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Purveyor's Journal
Purveyor's Journal
May 29, 2012

Israel Pours Cold Water On Big-Power Talks With Iran

Dan Williams Reuters

1:31 a.m. CDT, May 29, 2012

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - International nuclear talks with Iran have achieved nothing, a senior Israeli official said on Tuesday, suggesting that some Western nations were happy to see the negotiations drag on.

Breaking Israel's official silence on the second round of talks, held in Baghdad last week, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said they had only produced "more Iranian time-buying".

&quot There was) no significant achievement except for the Iranians having been given another three weeks or so to pursue the nuclear project until the next meeting in Moscow," he told Israel's Army Radio in an interview.

"To my regret, I don't see any sense of urgency, and perhaps it is even in the interest of some players in the West to stretch out the time, which would certainly square with the Iranian interest."



May 29, 2012

Russia Warns US On Iran Sanctions

Moscow warned Washington on Tuesday of "severe repercussions" on the relations between the two superpowers should Russian companies operating in Iran be affected by the new American sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.

"We assume that (Russian) companies which do violate the restrictions imposed by the UN Security Council (on Iran) will not be affected by the anti-Iranian American laws," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

About a week ago the US Senate unanimously approved on Monday a package of new economic Iran's oil sector.

The West suspects Iran is working to build a nuclear bomb and the sanctions are meant to strip Tehran of revenue by shutting down financial deals with Iran's powerful state oil and tanker enterprises. Iran has said its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.



May 29, 2012

Flame Computer Bug May Have Been Released By Israel, Minister Says

May 29, 2012

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- A computer virus attacking computers in Iran and the West Bank may have been created with Israeli involvement, a government minister hinted.

Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's vice prime minister, said in an interview Tuesday on Israel Radio that "Anyone who sees the Iranian threat as a significant threat would be likely to take various steps, including these, to harm it.

"Israel was blessed as being a country rich with high-tech," he said. "These tools that we take pride in open up all kinds of opportunities for us."

The discovery of the Flame virus, which is being called "the most sophisticated virus of all times," was announced Monday by the Kaspersky Lab in Russia. It was discovered in high concentrations in Iranian computers and also in the West Bank, Syria and Sudan.



May 29, 2012

Trade War Looming as China Rebukes U.S. Support for Solar

China’s allegation that renewable- energy subsidies in five U.S. states violate free-trade rules ratchets up a potentially costly trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

“It’s a long, slow escalation of trade and currency wars as we race to the bottom,” said Theodore O’Neill, an analyst with Wunderlich Securities Inc. of New York.

Programs supporting renewable power, including wind and solar, in Washington state, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio and California, violate World Trade Organization policies and trade treaties, according to a preliminary finding of an investigation posted yesterday on the website of China’s Ministry of Commerce. China filed a complaint today at the WTO over U.S. procedures for calculating anti-subsidy duties on imports.

Those announcements followed a preliminary decision by the U.S. Commerce Department last week to impose tariffs of as much as 250 percent on imports of Chinese solar cells. The agency said the units were being sold for less than the cost of production in an attempt to drive out domestic competition.



May 29, 2012

U.S. Envoy Ignites Russia Controversy With Bribe Accusation

By Henry Meyer and Ksenia Galouchko - 2012-05-29T11:54:34Z

Russia accused U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul of breaching diplomatic protocol by saying his host country bribed Kyrgyzstan to close an American air base.

McFaul in a May 25 lecture at the Moscow Higher School of Economics said Russia bought off the impoverished Central Asian state in 2009 as part of geopolitical rivalry with the U.S., according to the Russian state news service RIA Novosti. The remarks were “unprofessional” and went “far beyond the limits of diplomatic etiquette,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website late yesterday.

“This is not the first time that statements and actions by Mr. McFaul, who holds an important position, have been a cause for concern,” the ministry said. “Our understanding is that an ambassador’s role is to promote bilateral ties and not to spread blatant falsehoods through the media.”

Ties between Russia and the U.S. have become strained over Western efforts to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a bid by U.S. lawmakers to sanction Russian officials for human rights abuses and a planned U.S. missile-defense shield in Europe.



May 29, 2012

Consumer Confidence in U.S. Fell in May to Four-Month Low

By Timothy R. Homan - 2012-05-29T14:18:25Z

Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly fell in May to the lowest level in four months as Americans grew more pessimistic about the labor market.

The Conference Board’s confidence index decreased to 64.9 from a revised 68.7 in the prior month, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a reading of 69.6.

The weakest payroll gains in six months may raise concerns that economic growth is not fast enough to bring down the jobless rate. More employment is needed to boost consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

“We are making progress when it comes to the labor market, but clearly this is another sign that it’s still very slow- going,” said Aaron Smith, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, whose forecast was closest. “When we see expectations get marked down, that can cause consumers to think twice about making big-ticket purchases.”



May 29, 2012

Social Security Disability Seen Insolvent Unless Congress Votes

By Brian Faler - 2012-05-29T04:01:00Z

A U.S. government entitlement program is headed for insolvency in four years, and it’s not the one members of Congress are talking about most.

The Social Security disability program’s trust fund is projected to run out of cash far sooner than the better-known Social Security retirement plan or Medicare. That will trigger a 21 percent cut in benefits to 11 million Americans -- disabled people, their spouses and children -- many of whom rely on the program to stay out of poverty.

“It’s really striking how rapidly this is growing, how big it’s become and how D.C. is just afraid of it,” said Mark Duggan, a University of Pennsylvania economist and adviser to the Social Security Administration.

Part of the reason for the burgeoning costs is that the 77 million baby boomers projected to swamp federal retirement plans will reach the disability program first. That’s because almost all boomers are at least 50 years old, the age at which someone is most likely to become disabled.



May 29, 2012

Justices Decline Case Of Police Taser Use On Pregnant Woman

Source: CNN

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
10:41 AM EDT, Tue May 29, 2012

Washington (CNN) -- A "defiant" pregnant woman who was subjected to three Taser stun gun shocks by law enforcement officers after refusing to sign a speeding ticket will not get her appeal addressed by the Supreme Court.

The justices without comment rejected separate petitions from both Malaika Brooks and the Seattle Police officers sued for excessive force.

The court also rejected a similar appeal from a separate plaintiff.
2005: Rick Sanchez zapped with stun gun

Hundreds of such Taser-related lawsuits have been working their way through lower state and federal courts, but the Supreme Court so far has refused to address the issue of what the officers call "a useful pain technique."

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/29/justice/scotus-taser-shocks/index.html

May 28, 2012

Romney's Memorial Day Promise: To Maintain A US Military 'With No Comparable Power Anywhere'

Source: Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney promised Monday to maintain an American military "with no comparable power anywhere in the world."

The likely Republican presidential nominee faced a San Diego crowd estimated at 5,000 in what was billed as a Memorial Day service paying tribute to the nation's war dead, not a campaign rally. But without naming his general election rival, Romney drew clear contrasts with President Barack Obama on the issue of defense.

The Democratic president has proposed reducing the size of the military following the end of the U.S. combat role in Iraq and plans to removes troops from Afghanistan at the end of 2014.

"We have two courses we can follow: One is to follow in the pathway of Europe, to shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs," Romney said outside the city's Veterans Memorial Center and Museum. "The other is to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world."

Read more: http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/055a31b493ec4cda82d7ad7766d20eff/US--Romney

May 27, 2012

Iran Won’t Halt Production of Higher Grade Uranium; To build 2 New Nuclear Power Plants

Published: May 27, 2012

TEHRAN — Iran will not halt its enrichment of uranium up to 20 percent, the country’s nuclear chief told state television on Sunday, backing away from an earlier offer that suggested it might be prepared to cease production of the higher grade nuclear material.

The official, Fereydoon Abbasi, also announced that Iran would start building two new nuclear power plants in 2013, and said that the Islamic Republic’s only active nuclear reactor is getting close to full production levels, after a delay of many years.

He made clear that there will be no suspension of enrichment by Iran, a key demand of a handful of United Nations Security Council resolutions. “We have no reason to retreat from producing the 20 percent because we need 20 percent uranium just as much to meet our needs,” Mr. Abbasi said, according to Iranian state TV.

Mr. Abbasi’s remarks are bound to further complicate already difficult nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, which after an unsuccessful meeting on Wednesday and Thursday in Baghdad will be continued in Moscow one June 18. If the talks fail, the world powers are planning to tighten sanctions on Iranian exports and financial dealings as early as July 1, including placing an embargo on all purchases of Iranian oil in Europe.



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