Travelers are being warned to keep their distance from areas of Madagascar affected by the bubonic plague. As the outbreak worsens, some doctors are even warning that ‘no one is safe’ from the disease. The outbreak of the black plague in Madagascar has so far killed 97 people, and doctors are warning that it will be continuing to spread and worsen, meaning no one is safe. Health officials say the disease, which contributed to the deaths of more than 50 million people in Europe during the Middle Ages, has spread from rural areas to the more urban areas not usually affected. Hundreds of cases are reported on the tropical island every year, but experts are warning the epidemic is ‘much more dangerous’ than in previous years. Officials have reported infections in 17 of the island nation’s 22 regions since the outbreak started in August. And the number of cases is growing by the day, said Elhadj As Sy, the secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as the nation put all hospitals on high alert. The hospitals have also begun implementing preventative measures with attempts to stall the spread of the bacterial infection.
This post was published at shtfplan on October 23rd, 2017.
Two years after the European Commission carried out the bidding of German Chancellor Angela Merkel by approving a plan to distribute migrants entering the Schengen area through Greece and Italy evenly across the European Union, the people of Europe have made their displeasure with Merkel’s ‘open door’ policy abundantly clear. Last month, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union suffered its most embarrassing showing in a federal election in decades, allowing a far-right, anti-immigrant party into parliament for the first time since World War II. The Alternative for Germany party’s unexpectedly strong showing fractured the ruling coalition spearheaded by Merkel’s conservatives as her partners, the Social Democrats opted to rebuild in opposition, complicating Merkel’s attempts to form a ruling coalition. In what was widely celebrated by the right as an important public capitulation, Merkel announced that her government would consider implementing a refugee cap of 200,000 (far larger than the cap adopted by the Trump administration). While it’s unclear whether the cap will ultimately become law, the fact that Merkel has publicly acknowledged the failure of open doors was interpreted as a sea change in Europe’s response to the worsening migrant crisis. And now, French President Emmanuel Macron – Merkel’s de facto partner in leading the European project – has himself made a small but important concession to the growing anti-immigrant sentiment in France, which, like many of its neighbors in western Europe, has suffered a horrific string of terror attacks inspired or actively organized by the Islamic State, the South China Morning Post reported. In a wide ranging interview this week, Macron revealed a new policy whereby illegal immigrants who commit crimes in France will face deportation. Presently, being an illegal immigrant in France isn’t a criminal offense. Even without new legislation ‘we can take tougher measures’ and expel illegal immigrants if they commit a crime, ‘whatever it may be,’ Macron said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 21, 2017.
Update (1510ET): Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont addressed Catalans, Spaniards, and the rest of Europe on TV saying that the Spanish states’ imposition of Article 155 means “liquidation of our self-government and cancellation of the democratic will of Catalans”. Puigdemont said Rajoy had set out to “humiliate” Catalonia in an “attack on democracy” and said removing powers from Catalonia was the “worst attack against the institutions and the people of Catalonia since the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco”. Puigdemont also said Spain “closed the doors ot a request for talks, and should set a date to discuss the attack” and “Catalan institutions cannot accept attack by Spain.” In a striking accusation, the Catalan president said that “Catalan institutions dealt a coup by Spanish state.” Puigdemont then switched to English to appeal to Europeans, says democracy also at risk in Europe: “Catalonia is an ancient European nation”. He also announced a session in Catalan parliament to debate “the attempt to liquidate our self-government”. Puigdemont concluded by saying “Long live Catalonia” to which a silently listening crowd suddenly burst back into cheers and chanting. However, Puigdemont did not specifically declare independence, but said Catalonia will not accept Madrid’s plan to curb region’s powers, leaving one tiny, final loophole… * * * As we detailed earlier, with Spain officially pulling the trigger on Article 155, and activating the Spanish Constitutional “nuclear option” this morning, when PM Rajoy said he would seize control of the Catalan government, fire everyone and force new elections in six months, attention has shifted to the Catalan response. And as we waited for the official statement by Catalan separatist president Carles Puigdemont, expected at 9pm local time, we found him taking to the streets, where he led hundreds of thousands of independence supporters in protest around Barcelona on Saturday, shouting “freedom” and “independence” following the stunning news from Madrid earlier on Saturday.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 21, 2017.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – who famously waited three months before offering a tepid endorsement of the JCPOA – largely echoed the threats of other Iranian government officials when he said Wednesday that Iran would adhere to the terms of the deal if other world powers respected it, but would ‘shred it’ if the US were to pull out. Speaking publicly about the future of the deal for the first time since President Donald Trump refused to decertify it five days ago, Khamenei confirmed that Iran would likely terminate the deal – and restart its nuclear program – if the US Congress decides to unilaterally rule that Iran is not in compliance, opening the door to reimposing sanctions. The ayatollah’s proclamation puts Iran at odds with the deals other signatories, who’ve maintained that the US doesn’t have the power to terminate a multilateral accord certified by the United Nations. Khamenei welcomed the support of the other signers – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union – but said it would not be enough to convince Iran to stay, Reuters reported.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.
Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation, Among the many self-flattering epithets it gives itself, the US has always claimed to be the ‘leader of the free world’. It’s a rather patronizing notion that America views itself as a selfless protector and benefactor of its European allies and others. This fairytale depiction of the world is coming to a rude awakening as American power buffets against the reality of a multi-polar world. Less a world leader and more like a blood-sucking leech on international relations. We got a clear view of the contradiction in America’s narcissistic mythology with US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was disavowing the multinational nuclear accord with Iran last Friday. Trump didn’t axe American participation in the deal just yet, but he has put it on notice that he or the US Congress may terminate the accord over the next two months. How’s that for high-handed arrogance? However, there was near-unanimous push back around the world to Trump’s disparagement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was originally signed in July 2015 by the US, Russia, China, European Union and Iran. All the signatories uniformly rebuked Trump’s attempt to undermine the deal, which is supposed to lift international economic sanctions off Iran in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.
‘Fascists are divided into two categories, the fascists and the anti-fascists’ ~ Ennio Flaiano In recent weeks, a totally disoriented left has been widely exhorted to unify around a masked vanguard calling itself Antifa, for anti-fascist. Hooded and dressed in black, Antifa is essentially a variation of the Black Bloc, familiar for introducing violence into peaceful demonstrations in many countries. Imported from Europe, the label Antifa sounds more political. It also serves the purpose of stigmatizing those it attacks as ‘fascists’. Despite its imported European name, Antifa is basically just another example of America’s steady descent into violence. Historical Pretensions Antifa first came to prominence from its role in reversing Berkeley’s proud ‘free speech’ tradition by preventing right wing personalities from speaking there. But its moment of glory was its clash with rightwingers in Charlottesville on August 12, largely because Trump commented that there were ‘good people on both sides’. With exuberant Schadenfreude, commentators grabbed the opportunity to condemn the despised President for his ‘moral equivalence’, thereby bestowing a moral blessing on Antifa. Charlottesville served as a successful book launching for Antifa: the Antifascist Handbook, whose author, young academic Mark Bray, is an Antifa in both theory and practice. The book is ‘really taking off very fast’, rejoiced the publisher, Melville House. It instantly won acclaim from leading mainstream media such as the New York Times, The Guardian and NBC, not hitherto known for rushing to review leftwing books, least of all those by revolutionary anarchists. The Washington Post welcomed Bray as spokesman for ‘insurgent activist movements’ and observed that:
While I’ve touched on the Catalan independence movement in several recent posts, I want to make one thing clear from the start. I don’t have a strong opinion on whether or not independence is the right move for the region and its people. It would be completely inappropriate for me, a U. S. citizen living in Colorado, to lecture people 5,000 miles away on how they should organize their political lives. While I don’t have an opinion on how Catalans should vote, I unwaveringly support their right to decide the issue for themselves. When it comes to the issue of voting and referendums, we’ve entered a topic far bigger than Catalonia, Spain, or even Europe itself. When it comes to the issue of political self-determination, we’re talking about an essential human right which should be seen as inherent to all of us, everywhere. The Catalan push for a right for vote on independence should be seen as part of a much larger push toward greater self-determination that humans will demand in increasingly large numbers in the years ahead. The time is ripe for us as a species to insist on a transition toward a more voluntary, sane, peaceful and decentralized process of political organization. This is an idea whose time has come, and I thank the Catalan people from the bottom of my heart for brining it to the fore, and also for conducting themselves in such a noble, courageous and thoughtful manner. You are leading the way for the rest of us.
With the onset of winter and the increasing strain on Ukraine’s energy system, the threat of a new nuclear disaster in Central Europe is becoming more than just a theoretical danger. *** According to analysts from Energy Research & Social Science (ERSS), there is an 80% probability of a ‘serious accident’ at one of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants before the year 2020. This is due both to the increased burden on the nuclear plants caused by the widespread shutdowns of Ukraine’s thermal power plants (the raw material they consumed – coal from the Donbass – is in critically short supply) and also because of the severe physical deterioration of their Soviet-era nuclear equipment and the catastrophic underfunding of this industry.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 17, 2017.
The US has raised the level of tension with Iran without taking any concrete steps to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal. The reason why Trump is expected to limit himself to verbal abuse and continue threatening hostile measures against Tehran without executing them is fundamentally to avoid a breach between the US and the EU. The Nuclear deal is not bilateral, so the withdrawal of the US theoretically cannot scupper it. Nevertheless Iran is likely to consider the deal totally void if the US pulls out, with all that that implies. So the US continues its aggressive verbal campaigns against Iran, confusing the Europeans, who rightly fail to predict what decisions this US President is capable of adopting in the medium to long term.
President Puigdemont's response to Prime Minister Rajoy regarding the political situation in #Catalonia pic.twitter.com/0R1ej2LQic — Catalan Government (@catalangov) October 16, 2017
The Catalan stand-off has been extended until Thursday as both sides hold their ground. After days of expectation and talks with his separatist allies, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont stood by his decision to keep his region’s declaration of independence from Spain ‘in suspension’ despite a demand for clarity from Spain prime minister Rajoy, effectively challenging the central government to follow through on promises to forcibly take control of the region by sending an evasive reply to the central government’s Article 155 notification, which on Wednesday began the process of suspending home rule in the region. The Spanish Prime Minister’s office was seeking a simple “yes” or “no” reply by 10 a.m. on Monday on the question of whether Mr. Puigdemont had or had not declared independence last Tuesday. Anything other than “no”, the First Minister was warned, would lead to the activation of the so-called faced the use of Article 155 of the Spanish constitution. This article is the so-called ‘nuclear option’ which allows Madrid to dissolve the regional government and call fresh regional elections. The central government can also take over the local police force and television channels. Eventually, Puigdemont chose more obfuscation and defiance: his four-page reply, obtained by Catalan radio stations Catalunya Radio and RAC1 and released by The Spain Report, neither confirmed nor denied he had proclaimed a new Catalan republic last week, but said the declaration remained ‘in suspension’ and proposed two months of dialogue arguing that the Spanish people and Europe will only understand ‘dialogue, negotiation and agreement.’ He did not say what he would do if talks did not take place by the middle of December.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.
– The cradle of individual liberty became the cradle of the nanny State – The deep sickness that infects England infects every large government in the world: once a people’s decision (like Brexit) is made, the leaders who carry out its provisions are the people who rule from the top, along with their sleazy, slime-ridden bureaucratic underlings. These obstructive underlings, in a free and open market, would be selling sand in the desert, if they were lucky. They certainly wouldn’t be sitting in desks in government offices staring out of windows. So now we have soft Brexit and hard Brexit, terms used to describe how the Brit vote to leave the European Union could be modified or adhered to. It’s a farce. Here is soft Brexit: ‘Well, maybe England will keep all its trade connections with the EU, as before, while pretending to be independent; and oh yes, many waves of immigrants will still be let into the country, even though that was the key issue that swung voters to say LEAVE the EU (EU wants to erase all national borders and flood Europe with migrants)…’ In other words, England would say it’s left the EU, but in every measurable way it hasn’t.
Austria just became a *new* flashpoint of European politics that can be best described as a slow steady slide into reappraisal of the decades-long love affair with liberalism. In summary: the People’s Party (OVP) has 31.4 percent of the vote, a gain of more than 7 percentage points from the 2013 election; the Freedom Party had 27.4 percent (a jump on 20.51 percent in 2013), and the Social Democratic Party, which governed in coalition with People’s Party until today, had 26.7 percent (virtually unchanged on 26.82 percent in 2013). The People’s Party is best described as Centre-Right with a leaning Right when it comes to issues of immigration. Current Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, the leader of the People’s Party is a charismatic 31-year old populist. He has driven his party further toward the Right position in recent months, as elections neared, and away from his post-2013 governing coalition partners, the Social Democrats. Kurz is, broadly-speaking a pro-EU candidate, with strong preference for more autonomy to member states. He is clearly not a Brussels-style Federalist.
This post was published at True Economics on Monday, October 16, 2017.
As discussed earlier, Austria’s young conservative star, Sebastian Kurz, is now assured of becoming the country’s next leader, projections of Sunday’s parliamentary election result showed, but his party is far short of a majority and is likely to seek a coalition with the resurgent far right. To his supporters, Kurz is Austria’s Macron: a one-man political phenomenon who is the only thing standing between the country’s resurgent nationalists and power. But to his detractors he is the Austrian Trump, who has hijacked one of the country’s two main parties and refashioned it in his own image. His critics say he is only holding the populists back by adopting their anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. By taking a hard line on immigration that commingled his campaign with that of the Freedom Party (FPO), 31-year old Foreign Minister Kurz managed to propel his People’s Party to first place and draw some support away from an FPO buoyed by Europe’s migration crisis. Both parties increased their share of the vote from the last parliamentary election in 2013, marking a sharp shift to the right. Chancellor Christian Kern’s Social Democrats were in a close race with the FPO for second place.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.
The following is an interview with ANDRE VLTCHEK by ALESSANDRO BIANCCHI, Chief Editor of the Italian political magazine Anti-Diplomatico: ALESSANDRO BIANCHI: Self-determination of peoples and respect for the borders and sovereignty of a country. This is of the most complicated issue for international law. How can it be articulated for the case of Catalonia? ANDRE VLTCHEK: Personally, I’m not very enthusiastic about smaller nations forming their own states, particularly those in the West, where they would, after gaining ‘independence’, remain in the alliances that are oppressing and plundering the entire world: like NATO or the European Union. Clearly, the breaking of the great country of Yugoslavia into small pieces was a hostile, evil design by the West, and particularly of Germany and Austria. The dissolution of Czechoslovakia after the so-called ‘Velvet Revolution’ was a total idiocy. But Catalonia (or Basque Country), if it became independent, would become one of the richest parts of Europe. I don’t think it would have any great positive or negative impact on the rest of the world. As an internationalist, I don’t really care if they are separate from Spain or not, or whether they are even richer than they already are, as I care much more about what is happening in places such as Afghanistan, Venezuela or North Korea. READ MORE
It didn’t take long for Europe’s biggest nations – the other signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka the Iran Nuclear Deal – as well as Russia, to slam Trump’s unilateral decision to decertify the Iran agreement and, in the process, put the entire deal in jeopardy. Moments ago, in a joint statement, Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron all reiterated their commitment to the JCPOA, expressed their concern by the possible implications of Trump’s decision not to recertify the deal, and urged the US to think hard before taking further steps that might undermine it further. Here is the statement they released together moments ago: We, the Leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom take note of President Trump’s decision not to recertify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to Congress and are concerned by the possible implications. We stand committed to the JCPoA and its full implementation by all sides. Preserving the JCPoA is in our shared national security interest. The nuclear deal was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not diverted for military purposes. The JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2231. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the JCPoA through its long-term verification and monitoring programme. Therefore, we encourage the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPoA, such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.
The FBI has opened an investigation into Harvey Weinstein for alleged sex crimes, the DailyMail reported on Wednesday evening, a move that reportedly came at the behest of the DOJ which instructed the bureau to investigate the mounting allegations leveled at the movie mogul. The move comes amid rumors that Weinstein plans to head to Europe for sex rehab – leading to fears that Weinstein could attempt to pull a “Roman Polanski” where he lands in some non-extradition country in Europe to dodge U. S. prosecution. The FBI can both look at whether he has committed any federal crimes in the U. S. and prepare extradition proceedings if he remains in Europe. The Mail writes that while it is unknown whether the DOJ order came directly from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the probe will likely be seen in a political light given Weinstein’s friendship with Trump foe Hillary Clinton. Additionally, it is not yet known if Sessions gave the direct order or if Trump requested the investigation, however the president has previously said he wasn’t surprised by the sexual harassment and assault claims made against Weinstein.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 11, 2017.
The Indian tribesman’s claim to his ancient stomping grounds can’t be reduced to a title search at the deeds office. That’s the stuff of the positive law. And this was the point I took away from a conversation, circa 2000, with Mr. Property Rights himself, Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Dr. Hoppe argued unassailably – does he argue any other way? – that if Amerindians had repeatedly traversed, for their livelihood, the same hunting, fishing and foraging grounds, they would have, in effect, homesteaded these, making them their own. Another apodictic profundity deduced from that conversation: The strict Lockean stipulation, whereby to make property one’s own, one must transform it to Western standards, is not convincing. In an article marking Columbus Day – the day Conservatism Inc. beats up on what remains of America’s First People – Ryan McMaken debunked Ayn Rand’s specious claim that aboriginal Americans “did not have the concept of property or property rights.” This was Rand’s ruse for justifying Europeans’ disregard for the homesteading rights of the First Nations. “[T]he Indian tribes had no right to the land they lived on because” they were primitive and nomadic. Hoppean Homesteading Cultural supremacy is no argument for the dispossession of a Lesser Other. To libertarians, Lockean – or, rather Hoppean – homesteading is sacrosanct. He who believes he has a right to another man’s property ought to produce proof that he is its rightful owner. ‘As the old legal adage goes, ‘Possession is nine-tenths of the law,’ as it is the best evidence of legitimate title. The burden of proof rests squarely with the person attempting to relieve another of present property titles.’ (Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa, p. 276.)
Authored by Nigel Farage, originally published in the Telegraph Theresa May is now the EU’s Stepford Wife: subservient and submissive to their every whim So there we have it. Theresa May does not believe in Brexit. In an interview with Iain Dale on LBC, she completely collapsed, proving incapable of answering the question of how would she vote if there was a referendum now. She simply would not answer if she would support Leave. Everyone listening to that interview knows that the reality is that May is still a Remainer. I don’t believe it’s possible to carry out this great, historic change against a huge amount of international criticism unless you truly believe in it. Nor, as it happens, does May: in a speech on June 1 she herself said: ‘To deliver Brexit you have to believe it’. This is the clearest proof yet that the Great Brexit Betrayal is under way. It is only the latest piece of evidence in a whole procession. On Monday we also found out that Boris Johnson – supposedly Brexit’s loudest cheerleader in the Cabinet – has bottled it. Last month the Foreign Secretary stated in print his demand that the UK must leave the wretched European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Day One of our exit from the EU in March 2019. But then folded like a cheap suit by backing to the hilt Theresa May’s House of Commons Brexit statement – a speech which was itself further confirmation of the great betrayal. This came to light in her answer to the rapier-like question from Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, in which she said that the UK will still be bound by ECJ rulings during the Brexit transition period, Jacob looked somewhat deflated by this answer. She also would not deny that any new EU laws would be applicable to us, simply trying to ignore the question by saying it was ‘highly unlikely’ this this would occur.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 11, 2017.
EU lawyers have sided with Germany and effectively told the European Commission their bid to regulate a new Russia-Germany gas pipeline known as- Nord Stream 2 (NS2) is seriously flawed. The now former German Chancellor Gerhard Schrder is working with the Russians to push this project forward. This clearly demonstrates that Germany has the upper-hand in Brussels.
Since the ballot in Catalonia over a week ago, which the Spanish authorities, contrary to the spirit of democracy, did their best to disrupt by the use of brute force, as any good old fashioned fascist State would, by sending in the “Brownshirts”, the mainstream media have gone to work in an effort to present the pro-independence Catalans as a bunch of fringe wing nutters trying to turn the clock back to the Middle Ages. The pro-Spain demonstrations at the weekend were given big media coverage and made to look like an overwhelming endorsement of the Spanish State, rather like the “huge crowds” when Saddam Hussein’s statue was pulled down in Iraq after the invasion, which turned out to be just a few hundred people herded into a square and then orchestrated and made to look like a large crowd by the careful use of camera angles. Of course, the pro-Spain crowds were big – what do you expect in a city the size of Barcelona even if only 30% of population are in favor of continued union with Spain? Having sent in the police with orders to act as thugs to disrupt the vote, the Spanish parliament than arbitrarily dismissed the vote as invalid because “only” 45% or so of the population voted, which was of course the result of their interference, and you don’t have to be a genius to extrapolate that if about 90% of those who did vote were in favor of Catalonia becoming a separate State, if even 80% of citizens had voted, there would still be an overwhelming majority in favor of separation. *** The Spanish parliament invoked the constitution in an attempt to deprive Catalonians of their democratic rights, and have used it as justification for violent suppression with the thinly veiled threat of the further use of force if the Catalonians persist, such as the arrest of their leader, cutting off of banks etc. The Spanish King and the European Union weighed in on the side of the Spanish government, as one would expect.
This post was published at Clive Maund on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.