MOTM news and affiliates would like to announce that we have been contributing and consulting with major media and news outlets in USA, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Australia, South Korea, India, Brazil, and Mexico. Our contributing journalists have been hard at work around the world contributing to efforts to encourage balanced open discussions and debate about controversial subjects. We are also working closely with several international associations with entertainment arts.
Our meeting and discussion this summer 2020 moved to Zoom to meet COVID-19 requirements with follow up email based discussions. This meeting was so successful we are planning for a repeat meeting in 2025 and expanding MOTM resources in Scandinavia. As a recap MOTM invited many professionals with technical backgrounds for an anonymous closed door meeting with concerned scientists about Public Climate Change Hypersensitivity. Over 148,000 scientists in various fields of Science and Engineering have showed interest in this meeting and close to 325,000 showed interest in the next meeting. The topics included Deforestation Albedo, CLOUD research, Interglacials, Anglian Interglacial, Orbital Eccentricity cycles, Orbital Tilt/Precession, NH Summer Insolation cycles, Previous Interglacial Survival Mechanisms of Prehistoric Megafauna and Current North Pole Fauna(ie Woolly Mammoth and Polar Bear), and Micro Glacial/Interglacial Cycles. Due to current trends COVID-19 was also a popular topic including; COVID-19/Economic Coupling, COVID-19 impact on the economy, COVID-19 impact on political persuasion, impacts of biological weapons as asymmetrical weapons for hybrid warfare, and Isolation as means of mental distortion and manipulation. Additional topics planned to be discussed in 2025; Block-chain currency, Automotive revolution, Sex robot impacts on culture values and norms, mass immigration, shifting ethnic identities, role of traditional values and religions in a quickly advancing technological world, and the rapid evolving Space Race.
This publication was written in 1904-1909 and would not be published until 1962. These works were written during the last days and years of Mark Twain Life. Unbeknownst to the world, one of North America’s most prolific writers and story tellers of the Mississippi River Basin was deep in debt and two of his twin daughters and wife had recently died. His work covered the obscenity of Jim Crow Laws at the time, Misconceptions of Hookworm, and Hypocrisy of the Church to name a few. This written word often uses politically incorrect terms to describe racial groups to exaggerate his exasperation of what he was observing in the world. His satirical criticism of Christianity through using Satan as the worldly observer of mankind was so controversial at the time this publication would not be published for close to 60 years. Another event that most likely shaped Mark Twain’s view of the world was the Civil War.
When people think about the Civil War they think of Slavery, State Rights, Abolition, the Union, and etc. But, the Civil War may have been one of the reasons that Mark Twain had such a dark outlook and cynical view of the church that he could only use ire and satirical comedy to describe. What most people have forgotten is that both sides of the Civil War believed that God was on their side.
"There is not much questioning the cultural power of religion in America in the Civil War years. Americans at the midpoint of the 19th century were probably as thoroughly Christianized a people as they have ever been. Landscapes were dominated by church spires, and the most common sound in public spaces was the ringing of church bells. American churches jumped to exponential levels of growth. Between 1780 and 1820, Americans built 10,000 new churches; by 1860, they quadrupled that number. Almost all of the 78 American colleges which were founded by 1840 were church-related, with clergymen serving on the boards and the faculties. Even a man of such modest religious visibility as Abraham Lincoln, who never belonged to a church and never professed more than a deistic concept of God, nevertheless felt compelled, during his run for Congress in 1846, to still the anxieties of a Christian electorate by protesting that “I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular … I do not think I could myself, be brought to support a man for office, whom I knew to be an open enemy of, and scoffer at, religion.”
Stout concentrates on describing how Northerners, in particular, were bloated with this certainty. By “presenting the Union in absolutist moral terms,” Northerners gave themselves permission to wage a war of holy devastation. “Southerners must be made to feel that this was a real war,” explained Colonel James Montgomery, a one-time ally of John Brown, “and that they were to be swept away by the hand of God, like the Jews of old.” Or at least offered no alternative but unconditional surrender. “The Southern States,” declared Henry Ward Beecher shortly after Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency, “have organized society around a rotten core,—slavery,” while the “north has organized society about a vital heart, —liberty.” Across that divide, “God is calling to the nations.” And he is telling the American nation in particular that, “compromise is a most pernicious sham.”
But Southern preachers and theologians chimed in with fully as much fervor, in claiming that God was on their side. A writer for the Southern quarterly, DeBow’s Review, insisted that since “the institution of slavery accords with the injunctions and morality of the Bible,” the Confederate nation could therefore expect a divine blessing “in this great struggle.” The aged Episcopal bishop of Virginia, Richard Meade, gave Robert E. Lee his dying blessing: “You are engaged in a holy cause.”
The Civil War was no trivial matter, it was the bloodiest conflict in US’s history and would claim more lives from the US then all the other wars combine for the US. It is estimated that 700,000 American lives were lost in this war; in a nation that had only 30 million inhabitants. If you scaled the loss of life to the US population during World War II or the US population currently during the COVID-19. The loss of lives would be 3.1 million lives or 7.4 million lives. Mark Twain being a young man no doubt probably lost 10% of all his male fighting age friends from this war.
Click on Image to be taken to Letters From Earth....
Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs. Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human.
In Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman offers a fascinating look at these early forms of Christianity and shows how they came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten. All of these groups insisted that they upheld the teachings of Jesus and his apostles, and they all possessed writings that bore out their claims, books reputedly produced by Jesus's own followers. Modern archaeological work has recovered a number of key texts, and as Ehrman shows, these spectacular discoveries reveal religious diversity that says much about the ways in which history gets written by the winners. Ehrman's discussion ranges from considerations of various "lost scriptures" including forged gospels supposedly written by Simon Peter, Jesus's closest disciple, and Judas Thomas, Jesus's alleged twin brother to the disparate beliefs of such groups as the Jewish Christian Ebionites, the anti Jewish Marcionites, and various "Gnostic" sects. Ehrman examines in depth the battles that raged between "proto orthodox Christians" those who eventually compiled the canonical books of the New Testament and standardized Christian belief and the groups they denounced as heretics and ultimately overcame.
Scrupulously researched and lucidly written, Lost Christianities is an eye opening account of politics, power, and the clash of ideas among Christians in the decades before one group came to see its views prevail.
While most people think that the twenty-seven books of the New Testament are the only sacred writings of the early Christians, this is not at all the case. A companion volume to Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities, this book offers an anthology of up-to-date and readable translations of many non-canonical writings from the first centuries after Christ--texts that have been for the most part lost or neglected for almost two millennia. Here is an array of remarkably varied writings from early Christian groups whose visions of Jesus differ dramatically from our contemporary understanding. Readers will find Gospels supposedly authored by the apostle Philip, James the brother of Jesus, Mary Magdalen, and others. There are Acts originally ascribed to John and to Thecla, Paul's female companion; there are Epistles allegedly written by Paul to the Roman philosopher Seneca. And there is an apocalypse by Simon Peter that offers a guided tour of the afterlife, both the glorious ecstasies of the saints and the horrendous torments of the damned, and an Epistle by Titus, a companion of Paul, which argues page after page against sexual love, even within marriage, on the grounds that physical intimacy leads to damnation. In all, the anthology includes fifteen Gospels, five non-canonical Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles, a number of Apocalypses and Secret Books, and several Canon lists. Ehrman has included a general introduction, plus brief introductions to each piece. This important anthology gives readers a vivid picture of the range of beliefs that battled each other in the first centuries of the Christian era.
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and WhyFor almost 1,500 years,
the New Testament manuscripts were copied by hand and mistakes and intentional changes abound in the competing manuscript versions. Religious and biblical scholar Bart Ehrman makes the provocative case that many of our widely held beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine origins of the Bible itself are the results of both intentional and accidental alterations by scribes.
In this compelling and fascinating book, Ehrman shows where and why changes were made in our earliest surviving manuscripts, explaining for the first time how the many variations of our cherished biblical stories came to be, and why only certain versions of the stories qualify for publication in the Bibles we read today. Ehrman frames his account with personal reflections on how his study of the Greek manuscripts made him abandon his once ultraconservative views of the Bible.
Over 40% of the all US homicides remain unsolved and what is the implication for illegal immigration
Currently, in the United States close to 40% of all homicides are unsolved. And why would this matter in regards to illegal immigration? Most people think of illegal immigrants either as hard working people that are looking to just get by and some people look at them as people that evade or laws of country and take advantage of our system in a way that is detrimental to the lower class working people already living here. Motives for various levels of control or lack of control along the border are perceived by various people as racist control measures on one end to a globalist conspiracy to build a global nation with no borders on the other. But what are the people actually coming across the border harboring. What are they like and who are they? Many people think more border control could at least control many diseases like Measles which might be brought from countries with inadequate health care, to stemming drug traffic, hampering human trafficking, and etc. Are these legitimate worries, well depends on all parameters; which country they are from, exposure, quarantine efforts, time of year, and etc. Many people think interest in more control is form of paranoia or racist. the critics of border control may feel that a free loving society should allow way ward people that took a difficult journey a chance in our country. This is a very difficult conversation that many people have talking about because the views vary so much on both sides. So MOTM would like to look at some very speculative numbers on how many of these people might be dangerous based on a rough analysis on homicides. First lets look at how many immigrants are living in the US right now and how many might be in the future?
Currently, there are about 45.6 million foreign born people living in the US. About three fourths of them are naturalized or lawful residents in the United States. Of this 45.6 million about 10-11 million are unlawfully living in the US. Close to about half of all the unlawful residents in the US are from Mexico. Recent trends show that many immigrants from Central America and other parts of Latin America are replacing Mexico as the Latin country of origin for unlawful immigration.
Before anybody gets offended remember the true number will probably never be known and we may never have the complete answer to this question. There are many other variables to consider. But lets first start by looking at homicide rates in the US.
There were 17,250 homicides in the USA in 2016. If we consider the fact that 40% of homicides are unsolved, close to 6,900 people from 2016 are walking freely in US society that committed a homicide. If we use a rough estimate using 17,000 murders per year from 1989-2018. This number over a 30 year period could mean close to 204,000 people in the USA that have committed a homicide might be walking freely in society or 63 people per 100,000. This does not count duplicate killers, people that might have gone to prison for other charges, suspects dyeing from other causes, or etc. And this is purely an estimate.
We will choose to analysis Latin America countries because the closer proximity toward the US border and the very larger number of Unlawful Residents in the US from these countries. And since the majority of Unlawful Residents over the last 10 years represented by Mexico. This purely makes making a rough speculative analysis easier to focus on Latin American Unlawful Residents that number currently close to 5 million. Currently, 42 out of 50 most dangerous cities in the world reside in Latin America, though it must be observed that three of the most dangerous cities in the world resound in the US. So comparing murder rates might have a more accurate source for analysis. Mexico currently has a homicide rate of about 29 per 100,000 people. This murder rate is about 5 to 6 times the US rate. And until recent trends Mexican Nationals represented the largest portion of illegal immigrants coming from Latin America. Many of the Latin American Countries have similar or much larger homicide rates then Mexico, for example Brazil had a homicide rate of 30 per 100,000 people. There is also no way to truly know the number of unsolved homicides that take place in Mexico or other Latin American Countries. But to give you an idea; it is estimated that 92% of all homicides in Brazil go unpunished and in 2013 it was estimated that 98% of all homicides in Mexico were unsolved.
It was estimated that close to 33,000 homicides were committed in Mexico in 2018. If we apply the 40% unsolved estimation (by US Homicide unresolved cases) of the homicides in Mexico. Then then it can be estimated that possibly close to 13,000 people in Mexico are walking freely in society that may have committed a homicide from 2018. If we use the estimation that 98% of the murders went unresolved then close to 32,000 people are walking freely in Mexico society that committed a homicide. We applied this estimation method over 30 years using only 15,000 murders per year from 1998-2008 and using 20,000 murders per year from 2009-2018. We also adjusted for changing population. We used Mexico estimates to represent the Latin world since most of the countries have similar or higher homicide rates. If we use these numbers using the US unresolved estimate of 40% then close to 151 persons per 100,000 people in Mexico might be walking freely in society that committed a homicide. If we use the estimate of 98% of all homicides in Mexico are unsolved then close to 371 people per 100,000 people in Mexico might be walking freely in society that committed a homicide. Look at the table below to compare Homicide Suspects walking freely in society between Latin American and US.
If you were betting on your life you could speculate that Mexico, if they have similar resolution of homicide cases, has about 151-371 people per 100,000 that committed a homicide walking freely in their society. This is quite a few more people than the US, but is it something to worry about? Which means that the number of people that committed a homicide and is walking freely in society could be potentially 3-6 times higher per hundred thousand people then the US. None of these numbers are set in stone, homicides rates change yearly, percent of resolved cases change, some people that committed homicides are duplicate killers, and etc. One could say that somebody is leaving their country because they are escaping violence but you could also say they are leaving because they want to escape justice. Even More, even though that seems high, also consider that 89% of homicides are estimated to be committed by men in Mexico and men represent about 50% of unlawful residents in the US. A very rough analysis suggests that adult age men coming from Mexico might have rate of 302 to 742 people per 100,000 walking freely in society that might have committed a homicide. This could be close to 3 to 8 people per 1,000 people.
And 99% could be the best people you have ever met. So, should US policy be to accommodate the other 99% adult males spite the fact that we know about the danger that the 1% represent? Before you answer that consider that many people want to change and make strict gun laws while the US homicide rate is only 5 per 100,000 people. That ignores the fact that over 98% of the US population lives in a country that has a homicide rate of 2.5 or less than 100,000 people. Which is the more present or subtle danger? And 51% of Homicides in the US reside in only 2% of the counties.
Also Feel Free to Read MOTM Article
Mexico’s Quasi Hybrid Insurgency and a Reflection on Murder Rate Statistics
A recent archaeology site shows that human beings were living in Idaho 16,000 years ago. There is some speculation to how they got there; via small boats following the Pacific Coast or across the Bering Land Bridge. This is not the first time that archaeologist evidence shows that human beings settled North America prior 14,000 years ago.
“But in recent years, archaeologists have found numerous sites and artifacts older than that migration timeline, suggesting that early humans didn’t travel through the ice but followed the coast, likely using boats. A site called Monte Verde at the southern tip of Chile is at least 15,000 years old, a sinkhole in Florida recently yielded a knife and butchered mammoth bone more than 14,500 years old and the Gault site in Texas has yielded thousands of artifacts that could be 16,000 to 20,000 years old.(Smithsonian).”
This article was not intended to press in on the remark-ability of the human beings settling North America at an early date than previously thought. Its intention is to examine how much the natural landscape has changed in the last 20,000 years in North America. Aside from the impacts from human beings from hunting large mega-fauna, use of fire for ecological altering of the ecosystem, and massive change in temperature and glacial ice changes from orbital variation. It is remarkable that the current person thinks that to some degree that Elk and Moose represent what is wilderness in this modern age. But, it is speculated that Mammoths, Giant Sloth, Stag-Moose, Caribou, Woodland Musk Ox, Giant Ice Age Beaver, Mammoths, Long Horned Bison, and Mastodons were more likely the dominate species across the landscape and preceded the Elk and Moose by Hundreds of thousands of years.
Feel Free to Read MOTM article on early Paleohydrological Events
Paleohydrological events from the late Pleistocene to the Holocene 30kya to 1500AD
Moreover, it is believed that Moose and Elk did not arrive into the North America until about 15,000 years ago.
Faunal record identifies Bering isthmus conditions as constraint to end-Pleistocene migration to the New World
“In order to establish the pattern of faunal migration through the last glaciation, we first collated radiocarbon dates (figure 1a) for mammal taxa that have been proposed to undergo range expansion into Alaska during this period: brown bear (Ursus arctos), wapiti (Cervus elaphus), moose (Alces alces) and the Pleistocene lion (Panthera spelaea) [15,17,18]. Previous ancient DNA studies on brown bears identified a regional extinction in Alaska during Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3; 60–24 ka), with a subsequent recolonization from Siberia at 25 ka [15,19]. A similar high concentration of radiocarbon-dated lion bones from Alaska around 25 ka suggests either an expansion of a pre-existing population or further dispersal across Beringia. For wapiti and moose, by contrast, there are no unambiguous fossil records in Alaska until some 10 kyr later at 15 ka, contemporaneous with the earliest uncontested evidence of humans in eastern Beringia (Alaska) . Wapiti and moose therefore have the potential to illuminate the timing and mode of faunal and human expansion into the New World, especially the problem of migration during MIS 3.”
Mitochondrial Phylogeography of Moose (Alces alces): Late Pleistocene Divergence and Population Expansion
“Timing of expansion for the population in the Yakutia–Manchuria region of eastern Asia indicates that it is one of the oldest populations of moose and may represent the source of founders of extant populations in North America, which were colonized within the last 15,000 years.”
Did Elk (Cervus elephus) Live in North America Prior to 15,200 BP?
“The DNA evidence from the study make it clear–all North American elk alive today descend from the elk migration across the Bering Landbridge that began about 15,000 years ago. But this doesn’t rule out the possibility that a now extinct Pleistocene ecomorph of the elk occurred in North America prior to this date.”
Furthermore, the fossil evidence of Moose and Elk is generally absent in most fossil records prior to 15,000 years. It would be logical to think that aspen and spruce forests covering much of North America during the Ice age would offer abundant habitat for Moose. While remnants of Caribou and Stag-Moose are found in in places far south as Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. There is no record of Moose in those locations even though Glaciers were thought to come down as far south as Southern Iowa and Illinois.
The Presence of Caribou in Southeastern North America during the Pleistocene and it Paleoecological Implications
“I hypothesize Ice Age ecosystems in southeastern North America were more diverse than they are today due to rapid climate fluctuations. Climate phases of warm wet interstadials (but cooler on average than today) and cold arid stadials alternated but the response of the floral and faunal composition to these rapid climate changes lagged behind. Some climate phases lasted for a few thousand years or perhaps just centuries or even decades. They weren’t long enough to completely eliminate habitat for species with warm temperate affinities, nor did they last long enough to extirpate habitat favorable for species with boreal affinities. This explains why eastern chipmunks co-occurred with least chipmunks, and why caribou may have shared the range with jaguars and tapirs. During cold phases though prairie and boreal forest expanded, oak woodlands persisted on some tracts of land, especially south-facing slopes. During warm phases oak woodlands expanded, but spruce forests persisted on north facing slopes. Herds of caribou formerly wandered through Georgia followed by packs of dire wolves and prides of lions. The herds traveled through fingers of prairie between open woods consisting of pine and spruce and oak where turkeys foraged on the ground and fishers chased gray squirrels through the tree tops. Landscapes of present day Georgia are unrecognizable by comparison.”
Even more, while Human archaeology sites have been found through North and South America predating 14,000 years, the Moose was just starting to colonize the areas outside of Alaska. And the moose almost had a near brush with extinction where it’s population bottle-necked and almost did not have enough DNA diversity. Often one thinks of North America in a static state, as if there is one glacier event and then there is now. But, North America Glacier waxed and waned; and the climate change was radically changing all the time, and ecosystems were constantly changing.
Free Read MOTM Article
Micro Interglacial Cycles and an Alternative Understanding to Sea Level Fluctuations from a Paleoclimatic Perspective the Last 140,000 Years
Just like the Ecosystems and Climate were in constant change, so were the populations of Animals. There was not one wave of Mammoths or Bison for example. There were numerous waves of different sub species over several hundred thousand years. There were many small extinctions and evolution of many new Subspecies. Also, North America is not just a melting pot for many cultures as many people see the modern US as today. It was a melting pot for wildlife, after the great biological migration about 2.5 million years ago were the land bridge from South America joined with North America it was soon to because migration destination for wildlife coming from Eurasia the last million years via the Bering Land Bridge that was exposed due to Glacier Fluctuations.
In Future Articles MOTM staff would like to investigate the layered migration of Bison and Mammoths to North America. Furthermore MOTM would like to delve into how the Mastodon (Elephas americanum), Jefferson’s Ground Sloth (Megalonyx jeffersonii), and the Columbia Mammoth (Mammuthus columbi or Mammuthus jeffersoni) may have shared the landscape and how they all represent something intriguing about the wildlife exchange in the Americas the last 2.5 million years.
Breaking News; Mexico's Homicide Rate Record high, Pipeline explosion, Gas theft, Gas Shortages, Imploding Gas PRODUCTION
Many people are probably wishing Andrés Manuel López Obrador God's Speed for the challenges he inherited as the newly elected president of Mexico. Many people following trends and headlines were probably not surprised to hear the most recent news. But, Mexico passed last years tragic number of homicides. Depending on your source of information, it is estimated that 33,431 murders took place in Mexico in 2018 compared to 28,861 murders in 2017. Just like last years number, the death toll is probably somewhat higher because of missing persons. below is a graph that compares Mexico Murders to US murders. If US had the same murder rate the number of murders in the US would be 80,000
If it was only homicides Andrés Manuel López Obrador may be in a position to quickly solve some of the problems. However, as we pointed out in MOTM BULLETIN NEWS LATIN AMERICA HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2018 Mexico has been plagued by political assassinations, Journalist murders, kidnappings, Gasoline/Diesel production collapse, Gasoline theft, and Gasoline Shortages. Mexico also reached headlines this week when 89 people died from a exploding Gas Line that was being illegally tapped.
Also, recently the US government Partial Government is making headlines around the world as it reaches the 31st day. Below we show that the number of arrests and asylum claims on the border have increased from last year.
Currently the majority of the current border barriers are mostly meant for stopping Vehicle and are in poor condition. A alternative border plan should at least cover replacement for current border barriers.
The graphs below show the amount of Heroin seized on the left, and shows the smuggling routes of various cartels on the right.
This graphic below shows the number of prototypes they are looking at for building new barriers and replacing old ones.
With an early start to 2019-A dozen Latin American governments and Canada have delivered a blistering rebuke to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, questioning the legitimacy of his soon-to-begin second term and urging him to hand over power as the only path to restoring democracy in his crisis-wracked South American country. In Peru, a bloc of 14 western hemisphere countries known as the Lima Group all but agreed with that assessment. And all but one of its members said they won’t recognize the legitimacy of Maduro’s new presidency. They instead called on Maduro not to take the oath of office next Thursday. The Lima Group members who signed the statement included major Latin American countries like Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, as well as Canada.
Spite the fact that only 8% of the world population presides in Latin America and the Caribbean; Mexico's Citizens' Council for Public Security's annual ranking of the world's most violent cities; 50 cities on the list, 42 are in Latin America, including 17 in Brazil, 12 in Mexico, and five in Venezuela. Colombia had three, Honduras had two, and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Jamaica all had one.
Just five decades ago, in 1970, Latin America was 92 per cent Catholic. Mexicans, Argentines and Brazilians, for example, were born into the Church and lived out their lives as Catholics, although most of them were not regular churchgoers. However, after a half-century of precipitous decline, Latin America, home to 39 per cent of the world’s 1.3 billion faithful, will no longer be majority Catholic by 2030. A new survey by the respected Chilean polling firm Latino barómetro finds Latin America now to be only 59 per cent Catholic, down from 80 per cent in 1995
“Tropical Trump” Jair Bolsonaro, has won Brazil’s runoff election with a 55 per cent majority. He gained media headlines in September when he was stabbed, lost 40% of his blood, and after recovering went on to win the election. His win is a voter rejection of the leftist administrations that have governed Brazil for most of the last 15 years. Latin America's largest economy has been stuck in recession since 2014. The political establishment has been rocked by a high-level corruption scandal, and crime and murder rates have spiked. Jair Bolsonaro is now the President of a country of 200 million people the size of the USA with a $2.0 trillion dollar economy (8th largest economy in the world).
But Bolsonaro’s meteoric rise to power is also explained thanks to the support of Brazilian Evangelicals, who make up, according to some surveys, 26 to 27% of Brazilians, a figure that has shot up in the past two decades. Brazil soon will no longer hold the position as the country with the largest number of Catholics in the world. For years the numbers of people who have declared themselves Roman Catholic are in grave decline, and the last survey by Datafolha Institute indicates a loss of about 9 million faithful since 2014 to 2017.
Colombia thus becomes NATO’s first global partner in Latin America. Those in other regions include Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, New Zealand, Japan, Mongolia, and South Korea. But planning for Colombia’s association with NATO apparently preceded that for the seven other nations. As a global partner, Colombia isn’t bound by Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty of 1949 which declares that an attack on one member state is an attack on all of them, something applying to the 29 fully-fledged members.The job description of a global partner, according to the NATO website, is to “develop cooperation with NATO in areas of mutual interest, including emerging security challenges, and some [partners] contribute actively to NATO operations either militarily or in some other way.” Thus an “intimate bond between the country and the structure of NATO” involves “close collaboration in most military areas.”Colombia boasts two qualifications for associating with NATO. One, it’s a regional military power. Representative numbers tell that story: Colombia’s military force includes 550,550 troops (369,100 active duty), 273 helicopters, 1,345 armed fighting vehicles, and $8.976 billion in budgeted military spending for 2017. Only Brazil, at $25.75 billion, exceeds Colombia in this regard in Latin America. The Colombian government spends 13.1 percent of its total outlay on military spending, which accounts for 3.4 percent of Colombia’s GDP, the highest such rate in South America, says a source citing a percentage of 3.1.
Columbia also gained a spot light as Venezuela Opposition leader Julio Borges said “There’s no democratic way out of this crisis,” said Julio Borges, an opposition politician now living in Colombia. “The army have a new enemy and it is Nicolás Maduro – they know he is taking the country down the worst path.” The secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, said that a "military intervention" to "overthrow" Nicolas Maduro's government cannot be ruled out. Almagro made the remark while visiting the Colombian city of Cucuta, a border city that has borne the brunt of the Venezuelan refugee crisis. "With regards to a military intervention aimed at overthrowing the regime of Nicolas Maduro, I think we should not exclude any option," the chief of the Washington-based OAS said, adding that Caracas was committing "crimes against humanity" on its people. The general focus on because Venezuela has been devastated by a deep economic crisis, which the US says has triggered the departure of 2.3 million people since 2014. According to Colombia's government, almost a million of those Venezuelans are currently living in the country.
In August 2017, reports surfaced that American and Canadian diplomatic personnel in Cuba had suffered a variety of health problems, dating back to late 2016, and accusations were made that these were a result of an attack by someone using unspecified technology, possibly sonic in nature. The media has taken to calling these reported incidents "Havana Syndrome". In August 2017, reports began surfacing that American and Canadian diplomatic personnel in Cuba had experienced unusual, unexplained health problems dating back to late 2016. The number claiming symptoms was 26 as of June 2018. The health problems typically had a sudden onset: the victim would suddenly begin hearing strange grating noises that they perceived as coming from a specific direction. Some of them experienced it as a pressure or a vibration; or as a sensation comparable to driving a car with the window partly rolled down. The duration of these attacks ranged from 20 seconds to 30 minutes, and always happened while the diplomats were either at home or in hotel rooms.
Mexico’s government has called on the military to fight the growing problem of gasoline theft at national oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) by organized criminals, president Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Thursday. Gasoline theft is driven by Mexico’s drug cartels were moving into the gasoline industry — infiltrating the national oil company, selling stolen fuel on the black market and engaging in open war with the military. The scourge of “huachicoleo,” a colloquial term for fuel theft, caused a loss of approximately 60 billion pesos ($3.05 billion) for Pemex last year, López Obrador said at his morning press conference, a figure he said will likely be surpassed this year. “What’s been stolen this year could finance 40% of a refinery,” said López Obrador, whose government plans to build a refinery in Tabasco state at an estimated cost of $8 billion. “In other words, three years of fuel theft is equivalent to a new refinery.” At least nine states are now affected by gasoline shortages, a situation which President López Obrador says is the result of the government’s new strategy to combat petroleum theft. Shortages of varying severity have been reported in Michoacán, Querétaro, México state, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Puebla, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas and Hidalgo.
While the president and officials initially said they were not ready to provide a number of homicides for December because a new mechanism to count the number was still being worked on, reporters were told there were more than 1,700 homicides in December. According to a November report by ADN Politico, citing official figures it attributed to the Interior Ministry, as of October there were 24,022 homicides in Mexico in the first 10 months of the year, 3,406 more than in the previous year. Over the course of this year 540 people have been killed in Cancun. This year the murder total for Cancun in 2018 has increased by 313 deaths compared to last year's toll of 227, earning it a reputation for violence rather than its non-stop party scene or stunning views. Ciudad Juárez registered 1,247 homicides in 2018 amid a raging cartel turf war, this is almost twice as many as 2017.
In the nine months leading up to this weekend's presidential election, 132 politicians have been killed. That's according to Etellekt, a risk analysis and crisis management firm. The group's report, released Tuesday, found that 22 of Mexico's 31 states have seen a political assassination since campaigning began in September. in the southwestern state of Guerrero alone, nearly 200 people decided to give up their candidacies because of the violence. Others in Mexico have come to the same decision because of pressure from organised crime groups. The extent of the violence and intimidation is such that in some municipalities in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Michoacan and Puebla – all states in the south of the country – have decided to dissuade their candidates from running. In addition to the killings, more than 400 other cases of aggression against politicians and political operatives have been reported this season, including assassination attempts, threats, intimidation and kidnappings, according to Etellekt
The 2018 Nicaraguan protests began on 18 April 2018 when demonstrators in several cities of Nicaragua began protests against the social security reforms decreed by President Daniel Ortega that increased taxes and decreased benefits. After five days of unrest in which nearly thirty people were killed. It is estimated ongoing protests have led to the 500+ deaths, 2,800+ injuries , and 350+ arrests. Upwards of 60,000 citizens have fled the country. Some are relieved to have escaped persecution. Others wait and organize, looking for the opportunity to return home and continue their anti-government protests. Furthermore,
Venezuela's economy has collapsed. This is the result of years of socialism, incompetence, and corruption, among other things. An important element that mirrors the economy's collapse is Venezuela's currency, the bolivar. It is not trustworthy. Venezuela's exchange rate regime provides no discipline. It only produces instability, poverty, and the world’s highest inflation rate for 2018. Indeed, Venezuela’s annual inflation rate at the end of 2018 was 80,000%. It was reported in Buisness Insider,
Venezuela inflation hit an annual rate of 830,000% this year to October, according to new data released this week to the country's parliament. Various reports suggest inflation rates from 80,000% to 1,000,000%.
Venezuelans who have fled the country already surpass the 3 million mark, with over one million in Colombia. Colombian authorities have stated that they expect the amount of Venezuelans in the country to double over the next 12 months. Venezuela appears to be tragically stuck in a perverse modern-day “Malthusian trap”, where lack of access to food is an important determinant of the emigration rate. The current conditions are so bad that even if the government were to put all of its net income from oil—Venezuela’s main and almost only export, which is publicly owned—to feed the poorest of the poor, there would still be a substantial portion of the population whose basic caloric needs wouldn’t be covered.
The list of EU member states withdrawing support for the United Nations global pact on migration is growing, with so far Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Italy and lastly Slovakia having announced they will not sign the pact.
Europe Gears up for contentious EU parliamentary elections in 2019; coming in for a rough landing from a fairly unusual number of political shake ups in 2018. Currently, The centre-left parties of EU countries are on course to win less than 20 per cent of the vote in the upcoming European Parliament elections, a record low for the EU’s social democrats.
EU parliament votes to punish Hungary, Called for Sanctions against Italy, and more…
Rather large Yellow Vest protest spread from France to Belgium. Though not reaching the size and tenacity of the French protest, several thousand people still took to the street. Demonstrations began as public backlash against the UN migration pact in central Brussels. The protests descended into scuffles, with police forced to use tear gas and water cannon to restore order. Protests resulted in Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel resignation. It comes less than two weeks after his main coalition partner quit in a row over migration, leaving him leading a minority government. The Belgian government had lost its majority in Parliament after its biggest coalition partner, the right-wing Flemish party, left in opposition to the planned signing this month of an international agreement on migration.
Yellow Vest Protests continued for 7 weeks; resulting in 10 civilian death, 2841+ civilians injured, 1,000+ police officers injured, and 4,000+ arrests. At the peak of the protests 287,710 protesters were in the street and the protest enjoyed 72% approval from public. Protests began after government planned projected new fuel taxes. Macron approval rating dropped to records lows; close to 20%. Several notable cabinet ministers resigned; including Gerard Collomb, Nicolas Hulot, and Laura Flassel.
As of November 4th 2018, France's far-Right National Rally is now more popular than Emmanuel Macron's governing party as the country becomes more anti-EU and opposed to immigration, according to a new Ifop poll examining voting intentions for upcoming European Parliament elections show the National Rally (NR) at 21 per cent, with Mr Macron's Republic on the Move (LREM) at 19 per cent.
Macron has set himself the challenge of reforming Islam. His initiative coincides with the run-up to campaigns for the European Parliament election, when the president faces his strongest challenge from conservative and hard-right groups urging stronger oversight of Muslim clerics, mosques and schools. A 617-page report delivered to Macron, "The Fabric of Islam," presents a comprehensive plan for reform of Islamic institutions in France following a call from Macron to bring them under the aegis of the state. During a July address to lawmakers at the Palace of Versailles, Macron committed to giving Islam "a framework and rules" by the fall. His goals: discouraging insular Muslim communities and combating extremist strands of the religion.
Merkel steps down from chairmanship of the CDU, and confirms she will not run for Chancellor in 2021. Afd , conservative anti-immigration party, gains close to 30% approval ratings; driven by the debate on unrestrained immigration and public backlash from the immigration influx of 2015. Afd won 10% of the seats in the State election of Landtag of Bavaria. This is the first time in history Afd won state seats in Landtag of Bavaria. A significant increase in the Green Party and Afd delivered noticeable drop in seats in Landtag of Bavaria for the CDU and SPD parties.
Hans-Georg Maassen domestic intelligence chief was retired from all government offices after reiterating his denial of reports of anti-migrant "hunts" in the country. This happened after the Chemnitz Street protests; though marred in controversy, the protests resulted from uneasy public feelings about mass immigration.
Matteo Salvini, Eurosceptic, makes headlines throughout 2018; as Italy refused more immigrants, battled with the EU on budget demands. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini took office in Italy in June 2018, to lead a populist government that is shaking up established politics in Europe.
The, Nationalist anti-immigration, Sweden Democrats party won 17.5 Percent of the parliamentary elections. Though still a minority, the elected Sweden Democrats has caused a deadlock in forming a new government in Sweden and several attempts have failed. This has increased the probability of another election.
More than 50,000 immigrants crossed into Spain from Morocco in 2018. This influx is over twice as many as 2017. Though Europe saw an overall total reduction in migration of immigrants through Greece, Italy, and Spain. The migration has essentially shifted from Greece/Italy to Spain. Currently, Spain is one of the more friendly countries in Europe for immigration; though strain and tensions have developed. The starkest illustration of this came on 2 December, when Andalusia – the nation’s most populous region – elected to its parliament 12 candidates fielded by the anti-Muslim, anti-feminist party Vox. All told, Vox secured 400,000 votes – 10 per cent of the total cast in Andalusia. By way of comparison, it secured just 18,000 votes and no seats in an election held just four years before.
Catalonia unrest continues via hunger protests by imprisoned leaders, and protests. Catalonia protests continue following their historical declaration of independence made in October 2017; signed by 72 of the 135 members of the Parliament of Catalonia. Virtually rejected by Spain, the leaders of Catalonia are on trial, exiled, or pushed into obscurity.
Brexit is still scheduled for March 29th 2019. It has been a contentious year for the UK parliament and EU parliament. As Theresa May hones on a Brexit deal, pundit critics are calling for a second referendum and EU fears a hard no-deal Brexit. The strains have been obvious on May as she faced a no confidence vote from the Tory party and she claims she will not lead the Conservatives into the next general election — scheduled to take place in 2022 — and there is chatter in Westminster that she could step down once Brexit divorce talks finish in March. As the Brexit continues to put heat on the UK political intuitions there have been numerous resignations such as; Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Brexit Secretary David Davis, MP Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara, Junior Brexit Minister Suella Braverman, ransport minister Jo Johnson, acob Rees-Mogg, and Boris Johnson.
Ukraine made headlines November 25th after the Kerch Strait incident when the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) coast guard fired upon and captured three Ukrainian Navy vessels attempting to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait on their way to the port of Mariupol. In 2014, Russia had annexed the nearby Crimean Peninsula, which is dominantly internationally recognized as Ukrainian territory. It later constructed the Crimean Bridge across the strait. Under a 2003 treaty, the strait and the Azov Sea are intended to be the shared territorial waters of both countries, and freely accessible.
Though the incident is shocking to many people; a low intensity warfare has been taken place along the border with the Donbass (supported by Russia) and Ukraine since 2014. This conflict has claimed more than 10,000 lives, and hostilities continue spit cease fire agreements. In 2018 it was reported that Ukraine lost at least 134 soldiers in the war-torn Donbas region, with the deadliest months being May (at least 17 casualties), August (18 reported casualties) and October (12 casualties), according to military and media reports. Furthermore, An Officer of the 53rd Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Anatoliy Shtefan has disclosed the number of enemy losses in Donbas throughout the eight months of 2018. "January: 47 KIAs (killed in action), 74 WIAs (wounded in action); February: 66 KIAs, 71 WIAs; March: 42 KIAs, 79 WIAs; April: 117 KIAs, 190 WIAs; May: 110 KIAs, 149 WIAs; June: 86 KIAs, 47 WIAs; July: 31 KIAs, 68 WIAs; August: 68 KIAs, 116 WIAs. In total: 567 KIAs, 894 WIAs," Shtefan wrote on Facebook.
It is believed that Russia has several thousand Advisors, Volunteers, and Mercenaries supporting the Donbass military. Satellite photos and claims by President Petro Poroshenko reveal Russia may have deployed "more than 80,000 troops, 1,400 artillery and multiple rocket launch systems, 900 tanks, 2,300 armored combat vehicles, 500 aircraft and 300 helicopters" along their common border. Outside support for belligerents in the conflict is not unique to this region. Ukraine is actively seeking membership of NATO, has joined joint military exercises with NATO advisers, and has received military aid; including Anti-Tank Missiles such as the Javelin.
Spite warnings from Russia, NATO continues to pursue strategic relations with Ukraine and Georgia which both seek to join NATO. Georgia actively contributes to NATO-led operations and cooperates with the Allies and other partner countries in many other areas.
This year also coincided with one of the largest NATO exercises since the cold war. Trident Juncture 18, abbreviated TRJE18. This NATO-led military exercise was held in Norway in October and November 2018 with an Article 5 collective defense scenario. The exercise will be the largest of its kind in Norway since the 1980s. An estimated 50,000 participants from 31 nations took part, including 10,000 vehicles, 250 aircraft and 65 vessels.
This exercise coincided with one of Russia‘s largest military exercises since 1981 during the Cold War. The week-long exercise, known as Vostok-2018 (East-2018) took place in far-eastern Russia, Taking part in the drills were around 300,000 Russian soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 80 ships and 1,000 aircraft, helicopters and drones, as well as 3,500 Chinese troops.
Drop in cost of space launches and reduction in weight of new technology increasing opportunity and possibilities in Space Exploration!