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Fri, 23rd June 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “gerald ford” Tag

Iran Holds Massive Naval Drill Over 2 Million Sq. Kilometer Area

With little active US presence in the region (see latest naval map below), on Sunday Iran launched a massive naval drill at the mouth of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Ships, submarines and helicopters will take part in the drills across an area of about 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) and marines will showcase their skills along Iran’s southeastern coast, the state news agency IRNA said even as tensions with the United States continue to build after U.S President Donald Trump put Tehran “on notice”.

Iran’s annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, quoted by Reuters. Today’s drill marks the last phase of war games that started in 2016, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported. The exercise, codenamed ‘Velayat 95’, kicked off in Iran’s south following an order from Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.

Apart from the main drills, Iran’s Navy commando units are conducting special operations in the southeastern Makran region. Last June, Sayyari said that Tehran was planning to carry out 20 military drills before March 2017. Iranian officials insist that the war games do not violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the nuclear deal between Iran and the Group 5+1 signed in January of 2016.

The UN nuclear watchdog said on Saturday that Iran has been found to be in full compliance with the nuclear deal, but the report comes against a backdrop of rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Earlier this month, then-US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said that “Iran had been put formally on notice” after Tehran fired a ballistic missile. Later in February, President Trump tweeted that “Iran is playing with fire,” promising that he won’t be as “kind as [former President] Obama” and warned the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table.

In response, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, blasted the US, saying Tehran remains “unmoved” by threats, but will use weapons “only in self-defense.” Last month, a US Navy destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian military ships that were allegedly approaching them at high speed near the Strait of Hormuz.

The latest US naval deployment shows that while the South China Sea has been a recent focus of the US navy, the only US ship in the region is the LHD 8 Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, although the George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier is currently headed for the region.

US jettisoning ‘One China’ would trigger geopolitical earthquake

In the less than two weeks since his inauguration, U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a series of controversial actions that have rocked the world.

But he has not yet offered any clue about his real intentions regarding the so-called One China policy, which is a matter of great concern to East Asia. 

 Trump indicated his willingness to reconsider this long-established principle, which, simply put, means Taiwan cannot become an independent nation.

If the U.S. abandons its commitment to this principle, it would be a historic policy shift that could violently shake East Asia’s security architecture and the structure of economic relations among countries in the region. 

One beginning

On Jan. 23, the online Japanese-language version of South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper carried an intriguing article on the issue written by one of its columnists.

In the article, titled “Trump: ‘How about Three Chinas?'” the author, quoting a source who has contacts within Trump’s inner circle, said Trump, after being elected, asked former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger whether he should maintain the “One China” policy. Kissinger reportedly floated the idea of three Chinas instead of two.

Brazilian Senate to Hold Vote on Rousseff Impeachment on Wednesday Morning

Brazil's suspended President Dilma Rousseff attends the final session of debate and voting on Rousseff's impeachment trial in Brasilia, Brazil, August 29, 2016Brazil’s Supreme Court President Ricardo Lewandowski had held consultations with senators and was ready to schedule the special session for the vote on 11 a.m. local time (14:00 GMT), the Globo news portal reported on Tuesday.

The portal added that if 54 senators voted for the impeachment, Rousseff would be removed from office, otherwise the impeachment would be terminated and she would resume the presidency. In May, the upper house of the Brazilian parliament voted 55-22 to start impeachment proceedings against Rousseff after she was accused of concealing the country’s budget deficit ahead of the 2014 election. Rousseff regards the impeachment proceedings as an illegal coup attempt. Rousseff has been suspended from office for 180 days. Vice President Michel Temer has being fulfilling the functions of the presidency during that period.

Poll: 80% of Americans Think Government, Banks, Corporate Media are Corrupt

In a Gallup poll released Tuesday, 9% of Americans answering the survey expressed confidence in the Republican-controlled Congress to address the country’s challenges, down ten percentage points from one decade ago and ranking last among the 14 institutions measured.

Although rated worse than any other institution in the country, federal lawmakers are not alone in facing mass disdain by a US electorate who increasingly thinks that the system has stopped working. Only the military and police services saw over 50% of respondents express “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the job they do every day.

Wall Street faced the largest drop in public approval ratings compared to a decade ago, as the country has failed to rebound from the economic calamity precipitated by speculative excess by the finance industry – banks fell from a 49% confidence rating down to a 22% rating. Recent polling data shows that 8% of Americans have confidence in the broader US financial system.

Similarly, the polling participants have lost confidence in corporate-owned media outlets for their failure to hold public officials accountable or give readers an unbiased truth. Both television news and newspapers fell ten percentage points, to all-time low confidence ratings of 21% and 20%, respectively.

Defaults likely to surpass long-term average – Moody’s

Ratings agency Moody’s is forecasting that the default rate will surpass its long term average for the first time since 2010.

In its February research report the agency says the default rate on junk bonds will rise above its long term average in one year’s time, saying that it is “a sign that the corporate default cycle has turned.”

Low commodity prices are likely to continue to lead to defaults in the oil and gas and metals and mining sectors, the ratings agency says.

“Of the 18 defaults since the start of the year, half have been in commodity sectors,” said Sharon Ou, a Moody’s Vice President and Senior Credit Officer. “There were only 11 defaults during the same period in 2015, with only one in commodity sectors.”

“Two of the 10 defaults in February were of sizable amounts,” said Ms Ou. “Pacific Exploration and Production Corp defaulted on $3.7 billion in debt, and Paragon Offshore plc defaulted on $2.3 billion.”

The backward looking 12-month default rate increased to 3.7 per cent in this February compared to 2.1 per cent in the same period in the previous year.

You Can Bid On ‘Air Force One’ For As Little As $50,000

If you have at least $50,000 to bid, you may be able to own a piece of American history.

On May 15, the General Services Administration will be auctioning off the plane that shuttled every U.S. president from Gerald Ford to George W. Bush, along with vice presidents and other dignitaries, Fox News reports.

The DC-9-32 aircraft — tail number N681AL — is now located at Phoenix/Mesa airport and once acted as Air Force 2 (the vice president’s ride), and “may have acted as Air Force One,” according to the GSA listing.

In FAA speak, whenever the president is aboard a military aircraft, it is always referred to as Air Force One.

From The GSA Facebook page:

It’s not often we get to sell a piece of history like this, but GSA Auctions is selling this plane that flew Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton & Bush (as well as the Vice-President, First Lady, Cabinet secretaries, 4-star generals, admirals, foreign dignitaries and more).

The McDonnell Douglas aircraft is powered by two turbo-jet engines, capable of at least 550 mph, and can reach an altitude of 37,000 feet.

Now take a look: