"I spent thirty-three years in the Marines, most of my time being a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism." -- General Smedley Butler, former US Marine Corps Commandant,1935

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The conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East have not distracted Washington from flexing its military muscles in the Asia-Pacific. Through one drill after another, the US is coercing regional countries into taking its side, further intensifying regional conflicts and transforming the Asia-Pacific into a more dangerous place.

A volcano has erupted in Japan sending a huge ash cloud 16,000ft into the air and launching boulders nearly a mile, with residents warned they may have to evacuate.

Sakurajima, a stratovolcano in the south of the country, began spewing lava on Wednesday evening, with the eruption continuing into today.

Israel has degraded Hamas’s combat capabilities but is not yet close to achieving its war aim of eliminating the Palestinian terror organization, US intelligence officials told members of Congress this week, according to a New York Times report on Thursday.