Sunday, June 30, 2019

How Did A Private School Girl From Sussex Die Fighting ISIS In Syria?

Dirk Campbell holding a portrait of his daughter Anna, with International YPJ soldiers

Daily Mail: How did a private school girl from Sussex die fighting ISIS in Syria? Her Seventies rock star father flew out to investigate - and found the haunting story of her final weeks in a secret diary

* Anna Campbell was killed by an air strike at the age of 26 in March last year
* She is the only British woman to have died alongside Kurdish forces in Syria
* Anna: The Woman Who Went To Fight Isis is on BBC2 at 9.30pm on Wednesday

Four young women in dusty, sweat-soaked fatigues hold AK-47 rifles high above their heads beneath the fierce Middle Eastern sun.

They are in training, desperate to join the Kurdish defence force and its famous female fighting units which are attempting to drive back the forces of Isis that swept across Syria and Iraq.

As Dirk Campbell watches the figures moving across the screen in the militia group’s shaky footage, one young fighter stands out.

She is noticeably taller than the others, with paler skin and short blonde hair. She is also unmistakably his daughter, Anna.

Read more ....

Update: 'I'M READY TO FIGHT' Secret diary reveals how Brit Anna Campbell, 26, went from private school girl to being killed fighting against ISIS in Syria (The SUN).

WNU Editor: The documentary "l Anna: The Woman Who Went To Fight Isis" will be on BBC2 at 9.30pm on Wednesday, July 3.

Report: ISIS Is Poised For A 'Devastating' Comeback


Daily Mail: ISIS is poised for a 'devastating' comeback with the help of secret billions and sleeper cells, new report warns

* The Institute for the Study of War published a report about a possible resurgence
* ISIS has reportedly been regrouping in Iraq since its defeat in Syria this year
* There are several sleeper cells and billions of pounds at the group's disposal

ISIS could be set for a 'devastating' comeback despite its defeat earlier this year - a bombshell study has revealed.

US-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War published a report suggesting the caliphate is alive and well and is set to re-emerge imminently with deadly consequences.

According to the report, ISIS still maintains several sleeper cells and has accrued billions of pounds worth of funding which has allowed it to remain a threat.

Read more ....

Update #1: Islamic State is poised to make a ‘devastating’ comeback, new report warns (News.com.au)
Update #2: Attacks from ISIS sleeper cells in Iraq and Syria could set the stage for a future land grab (Washington Examiner)

WNU Editor: The report is here .... ISIS's Second Comeback: Assessing the Next ISIS Insurgency (ISW).

Pentagon Report: Russia Beating U.S. In Race For Global Influence

Russia troop and hardware stand in formation during Vostok-2018 (East-2018) military drills. © Sputnik / Vadim Savitskii

Politico: Russia beating U.S. in race for global influence, Pentagon study says

A divided America is failing to counter Moscow's efforts to undermine democracy and cast doubt on U.S. alliances, says the report, which warns of a surge in 'political warfare.'

The U.S. is ill-equipped to counter the increasingly brazen political warfare Russia is waging to undermine democracies, the Pentagon and independent strategists warn in a detailed assessment that happens to echo much bipartisan criticism of President Donald Trump's approach to Moscow.

The more than 150-page white paper, prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and shared with POLITICO, says the U.S. is still underestimating the scope of Russia's aggression, which includes the use of propaganda and disinformation to sway public opinion across Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. The study also points to the dangers of a growing alignment between Russia and China, which share a fear of the United States' international alliances and an affinity for "authoritarian stability."

Read more ....

Update #1: Pentagon white paper says US underestimating Russia's aggression (The Hill)
Update #2: Vladimir Putin, Russia perfecting gray zone operations, Pentagon report warns (Washington Times)

WNU Editor: The Pentagon report is here .... Russian Strategic Intentions (US Department of Defense).

Global Spy Agencies 'Are Trying To Get Hold Of Angela Merkel's Medical Records'





Daily Mail: Global spy agencies 'are trying to get hold of Angela Merkel's medical records' to find out what is behind her public shaking attacks

* Merkel, 64, endured a gruelling long distance flight and negotiations with Trump
* She appeared out of sorts as she flew into Japan for the G20 summit on Friday
* The Chancellor and her team insisted she is 'fine' after latest shaking attacks
* Spy agencies have reportedly opened their own investigations into the tremors

Global spy agencies are trying to get their hands on Angela Merkel's medical records in an effort to discover what caused her recent shaking episodes, it has been revealed.

Mrs Merkel, 64, kept a low profile as she attended the G20 summit in Osaka following the latest incident of tremors on Thursday.

Her office blamed dehydration for the first bout of tremors ten days earlier and said the second was psychological, caused by memories of the first.

According to Germany's Bild newspaper, however, several of the world's spy agencies are not convinced by the explanation and have started their own investigations into Mrs Merkel's condition.

Read more
....

WNU Editor: No one is buying the story that she was dehydrated or "psychological", and neither am I.

Editor's Note

Must attend to some personal affairs today. Blogging will return this evening.

U.S. Presidents At The DMZ


(Click on Images to Enlarge)

WNU Editor: It has been quite a journey.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham Roughed Up By North Korean Security Guards



Daily Mail: New White House press secretary joins 'all out brawl' with Kim Jong Un's minders as scuffle breaks between US reporters trying to get into historic Trump meeting and the dictators' henchmen trying to keep them out

* Stephanie Grisham, 42, came out of meeting with bruises following the scuffle
* US reporters were against Korean security guards as they jockeyed for position
* Journalists tried to enter room in Freedom House on south side of Panmunjom
* It was where President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un were meeting today
* President Trump took the historic walk from the DMZ into North Korean territory

Incoming White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was in an 'all out brawl' with North Koreans ahead of the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un as she tried to get the US press pool into position.

Grisham, who officially starts on Monday, joined the President on his trip to the G20 summit in Japan - and was with him for his historic walk from the DMZ into North Korean territory on Sunday.

But she has reportedly come out of the meeting with bruises after a scuffle between reporters and security guards from the secretive state as they tried to block the press.

Read more ....

More News On White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham Roughed Up By North Korean Security Guards

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham roughed up by North Korean security guards -- FOX News
New White House press secretary roughed up in scuffle with North Korean guards: report -- The Hill
White House Press Secretary Grisham Injured in Stampede With N Korean Officials at DMZ - Reports -- Sputnik
‘I’m in US pool!’ Reporters almost go berserk during Trump-Kim DMZ meeting -- RT

President Trump Visits North Korea





Daily Mail: Trump takes historic walk from the DMZ into North Korean territory as he meets Kim Jong-un, who hails him as 'courageous' - and the president invites dictator to visit the U.S. and announces resumption of 'concrete negotiations'

* The president visited the DMZ on Sunday
* He shook hands with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un
* He walked across the demarcation line into North Korean territory
* Trump repeatedly touted a potential meeting starting Saturday
* He stoked the drama saying nothing was 'final' until hours before it occurred
* Become the first U.S. president to step inside North Korea
* North Korea said at first said it was waiting for a formal invitation to meet Trump
* It then called the idea an 'interesting suggestion'
* Trump and Kim ended up meeting for 50 minutes inside 'Peace House'
* No immediate sanctions relief
* Mentioned a Kim visit to the U.S. but with no date
* Trump tweeted on Saturday morning inviting Kim to 'shake his hand and say Hello(?)!'
* South Korean leader said he could 'truly feel the flower of peace was blossoming on the Korean peninsula'
* Trump said he knows 'for a fact' DPRK's main negotiator is alive
* Said he hopes the rest of the negotiators are too

President Donald Trump has taken the historic walk from the DMZ into North Korean territory in order to embark on a meeting with dictator Kim Jong-un.

Shortly after the pair greeted each other with a handshake Sunday, Trump was hailed as 'courageous' by the North Korean leader. Trump in turn praised the 'power' of Kim's voice – then criticized his predecessor and faulted the media for down-playing his achievements.

'This has a lot of significance because it means that we want to bring an end to the unpleasant past and try to create a new future, so it's a very courageous and determined act,' Kim told Trump through a translator after smiling during their initial handshake greeting.

'You're the first U.S. president to cross this line,' Kim told him, moments after Trump became the first American president to venture into North Korean territory. Trump announced after the meeting that in the 'near future' the two sides would be able to 'get some good results after concrete negotiations' – but with nothing tangible other than the commitment to resume talks.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The meeting lasted for 50 minutes. Longer than what many expected.

More News On President Trump's Meeting With North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un At The DMZ

The Latest: Trump says ‘great honor’ to stand in North Korea -- AP
Trump and Kim at the DMZ: Live -- BBC
Wide grins and historic handshake for Trump, Kim at DMZ -- AP
Trump holds historic meeting with Kim with a tweet, handshake and 'flowers of hope' -- Reuters
Trump becomes first US president to enter North Korea -- France 24
US-North Korea: Trump and Kim hold historic meeting at DMZ -- BBC
Trump, Kim hold historic DMZ meeting -- Korea Herald
Trump meets Kim Jong Un, becomes first sitting U.S. president to step into North Korea -- NBC
Trump meets Kim in DMZ, becomes first sitting US president to step into Hermit Kingdom -- FOX News
Trump, Kim meet at Demilitarized Zone, face-to-face for first time since Hanoi -- FOX News
Trump makes history before announcing North Korea nuclear talks will resume -- The Hill
Donald Trump invites Kim Jong-un to US after entering North Korea -- The Guardian
Trump meets Kim at Korean Demilitarized Zone -- DW
Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meet at demilitarised zone -- ABC News Online
Trump meets North Korea's Kim at DMZ in landmark visit -- Al Jazeera
'This is a great friendship': Trump invites Kim Jong Un to the White House after crossing North Korean border to shake hands -- Business Insider
Trump, Kim agree to resume nuclear talks at historic DMZ meeting -- Korea Herald
After surprise Trump-Kim meeting, U.S. and North Korea to reopen talks -- Reuters
US-North Korea: Trump and Kim agree to restart talks in historic meeting -- BBC
US, N. Korea agree to restart nuclear talks but Trump ‘in no rush’ to ditch sanctions -- RT
Kim-Trump border meeting: History or just a photo-op? -- AP
Trump and Kim’s DMZ meeting proves more than just a photo op -- Julian Borger and Justin McCurry, The Guardian

How Much Would A War Against Iran Cost?

Linda J. Bilmes, Rosella Cappella Zielinski and Neta C. Crawford, Boston Globe: War with Iran will cost more than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

Seventeen years ago, a group of neoconservatives surrounding President George W. Bush persuaded him to mount a quick invasion of Iraq because, they alleged, it had “weapons of mass destruction.” That decision, based on dubious intelligence and taken against the advice of many of America’s closest allies, triggered a refugee crisis, destabilized the entire Middle East, and left the United States with a bill of nearly $6 trillion. Nearly 7,000 Americans have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, with more than 600,000 US troops injured and due to receive lifetime disability compensation.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  No one really knows what such a war would exactly cost. But everyone agrees that it would be enormous in both treasure and blood.

Tweets For Today
















Picture Of The Day

Discovered on a series of damaged CD’s, the some 2,400 image were captured on a Canon Powershot G1 by a currently unidentified member of the World Trade Center clean-up crew who has since died (pictured: the remains of WTC 6 and 7)

WNU Editor: The above picture came form this photo-gallery .... Incredible never-before-seen images of the Ground Zero clean-up operation discovered in a worker's photo archive nearly two decades after 9/11 provide a haunting glimpse of the immediate aftermath of the terror attack that killed 3,000 people (Daily Mail).

How The Kremlin Sees The Rest Of The World

President Vladimir Putin seen while surveying the Russia and Belarus Union State armed forces activities at the main stage of the joint strategic exercises "Zapad-2017" on the Luzhsky range, September 18, 2017. © Sputnik

Charles Grant, New Statesman: How the Kremlin sees the rest of the world

Russian analysts reckon the US will be less focused on intervening around the world and will be more nationalist, mercantilist and interest-focused.

Thomas Hobbes described the life of a man as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. The Kremlin’s view of the world is dark and Hobbesian. But on a recent visit to Moscow, I was struck by the confidence of influential Russians in their country’s ability to thrive in such a world.

Approval ratings for Vladimir Putin have fallen to just above 60 per cent, their lowest level since Russia’s intervention in Ukraine in 2014, but he is unchallenged domestically. Everyone expects the president to stay in charge at least until his current term ends in 2024, and probably for longer. The economy, though still dependent on natural resource exports and unable to grow at more than 1.5 per cent a year, continues to muddle along.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: My must read for today.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Russia And Saudi Arabia Agree To An Extension The Oil Output Deal



Reuters: Russia agrees with Saudi Arabia to extend OPEC+ oil output deal

OSAKA/VIENNA (Reuters) - Russia has agreed with Saudi Arabia to extend by six to nine months a deal with OPEC on reducing oil output, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, as oil prices come under renewed pressure from rising U.S. supplies and a slowing global economy.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday that the deal would most likely be extended by nine months and no deeper reductions were needed.

Putin, speaking after talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, told a news conference the deal - which is due to expire on Sunday - would be extended in its current form and with the same volumes.

Read more ....

More News On Russia And OPEC Agreeing To An Extension Of Their Oil Output Deal

Putin Says Russia and Saudi Arabia Agreed to Maintain Oil Cuts for as Long as 9 Months -- Bloomberg
OPEC and Russia Seek to Support the Price of Oil -- The New York Times
Russia Completes Its OPEC Takeover With Deal With Saudis -- Bloomberg

Why U.S. Aircraft Carriers Are Needed

The lead ship in the Ford class of large-deck, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. It doesn't have its air wing yet, but when it does the USS Ford will be able to support 160 aircraft sorties in a typical day -- and over a hundred more per day if needed. Wikipedia

Forbes: Ten Capabilities That Make The U.S. Navy's Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carriers Indispensable

The U.S. Navy is the only warfighting organization in the world that operates a fleet of large-deck, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The 11 carriers funded by the fiscal 2020 defense budget aren’t just the centerpiece of the Navy’s 300-ship force structure, they are the signature expression of American military power. No other warfighting system can accomplish what carriers can.

However, the warfighting features that make large-deck, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers unique aren’t always readily apparent, because official descriptions of their functions tend to focus on overarching missions like “forward presence” and “power projection.” Obviously, other combat systems have a role to play in executing these missions.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A good summary.

Sudan Braces For A Million Person Protest

Dagalo (centre right) has warned of 'vandals' at the planned 'millions march' protest on Sunday [Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP]

Al Jazeera: Sudan's ruling generals warn opposition ahead of 'millions march'

Military council says protest leaders have 'complete responsibility' for any deaths or damage at Sunday's rallies.

As demonstrators in Sudan plan to return to the streets on Sunday for mass rallies dubbed the "millions march", the country's ruling military council has warned protest and opposition groups that they will be held responsible for any deaths or damage.

"We warn of the seriousness of the crisis our country is going through," the Transitional Military Council (TMC) said in a statement on Saturday carried by state news agency SUNA.

Read more ....

More News On Sudan Bracing For A Million Person Protest

Sudan braces for 'millions march' as defiant protesters regroup -- Al Jazeera
Sudan security forces 'carry out raid' ahead of mass protest -- BBC
Sudan’s protesters dodge crackdowns before ‘million march’ against military rule -- The Washington Post
Sudan's army says African Union-Ethiopia deal paves way for talks -- CBC/AP

Russian Emergencies Ministry Newest Recruits Parade Through Moscow's Red Square During Graduation Ceremony

Female cadets look proud while saluting as they receive their diplomas and a single rose from the authority

Daily Mail: Comrades in arms! Putin's newest recruits parade through Moscow's Red Square during graduation ceremony for the Russian Emergencies Ministry

* Hundreds of proud cadets paraded in front of the Kremlin in Moscow's Red Square, receiving their diplomas
* The Russian Emergencies Ministry deals with civil defence and both man-made and natural disasters
* They often recruiting young school leavers and offering them higher education in the field of civil defence

Hundreds of proud cadets paraded in front of the Kremlin in Moscow's Red Square and celebrated receiving their diplomas during a graduation ceremony for the Russian Emergencies Ministry this afternoon.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry deals with civil defence and both man-made and natural disasters, often recruiting young school leavers and offering them higher education in the field of civil defence.

After being trained to deal with earthquakes, flooding, landslides/Avalanches, Tsunamis and even volcanic Activity, the students march in the iconic plaza before accepting their diplomas.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is becoming a regular Red Square custom.

U.S. Navy Has Been Granted A Patent That Looks Like An UFO


Daily Mail: U.S. Navy has been granted a patent on theoretical aircraft resembling recently-reported UFOs that could bend the laws of physics to fly through water, air, and space

* The U.S. Navy patented a technology that could bend the laws of physics
* Theoretical tech would allow the craft to travel through air, water, and space
* By creating a 'quantum bubble' the craft could achieve 'extreme speeds'
* Descriptions of the craft are similar to recent UFO sightings by the U.S. Navy
* A letter from the U.S. Navy states that China is 'investing heavily' in the tech

The U.S. Navy has been assigned a patent on an aerospace technology that is eerily similar to a string of UFOs described by fighter pilots.

A technology patented by an aerospace engineer working at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) describes a 'hybrid' craft that is capable of flying at breakneck speeds in the air, water, and even space using an unprecedented electromagnetic propulsion system.

As reported by The Drive, when looking over a patent on the technology, an examiner for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office responded with skepticism that such a craft exists only to receive a personal letter from the Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Navy, who explained that Chinese researchers are 'investing significantly' in the craft.

Read more ....

Update: Docs Show Navy Got 'UFO' Patent Granted By Warning Of Similar Chinese Tech Advances (Warzone/The Drive)

WNU Editor:  I guess they got their patent.

U.S. Army Wants To Make A Better MRE

U.S. Army

Popular Mechanics: Cooking (and Shrinking) the Modern Combat Ration

At an Army development lab, creating food for troops is as much about technology as it is about cooking. We sent a chef to learn how it all works. And tastes.

The entrance to the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center is busy and confusing. Based on how much the soldier at the gate my Uber driver and I pulled up to was shouting at us, we were not doing a great job of navigating that entrance. But after a few phone calls and with the help of our escort for the day, I was finally on my way down the long path to the correct building.

Natick is an Army base where the military scientists at the forefront of the development of food systems for all of the armed forces (as well as NASA!) are developing new technologies like sonic agglomeration, vacuum microwave drying, and sonic swab technology. The part of Natick I wanted to visit is a warehouse full of super-cool machines that will potentially help our soldiers be able to do their jobs better, by feeding them foods that are packed with calories, nutrients, and flavor, but without weighing a ton or taking up much space.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There is a lot of science behind the MRE.

Special Air Show At IDF Air Force Base (Video)




Arutz Sheva: Watch: Special air show at IDF Air Force Base

American And Chinese Missiles Found In Libyan Rebel Compound



Reuters: Libyan fighters seize U.S. and Chinese missiles from Haftar's forces

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Forces allied to Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Tripoli captured sophisticated U.S. and Chinese rockets as well as drones when they seized a town from eastern forces last week, officials said on Saturday.

On Wednesday, Tripoli’s forces took Gharyan, south of the capital, which eastern forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar had used as their main supply base to attack Tripoli, home to the recognized administration.

Officials showed journalists weapons they said had been seized, among them sophisticated U.S.-made Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. says it is investigating this case .... US says investigating missile find at Libya rebel base (AFP).

More News On The Libyan War

American Missiles Found in Libyan Rebel Compound -- The New York Times
Libya: Retaking Gharyan from Haftar’s forces stripped US, UAE bare -- Libyan Express
Libya's UN-recognised forces retake strategic Haftar base -- Al Jazeera
Haftar vows attacks on Turkish assets in Libya -- AFP
Libya: Haftar bans flights, boats from Turkey -- Al Jazeera
Haftar Threatens to Target Turkish Ships, Assets in Libya - Reports -- Sputnik

How Stable Is The Chinese Banking System?

Photo: The collapse of a small regional bank could drag down the Chinese economy. (REUTERS: Thomas White/File)

Stephen Letts, ABC News Online: Baoshang Bank collapse threatens China's economy and may trigger central bank response

Up until a few weeks ago the Baoshang Bank's prospects seemed bright enough.

According to Baoshang's most recent regulatory filing, the smallish lender based in Inner-Mongolia, made a $600 million profit in 2017.

It had assets of around $90 billion, non-performing loans were modest — under 2 per cent — and its capital buffers would fit comfortably with the global demands of a Tier1 bank.

Then it collapsed.

That set off a series of events rarely, if ever, seen in Chinese banking.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It does not look stable according to the above story.

U.S. Oil Output Tops A Record 12 Million Barrels A Day


Bloomberg: U.S. Oil Output Tops 12 Million Barrels a Day for First Time

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. crude output soared to new heights in April, highlighting OPEC’s dilemma just days before the producer group meets amid growing geopolitical threats.

A government report on Friday showed U.S. production grew 2.1% in April to 12.16 million barrels a day. Booming shale production from places like the Permian basin of West Texas have enabled U.S. oil output to overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia.

At the same time, trade disputes and escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf have clouded the outlook for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which is expected to extend current output cuts next week.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:Who thought this was possible only a few years ago.

EU Says It's Mechanism For Trade With Iran Is Now Operational

DW: EU mechanism for trade with Iran 'now operational'

The EU has created a mechanism that will allow European countries to trade with Iran despite US sanctions. The move is an attempt to show good will toward Iran and keep it in the 2015 nuclear deal.

The European Union announced that its INSTEX mechanism to facilitate trade with Iran was up and running on Friday.

"France, Germany, and the United Kingdom informed participants that INSTEX had been made operational and available to all EU member states, and that the first transactions are being processed," said an EU statement.

INSTEX, which stands for Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, is a payment system that will allow companies to trade with Iran despite harsh US sanctions. It will function as a diplomatic shield allowing the exchange of goods without requiring direct transfers of money between Iran and EU companies.

Read more ....

Update: EU makes last-ditch effort to keep Iran from leaving nuclear deal (The Guardian)

WNU Editor: The Iranians are not impressed, they cannot sell their oil with this EU mechanism .... Iran says European efforts to salvage nuclear deal are not enough (CNBC).

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau's Handshake Completely Ignored By Brazilian President Bolsonaro At The G20 Summit


Indy 100: Justin Trudeau has handshake offer completely ignored by Jair Bolsonaro at G20 summit

Justin Trudeau is regarded as one of the most likeable leaders in global politics right now but he found himself in no man's land on Saturday morning at the G20.

Thanks to an awkward seating arrangement at the summit in Osaka, Japan, the Canadian prime minister found himself wedged between the Chinese president Xi Jinping and the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, two politicians whose policies he otherwise opposes.

If that wasn't bad enough, Trudeau tried his best to ignore the fact he was sitting beside Xi, with tensions between their two respective nations on rocky ground right now.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am sure there were a lot of snubs and slights at this summit that we do not even know about.

Turkish President Erdogan: 'Trump Assured No Sanctions Over Russia S-400 Missile Deal'

US President Donald Trump with Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan during the G20 leaders summit, June 29. © Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

DW: Turkey's Erdogan: 'Trump assured no sanctions over Russia S-400 missile deal'

President Tayyip Erdogan said the delivery of Russian missile defense system would begin in the first half of July. The US previously warned that Turkey would be sanctioned if it went forward with the S-400 purchase.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Saturday he was reassured by President Donald Trump that Washington would not impose sanctions on Ankara over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

"We heard from him that there won't be anything like this (sanctions)," Erdogan told a press conference in Osaka, Japan, following a meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

"It is out of the question that such a thing takes place between two strategic allies. I believe it cannot happen," Erdogan said.

Erdogan said that Turkey expected the delivery of US F-35 stealth fighter jets despite the controversy over the S-400 deal.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Other news reports are contradicting the Turkish President .... Trump, Erdogan Make No Progress On S-400 Standoff (RFE).

More News On Turkish President Erdogan Remarks That 'Trump Assured No Sanctions Over Russia S-400 Missile Deal'

Turkey's Erdogan says U.S. will not impose sanctions over Russian missile deal -- Reuters
Erdogan says US will not impose sanctions on Turkey over Russian missile deal -- Middle East Monitor
Erdoğan says Trump will not impose sanctions over Russian missile deal -- The Hill
Trump has assured no U.S. sanctions over S-400 purchase, says Erdoğan -- Ahval
Turkey won’t face US sanctions over purchase of Russian missile defense systems – Erdogan -- RT

G-20 Summit Ends



CNBC/Reuters: G-20 leaders sidestep trade protectionism in communique

* Speaking after chairing the two-day G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the leaders also found common ground on climate change despite “big differences” in the members’ views.
* The communique also warned that global economic growth remains low and risks were tilted to the downside, as trade and geopolitical tensions have “intensified.”

Group of 20 leaders have clearly confirmed the need for a free, fair and non-discriminatory trade policy, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday, suggesting that members have agreed to the wording to be included in their communique.

Speaking after chairing the two-day G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, Abe said the leaders also found common ground on climate change despite “big differences” in the members’ views.

Read more ....

More News On The End Of The G20 Summit

G20 leaders make progress on trade and investment in Osaka; members minus the U.S. reaffirm Paris climate goals -- Japan Times
Abe’s G-20 show eclipsed by Trump-China trade talks, tweets -- AP
G20 stops short of denouncing protectionism, warns of global slowdown -- Reuters
Japan Abe says G20 leaders confirm need for free, fair trade -- Reuters
G20 summit: World leaders agree on climate deal -- DW

President Trump's News Conference At The End Of The G20 Summit (Complete Video)

U.S. And China Agree To A Trade Truce



Daily Mail: Trump says his meeting with Xi Jinping went 'better than expected', insists he won't be imposing tariffs on China 'for the time being' and reveals Kim Jong-un responded 'very favorably' to his offer of a DMZ meeting as G20 summit ends

* President Trump held a news conference in Osaka at the end of the G20
* He heads to Seoul where he will visit the DMZ on Sunday
* On Saturday he announced the resumption of trade talks with China
* He had threatened to impose another $300 billion in tariffs
* Said he won't be imposing any tariffs 'for the time being'
* He was under fire for smiling while telling Putin not to interfere in U.S. elections
* He said Saturday he did raise the issue, telling the press to look at his words
* He also says he raised it in private
* Trump said he may go to Russia to celebrate anniversary of defeat of Nazi Germany
* He also said he raised the issue of the Khashogi murder with Mohammed bin Salman
* China's Xinhua state-run news agency reported the U.S. would hold off on threatened tariffs

President Donald Trump says he told Chinese President Xi Jinping he won't impose any more tariffs 'for the time being' after their one-on-one talk in Osaka on Saturday.

'We're not doing that. We're going to work with China on where we left off to see if we can make a deal,' the president told reporters at the top of a press conference in Osaka, Japan.

'We will be continuing to negotiate and I promised that for at least the time being we're not going to be [adding] tariffs,' Trump said.

He spoke after declaring talks with China 'back on track' following a one-on-one with the Chinese president, who urged cooperation instead of confrontation.

Read more ....

More News On The Completion Of Talks Between Presidents Trump And Xi

Trump-Xi meeting at G-20 'went better than expected,' US president says -- FOX News
Trump says China trade talks 'back on track,' new tariffs on hold -- Reuters
Truce in US-China trade war as 2 rivals seek breakthrough -- AP
Trump says he agreed with Xi to hold off on new tariffs and to let Huawei buy US products -- CNBC
US, China Leaders Agree to Resume Trade Talks -- VOA
G20 wraps up as China and USA agree trade war truce -- France 24
Trump open to 'historic' trade deal with China -- DW
Donald Trump and Xi Jinping extend olive branch at the G20 summit's sidelines -- ABC News Online
Trump says US firms can sell to Huawei -- Business Insider

President Trump Tweets Proposal To Meet Kim Jung-un At The DMZ






Reuters: Trump offers North Korea's Kim weekend meeting in demilitarised zone

OSAKA/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday proposed a weekend meeting with Kim Jong Un at the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, an encounter North Korea said would be meaningful if it goes ahead.

If Trump and Kim do meet, it will be for the third time in just over a year, and four months after their second summit broke down with no progress on U.S. efforts to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

North Korea said it had not had an official proposal.

Read more ....

Update #1: Trump says he could meet North Korea's Kim at DMZ (AP)
Update #2: Trump invites Kim Jong-un for meeting at DMZ (Korea Times)

WNU Editor: This is the North Korean response so far .... Trump's surprise DMZ invite to Kim Jong Un 'very interesting,' North Korea official says (FOX News). If I was Kim Jong Un I would accept the offer. Having the first U.S. President on North Korean soil would be a huge diplomatic and propaganda triumph. And he has nothing to lose.

Pentagon: 'No Pause In Drone Operations Amid Iran Tension'

An RQ-4 Global Hawk is seen on the tarmac of Al-Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Airman 1st Class D. Blake Browning/U.S. Air Force via AP)

Defense News: US Air Force general: No pause in drone operations amid Iran tension

WASHINGTON — Iran’s downing of a U.S. surveillance drone has not slowed the U.S. Air Force’s flight operations in the Middle East, its top general said Wednesday.

“We’re continuing to fly. And we continue to fly where we need to be, when we need to be there,” Air Force Chief of Staff Dave Goldfein said at an Air Force Association event.

“This is a conversation we could have in the South China Sea, this is a conversation we could have anywhere in terms of international airspace. In the global commons, we continue to protect those global commons for everyone and we continue to operate where we need to operate.”

Read more ....

Update: ‘We’re Continuing to Fly’: US Maintains Drone Surveillance in Gulf Despite Downed UAV (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: Iran issues its own warning .... Iran Says It Won't Hold Back Next Time U.S. Crosses Border (Newsweek).

U.S. Military Has A Laser That Can Identify People By Their Heartbeats

Daily Mail: Pentagon has developed a laser that can identify subjects from hundreds of meters away based on their HEARTBEAT

* The Pentagon can identify targets from afar using a laser to measure heartbeats
* Technology is being developed for U.S. Special Operations for surveillance
* Infrared lasers are able to penetrate clothing and skin to monitor blood flow
* Heartbeats are completely unique unlike faces or even thumbprints
* Prototypes currently have a range of about 200 meters or 219 yards

U.S. special forces are taking a more 'intimate' approach to remotely identifying targets, using lasers to sense their heartbeat.

According to MIT Technology Review, the Pentagon has developed a prototype of the technology, code-named 'Jetson,' that uses infrared lasers to read a person's cardiac signature.

Though far less obvious than fingerprints or faces, people's heartbeats have a distinct profile, making them among the most useful biometrics for uniquely identifying a person.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here are some more details on this tech .... The Pentagon has a laser that can identify people from a distance—by their heartbeat (Technology Review).

More News On The U.S. Military Developing A Laser That Can Identify People By Their Heartbeats

This US military laser can identify people by their heartbeats from 650 feet away -- Business Insider
The Pentagon Can ID Your Heartbeat Using Laser Beams -- Popular Mechanics
New Pentagon Laser Identifies High-Risk Individuals By Their Heartbeat -- Forbes
US Special Forces Testing Lasers to ID Targets Based on a ‘Cardiac Signature’ -- Sputnik
Are enemies one heartbeat away from being found out? -- C4ISRNet

Russian President Putin: 'Liberalism' Has Failed The West



RT: ‘Liberal idea’ failed the West, elites forgot about people: Putin in interview

Globalization and the ‘liberal idea’ have failed Europe and the US, while post-Cold War chaos is driving crises in Venezuela and North Korea, but was stopped in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview to FT.

In a lengthy interview with the UK-based Financial Times on Wednesday, Putin candidly addressed questions about the Russian intervention in Syria – and lack thereof in Venezuela – as well as nuclear proliferation, North Korea, immigration policies in the US and Europe, Russian economy, relations with the UK, and the failure of what he called the “liberal idea” to provide for the people’s well-being.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: God/religion, culture/traditions, border .... this is what Russian President Putin is talking about. It is a viewpoint that is also shared by almost all Russians, and it is one of the main forces that drives Russian foreign policy when it comes to its neighbours.

Update: Here comes the Western liberal reaction .... Western leaders defend liberal values against Putin’s ‘obsolete’ claim (The Guardian)

More News On Russian President Putin's Remarks On Liberalism

Putin: Russian president says liberalism 'obsolete' -- BBC
Putin fires new broadside against Western liberalism -- AP
Putin: Liberal values ‘obsolete,’ people in West prefer ‘traditional’ values -- FOX News
Putin attacks Western views on gay rights and multiculturalism and says immigrants are free to 'kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights are protected' ahead of G20 meeting with May -- Daily Mail
'Liberalism Is Obsolete,' Russian President Vladimir Putin Says Amid G20 Summit -- Time
Russia's Vladimir Putin: Liberalism in Europe is 'obsolete' -- NBC
Russia’s Vladimir Putin says liberalism has ‘outlived its purpose’ -- CNBC
Putin derides liberalism as 'obsolete' before G20 summit -- Al Jazeera
Is Putin right? Is liberalism really obsolete? -- Helier Cheung, BBC
Putin’s questioning of ‘liberalism’ causes existential shock -- RT

Why The Armed Forces Still Stand By Venezuela’s President

TOEING THE LINE: In Maduro's Venezuela, intimidation and a jumbled chain of command have kept soldiers from following the opposition's calls to revolt. REUTERS/Handout/Venezuelan presidency

Brian Ellsworth and Mayela Armas, The Guardian: The Maduro mystery: Why the armed forces still stand by Venezuela’s beleaguered president

Despite unprecedented poverty, crime and mass migration, the armed forces remain loyal to President Nicolás Maduro. Reuters explains how a military overhaul blurred commands, politicized the ranks and drafted troops into partisan activities.

One of the central mysteries of Venezuela’s slow-motion collapse: Why does the military continue to support Nicolás Maduro, the president who has led the once-prosperous South American country into poverty and chaos?

The answer, according to people familiar with Venezuela’s military structure, starts with Maduro’s late predecessor, Hugo Chávez, the charismatic caudillo who cemented strongman socialist rule in the nation of about 30 million people. In a series of actions that began in 1999, the former lieutenant colonel and one-time coup leader began taming the military by bloating it, buying it off, politicizing it, intimidating the rank and file, and fragmenting the overall command.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: What Hugo Chavez did to the military, and continued on by Nicholas Maduro, reminds me of what Stalin did to the Soviet Army in the 1930s. He purged the ranks, installed NKVD intelligence officers in units, and promoted his closest allies to the top of the military even if they had no military experience. The end result was a Soviet Army that was dysfunctional and impotent that collapsed in the first week of the German invasion in 1941. I can the same about the Venezuelan military today. Dysfunctional and impotent, focused more on exploiting Venezuela to the benefit of those who run it, instead of protecting Venezuela itself.

China Is Entering The 'Grey Zone' Between War And Peace

China and the Philippines have competing claims in the South China Sea. Photo: TWA/SCMP

Zhenhua Lu, SCMP: China accused of entering ‘grey zone’ between war and peace to assert control in disputed waters

* US think tank Rand Corporation says Beijing’s increased assertiveness in East and South China seas falls ‘below the threshold of armed conflict’
* Report says lines between civilian and military are being blurred, citing use of ‘navy reservists’ to crew fishing vessels used to assert control over territory

China is using a number of tactics that fall in the “grey zone between peace and war” to advance its interests in the disputed East and South China seas, according a leading US defence think tank.

In a report analysing China and Russia’s “coercive” actions, the Washington-based Rand Corporation also proposed a number of military and diplomatic measures America could take to counter China in the strategic waters.

Rand, which is partly funded by the US government, said Washington expected its rivalry with China and Russia to be played out “primarily below the threshold of armed conflict, in what is sometimes termed the grey zone between peace and war”.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Against its smaller neighbours I would say that China has already entered the zone of war .... China, Philippine tensions inflamed by a sunken boat (Asia Times).

Chinese Military Tells The U.S. That 'Those Who Resist Will Perish'

A Chinese sailor aboard the Type 056A corvette Hanzhong fires an auxiliary gun during an exercise in the South China Sea, June 18. Beijing claims much of these strategic waters also claimed by regional states and patrolled by the Pentagon. Chinese People's Liberation Army

Newsweek: China's Military Warns U.S. Must Get With the Times: 'Those Who Resist Will Perish'

China's military called on the United States to adopt a modern way of thinking in dealing with the People's Republic, warning America that it risked falling behind.

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang condemned the Pentagon's recent Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, which accused Beijing of seeking "to reorder the region to its advantage by leveraging military modernization, influence operations, and predatory economics to coerce other nations."

He said the ministry was "firmly opposed to its negative contents concerning China," citing some specific points of contention.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese military is channelling the Borg .... "resistance is futile".

Tweets For Today











OAS: Number Of Venezuelan Migrants Could Double To Eight Million

Venezuelan migrants get on military trucks to get a free ride from the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border service to Tumbes, after processing their documents, on the outskirts of Tumbes, Peru June 15, 2019. Picture taken June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Reuters: Number of Venezuelan migrants could double to eight million: OAS

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Some 5,000 Venezuelans leave their country each day, the Organization of American States (OAS) said in a report on Friday, and the number of migrants from the oil-producing country could double to 8 million by the end of 2020.

Venezuela’s deep economic and political crisis has dominated the agenda at an OAS assembly taking place this week in Medellin, Colombia. Uruguay walked out of the session on Thursday in protest of the recognition of a delegation from Venezuela’s opposition.

The United Nations has estimated the number of Venezuelan migrants abroad is currently 4 million.

“This is the biggest migrant flow in the history of the region, currently the second-largest in the world - beaten by Syria, which has been at war for more than eight years,” report coordinator David Smolansky said during Friday’s assembly.

Some 1.3 million Venezuelans are currently living in Colombia, which has borne the brunt of the exodus. Some 850,000 migrants have settled in Peru and 263,000 in Ecuador.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  Eight million is probably the low number.

Picture Of The Day

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Inside the G20 (Reuters).

F-22 Raptor Stealth Fighters To The Middle East Amid Tensions With Iran

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors arrive at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nichelle Anderson

Daily Mail: Trump deploys F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to the Middle East amid tensions with Iran - as Senate votes down bid to end his 'unlimited' war powers

* Almost a dozen F-22 Raptors have landed at al-Udeid air base in Qatar, a hub for U.S. military operations in the Middle East
* The stealth fighters can hit ground targets too and were used in Syria last year
* Move comes amid rising tensions with Iran but after Trump called off air strikes at the last minute, in the wake of country downing a U.S. Navy spy drone
* Trump also faced vote in the Senate to end two authorizations of military force which he could have used to strike Iran
* Senators voted 50-40 against the measure but four Republicans backed Democrats in voting to remove the power
* Mitch McConnell called it 'Trump derangement syndrome' but it comes amid mounting calls for Congress to end almost unlimited presidential war powers

Nearly a dozen Air Force F-22 stealth fighters have deployed to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, part of a force buildup requested by U.S. Central Command in May in response to what it called heightened Iranian threats against American forces in the region.

The Air Force arm of U.S. Central Command on Friday said the F-22 Raptors arrived this week at al-Udeid air base to 'defend American forces and interests.'

It posted to its website photos of several F-22s arriving there on Thursday and said this is the first time F-22s have deployed to al-Udeid, which is a hub for U.S. air operations in the Middle East.

Read more ....

More News On F-22 Raptor Stealth Fighters Being Deployed To The Middle East

Additional US fighter planes sent to Gulf amid Iran tensions -- AP
US sends F-22 fighters to Middle East amid tensions with Iran -- CNN
F-22s Deploy to Qatar for the First Time Amid Iran Tensions -- Military.com
Pentagon deploys Raptors to Qatar amid Iran tensions -- Stars and Stripes
F-22 Raptors Deploy To Qatar For The First Time Ever Amid Iran Tensions -- Warzone/The Drive
US Air Force F-22 stealth fighters have returned to the Middle East amid a tense standoff with Iran -- Business Insider
US sends more stealth fighters to Persian Gulf, as Iran tension simmers -- RT

Friday, June 28, 2019

Tensions Are Definitely Simmering Betweeen World Leaders At The G20

US President Donald Trump turns to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to exchange a few words as the other leaders wave. Photo: DPA

SCMP: Beneath the smiles and handshakes, tensions simmer as world leaders meet for G20

* Xi Jinping makes beeline to shake hands with Donald Trump before traditional ‘family photo’ at start of Osaka summit
* But geopolitical rifts between some are evident, despite the camaraderie

After converging in Osaka, Japan amid heavy rains, world leaders gathered on Friday morning for the traditional “family photo” that marks the start of the Group of 20 powwow. But beneath the smiling faces of the world’s most powerful people, tensions were brewing.

The year-long trade war between Beijing and Washington put the spotlight on Chinese President Xi Jinping, who made a beeline to shake hands with his US counterpart Donald Trump before the group picture, ahead of their high-stakes meeting on Saturday. It was the first time the two leaders had met in person since they called a truce on tariffs in December at the last G20 summit in Argentina – a ceasefire that ended last month as trade talks stalled.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: President Trump's focus at the G20 was on Presidents Putin and Xi. Both the U.S. and Russia are regarding Friday's meeting between the two leaders as a success. President Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi is only beginning now, and I will post more on it when news become available .... Donald Trump, Xi Jinping of China hold make-or-break trade meeting (USA Today). The person who looks very unhappy is President Xi. This has not been a good summit for him. The other leaders have been focused on getting some time with the big 3 (Trump/Xi/Putin), and from what I see most of them are being disappointed that they are being ignored.

Canadian Government Officials Are Saying That Prime Minister Trudeau And President Xi Had 'Positive' Discussions



Reuters: Canada's Trudeau, Xi had 'positive' discussions as dispute rages: Ottawa

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese President Xi Jinping had “positive, constructive interactions” on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Friday as a dispute between the two countries rages, Trudeau’s office said.

Trudeau spoke “more than once” to Xi during a meeting of the Group of 20 leading economies in Osaka, Japan, said an official in Trudeau’s office, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

The contact between the two leaders was the first since diplomatic and trade relations turned icy last December after Canadian police arrested Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant.

Video footage from the meeting showed Trudeau and Xi speaking briefly through interpreters before shaking hands.

Read more ....

Update: Trudeau has 'brief, constructive interactions' with Chinese President Xi Jinping at G20 (CBC)

WNU Editor: The Prime Minister's office is saying that the discussions were positive and constructive. My Chinese contacts are telling me that Prime Minister Trudeau approached President Xi, and wanted to discuss the issues that are causing problems between the two countries. But President Xi was not interested to pursue it further.