Syrian Air Defence Systems Intercept ‘Hostile Targets’ Over Homs

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Tim Korso

Syria often reports violations of its airspace, which it frequently attributes to the Israeli Air Force. Tel Aviv occasionally admits to carrying out some of these air raids, claiming that it targets Iranian military forces allegedly stationed in the country, despite both Tehran and Damascus denying their presence.

Syrian air defences have intercepted Israeli missiles flying through the airspace above the city of Homs, Syria’s SANA news agency reported. The agency added that none of the missiles succeeded in reaching their targets as a result.

Damascus has not officially commented on SANA’s report.

Prior to the attack, Lebanon’s Sham FM reported that Israeli jets were spotted flying low above the country’s Kesrouan province, which lies on the way between the territory of Israel and the Syrian city of Homs. Alleged witnesses claim that the jets fired missiles while travelling through Lebanese airspace.

The Israeli Air Force has admitted on multiple occasions in the past that they have conducted air raids on Syrian territory, but claim to have targeted Iranian military forces allegedly present there. Tel Aviv alleges that these forces intend to attack Israel from the territory of the Arab Republic.

Damascus and Tehran both deny that Iranian troops are deployed there, with the Islamic Republic noting that it has only sent military advisers to the country. Both states have harshly condemned the Israeli actions as violations of Syrian sovereignty, calling on the international community to prevent further strikes.

Israeli Forces Demolish Emergency Coronavirus Clinic for Palestinians

Monday, 30 March 2020 17:52

Israeli forces on Thursday entered a Palestinian village in the northern Jordan Valley to confiscate materials designated to build a clinic to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

Officials from the Israeli Civil Administration came to the village of Khirbet Ibziq with a military escort, bulldozer and two trucks equipped with cranes on Thursday morning to demolish community clinic and emergency housing, according to Israeli human rights monitor Btselem. 

The group reported that Israeli officials seized poles and sheeting designated to form eight tents, two for a field clinic, two for a mosque, and four for emergency housing for people evacuated from their homes. 

A power generator, as well as supplies of sand, cement and cinder blocks to be used for the floor of the tents, were also confiscated. Btselem said the villagers were building a first-aid community initiative to deal with the Covid-19 crisis which has paralyzed large parts of the southern West Bank. 

There are 91 confirmed cases so far in the Palestinian territories, with one death reported on Wednesday. 

The Jordan Valley covers an area of about 1.6 million dunams (1,600 km2) and constitutes around 30 percent of the total occupied West Bank. According to a previous government report, the Valley includes about 280,000 dunams of arable land, 50,000 of which are still used by Palestinians and 27,000 by illegal Jewish settlers. 

The majority of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli military control, despite being within the West Bank. Meanwhile, at least 44 percent of the total land in the Jordan Valley has been reappropriated by Israeli forces for military purposes and training exercises. 

Source: The Palestine Chronicle 

Will Coronavirus End the Fed?

By Rep. Ron Paul

Global Research, March 31, 2020

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity 

30 March 2020

September 17, 2019 was a significant day in American economic history. On that day, the New York Federal Reserve began emergency cash infusions into the repurchasing (repo) market. This is the market banks use to make short-term loans to each other. The New York Fed acted after interest rates in the repo market rose to almost 10 percent, well above the Fed’s target rate.

The New York Fed claimed its intervention was a temporary measure, but it has not stopped pumping money into the repo market since September. Also, the Federal Reserve has been expanding its balance sheet since September. Investment advisor Michael Pento called the balance sheet expansion quantitative easing (QE) “on steroids.”

I mention these interventions to show that the Fed was taking extraordinary measures to prop up the economy months before anyone in China showed the first symptoms of coronavirus.

Now the Fed is using the historic stock market downturn and the (hopefully) temporary closure of businesses in the coronavirus panic to dramatically increase its interventions in the economy. Not only has the Fed increased the amount it is pumping into the repo market, it is purchasing unlimited amounts of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities. This was welcome news to Congress and the president, as it came as they were working on setting up trillions of dollars in spending in coronavirus aid/economic stimulus bills.

Read more: Global Economy: Is the ‘Mother of all Bubbles’ About to Pop? QE on Steroids

This month the Fed announced it would start purchasing municipal bonds, thus ensuring the state and local government debt bubble will keep growing for a few more months.

The Fed has also created three new loan facilities to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in credit to businesses. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has stated that the Fed will lend out as much as it takes to revive the economy.

The Fed is also reducing interest rates to zero. We likely already have negative real interest rates because of inflation. Negative real interest rates are a tax on savings and thus lead to a lack of private funds available for investment, giving the Fed another excuse to expand its lending activities.

The Fed’s actions may appear to mitigate some of the damage of the coronavirus panic. However, by flooding the economy with new money, expanding asset purchases, and facilitating Congress and the president’s spending sprees, the Fed is exacerbating America’s long-term economic problems.

The Federal Reserve is unlikely to end these emergency measures after the government declares it is safe to resume normal life. Consumers, businesses, and (especially) the federal government are so addicted to low interest rates, quantitative easing, and other Federal Reserve interventions that any effort by the Fed to allow rates to rise or to stop creating new money will cause a severe recession.

Eventually the Federal Reserve-created consumer, business, and government debt bubbles will explode, leading to a major crisis that will dwarf the current coronavirus shutdown. The silver lining is that this next crisis could finally demolish the Keynesian welfare-warfare state and the fiat money system.

The Federal Reserve’s unprecedented interventions in the marketplace make it more urgent than ever that Congress pass, and President Trump sign, the Audit the Fed bill. This would finally allow the American people to learn the truth about the Fed’s conduct of monetary policy. Audit the Fed is a step toward restoring health to our economic system by ending the fiat money pandemic that facilitates the welfare-warfare state and the unstable, debt-based economy.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.The original source of this article is The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and ProsperityCopyright © Rep. Ron PaulThe Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, 2020

Saudi-backed troops suffer more setbacks as Ansarallah forces surround Marib

By News Desk -2020-03-30

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:00 P.M.) – The Saudi-backed Islah militias are on the verge of losing another governorate in northern Yemen, as the Ansrallah forces steadily advance along the Jawf-Marib axis.

According to the latest field report from Yemen, the Ansarallah forces have captured the Labnah base in the Labnah Mountains.Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do ThisSunny TwitterAds by Revcontent

This advance on Monday puts the Ansrallah forces in position of taking control of the entire Al-Jawf Governorate for the first time in this war.

Making matters worse for the Saudi-backed troops, the Ansarallah forces are also at the doorsteps of Marib city, which, if lost, would mean the Islah militias have conceded another administrative capital in Yemen.

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China calls for immediate lifting of all sanctions against Syria

By News Desk -2020-03-310

A Chinese envoy on Monday called for complete and immediate lifting of unilateral coercive measures against Syria, noting that the sanctions will harm the vulnerable country’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We call for complete and immediate lifting of unilateral coercive measures,” Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, also president of the Security Council for the month of March, told the council’s video-teleconferencing meeting on the situation in Syria.Getting Rich with Bitcoin, Without Even Buying BitcoinDailywebAds by Revcontent

“We are seriously concerned about the negative impact of unilateral sanctions on countries’ capacity to respond to the pandemic, especially for vulnerable countries like Syria,” he said. “Civilians and innocent people are suffering severely from those sanctions.”

China’s UN permanent representative Zhang Jun speaks at a Security Council meeting about Afghanistan at the UN Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., March 10, 2020. /Reuters

Zhang said that China supports the call of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in this regard.

“Our position is explained in detail in the recent joint letter to the secretary-general, together with Russia, among others. We hope the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs joins the voice of the secretary-general and high commissioner for human rights in this regard,” said Zhang.

Speaking about the situation in Syria, Zhang said that ever since Russia and Turkey agreed on a ceasefire arrangement early this month, the security situation in northwestern Syria has significantly improved.

“We appreciate their diplomatic efforts and encourage relevant parties to continue implementing the ceasefire,” he said.

“It is our consistent position to support the political solution to the conflict in Syria. We appreciate the painstaking efforts of the special envoy (Geir Pedersen) and encourage him to continue facilitating dialogue between the Syrian parties, toward an inclusive Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process in line with Resolution 2254,” said Zhang.

ALSO READ  Russian-Turkish patrols on M-4 Highway blocked by protesters

“We reiterate the future of the country must be decided by the Syrian people, without foreign interference,” he said.

Credit: CGTN

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رؤساء الحكومات السابقون صوتُ المصارف

ناصر قنديل

لو خرج رؤساء الحكومات السابقون ببيان يحذّرون فيه رئيس الحكومة حسان دياب من القبول بإعلان حالة الطوارئ، طالما أن التحديات التي يواجهها لبنان مع فيروس كورونا مدنيّة، وتغطيها حالة التعبئة العامة بما في ذلك تقييد حرية النقل، من خلال حظر التجوّل، لأنهم يعتبرون في حالة الطوارئ تهميشاً لموقع رئاسة الحكومة وصلاحياتها، فيما تحتفظ رئاسة الجمهورية بصلاحية القائد الأعلى للقوات المسلحة، لصدّقناهم، لأنهم دأبوا على قياس الكثير من مواقفهم بقياس طائفي ومذهبي، يضع الأولوية لمعيار توازن الصلاحيات الرئاسية، سواء عندما كان الرؤساء السابقون فعليين أو عندما أصبحوا سابقين. ولو أعلنوا تأييدهم الرئيس دياب لتمسكه بحال التعبئة العامة ورفضه لحال الطوارئ لاستهجنا، لأنهم ما عوّدونا على موقف منصف لخصم سياسي في قلب الطائفة التي يحاولون احتكار تمثيلها، ودأبوا على رفض كل جديد قادم إلى نادي رؤساء الحكومة من كفاءات هذه الطائفة، بل إن بعضهم ومن باب الكيد نسي مسألة توازن الصلاحيات وراح يسرّب استغرابه لعدم إعلان حالة الطوارئ.

اللافت في بيان رؤساء الحكومات السابقين أمس، هو تناوله قضية التعيينات، وتقصّد الحديث عنها بلغة العمومية، وهم ونحن والكل يعلم أن القضية هي التعيينات في مصرف لبنان. وهذا الملف يتخطى بطبيعته وموضوعه، ما حاول الرؤساء السابقون التركيز عليه، بتظهير مخاوفهم من مشروع السيطرة على الدولة. والمقصود هو تعيين بدائل لمن قاموا هم بتعيينهم، وهذا له توصيف واحد، الحفاظ على مفهوم المحاصصة الذي جرى في ظلال وجودهم في السلطة. وفي أحسن الأحوال الدفاع عن جماعات المحظيين بدعمهم، خشية خسارة صورة الزعامة التي تتغذّى من القدرة على توفير الحماية، علماً أن المطروح ليس استبدالاً قسرياً، كي يجري الحديث عن افتعال قضية، حتى لو كانت المناصب الإدارية المعنية خارج مصرف لبنان، فما يطلبونه ليس بقاء موظفين في مناصبهم، بل إعادة تعيين موظفين انتهت ولايتهم وفقاً للقانون، مرة ثانية، بدلاً من تعيين موظفين جدد.

أما أن القضية في مصرف لبنان، فلها وجه آخر بالنسبة لموقفهم، وبالنسبة للحكم على موقف رئيس الحكومة. فاللبنانيون يُجمعون على تحميل السلطة النقدية التي يمثلها مصرف لبنان جزءاً كبيراً من مسؤولية الأزمة التي يعيشها لبنان، وسواء كان هذا الاعتقاد في مكانه أم لا، فهو يُلقي على الحكومة التي جاءت بخلفية مواجهة الأزمة، أن تأخذه بالاعتبار. والطبيعي طالما أن حاكم مصرف لبنان لا يزال ضمن ولايته القانونية، وأن نوابه وأعضاء لجنة الرقابة على المصارف ورئيسها ومفوّض الحكومة لدى مصرف لبنان، قد انتهت ولايتهم، أن تتجه أي حكومة لتشكيل هيئة قيادية في المصرف تقول للبنانيين إن التعيينات قد بُنيت على حساب المجيء بكفاءات تستطيع إقامة التوازن بوجه حجم نفوذ المصارف التي يشكو منها اللبنانيون في إدارتها لودائعهم وحجم استفادتها من سندات الخزينة والهندسات المالية التي قام بها مصرف لبنان. وهنا يكون المتوقع من الرؤساء السابقين للحكومات أن يطالبوا رئيس الحكومة، بتعيين كفاءات تعبر عن صرخة الشعب بوجه المصارف، إذا كانوا يريدون التعبير عن موقف شارع يغلي غضباً ويريدون احتواء غضبه.

يبقى ثمّة تفسير وحيد لموقف رؤساء الحكومات السابقين، وهو مرتبط بمضمون التعيينات وخشية أصحاب المصارف من أن ينتج عنها توازن جديد في دور مصرف لبنان، وتفعيل المجلس المركزي الذي يضع السياسات ويتخذ القرارات، ما يجعل سياسة المصرف المركزي أقرب للتعبير عما يطالب به الناس من تقييد تحكم المصارف بودائعهم وأموالهم، ويصير مفهوماً موقف رؤساء الحكومات السابقين، الذين يشكل ثلاثة من أربعة بينهم رموزاً في القطاع المصرفي، ومن كبار أصحاب الأموال والثروات، والمستفيدين من سياسات مصرف لبنان، حتى أمكن القول ببساطة، إنهم صوت أصحاب المصارف، بثوب مذهبي للضغط على رئيس الحكومة.

القلق من المحاصصة لا يشغلُ بال رؤساء الحكومات السابقين، بل يشغل بال الناس وبالنا، ولذلك سيراقب الجميع التعيينات، ويأملون أن يحكمها اختيار كفاءات تحقق التوازن المنشود في السياسات المالية والنقدية بصورة تقيّد هذا التوحش المصرفي، بحق لبنان واللبنانيين.

German Minister Commits Suicide After ‘Virus Crisis Worries’

By Euractiv

Global Research, March 31, 2020

Euractiv 30 March 2020

Thomas Schaefer, the finance minister of Germany’s Hesse state, has committed suicide apparently after becoming “deeply worried” over how to cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus, state premier Volker Bouffier said Sunday (29 March).

Schaefer, 54, was found dead near a railway track on Saturday. The Wiesbaden prosecution’s office said they believe he died by suicide.

“We are in shock, we are in disbelief and above all we are immensely sad,” Bouffier said in a recorded statement.

Hesse is home to Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, where major lenders like Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have their headquarters. The European Central Bank is also located in Frankfurt.

A visibly shaken Bouffier recalled that Schaefer, who was Hesse’s finance chief for 10 years, had been working “day and night” to help companies and workers deal with the economic impact of the pandemic.

“Today we have to assume that he was deeply worried,” said Bouffier, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“It’s precisely during this difficult time that we would have needed someone like him,” he added.

Popular and well-respected, Schaefer had long been touted as a possible successor to Bouffier.

Like Bouffier, Schaefer belonged to Merkel’s centre-right CDU party.

He leaves behind a wife and two children.

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Featured image: An undated handout photo made available by the Ministry of Finance of German state of Hesse shows Finance Minister Thomas Schaefer. According to the Wiesbaden public prosecutor’s office, the Minister of Finance of Hesse, Thomas Schäfer, was found dead on 28 March 2020. [EPA-EFE/SABRINA FEIGE]The original source of this article is EuractivCopyright © EuractivEuractiv, 2020

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