12-29-2017 Endtime News Update

Israel silent as Syrian flag raised over Beit Jinn and rebels bussed out

Israel and the IDF stayed conspicuously silent on Friday, Dec. 12 at the sight of the 300 Syrian rebel defenders of the strategic Beit Jinn being bussed out of the enclave to Idlib in the north accompanied by ambulances. DEBKAfile: Their surrender to dictated terms on Tuesday, Dec. 26, opened the way for the victors, the Syrian army, Hizballah and other pro-Iranian militias, to reach Israel’s Hermon border and prepare to push south.

By noon Friday, a Syrian flag was flying over the village of Beit Jinn.

Our sources reveal that before boarding the buses, the rebels blew up their central command post in Beit Jinn and burned all the documents and equipment in the building. They also destroyed the markers on the graves of comrades who fell in battle to conceal their identities and prevent Hizballah and Assad’s army from singling out their families for revenge.

Our military sources expect the combined Syrian-Hizballah-Iranian force to turn next to taking over the Druze village of Hader, which is 5km from the northern border of Israeli Golan. From there, a few days later, they will likely launch their next operation to expel Syrian rebel forces from the Quneitra region. Syrian military officials said quite openly on Friday that their goal is to reach the Israeli border.


Italy’s President Dissolves Parliament: “The Current Situation Is One That Fuels Populism”

Authored by Mike Shedlock via www.themaven.net/mishtalk,

Italy’s economic woes and political woes go hand-in-hand.


New elections are coming up but a hung parliament is likely.

The Wall Street Journal reports Italy’s President Calls National Elections as Country Grapples With Economic Pain.

Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella dissolved parliament Thursday and called elections for early March, a vote that will highlight the economic and political problems still stalking Europe and the country’s role as the weakest flank in the currency union.

The vote—the latest in a series of momentous elections in Europe—will be in line with the overwhelming trends of 2017, featuring a fractured electorate, continued pressure from populist movements and predictions of a struggle to form a cohesive government.

Its economy is 6% smaller than at the start of 2008, making it the only G-7 economy not to have returned to its pre-crisis size.

In a speech a decade ago as head of Italy’s industry association, Luca di Montezemolo, former chairman of Fiat SpA, listed 10 urgent reforms Italian businesses wanted from the government, including a leaner bureaucracy and lower taxes. “I could give that same speech today,” he said in an interview.

The downturn has left deep scars in Italy’s social fabric. More than 4.7 million Italians live in absolute poverty, nearly double the number a decade ago, according to Italian statistical agency Istat.

With youth unemployment at 35%, an entire generation of young people remains jobless or subsists on poorly paid, short-term contracts. Even as the brain drain that has afflicted much of southern Europe begins to ebb, thousands of Italian university graduates continue to emigrate each year.

With no group likely to reach a majority, a hung parliament is highly probable. Lorenzo Codogno, former director general of the Italian Treasury Ministry, assigns a 75% probability to such an outcome.

Return of Silvio Berlusconi


The current situation is one that fuels populism. Support for Matteo Renzi’s party has collapsed.

However, Renzi and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi conspired to change the rules for the specific purpose of blocking Beppe Grillo’s Five Star movement.

The elections could have been called earlier but they were purposely delayed to benefit Berlusconi although the 4-time prime minister still cannot become prime minister again himself due to a tax fraud conviction.


Previously, Berlusconi was viewed as a Eurosceptic, but his tune comes and goes with the wind. Currently, the Five Star movement is the only party pushing hard to have a decisive vote on Eurozone membership.

Regardless, Italy has had corrupt governments after corrupt governments. It’s rules and regulations are hugely problematic.

Economic Freedoms


Italy and France are not ranked highly in terms of economic freedom. For details, please see Economic Freedom: Best and Worst Countries, US Timeline History .



Britain Escorts Russian Ship Near National Waters Amid Strained Relations

Images from an infrared camera on a helicopter show Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans escorting Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it passes close to UK territorial waters

Images from an infrared camera on a helicopter show Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans escorting Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it passes close to UK territorial waters / Reuters


LONDON (Reuters) – A British ship escorted a Russian vessel as it passed near UK territorial waters over Christmas, Britain’s defense ministry said on Tuesday, adding that Russian naval activity near Britain had increased in the holiday period.

The frigate HMS St Albans departed on Dec. 23 to track the new Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it moved through the North Sea. The Royal Navy vessel monitored the Russian ship over Christmas and will return to dock in Portsmouth later on Tuesday.

UK defense minister Gavin Williamson said in a statement after the incident that he would “not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression”.

Relations between Britain and Russia are strained, and UK foreign minister Boris Johnson said there was “abundant evidence” of Moscow meddling in foreign elections during a trip to Russia last week. His counterpart Sergei Lavrov said there was no proof for Johnson’s claim.

While Johnson said he wants to normalize relations with Russia, Moscow blames London for the poor state of relations between the countries.

Britain’s defense ministry said another ship, HMS Tyne, was called to escort a Russian intelligence-gathering ship through the North Sea and the English Channel on Christmas Eve. A helicopter was subsequently dispatched to monitor two other Russian vessels.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Ed Osmond)



3D-printed live bacteria creates world’s first “living tattoo”


2 pictures

Researchers used a 3D-printed patch of bacteria cells to create a "living tattoo" that changes color...
Researchers used a 3D-printed patch of bacteria cells to create a “living tattoo” that changes color in the presence of certain chemical stimuli(Credit: MIT)

View gallery – 2 images

A team at MIT has genetically modified bacteria cells and developed a new 3D printing technique to create a “living tattoo” that can respond to a variety of stimuli.

Electronic tattoos and smart ink technologies are showing exciting potential for reframing how we think of wearable sensor devices. While many engineers are experimenting with a variety of responsive materials the MIT team wondered if live cells could be co-opted into a functional use.

The first step was to look at what organic cells could be utilized, and it turned out that the strong cell walls of bacteria were the best target for use as they could survive the force of a 3D printer’s nozzle. Bacteria also proved to be perfectly compatible with the hydrogels needed for accurate 3D printing.

To test out the technique the team created a 3D-printed patch of bacteria cells on an elastomer layer designed to resemble a tree. The bacteria in each branch of the tree was engineered to respond to a different chemical stimuli. When the patch was tested on a human hand that had been applied with different target chemicals the bacteria successfully illuminated its branches when sensing the corresponding chemical.

The team hypothesize a future for the technique could be as a novel drug delivery system

The ultimate outcomes for the technology are incredibly futuristic, with the team suggesting the technique could conceivably lead to the development of a kind of “living computer.” Complex structures could be created that contain many different types of engineered cells that communicate with each other in the same way as transistors on a microchip.

“This is very future work, but we expect to be able to print living computational platforms that could be wearable,” say Hyunwoo Yuk, a graduate student at MIT and one of the co-authors on the study.

More immediate, pragmatic uses include the development of warning stickers that contain cells engineered to respond to a certain environment or chemical stimuli, or health-monitoring wearables that activate signals in accordance with a specific temperature or pH change.

The study was published in the journal Advanced Materials.

Take a closer look at the technology in the video below.

Source: MIT




Crispr Isn’t Enough Any More. Get Ready for Gene Editing 2.0

Getty Images/Wired

In fewer than five years, the gene-editing technology known as Crispr has revolutionized the face and pace of modern biology. Since its ability to find, remove, and replace genetic material was first reported in 2012, scientists have published more than 5,000 papers mentioning Crispr. Biomedical researchers are embracing it to create better models of disease. And countless companies have spun up to commercialize new drugs, therapies, foods, chemicals, and materials based on the technology.

Usually, when we’ve referred to Crispr, we’ve really meant Crispr/Cas9—a riboprotein complex composed of a short strand of RNA and an efficient DNA-cutting enzyme. It did for biology and medicine what the Model T did for manufacturing and transportation; democratizing access to a revolutionary technology and disrupting the status quo in the process. Crispr has already been used to treat cancer in humans, and it could be in clinical trials to cure genetic diseases like sickle cell anemia and beta thalassemia as soon as next year.

But like the Model T, Crispr Classic is somewhat clunky, unreliable, and a bit dangerous. It can’t bind to just any place in the genome. It sometimes cuts in the wrong places. And it has no off-switch. If the Model T was prone to overheating, Crispr Classic is prone to overeating.

Even with these limitations, Crispr Classic will continue to be a workhorse for science in 2018 and beyond. But this year, newer, flashier gene editing tools began rolling off the production line, promising to outshine their first-generation cousin. So if you were just getting your head around Crispr, buckle up. Because gene-editing 2.0 is here.

Power Steering

Crispr’s targeted cutting action is its defining feature. But when Cas9 slices through the two strands of an organism’s DNA, the gene-editor introduces an element of risk. Cells can make mistakes when they repair such a drastic genetic injury. Which is why scientists have been designing ways to achieve the same effects in safer ways.

One approach is to mutate the Cas9 enzyme so it can still bind to DNA, but its scissors don’t work. Then other proteins—like ones that activate gene expression—can be combined with the crippled Cas9, letting them toggle genes on and off (sometimes with light or chemical signals) without altering the DNA sequence. This kind of “epigenetic editing” could be used to tackle conditions that arise from a constellation of genetic factors, as opposed to the straightforward single mutation-based disorders most well-suited to Crispr Classic. (Earlier this month, researchers at the Salk Institute used one such system to treat several diseases in mice, including diabetes, acute kidney disease, and muscular dystrophy.)

Other scientists at Harvard and the Broad Institute have been working on an even more daring tweak to the Crispr system: editing individual base pairs, one at a time. To do so, they had to design a brand-new enzyme—one not found in nature—that could chemically convert an A-T nucleotide pairing to a G-C one. It’s a small change with potentially huge implications. David Liu, the Harvard chemist whose lab did the work, estimates that about half of the 32,000 known pathogenic point mutations in humans could be fixed by that single swap.

“I don’t want the public to come away with the erroneous idea that we can change any piece of DNA to any other piece of DNA in any human or any animal or even any cell in a dish,” says Liu. “But even being where we are now comes with a lot of responsibility. The big question is how much more capable will this age get? And how quickly will we be able to translate these technological advances into benefits for society?”

Putting On The Brakes

Crispr evolved in bacteria as a primitive defense mechanism. Its job? To find enemy viral DNA and cut it up until there was none left. It’s all accelerator, no brake, and that can make it dangerous, especially for clinical applications. The longer Crispr stays in a cell, the more chances it has to find something that sort of looks like its target gene and make a cut.

To minimize these off-target effects, scientists have been developing a number of new tools to more tightly control Crispr activity.

So far, researchers have identified 21 unique families of naturally occurring anti-Crispr proteins—small molecules that turn off the gene-editor. But they only know how a handful of them work. Some bind directly to Cas9, preventing it from attaching to DNA. Others turn on enzymes that outjostle Cas9 for space on the genome. Right now, researchers at UC Berkeley, UCSF, Harvard, the Broad, and the University of Toronto are hard at work figuring out how to turn these natural off-switches into programmable toggles.

Beyond medical applications, these will be crucial for the continued development of gene drives—a gene-editing technology that quickly spreads a desired modification through a population. Being able to nudge evolution one way or the other would be a powerful tool for combating everything from disease to climate change. They’re being considered for wiping out malaria-causing mosquitoes, and eradicating harmful invasive species. But out in the wild, they have the potential to spread out of control, with perhaps dire consequences. Just this year Darpa poured $65 million toward finding safer gene drive designs, including anti-Crispr off-switches.

Step On The Cas

Despite decades of advances, there’s still so much scientists don’t understand about how bugs in your DNA can cause human disease. Even if they know what genes are coded into a cell’s marching orders, it’s a lot harder to know where those orders get delivered, and how they get translated (or mistranslated) along the way. Which is why groups at Harvard and the Broad led by Crispr co-discoverer Feng Zhang are working with a new class of Cas enzymes that target RNA instead of DNA.

Since those are the instructions that a cell’s machinery reads to build proteins, they carry more information about the genetic underpinnings of specific diseases. And because RNA comes and goes, making changes to it would be useful for treating short-term problems like acute inflammation or wounds. The system, which they’re calling Repair, for RNA Editing for Programmable A to I Replacement, so far only works for one nucleotide conversion. The next step is to figure out how to do the other 11 possible combinations.

And scientists are finding new Cas enzymes all the time. Teams at the Broad have also been working to characterize cpf1—a version of Cas that leaves sticky ends instead of blunt ones when it cuts DNA. In February, a group from UC Berkeley discovered CasY and CasX, the most compact Crispr systems yet. And researchers expect to turn up many more in the coming months and years.

Only time will tell if Crispr-Cas9 was the best of these, or merely the first that captured the imagination of a generation of scientists. “We don’t know what’s going to wind up working best for different applications,” says Megan Hochstrasser, who did her PhD in Crispr co-discoverer Jennifer Doudna’s lab and now works at the Innovative Genomics Institute. “So for now I think it makes sense for everyone to be pushing on all these tools all at once.”

It will take many more years of work for this generation of gene-editors to find their way out of the lab into human patients, rows of vegetables, and disease-carrying pests. That is, if gene-editing 3.0 doesn’t make them all obsolete first.




Scotland united in curiosity as councils trial universal basic income

Universal basic income is, according to its many and various supporters, an idea whose time has come. The deceptively simple notion of offering every citizen a regular payment without means testing or requiring them to work for it has backers as disparate as Mark Zuckerberg, Stephen Hawking, Caroline Lucas and Richard Branson. Ed Miliband chose the concept to launch his ideas podcast Reasons to be Cheerful in the autumn.

But it is in Scotland that four councils face the task of turning basic income from a utopian fantasy to contemporary reality as they build the first pilot schemes in the UK, with the support of a £250,000 grant announced by the Scottish government last month and the explicit support of Nicola Sturgeon.

The concept of a universal basic income revolves around the idea of offering every individual, regardless of their existing benefit entitlement or earned income, a non-conditional flat-rate payment, with any income earned above that taxed progressively. The intention is to replace the welfare safety net with a platform on which people can build their lives, whether they choose to earn, learn, care or set up a business.

Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine. Photograph: Alamy

The idea has its roots in 16th-century humanist philosophy. The political theorist Thomas Paine advocated a citizen’s dividend. But there has been a groundswell of interest over the past decade not only among lateral thinkers but also anti-poverty groups, which see it as a means of changing the relationship between people and state, and between workers and the gig economy.

In Scotland, a country wearily familiar with divisions of a constitutional nature, the concept of a basic income is almost unique in enjoying multi-party favour. Across the four areas currently designing basic income pilots – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife and North Ayrshire – the projects have variously been championed by Labour, SNP, Green and, in one case, Conservative councillors.

Matt Kerr, who has tirelessly lobbied for the idea through Glasgow city council, said: “Reactions to basic income have not split along the usual left/right party lines. Some people to the left of the Labour party think that it undermines the role of trade unions and others take the opposite view. But there should be room for scepticism; you need that to get the right policy.”

Advocates are aware such unity of purpose is precious and worth preserving. “The danger is that this falls into party blocks,” said Kerr. “If people can unite around having a curiosity about [it] then I’m happy with that. But having the first minister on board has done us no harm at all.”

Inevitably, Sturgeon’s declared interest has invited criticism from her opponents. A civil service briefing paper on basic income, which expressed concerns that the “conflicting and confusing” policy could be a disincentive to work and costed its national roll-out at £12.3bn a year, was obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through a freedom of information request in October. The party accused her of “pandering to the extreme left of the [independence] movement”.

But advocates argue the figures fail to take into account savings the scheme would bring. The independent thinktank Reform Scotland, which published a briefing earlier this month setting out a suggested basic income of £5,200 for every adult, has calculated that much of the cost could be met through a combination of making work-related benefits obsolete and changes to the tax system, including scrapping the personal allowance and merging national insurance and income tax.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/25/scotland-universal-basic-income-councils-pilot-scheme



AI isn’t just compromising our privacy—it can limit our choices, too

AI makes decisions for us in every area of our lives without our conscious involvement. Machines mine our past patterns and those of allegedly similar people across the world, and then decide not just what news articles we see, but with whom we should commune and forge bonds, what goods and services we should purchase, or for whom we should vote in our political processes. This influences our opinions, our relationships, and our social fabric.

By replacing human-curated judgement with data-backed judgement, AI ultimately narrows our field of vision and reduces our social and economic choices—in retail, dating, entertainment, education, health care, and job opportunities. Taken individually, the nudges of mercantile and political interests may be of little consequence. But en masse, our lives become more and more subtly influenced and molded by the companies we let make decisions for us.

In this way, the salient tradeoff in the AI age is not privacy, but choice itself.

Money-making decisions

Sponsors are tuned in to our behavior, adding a mercantile sway to the information we receive. It started with consumers trading our data for convenience. In our cars, we share behavior patterns with automakers and insurance companies so they can deliver better navigation, automated driving, and lower insurance rates. In our home lives, companies use our socioeconomic profiles, life patterns, and our cognitive and visual preferences to keep us “engaged” in richer, more customized entertainment—with the hopes that we’ll pay for that next episode, in-game advantage, irrigation system, video-monitoring service, or smart-home thermostat.

Shopping online gives us the convenience of searching a catalog of billions of products from our couch—but more often only shows us our recent searches, purchases, and similar products based off them. Is that really free choice? The Amazon experience theoretically offers a vast range of products that no print catalog can match. But it also reinforces our own tastes over and over again, based on past transaction data. In practice, we stew in our own consumer characteristics; our range of exposure and choice is limited by upping the odds we’ll buy.

Or look at how hard it can be to find something new to watch on Netflix or Hulu: A search for “film noir” often only shows part of the cinematic canon based on your device, and further orders the results based on your prior watching habits. While practical, an Apple TV, an Amazon FireTV, or a Google Chromecast narrows your natural exposure to art, even when you go searching for it.

Predicative analysis

Not only are our choices narrowed by monetary incentives—they are narrowed by the use of algorithms that put us into what statistics calls “clusters,” which are groups with similar behavior profiles. If you happen to watch 1930s classic movies, enjoy swing dancing, are close to paying off your mortgage, and buy deluxe birdseed for the window feeder, the machine may place you in a retired baby-boomer group. Now you’ll be hearing a lot from cruise lines, who find their clientele in that particular cluster, and you’ll stop receiving promotional coupons from The Gap or being suggested music by Ed Sheeran in your streaming channels.

As a result of your perceived cluster, your consumption choices may be adjusted. The options that appear before you narrow, and you cease to imagine the alternatives that aren’t presented to you. The lack of choice affects your free will to really choose.

Beyond the narrowing effect of clustering is the growth-limiting effect of predicting preference from past behavior. Rather than being presented new and potentially challenging experiences, we see echoes of our past trajectory. Amazon keeps us in clusters of like-behaved shoppers; Google of like-behaved searchers; and Facebook, tragically, of like-behaved citizens. Reliant on behavior data, the machine constrains us to what we have been, rather than what we wish or hope to become.

The results

The 19th-century historian Alexis de Tocqueville observed that Americans are continually evolving. We have long prized the freedom to reinvent ourselves—to move to a new town or country, to take up a new trade, career direction, or hobby, or even a new religion or way of life. Choice and free agency are central to this character.

As AI narrows our choices, will it keep our careers on a single track? Will it guide our lives so that we meet only like-minded people, with whom we get along, and thus deprive us of the encounters and frictions that compel us to evolve into different, perhaps better human beings?

When our choices are constrained to narrow trajectories of consumption, relationships, news, and products, we cease to see these possibilities and life paths. If we trade more and more choice for convenience, we shut out other people’s divergent points of view and rest in the comfort of our cluster. Following this trend to its natural conclusion would extinguish our culture of constructive debate; further divide and stratify our society across political, intellectual, and commercial lines; erode our empathy, social coherence, and loyalty to those fellow humans not in our trajectory; and stifle innovation borne of cognitive and behavioral diversity, as well as the tensions that come from ideas, preferences, and tastes colliding.

In the name of our environment, economy, and humanity, we can’t afford to risk these consequences. Privacy was at the top of policymakers’ lists during the first wave of the internet. Choice and free agency deserve a top spot in the AI age.

AI isn’t just compromising our privacy—it can limit our choices, too


The Beast Is Here-“Artificial Intelligence”

Ruben Das

Ruben Das

Co-Founder @ Equiera #Marketing_Maverick ,#Entrepreneur & passionate about #Neuromarketing

Ever Since Gary Kasparov Lost to IBM’s Deep Blue, the march of AI has been on the rise with more and more games which were once thought to be the Epitome of Human Intelligence falling prey to it. This year itself a lot of tech-based organizations have been able to reduce their staff strength citing the age of AI is here. So What is the stage that AI is in now as compared to some 20 years back when Kasparov was defeated? Let’s take a look down memory lane.

The Game of Chess Conquered: The year is 1997 and the players of the chess game are IBM’s Deep Blue and One of the finest proponents of chess among us Humans Gary Kasparov. Having lost the year before Deep Blue has come with an improved approach to the game the rematch called the “Slaughter on 7th Avenue” results in the defeat of Kasparov and the first important win for the machines.

Double Jeopardy! : It’s the year 2011 and it’s been almost 15 years since the last major win for the machines. So what now which game to conquer, It was IBM again with it’s Beast of an AI computer called Watson and the competitor’s was 2 of the former champions of the game. The Result! it was an overpowering win for the machines again.

What Frontier shall we cover next, the machines thought among themselves, well The game of GO with its sheer number of possibilities is something that is thought to be impossible to crack with sheer computing power, let’s take it on.

GO falls: This Time it was not IBM but rather Deep Mind’s AlfaGo which was in the race to take on the Top-Ranked star of GO South Korea’s Lee Sedol. In a five-game matchup, the machines lost just one game. The clock for the machines overpowering GO was ticking after Chess fell to it, but the sheer Scale of the defeat was what was shocking.

Next, The machines decided to take on Humans in a game that used the power of human Bluff, the unpredictability of the next move with everything hidden and thus the predictability through computing was thought to be difficult.


Read more: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/beast-making-ai-ruben-das/





12-28-2017 Endtime News Update

Hezbollah, Syrian forces advance on rebels 7 miles from Israel

At foot of Mt. Hermon, Assad troops and Iran-backed groups launch bombardment on besieged Mughr al Meer

Smoke and explosions from fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels, in the Quneitra area, seen from the Golan Heights, June 17, 2015. (AP/Ariel Schalit/ File)

Smoke and explosions from fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels, in the Quneitra area, seen from the Golan Heights, June 17, 2015. (AP/Ariel Schalit/ File)

Hezbollah and Syrian army forces have reportedly launched an assault on a besieged Syrian rebels’ stronghold some 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) from Israel’s border, even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel will not accept Iranian proxies on its frontier.

Rebels groups have reported heavy bombardments and artillery fire on their positions, and the Syrian army claimed it had encircled Mughr al Meer at the foot of Mount Hermon, the elevated area that commands the Golan Heights.

The rebels holed up in those areas have been ordered by surrounding regime forces to surrender or face defeat, Reuters reported Tuesday night.

“They were given 72 hours to surrender with fighters to go to [rebel-held] Idlib or those who want to stay have to reach a settlement,” a Free Syrian Army official said.

Metal silhouettes of soldiers dot the landscape overlooking the snow-covered Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights in January. (photo credit: Shay Levy/Flash 90)

According to Hadashot news, Assad’s forces and Hezbollah were also eyeing an advance on Beit Jinn. The Beit Jinn area is the last significant rebel-held enclave southwest of Damascus.

Fierce fighting has been reported in the area in recent days, and Hezbollah has said the rebels intend to surrender and talks have begun on the terms.

Suhaib al Ruhail, an official from the Liwa al Furqan rebel group operating in the area, told Reuters on Monday that “the Iran-backed militias are trying to consolidate their sphere of influence all the way from southwest of Damascus to the Israeli border.”

Thousands of Shiite fighters are up against several hundred rebels including those of the Free Syrian Army, a loosely affiliated group of militias, some of which have been receiving military aid and weapons from Western countries, including the US.

Rebels still hold other areas in central and southern Quneitra on the Golan Heights.



US And Israel Reach “Secret Plan” To Counter Iran

One month after we reported  that Israel would take the unprecedented step of sharing intelligence with Saudi Arabia as the two countries ramped up efforts to curb what they perceive as “Iranian expansion” in the region, on Thursday Israel’s Channel 10 reported that Israel has also pivoted to the US and reached a similar plan to counter Iranian activity in the Middle East. As Axios adds, U.S. and Israeli officials said the joint understandings were reached in “a secret meeting” between senior Israeli and U.S. delegations at the White House on December 12th.


Speaking to Axios, a senior U.S. official said that after two days of talks the U.S. and Israel “reached at a joint document which included understandings on countering Iranian actions in the region.”

The U.S. official said the document goal’s was to translate President Trump’s Iran speech to joint U.S.-Israeli strategic goals regarding Iran and to set up a joint work plan.

On the Israeli side, the team was headed by national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and included senior representatives of the Israeli military, including the Ministry of Defense, Foreign Ministry and intelligence community. The U.S. side was headed by national security adviser H.R. McMaster and included senior representatives from the National Security Council, State Department, Department of Defense and the intelligence community.

  • Covert and diplomatic action to block Iran’s path to nuclear weapons – according to the U.S. official this working group will deal with diplomatic steps that can be taken as part of the Iran nuclear deal to further monitor and verify that Iran is not violating the deal. It also includes diplomatic steps outside of the nuclear deal to put more pressure on Iran. The working group will deal with possible covert steps against the Iranian nuclear program.
  • Countering Iranian activity in the region, especially the Iranian entrenchment efforts in Syria and the Iranian support for Hezbollah and other terror groups. This working group will also deal with drafting U.S.-Israeli policy regarding the “day after” in the Syrian civil war.
  • Countering Iranian ballistic missiles development and the Iranian “precision project” aimed at manufacturing precision guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon for Hezbollah to be used against Israel in a future war.
  • Joint U.S.-Israeli preparation for different escalation scenarios in the region concerning Iran, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

After the (not so) “secret” meetings, senior Israeli officials confirmed the U.S. and Israel have arrived at strategic understandings regarding Iran that would strengthen the cooperation in countering regional challenges. The Israeli official added that “[T]he U.S. and Israel see eye to eye the different developments in the region and especially those that are connected to Iran. We reached at understandings regarding the strategy and the policy needed to counter Iran. Our understandings deal with the overall strategy but also with concrete goals, way of action and the means which need to be used to get obtain those goals.”

Meanwhile, apparently unconcerned by the Saudi-Israeli-US axis that has formed to contain his nation, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump would fail in his hardened stance towards Iran, saying Tehran is stronger than during the time of Ronald Reagan.

“Reagan was more powerful and smarter than Trump, and he was a better actor in making threats, and he also moved against us and they shot down our plane,” Khamenei said in a speech carried on state television.

For now, the Iranian’s Trump-tautning has remained unanswered. The problem is that if Iran continues to dare the US, and its new regional allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, now that there is a regional axis meant to “contain” Iran by any means necessary, it won’t take much for the US, and especially Israel, to respond accordingly.




US won’t strike ISIS resurgent in Assad-ruled areas, pushes Russia to curb pro-Iranian Hizballah push near Israel

While openly blaming Syria (and Russia) for giving ISIS free rein, US quietly rebukes Moscow for not reining in the pro-Iranian push towards Israeli border.

“The Syrian regime has failed to prevent the resurgence of ISIS on their own soil,” said British Maj. Gen. Gedney, deputy commander of Strategy and Support for the US-backed coalition to defeat the Islamic State terror group.  And even in areas where Syrian forces have intensified their efforts against ISIS, progress has been, at best, fleeting, he said. “We’ve got no intention to operate in areas that are currently held by the [Assad] regime.”

DEBKAfile places the coalition general’s comments against the backdrop of the quiet deal struck earlier this month between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. That conversation charted a division of labor in the Syrian arena to avoid clashes between their forces. It was understood that Russia would reciprocate for US consent to abstain from operating west of the Euphrates (in Assad-ruled domains) by curbing Turkish, Iranian and Hizballah operations, especially in border regions.

Gedney’s comments, while only directly referring to ISIS, also coincided Wednesday with the fall of the Beit Jinn enclave in one of those operations.

He went on to say that a “limited numbers of ISIS militants… seem to be moving with impunity through regime-held territory,” and pointed to a new concentration outside the US al-Tanf post in the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi border triangle. “We’ve clearly seen a lot of operations by pro-regime forces, Russian-backed Syrian forces over to the east of the [Euphrates] river,” Gedney said. “We’ve questioned the effectiveness of some of those operations.” Syria and Russia must do more to wipe out ISIS in areas still controlled by the regime, US officials insist.
The US-led coalition is clearly pressing for a decision as to who will assume responsibility for dealing with this rising ISIS threat. DEBKAfile’s sources note that, alongside this question, is the one the US is implicitly addressing to the Russians regarding another terrorist threat: This one is posed by the fall of Beit Jinn opposite an IDF outpost in the foothills of Mount Hermon to a combined Syrian-Hizballah-militia force under the command of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers. At the moment, this combined force stands 11km from the Israeli border and appears to be poised to continue its victorious momentum for an assault on the Quneitra pocket on the doorstep of Israeli Golan, unless it is stopped.

Israel has quietly warned the Trump administration that if this combined hostile force moves any closer, the IDF will have no option but to step in to push it back. Clearly, the understandings reached between presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin were not holding up in this sector.
The Trump-Putin understanding was first revealed on Dec. 22 in DEBKA Weekly 783 (for subscribers) and the DEBKA Files ILTV show on Dec. 25. According to our exclusive sources, that understanding was sealed in a long telephone conversation on the Syrian question between the two presidents on Dec. 14.
Until now, it was understood in Washington and Jerusalem that Russia would reciprocate for US consent to abstain from operating west of the Euphrates (in Assad-ruled domains) by curbing Turkish, Iranian and Hizballah operations. Their deal hinged on two major points:

  1.  The war on ISIS in eastern Syria. A joint war room run by Russian and US-backed Kurdish YPG militia officers was to be established to deploy troops for blocking the westward movement of ISIS forces. (Hence Gen. Gedney’s complaint about this continuing movement.)
  2. Russia and the US would team up to thwart military operations by Iran, Hizballah and Turkey in areas controlled by the Assad regime, especially in proximity to Syria’s borders with Turkey, Israel and Jordan. On this point, Washington undertook to warn the Turks off their plans to invade northwestern Syria and seize control of Idlib province, whereas Moscow was to have instructed Damascus, Tehran and Hizballah to desist from military activity on those borders. This point has likewise gone by the board.

According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, Moscow claims that Putin’s commitment to Trump was met by withholding Russian air support from the disputed Syrian-Hizballah operations. But, in actual fact, the Iranian-commanded force circumvented the Russians and their deal with the Americans by fighting for Beit Jinn without Russian air support and winning the day without its help. This was more than a tactical victory to throw in Israel’s face; it set up a new reality in Syria, whereby Iran and Hizballah can cock a snoot at Moscow, its air cover and its deals with the Americans and go forward to win battles regardless and without Russian help.

The next few days are therefore fraught with three critical uncertainties: (a) Will ISIS persevere in its westward movement, or be halted by military counteraction? (b)  Will the Syrian army, Hizballah and pro-Iranian forces push forward from Beit Jinn to Quneitra and Israel’s Golan border? Or will they be stopped? And (c) Will the Trump-Putin understandings hold water, or will they be scuttled by (a) and (b)?


Anti-corruption protests spread from Tehran to other Iranian cities

Rallies against corruption in high places spread Thursday from Tehran to sweep up an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 more demonstrators in Mashhad, Urmia near the Turkish border and Arak between Tehran and Isfahan. DEBKAfile, reporting on the rising wave of Iranian popular protest, noted that they are becoming increasingly political. Placards were calling “Death to Rouhani” and groups shouted in chorus: “No to Syria! No to Lebanon! No to Gaza!” and “Corruption is everywhere!” In Mashhad, demonstrators gathered outside the residence of supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s favorite for president, Ebrahim Raisi, who heads the Astan Quds Razavi, Khamenei’s personal financial organ.
The anti-corruption protests first erupted in the capital, Tehran, outside Khamenei’s residence, with the slogan on placards asking, “Where is the money?” It was a reference to the vast sums released to Iran by the Obama administration for signing the 2015 nuclear accord. The government clamped gag orders on the event and ordered the large numbers of Revolutionary Guards officers mobilized to act with restraint and refrain from making arrests. The protests then began spreading.


CNBC Director Arrested For Spying On 18-Year-Old Nanny With Bathroom Cam

A CNBC director has been busted for spying on his teenage live-in nanny, according to the Daily News.

Dan Switzen, 44, was arrested and charged with unlawful surveillance by Pleasantville NY police after his 18-year-old au pair and her two friends, also 18, discovered a hidden camera inside of a tissue box in her bathroom on November 13, according to authorities.


The shocked teenagers took the camera to Pleasantville police just before 8pm that night, which was found to contain incriminating images on the memory card.

“He intentionally installed a video recording device in a tissue box located in his family’s bathroom to surreptitiously view a person dressing or undressing…at a place and time when (the victim) had a reasonable expectation of privacy without (her) knowledge or consent,” –Pleasantville Police

Unlawful surveillance is a class E felony in New York, punishable by probation or up to four years in prison.

Switzen, a New York native, was the director of CNBC’s Power Lunch and was formerly the director of CNBC’s Suze Orman show for over a decade. He was released without bail according to his lawyer, Jeffrey Chartier, who said with a straight face: “He’s a very decent family man. I don’t want to litigate these allegations in the press,” adding “We will defend him accordingly.”

Along with Switzen’s work for CNBC, he runs a “beachbody” coaching service with his wife, operating a website – which has been yanked down (but archived) – promoting his fitness business – “Get Fit With Dan.”

“Having my wife as my work ot partner has been a great inspiration. Seeing her work hard and getting results makes me work harder. We push and encourage each other which definitely gets us through the work outs. Working out should be fun and not a chore. By working out together we have enhanced our relationship.” –Dan Switzen

CNBC declined to comment.



Russian Foreign Minister: US Military Must Leave All Of Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Thursday that US forces must leave all of Syria. Speaking to Interfax news agency, Lavrov stated that the UN Security Council has not approved the work of the United States and its coalition in Syria, nor has been invited by the legitimate Syrian government.




Venezuela Will Back Its Cryptocurrency With 5 Billion Barrels Of Oil, Gold Deposits

Four months ago, in a not entirely surprising move meant to circumvent US economic sanctions on Venezuela, president Nicolas Maduro announced that his nation would stop accepting dollars  as payment for oil imports, followed just days later by the announcement that in a dramatic shift away from the Petrodollar and toward Beijing, Venezuela would begin publishing its oil basket price in Chinese yuan. The strategic shift away from the USD did not work quite as expect, because a little over two months later, both Venezuela and its state-owned energy company, PDVSA were declared in default on their debt obligations by ISDA, which triggered the respective CDS contracts as the country’s long-expected insolvency became fact.

Then, in early December, clearly fascinated and captivated by the global crypto craze, Maduro shocked the world by announcing the creation of the “Petro“, Venezuela’s official cryptocurrency “to advance in the matter of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and to overcome the financial blockade”.

Nicolas Maduro dances with supporters in Caracas, Venezuela, December 1, 2017

“The objective is to advance in the Venezuelan economy and overcome the financial blockade, this allows us to continue in the economic and social development supported by Venezuelan riches,” said the president, explaining that his government will make a cryptocurrency issue “backed by reserves of Venezuelan gold, oil, gas and diamond wealth.”

Still, as we said when he first commented  on Venezuela’s bizarre foray into digital currencies, “it was not exactly clear how this PetroCoin would be backed by various natural resources when the whole point of cryptos is that they are not backed by anything, and as such it appears that what Maduro is trying to do is admit that the hyperinflating Bolivar has failed as a sovereign reserve, and the country is hoping to confuse its global trading partners enough into believing that it somehow had a new “bitcoin” on its hands, which like the real thing would then proceed to appreciate in value in the near future.

Today we got the answer when Venezuela’s president announced that “every single Petro will be backed by a barrel of oil… and gold.

“The objective is to advance in the Venezuelan economy and overcome the financial blockade, this allows us to continue in the economic and social development supported by Venezuelan riches,” said the president, explaining that his government will make a cryptocurrency issue “backed by reserves of Venezuelan gold, oil, gas and diamond wealth.”

Some joked at the time that a different name might be more suitable…

But now, as RT reports, Maduro confirmed the backing of the national cryptocurrency Petro with the country’s vast natural resource reserves.

“Here’s the document formalizing the provision of the certified Ayacucho oil field No.1 in the Orinoco Petroleum Belt for the support of El Petro cryptocurrency,” Maduro said on national TV.

Maduro said the field’s “reserves amount to five billion barrels of oil,” which is confirmed by the corresponding “international certificate.”

“Every single Petro will be backed by a barrel of oil,” Maduro said, promising to provide cryptocurrency mining throughout the country.


“We will set up a special team of cryptocurrency specialists so they will be engaged in mining in all states and municipalities of our country.”

The Venezuelan leader has also promised to allocate Arco Minero gold deposits from the Orinoco Belt along with the country’s diamond deposits.

The Venezuelan president explained the purpose was “to advance the country’s monetary sovereignty, to carry out financial transactions and to defeat the financial blockade against the country.”

“We are facing a financial war against the country which we have denounced, and the opposition has denied. There are business people who are unaffected by Donald Trump’s blockade. With this, we will join the 21st century,” said Maduro.


Finally, as Pepe Escobar concluded recently, it ain’t over till the fat (golden) lady sings. When the beginning of the end of the petrodollar system – established by Kissinger in tandem with the House of Saud way back in 1974 – becomes a fact on the ground, all eyes will be focused on the NSS counterpunch.


Isa. 17 Soon???

You will operate behind enemy lines, 36 new IAF pilots are told

At the graduation ceremony Wednesday for 36 new pilots, 35 men and one woman, at the Israeli Air Force Base in Hatzerim, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: “We won’t allow the Iranian army to establish itself in Syria for aggression against us or the manufacture of lethal precision weaponry.” IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkot, said: “We count on you to keep Israel safe and if necessary victorious.” He was followed by the IAF commander, Maj. Gen. Amiram Nurkin, who addressed the new pilots by saying: “For some months, your comrades have been flying air strikes across the Middle East showing enterprise and creativity. Before long, you too will be operating behind enemy lines.” And Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman wound up the speeches at the ceremony by saying: “If a new offensive is launched against us from the north, your performance will undoubtedly be exceptional. In the coming years, too, the air force will be the IDF’s spearhead. We are now facing challenges that are unprecedented in our experience.”


Rev Guards repair Syria’s Deir ez-Zour-Palmyra road – first link in Iran’s new transnational land corridor

Repairs are underway on the war-ravaged 200km long M20 road linking Deir Ez-Zour in eastern Syrian to Palmyra, DEBKAfile’s exclusive military sources reveal. This is the first road project undertaken by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) to consummate the transnational land corridor Iran has opened up from Tehran to the Mediterranean via Iraq and Syria. This important section of the corridor starts at a point near Syrian Abu Kamal and connects to Iraq’s Highway No. 1 and Baghdad to the east, and to the main Palmyra-Damascus highway to the west. When completed, the M20 will enable Iran to run military convoys from Iraq to Syria and on to Lebanon. (See DEBKAfile map)
Our sources report that the IRGC has already sent at least three test convoys through the road in the last few days, each of 15-20 military trucks with tarpaulin sheets concealing their freight. Their purpose was to find out if they were under US and Israeli surveillance and whether any attempt would be made to interfere with the traffic using the new route. But so far, neither the US nor the Israeli air forces have reacted to stop it.

The road was badly damaged in the fighting raging in the past six months to dislodge the Islamic State’s grip. But after the jihadists withdrew to western Iraq and no more than a few hundred were left in Syria, the IRGC got down to the repair work. Our sources report that the Guards’ construction branch Khatam al-Anbnia is employing Syrian firms for the project. It will have only two lanes and broad wayside bays for heavy convoys to make way for traffic coming from the opposite direction.
When the work is finished, Iran’s transnational land corridor will have gained access not just to the Mediterranean but to a vital foothold for keeping  Lebanon under constant IRGC oversight and control.

12-27-17 Endtime News Update

10 Injured After Explosion In St.Petersburg Shopping Mall

A week after Russian President Putin thanked US President Trump and the CIA for their warnings about a possible terror attack in St.Petersburg, TASS reports that an explosion in a storage locker in a busy supermarket in St. Petersburg has left 10 injured and dozens more evacuated.

The explosion occurred on Wednesday evening in the Perekrestok store in the shopping center on Kondratyevsky Avenue in the northern part of St. Petersburg. As reported by TASS in the main department of the Ministry for Emergency Situations in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, the place is pulled by the operational forces, the evacuation of the building has already been carried out.

“There was a clap in the building, the rescuers are already working on the spot, the evacuation is made, there is no fire,” the administration said.

The strength of the explosion is unknown.



2 more nations to move embassies to J’lem

The Trump Effect: After the US and Guatemala announce plans to move embassies to Jerusalem, two more countries poised to announce moves.

Following an announcement Sunday by Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales that his country has begun work to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the capital of Jerusalem, two more Latin American countries are poised to announce similar plans.



Stop using the word ‘occupation’

US ambassador to Israel reportedly calls on State Department to stop calling Judea and Samaria ‘occupied.’

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman recently asked the State Department to cease using the term ‘occupation’ to describe Israel’s presence in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem, according a report by Kan, the Israel Broadcasting Corporation.

According to the report, the State Department objected to the request, but eventually agreed to discuss the matter.

Ambassador Friedman described Judea and Samaria as being under an “alleged occupation” in an interview with the Jerusalem Post in September. Later that month, he stated that he believes Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are part of Israel.

“I think the settlements are part of Israel,” Friedman said in an interview with the Hebrew language Walla website.



Pope Francis laments ‘winds of war,’ calls for two-state solution in Mideast

Taking aim at Trump-linked hot spots in Christmas message, the pope also prays for end to confrontation on Korean Peninsula

Lamenting “the winds of war” blowing around the world, Pope Francis in his traditional Christmas message on Monday called for a two-state solution to find peace in the Middle East and prayed that confrontation can be overcome on the Korean Peninsula.

The pope took particular aim at areas of global tension where President Donald Trump is playing a critical role. Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has ignited new violence in the Middle East, while confrontation with North Korea over its nuclear tests has escalated tensions in Asia.

“The winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline,” the pope said in his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and to the world”) Christmas message and blessing from the central balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square. About 50,000 faithful packed the square.



Russia Establishes Two Permanent Bases In Syria To Host Nuclear Warships And Warplanes

Russia’s defense ministry has announced it is now in the process of establishing two permanent military bases in war-torn Syria after President Putin authorized prior deals with the Syrian government to move forward. Though Russia maintains merely up to ten military bases on foreign soil, the installations in Tartus and Khmeimim will be the most strategically located, allowing for a growing and permanent Russian presence on the Mediterranean, something which has already raised eyebrows in the West.

Though Putin formally announced the planned withdrawal of Russian forces from active operations in Syria in early December, there were parallel plans going back to at least early summer to maintain a smaller permanent presence based on an agreement with the Damascus government to host Russian forces for at least 49 more years, which includes the option of being prolonged further. Personnel and military hardware will be stationed at permanent Russian bases in Tartus and Khmeimim – both of which are on or near the Mediterranean.

Satellite image of Russia’s facility at Tartus Navy docks. Left: (Source: WikiMapia); Right: (Source: GoogleMaps)

According to Russian media reports, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated at a ministry meeting on Tuesday, “We have started the process of formation of our permanent forces [in Syria].” Though Tartus has operated as a Russian naval port since 1971 (referred to as a Material-Technical Support Point and not a “base”) and was until recently minimally staffed mostly by civilian contractors, it will reportedly undergo a massive transformation and expansion, which is to include the capability of hosting nuclear-powered ships.

Notably, though mainstream media is currently reporting the permanent Russian military presence as something “new” and dangerous in terms of an enduring Russian footprint in the Middle East, the Russian military relationship with Baathist Syria goes back decades into the Soveit era with the Tartus facility having been long key to Russian naval movements in the Mediterranean.

According a summary of the planned expansion in RT News:

Under the agreement with Syria, the future base would be allowed to host up to 11 Russian warships, including those with a nuclear power plant. At the moment there is only one Russian nuclear-propelled military surface ship, the 24,000-ton battlecruiser ‘Pyotr Velikiy’, although Russia will soon have a nuclear icebreaker – albeit which is unlikely to be given a mission in the Mediterranean – while a brand new Lider-class destroyer project is at the design stage.



Are The Banksters Creating Their Own Cryptocurrency Called “Utility Settlement Coin”?

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Independently-controlled cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin may or may not survive in the long run, but blockchain technology is definitely here to stay. 

This technology has revolutionized how digital financial transactions are conducted, and it was only a matter of time before the big boys began to adopt it.  Previously, I have written about how the Washington Post is hyping something known as ‘Fedcoin’, but Fedcoin does not yet exist.

However, a digital currency that uses blockchain technology that is called ‘Utility Settlement Coin’ is actually very real, and it is currently being jointly developed by four of the largest banking giants on the entire planet.  The following was recently reported by Wolf Richter

UBS, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, Santander, the market operator ICAP, and the startup Clearmatics formed an alliance in 2016 to explore the use of digital currency between financial institutions and central banks, using blockchain.


The ultimate goal of the project is to create a digital currency known as Utility Settlement Coin (USC), which will facilitate payment and settlement for institutional financial markets.

I decided that I had to know more about Utility Settlement Coin, and so I decided to go to the source.

This is what the official Deutsche Bank website says about Utility Settlement Coin…

USC is an asset-backed digital cash instrument implemented on distributed ledger technology for use within global institutional financial markets. USC is a series of cash assets, with a version for each of the major currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, CHF, etc.) and USC is convertible at parity with a bank deposit in the corresponding currency. USC is fully backed by cash assets held at a central bank. Spending a USC will be spending its paired real-world currency.


UBS and Clearmatics launched the concept in September 2015 to validate the potential benefits of USC for capital efficiency, settlement and systemic risk reduction in global financial markets. The project was initially incubated as part of the UBS Crypto 2.0 Pathfinder Program, UBS’s initiative for research and experimentation on blockchain.

This could ultimately turn out to be a complete and total gamechanger. 



Snowmageddon Dumps Record 60 Inches Of Snow On Erie, PA; “Declaration Of Disaster”

On Tuesday, the city of Erie, Pennsylvania signed a declaration of disaster emergency, after a two-day storm dumped 5-feet of snow. Heavy lake-effect snow set record-setting snowfall totals in the snow belts to the east of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

From 7 p.m. on Dec. 24 to 6:02 p.m. Dec. 26, Erie had received 60.0
inches of snow, which shattered numerous records for the region. Nearly
all of the snow fell on Monday and Tuesday.

AccuWeather Meteorologist Bill Deger said, “this is now the biggest two-day snow total on record for Pennsylvania, besting the old record of 44 inches, which was set in Morgantown from March 20-21, 1958.”

Dale Robinson, the county’s emergency management coordinator, said that the declaration will allow the National Guard to respond to the paralyzed region. Robinson adds the National Guard deployment is “really for precautionary measures for the additional amount of snow we think we’re going to get.”

Images posted on social networks showed a world covered in several feet of snow: 

Erie, PA: One resident’s house is barely recognizable with over 5-feet of snow.

Erie, PA: Brave man dreams about baseball in the chest-high snow.

Erie, PA: Resident is trapped within the home upon opening the door to over 5-feet of snow.

Erie, PA: Handrailings are barely recognizable

Erie, PA:  Erie News Now’s vehicles are not going anywhere. Sorry, no news today.

Erie, PA: Clearing a pathway through the front yard never looked so hard.

Erie, PA: One resident might have to file for disability after shoveling 5-feet of snow from their driveway.

As of Wednesday morning, NWS Cleveland reports additional snow will accumulate through the day with temperatures ranging from -5 and -10 degrees F. So far no sign of global warming…



New UFO Group Staffed With Deep State Spooks Scheming Another Threat to Take Your Freedoms?

That may sound like a misguided question. But let’s look at Tom DeLonge’s company, currently acting as a conduit for new UFO revelations.

DeLonge, a famous musician (Blink-182, Angels and Airwaves) has surrounded himself with high-level spooks from the CIA and the military, in his new venture, To the Stars Academy.

One of his lead collaborators is Luis Elizondo, who was the Pentagon chief of a secret program (2007-2012) to study and explore UFO activity. Elizondo is now the point man for media, explaining the breaking news about a 2004 US military sighting of a UFO, and subsequent failed attempts to analyze materials from UFOs. He’s also hinting that alien UFOs are a potential threat to our safety, a threat we can’t ignore.

Every major press outlet in the world, starting with the NY Times, is covering this story.

Who are the players on De Longe’s team? Buckle up. The following quotes are from the Academy’s site:

Jim Semivan—“Mr. Semivan retired from the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations after 25 years as an operations officer, both overseas and domestically.”

Hal Puthoff—“Dr. Puthoff’s professional background spans more than five decades of research at General Electric, Sperry, the National Security Agency (NSA), Stanford University and SRI International. Dr. Puthoff regularly advises NASA, the Department of Defense and intelligence communities…”

Luis Elizondo—“Luis Elizondo is a career intelligence officer whose experience includes working with the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, the National Counterintelligence Executive, and the Director of National Intelligence. As a former Special Agent In-Charge, Luis conducted and supervised highly sensitive espionage and terrorism investigations around the world. As an intelligence Case Officer, he ran clandestine source operations throughout Latin America and the Middle East.”

Chris Mellon—“He served 20 years in the federal government, including as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence in the Clinton and Bush Administrations.”

Paul Rapp—“His past honors include a Certificate of Commendation from the Central Intelligence Agency for ‘significant contributions to the mission of the Office of Research and Development’.” (Note: This office, ORD, was where the CIA’s MKULTRA mind control program secretly landed, in 1962, after it purportedly ended.)

Norm Kahn—“Dr. Kahn had over a 30-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency…”

Getting the picture?

Read more: http://joemiller.us/2017/12/new-ufo-group-staffed-deep-state-spooks-scheming-another-threat-take-freedoms/#.WkOdlRMslH0.twitter

The AI Economy Has Arrived


A Platform for the Decentralized AI Economy

SingularityNET, an OpenCog-affiliated project, is a free and open market for AI technologies, built on smart contracts. It allows for the creation, combination, and monetization of AI technologies at scale.
OpenCog is proud to be a part of this new open, decentralized marketplace for AI.
 Do you consent to A.I. taking over?
Say what? A.I. trading with A.I.? Yes, every corporation, military etc. is developing A.I. “to work for them?” And, they think that A.I. is controllable?

These Transhumanists believe that digital immortality and an artificial world is the “next step of human evolution”.

Without any regard for the Naturalists, for Natural Law, for the Earth; for Creation; for Life;

Already the A.I. is observing every one of us with smart technology; and, learning from us; plotting its next move; move over cabal; enter Mr Smith…

We are going to have to start notifying Transhumanists that they are leading ALL of humanity down a path of destruction, not “evolution”; watch The Matrix Trilogy again; someone must open a public forum on this matter; its a matter of Life and death…

Thinking machines will never have the Breath of Life; that is something that can never be manufactured; only mankind are living souls; that’s why we are so special and every THING wants a piece of us; heaven help us; in peace

The A.I. / Blockchain Connection.


Toward a cashless society – Government to limit cash transactions

Finance Ministry pushing to limit use of cash, checks between private individuals, businesses. Cash payments over $1450 to be banned.


Israel’s Finance Ministry is pushing to limit the use of cash in private business transactions, both between customers and businesses, as well as between private individuals.

Based on the findings of a July 2014 report by the Committee to Examine Reducing the Use of Cash in Israel’s Economy, headed by Harel Locker, the Finance Ministry is pushing to pass legislation which would cap the amount of cash private parties may use in monetary transactions of any sort.

Transactions between a business and an individual would be limited to no more than 5,000 shekels ($1,435), while transactions between two private individuals would capped at 25,000 shekels ($7,175).

The 2014 report, known as the “Locker Report”, was commissioned by the previous Netanyahu government in 2013, with the aim of finding ways to increase tax revenue and combating what it dubbed the “shadow economy”.

Major News Happening Today!


Pope Francis Welcomes Evangelical Leaders in Vatican to Discuss Religious Freedom

Leaders of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) met with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Thursday to discuss closer cooperation with the Catholic Church, particularly regarding issues of religious freedom and Christian persecution around the world.

The head of WEA, Bishop Efraim Tendero, spoke to Vatican Radio of his experience with ecumenical relations in his native Philippines, where there is strong practical cooperation on a number of shared moral issues.

Curiously, last summer, two close advisers of Pope Francis published an article criticizing historical relations between American evangelicals and Catholics in the United States, labeling their collaboration as an “ecumenism of hate.”

In an article in the Jesuit-run Italian journal La Civiltà Cattolica, Father Antonio Spadaro and Rev. Marcelo Figueroa decried those “who profess themselves to be Catholic” but express themselves in ways “much closer to Evangelicals.”

The authors found particularly upsetting that evangelicals and Catholics should work together on moral issues that they hold in common.

“They are defined as value voters as far as attracting electoral mass support is concerned,” the authors wrote, and engage in a dangerous “ecumenical convergence” over shared objectives “around such themes as abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in schools and other matters generally considered moral or tied to values.”

Particularly interesting in the light of the Pope’s meeting with evangelicals over the question of religious liberty was the harsh rebuke offered by Spadaro and Figueroa over common collaboration between Catholics and evangelicals in this area.

“The erosion of religious liberty is clearly a grave threat within a spreading secularism,” the authors stated. “But we must avoid its defense coming in the fundamentalist terms of a ‘religion in total freedom,’ perceived as a direct virtual challenge to the secularity of the state.”

Shortly after the article’s publication, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput issued a sharp criticism of the essay, saying that the authors were guilty of “dumbing down and inadequately presenting the nature of Catholic/evangelical cooperation on religious freedom and other key issues.”—— http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/12/15/pope-francis-welcomes-evangelical-leaders-in-vatican-to-discuss-religious-freedom/


Church hosts joint ‘celebration’ of Muhammad’s birthday and Christ’s Advent — and diocese defends it

A Church of England diocese is defending All Saints Church in Kingston-upon-Thames after it hosted a joint “celebration” of Islam’s prophet Muhammad, the Advent of Jesus and Christmas.

A Diocese of Southwark spokesperson said the event “enabled Christians, Muslims and others to meet together in order to promote better understanding, conversation, and relationships,” Premier reported. “It was not a service, and the event broke no Canon law.”—http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/12/18/church-hosts-joint-celebration-of-muhammads-birthday-and-christs-advent-and-diocese-defends-it


Things Are So Bad In This ‘Liberal Paradise,’ An American City Just Asked The UN To Send In Troops Over ‘Genocide’

Chicago has had some serious problems in the past.  It’s even been so bad that some politicians have recommended that the National Guard be brought in to help quell gun violence. But now, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin suggested that the UN send in peacekeepers in the face of what he terms “quiet genocide.”  

Boykin met with Oscar Fernandez-Taranco of Argentina.  Fernandez-Taranco is the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Support.  Boykin was seeking international help with “horrific levels of shootings” and other violent crimes in the West Side and South Side communities. 

“‘I’m hoping to appeal to the U.N. to actually come to Chicago and meet with victims of violence, and maybe even possibly help out in terms of peacekeeping efforts, because I think it’s so critical for us to make sure that these neighborhoods are safe,’ Boykin said at O’Hare International Airport on Thursday.”

Chicago and Cook County leaders have failed to protect many communities from violent crime. 

“‘There is a quiet genocide taking place in too many of our communities. Eighty percent of those who are being killed by gun violence are African-American, and often killed at the hands of another African-American,’ he said. ‘So we must protect these population groups, and that’s what the United Nations does. They’re a peacekeeping force. They know all about keeping the peace, and so we’re hopeful that they’ll hear our appeal.’”

Boykin believes that Chicago must “utilize every avenue” to protect its people from gun violence.

“‘They’ve been able to help in places like Africa and abroad, where they’ve sent troops in and sent forces in to help protect minority and vulnerable populations, and so quite frankly I think the same can be said for here in Chicago,’ Boykin said. ‘I’m talking about physical security. I’m also talking about maybe suggestions for what we can do in Chicago to help protect our minority populations. We’re being, again, decimated by the violence that we see here in Chicago. I mean this is really a genocide, and we have to do something to stop it.’”