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Apartments in Turkey Available for Purchase Using Bitcoin

Apartments in Turkey Available for Purchase Using BitcoinThe owner of the MiaVita Beytepe project in Ankara, Turkey, has announced that its luxury apartments are available for purchase using bitcoin. The apartments are expected to comprise the first real estate transactions to be made using cryptocurrency in Turkey. Also Read: Luxury Dubai High Rise Apartments Will Be Sold for Bitcoin Luxury Apartments in Turkey […]

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Merkel heads for German poll win, hard-right AfD for first seats

Author: 
AFP
Sun, 2017-09-24 05:09
ID: 
1506219834414720800

BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to cruise to victory in elections Sunday but also to face the breakthrough into parliament of hard-right populists for the first time in Germany’s post-war history.
Voting begins at 0600 GMT in Europe’s biggest economy and exit polls are announced at 1600 GMT, with few expecting surprises given Merkel’s double-digit poll lead.
For months, the woman now dubbed the “eternal chancellor” has been the favorite over her center-left rival Martin Schulz and looked set to win another term and match the 16-year reign of her mentor Helmut Kohl.
To many in the West, a fourth Merkel victory will come as a relief in a turbulent world, with hopes she will serve as a calm-headed counterweight to US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin and as the key EU ally to reformist French President Emmanuel Macron.
But the election is also expected to mark a milestone for the four-year-old Alternative for Germany (AfD) which, like right-wing populists elsewhere, rails against migrants, Muslims and mainstream parties.
It has been polling at 11-13 percent and could become Germany’s third strongest party, driven by anger over the influx of one million migrants and refugees, many from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, since 2015.
“The AfD’s entry into the Bundestag marks an epochal step forward for the far right,” said Joerg Forbrig of think-tank the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
By entering parliament, he said, “the xenophobic, revisionist and anti-European political force” will have heightened visibility and access to campaign finance, dozens of offices and hundreds of staff.

After a “vicious” campaign, in which the AfD demanded an end to German guilt over two world wars, Forbig warned that “German democracy is about to face its biggest stress test ever.”
At Merkel’s final major stump speech Friday in the southern city of Munich, right-wing activists tried to drown her out with whistles and vuvuzelas and chants of “get lost.”
But the 63-year-old refused to be derailed from her stability-and-prosperity mantra, telling the crowd that “the future of Germany will definitely not be built with whistles and hollers.”
Schulz, for his part, recalled with pride the SPD’s history of resisting the Nazi regime and told a Berlin rally that “this Alternative for Germany is no alternative. They are a shame for our nation.”
Aside from the populist noise, the past two months of campaigning have been widely criticized as lacklustre, with few hot-button issues dividing the main contenders.
The more outspoken Schulz, former president of the European parliament, has told voters to reject Merkel’s “sleeping-pill politics” and vote against “another four years of stagnation and lethargy.”
In greying Germany, more than half of the 61 million voters are aged 52 or older, and especially Merkel’s conservatives have pitched a low-key and reassuring message of stability and prosperity.
On Saturday, Merkel — who has signalled she was running again mainly out of a sense of duty — urged her supporters to cast their ballots with a folksy call to “bring home the bacon.”

For the past term, Merkel’s CDU has ruled with the SPD as its junior partner in a “grand coalition,” marked by broad agreement on major topics, from foreign policy to migration.
Governing in Merkel’s shadow has cost the SPD voter support, and polls give it 21-22 percent compared to 34-36 percent for Merkel’s conservative bloc, which also includes the Bavarian CSU.
Looking at the surveys, many rank-and file SPD members believe the traditional working class party would benefit from a stint in opposition to rekindle its fighting spirit.
This would leave the presumed winner Merkel in need of new coalition partners — possibly the liberal and pro-business Free Democrats, who are hoping for a comeback after crashing out of parliament four years ago.
Another potential partner would be the ecologist and left-leaning Greens party, which, however, starkly differs with the FDP on issues from climate change to migration policy.

Main category: 
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Merkel takes on hard-right in final German vote push

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Tioga <b>oil</b> pipeline spill cleanup nearing milestone after 4 years, but work continues

About 6,000 barrels, or 30 percent of the spilled oil, was recovered. The rest of the light, sweet crude oil seeped into the ground, which in that area …The post Tioga <b>oil</b> pipeline spill cleanup nearing milestone after 4 years…

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Putting America’s Record-Breaking $20 Trillion Debt In Global Context

The U.S. federal government just passed a record $20 trillion in publicly held debt. That’s bigger than the entire economy of every country in the European Union, combined.

As HowMuch.net notes, the debt will only grow higher unless President Trump and the U.S. Congress can agree to unprecedented spending cuts combined with tax increases. 

Don’t count on that happening anytime soon. Most people think that an eye-popping $20+ trillion debt is insurmountable, and in fact, it is the largest in the world by far.

But when you look at another fiscal measure – the ratio of debt-to-GDP – the U.S. is not in the worst situation…

Source: HowMuch.net

HowMuch.net’s visualization allows you to quickly see how the U.S. government’s debt compares to other countries around the world. The size of the country correlates to the size of the debt. The U.S. and Japan stand out because they have the highest debts in the world ($20.17T and $11.59T, respectively). Other countries, like Germany and Brazil, appear much smaller because their debts are comparatively tiny ($2.45T and $1.45T, respectively). We then color-coded each country according to its debt-to-GDP ratio. Green countries have a healthy margin, but dark red and fuchsia countries have debts that are even bigger than their entire economies.

Top 10 countries with the Worst Debt-to-GDP Ratios 

  1. Japan (245% at $11.59B)
  2. Greece (173% at $338B)
  3. Italy (138% at $138B
  4. Portugal (133% at $274B)
  5. Belgium (111% at $111B)
  6. Spain (106% at $106B)
  7. Canada (106% at $106B)
  8. Ireland (105% at $105B)
  9. France (98% at $98B)
  10. Brazil (82% at $82B)

The debt-to-GDP ratio is a critical metric for evaluating a country’s fiscal health. It makes a lot of sense for the American government to have a higher debt than a much smaller country, like Germany. Think about it like this: Bill Gates is worth $86 billion, so he can afford a much higher credit card bill than me or you.

That’s why it’s important to consider the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of each country, a number which represents the sum of all transactions occurring in the economy.

Once you understand the public debt as a percentage of GDP, you get a level playing field for countries on different economic scales. When you think about it like this, the U.S. isn’t even among the ten worst sovereign debts in the world.

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Aid begins to flow to hurricane-hit Puerto Rico

Author: 
The Associated Press
Sun, 2017-09-24 03:00
ID: 
1506218652474659600

GUAJATACA, Puerto Rico: Large amounts of federal aid began moving into Puerto Rico on Saturday, welcomed by local officials who praised the Trump administration’s response but called for the emergency loosening of rules long blamed for condemning the US territory to second-class status.
In northwest Puerto Rico, people began returning to their homes after a spillway eased pressure on a dam that cracked after more than a foot of rain fell in the wake of the hurricane.
The opening of the island’s main port in the capital allowed 11 ships to bring in 1.6 million gallons of water, 23,000 cots, dozens of generators and food. Dozens more shipments are expected in upcoming days.
The federal aid effort is racing to stem a growing humanitarian crisis in towns left without fresh water, fuel, electricity or phone service. Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is in charge of the relief effort, said they would take satellite phones to all of Puerto Rico’s towns and cities, more than half of which were cut off following Maria’s devastating crossing of Puerto Rico on Wednesday.
The island’s infrastructure was in sorry shape long before Maria struck. A $73 billion debt crisis has left agencies like the state power company broke. As a result the power company abandoned most basic maintenance in recent years, leaving the island subject to regular blackouts.
A federal control board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances authorized up to $1 billion in local funds to be used for hurricane response, but Gov. Ricardo Rossello said he would ask for more.
“We’re going to request waivers and other mechanisms so Puerto Rico can respond to this crisis,” he said. “Puerto Rico will practically collect no taxes in the next month.”
US Rep. Nydia Velazquez of New York said she will request a one-year waiver from the Jones Act, a federal law blamed for driving up prices on Puerto Rico by requiring cargo shipments there to move only on US vessels as a means of supporting the US maritime industry.
“We will use all our resources,” Velazquez said. “We need to make Puerto Rico whole again. These are American citizens.”
A group of anxious mayors arrived in the capital to meet with Rossello to present a long list of items they urgently need. The north coastal town of Manati had run out of fuel and fresh water, Mayor Jose Sanchez Gonzalez said.
“Hysteria is starting to spread. The hospital is about to collapse. It’s at capacity,” he said, crying. “We need someone to help us immediately.”
The death toll from Maria in Puerto Rico was at least 10, including two police officers who drowned in floodwaters in the western town of Aguada. That number was expected to climb as officials from remote towns continued to check in with officials in San Juan.
Authorities in the town of Vega Alta on the north coast said they had been unable to reach an entire neighborhood called Fatima, and were particularly worried about residents of a nursing home.
“I need to get there today,” Mayor Oscar Santiago told The Associated Press. “Not tomorrow, today.”
Rossello said Maria would clearly cost more than the last major storm to wallop the island, Hurricane George in September 1998. “This is without a doubt the biggest catastrophe in modern history for Puerto Rico,” he said.
Rossello and other officials praised the federal government for planning its response in detail before the storm hit, a contrast with what Puerto Rico has long seen as the neglect of 3.4 million Americans living in a territory without a vote in Congress or the electoral college.
“This is the first time we get this type of federal coordination,” said Resident Commission Jenniffer Gonzalez, Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative in Washington.
A dam upstream of the towns of Quebradillas and Isabela in northwest Puerto Rico was cracked but had not burst by Saturday night as water continued to pour out of rain-swollen Lake Guajataca. Federal officials said Friday that 70,000 people, the number who live in the surrounding area, would have to be evacuated. But Javier Jimenez, mayor of the nearby town of San Sebastian, said he believed the number was far smaller.
Secretary of Public Affairs Ramon Rosario said about 300 families were in harm’s way.
The governor said there is “significant damage” to the dam and authorities believe it could give way at any moment. “We don’t know how long it’s going to hold. The integrity of the structure has been compromised in a significant way,” Rossello said.
Some residents nonetheless returned to their homes Saturday as the water levels in the reservoir began to sink.
“There were a lot of people worried and crying, but that’s natural, because the reservoir was about to break through,” said Maria Nieves, 43. “They couldn’t open the spillway until later in the night.”
The 345-yard (316-meter) dam, which was built around 1928, holds back a man-made lake covering about 2 square miles (5 square kilometers). More than 15 inches (nearly 40 centimeters) of rain from Maria fell on the surrounding mountains.
Officials said 1,360 of the island’s 1,600 cellphone towers were downed, and 85 percent of above-ground and underground phone and Internet cables were knocked out. With roads blocked and phones dead, officials said, the situation may worsen.
At least 31 lives in all have been lost around the Caribbean due to Maria, including at least 15 on hard-hit Dominica. Haiti reported three deaths; Guadeloupe, two; and the Dominican Republic, one.
Across Puerto Rico, more than 15,000 people are in shelters, including some 2,000 rescued from the north coastal town of Toa Baja. Many Puerto Ricans planned to head to the mainland to temporarily escape the devastation.

Main category: 
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New quake shakes traumatized Mexico City

Author: 
AFP
Sun, 2017-09-24 04:26
ID: 
1506217374444598100

MEXICO CITY: A new earthquake sowed panic in Mexico City on Saturday, forcing a brief pause in rescue operations to free survivors from the more powerful tremor this week that devastated parts of the capital.
The latest quake, with a magnitude of 6.1, was smaller and further south than the 7.1-magnitude one that struck on Tuesday, killing more than 300 people and toppling 39 buildings in the capital.
As an alarm sounded, hundreds of startled residents raced out into the street, some barefoot, some carrying children.
Trauma from the previous quake was evident.
“Oh God, have mercy,” exclaimed Teresa Martinez, 74, who stood in the street with other women, all crying.
Two women died of heart attacks as they tried to leave their homes, according to local media reports. One was in her 80s and the other was 52, according to the website of the daily Reforma.
Authorities said two people also died in the quake in the southern state of Oaxaca, where the epicenter was located.
A bridge collapsed near the town of Juchitan, Oaxaca, already hit hard by a September 7 quake that killed nearly 100 people. Some buildings with previous damage collapsed.
In a jittery Mexico City, the quake made buildings sway, but some didn’t notice.
“This time, we didn’t feel the ground move… maybe since the last one we’re getting used to them,” said Pablo Martinez, who had run out of his apartment building with his six-year-old daughter in his arms.

The new tremor sparked concern it could have caused heavy rubble on top of survivors awaiting rescue in the capital to shift — posing a danger both to those trapped and to rescuers.
Rescue crews quickly evacuated five sites in the capital where they had been working.
They hesitated for a couple of hours, discussing the added risk, before going back in to look for survivors.
Mexico City’s mayor, Miguel Angel Mancera, told Televisa television that around “30 people may yet be able to be found in this search and rescue operation.”
So far, 69 people have been pulled alive from the rubble in Mexico City, according to authorities.
“We’ve been told they have detected areas with life. They’ve sent in dogs and the dogs have indicated life,” Paola Solorio, a 35-year-old who had three relatives trapped, told AFP.
But the smell of decaying bodies wafting out from the buildings four days after the quake presaged grief for some relatives. Rescue workers wore face masks to shield themselves from the odor.
Still, they refused to give up hope.
“We’re here to save lives. You have to have faith and believe (the people inside) are in a place with access to air and managed to survive,” said Karin Kvitca, a 29-year-old with an Israeli rescue crew.

Anxious families have been holding vigils at the flattened sites, urging exhausted emergency workers to keep trying.
“A lot of time has passed. But we won’t give up,” said the head of the civil protection service, Luis Felipe Puente.
“Time has gotten the best of us. There are structures that are very complicated to access. But we’re going to keep fighting for the families,” he told Televisa.
Many Mexicans remember “miracle” rescues a week after a 1985 quake that killed more than 10,000 people in the capital, spurring hopes that some might yet be pulled out alive.
Yet psychologists dispatched to the scene were already preparing to help relatives deal with tragic news.
“The families are still hopeful, but we psychologists are starting to prepare ourselves to counsel them in the context of mourning,” said Penelope Exzacarias.

The latest death toll stands at 305, of which more than half — 167 fatalities — were in Mexico City.
The rest of the deaths occurred in the states of Morelos, Puebla, Mexico, Guerrero and Oaxaca.
In the south of Mexico City, at a flattened school where 19 children died, relatives and neighbors had placed wreaths of white flowers.
Families were starting to hold funerals. One of the first was that of Gabriel Morales and Agueda Mendoza, a married couple found locked in embrace under the rubble, along with their dog Quino.
Elsewhere, Japanese rescuers removed their helmets and bowed before a recovered body, rescuers sang the Mexican national anthem after concluding work at a building and a volunteer joked with a young woman pulled from the rubble that she would have to invite his crew to dinner.

Main category: 
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5 dead in magnitude 6.9 earthquake in western Guatemala
Ankara mayor: Turkey may be ‘targeted by man-made earthquakes’

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China’s Maritime Strategic Realignment

Authored by Brian Kalman, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson via SouthFront.org,
China has begun construction of the first Type 075 Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD).

Construction most likely started in January or February of this year, with some satellite…

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MingoCoin Token Pre-Sale Goes Live on September 25, 2017

Mingo – an interconnected set of supporting products, announces its Pre -ICO sale to raise €2M, scheduled to begin at 3 PM GMT on 25th September 2017. The upcoming token sale will be followed by the planned ICO, going live sometime during the first quarter of 2018. The proceeds from the campaign will be allocated… View Article

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The Republican tax plan is still more talk than action

WASHINGTON — They have a blueprint and principles. They’ve held countless strategy sessions for what could be the biggest tax overhaul in decades. They even produced a handy desk calendar with daily inspirational messages and helpful tax statistics to drive home the need for reform. All Republicans need now is an actual plan. Despite months […]

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Trump Bars Breitbart From Alabama Rally As Feud With Bannon Escalates

Apparently, this is what Steve Bannon meant when he swore he would never turn on his old boss during a series of interviews he gave after leaving the West Wing.

The simmering feud between Breitbart and President Donald Trump intensified on Friday as the Trump communications team barred a Breitbart reporter from the press pool during a Trump rally in Alabama, where the president was campaigning for Luther Strange (aka “Big L”) – his pick to permanently fill the Alabama senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Trump announced his support for Strange weeks ago, eliciting howls of outrage from Bannon and Breitbart, who have accused Strange of being a “swamp creature” and blasted him for his association with former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned earlier this year following a widely publicized sex scandal. Strange served as attorney general of Alabama (Sessions’ old job) under Bentley, and has been working with Trump for months after being appointed by Bentley to temporarily fill Sessions’ old seat. 

And Breitbart is denied entry into Trump-Strange rally #alpolitics pic.twitter.com/K9cczUvbrP

— Jeff Poor (@jeff_poor) September 22, 2017

But for better or worse, Strange is Trump’s man – for now, at least – and the president showered him with praise during the rally. But while cycling through his greatest hits (everything from the second amendment, to Hillary-bashing, to his promised border wall), he found time to slip in a subtle dig at Bannon, joking that he had “fired” certain former staffers for disloyalty. Bannon and Breitbart have consistently supported  Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore, who will face off against Strange in Tuesday’s crucial Republican runoff primary.

Anyone who has closely followed the many staffing changes at the White House will, of course, remember that Bannon and the White House communications department have offered conflicting accounts of the terms of his departure, with Bannon insisting that he left voluntarily, while the communications staff have suggested that he was fired.

A similar ambiguity exists surrounding the terms of Bannon loyalist and former Breitbart employee Sebastian Gorka’s departure, who, as luck would have it, appeared on Fox Business just minutes before Trump took the stage to slam the president over his support for Strange.

In a brief segment, Gorka criticized Strange for his association with Bentley and claimed that Moore was the true “MAGA” candidate.

* * *

Of course, when Bannon – who is back running Breitbart – promised that he wouldn’t use the website as a cudgel against Trump, he did so with the caveat that Breitbart would hold the administration accountable should it abandon the nationalist, populist agenda that Trump promised the American people during the campaign.

To wit, Breitbart has become increasingly frustrated with Trump’s perceived abdication of his nationalist agenda by sending more troops to Afghanistan (after promising to bring troops home) and, more intolerably, his decision to allow DACA to be preserved in law by striking a deal with “Chuck and Nancy.”

And now it’s decided to turn its guns on Trump, publishing now fewer than hald a dozen anti-Strange or anti-Trump headlines during the Trump rally last night.

More than a half dozen anti-Trump headlines running on Breitbart tonight

— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) September 22, 2017

 

* * *

And now, Axios is reporting that Steve Bannon has been confirmed to headline a Roy Moore rally in Alabama Sunday night, alongside Phil Robertson of the popular show “Duck Dynasty.” Axios, which noted that Strange is also the pick of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a perennial Bannon foe, explained that “for Bannon to make a rare public appearance in such close proximity to Trump shows how invested he is in the race specifically, and attacking McConnell more generally.” But in attacking McConnell, in this instance, he is also striking at Trump.

In keeping with his promise to always support Trump against the establishment forces that Bannon says are trying to co-opt the Trump presidency, Axios reported that the Bannon camp is trying to spin the attacks against Strange as an indirect way of “supporting” Trump.

“Steve is coming to Alabama to support President Trump against the Washington establishment and Mitch McConnell. Steve views Judge Moore as a fierce advocate of Trump and the values he campaigned on.”

To be sure, Breitbart’s strategy may be working. Trump appeared to admit during the rally last night that his Strange endorsement may have been a mistake, and that he would support Moore if he wins.

While the crowd at Friday’s rally cheered mightily for Trump, the cheers for his chosen candidate were less enthusiastic. As of Saturday afternoon, Moore leads Strange by nearly 9 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics polling average.

Whoever wins Tuesday’s primary has a virtual lock on the senate seat. And as the race draws closer, we expect to hear more from Trump. But will Breitbart succeed in convincing him to change his endorsement?

Given Trump’s distaste for “losers”, we imagine it’s not out of the question. 

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