theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Monday, July 31, 2017

Tent City? Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio Found GUILTY of Criminal Contempt.

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was convicted of crime for ignoring a judge's order.
Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found guilty on Monday of criminal contempt for defying a judge's court order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants. 
Arpaio, 85, was charged with misdemeanor contempt of court, declaring that he willfully defied a judge's order in 2011 and prolonged his patrols for another 17 months, Fox 10 Phoenix reported. 
He is expected to be sentenced on Oct. 5 and faces up to six months in jail if convicted, though some attorneys doubt Arpaio will face any jail time. 
Arpaio's lawyers argued that the former sheriff did not intend to break the law. The ex-lawman admitted to prolonging his patrols, but then blamed one of his former attorneys for not fully explaining the court order. 
However, prosecutors insisted that Arpaio ignored the judge's orders because the former sheriff was attempting to boost his 2012 campaign. 
"He wanted to raise money and win re-election, and it worked," prosecutor John Keller said.
Last week, Arpaio said he felt "optimistic" about his case. 
Arpaio's tactics over 24 years in office drew fierce opponents as well as enthusiastic supporters nationwide who championed what they considered a tough-on-crime approach, including forcing inmates to wear pink underwear and housing them in tents outside in the desert heat.
He was voted out of office in November 2016, defeated by little-known retired Phoenix police Sgt. Paul Penzone. 
The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Reactor Produces FOOD from ELECTRICITY

TAKE one serve of carbon dioxide. Apply high voltage. Wait a few weeks ... and you’ve got a high-protein meal. Could this be the food of our future?

This spoonful of single-celled protein powder is the product of carbon dioxide and electricity. It could free-up crop production used by livestock. Picture: Lappeenranta University of Technology

Jamie Seidel

TAKE one serve of carbon dioxide. Apply high voltage. Wait a few weeks ... and enjoy a meal of single-cell protein. It may not be a culinary delight, but it could feed our future.

The creation of artificial food out of thin air - with a few added microbes - is the result of a study by research groups in Finland.

And they say the Food from Electricity program is 10-times more energy efficient than the photosynthesis of plants.

Such protein powder is not about to garnish our plates.


A food replicator produces a fully-formed meal out of nowhere on Star Trek: Voyager. We're not quite there yet, but science has proven it can use electricity and carbon dioxide to make single-cell proteins.Source:Supplied

But it may soon be reducing the strain on our crops by providing an alternative source of fodder for animal feeds.

Ultimately, protein ‘reactors’ have the potential to create the building blocks of meals aboard long-duration space flights and as a rapid-response counters to famine.

“In the long term, protein created with electricity is meant to be used in cooking and products as it is,” says Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, principal scientist at VTT. “The mixture is very nutritious, with more than 50 per cent protein and 25 per cent carbohydrates. The rest is fats and nucleic acids.”


The protein’s greatest selling point is in its ingredients.

Sunlight. And carbon dioxide.

“In practice, all the raw materials are available from the air,” Pitkänen says. “In the future, the (solar powered) technology can be transported to, for instance, deserts and other areas facing famine. One possible alternative is a home reactor, a type of domestic appliance that the consumer can use to produce the needed protein.”

An array of coffee-cup reactors which, in the space of a fortnight, can produce a spoonful of single-celled proteins.Source:Supplied

The United Nations estimates about one in nine of the world’s population — or 795 million — are undernourished. Such technology could help alleviate this growing crisis.

It could do this by reducing livestock demand for grains. This also may help keep meat affordable as the world’s crops come under increasing pressure.

It takes four times as much energy to feed a chicken than the protein value carried in its flesh. When it comes to cattle, that ratio is 54:1, lamb 50:1, 14:1 for milk, 17:1 for pork and 26:1 for eggs.

So taking grains out of the equation represents a major freeing-up of food stock for human consumption.


The Finnish researchers say they also hope the technology will help reduce the need for land clearance, and allow existing crop zones to be reforested.

“Compared to traditional agriculture, the production method currently under development does not require a location with the conditions for agriculture, such as the right temperature, humidity or a certain soil type,” says Professor Jero Ahola of LUT.

A 'protein reactor' developed by Finnish scientists. It zaps into existence a powder which is 50 per cent protein, 25 per cent carbohydrate - with the rest made up of fats and nucleic acids.Source:Supplied

“This allows us to use a completely automatised process to produce the animal feed required in a shipping container facility built on the farm.”

It also does away with the resource and energy-intensive need for fertilisers and pest-controls.

“This allows us to avoid any environmental impacts, such as runoffs into water systems or the formation of powerful greenhouse gases,” he says.


While the energy efficiency of the process is reported to be 10 times better than photosynthesis, plenty of work remains to be done to make protein reactors commercially viable.

At the moment, the experimental coffee-machine sized benchtop facilities take about a fortnight to zap into existence one gram of protein powder.

Upscaling and speeding up the process is the next objective of the Finnish researchers.

“The idea is to develop the concept into a mass product, with a price that drops as the technology becomes more common, Professor Ahola says. “The schedule for commercialisation depends on the economy.”


TRANSFORMING the Military, One TWEET at a Time

Trump vowed to rebuild the military and that’s what he’s doing

Illustration on transsexuals in the military by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times
Illustration on transsexuals in the military by Alexander Hunter

Robert Knight

It took President Trump kicking a hornet’s nest to provide a moment’s distraction from the media’s obsession with all things Russian.
His tweeted reversal of President Obama’s transgender military inclusion mandate didn’t knock the Russians off the front pages or CNN for long. But it refocused the public on Mr. Trump’s signature promise to “make America great again.”
The abruptly issued order actually has little to do with sexual politics. It’s about restoring the singular purpose of the military, which is to wage wars and defend the nation. During the campaign, Mr. Trump vowed to rebuild the military, and that’s what he’s doing.
Anything that distracts from the military’s main mission or makes it harder for our troops to survive in combat is a stealth attack on our men and women in uniform. Mr. Trump made it clear that military readiness overrides all other considerations, including hurt feelings or threats by disappointed interest groups.
Here’s how the commander in chief deftly transformed the discussion about one of the left’s favorite social experiments:
“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” Mr. Trump said in several tweets. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
Cue the rage. CNN predictably whined that this announcement — according to unnamed sources — took the Joint Chiefs “by surprise,” something that never bothered CNN when Mr. Obama’s minions imposed his bizarre policies on the military.
It could not have been that much of a surprise given that Defense Secretary James Mattis had already ordered a six-month delay in implementing the Obama policy, under which recruitment of Corporal Klingers was to begin by July 1 with full inclusion by January 1, 2018.
The Army, Air Force and Marine Corps had sought a two-year delay in order to fend off the madness long enough to let sanity seep back in. As a hard-charging businessman, Mr. Trump apparently figured, “They’ve made their case, why wait?”
Among other things, this should help chaplains to breathe easier. Under Mr. Obama’s quisling commanders, they faced increasing pressure to abandon biblical morality and convert to New Age nonsense, all in the name of tolerance and inclusion.
Mr. Trump’s tweet also poked a huge hole in the left’s main argument for opening the military to anyone and everyone: We all deserve to serve.
At The Washington Post, columnist Dana Milbank darkly warned of “rebukes from pro-military Republicans who argue that all able-bodied, patriotic Americans should be allowed to serve.”
Really? I wonder where he found that phone booth full of them. Plus, there is no “right” to be in the military. Service is a privilege and a duty. Either way, it’s up to the armed forces to choose only those who will enhance military readiness, not detract from its deadly serious mission.
Even sports teams reserve the right to reject people who can’t help them win. Can you imagine telling the Washington Redskins that, henceforth, they have to suit up transgender cornerbacks or face fines?
With lives on the line and the nation’s defense in the balance, the military must enforce rigorous standards without worrying about social revolutionaries.
But back to the biggest point: Restoration, and with it, respect.
At the Veterans Administration, which suffered a string of scandals under the Obama regime, such as hundreds of veterans dying while awaiting medical care, change has come quickly under Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin.
Mr. Shulkin had served under Mr. Obama as undersecretary of health for veterans and is not a veteran. But as National Review’s Jim Geraghty has chronicled, he is doing what Mr. Trump promised: waking up the VA and giving veterans better health options.
By July 3, he had “fired 526 employees, demoted another 27, and temporarily suspended another 194 for longer than two weeks.” In April, the VA launched a website allowing veterans to compare wait times and view Yelp-style reviews of facilities.
Last year, the VA’s inspector general reported that “more than a third of calls were being shunted to backup call centers,” and that some wound up in voicemail or took a half-hour to answer. A new crisis line for vets struggling with PTSD, thoughts of suicide, or other mental stress is now answering “more than 90 percent of calls within 8 seconds.”
Imagine that, taking our veterans’ needs seriously.
Despite the progressive hysteria over the Trump tweets, it’s all about making America — and the military — great again.

Man ‘MARRIES’ His Laptop, SUES for State Recognition

Masterpiece Cakeshop baker Jack Phillips is again at the center of a civil rights fight after refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Chris Sevier says Mr. Phillips must be compelled to make cakes for him and his computer "bride." (Associated Press/File)

Alex Swoyer

Chris Sevier says that if same-sex couples are able to get married and demand that Christian bakers make them wedding cakes, then he should be allowed to marry his laptop and demand a cake to celebrate the union between one man and one machine.
The self-identified “machinist” says he married his laptop in a ceremony in New Mexico, and now he has sued to demand that a Colorado baker — who is already in court after refusing to bake for a same-sex marriage — must be compelled to make cakes for him and his computer “bride.” He also has filed a lawsuit demanding that Utah recognize his man-object marriage.
It’s the latest battlefront in an increasingly thorny area of law, after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
While legal analysts said the case is a stretch, a judge in Utah has allowed part of that lawsuit to proceed, and analysts concede that Mr. Sevier’s claims get to the heart of how far the 2015 Obergefell ruling stretches when it comes to nontraditional unions.
“If marriage based on self-asserted sex-based identity narratives is a ‘fundamental right,’ ‘individual right,’ ‘existing right,’ based on a ‘personal choice’ for homosexuals, then clearly it is also a ‘fundamental right,’ ‘individual right,’ ‘existing right,’ based on a ‘personal choice’ for polygamists, zoophiles and machinists,” Mr. Sevier and several self-identified polygamists said in their lawsuit against Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Colorado baker they are challenging.
Masterpiece Cakeshop baker Jack Phillips is slated for a day in the Supreme Court this year after justices said they would hear his appeal of a Colorado civil rights office that penalized him for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Now it’s Mr. Sevier and his cohorts — three polygamists — who said if Colorado can force Mr. Phillips to bake a same-sex wedding cake, then it also can make him bake a man-machine cake.
Mr. Sevier, whose law license has been put on “disability inactive status” in Tennessee, has a history of filing unusual challenges. Earlier this year, he sued four Democratic lawmakers for displaying rainbow flags in the hallways of their government office buildings.
Throughout the past year, he has filed lawsuits against officials in Kentucky, Texas and Utah in an attempt to legally wed his laptop.
Next up are lawsuits against Colorado and California, he says.
“While it is undisputed that self-identified gays, polygamists, zoophiles and machinists can have wedding ceremonies, the states’ selective legal recognition of gay marriage violates the establishment clause insurmountably,” Mr. Seviersays in his latest filing in the Utah case.
In the latest lawsuit against the Colorado bakery, Mr. Sevier asks a judge to rule that the baker discriminated against the plaintiffs and orders him to provide service to machinists and polygamists just as he would traditional couples, and to reward monetary damages in the amount of $75,000.
“The Plaintiffs also want to use the government to proselytize the Defendants into converting to their worldview in name of love and equality,” reads the complaint.
He told The Washington Times that the goal of his lawsuits is to have the courts act honestly and restore the integrity of the Constitution. Mr. Sevier said the issue should be governed by the First Amendment, not under the 14th Amendment as courts have held.
“The entire Constitutional narrative is the wrong one,” said Mr. Sevier. “The courts have been incredibly intellectually dishonest in these matters. They are perpetrating unbelievable amounts of malpractice.”
John Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University in California, said Mr. Sevier’s lawsuit against the Colorado baker could have merit under the reasoning of the 2015 Obergefell same-sex marriage ruling.
“Of course the suit is nonsensical, and I suspect the lower court will treat it as such. But then, so too was Obergefell’s holding that biological sex has nothing to do with marriage,” Mr. Eastman said.
But Robert Tuttle, a law professor at George Washington University, said he doubts the case would poke any holes in the legality of same-sex marriage because “by contrast, polygamy doesn’t involve the same type of claims of things that are outside people’s control.”
“There’s just no legal basis for these claims,” Mr. Tuttle said. “This is certainly attention-seeking.”

Sunday, July 30, 2017

One DAY a Week Wasted on PERSONAL Cellphone Use

Poor work habits permeate business and kill the bottom line. Business needs to enforce a 
NO CELLPHONE BAN to increase productivity

Gregory Bresiger

Answering that friend request while at work may not seem troublesome, but add up all the on-the-job smartphone screen time across the country and you’re talking $15 billion in lost productivity, a new study reveals.
The average office employee is spending about five hours a week on his or her cellphone on things that have nothing to do with the job, such as answering personal e-mail, according to the study, which was conducted for the staffing firm OfficeTeam.
Some workers are doing online shopping. Others are watching the highlights of last night’s Yankees or Mets game.
“If these numbers were true for every full-time worker in the US, that would add up to $15.5 billion in lost productivity every week due to professionals using their mobile devices for nonwork activities,” the study’s authors posit, using Department of Labor figures.
Some 600 workers and senior office managers were questioned at US companies with 20 or more employees. Besides using the cellphone to answer e-mails and sometimes visit social media sites, the employees also said they spent about 42 minutes a day on other personal tasks.
“All in all, the average employee could be wasting more than eight hours per work week on activities unrelated to the job,” according to the study.
Besides visiting social media sites, employees use their phones to visit sports sites, play mobile games, shop or go to entertainment sites.
Although both male and female workers were using a cellphone for personal tasks, the study found males (32 percent) more commonly check their non-work e-mail, while females (33 percent) more commonly check social media networks.
The survey also found that workers are increasingly using their cellphones to go to sites blocked at work.
“More than half of the professionals — 58 percent — often use their personal devices at work to visit pages that are banned by their company, a 36 percent jump from the 2012 survey,” according to the study.
The eight hours a week of lost productivity can have a dramatic effect on a business, an OfficeTeam executive said.
“It’s understandable that employees may occasionally use their mobile devices or attend to personal tasks during business hours. But these activities can easily become big distractions,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam.
Britton added, “To best manage their time, staff can take advantage of breaks during lunch and throughout the day to catch up on non-work e-mails or errands.”
Another OfficeTeam official noted that the use of cellphones and other mobile devices has become an integral part of the personal and professional lives of most people.
He argued that employers should understand that banning cellphones and other mobile devices is not a reasonable option, but that they should establish limits on their use.
“Employers,” said Daryl Pigat, a division director for OfficeTeam, “need to establish rules about where and when cellphones are permitted and when they are not.”


 Michael Goodwin

Early last week, a friend who is generally supportive of President Trump offered his view that the president had only one move remaining — firing special counsel Robert Mueller.
By week’s end, my friend had a different view: The president is in a box without a clear escape hatch. “I’m not sure how he gets out of this,” he said wearily.
Those conversations bookend the worst week of the Trump presidency, which ended with another shake-up. By removing Reince Priebus as chief of staff and replacing him with Gen. John Kelly from Homeland Security, Trump aims to bring a semblance of military order and discipline to the White House.
Given Trump’s respect for Kelly, the move could mark an important turning point in focusing the president’s time and efforts. Too many days have been squandered by leaks and conflicting and even contradictory messages.
But to understand the complexity of Trump’s challenge and the limits of what Kelly can fix, it is useful to divide the president’s problems into two baskets.
The first basket includes the low moments of last week — the collapse of the ObamaCare repeal effortAnthony Scaramucci’s profane attack on Priebus and Steve Bannon and the fact that Trump’s declaration of a ban on transgenders serving in the military caught the Pentagon off guard.
Kelly, if Trump lets him, could fix or prevent all that.
Yet as significant as those events were, the problems in the second basket are potentially more serious. They center on the rupture between Trump and leading Republicans over Mueller and the president’s battering of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Trump repeatedly calls the probe a “witch hunt” and has discussed firing Mueller, while most Republicans trust Mueller and are willing to let his investigation run its course.
Similarly, GOP leaders like and respect Sessions and believe Trump’s attacks on him are unfair. They don’t believe Sessions deserves to be fired.
One sign of the rupture came from Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary committee, who said in a Wednesday tweet that the panel’s schedule is set for the year and there is no time to confirm a new Attorney General.
The point was clear: Trump shouldn’t even think about firing Sessions.
The next day, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina upped the ante, saying, “any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency unless Mueller did something wrong.”
He added that he will introduce legislation to block any attempts to fire the special counsel without judicial review — and said he was certain all Democrats and many Republicans would support him.
The sense that Trump is being curbed and isolated was bolstered when bipartisan, veto-proof majorities in both houses agreed on legislation that requires congressional approval to lift the latest round of sanctions imposed on Russia. Until now, the president could unilaterally remove them.
Trump’s predicament recalls a scene in Ernest Hemingway’s novel, “The Sun Also Rises.”
“How did you go bankrupt,” one character asks another, who responds: “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
So it is with Trump. Problems, some of them self-inflicted, that looked temporary and manageable have been compounded over time and are reaching a crisis point. Most important, he is losing flexibility to act just as Mueller expands his probe into Trump’s business empire as well as his 2016 campaign.
Various reports say the special counsel, who is amassing a small army of prosecutors, is going through Trump’s career, including his taxes and property sales, to find any connections with Russians that might indicate collusion in the election.
I believe Trump is rattled by those reports and by the fact that one of his sons, Donald Trump Jr., and son-in-law Jared Kushner have been dragged before congress; both also are likely to be summoned by Mueller.
I also believe Mueller’s aggressiveness helps explain Trump’s stepped-up attacks on Sessions, whose recusal led to Mueller’s appointment.
When Sessions, citing Justice Department regulations, stepped aside from any matter involving the 2016 campaign, he put the power in the hands of his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller after Trump fired FBI director James Comey.
More than a month ago, I urged Trump to replace Sessions so he could have someone to oversee Mueller and keep him from going beyond the initial assignment. But the revolt by the former Alabama’s Senator’s colleagues has blocked that path, and Sessions has rejected invitations to resign.
Hence, the conclusion that the president is trapped with no protection or escape from Mueller.
Trump, of course, has been counted out many times in the last two years, but always managed to bounce back. He could do it again because he retains enthusiastic support among most of those who voted for him, and less White House chaos and a big victory on tax reform could fuel another comeback.
As a bonus, strong public support would keep congressional Republicans in his corner.
But the uncertainty about where Mueller is going and what, if anything, he is finding adds a unique dimension to Trump’s troubles. That’s what makes this situation so perilous.

The Republican ObamaCare CRACK UP

The party had a historic chance to act in the public interest. It failed.

Sen John McCain (R-AZ) leaves the Senate Chamber after vote on July 28, 2017.

The Editorial Board

After promising Americans for seven years that it would fix the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Party failed. This is a historic debacle that will echo politically for years.

A divided GOP Senate could not muster a majority even for a simple bill repealing the individual and employer mandates they had long opposed. Nor were they able to repeal the medical-device tax that some 70 Senators had gone on record wanting to repeal in previous Congresses.

The so-called skinny bill that failed in the Senate would have gone to a conference with the House, which had signaled its willingness to work out a compromise. That arduous process is the way the American legislative system works. A strong majority of the GOP caucuses on both chambers supported the effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare, but that was undone by an intransigent and petulant minority.

Where to begin in comprehending John McCain’s last-minute defection? Early Friday morning Senator McCain turned his thumb down on the bill, which doomed this long effort. Explaining that vote, Mr. McCain said the bill “offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens.” This is hard to credit, because his “no” has left the American people with ObamaCare in toto.

On Thursday, with three other Senators, Mr. McCain said he wanted assurances that House Speaker Paul Ryan would negotiate in conference. Mr. Ryan said he would, and the other three voted yes. Senator McCain nonetheless chose to cast the decisive vote that broke the GOP promise.

The Arizona Senator’s politics has always been more personal than ideological. His baffling, 11th-hour vote makes us recall Donald Trump’s infamous campaign slight about Mr. McCain’s war imprisonment. Whatever his motives, the greater shame is that his vote keeps the edifice of ObamaCare in place with all of its harm to patients, the health-care system and the national fisc.

There were many other contributors to this debacle. The Freedom Caucus dragged out the process in the House, which created time for opposition to build. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski betrayed her many previous votes and public statements. Two GOP Governors, Ohio’s John Kasich and Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, grandiloquently assaulted the bill for their own political gain, which made life difficult for their states’ Senators, Rob Portman and Dean Heller.

The Senate’s GOP moderates conspired to kill both a historic Medicaid reform and repeal of ObamaCare’s myriad taxes. Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee worked to defeat Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s compromise draft to no good end. We cannot recall a similar effort by so many to subject their own party to such an abject public humiliation.

Mr. Trump in a tweet blamed the three GOP Senators who voted no, but he was also an architect of his own defeat. Mr. Trump was elected in no small part on his promise to do big deals like this one. In the end he couldn’t close. He never tried to sell the policy to the American public, in part because he knows nothing about health care and couldn’t bother to learn.

His chaos theory of White House management, on morbid public display this week, also means no one on Capitol Hill knows who is in charge. As his approval rating sinks below 40%, few in politics fear him and increasingly few will step forward to defend him.

What next? The Senate failure has burned the reconciliation process available from last year and thus the ability to pass anything with 50 votes. The next reconciliation bill is earmarked for tax reform, if the hapless GOP can first pass a budget outline. Meanwhile, the ObamaCare exchanges will continue to deteriorate. This means the Trump Administration will face a choice of how much money to spend to keep some of them from collapsing. HHS Secretary Tom Price can give insurers more flexibility, but premiums will keep rising while choices for consumers decline.

The Republicans who did so much to kill repeal and replace will now clamor for bipartisan action. And it would be nice to think Democrats would meet Mitch McConnell halfway. But Democratic leader Chuck Schumer knows he has Republicans on the run, and his price for 60 votes will be a costly bailout of ObamaCare, which liberal health-care academics are already proposing. Good luck repealing the law’s mandates and taxes, or deregulating insurance markets.

Mr. Schumer knows that a “bipartisan” Senate insurance bailout will further divide the GOP and put the House on the spot if it fails to go along. With the House majority in jeopardy in 2018, Speaker Ryan could face an excruciating choice: Attempt to save the seats of his party’s moderates by voting with Democrats to bail out the exchanges, or get blamed by Democrats and the press for all of ObamaCare’s ills.

Republicans will now try to salvage what is left of this Congress with tax reform. But the tragedy remains: Republicans in their selfish political and personal interests squandered a once in a generation chance to show that their principles can make life better for Americans.


SABER RATTLING Putin Shows Off Naval Might

Saint Petersburg (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin on Sunday oversaw a pomp-filled display of Russia's naval might as the Kremlin paraded its sea power from the Baltic Sea to the shores of Syria.

Some 50 warships and submarines were on show along the Neva River and in the Gulf of Finland off the country's second city of Saint Petersburg after Putin ordered the navy to hold its first ever parade on such a grand scale.

"Today much is being done to develop and modernise the navy," Putin told servicemen after surveying the military hardware from his presidential cutter.

"The navy is not only dealing with its traditional tasks but also responding with merit to new challenges, making a significant contribution to the fight against terrorism and piracy."

The showcase event to mark Russia's annual Navy Day is the latest to be beefed up by Putin, with the Kremlin strongman also bolstering the traditional WWII victory parade in Moscow as he looks to flex the country's military muscles.

Russia has ramped up its military manoeuvres as ties with the West have slumped over Moscow's meddling in Ukraine, unnerving NATO and its members in Eastern Europe.

Smaller naval parades were also taking place from Russia's European exclave Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea to the annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and Vladivostok in the far-east.

For the first time Moscow also showed off its naval hardware at its Syrian base of Tartus in the eastern Mediterranean, where Russian ships have played a prominent role backing up a bombing campaign in support of leader Bashar al-Assad.

Russian news wire Interfax reported that six vessels -- including the latest generation "Krasnodar" diesel submarine -- were taking part in the parade.

Moscow and Damascus in January signed a 49-year deal for Russia to expand and modernise the facility at Tartus, further cementing the Kremlin's influence in the region after its game-changing military intervention.


Trump: China's WEAK Partnership Over N.Korea

Trump blasts China for inaction on North Korea

FILE - In this Saturday, July 8, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping arrive for a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. The United States apologized for mistakenly describing Xi as the leader of Taiwan, China said Monday, July 10, 2017. Chinese scholars said the mistake shows a lack of competence in the White House that is not conducive to healthy U.S.-China relations. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Dave Boyer

President Trump threatened tougher trade action against China Saturday night, saying he is “very disappointed” that Beijing has failed to pressure North Korea to halt launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“I am very disappointed in China,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk.”
Mr. Trump warned, “We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”
North Korea launched another long-range ICBM into the Sea of Japan Friday, the second major test by Pyongyang of such a weapon this year.
Pentagon officials confirmed that the weapon was a nuclear-capable ballistic missile. Launched from Mupyong-ni in northern central North Korea, the missile traveled roughly 1,000 kilometers or more than 600 miles before crash landing in the Sea of Japan, U.S. defense officials said.
Mr. Trump called the missile launch “the latest reckless and dangerous action by the North Korean regime.”
“By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people,” he said. “The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”
Mr. Trump made a concerted effort earlier this year to encourage Chinese President Xi Jinping to raise economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to scale back its nuclear weapon and missile programs and reduce tensions in the region. China is North Korea’s biggest trading partner.

China’s Xi Oversees MASSIVE Military Parade


BEIJING  – Chinese President Xi Jinping told the military on Sunday to transform itself into an elite force, as he oversaw a parade with flybys of advanced jets and a mass rally of troops to mark 90 years since the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.
China’s armed forces, the world’s largest, are in the midst of an ambitious modernization program, which includes investment in technology and new equipment such as stealth fighters and aircraft carriers, as well as cuts to troop numbers.
Xi presided over the large-scale military parade at the remote Zhurihe training base in China’s northern Inner Mongolia region, where he inspected troops from the back of a jeep, an event carried live on state television.
Traveling down a long strip lined with tanks, missile launchers and other military vehicles, Xi, wearing military fatigues and a field cap, greeted thousands of troops.
Xi, who oversees the PLA in his role as head of the powerful Central Military Commission, repeatedly shouted, “Hello comrades!” and “Comrades, you are working hard!” into four microphones fixed atop his motorcade as martial music blared in the background.
The troops bellowed back: “Serve the people!”, “Follow the Party!”, “Fight to win!” and “Forge exemplary conduct!”.
Tanks, vehicle-mounted nuclear-capable missiles and other equipment rolled by, as military aircraft flew above, including H-6K bombers, which have been patrolling near Taiwan and Japan recently, the J-15 carrier-based fighters and new generation J-20 stealth fighter.
“Today, we are closer to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation than any other time in history, and we need to build a strong people’s military more than any other time in history,” Xi told the assembled troops in a short speech that did not yield any new policy announcements.
Xi said that the military must “unswervingly” back the ruling Communist Party.
“Always listen to and follow the party’s orders, and march to wherever the party points,” he said.
Xi said that the world was not peaceful, but he did not mention any specific hot spots, such as territorial disputes in the South China Sea, Taiwan, or tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles programs.
Unlike a massive 2015 parade through manicured central Beijing to mark 70 years since the end of World War Two, Sunday’s spectacle had fewer frills.
Thousands of troop marched in combat garb, not dress uniforms, and vehicles kicked up clouds of dust as they rounded sections of the base’s track.
It was the first time China has marked Army Day, which formally falls on Aug. 1, with a military parade since the Communist revolution in 1949, state news agency Xinhua said.
It was also the first time Xi has reviewed troops in the field like this, Xinhua added.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said in a statement that the location for the parade embodied a “dust-covered battlefield atmosphere” for the 12,000 troops who participated.
The country’s military is more nimble and technologically proficient following reforms to make it more compact and responsive, and less reliant on its sheer troop numbers, Xi said last week.
China has not fought a war in decades and the government insists it has no hostile intent, but simply needs the ability to properly defend what is now the world’s second-largest economy.
However, China has rattled nerves around Asia and globally with its increasingly assertive stance in the East and South China Seas and its military modernization plan.
Some of the military reforms have also been controversial at home. Sources with ties to the military say Xi’s announcement at the 2015 parade to cut 300,000 troops has caused unease within the ranks.