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Not the Onion: UK doctor says Skripal awakening “is a miracle!”

It’s a miracle!

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Sergei Skripal and his daughter are recovering and “improving rapidly” after their exposure to the deadly chemical nerve agent Novichok, in what appears to be “a miracle”. Since Yulia’s improvement, whence she regained consciousness around two weeks ago, reports say she has since been discharged from the hospital.

The statement that the UK police released about the poisoning alleges that the nerve agent was applied to the front door of Sergei Skripal’s front door, which is supposedly how the Skripals were poisoned. From their home, the Skripals drove their car down to the Sainsbury car park, from where they walked to grab a few pints at The Mill Pub just before they went for a bite at Zizzi’s restaurant, before walking to the park bench where they were found unresponsive, and where emergency services were called to. According to the time frame that is provided, this entire train of events went down over a course of roughly three hours.

Essentially, this military grade nerve agent, which is ten times stronger than VX, took an exceptionally long time to do its work, if this story is legitimate, as a very small amount of the toxic substance, even a 1mm drop is lethal. Business Insider tells us that

The toxicity of Novichoks “may exceed that of VX” — the deadliest of five common nerve agents— according to documents released by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Reuters reported that Novichoks may even be “five to 10 times more lethal” than VX. Other powerful nerve agents include tabun, sarin, soman, and GF.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is accused of having his agents use VX in the 2017 assassination of his half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, and the chemical is reportedly strong enough to kill with a single drop.

In pure form, most nerve agents are colorless and mostly odorless liquids. Any of them can harm a person through the skin, breathing, ingestion, or all three routes, depending on how it’s dispersed.

This is why Dr. Vil Mirzayanov, a chemist who ran the technical counter-intelligence department in Russia’s chemical weapons institute, told Sky news this about its toxicity:

He said: “It’s the same as nerve gas but 10 times, at least 10 times, more powerful.”

The scientist emphasised that Novichok was designed to do “irreparable” damage to the human body.

He said it would leave those exposed to significant doses, like Mr Skripal and his daughter, as “invalids” who would need medical assistance for the rest of their lives.

He spoke of a colleague who died after accidental exposure to a small amount in his lab.

“That’s it,” he said. “No cure.”

In this case, we’re told that the substance was smeared on the front door, from which both victims came into contact with it. Additionally, the police sergeant who came to the scene at the park bench had become seriously ill due to his exposure to the substance, Sgt. Nick Bailey. The sergeant was treated for his condition, and was discharged from the hospital on 22 March. UK Prime Minister Theresa May encouraged the members of the House to keep him in their thoughts as he recovered:

Additionally, it was said that around 40 people were treated for exposure to the toxin, before police later on told the press that the number was actually 21, including the Skripals.

In addition to Sergeant Nick Bailey’s discharge, Yulia Skripal regained consciousness and the coherence to carry on a conversation about two weeks ago. Yulia apparently confirmed this by placing a phone call to her cousin Viktoria Skripal on the 5th of April, where she described hers and her father’s conditions saying “Everything is ok. He is resting now, having a nap. Everyone’s health is fine, there are no irreparable things. I will be discharged soon. Everything is ok.”

Alastair Hay, Professor of Environmental Toxicology at Leeds University, explained that the recovery is miraculous saying “the nerve agents are deadly. That’s why they were chosen as chemical weapons. If you are exposed to a number of lethal doses then invariably it is fatal,” he said, adding that they have an impact on the nervous system, leading to cardiac arrest and even asphyxiation. “In a way it is a miracle really,” he said.

Exposure to a very small sample of this toxin has killed, as Dr. Mirzayanov has told us, and a toxin only one tenth as powerful as Novichok has been successfully employed in assassinations, such as that of Kim Jong Un’s half brother. But in this case, the sample that the Skripals were exposed to was enough to send 19 other people into treatment, with a police sergeant being seriously ill from his exposure to the Skripals, who had been carrying this poison around on their person for three hours, and the Skripals were able to enjoy some beers and some lunch before they finally took ill with it.

Now, both the Skripals and the sergeant, Nick Bailey, have been treated and are improving quite well, apparently with no irreparable damage, after being poisoned with something that there is “no cure” for. Additionally, the Skripals were properly diagnosed with exactly what was making them ill by regular medical professionals who have now treated this condition with such skill that their patients are going to be just fine.

This sample of the “military grade” chemical weapon taken from the scene was tested by experts at Porton Down, who identified the substance as Novichok, but apparently couldn’t tell where it was from, after British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson testified that the scientists were “absolutely categorical” that it came from the Russians.

From this point, this assassination attempt looks like it was very ineptly conducted, as something that is supposed to be military grade was used and not only didn’t take effect for many hours, but from which the targets are impressively recovering from, and who will apparently survive without any harm done.

The British government, however, was sure that the Russians carried out this assassination attempt and that the substance was of a “military grade” just hours later and before an investigation was even conducted.

Given the facts about the lethality of the toxin, former director general of Pakistan’s Military Intelligence recently told RT in an interview that “If it was an operation to be launched by Russia, it could have been very effective. Killing people with that poison, or with this type of toxin is not very difficult, but they both survived,” he said.

“That means someone was clearly ensuring that ‘look, we must make it look like a toxic attack but we don’t want to lose these people’. So this is yet another question mark. In this particular case the credibility of the whole process, since it is lacking, I do not think they have been able to convince even their own allies for very long that this is a genuine operation launched by Moscow.”

Considering all of this, one might ask whether the Skripals were poisoned with a nerve agent at all, given its lethality and the lack of a cure, together with the toxin’s inability to produce results over such an extended period of time, especially given that it was “military grade” and was employed by guys who the British are telling us have been practicing this for some time. Then, one wonders here whether the illness was actually something else, like, maybe food poisoning from something they ate at Zizzi’s. If Victoria Skripal is correct in telling us that Yulia and her father ate fugu fish, a dish that can actually kill you if not properly prepared, then one wonders if they got food poisoning from it, and then the UK government decided that this was their chance to make a story that can be used to trump up some anti Russia hysteria to plaster all over the media and get everyone’s mind off of the Brexit issue as well as to justify some arms deals with their favourite humanitarian government, the Saudis.

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Russia ranks HIGHER than Switzerland in these areas of doing business

Some curious things happened with several businesspeople who attended World Cup events in Russia.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

One of them was a distinctly renewed interest in doing business inside the country, and another was the realization to what extent perceptions have been tainted by media and political rhetoric directed against any real or imagined nastiness attributed to Russia these days.

These past few weeks have been invaluable, at the very least by affording a clear picture of Russia through which almost all anxiety-ridden preconceptions were illuminated and dispelled. More disturbing was the fact that the several businesspeople I was dealing with were furious. They were livid for being played for fools, and felt victimized by the dismally untrue picture painted about Russia and Russians in their home countries, both by their own politicians and the press.

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Most felt that they have been personally sanctioned by their own countries, betrayed through lack of clear unbiased information enabling them to participate and profit from Russia opportunities these past three growth years in spite of “sanctions”.

The door to doing good business in Russia has been and is open, and has been opening wider year after year. That is not just “highly likely”, but fact. Consistently improving structures, means and methods to conduct business in Russia sustainably, transparently and profitably are now part of the country’s DNA. It is a process, which has been worked on in the west for more than a century, and one, which Russia has only started these past 18 years.

True, there are sanctions, counter-sanctions, and regulations governing them that must be studied carefully. However if you are not a bank or doing business with those persons deemed worthy of being blacklisted by some countries “sanctions list”, in reality there are no obstacles that cannot be positively addressed and legally overcome despite the choir of political nay-sayers.

READ MORE: Russia just dumped $80 BILLION in US debt

The days of quickly turning over Russia opportunities into short-term cash are rapidly fading, they are a throwback to the 1990’s. Today the major and open opportunities are in the areas for Foreign Direct Investments. The nature of FDI is long term to make regularly recurring sustainable returns on investment.

Long term, Russia always was and increasingly confirms that it is a vibrant and attractive market. There is a significant consumer market with spending power, a well-educated workforce, a wealth of resources and the list goes on. The economic obstacles encountered have largely been imposed from without, and not from the dynamics and energies of the Russian economy itself.

Eventually sanctions will end, although the timeline is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile business continues, and any long-term engagement within Russia by establishing a working presence will yield both short and long-term investment rewards. These will only be amplified when the sanctions regimes are removed. In any event, these aspects are long-term investment decisions and one of the criteria in any risk assessment.

For some added perspective, Russia is ranked by the Financial Times as the No.2 country in Europe in terms of capital investments into Europe. It has a 2017 market share of 9% (US$ 15.9 billion) and includes 203 business projects. This is 2% higher than 2016 and better that 2014/2015 when sanctions were imposed.

Another item of perspective is the Country Risk Premium. All investors consider this when calculating the scope for long-term return on investments. What may surprise some is that Russia is no longer ranked as a very high-risk country. For comparisons sake: The risk premium for Germany is zero (no extra risk), the risk premium for Italy is 2.19%, and for Russia, it is 2.54%. When compared to politically popular investment destinations like Ukraine the risk premium is 10.4%  – food for thought. Bottom line is that the risks of investing in Russia are a smidge higher than investing in Italy.

Russia is ranked 35 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. The ranking of Russia improved to 35 in 2017 from 40 in 2016 and from 124 in 2010. It may also surprise some to learn that as concerns protecting the rights of minority investors, paying taxes, registering property and some other aspects of the World Bank comparisons, Russia comes out better than Switzerland (See: Rankings).

From operational standpoints, establishing an invested presence in Russia does not mean one must adopt Russian managerial methods or practices. The advantages for established foreign companies is that their management culture is readily applied and absorbed by a smart and willing workforce, enabling a seamless integration given the right training and tools.

The trend towards the ultimate globalization of business despite trade wars, tariffs, sanctions and counter-sanctions is clear. The internet of the planet, the blockchain and speed of information exchange makes it so whether we wish it or not. Personally, I hope that political globalization remains stillborn as geopolitics has a historical mandate to tinker with and play havoc with international trade.

Russia occupies a key strategic position between Europe and Asia. The “west” (US/Europe) have long had at times rather turbulent relationships with China. At the same time the Chinese are quite active investors in both the US and Europe, and western companies are often struggling to understand how to deal with China.

The answer to this conundrum is Russia: this is where East and West will ultimately come together with Russia playing a pivotal role in the relations between the west and China. At the end of the day, and taking the strategic long-term economic view, is what both Chinese and Western companies are investing in when they open their activities in Russia.

If long-term commitment and investment in Russia were simply a matter of transferring funds then I would not be bothering with this opinion article. Without a doubt, there are structural issues with investing in Russia. A still evolving and sometimes unclear rule of law, difficulties obtaining finance for investments directed towards Russia, the unique language and culture of business in the country. Nevertheless, companies that have an understanding and vision of global strategy will manage with these issues and have the means to mitigate them.

Money and other invested resources do not and should not play politics; any investment case when evaluated on objective financial criteria will reveal its fit, or lack of, within a company’s global strategic business objectives. The objective criteria for Russia over any long term horizon is both convincing and strong. This has been repeated by all of the businesspeople I have met with these past few weeks. Without doubt we shall see some new companies coming into the Russian market and objectively exploring the gains their playing fair business football here will yield.

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Media meltdown hits stupid levels as Trump and Putin hold first summit (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 58.

Alex Christoforou

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It was, and still remains a media meltdown of epic proportions as that dastardly ‘traitor’ US President Donald Trump decided to meet with that ‘thug’ Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Of course these are the simplistic and moronic epitaphs that are now universally being thrown around on everything from Morning Joe to Fox and Friends.

Mainstream media shills, and even intelligent alternative news political commentators, are all towing the same line, “thug” and “traitor”, while no one has given much thought to the policy and geo-political realities that have brought these two leaders together in Helsinki.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou provide some real news analysis of the historic Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, without the stupid ‘thug’ and ‘traitor’ monikers carelessly being thrown around by the tools that occupy much of the mainstream media. Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

And if you though that one summit between Putin and Trump was more than enough to send the media into code level red meltdown, POTUS Trump is now hinting (maybe trolling) at a second Putin summit.

Via Zerohedge

And cue another ‘meltdown’ in 3…2…1…

While arguments continue over whether the Helsinki Summit was a success (end of Cold War 2.0) or not (most treasonous president ever), President Trump is convinced “The Summit was a great success,” and hints that there will be a second summit soon, where they will address: “stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more.”

However, we suspect what will ‘trigger’ the liberal media to melt down is his use of the Stalin-esque term “enemy of the people” to describe the Fake News Media once again…

 

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While US seeks to up the ante on pressure on the DPRK, Russia proposes easing sanctions

These proposals show the dichotomy between the philosophy of US and Russian foreign policy

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The United States last week accused the DPRK of violating refined petroleum caps imposed as a part of UN nuclear sanctions dating back to 2006, and is therefore submitting a proposal to cut all petroleum product sales to North Korea.

The Trump administration is keen on not only preserving pressure on North Korea over its nuclear arms development, but in increasing that pressure even as DPRK Chairman, Kim Jong-Un, is serially meeting with world leaders in a bid to secure North Korea’s security and potential nuclear disarmament, a major move that could deescalate tensions in the region, end the war with the South, and ease global apprehensions about the North’s nuclear arsenal.

Meanwhile, Russia is proposing to the UNSC sanctions relief in some form due to the North’s expressed commitment to nuclear disarmament in the light of recent developments.

Reuters reports:

MOSCOW/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia’s envoy to North Korea said on Wednesday it would be logical to raise the question of easing sanctions on North Korea with the United Nations Security Council, as the United States pushes for a halt to refined petroleum exports to Pyongyang.

“The positive change on the Korean peninsula is now obvious,” said the ambassador, Alexander Matsegora, according to the RIA news agency, adding that Russia was ready to help modernize North Korea’s energy system if sanctions were lifted and if Pyongyang can find funding for the modernization.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

China tried late last month to get the Security Council to issue a statement praising the June 12 Singapore meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and expressing its “willingness to adjust the measures on the DPRK in light of the DPRK’s compliance with the resolutions.”

North Korea’s official name is Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

But the United States blocked the statement on June 28 given “ongoing and very sensitive talks between the United States and the DPRK at this time,” diplomats said. The same day, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi about the importance of sanctions enforcement.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to informally brief U.N. Security Council envoys along with South Korea and Japan on Friday.

Diplomats say they expect Pompeo to stress the need to maintain pressure on North Korea during his briefing on Friday.

In a tweet on Wednesday Trump said he elicited a promise from Russian President Vladimir Putin to help negotiate with North Korea but did not say how. He also said: “There is no rush, the sanctions remain!”

The United States accused North Korea last week of breaching a U.N. sanctions cap on refined petroleum by making illicit transfers between ships at sea and demanded an immediate end to all sales of the fuel.

The United States submitted the complaint to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee, which is due to decide by Thursday whether it will tell all U.N. member states to halt all transfers of refined petroleum to Pyongyang.

Such decisions are made by consensus and some diplomats said they expected China or Russia to delay or block the move.

When asked on June 13 about whether sanctions should be loosened, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said: “We should be thinking about steps in that direction because inevitably there is progress on the track that should be reciprocal, that should be a two-way street. The other side should see encouragement to go forward.”

The proposals of both the United States and Russia are likely to be vetoed by each other, resulting no real changes, but what it displays is the foreign policy positions of both nuclear powers towards the relative position of the DPRK and its rhetorical move towards denuclearization. The US demonstrates that its campaign of increased pressure on the North is necessary to accomplishing the goal of a denuclearized Korean peninsula, while Russia’s philosophy on the matter is to show a mutual willingness to follow through on verbal commitment with a real show of action towards an improved relationship, mirroring on the ground what is happening in politics.

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