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Update:

1. Which 'Patriotic' US Companies 'Invested' The Most Cash Overseas Last Year?

A Wall Street Journal analysis of 60 big U.S. companies found that, together, they parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year. That shielded more than 40% of their annual profits from U.S. taxes, though it left the money off-limits for paying dividends, buying back shares or making investments in the U.S. The 60 companies were chosen for the analysis because each of them had held at least $5 billion offshore in 2011. Within the group of 60 companies, WSJ found 10 that parked more earnings offshore last year than they generated for their bottom lines.

The trend was most pronounced among the 26 technology and health-care companies. Not all of the earnings parked offshore are in cash. Some of the money is used to build plants and buy equipment overseas. Why? Apple said it held $40.4 billion in untaxed earnings outside the U.S. and estimated that it would owe $13.8 billion in tax if it brought that money back to the U.S. That is a 34% tax rate. Since foreign income taxes are creditable on U.S. taxes, that means Apple has paid less than 5% tax on those earnings to date.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-12...-last-year

2. Shares slip after 7-day run, yen gains on U.S. dollar

The iconic Dow eked out another all-time record high on Tuesday but global equity markets slid, while the yen rose from a 3-1/2-year low against the U.S. dollar for the first time in a week. The benchmark S&P 500 stock index snapped a seven-session string of gains as investors pulled back from financials and technology shares, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose for an eighth straight day, pushed higher by Merck & Co (MRK.N).

European shares retreated from modest gains at the end of the session, just shy of a fresh 4-1/2-year closing high, and the S&P 500 fell after briefly trading higher earlier in the day. The Dow also posted a fresh record intraday high. Investors' confidence in equities has grown, leading the Dow to gain more than 10 percent and the S&P 500 ro rise almost 9.0 percent so far this year. An improving economy and the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing also have helped drive the gains.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/1...1C20130312

3. Britain, France, push EU to drop Syria arms ban

Britain and France raised the pressure on other European Union members on Tuesday to lift a ban on supplying arms to Syria, where anti-government rebels are outgunned by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. Britain warned that it could break with the embargo altogether, which requires unanimous agreement by the EU's 27 members to take effect, while France hinted it would push to get the bloc to agree to amend the ban to allow the supply of arms.

The arms embargo is part of a package of EU sanctions on Syria that currently roll over every three months, with the last extension unanimously agreed by the EU last month and which came into effect on March 1. Without unanimous agreement to either renew or amend the ban in three months' time, the embargo lapses.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/1...2I20130312

4. Boeing Declares War on Privacy in Washington State

Washington state has led the way in many respects when it comes to the drone issue, something I highlighted recently in my article: Just Say NO: Seattle Residents Kill the City’s Drone Program. It’s not just Seattle though, there is a bi-partisan bill in the Washington state legislature, H.B. 1771, which limits drone use within the entire state. The bill has already passed its House Committee hearing and, as expected, the state’s corporate overlords have started to fight back. Specifically, Boeing. From the Examiner:

A bi-partisan bill to limit drone use within Washington state is meeting resistance from the aerospace and defense corporation Boeing. Just last month, H.B. 1771, a bill to put limits on government drone use within Washington state, passed its House Committee hearing. The bill establishes guidelines and standards for the use of drones by public entities to protect the privacy rights of Washington residents.

“This bill quite simply provides protection to the citizens of Washington state from warrantless surveillance. That’s our intent here. To start a conversation and say if these things are going to be used, you will protect the constitutional rights of the citizens,” said Rep. David Taylor ®, the bill’s primary sponsor.

http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2013/03/12/...ton-state/

5. Russia to build anti-meteorite shield

Russia would build a system to protect the Earth from meteors and other space debris, Russian federal space agency Roscosmos said Tuesday. "Roscosmos has formed a working group with experts from the defence ministry and the Russian Academy of Science to create a unified system of early warning and countering space threats," Xinhua quoted Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin as saying.

The project, titled "Citadel", would cost about $500 million, and could be implemented only with international cooperation, said Anatoly Zaitsev, head of the Center of Planetary Protection, a scientific and research organisation. According to RIA Novosti, Popovkin said the Russian Academy of Sciences should be made responsible for developing asteroid threat monitoring systems while Roscosmos should be in charge of monitoring space debris. The foreign ministry should be entrusted with matters of countering space threats at interstate level, he said.

http://mytechnologyworld9.blogspot.in/20...hield.html

6. Facebook knows your secrets: ‘Likes’ reveal users’ personality

Facebook’s ‘like’ button can reveal more than you realize, a new study has showed. By liking posts and links, you may be revealing personal secrets, like your sexuality or religious and political views. The findings have raised privacy concerns.

A study by the National Academy of Sciences examined 58,000 Facebook users in the US, who volunteered their likes, demographic profiles and psychometric test results. Researchers managed to draw “surprisingly accurate” findings about a given user’s race, IQ, sexuality, substance use, personality and political views by analyzing the topics and items they ‘liked,’ even if they set strong privacy settings for their page.

The study’s authors developed an algorithm that uses Facebook ‘likes’ to create personality profiles, potentially revealing a user's personality. Anyone with training in data analysis could be able to derive such information, even if users had not explicitly shared it, they explained.

http://rt.com/news/facebook-like-personality-study-139/

7. Black smoke indicates no pope elected on first day of conclave in Rome

A plume of black smoke billowed from the Vatican on Tuesday, indicating cardinals have not yet chosen a successor for Pope Benedict XVI on the first day of conclave. The cardinals now return to the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel for the night. They return to the Apostolic Palace for Mass Wednesday morning and a new round of voting.

Beginning Wednesday, the cardinals will cast four ballots a day – twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon. Earlier Tuesday, the 115 cardinals tasked with electing a new pope were locked in the Sistine Chapel, marking the start of conclave

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/03/12/...z2NNG1ofDZ

8. California Seizes Guns as Owners Lose Right to Keep Arms

Wearing bulletproof vests and carrying 40-caliber Glock pistols, nine California Justice Department agents assembled outside a ranch-style house in a suburb east of Los Angeles. They were looking for a gun owner who’d recently spent two days in a mental hospital. They knocked on the door and asked to come in. About 45 minutes later, they came away peacefully with three firearms.

California is the only state that tracks and disarms people with legally registered guns who have lost the right to own them, according to Attorney General Kamala Harris. Almost 20,000 gun owners in the state are prohibited from possessing firearms, including convicted felons, those under a domestic violence restraining order or deemed mentally unstable.

“What do we do about the guns that are already in the hands of persons who, by law, are considered too dangerous to possess them?” Harris said in a letter to Vice President Joe Biden after a Connecticut school shooting in December left 26 dead. She recommended that Biden, heading a White House review of gun policy, consider California as a national model. As many as 200,000 people nationwide may no longer be qualified to own firearms, according to Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-12...cmpid=yhoo
Black smoke.

Yeah, this may take a few days.

No clear standout this time.
Quote:1. Which 'Patriotic' US Companies 'Invested' The Most Cash Overseas Last Year?

A Wall Street Journal analysis of 60 big U.S. companies found that, together, they parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year. That shielded more than 40% of their annual profits from U.S. taxes, though it left the money off-limits for paying dividends, buying back shares or making investments in the U.S. The 60 companies were chosen for the analysis because each of them had held at least $5 billion offshore in 2011. Within the group of 60 companies, WSJ found 10 that parked more earnings offshore last year than they generated for their bottom lines.

The trend was most pronounced among the 26 technology and health-care companies. Not all of the earnings parked offshore are in cash. Some of the money is used to build plants and buy equipment overseas. Why? Apple said it held $40.4 billion in untaxed earnings outside the U.S. and estimated that it would owe $13.8 billion in tax if it brought that money back to the U.S. That is a 34% tax rate. Since foreign income taxes are creditable on U.S. taxes, that means Apple has paid less than 5% tax on those earnings to date.

Crony Capitalism. Apple bills poeple from LUXEMBOURG
Police are allowed in some circumstances to install hidden surveillance cameras on private property without obtaining a search warrant, a federal judge said yesterday.

CNET has learned that U.S. District Judge William Griesbach ruled that it was reasonable for Drug Enforcement Administration agents to enter rural property without permission -- and without a warrant -- to install multiple "covert digital surveillance cameras" in hopes of uncovering evidence that 30 to 40 marijuana plants were being grown.

This is the latest case to highlight how advances in technology are causing the legal system to rethink how Americans' privacy rights are protected by law. In January, the Supreme Court rejected warrantless GPS tracking after previously rejecting warrantless thermal imaging, but it has not yet ruled on warrantless cell phone tracking or warrantless use of surveillance cameras placed on private property without permission.

Yesterday Griesbach adopted a recommendation by U.S. Magistrate Judge William Callahan dated October 9. That recommendation said that the DEA's warrantless surveillance did not violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and requires that warrants describe the place that's being searched.

"The Supreme Court has upheld the use of technology as a substitute for ordinary police surveillance," Callahan wrote.

Two defendants in the case, Manuel Mendoza and Marco Magana of Green Bay, Wis., have been charged with federal drug crimes after DEA agent Steven Curran claimed to have discovered more than 1,000 marijuana plants grown on the property, and face possible life imprisonment and fines of up to $10 million. Mendoza and Magana asked Callahan to throw out the video evidence on Fourth Amendment grounds, noting that "No Trespassing" signs were posted throughout the heavily wooded, 22-acre property owned by Magana and that it also had a locked gate.
Update:

1. Obama Says Iran A Year Away From Nuclear Weapon

JERUSALEM (AP) — Iran is about a year away from developing a nuclear weapon and the United States remains committed to doing everything in its power to prevent that from happening, President Barack Obama said in an exclusive interview aired Thursday on Israeli TV.

Just days before he is to arrive in Israel for his first presidential visit, Obama told Israel’s Channel 2 TV that while he still prefers diplomacy over force, but that a nuclear Iran is a “red line” and all options remain on the table to stop it.

“Right now, we think it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously we don’t want to cut it too close,” he said. “So when I’m consulting with Bibi (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) as I have over the last several years on this issue, my message to him will be the same as before: `If we can resolve it diplomatically that is a more lasting solution. But if not I continue to keep all options on the table.”‘

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/03/1...ar-weapon/

2. Samsung Unveils New Eye-Tracking Galaxy S4

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S4, a phone that allows users to scroll with their eyes and navigate the screen without touching it, Thursday evening at an event at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

While the latest model of Galaxy's flagship phone is not much different than its predecessor, the Galaxy S3, its software could be a game changer.

One new function is called 'Air Gesture,' which allows users to navigate their phone without actually touching the device. The phone also features a function called Samsung 'Smart Scroll', which enables users to scroll without touching the screen. It tracks the users' face to tell where they are looking.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100554833

3. Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion -study

NEW YORK, March 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war's death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/1...BN20130314

4. Syria Losing Control of Iraq Border to al-Qaeda Linked Rebels

The closure of the Rabia Crossing between Iraq and Syria earlier this month was part of a growing trend of Syrian border crossings falling under rebel control. While in Turkey the crossings have given rebels direct access to foreign supplies, Iraq has so far chosen to just close those crossings, it takes supply routes away from the Syrian government.

This has left Syria with fewer and fewer land routes to the outside world, and the al-Walid-at Tanf crossing is the last ground route into neighboring Iraq that government officials can use, along a roughly 600 km border.

Its a problem for Syria, but maybe a worse one for Iraq, as the rebels taking those border areas are with the al-Nusra Front, which is closely aligned with al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). AQI recently took credit for assassinating 48 Syrian soldiers who had fled into Iraq. The Syrians fled the loss of the Rabia crossing.

http://news.antiwar.com/2013/03/13/syria...ed-rebels/

5. First Jesuit pope brings new concerns, new style

The Jesuits, the legendary order of Roman Catholic priests known for its intellectuals, missionaries and iconoclasts, are unusual in the Church because they take a vow of obedience to the pope.

Now that one from their own ranks has become Pope Francis, Jesuits are wondering whether there should even be a Jesuit pontiff and how former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio can carry out this unprecedented task.

Jesuits described themselves as doubly stunned by the surprise election but sure that Francis would take his guidance from their order's long tradition of spirituality that stresses practical solutions to problems in the world.

"I am a bit shocked by the fact we have a Jesuit pope," said Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi, himself an Italian Jesuit. "Usually the Jesuits don't accept, or at least try to resist being nominated as bishops or cardinals.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/1...UO20130314

6. Obama: 'There is no debt crisis'

The United States is roughly $17 trillion in debt, but President Barack Obama says there’s no reason to worry.

Speaking with ABC News correspondent George Stephanopoulos this week, Pres. Obama downplayed concerns of an impending financial catastrophe, claiming quite to the contrary that the country is on track to turning the economy around.

"We don't have an immediate crisis in terms of debt," Pres. Obama told Mr. Stephanopoulos during an interview that aired Wednesday on the television program Good Morning America. "In fact,” added the president, “for the next 10 years, it's gonna be in a sustainable place."

http://rt.com/usa/obama-there-is-no-debt-crisis-265/

7. Because It Worked So Well For Stalin...

Five-year plans in the Land of the Free? Apparently it’s not that far off from reality. Yesterday Senator Tom Harkin introduced S. 544, “a bill to require the President to develop a comprehensive national manufacturing strategy.”

In effect, Senator Harkin wants the President to centrally plan the economy. Never mind that the President has zero experience in business or manufacturing. But hey, this worked out so well for Stalinist Russia, it’s no wonder Mr. Harkin wants to copy that model.

Not to be outdone by Mr. Harkin’s long-sighted vision, President Obama is drawing up plans to turn over Americans’ financial data to the nation’s spy agencies. So now, on top of everyone else, law-abiding citizens in the Land of the Free can count on the CIA and NSA combing through their bank statements.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-14...ell-stalin

8. Over 20 Tons of Heroin Seized in Afghanistan

MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) – Almost 21 tons of heroin have been seized in an operation in eastern Afghanistan , the head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) said on Tuesday.

“An operation was carried out yesterday in the province of Nangarhar, during which several drug production labs were destroyed and almost 21 tons of heroin seized,” FSKN head Viktor Ivanov said. He said FSKN officers had taken part in the “unique operation.”

“Twenty-one tons is, in essence, the annual volume of drugs brought into Russia,” Ivanov said. The Pajhwok Afghan News agency said five heroin producing laboratories were destroyed by security forces during an operation in the Sherzad district of eastern Nangarhar province on Monday. Several people were arrested, the agency said, citing officials.

http://en.rian.ru/world/20130312/1799599...istan.html
5. First Jesuit pope brings new concerns, new style

The Jesuits, the legendary order of Roman Catholic priests known for its intellectuals, missionaries and iconoclasts, are unusual in the Church because they take a vow of obedience to the pope.

Now that one from their own ranks has become Pope Francis, Jesuits are wondering whether there should even be a Jesuit pontiff and how former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio can carry out this unprecedented task.

Jesuits described themselves as doubly stunned by the surprise election but sure that Francis would take his guidance from their order's long tradition of spirituality that stresses practical solutions to problems in the world.

"I am a bit shocked by the fact we have a Jesuit pope," said Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi, himself an Italian Jesuit. "Usually the Jesuits don't accept, or at least try to resist being nominated as bishops or cardinals.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/1...UO20130314


NICE FIND HERE
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-21805378

The papal elections took less than two days to elect a new leader for 1.2bn people. America, on the other hand, is still mired in a months-long process that only brings the country down.

Republicans are gathered near Washington for the 40th annual running of the bulls known as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). This year, CPAC marks the unofficial beginning of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Sadly.

American campaigns have evolved, or devolved, into ultra-marathons far longer than in any other democracy in the world.

Few Americans would disagree with the propositions that elections are too expensive, that they impede sensible governance, that they devour the time and energy of officials on the taxpayers' payroll and that they have become more obnoxious.
Update:

1. US bolsters missile defences in face of North Korea nuke threat

THE US is set to bolster its missile defences in the face of growing threats from North Korea which sparked outrage today by firing missiles into the sea of Japan. The controversial move comes in response to recent aggression from the pariah state led by tyrant dictator Kim Jong-un

Earlier today the communist nation caused international anger when it reportedly fired short-range missiles close to Japan. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to reveal tonight the deployment of 14 ground based missile interceptors on the US West Coast. The move will also involve the re-opening of a missile field in Alaska, and some based in California.

It would take two years for all of the systems to come online. Today's short-range missiles launches into the sea of Japan are the latest in a string of aggressive acts by Kim Jong-un and is sure to further escalate tensions in the region.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/new...z2Niffj6UJ

2. DC Appeals Court Rejects CIA's Secrecy Claims in ACLU's Targeted Killing FOIA Lawsuit

WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court ruled today that the Central Intelligence Agency cannot deny its "intelligence interest" in the targeted killing program and refuse to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests about the program while officials continue to make public statements about it.

"This is an important victory. It requires the government to retire the absurd claim that the CIA's interest in the targeted killing program is a secret, and it will make it more difficult for the government to deflect questions about the program's scope and legal basis," said ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer, who argued the case before a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Appeals Court in September. "It also means that the CIA will have to explain what records it is withholding, and on what grounds it is withholding them."

The ACLU's FOIA request, filed in January 2010, seeks to learn when, where, and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, and how and whether the U.S. ensures compliance with international law restricting extrajudicial killings. In September 2011, the district court granted the government's request to dismiss the case, accepting the CIA's argument that it could not release any documents because even acknowledging the existence of the program would harm national security. The ACLU filed its appeal brief in the case exactly one year ago, and today the appeals court reversed the lower court's ruling in a 3-0 vote.

http://www.aclu.org/national-security/dc...ia-lawsuit

3. Syria threatens to strike at rebels in Lebanon

According to state news agency, Syrian FM tells Lebanese counterpart that a "large number" of militants had crossed border.

BEIRUT - Syria has warned it may strike at rebels hiding in neighboring Lebanon if the Lebanese army does not act, as its patience "is not unlimited," the state news agency SANA said on Friday.

Syria's Foreign Ministry told its Lebanese counterpart late on Thursday that a "large number" of militants had crossed Lebanon's northern border into the Syrian town of Tel Kalakh over the past two days, SANA said.

"Syria expects the Lebanese side to prevent these armed terrorist groups from using the borders as a crossing point, because they target Syrian people and are violating Syrian sovereignty," the diplomatic cable said. It said Syria's "patience is not unlimited," even though "Syrian forces have so far exercised restraint from striking at armed gangs inside Lebanese territory."

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=306561

4. Over 330mn abortions in China in 40 years of one-child policy - ministry

More than 330 million abortions and almost 200 million sterilizations have been performed in China since family-planning policies to limit the population were introduced 40 years ago, the country’s Health Ministry has revealed.

Measures to encourage fewer children in China were introduced in the 1970s, including the one-child rule. The goal behind the policies was to minimize population growth to save resources, such as food and water.

Data also revealed that the government has done more than a half-billion birth control procedures, including the mandatory insertion of some 403 million of intra-uterine devices – a practice considered a regular birth control procedure in the West, if chosen voluntarily – the Financial Times reported.

http://rt.com/news/china-abortions-popul...ntrol-353/

5. Enviro-Eugenicists Announce Mass Die-Off

In a report published in April of 2012 by the Royal Society titled People and the Planet, the elitist UK-based society calls for massive population reduction and de-industrialization of the west. However drenched in euphemisms, the report cannot conceal its ominous undertones. Listed among its “key recommendations” the report proposes several measures similar to the one put out recently by MIT in which a drastic reduction of the population is called for in the name of “modelling” and predictions.

Immediately after the Royal Society released its call for more death and mega-cities, none other than Paul Ehrlich weighed in to regurgitate his own eugenic fancies. The Guardian reported that Ehrlich, who contributed to the report, eagerly endorses its conclusions. In regards to redistributing wealth, Ehrlich is quite upfront about his opinion on the matter: “They (population and resources) multiply together. You have to deal with them together. We have too much consumption among the rich and too little among the poor. That implies that terrible thing that we are going to have to do which is to somehow redistribute access to resources away from the rich to the poor.”

“How many of your support depends on lifestyles.”, Ehrlich stated. “We came up with 1.5 to 2 billion because you can have big active cities and wilderness. If you want a battery chicken world where everyone has minimum space and food and everyone is kept just about alive you might be able to support in the long term about 4 or 5 billion people. But you already have 7 billion. So we have to humanely and as rapidly as possible move to population shrinkage.”

http://www.infowars.com/enviro-eugenicis...s-die-off/

My apologies for the short update, I must continue my celebration of St. Pats. Good day.
Update:

1. Cyprus works on last-minute deal to soften bank levy

(Reuters) - Cyprus was working on a last-minute proposal to soften the impact on smaller savers of a bank deposit levy after a parliamentary vote on the measure central to a bailout was postponed until Monday, a government source said.

In a radical departure from previous aid packages, euro zone finance ministers want Cyprus savers to forfeit a portion of their deposits in return for a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout for the island, which has been financially crippled by its exposure to neighboring Greece.

The decision, announced on Saturday morning, stunned Cypriots and caused a run on cash points, most of which were depleted within hours. Electronic transfers were stopped. The originally proposed levies on deposits are 9.9 percent for those exceeding 100,000 euros and 6.7 percent on anything below that.

The Cypriot government on Sunday discussed with lenders the possibility of changing the levy to 3.0 percent for deposits below 100,000 euros, and to 12.5 percent for above that sum, a source close to the consultations told Reuters on condition of anonymity. The source said the discussions had the "blessing" of a troika of lenders from the European Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/1...3I20130317

2. Federal Judge Finds National Security Letters Unconstitutional, Bans Them

Ultra-secret national security letters that come with a gag order on the recipient are an unconstitutional impingement on free speech, a federal judge in California ruled in a decision released Friday. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ordered the government to stop issuing so-called NSLs across the board, in a stunning defeat for the Obama administration’s surveillance practices. She also ordered the government to cease enforcing the gag provision in any other cases. However, she stayed her order for 90 days to give the government a chance to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“We are very pleased that the Court recognized the fatal constitutional shortcomings of the NSL statute,” said Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed a challenge to NSLs on behalf of an unknown telecom that received an NSL in 2011. “The government’s gags have truncated the public debate on these controversial surveillance tools. Our client looks forward to the day when it can publicly discuss its experience.”

The telecommunications company received the ultra-secret demand letter in 2011 from the FBI seeking information about a customer or customers. The company took the extraordinary and rare step of challenging the underlying authority of the National Security Letter, as well as the legitimacy of the gag order that came with it.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/03...itutional/

3. US scraps final phase of European missile shield

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has scrapped the final phase of its European missile defence shield, citing development problems and funding cuts.

Upgraded interceptors were to have been deployed in Poland to counter medium- and intermediate-range missiles, and potential threats from the Middle East.

Mr Hagel said the threat had "matured" and that the US commitment to Nato missile defence remained "ironclad". The interceptors had been strongly opposed by the Russian government. It complained that they would be able to stop Russia's intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and undermine its nuclear deterrent. The US has always insisted that the missile shield was intended to protect against attacks by Iran and North Korea.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-21812161

4. Officials' foreign property ban axed by Duma - report

MPs from all the parliamentary parties have agreed not to include real estate in the planned ban on foreign assets for officials, the Deputy Duma speaker said in an interview.

The changes come despite the fact that the initial draft of the bill, approved by the Lower House only a few months ago, banned all foreign real estate, bank accounts and securities belonging to state officials and civil servants of all levels, including military servicemen and customs officers, as well as to their families.

President Vladimir Putin recently submitted his own much milder bill to parliament, that only bans bank accounts and securities ownership.

http://rt.com/politics/lower-house-mps-d...eport-296/

5. Kerry voices conditional U.S. support for U.N. arms treaty

(Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry voiced support on Friday for an international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global arms trade, but restated Washington's "red line," affirming that it would not accept limits on U.S. domestic gun ownership.

The U.N. General Assembly voted in December to hold a final round of negotiations from March 18 to 28 on what could become the first international treaty to regulate international weapons transfers after a drafting conference in July 2012 collapsed because the United States and others wanted more time.

Arms control campaigners say one person every minute dies worldwide as a result of armed violence and that a convention is needed to prevent the unregulated and illicit flow of weapons into conflict zones fueling wars and atrocities.

"The United States is steadfast in its commitment to achieve a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty that helps address the adverse effects of the international arms trade on global peace and stability," Kerry said in a statement.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/1...2N20130316

6. China Focus: Chinese premier reaffirms road of peaceful development

BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Premier Li Keqiang said Sunday that China is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the Asian-Pacific region and the whole world, pledging stronger ties with major powers, including the U.S. and Russia.

China is capable of achieving sustainable economic development and a stronger China will not seek hegemony, Li said at a press conference held after the annual session of the national legislature concluded Sunday.

"There are more than 1.3 billion people in China and we are still on a long journey towards modernization. That requires an international environment of lasting peace," he said. "Even if China becomes stronger, we will not seek hegemony," the premier said in response to concerns from overseas.

China has an unswerving commitment to peaceful development and an unshakable determination to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Li said.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/...240659.htm

7. Saxo Bank CEO: "This Is Full-Blown Socialism And I Still Can't Believe It Happened"

It is difficult to describe the weekend bailout package to Cyprus in any other way. The confiscation of 6.75 percent of small depositors' money and 9.9 percent of big depositors' funds is without precedence that I can think of in a supposedly civilised and democratic society. But maybe the European Union (EU) is no longer a civilised democracy?

I heard rumours about this when I visited Limassol last week, but dismissed them as completely outlandish. And yet, here we are. The consequences are unpredictable, but we are clearly looking at a significant paradigm shift.

This is a breach of fundamental property rights, dictated to a small country by foreign powers and it must make every bank depositor in Europe shiver. Although the representatives at the bailout press conference tried to present this as a one-off, they were not willing to rule out similar measures elsewhere - not that it would have mattered much as the trust is gone anyway. It is now difficult to expect any kind of limitation to what measures the Troika and EU might take when the crisis really starts to bite.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-16...t-happened

8. Cyberthreats getting worse, House intelligence officials warn

(CNN) - The highest-ranking officials on the House intelligence committee continued to warn Sunday of the increasing cybersecurity threat to the U.S. economy and national security.

Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, the committee's chairman, spelled out the different levels of cyberattacks during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" and cautioned that the worst of those - a debilitating hit by a terrorist group – could become reality.

"We know that terrorists, non-nation states, are seeking the capability to do a cyberattack. They're probably not there yet," he said, sitting next to the ranking member on the committee, Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger.

"Here's the other problem," he continued. "A nonrational actor, Iran, is already at the shores of the United States with cyberattacks, and that's what's so concerning. I think that's what all of us - Dutch and I - have been working so hard on."

Both Rogers and Ruppersberger on Sunday urged Congress to pass their bipartisan bill on cybersecurity, which they reintroduced in February. It passed the House in 2011 but failed to gain enough support in the Senate.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/201...?hpt=hp_t2
#6 is good.

People just don't believe it, but it's true. CHINA DOES NOT SEEK to rule the world. they seek to have influence in the world and make lots of money.
Quote:"Here's the other problem," he continued. "A nonrational actor, Iran, is already at the shores of the United States with cyberattacks, and that's what's so concerning. I think that's what all of us - Dutch and I - have been working so hard on."

Can you imagine how many cyberattacks the US runs? Lol ...maybe this really means "Shit, we're starting to get good at this!", but probably just propaganda so they can say "See?!?!" when something mildly significant inevitably happens once.

Quote:US bolsters missile defences in face of North Korea nuke threat

Sequester? Barely know her!

Quote:The Population Bomb began with this statement: The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate. Ehrlich argued that the human population was too high already, and that while the level of disaster could be mitigated, humanity could not prevent severe famines, the spread of disease, social unrest, and other negative consequences of overpopulation. However, he argued that societies must take strong action to curb population growth in order to mitigate future disasters both ecological and social. - Paul R. Ehrlich wikipedia
Banks in Cyprus are to remain closed until Thursday as Russia offers alternative loans terms amid an emergency EU bailout deal.
http://news.sky.com/story/1066004/cyprus...ssia-offer
Update:

1. Israel to ask Obama to use air strikes in case of Syrian missile transfer

Israel will use President Obama's visit on Wednesday to try to persuade the US to carry out air strikes on Syria if there is evidence that Syrian missiles are to be handed over to Hezbollah in Lebanon, or at least to give full support to Israeli military action to prevent the transfer.

On this week's trip to Israel and the West Bank, Obama will also come under Israeli pressure to lower the US threshold for military action against Iran, while the US president will try for an Israeli commitment to a peace process with the Palestinians. Neither side is likely to be successful, leaving Syria as the most promising arena for agreement.

The Obama administration has made clear that it would intervene militarily only to stop the Assad regime using its chemical or biological weapons or transferring them to extremist groups. Israeli officials say they feel they have been left alone to deal with the spread of Syria's arsenal of anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar...s-transfer

2. Putin hits out at "dangerous" Cyprus bank deposit levy

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized on Monday a levy imposed by the European Union on bank deposits in Cyprus as unfair and setting a dangerous precedent.

"While assessing the proposed additional levy on bank accounts in Cyprus, Putin said that such a decision, should it be made, would be unfair, unprofessional and dangerous," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

Russian citizens account for the majority of the billions of euros held in Cypriot banks by foreign depositors, and Russian banks are heavily exposed to the island as a favored offshore centre for big business. The levy, imposed as part of a 10 billion euro bailout, sparked panic among Cypriots over the weekend and hit Russian and other European financial markets on Monday.

http://news.yahoo.com/putin-hits-dangero...54439.html

3. Freedom of press under pressure: UK to launch media regulator

British MPs have reached a deal to establish a new press watchdog in the UK, despite fears voiced by Conservative Party leader Prime Minister David Cameron that it could jeopardize freedom of the press in the country.

MPs have reportedly reached a last-minute compromise over new press regulations. It has allegedly been agreed that the press watchdog will have the authority to levy six-figure fines of up to $1.5 million, as well as require newspapers to print apologies when necessary.

Negotiators initially disagreed on the terms of the proposed watchdog, which would protect individuals from malicious newspaper reporters. While all agreed that the press cannot be trusted to govern itself, many insisted – the Prime Minister among them – that if regulation of the press is necessary, it should be without political involvement.

http://rt.com/news/watchdog-freedom-british-press-414/

4. As drone monopoly frays, Obama seeks global rules

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama, who vastly expanded U.S. drone strikes against terrorism suspects overseas under the cloak of secrecy, is now openly seeking to influence global guidelines for their use as China and other countries pursue their own drone programs.

The United States was the first to use unmanned aircraft fitted with missiles to kill militant suspects in the years after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

But other countries are catching up. China's interest in unmanned aerial vehicles was displayed in November at an air show . According to state-run newspaper Global Times, China had considered conducting its first drone strike to kill a suspect in the 2011 murder of 13 Chinese sailors, but authorities decided they wanted the man alive so they could put him on trial.

"People say what's going to happen when the Chinese and the Russians get this technology? The president is well aware of those concerns and wants to set the standard for the international community on these tools," said Tommy Vietor, until earlier this month a White House spokesman.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/1...2720130317

5. Euro Falls Most in 14 Months as Cyprus Turmoil Adds Debt Concern

The euro slid the most in 14 months against the dollar after a proposed levy on bank deposits in Cyprus threatened to worsen the European debt crisis.

The 17-nation currency fell to a two-week low versus the yen as the nation postponed a vote on meeting demands by regional finance ministers to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.5 billion) by imposing losses on its depositors. The euro pared its drop as declines in Italian and Spanish government bonds were limited. The New Zealand dollar and Mexican peso weakened as investors sold higher-yielding currencies.

“The biggest fear right now is that there could be a domino effect, which is pushing the euro down,” Douglas Borthwick, a managing director and head of foreign exchange at Chapdelaine & Co. in New York, said in a telephone interview. “What the market doesn’t understand is that people who take out money may still put it elsewhere in the euro zone, so I would argue that it’s not euro-negative.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-17...rkets.html

6. British, U.S. spies ignored intelligence before Iraq invasion

MI6 and CIA had been told through secret channels by Saddam’s foreign minister and his spy chief that Iraq had no WMDs, media reports said. This is while that former Prime Minister Tony Blair told parliament in the run-up to the war that intelligence showed Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme was "active", "growing" and "up and running".

According to a special Panorama programme in the BBC, British and U.S. spying agencies were informed by top sources months before the invasion that Iraq had no active WMD programme, and that the information was not passed to subsequent inquiries.

The programme explains how Naji Sabri, Saddam's foreign minister, told the CIA's station chief in Paris at the time, Bill Murray, through an intermediary that Iraq had "virtually nothing" in terms of WMD.

Meanwhile, Panorama confirms that three months before the war an MI6 officer met Iraq's head of intelligence, Tahir Habbush al-Tikriti, who also said that Saddam had no active WMDs. The meeting in the Jordanian capital, Amman, took place days before the British regime published its now widely discredited Iraqi weapons dossier in September 2002.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/03/18/.../invasion/

7. Argentina's Kirchner raises Falklands with Pope Francis

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner says she has asked for the Pope's intervention in the Falklands dispute between her country and the UK. Visiting the Vatican, Ms Fernandez said she had asked the Pope to promote dialogue between the two sides.

Argentine Pope Francis was elected last week and will be formally installed as pontiff at a Mass on Tuesday. In the past he has said the Falkland Islands, a UK overseas territory, belong to Argentina.

Before Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected, the 76-year-old was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Relations between him, Ms Fernandez, and her late husband and predecessor as president, Nestor Kirchner, were tense.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21835363

8. The CIA, James Holmes, MKULTRA, and truth-serum torture

In 2002, author Martin Lee wrote an article for Common Dreams: “Truth Serum and Torture.” It could have been written yesterday, because now a Colorado judge has stated that, if James Holmes pleads not guilty by reason of insanity to the Aurora murders, state psychiatrists can subject him to drugs that will “help him remember his state of mind” at the time of the shootings. The drugging will reveal whether he really was insane that night last summer at the Aurora theater.

Well, when it comes to so-called truth drugs like sodium pentothal, sodium amatyl, scopolamine, mescaline, LSD, and hypnotic benzodiazepines, where are the pros with real experience? At run-of-the-mill psychiatric wards? No. Those hacks in the Colorado state hospital system have rarely if ever tried out the drugs for the purpose of getting at the truth.

But the CIA has up-to-date interrogators around, and thousands of pages of MKULTRA (mind control) literature, that constitute the best experience in this dark art. Therefore, it’s highly probable the CIA or their independent contractors will be sitting in on James Holmes’ drug-induced sessions, supervising them, giving advice. It’s the Ghostbusters motto: “Who ya gonna call?”

http://www.infowars.com/the-cia-james-ho...m-torture/
Quote:7. Argentina's Kirchner raises Falklands with Pope Francis

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner says she has asked for the Pope's intervention in the Falklands dispute between her country and the UK. Visiting the Vatican, Ms Fernandez said she had asked the Pope to promote dialogue between the two sides.

Argentine Pope Francis was elected last week and will be formally installed as pontiff at a Mass on Tuesday. In the past he has said the Falkland Islands, a UK overseas territory, belong to Argentina.

Before Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected, the 76-year-old was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Relations between him, Ms Fernandez, and her late husband and predecessor as president, Nestor Kirchner, were tense.

Cool find.

The Papacy thrives in a situation where there are many sovereign nations. A unified singular secular world order would render them completely useless.
Quote:2. Putin hits out at "dangerous" Cyprus bank deposit levy

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized on Monday a levy imposed by the European Union on bank deposits in Cyprus as unfair and setting a dangerous precedent.

"While assessing the proposed additional levy on bank accounts in Cyprus, Putin said that such a decision, should it be made, would be unfair, unprofessional and dangerous," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

Russian citizens account for the majority of the billions of euros held in Cypriot banks by foreign depositors, and Russian banks are heavily exposed to the island as a favored offshore centre for big business. The levy, imposed as part of a 10 billion euro bailout, sparked panic among Cypriots over the weekend and hit Russian and other European financial markets on Monday.

http://news.yahoo.com/putin-hits-dangero...54439.html

Wow. fleecing russian wealth. NOt a surprise. Clandestine warfare.
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