Inside Myanmar’s ghost town capital city, which is 4 times the size of London with a fraction of the population

The capital city of Myanmar, Naypyidaw, is 7,054 square kilometres in size, roughly four and a half times the size of London (1,569 square kilometres), according to The Independent.
But the city is a ghost town. Its population is only 924,608, compared to London’s 2016 estimate of 8.63 million.
The capital of Myanmar was moved from Yangon to Naypyitaw (which means Seat of the King) by the then-military regime in November 2005.
According to The Guardian, it is rumoured to have cost $4 billion (3.2 billion) to construct the city, with 20-lane highways and wide streets designed for a future of expansion. It has reliable electricity, golf courses, hotels, shopping malls, and restaurants and cafes with fast and free wi-fi, uncommon throughout the rest of the country.
However, despite billions in government investment, the city has struggled to attract Burmese locals or substantial numbers of tourists. Guardian reporters who visited the city in March 2015 said: “The vast highways are completely empty and there is a stillness to the air. Nothing moves.”

This post was published at Business Insider

Qatar Seen Rejecting List of Severe Demands to End Gulf Crisis

Qatar’s foreign minister on June 19 said his country wouldn’t bargain away what it sees as its sovereign rights and called on the Saudi alliance to conduct negotiations in a ‘civilized way,’ after first lifting the blockade. He said Qataris were united behind their emir, and called Al-Jazeera and foreign policy as internal affairs not open to negotiation.
The boycotting nations demanded that Qatar stop all funding for individuals, groups or organizations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt, Bahrain, the U.S. and other countries, and hand over any individuals wanted in these countries.
Qatar gas wealth enabled it to develop foreign policies that came to irritate its neighbors. It backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and armed factions opposed by the U.A.E. or Saudi Arabia in Libya and Syria. Gas also paid for Al-Jazeera, which at various times has embarrassed or angered most Middle Eastern governments.
The channel has supported dissidents against Arab dictators. Over the years, it enraged Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian leaders who have often stopped its transmissions and kicked out its staff.
‘Qatar may not fully comply with the list, but it has to take these demands into consideration and finally make a move toward reviewing its foreign policy and the editorial line of the main media outlet, Al-Jazeera,’ Nader said.

This post was published at bloomberg

Qatar given 10 days to meet 13 sweeping demands by Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued a threatening 13-point ultimatum to Qatar as the price for lifting a two-week trade and diplomatic embargo of the country, in a marked escalation of the Gulf’s worst diplomatic dispute in decades.
The onerous list of demands includes stipulations that Doha close the broadcaster al-Jazeera, drastically scale back cooperation with Iran, remove Turkish troops from Qatar’s soil, end contact with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and submit to monthly external compliance checks. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply with the demands or face unspecified consequences.
Saudi Arabia and the other nations leading the blockade – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – launched an economic and diplomatic blockade on the energy-rich country a fortnight ago, initially claiming the Qatari royal family had licensed the funding of terrorism across the Middle East for decades. Since then, the allies appear to be pushing for the isolation of Iran and the suppression of dissenting media in the region.
The list of demands, relayed to Qatar via mediators from Kuwait, represents the first time Saudi Arabia has been prepared to put the bloc’s previously amorphous grievances in writing. Their sweeping nature would, if accepted, represent an effective end to Qatar’s independent foreign policy. According to one of the points, Qatar would have to ‘align itself with other Arabs and the Gulf, militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as in financial matters’.

This post was published at The Guardian

The latest escalation in Syria – what is really going on? (UPDATED) — The Saker

By now most of you have heard the latest bad news of out Syria: on June 18 a US F/A-18E Super Hornet (1999) used a AIM-120 AMRAAM (1991) to shoot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 (1970). Two days later, June 20th, a US F-15E Strike Eagle shot down an Iranian IRGC Shahed 129 drone. The excuse used each time was that there was a threat to U.S. and U.S. supported forces. The reality is, of course, that the U.S. are simply trying to stop the advance of the Syrian army. This was thus a typical American ‘show of force’. Except that, of course, shooting a 47 year old Soviet era Su-22 fighter-bomber is hardly an impressive feat. Neither is shooting a unmanned drone. There is a pattern here, however, and that pattern is that all U.S. actions so far have been solely for show: the basically failed bombing of the Syria military airbase, the bombing of the Syrian army column, the shooting down of the Syrian fighter-bomber and of the Iranian drone – all these actions have no real military value. They do, however, have a provocative value as each time all the eyes turn to Russia to see if the Russians will respond or not.

This post was published at The Saker

White House Accuses Syria Of Planning Another Chemical Attack, Warns “Will Pay Heavy Price”

Less than three months after the US launched 49 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in early April, allegedly in retaliation for a chemical attack conducted by Assad forces, in an ominous statement issued with no supporting evidence or further explanation, on Monday night the White House warned that the U. S. has ‘identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime’ in Syria and warned that Assad would ‘pay a heavy price’ if one took place.
Such an attack ‘would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,’ White House (outgoing) spokesman Sean Spicer added, noting the activity is ‘similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.’
‘As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price,’ the White House added on Monday night.
According to AP, a non-governmental source with close ties to the White House said the administration had received intelligence that the Syrians were mixing precursor chemicals for a possible sarin gas attack in either the east of south of the country, where government troops and their proxies have faced recent setbacks.
Further quoted by AP, several State Department officials typically involved in coordinating such announcements said they were caught completely off guard by the warning, which didn’t appear to be discussed in advance with other national security agencies, perhaps an indication of just how powerful the Deep State has become under Trump. Typically, the State Department, the Pentagon and U. S. intelligence agencies would all be consulted before the White House issued a declaration sure to ricochet across foreign capitals.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 27, 2017.

McCabe’s Revenge: Circa Suggests Flynn Investigation Was Launched As Pure Retaliation

Andrew McCabe has long been a controversial figure at the FBI. His position as Deputy Director of the FBI came under intense scrutiny during the Clinton email investigation after it came to light that his wife, Jill McCabe, took nearly $500,000 from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to fund her Senate campaign. Of course, Terry McAuliffe is a long-time confidant of the Clinton family and was rumored as a potential running mate for Hillary. But sure, no reason to be wary the McCabe was put in charge of supervising that particular investigation.
But now, at least according to a new report from Circa, McCabe may have other conflicts, including a personal vendetta against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, that have not yet been disclosed. According to Circa, Flynn apparently enraged McCabe a few years back after he intervened on behalf of an FBI Special Agent, Robyn Gritz, who had accused McCabe and other top FBI officials of sexual discrimination.
The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews.
Flynn’s intervention on behalf of Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was highly unusual, and included a letter in 2014 on his official Pentagon stationary, a public interview in 2015 supporting Gritz’s case and an offer to testify on her behalf. His offer put him as a hostile witness in a case against McCabe, who was soaring through the bureau’s leadership ranks.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.

Supreme Court Upholds Trump’s Travel Ban

Donald Trump was vindicated by the Supreme Court regarding the dispute over the provisional entry ban for citizens from six countries. The Supreme Court of the United States overturned the provisional injunctions of subordinate authorities. Of course mainstream media is once again misrepresenting the decision. The New York Times wrote: ‘On Monday, the justices agreed to review both appellate decisions, but their unsigned opinion did not address the merits of those cases. ‘
The ‘unsigned opinion’ was Per Curiam meaning it was the UNANIMOUS decision of the entire court and this did not requite an opinion written by one Justice. This is a STAY to allow Trump to do what the travel ban was all about – a review. Such stays are typically Per Curiam when granted for the Supreme Court rarely grants such a stay. Here we have two lower courts interfering with the Executive Powers, for which there was absolutely NO historical precedent. If ISIS openly sent in 1,000 people to be terrorists, they would be able to freely enter all because the lower courts were playing politics rather than law.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jun 27, 2017.

Russian Submarine Test-Fires ICBM

The Russian Northern Fleet’s Project 955 underwater missile cruiser, aka submarine, Yuri Dolgoruky has successfully test-fired a Bulava missile from the Barents Sea and hit all the designated targets at the Kura practice range in Kamchatka, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Monday according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
“The Project 955 Borey-class underwater missile cruiser Yuri Dolgoruky has made a successful launch of a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile from the designated area of the Barents Sea towards the Kura practice range in Kamchatka. The launch was made from the submerged position in compliance with a combat training plan,” the Defense Ministry said.
It is unclear if the Russian launch was in response to any recent US or NATO drills: at the end of May, the Pentagon conducted its first successful test interception of a simulated ICBM attack, modeling a possible escalation in hostilities with North Korea.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.

Trump Admin Set To Expand Number Of Civilians Killed By Drone Strikes

The United States drone program by all objective analysis has not been a precision instrument for killing terrorists. Instead, the program has reversed long-standing policies of basic international human rights and rules of war by implementing pre-emptive killing without due process.
After years of Obama’s drone strikes that independent watchdog group Airwars estimated to have been ten times the number as those of George Bush before him, the political pendulum has swung back to the right, but the killing of civilians continues to accelerate under Obama’s supposed arch nemesis Donald Trump.
Now, however, all pretense at protecting innocent lives is about to be cast off and the killing will become inexplicably worse as the Trump admin reportedly seeks to do away with a clause contained in the Presidential Policy Guidance known as ‘near certainty.’ As Daniel R. Mahanty, senior advisor for CIVIC’s U. S. Program, explains:

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on June 26, 2017.