Ebola Virus Is Mutating (Source newser.com) The Ebola virus is mutating “quite a lot,” according to scientists tracking the outbreak in West Africa—but the tough part is telling just what it is mutating into. It is important to track genetic changes to “keep up with our enemy,” a geneticist at France’s Pasteur Institute, which is analyzing blood samples from hundreds of patients, tells the BBC. He says researchers have now seen several cases of people who have the virus but don’t show any symptoms. “These people may be the people who can spread the virus better, but we still don’t know that yet,” he says. “A virus can change itself to less deadly, but more contagious, and that’s something we are afraid of.” Like HIV and flu viruses, Ebola is an RNA virus capable of mutating quickly, the BBC notes, but while scientists fear it could mutate enough to become airborne, an earlier World Health Organization study stressed that “gene mutations may not have any impact on how the virus responds to drugs or behaves in human populations.”
Egypt military targeted in deadly Sinai attacks (Source BBC) At least 26 people, mostly soldiers, have been killed in a series of attacks by Islamist militants in the north of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. A car bomb and rockets hit several military targets in the North Sinai provincial capital of El-Arish. Other attacks took place in the town of Sheik Zuwayid and in Rafah, near Gaza. The US condemned the attacks, saying it remained “steadfast in its support of the Egyptian government’s efforts to combat the threat of terrorism”. Militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which pledges allegiance to Islamic State, said it carried out the “extensive, simultaneous” attacks. The insurgents have intensified attacks since Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in 2013. Correspondents say Thursday’s attacks were some of the worst anti-government violence in Egypt for months. Tensions have also been raised across Egypt this week amid protests marking the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ousted then-leader Hosni Mubarak. Security officials said rockets were first fired at police offices, a military base and a military hotel in El-Arish before a car bomb exploded at the rear gate of the military base. Several army checkpoints in the city were also targeted. Newspaper al-Ahram said its El-Arish office – which is opposite the hotel and base – had been completely destroyed.
Swiss Franc Soars, Euro Plummets—World Wonders if the European Union Is Doomed (Source thetrumpet.com) The biggest question in Europe may soon be answered: Who controls Europe? On January 14, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) declared legal preeminence over Germany. For the past decade, the German Constitutional Court has asserted that it ultimately decided all matters integral to its sovereignty. It was an opinion reasserted time and again—stating that various policy areas “must forever remain German,” or else the country must “refuse further participation in the European Union.” It was a position that the European courts never accepted but never challenged—until now. According to the ECJ, those days are over. It is time that Germany becomes fully European and submits to European rule. The Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard explains: The European Court of Justice has declared legal supremacy over the sovereign state of Germany, and therefore of Britain, France, Denmark and Poland as well. The ECJ’s advocate general has not only brushed aside the careful findings of the German Constitutional Court on a matter of highest importance, he has gone so far as to claim that Germany is obliged to submit to the final decision. The opinion is a vaulting assertion of EU primacy. Age-old economic truths are reasserting themselves. Truths like, he who has the gold, makes the rules. On January 19, the German Bundesbank announced that it had repatriated 85 tonnes of gold from New York and 35 tonnes from Paris. In 2013, Germany decided to take custody of 675 tonnes of gold stored in the United States and France. It followed a surprise announcement last year by the Netherlands indicating that the bank had secretly brought home 122 tonnes of its gold(approximately 20 percent of its reserves), which was stored at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. Bringing gold back from New York and London, the world’s two leading financial centers, is gaining momentum. Politicians from France, Belgium, Austria, Finland, Switzerland, Romania and Poland have all publicly discussed repatriating their gold reserves. Meanwhile, central bank gold sales of European nations have come to a screeching halt. Other central banks have become big buyers. “There is a giant secret stirring under today’s market,” says 90-year-old market veteran Richard Russell. “China, India, Russia and almost every central bank is buying physical gold. I’m guessing that within another year, physical gold will be swept off the market.” Europe is a mess and is in need of strong leadership. The battle between the German and European constitutional courts, the battle between the German and European central banks, the unprecedented market volatility, Europe’s persistent high employment, the euro debt crisis, and the rise of nationalistic parties across the Continent are conspiring to potentially turn 2015 into a momentous year.
Russia says nuclear arms to keep military edge over NATO, United States (Source Reuters) Russia’s top general said on Friday a strong nuclear arsenal will ensure military superiority over the West as Moscow forges ahead with a multi-billion dollar plan to modernize its forces by 2020. Russia, facing a likely recession because of a fall in oil prices and sanctions over Ukraine, must deal with new forms of Western aggression, including economic confrontation, said Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov. But despite the deep economic woes, he said the Russian military would receive more than 50 new intercontinental nuclear missiles this year. “Support for our strategic nuclear forces to ensure their high military capability combined with … growth of the military potential of the general forces will assure that (the United States and NATO) do not gain military superiority over our country,” said Gerasimov. Tensions between Russia and the West have risen over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where the United States and Europe say Moscow is fuelling an insurgency by sending in troops and weapons. Moscow denies this. Russia has criticized NATO expansion in eastern Europe and President Vladimir Putin has accused the Ukrainian army, which is fighting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, of being puppets of NATO with a policy of “containing” Russia.
Russian war planes have increasingly been spotted over Europe in recent months. Britain summoned the Russian ambassador on Thursday to complain about two Russian long-range bombers that flew over the English Channel, forcing British authorities to reroute civil aircraft. Russia promises to push through by 2020 a more than 20-trillion-rouble ($286.62 billion) military modernization plan conceived by Putin, and military expenditures will remain unchanged even in the face of a growing economic crisis that has cut the budgets of other ministries. The modernization project aims to revamp Russia’s weapons systems to assure that 70-100 percent of the armed forces weapons and equipment has been modernized by the end of the decade — a plan confirmed by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. “We plan to fulfill the government armament program and reach by 2020 the intended quantities of modern weapons systems,” he said at the meeting. Russia keeps its state nuclear capabilities shrouded in secrecy, but its military has approximately 8,500 warheads in total, including those non-deployed — some 1,000 more than the United States possesses — according to a study last year by the Center for Arms-Control and Non-Proliferation.
Nuclear War: Three Minutes to Midnight (Source globalresearch.ca) “The threat is serious, the time short. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists does not move the hands of the Doomsday Clock for light or transient reasons. The clock ticks now at just three minutes to midnight because international leaders are failing to perform their most important duty—ensuring and preserving the health and vitality of human civilization.” When Barack Hussein Obama was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize on 10th December 2009, just eight months in to his Presidency, the motivation was: “ for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples.” In his acceptance speech the President Obama stated that: “Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice.” He was also committed to: “upholding the (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.) It is a centerpiece of my foreign policy. And I’m working with President Medvedev to reduce America and Russia’s nuclear stockpiles.” In conclusion, to applause, he appealed: “Let us reach for the world that ought to be – that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls.” Since then the myriad mass graves of America’s victims have become silent witness to the hypocrisy and insincerity of his address at Oslo City Hall on the 113th Anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death in acceptance of an Award which Nobel’s will had specified should be presented: “ … to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Gulag Guantanamo remains open, much now militia-run Libya is in ruins, American troops are back in Iraq, where over 2,000 bombing raids have been carried out by American ‘planes. Obama’s Administration still endorses the illegal overthrow of President Assad of Syria, training the mass murdering, beheading, organ eating “moderate” opposition, and the much vaunted departure from Afghanistan, is not a full departure at all. Ukraine bleeds daily from the US boasted five Billion dollar coup, Russia is blamed, sanctioned and resultantly feels threatened enough to rearm. The Cold War had been not only rekindled, the flames are visibly rising.
Millions of GMO insects could be released in Florida Keys (Source AP) Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases. Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential U.S. neighborhood. “This is essentially using a mosquito as a drug to cure disease,” said Michael Doyle, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which is waiting to hear if the Food and Drug Administration will allow the experiment. Dengue and chikungunya are growing threats in the U.S., but some people are more frightened at the thought of being bitten by a genetically modified organism. More than 130,000 people signed a Change.org petition against the experiment. Even potential boosters say those responsible must do more to show that benefits outweigh the risks of breeding modified insects that could bite people. “I think the science is fine, they definitely can kill mosquitoes, but the GMO issue still sticks as something of a thorny issue for the general public,” said Phil Lounibos, who studies mosquito control at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory.
Congress alarmed by plans to use Russian system to route 911 calls (Source RT) Plans to route 911 location calls via Russia’s GLONASS satellite system have sparked national security concerns among some members of Congress, despite assurances that its use will be limited and it will help save lives in emergencies. Chairman of the Armed Services subcommittee, Rep. Mike Rogers, has sent an angry letter to the Secretary of Defense and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) after learning about the intentions of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). “In view of the threat posed to the world by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, it cannot be seriously considered that the US would rely on a system in that dictator’s control for its wireless 911 location capability,” the document obtained by the Washington Times said. The plan to use the Russian system was develop by a group of US top mobile operators together with Association of Public Safety Communications Officials and the National Emergency Number Association. It is aimed at improving the ability of the police and emergencies services to locate people calling for help from their mobile phones. GLONASS was chosen because similar US systems don’t cover the required territory, Trey Forgety, National Emergency Number Association’s director of government affairs, said. Besides that, GLONASS is a lot better than GPS in locating mobile phones when the call is made from inside the building.
How the CIA made Google (Source medium.com) INSURGE INTELLIGENCE breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’ The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet. As our governments push to increase their powers, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE can now reveal the vast extent to which the US intelligence community is implicated in nurturing the web platforms we know today, for the precise purpose of utilizing the technology as a mechanism to fight global ‘information war’ — a war to legitimize the power of the few over the rest of us. The lynchpin of this story is the corporation that in many ways defines the 21st century with its unobtrusive omnipresence: Google. Google styles itself as a friendly, funky, user-friendly tech firm that rose to prominence through a combination of skill, luck, and genuine innovation. This is true. But it is a mere fragment of the story. In reality, Google is a smokescreen behind which lurks the US military-industrial complex. The inside story of Google’s rise, revealed here for the first time, opens a can of worms that goes far beyond Google, unexpectedly shining a light on the existence of a parasitical network driving the evolution of the US national security apparatus, and profiting obscenely from its operation.
Russia defiant after more threats from West over Ukraine (Source AP) A defiant President Vladimir Putin on Monday called the Ukrainian army a “NATO foreign legion,” reflecting his readiness to stand up to the West regardless of rising economic costs, as Standard & Poor’s rating agency downgraded Russia’s credit rating to junk. The Kremlin’s uncompromising stance is rooted in its desire to prevent Ukraine from ever joining NATO by securing a broad autonomy for the rebellious provinces in the east. The latest rebel offensive, which involved the deadly shelling of a strategic port city of Mariupol over the weekend, appeared aimed at pressuring Kiev into such talks. Speaking to students in St. Petersburg, Putin said the Ukrainian leadership was to blame for the upsurge in violence and accused it of using civilians as “cannon fodder” in the conflict. “(Ukraine’s army) is not even an army, it’s a foreign legion, in this case a NATO foreign legion,” Putin said, adding that it’s serving the goal of “the geopolitical containment of Russia, which absolutely don’t coincide with the national interests of the Ukrainian people.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg dismissed the claim and accused Russia of sending large numbers of heavy weapons to the rebels. “We have seen a substantial increase in the flow of equipment from Russia to the separatists in Ukraine,” he said. A Russian envoy at the 57-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe rejected those claims, arguing that the rebels are using old Soviet-era weapons they seized from the Ukrainian arsenals. Andrey Kelin, who spoke after the OSCE called a special session on the uptick in fighting, said the rebels are using “very old Soviet equipment” dating back to the mid-1960s. Ever since the separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine flared up in April following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, Russia has denied Western accusations that it has backed the insurgents with troops and weapons. But even though Ukrainian troops and the rebels use the same types of Soviet-built arms, the sheer number of heavy weapons in the rebels’ possession has been seen in the West as a proof of Moscow’s involvement in the conflict. From the onset of the conflict, which has claimed more than 5,100 since April, Russia urged the Ukrainian authorities to offer broad powers to the east and provide amnesty to the rebels.
If oil drops below $30 a barrel, brace for a global recession (Source marketwatch.com) The price of oil is about $17 a barrel away from signaling that a global recession is inevitable, according to a new survey of investment professionals. The survey from ConvergEx Group polled 306 investment professionals, asking, among other things, what oil price would show that a global recession was inevitable. “The idea behind this question was simple — at some point oil prices aren’t just a nice theoretical tailwind for global economies,” said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx, in a note. “Rather, they become a signal that worldwide demand is contracting so quickly that oil prices must quickly decline to reflect that fact.”
The most common answer was $30 a barrel, from 26% of respondents, with $35 a barrel being the second most common answer (16% of respondents). All told, 62% of respondents said $30 or lower crude was a global recession’s canary in a coal mine.