It boils down to ‘one simple message’ in Xi Jinping’s five years of epic speeches

All President Xi Jinping’s key speeches in over past five years can be summarised with one message: ensuring the leading role of the Communist Party in all aspects of life, according to his key ally Wang Qishan.

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Communist Red flag of the People’s Republic of China

The former anti-corruption chief’s succinct summary of Xi’s speeches – which have featured in hundreds, if not thousands, of publications on the mainland – came as the party enshrined the president’s political thoughts into the party charter and guide to action at last month’s 19th party congress.

The official state publisher this week released an authoritative book elaborating the policy rationale behind Xi’s three and a half-hour speech at the congress, including a chapter written by Wang.

In his article, Wang argued there had been a period in China when an unspecified group of people had been advocating the “indiscriminate” separation of party and government affairs, which had led to the weakening of the party’s leading role.

“Upholding the Communist Party’s leading role is the paramount political principle for contemporary China,” Wang wrote.

“[Xi’s] various keynote speeches all narrow down to one main theme: it is upholding the party’s leading role.”

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“[Xi] has clarified some ambiguous ideas, reclaimed some lost territories, and straightened the bent roads,” wrote Wang, who stepped down from the party apex after a reshuffle that concluded last week.

“[Xi] has established the authority of the party’s central leadership, and thoroughly reversed the situation of the party’s leadership role being weakened.”

Wang, who had reached the informal retirement age of 68, stepped down from the innermost seven-man Politburo Standing Committee amid speculation that he may have tried to stay in power in another capacity during Xi’s second term.

Wang’s article was in line with a new clause added to the party charter last week that stated: “the party, government, military, society, education, north, south, east, west—the party leads everything”.

The separation of powers between the party and the state was once listed as a priority by great and late leader Deng Xiaoping, when he tried to put public administration back on track in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution.

“Wang’s statement is an accurate summary of the 19th party congress,” said Chen Daoyin, a Shanghai-based political scientist

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“The 19th party congress called for the strengthening of the party’s leadership role in almost every aspect of public life.”

Beijing’s attempt to assert the party’s influence over state-owned enterprises and foreign corporations has fuelled concerns about state control in the world’s second largest economy despite repeated pledges to introduce market reforms.

“The party is seeking a leadership role in all aspects of life, including in foreign corporations and private business,” Chen said.

“With the powerful network of party members, the party is aiming to improve its rule over the whole country, to achieve its political goals.”

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EIGHT House of Cards workers say actor harassed or assaulted them for years on set

A new man has come forward claiming he was sexually assaulted by Kevin Spacey. The anonymous victim alleged that the Oscar-winning actor tried to rape him in 1984 in an interview with Vulture, saying that the incident occurred just a few months after the two began a sexual relationship. Spacey was 24 when the pair had consensual sex for the first time according to the anonymous victim, who was just 14 at that time. He claims he was 15 when the alleged rape took place, and 12 when he first met Spacey at an New York acting camp. The anonymous victim also said that just before he ad Spacey had sex for the first time in 1983 the actor professed his love for the youngster.

Kevin Spacey ‘is taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment’ after three men came forward to accuse him of groping them and making unwanted sexual advances.

Representatives for the actor announced his decision on Thursday, but did not say what kind of treatment he would be seeking or where.

Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos and Tony Montana, an American filmmaker, became the latest people to speak out against Spacey after Anthony Rapp accused him of laying on top of him in bed when he was 14.

Kevin Spacey 'is taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment' amid allegations he made unwanted advances and groped a series of men, his representatives say

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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5042775/Kevin-Spacey-taking-time-seek-treatment.html#ixzz4xLEb0by4
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President Trump told Larry O’Connor on Thursday that he was frustrated that he couldn’t, as president, order the Justice Department to look into his former political rival, Hillary Clinton

During a radio interview Thursday, President Trump belly-ached that he could not pressure the Justice Department to investigate his former political rival Hillary Clinton, because that’s part of being president.

Trump was sitting down with WMAL’s Larry O’Connor, who had wanted to pick the president’s brain on why he couldn’t fulfill his campaign promise to ‘lock her up,’ something he would encourage his supporters to shout about Clinton.

‘But you know the saddest thing, because I’m the president of the United States I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI,’ he explained. ‘I’m not supposed to be doing the kinds of things I would love to be doing and I’m very frustrated by it.’ 

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Trump didn’t stop there.

‘Why aren’t they going after Hillary Clinton with her emails and with the dossier, and the kind of money?’ Trump mused. ‘I don’t know, is it possible that they paid $12.4 million for the dossier? And how was it – which is total phony, fake – and how was it used?’ he continued.

Last week, a law firm used by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee acknowledged its role in paying for a dossier filled with unsubstantiated opposition research about Trump’s ties to Russia, gathered by a former British intelligence agent.

The president has used this Clinton-Russia connection to muddy the waters as three of his own associates on Monday were indicted as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s expansive probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

O’Connor, a D.C.-based conservative radio host, told Trump that his listeners ask all the time why Clinton couldn’t be more thoroughly investigated.

In July 2016, then FBI head James Comey held a press conference and said that he wouldn’t recommend charges to the Justice Department over Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state, as there were legal concerns over her handling of classified information.

The FBI briefly looked at Clinton’s emails again in October, shortly before the presidential election, when more messages were found on disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner’s computer, as part of another case.

The messages belonged to his wife, the top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin.

Since then there’s been no indication that Clinton is under investigation, though two House committees are looking into the Uranium One deal, as Clinton as secretary of state was one of the decision-makers on a deal that gave the Russian 20 per cent of American uranium.

Republicans have pointed to a speech Bill Clinton made in Moscow, and financed by a Kremlin-linked bank while the deal was going through, as evidence of pay-to-play.

 ‘And you know, it’s very discouraging to me, I’ll be honest, I’m very unhappy with it, that the Justice Department isn’t going,’ Trump went on.

‘Now, maybe they are, but as president, and I think you understand this, as a president you are not supposed to be involved in that process,’ he continued.

‘But hopefully they are doing something and at some point maybe we’re all going to have it out,’ Trump said.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5044839/Trump-frustrated-t-order-DOJ-probe-Clinton.html#ixzz4xLDL8AKn

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Damascus urges UN to condemn Israeli attack on Syrian copper factory

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has sent two letters to the UN, urging the international body to condemn a recent Israeli air strike on a copper factory in the province of Homs.

The airstrikes were carried out late Wednesday, when Israeli warplanes targeted a copper plant in the Hassia industrial area some 35 kilometers (21 miles) south of the city of Homs. There was no information on casualties or destruction officially available.

READ MORE: Israeli warplanes strike near Damascus airport – reports

The Syrian Army reportedly launched anti-aircraft missiles in response, but missed as the planes returned to Israel intact. The attack was reportedly conducted from Lebanon’s airspace. A number of photos purportedly from the location have emerged online, showing a large fire at an industrial site. RT could not independently verify the authenticity of these pictures.

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The Syrian Foreign Ministry has sent two letters to the UN Secretary General and Chairman of the Security Council, urging the organization to condemn the attack and take “strict and immediate” measures to prevent Tel Aviv from attacking in the future. The Syrian ministry again accused Israel of supporting terrorism, claiming that the country is striving to get to a whole new level in doing so.

“This new Israeli aggression is proof that the Israeli occupation authorities are not satisfied with their practice of state terrorism against the Arab population in occupied Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, but are seeking the role of an official sponsor of terrorism,” SANA news agency cited the Ministry as saying.

While Israel did not provide an official comment on the latest attack, its forces have hit various targets in Syria over the past few years, including military convoys and installations, airports and industrial sites. The usual pretext for such airstrikes is targeting of “Hezbollah infrastructure.” Israel, alongside with the US and several other counties, designates this Islamist paramilitary organization and a political party as a terrorist group.

Another common pretext for the attacks against the Syrian Army are “stray projectiles” coming into Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights due to the ongoing conflict in the country. Tel Aviv promptly responds to such incidents by shelling positions of the Syrian government troops exclusively, without conducting any investigation to determine who fired the stray projectile.

While commenting on an October incident with an Israeli spy plane fired at while in flight over Lebanon, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) stated that the “Syrian regime is responsible for any firing from its territory.” While the plane was unharmed, Israel bombed a Syrian army anti-aircraft position.

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US Special Forces caught red-handed in Syria

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Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Evidence about the presence of U.S. special forces in the Syrian town Ayn al-Arab a.k.a. Kobani emerged. Troops are guiding U.S. airstrikes as part of U.S support for the Kurdish separatist group PYD and the long-established plan to establish a Kurdish corridor.

A photo taken in Ayn al-Arab shows three U.S. soldiers. One of them “Peter” is carrying a Bushnell laser rangefinder, an instrument designed to mark targets for U.S. jets, reports Ceyhun Bozkurt for Aydinlik Daily.

The photo substantiated previous BBC interviews with U.S. soldiers who are fighting alongside the Kurdish separatist group PYD in Syria.

The photo of the three U.S. troopers also substantiates a statement by PYD spokesman Polat Can from October 14, 2014, reports Aydinlik Daily. Can admitted that a special unit in Kobani provides Kurdish fighters with the coordinates of targets which then would be relayed to “coalition forces”.

News about the presence of U.S. and allied special forces is not a novelty per se. In 2012 a senior British Whitehall official would leak to The Daily Star that British SAS and other NATO member’s special forces had been operating in Syria for months.

Also in 2012, nsnbc international obtained a copy of the U.S. Special Forces training circular TC 18-01 entitled Special Forces Unconventional Warfare.

A study of the document revealed that the wars on Libya, Syria and Iraq follow a detailed U.S. strategy that outlines a step-by-step subversion of a country from the assessment of a feasible, cooperative opposition to guerrilla war and regime change.

The establishment of a Kurdish State with breathing straw access to the Mediterranean. Map plottings by Major (r) Agha H. Amin.

In a 2013 interview retired Pakistani Major and security consultant Agha H. Amin would note:

The strategic idea of NATO, is aiming at securing the northern borders of Israel against Hezbollah and the southern borders against Hamas; to eliminate the Russian naval base in the eastern Mediterranean, Syrian city of Tartous. NATO is planning to create a western strategic corridor to maintain energy-security in the case that oil supplies through the Strait of Hormuz are disrupted because of a war with Iran or otherwise… One of the first steps toward the implementation of the long-term strategic plan, is the partition of Turkey by creating separate Kurdish areas, thereby providing NATO a direct access to Russia’s soft underbelly in the Caucasus.

One of the objectives with unconventional warfare is “plausible deniability”. That is, for the U.S. government as well as for the Turkish AKP-led government with regard to its participation in the Kurdish Corridor project.

Kessab_SyriaU.S.special forces have long been known for playing an active role in the invasion of Iraq with ISIS brigades.

Turkish special forces were caught red-handed, playing an active role in Jabhat al-Nusrah’s  invasion of the predominantly Armenian – Syrian town of Kessab. The city is located inside the envisioned “Kurdish Corridor”.

The final decision for the invasion of Iraq with the help of ISIS, first to destabilize the country and then to justify the carving out of a Kurdish Northern Iraq, was according to a witness known to nsnbc international, made on the sidelines of the Atlantic Council’s Energy Summit in Istanbul in November 2013.

The news about U.S. special forces in Syria is no novelty per se. The emergence of a photo that is verifiable with the help of metadata and corroborating testimony is, however, one of the first tangible pieces of evidence that supports the notion that NATO’s “Kurdish Corridor Project” is alive and kicking regardless how much the US government and Turkish AKP government “posture and position” themselves as being in disagreement.

CH/L – nsnbc 19.03.2015

About the Author

 – Dr. Christof Lehmann is the founder and editor of nsnbc. He is a psychologist and former independent political consultant on conflict, conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues. In March 2013 he established nsnbc as a daily, independent, international on-line newspaper. He can be contacted at nsnbc international at nsnbc.wordpress@gmail.com

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Russia rejects claims that chemical agents were used by Syrian military

Russia has concluded after studying a report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that chemical agents technically could not be used from a Su-22 plane of Syria’s Air Force, a Russian Defense Ministry official said at a joint news briefing by Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry and Industry and Trade Ministry in Moscow on Thursday.

“After studying the materials submitted, I see several aspects that do not allow making a conclusion that chemical weapons in the form of an air bomb were used from a Su-22 aircraft of the Syrian Air Force,” the spokesman said at a joint briefing of Russia’s Foreign, Defense and Industry and Trade Ministries.

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The chemical bomb exploded in Khan Shaykhun went off on the surface, which is clearly indicated by the shape of the crater left on the asphalt road, the spokesman for the Defense Ministry said.

He pointed out that the crater in Khan Shaykhun was rectangular, while an airdrop bomb would have left an elliptical or round hole. Also, the asphalt on the site of the explosion had been pressed inside the crater.
This evidence is convincing enough to conclude that at the moment of the explosion the bomb was static and lying on the asphalt surface,” he said.

A munition on a photo from a report by the OPCW on the incident in Syria’s Khan Shaykhun was an improvised charge made of a water-supply pipe, according to the spokesman.

All aviation bombs are made of highly alloyed steel, which bursts into small fragments when an explosive is detonated inside the bomb. On this photo, they show us as the bomb remainder an incomprehensive metal sheet that has typical folds and ruptures, which suggests that the metal is quite plastic and this is evidence that the munition was an improvised charge made of a water-supply pipe,” the spokesman said.

The incident in the town of Khan Shaykhun located in Syria’s Idlib Governorate occurred on April 4 and is supposed to have involved chemical weapons. Almost 100 people died there. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Syria’s aviation conducted airstrikes over the militants’ workshops where poisoning substances were produced. Washington accused Damascus of carrying out a chemical attack, after which the United States launched a missile strike over a Syrian military airfield in the Homs Governorate overnight into April 7.

On October 26, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism issued a report in which it pinned the blame for the Khan Shaykhun incident on Syrian authorities. On October 31, the Russian side submitted the results of preliminary assessment of the report prepared by investigators to the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, stating that it is “amateur” and the findings contained in it are based on “dilettante methodology.”

Terrorists in Syria were awash in arms and cash — Russian senator

http://tass.com/defense/973875

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New allegations shake Hollywood

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More tremors and after shocks rattle the industry’s foundations in Lost Angeles

The sexual harassment crisis in Hollywood is widening as another prominent film director has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct, according to a report.

Six women, including actress Olivia Munn, have so far come forward alleging that Brett Ratner have sexually harassed or assaulted them in private homes, at industry events and on movie sets, The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.

Picture above does not show Brett Ratner nor any actress involved

Ratner’s attorney, Martin Singer, denied the allegations.

“Brett Ratner vehemently denies the outrageous derogatory allegations that have been reported about him, and we are confident that his name will be cleared once the current media frenzy dies down and people can objectively evaluate the nature of these claims,” Singer said in a statement to CNN.

“He understands the seriousness of this issue and the importance of addressing the concerns of victims of sexual misconduct both in the entertainment industry and beyond.”

Actress Natasha Henstridge shared a story of an alleged incident where Ratner sexually assaulted her.

“He strong-armed me in a real way. He physically forced himself on me,” she said. “At some point, I gave in.”

The reverberations also hit Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman who had to apologize for allegedly sexually harassing a 17-year-old intern in 1985.

US actor Dustin Hoffman (file photo)

 

Writer Anna Graham Hunter claimed in column published Wednesday by The Hollywood Reporter that Hoffman, now 80, groped her on the set of a TV movie.

Hoffman issued a statement, apologizing for “anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”

The new allegations came days after renowned actor Kevin Spacey admitted to sexual misconduct. Actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making sexual advances on him more than 30 years ago.

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The widening scandal was set in motion when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hollywood’s de facto governing body, expelled disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein last month amid mounting accusations of sexual harassment, assault and rape by dozens of women.

The ouster was unprecedented since the academy was founded 90 years ago, turning one of the biggest Oscar players in history into a Hollywood pariah.

The contents of the article on this page are of sole responsibility of their authors

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Ousted Catalan leaders appear in Madrid High court charged with rebellion and insurrection against the established order

above~Catalan separatist leaders arrive to Madrid court

Deposed Catalan separatist leaders have arrived at the High Court in Madrid on Thursday to face rebellion and sedition charges following a disputed independence referendum in October.

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who was on a list of 13 officials summonsed, did not appear at the court.

Eight former ministers appeared in court. Former Vice President Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Turull, Raul Romeva, Meritxell Borras, Joaquim Forn, Carles Mundo, Santi Villa, Dolors Bassa, and Josep Rull.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on Catalonia after it declared independence from Spain following the Oct 1st referendum which was deemed illegal by Madrid.

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Defector supposedly warns that N. Korea won’t think twice about ‘pressing button’ if US strikes

Pyongyang will not hesitate to strike South Korea if Washington launches an attack on its territory, a former North Korean diplomat and defector from the state’s regime has warned.

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While the US has not ruled out a military option against North Korea amid heightened tensions in the peninsula, one of the highest-ranking North Korean defectors, Thae Yong-ho, has said that a military scenario would prompt Pyongyang to direct its fire at its southern neighbors.

“North Korean officers are trained to press the button without any further instructions from the general command if anything happens on their side,” Thae Yong-ho told a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee entitled “An Insider’s Look at the North Korean Regime”on Wednesday.

“If there is any sound of fire or bomb or strike from Americans, the military artilleries and short-range missiles will fire against South Korea,” Thae added.

Thousands of short-range missiles deployed at the demarcation line are ready to fire “at any moment,” the former diplomat said. There are tens of millions of South Koreans living within 70km to 80km of this area, who could have become a “human sacrifice,” according to Thae.

“I strongly believe that if there is any preventive or surgical strike of whatever, war will be won by America and South Korea, there is no doubt about it, but we have to see the human sacrifice from this military option,” the defector said.

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Iran suggests Russia help ‘isolate the Americans’ by ditching dollar

The best way to beat US sanctions against Iran and Russia is joint efforts to dump the American currency in bilateral trade, according to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
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“By ignoring the negative propaganda of the enemies, that seek to weaken relations between countries, we can nullify US sanctions, using methods such as eliminating the dollar and replacing it with national currencies in transactions between two or more parties; thus, isolate the Americans,” he said on Wednesday at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tehran.

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According to Khamenei, economic relations have vast room for improvement. “In the transportation sector, we can expand cooperation, using the main axis of Chabahar port to the port of Saint Petersburg, as well as in other economic areas,” he said.

During the meeting, which lasted about an hour and a quarter, Putin replied that Russia considers Iran “a strategic partner and a great neighbor, and we will take advantage of every opportunity to expand and consolidate relationships in all dimensions.”

The Russian president said the US wants to interfere in all matters of the world and the region and often ignores interests of its allies to do so.

However, since 2014, despite the sanctions, “we devoted our funds to scientific and technological progress, and we had significant growth in the fields of biotechnology, IT, agriculture and space industries. Now, in spite of the initial concerns, we have realized that we can do whatever we decide to,” said Putin.

Putin is visiting the Iranian capital to attend a trilateral summit with the leaders of Iran and Azerbaijan.

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