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The unexpectedly-revealing description of what Rex Tillerson apparently considers successful diplomacy came from his own mouth on Wednesday as he was speaking at Stanford University with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“The Japanese… have had over a 100 North Korean fishing boats that have drifted into Japanese waters. Two-thirds of the people on those boats have died,” Tillerson said, citing the Japanese delegation that attended a conference in Vancouver, Canada, earlier this week.
He was referring to the regular phenomenon of so-called ‘ghost ships’ from North Korea, which have become stranded on the Japanese coast for years. Last year, a record 104 such cases were reported by Japanese authorities, with some 30 fishermen found dead on arrival. Any survivors usually ask to be returned to their home country, and Japan obliges.
So why are dozens of dead North Koreans a good sign?
Two days after we reported that Turkey valiantly demanded that US forces vacate military bases in the Syrian district of Manbij, when Turkey’s foreign minister Melet Cavusoglu also said that Ankara is calling upon the US to cease any and all support to Syrian Kurdish forces and militias, not surprisingly the US refused, and on Monday a top American general said that US troops will not pull out from the northern Syrian city of Manbij, rebuffing Ankara demands to withdraw from the city and risking a potential confrontation between the two NATO allies.
Speaking on CNN, General Joseph Votel, head of the United States Central Command, said that withdrawing US forces from the strategically important city is “not something we are looking into.”
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On the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Baltimore University hosted more than 200 activists in the peace, environment, and social justice movements to launch a new initiative known as the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases, the Nation reported.
In a series of panels that lasted over two days, the conference attendees highlighted the horrors of American foreign policy despite the fact Martin Luther King warned against these horrors over 50 years ago, a fitting reminder to heed the warnings of Dr. King.
According to the panel, the U.S. has over 800 formal military bases in 80 countries, “a number that could exceed 1,000 if you count troops stationed at embassies and missions and so-called ‘lily-pond’ bases, with some 138,000 soldiers stationed around the globe,” the Nation notes.
According to David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Overseas Harm America and the World, maintaining bases and troops overseas cost $85 to $100 billion in 2014, while the total for bases and troops in war zones was between $160 billion and $200 billion.
The House of Lords Constitution Committee stated in a report that the Brexit bill has “fundamental flaws,” letting lawmakers play mischief with the EU laws retained in UK Law. Dr John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde and Fellow of The British Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences, details the issue to Sputnik.
Sputnik: Is there a danger that at some point the UK will find itself with laws that don’t actually apply, just don’t exist in certain areas of legislation?
Dr John Curtice: We are certainly relying on the ability of our civil servants to go through with a fine-tooth comb all the details of the European legislation and to make sure that it does work. But given what the bill does is literally downloading all the aspects of the European Union regulation into British law. In theory at least, apart from some technical difficulties, there should not be any gaps. Everything that is currently an EU law that we adhere to will become a British law which we will continue to adhere to.
Physicists are getting close to building lasers powerful enough to rip matter out of a vacuum.
According to a report published Jan. 24 in the journal Science, a team of Chinese scientists is getting ready to start construction this year on a 100-petawatt laser in Shanghai known as the Station of Extreme Light, or SEL. That puts them at the front of a wide field of scientists around the world who are working to realize a prediction published in the journal Physical Review Letters in 2010 by a team of American and French physicists that a sufficiently powerful laser could cause electrons to appear out of a vacuum.
It might seem weird to imagine that electrons could appear out of empty space. But it makes a lot more sense in light of a strange claim of quantum electrodynamics: “Empty” space isn’t empty at all, but rather is made up of densely packed pairs of matter and antimatter. Those pairs tightly fill up the gaps between everything, quantum electrodynamics states — they just don’t interact in any noticeable way with the rest of the universe, because they cancel one another out. [The 18 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics]