Published on Feb 9, 2016
Published on Feb 9, 2016
Extreme cold is becoming the new normal around the world with multiple snowfall records being broken each winter amid extremely frigid temperatures. This phenomena is already causing significant worldwide impact on crops, basic infrastructure and daily life.
Most of the US continued to experience one of the worst winters in its history this year. As temperatures got a little less cold, snow and ice melt has been causing destructive ice-laden flooding in the Mid and Northwest.
Meanwhile China, Japan, Taiwan and Japan also saw record snowfalls and freezing temperatures, and extreme cold was also present in unusual places like Morocco, Tanzania, Turkey, Irán, Israel and Saudi Arabia. And of course, Europe got its fair share as usual.
This month, hurricane like winds wreaked havoc in Europe, the US, Asia and Latin America, and in some cases was accompanied by unprecedented tornadoes.
The Ring on Fire showed increased activity, with volcanoes erupting around the globe along with several earthquakes of significant magnitude. Some researchers link these phenomena to the increased incidence of cosmic rays.
So get your big coats on folks, because with the sun’s minimum in its 11 year cycle just around the corner, we may soon have to confront the beginning of a new mini (or ‘maxi’) ice age.
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Iran has rejected as “ridiculous” claims by the Israeli regime that it had intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria, stressing the Islamic Republic’s military advisory presence in the Arab country is at the request of Syria’s “lawful and legitimate” government.
“Claims about the flight of an Iranian drone … are too ridiculous to be addressed because the Islamic Republic of Iran has advisory presence in Syria at the request of the country’s legitimate and lawful government,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Saturday.
“The government and army of Syria as an independent country have a legitimate right to defend [the country’s] territorial integrity and counter any type of foreign aggression,” he added.
The Iranian spokesperson emphasized that the “illegitimate” Israeli regime cannot cover up its atrocities and crimes against Muslim nations in the region by playing a blame game and spreading lies.
Resilient Syrians will not accept Israeli aggression: Velayati
Meanwhile, a senior adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on international affairs said the resilient Syrian people will never tolerate the Israeli regime’s aggression.
Speaking to reporters in Tehran, Ali Akbar Velayati added that the Syrian government and nation have proved that they would sacrifice themselves to “safeguard their country’s territorial integrity, security and independence.”
He noted that the Syrian people have managed to achieve victory in an “international war”, in which more than 80 countries participated to dispatch terrorists to the Arab country.
The Syrian military on Saturday hit at least one intruding Israeli F-16 warplane that attacked positions inside the Syrian territory, sending it down in flames and smoke.
Syria’s state TV cited a military official as saying that Syrian aerial defense had responded to Israeli “aggression” against an army base in the center of the Arab country.
Later in the day, the Israeli military claimed that it had attacked positions inside the Syrian territory after it intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria.
A pro-Syrian military alliance said that the Israeli claim about a drone intrusion was bogus.
The alliance said in a statement that Israel had targeted a drone base in Syria whose unmanned aircraft were used against the Daesh terrorist group.
It also pledged a “severe and serious” response to the Israeli act of “terrorism.”
A senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said on Saturday that Iran would confirm no report coming out of Israel “because the Israelis are liars.”
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the IRGC’s second-in-command, told Tasnim news agency that Iran would only confirm a drone interception if Syria made that confirmation.
He also said that Iran has no military presence in Syria and that the Syrian Army was adequately capable of defending the Syrian territory.
Lebanon condemns Israel’s aggression against Syria
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry, in a statement, denounced Israel’s aggression against Syria, saying Beirut supports Damascus’ “legitimate right” to defend itself and respond to Israel’s “aggression.”
The statement added that such “aggressive policy” threatens stability in the region and urged concerned countries to “rein in” Israel.
The Lebanese Defense Ministry also denounced the use of Lebanon’s air space for any Israeli strike on Syria.
Separately, Lebanese President Michel Aoun discussed the latest Israeli aggression against Syria with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
Russia stresses need to respect Syria’s sovereignty
Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow was seriously concerned by the latest developments in Syria and called on sides to exercise restraint and avoid an escalation of the situation.
“It is necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries in the region,” noted the ministry.
An Israeli F-16 fighter jet has been shot down by Syrian military while targeting what it called Iranian sites responsible for launching a drone into occupied Golan Heights.
The Israeli military said on Saturday “a combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel”.
“IDF [Israel Defence Forces] has targeted the Iranian control systems in Syria that sent the #UAV into Israeli airspace. Massive Syrian Anti-Air fire, one F16 crashed in Israel, pilots safe,” Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, Israeli military spokesman, said on Twitter.
Israeli media said the jet crashed in northern Israel.
“This is a dramatic development,” Al Jazeera’s Zena Khodr, reporting from Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, said.
“Israel has carried out dozens of attacks over the past one year but this is for the first time a Syrian military has shot down an Israeli plane,” she said.
“It is also for the first time that Israel has said its planes carried out attacks inside Syria. In the past, the Israelis carried out attacks inside Syria but they would not mention anything about the target or even acknowledge attacks.”
Syria state television later cited a Syrian military official as saying that Israeli “aggression” targeted the Syrian army base in the central region of the country.
Sources in Damascus said there were casualties among Syrian forces.
In response, Syria shot down more than one Israeli fighter jets, according the official.
Sirens sounded in northern Israel as a result of massive Syrian fire.
Pro-government military alliance in Syria said in a statement later on Saturday that Israel would see a severe and serious response to its “terrorism” from now on.
The statement also said the drones – one of which Israel shot down – were being used against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).
Israeli military said it was “monitoring events” and was “fully prepared for further action”.
Israel’s chief military spokesman, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, said Israel held Iran directly responsible for the incident.
“This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory. Iran is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn’t know how it will end,” he said in a statement.
“Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.”
Later on Saturday, Reuters news agency quoted an unnamed Israeli military spokesman as saying that Israel did not seek an escalation in the region.
“We are willing, prepared and capable to exact a heavy price from anyone that attacks us, however we are not looking to escalate the situation. This was a defensive effort triggered by an Iranian act of aggression and we are defending our airspace our sovereignty and civilians,” the source said.
Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from West Jarusalem, said a big inquiry was likely to look into the incident.
“Israeli’s pride themselves on the fact that they can patrol the airspace over the Arab world without much competition from anybody else, so this is going to be a big inquiry,” he said.
“But now it’s about the politics and optics of all this. The Israelis are now going to go after Iran, blame them squarely for this.”
Explosions could be heard in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley region near the Syrian border.
Al Jazeera’s Khodr said Israel has been warning of late of increased Iranian involvement along its border in Syria and Lebanon.
“First they said they would not allow weapons to reach Hezbollah – the Lebanese armed Shia group [from Iran through Syrian territory]. And as of late, the Israelis have been saying that they won’t allow to set up permanent bases in Syria,” she said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been to Russia’s capital Moscow and clearly the Russians have given him a green light to use the Syrian airspace, she said.
Israel has shot down several drones that previously tried to infiltrate its territory from Syria.
The targeting of an Iranian site in response, however, marks an escalation in the Israeli retaliation.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera News
On February 6, I (PCR) asked if the Plunge Protection Team had stepped in and prevented a stock market correction by purchasing equity index futures. Sure enough, the daily exchange volume chart shows an increase in futures activity on February 2 with sharp increases on Feb. 5th and 6th. Those are the days when the stock market averages were experiencing large point drops. So, ask yourself, would you purchase equity futures while experiencing cumulative stock market drops? One can understand shorting a dropping market, but not buying futures.
Unless this is what happened. Seeing the beginning of a correction, the Plunge Protection Team placed a futures bid just below the existing price. Traders saw the bid, recognized that the government was intervening to support the market, and the bid was front-run with the hedge fund algorithms automatically picking up the action.
Who but the Federal Reserve with its unlimited ability to create money would take the risk of buying futures in the face of a falling market. Moreover, such an infusion of money into the market does not show up in the money supply figures.
The futures purchases prevented margin calls and stop/loss orders in a heavily leveraged equity market that would have collapsed the market.
What are the pros and cons of this kind of intervention (which might have occurred also in May 2010 and August 2015)? By stopping a correction, the intervention prevented a pension fund collapse, both private and state. However, by propping up over-valued equities that the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing created, the intervention rewarded over-leveraged speculative risk-taking and prevented price discovery. We still have an equity market whose values rest on record margin debt, stock buy-backs, and prices pumped up by money-printing. The problems waiting to come home continue to build.
The question is: can intervention prop-up over-valued, problem-ridden markets forever?
After today’s drop, we will see what happens tomorrow.
This article was originally published by Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.