Thursday, June 21, 2018

South Sudan President And Rebel Leader Meet In Ethiopia To Resume Peace Talks



Al Jazeera: South Sudan rebel chief meets President Kiir in Ethiopia

Two South Sudanese leaders met for the first time since a peace deal broke down in 2016.

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar met Wednesday with President Salva Kiir in Addis Ababa - the first time in nearly two years - as part of talks to try to negotiate an end to a five-year civil war, Ethiopia's Prime Minister's chief of staff said on Twitter.

"The PM Abiy Ahmed hosted a private dinner to President Salva Kiir and Dr Rieck Machar together," Fitsum Arega said.

"Faced with the continued suffering in SouthSudan, Ethiopia simply can’t stand by. With more work, a peaceful future is possible," Arega added.

Read more ....

More News On south Sudan Peace Talks

South Sudan President Salva Kiir meets with rebel leader Riek Machar -- DW
Warring Leaders of South Sudan Meet for Peace Talks -- New York Times
South Sudan foes meet after two years -- AFP
Regional leaders renew South Sudan peace push -- AFP
More time needed to achieve peace, South Sudan rebels say -- Reuters
South Sudan’s civil war has raged for 5 years. Now the leaders of the two sides are meeting. -- VOX News
Inside South Sudan's civil war (Video) -- BBC

U.S. Commerce Secretary Issues Warning That The U.S. Must Create A 'More Painful' Environment In Trade

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross listens as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Cabinet Room about immigration at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Reuters: Ross says U.S. must create 'more painful' environment in trade: CNBC

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday the United States needs to make it harder for its trading partners to have high trade barriers in order to achieve President Donald Trump’s ultimate goal of lower barriers and a level playing field.

“What we have to do is create an environment where it’s more painful for these parties that have these huge trade barriers, both tariff and non-tariff, got to make it more painful for them to keep those barriers than to get rid of them,” he told CNBC.

“In the particular case of China, it’s compounded by their disrespect of intellectual property, the forced technology transfers, the cybersecurity breaches.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: No one is believing that the U.S. will make do on these threats .... Trudeau says he can't imagine Trump damaging U.S. by imposing auto tariffs (CTV). For the past year I have been telling everyone that they should NOT underestimate U.S. threats .... but everyone is still in denial.

China Issues Concerns That U.S. Workers Will Be Hurt In A Trade War (Update)

China's Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng attends a news conference at the commerce ministry in Beijing, China, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Reuters: Washington's 'capricious' trade actions will hurt U.S. workers, China warns

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s commerce ministry on Thursday accused the United States of being “capricious” over bilateral trade issues, and warned that the interests of U.S. workers and farmers ultimately will be hurt by Washington’s penchant for brandishing “big sticks”.

Previous trade negotiations with the United States were constructive, but Beijing has had to respond in a strong manner due to the U.S. tariff threats, commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said.

President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to hit $200 billion of Chinese imports with 10 percent tariffs if Beijing retaliates against his previous announcement to target $50 billion in imports. The United States has accused China of stealing U.S. intellectual property, a charge Beijing denies.

Washington’s accusations of forced tech transfers are a distortion of reality, and China is fully prepared to respond with “quantitative” and “qualitative” tools if the U.S. releases a new list of tariffs, Gao told a regular briefing in Beijing.

Read more ....

Previous Post: China Is Accusing The U.S. Of 'Being A Bully' On International Trade

WNU Editor: Memo to all American workers .... the Chinese government does not care about you.

Battle For Libyan Oil Ports Intensifies

Catastrophic damage at the Ras Lanuf terminal on Wednesday (Twitter/@NOC_Libya)

Middle East Eye: Battle for Libyan oil ports intensifies as Haftar forces strike back

After a week of fighting, forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar say they have retaken As Sidra oil port and and airstrip at Ras Lanuf

East Libyan forces said on Thursday they had rapidly retaken control of large areas of the closed oil ports of As Sidra and Ras Lanuf, which they retreated from a week ago in the face of an armed attack.

Local witnesses and military sources said forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar had retaken oil storage tanks and Ras Lanuf airstrip, and that As Sidra port was under military control as clashes continued and troops advanced west.

Read more ....

More News On The Battle For Libya's Oil Ports

Libya strongman's forces say key oil ports recaptured -- AFP
Haftar forces claim to have retaken key oil terminals in Libya -- Al Jazeera
East Libyan forces advance in bid to retake oil ports -- Times of Malta
Libya oil output down to 600,000-700,000 bpd, exports may be diverted: source -- Reuters
Libya Desperate To Get Stranded Oil To Market -- OilPrice.com

No Takers In Africa For The EU Plan To Open Migration Centers


The Guardian: EU admits no African country has agreed to host migration centre

Plan to prevent deaths at sea revealed as Italy cries foul over summit called to help Germany

The European Union’s most senior migration official has admitted that no north African country has yet agreed to host migrant screening centres to process refugee claims.

Details of an EU plan to prevent migrants drowning at sea emerged on Thursday after Italy criticised the agenda of an emergency summit for not offering enough to help it cope with arrivals.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration, said the EU wanted to “intensify cooperation” with Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Niger and Morocco, as he announced the intention to create a “regional disembarkation scheme”.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is another example to me on how stupid and clueless the people in the EU who handle immigration issues are when it comes to immigration. Of course no North African country is going to accept this EU offer to open migration centers, because they know that if they did they would be swamped very quickly by hundreds of thousands of migrants (if not more) from all-over Africa in a very short period of time.

This Is Why President Trump's Base Supports Him, And Why He Will Win The Next Election


WNU Editor: The above video is from yesterday, and it is President Trump delivering remarks at the National Federation of Independent Businesses 75th Anniversary Celebration. President Obama was a master at motivating his base in his speeches .... especially among progressives and minorities .... and it helped him win two Presidential election, especially since the Republicans could not muster an equivalent candidate. President Trump is the same with his base .... and just like what happened with the Republicans when President Obama was in power, I do not see anyone in the Democrat Party at this moment in time who can match President Trump's energy.

President Trump Signs Executive Order To Detain Migrant Family's Together. Uproar Resumes From Opponents



FOX News: Trump immigration order met with shrugs and new demands from Dems: 'This isn't over'

After demanding for days that President Trump end the separation of illegal immigrant families at the border, Democrats responded to his executive order stopping the practice with only new appeals -- drawing GOP accusations that they're more interested in using the issue as a political cudgel.

The president, rarely one to back down from a fight, signed the order Wednesday allowing children to stay with parents caught crossing the border illegally. The move followed national outrage over the impact of the Justice Department's “zero tolerance” policy referring all illegal border crossers for prosecution. Children were separated due to a 1997 order and related decisions that forbid them from being detained with adults for extended periods.

For a solid week, the administration was pilloried by Democrats, journalists, activists and even members of his own party.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Did President Trump caved .... Trump’s migrant policy: First blowback, then about-face (AP). The answer is no. Yesterday .... the media were screaming that children should not be separated from their parents. Today .... the media is screaming that the children who are now with their parents are detained together. As I mentioned yesterday, the objective among those who have been protesting the family separation issue were (and are not) interested in this issue .... after-all it has been the law for over 20 years, migrant children have been treated far worse just 4 years ago, and there was never any massive media outcry. Their priority is open-borders, catch-and-release, and no criminal charges to those who cross the border illegally. Is this a winning issue for the Democrats and their supporters who are pushing it .... definitely not. Here is an easy prediction .... this story will be dead after this weekend because it is not politically advantageous to those who have been pushing it.

Update: Even the AP is now acknowledging that President Trump's base is backing him .... Supporters of Trump steadfast despite immigration uproar (AP)

Update #2: Someone has just emailed me that President Trump's executive order will be thrown out by the courts this week. Yes .... I know .... that was the whole point. The media narrative for the entire week has been that this is Trump's policy .... it is not. It is the law .... a law that was signed when the Democrats were in power 20 years ago .... and it is only Congress that can change it now. The fun part now is on how will the media go back on what they have been claiming all week .... that this is President Trump's policy and fault. I say .... good luck on that.

Israeli Prime Minister’s Wife Charged With Misusing Public Funds To Pay For Her Restaurant Bills



The Guardian: Sara Netanyahu charged with fraud over catering allegations

Israeli PM’s wife accused of misusing public funds to buy in food from restaurants

Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israel’s prime minister, has been charged with fraud and breach of trust for allegedly using public funds to pay for restaurant meals to be delivered to the couple’s official residence.

The long-anticipated charges were announced by Israel’s justice ministry on Thursday. Benjamin Netanyahu is also under investigation.

Read more ....

More News On Sara Netanyahu BEing Charged With Misusing Public Funds To Pay For Her Restaurant Bills

Sara Netanyahu: Israeli PM's wife charged with fraud -- BBC
Israel PM Netanyahu's wife charged with $100,000 meal fraud -- AFP
Israeli PM’s wife charged with fraud, breach of trust -- AP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife charged with fraud -- DW
Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israeli leader, charged with fraud -- UPI
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's wife Sara charged with fraud -- Al Jazeera
Israeli PM’s wife Sara Netanyahu charged with fraud in ‘Residence Affair’ -- RT
Sara Netanyahu preceded by avarice of other first wives -- AP

World News Briefs -- June 21, 2018



Al Jazeera: Yemen rebels vow to fight on after Hudaida airport defeat

Rebel leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi called for reinforcements to repel the advance of Saudi-Emirati coalition forces.

Yemen's Houthi rebels have vowed to fight on after pro-government forces seized Hudaida airport from them on Wednesday, in a major step towards retaking the port city following a week-long battle.

Rebel leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi called for reinforcements to repel the advance of the Saudi and UAE-backed government forces, after ongoing fighting left nearly 350 people dead.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Army reinforcements roll into Yemen's embattled Hodeida.

Syrian Army steps up offensive in southwest - reports.

Syrian offensive displaces thousands in rebel-held Deraa. Syria war: Thousands flee fighting in south-west as troops mobilise.

U.N.: Syrian regime, rebels committed war crimes in Eastern Ghouta siege. Syria war: War crimes committed in Eastern Ghouta battle - UN.

Iraqi high court backs manual recount of election votes.

Turkey’s Erdogan seeks new term with greater powers.

Iran's Zarif: Donald Trump's behaviour 'erratic, dangerous'.

Israeli minister hints at 'large-scale military operation' in Gaza.

‘Occupied’ East Jerusalem: Prince William infuriates Israel with statement on royal visit.

ASIA

Ceasefire over, US-led coalition downplays Taliban attack that killed up to 30 Afghan soldiers.

State Department: Russia, Iran ‘hedging their bets’ to back Taliban.

North Korea sanctions to remain until denuclearization achieved: South Korea minister.

Two Koreas to discuss reunion of separated family members.

China to allow North Korea flights from Xi Jinping's ancestral province.

U.S. identifies North Korea missile test site it says Kim committed to destroy.

Japan to halt missile attack drills after Trump-Kim summit.

AFRICA

East Libyan forces launch military operation to retake key oil ports. Haftar forces claim to have retaken key oil terminals in Libya.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir meets with rebel leader Riek Machar.

Médecins Sans Frontières staff working in Africa accused of using sex workers.

Voting machines raise worries in Congo ahead of elections.

I.Coast govt calls for evacuation from flood zones in Abidjan.

Algeria and Iraq shut down internet to prevent exam cheating.

South Africa announces drastic healthcare shakeup.

EUROPE

EU to begin counter trade tariffs against US on Friday. EU hits back with tariffs on $3.2B worth of U.S. goods.

EU admits no African country has agreed to host migration centre.

Putin to meet with South Korea's Moon as World Cup diplomacy continues.

Visegrad countries urge stronger EU border defense.

Italy warns EU partners on migrant deal ahead of summit.

Poland warns Merkel and Macron's proposed eurozone budget 'could be the END of the EU'.

Official: Polish leader’s ill health not sparking infighting.

AMERICAS

Trump caves after negative images, pressure from family.

Trump signs executive order on family separation but says "zero tolerance" to stay.

Migrant children: US battle moves to Congress.

US opioid crisis sending thousands of children into foster care.

Trump to welcome Jordan’s king to White House.

PM Trudeau says cannabis will be legal in Canada on Oct. 17. Trudeau says pot will be legal as of Oct. 17, 2018.

Nicaragua violence: Families call for release of detainees.

Venezuela deploys soldiers to markets to check prices.

Cuba slightly loosens controls on state media.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Brexit row: GCHQ chief stresses UK's role in foiling European terror plots.

Al-Shabab militant group getting lucky, not stronger in Somalia.

Revealed: Canada uses massive US anti-terrorist database at borders.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

EU firms worried about China's tough business environment, trade tensions.

Saudi Arabia proposes hiking oil output by 1 million barrels a day ahead of OPEC meeting.

Burger King 'sorry' for offering burgers to women who get pregnant to World Cup players.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- June 21, 2018

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Daily Mail: May 'privately admitted Britain is no longer a top-tier military force' as row over defence spending escalates

* Theresa May challenged Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson over the military
* Report said she questioned him on whether Britain should rethink its capabilities
* Intervention said to have caused 'shockwaves' inside the Ministry of Defence

Theresa May questioned Britain's role as a top tier military power in private talks with her Defence Secretary and military chiefs, it was claimed today.

The Prime Minister challenged Gavin Williamson to just why Britain needed to stay as a 'tier one' power holding nuclear weapons and with Army, Navy and Air Force assets it can deploy anywhere in the world.

She told Mr Williamson that he needed to rethink the capabilities needed to be a modern military force and focus more on Britain's ability to tackle any cyber warfare threats, including from Russia.

Defence spending is set to rise dramatically up the agenda with a looming Nato summit and Donald Trump's first visit to Britain as Prime Minister.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- June 21, 2018

PM May asked defense minister to justify UK status as 'tier one' military power: FT -- Reuters

How cuts to Britain's military mean we no longer rule the waves, with fleet halved since 1990 -- Telegraph

‘Shock waves’ at MoD after PM questions UK’s role as ‘tier-one’ military power -- RT

Russia’s ‘Terminator’ advanced combat vehicles to get smart shells -- TASS

Russia to launch construction of nuclear-powered guided missile destroyer -- TASS

Russian submarines are a growing threat, says Europe’s top Navy commander -- Stars and Stripes

Why China's New Cambodia Military Boost Matters -- The Diplomat

Philippines' Duterte approves $5.6-billion military upgrade -- Reuters

Despite US Senate Vote, Turkey Expects F-35 Jets in 2020 – Foreign Minister -- Sputnik

Italian navy to procure Black Shark advanced torpedo -- UPI

Here’s what the Czech military wants to buy with its record $4.5B modernization program -- Defense News

Merkel, Trump both agree the ailing German military needs a boost — so why isn’t it happening? -- Griff Witte, Toronto Star/The Washington Post

New U.S. Army headquarters to open next week in South Korea -- UPI

Senate bill raises prospect of joint U.S., Taiwan drills -- UPI

Here’s when the US Air Force will get its first KC-46 tanker -- Defense News

Air Force resumes B-1 bomber flight operations after safety concerns -- UPI

Mattis: Military will house immigrant children if asked -- The Hill

Mattis: Legislation needed to create 'space force' -- The Hill

Space Force will require ‘legislation and a lot of detail planning,’ says Mattis -- Defense News

Mattis 'not aware' of North Korea taking any steps to denuclearize -- The Hill

Experimental helicopter Raider cleared for full flight test program -- Defense News

Pentagon contracts for 'surge support' for MQ-9 Reaper drones -- UPI

Defense budget bill creates path for future network of military, commercial communications satellites -- Space News

US Military Report Warns Of Terrifying New Bioterrorism Threat -- IFL Science

Trump's Mar-a-Lago trips cost $20M in Coast Guard protection: report -- The Hill

You're not gonna believe where they found that missing Minot machine gun -- Air Force Times

What Is The Military Diet, And Why Is It Going Viral? -- Men's Health

Can You Think of Any Other Ways to Spend $716 Billion? -- Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Technological Prowess, Lethality, and the Civil-Military Divide -- Torey McMurdo and Christopher Hocking, War On The Rocks

The U.S. Navy Was Thinking Of Building Attack submarines With Drones In The 2000

Sub 2000, as seen in Undersea Warfare magazine. U.S. Navy

Popular Mechanics: Here Is the Advanced Attack Submarine the U.S. Navy Never Built

The submarine, never built, would have been smaller than other subs and a mothership to drones.

A previously unpublicized design for the U.S. Navy shows an advanced attack submarine that could operate unmanned undersea vehicles remotely and conduct “spy” missions on the seabed floor. The unnamed design was never built, but it could hint at the future direction of the U.S. submarine fleet.

The sub design was discovered by open source intelligence Twitter account Intellipus and published online by researcher and author H.I. Sutton, author of the Covert Shores submarine blog and World Submarines: Covert Shores Recognition Guide. A mockup of the design was featured in a 2000 magazine article written by Rear Admiral Malcolm Fages. At time of publication Adm. Fages was the U.S. Navy's director of the Submarine Warfare Division.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This design was conceptualized around the year 2000 .... when aviation drones were first being explored and developed by the U.S. Air Force. My guess is that the US Navy wanted something similar .... but in the end decided to back away (probably because of the high costs involved).

China Is Accusing The U.S. Of 'Being A Bully' On International Trade

A U.S. flag is seen during a welcoming ceremony in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

WNU Editor: It looks like the Chinese are changing their tone on their trade war with the U.S. .... from issuing threats of retaliation to now crying to the world that the U.S. is being a bully .... China says US swinging ‘big stick’ of unfair trade tactics (AP). I guess they did the math, and realized that their trade surpluses with the U.S. are not only at risk, but U.S. companies are now seriously contemplating pulling back from investing in China and establishing joint ventures. If I was advising the Chinese government right now, I would be saying them that their threats are not working, and their policy of delay-delay-and delay have reached its limit with this U.S. administration. That while it may have worked in the past .... it is not now, and that a new approach is needed. The problem that I can easily predict is that the Chinese are very stubborn when it comes to changing their economic policy on a dime, and when it is going to hurt them .... doubly so. President Xi needs to intervene, and to use the authority of his office to push for a compromise with the U.S.. But I suspect that when he finally does that, the $200 billion tariff threat that President Trump made a few days ago .... will have already been implemented.

The Longest Day Of The Year Is Today


WNU Editor: For some reason I have always loved this day .... the longest day of the year.

American Manufacturers Are All Optimistic For The Future


WNU Editor: I have been following the U.S. economy for decades, and I have never seen numbers like this. Another sign on how U.S. tariffs (or the threat of tariffs) coupled with deregulation and lower corporate taxes is changing the economic landscape for both the U.S., and U.S. interests abroad.

A Trump - Putin Summit In July



CNN: Trump and Putin plan to meet in mid-July

(CNN)President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are planning to meet around the time of Trump's trip to the UK and the NATO summit in mid-July, according to two diplomatic sources familiar with the matter.

One diplomatic official told CNN that the Trump administration wants the meeting in Washington but Moscow has insisted on neutral ground. The official added that Vienna is the likely location.

No official announcements have been made.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that White House national security adviser John Bolton plans to visit Moscow. The timing of the visit wasn't immediately clear.

In a conference call with reporters, Peskov said the Kremlin was aware of Bolton's plans.
"As far as we know, such a trip will take place," Peskov said. "So far that's all we can say."

Read more ....

WNU editor: I am surprised that this is going to happen now .... my prediction for such a meeting was for later this year or after the U.S. Congressional elections for a Putin - Trump face-to-face meeting to occur. My guess is that there are now issues on the table that cannot be delayed, and that they need to be discussed now. The U.S. suggested Washington, but the Kremlin wants to meet on neutral ground. If I was in the Kremlin, I would advise President Putin to go to Washington. It is long overdue, and the optics would drive the main stream media crazy. For now, it is just some members in NATO who are raising alarms .... Trump's Putin Summit: NATO Fears President's Meeting Will Undermine Alliance (Newsweek), while the head of NATO says there is no need to be concerned .... Nato chief says Trump-Putin meeting would not contradict policy (The Guardian).

More News On A Trump - Putin Summit In July

Trump Plans July Meeting With Vladimir Putin -- Bloomberg
Trump likely to meet with Putin in July: report -- The Hill
Vienna under consideration as site for next Trump-Putin meeting: sources -- Reuters
U.S. security chief Bolton to visit Moscow for talks on Trump, Putin meeting: Interfax -- Reuters
Trump May Meet Putin During July Trip to Europe – Reports -- Sputnik

A Group of U.S. Senators Will Travel And Celebrate Independence Day In Moscow Later This Month

© REUTERS / Natalia Kolesnikova/Pool

NYDaily News: American senators to visit Russia at end of month: report

A group of American senators will travel to Russia at the end of the month and celebrate Independence Day in Moscow, according to a report.

The delegation will arrive in St. Petersburg on June 30 and spend time there before heading to the country’s capital on July 3 and 4th for meetings with lawmakers, Russian news agency Interfax reported, citing an unnamed official.

A group of Republican senators had been planning a visit to the country after an invitation from U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman, the Washington Post reported last week.

Those reportedly part of the group included Richard Shelby of Alabama, John Neely Kennedy of Louisiana and North Dakota’s John Hoeven, though those members have not announced any plans.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  "Celebrate Independence Day in Moscow" .... let that sink in.

Iranian-Backed Hezbollah Brigades And Iraqi Police Clash In Baghdad

Long War Journal: Iraqi Police, Hezbollah Brigades clash in Baghdad

Earlier today, Iraqi Police and members of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah Brigades clashed in the streets of Baghdad. At least three people were wounded in the shootout.

The attacks began after Iraqi police officers on patrol pulled over a vehicle in eastern Baghdad. Shortly thereafter, militants belonging to the Hezbollah Brigades arrived on the scene and began shooting at the police officers. At least three people, two police officers and one militant, were wounded in the gunfight.

Not long after the firefight, Iraqi police surrounded the headquarters of Hezbollah Brigades in Baghdad. According to AFP, the siege of the headquarters ended after the police arrested a militia member allegedly responsible for the strike. Rudaw has also reported that an influential Iraqi MP has also gone to the Hezbollah Brigades headquarters to help deconflict the situation.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Another bad sign on how sectarian divisions and foreign-backed militias can easily destabilize Iraq.

Tweets For Today