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Apr 12

Today’s News 12th April 2017

  • Life Expectancy Indicates A Nation's Overall Well Being – So Why Is America's Dropping?

    'Exceptional' America is seriously lagging behind in global life expectancy

    American Life Expectancy is Falling—But Why?
    Via: MesoTreatmentCenters.org

    Some additional details…

    Life Expectancy Indicates a Country’s Overall Well Being—So Why Is Ours Dropping?

    • The last time U.S. life expectancy declined at birth
      • 1992-1993: 75.8 to 75.5 years
      • Resulting from high death rates from AIDS, flu epidemic, homicide, and accidental deaths
    • After years of life expectancy gains, there is decline all across the board
      • 2014-2015: 78.9 to 78.8 years
        • Death rates rose for 8 out of 10 leading causes of death
        • Heart disease causes more than 4X as many deaths as the rest of the leading causes
        • Prescription opioid painkillers and heroin abuse are probably fueling increases in unintentional injuries
          • In 2014, the CDC reported 28,000 died due to opioid overdoses

    In 2015, Obesity Related Problems Caused 10% of US Deaths

    • Obesity increases the likelihood of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers
      • 6 million or ? of Americans are obese
      • Being 40 lbs overweight cuts about 3 years off life expectancy
      • Being 100 lbs overweight reduces lifespan by about 10 years
    • The US has higher obesity rates than countries with longer lifespans
      • Japan 3.3%
      • Switzerland4%
      • Germany 20.1%
      • Spain 23.7%
      • United Kingdom 28.1%
      • Australia 28.6%
      • USA 33.7%

    America is Seriously Lagging Behind in Global Life Expectancy

    • 28th globally in average life expectancy – dead last among industrialized countries
      • 1st: Japan, 83.7 years
      • 2nd: Switzerland, 83.3 years
      • 3rd: Spain, 83.3 years
      • 7th: Australia, 82.4 years
      • 19th: United Kingdom, 81.4 years
      • 22nd: Germany, 81.2 years
      • 28th: USA, 78.8 years

    Richer Americans Live Longer Than the Poor and Middle Class

    • Men
      • 1980
        • Poorest—76.2
        • Lower middle—76.3
        • Middle—76.5
        • Upper Middle—79.9
        • Richest—82.6
      • 2010
        • Poorest—76.1
        • Lower middle—78.3
        • Middle—83.4
        • Upper middle—87.8
        • Richest—88.8
    • Women
      • 1980
        • Poorest—82.5
        • Lower middle—81.5
        • Middle—82.5
        • Upper middle—83.2
        • Richest—86.1
      • 2010
        • Poorest—78.3
        • Lower middle—79.7
        • Middle—82.9
        • Upper middle—83.1
        • Richest—91.9
    • While US wage inequality is only getting worse
      • 1979
        • Poorest 20%
          • Received 6.2% of national income
        • Richest 20%
          • Received 44.9% of national income
        • 2010
          • Poorest 20%
            • Received 5.1% of national income
          • Richest 20%
            • Received 51.9% of national

  • Ben Tanosborn Asks: Is Trump's Redemption At Putin's Expense?

    Authored by Ben Tanosborn,

    Donald Trump may have been told by his advisers that launching fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles, at a $15 million cost, against the small Shayrat air base in Syria was “necessary” and morally significant in retaliation for the recent chemical attack on Khan Sheikhun.  A way to show Bashar al-Assad America’s outrage at the dictator’s presumed deeds… even if results from such action prove to be materially insignificant.

    But, was it wise or even prudent to take such unilateral action without international and/or UN pre-arranged support?  Was it really an admonition to Syria’s dictator “not to do it anymore,” as the chief honcho of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, seems to claim; or was it solely a perfect opportunity for a divided Republican Party to close ranks behind an erratic and arrogant president-by-default intent in enlisting blind support from the citizenry via his sophomoric truth-deflecting tweets?

    Could this single action by the POTUS redeem him from two years of incredibly stupid oratory and a mounting litany of Munchausen lies, and bring him back to good graces with at least a slim majority of Americans?  Could this action redeem Trump from any and all prior claims of Putinesque admiration and desire to make nice with Russia, and quickly absolve him of claimed Slavic fraternization, or any possible collusion affecting the recent presidential elections?  Most important of all, could such military deed put Donald Trump in dress-uniform as Commander-in-Chief of the “Free World,” a chosen stalwart title self-awarded by Imperial America?  Answers to these questions, whether from domestic polls or overseas voices, are likely to be heard soon… ad nauseam, as cable TV “breaking news.”

    American public opinion, molded by a less-than-inquisitive mainstream media and two similarly-hawkish political parties, has selected Russia to be America’s enemy number one… with almost the entire population, through ignorance or political apathy, unable or unwilling to acknowledge the historic sub-rosa understanding which took place in 1991 as funereal rites ended the 44-year-old Cold War, thanks in great part to Mikhail Gorbachev’s wisdom through glasnost and perestroika… and not so much to Reagan’s peace efforts or his personal charm. 

    Not content with the humanity of peace, some Americans – unfortunately those holding the reins of power – prefer to hear the sound of victory bells, not those of compromise; and any patriotic (or influential) resurgence in old enemies, no matter how geopolitically restricted, is viewed as endangering US interests, a challenge to US’ global empire.  To state it any other way would be at best deceiving, and at worst a lie.

    Chances are that all investigations aimed at finding collusion between Trump’s rickety presidential campaign gang and a Russian government connection are likely to yield only circumstantial tidbits, but nothing that could be termed conspiratorial by a long shot.  [We are not delving here into any state-sponsored cyber-spying or allied disinformation that both Russia and the US engage in to influence elections, or the success that either nation might have in that arena.]  Unfortunately for hawkish politicians in the US, led by Senators McCain and Graham, former Secretary of State Clinton and a queue of long-standing adherents of global dominance, Russia will not become the scapegoat.

    We would be remiss to question Vladimir Putin’s disdain for Hillary Clinton, or his preference for the election of Trump… it stands to reason that Clinton’s inflammatory rhetoric extending back six years left discordant notes in the Kremlin, while Donald Trump’s friendly attitude towards Putin and Russia augured the prospect of a reset in US-Russia relations with mutual benefits for both nations, including cooperation that could bring a semblance of permanent peace in the Middle East.

    But Putin may have misjudged Trump’s helter-skelter brain, and how it gravitates to a single destination unaffected by constrains of idealism or loyalty, a temple-destination solely dedicated to the veneration of oneself: the Cathedral of Narcissism exhibiting the obligatory T at its main portico.  And the opportunity that magnificently presented itself via the images of babies/toddlers in Khan Sheikun said to be victims of al-Assad’s chemical attack.  Images that Donald Trump appropriated and used in his hypocritical flight from political trouble!

    A new and improved Donald Trump is about to land at the White House: an anti-Russian Trump worthy of McCain and the Pentagon falconry; a Trump leaving behind (probably) embarrassing investigations; a Trump forging ahead as an astute politician… ready to join, and likely lead, America’s political mainstream; the mainstream he said to detest before his capture of the presidency.

    Has Vladimir Putin, unwittingly, provided Donald Trump with a free ride to an unmerited redemption?

     

  • Greece Gives the World Something to Cheer: Turn Up the Decibels! – Michael Carino, Greenwich Endeavors

    Let’s get PrOGRessive SPIRIT! (Finally a positive acronym.)  We are either destined for destruction
    preferring to wallow in negativity or instead can soar with optimism.  The only difference between the two is
    perspective.  Time to focus on the
    positives in the world. I choose optimism.

    Portugal, Greece, Spain, Ireland and Italy had financial
    difficulties spending more than could be supported by tax revenues.  This was blatantly obvious during the global
    recession of 2008 and the painful but necessary fiscal adjustment that
    followed.

    Nine Years later, this period of adjustment that left
    confidence and economic growth levels low concluded last Friday.  Greece agreed to a political solution to
    conclude their third memorandum or bailout. 
    All that is left is for the technical issues to be concluded.  This is a historic moment that closes a dark
    chapter and ushers in a new age of disciplined prosperity.

    Today, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said there
    will be no fourth memorandum and the aim of the current program is to allow
    Greece to once again tap the markets for financing needs.  Now work begins to foster even stronger
    growth levels than expected by reducing the government’s debt burden in the
    medium term.

    The consequences of pessimism and negative news headlines
    over almost a decade has left the PrOGRessive SPIRIT countries’ equity markets
    at deep discounts and presents some seldom seen opportunities.  Companies are trading at fractions of book
    value as if a massive currency devaluation or a new great recession is
    imminent.  Neither are on the
    horizon.  And now that Greece’s heavy
    government debt load is being addressed, capital controls soon lifted and Greek
    bonds inclusion into the ECB’s QE program soon to be concluded, the upswing
    should be long lasting.

    European markets should be flying and celebrating but
    victory horns haven’t been heard. 
    Unemployment is trending down as GDP is going up.  Bank balance sheets are being restored and
    confidence is returning to both public and private sectors.  Interest rates have never been lower fanning
    the flames of a strong recovery.  There
    is so much positive news and reasons for optimism.  But the public, which has been so conditioned
    to tune out the good and focus on the bad, appears to be tone deaf. 

    Greece’s current government is partly culpable for
    conditioning the public to focus on the negatives.  Greece’s Prime Minister Alex Tsipras has
    pursued policies of a hopeless romantic over the last 2 years.  His heart appears to be in the right place trying
    to help those less fortunate and most in need. 
    However, by pursuing policies that had no chances of being accepted, he
    delayed the much needed economic rebound. Instead, Greece was left with additional
    billions lost in financial markets and much lower GDP growth.  Finally accepting the bitter pill that needs
    to be swallowed, he has turned the corner and agreed to policies that will
    foster solid economic growth far into the future.

    Yes, with Tspiras agreeing to bailout conditions last
    Friday, he set the stage for a dramatic shift in sentiment and growth
    trajectory for Greece and the rest of the EU. 
    The long protracted sovereign crisis is over.  These European markets have been overlooked
    and avoided for such a long time, they now represent some of the most
    compelling stories.  Let’s roll up our
    sleeves, accept the progress and do the homework necessary to capitalize on
    these recent events.  It’s time to shed
    the cloak of pessimism we’ve been programmed to wear and put on our capes of
    optimism.

    by Michael Carino, 4/12/17

     

    Michael Carino is the CEO of Greenwich Endeavors, a
    financial service firm, and has been a fund manager and owner for more than 20
    years.  He is optimistically invested in
    Greek equities.

  • Beware The Dogs Of War: Is The American Empire On The Verge Of Collapse?

    Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

    “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” — James Madison

    Waging endless wars abroad (in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Syria) isn’t making America—or the rest of the world—any safer, it’s certainly not making America great again, and it’s undeniably digging the U.S. deeper into debt.

    In fact, it’s a wonder the economy hasn’t collapsed yet.

    Indeed, even if we were to put an end to all of the government’s military meddling and bring all of the troops home today, it would take decades to pay down the price of these wars and get the government’s creditors off our backs. Even then, government spending would have to be slashed dramatically and taxes raised.

    You do the math.

    • Taxpayers are being forced to pay $1.4 million per hour to provide U.S. weapons to countries that can’t afford them.

    Clearly, war has become a huge money-making venture, and the U.S. government, with its vast military empire, is one of its best buyers and sellers.

    Yet what most Americans—brainwashed into believing that patriotism means supporting the war machine—fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with enriching the military industrial complex at taxpayer expense.

    The rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and now Syria. However, the one that remains constant is that those who run the government—including the current president—are feeding the appetite of the military industrial complex and fattening the bank accounts of its investors.

    Case in point: President Trump plans to “beef up” military spending while slashing funding for the environment, civil rights protections, the arts, minority-owned businesses, public broadcasting, Amtrak, rural airports and interstates.

    In other words, in order to fund this burgeoning military empire that polices the globe, the U.S. government is prepared to bankrupt the nation, jeopardize our servicemen and women, increase the chances of terrorism and blowback domestically, and push the nation that much closer to eventual collapse.

    Obviously, our national priorities are in desperate need of an overhauling.

    Surely there are much better uses for your taxpayer funds than trillions of dollars being wasted on war? The following are just a few ways those hard-earned dollars could be used:

    • $251 million for safety improvements and construction for Amtrak.
    • $690 million to care for America’s 70,000 aging veterans.
    • $11 billion per year to provide the world—including our own failing cities—with clean drinking water.

    As long as “we the people” continue to allow the government to wage its costly, meaningless, endless wars abroad, the American homeland will continue to suffer: our roads will crumble, our bridges will fail, our schools will fall into disrepair, our drinking water will become undrinkable, our communities will destabilize, and crime will rise.

    Here’s the kicker, though: if the American economy collapses—and with it the last vestiges of our constitutional republic—it will be the government and its trillion-dollar war budgets that are to blame.

    Eventually, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, all military empires fail.

    At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson warns, “Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy.

    More than 50 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower warned us not to let the military industrial complex endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

    We failed to heed his warning.

    The consequences, as Eisenhower recognized, of allowing the military-industrial complex to wage endless wars, exhaust our resources and dictate our national priorities are beyond grave:

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

    Wake up, America. There’s not much time left before we reach the zero hour.

  • Michael Savage Laments Over Trump's Recent Decisions, Calls Yours Truly 'Vermin of the Left' in the Process

    I’ve been called many things in my life, but ‘vermin of the left’ isn’t one of them. On the Alex Jones show today, conservative talk show host Michael Savage exploded with rage after Alex began to read him my article, published on Zerohedge, which was titled “Michael Savage Turns on Trump, Says Syrian Gas Attack Was False Flag Operation.”

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    Obviously, if Michael read the article, he’d know that I wasn’t ‘vermin sludge’, but instead a disaffected Trump supporter, like him, who was pissed off by the war drums beating out of the White House.

    Humorously, a few month’s ago Savage praised yours truly for an article that I had written, giving it rave reviews: ‘it’s a huge story’…’a major league piece’…’first rate piece of reportage’…’it would be great on any conservative website.’

    Here is Savage praising my previous work (tips hat).

    And here is the full Jones-Savage interview, which is essentially a cry for help — with Savage lamenting over Trump’s hawkish demeanor, blaming his ‘change’ on the people around him, namely Tillerson. Savage would like Tillerson aka ‘the cromagnon’ to go back to pumping gas.

    Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Savage called me out on his show. Many years ago, when I was a younger man in my 20s, I had written an article that was critical of him, which resulted in him spending his entire 10-minute monolog in an uncontained rage, reading my article, challenging me to call his show to debate him, saying things like ‘you moron blogger you.’ I remember the day well, parked outside of a shopping mall, waiting for the Mrs. and then BAM — Savage is on the air calling me an ‘idiot, moron, blogger.’ Good times.

    Having the benefit of hindsight, I can now say Dr. Savage was right and I was wrong and for my ‘moronic article on some unknown website.’

    Thanks for the laughs, Dr. Savage.
    Content originally published at iBankCoin.com

  • Viral Video Shows Chinese Warehouse Where Humans Were Replaced By Robots

    Even as talk about robots taking over low-(and not so low) skilled jobs has been all the rage in recent months, few Americans have been faced with the imminent threat of being displaced by Johnny 5. Not so in China, where a viral clip released by the local TV broadcaster shows an army of little orange robots sorting out packages in a warehouse in eastern China, the latest example of how machines are increasingly taking over menial factory work in the world’s most populous nation.

    The People’s Daily shared the behind-the-scenes footage of the self-charging robot army in a sorting centre of Chinese delivery powerhouse Shentong (STO) Express. The video, also released by the SCMP, shows hundreds of round Hikvision robots,  each roughly the size of a seat cushion,  swivelling across the floor of the large warehouse in Hangzhou. A worker is seen feeding each robot with a package before the machines carry the parcels away to different areas around the sorting centre, then flipping their lids to deposit them into chutes beneath the floor.

    The robots identified the destination of each package by scanning a code on the parcel, thus minimising sorting mistakes, according to the video.

    The army of robots can sort up to 200,000 packages per day and are self-charging, so they can work 24/7, although they are presently used only for about six or seven hours each time from 6pm according to a STO Express spokesman.

    An STO Express spokesman told the South China Morning Post on Monday that the robots had helped the company save half the costs it typically required to use human workers. They also improved efficiency by around 30% and maximised sorting accuracy, he said.

    “We use these robots in two of our centres in Hangzhou right now,” the spokesman said. “We want to start using these across the country, especially in our bigger centres.”

    Manufacturers across China have been increasingly replacing human workers with machines, for one simple reason: Chinese wage growth is soaring with average wages in China’s manufacturing sector rising above those in countries such as Brazil and Mexico.

    Meanwhile, the output of industrial robots in the country grew 30.4% last year. In the country’s latest five-year plan, the central government set a target aiming for annual production of these robots to reach 100,000 by 2020.

    Elsewhere, Apple’s supplier Foxconn last year replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots. The Taiwanese smartphone maker has several factories across China, with the bulk of the hundreds of thousands of employees set to be rep[laced by robots.

  • "The System Itself Is Beyond Repair"

    Authored by Antonius Aquinas,

    The Cost Of A Trump Presidency

    Last Thursday’s wanton attack on a Syrian air field by the US and its bellicose actions toward North Korea have brought to the forefront the real cost of candidate Trump’s landslide victory last November.

    Unlike most laymen, accountants, and financial analysts, economists look at cost differently.  For economists, cost or more specifically, “opportunity cost,” means “a benefit that a person could have received, but gave up, to take another course of action.  Stated differently, opportunity cost represents an alternative given up when a decision is made.”

    Such thinking can be roughly applied to the political realm.  In the case of last fall’s US Presidential election, the cost of Donald Trump’s unexpected victory was not the money spent on the campaign, but the diffusion (hopefully, only temporary) of the growing anti-Establishment groundswell that was percolating not only in America, but across the globe.

    The Trump phenomenon, Brexit, Texas secession talk, anti-immigration gatherings, central bank scrutiny, the exposure and decline of the lying, dominant mass media, and other populist movements and causes were symptoms of the masses dissatisfaction with their exploitation by the ruling elites. Trump’s triumph has squashed and defused many of these populist uprisings since a number of his campaign themes empathized with these trends.

    A similar situation occurred after Ronald Reagan’s victory in the 1980 election as the great anti-government wave, which swept him into power, dried up almost immediately since Ronnie was perceived as “one of us.”  Of course, Reagan was a disaster and fulfilled none of his anti-government campaign rhetoric, but instead went on to become, for a time, the biggest Presidential spender in US history.

    A Clinton victory, although certainly tyrannical in the short run, would have, no doubt, furthered the anti-Establishment fires and inspired more.  For example, Texas may be now on the road to independence from the Federal Leviathan.

    The ills that plague the US and, for that matter, the Western world, will not be solved through a Trump Presidency in “making America great again,” but will only come about through political decentralization and the abolition of central banking with a return to sound money.  Concomitant with political decentralization and secession is military contraction, as smaller political jurisdictions will have lesser pools of wealth to tap from while the absence of an inflationary central bank will make military adventurism extremely difficult to conduct.

    Yet, before such a transformation can take place, an ideological foundation must first be established.  A Hillary Clinton Administration would have provided fertile ground for such change.

    Since the groundwork for a depoliticized world has not been laid, a Trump Presidency made sense as long as he kept as close as possible to his campaign agenda, the most important of which was foreign policy.  His condemnation of the neocons’ policies which have bankrupted the nation, murdered thousands of innocents abroad, and heighten tensions everywhere was crucial in his shocking victory last November.  It is apparent that he did not understand how important this support was or he would have never undertaken such an utterly stupid decision.

    With the strike on Syria and seemingly more military action in the offering, Trump’s Presidency is now the worst of all possible worlds, at least in the short run, for those opposed to the New World Order.  Most serious observers, however, understood, especially after the appointment of so many Goldman Sachs cretins, Israeli Firsters, and nutty warmongers to his administration, that Trump would eventually succumb to the pressure.  More importantly, Trump was never fully grounded in an America First mindset, probably not knowing where that term originated or its gallant founders.

    All, however, is not lost.

    Trump’s capitulation makes it abundantly clear that the system itself is beyond repair.  Getting the right individual to salvage the American welfare/warfare state cannot be done.  Trump had many advantages that no future candidate will likely possess which means that anybody that follows will be an “insider.”  Much of his base, therefore, will no longer support a future Republican candidate or will give him only lukewarm support .  With no independent personality to rally around, the millions of disappointed Trumpians will seek new governing paradigms which hopefully will lead to the growth of secession movements.

    Ultimately, however, a permanent American foreign policy of non intervention, peace, and free trade will only come about when there is a change in the prevailing ideology of society where all contenders for political office espouse such a notion and today’s warmongers are seen for what they are: enemies of humanity and its Creator.

  • Fox's Bill O'Reilly Takes Sudden "Planned" Vacation; James Murdoch Reportedly Wants Him Gone

    Amid a sexual harrassment scandal, Fox's Bill O'Reilly surprised viewers tonight and announced he will be taking a "planned" vacation until April 24th. The timing is interesting as over two dozen companies – including Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, BMW and Allstate – have pulled advertisements and as NYMag.com reports, two highly-placed Fox News sources say 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch would like O’Reilly to be permanently taken off the air.

    As HollywoodReporter notes, O'Reilly assured viewers that his trip was planned long ago, as he takes a vacation “often around this time of year," in order to dispel any notion that it was a forced suspension. He announced that he’d scheduled his trip “last fall” – well before the New York Times reported he paid $13 million to settle harassment claims.

    //video.foxnews.com/v/embed.js?id=5394623830001&w=466&h=263

    A Fox News source told NYMag.com's Gabriel Sherman that O’Reilly plans to return to his show on April 24. But according to four network sources, there’s talk inside Fox News that tonight’s show could be his last. Lawyers for the law firm Paul, Weiss, hired last summer by 21st Century Fox to investigate Roger Ailes, are currently doing a “deep dive” investigation into O’Reilly’s behavior. They’re focused now on sexual harassment claims by O’Reilly guest Wendy Walsh after she reported her claims via the company’s anonymous hotline.

    O'Reilly previously dismissed the charges in a statement posted to his official site soon after the report was published.

    "Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline," the statement read.

     

    "But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children. The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me."

    But as NYMag reports, Fox News co-president Bill Shine has been working hard to keep O’Reilly, sources said. But O’Reilly’s future is in the hands of the Murdochs. “It’s up to the family,” the senior Fox News staffer said. The Murdochs are presently divided over how to handle it.

     Two highly-placed Fox News sources say 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch would like O’Reilly to be permanently taken off the air, while his father Rupert and older brother Lachlan are more inclined to keep him.

    (A spokesperson for the Murdochs declined to comment.)

  • Putin: "Idlib Was A "False Flag" Attack And We Have Learned That More Are Coming"

    With Rex Tillerson on his way to Russia, moments ago Russian president Vladimir Putin shocked reporters when he said that Russia has received intelligence from “trusted sources” that more attacks using chemical weapons are being prepared on the Damascus region, meant to pin the blame on the Assad government.

    “We have reports from multiple sources that false flags like this one – and I cannot call it otherwise – are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus. They plan to plant some chemical there and accuse the Syrian government of an attack,” he said at a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Moscow

    The Russian President announced that Russia will officially turn to the UN in the Hague for an investigation of the chemical weapons’ use in Idlib.  Moscow has dismissed suggestions that the Syrian government that it backs could be behind the attack in Idlib province.

    “All incidents reminiscent of the ‘chemical attacks’ that took place in Idlib must be thoroughly investigated,” Putin said.

    Damascus denied the allegations, noting that the targeted area may have been hosting chemical weapons stockpiles belonging to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) or Al-Nusra Front jihadists.

    The incident has not been properly investigated as yet, but the US fired dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in a demonstration of force over what it labeled a chemical attack by Damascus.

    Putin also pointed out that the latest US missile strikes in Syria bring to mind the United States’ UN Security Council address in 2003 that led to the invasion of Iraq, an address which has now been thorougly debunked as using flawed information to garner global support for an invasion.

    “President Mattarella and I discussed it, and I told him that this reminds me strongly of the events in 2003, when the US representatives demonstrated at the UN Security Council session the presumed chemical weapons found in Iraq. The military campaign was subsequently launched in Iraq and it ended with the devastation of the country, the growth of the terrorist threat and the appearance of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] on the world stage,” he added.

    The Russian president also slammed the Idlib attack, officially denouncing it as a “false flag” attack.

    Putin also said that there is no meeting with Tillerson currently on his schedule.

    Following Putin’s presser, Russian General Staff released a statement announcing that it has information of militants bringing poisonous substances to areas of Khan Shaykhun, West of Aleppo and Eastern Guta in Syria.

    Chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operational Directorate Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said that the militants are trying to provoke new accusations targeted at Syrian government for alleged use of chemical weapons. The militants aim to incite the US to conduct new strikes, Rudskoy warned, adding that such measures are impermissible. He said that according to the Russian general staff new US airstrikes in Syria are unacceptable and that the Syrian forces posses no chemical weapons.

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