there are 42 for every 100 workers, and this will rise to 65 per 100 by 2060, the European Union’s data agency says. By comparison, the U.S. has 24 nonworking people 65 or over per 100 workers, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which doesn’t have a projection for 2060. (WSJ)
While the WSJ story focuses on Poland and the difficulties facing retirees there, the graphs and data in the story make clear the increasingly tenuous situation across much of Europe.
And unlike most European financial problems, this isn’t a north-south issue. Austria and Slovenia face the most difficult demographic challenges, right along with Greece. Greece, like Poland, has seen a lot of its young people leave for other parts of the world.
This next chart compares the share of Europe’s population that 65 years and older to the rest of the regions of the world and then to the share of population of workers between 20 and 64. These are ugly numbers.
The WSJ continues:
Across Europe, the birthrate has fallen 40% since the 1960s to around 1.5 children per woman, according to the United Nations. In that time, life expectancies have risen to roughly 80 from 69.
In Poland birthrates are even lower, and here the demographic disconnect is compounded by emigration. Taking advantage of the EU’s freedom of movement, many Polish youth of working age flock to the West, especially London, in search of higher pay. A paper published by the country’s central bank forecasts that by 2030, a quarter of Polish women and a fifth of Polish men will be 70 or older.
This Coming Crisis Is Beyond the Power of Politicians
It’s a problem that is far bigger than even the most disciplined, future-focused governments and businesses can easily handle.
Worse, generations of politicians have convinced the public that their entitlements are guaranteed. Many politicians actually believe it themselves. They’ve made promises they aren’t able to keep and are letting others arrange their lives based on the assumption that the impossible will happen. It won’t.
That’s the best-case outcome, and I think we have a fair chance of seeing it, but not without a lot of social and political travail. How we get through that process may be the most important question we face.