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Russia Conducts War Drill With Hypersonic Missiles Amid Threat Of War In Middle East

Russia Conducts War Drill With Hypersonic Missiles Amid Threat Of War In Middle East

Russian President Vladimir Putin observed a war drill off the coast of Crimea on Thursday that included the launching of hypersonic missiles, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The ministry’s Zvezda broadcasting service said Russia’s Black Sea and Northern Fleets participated in the military exercise.

Various missiles were fired during the drill, including Kalibr cruise missiles and Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched missiles.

More than 30 warships, including the Admiral Grigorovich and Admiral Makarov frigate, one submarine, and more than 40 aircraft, including Tu-95MS strategic bombers, Su-30SM fighters, and Su-24M bombers, participated in the drill.  

Two MIG-31K fighters air-launched Kinzhal hypersonic missiles while guided missile destroyers launched Kalibr cruise missiles at targets.

Putin observed much of the exercise aboard the Marshal Ustinov missile cruiser.

“The drills have been held successfully,” Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, told Putin on Thursday. 

The drill comes as the US and Iran were on the verge of war earlier this week. Tensions have simmered down but are still elevated after Iran launched missiles at two US bases in Iraq.

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Russia is a military ally of Iran, both countries have conducted military operations in Syria, and in recent times, held maritime war drills.

Washington’s relations with Russia and Iran have deteriorated since the beginning of the Syrian civil war and even more since President Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

Russia’s latest military exercise and escalating tensions in the Middle East are certainly indicating that the world is inching closer to conflict.

Russian Gas Mega-Pipeline To China Goes Online As Putin & Xi Hail Closer Ties

Russian Gas Mega-Pipeline To China Goes Online As Putin & Xi Hail Closer Ties

Late Monday Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin jointly launched the major unprecedented cooperative project that had been years in the making called the ‘Power of Siberia’ gas pipeline.

The China-Russia east-route pipeline is now providing China with Russian natural gas, which according to Chinese state media is expected to reach 5 billion cubic meters in 2020 and increase to 38 billion cubic meters annually from 2024.

Crucially, S&P Global Platts estimates that total sales through the pipeline is projected to meet nearly 10% of China’s entire gas supply by 2022, ensuring vital energy security as Beijing continues to feel the pressure and uncertainty of the trade war with Washington. 

A Chinese section of the China-Russia East Route natural gas pipeline in Heihe, China. Image source: CNN/Getty Images

The ceremony to officially bring the pipeline online was held as a video call between Xi and Putin was underway. Xi told Putin: “The East-route natural gas pipeline is a landmark project of China-Russia energy cooperation and a paradigm of deep convergence of both countries’ interests and win-win cooperation.”

The deal had been cemented in May 2014 when Russian gas giant Gazprom signed a 30-year contract with China National Petroleum Corp, after which the pipeline agreements were signed with both leaders present in Shanghai in later 2014.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced to both leaders that the pipeline had been opened via video link. “Gas is flowing to the gas transmission system of the People’s Republic of China,” he said.

A 30-year deal was signed by Putin and Xi in 2014, and while a final figure has not been announced, it is believed to be worth more than $400 billion. — CNN

Gazprom will oversee operation of the mammoth pipeline which runs more than 8,100 kilometers (5,000 miles) across the two countries.

Vladimir Putin Sums Up The New World Order In 5 Words

Vladimir Putin Sums Up The New World Order In 5 Words

Russian President Vladimir Putin succinctly summarized the shifting tectonic plates of geopolitics.


Vladimir Putin: “The Dollar Enjoyed Great Trust Around The World. But For Some Reason It Is Being Used As A Political Weapon, Imposing Restrictions. Many Countries Are Now Turning Away From The Dollar As A Reserve Currency. US Dollar Will Collapse Soon.”


First he explained the status quo…

“The Dollar enjoyed great trust around the world. But, for some reason, it is now being used as a political weapon to  impose restrictions.”

Then Putin explained the consequences…

“Many countries are now turning away from the Dollar as a Reserve Currency.”

And ultimately what happens…

“US Dollar will collapse soon.”

And just like that, it was gone. Remember “nothing lasts forever”…

As Bloomberg reports, Russia’s central bank has been the largest buyer of gold in the past few years.

Source: Bloomberg

Of course, Putin is not the first (and won’t be the last) to suggest the end is nigh for the dollar…

The World Bank’s former chief economist wants to replace the US dollar with a single global super-currency, saying it will create a more stable global financial system.

“The dominance of the greenback is the root cause of global financial and economic crises,” Justin Yifu Lin told Bruegel, a Brussels-based policy-research think tank. “The solution to this is to replace the national currency with a global currency.”

Warren Buffett once explained that “for 240 years it’s been a terrible mistake to bet against America, and now is no time to start.”

We don’t mean to rain on his parade too much, but the following charts suggest time is ticking, as the world transitions from dollars to non-fiat reserves…

Source: Bloomberg

Russia To Reduce US Dollars In National Wealth Fund As Putin’s De-Dollarization Continues

Russia To Reduce US Dollars In National Wealth Fund As Putin’s De-Dollarization Continues 

Russia’s de-dollarization effort is full steam ahead, in line with President Putin’s commitment to reduce the country’s vulnerability to the continuing threat of US sanctions.

Crossing the wires early Wednesday morning, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Kolychev, was quoted by Reuters as saying the Russian sovereign wealth fund will reduce US Dollars and is considering adding Chinese yuan. 

  • RUSSIAN DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER KOLYCHEV SAYS SHARE OF US DOLLARS IN NATIONAL WEALTH FUND WILL BE REDUCED 
  • RUSSIAN DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER KOLYCHEV SAYS INCLUSION OF OTHER FOREIGN CURRENCIES INCLUDING YUAN IS BEING CONSIDERED
  • RUSSIAN DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER KOLYCHEV SAYS FINANCE MINISTRY PLANS TO CHANGE NATIONAL WEALTH FUND’S FX STRUCTURE IN 2020 

Kolychev said the change to the foreign exchange structure of the wealth fund would occur in 2020.

Ukraine and Russian-backed rebels begin troop withdrawal in eastern regions

Last month, Russian Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin told the Financial Times that the country would continue down the path of de-dollarization and begin trading some oil transactions in Euros and roubles.

“We have very good currency, and it’s stable. Why not use it for global transactions?” Oreshkin said in a recent interview with the FT.

 “We want (oil and gas sales) in roubles at some point,” he said.

Despite less than 5% of Russia’s $687.5 billion in annual trade being with the US, it remains that over half of that trade still relies on the dollar, according to Bloomberg figures.

US sanctions have been very selective as of recent, specifically targeting Gazprom, the country’s gas giant. Sanctions have banned any US company from supplying Gazprom with equipment.

Russia’s desire to abandon the dollar is a trend that continues to gain momentum and could be fully realized by the mid/late 2020s.

A New Middle East Thanks to Putin

A New Middle East Thanks to Putin

Peace in the Middle East is coming at us fast and we’re going to have Russian President Vladimir Putin to thank for it. 

The howls of agony coming from U.S. and European foreign policy centers are deafening.  Pat Buchanan lists them in his latest article which asks if Putin is now the new king of the Middle East.

“Donald Trump Has Handed Putin the Middle East on a Plate” was the title of a Telegraph column. “Putin Seizes on Trump’s Syria Retreat to Cement Middle East Role,” said the Financial Times.

The U.S. press parroted the British: Putin is now the new master of the Mideast. And woe is us. 

Remember that the epicenter of virulent anti-Russian, pro-Israeli sentiment doesn’t begin with the Neocons along K-Street. It begins with the remnants of the British imperial class which still holds tremendous sway over British politics.

Think I’m wrong about that. Just look at Brexit.

As I pointed out the minute Trump defended his initial pullout of 50 U.S. troops to allow Turkey to cross into northern Syria, Putin has the situation mostly under control by laying the groundwork to craft win/win/win/win possibilities for everyone in the region.

Buchanan remains skeptical of this, saying that if Putin is the new king of the Middle East, will the crown lie heavy on his head?

It’s a fair question but I think it betrays Pat’s biases as an old Cold Warrior. 

Pat makes a series of comparisons between Russia’s military presence in the region and the size of the economies backing them to make his point. I think, frankly, that’s outdated analysis.

It is based on the premise that Russia has imperial aspirations in the region, similar to that of the U.S. At his core, Buchanan is still a ‘great powers theory’ kind of guy. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Declining Empire of Chaos Is Going Nuts Over Iran

The Declining Empire of Chaos Is Going Nuts Over Iran 

The transition in recent years from a unipolar to a multipolar world order has created international tensions that seem to threaten to escalate into clashes between regional and global powers.

In 2014 we were almost at the point of no return in Ukraine following the coup d’etat supported and funded by NATO and involving extremist right-wing Ukrainian nationalists. The conflict in the Donbass risked escalating into a conflict between NATO and the Russian Federation, every day in the summer and autumn of 2014 threatening to be doomsday. Rather than respond to the understandable impulse to send Russian troops into Ukraine to defend the population of Donbass, Putin had the presense of mind to pursue the less direct and more sensible strategy of supporting the material capacity of the residents of Donbass to resist the depredations of the Ukrainian army and their neo-Nazi Banderite thugs. Meanwhile, Europe’s inept leaders initially egged on Ukraine’s destabilization, only to get cold feet after reflecting on the possibility of having a conflict between Moscow and Washington fought on European soil.

With the resistance in Donbass managing to successfully hold back Ukrainian assaults, the conflict began to freeze, almost to the point of a complete ceasefire, even as Ukrainian provocations continue to this day.

Tensions were then focussed on Syria, where a mercenary army of at least 200,000 men, armed and trained by the US, UK, Israel, France, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, almost managed to completely topple the country. Russian intervention in 2015 managed to save the country with no time to spare, destroying large numbers of terrorists and reorganizing the Syrian armed forces and training and equipping them with the necessary means to beat back the jihadi waves.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Stupid Do They Think We Are?

How Stupid Do They Think We Are? 

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Consumers of the print or electronic output of the League of Copy Typists and their Instructors are expected to believe many impossible things and believe them, not just before breakfast, but all day too.

Come to think it, believing any part of the official Skripal story, from the incredibly lethal nerve agent that didn’t kill them, to the spectacular coincidence of the British Army’s chief nurse being on the scene, to the re-wrapped perfume bottle would tax the White Queen’s ability. Here’s a list. But that’s not to say that we’re finished yet: there always seems to be another absurdity like the dead ducks.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia-India-China will be the big G20 hit

Russia-India-China will be the big G20 hit

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) hug during their meeting before a session of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Photo: AFP / Grigory Sysoev / Sputnik

Russia-India-China will be the big G20 hit

India under Modi, an essential cog in US strategy, gets cozy with China and Russia

It all started with the Vladimir Putin–Xi Jinping summit in Moscow on June 5. Far from a mere bilateral, this meeting upgraded the Eurasian integration process to another level. The Russian and Chinese presidents discussed everything from the progressive interconnection of the New Silk Roads with the Eurasia Economic Union, especially in and around Central Asia, to their concerted strategy for the Korean Peninsula.

A particular theme stood out: They discussed how the connecting role of Persia in the Ancient Silk Road is about to be replicated by Iran in the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). And that is non-negotiable. Especially after the Russia-China strategic partnership, less than a month before the Moscow summit, offered explicit support for Tehran signaling that regime change simply won’t be accepted, diplomatic sources say.

Putin and Xi solidified the roadmap at the St Petersburg Economic Forum. And the Greater Eurasia interconnection continued to be woven immediately after at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Bishkek, with two essential interlocutors: India, a fellow BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and SCO member, and SCO observer Iran.

At the SCO summit we had Putin, Xi, Narendra Modi, Imran Khan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sitting at the same table. Hanging over the proceedings, like concentric Damocles swords, were the US-China trade war, sanctions on Russia, and the explosive situation in the Persian Gulf.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Putin Warns Attack On Iran Would Be “Catastrophic” As US Navy Deploys To Drone Crash Site

Putin Warns Attack On Iran Would Be “Catastrophic” As US Navy Deploys To Drone Crash Site

Following China’s warning this week that the United States is poised to open “Pandora’s Box” in the Middle East should it escalate military action against Iran, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has weighed in, on Thursday saying any American military strike would have “catastrophic” consequences.

Putin warned further that US attack “would trigger a surge in violence and a possible refugee exodus,” according to Reuters. During an annual televised question and answer session hosted by the Russian leader, he reiterated Moscow’s position that Tehran is in full compliance with its nuclear commitments under the 2015 JCPOA. He also slammed the US-imposed sanctions now choking the Iranian economy as “groundless”.

“I want to say at once that this would be a catastrophe for the region” — Putin said.

Meanwhile, President Trump has been briefed on Thursday morning’s dramatic escalation of an already tense stand-off in the Strait of Hormuz which involved Iran’s alleged shoot down of a US drone near entrance to Persian Gulf.

Reports say it was US Navy high-altitude drone taken out by an Iranian surface-to-air missile directly over Strait of Hormuz in what the US says was international airspace, but which Iran claimed was over its sovereign airspace. US Central Command (CENTCOM) identified the drone as one of its RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft, condemning it as an “unprovoked attack”.

“Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false. This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace,” CENTCOM spokesman Navy Capt. Bill Urban said following the confirmed drone downing.

And now, in a pattern suggesting significant US military build-up will continue in the Persian Gulf following last week’s tanker attack incident, also blamed on Iran, US naval assets have been dispatched to the “drone debris field in international waters” according to a breaking Reuters report.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump – Israel – Putin – Middle East

Trump – Israel – Putin – Middle East 

The interesting aspect of our war models has been that this cycle turned up in 2014 and we really do not reach the point of a major peak before 2022/2023. Back in 2015, we published a segment on the rising tensions that would emerge in the Middle East – the War Cycle. We warned about the division along the lines of religion in the Middle East which has pitted Saudi Arabia against Iran would become the major issue. As far as Israel was concerned, this would tend to turn up from January 10th, 2019, which is the conclusion of a 51.6-year wave from the 1967 6-Day war. Now the pieces are beginning to line up.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement that “it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights” received an enthusiastic welcome in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was boosted in his position in the upcoming April 9th elections. He said he welcomed this “Purim miracle.” His rival Benny Gantz, whose party’s leading lights helped push for American recognition of the Golan’s annexation, said in a statement that Trump was cementing his place in history as a true friend of Israel.

That Netanyahu and Gantz were both delighted no doubt. The annexation of the Golan and the settlements established there enjoy widespread support in Israel. Ever since the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Syria has refrained from any attempt to recover the Golan by force. After 51.6 years, even the Druze residents of the northern Golan had accepted Israeli rule without rebelling. Naturally, Syria slammed Trump’s statement that it was time to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights as “irresponsible” remarking that it confirms “the blind bias of the United States to the Zionist entity.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Putin Now Thinks Western Elites Are ‘Swine’

Putin Now Thinks Western Elites Are ‘Swine’


An article I published close to five years ago, “Putin to Western elites: Play-time is over”, turned out to be the most popular thing I’ve written so far, having garnered over 200,000 reads over the intervening years. In it I wrote about Putin’s speech at the 2014 Valdai Club conference. In that speech he defined the new rules by which Russia conducts its foreign policy: out in the open, in full public view, as a sovereign nation among other sovereign nations, asserting its national interests and demanding to be treated as an equal. Yet again, Western elites failed to listen to him.

Instead of mutually beneficial cooperation they continued to speak the language of empty accusations and counterproductive yet toothless sanctions. And so, in yesterday’s address to Russia’s National Assembly Putin sounded note of complete and utter disdain and contempt for his “Western partners,” as he has usually called them. This time he called them “swine.”

The president’s annual address to the National Assembly is a rather big deal. Russia’s National Assembly is quite unlike that of, say, Venezuela, which really just consists of some obscure nonentity named Juan recording Youtube videos in his apartment. In Russia, the gathering is a who’s-who of Russian politics, including cabinet ministers, Kremlin staffers, the parliament (State Duma), regional governors, business leaders and political experts, along with a huge crowd of journalists. One thing that stood out at this year’s address was the very high level of tension in the hall: the atmosphere seemed charged with electricity.

It quickly became obvious why the upper echelon of Russia’s state bureaucracy was nervous: Putin’s speech was part marching orders part harangue. His plans for the next couple of years are extremely ambitious, as he himself admitted.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pence Urged Germany To Provoke Russian Navy

Pence Urged Germany To Provoke Russian Navy 

Bloomberg dropped a bombshell on Thursday, citing three high level sources familiar with US-German talks at last month’s Munich Security Conference who revealed US Vice President Mike Pence tried to persuade German Chancellor Angela Merkel to directly provoke Russia by sending German ships through the Kerch Strait, the two mile wide flashpoint off Crimea which saw Russia seize Ukrainian vessels and their crew members on November 25. 

Merkel reportedly rebuffed the efforts which Bloomberg described as “a naval maneuver in Russia’s backyard aimed at provoking President Vladimir Putin.” Merkel declined Pence’s urging while citing reservations voiced by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who viewed such an act as “not enough” to ensure Russia opens the strait permanently, according to the sources. Sources said Pence’s plan was designed “to show Putin that Western powers won’t surrender their access to those waters.”Image source: Reuters

Interestingly, Merkel’s stance wasn’t based on any principled desire to promoted peace or prevent needless provocations which could potentially spark regional war between Ukraine and Russia and western allies, but out of concern it essentially “wasn’t enough”

According to Bloomberg

Merkel had indicated she was willing, in coordination with the French, to send a convoy through the waterway as a one-time maneuver but Poroshenko said that wasn’t enough to solve his problem — he wants to ensure the strait is open permanently, the people said. France also refused to take part, judging the idea as an unnecessary provocation, according to another official who declined to be identified.

Following the controversial 2014 Crimean status referendum, which resulted in the peninsula coming under Russian suzerainty, Russia has been accused of choking off Ukrainian naval access to its ports on the Sea of Azov to the north of the Kerch Strait. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Venezuela Orders PDVSA Offices Relocate To Moscow; Putin Affirms Support To “Friend” Maduro

Venezuela Orders PDVSA Offices Relocate To Moscow; Putin Affirms Support To “Friend” Maduro

A top Venezuelan official has announced that President Nicolas Maduro has ordered national oil and gas company PDVSA to close its current European headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal and move it to Moscow. The announcement came from Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez during a press conference standing alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Friday. 

“President Nicolas Maduro instructed the Lisbon branch of PDVSA to close this office and relocate the office to Moscow,”Rodriguez said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency. It appears the relocation is already underway, and is part of the framework of “broadening cooperation” with Russian energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom, according to the statement.

Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., PDVSA offices, via AFP

The Venezuelan vice president said, “This is done in line with our plans to expand technical cooperation in the oil production area with Rosneft, with Gazprom. The moment now is the most suitable to do so. We are changing the format of our relations.” And she added, “It’s the perfect time, as we are reshaping our relations.”

As part of the press briefing, Russian FM Lavrov conveyed President Putin’s words of support and solidarity to his “friend” President Maduro in a further clear sign that Moscow has dedicated itself to helping Venezuela’s state oil company weather the storm of US economic war and sanctions. 

Lavrov explained in the press conference, “Russia will further help the Venezuelan government to solve social and economic problems, which includes lending support via legitimate humanitarian aid.”

This after what’s been widely acknowledged as failed US-led coup efforts over the past weeks in support of opposition leader Juan Gaido, who has tried to rally support for greater external “pro-democracy” intervention against the Caracas government. As part of her remarks Rodriguez slammed what she called a US “operation” of “sabotage” against a “legal government” spearheaded by White House envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Kremlin’s Military Posture Reconsidered

The Kremlin’s Military Posture Reconsidered

To the vast majority of Americans, including the foreign policy establishment, the question posed in the title may seem something of a joke. After all, absolute military superiority over Russia and other potential rivals for global influence has been the objective of US military policy for the last twenty-five years or more, at vast budgetary expense. One instrument for its achievement has been the roll-out of a system known as the global missile defense, which in effect encircles Russia and China, posing the threat of massive simultaneous missile strikes that could overwhelm any defenses. To intelligence specialists at the Pentagon, who likely have been watching, as I have done, what the Kremlin disseminated earlier today in Russian only versions so far, the question of Moscow turning the tables is entirely serious and shocking.

When Vladimir Putin first publicly described Russia’s latest state-of-the-art weapons systems in development and deployment one year ago, during his 1 March 2018 Address to the bicameral legislature, he said these systems would ensure the re-establishment of full strategic parity with the United States. Western media sniggered. US politicians, with a very few exceptions, chose to ignore what they considered to be just domestic electioneering during a presidential campaign that Putin was expected to win handily. It was all a bluff, they said.

In his annual Address this past Wednesday, 22 February, President Putin expanded on those developments in armaments, reported which systems were now entering active service. He made it clear one of them is the planned Russian response to a likely consequence of US withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: the stationing by the U.S. of nuclear armed cruise missiles like the Tomahawk on land and directed against Russia, all of which would reduce the warning time of incoming attack in Moscow to just 10–12 minutes and constitute an existential risk.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia “Prepared For Another Cuban Missile Crisis”, Putin Warns US

Russia “Prepared For Another Cuban Missile Crisis”, Putin Warns US

Russia is militarily ready for a “Cuban Missile-style crisis” President Putin said late on Wednesday, commenting on nuclear first strike capability amidst growing tensions with the US. The remarks were given to Russian media following a prior speech wherein he warned Moscow will match any attempt by the US to station intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe in the wake of the now collapsing INF treaty.

Putin specifically threatened deployment of hypersonic missiles on ships and submarines which could enter US territorial waters without detection if American intermediate-range missiles move into Europe.  

“(We’re talking about) naval delivery vehicles: submarines or surface ships. And we can put them, given the speed and range (of our missiles)… in neutral waters. Plus they are not stationary, they move and they will have to find them,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin transcript. “You work it out. Mach nine [the speed of the missiles] and over 1,000 km [their range],” he boasted of the Kremlin’s latest claimed capabilities. 

He urged an easing of tensions after last week the Russian Foreign Ministry left the door open for talks to rescue the INF treaty as well as extend the New START nuclear reduction treaty, set to expire in 2021. Speaking of the current stand off and ratcheting tensions with Washington, Putin said“They [the tensions] are not a reason to ratchet up confrontation to the levels of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s. In any case that’s not what we want.” He said further, “If someone wants that, well OK they are welcome. I have set out today what that would mean. Let them count [the missile flight times].”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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