Eurasia Review: Gravitational Forces In Protoplanetary Disks May Push Super-Earths Close To Their Stars

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The galaxy is littered with planetary systems vastly different from
ours. In the solar system, the planet closest to the Sun — Mercury,
with an orbit of 88 days — is also the smallest. But NASA’s Kepler
spacecraft has discovered thousands of systems full of very large
planets — called super-Earths — in very small orbits that zip around
their host star several times every 10 days.

Now, researchers may have a better understanding how such planets formed.

A team of Penn State-led astronomers found that as planets form out
of the chaotic churn of gravitational, hydrodynamic — or, drag — and
magnetic forces and collisions within the dusty, gaseous protoplanetary
disk that surrounds a star as a planetary system starts to form, the
orbits of these planets eventually get in synch, causing them to slide
— follow the leader-style — toward the star. The team’s computer
simulations result in planetary systems with properties that match up
with those of actual planetary systems observed by the Kepler space
telescope of solar systems. Both simulations and observations show
large, rocky super-Earths orbiting very close to their host stars,
according to Daniel Carrera, assistant research professor of astronomy
at Penn State’s Eberly College of Science.

He said the simulation is a step toward understanding why
super-Earths gather so close to their host stars. The simulations may
also shed light on why super-Earths are often located so close to their
host star where there doesn’t seem to be enough solid material in the
protoplanetary disk to form a planet, let alone a big planet, according
to the researchers, who report their findings in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“When stars are very young, they are surrounded by a disc that is
mostly gas with some dust — and that dust grows into the planets, like
the earth and these super-Earths,” said Carrera. “But the particular
puzzle for us is that this disc doesn’t go the all way to the star —
there’s a cavity there. And yet we see these planets closer to the star
than the edge of that disc.”

The astronomers’ computer simulation shows that, over time, the
planets’ and disk’s gravitational forces lock the planets into
synchronized orbits — resonance — with each other. The planets then
begin to migrate in unison, with some moving closer to the edge of the
disk. The combination of the gas disk affecting the outer planets and
the gravitational interactions among the outer and inner planets can
continue to push the inner planets very closer to the star, even
interior to the edge of the disk.

“With the first discoveries of Jupiter-size exoplanets orbiting
close to their host star, astronomers were inspired to develop multiple
models for how such planets could form, including chaotic interactions
in multiple planet systems, tidal effects and migration through the gas
disk,” said Eric Ford, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, director
of Penn State’s Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds and
Institute for CyberScience (ICS) faculty co-hire. “However, these models
did not predict the more recent discoveries of super-Earth-size planets
orbiting so close to their host star. Some astronomers had suggested
that such planets must have formed very near their current locations.
Our work is important because it demonstrates how short-period
super-Earth-size planets could have formed and migrated to their current
locations thanks to the complex interactions of multiple planet
systems.”

Carrera said more work remains to confirm that the theory is correct.

“We’ve shown that it’s possible for planets to get that close to a
star in this simulation, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the only way that
the universe chose to make them,” said Carrera. “Someone might come up
with a different idea of a way to get the planets that close to a star.
And, so, the next step is to test the idea, revise it, make predictions
that you can test against observations.”

Future research may also explore why our super-Earthless solar system is different from most other solar systems, Carrera added.

“Super-Earths in very close orbits are by far the most common type
of exoplanet that we observe, and yet they don’t exist in our own solar
system and that makes us wonder why,” said Carrera.

According to the researchers, the best published estimates suggest
that about 30 percent of solar-like stars have some planets close to the
host star than the Earth is to the Sun. However, they note that
additional planets are could go undetected, especially small planets far
from their star.

Eurasia Review


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“mi5” – Google News: Inside Huawei’s £1.2billion ‘research and development’ campus where staff are forced to sleep under desks duri – The Sun

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Inside Huawei’s £1.2billion ‘research and development’ campus where staff are forced to sleep under desks duri  The Sun

THESE fascinating pictures show the grim reality of life inside Huawei’s £1.2bn research and development centre – where exhausted employees sleep at their …

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Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites): Current News: Главные новости – Google Новости: СМИ узнали об аресте «покровителя» из ФСБ по делу о хищениях у спецслужбы – РБК

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May 12, 2019

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Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites): The FBI News Review: Crime and Criminology from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): “political crimes” – Google News: Dr M creating ripples – Nation – The Star Online

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May 12, 2019
Crime and Criminology from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): “political crimes” – Google News: Dr M creating ripples – Nation – The Star Online
Crime and Criminology from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): “political criminology” – Google News: Public corruption hearings at Commonwealth level: a ‘risk worth taking’ for integrity? – The Mandarin
“mueller” – Google News: George Papadopoulos says Mueller Report ‘shows that I was clearly set up’ – Washington Times
FBI investigating machete attack on Appalachian Trail – WTVR CBS 6 News

Crime and Criminology from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): “political crimes” – Google News: Dr M creating ripples – Nation – The Star Online

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
KUALA LUMPUR: In just a year of his tenure as Malaysia’s seventh Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been recognised as one of the world’s most influential men. He was named the Muslim Man of the Year by The Muslim 500, a ranking of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims, in January.
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Crime and Criminology from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): “political criminology” – Google News: Public corruption hearings at Commonwealth level: a ‘risk worth taking’ for integrity? – The Mandarin

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Labor would at least match the Coalition’s commitment to spend $104.5 million over four years on a federal anti-corruption commission, and while 80% of Australians support one with a full suite of strong powers, public hearings remain the key issue.
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“mueller” – Google News: George Papadopoulos says Mueller Report ‘shows that I was clearly set up’ – Washington Times

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ANALYSIS/OPINION: George Papadopoulos, whose London networking triggered the FBI to unleash “Crossfire Hurricane” at the Trump campaign, was the wrong man. “The report completely vindicates me and shows that I was clearly set up now that we know all the characters in my story were Western operatives,” Papadopoulos told The Washington Times, citing special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
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FBI investigating machete attack on Appalachian Trail – WTVR CBS 6 News

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Please enable Javascript to watch this video WYTHE COUNTY, Va. — A Massachusetts man faces a federal murder charge after he allegedly attacked two hikers on the Appalachian Trail, leaving one of them dead, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia.
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“fbi” – Google News: Search Continues: FBI places billboards of missing Rachel Cooke along I-35 – FOX 7 Austin

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Search Continues: FBI places billboards of missing Rachel Cooke along I-35  FOX 7 Austin

A smiling picture of Rachel Cooke can be seen by drivers riding along I-35. The billboard is one of several put up by FBI San Antonio reading “Missing but not …

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Russia News: Полная лента ПОЛИТ.РУ: Минфин впервые обнародовал сумму засекреченных госконтрактов

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Российское министерство финансов отчиталось о том, что в 2018 году совокупная стоимость засекреченных госконтрактов, заключенных по 44-ФЗ, составила 2,4 трлн рублей. Этот показатель, как уточняют «Известия», публикуется впервые.

В 2018 году государственные органы РФ заключили 52,7 тысячи контрактов, содержащих гостайну, — это 35% от совокупного объема госзаказов по 44-ФЗ.

Наиболее крупные заказы, судя по обнародованным данным, поступили от «Роскосмоса», Управления дорожно-мостового строительства и Мосметро — однако это объясняется тем, что закупки предприятий оборонного сектора засекречены.

Полная лента ПОЛИТ.РУ

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Russia News: Взгляд: У берегов Камчатки за сутки произошло пять землетрясений

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В Камчатском филиале Геофизической службы РАН за последние сутки зафиксировали сразу пять землетрясений у берегов Камчатки.

Эпицентр наиболее сильного из них, магнитудой 4,5, находился в акватории Тихого океана в 90 километрах восточнее поселка Усть-Камчатск, передает РИА «Новости».

«Еще три землетрясения магнитудой 4,0, 4,1 и 4,3 также произошли в Тихом океане, одно произошло в южной оконечности полуострова», – сообщили в Камчатском филиале Геофизической службы РАН.

При этом, по данным МЧС региона, в населенных пунктах полуострова подземные толчки не ощущались.

Напомним, еще одно землетрясение у берегов Камчатки произошло в середине апреля.

Взгляд

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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): 1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “2016 elections anxiety” – Google News: ‘Brain drain’ from poor states widens political divide – Washington Times

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‘Brain drain’ from poor states widens political divide  Washington Times

The clustering of America’s most highly educated people in economically dynamic regions has created a “brain drain” from poorer states that is fueling cultural …

“2016 elections anxiety” – Google News

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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): “Trump Investigations” – Google News: Trump’s New Wall: President Rebuffs Democratic Investigations – MSNBC

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Trump’s New Wall: President Rebuffs Democratic Investigations  MSNBC

In real time and in full public view, President Trump and Congress are testing the limits of their constitutional power, as the battle over investigations and …

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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): 1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “Trump Investigations” – Google News: Trump’s New Wall: President Rebuffs Democratic Investigations – MSNBC

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Trump’s New Wall: President Rebuffs Democratic Investigations  MSNBC

In real time and in full public view, President Trump and Congress are testing the limits of their constitutional power, as the battle over investigations and …

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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): “deutsche bank and trump” – Google News: Judge: I See No Reason To Delay A Decision On Congress Receiving Trump’s Financial Records – Townhall

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Judge: I See No Reason To Delay A Decision On Congress Receiving Trump’s Financial Records  Townhall

A judge for the United States District Court in Washington, D.C. is expected to decide whether or not the House Committee on Oversight and Reform is entitled to …

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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): Trump Investigations, Middle East, and Israel from Michael_Novakhov (5 sites): Bing: israel and germany: Yair Netanyahu right about Berlin’s anti-Israel funding …

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Bild, Germany’s largest newspaper, wrote: “Yair says what many in the Israeli government think” about Germany’s well-funded anti-Israel NGOs that promote boycotts against the Jewish state.

Bing: israel and germany

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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): 1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “trump anxiety” – Google News: S.Korea stocks hit 4-month low on trade talk anxiety; won down – Reuters

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S.Korea stocks hit 4-month low on trade talk anxiety; won down  Reuters

Round-up of South Korean financial markets: ** South Korea’s KOSPI stock index stumbled on Monday marking the lowest since Jan. 15, as growing …

“trump anxiety” – Google News

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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): “Next customers: Flynn and Jr.” – Google News: Colleen Ballinger Is Thankful For Her Boys On First Mother’s Day – Just Jared Jr.

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Colleen Ballinger Is Thankful For Her Boys On First Mother’s Day  Just Jared Jr.

Colleen Ballinger is celebrating her first Mother’s Day with son Flynn! The YouTube star shared some cute family photos on …

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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): 1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “2016 elections anxiety” – Google News: The millennial time bomb: how long before they stop being anxious and start getting angry? – Independent.ie

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The millennial time bomb: how long before they stop being anxious and start getting angry?  Independent.ie

We all know we’re facing a pensions time bomb. This is when the population of young people is no longer capable of supporting the retirement of all the oldies.

“2016 elections anxiety” – Google News

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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): “Mueller Report” – Google News: Rudy Giuliani Calls Mueller Report A ‘Political Hit’ – The Daily Caller

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Rudy Giuliani Calls Mueller Report A ‘Political Hit’  The Daily Caller

Former Republican New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani ripped into the Mueller Report, calling it a “political hit.”

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“crossfire hurricane” – Google News: George Papadopoulos says Mueller Report ‘shows that I was clearly set up’ – Washington Times

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George Papadopoulos says Mueller Report ‘shows that I was clearly set up’  Washington Times

George Papadopoulos, whose London networking triggered the FBI to unleash “Crossfire Hurricane” at the Trump campaign, was the wrong man.

“crossfire hurricane” – Google News


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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): 1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): Palmer Report: Lindsey Graham just found a way to make it even worse

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When the news first broke that Republican Senator Richard Burr had subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr to testify about the Trump-Russia scandal, it wasn’t immediately clear if Burr was trying to help Junior avoid perjury charges, or if Burr was sticking it to Junior to try to protect his own reputation. Based on the vicious public backbiting that’s since played out among Republican Senators, it’s clear that the ones on Team Trump don’t think Burr is trying to help Junior at all. Now Lindsey Graham has found a way to make it even worse.



Trump Jr is in something of a no-win situation. If he shows up and repeats his earlier lies, he gets nailed for perjury. If he tells the truth this time, he’s confessing to having committed perjury last time. William Barr won’t allow a perjury referral to progress through the DOJ at this time, but it would set things up such that Junior would be prosecuted the minute his father is out of power. That’s bad – but there’s a potentially worse outcome for him.



Naturally, Lindsey Graham – who is now way too far gone from reality to give coherent advice to his fellow Team Trump members – is urging Donald Trump Jr to take the dumbest possible path. Graham appeared on Fox News today and urged Trump Jr to simply ignore the subpoena. But this will allow Richard Burr to hold Junior in contempt, and start taking punitive measures against him immediately, instead of having to wait for a future DOJ to prosecute Junior. It would also set a precedent for various House committees to subpoena Junior, and also ring him up for contempt.


Lindsey Graham seems to think he’s helping Donald Trump’s cause. But Graham was the one who presided over William Barr’s Senate Judiciary Committee testimony, and that went so poorly for Team Trump, it caused a spike in pro-impeachment numbers in multiple major polls. Now Graham is openly steering Trump’s son toward facing the immediate wrath of a GOP Senator in Richard Burr who’s retiring and has nothing to lose.



The post Lindsey Graham just found a way to make it even worse appeared first on Palmer Report.

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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (85 sites): 1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “trump authoritarianism” – Google News: What Joe Biden Is Teaching Democrats About Democrats – New York Magazine

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What Joe Biden Is Teaching Democrats About Democrats  New York Magazine

Joe Biden’s apparent resurrection from relic to 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner has illustrated a chasm between perception and reality about the …

“trump authoritarianism” – Google News

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Russia News: “putin’s face” – Google News: Op-Ed-O-Matic: Write Doomsday Screeds Like the Pros – The American Conservative

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Op-Ed-O-Matic: Write Doomsday Screeds Like the Pros  The American Conservative

As long as haters believe Trump is bringing about the End Times you too can make a buck writing about it. By Peter Van Buren • May 13, 2019 …

“putin’s face” – Google News

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Eurasia Review: Missiles On Ships: Making Sense Of Iran’s Recent Moves In The Gulf – Analysis

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By Fabian Hinz*

(FPRI) — Yet again, there is a dramatic rise in tension in the Middle East, and, yet again, missiles are at the heart of it. On May 6, the Trump administration announced that it would deploy the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group as well as four B-52 bombers to the region in response to “clear indications” that Iran or Iranian-supported proxy groups discussed  launching attacks against U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Fears that Iran could respond to
crippling sanctions against its oil and finance sector with military
force, either by itself or through proxies, are not entirely new. In
early 2011, as Europe was tightening the screws on Iran’s economy, the
specter of Iran closing the Strait of Hormuz emerged in the
international media landscape. Even though then-Navy Commander
Habibollah Sayyari casually remarked that closing the strait of Hormuz
was “easier than drinking a glass of water,”
Iran never followed through with its threat. In 2019, as the Iranian
retaliation narrative seems to have shifted towards the slightly more
realistic scenario of Iranian-sanctioned proxy attacks, the question
arises whether there is proof that Islamic Republic is actually
preparing to do that. Just what exactly are the “clear indications” that
Iran means it this time?

An Imminent Missile Strike?

On May 8, CNN reported
that Iran was loading short-range ballistic missiles on boats.
According to U.S. government sources, this move was one of the “critical
reasons the U.S. decided to move an aircraft carrier strike group and
B-52 bombers into the region.”

If these reports are, indeed, accurate,
then it worth asking what are Iranian ballistic missiles doing on ships?
CNN noted that it was unclear if the missiles were intended to be
launched from the vessels or if they were just being transported. While
unusual, launching ballistic missiles from surface vessels is feasible.
India’s navy operates the ship-launched Prithvi III missile, and South
Korea successfully tested a Hyunmoo 2C
from what appeared to be a cargo vessel. Indeed, there are some
indications that Iran might at least have looked into this possibility
in the past. In 2000/2001, researchers from the Malek-Ashtar University
of Technology, an institution associated with Iran’s missile program,
published a paper in the Iranian Journal for Maritime Engineering outlining their design for a sea-born Scud-B missile launcher. However, as the U.S. learned,
launching ballistic missiles from ships is not an easy task, and like
most missile-related activities, doing so requires extensive testing. So
far, no ship-launches of Iranian ballistic missiles have been observed,
and Iran sneakily developing this capability while avoiding the
watchful eyes of Western intelligence services seems highly unlikely.

Just as important as technical
considerations is Iran’s lack of a regional strategic rationale for
basing ballistic missiles on surface vessels. The main advantage of
basing ballistic missile on surface ships is the de-facto extension of
range. However, range is not an issue when it comes to Iran targeting
U.S. forces in the region because the Islamic Republic already operates a
large arsenal of missiles with ranges up to 2000km and a particularly
impressive force of shorter-range precision-guided solid-fuel missiles.
This arsenal puts all major U.S. bases in the region within striking
range of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Systems like the
Qiam, the Zolfaghar, the Hormuz, and the Khalij-e Fars are not only
deployed with the aim of targeting U.S. American military bases in the
region, but were also originally designed to do so.

The caveats that apply to range also
apply to survivability. A large part of Iran’s missile force is located
in deep underground bases, and many of the country’s launch platforms
can be disguised as civilian trucks, allowing them to blend in with
traffic. It is hard to imagine how in terms of survivability single
ships in the Persian Gulf—which is swarming with U.S. naval forces—would
offer any advantage over current Iranian basing modes.

What is Iran Really Doing with its Missiles?

With ship-launched ballistic missiles
seeming like a highly impractical and unlikely way to target U.S. forces
in the region, this leaves the possibility of Iran merely transporting
the missiles. Iran could use ships to deploy the missiles to some of its
islands in the Persian Gulf, several of which, such as Abu Musa and
Qeshm, are already known to house anti-ship missiles.
However, yet again, there is little strategic rationale for doing so
(except potential signaling). Unlike ballistic missiles, anti-ship
missiles tend to have very limited ranges and do not easily pass
mountainous terrain. Thus, forward-deploying them to islands makes
sense. Basing ballistic missiles on these islands would result in only
marginally increased ranges, but there is potential for substantially
increased vulnerability when compared to deployment on Iran’s mainland.

All of these considerations makes a
smuggling operation to one of Iran’s clients the most likely
explanation. Current foreign operators of Iranian-made ballistic
missiles include Lebanese Hezbollah, the Yemeni Houthis, the Syrian
regime, allegedly Iraqi Shi’a militias, and potentially pro-Iranian
armed groups in Syria. Iraq only has a minuscule coastline and can
easily be supplied via its long and porous land border with Iran. While
Syria and, by extension, Lebanon could be a possible destination, the
choice of ships makes it seem highly improbable. According to the Washington Post,
the vessels in question are dhows, small traditional wooden boats
common to the Gulf area. Dhows are a terrible choice for transporting
weapons to Syria, but are a great option for smuggling operations closer
to home. There is ample evidence that Iran is using the small and inconspicuous ships to ferry arms to the Houthi movement in Yemen.

With Yemen by far the most likely
destination for the missiles on Iran’s ships, the next question is: what
makes this transfer so different from previous Iranian missile
deliveries to the Houthis? After all, there is little doubt that Iran has supplied missiles to its Yemeni allies in the past. Again, the Washington Post offers a clue to how U.S. officials reached the verdict that this move was out of the ordinary:

Defense officials said the intelligence
that sparked their concern included imagery of containers on the deck of
at least one dhow, a sailing vessel, which were believed to contain
assembled ballistic missiles from Iran. Officials were unsure of the
intended purpose for the suspected missiles, but they saw it as a worrying departure from Iran’s previous steps to smuggle disassembled missile parts into Yemen.

The description of Iran’s previous modus
operandi matches with available open source evidence. The Qiams
delivered to the Houthis were cut into pieces and only later reassembled
and welded together on the battlefield in Yemen. Judging from both intercepted production equipment and Iran’s stated goal of enabling the domestic missile and rocket production
of its allies, Yemeni shorter-range solid-fuel systems seem to be a
combination of Iranian-supplied and locally produced components.

Examining the Logic behind the Change

What prompted the Iranians to change?
For one, it could simply be politics. With hardliners emboldened by the
slow-motion collapse of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA,
often dubbed the “Iran nuclear deal”) and with little left to lose in
relations with the West, both Iran’s ballistic missile program and its
space program have recently seen a dramatic uptick in activity. Similar
internal dynamics could have resulted in a bolder approach to the
conflict in Yemen with even more disregard for the already thin veneer
of deniability that the Islamic Republic still maintains in this
theatre.

Another explanation could be that the
change is not driven by internal politics, but by a concrete operational
requirement. There are a number of scenarios imaginable that would
cause such a change of operational requirements. The first would be a
substantial degradation of local production and/or assembly
capabilities. However, with the Houthis still using short-range missiles
and introducing new systems
on a regular basis, this option seems unlikely. Another possibility is
that the Houthis, in cooperation with Iran, are indeed planning to
attack U.S. forces in the region. In this scenario, a provision of
anti-ship ballistic missiles to the Houthis seems like the most likely
option for the delivery. While such a step might seem unreasonably risky
right now, it should be remembered that the Houthis have targeted the U.S. Navy
vessels using anti-ship missiles in the past. Yet another scenario
could be IRGC contingency planning for a potential future conflict with
the U.S. and its allies. Deploying more capable missiles and potentially
anti-ship ballistic missiles to Yemen would allow Iran to target enemy
forces in the region from multiple points, considerably complicating
enemy operations at comparatively low cost. Finally, there is the
possibility that a potential qualitative or quantitative change of
missile deliveries to Yemen could be squarely aimed at Saudi Arabia and
only indirectly be related to the U.S. Iranian decision-makers very much
see Riyadh as a core element of the anti-Iran coalition or, as Iranian
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif put it in his comments about the
so-called B-Team
(John Bolton, Bibi Netanyahu, and Mohammad Bin Salman), even be a key
driver behind the decision. Opening the floodgate of arms to Yemen’s
Houthis could be a way for Iran to respond to U.S. pressure without the
risks associated with a direct attack on U.S. forces.

What all of these considerations have in
common is that they rely on the assumption that U.S. intelligence is
indeed correct. According to the Washington Post, U.S.
intelligence is based on pictures of at least one dhow carrying
containers believed to contain ballistic missiles. With such a limited
amount of data, every assessment of the current situation should very
much keep the possibility of error in mind.

The story about Iranian short-range ballistic missiles loaded onto ships boils down to a change in pattern of what is in all likelihood a smuggling operation of missiles to Yemen. There are various, not necessarily mutually exclusive, explanations for this change ranging from purely internal regime dynamics to a potential change of operational requirement for missiles in the Yemeni theatre. While a planned attack on U.S. forces by Houthi forces is a potential scenario, it is just one of several possible explanations. Thus, unless the U.S. possesses further intelligence about concrete attack plans, Iran’s transfer is far from being a “clear indication” that Iran and its allies are planning to attack the U.S. military.

*About the author: Fabian Hinz is an independent OSINT analyst focusing on missile proliferation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Source: This article was published by FPRI

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Eurasia Review: The Russian Mafia – Analysis

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By Giancarlo Elia Valori*

Since 1992, the Russian word Mafyia has
been officially used in the Russian Federation’s documents to refer above all
to organized crime, structured through stable groups that  repeatedly perpetrate severe crimes and
offences. In particular, this word refers to the interests of the world
“below” – the invisible universe of organized crime – with the world
“above”, namely institutions, ruling classes, politicians and
companies.

Both the real Mafia, namely the Sicilian one, and the Russian one were born around mid-19th century.

The Sicilian Mafia became the
“parallel State” in a region where the Unitary State did not exist or
counted for nothing. A case in point is the Baron of Sant’Agata, the feudal
lord of Calatafimi, who ordered his mobsters to “side with the winners”, when
he realized that Garibaldi’s troops, the so-called “Garibaldini” were winning
in the plain.

 
The  Sicilian
“organization”, which had long-standing  roots -probably Arab and in any case
independent of the Kingdom centred on Naples and the Campania region –
discovered its political role precisely with Garibaldi-led Expedition of the
Thousand that landed in Sicily, after which it became the primary mediator
between the small group of “Piedmontese” soldiers and the great mass
of peasants. It immediately agreed with the feudal lords, who helped it considering
that it was winning.

The Mafia itself was both the improper
bank of the wealthy feudal lords and the only form of effective social control,
solely in favour of the Sicilian feudal elites – and hence also of the Unitary
Kingdom.

  As
happened also in Naples, when Garibaldi appointed Liborio Romano – who was also
the Head of Camorra – as Chief of Police. An inevitably very effective
policeman.

Conversely, in Russia organized crime was
initially used –  in politics – by
various revolutionary groups to fight the Tsar.

  
Later, there was the magic moment of an important “friend of the
people”, namely Nicholai Ishutin.

  He
was the first to establish a group of professional revolutionaries, in 1864,
simply called “the Organization”.

However, with a view to better achieving
the revolutionary, anarchist and violent aims of his Organizacjia, Ishutin
created another new structure. It was called the “Hell” and had to
engage in all possible illegal activities, together with the already active
criminals: murder, theft and blackmail. All this had to happen while the
“Organization” was running its lawful social and organizational
activities.

 
Hence, for the first time politics became the cover for a criminal organization.
Goodness knows how many imitators Comrade Ishutin had.

It was the beginning of a very strong bond
– also at theoretical level, through many excerpts from Lenin’s texts that
exalted Russian revolutionary populism – between organized crime and the
Bolshevik Communist Party.

  In
fact, on June 26, 1907, a bank stagecoach of the State Bank of the Russian
Empire was attacked and robbed in Tiflis, Georgia. It was a robbery fully
organized by top-level Bolsheviks, including Lenin and Stalin.

There was also the strong support of local
criminals led by Ter-Petrosian (“Kamo”), the Head of the Georgian mob and also
Stalin’s early associate.

The relationship between organized crime
and Bolshevism – particularly with reference to the “agrarian reform”
of 1930-1932 – remained central.

  
The Soviet power absolutely needed its extra legem left hand to harshly
bring peasants into line and to militarily organize the conquest of factories,
as well as to control or physically eliminate the entrepreneurs or bureaucrats
of the old Tsarist regime.

Everything changed with Stalin, who,
together with the stabilization of the Bolshevik regime, made possible also the
verticalization and creation of a unitary command hierarchy in the vast world
of Russian crime – and in the Party.

 
Hence the Organizatsja was founded, i.e. a strongly verticistic
Panrussian structure – as indeed the Bolshevik Party was.

The “Organization” – full of symbols and
particular rites, like the many para-Masonic organizations of the revolutionary
Napoleonic network in Italy, which imitated the secret society of Carbonari (the
so-called Carboneria) or, precisely, Freemasonry, albeit with entirely new
mechanisms and symbols – was sung heroically by one of the poets, former
“Thief-in-Law” (the generic term used by Stalin to designate all the
members of the Organization), but much loved by Stalin, namely Mikhail Djomin,
who exalted the achievements of the Vorovskoi Mir, the Thieves’ World, that had
only one code of conduct and revenge throughout the USSR.

  Hence
the Party established the first organizational structure of the
“Thieves-in-Law”, who much operated during the Stalinist regime: the
Mir “brigades” were led by a “reserve group” that generated
and selected an additional covert group that had to be permanently related to
the Soviet political, economic and financial power.

In fact, the “Vory v Zakone”,
the Thieves-in-Law, had  relations on an
equal footing with the Party and State leaders. They dealt with the various
“brigades” and managed the odshak, the cash pool, through an ad hoc Committee.

 
Through the odshak, said Committee mainly paid salaries to the
Organization soldiers, but above all invested its proceeds in the so-called
“white” economy.

 Without the criminal organizations and their
autonomous finance, there would have been neither the Soviet normalization
after Stalin’s purges, nor the money for 
Leninist industrialization and the funds – extremely needed for the USSR
– targeted to foreign trade and the related sales of raw materials from 1930
onwards.

 This also applied to the Sicilian Mafia, a
true organization between two worlds, the American and the Italian ones, which
invested in real estate in Sicily when there was no capital, in the aftermath
of the Second World War, or refinanced capitalism in Northern Italy after the
political and union storm in the late 1960s and 1970s.

 Without Mafia’s capital and without the
protection provided by some entrepreneurs to the most important fugitives in
Milan, there would have been no economic recovery after the disaster of 1968.

 Reverting to the Bolsheviks, Stalin accepted
the presence of the “Thieves-in-Law” in their main sectors of
activity, in exchange for their careful persecution of his personal and Soviet
regime’s political adversaries.

 Years later, even de Gaulle did so when
proposing to the Corsican underworld – one of the most ferocious in Europe – to
fight the OAS and eliminate it, in exchange for some State favours and the
transfer of many gangsters of the Brise de Mer – as the Corsican Mafia was
called – to Marseille.

 Hence there is no modern power that could do
without its particular “Thieves-in-Law”. A case in point was China,
in the phase of the “Four Modernizations” and the subsequent
Tiananmen Square movement, or the United States itself, which dealt primarily
with its various Mafias, especially in periods of severe financial crisis.

 In
the 1950s, shortly before Stalin’s death, inter alia, a very close relationship
was established between the “Organization” and the Soviet power
leaders.

 It
was exactly the underground economy – fully in the hands of the “Thieves-in-Law”-
which, in Brezhnev’s time, became the meeting point between Mafia and
Communists.

 The
Organizatsjia already had excellent relations with the parallel
“capitalist” organizations – relations which were established upon
the creation of the Russian structure in the meeting held in Lviv in 1950 – and
it became essential to find the goods which were never found on the Russian
market, including weapons and illicit capital flows.

 Corruption became the real axis of bureaucracy
and of the Party itself, while there was a spreading of poverty that closely
resembled the poverty of Ukrainian and Crimean peasants during the so-called
“agrarian reform” of 1930-1931.

 Later, always in agreement with the Bolshevik
leadership, Mafyia organized – in every factory or office – “clandestine
units”, not falling within the scope of the collectivist system, which
created an underground market that, from 1980 to 1991, was even worth 35-38% of
the Soviet GDP.

 The
proceeds from that semi-clandestine trade were shared between the Party, the
“Organization” and the law enforcement agencies. No one could escape
that mechanism.

 Again in the 1980s, precisely due to the social
and political pervasiveness of the “Thieves-in-Law”, the
Organizatsjia was structured into units for each commodity sector, especially
with units specialized in oil, minerals, wood, precious stones and even caviar.

 At
that stage, however, many Soviet Party and State leaders were officially
accepted in the Organizatsjia, thus becoming the necessary link between the
“Thieves-in-Law” and the institutions.

 Furthermore, with Gorbachev’s reforms, Mafyia
was no longer only an important part of the economic system,but became the
economic system in its entirety.

The elimination of the old political
apparatus and fast privatizations enabled the old leaders of the various
“clandestine units” to quickly collect the initial capital to buy
everything going from companies onto the now apparently liberalized market.

 Sometimes Mafia’s intimidation was also
needed, when the old employees did not want to assign – for a few roubles –
their shares that the law allowed to be allotted between workers and managers
of the old State-owned factories.

 In
1992 Yeltsin himself admitted that over two thirds of the Russian production
and commercial structure were in the hands of the “Organization”.

 However, in memory of the old ties with
similar organizations abroad, only Mafyia did start the first joint-venture
contracts with Western companies and 72% of that opening onto the world market was
only the work of the Organizatsija.

 
That was exactly what Judge Falcone would have dealt with in Russia with
his Russian colleague Stepankov, if he had not been killed with his wife and
three agents of his escort in a bomb attack.

 
The joint venture worked as follows: firstly, foreign capitalists put
their money into the companies of the “Organization” and later –
without realising it and only with the hard ways – they were in the hands of
the old “Thieves-in-Law”.

 
Nevertheless, it was from 1990 to 1992 that the Russian Mafia structure
penetrated the West with vast illegal funds managed together with the local
Mafias.

 Not
surprisingly, a few days after the Capaci bombing, Giovanni Falcone was to fly
to Russia to talk with the Russian Prosecutor General, Valentin Stepankov, who
was investigating into the CPSU funds that had disappeared in the West.

 The
intermediary of the operation could only be the “Organization” that
knew the Sicilian Mafia very well, at least since the aforementioned meeting
held in Lviv in 1950.

  A huge
amount of money went from the CPSU to the “sister” parties and
probably the issue regarded also the failed coup against Gorbachev in August
1991.

 Each CPSU faction had its autonomous funds –
often huge ones – given to “sister” parties but, above all, to their
most similar internal wings. Here a significant role was played by the covert bank
accounts held in Zurich, together with the Wednesday air transfers to the local
Narodny Bank, as well as the money transfers that took place during the visits
of the CPSU executives to the various local “comrades”.

 Nevertheless, the cash flows -managed only by
the Organization -were regarded by the CPSU’s “old guard” mainly as a
source of personal survival and a basis for future political action at national
level. Everyone, ranged face to face upon the field of the new CPSU factions,
thought to said cash flows.

 Coincidentally, it was exactly in those years
and months that the Sicilian Mafia expanded – for its drug business – to the
Caucasus and Anatolian Turkey, on the border with the new Russian Federation.

 At
that time – as currently – the Russian Mafyia had preferential relations with
the Sicilian Mafia, the Neapolitan Camorra, the Chinese triads and the Turkish
Mafia.

 Also the relations with Latin American and
Arab criminal organizations have been mediated by Sicilians or Calabrians (in
South America), Turks (in Central Asia and India) and Chinese (in Maghreb and
Africa).

 Currently the Organization’s yearly turnover
is still 2,000 billion roubles approximately, with weapons – including nuclear
ones – which were provided by the Mafyia sections within the Soviet and later
Russian Armed Forces.

 As
even Luciano Violante – the former President of an important anti-Mafia
Parliamentary Committee –  maintained,
both the CPSU and the KGB have long had 
excellent relations with the Sicilian Mafia. The Russian Mafyia itself
is now the world centre where money laundering strategies, as well as the
division of territories at international level and the new strategies of
relations with the various ruling classes, are managed.

 Violante used to say that the CPSU and the
KGBhad put in place the most recent Russian Mafia, with which they were
gradually confused.

 Hence the new post-Soviet oligarchy – selected
after Mafia wars that,between 1990 and 1995, exacted a toll of 30,000 victims –
has now merged with the ruling class.

As Solzhenitsyn used to say, currently in
Russia a maximum of 150 people rules. Putin deals with the
“Organization”, but he is certainly not linked to it.

 Furthermore, according to the most reliable
Russian sources, currently the “Thieves-in-Law” network is composed
of about 50,000 people, including managers and mere “soldiers”.

 
Nevertheless, their network of intimidation and capital makes them
essential in carrying out any kind of “white” operation. They are the
bank of the new Russia, considering that all the official banks are part of the
“Organization”.

  In
the Russian media jargon, the Russian Mafia bosses who have reinvented
themselves in the legal business are called avtoritet(“authorities”).

 The
Russian Mafyia also operate abroad, throughout Europe, but does not operate
directly in the territory of the various countries. If anything, it seeks
relations with the State and bureaucracy, through the national criminal
networks, without by-passing them.

 Currently the Russian money laundering hub is
still France, while recently the “Organization” has been spreading
quickly within the German economic, banking and commercial fabric.

 In
Italy, it operates mainly in Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and, obviously, Rome.

 According to the Italian police sources, the
capital flows of the Russian “Organization” in Italy are equal to
38.5 billion a year, while the flow of Russian money laundering is still
focused on France, albeit with some operations made in Spain and Portugal. A
diversification already underway, which could also affect Italy.

 The
first channel has always been Latvia, used by Russian mobsters to enter the
Euro area directly.

 With a view to penetrating Latvia, the Russian
“Organization” created dummy companies based in London.

 Later a Russian company lent money to the
company based in London – a company with main headquarters often located in
Moldova.

 The
Russian company did not repay the debt – hence a corrupt judge in Moldova
forced the Russian company to transfer capital to a Moldavian account.

 Hence the money entered Latvia in a perfectly
legal way and later the Euro area and Western economies.

  The network has already endangered 753 Western banks – and money laundering is still one of the primary business activities of the Russian “Organization”.

*About the author: Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France.”

Source: This article was published by Modern Diplomacy

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Eurasia Review: Qatar: Families Arbitrarily Stripped Of Citizenship

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Qatar’s decision to arbitrarily strip families from the Ghufran clan of their citizenship has left some members still stateless 20 years later and deprived of key human rights, Human Rights Watch said.

Stateless members of the Ghufran clan are deprived of their rights to
decent work, access to health care, education, marriage and starting a
family, owning property, and freedom of movement. Without valid identity
documents, they face restrictions opening bank accounts and acquiring
drivers’ licenses and are at risk of arbitrary detention. Those living
in Qatar are also denied a range of government benefits afforded to
Qatari citizens, including state jobs, food and energy subsidies, and
free health care.

“Many stateless members of the Ghufran clan are still denied redress today,” said Lama Fakih, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The Qatari government should immediately end the suffering of those left stateless and give them and those who have since acquired other nationalities a clear path toward regaining their Qatari citizenship.”

Human Rights Watch interviewed nine members of three stateless
families of the Ghufran clan living in Qatar and one person from a
fourth family who lives in Saudi Arabia. Altogether, there are 28
stateless individuals in the four families. Four others interviewed, two
of whom live in Qatar, said they became Saudi citizens 8 to 10 years
after Qatar stripped them of their citizenship.

A 56-year-old man whose citizenship along with that of his five
children was stripped in 2004 described the impact: “I have no property
in my name, no house, no income, no health card, I can’t even open a
bank account, it’s like I don’t even exist. When I get sick [instead of
going to a doctor or hospital] I take Panadol [a non-prescription
painkiller] and hope for the best.”

The Ghufran clan is a branch of the semi-nomadic al-Murrahs, who span
the Gulf region and are among the largest tribes in Qatar. While Qatar
has restored citizenship to many of the thousands of Ghufran clan
members whose citizenships they arbitrarily stripped starting in 1996,
some families still have no clear path to restore their citizenship.

Human Rights Watch wrote to the Qatari Ministry of Interior on April
29, 2019 to raise concerns about the Ghufran clans’ situation. The
letter did not receive a response at the time of this writing.

The Qatari government has asserted that those stripped of citizenship
held a second nationality, for Saudi Arabia, presumably because a large
faction of the al-Murrah had long ago also settled in Saudi Arabia and
gained Saudi citizenship. Dual citizenship is prohibited under Qatar’s
nationality law, as in other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

But several clan representatives told Human Rights Watch that they
believe the action was a form of collective punishment related to the
participation of some members in a failed 1996 coup against then-Emir Hamad Al Thani, who had deposed his father, Khalifa Al Thani, the year before. In a 2006 US State Department report, “diplomats pointed out that many other dual nationals in Qatar have not been affected.”

All of those interviewed denied having a second nationality when
their Qatari citizenship was revoked. Some said that they were
subsequently unable to obtain a second nationality. Others said that
they had been able to obtain a second nationality, but that their
origins were Qatari.

None of the interviewees had received any official or written
communication stating the reason behind the revocation of their
citizenship or offered the chance to appeal. All, including those who
returned to Qatar following the Gulf crisis
in June 2017, said they either fled, were deported, or were denied
entry back into Qatar after their citizenship was revoked. They said
they settled for several years in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates, or Kuwait as stateless persons. All showed documentary
evidence that they were Qatari nationals.

While the Qatari government maintains that those whose citizenship
has not been restored are Saudi nationals, none of the three stateless
families interviewed who live in Qatar say the government allowed them
to challenge that designation. They said they had reached out to the
Interior Ministry, the National Human Rights Committee, and the Emir’s
office multiple times to try to restore their citizenship.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will conduct its
third review of Qatar’s human rights record under the Universal Periodic
Review (UPR) procedure on May 15 in Geneva. Over the past two years,
Ghufran activists have called on the UNHRC to help restore their clan’s lost rights. A joint submission to the UPR
in October 2018 by the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights,
the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, and the Rights Realization
Center also addressed the issue.

“The Qatari government should create a timely and transparent system
to review the citizenship claims of members of Ghufran clan,” Fakih
said. “Qatar should follow the positive recent steps it’s taken in
ratifying core human rights treaties and make sure the rights enshrined
there are being respected.”

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