Why Today Is Important: 20th March

It’s Iranian New Year folks! Or Persian New Year, or Nowruz, depending on who you ask. Where I am, we talk about the Western New Year, or Chinese New Year, but we rarely talk about others, which is a shame because Nowruz is really intriguing.

Its origins lie in Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest religions known to man, and as a result these New Year celebrations are 3000 years old and wide spread. People in Central Asia, South Asia, Western Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, and the Balkans all celebrate this holiday, though many view it as a secular rather than religious holiday. The joy of this New Year is its flexible nature, as atheists, Muslims and Zoroastrians alike come together to celebrate.

Nowruz marks the equinox, the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, the first month in the Iranian calendar.

The party is basically two weeks of banging pots and pans in the street, fire displays and fireworks, gorgeous meals of meat and rice and spice, and family coming together to dance and laugh. The literal definition of Nowruz is “new day”, and the way people come together to celebrate really does inspire that same feeling you get when you watch the sunrise after a cold, dark winter. It’s a time for family, for hope, and for change.

For further reading I recommend:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/20/world/what-is-nowruz-trnd/index.html

http://www.iranchamber.com/culture/articles/norooz_iranian_new_year.php

We Can’t Forget Libya

It’s hard to believe that the Libyan Civil War only started back in 2014. It feels a lot longer, and it’s pretty sad to think that it’s never been resolved.

There are a lot of parties involved, and I’m going to cover that here as simply as I can:

The House of Representatives:

  1. Libyan National Army
  2. Libyan Airforce
  3. Libyan Navy
  4. Zintan Brigades
  5. Russian PMCs
  6. JEM (Justice and Equality Movement) – a political group from Sudan
  7. SLM/A (Sudan Liberation Movement/Army)
  8. Sudan RSF (Sudan’s paramilitary force)
  9. Wagner Group (a Russian paramilitary organisation)

Supported by:

  1. Gaddafi loyalists, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Libya and the Warshefana militias.

The Government of National Accord

  1. Libyan Armed Forces (including Libyan Ground Forces, the Libyan Air Force, and the Libyan Navy)
  2. The Libyan Presidential Guard
  3. The Misrata Brigades (an anti-Gaddafi armed guard)
  4. The Sabratha Revolutionary Brigades
  5. The Petroleum Facilities Guard (an oil company and militia)
  6. Tripoli Protection Force (which was made in 2018 from four different Libyan militias)
  7. The Misratan Third Force
  8. Tuareg militias of Ghat
  9. The Toubou Front for the Salvation of Libya
  10. Chadian Rebels
  11. The Turkish-Backed Free Syrian Army

Supported by:

  1. The EU
  2. The UN

The National Salvation Government

  1. Libyan Shield Force (anti-Gaddafi armed forces)
  2. LROR (Libyan Revolutionaries Operations Room)
  3. Libyan National Guard

Supported by:

  1. Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries
  2. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
  3. Shura Council of Mujahideen in Derna
  4. Benghazi Defense Brigades
  5. Ajdabiya Revolutionaries Shura Council
  6. Derna Protection Force

ISIL

  1. Wilayat Barqa
  2. Wilayat Tarabulus
  3. Wilayat Fezzan

As of the beginning of this year, the warring parties have resumed talks in Geneva, with hopes of reaching a ceasefire. It’s come at a time when armed forces have struck the port in the capital, Tripoli, the first such attack in nearly a year.

Ghassan Salame, the head of the UN’s Libyan mission, has been meeting with both sides separately during these talks, but he has acknowledged his hopes on having joint talks in the near future.

Elbit Systems and Our Security

Have you ever heard of Elbit Systems?

They’re one of the world’s top defensive technology systems, covering products such as surveillance tech, unmanned aircraft, and cyber defences. They primarily sell to the US, Europe and their allies, though in recent years they have increased trade with countries in the Asia Pacific. With the rise in fears over North Korea, Elbit’s airborne laser defence systems have become increasingly popular.

In one of their most recent deals, they’ve provided $70 million worth of defence products to an anonymous Asia Pacific country, with the contract lasting for 25 months.

This agreement raises some eyebrows due to their insistence for anonymity.

But it’s not the first time this has happened.

Last October they provided a $153 million drone deal to an un-named Asian country; it’s becoming a more frequent occurrence, with people growing wary of other nations knowing too much about their defence technology.

Other countries don’t care.

South Korea has felt secure enough to sign up for a $43 million deal for fighter jets with Terrain Following – Terrain Avoidance systems attached to make it easier for low-altitude flights.

Meanwhile, the Italian and Brazilian air forces use Elbit’s Direct Infra-Red Counter Measure Systems (the tech that protects you from heat-seeking missiles), as do Israeli commercial airlines. However, Israel prefers to create their own military defence systems.

So, if you’re rich and want to invest in defensive tech, Elbit is one of the companies you’ll likely buy from.

And if you’re looking for a military career, read up on their website for a better understanding of commonly used military tech.

It’s intense, but interesting technology.

How dangerous is a coronavirus infection?

nuclear-news

Gene Leonard MDCorona 30 Morbitity Mers  18 Mar 20

Do not listen to conspiracy theories or factoids. It is serious. 86 percent of the people, who already heve the virus in the USA, do not know they have it. It can kill babies and toddlers as well. If you value your loved ones hunker down, and help slow down the deadly virus’s transmission.

How dangerous is a coronavirus infection?

Usually coronavirus illnesses are fairly mild, affecting just the upper airway. But the new virus, as well as both SARS and MERS, are different.

Those three types of betacoronaviruses can latch onto proteins studding the outside of lung cells, and penetrate much deeper into the airway than cold-causing coronaviruses, says Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, M.D. The 2019 version is “a disease that causes more lung disease than sniffles,” Fauci says.

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(China-436) March 8, 2020 – A young man in Hong Kong interested in the history of the Jews in China — Getting 2 Know You – China

CAN THE JEWS OF KAIFENG, CHINA, SURVIVE XI JINPING, AS THEY HAVE 1,400 YEARS OF CLOODS, REVOLUTION, AND INTERMARRIAGE? Dwindling community in city in Henan province is threatened by a campaign against ‘unaurthorised religion’ It has an unlikely ambassador in the form of an 18-year-old schoolboy from Hong Kong Etan Smallman SCMP March 8, 2020 […]

(China-436) March 8, 2020 – A young man in Hong Kong interested in the history of the Jews in China — Getting 2 Know You – China

Why Today Is Important: 17th March

I’m sure most of the Western readers will have at the very least heard of St Patrick’s Day. It’s known for being a night of drunken revelry and mayhem, in the best kind of way. It’s a time when friends and family come together to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland: St Patrick.

And this raucous, crazy day happens to be today. So for all you drinkers, prepare your livers, and all you sober folks, prepare some noise-cancelling headphones. You’re likely to need it in a lot of places tonight.

But, why the hell do we do this? What is it that people are actually celebrating?

Well, it’s St Paddy!

He was born in Roman Britain, around the 4th Century, but at the age of sixteen he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland to be a slave. He escaped, but Ireland had touched his heart, and he returned to convert the Irish to Christianity. He worked hard to build monasteries, churches and schools, and basically became a figure of mysterious and legend. A famous story often told is that he chased the snakes from the land, when masses of them tried to attack him while he was holding a 40-day fast. Ever since, as I have heard many a time from proud Irish speakers, there has been no hint of a snake in Ireland.

The stories say he died on the 17th March, and was buried at Downpatrick, in Northern Ireland. After his death the legends grew and stories spread, and he was eventually accepted as the patron saint of Ireland.

Now, he has come to symbolise everything Irish. He is a figure of the nation, a rallying point for all Irish across the world. Even in the International Space Station there are reports of astronauts celebrating St Patrick’s Day.

And why not? It warms the heart to see people coming together to celebrate their heritage, and they throw one hell of a party for it.

For further reading I recommend:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Saint-Patricks-Day

http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day

https://www.space.com/11159-irish-astronaut-stpatricks-day-flute-music.html

The Arrow

Israeli security is some of the best in the world.

It’s excellent out of necessity. If Israel slips up, even once, an attack would be inevitable.

The countries of the Middle East have not forgotten, nor forgiven, the land that was taken so forcefully from them in the 60s. And while many would sympathise with these countries, because they have been treated wrongfully, many would also make the argument that what’s done is done, and it’s time to work towards a better future for everyone.

It’s a painful debate to face, and while it’s not one that I enjoy listening to, I know that it’s one that needs to be held through to the end for anything concrete to develop.

However, it’s not my place. I’m British, and I’m staying out.

I will, however, point out some of the insanely well developed technology that Israel now haves because of this need.

And today, my focus is The Arrow missile system.

The Arrow is Israel’s main defence against Iranian missiles, and some officials would argue, Iranian nukes.

With Iran swearing that they will destroy Israel and completely wipe the nation from the face of the earth, Israeli officials and scientists are developing better and better techniques at defending themselves. This includes preventing Iran from getting nukes at all costs.

Israel has been acting rather…difficult, in the eyes of most nations, but it’s completely understandable. Surrounded by a sea of enemies, Israel sees itself as being alone, forced to rely on themselves. If anything bad were to happen, there is no guarantee that the US could save them. They’re trying to maintain good relations with the US, and even Russia, in case such a catastrophe does happen, and has even refrained from using military force in places like Syria and Iraq, but overall Israel knows where they stand.

They know what Iran has in mind.

They’re aware of Iran moving missiles to proxy sites, like Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq in an attempt to work around the missile defence systems, and they’re being forced to counteract this with new defences and new ideas.

For now, The Arrow missile system is Israel’s greatest defence in an increasingly hostile and capable environment.

But for how long will it stay useful?

Extinction Rebellion and Suicide

I woke up, I read the news, and I got extremely p-ed off.

A measure that Extinction Rebellion is hoping to employ involves suicide.

Now, if this was just a group of adults fighting for something they believe in, fine. I can accept that. I disagree with it, and think they can do a lot with their lives; a live man can do more than a dead one. And I think it’s almost selfish, as they don’t always thoroughly consider the people they would be leaving behind. But, as grown consenting adults, if that’s what they want to do, that’s on them.

The issue is, Extinction Rebellion has a lot of young, terrified people. There are kids out there who think their lives are going to be meaningless, and amount to absolutely nothing, because in 50 years we’ll all be dead anyway. These kids are at risk if people step up to this suicidal ideation. Depression and hopelessness are rising problems for adolescents and children. If a leader, a respected figure, in your community suddenly says “yeah, if you want to go kill yourself for our cause then the government will have to listen”, what do you think an already troubled, vulnerable person is going to do? It’s wrong.

I take umbrage with groups like Extinction Rebellion, activists who love to scream, shout and complain, but when all is said and done they do little actual good for the community. We have a ridiculous number of homeless people in the UK, why not go do something for them? Or if you’re so worried about pollution and the environment, go do these litter clean-ups that got really popular a few months ago. If your family is lucky, why not buy some land and make a reserve for endangered animals in your country? Step up and make a good change, rather than putting lives at risk. It’s getting dangerous. I have no respect for people like that.

I couldn’t reblog for some reason, but here are some links with some useful information:

http://www.thegypf.com/extinction-rebellion-plans-for-public-suicides-as-glasgow-eco-summit-looms/

And the blog Watts Up With That also has more detail.

So the resources are here for you if you want further reading.

Pandemic Politics: North Korea

Today's Defense & International Relations Topics

Speculation and concern continue to grow among medical experts about the true extent of new coronavirus cases in North Korea. The Pyongyang government has not reported any cases of COVID-19, the official name of the new coronavirus. Officially, the country is clean and the border with China is closed. Earlier in the week however, reports surfaced from sources inside of the secretive nation-state indicating the virus is present and has caused a number of deaths already. These reports are unconfirmed and there is no reliable method available to verify them. Yet given the present state of the North Korean healthcare system it is quite possible COVID-19 is present in the North and perhaps even running rampant. The reports, as well as other pieces of evidence, have led many healthcare experts to conclude North Korea is attempting to hide an outbreak.

In light of the situation in China, as well as…

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