We specialize in selected topics and in-depth research.
By Eric Vandenbroeck and co-workers
For your own comments about related subjects, you can contact us via: firstname.lastname@example.org
15 Jan. 2021: The Chinese Army has constructed an underground facility (UGF) barely 50 km from the India-China border, and just 60 km from the Indian forward posts at Demchok in Ladakh. So far, there was just one UGF in Tibet, with another one being a bit away in the Xinjiang Region. Seen here are members from the People's Liberation Army who for the first time walk along the Pakistan border in Xinjiang:
13 Jan. 2021: While the counter-culture of the 1960s marked a distinct period in popularising a variety of ‘eastern’ religions and spiritualities in the global context, its influence has often been over-estimated. Occultists explored the ‘hippy trail,’ alternative religions, in the early twentieth century, marked a ‘widening of the road’ rather than the paving of new ground of what became an estimated $11.56 billion business. Investigating the invention of Yoga.
10 Jan. 2021: COVID-19 jabs will eventually help tourism start again, but expect a trip full of immunity passports, mouthwash tests, and weary travelers. What vaccines mean for the return of the travel.
8 Jan. 2021: Lasting till 5 February Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in China have opened to visitors, featuring frozen towers, palaces, and castles revealing Harbin's interesting Russian history.
6 Jan. 2021: In off-the-record conversations, Indian officials accept that a diplomatic solution to the Ladakh crisis is unlikely because of how the two countries have different understandings of the status quo. These officials consider the army’s performance and sustenance through this winter as the critical factor for their plans to deal with Chinese aggression in Ladakh. They contend that if the Indian soldiers manage to get through the next few months relatively unscathed, New Delhi will have found an answer to its troubles with Beijing. Major Case Study. Investigating the India-China standoff Part Three.
4 Jan. 2021: There are several global developments jostling for the world’s attention right now—the upcoming inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, Britain’s exit from the European Union, a worrying hack of U.S. government systems, and the race to administer coronavirus vaccines across the planet. Amid these major news stories, the 8-month-old military standoff in the Himalayas between Asia’s two biggest countries, China and India, has fallen off the radar of global concern. While pundits agree that Asia is the site of an ongoing shift in the global power balance, what gets little attention is how New Delhi’s reworking of military priorities, forced by events on the disputed Sino-Indian border, will have far-reaching geopolitical consequences for the world. Major Case Study. Investigating the India-China standoff Part Two.
2 Jan. 2021: China watcher Andrew Chubb recently wrote that "if Xi Jinping was to conclude that Indian nationalist sentiments are so strong as to make escalation inevitable, then he might be inclined to strike first, as Mao did in 1962." However, this statement has a whole background that remains underresearched as we shall see to date. In a year that challenged policymakers across the world, one development will perhaps have the most significant long-term impact in the Indo-Pacific, the ongoing standoff between India and China in the Himalayas. Major Case Study. Investigating the India-China standoff Part One.
1 Jan. 2021: A few countries to look out for for the next six months.
30 Dec. 2020: Lights are projected on the Louvre’s Pyramid during a rehearsal of David Guetta’s ‘United at Home’ concert that will be broadcast for New Year’s Eve.
29 Dec. 2020: Whereas the US still has to manage its relations with China, which extends far beyond the regional canvas. The dilemma the US cannot escape is how to integrate into the international system a rising power which will eat into American predominance in the world, much more difficult is this in South-East Asia countries. South-East Asia between China and the US.
26 Dec. 2020: Perhaps the simplest indication of the different natures of the respective revolutions is the difference in the terms that Russians and Chinese use, to this day, to describe their own revolutions. In Russian, the period before 1917 is naturally referred to as dorevoliutsionnyi, literally “prerevolutionary.” In Chinese, however, the period before 1949 is not called geming qian, “before the revolution,” but rather jiefang qian, “before the liberation.” Though similar means were adopted by both sides, at least until the late 1970s, the underlying aims of the two revolutions were different, a fact that would impact not only the domestic conduct of the revolution, but also understandings of global processes and historical trends and, ultimately, the respective abilities of each side to reform. In this section, we cover topics like Henk Sneevliet's task as instilling Comintern discipline in China, sovereignty (the 'lost' countries), Canton as one of the most unruly and radical of China’s cities, sovereignty (the 'lost' countries), Siam, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Japan, and so on...Major Case Study. Asia’s secret networks Part Eleven.
24 Dec. 2020: This shows when the coronavirus vaccine will be widely available. Rich countries will have their population vaccinated way earlier than poor countries. That said, Africa as a whole managed the pandemic better than most of the rich West.
23 Dec. 2020: After Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicated in 1917, the world's tempests outside blew directly into the households of Surabaya and Semarang. On seizing power, Vladimir Lenin had looked to Europe’s working classes to foster wider revolution. When that hope fizzled, the revolutionary potential of Asian peasantries, whom Lenin, like the colonialists, had hitherto deemed backward, was reassessed. Asian radicals were now summoned to Moscow. Major Case Study. .
22 Dec. 2020:
20 Dec. 2020: In our further research, we highlight among others the High Treason Incident (大逆事件, Taigyaku Jiken), which provoked an unprecedented press blackout with the trials held in camera. Nevertheless, in the way it polarized opinion, it became the ‘Dreyfus Affair of Japan.’ Also the so-called Delhi Conspiracy case. It was later shown that Rash Behari Bose threw the bomb. He successfully evaded capture for nearly three years, becoming involved in the Ghadar conspiracy before it was uncovered. Bose fled to Japan in 1915, under the alias of Priyanath Tagore, a relative of Rabindranath Tagore. There, Bose found shelter with various Pan-Asian groups. Major Case Study. Asia's secret networks Part Nine.
19 Dec. 2020: Europe's first wave vs its second wave. Notice for example Slovakia initially was a poster boy of successfully dealing with the virus but then recently had to declare a national state of emergency. Similarly in Slovenia.
18 Dec. 2020: Transnational Asia was without borders. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1867 had brought the west dramatically closer. The wealth, goods, and styles of Asia had never been more accessible to the European public. It was a time of great ‘universal’ expositions – Paris in 1900, Brussels in 1910, the Festival of Empire in London in 1911 – which brought in colonial products, and even imperial subjects, as objects of curiosity. The London extravaganza of 1911 – together with the Imperial Institute in South Kensington, imperial-themed clubs, museums and monuments, and the Imperial College of Science and Technology – marked the crescendo of attempts fashion London into a city that better reflected its world-encompassing status. It was certainly a lure to its new colonial subjects. This was still a world of circulating monarchs, and Indian and Malay princes gravitated to the courts of Europe and took the waters at their aristocratic playgrounds, in a reprise of the old Grand Tour. Major Case Study. Asia's secret networks Part Eight.
17 Dec. 2020: A recent article asked will the COVID-19 vaccine bet in China pay off? An emergency use authorization, based on China’s Vaccine Management Law, allows the use of unapproved vaccine candidates among people at high risk of infection for a limited period of time. Chinese vaccine and patriotic drive.
16 Dec. 2020: In June 1919 a petition circulated among delegates to the peace conference at Versailles. The “Demands of the Annamite People” claimed to speak for the inhabitants of the part of French Indochina that is today the heart of Vietnam. The petition, writes, was one of many into which were decanted the hopes of entire peoples. Its demands seemed moderate enough, things like freedom of the press, the right to education, the abolition of government by decree, and it was received politely by Woodrow Wilson and even the president of the French republic. But its tone, of presuming to speak directly to power, got under the skin of the French authorities, who had built an empire in Indochina on the back of forced labor, while plantations ran their own private prisons. As the document circulated among the diplomatic missions and, within two months, hit the streets of Hanoi, the security services knew that its author, Nguyen Ai Quoc, a pseudonym meaning “Nguyen the Patriot” (today better known as Ho Chi Minh) was in some way important. They were to maintain that conviction for more than three decades. Briefly, Nguyen Ai Quoc would break cover, for instance, to address political meetings in Paris, scruffily dressed. Yet the expanding secret-police files on him reflected official frustration. He lied about his age, his name, his origins, and his profession. He changed his accent to suit. Time and again, Nguyen Ai Quoc slipped like quicksilver through the fingers of imperial powers. His shadow was found in libraries, cafés, and boarding houses across France, in port cities such as Singapore and New York, and even in the London suburb of Ealing; one rumor had him as a pastry chef under the great Escoffier. His writings surfaced in illicit journals in China and Korea. But just when the Sûreté Générale picked up his scent again, he was gone. Major Case Study. Asia's secret networks Part Seven.
Xiang Jingyu, head of the Women’s Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party, executed by the Kuomintang in Hankou, 1928.
15 Dec. 2020: In 1902, Japan had allied with Britain in East Asia, and now events were drawing her closer to France. A series of sensationalist reports in the Écho de Paris in January 1905, headlined ‘The Yellow Peril,’ claimed that Japan planned to use Taiwan, now also a colony of Japan, as a base to attack the French in Indochina. By strange osmosis of animosity and opportunism, Japan responded by strengthening ties with France. A Franco-Japanese Treaty was signed in 1907, and the French immediately used it to put pressure on Japan’s Vietnamese émigrés. As the Governor-General of Indochina explained it to the minister of the colonies in Paris in July 1908, the people of Vietnam could not be indifferent ‘to the events occurring in this theatre of nations’ when their country, because of its long border with Siam, rail links to China and sea lanes to the ports of China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, lay in the middle of ‘the great Far Eastern highway.’ Major Case Study. Asia's secret networks Part Six.
14 Dec. 2020: After Nicholas II of Russia abdicated in 1917 meanwhile, the world's tempests outside blew directly into the households of Surabaya and Semarang. On seizing power, Vladimir Lenin had looked to Europe’s working classes to foster wider revolution. When that hope fizzled, the revolutionary potential of Asian peasantries, whom Lenin, like the colonialists, had hitherto deemed backward, was reassessed. Asian radicals were now summoned to Moscow. Major Case Study. Asia's secret networks Part Five.
13 Dec. 2020: The most populous countries in the world are China, India, and the U.S—but global population trends may be shifting faster than you think:
12 Dec. 2020: Very different from the Revolution in Russia the May 4, 1919 protests in China was a Nationalist reaction objecting to the decision of the victorious Allied powers at the Versailles conference to award former German possessions in the Shandong Peninsula to Japan. Yet the shock of defeat at the hands of foreigners had not only ignited nationalist sentiment it also slowly and fitfully led to a recognition that fundamental political, and economic changes would be necessary if China were to survive, let alone compete, in the modern world. The Chinese Communist Party was founded two years later with even the Nationalist Kuomintang developing a relationship with the Bolshevists in Moskau. Major Case Study. Asia's secret networks Part Four.
11 Dec. 2020: China had been thrown into a revolutionary ferment by the depredations of Western powers beginning with the First Opium War in 1839. As we have seen there were many grievances against the Qing emperor and the social structure, as had often been the case in Chinese history, but what ultimately discredited these entities was their failure to defend China and their obvious inadequacy compared to the leading powers. While anti-imperialism was already present therefore in the minds of Chinese intellectuals, Marxism was nearly nonexistent in China before the popular movement that began on May 4, 1919. Major Case Study. The Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang and its unexpected relationship with Communism: Asia's secret networks Part Three.
10 Dec. 2020: The myth of the absence of politics was shared across colonial Asia. In the Indies, the Dutch called the zaman normal, a return to ‘normal time’, or rather the pretense of it. Normal time revived the illusion that colonial governments could dictate political futures. Imperial regimes never provided an adequate answer to the question as to what precisely was on offer for colonial subjects who still sought to work within the system and its laws. The reality was, in most cases, far less than was offered earlier. Major Case Study. Asia's secret networks Part Two.
8 Dec. 2020: Whereby The end of Europe's empires has so often been seen as a story of high politics and warfare, using the new technology of cheap printing presses, global travel, and the widespread use of French and English, young radicals from across Asia were able to communicate in ways simply not available before. These clandestine networks stretched to the heart of the imperial metropolises: to London, to Paris, but also increasingly to Moscow. They created a secret global network that was for decades engaged in bitter fighting with imperial police forces. They gathered in the great hubs of empire - Calcutta, Bombay, Singapore, Penang, Batavia, Hanoi, Shanghai, and Hong Kong - and plotted with ceaseless ingenuity, both through persuasion and terrorism, the end of the colonial regimes. Then on 24 July 1924 five at Canton when an unsuccessful attempt was made on the life of M Martial Henri Merlin, Governor-General of French Indochina. Major Case Study. Asia's secret networks Part One.
5 Dec. 2020: The pandemic has reshaped expectations of higher education—but it’s also created an opportunity for institutions to accelerate their digital transformation. By providing more wellbeing resources, career support, and flexibility, universities can drive trust and support their students’ needs in the new normal.
3 Dec. 2020: The History Channel has a series titled "Ancient Aliens" that claims to explore the controversial theory that extraterrestrials have visited Earth for millions of years from the dinosaurs' age to ancient Egypt and present what, as we will see, can be described as a sensationalized bricolage. Investigating the Ancient Aliens theory.
2 Dec. 2020:
1 Dec. 2020: Visualizing the Human Impact on the Earth’s Surface
29 Nov. 2020: In a soon to be published book written by Tonio Andrade "The Last Embassy" tells the story of the Dutch mission of 1795, bringing to light a dramatic but little-known episode that transforms our understanding of the history of China and the West.
One challenge created by all of this psychological diversity is that we generally see and understand the world through our own cultural models and local intuitions. When policymakers, politicians, and military strategists infer how people in other societies will understand their actions, judge their behavior, and respond, they tend to assume perceptions, motivations, and judgments similar to their own. However, even when implemented perfectly, policies can have one effect in London or Zurich and very different effects in Baghdad or Mogadishu because the people in each of these places are psychologically distinct. Major Case Study. Developmental forces in East and West as drivers of psychological change.
27 Nov. 2020: The impact of Isaac Newton’s work is—in a word—legendary. The size of his groundbreaking treatise, known as the Principia, in which Newton laid out his three laws of motion, was until now thought to be small, partly reflecting a long-held notion that the book was virtually incomprehensible outside of a small circle of expert mathematicians. The volumes cover 27 countries on five continents, including Africa and Australia with nine copies that showed up in Japan. The astronomer Edmond Halley took it upon himself to present copies to influential people, including England’s King James II, Royal Society President Samuel Pepys, and German polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who is commonly credited with co-inventing calculus at the same time as Newton. A copy also likely went to Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
24 Nov. 2020: Obama on the cover of In Style Magazine:
22 Nov. 2020: Trump’s last-ditch efforts to overturn results so far have failed to make a dent in Biden's victory. With his denial of the outcome, Trump has endangered America’s democracy and duped supporters into believing, perhaps permanently, that Biden was elected illegitimately.
20 Nov. 2020: A video is projected on to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster:
19 Nov. 2020: Our third part of analyzing China's nation-building. Problems stem from the country’s two contradictory views of the past. In the first, China sees itself in imperial terms, as the natural center of East Asia, where borders are immaterial to power. In the second, China sees itself in Westphalian terms, determined to incorporate every scrap of territory, every rock, and reef, within the homeland’s ‘sacred’ national border. The territory we recognize today as China bore the name of each successive dynasty that ruled it. Just as its name changed with the name of the dynasty, so did the shape of its borders and lands. This is an uncomfortable reality for the Chinese Communist Party today as it continues to make new claims in the name of historical "rights" to territories also claimed by its neighbors. Major Case Study. The re-invention of Chinese History, Nation, Language, and Territory Part Three.
13 Nov. 2020: A sensation took place when on Monday the German company BioNTech and the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced via a press release that their jointly developed vaccine candidate had outperformed expectations in the crucial phase 3 trials, proving 90% effective in stopping people from falling ill. Will people start to be inoculated by mid-December as is claimed?
11 Nov. 2020: At 5:00 am on this day in 1918, the Allied powers and Germany signed an armistice document in the railway carriage of Ferdinand Foch, the commander of the Allied armies, and thus the First World War came to an end. It is generally accepted that the First World War which at the time was seen as a clash of civilizations and a contest of rival national values still reverberates today. Almost every day it seemed possible that the crisis could be settled as so many had been over the previous decade; almost every day there was a new suggestion that gave statesmen hope that war could be avoided without abandoning vital interests. Major Case Study. A new investigation about the First World War.
9 Nov. 2020: As present-day China retreated from Maoist communism in the late twentieth century, it searched for new ways to generate the loyalty of its citizens. One key foundation of its right to rule became ‘performance legitimacy’: the delivery of ever-higher living standards to most of the country’s population. However, proletarians and bourgeois cannot live by bread alone and the party also sought a new guiding idea to fill their souls and lead them in the right direction. The new people’s opium would be nationalism – not the kind that makes mobs march through the streets, but an official kind, defined by those at the top and stressing homogeneity and obedience. Whereby even the idea of the majority ethnic group in China, the Han, as the Chinese 'race' is a relatively new construct. This is the second of a three part investigation. Major Case Study. The re-invention of Chinese History, Nation, Language, and Territory.
7 Nov. 2020:
6 Nov. 2020: Variously called the Ambassadors' or Envoys' Plot was covered up in America for many years, yet it was studied and analyzed in the Russian spy school. And by many seen as the origin of the cold war, succeeding generations of Soviet bosses have used it to justify stealing thousands of Western military secrets. Spys Invade Russia P.7.
4 Nov. 2020: We all know, later today there will be the US election. But what if Trump refuses to accept US election defeat and go quietly. The election could be a highly fluid situation.
2 Nov. 2020: Tonight around 8 pm local time an attempted terrorist attack took place in Vienna in the street (and the obvious target) where the Jewish Synagogue and Israeli Embassy next door are with a police officer who guarded the place shot. Reminiscent of an ISIS type attack it began just hours before Austria was due to introduce new coronavirus restrictions, including a curfew from midnight to 6 am, and bars and restaurants in the network of narrow streets known to locals as the “Bermuda triangle” were packed. At least one attacker was identified, but more are believed to be involved. One, armed, attacker is believed to be still at large.
30 Oct. 2020: A Communist Party conclave concluded on Thursday with a rousing statement lauding President Xi as the party’s helmsman, affirming his broad mandate as the leader who will steer China through perilous waters for years to come. The meeting of the Central Committee, a council of senior officials, laid out ambitions for China to mature as an economic, military, and cultural power despite rising uncertainty abroad. An official summary from the meeting read, “we will certainly be able to conquer the range of hardships and dangers that lie on the path forward.”
The following is a major expose about the creation of China and among others it's manipulating with maps. Some of the discoveries are breathtaking. And reveal that the People's Republic's sense of self is far too fragile to admit for example that the shape of the country may have been different 300 years ago. No debate over the state's ‘core interest' of territorial integrity is permitted and the result is absurd denials of any historical evidence that underpins a different story of the past. The only acceptable version of history is the invented version that suits the needs of the Communist Party's current leadership. Much about today's China that's presented as ancient, traditional and immutable is, in fact, recent, imported and defined by the political imperatives of the present.
And as we further detail, the aggressive pursuit of claims to tiny rocks and submerged reefs, the elevation of Taiwan’s status to a question of existence, and the frequent provocations in the Himalayas reveal that these ‘sacred’ boundaries are largely twentieth-century innovations dreamed up by nationalist imaginations. This is the first of a three part investigation. Major Case Study. The secrets of China's new maps unveiled.
28 Oct. 2020: Taylor, the former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, was the anonymous author of The New York Times Op-Ed article in 2018 and the author of “A Warning,” a book he wrote the following year. Both roiled Washington and set off a hunt for his identity. He acknowledged that he was the author of both the book and the opinion article in an interview and in a three-page statement he posted online.
25 Oct. 2020: American Consul-General Poole sent a cyphered telegram (the Bolsheviks had not broken American codes) to Washington, DC. He anticipated acts of sabotage carried out by the conspirators, then Allied intervention, clashes between Whites and Reds, and between General Poole’s advancing army and the Reds. The telegram said in part: “every effort must be made to remove allied functionaries and nationals from that part of Russia controlled by the Bolsheviks . . . this territory must be regarded as hostile." On 14 August 1918, two Latvians – Jan Sprogis and Captain Berzin of the Rifle Brigade – called on Lockhart. The brigade was disaffected from Bolshevism, they said, and ready to help its overthrow. This seemed to Lockhart and later to Reilly like the answer to a prayer. Lockhart promised money, as well as Allied support to establish a free and independent Latvia, and wrote the visitors safe-conduct passes to reach Poole. But both men, well primed by Peters, were Cheka double-agents. Spys Invade Russia P.6.
24 Oct. 2020: Perhaps the British agents knew nothing of SR plans, either in Ukraine or in Moscow, but gave them money for general purposes only. It is fair to wonder, however, whether some of his money might have helped to fund one assassination or the other, and fair to point out as well that in July 1918, with his country and Germany still at war, he would have had every reason to consider it money well spent. Spys Invade Russia P.5.
23 Oct. 2020: Today a ‘Borat’ sequel has been released with an Election 2020 plot twist...In the current film, Borat is dispatched by the Kazakh government to the US to present a bribe to an ally of Donald Trump to ingratiate his country with the Trump administration... A bit rough to watch at times, in the following scene (dressed up as a Ku Klux Klan member) Borat tries to sneak (and is able to get through) into CPAC where vice president Mike Pence is speaking...
In the U.S., the Kazakh American Association in a 20 October letter to Amazon officials asked that the film’s release be canceled and goes on to write that if comedian Sacha Baron Cohen really was trying to target U.S. President Donald Trump and racist Americans, he would have created a fictitious country. Cohen, for his part, told The Financial Times that he and his crew always planned to film and release the sequel ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections. “Borat is the perfect character for the Trump era, because he is just a slightly more extreme version of Trump. They are both misogynistic and racist, they both don’t care about democracy, and they’re both laughable characters,” Cohen said. An article in today's NYT today added that Rudy Giuliani is just the latest in a long line of people pranked by Sacha Baron Cohen.
22 Oct. 2020: Allied forces invaded Russia and fought the Red Army in an attempt to support the Moscow plotters. But Wilson and Prime Minister Clemenceau made a mistake in placing the U.S. and French troops under British command. Most of the British officers resented being shuffled off to a “sideshow” like Russia and took out their anger on the American and French troops under them. Some sanity arrived after the British commander was sacked and replaced with Brigadier General Edmund Ironside. Spys Invade Russia P.4.
21 Oct. 2020: So far, American, French, and British diplomats in Russia had been sharing information with one another. America and France had spies in Russia, but the British Secret Service had not contributed any high-level agents but that changed now when Sydney Reilly and Bruce Lockhart joined the plot. Where the initial idea was to persuade Russia’s new Bolshevik leaders to continue the war and rebuild the Eastern Front against Germany, the Western powers soon devised an ambitious scheme to trigger regime change by landing troops at the ports of Vladivostok, Murmansk, and Archangel and there join with pro-tsar ‘White’ forces and armed Czechoslovak former prisoners of war who had seized control of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Major Case Study: Spys Invade Russia P.3.
19 Oct. 2020: To the surprise of some, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on troops to "put all (their) minds and energy on preparing for war" in a visit to a military base in the southern province of Guangdong on Tuesday, according to state news agency Xinhua. This came shortly after Beijing increased military drills around Taiwan. Almost 40 Chinese warplanes crossed the median line between the mainland and Taiwan on 18-19 September, one of several sorties the island's President Tsai Ing-wen called a "threat of force."Thus there was no doubt what President Xi Jinping was referring to, and some analysts say China could move against Taiwan should the U.S. presidential election result in political chaos, Reuters reported. Will a coming conflict make the military disasters of Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq pale in comparison?
17 Oct. 2020: As a civil war began in Russia, Washington, London, and Paris worked to ally themselves with anti-Lenin forces, the Whites, and eventually, send troops. Their ultimate goal was to defeat the Red Army, mount a coup against Lenin and then install their own Allied‑friendly dictator in Moscow as a means to get Russia back into the war. Covert American military aid would be laundered by the French and British, then passed along to the Cossacks in a plot to overthrow Lenin and the Bolsheviks. As Lansing suggested, some might say this was illegal. Still, Lansing directed Walter Hines Page, U.S. ambassador to Britain, to act “expeditiously” and confer with France and Britain on the matter. “This has my entire approval,” Wilson said. Major Case Study: Spys Invade Russia P.2.
16 Oct. 2020: It remains the most audacious spy plot in British and American history, a bold and extremely dangerous operation to invade Russia, defeat the Red Army, and mount a coup in Moscow against Soviet dictator Vladimir Ilich Lenin. After that, leaders in Washington, Paris, and London aimed to install their own Allied-friendly dictator in Moscow as a means to get Russia back into the war effort against Germany. Along with the British and the French the plot we now know had the “entire approval” of also President Woodrow Wilson. As he ordered a military invasion of Russia, he gave the American ambassador, the U.S. Consul General in Moscow, and other State Department operatives a free hand to pursue their covert action against Lenin. The result was thousands of deaths, both military and civilian, on both sides. Major Case Study: Spys Invade Russia P.1.
14 Oct. 2020: Turkey threatens Armenia with direct military intervention in Karabakh War.
12 Oct. 2020: The pandemic has created a massive economic contraction that will be followed by a financial crisis in many parts of the globe, as nonperforming corporate loans accumulate alongside bankruptcies. Sovereign defaults in the developing world are also poised to spike. The Coming COVID-19 Economic Crisis.
11 Oct. 2020: India's confirmed coronavirus cases cross 7 million, second after US; last 1 million rise is within the last 13 days.
10 Oct. 2020: -The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the United Nations World Food Programme. “In the face of the pandemic, the World Food Program has demonstrated an impressive ability to intensify its efforts,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said as she announced the prize in Oslo.
-'The president is likely toast': Trump's woes raise GOP fears of a blue wave.
-More than 200 people have already been killed in fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed enclave populated largely by (Christian) Armenians that broke away from (Muslim) Azerbaijan as the Soviet Union collapsed. Armenia supported it during a war that killed tens of thousands of people. America and Russia helped bring about the ceasefire in 1994. But America has almost entirely abandoned the long, thankless slog of routine peace-maintenance. In a world where the democratic superpower is resentful, consumed and distracted, averting wars is far harder. That is one reason why a recent rise in tension in the Taiwan Strait is causing alarm. Few expect an imminent Chinese invasion. But America’s commitment to the defence of Taiwan cannot be guaranteed.
9 Oct. 2020: Will we ever know the true toll that the coronavirus pandemic has taken on the globe? We have the tally provided by Johns Hopkins, but there is no way we can truly know how accurate the numbers are. This is especially the case in countries in which the numbers are manipulated to downplay the seriousness of the pandemic.
8 Oct. 2020: President Trump said he will not participate in the next presidential debate with Joe Biden after the commission said it will be held virtually. The Biden campaign rejected Trump's demand to delay the next two debates. Whereby the other news in the US was that thirteen people were charged Thursday in an alleged domestic terrorism plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, federal and state officials announced.
3 Oct. 2020: President Trump was taken to Walter Reed hospital out of caution after testing positive for Covid-19. At least seven people, including two U.S. senators, who had attended Saturday’s Rose Garden ceremony announcing Amy Coney Barrett as President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee have since tested positive for the coronavirus. The White House on Saturday created a startling amount of confusion on the timing of President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis and the status of his health through conflicting statements, injecting an extraordinary degree of uncertainty into the nation’s understanding of the president’s condition and who may have been exposed to the deadly virus.
2 Oct. 2020: The last quarter of 2020 furthermore will be among others a waiting game -- like for example waiting for the results of the U.S. election in November, waiting on economic numbers, and waiting to see how the COVID-19 crisis plays out.
1 Oct. 2020: The United Kingdom and Canada have imposed travel bans and asset freezes on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, his son, and other senior officials while French President Emmanuel Macron called for a "peaceful transition" in the country after he met the exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in Lithuania on Tuesday. President Macron also visited a military base with Lithuania's president on Tuesday:
30 Sept. 2020: An Armenian soldier fires artillery during fighting with Azerbaijan’s forces this while a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down an Armenian warplane as fighting intensified near the long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region and fears grew of an outbreak of a new, full-scale war between Armenia and Azerbaijan:
29 Sept. 2020:
26 Sept. 2020: With or without a vaccine, the coronavirus will remain part of life well into next year. Alas as I show in the article, some governments (including America’s and Britain’s) have been botching the job. Terrible as illness, death, and disruption are in rich countries, COVID-19 is costing poor ones even more. Why governments get COVID-19 wrong.
25 Sept. 2020:
21 Sept. 2020: A sense of history has always been crucial to Freemasonry. But as we have seen all too often, the Masons have squeezed their history into rosy identity narratives. Freemasonry’s past is as chequered as a Lodge floor. Hence in part one, we saw how Hitler toned down his initial anti-masonic rhetoric in order to focus primarily on his Jewish conspiracy theory whereby in Catholic Spain Fascists were less restrained. In this third part, now we come to our present era with among others Stephen Knight claims about a Masonic conspiracy, activities like those of the Ndrangheta, when as recently as four weeks ago $193m in assets were seized, Dan Brown's masonic musings in The Lost Symbol, including the role of Freemasonry in British India and the little, researched influence on Indian Nationalism. Major Case Study: Investigating Freemasonry today.
19 Sept. 2020: Having highlighted Nazi-Germany we next move on to Spain where there was a belief, shared by all the different forces on the Nationalist side, that a conspiratorial Masonic influence permeated the Republic so thoroughly that almost anyone could be an instrument of the Lodges. An intriguing part of this history as we will see is a spy network known as APIS, which transmitted dozens of fake Masonic documents. In fact, one can safely say that APIS was the espionage equivalent of the great Taxil hoax of the late nineteenth century. Major Case Study: The war against Freemasons in Spain.
17 Sept. 2020: Having published an extensive five-part study of Russian Freemasonry we now like to revisit our earlier topic of Freemasonry during the fascist era. Nazi Policy on Masons became unequivocal after the Night of the Long Knives – the savage purge of the SA and other political enemies. Thereafter, the SS assumed control of the Masonic Question. And in the spring of 1935, the former Masonic organizations were told to dissolve themselves completely or be forced to do so. Yet we also will see how and why Hitler toned down his initial anti-masonic rhetoric. Major Case Study: Freemasonry during the Nazi state.
10 Sept. 2020: Two Myanmar soldiers have admitted on video to the mass killing and rape of Rohingya Muslims in 2017. The video confessions of the two deserters were filmed by a rebel group fighting the Myanmar military and have been deemed credible by a human rights group. If the confessions are legitimate, they would represent the first admissions by members of Myanmar's military that a campaign of violence against the minority ethnic group took place in the country's western Rakhine State. The two soldiers are believed to now be in the Hague at the International Criminal Court where an investigation into the Rohingya crisis is underway. As for now, there is no obvious end to the ongoing tragedy that faces the Muslim Rohingya communities of western Myanmar. Yet, with two important international legal cases underway at the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, there are now important opportunities to maintain pressure on Myanmar’s government. Myanmar’s current government – a fusion of militarist, democratic, ethnic-nationalist, and conservative interests – has consistently sought to downplay the seriousness of the situation. This attitude, and the fraught, but politically effective, nexus between Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) and the military, has done much to encourage a culture of impunity among military and civilian decision-makers. Nevertheless, with crucial national elections scheduled for November 2020, and an economy battered by the global COVID-19 shutdown, Myanmar faces a confluence of grave challenges. Under these conditions, key decision-makers in Naypyitaw may hope that international scrutiny of violence against the Rohingya will fade. Given these court actions, however, this is unlikely. Whatever sympathy we may have for Aung San Suu Kyi’s predicament, she will not recover her reputation. And she will forever face hard questions about her inability to prevent, and, more importantly, refusal to condemn, ethnic cleansing.
3 Sept. 2020: This week, Indian troops moved firmly and preemptively to stop China’s new attempt at land grabs. China’s People’s Liberation Army was getting active in areas south of the strategically important Pangong Lake. But Indians took the heights near Rezang La and Requin La, allowing them an unfettered view of a key garrison inside China. The operation was led by India’s covert Special Frontier Force, which is drawn mostly from Tibetans whose families escaped Chinese oppression.
29 August 2020: Unsealed Archives Give Fresh Clues to Pope Pius XII’s Response to the Holocaust Several documents that have emerged from the newly opened Vatican Archives on the papacy of Pius XII bolster accusations of indifference to Jewish suffering, but some scholars say the full picture has yet to emerge. Major Case Study: The Vatican archives and World War II.
25 August 2020: Replica of planet earth using NASA imagery goes on display in the Painted Hall of the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
21 August 2020: Minsk, Belarus:
17 August 2020: World Population Projections.
13 August 2020: People wash their clothes as Mount Sinabung in Indonesia spews ash:
10 August 2020: Tonight, Lebanon's government stepped down, less than a week after a massive explosion in Beirut killed more than 160 people and sparked days of violent protests.
8 August 2020: Beirut explosion: Angry protesters take to streets
7 August 2020: Today the World Health Organization has warned against “vaccine nationalism”, cautioning richer countries that if they keep treatments to themselves they cannot expect to remain safe if poor nations remain exposed. It is no secret that Scientists fear that the current pandemic could lead to a geopolitical fight over vaccines. And that ‘vaccine nationalism’ threatens global plan to distribute COVID-19 shots fairly. But there are also other approaches. Vaccine Nationalism and its alternatives.
29 May 2020: While initially it was expected that Beijing would send troops into Hong Kong which in fact later was confirmed that this was the plan, it does not come as a surprise China's parliament has backed a new security law for Hong Kong which would make it a crime to undermine Beijing's authority in the territory. There is a new brand of diplomacy taking hold in Beijing and its chief architects have a suitably fierce nickname to match their aggressive style, they are the wolf warriors. China’s move however also has implications far beyond Hong Kong. China's larger geostrategic game.
1 June 2020: As recently once more explained in The Yogasūtra of Patañjali: A New Introduction to the Buddhist Roots of the Yoga System by Pradeep P. Gokhale (29 May 2020) much of what is said about yoga is misleading. It is neither five thousand years old, as is commonly claimed, nor does it mean union, at least not exclusively. In perhaps the most famous text, as Gokhale details, the aim is separation, isolating consciousness from everything else. As for the popularization of Yoga in the West, this in turn was influenced by the notion of occultism and modern physical culture. The re-invention of Yoga.
2 June 2020: Invoking an 1807 law threatening military to take control throughout the USA President Trump next posed with a bible in front of a church:
4 June 2020: On 28 May 2020 Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, and others paid tributes to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who popularized the term Hindutva. Today exemplified by Modi Savarkar is loved by the Hindu right with centrists and Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists, in India, not to mention Kashmir, having a different opinion. Major Case Study: The Hindu right in context.
5 June 2020: In an interesting twist today reporting came in that three men were arrested Saturday on the way to a protest in downtown Las Vegas after filling gas cans at a parking lot and making Molotov cocktails in glass bottles. An informant stated that the “idea behind the explosion was to hopefully create civil unrest and rioting" whereby the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Wednesday said they self-identified as part of a movement, which U.S. prosecutors said in the document is to signify coming civil war and/or fall of civilization. White Supremacists as a growing menace.
8 June 2020: Because I soon will be involved with a number of travels and upcoming presentations one earlier subject that I like to bring to a degree of completion is the Wandering Bishop subject at the end of a discussion about the mimic Order of St John that I hoped to come back to that at a later point. From tribulations of the Old Catholic Church to an alleged order of St.John.
9 June 2020: Dickens on Westminster Abbey:
10 June 2020: With protesters who have created an“Autonomous Zone” in the center of Seattle, A&E announcing today that itis stopping production of "Live PD", various mayors in the US that ban chokehold, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti who said today that the United States past few days have been traumatic. The keystone of a worldwide movement.
12 June 2020: Beijing fears second wave of coronavirus after spike shuts market:
13 June 2020: Atlanta police chief resigns after officer fatally shoots black man on Friday night:
17 June 2020: Worst India-China clash in decades: 20 Indian troops killed, see our updated article about the Ladakh fighting. The genesis of the current crisis has to do with India's revocation last year of the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir, and the splitting of the former Indian state into two territories.
20 June 2020: Yesterday a monument of Albert Pike was removed in Wahington D.C. The statue was erected by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and depicted Pike on a granite pedestal, which features the allegorical Goddess of Masonry, who holds the banner of the Scottish Rite. And while protesters accurately saw Pike as a senior officer in the Confederate Army, the US Congress at the time was satisfied with the Masons’ reassurance that Pike would be depicted as a civilian rather than as a soldier. But so one of the interesting questions here also is: What was the Scottish Rite to begin with?
21 June 2020: First day of summer (summer solstice) with the Fête de la musique in Paris today:
25 June 2020: Seventy years ago today, the North Korean People’s Army of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) swept south across the 38th parallel. This had divided the Korean peninsula as Japanese troops were driven out by the Allies at the end of the Second World War. On the 27e the US announced it would send troops that soon were to rule Pyongyang. But the US never declared war. Apart from the US fifteen other nations sent combat troops in aid of South Korea under the United Nations Command. Chinese troops intervened on the North Korean side. A war that for many however is still very much alive. Major Case Study: The Korean War in context.
29 June 2020:
People celebrate COVID Farewell on Prague's Charles Bridge:
1 July 2020: Filling the news cycle since 25 May has been the issue of racism in the US which soon also led the UK to re-examine its colonial history. A recent development came yesterday when the Belgian King gave in to a standing recommendation by the United Nations to apologize, by sending his 'regrets' to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (but stopped short of apologizing). Staying with the US, we delved into the surprisingly under-researched history of how modern slavery developed. Or when a Spanish-led invasion in 1526 brought enslaved Africans who together with American Indians rebelled and destroyed the Spanish capacity to sustain their would-be colony, in turn, made place for the English to establish a permanent settlement. Major Case Study: London, Madrid, and the creation of Washington, D.C.
7 July 2020: After a deadly clash with India, China today makes a new claim on the eastern border with Bhutan. Tenzing Lamsang, Editor of the Bhutanese newspaper in Thimphu typified the Chinese claims as a pressure tactic. China's new claim about the border with Bhutan.
9 July 2020: On 7 July 1898, the US annexed the Hawaiian Islands while deposing the last Hawaiian Monarch Queen Liliuokalani. This paved the way for the islands to become a territory (1900) and later a U.S. state (1959). Yet it deserves mentioning that the Hawaiian Kingdom was the first non-Western state to achieve full recognition as a co-equal of Western powers notably England France and Belgium. The Hawaiian kingdom’s nineteenth-century vision of a Polynesian confederation furthermore was a political project to create a Hawaiian-led entity encompassing Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, and Tonga. Rediscovering Hawaii's place in the pacific.
11 July 2020: Floodwaters are discharged at the Three Gorges Dam in China
12 July 2020: Voting underway in Poland:
13 July 2020: The sweeping new security law in Hong Kong has further eroded what little support there was in Taiwan for unifying with the mainland. If China makes Taiwan its next target, it would not be surprising. However, if Beijing takes recourse to similar measures in Taiwan, it would have serious geopolitical consequences and the implications would be far-reaching. After Hong Kong deterrence vs Taiwan?
14 July 2020: On July 14, 1789, Paris was in a state of alarm as crowds were storming the Bastille. Meanwhile, celebrations held in Paris today to commemorate the event’s 231st anniversary were firmly characterized by European history’s latest chapter, the coronavirus pandemic. “To all those involved in the fight against the pandemic, to all the caregivers who have saved so many lives since the start of the crisis: July 14 pays you homage,” read a message posted on the Elysée’s official Twitter account.
15 July 2020: Dr. Fauci on the cover of Style Magazine:
16 July 2020: As the reason for his currently bestselling book, Michael Shellenberger writes: Much of what people are being told about the environment, including the climate, is wrong, and we desperately need to get it right. I decided to write Apocalypse Never after getting fed up with the exaggeration, alarmism, and extremism that are the enemy of a positive, humanistic, and rational environmentalism. Apocalypse Never:
17 July 2020: A member of the expedition sent to Everest to find George Mallory's camera
18 July 2020: From Oxford University offers the best hope for the Covid-19 vaccine this year, or Coronavirus Vaccine developers rise after Dr. Fauci's comments (not to mention that the Russians tried to hack them) the new Moderna vaccine and a 'game-changing' coronavirus antibody test, Vaccine research is worth delving into. How the coronavirus pandemic will play out in the next few years.
A new forecast from Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington says the world’s population will peak at 9.7bn in 2064, well below the UN’s latest projections:
8 Jan. 2020: Assessment of what will be leading trends in 2020 including the US-China relations, Hong Kong, North Korea, Taiwan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Algeria, United Kingdom, Germany, European Union, Italy, Argentina, Venezuela, Russia and China, Ukraine and Russia, Russian Foreign Policy, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Indian Foreign Policy, South Africa, Ethiopia, The Sahel, Guinea, Sudan. Major Case Study: The outlook of the world in 2020.
9 Jan. 2020: The alert came to the White House shortly after 2pm Tuesday 8 January, a flash message from US spy agencies that officials sometimes call a "squawk". In the coming hours, it warned, an Iranian attack on American troops was almost certain. The warning sent Vice-President Mike Pence and Robert O'Brien, the White House national security adviser, to the basement of the West Wing, where aides were assembling in the Situation Room. The early warning provided by intelligence helps explain in part why the missiles exacted a negligible toll, destroying only evacuated aircraft hangars as they slammed into the desert sand in barren stretches of the base. No Americans or Iraqis were killed or wounded, and Trump, who indicated to advisers he would prefer to avoid further engagement, was relieved.
12 Jan. 2020: While Turkey had successfully deployed an army of high-priced lobbyists to stop the measure for years, on its fourth try, the US Senate voted on Thursday to recognize the Armenian genocide as a matter of American foreign policy, a move that was made over the objections of the Trump administration. So what really happened in Armenia.
14 Jan. 2020: Tomorrow 15 January it will be exactly 49 years ago when Charles Manson puts a nation on trial. Also keenly timed to the 50th anniversary of the series of murders is Quentin Tarantino’s celebrated new film, “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood,” where characters bump up against the Manson “family” of Charles and his followers and their legend. But contrary to popular belief while Manson’s cult arose out of San Francisco’s predatory hippie culture and ended in the shadow of Hollywood, the murders had nothing to do with the occult or were a countercultural revolt. Here is a primer that untangles the who, what, where, and why of the case.
15 Jan. 2020: As predicted by us on 8 Jan. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen won re-election by a historic landslide on Saturday, a decisive result widely seen as a rebuke to Beijing’s efforts to gain control over the island democracy. Taiwan was the center of propaganda from both sides. The CPC wanted to "liberate" Taiwan, while Kuomintang wanted to "recapture the mainland." And in a way, similar propaganda is still used by China today. Taiwan offering an alternative model of Chinese modernity is one that carries deep challenges, and often real threats to Beijing. And, through the immense importance of this region for the rest of the world, that is why this problem is not just a local, but a global one. Taiwan going forward.
16 Jan. 2020: Final part of our study about Palestine /Israel, the involvement of the KGB in the invention of Palestinians, the use of Jezus Christ as Palestinian, plus answers the question of what are potential solutions to the current problems going forward. A critical history of Palestine P.2.
17 Jan. 2020: In a major move that rattled the White House today European countries trigger a dispute mechanism in their nuclear deal with Iran. Thus they are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran. They also start a clock that the Europeans may not be able to control. What to Watch for.
19 Jan. 2020: What is the matter with the Julian calendar? For one 14 January, 2020 was/is January 1 in the Julian calendar. Used worldwide for over 16 centuries, some like for example, the Christian Eastern Orthodox Church. still use the Julian calendar to this day. Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran among them, still have not officially adopted the Gregorian calendar. India, Bangladesh, Israel, Myanmar, and a few other countries use various calendars alongside the Gregorian system, and still, others use a modified version of the Gregorian calendar, including Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Japan, North Korea, and China. So the second question is: What is the matter with the Gregorian calendar.
22 Jan. 2020: The history of the twentieth century, worldwide, was marked by the two world wars. The Russian Revolutions of 1917 were a consequence of the First World War, the Cold War of the Second. And as stated recently was a product of security concerns, Stalin’s character and mishaps in diplomacy. But one question still remains: Major Case Study: Was the Cold War inevitable?
24 Jan. 2020: It is known that modern colonialism began when Spain’s and Portugal’s profits in Asia and the Americas encouraged other European states to support rival ventures of trade, private conquest, and privateering, with the individual efforts culminating in the Dutch and British East India Companies. Yet without the Mongols, the plague might not have reached western Europe. Britain would then have had no new draperies and perhaps even no Industrial Revolution either. The counterfactual view that explains colonialism.
25 Jan. 2020: People wearing masks as they pray at Wong Tai Sin temple on the first day of the Lunar New Year of the Rat in Hong Kong.
26 Jan. 2020:
30 Jan. 2020: While it might soon reach the capital cities of all 'regions' there are some 'places' in China where the coronavirus will not reach... But having already spread to other parts of the world in the short term, the virus will hit the world economy. We will also cover the "yellow peril" backlash. Following what will happen with the virus in the world going forward:
31 Jan. 2020: Israel postpones its move to annex parts of West Bank. In reality, the plan's promises are nonstarters for the Palestinians as well as for some Israelis, and they amount to the United States pushing both sides toward a one-state solution by prolonging the current status quo.
Grand Place in Brussels is lit up in union jack colors to say goodbye to the UK:
1 Febr. 2020: As we have seen in part one, the huge sums of money showered on fighting in Europe gave military leaders the flexibility to buy new weapons and battleships and try out new tactics, fortifications, and methods of supply. In the process, they learned from their mistakes and improved their technologies. And because European countries were small and geographically close, they could easily learn from their rivals’ errors and copy their improvements. As for the ultimate cause behind the European conquest of the world, it was not frequent war or physical geography: The economics of colonialism part two.
2 Febr. 2020: Nguyên Phúc Vietnam
3 Febr. 2020: America and Iran, Iran and Israel, Saudis and Houthis, Sunnis and Shiites, the ruler of Oman shuttled between them all. Because of its earlier history as an Indian Ocean empire, Oman has an unusually diverse population, including large numbers of Baluchis, South Asians, and Swahili-speaking East Africans, as well as Arabs. With Sultan Qaboos being replaced by its new ruler Haitham bin Tariq Al Said new challenges appear with the Saudis and the Emiratis not to mention President Trump we analyze what is at stake. Major Case Study: Charting the future of Oman.
4 Febr. 2020: Sri Lanka's 72nd Independence Day celebrations in Colombo:
Update 5 Febr. 2020: Ultimately, the breadth of the impact depends on how far the virus spreads beyond its current location:
6 Febr. 2020: 10th annual Sharjah light festival:
8 Febr. 2020: The third day of celebrations in honor of the patron saint of Catania, Italy:
Update 8 Febr. 2020: Today, Saturday a march by a white nationalist group Patriot Front took place in Washington D.C. The group shouted “Reclaim America” and other slogans in line with my earlier article about the great replacement conspiracy theory.
9 Febr. 2020: Between 1492 and 1914, Europeans conquered 84 percent of the globe, establishing colonies and spreading their influence across every inhabited continent. This was not inevitable. In fact, for decades, historians, social scientists, and biologists had wondered: Why and how did Europe rise to the top, even when societies in Asia and the Middle East were far more advanced? This sai one should also ad that for example Portugal was simply never convinced that the Safavid empire or Ming China or the Indian kingdoms were primitive societies - and that shaped its outlook as Europe entered its years of Enlightenment, revolution and industrialization. The economics of colonialism part three.
Map shows the remaining parts of the British Empire as of 2020:
Bushfires (as seen in Australia) can create their own clouds and storms today:
10 Febr. 2020: The current situation confirms our earlier assessment here. It is clear that it is on the way to be a pandemic. A vaccine is one to one and a half year away.
12 Febr. 2020: Buddhist monks chanting during a religious memorial service held to commemorate the victims of a mass shooting at a shopping mall:
13 Febr. 2020: As an addition to what we recently covered here, it is worth to remind ourselves of Svalbard, a remote Arctic archipelago that has been back in the news of late, and not only because of the islands is the subject of a nine-day, ‘slow TV’ documentary featured this month by the Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. Norway, which administers Svalbard under the terms of the Spitsbergen/Svalbard Treaty, (a document which observed its hundredth anniversary on 9 February this year), is feeling a diplomatic chill from Russia over the regulation of the islands. This comes at a time when relations between Moscow and Oslo have become more difficult as both governments are seeking to improve their security situation in the Arctic. But is it Spitsbergen or Svalbard? The Answer Includes both Politics and History. The Svalbard/Spitsbergen Saga.
14 Febr. 2020: People standing along the Elbe River across from the historic Dresden city center link hands to create a human chain in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Allied firebombing of Dresden. This while German president throws cold water on nationalist myth (referring to the Alternative for Germany party AfD) by stating it was important to recall who had started the devastating conflict.
Manila, Philippines Brides, and grooms attend a mass wedding ceremony in celebration of Valentine’s Day:
Update 14 Febr. 2020: While China reports 5,000 new coronavirus cases, Hun Sen yesterday looking like the man of the hour after letting rejected cruise ship dock in Cambodia.
15 Febr. 2020: Residents in Reykjavík (Iceland) have been asked to remain indoors. With storm Dennis now moving into the UK where experts warn to prepare for worst floods of the year, 70mph winds and 140mm of rain forecast in some areas Chaos expected for trains, roads, and airports:
Update 15 Febr. 2020: With Freemasonry quite well known and contrary to the US still growing in England, following an earlier £2million donation in the UK fire brigade trucks and emergency vehicles now show freemasons' symbol:
16 Febr. 2020: Following as a first-ever in English history of Russian Freemasonry showing among others how in eighteenth-century Russia, Freemasonry was inseparably intertwined with a crash course of Westernization. Major Case Study: The History of Russian Freemasonry Unveiled.
17 Febr. 2020: Russia, Participants in a religious procession to the Kazan Cathedral on International Orthodox Youth Day:
18 Febr. 2020: With some important centennials coming up in 2020 like (already in the course of 2019 used in the rhetoric by Prime Minister Viktor Orban) the Treaty of Trianon on 4 June 2020 (which among others provided for an autonomous Kurdistan) the Treaty of Sèvres on 10 August 2020 new complex patterns and alliances were formed (many of them in the Middle East) who found themselves at each other’s throats as they struggled with competing claims and expectations. Not to mention that President Erdoğan seeks revisions in the Treaty of Lausanne by 2023 due to what he claims to be secret articles signed by Turkish and British diplomats at a Swiss lakefront resort almost a century ago. Major Case Study: Beyond the Treaty of Versailles.
French map from the early 1900s shows the population by ethnicity inside the Austrian Hungarian Empire:
21 Febr. 2020: Vienna opera ball Febr. 2020 seen from above:
22 Febr. 2020: São Paulo, Brazil, float during a carnival parade:
23 Febr. 2020: On 8 to 10 January the Theater for the New City presented a major play depicting four students at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa embarking on a research project that takes them into the repository of 19th-century Hawaiian archival materials. Delving into the archives, they are shown to interrogate repressed histories of the Hawaiian archipelago. Honolulu (including Waikiki) is loved by people all over as one of the most multicultural in the world. Following having seen the play, and doing in retrospect our own research evidence shows that the Kingdom of Hawaii was the first non-Western state to achieve full recognition as a co-equal of Western powers. Technologically at the cutting edge of modernity but at the same time grounded in tradition and identity, the Hawaiian kingdom’s nineteenth-century vision of a Polynesian confederation furthermore was a political project to create a Hawaiian-led entity encompassing Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, and Tonga, that could both defend the kingdoms of Polynesia from imperial control and be recognized as a Polynesian power, much like the Hawaiian kingdom had already achieved for itself. Rediscovering Hawaii's place in the pacific.
27 Febr. 2020:
29 Febr. 2020: Coal Mining in Lijiang China:
1 March 2020: Russian Maslenitsa Folk Festival greets the spring by symbolically burning a bridge:
2 March 2020: Last week in New Delhi people walked past charred vehicles in a riot-affected area following clashes between people demonstrating for and against a new citizenship law. The question now is if the communal violence that killed at least 45 people, mostly Muslims, in India’s capital last week could spread to the rest of the country. What is really happening in India?
4 March 2020: The Rwandan genocide is widely acknowledged to have been one of the biggest modern genocides, as many sources pointed to the sheer scale of the death toll as evidence for a systematic, organized plan to eliminate the victims. Yet are also those who spread disinformation and denial. An early example of this was the 2004 popular movie "Hotel Rwanda" which was based on myth and outright lies.Yet this kind of problem is alive and well in 2020.Not to mention the actuality that the French Court is soon to rule on Habyarimana assassination by the upcoming 4 July 2020. Major Case Study: Rwanda revisited today.
Update 4 March 2020: Mona Lisa’s smile restored: Around midday today the Louvre reopens after virus fears.
5 March 2020: India: A Muslim girl practices 'Vovinam' for the upcoming Women's Day in Hyderabad
6 March 2020: As we detailed in our own initial 2003-4 case study about the Rwanda Genocide is that France faced charges that it supported the Hutu leadership before and even during the massacres. Today's consequence of excessive government secrecy is the opportunity it afforded the génocidaires. An information vacuum gave them free rein to spread lies and disinformation with a view to denying their crime. They deceived the Western press, promoting lies faster than the facts could debunk them. Major Case Study: Rwanda revisited part two.
9 March 2020: Holi is observed in India at the end of the winter season on the last full moon of the lunar month.
10 March 2020: A visitor on open-deck observatory giving 360-degree views of New York’s skyline:
11 March 2020: The flame for the Tokyo Olympics has been lit at the birthplace of the ancient games in a pared-down ceremony because of the coronavirus:
12 March 2020: US President cancels all flights from the EU except the UK even the president of Canada has to go into quarantine because his wife came back from the UK flight likely affected with the virus, in fact, Covid-19 is spreading rapidly in America while the country does not look ready at all. Thus Wall Street suffers worst rout since Black Monday as virus response eludes Washington, Belgium not only closes schools but also bars, and restaurants. Why Covid-19 is killing globalization as we know it.
14 March 2020: A man walks across the deserted Hradčanské Square in front of the closed Prague Castle.
16 March 2020: When Steve Green paid millions of dollars from his family fortune for 16 fragments of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls, it seemed the perfect addition to their new Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. Then this weekend, at a conference in Washington, scrambled by the coronavirus pandemic, experts released a 200-page report revealing how the forgeries fooled scholars and buyers on the antiquities market. Hence it also is good to retrace who and what Jesus Christ really was. Major Case Study: Jesus Christ and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
17 March 2020: Graph on the left indicates that young people spread Coronavirus (COVID-19) most, whereas the graph on the right indicates that given the US lags 11 days behind Italy, therefore Italy could possibly be used as a window into what could next happen in the USA:
18 March 2020: A traffic jam on the Causeway as Malaysians rush to enter Singapore hours before a travel ban enforcement began: Why Planet earth is shutting down.
19 March 2020: India's PM Narendra Modi's govt again advises Ayurveda homeopathy for COVID-19 Trick or treatment: The political and religious trajectory of Ayurveda.
20 March 2020: Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand were all invited, allowing the United States to influence developments by proxy. Second, the United States is not the only entity that seeks to harness ASEAN's efforts for its own designs. The country that has been most successful at this is China , which has now engaged ASEAN on everything from security talks to free trade negotiations. Major Case Study: From hot to Cold War: Asia's WWII.
21 March 2020: Contemporary Japan faces a thorny series of difficulties, most of which are disturbingly similar to (the by us earlier described) Japan’s late-nineteenth-century concerns. What Japan cares about are in two regions the Western Hemisphere and Southeast Asia, with only one itty-bitty problem, Japans dealing with China. Major Case Study: Asia after China.
22 March 2020: Aging population. The chart shows 65+ year-olds as a share of the working-age population now and in 2050. South Korea is aging at an insane pace. In Japan, every worker will have to finance 3/4 of a retiree. Tech is crucial to finance the demographic shift.
23 March 2020: Flights out of Zurich Switzerland...
24 March 2020:
26 March 2020: The mammal dwelling at the highest altitude in the world, this yellow-rumped leaf-eared mouse was caught by a researcher on the summit of a 22,110-foot volcano, straddling Chile and Argentina where and temperatures can reach minus 75 degrees Fahrenheit:
8 April 2020: Tens of thousands of Europeans who were stranded abroad have been brought home. Here a graphic of countries that have been cooperating:
9 April 2020: While the pandemic has been raging through the world one cannot avoid noticing also the economic impact. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the world into a recession. For 2020 it will be worse than the global financial crisis. The economic damage is mounting across all countries, tracking the sharp rise in new infections and containment measures put in place by governments. The impact of Coronavirus.
12 April 2020: Opera singer Andrea Bocelli getting ready to sing today:
14 April 2020: The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, commonly known as the Knights Hospitaller, the Knights of Malta, or the Order of Saint John, was a medieval and early modern Catholic military order. But due to involvements, a former student of mine reported to me, decided to research there are also a large amount of fake (self-invented) Orders of Saint John. Whereby in addition, now some documents have been sent to us referring to a more criminal type Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John. The Bruno Burzi Order.
15 April 2020: While the Coronavirus has been ravaging the UK it is refreshing to see the bluebells blooming today:
16 April 2020: A condition of the post–World War I settlement forced Marmara and the Turkish Straits open to international traffic. Not only had land-based global trade between Asia and Europe evaporated because of the better logistics of deep water transport but now the Turks couldn’t even charge duties on the regional trade passing through the Bosporus and Dardanelles, even though all that trade sailed through downtown Istanbul. Turkey in context today.
Above the old city of Constantinople
17 April 2020:
18 April 2020: The past few days saw new fighting in Arakan, whereby today I like to revisit my earlier comment that Myanmar’s inability to become a functioning national entity is the fact that the country, with its present borders, is a colonial creation bringing together peoples and ethnic groups with little in common, and even centuries of conflicts with the Burman kings that predate British rule. And declassified records from British archives reveal that the origins also of the current plight of the Rohingya can be traced to their participation in World War II, notably the communal violence that broke out between the Muslim Rohingya and the Buddhist Rakhine communities during and after the war. Major Case Study: The consequences of the Arakan Campaign.
20 April 2020: While it is more than a decade ago when we last added to our section about Asia Religions the section that to date continues to attract particular attention is our covering of Daoist/Taoist internal alchemy. And while in Chinese Daoism, perhaps the best-known alchemist, who tried to combine Confucian ethics with the occult doctrines of Daoism is Ge Hong (born 283, Tanyang, China, died 343, we next will highlight his famous Inner Chapters, which changed the landscape of Daoism with the creation of a corpus of writings said to descend from one of the highest Heavens, and not created by human sages or immortals, as Ge Hong might have wished. Major Case Study: From Waidan (External Alchemy) to Neidan (Internal Alchemy).
21 April 2020: Oil has been a panacea for all sorts of inefficient, compromised, and in some cases evil regimes for decades. Huge demand in the West and Northeast Asia allowed a raft of previously insignificant or morally reprehensible leaders and societal situations to effectively print dollars out of the ground and count the industrialized world like a hungry customer. Not anymore. But before anyone cheers, it’s worth remembering that things will get a lot uglier before they have any hope of improving. The collapse of Oil today.
22 April 2020:
23 April 2020: Even as some leaders exploit the pandemic, their inability to deal with prevalent suffering will act against the myth that they and their regimes are impregnable. In countries where families are hungry, where baton-happy police enforce lockdowns and where cronies’ pickings from the abuse of office dwindle along with the economy, that may eventually cause some regimes to lose control. For the time being, though, the traffic is in the other direction. How strongman leaders exploit the coronavirus crisis.
24 April 2020: Mecca during Ramadan but empty today:
25 April 2020: With the many publications during 2014, a new discussion has ensued about who and what started the First World War of which the consequences are very much present today. Having embarked on a detailed investigation, we now present a ten-part investigation with new answers that help us understand why so many historians got it wrong. Major Case Study: Revisiting the Origins of the First World War.
27 April 2020: The German defense minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (center), today answers media questions in front of an Antonov An-225 Mriya cargo plane during a press event. The plane brought 8m face masks from China to Germany:
29 April 2020: We look at how the Chinese navy could potentially gain access to the strategic Korea Strait. That, in turn, would leave Japan isolated in Northeast Asia, facing a Chinese-dominated Korean Peninsula and with little choice but to dramatically increase its military budget, perhaps including the nuclear option. Tokyo would also put enormous pressure on Washington to maintain a credible military capability in the region. The news from N.Korea.
1 May 2020: We have covered Turkey in context and how it will be the economic and military heavyweight of its region. And that what Japan cares about is in two regions the Western Hemisphere and Southeast Asia, with only one itty-bitty problem, Japans dealing with China. We now, will ad an overview that also places the USA in its context. How the end of an age is not the same as the end of history.
2 May 2020: Future earth plate motions towards Pangea Proxima:
3 May 2020: Having extensively covered the making of the Middle East we add to this what happened during the little researched San Remo conference the hidden background of Laurence of Arabia's involvement in the post-WWI order, the brief existence of an independent Syria led by the Hashemite Faisal who next became King of Iraq while his brother became King of Jordan, with the Kurds resisting the British while concerns that the Turks might try to retake Mosul. Making of the Middle East's hidden history Part One.
5 May 2020: Following the rebellion sparked by the Hussein-McMahon correspondence; the Sykes-Picot agreement; and memoranda such as the Balfour Declaration the British (closely followed by the French) in 1918 became the first to be influential in the Middle East. Making of the Middle East's hidden history Part Two.
6 May 2020: As of Monday Vienna has become the first airport in the world that started offering to passengers the possibility to undergo molecular-biological COVID-19 testing directly on-site at the airport.
7 May 2020: The Thai Ministry of Public Health today told the media that medical authorities had made progress in developing a vaccine for the COVID-19 after laboratory trials of a prototype proved successful.
9 May 2020: Russian President Vladimir Putin held a watered-down celebration of the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany today. In a televised address, the Russian leader made no mention of the coronavirus that shelved a planned 75th-anniversary parade:
10 May 2020: While China and U.S. signal harmony on trade during its Friday meeting, the chaotic nature of national and global responses to the pandemic stands as a warning of what could come on an even broader scale. This includes an internal Chinese report warns Beijing faces Tiananmen-like global backlash over the virus with also the US that is likely to emerge from this crisis significantly diminished. The fall out from the current crises.
12 May 2020: The following is as per 11 May on hand of data from the John Hopkins University:
13 May 2020: In March a British newspaper came out with an article titled " REVEALED: The scientific PROOF that shows reincarnation is REAL. Whereby on 20 April the BBC came out with a program showing it to be a religious belief with as an example the differing views in Buddhist, Hindu, and Sikh traditions. Yet little talked about there is also a very influential pseudo-scientific Western tradition. In fact, several polls carried out in North America and Europe show that the professed belief in reincarnation is widespread. Finding Reincarnation.
15 May 2020: Researched by us, Chinese records on Daqin 大秦 i. e. Great Qin (synonym of Roman Empire in Chinese records) including Western sources provided details about Roman contact with China. Were Han China and Imperial Rome at the time were the largest and most prosperous empires, there were major differences in the state-systems that China and Rome developed to manage their empires. China’s wars against the Xiongnu, known as the Huns, who were a constant threat to the country’s northern frontier throughout this period, led to the Chinese exploration and conquest of much of Central Asia. It also led to the end of the Roman Empire.
16 May 2020: Preparing for the opening of the Uffizi galleries on 18 May:
17 May 2020: Félicien Kabuga, one of the most wanted suspects of the Rwandan genocide, has been arrested near Paris. Whereby also others like Kabuga who had fled abroad and were implicated in the genocide were trying to protect themselves and were paying bank staff to get rid of certain records. Rwanda Redux.
18 May 2020: The open system of trade that had dominated the world economy for decades had been damaged by the financial crash and the Sino-American trade war. Now it is reeling from its third body-blow in a dozen years as lockdowns have sealed borders and disrupted commerce. Is this the end of Globalization?
19 May 2020: Germany and France Propose Bailout for Europe: The German decision broke with decades of opposition to collective European debt. But whatever happens with the Franco-German proposal, COVID-19 will force Europe to face its debt demons.