Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Boris Johnson Elected As Tory Leader And The U.K.'s Next Prime Minister

Daily Mail: Boris vows to LOVE BOMB rebel MPs after being crowned Tory leader as he assembles his team and appoints REMAINER Mark Spencer as chief whip

* Boris Johnson has been announced as Conservatives' new leader after winning backing from party members
* The MP won a resounding 66 per cent of the votes from Conservative Party members in the postal ballot
* The newly-elected Tory leader will take over from Theresa May as the Prime Minister tomorrow afternoon
* Mr Johnson has made an appeal for party unity following a fractious campaign against Jeremy Hunt
* He has reiterated his determination to force through Brexit by the end of October with or without a deal
* Respected behind-the-scenes operator Mark Spencer has been appointed as the government chief whip
* Education minister Anne Milton became latest to resign saying she had 'grave concerns' over No Deal

Boris Johnson was cheered to the rafters by Tory MPs tonight - as he got his leadership off to a running start by appointing Mark Spencer as his chief whip.

Mr Johnson was greeted with whooping and banging of desks as he arrived to address the backbench 1922 committee at Parliament after securing the top job. In an up-beat plea for unity, he promised to 'love bomb' those who did not back him.

The new Conservative leader spent the afternoon thrashing out the shape of the rest of his team with aides amid high secrecy, with rumours swirling over who will get the biggest posts when he officially takes over from Theresa May as PM tomorrow.

He kicked off the process by drafting in Mr Spencer, a Remainer in the referendum who is little-known outside Westminster but a respected behind-the-scenes operator. Sky executive Andrew Griffith has been brought in as the No10 'corporate adviser'.

Read more ....

More News On Boris Johnson Being Elected As Tory Leader And Becoming The U.K.'s Next Prime Minister

Boris Johnson wins race to be Tory leader and PM -- BBC
Boris Johnson elected new Tory leader -- The Guardian
Boris Johnson poised to oversee Brexit as UK’s next prime minister -- France 24
Britain's new leader Johnson: 'We are going to get Brexit done' -- Reuters
Boris Johnson’s chaotic path to power finally pays off -- AP
Boris Johnson to become UK prime minister after decisive Tory vote -- DW
Boris Johnson chosen as next British prime minister -- RT
Brussels greets Boris Johnson victory by rejecting Brexit plans -- The Guardian
Donald Trump praises 'Britain Trump' after Boris Johnson becomes PM in waiting -- ABC News Online
Who will be among Boris Johnson's core team of aides? -- The Guardian
What to expect from Prime Minister Boris Johnson? -- Nick Dearden, Al Jazeera
Boris Johnson's clowning glory -- Rob Mudge, DW

Is There A Secret China - Cambodia Deal To Allow Chinese Forces At A Naval Base?

Reuters: Cambodia denies deal to allow armed Chinese forces at its naval base

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China will be able to place armed forces at a Cambodian naval base under a secret pact between the two nations, the Wall Street Journal said on Sunday, although Cambodian officials denied such a deal had been struck.

The agreement, reached this spring but not made public, gives China exclusive access to part of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand, the Journal said, citing U.S. and allied officials familiar with the matter.

Such an arrangement would boost China’s ability to assert contested territorial claims and economic interests in the South China Sea, challenging U.S. allies in Southeast Asia.

Chinese and Cambodian officials denied such a pact existed, the Journal said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Cambodia is denying any secret deal with China, but there is a lot of information that is being leaked that makes one wonder if there is a secret deal .... China Expands Military Reach With 'Secret' Deal For Cambodia Base (Zero Hedge).

More News On Reports That There A Secret China - Cambodia Deal To Allow Chinese Forces At A Naval Base

Cambodia's Hun Sen says report of military base deal with China 'false' -- UPI
Cambodia Denies Report Of Deal With China For Use Of Naval Base -- NPR
Cambodia Denies 'Secret' Naval Base Agreement With China -- VOA
China reportedly stuck a secret deal to allow its military to access a Cambodian naval base -- Business Insider/Reuters
China reportedly signs secret deal to station troops in Cambodia -- The Guardian
Cambodia, China ink secret naval port deal: report -- Asia Times
US Fears Cambodia Resort May Become China Naval Base -- Bloomberg
Did China sign a secret defence deal to use naval outpost in Cambodia? -- IBTimes
Why a New China Naval Outpost in Cambodia Would Matter -- The Diplomat

Iran Admiral Says Iran Is Watching All U.S. Ships In The Gulf Region

Iranian Navy Chief Hossein Khanzadi has said Iran possesses intercontinental drones and will use them if necessary.

Reuters: Iran observes all U.S. ships in Gulf region: Iran navy chief

GENEVA (Reuters) - Iran observes all U.S. ships in the Gulf region and has an archive of images of their daily movements, the head of Iran’s navy, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, said on Tuesday, according to the Young Journalists Club news site.

Iran and the United States came to the brink of war last month after the Islamic Republic shot down a U.S. drone, nearly prompting a retaliatory attack which U.S. President Donald Trump called off at the last minute.

Tensions have also spiked between Iran and Britain after the Islamic Republic seized a British-flagged tanker last Friday because it had collided with a fishing vessel, according to Iranian officials.

British Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar in early July, accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: And I am sure the U.S. is watching all Iranian ships.

More News On Iran's Navy Chief Saying That Iran Is Watching All U.S. Ships In The Gulf Region

Iranian admiral: 'We observe all enemy ships' including US -- The Hill
Drones watch every U.S. ship in the Persian Gulf, Iran’s navy chief claims -- The Washington Post
Iran Possesses Images of US Ships' Daily Movements in Persian Gulf Region – Navy Chief -- Sputnik
Navy chief: Iran to use its ‘intercontinental drones’ if necessary -- Tehran Times

Israeli Minister Admits That Israel Has Been 'Killing Iranians' In Syria

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria against what it says are Iranian and Hezbollah military targets AFP/File

France 24: Israeli minister boasts his country has been 'killing Iranians'

An Israeli minister boasted Sunday that his country was the only one that "has been killing Iranians", after tensions between Britain and Iran rose in the Gulf.

Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi's comments to public radio were a reference to Israeli strikes in neighbouring Syria against Iranian and Hezbollah military targets.

But they came after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker on Friday, adding to tensions between Washington and Tehran linked to a 2015 nuclear deal.

Hanegbi accused Iran, Israel's main enemy, of seeking to create "chaos" and "harm freedom of navigation."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: this is one of those admissions that is surprising no one.

President Trump Says It Is Getting Harder To Want To Negotiate With Iran

Reuters: Trump says it is getting harder for him to want to negotiate with Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that it is getting harder for him to want to make a deal with Iran and said the situation could go either way very easily.

Trump made the comments to reporters at the White House amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Western powers. Iran said earlier on Monday it had captured 17 U.S. spies and sentenced some to death, but Trump denied the reports.

The United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and reimposed sanctions on the country in May 2018. Trump said the agreement did not go far enough.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When it comes to Iran this is the usual U.S. policy (i.e. wait and see) .... War or peace talks with Iran? Trump says he will wait to see how things unfold (USA Today).

More News On President Trump Admitting That It Is Hard To Make A Deal With Iran

Trump says it is getting harder to want to negotiate with Iran -- Al Jazeera
Trump blasts Iran, says hard to deal with top 'terror' state -- AFP
Trump calls Iran a ‘very mixed-up’ country as tensions grow -- NYPost
Trump Says US Bracing for 'Absolute Worst' With Iran -- VOA
Trump doesn't rule out talks with Iran amid increasing tensions -- CBS
Donald Trump says Iran's claims it has arrested 17 CIA spies 'totally false' -- ABC News Online
Trump on Iran busting 'CIA' spy ring: 'That's another lie' -- UPI
On Iran, Donald Trump is running out of options -- AFP

Iranian Documentary To Expose How The CIA Operates In Iran

Sputnik: Iranian Documentary Reveals How CIA Recruited Agents, Sent Equipment to Assets in Iran (Video)

Earlier Monday, Iranian media confirmed that a major cyber-espionage ring run by US intelligence had been uncovered and dismantled, with some 17 CIA-trained spies said to have been identified, some receiving long prison sentences while military personnel got the death penalty for treason.

Iranian television has aired a Farsi language documentary detailing CIA operations in Iran, including a clip showing one alleged CIA officer in the United Arab Emirates trying to recruit an unidentified Iranian.

“There are many [Iranian] intelligence officers here in Dubai. It is very dangerous,” a woman, speaking Farsi with an accent and appearing to be an American, was shown telling the would-be agent.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There is a fierce propaganda war being waged in the Middle East, and this video is just one example among many on what is happening in the region.

Iran Claims To Have Busted A Major CIA Network

The Guardian: Iran claims to have arrested 17 CIA spies

Tehran says some of the Iranians allegedly spying for US have been sentenced to death

Seventeen Iranian nationals allegedly recruited by the CIA to spy on Iran’s nuclear and military sites have been arrested, Tehran said on Monday, adding that some of them had already been sentenced to death.

The arrests took place over the past months and those taken into custody worked on “sensitive sites” in the country’s military and nuclear facilities, an Iranian intelligence official told a press conference in Tehran.

He did not say how many of them had received the death sentence or say when the sentences were handed down.

Read more ....

More News On Iran Claiming To Have Busted A Major CIA Network

Iran says 17 alleged CIA spies arrested and sentenced, though Trump denies claim -- CBS/AP
Iran says it arrested CIA spies and sentenced some to death -- BBC
Iran says it arrested 17 CIA spies, sentenced some to death -- Al Jazeera
Iranian media releases 1st PHOTOS of ‘captured CIA-linked spies’ -- RT
Iran Says It’s Arrested 17 U.S. “Spies” and Sentenced Some to Death -- VICE
Iran warns West against starting conflict, says not looking for confrontation -- Reuters
Has the CIA's spy network in Iran just been busted open? -- Joseph Fitsanakis, ABC News Online

U.K. Says Europe-Led Mission Will Protect Gulf Shipping After Iranian Seizure Of Tanker

Daily Mail: First pictures INSIDE the British tanker captured by Iran: Tehran taunts the UK by releasing photo of terrified crew huddled on board vessel after it was seized by Revolutionary Guard gunmen

* British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero was seized by Iran on Friday as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz
* First image taken inside vessel shows part of its 23-strong crew being held by Iranian Revolutionary Guards
* Video also shows Iranians talking to the crew around a table, and thanking them for their cooperation
* Tehran seized the tanker after Iranian-flagged vessel was stopped by marines off Gibraltar earlier this month
* Downing Street today said UK 'does not seek confrontation with Iran' but described the move as 'escalatory'
* Russia threw its backing behind ally Iran on Monday, saying its position 'is much more convincing' than UK
* Tehran also said it had arrested 17 suspected CIA spies and will put some to death, further increasing tensions

Iran today paraded the crew of a British-flagged tanker that it captured in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday.

Tehran released video of some of the 23-strong crew of the Stena Impero sitting around a table speaking with one of their captors, alongside fresh images showing Revolutionary Guardsmen on board the Swedish-owned vessel.

The video shows seven of the crew wearing red jumpsuits and sitting around a table, as one Iranian guard can be heard thanking them for their cooperation. The cameraman can also be heard telling them not to look at him. Another video shows the crew laughing while standing around a coffee machine, and the ship's cooks preparing food in an apparent attempt to show they are being treated well.

Read more ....

More News On The U.K. - Iran Oil Tanker Crisis

Europe-led mission will protect Gulf shipping after Iranian seizure of tanker, U.K. says -- CBC/AP
Britain to seek European maritime mission to counter Iran's 'piracy' -- Reuters
Britain blasts Iran seizure of tanker as act of 'state piracy' -- France 24
Iran tanker seizure: Hunt seeks European help on Gulf shipping -- BBC
UK to launch European security mission over Iran row -- DW
Britain planning maritime mission to protect Strait of Hormuz -- UPI
UK tells Iran to release seized oil tanker and crew immediately -- Al Jazeera
Ships urged to alert navies before sailing through Strait of Hormuz -- Reuters
Britain weighs response to Iran Gulf crisis with few good options -- Reuters

President Trump Says Chinese President Xi Is Acting Responsibily With Hong Kong's Extradition Bill

SCMP: Donald Trump says Xi Jinping ‘acted responsibly’ in Hong Kong extradition bill protests

* US leader says China could stop demonstrations ‘if they wanted’
* Dozens of protesters left hurt by a mob of attackers in Yuen Long

After a night of violent unrest in Hong Kong that left dozens of protesters hurt by a mob of attackers, US President Donald Trump said on Monday that Chinese President Xi Jinping had acted “responsibly” in allowing the demonstrations to continue.

“I’m not involved in it very much but I think President Xi of China has acted responsibly, very responsibly,” Trump told reporters in the White House when asked about the previous night’s violence. “They’ve been out there protesting for a long time.”

Seven weeks of demonstrations against proposed changes to Hong Kong’s extradition laws have been punctuated by violent clashes between protesters and police, fuelling Hongkongers’ anger at the city government, whose embattled leader continues to resist calls to resign.

Read more ....

Update #1: Trump Praises Chinese Response to Hong Kong Protests (VOA)
Update #2: Trump says China's Xi has acted responsibly on Hong Kong protests (Reuters)

WNU Editor: Too early to say that China is acting responsibly. As for China, they are blaming the U.S. for the current unrest in Hong Kong .... China tells U.S. to remove 'black hands' from Hong Kong (Reuters).

Masked Assailants Attack Pro-Democracy Protesters In Hong Kong Metro Station

Business Insider: Masked assailants storm Hong Kong metro station with batons in an apparent attack on pro-democracy protesters

* A group of assailants stormed a train station in Hong Kong on Sunday night following a pro-democracy march, attacking passengers with batons, sticks, and other makeshift weapons.
* Video from the event shows a group of men, some wearing masks and many in white t-shirts, storming the Yuen Long Station in the city's north and attacking commuters.
* Hong Kong's hospital authority said at least 45 people were injured as of 2:30 a.m., the South China Morning Post reported, with one in critical condition.
* The train station violence follows clashes between police and protesters earlier in the day.

A group of assailants stormed a train station in Hong Kong on Sunday night following a pro-democracy march, attacking passengers with batons, sticks, and other makeshift weapons.

Video from the event shows a group of men, some wearing masks and many in white t-shirts, storming the Yuen Long Station in the city's north and attacking commuters.

Read more ....

More News On Masked Assailants Attacking Pro-Democracy Protesters In SHong Kong Metro Station

Fears of thugs-for-hire in Hong Kong after mob attack -- CNN
Hong Kong: Mobs Attack Protesters, Legislators Condemn Police Delinquency -- Epoch Times
Hong Kong police criticized over failure to stop attacks on protesters -- Reuters
Horrifying moments as Hong Kong journalist live-streams being attacked -- Reuters
Analysis: Hong Kong protests could push China to intervene -- AP

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Inspects New Submarine

The dictator (pictured with his officials) was shown praising a submarine that he says will patrol the sea to the east of his country as he boasted of a boost to national defences

Daily Mail: Kim Jong-Underwater inspects new submarine that was built with his 'special attention' as he orders many more to be constructed

* Kim Jong-Un pictured addressing his officials on state media claiming he will deploy a submarine protection
* Broadcaster KCNA did not specify what weapons the submarine will carry in the sea to the east of the country
* The so-called Supreme Leader hailed 'our kind of powerful submarine' as important to national defence

Dictator Kim Jong-Un inspected a newly built submarine and pointed out its tactical capabilities and weapons systems, North Korean state media said on Tuesday.

The totalitarian was seen walking ahead of his officials before addressing them as they took notes from the so-called Supreme Leader.

His media outlet claims that a submarine was built under Kim's 'special attention' and will be operational in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He is sending a message.

More News On North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Inspecting A New Submarine

Kim inspects new submarine, wants NKorean military bolstered -- AP
North Korea's Kim inspects new submarine, signals possible ballistic missile development -- Reuters
N. Korean leader inspects new submarine as talks with US stall -- AFP
North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Inspects New Submarine -- CNBC

Warplanes From South Korea, Russia, China, And Japan Were Involved In Yesterday's Air Confrontation

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

CNN: Warplanes from four countries face off in Asian confrontation

Warplanes from four countries faced off Tuesday in a chaotic and unprecedented confrontation above a small, disputed island off the coast of South Korea and Japan.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement claiming they had fired more than 300 warning shots at a Russian A-50 command and control military aircraft early Tuesday morning after it had twice violated the country's airspace, the first such incident between the countries.

Moscow furiously denied Seoul's account of the encounter, claiming that South Korean military jets had dangerously intercepted two of its bombers during a planned flight over neutral waters.

But in a statement Tuesday afternoon, Japan's Ministry of Defense backed up South Korea's claims, saying the A-50 had flown over the islands and that Tokyo had scrambled fighters to intercept.

In a further complication, both South Korea and Japan said that two Chinese H-6 bombers had joined the Russian military aircraft on sorties through the region as well.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like this was a joint Russian - Chinese exercise, and I would have to say that this was a deliberate provocation to test both South Korean and Japanese air defense, and do they work together .... Russian aircraft violates S. Korea's airspace above East Sea twice (Korea Herald). I am not surprised that Japan got involved .... Japan scrambles fighters to intercept Russian and Chinese planes (Reuters).

South Korea Fired ‘Warning Shots’ At A Russian Military Aircraft Aftr It ‘Violated Airspace’

Reuters: South Korea fires hundreds of warning shots at Russian military plane in its airspace

SEOUL (Reuters) - The South Korean military fired hundreds of warning shots at a Russian military aircraft that entered South Korean airspace on Tuesday, defense officials in Seoul said, with Chinese military aircraft also entering South Korean airspace.

It was the first time a Russian military aircraft had violated South Korean airspace, an official at the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul said.

The warplane was one of three Russian aircraft to enter the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) early on Tuesday, one of which entered the zone twice, the defense ministry said in a statement.

Two Chinese military aircraft also entered the KADIZ, it said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russia is denying reports that its aircraft violated South Korean air space .... Russia denies its strategic bombers violated South Korean air space (Reuters). Russia is also saying that South Korean aircraft acted dangerously .... Russian MoD Says South Korean Fighters' Maneuvers Threatened Safety of Russian Bombers (Sputnik).

More News On South Korea Firing ‘Warning Shots’ At A Russian Military Aircraft

South Korea fires warning shots at Russian warplanes -- AP
S. Korea says fired warning shots at Russian military jet -- AFP
South Korean jets fire warning shots at Russian planes after airspace violation -- The Guardian
South Korea fires warning shots at Russian military aircraft in its airspace -- DW
South Korea fires warning shots at Russian warplane -- UPI
South Korea says it fired warning shots at Russian military jet -- Al Jazeera
South Korea claims ‘warning shots’ fired after Russian military aircraft ‘violated airspace’ -- RT
S Korean Military Fired Warning Shots, Saying Russian Warplane Illegally Entered Country's Airspace -- Sputnik

Protests Continue In Puerto Rico

Time/AP: Puerto Rico's Political Crisis Deepens as Massive Protests Fail to Oust Governor

(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — The political crisis in Puerto Rico has escalated to a point where many wonder how Gov. Ricardo Rosselló will be able to govern the U.S. territory in the coming days and possibly weeks amid the massive protests to oust him.

Rosselló dug his heels in late Monday after what seems to have been the biggest protest the island has seen in nearly two decades, telling Fox News that he has already apologized and made amends following the leak of an offensive, obscenity-laden online chat between him and his advisers that triggered the crisis.

But Puerto Ricans remained unsatisfied and vowed to keep protesting until he steps down, no matter how long it takes.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Governor feels confident that he can weather the storm.

More News O Protests Continuing In Puerto Rico

Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans demand governor resign -- AP
Hundreds of thousands protest in Puerto Rico, calling for governor to resign -- France 24
Massive protests held in Puerto Rico after governor refuses to step down -- BBC
Puerto Rico: Thousands urge governor's resignation in massive protests -- DW
A New Power Blackout Hits Most Of Venezuela -- New York Times
Puerto Ricans launch massive protest against governor -- AFP
'He must resign': Thousands shut down Puerto Rico streets demanding Gov. Ricardo Rosselló step down -- USA Today
Mayor in Puerto Rico rebuts embattled Gov. Ricardo Rosselló's claim of support -- FOX News
Hundreds of thousands demand Puerto Rico's governor resign -- Al Jazeera
Puerto Ricans worry about future if embattled governor stays -- AP

A New Power Blackout Hits Most Of Venezuela

Reuters: Widespread blackout hits Venezuela, government blames 'electromagnetic attack'

CARACAS (Reuters) - More than half of Venezuela’s 23 states lost power on Monday, according to Reuters witnesses and reports on social media, a blackout the government blamed on an “electromagnetic attack.”

It was the first blackout to include the capital, Caracas, since March, when the government blamed the opposition and United States for a series of power outages that left millions of people without running water and telecommunications.

The blackouts exacerbated an economic crisis that has halved the size of the economy.

Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” without providing evidence. He added that authorities were in the process of re-establishing service.

Read more ....

More News On A Power Blackout Hitting Most Of Venezuela

Much of Venezuela in the dark again after massive blackout -- AP
Massive power cut in Venezuela plunges Caracas into darkness -- France 24
Venezuela blackout: Power cuts plunge country into darkness -- BBC
Maduro government blames Venezuela blackout on attack -- DW
Blackouts plunge Venezuela into chaos as minister blames saboteurs -- The Guardian
Venezuela suffers nationwide blackout in latest power outage -- Al Jazeera
Venezuela blames nationwide blackouts on ‘electromagnetic attack’ -- RT
Venezuelan Massive Power Outage Could Be Caused by Electromagnetic Attack – Minister
-- Sputnik

Pentagon Accuses A Venezuelan Fighter Jet Of Endangering The Crew Of A US Navy Plane

BBC: US denounces Venezuela aircraft's 'unsafe approach'

The United States military has accused a Venezuelan fighter aircraft of endangering the crew of a US navy plane in international airspace.

The Venezuelan plane made an "unsafe approach" and "aggressively shadowed" the US reconnaissance aircraft over the Caribbean Sea, US Southern Command said on Sunday.

Venezuela said the US plane had entered Venezuelan airspace without permission.

Relations between the two countries have been tense for years.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That A A Venezuelan Fighter Jet Endangered The Crew Of A US Navy Plane

SOUTHCOM: Venezuelan fighter jet 'aggressively shadowed' U.S. aircraft -- UPI
Video shows Venezuelan fighter jet 'aggressively shadowed' U.S. aircraft, Pentagon says -- NBC
Venezuela jet 'aggressively shadows' US aircraft over Caribbean -- The Independent
US military says Venezuela fighter jet made an 'unsafe' approach to US aircraft -- CNN
Venezuelan jet 'aggressively shadowed' Navy aircraft: Pentagon -- The Hill
Venezuela fighter jet flies dangerous close to U.S. surveillance plane -- War Is Boring
Venezuela hits out at US 'spy plane' incursion -- AFP

Ukrainian President's Party Wins A Parliamentary Majority In Sunday's Vote

NPR: Ukrainian President's Party Wins Snap Elections In Bid To Consolidate Power

Exit polls in Ukraine indicate that the party of the country's comedian-turned-president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has won a snap election aimed at strengthening its coalition only months after coming to power.

Zelensky's Servant of the People party is expected to garner about 41 percent of the vote and gain a majority in parliament, but it will not have enough seats to govern without allies, according to the polls released Sunday.

The pro-Russian Opposition Platform appeared to have placed second, with about 12 percent. The party of former President Petro Poroshenko, who Zelensky unseated in April, finished third, according to polls quoted by Reuters.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: President Poroshenko's Party and his allies were wiped out in Sunday's election. As for President Zelensky, he has a clear mandate to rule.

More News On Sunday's Parliamentary Victory For President Zelensky

Ukraine's President Zelensky on course for absolute majority in parliament -- France 24

Zelensky's party set for unprecedented majority in Ukraine vote -- Al Jazeera

No Experience? No Problem: A Look At Some Of The New Faces In Ukraine's Parliament -- RFE
Servant Of The People Or Master? Big Parliamentary Win Hands Ukraine's New President A More Dominant Role -- RFE

Ukraine is tired of yesterday -- Bernd Johann, DW
Will a comedian become Ukraine's mightiest leader? -- Mansur Mirovalev, Al Jazeera

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

F/A-18F aircrafts are seen on the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

WNU Editor: The above photo came form this photo-gallery .... Editor's Choice Pictures (Reuters/July 19, 2019)

Monday, July 22, 2019

Editor's Note

I have family visiting for two weeks. Blogging will sometimes be light during this period.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Protests Continue In Hong Kong

Reuters: Hong Kong on security alert as thousands march in fresh wave of protests

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Tens of thousands marched in sweltering heat in Hong Kong on Sunday as anti-government protests show no sign of let-up, with anger over an extradition bill morphing into a fresh front against what many see as an erosion of freedoms by Beijing.

Millions have rallied over the past two months in an unprecedented show of force against Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, triggering the worst social turmoil to rock the former British colony since it returned to Chinese rule 22 years ago.

Protesters marched in temperatures of around 31 degrees Celsius (87.8°F) from Victoria Park in the bustling shopping district of Causeway Bay to Wan Chai, just one metro stop away, after police shortened the route, citing safety concerns.

Read more ....

More News On The Unrest In Hong Kong

Hong Kong anti-gov’t protesters occupy roads and swarm around legislature, top court, and police HQ -- Hong Kong Free Press
Tens of thousands march again in huge Hong Kong anti-government rally -- AFP
Hong Kong protesters take to the streets in seventh week of mass marches -- CNN
Thousands take to Hong Kong streets to denounce police brutality -- Al Jazeera
Tens of thousands of Hong Kong protesters kick off latest mass rally as they demand an inquiry into police tactics after weeks of unrest -- Daily Mail

Iran Releases Video On How They Seized The British Tanker Stena Impero

Daily Mail: Military chiefs urge next PM to 'send in the MARINES' to protect ships as Iran taunts UK with footage of moment balaclava-clad commandos abseiled from helicopter and hijacked British tanker in 'tit-for-tat' strike

* The Stena Impero was seized in the Strait of Hormuz at 4pm yesterday by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces
* British-registered tanker was ordered to turn to the north and was taken into Iranian territorial waters
* Warship HMS Montrose, which was patrolling the Persian Gulf, did a U-turn and raced to help captured ship
* A second vessel, the British-operated Mesdar was seized by Iran but was released after being inspected
* Following an emergency COBRA meeting, Iran was warned it faces 'serious consequences' for their actions

Military chiefs will this week brief Britain’s new Prime Minister on the mounting Iran crisis and tell him: ‘Send in the Marines’.

After the dramatic hijacking of the Stena Impero oil tanker carrying 23 crew by Iranian Special Forces, top brass were last night devising a list of options for a rapid military response.

It is understood they will seek the green light to deploy Royal Marines on British vessels travelling through the Strait of Hormuz to act as a deterrent to further aggression.

The involvement of the elite Iranian troops in the capture of the Stena Impero was broadcast on Iranian state television yesterday.

Read more ....

Update #1: Iran Latest: Video Shows British Tanker Being Seized (Bloomberg)
Update #2: Dramatic moment Iran seizes Brit oil tanker as balaclava-clad commandos abseil onto deck from helicopter in the Gulf (The SUN)
Update #3: Iran crisis: How a British oil tanker was seized by Iran's balaclava-clad Revolutionary Guards (The Telegraph)

WNU Editor: I expect no opposition (with the exception of Iran) from this U.S. initiative .... US to launch plan for 'free passage' of ships in Iran's waterway (Al Jazeera).

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Puerto Rico Protests Calling For The Resignation Of Gov. Rosselló Conitnue

Daily Mail: Thousands of protesters march on the home of the Puerto Rico governor demanding he resign amid corruption probe and vulgar chat messaging scandal - as US presidential candidates weigh in calling for him to step down

* Thousands of Puerto Ricans marched on Rossello's residence Friday
* Several lawmakers tweeted that they stand with the protesters and also called for Rossello to resign
* The protests have been ongoing since July 13, when Rossello's leaked chat messages were published
* Some of the messages were vulgar, misogynistic and homophobic
* The messages were unearthed during a federal corruption probe
* Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren, Rick Scott and others were among the lawmakers who said Rossello should step down

Congressional lawmakers have added their voice to those of protesters calling for Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello's resignation in the wake of a federal corruption probe that unearthed hundreds of pages of vulgar and offensive leaked chat messages.

Thousands of Puerto Ricans, led by protesters on horseback with some banging drums and singing, marched on the governor's residence in San Juan on Friday, demanding that Rossello resign over the messages, which attacked political adversaries, many using misogynistic and homophobic language.

The chats on a Telegram message group were published on July 13, adding to Rossello's woes the same week that two of his former officials were arrested by the FBI as part of a federal corruption probe in the bankrupt U.S. territory.

Read more ....

More News On The Continuing Protests In Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico protests: Demonstrations resume Saturday outside Gov. Rosselló's official residence -- CNN
Puerto Rico's governor goes AWOL as protesters gather outside his residence, US officials call to step down -- FOX News
U.S. lawmakers demand Puerto Rico governor resign as protests roil island -- Reuters
Puerto Rico’s week of massive protests, explained -- VOX

Former NSA Contractor Sentenced To Nine Years In Prison After Pleading Guilty To Stealing Top-Secret Documents Over 20 Years

CBS Baltimore: Ex-NSA Contractor Harold Martin Sentenced To 9 Years For Stolen Documents

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Former National Security Agency contractor Harold ‘Hal’ Martin was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty in March to willful retention of national defense information.

Martin admitted to stealing top-secret documents over a 20-year period and storing them at his Glen Burnie home- some, in an unlocked storage shed.

Prosecutors said that Martin took over 50 terabytes of information, 300 times what Edward Snowden — another NSA contractor from Maryland — leaked to the world.

“He’s incredibly embarrassed,” Deb Shaw, Martin’s estranged wife, said. “He let down people he has such incredible high regard for. He feels the weight of the disappointment he looks up to.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: What was he thinking.

More News On A Former NSA Contractor Sentenced To Nine Years In Prison After Pleading Guilty To Stealing Top-Secret Documents Over 20 Years

Former NSA Contractor Sentenced to 9 Years for Stolen Documents -- VOA/AP
NSA contractor sentenced to prison for huge theft of classified U.S. data -- Reuters
Ex-NSA contractor gets nine years in prison for stealing classified documents -- FOX News
Ex-NSA contractor jailed for 9 years over stolen documents -- DW
The new VH-92A (above) is being worked on by the Navy and other experts after one burneed the White House South Lawn during a test run last September

Bloomberg: Trump’s New Helicopter Has a Flaw: It Scorches the White House Lawn

The presidential helicopter isn’t supposed to leave scorch marks on the White House lawn. So the Navy and Lockheed Martin Corp. are working to fix a “high risk” problem after the new Marine One did just that in a test without the president on board.

The first in a $5 billion fleet of new Marine One helicopters is supposed to be ready to go into service by September 2020. President Donald Trump already has showcased the new aircraft with a flyover during his Fourth of July appearance in Washington.

The previously undisclosed episode occurred last September, during a test “conducted in a manner very different than normal Marine Helicopter Squadron One operations to the White House South Lawn,” Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s testing office, said in an email.

Read more ....

Update: Navy says Trump's new Marine One helicopters have a 'high risk' flaw they are trying to fix after an aircraft's exhaust scorched the White House Lawn on takeoff (Daily Mail).

WNU Editor: I am sure they will correct it before it goes into service next year.

Editor's Note

I have family arriving today for a two week visit. Blogging will sometimes be light during this period.

Was Iran's Seizure Of A British Oil Tanker A Strategic Mistake?

Sam Kiley, CNN: Iran's gamble on a tanker seizure will end its credit -- even among friends

Steadily increasing its bets in an international game of bluff, Iran has gone almost all in with a gamble that its hard liners must believe is worth the punt -- but which will certainly end their credit lines even among friends.

In seizing a foreign tanker which it accuses of "violating international regulations," Tehran has resorted to a form of piracy in international waters.

At a time when Iran might have begun to win friends and influence people in the world's corridors of power, it's showing that it really could be the force of dangerous instability that its most ardent enemies have claimed.

Iran has legitimate frustrations over the American withdrawal from the nuclear deal that was supposed to swap limiting its nuclear program for an end to economic sanctions.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am sure this seizure of a British oil tanker is playing well in Iran. But will this seizure help Iran in eliminating sanctions and gain allies in the world .... IMHO definitely not. It also puts two key European supporters of the Iranian nuclear deal in a difficult position. Germany and France have worked hard to help Iran circumvent US sanctions, but any help will be impossible now with this seizure. For the moment both countries are condemning this move .... Germany and France condemn Iran's seizure of British tanker (DW), but for all practical purposes any EU movement to assist Iran is now "dead in the water". It also puts China and Russia in a bind, especially China who have made pursuing an alternative new world order and respect of international law that is independent of the West. Supporting a country's action of piracy is not what China wants to do, and I predict that they will stay neutral. As for Russia .... they are going to stay away from this conflict as much as possible, and will watch from the sidelines.

Iran's Seizure Of An U.K. Oil Tanker In The Straits Of Hormuz -- News Updates July 20, 2019

The Stena Impero was surrounded by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces at 4pm and ordered to head north. The British registered vessel switched off its maritime tracker a short time later. A second British vessel, Medsar, abruptly changed course towards Iran around 4.45pm. Last night's action follows attacks on six oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and an earlier attempt to seize a British oil tanker which was thwarted by the Royal Navy

Daily Mail: The Royal Navy rushed to stop Iran seizing British tanker but arrived ten minutes late: MoD releases dramatic photos of frigate warding off Iranian speedboats in ANOTHER incident amid criticism of strategy

* The Stena Impero was seized in the Strait of Hormuz at 4pm yesterday by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces
* British-registered tanker was ordered to turn to the north and was taken into Iranian territorial waters
* Warship HMS Montrose, which was patrolling the Persian Gulf, did a U-turn and raced to help captured ship
* A second vessel, the British-operated Mesdar was seized by Iran but was released after being inspected
* Following an emergency COBRA meeting, Iran was warned it faces 'serious consequences' for their actions

A Royal Navy warship raced to help a British oil tanker that was captured by Iran last night but arrived ten minutes too late, a defence source revealed today.

HMS Montrose, which was patrolling the Persian Gulf, was forced to do a U-turn when it received orders to assist the UK-flagged Stena Impero, which had been seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Stena Impero was still in Omani waters when the orders were sent, but by the time HMS Montrose arrived the vessel had been taken and redirected into Iranian territorial waters. It's claimed the Iranians were ready to 'engage' the Type 23 frigate.

Iran's seizure of the British ships was a deliberate act of provocation because the ships were in international waters.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Iranians are saying that they seized the tanker because it collided with a fishing boat .... Seized UK-flagged tanker involved in ‘accident’ with Iranian fishing boat, probe launched – Tehran (RT). No one is buying this story. Another story that Tehran is saying (and one that IMHO is more truthful), is that the seizure was revenge for the seizure of an Iranian tanker .... Iran confiscated British oil tanker according to intl. law: official (MEHR News agency).

Iran's Seizure Of An U.K. Oil Tanker In The Straits Of Hormuz -- News Updates July 20, 2019

Iran says its seizure of British ship a ‘reciprocal’ move -- AP
Iran says it seized tanker after collision, UK fears 'dangerous path' -- Reuters
Iran seizes British tanker in Strait of Hormuz as tensions mount -- France 24
Iran Guards say they confiscated British tanker in Strait of Hormuz -- AFP
Iran's Revolutionary Guard seizes one UK-operated tanker in Strait of Hormuz, briefly detains another -- FOX News
Iran captures British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz, UK says seizure of Stena Impero 'unacceptable' -- ABC News Online
Iran seizes British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz -- Al Jazeera
Seized British-flagged tanker anchored off Iran: port authority -- AFP
Russian, Indian, Latvian, Filipino Nationals Aboard UK-Flagged Oil Tanker Seized by IRGC -- Sputnik
UK's Hunt says Iran may be on 'dangerous path' after seizing tanker -- Reuters
Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK -- The Guardian
Western allies back UK over tanker seizure -- AFP
A timeline of escalation in the Gulf -- AFP

50 Years Ago Today Man Walked On The Moon

Daily Mail: 'Keep America Great In Space': Trump and Melania host Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, and sons of Neil Armstrong at the White House on eve of 50th anniversary of Moon landing

* President Trump had a photo-op at the White House Friday amid commemorations of the 1969 moon landing
* Guest included Buzz Aldrin, the Lunar Module pilot for Apollo 11, and Michael Collins, who served as command pilot
* Neil Armstrong, the mission commander, passed away in 2012 and was represented by his sons
* Trump called the mission 'one of the great achievements ever' at the 50th anniversary celebration
* The president has spoken in the past of reaching Mars and says he wants to create a 'Space Force'

President Donald Trump joined in some of the Apollo 11 anniversary fever by hosting the two living astronauts who helped carry out the historic 1969 mission to the moon.

Buzz Aldrin, the Lunar Module pilot for Apollo 11, and Michael Collins, who served as command module pilot, both attended an Oval Office photo-op that the White House opened to the press at the last minute on Friday.

'What a career you've had. Great careers,' Trump said, during back-and-forth remarks where he quizzed the astronauts about the modern space program.

Read more ....

Update: 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing (AP)

WNU Editor: An incredible accomplishment during a time of great turmoil in America and in the world.

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

French Army soldiers hold anti-drone guns during the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris, 14 July 2019.

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures: 13-19 July (Sputnik).

Pew Poll: 91% Democrats Say Heated Rhetoric By Politicians Raises The Risk Of Violence

PEW Research: Americans say the nation’s political debate has grown more toxic and ‘heated’ rhetoric could lead to violence

President Donald Trump’s recent attacks on four first-term lawmakers – all women of color – triggered an impassioned response from House Democrats, who overwhelmingly backed a House resolution condemning the president’s remarks. This is just the latest chapter in a long-running debate over what language is appropriate in political debates in the United States. A recent Pew Research Center survey examined Americans’ attitudes about this topic, including Trump’s impact on political discourse and the potential risks from incendiary rhetoric from elected officials:

Read more ....

Update: Pew: 91% Democrats see violence next in war of words(Washington Times).

WNU Editor: Where have these people been for the past two - three years? In 2017 a shooter shot up a Republican baseball game critically wounding Rep. Steve Scalise and five others .... Congressional baseball practice shooting: What we know about the victims (CNN). Senator Rand Paul was attacked by his neighbour in 2017 sustaining multiple broken ribs and a serious bout of pneumonia that required him to stay in hospital for months .... Prosecutors reveal why Rand Paul was attacked by neighbour (NBC). White House officials have been threatened in restaurants, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell .... McConnell defiant after demonstrator tried disrupting his dinner: 'I enjoyed my meal' (FOX News). And I have lost count on how conservative journalists and bloggers have been assaulted by extreme left groups, with the latest one being Andy Ngo in Portland .... Antifa attack conservative blogger Andy Ngo amid violence at Portland Proud Boys protest (The Independent). Bottom line. Political violence has existed in the U.S. for a long time, and by many sides and political groups. As for the above PEW Poll. I think the reason why more Democrats are concerned about political violence today than they were in the past is the fear of blow-back. Today's Republicans are definitely not as docile as past Republicans were when they were being attacked, and the one who is leading the charge is President Trump.

Friday, July 19, 2019

The U.S. Military Is Considering Lowering The Minimum Enlistment Age To 16

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. administers the oath of reenlistment to 15 soldiers during a ceremony at the Pentagon, July 1, 2008. Casey said "Men and women like these are the heart and soul of our Army - our soldiers, families, and Army civilians are who separate this Army from any other Army in the world, and separate our Armed Forces from any other force in the world." U.S. Army photo by D. Myles Cullen

Washington Times: Military eyes 16-year-olds as ranks and candidates dwindle

The best way to fix the U.S. armed forces’ recruiting challenges may involve dipping further into the nation’s high schools.

As the Army, Navy and other services contend with a thriving economy and a directive to expand their ranks, there is a growing debate over whether the military should consider lowering the minimum enlistment age from 17 to 16. More than a dozen countries, including the United Kingdom, already have adopted the policy.

Critics say the idea is deeply flawed and presents a host of societal problems, but supporters argue that the Pentagon needs to think outside the box if it wants to continually overcome one of the toughest recruiting environments in decades.

Neither the military nor lawmakers have given any indication that they are entertaining the idea, but some analysts say that opening the ranks to younger Americans could provide unique benefits and may be the kind of fundamental overhaul the recruiting system needs for the 21st century.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I personally think 16 is too young. But here is a little bit of history. The Roman Army's minimum enlistment age was 14.

Mexican President Obrador Wants El Chapo's $12.6bn Drug Fortune Be Turned Over To Mexico And NOT The US

Prosecutors are looking to force El Chapo to pay back $12.6 billion that he made through drug sales in the United States (pictured $1.5 million found during a raid of El Chapo's home)

Daily Mail: That money belongs to us: Mexican President risks feud with Trump by demanding El Chapo's $12.6bn drug money be turned over to Mexico and NOT the US - after slamming Narco's life sentence in US jail as 'inhumane'

* Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will seek to recoup Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán's fortune
* The leftist leader says all of El Chapo's assets belong to the 'Mexican people' and not the United States
* He also called El Chapo's jail conditions 'inhumane' after he was sentenced to life in jail plus 30 years
* A US judge also ordered him to pay American authorities $12.6billion they estimate he made as head of the Sinaloa Cartel
* Prosecutors also seized El Chapo's considerable current assets

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is preparing himself for a showdown with the United States over Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán's fortune.

El Chapo was sentenced to life in jail at a New York City court this week by a federal judge who also ordered him to pay US authorities $12.6 billion - the figure he is estimated to have earned from drug trafficking as the head of the Sinaloa Cartel.

But on Thursday, López Obrador argued that the funds should be returned to El Chapo's home country of Mexico.

He also demanded that the US return the assets they had already seized from the gang leader. The US government estimates El Chapo's fortune at $14 billion.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: 'El Chapo' Guzmán's Sinaloa Cartel murdered thousands in Mexico and destroyed the lives of millions of Americans and the Mexican President is declaring his jail conditions as "inhumane" ?!?!?!? As for the money. What struck me about this sentencing is that the U.S. wants $12.6 billion of his $14 billion fortune. In other-words, they are willing to leave $1.4 billion for his wife and family. I think Guzman made a deal knowing that he was going to be convicted, and in return told U.S. authorities where his wealth is so that his family will do without. As for the Mexican President's demand for his money. If Guzman's money and assets are in the U.S. and in other jurisdictions that the U.S. has treaties with that pertain to criminal law and forfeiture, Mexico is going to have a problem to collect. Something that I suspect Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is well aware of.