The 1990 holiday hit film starring Macaulay Culkin celebrates its 25th anniversary this fall and returns to select theaters for two nights Nov. 8 and 11.
- Published in Culture
The 1990 holiday hit film starring Macaulay Culkin celebrates its 25th anniversary this fall and returns to select theaters for two nights Nov. 8 and 11.
A campaign has been launched by the opponents of the agreement between the United States and Iran accusing Russia of intending to annex Syria by military force, as it had done in Crimea. In reality, Moscow is applying UNO resolutions and preparing an operation against the jihadists, and will go ahead with or without the consent of Washington. Already, the White House has organised a joint operation by the international Coalition and Syria. France is attempting to jump on the bandwagon, hoping at the same time to sabotage the US / Iran reconciliation.
The preparation for Russian military deployment in Syria continues, provoking the anger of the West. The announcement that I made in my weekly chronicle for Al-Watan - which concerned the creation of a Joint Syro-Russian Military Commission, the transmission of Russian satellite intelligence, the arrival of numerous Russian experts, and the delivery of weapons which are more sophisticated than in previous deliveries - caused a storm when it was confirmed by the Israeli sites Ynet and DebkaFile. I later added the modernisation and extension of Lattakia airport.
However, yet again, the Israeli journalists have distorted reality. They led the reader to suppose that Russia was going to deploy its aviation and its infantry to defend a Syrian government which was close to defeat. Certain commentators, noting the possible transfer from Sebastopol of the 810th Brigade of the Russian Marines, mentioned the example of Crimea, and spoke of a possible Russian military annexation of Syria .
So all this, of course, is a lie. The Russian Federation continues to seek a political solution to the inter-Syrian conflict by organising a dialogue between the government and its opposition, thus applying the Geneva Communiqué of the 30th June 2012.
Simultaneously, responding to the appeal by the Syrian Arab Republic within the framework of the pertinent resolutions of the Security Council, the Russian Federation is considering following the example set by the US-led Coalition against Daesh, and launching its own operation against the jihadists.
Russia so informed the United States emissary, Michael Ratney, during his journey to Moscow on the 28th August. Besides this, Sergey Lavrov has publicly called for coordination with the United States Army in order to combat the jihadists.
And this is precisely what scares the Petraeus-Allen-Clinton-Feltman-Juppé-Fabius clan. In Syria, there is a gulf between reality and media fiction, and as always in this type of situation, with the passage of time, the producers of propaganda become ensnared in their own rhetoric and, finally, are intoxicated by their own lies.
The Russian Federation is not planning to « reduce » Daesh, but to vanquish all jihadists, whether they claim to be members of the Islamic Emirate, al-Qaïda, the Islamic Front or any other organisation. As a result, everyone now realises that there is no armed anti-government group which is not linked to the jihadists. This is true to the point that the Pentagon recognises that it has no further conatct with the « moderate rebels » which it had formed to fight against Daesh, because all of them without exception have now joined al-Qaïda. The Syrians who had joined with foreign combatants at the beginning of the war have now reintegrated the Republic, via the numerous reconciliation agreements which have been implemented by the government over the last three years, or else have adopted the objectives of the jihadists.
Consequently, if they decide to act, the Russians will be attacking all of the armed groups which are currently spreading terror in Syria. The West will no longer be able to hide the fact that the « National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces », which they recognised as the representatives of the Syrian people, in fact supports the jihadists. They will therefore be obliged to take into consideration the political parties of Syria, including those who are allied with the Baath party to fight the jihadists.
A complete diagnostic error
The Western powers, who closed their embassies and thereby deprived themselves of all possibility of analysing what is going on in the country, have committed several errors of judgement. They know nothing about how Syrian society has been transformed by four years of war.
First of all, while there is of course a certain amount of political conflict in Syria, there is no civil war. Almost all citizens positioned themselves behind their President el-Assad against the foriegn aggression which threatens the survival of the Levant.
The Atlantist Press estimates that the régime only controls 20 % of its territory, and that it will soon collapse. Of course, inhabitable Syrian territory is restricted, while the desert is vast. The Republic chose to defend its populations rather than its territory, with its fields of much-lusted-after gas and oil. From the governmental point of view, 20 % of the population has been obliged by the fighting to seek refuge abroad, 75 % is under the protection of the Republic, and a maximum of 5 % occupies the vast territories controlled by the jihadists.
Secondly, while in 2011 many people still believed in the myth of the « Arab Spring », this is no longer true today. The State Department’s project to install the Muslim Brotherhood in power throughout the Arab world has fizzled out. The Egyptian scenario acts as a foil. Following operation « Damascus Volcano » of July 2012, the conflict has become a jihadist war. The choice is no longer for or against the Baathist Nationalist Party, but for or against modernity. The jihadists defend a model of society governed by polygamous males, in which women can leave their homes only if they are veiled and escorted by a man of their family, in which homosexuals are put to death, in which only Islam is authorised, and in which Wahhabist practises are obligatory. It is already surprising that 5 % of the population accept to live in zones occupied by jihadists, and it is absurd to hope that their number may grow.
By clinging to the myth of the « Arab Spring », which they themselves created and then destroyed, the Western powers have lost touch with reality. They pretend to be supporting a democratic movement hostile to President el-Assad. But apart from the fact that in time of war, democracy looks like a luxury, not only do the democrats support President el-Assad against the jihadists, but he appears to be their safest bet.
By drawing its information exclusively from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Atlantist Press has chosen to intoxicate itself and public opinion. The SOHR is not a neutral association, but a propaganda arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the matrix for all jihadist groups. All their leaders are either present members or ex-members of the Muslim Brotherhood, from Ayman al-Zaouahiri to Zahran Allouche. Today, the Western powers are paying the consequences of four years of propaganda.
The case of France
President Hollande has announced that he will authorise his troops to fly over Syrian territory in order to accumulate information about Daesh, and that later, he may authorise them to bomb the jihadist organisation.
This announcement seems like a desperate piece of pantomime. Indeed, François Hollande justifies his statement by stating the impossibility of fighting effectively against Daesh by bombing them only in Iraq ; but this is precisely the argument which President Obama had used to convince him in 2014, and which he had at that time rejected. In the same way, he is bragging rather ridiculously when he claims that these airborne operations had begun on the 8th September - on that day there was a sand-storm of historic proportions over all the Near East, which disabled electronic navigation systems and made it impossible for aircraft to take off. Above all, he shows rare bad faith by declaring that the Syrian Arab Army will not destroy French aircraft because they no longer control the North of the country, while he had in fact secretly sent a military ambassador to Damascus in order to obtain permission to make the necessary flights.
Obama pursues the application of the Lausanne agreement
However, it seems that France has calculated the consequences of the agreement signed by Washington and Teheran on the 14th July in Lausanne, and does not wish to be left isolated in a Near East which is in a state of total reorganisation.
While the international anti-Daesh Coalition has made absolutely no stand against the Islamic Emirate over the last year, either in Iraq or in Syria, but on the contrary, has dropped massive and repeated supplies of arms to them, President Obama gave the order that it should help the Syrian Arab Republic to defend Al-Hasakah.
On the 27th and 28th July, the two forces joined to push back Daesh. Coalition bombings killed about 3,000 jihadists.
Logically, the next stage should be to include Russian Forces in the anti-Daesh Coalition, but it seems improbable. Indeed, the US and French officials who are opposed to peace with Iran mean to spread the chaos not only to the Levant, but also to North Africa and the Black Sea. These are the same people who are accusing Russia of wanting to « save Assad » from the « Arab Spring ». So we shall probably witness the bombing of Daesh by two distinct Coalitions, or even, in the long run, a differentiation of the roles, where the United States takes care of Iraq and Russia takes care of Syria.
President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the United States will look for opportunities in Cuba "step by step" in areas such as telecommunications until the U.S. Congress lifts the trade embargo on the island nation.
Obama told a group of U.S. business leaders that he does not expect "overnight transformation" in Cuba but said reopening diplomatic ties with the country will create the opportunity for "generational change."
Activists from the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico will star in this capital from today until Friday, Sept. 18, the Days of Action Against the Blockade, to denounce the political history of sanctions imposed by Washington to Havana.
Convened by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity to the Peoples and IFCO/Pastors for Peace, the solidarity campaign will aim to carry out about 44 visits to offices of the U.S. Congress -37 from representatives, and seven of senators- with a view to advocate for the cessation of the commercial and financial blockade of more than 50 years against the neighboring island.
According to organizers, those actions will be supported by groups of solidarity with Cuba in other U.S. cities and also in countries such as Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Among the solidarity figures with the Caribbean nation who will attend the event this week in Washington DC are writers and academicians Stephen Kimber, John Kirk, and Arnold August, from Canadian.
Also on the list are Puerto Rican independence leader Rafael Cancel Miranda, and Jan Susler, lawyer of also Puerto Rican patriot, Oscar Lopez Rivera, a prisoner in this country for more than 34 years.
Religious people, social activists, lawyers, trade unionists and graduates from the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba also will join to the claim of lifting the blockade, a policy President Barack Obama has acknowledged as failed, and on which he has asked to open a debate in the Congress .
The agenda of activities includes tributes to close activists to Cuba, such as Saul Landau and Lucius Walker, leader of Pastors for Peace.
In a speech delivered last Saturday in Miami, the candidate for the Republican Party to the presidential elections in U.S. in 2016, Jeb Bush, urged Washington to recapture the world “leadership” in order to achieve global stability so that Cuba and Venezuela can be “free”.
“Think of all those people yearning after freedom, needing desperately the U.S. leadership. Think of all those people in Cuba and Venezuela”, stated the former governor of Florida during his campaign office in Miami.
“He also felt sorry” about the fact that the U.S. “is no longer a respected country” and, in that regard, he highlighted that once in office, “he will work” to restore the lost leadership because “the stronger we are, the safer”.
In spreading such message loud and clear, the new political offspring in the Bush dynasty, unbuttoned his shirt to show a t-shirt with the names of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, president and vice-president of the U.S. 1981-1989, respectively.
“That’s the team I believe in, the team of Reagan and Bush, because they were the ones who kicked out the Soviet Union and we were stronger”, said the politician, who was governor of Florida in the period 1999-2007.
That’s the very same team, by the way, which led the invasion of Grenada, Panama, and organized contra groups in Central America, and unleashed the Desert Storm. Would it be true that Miami’s favorite candidate see the word leadership the same way his brother did? Let’s not forget torturer George W. Bush used as an excuse war on terror to invade Iraq and Afghanistan.
Let’s think, above all things, of those people (mostly civilians), who have lost their lives so that the U.S. could show the world, as chauvinist Jeb Bush wants, its “strength” and “safety”.
Except for Jeb Bush, no one doubts the worldwide leadership the Empire has. However, they have changed missiles for bloodless coups in recent times, especially in Latin America. This is the case of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, and even Cuba, a country with which they have resumed relations without lifting the blockade, and they have not stopped sending money to internal subversion either.
The Empire leadership is more visible after what occurred in Ukraine or the migratory wave striking Europe after the failure of the so-called Arab Springs’ experiment and the endless dirty war against Syria.
Only the Cuban-born extremists and annexionists in Miami —Major of Miami Dade County Carlos Gimenez, Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen were part of the crowd— believe the Empire is declining and therefore, applaud with enthusiasm the delusions of fascist supremacy of their new Super Reagan.
Cubasi Translation Staff
The pool phase closed successfully in both venues, the High Performance Centre and the State Auditorium at FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship.
Russia had another unstoppable performance. This time the defending champions won in three sets against the United States and closed as leader in Pool B.
The team coached by Mkhail Nikolaev showed a dominant and powerful performance by winning with scores of 25-17, 25-17 and 25-15. Maxim Belogortcev and Sergei Pirainen scored 10 points apiece for the Russian team while Jeffrey Jendryk closed with 9 for The United States.
Brazil 3-1 China
Brazilians were also among the teams that kept their undefeated streak on the first round. The squad coached by Leonardo Carvalho prevailed over China in four sets, after the Asians had a third set comeback. Scores were 26-24, 25-22, 23-25 and 25-22. Libin Liu scored 17 points for China as best scorer of the match, followed by Zhejia Zhang with 15, the same number of points tallied by Brazilian Rodrigo Leao, while Douglas Souza finished with 14 as well as Caio Oliveira.
Brazilian defense was key with 39 digs registered during the match, despite the 13-7 blocking advantage managed by China. Brazil also closed with 10 collective aces against 6 by China.
Turkey 3-0 Egypt
In Tijuana Turkey clinched a berth to the next round at FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship and even got the honors to finish the first phase as one of the most consistent teams. Actions on Sunday began with the Turkish victory over Egypt (30-28, 25-15, 25-18). Yasin Aydin commanded the actions for Turkey by totalizing 16 points, while Osman Cagatay Durmaz closed with 8. Saad Ahmed scored 11 for Egypt, while Mohamed Seliman finished with 6.
Slovenia 3-2 France
Slovenia showed their quality as part of the best European teams of the competition by defeating France 3-2 (25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 23-25, 20-18).
Ziga Donik registered 22 points for the Slovenian squad, while Toncek Stern tallied 19. Jan Kozamernik had 15 points and Matej Kök scored 13 units, as the Balcanic team finished with four players with double digit.
Jean Patry had his best performance at the tournament with 30 points for France. Timothée Carle played the first twe sets as substitute, but started in the last three to achieve 23 units. Unfortunately, France suffered their second defeat at the tournament.
Italy 3-1 Japan
Italy dominated Japan in four sets by scores of 25-20, 23-25, 30-28 and 25-12 and earned 9 points to finish ahead of Pool D. Tiziano Mazzone, Andrea Argenta and Oreste Cavuto were the top scorers of the Italian team. Mazzone tallied 14, while Argenta closed with 13 and Cavuto 12. On the Japanese side, Ataru Kumakura totalized 14 points. Yuki Higuchi finished with 13 and Taishi Onodera registered 10. Italy served well to control their Asian rival with a final 4-2 advantage and got 42 points by errors in 1 hour and 52 minutes.
Argentina 3-1 Poland
Argentina advanced to the second round of the FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship after prevailing over Poland in four sets (32-30, 16-25, 26-24, 25-20). Gaston Fernandez finished with 16 points, while Bruno Lima closed wiith 14, the same as Brian Melgarejo. Meanwhile, Joaquin Gallego tallied 11 units.
Bartlomiej Lipinski was the best scorer of the match with 21 points for Poland, that surrendered 31 by error, while Argentina gave up 25. Pawel Halaba had 16 kills and Polish captain Aleksander Sliwka recorded 13.
Iran 3-1 Cuba
Iran finally clinched their first victory at the FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship by defeating Cuba in three sets. The pupils of Farhad Nafarzadeh won 3-1 (18-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-18) in 1 hour and 41 minutes. Amin Esmaelilnezhad was the best offensive player of the Iranian team by scoring 20 points, 14 of them with powerfull spikes. He also recorded four points by blocking the Cuban attack and aced two times. Saeed Javaheri had 16 tallies, including 3 blocks and 2 aces. Cuba started the game well, but heir mistakes made them lost. Their best player was Luis Sosa doing a great job by scoring 12 points, while Osmany Uriarte tallied 10 units.
Canada 3-0 Mexico
Canada claimed their second victory and the second place of Pool A after defeating hosts Mexico 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-20).
The Canadian team had Ryan Nickifor as their best scorer with 23 points, followed by Brandon Koppers with 9. Ridl Alexis Garay was the best of Mexico with 11 points, while Alan Gabriel Martinez finished with 9 units.
Mexico surrendered 26 points in errors, while Canada gave up 18. Serving and blocking were two fundamentals things that the team coached by John Barrett worked on to grab the ticket as the only Norceca representative team in second round.
The bilateral commission was created Aug. 14. It will meet Friday to define the agenda of talks aiming to normalize relations.
The Cuba-United States Bilateral Commission will meet for the first time this Friday in Cuban capital Havana. According to a statement Tuesday by the Cuban Foreign Ministry, the talks will aim to “define” the issues up for discussion during the process of normalization of diplomatic relations between the countries.
The bilateral commission was created Aug. 14, during a visit to Havana by the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
“During the meeting this Friday, delegations from both countries will define the agenda of topics that will be discussed during this phase which was initiated after the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States last July 20,” the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a press released on their website.
The ministry went on to explain that the “Bilateral Commission will discuss new areas of cooperation for the benefit of both countries, also the dialogue regarding bilateral and multilateral issues, including those in which differences exist and other subjects with pending solutions between Cuba and the United States.”
The U.S. delegation will be chaired by the deputy assistant secretary for South America and Cuba with the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Edward Alex Lee, while the Cuban delegation will be presided over by Josefina Vidal, the Cuban Foreign Ministry's director-general for the United States.
Cuba and the United States announced the re-establishment of relations Dec. 17 after 54 years, and both countries re-opened embassies in each others’ capitals recently.
However, Cuba has insisted that for relations with the United States to be fully normalized Washington first needs to lift the unilateral blockade it imposed on the island nation more than five decades ago, which violates international law.
The government of President Raul Castro has also insisted that Washington return the territory in Cuba that the U.S. illegally occupies: Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. naval base and prison there holds captive dozens of people accused of terrorism.
Cuba is also asking Washington to end the illegal broadcast of radio and television to the island.
The New York Times shocked many a few days back when they updated that thorny issue.
They even wrote “it reached its highest in the last 20 years."
It quoted the statement of a spokesman from the repressive forces in New Orleans, Michael S. Harrison, who admitted they can no longer solve the situation.
To clarify his ideas he added that many of the murders take place indoors or cars.
According to Harrison, in the first eight months of the year there was a boost of homicides in several regions of the United States.
For example, in Milwaukee, 76% more than in the same period of last year, in St. Louis 60%, and in Washington a 44%.
Zack Beauchamp, expert on the matter, commented on August 27 that the crime rate in the U.S. is not higher to that of the rest of developed countries.
But, he warned, they can be more lethal, as when in 2012 the 29,7% of crimes were lethal.
A study published in 1999, by two professors from the university of Berkeley, Franklin Zimring, and Gordon Hawkins, contributed with interesting data in this respect.
Its strength in 2015, say his colleagues and other experts, still seems irrefutable.
The work of these professors named Crime is not the problem, and in its pages demonstrate that "most homicides cases occur starting from arguments among acquaintances."
A recent New York Times article, signed by Match Smith and Mónica Davey, estimates that we are witnessing a "strong turnaround" of cases where boys from poor neighborhoods turn to violence to solve their conflicts.
Specialists like Richard Rosenfeld, from the University of Missouri-St.Louis, think just like Zimring and Hawkins that the origin of the tragedy lies in the hundreds of millions of weapons in the private hands circulating in the United States.
Since it’s really easy to acquire them, - they add - any fight, even potential, can spin into a murder.
The tendency has not reached yet cities like Los Angeles or Newark, but "in several urban areas" it advances toward that from the 80’s and 90’s, thanks to a "towering number of weapons."
The White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, admitted a few days back at a press conference the lack of a legislation that can eliminate violence in the United States.
Although, he manifested, that there are common sense measures that can only be approved by the Congress.
Serious place to which, as it has been openly revealed, hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars have arrived to finance electoral campaigns for a few of its members.
The latter have been disclosed by political personalities like the former democratic president William Clinton, until decent journalists that still exist there.