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Ron's Birds   

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Many times I am needing something to finish out a illustration that might be a outdoor scene, maybe a few birds or trees to help. I created these just for that reason.

Yes, there are flying birds, flocks of birds, sitting Birds, birds on power lines, birds in trees, plus a few trees and branches.

I think you will find these useful and handy in helping bring your layouts to life!

Price: $8.95 Special Price: $4.48


          

Spanish Moss   

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A handy bundle of Fifteen Spanish Moss, found in damp tropical and subtropical climates growing on trees, buildings, and other surfaces.

These Spanish Moss plants will add atmosphere, detail, and realism to your renders, whether you hang them on tree branches, from the eves of buildings or indeed use them as part of your fantasy characters.

All of these plants have procedural materials using the power of the Iray surface to give them that realistic, velvety look when not using any texture maps at all. This makes them fast to render and very low on the amount of space they take up on your hard drive.

They have been created so that their hooking point is at the top of the plant (rather than the standard of it being at the base) to add ease of placement when hanging them from other objects, which is what they are intended to do. They will also load above the ground plane so that they are easy to find.

Included in this bundle of Fifteen plants are ten regular size clumps which vary from a few wispy strands of moss to some much thicker clumps along with five much larger, longer and more substantial clumps. Combine a few of these and vary your scale and the y axis rotation and you have an infinite number of combinations.

Top Tip: These models will also load and work well in Ultra scatter, where you can easily populate the tree with a whole colony of moss. Just add in the normal way, but when you get to the rotation tab, un-check the Alight to normal box and choose top as your rotation and scatter point. In the advanced tab, you should select twigs or branches or the part of the object you want to hang the moss off of. Remember to add variations in scale etc. as part of your set up.

Price: $14.95 Special Price: $4.49


          

SY DeCrackifier for Genesis 8   

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Are you tired of your characters having a power wedgie when you conform pants, bodysuits and underwear? Get rid of that pesky deep crack with SY Decrackifier!

This product contains a morph for Genesis 8 that project into clothing to smooth out that unwanted thong look. You can achieve smooth bridging in seconds just by dialing in a morph from the figure. But don't worry - the morphs don't affect the figure, only the clothes!

Price: $15.95 Special Price: $7.98


          

SY DeCrackifier Genesis, Genesis 2, Genesis 3   

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Are you tired of your characters having a power wedgie when you conform pants, bodysuits and underwear? Get rid of that pesky deep crack with SY Decrackifier! .This product contains morphs for Genesis 1, 2 and 3 that project into clothing to smooth out that unwanted thong look. You can achieve smooth bridging in seconds just by dialing in a morph from the figure. But don't worry - the morphs don't affect the figure, only the clothes!

Price: $13.95 Special Price: $6.98


          

TEC2 CAT for Genesis 2 Female(s)   

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Technology Enhancement Coordinator Level 2 Combat Aid Team - TEC2 CAT - rely on these 3D model girls to be sure that your Humongous Mecha is ready for battle and will actually hit the target before running out of power tomorrow!

Always in the background, never in the spotlight - finally it's time to let these girls get the appreciation they deserve!

Price: $19.95 Special Price: $9.98


          

Wise Wizard HD Character for Genesis 8 Male   

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Wise Wizard HD Character for Genesis 8 Male Is a complete, highly detailed, mature character set.

The set includes 2 conformable figures: eyebrows and pubic hair.

Including photo realistic texture detail, with breathtaking Iray shaders simulating actual, physically based materials (PBR). The Wise Wizard collection produces stunning renders using any kind of light. The set includes all the maps you need for your renders: from diffuse to highly detailed 16-bit normal maps.

You can get good rendering results with low subdivision levels (even with no SubD at all!) or you can unleash all the power of the Wise Wizard thanks to his HD morph, developed at level 3 of SubD.

Price: $19.95 Special Price: $9.98


          

World War II U.S. Uniform HD for Genesis 8 Male(s)   

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World War II U.S. Uniform HD is a complete, fully textured and morphed, clothing and props set for Genesis 8 Male(s).

World War II U.S. Uniform HD includes a complete "wear and tear" texture set, with breathtaking Iray shaders simulating real, physically based materials (PBR), producing stunning renders using any kind of light. The set include all the maps you need for your renders: from diffuse to hyper-detailed normal maps.

The geometries are very optimized, and you can get good rendering results with low subdivision levels (even with no SubD at all!) or you can unleash all the power of this set thanks to its HD morphs, developed at level 3 of SubD.

Additionally, Desperado HD is fully compatible with Michael 8 and Genesis 8 Body Morphs.

Price: $34.95 Special Price: $17.48


          

York City Knights sign prop forward James Green from Bradford Bulls   

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YORK City Knights have added more firepower to their 2020 Betfred Championship pack with the signing of James Green from Bradford Bulls.

          

奥巴马成功就职演说   

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Hello, Chicago. If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your

          

奥巴马竞选获胜精彩演讲(文言文版)   

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Hello,Chicago! 芝城父老,别来无恙, If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democ

          

美国新当选总统奥巴马获胜《演说全文》英文/视频   

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PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, t

          

Play as Tony Stark and fight Ghost when Marvel’s Iron Man VR hits in February 2020   

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You’ll be able to don Tony Stark’s power armor when Marvel’s Iron Man VR releases exclusively for PlayStation VR. A release date and Digital Deluxe Edition were revealed for Marvel’s Iron Man VR during New York Comic Con (NYCC) this weekend. Alongside the various editions and release date, it was revealed our hero would be […]

The post Play as Tony Stark and fight Ghost when Marvel’s Iron Man VR hits in February 2020 appeared first on VG247.


          

GE: power cut   

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Conglomerate freezing pension plans for more than 20,000 US workers

          

The EU needs to be a power project   

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The emerging world order will increasingly be shaped by might, rather than law

          

It’s a good thing that shareholders always come first   

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The economy would suffer if chief executives could unilaterally disempower investors

          

10 Ways to Make Friends   

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They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it also takes a village — at best a supportive community, and at the least a few very good friends — to keep a person sane and happy. All of us need companionship, which is exactly why teenagers are texting their friends in the middle of dinner (TMI, BFF, OMG …), and why people who didn’t own a personal computer last year now have profiles on Facebook, MySpace, and other social networking sites.



Maybe the first trick to finding friends is to befriend ourselves, and to become comfortable with silence, because no one has the power to make us feel okay with ourselves but us. But, lest we stay quiet for too long, here are 10 techniques to meet new friends, which I think everyone can benefit from, because, as I learned in Girl Scouts a few hundred years ago (where I didn’t make any friends…), some are silver and the others are old, I mean gold.


1. Join a book club.
Most of my friends are in book clubs, and, I have to admit, I’m a little envious of the discussions that happen in these groups. If your neighborhood doesn’t have a book club, you can usually join one as part of the local library, the recreational or community center, the community college, or online, of course.

2. Volunteer.
That one seems like a no-brainer, but, seriously, have you ever considered the many charities to which you could give your time? Your local civic association is always in need of volunteers for projects like “let’s clean up the park before a hundred dogs crap on it again” and Toys-for-Tots, Christmas in April, and so on. Don’t forget about all your local politicians who need help with their campaigns. If one impresses you, offer to knock on a few doors for her or him. Host a cheese and cracker party for the community to get to know the candidate.

3. Find a support group.
There’s more to the support group universe than AA. Have you ever looked through all the local listings of meetings in your area? There’s even ACOMP (Adult Cousins of Mean People) … not really.



4. Take a night class.
That’s where you can supposedly meet men (or women) if you find yourself single in your late 30s or 40s or 50s. If you take a class in something that you are interested in, you’re very likely to find potential friends with similar hobbies.

5. Get a dog.
I’m not talking about using the dog as a companion (because we know a dog is a man’s best friend). I just mean that dogs are people magnets–and usually nice-people magnets. Here in Annapolis, we have dog cults. If you walk your mutt in certain neighborhoods, you will meet approximately five to ten friends per mile. Double that if you’re walking a Golden Retriever. Triple it if you head to the “dog park,” designed specifically for doggy play, or proper socialization for dogs.

6. Steal friends.
I realize this technique was frowned upon in the fifth grade. You would surely earn a reputation as a friend-stealer if you tried this too many times. But many (NOT ALL) people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. have loosened up a bit. I have found this to be a very efficient method of making friends, because someone has already done your dirty work–the interview process–and weeded out the toxic folks. It’s like Facebook in real life.



7. Knock on doors.
Yep. That’s what I did six years ago when I was stuck home with a fussy baby and going absolutely crazy. I walked around the neighborhood knocking on every porch that held a stroller. “You in there. I know you have kids. You want to be my friend?” I might have been a tad more subtle than that, but not much.

8. Carpool to work.
Hey, it works for elementary school kids. Many 6-year-olds meet their best buddies on the bus because 1) they live in their neighborhood (what could be more convenient?), 2) they are on the same schedule, and 3) they know the same people (“Susie has cooties”).

9. Connect with your alumni association.
I used to be much better at this before kids came along, but even today, I still pay my dues. Alumni associations are gold mines for potential friends. You already have a major experience in common: you can rehash old times as a conversation starter if you need one. Plus many associations sponsor community service events, workshops, or trips abroad that you can take advantage of even if you aren’t looking for friends.


10. Talk to strangers.
I know this goes against what you were taught in elementary school. But, yes, the way to meet friends is to strike up a conversation with absolutely anyone. This means becoming the annoying lady everyone dodges on the plane: “So … what are you reading? … Oh, ‘Left Behind.’ … Have you gotten to the part where everyone except a handful of people burn in hell?… No? … I hope I didn’t ruin it for you.” If you put yourself out there, yes, you will get rejected many times, and that hurts a little (sometimes a lot). But you will also find your best friends. Everyday life is full of potential friendship moments: waiting rooms, church, trains, planes, automobiles, office meetings, support groups, or coffee shops.



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Sejarah Freemasonry   

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Freemasonry adalah organisasi Yahudi Internasional, sekaligus merupakan gerakan rahasia paling besar dan palling berpengaruh di seluruh dunia. Freemasonry terdiri dari dua kata yang di satukan. Free artinya bebas atau merdeka, sedangkan Mason adalah juru bangun atau pembangun.
Tujuan akhir dari gerakan Freemason ini adalah membangun kembali cita-cita khayalan mereka, yakni mendirikan Haikal Sulaiman atau Solomon Temple.



Tentang Haikal Sulaiman atau Solomon Temple ini sendiri banyak sumber yang mendefinisikan berlainan. Salah satu tafsir yang paling populer adalah, bahwa Haikal Sulaiman berada di tanah yang kini di atasnya berdiri Masjidil Aqsha.
Mereka meyakini, tahun 1012 Sebelum Masehi (SM), Nabi Sulaiman membangun Haikal di atas Gunung Soraya di wilayah Palestina. Tapi pada tahun 586 SM, Raja Nebukhadnezar dari Babilonia menghancurkan Haikal Sulaiman ini. Tahun 533 SM, bangunan ini didirikan kembali oleh seorang bernama Zulbabil yang telah bebas dari tawanan Babilonia. Atas kebebasannya itulah, ia membangun kembali Haikal Sulaiman.
Pada tahun ke 70 M, seorang penguasa Romawi menaklukkan Palestina dan membakar serta menghancurkan Haikal Sulaiman ini. Kerusakan terus-menerus dialami setelah penyerbuan Bangsa Hadriyan. Begitu pula saat kekuasaan Muslim, konon Haikal Sulaiman di hancurkan dan sebagai gantinya didirikan Masjidil Aqsha pada abad ke-7.
Tapi tafsir lain tentang hal ini juga mengartikan Haikal Sulaiman juga sebagai wilayah kekuasan yang luas membentang. Bahkan ada yang menariknya hingga sampai wilayah Khaibar, saat kaum Yahudi diusir di zaman Rasulullah Muhammad. Karena itu, mereka meyakini harus menguasai seluruh dunia, bahkan hingga tanah Khaibar, tempat mereka terusir dahulu karena penghianatanya pada Rasulullah dan piagam Madinah.
Dan untuk itulah mereka bekerja dan membangun, yaitu untuk merebut Haikal Sulaiman dan mendirikan kekuasannya secara nyata, serta mempengaruhi pemerintahan dan kekuasan yang mampu mereka pengaruhi. Dan untuk menebar kekuasaan itu, salah satu rintangan besar yang dihadapi oleh gerakan ini adalah agama-agama, terutama agama Samawi atau agama-agama wahyu, Kristen dan Islam.
Sebelum kaum muslimin sadar tentang bahaya gerakan Freemason, perlawanan terhadap organisasi ini terlebih dulu dilakukan oleh kalangan pemimpin gereja. Perlawanan gereja Katholik ini terjadi karena Freemason telah menjadi organisasi tempat berkumpulnya kaum anti-agama. Dalam sebuah artikel berjudul The Earlier Period Of Freemasonry yang di Mimar Sinan, turki, Freemason disebut sebagai tempat berkumpul para anggota Mason yang mencari kebenaran di luar gereja. Dan ini menjadikan awal abad-18 sebagai tahun-tahun yang penuh pertarungan antara gereja Katholik dengan Freemason di Eropa. Sejak awal berdirinya, Fremason telah menyokong kebebasan beragama, sama persis dengan yang terjadi belakangan ini di berbagai negara, liberalisasi keagamaan.
Freemason berdiri di Inggris secara resmi pada tahun 1717. Tapi tampaknya, sebelum tahun itu pun, Freemasonry telah eksis. Bahkan sejak abad sebelumnya. Tahun 1641, seorang keluarga kerajaan Inggris, Robert Moray tercatat sebagai anggota cabang Freemason di Edinburg, tepatnya 20 Mei 1641. nama lain yang juga tercatat sebagai anggota Freemason sebelum tahun 1717 adalah Elias Ashmole tercatat sebagai anggota Freemasonry di Lanchasire pada 16 Oktober 1646. Dan ia juga salah seorang dari royal family atau keluarga kerajaan.
Dari catatan di atas, sebetulnya bisa ditarik kesimpulan bahwa tahun 1717 hanya tahun pemantapan saja dari tahap-tahap yang telah dilakukan oleh gerakan Freemson. Tahun ini dijadikan sebagai tahun ekspansi untuk melakukan dan menancapkan pengaruh mereka di seluruh dunia.
Tahun 1717 ini dijadikan sebagai tonggak bagi Freemason unuk memulai perangnya yang akan sangat panjang kepada umat beragama dan kepada agama itu sendiri. Seorang kepala gereja protestan di London yang bernama Anderson dan berdarah Yahudi menjadi motor penggeraknya pada 24 Juni 1717. Pada momentum inilah Freemason mendirikan Grand Lodge of England dengan menggabungkan empat lodge menjadi satu.
Banyak sumber Freemason menjelaskan bahwa sejarah berdirinya gerakan ini berakar jauh dan bisa dilacak hingga ke masa Ordo Knight of Templar saat perang Salib di Yerusalem, Palestina. Saat Paus Urbanus II, tahun 1095, usai Konsili Clermont menyerukan Perang Suci atau Crusade dan memobilisasi kaum Kristiani di seluruh Eropa untuk turut berperang merebut Yerusalem kembali dari kekuasaan Muslim. Paus Urbanus II membakar emosi massa dengan cara mengabarkan kabar bohong. Ia mengatakan umat Kristen di Palestina telah dibunuh, dibantai dan dibakar di dalam gereja-gereja oleh pasukan Turki Seljuk yang Muslim. Ia juga membakar kemarahan kaum Kristiani dengan mengatakan bahwa kaum kafir (Muslim Turki, pen.) telah dan sedang menguasai makam Yesus Kristus.
Paus UrbanusII menyerukan agar seluruh pertikaian yang terjadi selama ini antar pemeluk dan kesatrian Kristen harus diakhiri, karena ada musuh yang lebih berbahaya dan harus segera dihancurakan: Islam dan kaum Muslimin. Ia juga mengiming-iming dengan bujukan surgawi, bahwa siapa yang berangkat ke medan perang kan dibebaskan dari seluruh dosa dan di jamin akan mendapat surga. Hasilnya, ribuan kaum Kristiani berangkat menuju Palestina dengan kemarahan. Dan setibanya di sana, terjadi pembantaian besar-besaran atas penduduk Yerussalem dan Palestina.
Selama dua hari penyerbuan terjadi pembantaian yang tak bisa diterima akal sehat dan rasa kemanusiaan. Sebanyak 40.000 penduduk Palestina terbantai. Beberapa sejarawan menggambarkan, saat itu darah menggenangi tanah Yerusalem. Ada yang menyebut darah menggenang setinggi mata kaki, bahkan ada yang menggambarkan darah menggenang hingga lutut manusia dewasa. Tentara berperang dengan motivasi mendapatkan emas dan permata, dan juga banyak para kesatria Prancis tercatat membelah perut korban-korban mereka. Merka mencari emas atau permata yang kemungkinan di telan penduduk Palestina sebagai upaya penyelamatan harta.
Setelah mereka menguasai tanah Palestina, pasukan Salib yang terdiri dari banyak unsur mulai mendirikan kelompoknya masing-masing. Mereka tergabung dalam ordo-ordo tertentu. Para anggota ordo ini datang dari seluruh tanah Eropa, yang ditampung di biara-biara tertentu dan berlatih cara-cara militer di dalam biara tersebut. Dan satu dari sekian ordo yang sangat mencuat namanya adalah Ordo Knight of Templar.
Knight of Templar juga disebut sebagai tentara miskin Pengikut Yesus Kristus dan Kuil Sulaiman. Disebut miskin karena tergambar dari logo yang mereka gunakan, seperti dua tentara yang menunggang seekor keledai. Untuk menunjukkan bahwa mereka miskin, sampai-sampai satu keledai harus dinaiki dua orang tentara Knight of Templar. Bahkan tercatat, mereka dipaksa untuk makan tiga kali saja dalam semingu. Sedangkan nama Kuil Sulaiman mereka pakai karena mereka menjadikan markas mereka yang dipercayai sebagai situs runtuhnya Kuil Sulaiman atau Solomon Temple. Tapi sesungguhnya, pemilihan markas di bukit ini bukan sebuah kebetulan yang bersifat geografis semata, karena para pendiri ordo Knight of Templar sesunguhnya punya cirta-cita sendiri untuk mengembalikan kejayaan dan berdirinya Kuil Sulaiman sebagai tempat suci kaum Yahudi atau tempatnya kaum Mason. Sepanjang bisa terlacak, pendiri ordo ini adalah dua kesatria Prancis, yaitu Hugh de Pavens dan God frey de St Omer. Spekulasi dari kalangan sejarawan mengatakan, bahwa ada darah-darah Yahudi yang mengalir dalam tubuh dan cita-cita para pendiri Ordo Knigh of Templar. Para perwira tinggi Kristen tersebut, sesungguhnya proses convertion yang mereka lakukan hanyalah cara untuk menyelamatkan diri, dan sesungguhnya mereka masih berpegang teguh pada doktrin-doktrin Yahudi, terutama Kabbalah.
Meski mereka menamakan diri sebagai tentara miskin, sesunguhnya mereka tidak miskin sama sekali. Atau setidaknya, masa miskin itu hanya mereka rasakan di awal-awal berdirinya Knight of Templars. Dalam waktu yang singkat mereka mampu menjadi sangat kaya raya dengan jalan melakukan kontrol penuh terhadap peziarah Eropa yang datang ke Palestiana. Salah satunya adalah dengan cara merekrut anak-anak muda putra para bangsawan Eropa yang tentu saja akan melengkapi anak mereka dengan perbekalan dana yang seolah tak pernah kering jumlahnya. Mereka juga disebut sebagai perintis sistem perbankan pertama pada abad pertengahan.
Saat itu banyak orang-orang Eropa yang ingin pindah atau setidaknya berziarah ke Palestina. Dan tentu saja perjalanan yang jauh dari Eropa memerlukan bekal yang tidak sedikit. Ada yang membawa seluruh harta mereka dalam perjalanan, tapi karena tentara Salib disepanjang perjalanan hidup dalam kondisi ayng sangat mengenaskan dan mereka sangat tergiur oleh harta kekayaan, tidak jarang terjadi perampokan bahkan saling bunuh antar orang Kristen disepanjang perjalanan menuju Palestian. Lalu ditemukan cara, para peziarah tidak perlu membawa harta mereka dalam perjalanan. Mereka hanya perlu menitipkannya pada sebuah perwakilan Templar di Eropa, mencatat dan menghitung nilainya dan mereka berangkat ke Palestina berbekal catatan nilai harta yang nantinya akan ditukarkan dengan nilai uang yang sama di Palestina. Gerakan ini banyak didominasi oleh Ordo Knight of Templar yang membuat mereka sangat kaya raya karena mendapat keuntungan dari sistem bunga yang mereka kembangkan. Dan inilah embrio atau cikal bakal perbankan yang kita keanl sekarang.
Markas Knight of Templar di Prancis menjadi rumah penghimpunan harta terbesar di Eropa. Lambat laun mereka menjadi bankir bagi para Paus dan Raja. Bagaimana tidak cepat kaya, setiap tahunyya King Henry II of England mendonasikan uang untuk menanggung biaya hidup 15.000 tentara Knight of Templar dan juga Knight Hospitaler selama mereka berperang dalam Perang Salib di tahun 1170. Untuk menggambarkan betapa besarnya institusi perbankan yang dijalankan Templar, pada saat itu organisasi ini memiliki 7.000 pegawai lebih hanya untuk mengurusi masalah keuangan. Mereka juga memiliki tak kurang dari 870 istana, kastil, dan rumah-rumah para bangsawan yang terbentang dari London hingga Yerusalem.
Karena ordo ini sangat berkuasa, lambat laun mereka mulai menampakkan ciri aslinya, yakni sebagai penganut Mason. Mereka mengembangkan doktrin dan ajaran mistik, juga kekuatan sihir di biara-biara mereka. Mereka memuja setan dan mendatangkan roh-roh untuk berkomunikasi. Apa yang mereka praktikkan ini disebut sebagai Kabbalah, sebuah tradisi mistik Yahudi kuno yang telah berkembang bahkan sejak zaman sebelum Fir’aun.
Mengetahui hal ini, Raja Prancis Philip le Bel, pada tahun 1307 mengeluarkan seruan untuk menangkap dan membubarkan ordo Knight of Templar karena dituduh telah melakukan bid’ah. Dalam perkembangannya, Paus Clement V turut bergabung untuk memerangi kaum Mason ini dengan mengeluarkan kembali vonis inquisisi. Terjadi banyak penangkapan dan interogasi, dan beberapa pimpinan Ordo Knight of Templar yang bergelar Grand Master (penyebutan ini masih dipakai sebagai tingkat tertinggi dalam gerakan Freemasonry sampai sekarang, pen) ikut menjadi korban. Dari beberapa penangkapan dan interograsi didapatkan keterangan bahwa anggota-anggota Templar telah melakukan kejahatan seksual terhadap beberapa perempuan bangsawan, melakukan sodomi, menyembah kucing, memakan daging teman-teman mereka sendiri yang sudah mati. Bahkan salah seorang saksi mata mengatakan, para Templar memperkosa perawan-perawan hingga hamil dan bayinya dibunuh dengan cara yang sadis untuk kemudian di bakar dan diambil minyaknya, dijadikan minyak suci untuk persembahan para pemimpin mereka.
Pada tahun 1307, Raja Philip IV memerintahkan penangkapan Jacques de Molay. Dan setelah melalui penyiksaan demi penyiksaan, de Molay mengakui segala ritual bid’ah yang dilakukan oleh Ordo Templar. Pada tahun 1312, Ordo Knight of Templar dilarang dan dibubarkan. Dan atas perintah Gereja dan Raja , dua tahun kemudian, yaitu pada tahun 1314, para pimpinan Templar dihukum mati, termasuk Jacques de Molay, salah satu Grand Master terpenting Ordo Templar. Jacques de Molay sendiri divonis sebagai heretic (bid’ah) atau kafir dan dihukum dengan cara dibakar hidup-hidup di depan raja Philip IV. Dan sebelum menghembuskan napasnya, de Molay mengeluarkan kata-kata bahwa Raja Philip dan Paus Clement harus mengikutinya, mati, dalam waktu satu tahun. Dan sejarah mencatat, Raja Philip IV meninggal tujuh bulan kemudian, disusul Paus Clement sebulan setelah Raja Philip mangkat.
Setelah itu terjadi pemusnahan besar-besaran, sekali lagi atas kaum Yahudi, dan kali ini bermula dengan kasus Knight of Templar atau kaum Mason. Pemusnahan ini tak hanya terjadi di Palestina, tapi juga terjadi di Eropa. Mereka diburu untuk ditangkap dan dibunuh. Sampai akhirnya mereka berhasil melarikan diri dan mendapat perlindungan dari Raja Skotlandia, Robert The Bruce yang dilantik dan menduduki singgasana Raja pada tahun 1306. Dan di tanah baru ini pula mereka menyusun kekuatan kembali. Dan Skotlandia menjadi salah satu yang menentukan dalam perkembangan gerakan Freemason.
Versi yang lebih tua dari sejarah Freemason adalah kisah yang menyebutkan pembentukan Freemasonry pada zaman Raja Israel, Herodes Agripa I yang meninggal pada tahun 44 Masehi. Freemason pada zaman ini dibentuk untuk membendung ajaran agama yang disampaikan oleh Nabi Isa as. Konon waktu itu namanya The Secret Power atau kekutan yang Tersembunyi.
Tujuan utamanya adalah memusuhi pengikut Nabi Isa, menculik mereka, membunuh, melarang penyebaran agama baru tersebut, termasuk membunuhi baya-bayi Kristen. Tapi, berkenaan dengan segala kesadisan yang dilakukan Herodes ini, para sejarawan dunia, meyakini bahwa hal tersebut hanyalah mitos belaka dalam tradisi agama Kristen. Herodes Agripa I menjalankan segala misi The Secret Power ini dibantu dua pengikut setianya, Heram Abioud sebagai Wakil Presiden gerakan dan Moab Leumi sebagai pemegang rahasia utama gerakan ini. Tapi beberapa anggota Freemason juaga mempercayai dan menarik sejauh mungkin sejarah mereka ke masa lalu, bahkan hingga ke zaman Fir’aun. Itu pula yang menjadi salah satu penjelasan mengapa mereka kerap kali menggunakan simbol-simbol Mesir Kuno dalam tradisi dan aktivitas ritual mereka, seperti penggunaan Dewa Horus, Piramida, Matahari dan berbagai simbol Mesir lainnya. Penggunaan ini bermula dari penggalian Kuil Sulaiman oleh para Templa dan penemuan doktrin dan ajaran Kabbalah yang terus-menerus mereka eksplorasi dan diajarkan dari mulut ke mulut. Penggalian ini begitu serius mereka lakukan sehingga kelak akan mempengaruhi cara pandang kaum Templar dan juga rencana mereka pada kehidupan dunia.
Bahkan yang cukup mengejutkan adalah, dalam manuskrip-manuskrip kuno Mason dikatakan, orang pertama Mason adalah Adam! Kejadian itu berawal ketika Adam dan Hawa memakan daun dari pohon terlarang di taman surga. Daun yang disebut sebagia daun pengetahuan, dan karena itu pula Tuhan mereka melarang mereka memakannya. Dr.Albert Mackei, seorang anggota Mason dengan tingkatan 33 derajat dalam Encyclopedia of Freemasonry manuliskan, daun pengetahuan itu kelak diturunkan pada dua anak Adam dan Hawa, Seth dan Nimrod dengan kisah The Tower of Babel. Kedua anak ini pula menyusun bahasa untuk ilmu pengetahuan yang akan diturunkan kepada manusia-manusia berikutnya. Tapi, dalam perkamen-perkamen tua itu disebutkan bahwa, Tuhan dengan sengaja mengacaukan bahasa manusia yang mengakibatkan rahasia ilmu pengetahuan, yang diturunkan Adam dengan memakan daun dari pohon terlarang, hilang dan tak diketahui manusia-manusia setelah Seth dan Nimrod. Dan itu pula yang menjadi alasan kedua kaum ini memerangi Tuhan.
Bahkan menurut Talmud, setan-setan adalah keturunan dari Adam dan Hawa. Setelah Adam diusir dari surga, ia enggan mencampuri istrinya, Hawa. Dan pada saat itulah, dua setan perempuan mendatanggi Adam yang langsung digauli keduanya oleh Adam. Dalam Talmud disebutkan, Adam menggauli setan perempuan bernama Lelet selama lebih dari 130 tahun lamanya dan melahirkan banyak anak-anak setan begitu pula dengan Hawa selama ditinggal oleh Adam, Hawa juga digauli oleh setan laki-laki dan melahirkan banyak anak setan.

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Laser Printing for Rapid Fabrication of Waterproof E-Textiles   

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So-called “smart fabrics” that have sensing, wireless communication, or health-monitoring technology integrated within them are the wave of the future for textile design, which is why researchers have been working on new ways to improve their design and fabrication.

Now a team from RMIT University in Australia have done just that with new technology that can rapidly fabricate waterproof smart textiles with integrated energy-harvesting and storage technology that precludes the need for a battery, researchers said.

rapid fabrication, laser printing, smart fabrics, RMIT University in Australia, waterproof, flexible textile patch
Litty Thekkakara, a researcher from RMIT University in Australia, holds a textile embedded with energy-storage devices developed using a new laser-printing process she and her team invented. (Source: RMIT)

Indeed, this is one of the challenges to developing smart textiles—a power source that doesn’t burden the wearer or is user-friendly, said Litty Thekkakara, a researcher in RMIT’s School of Science who worked on the project.

“By solving the energy storage-related challenges of e-textiles, we hope to power the next generation of wearable technology and intelligent clothing,” she said in a press statement.

Printing the Power

Specifically, Thekkakara and her colleagues have developed a method for fabricating a 10-by-10 centimeter waterproof, flexible textile patch with graphene supercapacitors directly laser-printed onto the fabric.

The invention is an alternative method to current processes for developing smart textiles, which have which have some limitations, she said.

“Current approaches to smart textile energy storage, like stitching batteries into garments or using e-fibers, can be cumbersome and heavy, and can also have capacity issues,” Thekkakara said in a press statement.

The electronic components also can be in danger of short circuiting or failing when they come in contact with sweat or moisture from the environment if the textile isn’t waterproof, she added.

Washable and Durable

The team tested their invention by connecting the supercapacitor with a solar cell to create a self-powering, washable smart fabric. Tests analyzing the performance of the fabric showed it remained relatively stable and efficient at various temperatures and under mechanical stress, researchers said. Researchers reported these findings in an article in the journal Scientific Reports.

 The team envisions the e-textile being used in novel wearable technology, which is currently being developed not only for consumer-fitness applications, but also for specialized clothing in medical and defense sectors for health monitoring and safety tracking, respectively.

The laser-printing method also paves the way for new, more advanced fabrication of next-generation smart textiles that can integrate intelligence in the process itself, said Min Gu, RMIT honorary professor and distinguished professor at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology

“It also opens the possibility for faster roll-to-roll fabrication, with the use of advanced laser printing based on multifocal fabrication and machine learning techniques,” he said in a press statement.

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 20 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.

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Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from Syria   

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Trump left isolated as Republican allies revolt over US withdrawal from SyriaMitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham lead condemnation of foreign policy move that could prove ‘disaster in the making’Donald Trump with Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, in the Cabinet Room on Monday. Lindsey Graham said abandoning the Kurds would be ‘a stain on America’s honour’. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/APDonald Trump was dangerously isolated on Monday as, in a rare rebuke, some of his most loyal allies revolted against his decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria.Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell led a chorus of Republicans who, having defended the president on almost every other issue – including over impeachment – decided to draw a line in the sand.“A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said. “And it would increase the risk that Isis and other terrorist groups regroup.”He added: “As we learned the hard way during the Obama administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal.”The criticism was significant because McConnell is usually at pains not to cross Trump even at his most capricious. Last week the Kentucky senator released a Facebook video promising to stop Democratic-led impeachment in its tracks.Article 1 of the United States constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to initiate impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of the president. A president can be impeached if they are judged to have committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" – although the constitution does not specify what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are.The process starts with the House of Representatives passing articles of impeachment. A simple majority of members need to vote in favour of impeachment for it to pass to the next stage. Democrats currently control the house, with 235 representatives.The chief justice of the US supreme court then presides over the proceedings in the Senate, where the president is tried, with senators acting as the jury. For the president to be found guilty two-thirds of senators must vote to convict. Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 of the 100 senators.Two presidents have previously been impeached, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868, though neither was removed from office as a result. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before there was a formal vote to impeach him.Martin BelamThe unusual fracture emerged on Sunday night when, shortly after a phone conversation between Trump and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House announced removal of US troops from the Syria-Turkey border area. “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” it added.Critics of all political stripes have long feared that the move could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area. Kurdish groups have fought alongside a small US presence in Syria to drive Islamic State militants from the region.The Republican backlash was rapid and potentially unnerving for a president whose fate is tethered to the party and the assumption that it will acquit him in the Senate if, as widely expected, the Democratic-led House of Representatives votes for impeachment.Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, who has become an outspoken defender (and frequent golf partner) of Trump, did not acquiesce this time. Abandonment of the Kurds would be “a disaster in the making”, he said, and “a stain on America’s honour”.Graham told Fox News: “I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is. I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”Graham wrote on Twitter that if the plan goes ahead, he will introduce a Senate resolution opposing it and seeking reversal of the decision. He added: “We will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria and will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate.”Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, whose attempts to defend Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president have provoked mockery, said: “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”Michael McCaul of Texas, the lead Republican on the House foreign affairs committee, also urged the president to reconsider. “The United States should not step aside and allow a Turkish military operation in north-east Syria,” he said. “This move will undermine our ongoing campaign to prevent an Isis resurgence and will ultimately threaten our homeland.“Additionally, the United States needs to stay engaged to prevent further destructive involvement in the region from our adversaries like the Assad regime, Putin and Iran.”Notably, senator Marco Rubio of Florida, reluctant to criticise Trump even when the president suggested that China investigate former vice president and 2020 election rival Joe Biden, was clear , describing the retreat as “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria”And Nikki Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador, admonished Trump without mentioning his name. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she tweeted. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. TurkeyIsNotOurFriend”Ominously for Trump, even conservative Fox News aired dissent. Host Brian Kilmeade described the pullout as “a disaster”, telling viewers of Fox & Friends: “Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?”Republicans who have contradicted Trump before did so forcefully again. Utah senator Mitt Romney described Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal”, adding: “It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”Romney and Democratic senator Chris Murphy issued a joint statement insisting Trump’s administration “explain to the American people how betraying an ally and ceding influence to terrorists and adversaries is not disastrous for our national security interests”.Democrats also piled in but there was a lone voice of support for the president on Capitol Hill. Republican senator Rand Paul, long a critic of foreign intervention, said: “So many neocons want us to stay in wars all over the Middle East forever. [Trump] is absolutely right to end those wars and bring the troops home.”Trump himself was undeterred by the blowback. Speaking at the White House on Monday, he said he has “great respect” for the prominent Republican critics. And added: “People are extremely thrilled because they say it’s time to bring our people back home. We’re not a police force. They’re policing the area. We’re not a police force. The UK was very thrilled at this decision … many people agree with it very strongly.”



          

Philippine Leader Rodrigo Duterte Says He Has Neuromuscular Disease   

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Philippine Leader Rodrigo Duterte Says He Has Neuromuscular DiseaseMANILA, Philippines -- President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has revealed that he has a neuromuscular disease that has led to a slew of medical problems, including making his eye droop.Duterte, who was in Russia for a state visit, told the Filipino community there Saturday night that he has myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune disease that leads to skeletal muscle weakness. He said the disease ran in his family.The revelation came amid continued public speculation about his health. There have been periods when the famously bombastic president has been out of the public eye for days, prompting headlines guessing about his whereabouts and even rumors of his death.But his communications officers have said that Duterte, 74, like any other older person, needs his own personal time.The president revealed the ailment after he apparently made a joke about not being able to look straight at a woman with whom he had danced a duet during the event in Moscow."I have a talent," Duterte said, according to official transcripts provided by his office afterward. "When I look at you, my other eye droops. Do you see? The other eye is smaller. It goes where it wants."He added: "Actually, that's myasthenia gravis. It's a nerve malfunction."Duterte said his grandfather had also had the disease, adding, "So I believe, really, in genetics."The disease often affects the muscles that control the eyes, facial expression, speaking and swallowing, according to the Philippine Medical Association.Duterte came to power in 2016 vowing to rid the country of drug dealers and to wipe out other crimes. Since then, the Philippines' war on drugs has led to thousands of killings allegedly by police and vigilantes, which rights groups have denounced as an atrocity.This year, the United Nations' Human Rights Council voted to examine the thousands of killings linked to Duterte's campaign.Over the years, his public outbursts have included insults against women, the United States and God.In May, the president dropped out of sight for a week, prompting concerns on social media. His aides later tried to quell the rumors by releasing photographs of Duterte having breakfast.One image showed him with the latest issue of a newspaper, suggesting an effort to prove that the picture had been taken on the same day.Last year, Duterte revealed that he had undergone an endoscopy and colonoscopy and that doctors had found he had, he said, "a bad case of Barrett."He was referring to Barrett's esophagus, a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, in which the contents of the stomach flow backward into the esophagus.The president has also said he has Buerger's disease, which leads to constriction of blood vessels in the arms and legs.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company



          

Donald Trump allies turn on president over 'betrayal' of Kurdish allies in Syria   

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Donald Trump allies turn on president over 'betrayal' of Kurdish allies in SyriaDonald Trump's allies have turned on the president after he took the decision to green-light an offensive by Turkish on its Kurdish allies in Syria. President Trump apparently made the decision without consultation from his own advisers or intelligence services, who warned that it could prove to be one of the most reckless decisions of his presidency. Mr Trump appeared focused on making good on his political pledges to bring home American troops from “ridiculous endless wars”, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad. Key Republican leaders in Congress appeared taken aback by the move, which they called a “betrayal” that could stain the US’s name. "I want to make sure we keep our word for those who fight with us and help us," Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader, said, adding that, "If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you. America should keep their word." Mr Trump defended his decision in a series of breathless tweets, writing: “I was elected on getting out of these ridiculous endless wars, where our great Military functions as a policing operation to the benefit of people who don’t even like the USA (sic).” Senator Lindsey Graham, a top Republican ally of Mr Trump, said Congress could impose economic sanctions on Turkey and threaten its Nato membership if Ankara invaded Syria. A female fighter of the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) flashes the victory gesture while celebrating near the Omar oil field in the eastern Syrian Deir Ezzor province on March 23, 2019, after announcing the total elimination of the Islamic State (IS) group's last bastion in eastern Syria. Credit: AFP Mr Graham also said that Mr Trump's moves were a "disaster in the making" that would empower Isil in Syria. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of Mr Trump's key allies, added his voice of dissent, saying: "A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime."   The warning was echoed by the US’s partners on the ground, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which claimed yesterday their ability to contain thousands of prisoners in their detention had become severely compromised. "We were doing our best to provide the best kind of security... but with the Turkish invasion we are forced to pull out some of our troops from the prisons and from the camps to the border to protect our people," Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the Kurdish-led SDF said. "The Islamic State will benefit from the security vacuum that will follow, and will strengthen and regroup itself," he said, adding that it would undo years of work defeating the jihadists. The SDF has been holding some 10,000 male Isil suspects, including an estimated 10 Britons, in prisons across north-eastern Syria, many of which fall inside Turkey’s proposed 18-mile deep, 300-mile-long buffer zone. This does not include the more than 70,000 women and children held in detention camps would could also be at risk. The White House statement announcing the news was released shortly after a phone call between Mr Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday night. Foreign prisoners in Syria detained by the SDF in Baghuz during the battle for Isil's last stronghold Credit: CBS Mr Erdogan had reportedly assured the US president that Ankara would take over the detention of Isil militants captured by the SDF. He said in a brief statement to press on Monday that he thought the numbers of Isil prisoners had been exaggerated but Turkey was ready to “remove them swiftly”, without elaborating. Mr Trump has repeatedly asked countries working with the US-led coalition against Isil to repatriate their citizens, even threatening on numerous occasions to release them. However, the UK, France, Germany, and other allies have so far refused.  “The United States will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer,” a White House statement released on Sunday said. “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years in the wake of the defeat of the territorial “Caliphate” by the United States.” On Monday night, US Central Command, however, issued a statement saying that the US does not support Turkey invading Kurdish territory. "The Department of Defense made clear to Turkey - as did the President - that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria. The US Armed Forces will not support, or be involved in any such operation," said Jonathan Hoffman, Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.  Turkey - Syria map Coalition sources said the chance of a smooth handover from Kurdish to Turkish control was “virtually impossible”, leaving the prospect of prisoners breaking free in the chaos.  Western diplomats told the Telegraph they too were surprised by Mr Trump’s statement, saying they had not been told in advance. They said European governments were rethinking their strategy on suspects being held in Syria. Mr Trump’s decision to pull back from Syria was criticised by Brett McGurk, the former special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat Isil who quit in December over differences of opinion with the president on post-Isil US strategy. "Donald Trump is not a Commander-in-Chief. He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation," Mr McGurk tweeted. "He sends military personnel into harm’s way with no backing. He blusters and then leaves our allies exposed when adversaries call his bluff or he confronts a hard phone call." The US had for months been working with Turkey to try to create a “safe zone” along its border with northern Syria between the Turkish military and Kurdish forces which Ankara sees as terrorists. At a glance | The four Kurdistans Turkey has repeatedly criticised its slow implementation and threatened a unilateral assault, but until now the US had refused to stand aside. "The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades," Mr Trump said in a series of irate tweets. "Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out." Analysts said on Monday that the US's Kurdish had been left feeling abandoned. “For some time there is a belief in Washington that President Trump and the conventional US are two separate things. Perception is that he makes decisions without consulting his own government, advisers. Kurds and people on the ground  they have been surprised by the decision," Mutlu Civiroglu, Washington-based Kurdish Affairs analyst, told the Telegraph. "Kurds are worried, disappointed. They put a lot of trust in the US, which is the only reason they went ahead with the security mechanism put forward by the US and they expect America to stand with them.”



          

Senate Republicans Recoil From Trump’s Decision to Abandon Kurds   

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Senate Republicans Recoil From Trump’s Decision to Abandon Kurds(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria and abandon Kurdish allies has prompted a furious backlash among key members of his most important bulwark against an impeachment conviction: Senate Republicans.Hawkish GOP senators, whom Trump will need to keep him in office if the House moves ahead with impeachment, condemned the president’s decision as a win for terrorists and a defeat for American credibility. Some are already discussing legislation to push back.“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran and the Assad regime,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. He urged the president to “keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS and prevent significant conflict between our NATO ally Turkey and our local Syrian counterterrorism partners.”Foreign policy has long been the issue where Republicans are most likely to disagree with Trump, and it’s not clear that strong words against the president’s Syria policy will cost him any political support. Trump would have to lose the support of at least 20 Republican senators to be removed from office if the House votes to impeach him.The harshest criticism Monday came from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a strong Trump ally and frequent golf companion. Graham said this “impulsive decision” will benefit Iran and cost the U.S. leverage in the region.Graham also said he and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen will introduce sanctions against Turkey if the NATO ally invades Syria. He said he expects such sanctions to get a two-thirds majority -- enough to override a Trump veto.After criticism from Graham and others, Trump tweeted that he would “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if it took “off limits” actions that he didn’t specify. He also said Turkey must “watch over” about 12,000 captured Islamic State fighters and tens of thousands of their family members living in jails and camps in Kurdish-held territory.The Senate earlier this year had a veto-proof margin to pass an amendment authored by McConnell opposing a withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan. On Monday, Criticism in Congress was bipartisan, focused on the move to abandon Kurdish forces who helped U.S. forces fight ISIS, and who are holding thousands of ISIS fighters in custody.Other Senate Republicans pushing back on the president include Marco Rubio of Florida, Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, though none other than Graham have yet said they plan to act on their dismay.Romney, who heads a Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Middle East and counterterrorism, released a joint statement with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, the top Democrat on the panel, saying Trump’s decision “severely undercuts America’s credibility as a reliable partner and creates a power vacuum in the region that benefits ISIS.” They demanded that the administration explain the decision to the full committee.Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who is up for re-election next year, warned against partnering with Turkish President Recep Erdogan.“If the president sticks with this retreat, he needs to know that this bad decision will likely result in the slaughter of allies who fought with us, including women and children,” Sasse said in a statement Monday. “I hope the president will listen to his generals and reconsider.”Some House Republicans also criticized the abrupt withdrawal. Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, a member of GOP leadership, called the decision a “catastrophic mistake.” New York Republican Elise Stefanik recently returned from a bipartisan trip to the region and joined a statement with Democratic representatives condemning Trump’s “rash decision.”“Not only will this decision further destabilize the region, it will make it more difficult for the United States to recruit allies and partners to defeat terrorist groups like ISIS,” the statement said.One of Trump’s Senate allies approved of Trump’s decision: Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has long called for withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan.(Updates with McConnell quote in third paragraph)\--With assistance from Erik Wasson.To contact the reporter on this story: Steven T. Dennis in Washington at sdennis17@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Anna Edgerton, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



          

Portugal's Costa Pins Debt Strategy on a Rosy Growth Outlook   

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Portugal's Costa Pins Debt Strategy on a Rosy Growth Outlook(Bloomberg) -- Amid cheering supporters on his election night, Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa went out of his way to reassure investors he has an ambitious target to tackle the country’s big Achilles heel, its towering debt.The problem is that his strategy assumes robust economic growth, not a given in today’s uncertain world. The external climate is deteriorating fast and there are signs that job creation is slowing. Portugal’s four main export markets are within the European Union, where expansion is falling to around 1%, and whose biggest economy looks set to enter recession.Let’s look at the numbers. Costa said he’d bring public debt to under 100% of GDP by the end of his next four-year term in 2023, from currently 122%. In the government’s base-case scenario, that assumes average annual GDP growth of around 2%. Consensus forecasts and even the Bank of Portugal’s estimates are now closer to 1.7% growth. Rabobank even sees a slowdown to 1.2% next year, and that assumes an orderly Brexit and no U.S. import tariffs on European cars.The debt-reduction target "is quite ambitious,” Michiel van der Veen, an economist at Rabobank, said in an interview, citing already slowing growth and trade tensions. “They need to take care of the demands that people are making for more government expenditure.’’Indeed, there have been signs of social discontent, and voices demanding an increase in spending have become louder. Given his larger majority in parliament and reduced dependence on the far-left, the 58-year-old Costa could entertain spending cuts to offset slower growth.But for the man who came to power reversing some of the unpopular belt-tightening measures imposed during the 2011 bailout, the chances of an about-turn are slim.The entire strategy is to reduce debt by outgrowing it, not by squeezing the budget to pay it down more quickly, said Filipe Garcia, an economist at financial consulting company IMF-Informacao de Mercados Financeiros SA.“To reduce the debt ratio in this way, which is a slow process, Portugal needs a favorable external environment,” said Garcia. “I am afraid that, in the context of a crisis or interest rate hikes, the debt reduction process will be interrupted.”The government says that in a worst-case scenario in which GDP growth would slow from 1.6% in 2019 to 1.3% in 2023, it would miss its target, though debt would still fall to 103% of GDP.For now investors aren’t terribly concerned. On the contrary, the yield on 10-year Portuguese bonds fell as low as 0.11% Monday, edging below the Spanish equivalent for the first time since December 2009.The reason for such calm? The European Central Bank is lending a helping hand with near-zero borrowing costs, said Garcia.(Updates with Portugal yields in tenth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Henrique Almeida in Lisbon at halmeida5@bloomberg.net;Joao Lima in Lisbon at jlima1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Raymond Colitt, Chris ReiterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



          

EU needs more troops, says  incoming foreign affairs chief as he calls for 'power politics'   

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EU needs more troops, says  incoming foreign affairs chief as he calls for 'power politics'The EU must have more troops and be prepared to use them across the globe, the bloc’s incoming foreign affairs chief has told the European Parliament.  Josep Borrell, who is nominated to be the EU’s next chief diplomat, said that Europe could not allow itself to become “irrelevant” on a world stage dominated by superpowers such as the US and China.  “We have the instruments to play power politics,” he said at a European Parliament hearing into his candidacy to head up the EU foreign affairs service, “The EU has to learn to use the language of power.” “We should reinforce the EU’s international role and further our military capacity to act,” the 72-year-old Spanish socialist added.  “We should pool our national sovereignties together to multiply the power of individual member states,” Mr Borrell said, "I am convinced that if we don't act together Europe will become irrelevant."  Mr Borrell called for the numbers of EU troops that could be deployed to be raised to at least 55-60,000.  He said the 60,000 target was first set in 1999 by EU leaders after the Balkan war.  The EU does have “battlegroups” of 3,000 soldiers from across the EU on standby every six months but these have never been used and would require the unanimous support of every member state before they could be.  Mr Borrell said the EU had to speak with a unified "truly integrated" foreign policy voice on the world stage. He said the total defence spend in the EU was half the GDP of Belgium and more than in China and Russia.  But that spending did not translate into military capacity because it was fragmented among the EU member countries, Mr Borrell said.  He backed EU plans for pooling defence research projects. Some critics have accused those plans of being a stepping stone towards a future EU Army.  FAQ | European joint defence force Although that idea has been publicly supported by Angela Merkel,  Emmanuel Macron and incoming European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, it is an extremely distant prospect at the moment.  “We have to spend together,” he said, “We have to be more operational on the ground, we have to deploy forces, starting in our neighbourhood.” “We should envisage a Europe that can defend itself while working for a multilateral peaceful world order,” Mr Borrell said before insisting this would strengthen NATO rather than be a rival to it.  He earlier warned, in a thinly veiled swipe at the US and Donald Trump,  that some of the EU’s allies were “disengaging” from the international rules based system. He also told MEPs that the EU could not allow itself to be “squeezed” between the US and China in the trade war between the two superpowers.  If his candidacy is backed by the European Parliament, Mr Borrell will become the EU’s chief diplomat on  November 1, succeeding Federica Mogherini.



          

Albert Arenas se lleva su primera victoria de la temporada y Lorenzo Dalla Porta da un golpe al mundial   

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Albert Arenas se lleva su primera victoria de la temporada y Lorenzo Dalla Porta da un golpe al mundial

Albert Arenas se ha estrenado en esta temporada de Moto3. El piloto español ha triunfado en Buriram en un vibrante duelo final con Lorenzo Dalla Porta, que ha perdido pero ganado a la vez. Pierde porque ha sido superado en la última curva, pero gana porque su ventaja en la general vuelve a ser de casi una carrera.

Y todo debido a otra locura de Darryl Binder. El piloto sudafricano ha hecho un strike a mitad de carrera en el que se ha visto implicado Arón Canet. Otra vez, el piloto español termina por los suelos sin tener ninguna culpa, y ahora se queda a 22 puntos de Dalla Porta. Al menos, ya hay un rival menos al que tener en cuenta, ya que Tony Arbolino fue undécimo con problemas físicos.

Darryl Binder tiró a Arón Canet, Suzuki y McPhee

Canet Tailandia Moto3 2019

En la salida Marcos Ramírez se colocaba en primera posición con Alonso López y Albert Arenas pegados detrás. Gran arrancada de Tony Arbolino, que se ponía en cuarta posición de inicio. Todo lo contrario para Arón Canet, que bajaba algunas posiciones e incluso se quedaba detrás de Lorenzo Dalla Porta.

La sorpresa de la carrera era Josito García, el sustituto de Romano Fenati, que en las primeras vueltas se codeaba en las primeras posiciones. Poco a poco la carrera se fue estabilizando. Los favoritos llegaban a la cabeza, con Tatsuki Suzuki en primera posición y aumentando el ritmo. Pronto le daban el relevo Dalla Porta y Arbolino.

Arbolino Tailandia Moto3 2019

El drama llegaba a catorce vueltas del final. Darryn Binder se llevaba por delante a Canet, Suzuki y John McPhee, tirándolos a todos al suelo y pudiendo seguir él la carrera. Una maniobra temeraria del sudafricano que arruinaba prácticamente por completo las opciones de Canet de ganar el título de Moto3, aunque él seguía en pista.

Otro giro de guión llegaba cuando Arbolino perdía muchas posiciones porque se le había soltado un guante. El piloto italiano se iba incluso fuera de la zona de puntos, mientras que Dalla Porta estaba líder de la carrera. Detrás de él, aguantaban en el grupo Albert Arenas, Marcos Ramírez, Andrea Migno y Alonso López.

Alonso Lopez Tailandia Moto3 2019

A dos vueltas del final comenzaba la batalla por la victoria con nueve pilotos en el grupo delantero. Dalla Porta seguía al frente, pero Arenas le atacaba. Por detrás empezaban los nervios. Primero Andrea Migno tocaba a Ramírez y luego tiraba al suelo al japonés Ai Ogura, provocando un corte en el grupo.

Así pues, detrás de Dalla Porta quedaba Arenas y Alonso López. Los tres peleaban por la victoria, y en una última curva formidable era Albert Arenas quien se llevaba la victoria aprovechando una pasada de frenada de Dalla Porta. Primer podio también para Alonso López. Por detrás, Arbolino se queda en la undécima posición.

Resultados carrera Moto3 GP Tailandia 2019

Pos. Num. Piloto País Equipo Moto Km/h Tiempo/Diferencia
1 75 Albert ARENAS SPA Gaviota Angel Nieto Team KTM 157.5 38'09.383
2 48 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA Leopard Racing Honda 157.5 0,231
3 21 Alonso LOPEZ SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda 157.5 0,322
4 42 Marcos RAMIREZ SPA Leopard Racing Honda 157.5 0,459
5 7 Dennis FOGGIA ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM 157.4 0,666
6 13 Celestino VIETTI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM 157.4 1,166
7 27 Kaito TOBA JPN Honda Team Asia Honda 157.4 1,228
8 82 Stefano NEPA ITA Reale Avintia Arizona 77 KTM 157.0 6,971
9 25 Raul FERNANDEZ SPA Gaviota Angel Nieto Team KTM 156.9 9,095
10 14 Tony ARBOLINO ITA VNE Snipers Honda 156.9 9,145
11 12 Filip SALAC CZE Redox PruestelGP KTM 156.8 9,629
12 84 Jakub KORNFEIL CZE Redox PruestelGP KTM 157.0 9,559
13 54 Riccardo ROSSI ITA Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 Honda 156.7 11,174
14 11 Sergio GARCIA SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda 156.7 14,024
15 76 Makar YURCHENKO KAZ BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race KTM 156.3 21,043
16 32 Davide PIZZOLI ITA Mugen Race KTM 155.9 23,306
17 3 Kevin ZANNONI ITA SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda 155.9 23,777
18 22 Kazuki MASAKI JPN BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race KTM 155.9 23,866
19 53 Deniz ONCU TUR Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 156.6 55,804
20 40 Darryn BINDER RSA CIP Green Power KTM 153.1 +1'05.873
NC 16 Andrea MIGNO ITA Mugen Race KTM 144.5 +3'25.084
NC 44 Aron CANET SPA Sterilgarda Max Racing Team KTM 127.3 4 Vueltas
NC 79 Ai OGURA JPN Honda Team Asia Honda 157.5 1 Vuelta
NC 69 Tom BOOTH-AMOS GBR CIP Green Power KTM 156.6 1 Vuelta
NC 10 Julian Jose GARCIA SPA VNE Snipers Honda 157.3 4 Vueltas
NC 71 Ayumu SASAKI JPN Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda 157.3 7 Vueltas
NC 24 Tatsuki SUZUKI JPN SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda 147.6 13 Vueltas
NC 17 John MCPHEE GBR Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda 157.1 15 Vueltas

Clasificación general Moto3 2019

  1. Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Honda-ITA), 204 puntos
  2. Arón CANET (KTM-SPA), 182 puntos
  3. Tony ARBOLINO (Honda-ITA), 160 puntos
  4. Marcos RAMÍREZ (Honda-SPA), 136 puntos
  5. John MCPHEE (Honda-GBR), 126 puntos

En Motorpasión Moto | Así afectará a las motos Madrid 360, el plan anticontaminación que sustituirá a Madrid Central en 2020

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La noticia Albert Arenas se lleva su primera victoria de la temporada y Lorenzo Dalla Porta da un golpe al mundial fue publicada originalmente en Motorpasion Moto por Roberto Rodríguez .


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