Beijing Sends Strategic Bombers For “Real Combat” Practice To Massive War Games In Russia

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAF) will send H-6K bombers, J-10A fighters, JH-7A fighter-bombers, IL-76 and Y-9 transport aircraft, and a team of airborne troops to Russia for the upcoming International Army Games (IAG) 2018.

The war games, first launched by Russia in 2014, will be co-organized this year by China, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Iran and Armenia from July 29 to August 11, said CGTN News. IAG 2018 will consist of 28 ‘real combat’ military competitions. China will oversee four of these war games:

IAG 2018 will start in Russia on July 29:

The PLAF “will send delegations to Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus from late July to mid-August to participate in the International Army Games 2018. And we will also host four competitions in China,” Senior Colonel Wu Qian, Director General of the Information Office of China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND), stated at the ministry’s monthly press conference on June 28.

Senior Colonel Wu Qian, Director General of the Information Office of China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND), addresses a press conference in Beijing, China, on June 28, 2018. (Source: CGTN)

“The PLA Army will host Suvorov Attack, Clear Sky and Safety Route in Korla of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and the PLA Navy will host Seaborne Assault in Quanzhou City of southeast China’s Fujian Province,” Colonel Wu added.

IAG 2018 will bring together 181 teams from 32 countries, a significant increase from last year when 150 teams from 28 countries participated. Also, there will be six new participant countries this year, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on July 06.

It is a pleasure to see that the scope of competitions expand geographically and the list of participants grow,” Shoigu told Russia’s TASS news agency.

“Military servicemen from Algeria, Vietnam, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sudan and the Philippines will demonstrate their skill for the first time,” Shoigu said.

“The Games begin in one month’s time from now. During this period everything must be done to create the maximum comfortable conditions not only for participants, but also for many devotees of army sports,” he added.

According to Xinhua News, it will be the first time that H-6K bombers and Y-9 transport aircraft have gone abroad to take part in military games, a spokesperson for the PLAF said at a recent press conference.

A PLA airforce Y-9 transport aircraft is seen during a training module in preparation for the International Army Games on July 9, 2018. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) air force will send H-6K bombers, J-10A fighters, JH-7A fighter-bombers, IL-76 and Y-9 transport aircrafts, and a team of airborne troops to Russia to participate in the International Army Games 2018. It will be the first time that H-6K bombers and Y-9 transport aircraft have gone abroad to take part in military competitions. (Source: Xinhua/Yang Pan)

Two PLA airforce JH-7A fighter-bombers are seen during a training module in preparation for the International Army Games on July 12, 2018. (Source: Xinhua/Yang Pan)

A PLA airforce IL-76 transport aircraft is seen during a training module in preparation for the International Army Games on July 12, 2018(Source: Xinhua/Yang Pan)

A PLA airforce J-10A fighter is seen during a training module in preparation for the International Army Games on July 11, 2018. (Source: Xinhua/Yang Pan)

A PLA airforce H-6K bomber is seen during a training module in preparation for the International Army Games on July 12, 2018. (Source: Xinhua/Yang Pan)

The war games come at a time when tensions between Beijing and Washington are elevated. Earlier this month, two US destroyers, the USS Mustin and the USS Benfold, passed through the Taiwan Strait in what China considers to be a significant violation of its One China Policy, which recognizes Taiwan as part of China.

Increasing relations between Taipei and Washington had stressed Beijing, especially in March, when President Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, paving the way for reciprocal visits between US and Taipei officials. Further, Washington greenlighted sales to Taiwan of its submarine technology, which severely angered China. There are also reports that Taipei wants M1A2 Abrams tanks, to serve as a coastal line of defense should China invade.

For some time, Washington has been using the “freedom of navigation”  in the South China Sea, to sail its warships and conduct aerial patrols with strategic nuclear bombers near the disputed islands. Beijing has responded by constructing artificial islands and deploying military infrastructure on the Paracels, as well as on the Spratly Islands. In May, we reported that China landed the H-6K strategic bomber for the first time on Woody Island, the country’s largest military base in the South China Sea.

As China and Russia prepare for massive war games next week, it is becoming increasingly obvious that a handful of countries in the Eastern Hemisphere are preparing for the inevitable war with Washington.

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New Fissure Near Yellowstone Supervolcano Causes Teton National Park Closure

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

A 100-foot-long fissure near the Yellowstone supervolcano has prompted the closure of parts of Teton National Park. Coupled with the Steamboat geyser’s newly active status, fears of an eruption at the Yellowstone caldera are increasing.

Teton National Park has issued a statement regarding the newly opened up fissure, according to WoodTV

“The Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point areas are currently closed due to elevated potential for rockfall. The area was closed to protect human safety on July 10 after expanding cracks in a rock buttress were detected.  It is unknown how long the closure will be in effect. Geologists are monitoring the buttress for movement and have initiated a risk assessment for the area.”

Although scientists continue to tell the public the possibility of a major eruption is incredibly small, they also believe it’s worth the effort to constantly monitor the area. 

Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point are both closed and both are located in the popular Jenny Lake area. They are among the park’s busiest attractions. Other Jenny Lake attractions, including the ferry, remain open.  There is no estimate on when these locations could reopen.

“We’re really going to need a few more days of data to make a solid determination if the rock is still moving,” park spokesman Andrew White said Friday according to Strange Sounds. Following data collection, park rangers will conduct a “risk assessment” to determine if the area can be reopened, he said.

The huge fissure on the buttress above Hidden Falls was discovered by Exum Mountain Guides on July 9  while training guided climbers for Teton ascents. By the next morning the gap had widened, so the closure followed citing a potentially dangerous “rockfall.” But a report from July 3 stated that Yellowstone’s magma chamber is “more powerful” than scientists had previously known.

Using a new way to track heat flow under the park, researchers now estimate Yellowstone’s magma chamber could be recharging from deep within the Earth twice as fast as previously thought. But there’s still no cause for alarm, even though all this news comes as the largest geyser in Yellowstone, the Steamboat geyser, becomes more active. It has now erupted for the eleventh time.

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Iranian official slams state’s oil-for-goods deal with Russia

Iran aims to get rid of the US sanctions through selling oil to Russia in exchange for goods, the Deputy Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Kamal Dehghani Firouzabadi, announced yesterday.

“This proposal [Tehran’s proposal] was implemented earlier in Iraq under the former president Saddam Hussein’s regime,” Firouzabadi said in an official statement, stressing that “The status quo in Iran is quite different than Iraq.”

“Tehran has commercial and political ties with the United Nations (UN) member states except for the United States,” he noted. “Those relations will continue even after the US sanctions.”

Read: Mnuchin says US to consider waivers on Iran sanctions

Last week, the senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, visited Russia where he met with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed with him “the necessary measures” to counter the US sanctions against Tehran, including the oil-for-goods barter deal.

On Friday, the Russian energy minister, Alexander Novak, said that a deal under which Russia would provide goods to Iran in exchange for oil was “possible.”

On 8 May, the US President Donald Trump announced a withdrawal from a deal, under which Iran would face restriction to its nuclear programme in return for lifting Western sanctions. On the contrary, the European Union (EU) countries refused to follow the American move and declared their continued commitment to the agreement.

On the Syrian issue, Velayati said that the Russian government was proposing to hold the next international talks in Tehran.

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Bank: Remittances from expatriate Egyptians hit $21.9bn

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) revealed today that the total value of remittances from Egyptians working abroad have amounted to $21.9 billion in the period from July 2017 to April 2018.

“Remittances from expatriate Egyptians would reach $26 billion during the current financial year 2017-18,” the bank said in an official statement.

Egypt’s financial year begins in early July and lasts until the end of June of the following year.

Read: The Egyptian Fantasia

In the financial year 2016-17, the bank added, Egyptian expats’ remittances reached $17.453 billion.

The bank pointed out that Egyptians abroad remitted $2.3 billion in April 2018 “only,” up from $1.7 billion during the same month last year.

Remittances have been increasing following the Egyptian pound flotation in November 2016. Before that, the US dollar exchange rate was doubled in the black market in comparison to its official rate in local banks.

According to official data, there are around 9.4 million Egyptians, out of Egypt’s 104.2 million total population, living abroad.

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Texas executes man for 2004 store owner slaying

Author: 
AP
ID: 
1531871429448320300
Tue, 2018-07-17 (All day)

AUSTIN, Texas: Texas executed a man on Tuesday for murdering a store owner during a robbery in 2004, despite calls from some relatives of the victim that his life be spared.
Christopher Young, 34, was put to death by lethal injection at the state’s death chamber in the city of Huntsville for the murder of Hasmukh Patel at his convenience store in San Antonio, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.
Young became the 13th US inmate put to death this year, and the 553rd in Texas since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state. Prior to Young’s lethal injection, Texas had carried out seven executions so far this year.
Lawyers for Young, who is African-American, filed a last-minute appeal to halt his execution, arguing that race was a factor in the decision this month by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to deny a request to halt the execution.
A US district court judge and an appeals court on Tuesday rejected the petition to spare his life.
Young’s lawyers had noted that the board had recommended clemency in a similar case earlier this year that involved a white death row inmate.
Those arguing for clemency, which was backed by the murder victim’s son, Mitesh Patel, wanted his sentence commuted to life in prison.
Texas contended that Young was convicted and deserved to die for the killing, which came shortly after he had sexually assaulted and carjacked a woman.
“Young provides no direct evidence that any member of the board acted with racial animus,” Texas said in a legal filing.
The parole board has not commented on its decision to deny the clemency request.
Mitesh Patel said Young’s contrition over the crime and his work to help others in prison were among the factors that led him and other family members to support clemency, the Texas Tribune reported.
Patel told a rally last week in support of the clemency bid that Young’s execution would not “take us toward any positive outcome.”
 

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