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Iran says it cahsed off US spy plane and drone

September 4, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Iran’s air defences have forced an approaching US spy plane and a reconnaissance drone to change course near its air space over the past six months, a military official was quoted as saying on Sunday . Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Iran’s air defence force, said an unmanned RQ-4 drone was intercepted last week and a U2 spy plane was warned away in March, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. “When the warning was given to the pilot of this (U2) plane at the Strait of Hormuz, he knew that he was being targeted by two separate radars … and missile systems,” Esmaili said. Quoted by the Tasnim news agency, Esmaili added: Iran will never allow such hostile […]

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Israel set for $28 bln infrastructure spending boost

September 4, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday his office would soon publish a multi-year infrastructure spending plan worth more than 100 billion shekel ($28 billion). Speaking at the start of Israel’s weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said the planned projects would include private sector investment. Bank of Governor Karnit Flug told the meeting that improving public transport infrastructure would be one area of investment. “The level of infrastructure in Israel is insufficient, particularly in the area of public transportation, and mainly in the major cities, but also in the electricity delivery system and in communication infrastructure,” Flug told ministers. The volume of annual investment is low by international comparison, and we are therefore not closing the gap in the level […]

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Iran re-imposes death sentence on spiritual figure that supreme court quashed

September 4, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

An Iranian court has re-imposed the death penalty on the founder of a spiritual movement after the first sentence was struck down by the supreme court, the judiciary said on Sunday. Mohammad Ali Taheri, founder of Erfan Halgheh which calls itself “Interuniversalism” in English, was arrested in 2011 and given five years in prison for “insulting Islamic sanctities”. He was sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Court in 2015 for “corruption on earth” but the Supreme Court later quashed the sentence. “(Taheri’s) case was sent back to court and tried with the presence of a lawyer and various advisors and the judge has again reached,” Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei was quoted as saying by the news agency ISNA. The […]

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US-led coalition says Daesh Syria convoy split in two

September 4, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

A Daesh evacuation convoy trying to reach Daesh territory in east Syria has split in two, with some buses remaining in the open desert after others turned back into government-held areas, a US-led coalition fighting the group said on Sunday. The Syrian government and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group offered the convoy of about 300 lightly armed fighters and about 300 family members safe passage a week ago in return for Daesh surrendering an enclave on the Syria-Lebanon border. However, the coalition has blocked the convoy from entering Daesh territory in east Syria, near the border with Iraq, by cratering roads and destroying bridges, saying it opposes the evacuation deal as being “not a lasting solution”. “One group remains in the open […]

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Philippine army says taking fire from women, children in Marawi battle

September 4, 2017 rbksa 0
Mon, 2017-09-04 09:54

MARAWI CITY: Philippine troops fighting Islamic State-linked rebels in a southern city have encountered armed resistance from women and children, the military said on Monday, as troops make a final push to end a conflict that has raged for more than 100 days.
Ground forces were braced for higher casualties amid fierce fighting in Marawi City on the island of Mindanao, where the field of battle has shrank to a small area in a commercial heart infested with snipers, and littered with booby traps.
“We are now in the final phase of our operations and we are expecting more intense and bloody fighting. We may suffer heavier casualties as the enemy becomes more desperate,” Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, who heads the military in Western Mindanao, told reporters.
He said the number of fighters was diminishing and a small number of women and children, most likely family members of the rebels, were now engaged in combat.
“Our troops in the field are seeing women and children shooting at our troops so that’s why it seems they are not running out of fighters.”
More than 800 people have been killed in the battle, most of them insurgents, since May 23 when the militants occupied large parts of the predominantly Muslim town.
The battle is the biggest security challenge in years for the mostly Catholic Philippines, even though it has a long history of Muslim separatist rebellion in Mindanao, an island of 22 million people that has been placed under martial law until the end of the year.
The protracted clashes and resilience of the rebels has fanned fears that Philippine groups loyal to Islamic State, and with ties to Indonesian and Malaysian militants, have formed an alliance that is well-organized, funded and armed, and serious about carving out its own territory in Mindanao.
Citing information provided by four hostages who had escaped from the rebels, Galvez said there were some 56 Christian hostages — most of them women — and about 80 male residents may have been forced to take up arms and fight the military.
The fighting was concentrated in an area around a mosque about a quarter of a square kilometer. He said soldiers were taking control of an average 35 buildings a day and at that rate, it could be three weeks before the city was under government control.
Fighting in Marawi was intense on Monday, with heavy gunfire and explosions ringing out across the picturesque, lakeside town, the heart of which has been devastated by near-daily government air strikes.
Helicopters circled above to provide air cover for ground troops as fighting raged, with bursts of smoke rising above the skyline as bombs landed on rebel positions.
Galvez said intelligence showed the rebels’ military commander, Abdullah Maute, may have been killed last month in an air strike.
Postings on Facebook and chatter over the past two days on Telegram, a messaging application used by Islamic State and its sympathizers, had carried tributes to Abdullah, referring to him by one of his pseudonyms, he said.
“There is no 100 percent confirmation until we see his cadaver but this is enough to presume he died already,” he said.
The military has contradictory statements about the status of the rebel leaders over the past few months.
Abdullah Maute and brother Omarkhayam are the Middle East-educated leaders of a militant clan known as the Maute group that has gained notoriety in the past two years due to its ability to engage the army for long periods.
Under the name Dawla Islamiya, the Maute group has formed an alliance with Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of a pro-Islamic State faction of another group, Abu Sayyaf.
Galvez said the army’s intelligence indicated both Omarkhayam and Hapilon, Islamic State’s anointed “emir” in Southeast Asia, were still in the Marawi battle.

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Ex-Netanyahu aide and top officers arrested in submarine probe

September 4, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Police made a fresh round of arrests early Sunday, detaining a former official from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office and several military officers in connection to the ongoing corruption investigation into a multi-million dollar purchase of naval vessels from Germany. The arrest of the six comes following the police testimony of Miki Ganor, the Israeli agent of German shipbuilder ThyssenKryupp, who turned state’s witness in the investigation. Among those detained were also several senior IDF officers as part of an ongoing investigation into the so-called “Case 3000,” or the “submarine affair.” A police statement on Sunday confirmed the arrests, and said they had their homes and offices searched “in order to apprehend documents relevant to the investigation.” It said the […]

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Visualizing The Unparalleled Explosion In Cryptocurrencies

September 4, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

After the massive Bitcoin price surge in November 2013, the popularity of launching new cryptocurrencies took off along with it.

In fact, as Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes, if you go back at historical snapshots around that time, you’ll see that there were literally hundreds of new coins available to mine and buy. Here’s one from November 2014 – a time when there were only 32 coins that were worth more than $1 million in market cap, and 354 coins that were worth less than $50,000, usually trading for tiny fractions of a cent.

It seems like everyone and their dog were launching cryptocurrencies back then, even if they were a longshot to materialize into anything.

Then vs. Now

Fast forward to today, and things haven’t changed much – many people and companies are still launching new cryptocurrencies through a mechanism known as an ICO (Initial Coin Offering).

The only difference?

Today, there is real money at play, and in 12 months the number of cryptocurrencies worth >$1 million has soared by 468%. Meanwhile, the total value of all currencies together has skyrocketed by 1,466%.

Cryptocurrency is so hot, in fact, that raising money through ICOs has become more effective than traditional early-stage angel and VC funding.

For the long-time advocates of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it is now their moment in the sun.

And with this ICO activity and a wealth of opportunities emerging, a new breed of Bitcoin millionaire has been born. Like the wealthy tech founders that exit and give back to their local startup ecosystems, these new digital tycoons are using their newfound wealth to invest in upstart crypto projects that show potential – ultimately, further enhancing the ecosystem.

Out of the Woodwork

Of course, whenever there is a massive surge in prices and speculation, there are two other players that tend to come out of the woodwork.

One is of the scammer and shyster variety, and certainly crypto-fueled scams are a concern for everyone else in the broader ecosystem.

Perhaps even a bigger threat, however, are the regulators – and in recent weeks the SEC has voiced concerns about ICO “pump and dump” schemes, while Canadian authorities have clearly stated that “most ICOs need oversight”.

With the market exploding with hundreds of new cryptocurrencies and the total value reaching $177 billion, a new series of questions has emerged: what risk do ICO scams ultimately have on market? And, could misguided regulation disrupt the momentum of the crypto boom?

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist


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Why the US Dollar is About to Go Up, and the Euro Isn’t.

September 4, 2017 Fibozachi 0

After 8-months of persistent decline (-11.75%), the US Dollar ($DXY) appears poised for a strong technical bounce across daily, weekly and monthly timeframes.
With $DXY’s 92.63 monthly close, August 2017’s end likely marked an 8-month high-…

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<b>Crude Oil</b> Down After Hurricane

September 4, 2017 0

The prices for the crude oil remained struggling last week as backfire from the Harvey hurricane continues to weigh the market down. Texas took a …The post <b>Crude Oil</b> Down After Hurricane appeared first on
The p…