Wednesday, September 26, 2018

When Will U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Go?

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 28, 2018. (Joshua Roberts / Bloomberg)

Chicago Tribune/Washington Post: Rosenstein's departure was imminent, but he may survive until after the midterms, officials say

Rod Rosenstein's departure seemed so certain this week that his boss' chief of staff told colleagues that he had been tapped by the White House to take over as second-in-command of the Justice Department, while another official would supervise the special counsel probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, people familiar with the matter said.

But by Monday afternoon, the succession plan had been scrapped. Rosenstein, who told the White House he was willing to quit if President Donald Trump wouldn't disparage him, would remain the deputy attorney general in advance of a high-stakes meeting on Thursday to discuss the future of his employment. The other officials, too, would go back to work, facing the prospect that in just days they could be leading the department through a historic crisis.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: In any other previous administration he would have been fired within 24 hours. But this the Trump administration, and there are a lot of politics in play right now. So what is my take? It looks like U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be around for a little longer, but his relationship with the President has been destroyed, and he will be gone in the near future.

U.S. Admits That They Are Powerless To Fight Drone Attacks On The Homeland

Customs and Border Protection officers monitor the U.S.-Mexico border with drones. CBS News

CBS: U.S. powerless to fight drone attacks, top official says

The Department of Homeland Security is pressing Congress for more powers to stop malicious drones that could threaten the United States. Intelligence officials are increasingly concerned about the use of drones by terrorists and drug cartels. CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues got rare access to some drones in action at a Customs and Border Protection facility in Tucson, Arizona.

CBP officers fly drones along the Mexican border looking for people attempting to cross illegally, but also for something else: drones used by drug cartels or terrorist organizations looking to surveil – or even worse – harm the U.S.

Pegues walked part of the border with DHS' top intelligence official David Glawe and Customs and Border Patrol Chief Rodolfo Karisch.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Another example where technology is racing ahead of government action.

Tweet For Today






Russia Successfully Test-Fires It's Newest Kh-35U Anti-Ship Missiles



Defense Blog: Russia test-fired newest Kh-35U anti-ship missiles during recent drills

The Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) successfully test-fired a Kh-35U anti-ship missile (ASM) from its Su-34 long-range strike aircraft at a naval test range of the Pacific fleet, according to the country’s Ministry of Defense.

“As part of the implementation of planned combat missions at the Pacific Fleet’s naval test range, Su-34 multifunctional fighter-bombers carried out practical launches of the newest guided anti-ship missiles Kh-35U,” the statement said.

It is noted that the launches were carried out in a tricky targets situation, imitating a group of ships.

“All in all eight launches were carried out, all missiles successfully hit targets,” the Ministry of Defense added.

Read more ....

Update #1: Russia releases video showing what its newest Kh-35U anti-ship missile can do to a vessel (Business Insider)
Update #2: Vladimir Putin tests terrifying new anti-ship missiles by blowing up a fleet of warships in training exercise (The SUN)

WNU Editor: Ouch!!!!

Picture Of The Day

Interpreters work in booths in the General Assembly hall. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Inside the U.N. General Assembly (Reuters).

President Trump and Chief Of Staff John Kelly Joke On How The Venezuelan Military Reacted To The Suspected Drone Attack On President Maduro



Business Insider: Trump and John Kelly joked about the suspected drone attack on Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro

* US-led military action to address the situation in Venezuela has been floated several times by US officials.
* At the UN General Assembly, President Donald Trump was asked about what threat Venezuela poses.
* In his response, Trump joked about an August attack on Venezuela's president, when two exploding drones sent assembled troops scattering.

Since President Donald Trump first mentioned potential US military action in response to ongoing crises in Venezuela, the idea of US-led intervention has been raised by policymakers in the US and around the region.

The subject returned to the fore in recent weeks, as several officials, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, stressed that no option should be ruled out.

During a meeting with Colombian President Ivan Duque at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump found an opportunity to make light of the tension.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The soldiers in the parade may have ran when the drone exploded, but the Venezuelan security forces around President Maduro acted very quickly and professionally.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

President Trump: Venezuelan Regime Could Be Toppled Very Quickly By It's Military



Miami Herald: Trump seems to encourage Venezuela military coup amid fresh sanctions

President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to encourage a military coup in Venezuela, saying the “horrible” socialist government represented a threat to its own citizens.

Speaking in New York ahead of a bilateral meeting with Colombian President Iván Duque, Trump questioned the bravery of Venezuela’s military but suggested they could easily overthrow President Nicolás Maduro amid an economic and humanitarian crisis.

“It’s a regime that frankly could be toppled very quickly by the military if the military decides to do that,” Trump said.

He also brought up an August 4 incident where a drone exploded at a military rally in Caracas, as Maduro was speaking, sending troops scattering.

Read more ....

Update: Trump: Venezuelan socialist president easily toppled (AP)

WNU Editor: The Venezuelan military will not launch a coup d'etat against the Maduro government .... because they are an integral part of the Maduro government. As for what the U.S. may do, the Pentagon says there are no plans .... U.S. military official: no plans for Venezuela military intervention (Reuters).

U.S. And Mexico Moving To Sign A New NAFTA Deal Without Canada



AFP: US, Mexico ready to sign new NAFTA without Canada: US official

The United States and Mexico could move ahead without Canada in a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Tuesday, according to media reports.

Momentum appeared to have stalled last week in efforts to bridge differences between Washington and Ottawa in negotiations to rewrite NAFTA, which began last year.

Washington and Mexico City last month announced agreement on a new trade pact, but a separate track of intensive talks with Canada have so far failed to produce results.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Canada miscalculated the impact that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador would have on the NAFTA negotiations after he had won the Mexican Presidential election. President-elect Obrador wanted a quick deal so that he could focus on Mexico's domestic issues instead of arguing with President Trump .... Canada thought the opposite, that he would continue the strategy of the previous Mexican government to work with Canada in negotiating with the U.S.. Unfortunately for Canada .... the Mexicans decided to cut a quick deal with President Trump, thereby putting Canada in the poor negotiating position that they find themselves in today. The hope now in Ottawa is that the U.S. Congress will block this U.S. - Mexico bilateral trade agreement, and tell the White House to negotiate with both Mexico and Canada together. But I do not see this happening. Congress is going to green-light this U.S. - Mexico agreement, and Canada will either need to compromise or walk away. My sources tell me that Canada is going to walk away, and the Liberal government under Prime Minister Trudeau will use this failure to strike a deal with President Trump as an issue in next year's federal election. I think this is a mistake. The White House will start to impose tariffs, and in conjunction with other measures it will seriously damage investor confidence in the Canadian economy and Canadian exports. And going to the electorate saying that not having a deal is better than having a bad deal is not going to resonate to those who are being hurt. Bottom line .... the U.S. economy will have a hit, but in Canada the impact will be far more serous and longer lasting.

Update: This analysis is spot on .... How Trump split Mexico and Canada in NAFTA talks (Dave Graham, Reuters).

In Ukraine Those Who Live By The Sword Are Dying By It

Alexander Zakharchenko was killed in a bombing at a cafe in Donetsk. Reuters

Giovanni Pigni, Asia Times: In breakaway Ukraine, those who live by the sword are dying by it

Could an anonymous cull of Donbass’ violently charismatic separatists precede a peaceful solution?

Yet another leader in Ukraine’s breakaway Donbass region has met a kinetic end: The charismatic and hardline leader of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, was assassinated by an outdoor bomb blast on August 31.

Reaction to his death was predictably mixed. Thousands of supporters gathered in the city streets of Donetsk to honor the memory of a man they considered a “Russian Spring” folk hero. At the same time, in Kiev, Ukrainian nationalists celebrated the death of a wanted terrorist and pro-Russian separatist.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  The Ukraine rebel leadership may be getting killed all the time, but there are always many who are ready to step up and take their place.

President Trump And Iran President Rouhani Exchange Threats And Insults On The U.N. Stage



Reuters: Trump, Iran's Rouhani exchange threats, insults on U.N.'s world stage

U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani exchanged taunts at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday with Trump vowing more sanctions against Tehran and Rouhani suggesting his American counterpart suffers from a “weakness of intellect.”

Trump used his annual address to the United Nations to attack Iran’s “corrupt dictatorship,” praise last year’s bogeyman North Korea and lay down a defiant message that he will reject globalism and protect American interests.

But much of his 35-minute address was aimed squarely at Iran, which the United States accuses of harboring nuclear ambitions and fomenting instability in the Middle East through its support for militant groups in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

Read more ....

More News On President Trump And Iranian President Rouhani Exchange Threats And Insults On The U.N. Stage

Iran says US wants to overthrow govt, rejects two-way talks -- AP
Trump accused of trying to 'topple' Iran leader in UN war of words -- AFP
Rouhani says Trump seeking Iran leadership 'overthrow' -- AFP
Iran: US sanctions are ‘economic terrorism’ -- The Hill
US lashes out at Iran as world leaders gather at UN -- AP
Trump takes aim at Iran in defiant UN speech -- The Hill
Trump won't meet Rouhani at U.N., calls him 'absolutely lovely man' -- Politico

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 25, 2018

Carlos Barria / Reuters

David A. Graham, The Atlantic: The World Just Laughed at Donald Trump

The president has often warned that the United States has become the butt of global jokes, and with a silly boast on Tuesday, he demonstrated it.

Everyone’s got their own recurring nightmare—naked in class, teeth falling out, whatever. For Donald Trump, that nightmare is that the world is laughing at the United States, and on Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly, the nightmare came true.

The president’s public remarks are littered with warnings that America is, or might be, the butt of the globe’s jokes.

“The world is laughing at us,” Trump said on the stump in October 2016. “We don’t win at the borders. We don’t win with taking care of our vets. We don’t win with anything. We don’t win anymore. We will start winning again like you’ve never seen before.” He’s kept it up since entering office. “At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?” he asked in June 2017. “The world is laughing at us. The world is laughing at the stupidity of what we have done with immigration,” he said in August.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 25, 2018

Rejecting globalism, Trump lays out vision for UN based on ‘patriotism’ -- Christopher Scott, Asia Times

The Russian Bear Has Returned to the Mideast to Threaten Israel -- Mor Altshuler, Haaretz

Russian-Israeli Conflict in the Skies of Syria -- Paul R. Pillar, National Interest

What next for Russian-Israeli relations? -- Yury Barmin, Al Jazeera

Syria: Everyone else’s battleground, in both war and peace -- Angela Charlton, AP

Iranians divided on whether their leaders should talk to Trump -- Saeid Jafari, Al-Monitor

The UAE Will Shape the Future of Yemen -- Adam Baron, The Atlantic

The Second Coming of Kim Jong Un -- Patrick M. Cronin, National Interest

Japan will have to adapt to protracted U.S.-China economic tensions -- Ali Wyne, Kyodo News

Beijing loses a battle in the Maldives -- but the fight for influence goes on -- Nikkei Asian Review

The questions Facebook still needs to answer in Myanmar -- Kayleigh Long, Asia Times

Russia pension protests: Alexei Navalny's re-arrest could be 'key moment' -- Roman Goncharenko, DW

Trump and Macron: Realism replaces unlikely bromance -- Angela Charlton, AP

'A smell of death': Mexico's truck of corpses highlights drug war crisis -- David Agren, The Guardian

Tequila and U.S.-Mexican Security Relations -- Michael L. Burgoyne and Raúl Benítez Manaut, War On The Rocks

The White House Cyber Strategy: Words Must Be Backed by Action -- Christopher Painter, RCD

World News Briefs -- September 25, 2018 (Evenining Edition)



Daily Mail: UN LAUGHS at Trump: President says 'I didn't expect that reaction' after giggles greeted his boasts about a year of success before he delivers impassioned speech in favor of patriotism over globalization

* Donald Trump took credit at the United Nations today for increases in Western defense spending that have eased financial burden on the United States
* Also highlighted warmed relations with North Korea that could lead to nuclear non-proliferation pact in a keynote speech to the body's general assembly
* World leaders laughed in Trump's face as he opened a braggadocios address
* Trump claimed: 'In less than two years my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country'
* Said that the days of America being taken advantage of are over
* 'We will no longer tolerate such abuse,' Trump said, pledging that he would no longer allow America to be 'cheated and our wealth to be plundered'

Donald Trump's opening remarks at the United Nations today drew laughter from world leaders bracing for a braggadocios address.

Trump claimed that in remarks that were written for him that 'in less than two years my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.'

As if reading the speech for the first time, he chimed in with a, 'so true,' leading to laughter from international leaders.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

US lashes out at Iran as world leaders gather at UN.

Iran says US wants to overthrow govt, rejects two-way talks.

Hodeidah battle still in full swing as Yemen Army tries to push to port city center.

Saudi-UAE alliance to open humanitarian corridors in Yemen.

Russia upgrades Syria's defense system in blow to Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu warns Vladimir Putin against upgrading Syria's anti-aircraft defenses.

Israel to keep fighting Iran in Syria, coordinating with Russia: Netanyahu.

New Iran video threatens Israel, Gulf states with missile strikes and 'heavy punishment' following parade attack. Iran threatens Saudi Arabia after Iran parade attack.

Iran arrests 'separatists' behind deadly Ahvaz parade attack.

5 nations, EU dodge U.S. sanctions with system to trade with Iran.

Trump says there’s no plan to meet with ‘lovely’ Iran president.

World Bank warns Gaza economy is 'collapsing'.

Jordan king seeks urgent funding for Palestinian refugees.

Iraqi activist shot dead in tense southern city of Basra.

ASIA

China nixes US warship port visit, recalls admiral from US.

Seven Pakistani soldiers, nine militants dead in firefight, military says.

U.S. accuses Myanmar military of 'planned and coordinated' Rohingya atrocities.

President Trump strikes softer tone on North Korea at United Nations.

Afghan military officers 'go missing after training in US'.

Philippines senator Antonio Trillanes arrested after weeks holed up in Senate.

China reveals its new party line: We're trying to save the world from the US.

Beijing accuses Sweden of racism amid escalating diplomatic row.

AFRICA

Mbeki slams ANC over S.Africa land redistribution plan.

The Latest: Morocco navy fires on boat carrying migrants.

Ethiopia detains 1,200 after deadly Addis Ababa clashes.

WHO warns of 'perfect storm' in Congo Ebola outbreak.

Niger hit by unprecedented spate of child deaths: MSF.

Angola: Ex-president's son detained over $1.5 billion corruption case.

War-weary Mozambicans yearn to leave Malawi haven.

U.S. diplomat found dead in Madagascar, suspect in custody.

South Sudanese doctor wins prestigious UN prize for lifetime spent tending to refugees.

EUROPE

5 EU countries reach deal to end limbo of rescued migrants.

UK Labour opposition party vows to reject May’s Brexit deal.

Stefan Lofven: Sweden's parliament ousts prime minister.

Angela Merkel rejects UK Brexit proposal.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says she trusts President Trump.

Kremlin in shock as Russians reject hand-picked candidates for third week in a row.

High hopes for Germany's UN Security Council membership.

German Catholic Church reveals scale of sexual abuse.

Roman Abramovich posed threat to public security, Swiss police said.

AMERICAS

US, Mexico ready to sign new NAFTA without Canada: US official.

Trump challenges UN, boasting of America’s go-it-alone might.

The Latest: Trump’s UN speech draws blank stares, laughter.

Trump: Venezuelan socialist president easily toppled.

Donald Trump to meet with US Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein amid resignation reports.

Peru wants no military solution on Venezuela: president.

Bolsonaro could drag Brazil back into dictatorship, cultural legends warn.

Nicaragua issues arrest warrant for opposition leader.

Chile announces aid plan for indigenous Mapuche region.

Argentina's central bank boss Luis Caputo quits after three months.

Cosby in handcuffs: TV star gets 3 to 10 years for assault.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Iran says 'jihadist separatists' behind attack as probe points to IS.

Nearly 170 charged with forming 'Bahrain Hezbollah'.

Saudi Arabia accused of turning a blind eye to international terrorism financing by global watchdog.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Higher interest rates and oil prices send US stocks lower.

Oil prices hit four-year-high of $82 amid looming Iran sanctions.

China: U.S. holding 'knife' at Beijing's neck in trade war.

Barrick buys Randgold for $6B to form world's largest gold miner.

Iran Is Now Saying That 'Jihadist Separatists' Were Behind Attack On Military Parade



AFP: Iran says 'jihadist separatists' behind attack as probe points to ISPP

Iran on Tuesday identified the perpetrators of a deadly attack on a military parade as "jihadist separatists", announcing a series of arrests and appearing to tie the Islamic State group to the bloodshed.

The intelligence ministry published photos of the five men it said carried out the assault Saturday in the southwestern city of Ahvaz that killed 24 people including civilians.

"The five members of a terrorist squad affiliated to jihadist separatist groups supported by Arab reactionary countries were identified," the ministry said in a statement.

"The terrorists' hideout was found and 22 people involved (in the attack) were arrested," it said, adding that explosives were seized along with military and communications equipment.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Islamic State has already posted a video of who was responsible for this attack .... Islamic State video allegedly shows perpetrators of attack on Iranian military parade (Long War Journal).

Nicaragua Issues Arrest Warrant For Opposition Leader

Felix Maradiaga, director del Ieepp. LA PRENSA / Óscar Navarrete.

BBC: Nicaragua opposition activist Félix Maradiaga faces arrest

A judge in Nicaragua has issued an arrest warrant for opposition activist Felix Maradiaga, accusing him of having financed anti-government protests.

Hundreds of people have been killed since the wave of protests began in April.

Mr Maradiaga, who is believed to be outside Nicaragua, has denied any wrongdoing.

He also said that he believed it was his duty to continue the "civic struggle" against the government.

Read more ....

Update: Nicaragua issues arrest warrant for opposition leader (Reuters)

WNU Editor: Felix Maradiaga is out of the country. This is just one more move by the Ortega government to wipe out the opposition. Violence and protests are also flaring up again in Nicaragua .... At least one killed as protests rock Nicaragua; Ortega defiant (Reuters).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Says Israel Will Continue Operations In Syria Against Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to reporters at Ben Gurion Airport on September 25, 2018, before boarding a flight to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. (Avi Ohayun/GPO)

Reuters: Netanyahu says Israel will continue operations in Syria against Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday Israel would continue its military operations in Syria, after Russia announced it would supply an advanced anti-aircraft system to its Syrian ally.

“We will continue to act to prevent Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and we will continue the military coordination between the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) and the Russian army,” Netanyahu told reporters before boarding a flight to New York, where he will address the U.N. General Assembly.

Russia said on Monday it would supply an S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria in two weeks despite strong Israeli objections, a week after Moscow accused Israel of indirectly causing the downing of a Russian military jet in Syria.

Read more ....

More News On Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saying Israel Will Continue Operations In Syria Against Iran

Israel to keep fighting Iran in Syria, coordinating with Russia: Netanyahu -- AFP
Netanyahu: We’ll keep acting in Syria, and meet Russian officials to heal ties -- Times of Israel
Israel will continue attacking targets in Syria, but will keep coordinating with Russia -- RT
Benjamin Netanyahu warns Vladimir Putin against upgrading Syria's anti-aircraft defenses -- Washington Examiner
Netanyahu departs for US ahead of meeting with Trump -- Arutz Sheva

U.S. President Trump Addresses The United Nations



SCMP/Agencies: Donald Trump takes aim at China over ‘trade imbalance’ but hails progress on North Korea during UN address

Trump condemned Iran, which he claimed does ‘not respect their neighbours or borders or the sovereign rights of nations’

US President Donald Trump launched a veiled attack on China on matters of trade on Tuesday, insisting “the US will not be taken advantage of any longer” while addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

“We will no longer allow our workers to be victimised, our companies to be cheated, or our wealth to be plundered,” the president said, hitting out at the “trade imbalance” with China.

Trump said he has respect for Chinese President Xi Jinping, but that China’s practices could not be tolerated. The US and China have continued to spar over increasing tariffs.

Trump also hailed his administration’s “bold push for peace with North Korea”.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The main stream media is focusing on this .... Trump boasts of America’s might, draws headshakes at UN (AP). More here .... Trump touts his own achievements, and the U.N. laughs (Yahoo News).

More News On U.S. President Trump Addressing The United Nations

President Trump speaks at the UN: Live Updates -- CNN
UN General Assembly 2018: All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera
Vowing US first, Trump presses on Iran, trade at UN -- AFP
Trump lashes out at Iran, vows more sanctions -- AP
Trump criticizes Iran as 'corrupt dictatorship' in U.N. speech -- Reuters
Donald Trump talks US economy, sovereignty at UN summit -- DW
Trump praises North Korea's Kim but says sanctions must stay for now -- Reuters
At U.N., Trump hails Poland, slams Germany over Russian energy reliance -- Reuters
Trump boasts of America’s might, draws headshakes at UN -- AP
Trump touts his own achievements, and the U.N. laughs -- Yahoo News
After sanctions, Trump says situation in Venezuela unacceptable -- Reuters
World leaders laugh as Trump boasts of his achievements -- AP

Russia, China, And The EU Have Agreed To A New Financial Mechanism To Dodge Iran Sanctions



CNBC: Europe, Russia and China join forces with a new mechanism to dodge Iran sanctions

* European Union's foreign policy chief announced Monday that the bloc was creating a new payment mechanism to allow countries to transact with Iran while avoiding U.S. sanctions.
* Called the "special purpose vehicle" (SPV), this mechanism would aim to "assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran," according to a joint statement released by the remaining members of the Iran nuclear deal.
* The U.S. has the power to expand its sanctions to target the mechanism, putting the venture's feasibility into doubt.

In the latest sign of the growing divide between Washington and its allies, the European Union's foreign policy chief announced Monday that the bloc was creating a new payment mechanism to allow countries to transact with Iran while avoiding U.S. sanctions.

Called the "special purpose vehicle" (SPV), this mechanism would aim to "assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran," according to a joint statement released by the remaining members of the Iran nuclear deal — France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China.

Read more ....

More News On Russia, China, And The EU Agreeing To A New Financial Mechanism To Dodge Iran Sanctions

EU, Iran set financial "vehicle" to ease trade between them -- AP
EU announces mechanism to ease trade with Iran despite sanctions -- France 24
EU and Iran create 'special vehicle' for trade despite US sanctions -- DW
EU, Iran Vow To Keep Trying To Find Ways To Get Around U.S. Sanctions -- RFE
EU and Iran agree on new payment system to skirt US sanctions -- Al Jazeera
Five countries announce deal to defy Trump on oil trade with Iran -- Washington Examiner
EU to create special payment channels with Iran despite US sanctions – Mogherini -- RT

U.S. Imposes Sanctions On Venezuela's First Lady And Key Maduro Allies

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro walks with his wife Cilia Flores upon their arrival at the airport in Beijing, China September 13, 2018. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

Reuters: U.S. sanctions Venezuela first lady, key Maduro allies

The United States imposed new sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s wife and key allies including the vice president and defense minister, accusing them of plundering the country’s wealth and helping Maduro maintain his grip on power.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino were among the six people targeted, according to a statement on Tuesday from the U.S. Treasury Department. Three entities and an aircraft were also listed.

“The United States will continue to take concrete and forceful action against those who are involved in the destruction of democracy in Venezuela as well as those who are enriching themselves at the expense of the Venezuelan people” the Treasury Department wrote in a statement.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro has responded .... Venezuela's Maduro calls U.S. sanctions an honor, thanks Trump (Reuters).

More News On The U.S. Imposing Sanctions On Venezuela's First Lady And Key Maduro Allies

US puts sanctions on Venezuela first lady, other officials -- AP
US imposes sanctions on Venezuelan president's wife, inner circle -- AFP
US slaps sanctions on wife of Venezuelan President Maduro -- CNN
Treasury targets Maduro's wife, inner circle with financial sanctions -- The Hill
U.S. sanctions wife of Venezuelan President Maduro, other officials -- Miami Herald
Venezuela: U.S. Sanctions Target Presidential Allies -- Stratfor

China Demands The U.S. To Cancel Its US$330 Million Taiwan Arms Deal



SCMP: Beijing tells US to cancel US$330 million Taiwan arms deal

Proposed sale of aircraft parts further inflames tensions between China and US

Beijing protested to Washington on Tuesday and demanded it cancel a planned US$330 million arms sale to Taiwan, warning that bilateral cooperation would be affected if it went ahead with the deal.

The proposal announced by US defence officials on Monday comes as relations between Beijing and Washington are already strained.

Taiwan said the deal would help boost the self-ruled island’s defences, but Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing had lodged stern representations with the US about the plan.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am also wondering if the U.S. is about to reverse its 'One China Policy'. But with the  current U.S. - China trade war escalating, now is probably a good time to have that discussion and debate.

More News On China Demanding The U.S. Cancel Its US$330 Million Taiwan Arms Deal

China demands US cancel arms sale to Taiwan -- AP
U.S. approval of $330 million military sale to Taiwan draws China's ire -- Reuters
China warns against US fighter jet parts sale to Taiwan -- The Hill
Chinese anger grows as US agrees fresh arms sale to Taiwan -- CNBC
US irks China with proposed sale of military parts to Taiwan -- Straits Times

U.S. Has Approved A Military Sale To Taiwan Worth US$330 Million

Taiwan Air Force's F-16 fighter jets fly during the annual Han Kuang military exercise at an army base in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan on July 4, 2015. Reuters

Taiwan News: US approves military sale to Taiwan worth of US$330 million

The US said the proposed sale is to maintain Taiwan’s 'defensive and transport aerial fleet' without altering the military balance in the region

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Department of State has approved a possible military sale to Taiwan worth US$330 million, with items including spare parts for F-16 fighter jets and other military aircraft, announced the U.S. Department of Defense Monday (all times local).

The proposed sale includes spare parts for “the F-16, C-130, F-5, Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF), all other aircraft systems and subsystems, and other related elements of logistics and program support,” according to a statement released by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The sale is estimated to be valued at US$330 million (NT$10.2 billion).

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Has Approving A Military Sale To Taiwan Worth US$330 Million

US to sell Taiwan military gear worth $330 million -- DW
US approves $330m military sale to Taiwan, draws Chinese anger -- Al Jazeera
Washington approves S$450 million military sale to Taiwan, sparking protest from Beijing -- Today Online
US-Taiwan $330 million arms deal set to escalate trade war spat amid claims of 'a knife' to China’s neck -- Business Insider

World News Briefs -- September 25, 2018



BBC: Trump at UN: Iran 'sowing chaos, death, destruction'

US President Donald Trump has attacked the Iranian leadership, accusing it of sowing "chaos, death and destruction" across the Middle East.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York, he defended his decision to abandon the nuclear deal.

Mr Trump also boasted that his administration had accomplished "more than almost any" other in US history.

His words were greeted with laughter but he laughed back, saying: "Didn't expect that reaction."

The United States was stronger, richer and safer, he insisted.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Hodeidah battle still in full swing as Yemen Army tries to push to port city center.

Saudi-UAE alliance to open humanitarian corridors in Yemen.

Russia upgrades Syria's defense system in blow to Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu warns Vladimir Putin against upgrading Syria's anti-aircraft defenses.

Israel to keep fighting Iran in Syria, coordinating with Russia: Netanyahu.

New Iran video threatens Israel, Gulf states with missile strikes and 'heavy punishment' following parade attack. Iran threatens Saudi Arabia after Iran parade attack.

Iran arrests 'separatists' behind deadly Ahvaz parade attack.

5 nations, EU dodge U.S. sanctions with system to trade with Iran.

Trump says there’s no plan to meet with ‘lovely’ Iran president.

World Bank warns Gaza economy is 'collapsing'.

ASIA

Seven Pakistani soldiers, nine militants dead in firefight, military says.

U.S. accuses Myanmar military of 'planned and coordinated' Rohingya atrocities.

President Trump strikes softer tone on North Korea at United Nations.

Afghan military officers 'go missing after training in US'.

Philippines senator Antonio Trillanes arrested after weeks holed up in Senate.

China reveals its new party line: We're trying to save the world from the US.

Beijing accuses Sweden of racism amid escalating diplomatic row.

AFRICA

Ethiopia detains 1,200 after deadly Addis Ababa clashes.

WHO warns of 'perfect storm' in Congo Ebola outbreak.

Niger hit by unprecedented spate of child deaths: MSF.

Angola: Ex-president's son detained over $1.5 billion corruption case.

War-weary Mozambicans yearn to leave Malawi haven.

U.S. diplomat found dead in Madagascar, suspect in custody.

South Sudanese doctor wins prestigious UN prize for lifetime spent tending to refugees.

EUROPE

Stefan Lofven: Sweden's parliament ousts prime minister.

Angela Merkel rejects UK Brexit proposal.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says she trusts President Trump.

Kremlin in shock as Russians reject hand-picked candidates for third week in a row.

High hopes for Germany's UN Security Council membership.

German Catholic Church reveals scale of sexual abuse.

Roman Abramovich posed threat to public security, Swiss police said.

AMERICAS

The Latest: Trump’s UN speech draws blank stares, laughter.

Donald Trump to meet with US Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein amid resignation reports.

Peru wants no military solution on Venezuela: president.

Bolsonaro could drag Brazil back into dictatorship, cultural legends warn.

Nicaragua issues arrest warrant for opposition leader.

Chile announces aid plan for indigenous Mapuche region.

Argentina's central bank boss Luis Caputo quits after three months.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Iran says 'jihadist separatists' behind attack as probe points to IS.

Nearly 170 charged with forming 'Bahrain Hezbollah'.

Saudi Arabia accused of turning a blind eye to international terrorism financing by global watchdog.


ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Oil prices hit four-year-high of $82 amid looming Iran sanctions.

China: U.S. holding 'knife' at Beijing's neck in trade war.

Barrick buys Randgold for $6B to form world's largest gold miner.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 25, 2018

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis attends a news conference in Skopje, Macedonia September 17, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski)

Reuters: U.S.' Mattis looks for 'way ahead' after China scraps military talks

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday he was seeking a way ahead for military ties with China after Beijing postponed military talks in protest at last week’s U.S. decision to impose sanctions over China’s purchase of Russian weaponry.

Mattis traveled to China in June in an attempt to deepen military-to-military dialogue with Beijing, even as Sino-U.S. trade tensions climb and anxiety in Washington grows over China’s modernization of its armed forces and its increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 25, 2018

U.S. Defense Mattis Still Optimistic Despite China Scraping Military Talks -- Business Times

Mattis says US will look at possible base sites in Poland -- Stars and Stripes

Mattis to Iran: Don't Even Think About Taking Us On -- Military.com

Briefly: Mattis on 'same sheet of music' as Bolton on US troops Syria -- Al-Monitor

Pentagon Adjusts Tactics as Afghan Army Toll Rises: Mattis -- Military.com/AFP

Israel’s Military Is World-Class. But Is It Ready? -- Bloomberg

To succeed in modernizing, Indian Army needs to restructure at all levels -- Vijay Oberoi, Asia Times

Asahi poll: 63% of Okinawans oppose Abe’s U.S. military policy -- Asahi Shimbun

NATO's Stoltenberg to meet with Russians at UN amid tensions -- Stars and Stripes/AP

Germany looking to sell costly, rarely used drone to Canada -- AP

Ukraine and Russia Take Their Conflict to the Sea -- Stratfor

China blocks US Navy ship’s port visit to Hong Kong: report -- The Hill

US to sell Taiwan military gear worth $330 million -- DW

Pentagon fears losing race for 5G to China -- The Hill

Boeing wins $2.4B Air Force helicopter deal weeks after getting Navy drone contract -- Market Watch

Air Force awards $2.4B contract for new helicopters to guard nukes -- CNN

Army Mulls $31.6 Billion Shift in Armor, Copters in War Plan -- Bloomberg Government

What Industry Needs From The Army To Field A New Recon Helicopter In 10 Years -- Mike Hirschberg, Forbes

Navy, Air Force Test Deploys 2,000-Pound Mine at Stand-off Range -- USNI News

Watch: New radar tower installed on USS George Washington -- UPI

Why the U.S. Navy Wants a New Generation of Warships -- FoxTrot Alpha

What Should the US Navy's New Large Surface Warship Look Like? -- The Diplomat

Navy Weapons Strategy Preps for Future "High-End" Fight - Massive Ocean War -- Warrior Maven

New mask-mounted head-up display gives Navy combat divers tactical advantage -- Digital Trends

LCS Is No Little Crappy Ship -- US Naval Institute

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Repair Period Triples in Length; Carrier Will be in Yard Until 2019 -- USNI News

Of Any Military Installation, Sexual Assault Most Likely on Navy Ship: Report -- San Diego/NBC

The Navy Is All In on Preparing for the Next War. This Is What They Are Doing. -- Kris Osborn, National Interest

Will the U.S. Army Lose the Next War? -- Dan Goure, National Interest

Space: The Final Frontier for War? -- Omar Lamrani, RCD

So what do you get for $13 billion? -- Jill Aitoro, Defense News

Sweden's Parliament Ousts Prime Minister Stefan Lofven



BBC: Stefan Lofven: Sweden's parliament ousts prime minister

Sweden's centre-left prime minister, Stefan Lofven, will have to stand down after losing the support of parliament.

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) backed the vote to remove him, weeks after a general election that delivered a hung parliament.

Mr Lofven was opposed by 204 MPs, with 142 voting in favour.

The parliamentary speaker will now propose a new prime minister, with centre-right leader Ulf Kristersson seen as the most likely candidate.

Mr Lofven is expected to stay on as caretaker prime minister while his replacement is decided, in a process that could take weeks.

Read more ....

More News On Sweden's Parliament Ousting Prime Minister Stefan Lofven

Swedish PM Lofven ousted, anti-immigrant party pushing for policy role -- Reuters
Sweden's prime minister loses vote of confidence throwing government into disarray -- CNBC
Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven ousted after losing no-confidence vote -- The Independent
Swedish Parliament Votes to Oust Prime Minister Stefan Löfven -- The Wall Street Journal
Sweden PM Ousted in Confidence Vote as Political Turmoil Deepens -- Bloomberg
Swedish Prime Minster to stand down after losing confidence vote -- The Telegraph
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven loses no-confidence vote -- Al Jazeera
Swedish parliament ousts PM Lofven in vote of no-confidence -- RT
Sweden's PM was ousted in a no-confidence vote. Now what? -- Euronews

China Denies Hong Kong Port Visit For U.S. Navy Ship

The USS Wasp joins other US Navy vessels in maneuvering around Hurricane Maria before eventually returning to assist the US Virgin Islands, in the Caribbean Sea, Sep 19, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Drake)

Asia Times: Beijing says US warship cannot dock in Hong Kong

Move comes amid rising trade and military tension between the superpowers.

China has turned down a request for a US warship to visit Hong Kong amid rising tension between the two superpowers over trade and military moves.

The USS Wasp was due to make a port call in the former British colony next month, but diplomats have said Beijing had blocked amphibious assault ship from visiting.

The decision is the second in two years by China despite many years of “successful” port visits by US ships in Hong Kong, US diplomats said.

In 2016, Beijing denied a request for a USS John C Stennis carrier strike group to visit Hong Kong during a time of tension over its territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Read more ....

Update #1: China denies Hong Kong port visit for U.S. navy ship amid trade tensions -- Reuters
Update #2: China denies request for Hong Kong port call by American warship -- SCMP

WNU Editor: I expect these tensions to only continue.

Image Posted On Instagram Showing An F-22 In A Russian Fighter's Sights


Popular Mechanics: Unexplained Images Shows F-22 Raptor in Russian Fighter’s Sights

The grainy picture, if it is real, leaves plenty of questions unanswered.

An image purportedly taken of a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor over Syria has surfaced on social media. The grayscale image was reportedly taken from the infrared targeting cameras of a Russian fighter jet.

The image surfaced on Instagram account fighter_bomber_ with little explanation other than it was allegedly taken by a Russian Sukhoi Su-35 multi-role fighter. Known by NATO as “Flanker-E,” the Su-35 is capable of both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat and is roughly similar to a modernized F-15E Strike Eagle. It is also known for some extraordinary aerial maneuvers.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is just one grainy image, but it looks like this Su-35 Russian jet is having no problem spotting and tracking an F-22.

New 'Beast' Presidential Limousine Emerges During Trump's Visit To NYC


Warzone/The Drive: Brand New 'Beast' Presidential Limousine Emerges During Trump's Visit To NYC

The new Beast has finally arrived and its first mission is to move the President around New York for the U.N. General Assembly.

We have been waiting for a new presidential limousine, also known lovingly as the Beast due to its heavy armor and high stance, for years now. The last major iteration of POTUS's chariot was introduced way back during Obama's inauguration in 2009. Since then, there has been constant talk that a new model would emerge at various events over the years. Now that time has finally come, with the new super-sized Caddy making its debut appearance at the Wall Street Heliport in downtown Manhattan on Sunday, September 23th, 2018.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: All that I can say is that this limousine looks "Presidential".

Iran Threatens Missile Strikes Against Saudi And UAE Capitals


Sputnik: Iranian Media Threatens Saudi Arabia, UAE With Missile Strikes - Reports

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has accused Riyadh and Abu Dhabi of financing the perpetrators of the terror attack which killed at least 25 people and injured more than 60 others during a military parade in southern Iran on Saturday.

Fars News Agency, a semi-official media resource affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, released and then pulled a video appearing to threaten the Saudi and UAE capitals with destruction in the aftermath of the terrorism in Ahvaz.

The Twitter video, which features a compilation of clips, was copied by a few users before being deleted, and shows footage of the Ahvaz attack interlaced with footage of Iranian missiles taking off, along with maps of the cities of Iranian adversaries, including Jerusalem, targeted by sniper scopes.

Read more ....

Update: Iran video threatens missile strikes on UAE, Saudi Arabia (AP)

WNU Editor: Iran wants to retaliate against someone. My guess is that if they are going to do something, it will be in the next few days. But they are definitely not going to launch missile strikes against U.S. allies lie Saudi Arabia or the UAE.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Says U.S. Will Remain In Syria To Ensure The Defeat Of ISIS

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House national security adviser John Bolton. Reuters

Newsweek: U.S. Forces Will Remain in Syria After Battle With ISIS Ends

American forces will remain in Syria even after the last remnants of the Islamic State militant group are eradicated, signaling a shift in U.S. policy that further complicates the political climate in Syria amid its seven-year civil war

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday that U.S. forces will stay in Syria to provide training to local forces in an effort to ensure stability within the region, a decision that seems to run counter to past statements from President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly threatened to withdraw American forces from the region.

The news out of the Defense Department comes on the same day that John Bolton, the White House national security adviser, told reporters at the U.N. headquarters in New York that U.S. forces will remain in Syria as a deterrent to Iranian aggression.

Read more ....

Update #1: Mattis: US troops will remain in Syria to ensure ISIS’ defeat, support peace process (Stars and Stripes)
Update #2: US Troops to Remain in Syria After Daesh Defeated to Train Locals - Mattis (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: After White House national security adviser John Bolton remarks on Iran .... Bolton: US troops staying in Syria until Iran leaves (Defense News), some are wondering if there is a policy rift between Mattis and Bolton .... Jim Mattis says US in Syria to fight ISIS, denies policy rift with John Bolton (Washington Examiner). More here .... Mattis Says Syria Policy Has Not Changed After White House Changes Syria Policy (Task & Purpose). I personally do not see a rift. Since the beginning of the U.S. intervention into Syria, the U.S. policy has been to defeat ISIS and to limit the influence of Iran, and that has not changed. Both are saying the same thing .... albeit Mattis is focusing on the military strategy against ISIS, and Bolton is focused on the politics and geopolitical strategy to deter Iran.