Sunday, October 31, 2021

Beijing Reacts Angrily To US Intelligence Review Into The Origins Of The Covid-19 Pandemic

The Wuhan Institute of Virology during the WHO visit earlier this year. China has lashed out at the US over a fuller report on the origins of Covid-19. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters 

The Guardian/AFP: China rejects US intelligence report on Covid origins as ‘political and false’ 

Beijing has reacted angrily to the report, which said China was hindering investigations into source of the pandemic 

Beijing has lashed out against a US intelligence review into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, calling it “political and false” while urging Washington to stop attacking China. 

The Chinese foreign ministry’s retort came on Sunday, days after the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a fuller version of its findings from a 90-day review ordered by president Joe Biden. 

The paper said that, without new information, intelligence agencies would not be able to offer a better judgment on whether the virus emerged via animal-to-human transmission or a lab leak.  

Read more .... 

More News On Beijing's Reaction To US Intelligence Review Into The Origins Of The Covid-19 Pandemic  

U.S. COVID-19 origins report not scientifically credible: Chinese Foreign Ministry -- CGTN  

Stop scapegoating China! Chinese FM rejects US intelligence-led origins-tracing report -- Global Times  

China says U.S. COVID origins report is without credibility -- Reuters  

COVID: China urges US to 'stop attacking' Beijing over virus origins -- DW

COVID-19 Outbreak 'Developing Rapidly' In China

A medical worker in protective suit collects a swab from a resident following new Covid-19 cases in Lanzhou's Chengguan district in China. (Photo: Reuters)  

Business Insider: Chinese COVID-19 outbreak 'developing rapidly,' health officials say  

* China has recorded 72 cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, a 70% jump. 

* The outbreak is centered in the northeast of the country. 

* Health experts say the outbreak is "developing rapidly" with the virus being "severe." 

China's latest COVID-19 outbreak is "developing rapidly," a health official warned, according to Reuters. 

The country has seen 377 cases of COVID-19 between October 17-29, according to National Health Commission (NHC) data. 

At the time of writing, China has reported 72 cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, according to the World Health Organization, representing a 70% increase in the virus diagnosis. 

Read more .... 

More News On Covid-19 In China  

China's COVID-19 outbreak developing rapidly, health official says -- Reuters  

Chinese city on emergency footing to fend off coronavirus outbreak -- SCMP  

‘People are starting to wane’: China’s zero-Covid policy takes toll -- The Guardian  

China doubles down on COVID-zero strategy -- Al Jazeera

Eastern Europe Struggling To Contain COVID-19 Cases


Euronews: Russia and much of eastern Europe struggle to contain COVID-19 cases 

Hospitals in Romania are continuing to feel the strain, with rising numbers deaths due to COVID-19. 

Medical staff are under huge pressure and patients who survived long periods in intensive care units have spoken about the mental pressures of knowing that many people around them have died. 

Last week it was reported that the pace of vaccination had more than doubled after the country recorded its highest daily COVID-19 death toll since the beginning of the pandemic.  

Read more .... 

More News On Eastern Europe Struggling To Contain COVID-19 Cases  

Eastern European nations facing sharp spike in Covid-19 cases, with low rates of vaccination undermining efforts to end pandemic -- RT  

Vaccine reluctance in Eastern Europe brings high COVID cost -- AP  

Russia reports an all-time high of 40,993 daily coronavirus cases -- TASS  

Russia imposes nationwide paid holiday to curb Covid -- France 24  

Ukraine capital tightens lockdown measures as new COVID-19 cases jump -- Reuters  

Ukraine Reports New Record Daily High Of Coronavirus Cases -- RFE  

Romania, with second-lowest EU vaccination rate, sees record COVID deaths -- Reuters  

COVID-19 in Romania: Doctors plea for help in open letter -- Medical News Today  

Poland's total number of COVID-19 cases passes 3 million -- Euronews/Reuters

Baltic states lead Covid surge across east Europe -- EUObserver 

Estonian govt approves new COVID-19 restrictions -- Baltic Times  

Belarus' COVID-19 latest: 1,988 new cases, 2,130 recoveries -- Belarus TV  

Why Bulgaria and Romania failed in COVID mission -- Euractiv

Pentagon Says Nearly 70 Percent Of The Army Is Fully Vaccinated

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Angelina Mangram administers the COVID-19 vaccine at the Naval Base San Diego fitness center in January 2021. (Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Rivera/ U.S. Navy)

Newsweek: Nearly 70 Percent Of The Army Is Fully Vaccinated, Pentagon Says  

Nearly 70 percent of the U.S. Army is fully vaccinated, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. 

Kirby shared Army vaccination statistics with Navy Times. As of Friday, 97 percent of the active-duty force has received one of the two-dose vaccine, while 87 percent is fully vaccinated. Also, including the Reserve and National Guard, 82 percent of military personnel are at least partially vaccinated, while 68 percent are fully vaccinated. 

"We're going to make sure that every individual who has reservations about taking the vaccine, for whatever reason, is properly counseled about the safety and the efficacy of the vaccines, and the health risks for not taking it," Kirby told the Army Times in August. "As well as counseling the readiness impact of not taking it ― the impact that an individual would be having on his or her teammates."  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: US Navy and Marine Corps are preparing to boot their troops who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine .... As deadline looms, Navy and Marine Corps prepare to boot troops who refuse COVID-19 vaccine (San Diego Union-Tribune).

Up To 12,000 Air Force Personnel Facing Dismissal For Not Taking The Covid-19 Vaccine

Senior Airman Rendall Powell of the 412th Test Wing receives a COVID-19 vaccination shot from Lt. Col. Yvonne Storey at the Airman and Family Readiness Center on Edwards Air Force Base in California in August. (Air Force photo by Katherine Franco  

Seattle Times/Washington Post: Air Force is first military branch to face rejection of vaccine mandate as thousands avoid shots  

Up to 12,000 Air Force personnel have rejected orders to get fully vaccinated against the coronavirus despite a Pentagon mandate and officials say it is too late for them to do so by Tuesday’s deadline, posing a first major test for military leaders whose August directive has been met with defiance among a segment of the force. 

The vast majority of active-duty airmen, 96.4%, are at least partially vaccinated, according to data from the Air Force.

But officials have warned that, barring an approved medical or religious exemption, those who defy lawful orders to be fully immunized are subject to punishment, including possible dismissal from the service or they could be charged in the military justice system.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Up to 12,000 Air Force personnel have rejected vaccine orders: report (The Hill)  

Update #2: Thousands of Air Force troops set to reject vaccine mandate (FOX News)  

WNU Editor: The expulsions have started .... Air Force Boots 40 Recruits for Refusing the COVID-19 Vaccine ( 

The Pentagon is also saying that around 97% of active-duty members have taken at least one shot.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki Tests Positive For COVID-19 Becoming The Highest-Ranking White House Official To Publicly Disclose They Contracted The Virus


The Hill: White House's Psaki tests positive for COVID-19 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, becoming the highest-ranking White House official to publicly disclose they contracted the virus. 

"While I have not had close contact in person with the President or senior members of the White House staff since Wednesday — and tested negative for four days after that last contact — I am disclosing today’s positive test out of an abundance of transparency," she said in a statement. 

"I last saw the President on Tuesday, when we sat outside more than six-feet apart, and wore masks." 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, becoming the highest-ranking White House official to publicly disclose they contracted the virus. 

"While I have not had close contact in person with the President or senior members of the White House staff since Wednesday — and tested negative for four days after that last contact — I am disclosing today’s positive test out of an abundance of transparency," she said in a statement. 

"I last saw the President on Tuesday, when we sat outside more than six-feet apart, and wore masks."  

Read more ....  

Update #1: White House press secretary Psaki says she has COVID-19 (AP)  

Update #2: White House press secretary Jen Psaki tests positive for Covid (NBC)  

WNU Editor. She was also double vaccinated.

NBC News Acknowledges Bad Polling Numbers For President Biden And Democrats

WNU Editor: NBC News is acknowledging the obvious, and they are not alone. Rasmussen's Daily Presidential Tracking Poll numbers continue to show President Biden polling lower than President Trump at this point in his Presidency (link here).

President Biden Says International Support For Him Is Strong!


CNN: Biden says international support for him is strong despite domestic struggles 

(CNN)President Joe Biden told reporters during his first news conference in months that he was encouraged by how he was received at this weekend's Group of 20 Leadership Summit in Rome, dismissing concerns that allies might not take solace in his pledge to turn the page from his predecessor, former President Donald Trump. 

"They listened. Everyone sought me out. They wanted to know what our views were, and we helped lead what happened here," Biden said of other world leaders Sunday evening. "We got significant support here. ... The United States of America is the most critical part of this entire agenda."  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Another surreal Biden "news conference" where pre-approved reporters and their questions were only permitted (see above video). 

And as to his claim that there is a lot of support for his Presidency and agenda. 

I am not sure about that. President Biden abandoning Afghanistan after many European leaders asked him to stay has left a bitter taste for many of these leaders, and that does not include the US cutting France out of a sub deal with Australia, telling Germany to break-away from Russian gas in the middle of an energy crisis, and US inflationary policies that are now impacting Europe. 

I also noticed that the other leaders rarely went to him when he was alone to talk for any significant time. He was mostly left alone (see picture below).

US President Biden Meets Turkish President Erdogan At The G-20


Axios: Biden raises missile purchase with Turkey's Erdoğan 

President Biden raised concern over Turkey's purchase of a Russian missile system in a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday, per the White House, saying their respective countries need to find an "effective way" to manage disagreements.  

Why it matters: Relations between the two countries have been tested over issues like a threat to expel foreign envoys, including a U.S. ambassador, that Erdoğan has since walked back, and Turkey purchasing Russian-made weaponry.  

The backdrop: In 2019, Turkey received "the first group of equipment" from a Russian S-400 air defense system despite warnings from the U.S., which said the system could compromise the alliance's security.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: President Biden sitting down to deal with Turkish President Erdogan .... I so wish I was a fly in that room.

On one side we have a President who has trouble reading the teleprompter and cue cards while suffering problems with memory loss. And on the other side we have an authoritarian President who does not listen to those who do not agree with him. 

Pity the diplomats (on both sides) who will have to deal with this. 

More News On US President Biden Meeting Turkish President Erdogan At The G-20

 Biden Meets Erdogan amid Simmering Tensions -- VOA  

Biden raises concerns over Russian missile system with Turkey's Erdoğan -- The Hill  

Biden talks F-16s, raises human rights at meeting with Turkey's Erdogan -- Reuters  

US-Turkey: Biden says Erdogan's request for F-16s has to go through process -- Middle East Eye  

Joe Biden kicks of second day of the G20 with face-to-face meeting with Turkish president Erdogan who he confronts over country's purchase of Russian missile system and pushes human rights -- Daily Mail  

Turkey, US agree on formation of joint mechanism to strengthen ties -- Hurriyet Daily News

How Strong Is The Chinese Military?

A military parade is held to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) at Zhurihe training base in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, July 30, 2017. (Xinhua/Ju Zhenhua) 

Al Jazeera: Just how strong is the Chinese military?  

China is investing in advanced weaponry and equipment, and overhauling its military command structure to modernise its armed forces. 

Shanghai, China – Amid repeated air incursions close to Taiwan, and reports that China has tested hypersonic weapons, the world is paying closer attention to the modernisation of China’s armed forces and its pursuit of ever more sophisticated weaponry. 

Once hailed by the Communist Party as having defeated past adversaries with only “millet plus rifles”, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has now grown into the world’s largest fighting force, with more than two million active personnel. 

Under President Xi Jinping, China has become more diplomatically assertive and shown an increased willingness to back up its claims over disputed territory with demonstrations of its military prowess. Neighbouring countries, and the United States have been watching closely.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: China's current military is raising concerns. But what is raising red flags and even bigger concerns is what the Chinese military will be in 10 or 20 years. Even the Pentagon's number Two is making is view well known .... U.S. General Says It Is Only A Matter Of Time Before China Replaces The US As The World's Preeminent Military (October 30, 2021).

U.S. Clashes With China At The G-20 Over US Support For Taiwan

Blinken's meeting with Wang was their first in person since a fiery exchange in Alaska in March  

Daily Mail: Secretary of State Antony Blinken clashes with his Chinese counterpart over Beijing's growing aggression against Taiwan in an 'exceptionally candid' meeting at the G20 summit in Rome 

* Antony Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday 

* A State Department official said they had an 'exceptionally candid' conversations about Beijing's growing aggression toward Taiwan 

* It was their first face-to-face since a fiery meeting in Alaska back in March 

* The hour-long meeting took place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome 

* The official said the meeting will help lay the groundwork for a virtual summit between Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year 

Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi locked horns over Taiwan on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in an 'exceptionally candid' meeting on Sunday. 

The senior officials traded warnings against moves that could further escalate tensions across the Taiwan Strait. 

In an hour-long meeting in Rome, the U.S. Secretary of State made 'crystal clear' that Washington opposes any unilateral changes by Beijing to the status quo around Taiwan, a senior State Department official said.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I guess the meeting did not end well. China has issued a warning to the West .... Beijing warns G20 nations they’ll ‘pay a price’ for backing Taiwan ( And to make their point .... Taiwan scrambles jets as Chinese air force enters air defence zone (Reuters). 

 More News On The U.S. And china Clashing Over Taiwan At The G-20  

Blinken and Wang warn against fuelling Taiwan tensions -- Reuters  

Blinken clashes with China over US support for Taiwan -- The Guardian  

Blinken warns China over Taiwan -- The Hill  

Blinken Raises Concerns about Taiwan with China -- VOA/AP

Ukraine President Zelenskiy Defends Military Strike Against Russia-Backed Separatists Using Turkish Drone

Ukrainian President Zelensky and Turkish President Erdogan (Reuters) 

RFE: Ukraine's Zelenskiy Defends Drone Strike On Russia-Backed Separatists 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has defended the use of a Turkish-supplied armed drone to strike Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, saying the military acted in self-defense and did not violate any agreements.

"When the Ukrainian army feels the need to defend its land, it does so. And it will further act under this principle,” Zelenskiy said, according to comments published on the presidential website on October 29. 

The Ukrainian military this week released footage of what it said was a Bayraktar T2B drone destroying a Russian-made howitzer in a separatist-controlled area. 

The military said the drone was used “for the first time” to suppress artillery fire that killed a Ukrainian soldier and wounded another.

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: France and Germany have criticized this escalation mindful of what President Putin said only 10 days ago .... Putin says Western military backing of Ukraine threatens Russia (Reuters). 

As to what is my take. 

Both sides are using drones in this war. Nothing new here. 

And this low intensity war shows no signs of ending absent a political settlement.

But what is new is Turkey's direct involvement in this conflict. These drones had to be controlled and maintained by Turkish personnel, hence the criticisms from Paris and Berlin.  

Update: More news and details on Russia's military build-up on the Ukraine border .... Large-Scale Russian Troop Movements Along Ukraine Border Spark Alarm In US & Europe (Zero Hedge).

With Turkey Intervening On The Side Of Kiev, Is NATO Sliding Towards War Against Russia In Ukraine?


Strategic Culture Foundation: NATO Sliding Towards War Against Russia in Ukraine 

As far as Ukraine goes, Ankara seems to be setting the pace for NATO’s deepening involvement in the country’s war. 

Russia is investigating reports of Turkish attack drones being deployed for the first time in Ukraine’s eight-year civil war. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) under the command of the Kiev regime claimed that the drones were used earlier this week in combat against ethnic Russian rebels. 

This is a potentially dramatic escalation in the smoldering war. For it marks the direct involvement of NATO member Turkey in the conflict. Up to now, the United States and other NATO states have been supplying lethal weaponry to the Kiev regime to prosecute its war against the breakaway self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. 

American, British and Canadian military advisors are also known to have carried out training missions with UAF combat units. Britain is in negotiations to sell Brimstone missiles to the Ukrainian navy.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: Azerbaijan's recent successful military campaign against Armenia with the aid of Turkish drones and military advisers caught the attention of the Ukrainian government, and it did not take long for them to implement a new plan .... Ukraine Breaks Ceasefire. Strikes Eastern Rebels Using Turkish-Made TB2 Drones For The First Time (October 27, 2021). 

What this attack also tells ms is that if there are Turkish drones in the air, they are being maintained and handled by Turkish military advisers/contractors. In short. A NATO country is now involved int he fighting in Ukraine. 

Russia in turn has responded .... Growing Western Concerns On Russian Troop Movements Near Ukraine Border (October 30, 2021) 

So what is the next move?

Western Leaders Say No Easing Of Sanctions Until Iran Slows Its Nuclear Development And Opening Up To Inspections


NPR: Biden, other leaders say no easing sanctions until Iran slows its nuclear development 

ROME — President Biden and three European leaders sent a clear signal to Iran on Saturday that they are ready to return to the scuttled deal that eased sanctions against the country, in return for Iran limiting its nuclear program and opening it up to inspections. 

Biden, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it clear in a joint statement, however, that they would not ease sanctions until Iran takes a first step toward ratcheting back efforts that the international community says are aimed at developing a nuclear weapon — an end goal Iran has repeatedly denied. 

The leaders were meeting on the sidelines of a G-20 global finance conference here.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Iran's view is that the ball is in Biden's court .... Iran says Biden can issue 'executive order' if serious about returning to nuclear pact (Reuters). The U.S. has a different point of view .... Biden Hits Iran With New Sanctions Ahead of Nuclear Deal Talks ( 

More News On Western Leaders Warning Iran That Sanctions Will Continue If Nuclear Talks Do Not Proceed  

US, European allies warn of Iran’s ‘provocative’ nuke steps -- AP  

Biden, European leaders urge Iran to resume talks to avoid “dangerous escalation” -- Axios  

Western leaders warn Iran on nuclear deal --  

US, UK, France, Germany say they’re concerned about Iran’s ‘provocative nuclear steps’ in G20 statement, urge ‘full compliance’ -- RT

Iran nuclear deal: Western leaders urge Iran to act in 'good faith' -- Middle East Eye

US would only quit Iran nuclear deal if Tehran were to renege, Biden pledges -- The Guardian

Afghan Taliban Say Their Supreme Leader Has Made A Rare Public Appearance

Hibatullah Akhundzada is the ultimate authority in all political, religious and military affairs within the Taliban  

The Guardian: Reclusive Taliban supreme leader makes rare public appearance 

Haibatullah Akhundzada said to have visited religious school in Kandahar, confounding rumours of his death 

The Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, has made a rare public appearance in the southern city of Kandahar, Taliban officials announced on Sunday, contradicting widespread rumours of his death. 

Akhundzada, known as the leader of the faithful or Amir ul Momineen, had not been seen in public since the Taliban’s August takeover of the country, giving rise to the speculation. 

A senior Taliban leader who was present with Akhundzada said the supreme leader had visited Jamia Darul Aloom Hakimia, a religious school in Kandahar on Saturday.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: The Taliban have released no videos or pictures of this "public appearance". 

More News On The Taliban Saying Their Supreme Leader Has Made A Rare Public Appearance  

Taliban supreme leader makes first public appearance -- France 24  

Taliban's reclusive supreme leader appears, belying rumors of his death -- CTV News/Reuters  

Afghanistan: Taliban says leader makes first public appearance -- DW  

Taliban supreme leader makes first public appearance -- RFI  

Taliban supreme leader emerges after rumors of death -- The Hill

Israel Prepares For War

IDF soldiers drill war with Gaza in the Southern Storm drill. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)  

Jerusalem Post: Drill for 2,000 rockets a day and internal strife: IDF preps for war 

Home Front Command and RAHEL to carry out joint war-time drill starting today. In war, 2,000 rockets expected to be fired per day by Hezbollah 

Israel’s Home Front Command and National Emergency Authority (RAHEL) will hold a week-long drill starting on Sunday simulating a large-scale war in which civilians are evacuated from northern border communities and security agencies will deal with massive rocket barrages sent by Hezbollah. 

The drill will take lessons that have been learned from past events in the North, as well as those from the May fighting between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip – Operation Guardian of the Walls – and from the Second Lebanon War in 2006. 

Read more .... 

More News On IDF Military Exercises

Learning from May war, IDF simulates Hezbollah battle alongside domestic strife -- Times of Israel  

Israel: Army simulates war during domestic strife -- i24 News 

Israel launches drill to test preparedness of home front in case of war -- YNet News  

IDF investigation finds intelligence gaps during recent Gaza war -- Jerusalem Post

Gulf States Withdraw Ambassadors To Lebanon After Pro-Houthi Minister's Criticism of Yemen War


France 24: Four Gulf states including UAE pull diplomats from Beirut 

The United Arab Emirates said Saturday it was withdrawing its diplomats from Lebanon, following a similar move by Saudi Arabia over a Lebanese minister's criticism of the Riyadh-led military intervention in Yemen. 

The diplomatic row, which has also seen Riyadh suspend imports from Lebanon and both Kuwait and Bahrain expel Lebanese envoys, is another blow to a country already in the grip of crippling political and economic crises. 

Lebanon had been counting on financial assistance from the Gulf to rescue its economy.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: Regardless of what this minister said, Lebanon desperately needs aid from the Gulf states. This diplomatic dispute will impose even more hardships on the people of Lebanon. 

More News On The Gulf States Withdrawing Their Ambassadors From Lebanon  

Gulf States Withdraw Ambassadors to Lebanon Over Criticism of Yemen War -- New York Times  

Saudi Arabia Bans Lebanese Imports, Expels Ambassador Over War Comment -- NDTV  

After Saudi, Kuwait expels Lebanese diplomat over Yemen war row -- DW  

Lebanon’s FM sees possible breakthrough in diplomatic spat sparked by pro-Houthi minister -- Arab News  

Lebanese president says he wants ‘best relations’ with Saudis -- Al Jazeera  

Saudi Arabia foreign minister denies a diplomatic 'crisis' with Lebanon -- CNBC  

Lebanon seeks US help to resolve the crisis with Gulf states -- Gulf News

Japan's Ruling Coalition Expected To Win Parliamentary Elections But Will Lose Seats


Reuters: Kishida hangs on to majority in Japanese election although weakened  

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's ruling Liberal Democratic Party was forecast to hold on to its majority in Sunday's parliamentary election although it suffered losses that could curb his drive to ease wealth inequality, according to exit polls. 

Keeping the majority in parliament's lower house is seen as key to Kishida, himself just weeks into the job, hanging on to his position within the faction-riven ruling party. Polls by public broadcaster NHK, however, showed the conservative LDP emerging on a weaker footing. 

Read more .... 

More News On Today's Japanese Parliamentary Elections  

Japan election: Ruling LDP set for reduced majority - exit polls -- BBC  

Japan ruling bloc keeps lower house majority, but PM's party loses seats -- Kyodo News Plus  

Japan's ruling LDP secures sole majority in lower house election -- Nikkei Asia 

Ruling bloc projected to keep majority -- NHK 

Japan’s Ruling Party Keeps Majority in Election -- WSJ  

Japan votes in national election, 1st key test for Kishida -- AP

2021 G-20 Summit Ends -- News Roundup


CNBC: G-20 leaders struggle to secure climate breakthrough at Rome summit 

 * Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies holding their first face-to-face summit in two years, struggled on Sunday to bridge differences over how to combat global warming. 

* The challenges come ahead of a crucial United Nations conference on climate change. 

* Diplomats worked through the night seeking agreement on the wording of the traditional final communique. 

Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies holding their first face-to-face summit in two years, struggled on Sunday to bridge differences over how to combat global warming ahead of a crucial United Nations conference on climate change. 

Diplomats worked through the night seeking agreement on the wording of the traditional final communique. But there was no sign of significant progress, an official for one of the delegations said, declining to be named.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: A lot of prominent leaders were no-shows at the G-20 (Japan, Mexico, Russia, and China) .... The absence of key world leaders hangs over Biden's first G-20 (CNN). 

2021 G-20 Summit Ends -- News Roundup  

G20 make commitments on climate neutrality, coal financing -- AP  

G20 leaders have reached deal on climate language in final communique - source -- Reuters 

G20 pledge to take climate action criticised for ‘lacking ambition’ -- The Guardian 

 G-20 leaders make no promises over climate change -- DW 

G20 endorses global corporate minimum tax, discusses COVID-19 vaccines and economic recovery at Rome summit -- ABC News Australia 

G20 leaders reach compromise commitment on carbon neutrality, coal financing -- Axios  

G-20 Leaders Make Little Progress Toward Sweeping Climate Deal -- Zero Hedge  

G-20 leaders at odds over Beijing Olympics -- Politico  

Joe Biden kicks of second day of the G20 with face-to-face meeting with Turkish president Erdogan who he confronts over country's purchase of Russian missile system and pushes human rights -- Daily Mail

The Elites Live Differently Than You Or Me

A handout photo made available by the Quirinal Press Office shows Italian President Sergio Mattarella (at the far side of the table) as he delivers a speech during an official dinner on the occasion of the G20, Rome, Italy, 30 October 2021  

Daily Mail: Prince Charles joins Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and other world leaders as they feast on salmon and sea bass at G20 gala dinner in 16th-century Quirinale Palace in Rome 

* Italian President Sergio Mattarella hosted the leaders at Rome's 16th century Quirinale Palace on Saturday 

* US President Joe Biden sat at the head of the table with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen 

* Meanwhile, France's President Emmanuel Macron was sat to the side with Mr Biden's wife - Jill Biden 

* UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, meanwhile, was sat in one of the far corners with his wife Carrie Johnson 

* Dinner came ahead of Cop26 and amid tensions between Britain and France over post-Brexit fishing licenses 

Prince Charles joined Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and other world leaders at a gala dinner this evening marking the end of a G20 summit in Rome on Saturday night. 

Sergio Mattarella - the Italian President - hosed the leaders at the 16th century Quirinale Palace in Rome where they feasted on salmon and sea bass - ahead of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow that kicks off tomorrow. 

Pictures from the dinner showed the seating plan, with the Prince of Wales seen sitting on the bank of chairs to the left of the head of the table. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I rather be at the World Series drinking a beer from a styrofoam cup, eating an all dressed hot-dog, and doing the tomahawk chop! .... Donald Trump and Melania do 'Tomahawk Chop' at Atlanta Braves World Series game after Native Americans called it racist: Former first lady is seen in public for the first time in months (Daily Mail).

Tweets Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

A view of the sculpture 'Together' by Italian sculptor Lorenzo Quinn, son of late actor Anthony Quinn, is seen in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza, on the outskirt of Cairo, Egypt, October 23. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany  

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Pictures of the week (Reuters).

Saturday, October 30, 2021

U.S. General Says It Is Only A Matter Of Time Before China Replaces The US As The World's Preeminent Military

FILE - Soldiers of People's Liberation Army march in formation past Tiananmen Square during the military parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China, on its National Day in Beijing, Oct. 1, 2019.  

VOA: Chinese Military on Target to Surpass US, Russia  

WASHINGTON — It is only a matter of time before China's plan to replace the United States as the world's preeminent military becomes reality, a top U.S. general warned, calling on the Washington and its allies to speed efforts to counter Beijing’s bid for dominance. 

General John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Washington’s second-most-senior military officer, called the rapid rise of the Chinese military “stunning.” 

“The pace they're moving and the trajectory that they're on will surpass Russia and the United States if we don't do something to change it," he told the Defense Writers Group on Thursday, responding to a question from VOA. 

 “We have to do something," he added.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Do I hear resignation in General John Hyten?

Growing Western Concerns On Russian Troop Movements Near Ukraine Border

Washington Post: Russian troop movements near Ukraine border prompt concern in U.S., Europe  

A renewed buildup of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border has raised concern among some officials in the United States and Europe who are tracking what they consider irregular movements of equipment and personnel on Russia’s western flank. 

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said the troop movements have reignited concerns that arose in April, when the largest buildup of troops by Russia near the Ukrainian border in years sparked an international outcry. 

The renewed movements of Russian forces in the area come as the Kremlin embraces a harder line on Ukraine. Russian officials from President Vladimir Putin on down have escalated their rhetoric in recent months, attacking Kyiv’s Western ties and even questioning its sovereignty. Putin has warned that any expansion of NATO military infrastructure on Ukrainian territory represents a “red line” for Moscow.  

Read more ....  

WNU editor: The Kremlin is responding to this .... Ukraine Breaks Ceasefire. Strikes Eastern Rebels Using Turkish-Made TB2 Drones For The First Time (October 27, 2021).

With Covid Out Of Control, Russia Suffers It's Deadliest September Since World War II

Bloomberg: Russia Suffers Deadliest September Since World War II With Covid Untamed 

(Bloomberg) -- Russia suffered its deadliest September since World War II, according to figures published Friday, even before the peak of its current wave of the Covid-19 pandemic forced authorities to order non-working days for the first week of November. 

There were 44,265 deaths associated with the virus last month, bringing the pandemic’s total to nearly half a million, according to Federal Statistics Service data published late Friday. 

That contributed to the highest number of September fatalities since the war, said Alexei Raksha, a demographer who left the agency last year after a dispute over its coronavirus numbers. 

The situation is poised to get worse after record numbers of cases in recent weeks, leading President Vladimir Putin to declare days off nationwide. 

Widespread distrust of the government has hindered attempts to get people to use locally developed vaccines.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: My family and friends in Russia are beyond frustrated right now.

More News On The Covid-19 Pandemic In Russia

Russia records all-time high of 40,251 new daily coronavirus cases -- TASS  

Russia imposes nationwide paid holiday to curb Covid -- France 24  

Russia hits new record for coronavirus infections -- AP  

Russia sets new record for daily COVID-19 cases ahead of stay-at-home week -- The Hill

Did Russia Just Cut Gas Supplies To Germany?

Daily Mail: Russian gas pipeline starts flowing BACKWARDS taking fuel out of Germany as Biden warns Putin not to use resources as a political weapon - while troops movements near Ukraine alarm intelligence officials 

* Gas supplies in a major Russian pipeline started to move in reverse yesterday 

* Supplies in Yamal-Europe pipeline via Poland to Germany had come to a halt 

* But energy firm Gazprom said all European requirements were being met 

* Kremlin has faced accusations of restricting gas supplies for political purposes 

President Joe Biden has warned Vladimir Putin not to weaponise natural resources for political purposes after Russian gas pipeline starting flowing backwards out of Germany. 

Fuel supplies in the Yamal - Europe pipeline with goes from Russia to Germany via Poland had come to halt on Saturday, with the direction of gas actually reversing. 

But energy firm Gazprom played down concerns saying that all European orders were being fulfilled.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: A Russian Pipeline Changes Direction, and Energy Politics Come to the Fore (NYTimes)  

Update #2: Gazprom Gas Flows Reversed According to German Data (Bloomberg)  

WNU Editor: Russia's Gazprom says it is meeting its contract requirements .... Gazprom meets European consumers’ bids in full - company (TASS). 

So why is there no gas in Germany? 

The pipeline runs through Belarus, so there is a part of me that wonders if Belarus decided to divert some of it for its own use. I am just speculating, but long time readers of this blog know that I am no fan of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and his family.

Chinese President Xi Hasn’t Left China In 21 Months (Update)

Chinese President Xi (Xinhuanet) 

 DNYUZ: Xi Hasn’t Left China in 21 Months. Covid May Be Only Part of the Reason. 

When the presidents and prime ministers of the Group of 20 nations meet in Rome this weekend, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, won’t be among them. Nor is he expected at the climate talks next week in Glasgow, where China’s commitment to curbing carbon emissions is seen as crucial to helping blunt the dire consequences of climate change. He has yet to meet President Biden in person and seems unlikely to any time soon. 

Mr. Xi has not left China in 21 months — and counting. 

 The ostensible reason for Mr. Xi’s lack of foreign travel is Covid-19, though officials have not said so explicitly. It is also a calculation that has reinforced a deeper shift in China’s foreign and domestic policy. 

China, under Mr. Xi, no longer feels compelled to cooperate — or at least be seen as cooperating — with the United States and its allies on anything other than its own terms. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: China is facing a lot of problems right now. Covid. Energy crisis. The real estate market imploding. Massive corporate, municipal and provincial debt. Dissatisfaction with his rule among many in China's elite. Bottom line. I expect President Xi is going to stay put in China until 2022.

Racist Smear Backfires On Democrats In Critical U.S. Governor Election

Daily Mail: Bid to smear Virginia Rep gubernatorial challenger as a racist is foiled: Fake Youngkin supporters dressed as 'Unite the Right' protestors pose in front of his bus, setting off firestorm of criticism - before Lincoln Project admits stunt 

* Five people holding tiki torches stood outside a campaign bus for the pro-Trump candidate for Virginia's gubernatorial race on Friday 

* The five were in Charlottesville, in a deliberate echo of the August 2017 rally under the banner Unite The Right which saw neo-Nazis clash with counter-protesters 

* One person died in the violence and Donald Trump sparked fury by saying that there were 'good people on both sides' of the rally 

* An aide to Glenn Youngkin, the pro-Trump candidate, blamed his opponent Terry McAuliffe for the stunt, but McAuliffe's team said they had not sent the five 

* The Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republicans known for their memes, later admitted to staging the prank 

*Trump supporters claimed that McAuliffe's team really staged the stunt, but asked the Lincoln Project to take the criticism when it backfired 

* Charlottesville progressives were furious that their city, still hurting from the violence of August 2017, was used as the butt of a joke 

The anti-Donald Trump group The Lincoln Project admitted to planting five people carrying tiki torches at a Charlottesville campaign stop by Virginia's Republican candidate for governor on Friday - a political stunt that tried to smear the surging GOP candidate ahead of Tuesday's tight election race. 

The Lincoln Project only confessed to the attempt to derail GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin when eagle-eyed reporters identified those participating as operatives within the Virginia Democratic party. 

Cameron Joseph, senior political correspondent with Vice, tweeted: 'They only took credit/blame after I told them I IDed someone in the photo.'  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Here is a good summary on how this story was exploited by the main stream media, until the identities of the above individuals and their allegiance for Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe became known .... Lincoln Project Democrat Operatives Busted For White Nationalist Hoax (Zero Hedge).

White House Ordered The Pentagon To Delay A Hypersonic Missile Test Before Biden-Putin Summit


Politico: White House had Pentagon delay a hypersonic missile test before Biden-Putin summit 

With less than a week to go before President Biden met Russian President Putin for a June summit in Switzerland, the White House ordered the Pentagon to delay a long-planned hypersonic missile test so as not to raise tensions with Moscow. 

According to three people who spoke to Alex and LARA SELIGMAN, including a defense official and a senior congressional aide, a high-level White House staffer contacted the office of the secretary of Defense to request that the test be postponed. Biden at the time was preparing for a tough discussion with his Russian counterpart, and officials worried that launching such a provocative weapon right before it could send the wrong signal or sabotage the meeting altogether.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: When you have the White House actively interfering in a weapons program, no one should be surprised if this becomes the outcome .... ‘Hundreds’ Of China Hypersonic Tests Vs. 9 US; Hyten Says US Moves Too Slowly (Breaking Defense).

Will The U.S. Find Itself In A War Against Both Russia And China At The Same Time?

China's Xi'an, a Type 052C guided missile destroyer, participated in the 2019 Russian Navy Day Parade off St. Petersburg. Peter Kovalev/TASS (Photo by Peter Kovalev  

Defense One: Don’t Assume the US Will Fight China and Russia One at a Time 

Beijing and Moscow are boosting their strategic coordination along with their militaries. 

China and Russia last week conducted their first-ever joint naval patrol in the western Pacific following a combined exercise in the Sea of Japan, highlighting the deepening defense cooperation between America’s preeminent competitors. While U.S. military planners have long hoped and often assumed that any conflicts with China and Russia might come one at a time, that assumption is increasingly questionable and even dangerous. 

 If the Biden administration is to develop an effective 2022 National Defense Strategy and build the U.S. defense capacity and capability that American interests require, the administration must jettison outdated assumptions and recognize that the United States could confront Chinese and Russian military forces simultaneously.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Even though Russia - China relations are good right now, I do not see any scenario where Russia will join China if there is a China - U.S. war, or China joining Russia if there is a Russia - NATO war.

U.S. Official Says Iraq Is Not Afghanistan. U.S. Are Staying For The Long Term

The US military has reduced its numbers in Iraq, with many personnel who remain classed as advisers and trainers. Reuters  

The National: US: Iraq is not Afghanistan and we are here to stay, says top official 

America has about 2,500 troops stationed in Iraq, guarding the US embassy and training Iraqi personnel 

The US will not leave Iraq as it did in Afghanistan, a top official from Washington said on Wednesday, amid fears that an American withdrawal would bring chaos to the country. 

In August, American troops in Afghanistan returned home, nearly 20 years after Washington spearheaded a multinational invasion of the country. 

The move allowed the Taliban to seize most of the country and sweep into the capital Kabul following the Afghan government’s fall. 

“Iraq is not Afghanistan, we are here in the long term, we view Iraq as a key strategic partner and we are committed to this partnership,” Jennifer Gavito, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Iran and Iraq, said.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: It's all about the oil.

Live: G20 Leaders Meet In Rome

Afghans Facing Acute Food Shortages And Hunger This Winter

Zero Hedge: 85% Of Afghans Face Food Insecurity In Upcoming Winter 

Food crisis forecasting for Afghanistan, called terrifying by the FAO, is projecting more than half of the country’s population will experience acute food shortages this winter unless actions are taken. 

As Statista's Katharina Buchholz details below, according to reports by The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, 85 percent in the country are to experience any type of food insecurity, including food stress classified as non-acute, between November 2021 and March 2022.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Someone should tell Zalmay Khalilzad that this boat sailed out a long time ago .... Khalilzad urges US engage with Taliban to avert Afghan collapse (Al Jazeera).

Ten Afghan Evacuees Detained As US National Security Risks

U.S. Air Force loadmasters and pilots assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, load passengers aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III in support of the Afghanistan evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), Afghanistan, Aug. 24, 2021. (Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen/U.S. Air Force photo)  

PJ Media:  Just the Beginning: Ten Afghan Evacuees Detained as National Security Risks 

The Biden administration is giving America gifts that will keep on giving for generations to come, and one of the foremost of these gifts is the newly-arrived group of Afghan evacuees: 70,000 are now in the U.S., and the total number is expected to exceed 124,000 before long. 

One of Biden’s handlers, unnamed in a Wednesday Wall Street Journal report, has admitted that ten of these evacuees have already been detained as risks to national security. 

Only ten out of 70,000 isn’t bad, right? Sure. But Biden’s handlers’ catastrophic mishandling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan makes it virtually certain that there will be many more.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: There was no vetting. So I am willing to bet that these ten are just the tip of the iceberg.

Russian Su-35 Fighters Have Been Spotted At A Northeastern Syria Airbase

Warzone/The Drive: Russian Su-35 Fighters Appear For The First Time At Northeastern Syria Airbase: Reports 

Reports suggest four of the Flanker fighters have arrived at the airbase that sits on the Turkish border, close to U.S. forces. 

At least one Su-35S Flanker fighter jet has apparently made the first visit by a Russian combat jet to Qamishli Airport, in northeastern Syria, a strategically important location close to U.S. forces still in the country that lies right on the border with Turkey. Unconfirmed reports suggest this could be part of a larger deployment of as many as four of these jets to the base, which may reflect Moscow’s ambition to strengthen its presence in this part of Syria. 

The undated photo, seen at the top of this story and in the Tweet below, purportedly shows a Russian Aerospace Forces Su-35S, coded ‘07 Red,’ at Qamishli Airport in Syria’s Al-Hasakah governorate. It emerged yesterday and geolocation based on open-source imagery has indicated that the location where it was reportedly taken is at least accurate.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: It looks like the Russian - Syrian coalition are preparing for another offensve, and these warplanes have been positioned to assist.

Tweets Of The Day