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Beltway Insider: Trump/Saudi Sanctions; Khashoggi Ambushed; Brexit Redux; China Builds A Bridge; Crimea Erupts; Paul Allen

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President Donald Trump, since the news Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had Washington Post journalist Jamel Khashoggi murdered, has skirted a hardline position reserving his usual assertive and uncompromising stance for mild rebukes while the world demands justice.

According to Gallup, President Trump job approval, over the past week, decreased by two percentage points to 41% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President decreased by two percentage points to 51%.

President Addresses Possible Saudi Sanctions

President Donald Trump, like President George W. Bush before him, has always had a soft spot for the oil rich Saudi government with both Republican Presidents allowing leeway for lethal actions the Saudi's supported against US allies and targets.

Like a petulant child who acts irrationally and often before thinking through the action, the Saudi's expect their extreme wealth, to surpass the stain of actions or the tarnish of allegations with any uncertainty, reservation or doubt to shelter them. There is an expectation of privilege.

"Well, it'll have to be very severe," the usually long winded president said when asked about any possible sanctions against the largest middle eastern nation.

As long as the US remains dependent on foreign oil, and currently the US imports more than three thousand barrel per day from OPEC, of which Saudi Arabia is the leader, the United States is in a stranglehold and essentially has no choice except to back down and tread ever so lightly or risk an OPEC strike, or per barrel increase.

The Crown Prince's refusal to take responsibility for the ambush and murder of Washington Post journalist, Jamel Khashoggi is just another example of his expectation of tolerance.

Saudi's Provide an Ever Evolving Scenario on Washington Post Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Over the last week, the Saudi government has provided two differing versions of the ambush of Washington Post journalist Jamel Khashoggi each indicating the dissident columnist, who had been a long standing critic of Saudi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who will inherit the position of King upon the death of his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and of the sitting US President Donald Trump, entered the Saudi embassy in Turkey and was killed within minutes.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has finally spoke on the murder, indicting through Saudi Foreign Minster Adel Al-Jubeir, said in the Saudi Gazette, "that the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Salman is determined to hold account those responsible in the case of regarding the last journalist Jamal Khashoggi."

Sanctions, Spin and Damage Control

With the Saudi government and Royal Family attempting global damage control, the King, who has always been a steady force in his nation and the leaders of the world has apparently taken the lead on this situation.

While President Trump tap dances his way around sanctions, the Global Business Community has taken decisive action.

Over the past week a surprising number of US companies have withdrawn from proposed or pledged deals as the fall out over the murder of Jamel Khashoggi continues to reverberate through the global business community.

The upcoming Davos in the Desert conference, hosted by the Crown Prince, has taken a significant hit with major media withdrawing attendance and refusing to send or allow journalist to attend.

Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic, is "suspending his directorships of two tourism projects and is suspending talks on a 1billion dollar investment in the country."

Ernest Moniz, former energy secretary under President Obama, is suspending his involvement advising Saudi Arabia on a $500 billion smart city project.

Hollywood agency Endeavor Content is reportedly pulling out of a $400 million investment deal with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund (The Hollywood Reporter).

BGR Group, a lobbying firm, is no longer working for Saudi Arabia, according to Jeffrey Birnbaum, president of BGR's public relations division, (The Daily Beast).

A complete and updated list of CEO's, Media, Entertainment and Business leaders that have withdrawn, stopped, slowed or revisited deals or business ventures in the wake of the murder of Jamel Khashoggi can be seen here.


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Britons Finally Takes to the Streets Demanding Second Brexit Vote

After two years of research, meetings, determinations, filings, dates and plans, Britons are apparently understanding, in actuality, what a British Exit from the EU will do to the individual citizens. And they aren't liking it.

Rumor has it the term "Brexit" was the most googled search on the evening of June 23, 2016, after the news announced by a slim majority, 53.4% to 46.6%, Britons had voted to leave the European Union of which they had been a member since 1973.

Just two short years later, Britons have again taken to the streets demanding a second exit vote. The march, sponsored by the EU was surprisingly well-attended, without any indecisiveness that has been very present since the historic vote. The people understand, at least in part, the divorce will be costly.

"Organisers said about 700,000 people took part in the march, which would make it the largest in Britain since a demonstration against the Iraq war in 2003," reported the Huff Post.

The negotiation process, as they say, isn't going well, with Prime Minister Theresa May unable to secure suitable concessions and "a divorce deal."

China Builds A Bridge

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HKZMB), the world's largest over the sea bridge will open Wednesday, October 24, 2018, seven years after construction began, shortening the usual four hour drive to a 30 minute one way commute.

The architectural marvel, which is beautifully designed, spans 55Km over the Pearl River Delta, connecting the Chinese cities of Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau, and the 66million people who live within the Greater Bay Area, which is also known as the Guangdong-Hong-Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, to within a 30 minute commute.

The bridge, in actuality, consists of three cable stayed bridges and one undersea tunnel. The cable stayed bridge, for those not familiar with bridge safety, appear to be an cables secured from the top of two towers attached to the structure in an inverted or upside down "V" design. Many bridges recognizable by sight are suspension bridges, with cables running vertically from the top to the bottom.

Built by three governments in China, the bridge crossing is 35.6 in total crossing length. The bridge, above sea, section is 22.9km and the undersea tunnel is 6.7km. Artificial islands to allow for transition from bridge to tunnel sections, ventilation shafts and emergency vehicles and emergency stations where constructed at the end of each tunnel.

The HKZMB is stunning. Built to a 3/3 or six lane expressway, to put into prospective, for anyone who has traveled into Hong Kong international airport and sat in congested traffic for hours, now as the Hong Kong international airport sits on the western end of the bridge/tunnel international travelers looking to stay outside the region are 30 minutes from what is considered the countryside.

The bridge also connects the 66million along the Pearl River Delta to all the tourism activities each province has to offer. Hong Kong with world famous, shopping, dining and nightlife, Macau a gambling mecca with revenue more than five times that of Las Vegas, and Zhuhai, a family friendly province with theme parks, golf courses and islands along with duty free shopping.

In the world of manmade wonders the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is one and should be experienced.

Crimea Erupts in Violence; School Shooting Kills 20; Dozens Injured

A school shooting in Kerch Polytechnic College, in the port city of Crimea, Russia, which began with what has been called an exploding cannister, ended with a massacre as witnesses tell of a single shooter picking off victims "like they were dogs."

President Vladimir Putin said the attack was a "tragic event" and expressed condolences to the victims' relatives.

Citizens of Crimea have begun the process of burying their dead after the deadly attack Wednesday that killed 20 and wounded dozens. Russian officials have named student Vladislav Roslyakov as the lone gunman. Students and witnesses dispute this student, who they claim "was very poor and didn't have money for this type of weapons" was the shooter. It is said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot at the scene.

The scene, which is the same anywhere in the world, was described as chaos with "students jumping from the fourth floor, from the first floor, student and teachers jumping." Pictures and videos reported on the BBC.

News coverage of the Crimean Mass Shooting along with video surveillance of the 18 year old shooter seem to contradict the theory of more than one gunman, with pictures of a man strapped with a high powered automatic weapon.

Steve Rosenberg, a correspondent for BBC Russia posted a complete report on his Twitter feed which can be seen here.

The Russian papers also explain through graphic the timeline of the shooter. At 11:40am the lone student entered his university and began shooting. It is the deadliest shooting in the history of modern Russia. There have been five school shootings in Russia this past year.

The formally Ukrainian nation was annexed when Russia violated its territorial sovereignty after using the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as a façade for amassing troops, forcing citizens to vote on succession and declaring victory when the voters declared unilaterally to succeed from Ukraine.

California Water Deliver

President Trump has signed a memorandum with specific deadlines to combat the continuing drought in California. Within 40 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall develop a timeline for completing applicable environmental compliance requirements for projects identified under section 2(a)(i) of this memorandum.  Environmental compliance requirements shall be completed as expeditiously as possible, and in accordance with applicable law.

Biological Threats

President Trump also announced this week the plan crafted to identify the gaps in the 2016 biological threats and infection diseases either transmitted organically, released in attack, deliberately, or accidently.

"The Department of Health and Human Services released the United States Health Security National Action Plan (the Plan), which will help the United States Government prepare for and respond to public health emergencies.  Building off the strategic guidance of the National Security Strategy and the National Biodefense Strategy, this Plan describes the actions the United States Government will take to increase domestic preparedness to protect America's health, safety, and well-being," the president said. 

Paul Allen

Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, who had been battling non-lymphoma Hodgkin's cancer, died this week from complications arising from recent treatments after a long period of remission. He was 65.

Allen has been lauded by many over the days since his passing. His partner and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates, said, "When I think about Paul, I remember a passionate man who held his family and friends dear. I also remember a brilliant technologist and philanthropist who wanted to accomplish great things, and did. Paul deserved more time in life. He would have made the most of it. I will miss him tremendously." Bill Gates entire tribute to Paul Allen can be read here.

It seems unfair that a man who had so much, freely gave his wealth to organizations that will leave a lasting legacy, and contributed to society, who looked at time as it should be, precious, who knew how to have fun, and how to work, had vision, could see the technological advancements, to be stricken with an incurable disease. Why take those who do so much good?


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As it has been revealed since his passing, it wasn't non-lymphoma Hodgkin's that killed him even though he had recently told friends that the remission he enjoyed for a decade was over and the disease had returned. His death certificate list septic shock and lymphoma as the main causes of his death.

Allen, a multi-billionaire and the 44th wealthiest person in the world, also owned several sports franchises, including the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers and was part owner of the Seattle Sounders, a soccer league. He and his sister also owned Vulcan Productions, an award winning film and television production company.

Born in Seattle, Washington in 1953, he stayed in the city he loved and rebuilt it with the money he made from Microsoft Corporation, creating many of the tourist attractions including the Museum of Pop Culture dotting the skyline today.

For more information on President Donald Trump: www.whitehouse.gov

Sources: Whitehouse.gov, Wikipedia.com, Various

 

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