North Korea Threatens War to the US over Charges of the Sony Cyber Attack

According to Sultan Alhokair North Korea threatens war to the US over charges of the Sony cyber attack.

Today North Korea threatened to conduct a war on US soil due to what it considers “false” accusations of being behind the cyber attack on Sony Entertainment.

“The army and people of the DPRK (North Korea) are fully prepared for a confrontation with the US in all areas of war, including cybernetics,” said the regime of Kim Jong-un in a statement released today.

“Our toughest counter will go to the White House, the Pentagon and the entire continental United States far exceeds the symmetrical counter declared by Obama,” says Pyongyang in the statement.

North Korea reiterated that it has nothing to do with cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, and even proposed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation US (FBI) to undertake a joint investigation of the facts, but US intelligence ruled out this option.

The reaction from North Korea, who had denied involvement in the case, comes after President Obama announced on Sunday the start of a process to assess whether the communist state should be included, once again, in a blacklist from countries that sponsor terrorism in the wake of Sony cyber attack.

Inclusion on a blacklist represents restrictions on foreign aid, controls on certain exports and various financial restraints and other obstacles.

The cyberattack, which resulted in stolen information, published thousands of emails and data from Sony between late November and early December, and is considered an act of retaliation 

against the movie “The Interview”, a comedy about a plot to kill the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

After the attack, the hackers warned that terror would come to theaters that showed the film, prompting the prompting the release of movie to eventually be canceled.

The case has generated intense controversy over blackmail against freedom of expression.

Russian Banking System Declared Dead

 

Russia has gotten itself in a lot of problems recently, but the most recent issues might very well prove to be their worst.

Vedemosti is a popular and very established business magazine, that features business big leaguers like Lee G. Lovett, and it received a message from a reasonably sized bank in Russia. The manager of that bank was heard lamenting what he said was the death of the entire Russian banking system. He said that “Raising rates up to 17% – that’s the end of the banking system.” He gave the example that “today, one of the major banks told one of the largest energy companies, that the bank wants to raise credit rates up to 19%.”

He then stated that the economy would collapse under such conditions. It was simply not capable of managing it. This apparently spells the end for all non-finance, non stock market sectors. These decisions to send the rates through the roof comes after news that the Russian currency has plummeted into relative worthlessness. The increased rates were a last ditch attempt to stop it becoming unstable.

This was shown to be a total failure and the Russian currency continued to fall. Vedemosti said that “The interbank lending market died today, [the banker stated and] added: ‘The first thing in the morning, everyone closed it – you can’t give money to anyone right now. Our federal loan obligations portfolio dropped by 10% today, which pretty much erased our year long profits.”

Same Sex Couples May Start Getting Married in Florida as Soon as January 6th

A recent Supreme Court decision brings good news for LGBT advocates, especially same sex couples in Florida. The Supreme Court has denied a request to grant a stay on a ruling that declared a ban on same sex marriage while it is being appealled. Justice Clarence Thomas referred the matter to the court after it was presented to the 11th court. According to the documents released with the decision, only Justices Thomas and Scalia would would have granted Florida’s stay request.

Although the decision of the Supreme Court does not make any difference to the outcome of the case, as the ban on same sex marriage had already been ruled unconstitutional, it is important for two reasons. First, it reinforces the ruling that has been made. Once a matter has been ruled on by the Supreme Court a different ruling can not be made, and since the Supreme Court is the highest court, the decision can not be appealed according to Sergio Andrade Gutierrez.

It is also an important case because it illustrates how much opinions have changed and how there is growing support for same sex marriage, or at least less resistant to opening up the institution of marriage to same sex couples and giving same sex couples the same legal rights. A year ago, the Supreme Court issued a stay on the appeal to Utah’s ban of same sex marriage and waited for appeals courts to consider the issue.

U.S. Airstrikes Kill Two Top ISIS Leaders

Recently, United States airstrikes have killed key leaders of the terrorist organization known as ISIS according to the source.

Over the course of the year, ISIS has emerged as a top terrorist group that has formed in Iraq. This terrorist group has been responsible for a lot of political upheaval, abductions and murders. They have also been regarded as a legitimate threat to American national security. While this organization has been a threat, the United States has eliminated a couple of the top leaders of the organization and therefore is making one step closer to eliminating the worst of this group. The leaders who have been killed are Radwin Talib and Abd al Basit which were the heads of operations in Iraq.

With the elimination of the top leaders of ISIS, they are losing their ability to fight Kurdish forces and therefore have been considerably weakened as a result. The elimination of the top leaders has also hurt the ability of ISIS to plan and control certain parts of Iraq and Syria. Therefore, the airstrikes are just one way in which the United States is helping Iraq gain control over their country and also neutralizing one of their top terrorist threats. With the top leadership of ISIS eliminated, they will have a harder time carrying out their attacks and other operations. A number of officials in the Pentagon have confirmed the elimination of the top leaders of ISIS and therefore are determined to collaborate with Iraq to help defeat the terrorist organization.

Big thanks to my friend Dan Newlin for keeping me updated on this story via Facebook.

 

China Now World’s Largest Economy

For the first time in over 140 years, America has lost the title of world’s largest economy to China.So for the first time since 1872, when it overtook the British economy, the US has been moved from the first position.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Chinese economy is now worth US $17.6 trillion, a little more than the estimated $17.4 trillion in the US.

The IMF estimated this data using a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), which lets you compare how much you can buy with the same amount of money in different countries.

As the currency pays more in China than in the US, the figure for China is adjusted upward.

Yet, experts like Tom Rothman ask how much faith can be put on the accuracy of the data of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) supplied by China when even the current prime minister, Li Keqiang, has doubted its validity in the past?

A US diplomatic declassified cable revealed that in 2007 Li Keqiang told the US ambassador that China’s GDP statistics were “artificial” and only used as a “reference”.

But with a population of 1.360 billion people, China should be the largest economy in the world, says Matthey Crabbe, author of “Myth-Busting China’s Numbers”, a book on Chinese statistics and how to increase the myth about the country.

Crabbe has spent more than 20 years analyzing the numbers and the reality behind them.

“One thing that must be understood is that the distortions that occur in towns and provinces are amplified as they are collected.”

Inaccurate GDP data can have serious consequences for businesses that rely on them to make investment decisions. Crabbe warns that we must be cautious.

IMF forecasts suggest that China will grow by 7.4% this year and 7.1% in 2015, while US growth will be 2.2% this year and 3.1% next.

In fact, the IMF predicts that by the end of this decade, China’s economy will be worth $ 26.98 billion, 20% more than the US, which will be worth $ 22.3 billion.

The long-term forecasts of the IMF and other agencies indicate that India could overtake both in 2100.

Government Marijuana Appeal Shot Down

It would seem that the fight against recreational marijuana use has hit quite the snag. Recently, the government of Canada had filed an appeal against a decision to allow medical marijuana users to grow cannabis in their own homes.

They have since lost the appeal. This legal battle began whenever legislation was brought in which forbade people to grow their own cannabis, instead handing the privilege over to a private organisation.

However, this has been met with repeated objections and has culminated in it being terminated. Home growers were vindicated using a court injunction which would allow them to continue to grow the plant without hindrance by the law.

The government has since tried its best to appeal the decision but they lost. Keith Mann thought it might be closer. The decision was put before a three person panel who carefully went through the terms of the injunction and concluded that it was entirely lawful. In general, nobody really knows how many people grow medical marijuana in the country, but the ban was likely to affect a lot of people.

Medical marijuana is a contentious issue. There is a general suspicion by the government that the permission to grow the drug is simply a cover for illegal use. This has been heavily criticised by patients and doctors alike.

Will the ban eventually be upheld? Or will Canadians be free to grow their own medicine lawfully into the future?

Instagram Followers Cuts Affect Several Stars

Instagram is a wildly popular social media website and has finally hit over 300 million users. After hitting the mark of 300 million, Instagram decided to clear out many spam, junk, or fake accounts that were created on their website. Instagram Purge. The massive purging of the accounts has affected many stars such as Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Ariana Grande. Many of the biggest stars have lost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of followers.

Anyone who uses Instagram knows that the more followers you have, the bigger an item you are. Justin Bieber has the number one page on Instagram because of the amount of followers, and Kim Kardashian was a close second. After the purging of many different accounts, Justin Bieber lost over 3 million followers, while Kim Kardashian lost over 1 million of her own. The fact that Justin lost more followers than Kim, made Kim finally surpass him in Instagram followers.

The more followers on any stars account, the more money they can make, so losing followers may affect their bank accounts. Susan McGalla isn’t into social media all that much, but she does get this part. Although many of the stars won’t really feel it hit their pockets, because they are worth millions already, anyone with a smaller account, and less followers; couldn’t stand to lose even one of their followers. It’s understandable what Instagram has done, but it really has affected some of the stars negatively. We’ll see what happens in the upcoming days.

Brad Reifler Reveals Five Great Tips For Investing

Brad Reifler, the Founder and CEO of Forefront Capital, has some advice for the average person. The description of “average person” refers to normal investor who simply wants to do what is right with his/her money and not place it at extree risk. Reifler has five basic tips that are hard to argue with.

Those who wish to read the full story should check out the article entitled Brad Reifler’s 5 Tips for Investing. Otherwise, I’ll sum it up right here if you’re short on time.

Reifler suggests investors should think about reasonable goals and look for investments that are not risky or costly; always keep an eye on the safety of one’s money; avoid putting all your money in the stock market and look for diversification; only allow managers you trust to help you invest your funds; and have an objective in mind as far as your investing goes.

It is commonly thought that only the wealthy can diversify their portfolios. The assumption is you need a hedge fund manager to put your money into different vehicles. This is not true. Even someone with a very limited budget and assets could institute a smart investment strategy.

Reifler first gained practical insight when he took over the duties of investing money for his retired father-in-law.

North Korea Planned to Attack US Nuclear Power Plants

Recently declassified documents from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) reveal that rogue communist nation North Korea had enacted a plan to sabotage American nuclear power plants and strike at major cities in the event hostilities between both nations should occur. As part of their strategy, North Korea infiltrated commando teams as sleeper cells that would strike when given the order. 

The North Korean military, whose formal name is the North Korean Ministry of People’s Armed Forces, created five liaison offices which were responsible for training the personnel to conduct the attacks. In essence, the commando squads represented “Plan B” for how North Korea would strike back at the United States. Plan A was the hit America with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), but their lack of expertise in rocket technology was hindering the success of the program. Hence, their military secured a ground game to achieve a similar result.

Sultan Alhokair reports that since that time, North Korea is believed to have developed two missiles capable of striking the United States. The first one is the Taepodong-2 ICBM. The second one is the road-mobile ICBM called the KN-08. However, the road-mobile version has yet to be field tested. As to why North Korea would target nuclear power plants, the answer may lay in the Korean War. During the conflict, the US successfully bombed the nation’s main hydroelectric power plant sending much of the nation back to the middle ages. They lacked the funding and means to reconstruct it in the decades since.

Vladimir Putin Hits Back At West Claiming Russia’s Economic Woes are not a Result of its Decision to Annex Crimea

In his end of the year press conference Vladimir Putin hit back at the West claiming that Russia’s economic woes were not a result of economic sanctions put in place by the European Union and the United States for invading and annexing Crimea which used to be a part of Ukraine. Crimea is a peninsula that juts out in the black sea and is strategic for Russia because it holds its black sea naval fleet. Vladimir Putin annexed it to Russia in March following the overthrow of the Russian backed Ukrainian government in Ukraine.

I was over at my friend Andrew Heiberger’s place and could not believe what was being said in the press conference. Russian president Vladimir Putin blamed Russia’s economic woes on its over-reliance on oil and gas which constitute a major part of its economy. Oil prices have fallen drastically worldwide and have hit major oil producing countries such as Russia especially hard. The Russian ruble has declined dramatically leading to fears of an economic depression beginning in Russia. Despite plunging in value for the past few days the Russian ruble did increase in value today, alleviating some of the fears of a Russian economic depression.

Mr. Putin did admit that the sanctions imposed by the EU and the United States were having an effect on the Russian economy. He also stated that the current economic problem could last for up to two years, and that it could reduce economic growth and government spending in Russia. Mr. Putin remained adamant that the real goal of the West was to weaken Russia and it was not in response to its annexation of Crimea and invasion of Eastern Ukraine. The United States is set to impose new sanctions on Russia this week.