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Showing posts from November 15, 2013
TPP Exposed: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret Trade Text to Rewrite Copyright Laws, Limit Internet Freedom download:  VideoAudioGet CD/DVDMore Formats Wikileaks
WikiLeaks has published the secret text to part of the biggest U.S. trade deal in history, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). For the past several years, the United States and 12 Pacific Rim nations have been negotiating behind closed doors on the sweeping agreement. A 95-page draft of a TPP chapter released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday details agreements relating to patents, copyright, trademarks and industrial design — showing their wide-reaching implications for Internet services, civil liberties, publishing rights and medicine accessibility. Critics say the deal could rewrite U.S. laws on intellectual property rights, product safety and environmental regulations, while backers say it will help create jobs and boost the economy. President Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman reportedly wish to finalize the TPP by the en…

44 killed across Iraq as attack targets Shia religious festival

Mourners stand near the coffins victims killed in a bomb attack, during their funeral in Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, November 14, 2013. (Reuters/Alaa Al-Marjani)
At least 44 people were killed and dozens were injured across Iraq on Thursday in a series of attacks against Shia pilgrims, including the suicide bombing at a religious precession in the east of the country.

A suicide bomber in a police uniform has detonated an explosives belt in a crowd of Shias during a religious holiday Ashoura in the town of al-Saadiyah, 140 kilometres (90 miles) northeast of Baghdad, killing 32 and injuring 80, AFP reported citing security and medical officials.

The pilgrims, who were mainly Shia Kurds, gathered to recreate the 7th century battle of Karbala and to celebrate the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Mohammad.

Most of the injured were taken to hospitals in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region.

"I was near a group of pilgrims and suddenly I heard a big explosion,…

Russia and Egypt Rekindle Relations

Summary


Russian and Egyptian relations are improving as both countries respond to changes in the Middle East and look for alternative partners to work with on multiple fronts. The countries' foreign and defense ministers met Nov. 13-14, the highest-level meeting Moscow and Cairo have held in years. The conference is in preparation for a possible visit to Cairo by Russian President Vladimir Putin later this month, Putin's first such visit to Egypt. However, despite their common interests at the moment, both countries realize that a permanent alignment is not sustainable.

Analysis


Russia and Egypt have a long and tumultuous history. Egypt was a staunch supporter of communist regimes around the world in the early part of the Cold War, and the Soviet Union supported Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser as he modernized the Arab nation. At the time, Egypt and the West were experiencing spats over Egypt's nationalizing the Suez Canal and expelling Western diplomats. However, when A…

China: The Murky Meaning of Market Reform

China's Third Party Plenum has ended, and each word of the communique issued by President Xi Jinping's new administration is being meticulously assessed to try to determine the true direction Chinese policymakers will take for the next decade or longer. Ahead of the plenum, which new Chinese administrations use to define themselves and their vision for the country's future, Chinese media emphasized the depth of reform coming, and the communique itself focuses on how market forces will shape China's economic future. But exactly how Chinese leaders define market forces remains somewhat obscure. It may take weeks to fully sort through the statement's carefully crafted phrases to interpret their underlying meaning -- and years to see if they are truly applicable or effective.


Are China's leaders really prepared to allow the swings of success and failure, of boom and bust, to weed out inefficiencies and redundancies in the Chinese economy? Or is the potential for soc…

Gauging the Jihadist Movement, Part 1: The Goals of the Jihadists

By Scott Stewart
Editor's Note: The following is the first installment of a series examining the global jihadist movement.

Quite often when I am doing speaking engagements, client briefings or press interviews, I am asked questions like: “Given the events in Syria and Libya, is the jihadist movement stronger than ever?” It is a good question, but it is also one that is not easily answered in a five-second sound bite or a succinct quote for print media -- it really requires some detailed explanation. Because of this, I’ve decided to take some time to provide a more thorough treatment of the subject in written form for Stratfor readers. As I thought through the various aspects of the topic, I came to believe that adequately covering it requires more than one Security Weekly, so I will dedicate a series of articles to it.

When gauging the current state of the jihadist movement, I believe it is useful to use two different standards. The first is to take jihadists' goals and objective…

U.S. Naval Update Map: Nov. 14, 2013

Analysis



The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups and Amphibious Ready Groups, based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance of the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier, which projects U.S. naval and air power and supports a Carrier Air Wing, or CVW. The CSG includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. An MEU is built around a heavily reinforced and mobile battalion of Marines.
Carrier Strike Groups
The USS Harry S. Truman CSG with CVW 3 embarked is underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.
The USS Nimitz CSG with CVW 11 embarked is underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
The USS George Washington CSG with…