Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Sunday that the deal reached in Geneva shows that the world powers have recognized Tehran’s “nuclear rights.” After the deal was signed, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi wrote on Twitter that Iran’s enrichment rights had been recognized in the negotiations. However, US Secretary of State John Kerry, in hailing the accord as contributing to world peace, denied to reporters that this was so, saying “The first step, let me be clear, does not say that Iran has a right to enrich uranium.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed that the world does recognize Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, including the right for enrichment. He advised “the US and European powers to ease up the pressure of sanctions, without waiting for UN Security Council decisions.” In the view of Lavrov “Considering the “whole body of circumstance,” there are no losers [in the Geneva deal], all sides are winners.” Debka
The US National Security Agency hacked more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide installing malware designated for surveillance operations, Dutch newspaper NRC reports citing documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The latest round of revelations comes from a document dating from 2012 that shows the extent of the NSA’s worldwide surveillance network. Published by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, it points out more than 50,000 locations, where the NSA used ‘Computer Network Exploitation’ (CNE) and implanted malicious software into the networks. According to the NSA website CNE “includes enabling actions and intelligence collection via computer networks that exploit data gathered from target or enemy information systems or networks.” Once the computer has been infected, the ‘implants’ act as digital ‘sleeper cells’ that can be remotely turned on or off with a single push of a button, the Dutch paper reported. The malware can remain active for years without being detected, the newspaper added. The malicious operations reportedly were carried out in many countries including China, Russia, Venezuela and Brazil. The hacking is conducted by the Tailored Access Operations (TAO), a special unit within the NSA tasked with gaining access to foreign computer systems. According to the Dutch media, one of the examples of the CNE operation is the reported attack against Belgian telecom company Belgacom that was discovered in September 2013. The attack was previously reported to have been carried out by British intelligence agency GCHQ that worked in cooperation with its American counterpart. More
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu characterized the agreement signed with Iran early Sunday morning as a historic mistake. Directly contrasting US President Barack Obama who praised the agreement as opening a “new path toward a world that is more secure,” Netanyahu – speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting — said the world has become more dangerous as a result. ”What was agreed last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement, it is a historic mistake,” he said. “Today the world has become much more dangerous because the most dangerous regime in the world took a significant step to getting the most dangerous weapon in the world.” For the first time, he said, the leading powers of the world agreed to uranium enrichment in Iran, while removing sanctions that it has taken years to build up in exchange for “cosmetic Iranian concession that are possible to do away with in a matter of weeks.” Netanyahu said the consequences of this deal threaten many countries, including Israel. He reiterated what he has said in the past, that Israel is not obligated by the agreement. ”Iran is committed to Israel’s destruction, and Israel has the right and the obligation to defend itself by itself against any threat” he said. “I want to make clear as the prime minister of Israel, Israel will not allow Iran develop a military nuclear capability.” More
Iran has stumbled from one economic crisis to the next under the sanctions, and unemployment currently runs over 24%. The breathing room is intended to buy Iran and the negotiating powers time to arrive at a more comprehensive agreement. But it represents an opportunity, not a guarantee. ”It’s a little too early to break open champagne bottles and put on the party hats on this one,” said Middle East diplomatic expert Aaron David Miller. Its success hinges on whether or not it leads to a bigger agreement to “put Iran’s nuclear weapons program to rest.” That the diplomats came to any accord at all represents a momentous budge in a nearly 35-year-long deadlock marked by distrust, suspicion and open animosity between the United States and Iran, which broke off diplomatic relations after Iran’s revolution in 1979. It was the first such agreement in 10 years of negotiation attempts over Iran’s nuclear program. ”What happened over the last several weeks is by any standard extraordinary,” Miller said. More
HILLARY CLINTON: We were in another one of these dramas in Washington — would we or would we not default on our debt? And all the business leaders wanted to talk to me about was, ‘was the United States going to default on its debt?’ And I kept saying, ‘Oh, of course not. We would never do that.’ And just hoping and praying that I was right.
What I saw, in that incident, was bewilderment. Like, how could the United States do that to itself? Especially countries that believe in our model, really cherish our values, want to be moving more toward our example. Fast forward, this last time — as I talked to people around the world — there was a sense like, ‘if you guys can’t get your act together, we need to de-Americanize the world.’ Which was a phrase used by a high-ranking Chinese official. That is not good news for us. That is a very unfortunate conclusion. So we have to pull ourselves together. We have to stand up, solve our problems. Everybody is not going to get everything they want. We have to get back to good old fashioned compromise and we have to make those decisions that reassure America’s leadership at home and abroad. Real Clear Politics
PORTLAND, Ore. – A Christian organization in Oregon has filed a ballot initiative that would protect business owners against lawsuits and other penalties in the event that they decline to directly or indirectly participate in a same-sex “wedding.” The Oregon Family Council filed the proposal, entitled the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative, on Thursday in light of the lawsuits and complaints lodged in recent months against several bakers, florists and photographers in the nation. Earlier this year, the Christian owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham were placed under investigation after they declined to make a cake for a lesbian ceremony. The business states that it was soon forced to close its doors and operate from home due to protests and harassment from homosexuals. “This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong,” owners Aaron and Melissa Klein wrote on a note taped to the bakery door upon closing. “The LORD is good and we will continue to serve HIM with all our heart.” More
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Saturday the United States is “deeply concerned” over China’s move to establish an air defense zone over a string of disputed islands in the East China Sea. “We view this development as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region,” Hagel said in a statement. “This unilateral action increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations.” The Associated Press reports that the Chinese Defense Ministry issued a map showing the new East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, which encompasses what the Chinese call the Diaoyu islands.
The move is seen as an aggressive step against Japan, which bought what it calls the Senkaku islands from private owners in 2012. The islands are uninhabited, but are believed to rest near large underwater oil reserves. Taiwan also claims possession of the islands. Hagel said the map will have no effect on how the United States conducts military operations in the area, and that concerns are being conveyed to China “through diplomatic and military channels.” Hagel also said the United States believes that the Senkaku islands are included as part of Japan in the U.S. Japan Mutual Defense Treaty. In a separate statement, Secretary of State John Kerry urged China to exercise restraint with foreign aircraft that don’t identify themselves inside the air defense zone. ”Escalatory action will only increase tensions in the region and create risks of an incident,” Kerry said. “Freedom of overflight and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace are essential to prosperity, stability, and security in the Pacific.” Politico
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Thousands of people gathered Saturday in the northwestern city Peshawar to protest American drone strikes inside Pakistani territory and vowed to stop NATO supply trucks unless the attacks stopped. The protest rally was organized by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the political party of the opposition leader Imran Khan, an outspoken critic of American drone strikes and the Pakistani military’s presence in the country’s border areas, where Taliban and Al Qaeda militants have long found a haven.
Addressing a crowd of 10,000 to 13,000 flag-waving party workers and supporters from two allied political parties, Mr. Khan accused the United States of sabotaging peace talks with the Taliban. “There can be no peace unless drones are stopped,” he said. Pakistani politicians from across the political spectrum denounce the drone attacks as a violation of the country’s sovereignty. Pakistani officials have regularly condemned the strikes in public while, in the past, endorsing them in private. But increasingly the drone campaign has strained relations between Pakistan and the United States. The opposition against the American drone strikes reached its loudest pitch on Nov. 1, when a missile strike killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban. Mr. Khan and Nisar Ali Khan, the country’s interior minister, contended that the government had been about to enter into peace talks with the insurgents and that the killing had jeopardized the nascent peace process. More
‘Velvet revolution’: Thousands of Moldovans rally against pro-EU govt, ‘forced bondage’ of Euro-integration
Thousands of anti-EU protesters have rallied in the capital of Moldova demanding the dissolution of parliament which they accuse of violating the constitution by “ignoring public opinion” and “secretly” discussing integration with the EU. The massive protest was organized by the oppositionist Communist Party which claimed attendance of more than 50 thousand people. Other sources estimate that only around 15 thousands protesters flocked to the main square of Chisinau. The authorities applied extra measures to stop additional crowds of protesters from reaching the capital, local media reported. Authorities were accused of using unprecedented steps to prevent the action, through stopping and collecting and registering data of drivers and the license plates of vehicles carrying protesters from country’s regions to Chisinau.
The opposition movement had arranged buses from the regions under the “campaign to Chisinau”slogan to participate in the main protest, claimed by the Communist Party as a “velvet revolution.” “Before signing the agreements in Vilnius, the government is secretly holding talks with EU, ignoring public opinion, the Parliament, thus flagrantly violating the Constitution. Moldova is able to build its own democratic state without imposing West European standards,” the country’s former President and Communist leader Vladimir Voronin said at the rally, warning of government’s plans to negotiate a deal with the EU at a summit in Lithuania next week. More
STUART, Fla. – As the American dream of prosperity and security continues to fade for millions of citizens, many are uncertain where they can turn these days for hope and help. That has prompted some to go back to … the Beginning. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth!” shouted Eula Clarke, mayor of Stuart, Fla., who commenced the 13th annual Bible Marathon from a public band shell in her hometown Wednesday night. Clarke is among hundreds of people who are voicing every verse of Holy Scripture from a King James Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, over the course of 90 hours until this Sunday.
In 15-minute increments, readers of all ages are speaking into a microphone connected to loudspeakers facing eastward across the Atlantic Ocean toward Jerusalem, making it abundantly clear they want God’s Word to be heard in the public arena. The governments of the City of Stuart and Martin County in which it sits have both issued official proclamations celebrating this Bible Marathon. Clarke told WND: “It’s a part of our Constitution that we have the right to free speech, the right to have our religion, and it’s a good thing that there are people standing up who want to do this and that we have the ability to facilitate it at the city. And I think it’s a good thing for our community.” More
The potentially dazzling Comet ISON is currently visible to the unaided eye — a milestone for the comet’s much-anticipated pass through the inner solar system — but its future all depends in how it reacts to a close Thanksgiving encounter with the sun, comet observers say. Comet ISON can be seen low in the southeastern sky an hour before dawn, weather permitting, but it is en route for an extremely close flyby of the sun on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28). Will it break apart due to the sun’s gravity and heat, or will the comet emerge victorious from its solar rendezvous and shine bright in the night sky? No one knows for sure yet, said Alan MacRobert, senior editor for Sky & Telescope magazine, in a skywatching guide this week. ”We might witness a nice, long-tailed comet visible to the naked eye that will leave millions of people with fond memories for a lifetime,” MacRobert said. ”Or maybe it will be a small comet for sky hunters using binoculars and a good map of its position. Or it might yet break up and vanish.” [How to See Comet ISON: An Observer’s Guide] Comet ISON’s nucleus, or core, will have to survive its closest encounter with the sun on Nov. 28 around 2 p.m. EST. (1900 GMT) Surface temperatures are expected to peak at 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit (4,900 degrees Celsius). That’s hot enough to melt iron, let alone the ices that make up the comet’s core. More
New Delhi – Hundreds of thousands were evacuated as a severe cyclone slammed into southeastern India Friday, packing strong winds and torrential rains and killing at least two people, according to officials. ”Cyclone Helen has made landfall,” an official with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) told AFP, as rains lashed Andhra Pradesh, disrupting life and snapping communication lines.
Two people were killed by falling trees in the storm that comes a month after a cyclone left at least 18 people dead and a trail of destruction along coastal Andhra Pradesh and in the eastern state of Orissa. Disaster authorities expect “high rainfall during the next 24 hours” in three coastal districts of cyclone-prone Andhra Pradesh, said the disaster management official. The cyclone was expected to be downgraded into a “deep depression” later Friday, the official said. State authorities have evacuated hundreds of thousands of people out of the storm’s path and rushed emergency services into areas reeling from the high winds and heavy rains. More
NASA spotted Comet ISON coming on strong on Thursday. An awesome set of images shows Comet Encke, its tail wriggling, along with Mercury and Earth. Then ISON enters the field. It looks like a comet race. It’s evidence, the space agency says, that ISON is still intact and hasn’t splintered as it approaches the sun. A camera on NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory captured the action Thursday. Watch the tails of the comets below. Solar wind, the particles that stream outward from the sun at 1 million miles per hour, make the comets’ tails move.
Double Comets: Battams points out another exciting development: Comet Encke and Comet ISON are converging for a photogenic close encounter. “No they’re not going to hit each other – in reality they are millions of miles apart – but as seen from the STEREO-A spacecraft, they are going to get very close!” he says. “We are probably a couple of days away from seeing two comets almost side-by-side in that camera, with long tails flowing behind them in the solar wind. To say that such an image will be unprecedented is rather an understatement.” Stay tuned for that. – Extinction Protocol
CHINA – The Chinese Defense Ministry on Saturday issued a map of an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone that includes a chain of disputed islands also claimed by Japan, triggering a protest from Tokyo. Beijing also issued a set of rules for the zone, saying all aircraft must notify Chinese authorities and are subject to emergency military measures if they do not identify themselves or obey orders from Beijing. It said it would “identify, monitor, control and react” to any air threats or unidentified flying objects coming from the sea. The rules went into effect Saturday. In Tokyo, Junichi Ihara, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, protested by phone to China’s acting ambassador to Japan, Han Zhiqiang, saying the zone is “totally unacceptable,” according to a ministry statement. Ihara also criticized China for “one-sidedly” setting up the zone and escalating bilateral tensions over the islands. Both Beijing and Tokyo claim the islets, called Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese.
Protests erupted throughout China last year to denounce the Japanese government’s purchase of the islands from private ownership. A rising economic and military power, China has become more assertive over its maritime claims. It has been in disputes with several neighboring countries over islands in the East and South China seas. “By establishing the air-defense zone Beijing has … potentially escalated the danger of accidental collisions between the Chinese military and the U.S. and Japanese counterparts,” said Tomohiko Taniguchi, a counselor in the office of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “It poses a serious challenge against freedom of movement in the sky and in the seas.” China said the zone is in line with the practice of other nations that have similar zones to protect their coasts. The new zone overlaps with Japan’s existing zone, which also includes the disputed islands. “This is a necessary measure taken by China in exercising its self-defense right,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun was quoted as saying on the ministry’s website. “It is not directed against any specific country or target. It does not affect the freedom of over-flight in the related airspace.” South Korea and Taiwan also claim the barren, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. Extinction Protocol
A powerful storm system that has caused hundreds of accidents across the Western U.S. has marched eastward with predictions of widespread snow, freezing temperatures and gusty winds. The fierce weather has caused at least eight deaths and prompted advisories Saturday afternoon in New Mexico and Texas. As thick, gray clouds covered the Southwest, forecasters said the storm would sweep across the South and toward the Atlantic coast next week, causing problems for holiday travelers. Joe Harris, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the “Nordic outbreak” will “produce a mixed bag of wily weather that will end up impacting much of the nation.” In New Mexico, authorities and residents braced for the second hit of a one-two punch that had already blanketed parts of the state with snow and freezing rain and caused a rollover accident that killed a 4-year-old girl in the eastern part of the state. Three other storm-related deaths were reported Saturday in a crash in the Texas Panhandle involving nearly a dozen vehicles. In California, where the storm system hit first, prompting flooding and water rescues in recent days, three deaths have been linked to the storms since Thursday, as authorities found one body near downed power lines, one man crashed his vehicle into a tree and a woman was killed when a tree fell on a parked car. More
Iran is planning to construct two new nuclear power plants in the near future, the Fars News Agency quoted a senior Iranian nuclear official as saying Saturday. “The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) has put construction of the second and third (nuclear) power stations on its agenda due to the government’s programs and the emphasis laid by the President (Hassan Rouhani),” Fars quoted AEOI Deputy Chief Hossein Khalfi as saying. Iran currently has one such operational nuclear power plant at Bushehr. The announcement came as Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers were negotiating a deal in Geneva that would see Tehran curb its controversial nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Iranian officials said in April that they planned to build more nuclear reactors at the Bushehr site, which is located in a highly seismic area on Iran’s Gulf coast and began operations in 2011 after decades of delays. The Bushehr site is capable of holding six power reactors and Tehran has identified 16 sites elsewhere in the country suitable for other atomic plants. The Russian-built plant is estimated to cost some $11 billion over four decades, making it one of the world’s most expensive plants. More