LG is introducing its first mobile chip for smartphones, as well as the first phone to use the chip. The LG NUCLUN processor is an octa-core processor with four 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A15 CPU cores and four lower-power 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A7 cores arranged in a big.LITTLE design so that the number of cores in […]
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The 22-year-old, who was serving with 45 Commando in Scotland, was questioned two weeks ago after he tried to board a flight from California to Turkey.
The unnamed man was stopped as he tried to board the flight from Los Angeles to Istanbul on a one-way ticket, after completing joint exercises with American troops in California had finished and he was due to go on leave.
He was reportedly suspected of planning to join Kurdish forces. His belongings, including his laptop and phone, were searched, the Daily Mail reports.
He was then returned to 45 Commando and questioned by Scottish police. No criminal offence has been committed, the paper reports.
“We are aware of an incident involving a Royal Marine who has recently been interviewed by Police Scotland,” a Navy spokesman told the Daily Mail. “The matter is being investigated by the Royal Marines. It would be inappropriate to comment further.”
While the UK government is increasingly concerned by the number of Britons traveling to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS, there have been few cases of people trying to join groups fighting against the militant terrorist group.
It is unclear how many Brits have joined Kurdish forces against jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria, but it is believed to only be a small number.
Well, it might sound unlikely today, but forty years ago we had such a Prime Minister. In October 1974, Harold Wilson was puffing away merrily on his pipe celebrating his fourth election victory out of five.
Looking back at the Wilson era is instructive as it shows us how much British politics has changed for the worse since the 1970s.
Harold Wilson was a mainstream Labour Party politician of his time yet anyone espousing the sensible pro-mixed economy policies he put forward in the 1960s and 70s today would be denounced as a “Stalinist.” Ironically, at the time, the ultra-left accused Wilson- a man who extended nationalization and whose government increased the top rate of income tax to 83%- of being too right-wing!
On foreign policy too, Wilson’s diplomatic, non-hawkish approach would be denounced as being akin to “appeasement”, and he’d be compared to Neville Chamberlain. Wilson always tried to understand the Russian perspective: today anyone expressing even the slightest support/defense for the Russian position on Ukraine for instance is routinely labeled a “Putin apologist” or “Kremlin stooge”, etc by neocon/faux left gatekeepers who hate Russia and its leader with an intensity that is bordering on the pathological. In Britain, as in America, over the last thirty odd years, the neocon lunatics have taken over the asylum.
Back in the 1960s and 70s, politics in Britain was in a far healthier state than it is today, as the success of Harold Wilson shows. A wider range of views were allowed to be expressed openly in public life, and our democracy was all the better for it.
Unlike today, there was genuine freedom of speech. Obnoxious “witch-finders” weren’t hounding pundits and commentators who had the “wrong” views on foreign policy 24/7: it was an era when the reports of the great anti-war journalist John Pilger appeared on the front pages of our national newspapers.
Wilson was not the only leading politician of this period to be a Russophile. As I noted in an earlier OpEdge piece there were politicians who were sympathetic to the Moscow perspective from across the spectrum. You might have expected socialist politicians to be well-disposed towards a country called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, but the flag-bearer of the true blue Conservative right, Enoch Powell, was a Russophile too. Powell became a supporter of unilateral nuclear disarmament and warned that it was US imperialism, not Russia, which posed the greatest threat to the peace of the world. Today's Conservatives by contrast, have, by and large, become lackeys for that same US imperialism- as have leading Labour Party and Liberal Democrat figures.
Harold Wilson first went to Moscow to try and develop UK/Soviet trade when he was a minister in Clement Attlee’s Labour government which had come to power in 1945. Although no communist, he saw, correctly, the great benefits to Britain of good trade links with the Soviet Union and with other countries in the communist bloc. “The healthy development of trade between Eastern and Western Europe is an essential part of the program for European recovery. Politics do not enter into it,” Wilson said. What a contrast to our Russophobic leaders today who are enthusiastically imposing sanctions on Russia which are clearly not in Britain’s best economic interests.
Wilson, when in opposition, continued to make the case for greater east-west trade and even became a consultant to companies who were doing business in the Soviet Union.
When he became Prime Minister in 1964, and again in 1974, he consistently pursued policies of détente- and “peaceful coexistence” with the Soviet Union, as well as resisting US pressure to send British troops to the Vietnam War.
His biographer Philip Ziegler records that Wilson was “ecstatic” over the warm welcome he received on one visit to Moscow in 1975. Wilson wrote: “They laid themselves out in an unparalleled way by all the standard tests.” Soviet Prime Minister Aleksey Kosygin said that the meeting with Wilson was “truly historic and…..a major factor in the history of Anglo-Soviet relations.”
That year, 1975, saw the Helsinki Accords, which marked the high point of the era of détente. In this period in Britain, the hawks who wanted to wreck détente were treated with the contempt they deserved.
This was reflected not just in British politics, where hawks were marginalized figures, but in popular culture too.
The most popular British comedy double act of the Wilson era was Morecambe and Wise. In their 1965 film The Intelligence Men “Eric and Ernie” help military intelligence foil a plot by a sinister group called “Schlecht” whose aim is to sabotage a forthcoming visit to Britain by a Russian trade delegation. There’s a plot to assassinate the lead ballerina in Swan Lake which our heroes manage to thwart.
It’s interesting that in 1965, the baddies were an international gang of criminals trying to wreck British-Russian relations. Today, it’s members of our governing circles who are doing that.
The marginalized Russophobe fanatics of yesteryear, who wanted to provoke a disastrous confrontation with the Soviet Union, are now in positions of power and influence. They’re in government and they’re writing newspaper columns. And it’s those sensible voices who want friendly relations, and a genuinely constructive partnership with Russia as Harold Wilson did, who are marginalized.
Woe betides anyone who tries to set up a “Friends of Russia” group in Parliament. The Conservative Friends of Russia group was subject to a nasty campaign of attacks by neocons and the faux-left and was eventually disbanded. We can have Parliamentary Friends of Israel, but not it seems “Friends of Russia.” Harold Wilson, who was both a Zionist and a Russophile, would be turning in his grave.
But although the agents of “Schlecht” have taken over, there are good reasons for believing that their days are numbered.
For a start, Russophobia, as I highlighted here, has no widespread support among the British public, despite the relentless anti-Russian, anti-Putin propaganda.
People remember how President Putin and Russia opposed plans for war on a secular government in Syria last summer, and realize that if the neocon warmongers had got their way and President Assad been forcibly toppled, ISIS would probably now be in control of the entire country. The campaign of lies and misinformation designed to get people to believe that there has been a Russian “invasion” of Ukraine has also backfired, with much of the “official narrative” unraveling. In any case, there is little, or no, public appetite for a war to be fought over Ukraine, as much as that might please the Russophobic neocon fanatics who can’t seem to get enough of bloodshed- even after Iraq and Libya.
Economic factors too need to be taken into consideration. As Liam Hannigan points out in his new Spectator article sanctions on Russia have hit Western European economies hard. Not only that, there’s the looming financial collapse of Ukraine to take into account too. “Kiev is in a deep financial hole and fast heading towards financial meltdown. Unless an extremely large bailout is delivered soon, there will be a default, sending shockwaves through the global economy. That’s a risk nobody wants to take – not least in Washington, London or Berlin,” Halligan writes. In July, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond warned that sanctions on Russia would hit the UK economy, saying “you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”
Inevitably, British businesses which are losing out due to the sanctions, will be trying, with justification, to lobby the government to change course, and the neocon Russophobes who want to extend sanctions will find they have some powerful enemies.
Also, there’s been the success of politicians and parties who have dared to take a different line on Russia, which we saw again in this year’s European elections.
Certainly moving away from the phony elite consensus on Russia and Ukraine hasn’t done Nigel Farage and his UKIP party’s electoral fortunes much harm, nor has it dented the popularity of Respect Leader George Galloway, who now has a staggering 225,000 followers on Twitter.
It’s clear that Russophobia is a complete dead end for Britain. While some obsessed media commentators may want hostilities to continue, thankfully fewer and fewer people are reading their “Why Putin is the New Hitler”/”Russia poses a threat to the world” columns and leader articles. We don’t have to read their tripe any more as we have the internet, and other sources of news and comment.
Harold Wilson showed that British Prime Ministers don’t have to follow Russophobia. If Britain didn’t have a trade war with the Soviet Union in the middle of the old “Cold War,” then why do we have sanctions on Russia today? The reason for that is that our politics have been hijacked by a group of people who are following an anti-Russian agenda that’s been set in Washington and which is not in Britain’s national interest.
It’s time for a new, genuine reset in British/Russian relations and for the Russophobic hawks to once again be treated as the fanatics and extremists they always were.
Let’s get back to the 60s and 70s, the era which Harold Wilson dominated. It’s not only the music which was much better then, but the foreign policy too.
The eight page study looked at 303 skulls at the Natural History Museum, dating back from 200 to 400 AD and found that only 5 percent had signs of severe or moderate gum disease, known as periodontitis to dentists, compared to 15 to 20 percent of adults in Britain today.
Even the lead author of the study, Professor Francis Hughes, said the results were surprising.
“We were very struck by the finding that severe gum disease appeared to be much less common in the Roman British population than in modern humans, despite the fact that they did not use toothbrushes or visit dentists as we do today,” said Hughes.
The skulls were dug up at a Roman burial ground in Poundbury, Dorset, although Hughes stressed that it has been found in human remains in various places round the world prior to this study.
“Gum disease has been found in our ancestors, including in mummified remains in Egypt, and was alluded to in writings by the Babylonians, Assyrians and Sumerians as well as the early Chinese,” he added.
Although many people live with mild gum disease these days, smoking and other medical conditions like diabetes can trigger chronic periodontitis, which in turn leads to tooth decay, and tooth loss.
The findings were backed up by the study’s co-author Theya Molleson, from the Natural History Museum.
“This study shows a major deterioration in oral health between Roman times and modern England. By underlining the probable role of smoking, there is a real sign that the disease can be avoided. As smoking declines in the population we should see a decline in the prevalence of the disease,” she said.
But although the skulls showed a low rate of gum disease, half of them had signs of tooth decay, and many of them showed signs of other infections and abscesses.
Many of the teeth were also severely worn down from an early age, as the mainstay of diet in Roman times was meat, cereals and coarse grains.
Particularly, the Turkish Army's continued waiting game on the Syrian border has outraged Kurds and others the world-over. But President Obama's recent telephone intervention seems to have forced Tayyip Erdogan's hand. The US President seems to have indicated that Turkey would be blamed for the fall of Kobani, as asserted by the Turkish newspaper Radikal.
Prior to this sample of telephone diplomacy, President Erdogan said publicly that the Syria-based Kurdish PYD (or Democratic Union Party) “for us is equal to the PKK. It is also a terrorist organization," (19 October) thereby linking Turkey's decades-old fight against the terror group PKK (or Kurdish Workers Party) to recent events in Syria involving the PYD and the IS. On Monday 20 October, passing through Turkish air space, the US started its first air drops of some 21 tons of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies into the besieged city.
Turkish authorization of the use of its air space led Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to declare his country's willingness to aid and support the Kurdish effort to resist the IS onslaught. The FM then continued by announcing that Turkey would now also allow Iraqi Peshmerga fighters to cross its territory via a predetermined corridor in order to relieve and support the fighters of the besieged Syrian town just across the border. Cavusoglu announced that "Turkey never wanted Kobani to fall, and still does not want it. In order to avoid this Turkey has displayed all kind of efforts, and has secured the delivery of all kinds of humanitarian and medical aid. Turkey has scrupulously adhered to all of its rules of engagement and has become a member of the coalition in full cooperation.” Turkey can thus be seen to facilitate Kurdish cross-border cooperation: as armed forces of the KRG (or Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq), the Peshmerga, are crossing into Turkey bypassing territories held by the IS, in order to aid fighters of the PYD holding sway over Rojava (autonomous Kurdish region in North-Eastern Syria) in the city of Kobani.
The KRG and Rojava
At the same time, another kind of narrative is now also being developed in the Turkish media, as reports have appeared which indicate that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared that "I actually made this offer [of a corridor for Iraqi Peshmerga] to President Obama during our telephone conversation . . . The step to take here is a cooperation with the Free Syrian Army.” In this way, the Turkish President appears to utilize the Turkish media to suggest that the Iraqi Peshmerga should now form an alliance with the FSA in an effort to save Kobani, integrating the Kurdish PYD into the anti-Assad coalition and distancing the organization from the PKK, which is recognized as a terror organization. In this way, the Turkish President appears to be pushing the Turkey-supported anti-Assad FSA as the real player in Syria's not-so civil war, while diverting domestic attention from the IS and the Kurdish presence in Syria (and beyond). Erdogan's suggestion appears particularly strange given the PYD's well-known links to the Damascus regime. Abdurrahman Saleh, apparently a one-man media office of the Army of Islam (another Islamist fighting unit in Syria), stated in this context that "they [meaning, the Kurdish PYD] work hand in hand with the Assad regime; they are like Assad militias,” adding insightfully that "the Kurds did not participate in the revolution. They just want a Kurdish state.” Recently, the Kurdish National Council in Syria organized a meeting of Kurdish parties in Dohuk (KRG, Iraq) to unite the disparate political forces in Rojava, chaired by Massoud Barzani, the President of the KRG. After all, some weeks ago Barzani declared that "we are fighting a terrorist organization that possesses the capabilities of a state and the Peshmerga is currently the only force that is standing in the face of IS and stopping its advance.” And now, it turns out that the IS is attempting to take the border crossing of Mursitpınar facing Kobani, in an effort to thwart the Peshmerga relief effort. While, the "Free Syrian Army (FSA) has decided to send 1500 troops to the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani to fight against ISIS militants,” as reported by the pro-government Turkish paper Daily Sabah.Sykes-Picot and underground assets: The new Palestinians
Now that Turkey has apparently half-heartedly joined the Kurds in their efforts to defeat the threat posed by the Islamic State, it would stand to reason that the notion of an independent Kurdish state has been put on the backburner. Still, the KRG President nevertheless said that "at the moment the Kurdish priority is fighting IS but our right to self-determination is something that nothing can take away.” The Kurds have now clearly become the Palestinians of the 21st century as the other ethnic group (or nation, if you will) to lack its own sovereign state and thus deserving international sympathy and goodwill, and significantly in possession of vast amounts of oil and gas. In the aftermath of the Great War (better-known as World War I, 1914-18) and the application of the Sykes-Picot agreement (1916), the map of the Ottoman Empire (or the Middle East) was divided between Europe's imperial powers into territorial units that eventually became sovereign states in possession of varying degrees of hidden hydrocarbon assets. Turkey as the direct successor of the Ottoman state was the only sovereign unit lacking in sufficient amounts of hidden hydrocarbon wealth. The one nation state to emerge with an abundance of underground assets was Iraq. In 2003, then- US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz famously called it a land that "swims on a sea of oil.” Iraq possesses the world’s fifth largest proven oil reserves with an estimated 140 billion barrels. The Islamic State has now appeared on the scene to ostensibly establish a new Caliphate uniting Muslims worldwide and threatening Western interests locally. The Bush occupation of Iraq was meant to secure easy corporate access to Iraqi oil and gas, but now this easy fix has been disrupted, with the IS occupying large swathes of oil-rich lands (IS oil production is estimated to be worth $800 million per year, according to a report compiled by the a global information company IHS). But the KRG has fought back and is now consolidating and expanding its own underground assets. The consultancy firm Iraq Oil Report's Kurdistan Correspondent Patrick Osgood declared recently that the KRG "is racing to expand the capacity of its oil refineries – a critical step toward addressing weaknesses in the KRG's oil sector and economy. Kurdistan's two major refineries, near Erbil and Sulaimaniya, process just over [a meager] 15.3 million liters, 96,000 barrels, of oil a day, according to figures for January  released by the region’s Ministry of Natural Resources.” Last January the Iraq Oil and Gas Strategic Report disclosed that nine new exploration fields have been documented in the territory of the KRG. It therefore does not appear surprising that President Massoud Barzani has been so outspoken about (Iraqi) Kurdish independence over the past months. Fighting the IS, the KRG also managed to occupy oil-rich Kirkuk (11 July 2014) and Barzani has stated on the record that "Kirkuk will be included in the referendum and the people of Kirkuk themselves will decide,” much to the dismay of the Baghdad government.
Turkey's Kurdish Peace Process
Even though the discourse of religion and to a lesser extent nationalism appears to dominate people's thoughts and actions all across the Middle East, the oil argument always remains an unspoken yet important part of the puzzle that is the Sykes-Picot legacy that has determined the shape of the region's states and constituencies. The domestic scene in Turkey has been very much dominated by nationalist or ethnic arguments in the wake of the PKK's war against the Turkish state that started in 1984. This armed confrontation has led to the deaths of about 40,000 people in Turkey; and, in 2009, the government led by the self-proclaimed Muslim-Democrat Justice and Development Party (or AKP) launched it “Kurdish Overture” (Kurt Acılımı), inching towards reaching some sort of final settlement that would end in the peaceful cohabitation of Kurds and Turks. In 2013, the PKK's imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan joined the national conversation by means of a public broadcast: "Let guns be silenced and politics dominate . . . The stage has been reached where our armed forces should withdraw beyond the borders . . . It's not the end. It's the start of a new era.” Subsequently, a ceasefire was put in place that has held till recently. Still, Turkey's rulers appear determined to stay the course. Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu, while acknowledging the negative effects of recent developments in Iraq and Syria, told the press optimistically that "the desired goal [of the peace process] can be reached within a few months,” if the parties concerned stick to their program.
In this context, Turkey's relations with the KRG are of the utmost importance. On the one hand, hundreds of Turkish companies have a presence in Northern Iraq. In 2013 a leading Fathi Mohammed al-Mudaris, adviser to the KRG Trade and Industry Ministry proclaimed that “Turkey is the main source for most imports to the Kurdistan region.” On the other, last year another addition to “Pipelineistan” was finished with the completion of a new line connecting Kurdish oil fields to Turkey. Turkey has been a destination for the KRG's oil exports since early last year, with the Turkish port of Ceyhan acting as a conduit for the wider commercial dissemination of Kurdish oil. Even the IS onslaught was not able to disrupt this process, leading Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız to declare earlier this month that the "rate of crude oil flow from the Kurdistan Region to the port of Ceyhan reached 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) since the beginning of the week [of 13 October].” In this way, Turkey continues to pursue its goal of becoming a regional energy hub. Sherko Jawdat, the head of the energy committee in the Kurdish parliament, has indicated that the KRG has earned approximately $1.3 billion from selling 14 million barrels of oil from February to September 2014. These commercial interactions show that Turkey and the KRG have become dependent upon one another, as the KRG continues to develop its underground assets; Barzani's government relies on Turkey to act as its agent and connection to the outside world. And, within this framework, one should also understand Turkey's recent U-turn on the Peshmerga. While at the same time, Turkey's continued goodwill towards the apparently somewhat disrupted peace process apparently aims to secure the KRG's continued commitment to further Turkish ambitions of becoming an energy hub.
In this way, the Turkish peace process and the Kurdish fight against the IS have become intertwined.
Cameron interrupted a meeting of EU leaders to tell Jose Manuel Barosso, the head of the European Commission, that the demand for extra cash from the UK was unacceptable.
The Prime Minister emphasized that a lot of money was being demanded and that it was not just a problem of dealing with Euroskeptic sections of the British media and public.
The demand from the EU will add about a fifth to the UK’s annual contribution of £8.6 billion (US$13.8 billion).
The bill comes after the EU modified how it works out how much each state should pay based on national income. The surcharge now includes estimations from illegal trade in the so-called black economy, such as prostitution and drugs.
“It is not acceptable, it an appalling way to behave,” Cameron told a press conference in Brussels on Friday. “I'm not paying that bill on December 1. If people think I am they've got another thing coming. It is not going to happen.”
A spokesman for the British government said they would be pressing Brussels to explain the bill and that the amount of money they were demanding needs “a full political-level discussion.”
“This money the European Commission was not expecting and does not need, and we will be working with other countries to do all we can to challenge this,” said a British spokesman.
Cameron was supported by Matteo Renzi, the prime minister of Italy, who has also been hit for extra payments by the EU.
But although other countries were also asked for extra cash, including €642 million ($814 million) from the Netherlands, figures seen by the Financial Times suggest that Britain has been asked for the most by far.
In contrast Germany and France actually received a rebate from the EU worth €779 million and €1 billion respectively.
Chancellor George Osborne was furious at the “totally unacceptable” financial demand and said the UK along with other member states whose economies had fared better had been given “no warning.”
“This is not the way an organization like the European Union should act. This organization is not working as it should and Britain’s relationship with this organization is not as we would wish it to be,” he said.
But an EU official insisted the cash demand was purely a “technical matter,” while Borosso said he was unaware of the issue.
The budget demand could not come at a more awkward time for Cameron, who is facing a general election next May in which one of the key battleground issues will be Europe.
The EU’s request also comes just weeks before a crucial by-election in Rochester and Strood, where the anti-EU UKIP is hoping to snatch a second seat from the Conservatives.
Several Tory MPs have described the financial demand as “illegal” and suggested that the UK should just refuse to pay.
“We are just being taken for ride. Roll on the referendum – this will just strengthen the resolve of the British public to get out of this superstate,” said Peter Bone, Conservative MP for Wellingborough.
While Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan pointed out that the extra money being demanded could fund 60,000 nurses and their pension schemes.
There was also little patience with the demand from the Labour and Liberal Democrat camps.
A spokesman for the Lib Dems said the demand for such a large amount of money “at the drop of a hat” was “unacceptable” and that the UK should work with other EU states who have also been asked for extra money to challenge the decision.
However the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls questioned the Treasury’s insistence that they had only just found out about the request.
“How could [Cameron] suddenly be surprised about this, surely the Treasury has known about this for weeks and weeks and weeks?” he told the BBC.
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The autopsy was performed at the request of the victim’s family by Dr. Cyril Wecht, who has previously investigated the deaths of John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley and JonBenet Ramsey.
According to Wecht, 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers was shot eight times. Six bullets hit the back of both his legs, one shattered his femur and another struck the side of his head, inflicting a fatal injury.
Attorneys for the dead young man’s family believe the autopsy results suggest Myers was running away from the police officer.
"The evidence shows that the story we've been given by the Police Department does not match up," attorney Jerryl Christmas said, as cited by the AP. "There's no evidence that there was a gun battle going on."
Another Myers family lawyer, Jermaine Wooten, said shots the young man received from behind contradicted police allegations that the teen was facing the officer the whole time, the St. Louis American reported.
Police earlier said it was the dead teenager who started shooting and fired at least three rounds at the officer, before his gun jammed. The policeman, whose name is not disclosed allegedly fired back 17 times.
— [ Police News ] (@InsidePolice) October 24, 2014
The police said its forensic analysis revealed the presence of gunpowder residue on Myers’ hands and clothes, which proved he was shooting a gun.
The police explanation of what happened did not contradict the findings of the independent autopsy, according to the officer's attorney, Brian Millikan.
He insists the policeman was firing at Myers not when he was running away, but when he was lying on his side with a gun in his hand.
"He was propped up on his left elbow, and his legs were facing out at the policeman as he went down, but he was still holding the gun and pointing it at the policeman," Millikan said, according to AP.
Myers' parents were present at the autopsy results announcement but did not speak to the press afterwards. Earlier they claimed their son did not possess a gun.
Wecht received a subpoena to hand over his autopsy report to a grand jury reviewing Myers’ death.
An official autopsy by St. Louis Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Graham is not expected for several weeks. A preliminary report on Graham’s autopsy said Myers was shot up to seven times in the lower part of his body and received a fatal shot in his right cheek.
Myers was shot dead October 8, with his death provoking mass protests in St. Louis. The incident happened just two months after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, which led to violent clashes between crowds protesting the shooting and police behavior.