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Pakistan tells UN won’t be ‘scapegoat’ in Afghan war

September 22, 2017 rbksa 0
Author: 
Shaun Tandon | AFP
Fri, 2017-09-22 04:44
ID: 
1506045701506415900

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan refuses to be a “scapegoat” for Afghanistan’s bloodshed or to fight wars for others, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the United Nations on Thursday.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, Abbasi did not explicitly criticize US President Donald Trump’s new strategy on Afghanistan but made clear his displeasure with the renewed onus on Pakistan.
“Having suffered and sacrificed so much due to our role in the global counter terrorism campaign, it is especially galling for Pakistan to be blamed for the military or political stalemate in Afghanistan,” Abbasi said.
“We are not prepared to be anyone’s scapegoat,” he said.
“What Pakistan is not prepared to do is to fight the Afghan war on Pakistan’s soil. Nor can we endorse any failed strategy that will prolong and intensify the suffering of the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and other regional countries,” he said.
Abbasi said that 27,000 Pakistanis have been killed by extremists since the launch of the US war on terror after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
He called for a priority on eliminating extremists, including from the Daesh group and Al-Qaeda, in Afghanistan but ultimately a political solution with the Taliban.
US and Afghan officials have long accused Pakistan of playing a double game, with the powerful intelligence services — not the civilian government — maintaining ties with extremists.
US forces tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 in Abbottabad, a popular resort for Pakistan’s military elite.
Trump, unveiling a new strategy last month, pledged to take a tougher line on Pakistan — making public what had long been more private US frustrations.
Trump has sent thousands more US troops into Afghanistan in a bid to defeat the Taliban, reversing his previous calls to end America’s longest-ever war.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in his own speech to the United Nations appealed to Pakistan for dialogue, saying that the neighbors can work together to eliminate extremism.
Analysts say that Islamabad’s role in Afghanistan is rooted in the security elite’s fixation on historic rival India, which has warm ties with the post-Taliban government in Afghanistan.
Abbasi, who took office last month after his predecessor Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from office over a corruption scandal, used his UN address to renew Pakistan’s condemnation of India’s rule in Kashmir, the Himalayan territory divided between the two nuclear powers.
Accusing India of “massive and indiscriminate force” in Kashmir, Abbasi urged an international investigation and warned of escalation on their military frontier, the Line of Control.
“Pakistan has acted with restraint. But if India does venture across the LoC, or acts upon its doctrine of limited war against Pakistan, it will evoke a strong and matching response,” he said.
He was referring to an Indian strategic doctrine, rarely discussed openly, of a limited military response on Pakistan that is intended to stop short of triggering a nuclear reprisal.
India accuses Islamabad of training, arming and infiltrating militants into Kashmir. India considered but ultimately decided not to strike Pakistan after a bloody 2008 assault on Mumbai, which was planned by Pakistan-based extremists.

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N.Korea’s Kim says will make “deranged” Trump pay dearly for UN speech

September 22, 2017 rbksa 0
Author: 
Christine Kim and Steve Holland | Reuters
Fri, 2017-09-22 04:48
ID: 
1506045701466415700

SEOUL/NEW YORK: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un blasted US President Donald Trump as “mentally deranged” on Friday and vowed to make him pay dearly for threatening to destroy his country, hours after Trump ordered fresh sanctions over Pyongyang’s weapons programs.
Tensions have risen as North Korea has resisted intense international pressure to halt its nuclear and missile programs, with Trump and Kim exchanging ever-more threatening rhetoric.
The US president said in his first address to the United Nations on Tuesday he would “totally destroy” the country of 26 million people if the North threatened the United States and its allies, and called Kim a “rocket man” on a suicide mission.
Kim said the North would consider the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the United States and that Trump’s comments had confirmed his nuclear program was “the correct path.”
Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 3 and has launched dozens of missiles this year as it accelerates a program aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.
Kim said Trump would face “results beyond his expectation,” without specifying what action North Korea would take next.
“I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire,” Kim said in the rare direct statement carried by the KCNA state news agency, referring to Trump.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho was asked what Kim might do and said Pyongyang could consider a hydrogen bomb test on the Pacific Ocean of an unprecedented scale, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
Ri, who was talking to reporters in New York, however said he did not know Kim’s exact thoughts, according to the report.
The escalating rhetoric came even as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for statesmanship to avoid “sleepwalking” into a war.
South Korea, Russia and China all urged calm.
However, the rhetoric was starting to rattle some in the international community. French Sports Minister Laura Flessel said France’s team would not travel to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea if its security cannot be guaranteed.
The 2018 Games are to be staged in Pyeongchang, just 80 km (50 miles) from the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, the world’s most heavily armed border.

More sanctions
In his sanctions announcement on Thursday, Trump stopped short of going after Pyongyang’s biggest trading partner, China, praising as “tremendous” a move by its central bank ordering Chinese banks to stop doing business with North Korea.
The additional sanctions on Pyongyang, including on its shipping and trade networks, showed that Trump was giving more time for economic pressures to weigh on North Korea after warning about the possibility of military action on Tuesday.
Asked ahead of a lunch meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea if diplomacy was still possible, Trump nodded and said: “Why not?“
Trump said the new executive order on sanctions gives further authorities to target individual companies and institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea.
It “will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind,” Trump said.
The US Treasury Department now had authority to target those that conduct “significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea.”
Trump did not mention Pyongyang’s oil trade.
The White House said North Korea’s energy, medical, mining, textiles, and transportation industries were among those targeted and that the US Treasury could sanction anyone who owns, controls or operates a port of entry in North Korea.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said banks doing business in North Korea would not be allowed to also operate in the United States.
“Foreign financial institutions are now on notice that going forward they can choose to do business with the United States or with North Korea, but not both,” Mnuchin said.
The UN Security Council has unanimously imposed nine rounds of sanctions on North Korea since 2006, the latest this month capping fuel supplies to the isolated state.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said there were “some indications” that sanctions were beginning to cause fuel shortages in North Korea.
Trump’s UN address was the most direct military threat to attack North Korea and his latest expression of concern about Pyongyang’s repeated launching of missiles over Japan and underground nuclear tests.
European Union ambassadors reached initial agreement to impose more sanctions on North Korea, going beyond the latest UN measures, officials and diplomats said.

“Dangerous direction“
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who met Trump on Thursday and addressed the UN General Assembly, said sanctions were needed to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table, but Seoul was not seeking North Korea’s collapse.
“All of our endeavours are to prevent war from breaking out and maintain peace,” Moon said in his speech. He warned the nuclear issue had to be managed stably so that “accidental military clashes will not destroy peace.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged North Korea not to go further in a “dangerous direction” with its nuclear program.
“There is still hope for peace and we must not give up. Negotiation is the only way out … Parties should meet each other half way, by addressing each other’s legitimate concerns,” Wang said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear “adventures” but warned “military hysteria is not just an impasse, it’s a disaster.”
The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.
The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

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Active Volcano Mt. Rainer Shaken By ‘Swarm’ Of 23 Earthquakes

September 22, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Don’t panic – it’s only an active volcano. What’s the worst that could happen?

Some two dozen earthquakes have shaken Washington State’s Mt. Rainer over the past two weeks – but seismologists say people who live nearby shouldn’t panic.

“In the past, these swarms last a couple of days to a week or so and then die out,” said Paul Bodin, of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington.

The first of the 23 quakes struck on Sept. 11 near the volcano’s summit. The largest of the quakes registered magnitude 1.6. During the same period, Mexico experienced two of the deadliest earthquakes in decades.  

According to the Seattle Times, earthquake swarms typically don’t signify that an eruption is imminent.

“So I’m treating this as a single eyebrow raised halfway,” [Bodin] wrote. “Yeah, I see you and will be watching, but I don’t think you’re going to attack.”

Most volcanic quake swarms are caused by changes in temperature or groundwater pressure underneath the volcano that causes cracking in the rocks. The recent quakes have been shallow, suggesting that they are not connected to the deep movement of magma – which would be a much more ominous signal.

While we might be tempted to dismiss the ongoing quake swarms under normal circumstances, persistent rumblings underneath another powerful volcano located two states over in Wyoming. The Yellowstone Caldera has experienced more than 1,400 low-level quakes since mid-June, alarming scientists who say that an eruption of the yellowstone “supervolcano” could cause potentially hundreds of thousands of deaths across the US.  Those quakes followed the strongest earthquake recorded in Montana in more than three decades. Anecdotally, it would seem, seismic activity across the US appears to be on the rise.

To be sure, the ST said Rainier experienced similar upticks in the past two years, and a more sustained episode in 2009.

But totally writing off the threat seems foolish.
 

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Expert on Blockchain-backed firms David Drake Joins DOVU Advisory Board

September 22, 2017 BitNewz.net 0

dovuThe blockchain mobility project welcomes the entrepreneur and investor, whose previous successes include Alibaba and Lyft. New York City, New York — 20 September 2017 — DOVU, the blockchain marketplace for transport data, is announcing the addition of a new and highly experienced advisor to their team. David Drake, Chairman at LDJ Capital, will provide counsel on critical issues including investor relations and international business development. ‘Unprecedented insight’ David Drake is a well-known entrepreneur, investor and speaker. Through his family office, LDJ Capital, and his partners, David’s investments currently have over fifty global directors that maintain relations with institutions and

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Erdogan: Turkey to deploy troops inside Syria’s Idlib

September 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday Turkey will deploy troops in Syria’s northern Idlib region as part of a so-called de-escalation agreement brokered by Russia last month. The “de-escalation” zones, agreed by Turkey, Russia and Iran, would be further discussed in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his trip to Ankara next week, Erdogan said in an interview with Reuters while he was in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly. “Under the agreement, Russians are maintaining security outside Idlib and Turkey will maintain the security inside Idlib region,” Erdogan said. “The task is not easy … With Putin we will discuss additional steps needed to be taken in order to eradicate terrorists once and for […]

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