Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (1 sites): MichaelNovakhov on Twitter: Matt Gaetz: Evidence of FBI-media ‘corruption’ coming out before DOJ inspector general report washex.am/2Izuyar

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Matt Gaetz: Evidence of FBI-media ‘corruption’ coming out before DOJ inspector general report washex.am/2Izuyar


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MichaelNovakhov
on Monday, April 22nd, 2019 3:24am

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (1 sites)


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Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites): The FBI News Review: Sanders Slammed For ‘Lying,’ But The Truth Is Agents Often Spouted Frustration About Comey And The Clinton Investigation – The Daily Caller

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April 21, 2019
Sanders Slammed For ‘Lying,’ But The Truth Is Agents Often Spouted Frustration About Comey And The Clinton Investigation – The Daily Caller
Sanders defends her Comey lie as ‘slip of the tongue.’ Then she lies again. – Yahoo News
“fbi aclu report” – Google News: Woman Holding Baby, Gun Threatens to Blow Up San Diego Church: Cops – The Daily Beast
“fbi aclu report” – Google News: Trump calls the Mueller Report a ‘total hit job’ – Yahoo News
Trump’s Instincts, and His Aides’ – National Review

Sanders Slammed For ‘Lying,’ But The Truth Is Agents Often Spouted Frustration About Comey And The Clinton Investigation – The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
Reports of rank and file FBI agents’ dissatisfaction over then-FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the Clinton-email probe were circulated by the media in late 2016, despite the media’s current amnesia that such news reports ever existed.
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Sanders defends her Comey lie as ‘slip of the tongue.’ Then she lies again. – Yahoo News

Yahoo News
After special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed she had lied about the reaction to FBI Director James Comey’s firing, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders went on a Friday-morning media blitz attempting to reestablish her credibility.
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“fbi aclu report” – Google News: Woman Holding Baby, Gun Threatens to Blow Up San Diego Church: Cops – The Daily Beast

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
A woman has been taken into custody after allegedly threatening to blow up a California church on Easter Sunday while holding a baby and a gun, the San Diego Police Department said in a statement.
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“fbi aclu report” – Google News: Trump calls the Mueller Report a ‘total hit job’ – Yahoo News

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
Trump calls the Mueller Report a ‘total hit job’ Yahoo NewsThe president expressed his thoughts on the Mueller Report Easter Sunday, but did not say if he will testify before Congress.
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Trump’s Instincts, and His Aides’ – National Review

National Review
President Trump speaks during a meeting of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, April 4, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) Many, many people have observed that the Mueller report offers example after example of Trump’s aides saving him from bad decisions by ignoring them.
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“fbi” – Google News: FBI IDs, charges man who robbed American Savings Bank in Kaneohe – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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FBI IDs, charges man who robbed American Savings Bank in Kaneohe  Honolulu Star-Advertiser

The FBI says the man captured on surveillance video robbing the American Savings Bank on Kaneohe Bay Drive earlier this month is Titus Sos Jr. An FBI …

“fbi” – Google News


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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (84 sites): “2016 Presidential Election Investigation” – Google News: Tesla Investigating Video of Exploding Model S in Shanghai – The Daily Beast

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Tesla Investigating Video of Exploding Model S in Shanghai  The Daily Beast

Tesla says it’s investigating video that appears to show one of its cars exploding while parked in Shanghai. The footage, which has been viewed millions of times …

“2016 Presidential Election Investigation” – Google News

Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (84 sites)


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“cia” – Google News: Former CIA officer speaks on why acts of terrorism aren’t going away soon – WPEC

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Former CIA officer speaks on why acts of terrorism aren’t going away soon  WPEC

Former CIA office, Lisa Ruth, spoke with CBS12 News about why acts of terrorism aren’t going away soon. This comes after the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri …

“cia” – Google News


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“cia” – Google News: Former CIA deputy director makes cameo on ‘Game of Thrones’ – New York Post

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Former CIA deputy director makes cameo on ‘Game of Thrones’  New York Post

The CIA took to Twitter on Sunday night to reveal how a former deputy director was going to be making a cameo this week on “Game of Thrones.”

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Russia News: Газета.Ru – Новости дня: Зеленский сохраняет лидерство на выборах на Украине

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Кандидат в президенты Украины Владимир Зеленский лидирует на выборах после обработки 65% протоколов. Об этом сообщает ТАСС со ссылкой на украинский ЦИК.

По данным агентства, 73,03% избирателей отдали свой голос за Зеленского.

Как …

Газета.Ru – Новости дня

Russia News


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Russia News: Вести.Ru: Кашлинская идет второй перед заключительным туром чемпионата Европы по шахматам

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На женском чемпионате Европы по шахматам, который проходит в Турции, завершился десятый тур соревнований. Россиянка Алина Кашлинская обыграла свою соотечественницу Анастасию Боднарук, набрав 7,5 балла. Перед заключительным туром она занимает второе место.

Вести.Ru

Russia News


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FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): “gregg jarrett” – Google News: Journalists were right about Russiagate – Hot Air

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Journalists were right about Russiagate  Hot Air

If Mueller’s report feels familiar, it’s because so many of the incidents it documents have already been reported. Take the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting …

“gregg jarrett” – Google News

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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“counterintelligence Mueller Investigation” – Google News: Lingering questions leftover from the Mueller Report – Boston 25 News

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Lingering questions leftover from the Mueller Report  Boston 25 News

As reporters, politicians, legal experts, and members of both political parties spent the weekend going over the impact of the 448 page redacted version of the …

“counterintelligence Mueller Investigation” – Google News


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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (84 sites): “Trump – Russia Investigations” – Google News: As Mueller probe began, Trump asked spy chiefs to publicly counter news stories alleging his campaign had ties to Russia – Sun Sentinel

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As Mueller probe began, Trump asked spy chiefs to publicly counter news stories alleging his campaign had ties to Russia  Sun Sentinel

Trump’s outreach to top intelligence officials stands in sharp contrast to his public, combative stance toward his intelligence agencies.

“Trump – Russia Investigations” – Google News

Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (84 sites)


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FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): “fbi criticism” – Google News: Stocks Blog: China traders braced for more earnings, Politburo signals – South China Morning Post

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Stocks Blog: China traders braced for more earnings, Politburo signals  South China Morning Post

China Communications Construction’s A-shares downgraded to sell by Goldman Sachs.

“fbi criticism” – Google News

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites): The FBI News Review: Report: US Officials Doubted Key Dossier Claims Earlier Than Previously Known – The Daily Caller

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April 21, 2019
Report: US Officials Doubted Key Dossier Claims Earlier Than Previously Known – The Daily Caller
“mueller” – Google News: Inside The Mueller Report, This Man Found A Photo Of His Dad Being Used By Russians – NPR
“fbi criticism” – Google News: Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. MDT – KANW
“fbi and trump” – Google News: An armed militia was ‘detaining’ migrants at the border. The FBI arrested its leader. – The Washington Post
“fbi aclu report” – Google News: Burrow Takes The Hassle Out of Online Furniture Shopping, And Gives You Free Shipping – The Daily Beast

Report: US Officials Doubted Key Dossier Claims Earlier Than Previously Known – The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
U.S. officials who investigated the Steele dossier had “misgivings” about the salacious document much earlier than previously known, according to a report in The New York Times. The FBI also interviewed an alleged source for the dossier in January 2017 and determined that he may have embellished some of the claims attributed to him by Christopher Steele.
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“mueller” – Google News: Inside The Mueller Report, This Man Found A Photo Of His Dad Being Used By Russians – NPR

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
When the Mueller report was released, Ronnie Hipshire was surprised to find a photo of his father Lee on a poster to support President Trump that was created by Russians. Screenshot by NPR hide caption
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“fbi criticism” – Google News: Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. MDT – KANW

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
Las Cruces accepts some 1,600 asylum seekers since April 12LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — City officials say Las Cruces has accepted almost 1,600 asylum seekers since April 12.They say 105 asylum seekers were dropped off Saturday to Las Cruces High School by the U.S.
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“fbi and trump” – Google News: An armed militia was ‘detaining’ migrants at the border. The FBI arrested its leader. – The Washington Post

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
Larry Mitchell Hopkins, left, who said he goes by “Striker” to protect his identity, speaks with another militia member in March 2019. The FBI has arrested Hopkins, officials said on Saturday.
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“fbi aclu report” – Google News: Burrow Takes The Hassle Out of Online Furniture Shopping, And Gives You Free Shipping – The Daily Beast

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
Burrow’s mission is to make ordering a couch online a breeze, rather than something you have to dread. There’s no measuring door frames or going full Ross from Friends in a stairwell (PIVOT!)—just neatly packed and stacked boxes that you easily put together.
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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (84 sites): “Conspiracy Against US” – Google News: Federal election 2019: Martin Parkinson warns against ‘misleading’ climate modelling – politics live – The Guardian

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Federal election 2019: Martin Parkinson warns against ‘misleading’ climate modelling – politics live  The Guardian

PMC head says the public *service* has not costed Labor’s policy, as pressure grows for water buybacks royal commission and Morrison and Shorten campaign in …

“Conspiracy Against US” – Google News

Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (84 sites)


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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (84 sites): “Jared Kushner” – Google News: Trump administration’s proposed hiring rule alarms criminal justice advocates – Tribune-Review

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Trump administration’s proposed hiring rule alarms criminal justice advocates  Tribune-Review

WASHINGTON — President Trump was joined by 300 guests at the White House one evening early this month to celebrate the criminal justice system’s most …

“Jared Kushner” – Google News

Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (84 sites)


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Eurasia Review: Can Georgia’s Far Right Make It In Electoral Politics? – Analysis

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A new study shows online support for the far-right is large. But converting that into votes is another matter.

By Giorgi Lomsadze*

A prominent anti-immigrant activist in Georgia has announced plans to run for parliament next year as part of a far-right coalition. And a new study suggests that far-right politics may have broad enough appeal among Georgians to make them a substantial force.

Sandro Bregadze, the leader of the group Georgian March, said
his proposed political effort would emulate that of Marine Le Pen in
France and that it would hold a convention “in the near future.”

While Bregadze’s earlier forays into electoral
politics have been unsuccessful, a close look at Facebook – the prime
outlet for political discourse in Georgia – suggests a growing far-right
Facebook population in Georgia. According to a study by the Caucasus
Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the number of likes of radical,
right-wing Facebook pages increased eightfold between 2015 and 2018,
reaching some 760,000 last year, the study found.

Georgian March and its allies will be trying to turn these “likes” into votes next year.

Bregadze ran for a seat in parliament in 2016, with a campaign heavy on anti-immigrant and anti-gay slogans.
He railed against what he portrayed as an imminent takeover of Georgia
by foreigners and homosexuals because of a lax immigration policy and
covert plans to legalize same-sex marriage. On the eve of the election,
Bregadze drove around Tbilisi in a truck with loudspeakers blaring dark
warnings of a looming gay apocalypse.

In the end neither his parliamentary bid nor the gay prophesies came to pass. He got fewer than 50 votes in his district.

But the following year, Bregadze managed to tap into the country’s rising anti-immigrant mood in the city and led a massive demonstration against mainly Muslim immigrants in Tbilisi.

He stumbled in 2018, becoming the butt of jokes for
faking an injury following a brush-up with police. As he lay
dramatically in a hospital bed ignoring doctors’ assurances that he was
fine and should go home, many Georgians emulated his pose and posted
photos online in what became a “reclining nationalist” internet meme.

For all their online and street presence, Georgian
extreme right parties have had little success at the ballot box; only
the traditional-values Patriots’ Alliance squeaked in
to parliament in 2016 and have since remained effectively idle. That’s
not least because the major parties have pandered to nationalist voters
themselves. The governing Georgian Dream has repeatedly tightened
immigration rules, has banned
the sale of agricultural land to foreign nationals and plans to make
sex education in schools optional, subject to the parents’ consent.

Generally, the supply of political parties and candidates in Georgia tends to significantly surpass demand; 25 candidates were on the ballot
in last year’s presidential elections. The 2020 vote will likely offer
another crowded field, but the election is set to play out in the
context of the fading popularity of the governing Georgian Dream Party
and limited voter enthusiasm for its main antagonist, the United
Nationalist Movement (UNM). Polls suggest
that 50 percent of the electorate is undecided. Some of these voters
could be latent opposition supporters, but that figure could also
indicate a hunger for something new, and offer an opening for the
radical right.

Increasingly vocal grumblings against immigrants
can be sensed in the cities, online exchanges and occasional
confrontations. Georgia’s far-right mainly resides on Facebook, and a
close look at their numbers, posts, shares and discussions reveals a
continued consolidation, if not an increase, of far-right groups and
their supporters in recent years.  

“We analyzed 26,000 posts, which is about 2 million
words, of some 70 Facebook pages. We looked at the number of shares and
the discussions they prompted,” Davit Sichinava, research director at
CRRC, told Tamada Tales. “Granted, an increase in the number of pages,
their members and likes could be partly explained by growing internet
penetration. Also, some users can have more than one profile and some
others could be just journalists or observers.”

For all these caveats, radical right ideas do seem
to have a significant and steady audience that a well-planned electoral
campaign could exploit. But a close look at the Georgian far right
reveals ideological divisions that might be hard to reconcile.

Sichinava says that Georgia’s far right can be divided into three main groups: a neo-Nazi element that got the spotlight
last year during protests by Tbilisi’s liberal youth, an alt-right that
draws inspiration from similar movements in Europe, and a
Russia-friendly category into which Bregadze and Georgian March fall.
“The first two view Russia as Georgia’s enemy, while the latter avoids
criticizing Russia and has links to openly pro-Russian groups,”
Sichinava said. 

Critics charge that Bregadze and his band are on
Moscow’s payroll and work to disrupt Georgia’s ties with the West. All
of Georgia’s right-wing groups’ focus on traditional and religious
values, and this dovetails with Russian soft-power efforts to both
demonize and destabilize the West.

But Georgia’s far right, when viewed collectively,
in fact speaks more negatively about Russia than the West, the study
found. “Ultimately, we did not see a strong geopolitical aspect to
Georgia’s far right movement,” Sichinava said.

Noting the ideological divides among the far right,
Sichinava said that it’s not clear that these forces can unite for
electoral purposes and whether Bregadze is the one to unite them.
Bregadze, in the meantime, has begun tossing around ideas for his
platform. One of his top proposals: requiring citizens to specify their
ethnicity in identification documents, a throwback to a notorious Soviet
practice.

*Giorgi Lomsadze is a journalist based in Tbilisi, and author of Tamada Tales.

Eurasia Review


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Eurasia Review: The Great De(b)terioration In The Offing As Impotent Capital Weds Algorithms – OpEd

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By Jayasri Priyalal*

We are now in the era of acceleration termed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution [4IR]. In the new era, the impact and relevance of old ethical theories of yesteryear have severe limitations to offer solutions to the complex problems unfolding in the twenty-first century.

Money
and Banking business is undergoing a complete overhaul with the
introduction of the plastic money, and digital transactions on
e-commerce platforms are spearheading towards cashless societies — the
digital disruptions are accelerating the fourth industrial revolution
era. Lord Mervyn King, former Governor of Bank of England, elaborates
extensively about this change in his book ‘The End of Alchemy’.

As
we all know Economics is a subject that predicts specific outcomes on
probabilities and possibilities in an economy in addressing
disequilibrium resulting in allocation and misallocation of primary
factor inputs such as Land, Labour, Capital and Entrepreneurship.

Unlike
in natural sciences, no economics formulas or solutions can test in a
laboratory before being introduced to the community. Many economic
theories are based on trust and belief; as lessons learnt from past
experiences, and the impact of such opinions on the economy discussed as
historical narrations.

One
such approach is put forward by renowned Economist; John Maynard Keynes
which is popularly known as Keynesian theories. His strategy worked
well to overcome the economic crisis in the early twentieth century when
the money supply was strictly in the hands of central bankers.

It
is unfortunate that we still assess the productivity and performances
of businesses and institutions based on the indicators designed for the
First Industrial Revolution – when land, Labour, entrepreneurship and
capital factors were the productivity driving assets. Performances and
productivity returns were measured in terms of returns on capital.

How
prudent are we to continue with the same performance and productivity
measuring indicators in the current context? In this era, those assets,
driving productivity and growth, is knowledge, human capital catalysed
with digital and mobile technology. The Capital what is now circulating
is fake, impotent – which is leveraged with Debt – investment capital
has lost its vigour.

There
appears a need to challenge conventional thinking to initiate
discussions to come up with new performance measuring indicators that
are compatible with the 4IR.  Measurement of Gross National Happiness as
practices in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is one such new tool.

Regulatory
tightening following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) the banks
were subjected to stress tests and forced to beef up their capital to
cover the weighted risk assets and meet their liquidity requirements.
The regulatory tightening was considered as one option to resolve the
global financial crisis which originated from the OECD countries. The
unethical rent-seeking business culture of the top triple “B” bankers
(Big Bonus Bankers) that contributed to the crisis sidelined. The
governments in a panic threw lifeboats to rescue the banks and bankers
and life jackets were taken away from the real victims of the disaster
and forced many to sink, losing assets, jobs and life savings.

Private debt and public debt camouflaged as sovereign debt

Post
GFC, commercial banks were subjected to tighter regulatory control, but
the Central Banks could print money at will with the false belief to
accelerate the growth stimulating the economy. The economist termed this
policy option as Quantitative Easing. These unconventional monetary
policies termed as Modern Monetary Theory.

Based
on this theory, it is reported, that the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank
printed US$ 2 Trillion worth of paper money and released to jump-start
the economy. European Central Bank issued 80 billion Euros to stimulate
economic growth post-2008 global financial crisis.  As a result, the
interest rates in the U.S. and Eurozone remain at negative or near zero
levels. We are printing paper money glorified with the term quantitative
easing the new jargon in Economics. Since 2017 FED started to interest
rate hikes resulting in many upheavals in global stock markets.

Economics
and politics were two separate disciplines and practised differently in
the postcolonisation era by many countries depending on the degree of
development. Free market believers clubbed economics and politics
together and espoused the neoliberal order since the late nineteen
seventies.

The
era of an ownership society, driven with the sole aim of increasing
shareholder value unleashed, since then coining the new economic order
popularly known as Reaganomics in the USA and Thatcherism in the UK. It
never ended there; continues with the fake beliefs till recently when
Prime Minster Shinsho Abe tried ABENOMICS in Japan.

As
a way out of the GFC, the policy makers ventured out to offer
subsidies. This time they came up with the quantitative easing strategy –
which is printing money – and offered grants to the capital markets to
keep the stock markets alive and preventing them from collapse. The
unconventional monetary policy is now allowed zero or negative interest
rates in the economies reversing the championed formula of market
distortions. Prior to the GFC, Grants and economic assistance to the
marginalised needy were considered as market distortion forces. and
Development Financial Institutions were strict not allowing developing
countries to offer subsidies to the marginalized.

Negative interest rates – confiscate capital and discourage savings

Nearly
US$ 10 Trillion worth of bonds are trading currently at negative rates
in Europe and Japan. The corporate borrowing is high in the USA at rock
bottom interest rates. As reported in the Economist [March 16-22,2019]
Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLO) in the USA is rising steadily as
the Corporates are borrowing at near zero interest rates in the
leveraged loan market.

Reports
reveal the CLO volumes are almost equivalent to the amounts of
Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO) of 2007 alarming the dangers of
sub-prime debt. Banks and financial institutions are forced to hold
bonds yielding negative returns to maintain liquidity as per the new
regulatory norms.

When
the next financial crisis hits, debt defaulters will wipe out a large
portion of world savings. The Economist and Central Bankers will run out
of monetary policy tools beyond negative interest rates. Instead, the
Central Bankers need to use negative interest rates to curb excessive
debt, holding the risky borrowers to bear the burden, not allowing the
erosion of wealth from savers, shaking the future financial stability.

The
other option is to widen financial inclusion in society enabling the
real economic actors, producers and consumers to drive the organic
growth blending social finance with digital finance. Micro Finance and
Micro Insurance business models need to be further strengthened
insulating the viability and sustainability of small and medium term
enterprises.

The new ROE, returns on ethics

Facts
above and figures point out that investment capital circulating in the
economies is fake, distinctively different from the Capital that
rejuvenated economic growth in the First Industrial Revolution.
Therefore, the economist needs to define new performance and
productivity measuring indicators in tune with the new wave of 4IR.

Returns
on Equity does not sound ethical and scientific to estimate future
prosperity. Instead, Returns On Ethics can be a qualitative measuring
tool, as all the profits, dividends earned and retained in books will be
of no use, when people do not have fresh water to drink and fresh air
to breathe in the future.

The fake capital can smoothly integrate with Artificial Intelligence platforms driven with the algorithms and unfold double jeopardy, bridging a link between the ENRON and GFC crisis that erupted at the beginning of the new millennium. This author believes such a situation may shorten the life span of the prosperity indicators the global stock and bond markets inviting the Block Chain technological linked Distributive Ledger System to restore the trust between the producers and consumers in the real economy. Blockchain will become the alternative operating system substituting finance.

*The writer is the Regional Director responsible for Finance Sector of UNI Global Union, Asia & Pacific based in Singapore. This article was first published in the Financial Times, Sri Lanka.

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Eurasia Review: Resilience Thinking For Outer Space Security – Analysis

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By Jessica West*

It’s no surprise that tensions are rising
about security in outer space, because spacecraft are critical but
vulnerable assets. The prevailing response in the West has been to rely
on such familiar military strategies as deterrence.

Although
to “deter and defeat threats in space” is the raison d’être of the
proposed U.S. Space Force, deterrence should have only a limited role in
military space strategy. Too much emphasis on deterrence risks fuelling
an arms race in space. The essential “or else” premise of deterrence
imbues it with offensive undertones and encourages confrontation.

Instead, we need to think more about resilience.

What is resilience?

The
idea of resilience has informed military thoughts on space for some
time. Core concepts in the 2015 U.S. White Paper Space Domain Mission
Assurance: A Resilience Taxonomy includes protection, proliferation,
disaggregation, diversification, distribution, and deception. Here the
focus is on new space architecture. In this approach, space systems are
designed to be less vulnerable to harmful interference. By mitigating
vulnerabilities, the goal is to also bolster deterrence.

Designing
satellite systems that are less vulnerable to disruption is laudable.
But the benefits of resilience will be greater if we think beyond
deterrence and system hardware.

While
complimentary, resilience is a fundamentally different logic than
deterrence. I liken resilience to a strategy of containment. Resilience
is not about influencing the external environment to prevent certain
effects or about reducing vulnerability per se. Instead, resilience
involves mitigating the effects of disruptions that do occur and
maintaining the core functions and identity of a system. It works by
integrate the layers and components of a system into real-time
surveillance and control practices to detect and contain disorder. It is
both physical and social.

As a systems
approach to defence, resilience can be scaled up or down. If we scale
up, we can think beyond individual space systems to building global
resilience in outer space.

Scaling up resilience

I
manage and edit the Space Security Index series of reports. The focus
of this project is the security of outer space as an environment that
can be used by all safely and sustainably, free from threats. This
approach to security is ripe for resilience thinking, because if humans
want to continue to use outer space, we must learn to detect and control
the effects of the many hazards found there.

To
this end, a resilience approach enables an “all-hazards” response to
dangers in space. While the risk of deliberate harm to space systems is
real, operators face an array of potential disruptions and damage from
space weather and debris, as well as accidental interference. These
cannot be deterred, but they can be detected, and their effects
contained. Likewise, resilience is useful in the face of deliberate
interference, which can be difficult to distinguish and thus to deter.

Approaching
these challenges collectively can generate greater resilience. We can
see elements of this approach that are already in place, such as
interoperability agreements between providers of global navigation
services, which help to contain the effects of disruptions to individual
capabilities. By emphasizing cooperation and data sharing, mutual
resilience could also facilitate arms control and conflict prevention
measures.

Resilience and arms control

The
relationship between resilience and arms control is complicated. When
embedded in a narrow, national approach to deterrence, resilience might
be seen as an attempt to achieve invulnerability and thus reduce the
incentive for arms control. But this shouldn’t be the case.

A
resilience framework cannot mitigate all risk. There are limits to the
ability to detect and contain emerging threats and disruptions. Space
systems are particularly susceptible to the application of external
force. The resulting debris could damage swaths of the space
environment. Arms control and efforts to de-escalate the risk of
conflict in space remain essential. However, a focus on resilience could
make such efforts more appealing by alleviating concerns linked to
limited modes of monitoring and verification. The starting point is
space situational awareness (SSA).

System
surveillance – particularly the ability to detect an anomaly or
disruption early – is critical for resilience. In space, this is done
via sensors on individual spacecraft, and through SSA of the whole space
environment—an incredible task. The United States has by far the most
advanced capability, and engages in extensive but selective
data-sharing. A global approach to surveillance remains elusive, even
though it would contribute significantly to the resilience of outer
space activities, providing more comprehensive data for early warning to
all actors, and facilitating the ability to objectively identify and
respond to suspicious behaviour or hardware in space.

More
global approaches are emerging for SSA in relation to asteroid early
warning and space weather mitigation. This logic should extend to human
made hazards. Just as “eyes in the sky” are critical for early warning
capabilities linked to nuclear deterrence and arms control, “eyes on the
sky” are a critical step for building resiliency that can contain
conflict in space.

New thinking

Threats
in space are many, complex, and often indiscriminate. Thinking about
resilience – the ability to detect and contain the effects of disorder
and disruptions – is necessary. While clearly a part of national defence
strategy in outer space, there is an opportunity to leverage this
concept to bring new thinking to the security of outer space and the
collective challenges that we face in this domain.


This article originally appeared in Space Alert.

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Eurasia Review: Georgia: Police, Pankisi Locals Clash Over Hydro Power Plant Construction

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(Civil.Ge) — 55 people, 17 civilians and 38 police officers were injured Sunday according to the Ministry of Interior in Georgia’s mountainous Pankisi gorge.

Tensions flared as the locals protesting the construction of the hydro power plant have clashed with the riot police, deployed near village Dzibakhevi at the request of the Ministry of Economy, to protect the construction workers, the police stated.

Locals have long been protesting the construction works on the series
of small powerplants, fearing possible loss of drinking and irrigation
water. They have managed to halt the construction of this particular
five mgwt capacity powerplant, “Khadori-3” in June 2018.

According
to the Reg.Info news agency, the decision to resume construction was
communicated to the locals on April 18 by the Minister for
Infrastructure and Regional Development Maia Tskitishvili, Minister for
Environment and Agriculture Levan Davitashvili and Deputy Minister of
Economy Natia Turnava (who was appointed Minister the same evening).

Standoff between the locals and the riot police has escalated
around 11 am, local time when protesters confronted the officers
separating them from the construction site. Police used batons against
the protesters, but were forced to withdraw few meters behind as locals
threw stones at them.

Officers responded with firing tear gas and rubber bullets, and returned to their initial position. Standoff ensured
for few hours. Deputy Interior Minister Kakha Sabanadze was on the
ground, who tried to ease tensions by offering the community leaders and
protesters to meet the Minister of Interior, Giorgi Gakharia in Telavi,
the regional center of Kakheti region.

The clashes intensified mid-day, however, as protesters responded angrily to deployment of the additional police force into the area, while the talks with Minister Gakharia were under way. The construction machinery was burned down, and several police cars damaged.

Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia arrived
on the scene shortly after the incident. Locals agreed to cease the
demonstration after the community leaders agreed with the Minister that
the authorities would remove the riot police from the area.

Speaking
after the talks, Gakharia said the company building the power plant
would halt the construction works and continue talks with the local
residents. “We have decided to postpone the power plant construction and
agreed on the following – it will only be built, if 90% of locals
support it,” he noted.

Gakharia said, however, that the police
would maintain enhanced presence in the area. He also stressed those
guilty of assaulting the police would be identified and held
accountable. “We have to calm down now and do what corresponds to the
centuries-old history of our brotherhood and inter-relations,” the
Minister added.

Emzar Tokhosashvili, one of the protest leaders, said
after the talks that there is near-absolute consensus in Pankisi that
the power plant will not be built. “Only 2-3% of local residents might
be in favor of building it, the rest are against… The government is not
doing anything to develop the area, they are protecting the interests of
investors only,” he noted.

In a statement later on April 21, the
Interior Ministry said it is leading the investigation into the incident
under articles 353 and 187 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, involving
assault on police officer and damage by setting fire.

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Eurasia Review: Failed States And Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves On Tripoli – OpEd

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The richly disastrous mess that is Libya has been moving into another phase of inspired aggression at the hands of General Khalifa Haftar. As he does, UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj is anxious. For some three weeks, the General’s eastern forces, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA) have been edging towards the capital of the fractured state in a hope to remove the “remaining terrorist groups” in the region.

The government of national accord (GNA) is not getting the voices of support in foreign capitals it might have once enjoyed. In early April, Al-Sarraj was keen to stress his view on how Libya would return to a state of strife-free normalcy. “We will not give up our principles and peaceful solutions to reach a civil state, to ensure that totalitarian rule or militarisation of the state will not return.”

Much stock was placed in having a national dialogue that would lead to “the unification of institutions and the holding of right presidential and parliamentary constitutional elections to allow people to have their say.”

General Haftar, veteran of the Libyan war in Chad during the 1970s and 1980s and touted past collaborator with the CIA, has preferred to spoil the party with his own effort to besiege the capital, despite efforts on the part of Western diplomats to discourage him. His argument in attacking Tripoli since the chaos of 2011 has been directed at the feeble efforts of Libya’s interim figures, whom he accuses of being oblivious to the Islamist militia problem. His response to the militia problem has been to create his own ragtag grouping of militias. It takes one to get rid of one.

Al-Sarraj is doing everything he can to assure that his forces will play by the rules of international humanitarian law, hoping that this will keep him in the good books and add him to others. A counter-offensive has begun, and clashes have been reported in Wadi Rabea, Airport Road, Ain Zara and Khalit Al-Furjan.

As the recognised government struggles, old formulae of accusations and suspicions are also playing out. Al-Sarraj and his colleagues are convinced the general is getting support from external sources, though their finger pointing is somewhat awry. Of little doubt is the assistance Haftar is receiving from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which have done their bit to add some polish in terms of equipment to the LNA.

Russia is keen that Haftar not receive all the blame for the new round of spoliation; the United States seemed confused on the matter in the UN Security Council, though President Donald Trump has done much to confuse the issue. (Previously, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had called on Haftar to halt his attack.) In conversations with Haftar, Trump seemed to give his nod of approval to the efforts on the part of the LNA leader to restore order. In a phone call, Trump “recognised Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system.”

With the regime in Tripoli isolated, the Libyan Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha, has led the recriminations. France, despite having supplied six patrol boats to Al-Sarraj’s forces as early as February, not to mention training for the presidential guard, has been singled out as arch villain. The interior ministry has suspended “all relations between the ministry and the French side… due to the position of the French government in support of the criminal Haftar.”

European politicians are observing the latest round of violence with concern less for the humanitarian consequences to Libya than the clouded security picture that will follow. “If the war persists,” warns former Italian Interior Minister Marco Minitti, “all those fleeing the clashes will turn into refugees per the international conventions, thus bringing among them foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq who usually use chaos to transport from one place to another.” How inconsiderate of them.

The French response has been one of shrugged shoulders, and some regret. But the final picture here is one of typical, undermining indifference. It was France who, helped by the United Kingdom and the United States, led the campaign to oust Muammar Qaddafi with catastrophic consequences for a state that has ceased to be.

Since 2011, to call Libya a functioning political entity has been a charade of grotesque proportion assisted by forced theatre on the diplomatic stage. The post-2014 civil war in the aftermath of the ejection of the internationally acknowledged Libyan parliament by forces working with the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, has seen continuing, crippling conflict. What is distinctly not a charade are the deaths and refugees that are growing in number, meaning that this failed state is on track to become the next blood soaked Syria.

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Eurasia Review: Philippine Environment Going The Way Of The Dodo, Hardly A Topic In Philippine Election – OpEd

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Its virgin forests are predicted to be gone in ten years, its seas are full of plastics, mining has degraded many mountains and polluted rivers and water sources and deforestation is causing devastating floods. Yet, despite these threats, the state of the environment has not been a key issue with the Philippines heading to the polls on May 13.

In the Leaders I Want for Senator Forum at the Ateneo de Manila University none of the candidates spoke on how to solve the pressing environmental problems to the dismay of many voters.

“I wanted them to talk of how they can help stop deforestation pollution, flooding and mounting garbage problems but I heard nothing”: Mylene Austria, , a frustrated student leader quipped.

“No candidate has strong policies on environmental protection,” said George Facsoy, a forester of Cordillera Ecological Center (CEC) “Most even ignore the issues when asked about it.”

The Philippines’ once sprawling 16 million hectares (39.5 million acres) of virgin forests dominated by hardwoods is now down to only 700,000 hectares (1.7 million acres). The blame is falling on governments that over the years have passed laws favorable to logging concessions and implemented forest protection poorly.

The Philippines, with a deforestation rate of 1,900 hectares (4,695 acres) a day, will likely be completely denuded by 2025, forestry experts predict.

Based on the Philippine Environmental Profile, the loss in forest cover between 1990 and 2000, was 262,500 hectares of forest per year. This amounted to an average annual deforestation rate of 2.48%. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change decreased by 20.2% to 1.98% per annum.

In total, between 1990 and 2005, Philippines lost 32.3% of its forest cover, or around 3,412,000 hectares. Measuring the total rate of habitat conversion (defined as change in forest area plus change in woodland area minus net plantation expansion) for the 1990-2005 interval, Philippines lost 7.9% of its forest and woodland habitat.

The Next Land of the Dodo

The Philippines has some 1196 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Of these, 45.8% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 14.7% are threatened. Philippines is home to at least 8931 species of vascular plants, of which 39.2% are endemic. 5.1% of Philippines is protected under IUCN categories I-V.

Of its wildlife species; 48 of its 110 amphibian species are threatened, 70 of its 590 species threatened, 50 of its 222 mammals threatened, 8 of its 274 reptile species threatened.

It has 3,000 native tree species but 46 of these are critically endangered, and 35 species endangered. Of its 8,941 vascular plants, 212 species are threatened to extinction.

Sooner rather than later many of the Philippines’ plants and animals will face the same fate as the proverbial dodo bird.

Its biodiversity is being destroyed at a fast clip, perhaps reaching an irreversible trend. Sooner rather than later, many of its plants and animals may be as dead as the proverbial dodo – the large, flightless bird that is now extinct.

No country has its plant and animal life being destroyed faster than in the Philippines, to go by the recently released Red List of Threatened and Extinct Species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) based in Switzerland.

Another group, Conservation International (CI), recently described the Philippines as the “hottest” of the 25 so-called “bio-diversity hotspots” in the world – a record that does not speak well of the government’s environmental conservation program and the public’s apathy to environmental concerns.

Hotspots are areas with the least number of species existing, the least number of species found in an exclusive ecosystem and have an alarmingly high degree of threat against the existing species.

The other hotspots include the Tropical Andes, Mediterranean Basin, Madagascar Islands in the Indian Ocean, Mesoamerica, Caribbean Islands, Indo-Burma, Atlantic Forest of Brazil, Cape Floristic Region of South Africa, Mountains of Central China, Sundaland, Brazilian Cerrado, Southwest Australia, Polynesia and Micronesia, New Caledonia, Choco/Darien/Western Ecuador, Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, California Floristic Province, Succulent Karoo, New Zealand, Central Chile, Guinean Forests of West Africa, Caucasus, Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests of Kenya and Tanzania and, Wallacea.

Illegal Logging Still Culprit

“Unchecked illegal logging remains the main culprit,” Philippine senator Loren Legarda who once headed the Senate environment committee says. “Government negligence has prompted the devastation of the forests. Much of the remaining forests have now been invaded by commercial loggers,” she said.

“Philippine forestry laws passed since 1930 have failed to provide adequate security provisions for virgin and second growth forests, thus the forests had virtually no protection at all. For instance, there is only one forest guard for every 3,000 hectares (7,413 acres) of forests,” she said.

From 1972 to 1988, Legarda revealed that, “The logging industry amassed US$42.85 billion in revenues at the rate of $2.65 billion a year and laid to waste 8.57 million hectares (21.2 million acres) of forests. Timber was not the only loss, but also natural habitats which treasure much of important animal and plant biodiversity,” she said.

Over the same period, loggers destroyed 3.88 million hectares (9.6 million acres) of virgin forests, raking in $19.4 billion in income.

At the present rate of deforestation, less than seven per cent of virgin and second growth forests will be left by 2010. By 2025, there may be no Philippine forests to speak of left at all.

Reversing this trend is a gigantic, if not an impossible task, considering the fact that the rate of reforestation, which is about 80,000 hectares (198,000 acres) a year, is far out-stripped by the deforestation rate.

Legarda said that deforestation in the Philippines is the major reason behind flooding, acute water shortages, rapid soil erosion, siltation and mudslides that have proved costly not only to the environment and properties but also in human lives.

To avoid such ecological disasters, “It is absolutely necessary for the Philippine government to overhaul some forestry laws which have outlived their usefulness, such as the 1975 Forestry Code, and implement appropriate forestry laws with urgency and genuine political will,” Legarda stressed.

The World’s Hottest Hotspot

The IUCN Red List, released on September 28 of last year, indicated the precarious future of Philippine flora and fauna. Of the 11,046 endangered and extinct plant and animal species documented by IUCN in 112 countries, 932 species, amounting to nine per cent of the world’s total endangered and extinct species, are in the Philippines

The List is the most comprehensive analysis of global conservation ever undertaken, which involved 120 national governments and 735 environmental non-governmental organizations. IUCN has been in the forefront of environmental documentation globally for the past 20 years.

On record, the Philippines has 387 threatened species, making it number four in the list after Malaysia with 805 species, Indonesia with 763 and India with 459. Of its threatened species 50 are mammals, 67 birds, 8 reptiles, 22 amphibians, 28 fishes, 3 mollusks and 16 are other invertebrates.

However, with regards to extinct and threatened plants and animals, the country heads the list in Southeast and South Asia , and is second after Africa worldwide. The country has 318 extinct and threatened animals classified as follows: 2 extinct, 47 critically endangered, 44 endangered, 103 vulnerable, 7 conservation-dependent, 84 near-threatened and 31 species with deficient data.

Some of the threatened animals are the Philippine eagle, the rarest and the second largest eagle in the world, which is now down to about 350 – 600 birds compared to 6,000 eagles forty years ago. Another is the Mindoro crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis), which is near to extinction. It is only recovering due to help from captive-breeding programs and conservation measures. The three-striped box turtle, which abound in the Sulu Sea, was also included in the Red List because it is under threat due to its value as a traditional medicine.

Among plants, the country has 227 extinct and threatened plants, the fourth most in the world. Of the total, 37 are critically endangered, 28 endangered, 128 are vulnerable, 3 conservation-dependent, 24 near-threatened and 7 with deficient data.

Endangered Marine Ecosystems

The country’s marine and aquatic life are equally endangered. The Philippine coral reefs, one of the most diverse and largest in the world, may not be around for long.

The World Bank last March released in its Environment Monitor monthly report that only 4.3 per cent or 1,161 sq km of the country’s once-sprawling 27,000 sq km of coral reefs are in good state. This used to cover 10 percent of the country’s land area. But even then, the remaining parcel will eventually die as there is very little effort to stem the death of these natural fish-breeding grounds, the World Bank report said.

With the impending loss of the coral reefs, 10 to 15 per cent of the total marine fisheries’ production for human consumption will be lost and adversely affect the livelihood of an estimated 65,000 fishing families, the report added. Some 500 to 700 coral reef species are being lost as the reefs die.

The highly influential environmental think-tank, Earthwatch Institute, warned that 30 per cent of the Philippine coral reefs were already dead and that aggressive conservation efforts needed to be undertaken. But political events overcame genuinely committed conservation efforts, rendering the coral reefs to die due to destructive fishing methods, aquaculture development and pollution.

Mangroves, equally important breeding and spawning grounds for fish and shellfish, have not been spared. Mario Carreon, of the Fisheries Resources Management of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), stated that the Philippines has already lost some 11,543 square kilometers of mangrove forests. These were indiscriminately cut for firewood, construction, charcoal and lost to fishpond conversion.

“The coral reefs, sea grass beds and mangroves support 80 percent of all commercial species of fish and shellfish. In the last 20 years, these have declined as much as 57 percent in the Philippines,” he said.

The Philippines, with more than 7,000 islands, 2.2 million sq km of territorial waters and 300,782 sq km of land, once had the most expansive mangrove and coral reefs in Southeast Asia . But this is no longer true as Carreon said 4,000 hectares of mangroves are destroyed yearly.

Who is to Blame?

The World Bank and CI recently released US$150 million to support the protection efforts of these bio-diversity hotspots. CI is working in the protected 359,000 Palanan Wilderness Area of Palanan, Isabela of the Sierra Madre Ranges where 10 per cent of the country’s remaining rainforest exists.

Among the factors blamed for the destruction of biodiversity are deforestation, booming population, poaching, over-hunting, logging, pollution and urban sprawl.

In the Philippines, various sectors-farmers, fishermen, government and non-government groups, globalization advocates and environmental policymakers-have been tossing the blame at one another. The answer can only be any or all of them.

But governmental policies take a big share of the blame, as well as government agencies that lack the political will to protect the national patrimony and foster a sense of natural stewardship among the people. All these, plus the fact that conservation programs are hardly a priority or carried out in earnest.

Deploring the country’s sad state of corals, the World Bank said: “The Philippines , which has perhaps the best coral reefs, does not give importance to its water resources. The people should find ways to rehabilitate the coral reefs because almost 55 per cent of the fish consumed in the country depend on the coral reefs.”

The World Bank itself is not free of any blame for global environmental decay. It is often being held largely responsible for the poverty of developing countries- one reason why deforestation is widespread worldwide.

The World Bank continued: “Dynamite and cyanide fishing is still rampant in the Philippines and Indonesia and the governments have done little to curb these destructive fishing methods which are illegal under Philippine laws as well as under the 1975 Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).”

The Coral Reef Alliance (CRA), which monitors coral reef developments worldwide, said the country has not done well in protecting its coral reefs, and instead, is a major illegal exporter of coral reefs for aquariums, especially in the United States .

In the Philippines , the coral reefs are protected under Presidential Decree 1219, which, however, is not rigidly enforced. The CITES law, to which the Philippines is a signatory, prohibits the sale of coral reefs.

With regards to deforestation, Senator Loren Legarda blamed flawed government policies for the loss of forests and plants. “Government negligence has prompted the devastation of not only forests but all that live with it,” she said.

Flawed government policies have been worsened by corruption in environmental conservation programs.

The continuing loss of bio-diversity in the country may thus be said to be the collective result of administrative, mismanagement, corruption and social inequity.

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Eurasia Review: Egypt: Referendum On Extending Sissi’s Rule Full Of Irregularities

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By Heather Murdock and Hamada Elrasam

As voters lined up outside the polls in Cairo Saturday, music blared and some among the crowds danced and waved Egyptian flags.

Many people held flyers with a photograph of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and a green checkmark. The message? Vote “yes.”

If passed, the constitutional changes proposed in the ballot could extend the president’s rule to 2030, and deepen the military’s role in communities. The Egyptian Parliament overwhelmingly supported the changes and announced the national vote on Wednesday. Results are expected by April 27.

Opponents to the measure say the changes will roll back the
democratic dreams of 2011, when a popular uprising lead to the ousting
of 30-year dictator, Hosni Mubarak and that the referendum is marred by
corruption and coercion. Supporters say a secure leadership will make
Egypt safer and help the country climb out of economic crisis.

“The legislative impact would be basically handing over all powers to
the presidency,” explained Hisham Kassem, a veteran Egyptian publisher
and analyst in an interview ahead of the vote.

Many of the people at the polls said they weren’t sure exactly what
changes are being proposed, but they came to show their support for the
government.

Manar, 20 wore a yellow headscarf and carried an Egyptian flag when she came to vote. At first she was shy to admit she didn’t know what she was voting for, but later confidently said, “I voted yes because I think Sissi is doing great things.”

Irregularities

The outcome of the ballot is all but certain to most observers. For
weeks, the Egyptian media — which are overwhelmingly pro-government —
have been promoting “yes” votes and no organized opposition has emerged
to challenge the message.

Additionally, “yes” vote supporters openly distribute free groceries,
like oil, rice and sugar to some people who can show their finger has
been dyed by the ink used to prevent voter fraud. In some cases, voters
told VOA their identity cards had been confiscated, and they had to vote
to get them back.

Other people at the polls told VOA they were offered money if they voted, and some students said they were paid to stand at the polls for the day.

While these kinds of irregularities are wide-spread, it is not clear
exactly who is responsible. In Egypt, the government, the military and
many large business interests are intertwined, with all three publicly
rallying around the president to curry favor, according to Kassem, the
analyst.

A bus outside of one polling station on Saturday had a sign saying
“Serving People.” Hossam, a young man in a sweatshirt and jeans, waited
in the bus. He was un-phased when asked where it was going.

“This is to take us to receive the money they have promised for voting,” he said.

Possible outcomes

In Cairo on Saturday, it was hard to find anyone advocating for the
ballot to fail. Since ousting former president Mohammed Morsi in 2013
after mass protests calling for his resignation, Sissi’s government has
been accused of jailing the opposition.

Amnesty International says the constitutional changes will “strengthen impunity for human rights violations by members of the security forces, furthering the climate of repression that already exists in the country.”

Before Ahmed Mamdouh, a university business student, told VOA he was
voting ‘no’ he assured everyone listening that he supported the
president, and did not object to the extension of his term.

Mamdouh said the changes will weaken the parliament, and the fact
that women would be guaranteed more seats if the measure passes is not
helpful.

“How I’ll benefit from that?” he asked. “It won’t matter if my
representative in parliament is a man or a woman because they won’t have
any authority.”

Besides extending Sissi’s current term, it will allow the president to run again for office in 2024. The military, which is huge part of the Egyptian economy, will also increase its role in the criminal justice system if the measure passes.

By Sunday, local pro-government news hailed the turn-out in many polling stations as “huge,” particularly drawing female voters. But some locals seemed indifferent, saying they were confused by the actual changes and unconvinced by those who would entice them to vote.

“The offer of the food bag is not enough for me to take time off of
work,” said Wael on his way to his shift, selling leftover animal
products from a butcher’s shop.

“And I don’t believe they are giving out money,” he added. “It is fine for housewives but I have to work.”

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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (84 sites): “Donald Trump Jr. Wikileaks” – Google News: Inside the special counsel’s long hunt to uncover whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia – Washington Post

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Inside the special counsel’s long hunt to uncover whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia  Washington Post

A reconstruction of the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III’s team shows why it was often a maddeningly difficult task — and why some mysteries were left …

“Donald Trump Jr. Wikileaks” – Google News

Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (84 sites)


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