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Ukrainian terrorist agent captured in Russia pleads guilty to attempted sabotage

The government funded terrorist was arrested in southern Russia and later plead guilty to attempting to destroy Russian power-lines.

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A Ukrainian agent was dramatically arrested by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in the southern Russian city of Sudak. He was caught trying to damage local power-lines, something Ukrainian terrorists had previously done in northern Crimea.

Gennadiy Limeshko issued a guilty plea and explained his dangerous actions in the following way,

“I received 5,000 [$195] hryvnia for the task. On August 12, after an attempt to place a charge, I was detained by the Russian FSB officers”.

Sputnik reports,

“Limeshko said he had met his handler, named Andriy and possibly known otherwise as Arthur Narimanovych, in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson on June 2. He said his tasks were to damage power lines between the towns of Sudak and Novy Svet in Crimea, to damage a road by causing rockfall, as well as to spark a forest fire along the southern coast of Crimea.

According to Limeshko, since 2015 he has been trained as part of a special operations team exercising physical and marksmanship training, as well as skills necessary to carry out an explosion.

The Ukrainian agent added that the group was expected to carry out sabotage attacks in Crimea, as well as against the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic”.

The Ukraine regimes use of terrorist agents to inflict damange against Russia is a highly serious issue. Russian security forces have promised to act quickly to catch any future attackers.

Now watch the dramatic moment when the terrorist was arrested by the FSB.

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Again infantile Russian propaganda! Any tightening of relations between Russia and Ukraine is a disaster first of all for Russia. Russia has to force Russian terrorists in “DPR” to stop destabilizing Ukraine. It’s idiotic game where everyone loses! Putin must understand that he is a loser. Against him works: TIME. But, TIME = BEING!

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China’s economy slows down, as Huawei war with Justin Trudeau heats up (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 60.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at China’s economic slowdown and how this will affect the world economy in 2019.

China’s surging tech industry is also undergoing rough patches as the Huawei conflict with Canada (and by extension the United States) reached fever pitch levels with executive espionage intrigue in Poland. In retaliation, China blasted Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s and his government as being White Supremacists by the Chinese ambassador to Ottawa.

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Via Zerohedge


As more signs of stress in the world’s second-largest economy emerged during the latter half of last year, factory orders and consumption indicators slumped and its housing bubble on the verge of bursting, China is expected to report later this month that its GDP expanded by 6.6% in 2018 – the weakest rate since 1990.

 

This is hugely problematic for the PBOC, which abandoned plans for a macroprudential deleveraging to slash taxes and boost bank lending last year to try and stabilize its economy. But in keeping with China’s legacy of economic goalseeking, in addition to redoubling its stimulus efforts in 2019, Beijing is reportedly planning to move the goal posts.

According to Reuters, China is planning to set a lower economic growth target of 6% to 6.5% in 2019, compared with last year’s target of “around” 6.5%, as Beijing braces for weaker domestic demand and more fallout from the US-China trade war.

The proposed target, to be unveiled at the annual parliamentary session in March, was endorsed by top leaders at the annual closed-door Central Economic Work Conference in mid-December, according to four sources with knowledge of the meeting’s outcome.

Data later this month is expected to show the Chinese economy grew around 6.6 percent in 2018 – the weakest since 1990. Analysts are forecasting a further loss of momentum this year before policy support steps begin to kick in.

As the world’s second-largest economy loses steam, China’s top leaders are closely watching employment levels as factories could be forced to shed workers amid a trade war with the United States, despite a more resilient services sector, policy insiders said.

Fortunately for the Communist Party, the country only needs to show 6.2% growth over the next two years to achieve its goal of doubling GDP in the decade to 2020. Achieving this would transform China into a “modestly prosperous” country.

No matter what happens, Reuters’ source said the Communist Party needs to show growth of “at least 6% this year” (and given China’s reputation for doctoring its data, we imagine this will be a self-fulfilling prophecy). Still, adopting such a wide range for its GDP growth target would give the Party “room to maneuver.”

Though China is revising its growth target thanks to signs of slowing growth, the same cannot be said for its inflation target, despite signs of weakening price pressures due to the weakening yuan (data this week showed China’s CPI slowed to 1.9%).

The government plans to maintain a 3 percent consumer inflation target for 2019despite a recent softening in price rises, leaving some space for the government to stimulate weaker consumption.

The discussion about changing the GDP target reportedly took place during a Central Economic Work Conference meeting last month, where tax cuts and further stimulus were also discussed.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that China likely inflates its GDP figures, though one academic who recently suggested that growth in 2018 might have been below 2% was subject to an aggressive government censure.

That should tell you all you really need to know about growth in China.

Meanwhile Zerohedge reports that in the op-ed, published by Ottawa’s the Hill Times newspaper, ambassador Lu Shaye lashed out at Canadian “elites [who] completely dismissed China’s law and presumptuously urged China to immediately release their citizens.” He also accused Canada of enforcing a double standard by detaining Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou despite her not having committed a violation of Canadian law. Canadians have shown intense concern over the wellbeing of their citizens, but Lu accused them of behaving thoughtlessly and cruelly toward Meng.

However, on the prior groundless detention of Chinese citizen Meng Wanzhou by Canada at the behest of the United States, these same people made utterly different comments. They insisted that Canada’s detention of a Chinese citizen who was transferring planes at the airport was “acting in accordance with law,” though Meng has not been charged with any violation of Canadian law.

It’s understandable that these Canadians are concerned about their own citizens. But have they shown any concern or sympathy for Meng after she was illegally detained and deprived of freedom?

Without violating any Canadian law, Meng was arrested last month and put in handcuffs just as she was changing planes at the Vancouver International Airport. It seems that, to some people, only Canadian citizens shall be treated in a humanitarian manner and their freedom deemed valuable, while Chinese people do not deserve that.

Lu pointed out the hypocrisy in Canadian officials’ insistence that Meng’s detention was just because Canada is a country that respects the “rule of law,” implying that China isn’t.

When China called on the Canadian side to release Meng and ensure her legal and legitimate rights and interests, those elites claimed in the media that Canada is a country of rule of law and has an independent judiciary, and therefore it must comply with the judicial proceeding. However, in the case of detention of Canadian citizens in China who violated China’s law, those elites completely dismissed China’s law and presumptuously urged China to immediately release their citizens. It seems that, to those people, the laws of Canada or other Western countries are laws and must be observed, while China’s laws are not and shouldn’t be respected.

In a repudiation of the US’s accusations that Huawei has helped the Chinese government spy on western rivals, Lu pointed out that while Canada has objected to Huawei, it hasn’t shown a similar level of concern about cyberespionage efforts carried out by the US – including those that were exposed in the sensitive NSA documents stolen by former contractor Edward Snowden.

Some people in Canada, without any evidence, have been hyping the idea that Huawei is controlled by the Chinese government and poses security threats to Canada and other Western countries, and that Chinese law requires China’s enterprises to collaborate with the government in espionage activities. However, these same people have conveniently ignored the PRISM Program, Equation Group, and Echelon—global spying networks operated by some countries that have been engaging in large-scale and organized cyber stealing, and spying and surveillance activities on foreign governments, enterprises, and individuals. These people also took a laissez-faire attitude toward a country that infringes on its citizens’ privacy rights through the Patriot Act. They shouted for a ban by the Five Eyes alliance countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States) on the use of Huawei equipment by these countries’ own enterprises, which is literally a government-controlled action.

When Canada creates its national security laws, Lu says, it seems espionage carried out by western governments is deemed essential to national security, while China’s espionage efforts are branded a threat.

When making laws for national security and intelligence, China has drawn references from the relevant laws of the U.S., Canada, and other Western countries. Something is considered as “safeguarding national security” when it is done by Western countries. But it is termed “conducting espionage” when done by China. What’s the logic?

Though Canada considers itself a bastion of liberal values, Lu claimed that double standards like this one stem from the same western “white supremacy” that has made “the rule of law” nothing more than a tool for political ends – despite the seemingly endless stream of virtue-signaling.

The reason why some people are used to arrogantly adopting double standards is due to Western egotism and white supremacy. In such a context, the rule of law is nothing but a tool for their political ends and a fig leaf for their practising hegemony in the international arena. What they have been doing is not showing respect for the rule of law, but mocking and trampling the rule of law.

Meanwhile, China has clearly indicated that it intends to prosecute Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor for threatening national security – though they’ve offered the caveat that both cases are still “under investigation”, leaving an opening to release the two men, presumably if Canada decides to drop its prosecution of Meng. Both men have been denied access to legal representation.

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Russian economy shows resilience as Europe craters (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 59.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Russia’s economic performance in 2018 and its upbeat outlook in 2019, despite heavy sanctions imposed by the US and a weary and weak European Union.

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In their June report, the World Bank analysts forecast the growth of Russian economy at 1.5% in 2018, same as in 2017. Via TASS

The growth rate of the Russian economy increased in 2018, while inflation remained low, the World Bank said in a report released on Tuesday.

“Although economic sanctions tightened, Russia experienced relatively low and stable inflation and increased oil production. As a result of robust domestic activity, the Russian economy expanded at a 1.6% pace in the year just ended,” according to “Global Economic Prospects. Darkening Skies,” the January 2019 World Economic Outlook by the World Bank.

In their June report, the World Bank analysts forecast the growth of Russian economy at 1.5% in 2018, same as in 2017.

According to the World Bank, Russia and other oil exporters “maintained steady growth in 2018, supported by a rise in oil prices.”

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Is support for Nord Stream 2 in Germany starting to falter (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 58.

Alex Christoforou

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RT reports that a U.S. ambassador has reportedly threatened to punish German contributors involved in the multinational Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, and has tried to fan the ‘Russia scare’ to make his point.

US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell warned companies based in the country that they may face sanctions from Washington over their participation in the Nord Stream 2 project.

“As you are aware, the United States strongly opposes Nord Stream 2… The pipeline poses serious geopolitical consequences to our European allies and partners,” he wrote in a letter obtained by Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

We continue to stress that firms operating in the Russian energy export pipeline sector are engaging in activities that carry significant sanctions risk,” Grenell asserted.

Every German company contributing to Nord Stream 2 should “consider the danger this project represents to European energy security as well as reputational costs and sanctions risk associated with it,” he added.

The Bild report raised the ire of some German politicians in Berlin. Fabio De Masi, a top Left Party MP, demanded that the government reprimand Grenell, saying“The US Ambassador seems to make an impression that he is a viceroy of the Washington emperor.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Nord Stream 2, and whether the energy pipeline from Russia, into Germany and onwards towards all of Europe, is under threat from U.S. sanctions.

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Via Bloomberg


Nord Stream 2, an $11 billion project that will double the natural gas supply under the Baltic Sea to Germany, faces growing skepticism among German officials who had previously defended it against criticism from Trump and some European Union allies, according to senior lawmakers. The shift could translate into pressure on Merkel’s government to back down on the controversial pipeline and possibly delay its implementation.

Social Democratic lawmaker Nils Schmid, whose party has been a reliable supporter of the project, said too many decision-makers in Berlin had been slow to factor in Nord Stream’s geopolitical significance. It will reduce the volume of gas pumped through Ukraine as Russia attempts to stifle its neighbor’s economy by depriving it of lucrative transit fees.

The 1,220 kilometer (758-mile) Nord Stream 2 undersea link to Germany initiated by Russia in 2015.Source: Gazprom

“The debate in Germany has become more critical,” Schmid, the junior coalition party’s point man on foreign policy, said in an interview, adding that the project shouldn’t go forward until Russia and Ukraine reach a transit accord. “It would have been better to take this political dimension into account.”

Russia’s ‘Captive’

The 1,200-kilometer (750-mile) undersea pipeline — being constructed by Russia’s Gazprom PJSC to bolster German supplies as Norwegian, Dutch and domestic sources dry up — has been pilloried by some of the country’s allies, who say it bolsters Europe’s reliance on Russian energy and bypasses key partners such as Ukraine. Trump has blastedthe project as holding Germany “captive” to Russia.

The ground is shifting, with an ever more fraught relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, particularly since the November seizure of two dozen Ukrainian sailors near the Sea of Azov. Merkel, who has sparred with Putin since the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, is demanding the release of the naval personnel.

The Azov incident in the Kerch Strait has soured prospects that Merkel’s diplomacy can scale back the conflict in eastern Ukraine, according Juergen Hardt, a lawmaker in Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union who speaks on foreign affairs.

Unfulfilled Hopes

“The events on the Kerch Strait at least showed me that these are unfulfilled hopes,” Hardt said in an interview. “Russia, in my view, isn’t moving a millimeter from its objectives.”

Hardt said Germany’s governing parties need to find consensus with the European Commission on energy diversification and reliance on Russian gas. He also questioned the economic viability of Nord Stream, poking holes in the government’s previous defense of the project.

Merkel shifted her position on Nord Stream last April, acknowledging the political dimensions of the pipeline and departing from her previous insistence that it was solely a business venture by private investors. The project must not weaken Ukraine by disrupting its gas transmission system, she said at the time.

Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, welcomed the more skeptical view in Berlin, saying the pipeline project undermines the EU’s energy and security objectives.

Russian Influence

“There is not only Russian gas coming through the pipeline, but also Russian influence,” Grenell said in a statement to Bloomberg News. “Now is not the time to reward Moscow.”

The U.S. administration has indicated that sanctions on the pipeline are imminent. Trump brought tensions over Nord Stream into full view at last July’s NATO summit, raising the issue as he attacked Merkel over Germany’s slack defense spending.

U.S. restrictions would potentially hit companies in Austria, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BASF SE’s Wintershall unit, Uniper SE, OMV AG and Engie SA are Gazprom’s partners in the project. The Russian gas giant reported a record 201 billion cubic meters of gas exports to Europe in 2018 and plans to maintain those volumes into 2020.

Simmering Tensions

Schmid maintained that the project, which would double the 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas flowing through the original Nord Stream pipeline that opened in 2011, isn’t in danger. He also defended SPD support, particularly in Germany’s east where, the pipeline makes landfall. But simmering geopolitical tensions are having an effect in Germany.

“Something has changed,” Peter Beyer, the German government’s coordinator for trans-Atlantic relations, said in an interview. He attributed the mood shift on Nord Stream as much to concern about leaving EU allies out in the cold as with Russia’s recent maneuvers. Merkel’s government may have to adjust to the demands of those taking a harder line on Nord Stream, he said.

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