Planet Earth Wobbles As It Spins, and Now Scientists Know Why

Planet Earth Wobbles As It Spins, and Now Scientists Know Why (Source

Humans are responsible for some of the wobble in Earth’s spin. Since 1899, the Earth’s axis of spin has shifted about 34 feet. Now, research quantifies the reasons why and finds that a third is due to melting ice and rising sea levels, particularly in Greenland — placing the blame on the doorstep of anthropogenic climate change.

Another third of the wobble is due to land masses expanding upward as the glaciers retreat and lighten their load. The final portion is the fault of the slow churn of the mantle, the viscous middle layer of the planet.

“We have provided evidence for more than one single process that is the key driver” for altering the Earth’s axis, said Surendra Adhikari, an Earth system scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and a lead researcher on the new study.


Jury: Jehovah’s Witnesses must pay $35M to abuse survivor

Jury: Jehovah’s Witnesses must pay $35M to abuse survivor (Source Associated press)

The Jehovah’s Witnesses must pay $35 million to a woman who says the church’s national organization ordered Montana clergy members not to report her sexual abuse as a child at the hands of a congregation member, a jury ruled in a verdict.

A judge must review the penalty, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ national organization — Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York — plans to appeal.

Still, the 21-year-old woman’s attorneys say Wednesday’s verdict sends a message to the church to report child abuse to outside authorities.

“Hopefully that message is loud enough that this will cause the organization to change its priorities in a way that they will begin prioritizing the safety of children so that other children aren’t abused in the future,” attorney Neil Smith said Thursday.

The Office of Public Information at the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses responded to the verdict with an unsigned statement.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts. Watchtower is pursuing appellate review,” it said.

The Montana case is one of dozens that have been filed nationwide over the past decade alleging Jehovah’s Witnesses mismanaged or covered up the sexual abuse of children.

The case that prompted Wednesday’s ruling involved two women, now 32 and 21, who allege a family member sexually abused them and a third family member in Thompson Falls in the 1990s and 2000s.

The women say they reported the abuse to church elders, who handled the matter internally after consulting with the national organization.

The elders expelled the abuser from the congregation in 2004 then reinstated him the next year, the lawsuit states, and the abuse of the girl who is now 21 continued.

The lawsuit claimed the local and national Jehovah’s Montana law that requires them to report abuse to outside authorities.

China cancels its top navy officer’s visit to US over Trump’s sweeping sanction

China cancels its top navy officer’s visit to US over Trump’s sweeping sanctions (Source RT)

China has canceled the visit of its Navy commander to the US, in response to the sanctions imposed by Washington against Beijing over its military cooperation with Russia, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said. On Thursday, the US State Department imposed sanctions against Beijing’s defense procurement agency, the Equipment Development Department (EED), for its “significant transactions” with Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport.

The restrictions were triggered by two major arms deals between Beijing and Moscow – a 2017 agreement for 10 Su-35 fighter aircraft and a 2018 deal to supply S-400 air defense systems. “The Chinese side has made the decision to immediately call back People’s Liberation Army Navy head, Shen Jinlong, who was taking part in the 23rd International Seapower Symposium and planned to make a visit to the US,” the ministry said in statement as cited by Ria Novosti.

Also on Saturday, China’s Foreign Ministry summoned the US ambassador in Beijing to lodge “stern representations” and to protest the sanctions by Washington. “The US approach is a blatant violation of the basic norms of international relations, a full manifestation of hegemony, and a serious breach of the relations between the two countries and their two militaries,” the Chinese Ministry of National Defense’s spokesperson Wu Qian said on its official Wechat account. China’s EED was added to the blacklist together with 33 Russian defense and intelligence officials and entities. Moscow called the move an attempt to “squeeze out of the markets the main competitor of American producers,” as Russian-made arms are often “hyper-competitive.”


EU, Russia, Iran, and China Unveil New Global Payment System Independent of US

EU, Russia, Iran, and China Unveil New Global Payment System Independent of US (Source

In a stunning vote of “no confidence” in the US monopoly over global payment infrastructure, one month ago Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas called for the creation of a new payments system independent of the US that would allow Brussels to be independent in its financial operations from Washington and as a means of rescuing the nuclear deal between Iran and the west.

Writing in the German daily Handelsblatt, Maas said “Europe should not allow the US to act over our heads and at our expense. For that reason it’s essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels that are independent of the US, creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent Swift system,” he wrote.

While keeping SWIFT as is, for now, the EU’s foreign-policy head Federica Mogherini side by side with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced a “special purpose vehicle” jointly, in English and Farsi, after a meeting at the U.N. of the parties still committed to the deal—Iran, EU, U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China. In fact, everyone but the US.

According to Mogherini, the plan to create the SPV “will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran, and this will allow European companies to continue trade with Iran” despite Trump’s opposition.

As Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky explains, with Iran sanctions back, it is clear to the Europeans (as well as the Chinese and Russians) that any future transactions with Iran must go through entities insulated from the American financial system.

In any case, creating “a defensible banking architecture” may well be the end goal for the Europeans, China and Russia, anyway because, as noted above, Iran is merely a convenient pretext: after all, the nuclear agreement is one of the few things that unite the EU, China and Russia against the U.S.

But, as Bershidsky notes, “working to undermine the dollar’s global dominance isn’t ultimately about Iran at all. In his recent State of the European Union speech, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for strengthening the euro’s international role and moving away from traditional dollar invoicing in foreign trade.”

China and Russia have long sought the same thing, but it’s only with Europe, home of the world’s second biggest reserve currency, that they stand a chance of challenging American dominance.

World upside down as EU and Russia unite against US

World upside down as EU and Russia unite against US (Source

The UN general assembly in New York, the world’s largest diplomatic event, turned into a show of EU solidarity with Russia and China against the US on Tuesday (25 September).

The development, which came about over Iran, symbolised a world-turned-upside-down by US leader Donald Trump’s unilateralism. It left Mike Pompeo, Trump’s foreign policy chief, “disturbed and indeed deeply disappointed”.

“This is one of the of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional and global peace and security,” he told press, after seven decades in which the US and EU had stood together against common adversaries, such as Russia, in the so-called “transatlantic relationship”.

The measures Pompeo referred to were the creation of a “Special Purpose Vehicle [SPV]” to enable the EU and others to buy Iranian oil in a way that skirted Trump’s new sanctions on Iran. “Everything that Ms Mogherini has said is extremely positive,” Vladimir Yermakov, a senior Russian diplomat, told press, referring to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

He spoke after Mogherini chaired a meeting with the foreign ministers of Russia, China, Iran, France, Germany, and the UK in New York earlier the same day. “EU member states will set up a legal entity [the SPV] to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with European Union law and could be open to other partners in the world,” she told press alongside Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif in the margins of the UN assembly.


Coca-Cola in ‘serious talks’ about branching into cannabis beverage market

Coca-Cola in ‘serious talks’ about branching into cannabis beverage market (Source RT)

Coca-Cola is one of the most recognized brands in the world, but it could soon be known for more than just fizzy drinks. The company is looking to branch into the cannabis beverage market, according to a report. The world’s largest beverage company, based in Atlanta, is in “serious talks” with Canadian cannabis producer Aurora Cannabis Inc to develop cannabis-infused drinks, sources familiar with the matter told BNN Bloomberg. Coca-Cola is reportedly only interested in making drinks with cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana plants.

Although the drinks wouldn’t be appealing to those seeking a high, however, they could be incredibly helpful to people suffering from inflammation, pain, and cramping, according to the report. When asked about the potential partnership by BNN Bloomberg, Coca-Cola spokesman Kent Landers said that the company, along with many others in the industry, is “closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world.” However, he declined to specifically comment on Aurora Cannabis Inc, and stressed that “no decisions have been made at this time.” Aurora spokeswoman Heather MacGregor also declined to comment about any talks with Coca-Cola, but did confirm that her company does intend to enter the infused beverage market.


Weed is the new blockchain

Weed is the new blockchain (Source Yahoo)

There’s a new craze in the stock market — cannabis.

Over the last few weeks, shares of Tilray, a Canadian cannabis company, have become a fascination among investors as the stock has gained more than 700% since being priced at $17 during its July IPO.

In early trading on Wednesday, Tilray shares were up over 40% after the company’s CEO Brendan Kennedy said on CNBC’s Mad Money that cannabis is a “hedge” for pharmaceutical companies and investors because it can replace prescription opioids and other painkillers. The stock has now more than doubled in the last week.

Kennedy also argued that all alcohol companies should be in the cannabis space to hedge their business as well. On Tuesday, shares of Tilray rose 29% after the company received DEA approval to import cannabis to the U.S. for medical research. With the latest move, Tilray’s market cap is now in excess of $18 billion, giving the company a valuation which exceeds that of Molson Coors, Conagra, and J. M. Smucker. These kinds of stock moves also confirm that when it comes to rampant speculation among investors rabid to find the next big thing, cannabis is the new blockchain.

Citron Research, run by short-seller Andrew Left, said Wednesday that, “The move in Tilray is beyond comprehension. No one needs a market pundit to explain that. This is just the dynamic of trading low float stocks.” Citron added that it is short Tilray and will maintain a “manageable position until rationality sets in.” Earlier this month, Citron had said Tilray’s post-IPO spike showed retail investors going mad and that the firm wanted to short shares. Since then, Tilray shares have roughly tripled.

Russia launches new attack submarine – and it will be ‘INVISIBLE’ to the West

Russia launches new attack submarine – and it will be ‘INVISIBLE’ to the West (Source

Putin’s navy rolled out the Kronshtadt in a lavish ceremony overseen by top brass from the Russian navy in the shipyards of St Petersburg, Russia. The new submarine is boasted to be so quiet it will be invisible to enemy riders – and “surpass” its predecessors. Kronshtadt weighs in at 2,700 tons, is 236feet long, and is powered by diesel electric engines.

The second in the “Lada” class, the vessel was launched as Putin looks to build-up his military might, flaunting it with massive war games. It is bristling with cruise missiles, torpedoes and is crewed by 35 sailors – being able to stay at sea unaided for 45 days.

Kronshtadt emits an extremely low level of noise which allows it to evade enemy radar systems and sneak up on its prey. It is designed to combat enemy ships, launch missile strikes on land, carry out scouting missions and protect navy bases. The vessel can fire missiles in volleys, which Russia boasts cannot be countered by other naval targets.

Viktor Chirkov, Russia’s former Baltic Fleet commander and now a chief adviser at the state shipbuilding company, boasted even the most advanced systems cannot detect Kronshtadt.


US Sanctions Reach a Turning Point. De-Dollarization and Collusion against the U.S

US Sanctions Reach a Turning Point. De-Dollarization and Collusion against the U.S. (Source

Each year, the USA finds a new country or group of countries to target with sanctions. Each year the USA adds about 1,000 individuals to its ever longer sanctions list. Now, US sanctions are coming to a turning point.

Up till now, the EU – representing around the same percentage of the world economy as the USA – was sitting put, as the USA grew its sanctions regime to ever more bizarre proportions. Together, the USA and the EU constituted nearly half of the world’s economy, and US sanctions previously “only” used to target the other half of the world’s economies. Hitherto, the EU had no compelling reasons to strain its relations with the USA because US sanctions do not affect them. But now, “secondary sanctions” regarding Iran also hit hard at strategic EU companies and financial institutions and negatively affect EU global strategic interests in energy from the Persian Gulf, US sanctions in effect attack the liberty, security and sovereignty of its biggest group of friends, the EU. Thus, we have now come to a defining moment for the global sanctions regime, run by the USA.

The US economy is already less than a quarter of the world’s GDP in USD dollars, and in 2023 it will fall to only just about one fifth of the world (source: IMF). The non-US part, the 4 fifths of the world economy (now including the EU and China, constitute an increasingly advanced group, and they are about to collude against the US sanctions regime.

Payment transfer streams will develop to avoid US banks – hurting the global position of the USA’s major “growth-industry”. It will be a chance (as well as a good excuse) for the EU, China, Japan, India and everybody else, to nationalistically promote THEIR banks in the international system at the expense of US banks. Looking at the long-term trend, the US financial industry has become really the ONLY big growth industry which drives upwards the USA economy. No other sector in the US economy has the combination of size and growth, that finance has (weapons are a bit the same, but finance is unique in size) – so this will be very hard for the USA.

The EU now will shift trade of energy from dollars to Euro – this trend will diminish dollars in other international trade. Trillions of international dollars from trade may come back to the USA – risking inflation and economic crisis. Gold is according to unconfirmed reports being speedily bought up by governments, not only by Russia and China, but even Turkey, recently also hit by US sanctions.

Airbus cannot deliver airplanes to Iran, because among other things, vital parts are sourced in the USA. This will change. Strategic supply chains will morph to avoid US sub-suppliers, carriers (ships, airplanes, IT), technology, service partners etc – fundamentally hurting the US global position. We are not speaking used-cars, here, we speak strategic business sectors. The EU and China may not state this anti-US sourcing publicly as an official policy, they will just pull the strings to do it VERY effectively in strategic sectors.


Putin offers Japan’s Abe peace treaty by end of year without preconditions

Putin offers Japan’s Abe peace treaty by end of year without preconditions (Source RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Japanese leader Shinzo Abe a peace treaty without preconditions by the end of the year. Decades after the end of WWII, the two states have yet to sign an agreement. The two leaders met on Wednesday at the Eastern Economic Forum taking place in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East

“Let’s conclude a peace treaty – not now but by the end of the year, without any preconditions,” the Russian president said. The Japanese prime minister agreed that both states should aspire to reach such a deal in the future. “Let us move forward, asking ourselves the questions like, ‘if we won’t do it [conclude the peace treaty] now, then when? If we don’t do it now, then who will do it if not us?’” Abe said. Shinzo Abe also said the living generation has the responsibility to “completely remove the post-war scenery” from the region. Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov later clarified that the Japanese leader is yet to give an official reply to Putin’s idea. Russia and Japan did not sign a formal peace treaty after the end of WWII in 1945, and the absence of an agreement has strained relations ever since.

The main obstacle to signing a peace treaty is Tokyo’s long-standing claims to the southern part of the Russian Kuril Islands, collectively known in Japan as the ‘Northern Territories’.