Saturday, April 18, 2015

Iranian Ship Convoy Moves Toward Yemen, Alarming U.S. Officials

Via The Hill:

U.S. military officials are concerned that Iran's support for Houthi rebels in Yemen could spark a confrontation with Saudi Arabia and plunge the region into sectarian war.

Iran is sending an armada of seven to nine ships — some with weapons — toward Yemen in a potential attempt to resupply the Shia Houthi rebels, according to two U.S. defense officials.

Officials fear the move could lead to a showdown with the U.S. or other members of a Saudi-led coalition, which is enforcing a naval blockade of Yemen and is conducting its fourth week of airstrikes against the Houthis.

Iran sent a destroyer and another vessel to waters near Yemen last week but said it was part of a routine counter-piracy mission.

What's unusual about the new deployment, which set out this week, is that the Iranians are not trying to conceal it, officials said. Instead, they appear to be trying to "communicate it" to the U.S. and its allies in the Gulf.

It is not clear what will happen as the convoy comes closer to Yemen. Saudi Arabia has deployed ships around Yemen to enforce the blockade, as has Egypt. An official said the ship convoy could try to land at a port in Aden, which the Houthis have taken over.

Although the U.S. is assisting with the Saudi-led air campaign, it is not participating in the naval blockade of Yemen, said U.S. Central Command spokesman Col. Pat Ryder.

However, the U.S. Navy is in the region and has already "consensually boarded" one Panamanian-flagged ship in the Red Sea on April 1 on the suspicion it was illegally carrying arms for the Houthis.

None were found, but the move raised alarm bells in Washington over an increasingly active U.S. military role in the conflict. The Pentagon indicated this week that more boardings could occur.

"We will continue to vigilantly defend freedom of navigation and to conduct consensual searches in an effort to ensure that drugs, human trafficking, weapons trafficking and other contraband are limited", Army Col. Steve Warren said on Monday.

Officials fear a naval confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia could escalate what has become a proxy war between the two countries.

The U.S. has been supporting the airstrikes with intelligence and logistical support, and last week began refueling Saudi fighter jets. Administration officials say it is important to support Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this week, a senior State Department official said the U.S. would try to ensure that a United Nations Security Council arms embargo against Houthi leadership is enforced.

"We will be taking very careful look and examining very closely efforts to violate the embargo", senior State Department official Gerald Feierstein told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The deepening of the conflict comes as the U.S. hopes to reach a deal with Iran to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Officials say U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition has not affected the negotiations with Iran.

The conflict also threatens to complicate U.S.'s relations with Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, an Iran ally, criticized Saudi Arabia for its airstrike campaign during a visit to Washington this week.

U.S. officials say they are unsure why Iran is making the brazen move. One theory they have floated is that the Saudi-led coalition has effectively blockaded any air routes into Yemen and there are no other ways to resupply the Houthis.

Another theory is that Iran is trying to distract the coalition from another ship it has tried hard to conceal that is currently docked at Oman — a potential land route for smuggling arms into Yemen.

Yet another theory is that Iran wants to force a confrontation with Saudi Arabia that it believes it will win, because Iran views the Saudi military as weak and suspects the U.S. lacks the willpower to support its Gulf ally.

Earlier this week, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Twitter taunted Saudi Arabia, calling its military puny and smaller than Israel's. He also said the air campaign was tantamount to genocide of innocent Yemeni civilians and that the U.S. would also fail in Yemen.

U.S. officials say they hope the airstrikes will force Houthis to the negotiating table in order to restore stability in Yemen, where America faces a terrorist threat from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

“We're assisting the Saudis to protect their own territory and to conduct operations that are designed to lead ultimately to a political settlement to Yemen”, said Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Thursday.

“That's good for the people of Yemen, first and foremost. It's good for Saudi Arabia that doesn't need this on its southern border. And … it's good for us, among other reasons, because of AQAP's presence in Yemen. But for that to occur, it'll require more than military action”, he added.

China Releases Moon Footage Of "Alien Bases"

Via Disclose.tv:

Dr. Micheal Salla has indicated that there is a Military Industrial Extraterrestrial Complex or MIEC, and that Earth is being assimilated by an alien agenda which also operates on Earth's Moon.

It appears that the Chinese who took a photo, have confirmed that aliens exist.

The Chinese have probably been in contact with these aliens already.

That would explain why so many radio telescopes are searching for signals from aliens, and more being built as we speak, yet no reported signals from aliens were reported to the public.

The report stipulates:

"I was sent some pictures by a source who claims China will be releasing Hi Res images taken by the Chang'e-2 moon orbiter, which clearly show buildings and structures on the moons surface. He also claims NASA has deliberately bombed important areas of the Moon in an effort to destroy ancient artefacts and facility's. Pictures yet to be released clearly show nuclear impact craters and building debris caused by explosions in an effort by NASA to destroy the truth. China is moving toward full disclosure of the Extraterrestrial reality, if these images and future ones are verified genuine then NASA should be investigated for fraud and treason. China will be releasing all the data and images from the Chang'e-2 in the coming weeks and months, lets hope this is the beginning of a new era".

Have you ever wondered why we haven't returned to the moon again? The truth is that NASA is hiding a very dark secret from us.

Is there an "Alien Base" on the Moon? More and more people are coming forward with stories that might prove this is true. Rumors say that there is an Alien Moon Base on the far side of the moon, the side we never see from Earth.

Did you ever wonder why the Moon landings stopped and why we have not tried to build a Moon Base? It does seem like a better and easier idea than a floating space station with no access to any raw materials or supplies?

According to the NASA Astronaut Neil Armstrong the aliens have a base on the Moon and told us in no uncertain terms to get off and stay off the Moon!

Sound far fetched? Milton Cooper, a Naval Intelligence Officer tells us that not only does the Alien Moon Base exist but the U.S. Naval Intelligence Community refers to the Alien Moon Base as "Luna", that there is a huge mining operation going on there, and that is where the aliens keep their huge mother ships while the trips to Earth are made in smaller "flying saucers".

LUNA: The Alien base on the far side of the Moon. It was seen and filmed by the Apollo astronauts. A base, a mining operation using very large machines, and the very large alien craft described in sighting reports as mother ships exist there.

Swedish Teens In Hurry To Leave Home

Via The Local:

Swedish youngsters leave home earlier their European counterparts, surprising housing researchers.

While the chronic housing shortage in Swedish cities is a perennial headache for newcomers, Sweden's youth leave home earlier than any other comparable group in Europe, according to new figures from Eurostat.

Swedish women on average fly the parental coop when they are 19.3 years-old, while men follow closely behind at 19.9-years-old - an average of 19.6 years.

This figure puts Swedes out front in Europe especially when compared It gives Swedes a leading position in Europe - especially when compared with Croatia (33.7) and Slovakia (32.1), according to europaportalen.se.

Furthermore the trend in Sweden is toward an earlier departure from their childhood with the average dropping from 20.7 for women and 21.6 for men in 2011.

The figures surprised researchers familiar with the debate about long waits for elusive apartments.

"I was a little surprised at the numbers. But targeted housing investments have begun to emerge from, for example prperty companies", said Cecilia Enstrom Öst at the Institute for Housing and Urban Research at Uppsala University.

Enström Öst explained the situation in that not all young people live in the bigger cities, when housing queues are at the most onerous, and the expansion in higher education.

"Pretty much everyone goes to university today, if one is to generalize and compare historically", said Cecilia Enstrom Öst.

Students are also largely less discerning when selecting an abode.

"I have looked at the importance of the condition of the property. When you want to study the only important thing is to be able to get hold of somewhere to live, regardless of size or standard", Enstrom Öst said.

The Eurostat statistics clearly show that women are consistently - in all EU countries - younger than men when they leave home. The smallest gender gap is found in Sweden. The difference is greatest in Romania and Bulgaria, where men live at home 4.5 years longer than women.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Syria: "Most Dangerous" Isis Leaders Scandinavian

Via The Local:

President Bashar al-Assad has thanked Sweden for taking in record numbers of refugees during the war, but warned about a growing danger from "Scandinavian" Islamist extremists in his country.

Syria’s President made the claims in a video interview in English with Sweden’s tabloid newspaper Expressen.

“As long as we have terrorism growing in different European countries, Sweden cannot be safe”, he said when asked about rising numbers of Scandinavians traveling to and from the middle east to fight alongside Isis and other extremist groups.

“The most dangerous leaders of Daesh and Isis in our region are Scandinavian…that’s what we have as information", he said.

“Terrorism is not a domestic issue, it’s not even regional, it’s global”, the President also noted.

The Expressen interview was published days after Sweden's Security Service (Säpo) told The Local there was "very little" it could do to stop people traveling to Syria to join al-Qaeda inspired groups, as EU officials estimated up to 6000 people from across Europe have now fought in the war-torn nation.

Säpo confirmed to The Local that at least 150 Swedish residents were known to have been to Syria or Iraq to fight for Isis or other extremist groups, with intelligence suggesting that at least 35 had died in the process.

"About 50 of those known to have travelled to Syria have returned to Sweden. They travel to Syria, return to Sweden and tend to go back again", said press officer Fredrik Milder.

But Milder added that "there is only very little we can do to stop people from traveling from Sweden to join al-Qaeda inspired groups".

More than 215.000 people have been killed in Syria's four-year war, which is increasingly dominated by jihadist groups.

When Expressen asked President Assad about his army losing control of vast areas to Isis (also known as IS or the Islamic State), he said: “You have ups and down, you have wins you have losses and that depends on many criteria”.

“We are still running the country”. he insisted.

More than 11 million Syrians have been forced from their homes since 2011, when pro-democracy protests against President Assad's government erupted and the country slid into civil war.

Since then, Sweden is the only EU nation that has offered all Syrian refugees automatic and permanent asylum.

“I think that is something appreciated around the world not only in our country”, Assad told Expressen.

“This is a good thing to do to give people refuge, but if you ask the Syrian people who fled from Syria ‘what do you want?’, they don’t want to flee Syria because of the war they want to end that war”.

Last month Sweden announced it was increasing its foreign aid to Syria and had earmarked 1.5 billion kronor ($174 million) for the middle eastern country in the coming years.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Swedish Museum Gets Gender Neutral Toilet Sign

Via The Local:

Gender neutral toilet signs at a Swedish museum have sparked debate in the Nordic country, known for its openness and tolerance.

“We've had strong reactions, with some people commenting that it's 'fantastic' and others saying it's 'idiotic'. Many get provoked by people who aren't clearly divided into 'women' and 'men', but the reality is that there are many who don't feel at home in either of these categories", said Pompe Hedengren.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sweden's Royal Wedding Invitations Posted Out

Via The Local:

Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist are understood to have sent out the invitations to their summer wedding in the Swedish capital, with guests set to include British and Danish royalty.

Invitations wrapped in orange satin ribbon have been posted to royals, politicians and celebrities from across Europe, according to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, which has published a list of guests.

Those expected to join the Swedish royal family at the Royal Chapel in Stockholm include Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex from the UK, Danish Queen Margrethe and her husband Prince Henrik and Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

Among the friends of the couple understood to have been invited are Marwan "Marre" Hitti, Sofia's hairdresser from her time on the reality television show Paradise Hotel and Louise Gottlieb, a long-term confidant of Princess Madeleine.

The paper suggested that further attendees would be announced in the coming months. The Local has been unable to confirm the leaked guest list with the Swedish Royal Court.

The wedding schedule will get underway on Friday June 12th, when the couple's friends and family will be invited to a private evening dinner, a statement from the court revealed last month.

The following day, Saturday June 13th, a legally binding church service will take place in the Royal Chapel at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, starting at 4.30pm.

After the ceremony, the bride and groom are set to take part in a horse and carriage procession around Stockholm, passing through areas in the city centre including the island of Skeppsbron and Regeringsgatan, Nybrokajen and Logården in the capital's old town (Gamla Stan).

When the couple arrive at Logården they will be greeted by a 21 gun salute by Sweden's military. This will be followed by a military parade in Stockholm.

The royal family is then set to host a banquet for guests, followed by dancing in Karl XI's Gallery in the Royal Palace.

In a statement published on the Royal Court website last week, it was announced that the royal wedding will be officiated by the King’s chaplain Lars-Göran Lönnermark and Pastor Michael Bjerkhagen.

Both clergymen also officiated at the wedding of Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill, who married on June 8th, 2013 in the Royal Chapel.

King Carl XVI Gustaf, crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl-Philip, Princess Madeleine and Princess Estelle were also baptized in the church.

Hellqvist, a former fashion model who famously participated in the scandalous TV series Paradise Hotel, has dated the Swedish prince since January 2010.

The couple met in 2009 at a club on Stureplan in Stockholm. They have lived together on the Stockholm island of Djurgården since 2011.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

290 Million Year Old Human Footprints Discovered

The discovery of a 290 million year old footprint was made in New Mexico by paleontologist Jerry MacDonald in 1987.

In the vicinity of this mysterious footprint there are fossilized impressions of birds and other animals.

The discovery of the human impression has left MacDonald particularly puzzled and not he or anyone who has seen and studied the impression has been able to explain how this modern footprint could have been located in the Permian strata, which according to scholars dates from 290 to 248 million years, a time period which occurred long before man or even birds and dinosaurs existed on this planet, of course, that is according to modern science and scientific thinking.

Why Is Sweden Top In The World For Expat Families?

Via The Local:

With inexpensive childcare and generous parental leave, Sweden is often painted as a family paradise.

As the Nordic country once again comes out top in a poll of where in the world is best for raising children, three families tell The Local about their ups and downs of expat life in Sweden.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Euro Tumbles Toward $1.05 As Dollar Comeback Continues

Via Reuters:

The euro tumbled back towards $1.05 on Monday, hitting its weakest in four weeks as the dollar's resurgence continued on bets the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates from their historic lows in the coming months.

The U.S. dollar rose against the euro on Monday in a continuation of last week's bets that the U.S.

Federal Reserve will hike interest rates in the coming months, while the yen edged higher on uncertainty surrounding the Bank of Japan's easing policies.

With little U.S. economic data on tap, recent commentary from Fed officials and minutes from the central bank's March policy meeting suggesting a June rate hike was possible supported the dollar against the euro.

The dollar's strength against the euro was a "spillover" from last week's commentary from the Fed, said Alan Ruskin, global head of currency strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Obama-Castro Summit Caps Thaw In U.S.-Cuba Relations

Via BBC News:

U.S. President Barack Obama has said his meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro will help both countries "turn the page" after decades of hostility.

He described the meeting on the fringes of the Summit of the Americas in Panama as "candid and fruitful".

Mr Obama said that the former foes would continue to have differences but could advance mutual interests.

The meeting was the first formal talks between the two countries' leaders in more than half a century.

"What we have both concluded is that we can disagree with a spirit of respect and civility", said President Obama. "Over time, it is possible for us to turn the page and develop a new relationship between our two countries".

His remarks came at the end of a regional summit which has been dominated by the historic thaw between U.S.-Cuba relations.

Cuban leader Raul Castro said that the two countries had "agreed to disagree" when necessary.

"We are disposed to talk about everything, with patience", he said. "Some things we will agree with, and others we won't".

Earlier, the Cuban leader referred to Mr Obama as an "honest man" after a lengthy speech largely taken up with the history of the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba.

"When I talk about the revolution, the passion oozes out of me", the Cuban leader said. "I have to ask President Obama for forgiveness. He is not responsible for the things which happened before his time".