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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Latest World News, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs

Latest World News, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs


There Are Not Enough Votes In The US Senate To dismiss President Trump's Articles Of Impeachment

Posted: 14 Jan 2020 05:37 AM PST



The Hill: GOP leadership: There aren't 51 votes to dismiss Trump articles of impeachment

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told reporters on Monday that the Senate Republican caucus doesn't have the votes to dismiss the articles of impeachment against President Trump, who endorsed an "outright dismissal" over the weekend.

"I think our members generally are not interested in a motion to dismiss. ... Certainly there aren't 51 votes for a motion to dismiss," Blunt, the No. 4 Senate Republican, told reporters after a closed-door leadership meeting.

Republicans have warned for months that they will not dismiss the two articles of impeachment against Trump, predicting a trial will end with votes on either acquitting or convicting him.

But Trump revived talk of trying to dismiss the articles over the weekend, saying the Senate was "giving credence" to the allegations against him by having a trial.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I would be surprised if they acquit. For the US Senate this will guarantee nonstop news coverage for weeks where all the Senators can show their seriousness and commitment to their job to their voters. When did a politician ever run away from that type of news? As for witnesses. I do not think that is going to happen. These proceedings are going to be tightly controlled, and having witnesses would only keep this affair going on forever.

Tweets for Today

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 10:50 PM PST











Venezuela’s Countryside Is Collapsing

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 10:28 PM PST

Parmana, a fishing village on the banks of the Orinoco River in central Venezuela, has been abandoned by the government.Credit...Adriana Loureiro Fernandez for The New York Times

New York Times: Venezuela's Countryside Is Collapsing. The Capital Hums, on the President's Orders

To solidify his grip on power, President Nicolás Maduro is channeling resources to Caracas while abandoning rural Venezuelans, who are often without electricity, police or currency.

PARMANA, Venezuela — From his palace in Caracas, President Nicolás Maduro projects an image of strength and his grip on power appears secure. Residents have a regular supply of electricity and gasoline. Shops are bursting with imported goods.

But beyond the city, this facade of order quickly melts away. In order to preserve the quality of life of his most important backers, the country's political and military elites, his administration has poured the country's dwindling resources into Caracas and forsaken large swaths of Venezuela.

"Venezuela is broken as a state, as a country," said Dimitris Pantoulas, a political analyst in Caracas. "The few available resources are invested in the capital to protect the seat of power, creating a ministate amid the collapse."

Across much of the country, basic government functions like policing, road maintenance, health care and public utilities have been abandoned.

The only remaining evidence of the state in Parmana, a fishing village on the banks of the Orinoco River, is the three teachers who remain at the school, which lacks food, books, and even a marker for the board.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Venezuela's countryside isn't collapsing. It has already collapsed.

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 10:24 PM PST

U.S. soldiers are seen at the site where an Iranian missile hit at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province, Iraq January 13, 2020. At the sprawling base in Iraq's western Anbar desert, U.S. Air Force and Army teams cleared piles of metal and concrete debris from the airfield and around bunkers using bulldozers and pickup trucks after Iran's first direct missile attack against U.S. forces on January 8. REUTERS/John Davison

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Inside Iraq air base after Iran missile strikes (Reuters).

U.S. Army Awards Contracts To Build Robotic Combat Vehicles

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 10:21 PM PST

Photo courtesy of FLIR Systems

Defence Blog: U.S. Army to award contracts to QinetiQ-NA and Textron for robotic combat vehicles

The U.S. Army has announced on Friday that QinetiQ North America and Textron will receive contacts to build Robotic Combat Vehicles.

The U.S. Army CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center and the U.S. Army Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team intends to award an Other Transaction Agreement to QinetiQ North America to build four Light and Textron to build four Medium Robotic Combat Vehicles.

The Army's selections for both the RCV Light and RCV Medium agreements were announced in coordination with its partner, the National Advanced Mobility Consortium today. Pending successful negotiations, the Army intends to award the final OTA for both variants by mid-February.

Read more ....

Update: Army Selects QinetiQ & Textron To Build Robot Tank With Chain Gun (Zero Hedge).

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction. this is the first of many contracts for robotic combat vehicles.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr: Shooting At Pensacola Navy Base Was Terrorism Motivated By 'Jihadist Ideology'

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 10:13 PM PST



Daily Mail: AG Bill Barr demands Apple unlock two phones used by Saudi cadet responsible for shooting at Pensacola Navy base to see if he acted alone as he says the attack WAS terrorism motivated by 'jihadist ideology'

* Attorney General William Barr branded the December attack at the US Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, an 'act of terrorism' at a Monday press conference
* He urged Apple to cooperate with investigators trying to crack two iPhones used by gunman Mohammed Alshamrani
* The FBI has been unable to access the phones as they are locked and encrypted
* Barr accused Apple of refusing to provide 'substantive assistance'
* Apple says it has already provided investigators with all the relevant data
* Barr's latest appeal for Apple's cooperation marked an escalation of the DOJ's ongoing fight with the tech giant over personal privacy vs public safety
* The attorney general indicated that he intends to use the Alshamrani case to push for a solution to the DOJ's struggle to get around Apple security features
* DOJ officials say they need access to the Alshamrani's phones to determine whether he had discussed his plans with others at the base and if acted alone
* Three sailors were killed and eight others were wounded when Alshamrani opened fire in a classroom on December 6
* Alshamrani, 21, was then killed by a sheriff's deputy during the 15-minute attack
* Barr said on Monday that Alshamrani was motivated by 'jihadist ideology'

US Attorney General William Barr has demanded that Apple unlock two cellphones used by a gunman who carried out a mass shooting at a Florida military base.

Barr made the high profile request at a press conference on Monday where he branded the attack an 'act of terrorism'.

Three American sailors were killed and eight other people were wounded when Saudi military trainee Mohammed Alshamrani opened fire in a classroom at the US Naval Air Station in Pensacola on December 6.

Alshamrani, 21, who was training to be a naval flight officer, was then killed in a shoot-out with police.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: DUH!

Update: Only 21? .... DOJ Says 21 Saudi Cadets Being Expelled From U.S. Over Extremist, Child Porn Content (NPR).

Is The Iranian Regime Threatened Under President Trump For The First Time Ever?

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 09:58 PM PST



Washington Examiner: Muslim scholar: Iran regime threatened for 'first time ever' under Trump

The Iranian regime is threatened under President Trump for the first time ever, according to one Muslim scholar.

"They've had a disastrous outcome to their attempt of intimidating the United States," Council on Foreign Relations member Qanta Ahmed said Sunday on Fox & Friends. "Their attempts on the embassy in Baghdad failed, they've had Qassem Soleimani [figuratively] decapitated, they had to admit that they shot down their own commercial airliner, killing hundreds of people, 83 Iranians, many Iranians have lost multiple family members."

She added, "I think the Iranians have to ask themselves what else have they concealed."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I personally think the current leadership in Iran will be in power for a long time. They do not have any qualms telling their security forces to open fire on protesters, and they still have many supporters. But the cracks are starting to form .... Iran state TV sees at least 2 news anchors quit: 'Forgive me for the 13 years I told you lies' (FOX News).

The Media Has So Far Presented 4 Separate Narratives Surrounding Trump And Soleimani

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 09:43 PM PST

A combination of photos of Iran's Qassem Soleimani and US President Donald Trump(AFP)

Daily Wire: Media, Using Anonymous Sources, Have Presented 4 Separate Narratives Surrounding Trump And Soleimani

When and how did President Donald Trump come up with the decision to have Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani killed? That's the question the media seems to have been asking for the past week — and so far, they've come up with wildly different answers.

Using the oh-so-tired "anonymous sources" trick, media outlets have reported everything from Trump wanted Soleimani dead back in 2017 to suggesting it was actually Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who pushed for the killing. Here are the four completely contradictory narratives the media have "reported," all based on anonymous officials:

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As I said in a previous post .... Has The Media Been Always Wrong When Covering President Trump's National Security Decisions?

Iran Says It Will Sue President Trump For Ordering Soleimani’s Assassination

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 05:00 PM PST

Iran's top judge Ebrahim Raisi

Iran Front Page: Iran Says Will Sue Trump for Ordering Soleimani's Assassination

Iran's top judge Ebrahim Raisi says the Judiciary in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will file a complaint against US President Donald Trump for the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani.

"In our view, because martyr Soleimani was the symbol of combating terrorism and supporting the oppressed, his assassination violates every law," said Raisi in a meeting of high-level Judiciary officials on Monday.

He added that the violation can be followed up and "I call upon law scholars to shout their protest … The US claims to hold power but has flagrantly violated the law and committed such a horrific crime, so, if we condone the US violation, we will not be able to follow up any others."

Read more ....

Update #1: Iran Plans To Sue Donald Trump Over Qasem Soleimani Assassination (EurAsian Times)
Update #2: Iran to sue Trump over Soleimani killing (TASS)

WNU Editor:  Good luck on that.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 13, 2020

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 04:00 PM PST

A Russian soldier on the advance in Syria, following the US pullout from this region, near Aleppo, in November 2018. US missteps in the Middle East are offering opportunities to Russia. Photo: AFP/Bekir Kasim/Anadolu Agency

Giovanni Pigni, Asia Times: US hit on Soleimani plays into Kremlin's hands

On a complex chessboard, the US assassination grants Moscow immediate benefits – and wider regional potential

The US assassination of key Iranian General Qasem Soleimani potentially favors Moscow's game in Syria, while the collateral benefits of Baghdad-Washington tensions offer the Kremlin opportunities in Iraq.

The killing, on US President Donald Trump's orders, brought Tehran and Washington to the brink of open conflict which potentially could have had catastrophic consequences for the balance of forces promoted by Russia in the Middle East.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 13, 2020

Crisis for Iran may present an opportunity for Washington -- Julian Borger. The Guardian

The elite narrative on Iran brushes aside the fury of the Iranian people -- New York Post editorial

Iran won't target Strait of Hormuz over Soleimani killing: analysts -- Luke Baker, Reuters

Resistance Is Futile: The Real Reason Why China Seeks Submissive Partners -- Kathryn Waldron, National Interest

Is Somalia Poised for Economic Success? -- Ali Sharif Ahmed, National Interest

The Queen juggles compassion for Prince Harry and Meghan with protecting the Royal brand -- Samantha Hawley, ABC News Online

Britain secretly funded Reuters in 1960s and 1970s: documents -- Guy Faulconbridge, Reuters

Factbox: Who wants to replace Jeremy Corbyn? -- Reuters

How would the Space Force wage war? -- Mark R. Whittington, The Hill

Ten years after a CIA operation in Afghanistan went wrong, a slain officer's family celebrates his memory -- Ken Dilanian, NBC

The US and China will provide the main support to the world economy and financial markets -- Dr. Michael Ivanovitch, CNBC

The US election is about to begin. Here are key dates to watch in 2020 -- Peter Marsh, ABC News Online

Daily World News Briefs -- January 13, 2020 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 03:11 PM PST



Daily Mail: Inside the Megxit summit: Harry talked to the Queen alone to give her his side of the story before 'calm' talks, Charles wants his son to know 'he doesn't have unlimited resources' and there will be 'strict instructions on branding

* The Royals held an unprecedented summit at Sandringham House today to thrash out a Sussex solution
* Speaking afterwards in a statement, the Queen said that the royals had held 'very constructive discussions'
* It has been agreed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will split their time between the UK and Canada
* Her Majesty spoke of her deep regret at Harry and Meghan's decision to quit as senior Royals Wednesday
* There will be a 'transition period' where the couple will likely wind down the volume of official Royal duties
* Monarch has ordered courtiers to double down efforts to chart a way forward for Sussexes within days
* Princes Charles, William and Harry drove from the Norfolk estate in three separate cars following meeting

The Queen allowed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to quit as senior Royals following a private heart-to-heart with her grandson at today's crisis summit, it was revealed tonight.

The Duke of Sussex is understood to have arrived at Her Majesty's Sandringham estate more than two hours before he was due to sit down with the monarch and Princes Charles and William to chart a way through the turmoil engulfing the Family.

According to friends, Harry wanted to put his side of the story to the Queen, who came into the crunch talks deeply disappointed with him and Meghan for wanting to step back from their official duties.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Turkish, Syrian top spies meet in first official contact in years.

U.S. troops describe 'miraculous' escape at Iraqi base attacked by Iran.

Iran's police shoot at crowds protesting against Government's denial of Ukrainian plane shootdown. Iran plane downing: Police deny shooting anti-government protesters.

Iran denies cover-up of downing of Ukrainian jet.

Trump says he 'couldn't care less' if Iran wants to negotiate.

London summons Iran's ambassador over UK envoy's arrest in Tehran.

Iraq warns of 'collapse' if Trump blocks oil cash.

Japan's Abe meets Saudi king amid Persian Gulf troubles.

Tributes pour in as Oman mourns Sultan Qaboos.

After Florida killings, Saudis withdraw 21 cadets from United States.

Lebanon regains vote at United Nations after making payment.

ASIA

Human Rights Watch head denied entry to Hong Kong ahead of report launch.

Fearing imminent volcanic eruption, Philippines officials evacuate 450,00. Taal volcano: Lava spews as 'hazardous eruption' feared.

Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen meets top US official as Beijing claims 'cheating, repression' after election landslide.

China rebukes countries for congratulating Tsai Ing-wen after landslide Taiwan election win.

Seoul dismisses North Korea's derision of South's 'foolish dreams'.

Pakistan court overrules Pervez Musharraf death sentence.

Uttar Pradesh: India state begins enacting controversial citizenship law.

First case of mystery SARS-like virus found outside China.

Snowstorms leave scores dead in Afghanistan, Pakistan.

AFRICA

South Sudan and holdout rebels commit to truce this week.

France's Macron to host G5 Sahel presidents in Pau. France summit: Sahel crisis in danger of slipping out of control.

Libya peace talks in Moscow fall short of ceasefire deal.

Libyan rivals to sign ceasefire deal in Moscow.

Niger declares three days of mourning after 89 soldiers killed in attack on military base.

US wants to reduce presence in Africa, warns top officer.

One dead in Guinea as sweeping anti-govt rally starts.

Ethiopian PM Ahmed asks South Africa for help in talks on Nile dam construction.

Ethiopia's Abiy Ahmed responds to Trump's Nobel Prize complaint.

Malawi chief justice reports bribe offer in election case.

EUROPE

Independence Day: UK's queen agrees grandson Harry, wife Meghan can exit senior royal role.

'Grieving nations' to discuss legal action against Iran over downed airliner: Ukraine.

Catalan separatists take seats as EU lawmakers, promise to push secession.

Britain, France, Germany vow conditional support for Iran nuclear deal.

EU trade chief heads to Washington on truce mission.

Malta's new PM has only days to prove himself, says Andrew Caruana Galizia.

EU trade chief foresees 'financial services for fishing' Brexit bargain.

Spain's new government to tackle Catalonia via negotiation.

France's digital minister says tax on big tech is just the start.

Prince William and Prince Harry deny rift ahead of British royal family crisis meeting.

AMERICAS

Nancy Pelosi poised to send Trump impeachment charges to Senate for trial.

Administration officials defend Trump claims, Soleimani intelligence as senators push back on briefing.

Democrats scramble to rein in Trump's Iran war powers.

Cory Booker out of race for Democratic nomination.

Huawei's Meng Wanzhou defrauded HSBC into loaning billions with 'misrepresentations' about Iran, Canada says, telling court to reject her bid for release.

U.S. targets Maduro-backed legislator and allies in fresh Venezuelan sanctions.

Three years after $1 billion Venezuela deal, U.S. oilfield firm shuts doors.

Colombia foils attempt to assassinate ex-Farc leader Timochenko.

Iran plane downing: Canadian PM promises 'justice' at memorial.

Canada nuclear plant: Alert about incident sent in error.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

U.S. top attorney: Killing Soleimani 'legitimate,' Trump had authority.

Trump approved Soleimani's killing last June: report.

Hezbollah: It's time for Iran's allies to start working to avenge Soleimani.

King of Jordan says ISIS on the rise, warns thousands of fighters moved to Libya from Syria's Idlib, spelling more trouble for EU.

Germany jails jihadi for Syrian massacre.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street hits record, boosted by trade and earnings optimism.

'Stop buying Iranian oil or face sanctions': US in talks with China over Iran.

China urges US to 'immediately halt' sanctions on Chinese firms with Iran ties.

Canada business chief lashes Trump over Iran plane crash.

Protests and outrage as Siemens backs Aussie mine project.

Libyan Ceasefire Deal Stalls In Moscow

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 02:40 PM PST



DW: Libya ceasefire deal stalls in Moscow

Russian officials have hailed "progress," although Libyan warlord Haftar has delayed signing the agreement. Warring factions are due in Berlin later this month to finalize a permanent cessation of hostilities.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that most parties to the conflict have signed the agreement except for Libyan general-turned-warlord Khalifa Haftar and his ally Aguila Saleh, speaker of Libya's breakaway parliament in the east.

"There has been certain progress," said Lavrov. But Haftar and Aguila "have asked for a bit more time until morning to make a decision on signing" the document, he added.

Haftar, who leads the militia known as Libyan National Army, is a key guarantor of the rival eastern government's power.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: They have been fighting for years. It is not going to easy to end this conflict.

More News On The Libyan Ceasefire Deal Stalling In Moscow

Libya ceasefire talks in Moscow: Good progress made although not all sides signed the deal, Lavrov says -- RT
Heads of Libya's warring sides in Russia for talks -- Al Jazeera
Libya Talks in Russia Progress But Haftar Seeks More Time -- Bloomberg
Progress made in Libya talks, but Haftar delays signing ceasefire deal -- Middle East Eye
'A month or 2 ago nobody thought it could happen': Moscow hosts talks between Libya's rival parties in hopes of ending civil war -- RT

King Of Jordan Issues A Warning That The Islamic State Is On The Rise Again In The Middle East

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 02:24 PM PST



Daily Mail: ISIS is regrouping and on the rise in the Middle East, Jordan's King Abdullah warns

* ISIS is on the rise in south-east Syria and western Iraq, King Abdullah has warned
* He added that many foreign fighters in Syria have made their way to Libya
* Jordan's king is this week scheduled for talks in Brussels, Strasbourg and Paris

ISIS is regrouping and is once more on the rise in the Middle East, King Abdullah of Jordan has warned.

King Abdullah expressed concerns that the terror group had been re-establishing itself over the past year in south-eastern Syria and western Iraq.

'We have to deal with the reemergence of ISIS,' the king said, adding that it was a 'major concern'.

He added that many foreign fighters in Syria have made their way to Libya.

Read more ....

More News On The King Of Jordan Warning That The Islamic State Is On The Rise Again In The Middle East

Exclusive: 'We cannot afford instability in our part of the world', King Abdullah II of Jordan tells FRANCE 24 -- France 24
King of Jordan says ISIS on the rise, warns thousands of fighters moved to Libya from Syria's Idlib, spelling more trouble for EU -- RT
ISIS on the rise again, says Jordan's King Abdullah -- The National
Jordan king warns Islamic State on rise again in Mideast -- Middle East Online

President Trump Authorized The Killing Of Soleimani Seven Months Ago If Iran's Actions Resulted In The Death Of An American

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 01:35 PM PST

A composite image of US President Donald Trump and the Iranian military commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Leah Millis/Reuters; Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

NBC News: Trump authorized Soleimani's killing 7 months ago, with conditions

The timing raises new questions about the Trump administration's stated justification for taking out the top Iranian general.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran's increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials.

The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final signoff on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said.

That decision explains why assassinating Soleimani was on the menu of options that the military presented to Trump two weeks ago for responding to an attack by Iranian proxies in Iraq, in which a U.S. contractor was killed and four U.S. service members were wounded, the officials said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It was this rocket attack that killed a US contractor that resulted in this US retaliation .... Soleimani approved attack on Iraqi military base that killed American: Top US general (ABC News).

More News On Reports That President Trump Authorized The Killing Of Soleimani Seven Months Ago If Iran's Actions Resulted In The Death Of An American

Trump approved Soleimani's killing last June: report -- The Hill
Trump approved Soleimani killing with conditions in June: report -- Al Jazeera
Trump has apparently wanted to kill Soleimani for quite a while — since as far back as 2017 -- VOX
The Trump administration is struggling to explain why the US killed top Iranian general Soleimani — here's all the shifting explanations -- Business Insider

Iran Protests Rage On For A Third Day -- News Updates January 13, 2020

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 01:23 PM PST





Daily Mail: Iranian anti-regime protests enter third day after Tehran admits it DID shoot down passenger jet - as singer and film director back protesters and two state TV hosts quit over military 'lies'

* Dozens of protesters chanted slogans at a Tehran university today on a third consecutive day of protests
* Film director Masoud Kimiai and singer Alireza Assar have pulled out of events to show support for protests
* Two state TV presenters quit over Iran's initial false reporting over last week's crash which killed 176 people
* Tehran is now signalling de-escalation in the stand-off with the United States following Soleimani's death

Anti-government protests in Iran have entered a third day today after Tehran finally abandoned its pretence and admitted shooting down a passenger jet.

Dozens of protesters chanted slogans at a Tehran university today amid a wave of public anger after the plane was shot down with dozens of Iranians on board.

A string of Iranian celebrities have also turned on the regime and two state TV hosts have quit over Tehran's three days of false reporting on the crash.

Leading Iranian film director Masoud Kimiai has pulled out of Tehran's annual Fajr Film Festival in protest, saying he was 'on the side of the public'.

Read more ....

Iran Protests Rage On For A Third Day -- News Updates January 13, 2020

Anger in Iran over jet's downing; gunfire disperses protests -- AP
'Clerics get lost!': Iran protests rage after plane disaster -- Reuters
'Clerics get lost!': Iran protests rage on for a third day -- Al Jazeera
Iranian leaders facing pressure at home and abroad as public anger mounts over downed plane -- CNN
Iran: Mass protests call for leaders to resign -- DW
Iranian police fired live rounds to disperse protesters, say witnesses -- The Guardian
Iran police open fire at protest over plane downing -- YNet News
Iran's police shoot tear gas at crowds protesting against Government's denial of Ukrainian plane shootdown -- ABC News Online
Iran plane downing: Police deny shooting anti-government protesters -- BBC
Iran denies cover-up of downing of Ukrainian jet -- DW
Iran denies 'cover-up' amid public anger over plane crash -- Al Jazeera
U.S. Says It's 'Watching' Iran Regime After Tehran Denies Shooting Protesters -- RFE
Journalists quit Iranian state broadcaster over crash cover-up -- The Guardian
For decades Iranians have risen up, only to be put down -- AP

Iraqi Officials Fear Economic "Collapse" If Washington Imposes Threatened Sanctions

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 12:08 PM PST

Iraqi officials say around $35 billion of the country's oil revenues are held at the US Federal Reserve, which means Washington's threat to restrict access could be a major problem

AFP: Iraq warns of 'collapse' if Trump blocks oil cash

Iraqi officials fear economic "collapse" if Washington imposes threatened sanctions, including blocking access to a US-based account where Baghdad keeps oil revenues that feed 90 percent of the national budget.

US President Donald Trump was outraged by the Iraqi parliament voting on January 5 to oust foreign forces, including some 5,200 American troops, who have helped local soldiers beat back jihadists since 2014.

If troops were asked to leave, he threatened, "we will charge them sanctions like they've never seen before."

The US then delivered an extraordinary verbal message directly to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi's office, two Iraqi officials told AFP.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Iraq's Kurds are telling Baghdad to get their act together .... Iraq has a lot to lose if US cuts financial ties (RUDAW).

U.S. And Iraqi Forces At Al-Asad Base Only Had Minutes Notice Before Iranian Rockets Started To Land In An Hour-Long Barrage

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 12:17 PM PST

U.S. officials stand near a damaged installation hit by Iranian airstrikes inside the Ain al-Asad base near Anbar, Iraq, on January 13, 2019.© Emilienne Malfatto for The Washington Post

Washington Post: Al-Asad base had minutes' notice before the Iranian rockets came crashing down in an hour-long barrage

AIN AL-ASAD, Iraq —U.S. commanders at the Iraqi military base targeted by Iranian missiles last week said Monday they believe the attack was intended to kill American personnel, an act that could have pushed the two powers closer to outright war.

On a visit to the sprawling Ain al-Asad air base in the Iraqi province of Anbar, reporters saw deep craters and the crumpled wreckage of living quarters and a helicopter launch site. The attack lasted more than an hour and a half, troops said, with each explosion illuminating the landscape for miles.

With tensions between the United States and Iran reaching a boiling point, the base had already been on high alert, expecting the sorts of rocket attacks that have target U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi forces across Iraq for months. The base hosts some 2,000 troops, 1,500 of them from the U.S.-led coalition.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: We are now learning about the extensive damage at the base .... Photos taken at Iraq base where US troops are stationed show scale of damage following Iranian airstrikes (FOX News). More here .... New images show damage caused by Iranian missile strike on US military base in Iraq as soldiers clear the compound (Daily Mail).

Daily World News Briefs -- January 13, 2020

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 02:43 PM PST

A woman shouts slogans as she gathers with people to show their sympathy to the victims of the crash of the Boeing 737-800 plane, flight PS 752, in Tehran, Iran January 11, 2020. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Reuters: 'Clerics get lost!': Iran protests rage on over plane disaster

DUBAI (Reuters) - Protesters denouncing Iran's clerical rulers took to the streets and riot police deployed to face them on Monday, in a third day of demonstrations after authorities acknowledged shooting down a passenger plane by accident.

Demonstrations in Iran, some met by a violent crackdown, are the latest twist in one of the most serious escalations between Washington and Tehran since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Video showed students on Monday chanting slogans including "Clerics get lost!" outside universities in the city of Isfahan and in Tehran, where riot police were filmed taking positions on the streets.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Iran's police shoot at crowds protesting against Government's denial of Ukrainian plane shootdown. Iran plane downing: Police deny shooting anti-government protesters.

Iran denies cover-up of downing of Ukrainian jet.

Trump says he 'couldn't care less' if Iran wants to negotiate.

London summons Iran's ambassador over UK envoy's arrest in Tehran.

Iraq warns of 'collapse' if Trump blocks oil cash.

Japan's Abe meets Saudi king amid Persian Gulf troubles.

Tributes pour in as Oman mourns Sultan Qaboos.

ASIA

Fearing imminent volcanic eruption, Philippines officials evacuate 450,00. Taal volcano: Lava spews as 'hazardous eruption' feared.

Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen meets top US official as Beijing claims 'cheating, repression' after election landslide.

China rebukes countries for congratulating Tsai Ing-wen after landslide Taiwan election win.

Seoul dismisses North Korea's derision of South's 'foolish dreams'.

Pakistan court overrules Pervez Musharraf death sentence.

Uttar Pradesh: India state begins enacting controversial citizenship law.

First case of mystery SARS-like virus found outside China.

Snowstorms leave scores dead in Afghanistan, Pakistan.

AFRICA

France's Macron to host G5 Sahel presidents in Pau. France summit: Sahel crisis in danger of slipping out of control.

Libyan rivals to sign ceasefire deal in Moscow.

Niger declares three days of mourning after 89 soldiers killed in attack on military base.

US wants to reduce presence in Africa, warns top officer.

One dead in Guinea as sweeping anti-govt rally starts.

Ethiopian PM Ahmed asks South Africa for help in talks on Nile dam construction.

Ethiopia's Abiy Ahmed responds to Trump's Nobel Prize complaint.

Malawi chief justice reports bribe offer in election case.

EUROPE

Britain, France, Germany vow conditional support for Iran nuclear deal.

EU trade chief heads to Washington on truce mission.

Malta's new PM has only days to prove himself, says Andrew Caruana Galizia.

EU trade chief foresees 'financial services for fishing' Brexit bargain.

Spain's new government to tackle Catalonia via negotiation.

France's digital minister says tax on big tech is just the start.

Prince William and Prince Harry deny rift ahead of British royal family crisis meeting.

AMERICAS

Administration officials defend Trump claims, Soleimani intelligence as senators push back on briefing.

Democrats scramble to rein in Trump's Iran war powers.

Cory Booker out of race for Democratic nomination.

Huawei's Meng Wanzhou defrauded HSBC into loaning billions with 'misrepresentations' about Iran, Canada says, telling court to reject her bid for release.

Three years after $1 billion Venezuela deal, U.S. oilfield firm shuts doors.

Colombia foils attempt to assassinate ex-Farc leader Timochenko.

Iran plane downing: Canadian PM promises 'justice' at memorial.

Canada nuclear plant: Alert about incident sent in error.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Trump approved Soleimani's killing last June: report.

Hezbollah: It's time for Iran's allies to start working to avenge Soleimani.

King of Jordan says ISIS on the rise, warns thousands of fighters moved to Libya from Syria's Idlib, spelling more trouble for EU.

Germany jails jihadi for Syrian massacre.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

'Stop buying Iranian oil or face sanctions': US in talks with China over Iran.

China urges US to 'immediately halt' sanctions on Chinese firms with Iran ties.

Canada business chief lashes Trump over Iran plane crash.

Protests and outrage as Siemens backs Aussie mine project.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 13, 2020

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 08:25 AM PST



The Hill: US troops clear rubble, debris from Iraq base struck by Iranian missiles

U.S. crews at the Ain al-Asad military base in western Iraq cleared debris from the scene of an Iranian missile strike on Monday, with officials telling reporters that at least 10 missiles struck the airfield.

The Associated Press reported Monday that workers used forklifts and large trucks to move debris as large craters littered the area where Iranian missiles struck the base last week, causing no casualties. The base was one of two struck by Iranian missiles during the attack.

"There were more than 10 large missiles fired and the impact hit several areas along the airfield," coalition spokesman Col. Myles Caggins told the AP.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 13, 2020

US troops clear rubble from Iraq base days after Iran strike -- AP

US military's Iran policy 'not going to change overnight,' Gen. Robert Scales says -- FOX News

Pentagon chief says he 'didn't see' intelligence suggesting Iran planned to attack four US embassies -- The Hill

Esper: Troops deployed because of nonspecific Iran threat on embassies -- UPI

FVL: Army Won't Wait For Sikorsky To Catch Up To Bell -- Breaking Defense

Three Companies Vie to Make Next-Gen Squad Weapon -- National Defense

US Army has built a device to keep your hands warm without gloves -- New Scientist

US Army to field Israeli-made long-range missile on helicopters -- Defense News

The Navy Wants to Cut These 24 Ships Early to Buy a Smaller Number of Newer Ones -- National Interest

In a quest for 355 ships, US Navy leaders are unwilling to accept a hollow force -- Defense News

Pentagon Fears Falling Behind 'Fast-Moving' Russia, China Despite Record Budget -- Sputnik

Study of US industry capabilities could reshape national security investments -- Space News

2 goals for one of the military's new space organizations -- C4ISRNet

Who Signs Up to Fight? Makeup of U.S. Recruits Shows Glaring Disparity -- The New York Times

Guardians or Guardrails? The Role and Rule of Law in the Military -- Doyle Hodges, War On The Rocks

Finland to bolster Navy's surface fleet with new ships, more missiles -- Defense News

Rolls-Royce developing advanced jet engine to power Tempest fighter -- New Atlas

Turkey Reportedly Seeks to Obtain Air Defence Technologies, S-500s From Russia Amid Row With US -- Sputnik

Ukraine sees two paths for joining NATO. Will either work? -- Aaron Mehta, Defense News

NATO Chief Stoltenberg Reveals How Alliance Will 'Respond' to Russia's Iskander-M Missiles -- Sputnik

Russian large anti-submarine warfare ship to enter Mediterranean through Black Sea straits -- TASS

Russian Baltic Fleet to hold drills with Japan's Navy in Gulf of Aden -- TASS

China's most advanced destroyer the Nanchang formally enters service in 'leap forward' for navy -- SCMP

China could flex military muscles to pressure Taiwan post-election -- Reuters

India Begins Deployment of Advanced Weapons System Along China Border - Army Chief -- Sputnik

Advanced Electronics gets $17M for cyber protection for F-15SA for Saudi Arabia -- UPI

Iraq is in talks with Russia over purchase of S-300 — media -- TASS

Saudi Energy Minister: President Trump ‘Can Do Whatever He Wishes’

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 08:02 AM PST



CNBC: Saudi energy minister on Trump's actions in the Middle East: 'He can do whatever he wishes'

"We are leaving it to our friends of the U.S. to conduct themselves in a manner they see fit in attending to a situation like this," Abdulaziz said.
The U.S. killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani earlier this month, triggering a dramatic escalation that many feared could result in a widening regional conflict.
Iran, an arch-rival of Saudi Arabia in the region, responded to the U.S. attack by launching missiles at two military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Monday that President Donald Trump should be able to do as he chooses when it comes to international security.

Speaking during a panel session at the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz said: "The president of the United States is the president of the United States, he can do whatever he wishes."

He's "certainly" not accountable to me or "anybody in this room," he added.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I could be wrong. But the impression that I am getting is that after spending years saying that the US should forcefully confront Iran, Saudi officials are now distancing themselves from the current US - Iran crisis.

U.S. To Expel A Dozen Saudi Trainees After Pensacola Shooting

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 06:49 AM PST



CNN: First on CNN: More than a dozen Saudi servicemen to be expelled from US after review of December shooting at Naval Air Station

More than a dozen Saudi servicemen training at US military installations will be expelled from the United States after a review that followed the deadly shooting last month at a Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, multiple sources told CNN.

The Saudis are not accused of aiding the 21-year-old Saudi Air Force second lieutenant who killed three American sailors in the December shooting, two sources said, but some are said to have connections to extremist movements, according to a person familiar with the situation.

A number are also accused of possessing child pornography, according to a defense official and the person familiar with the situation. The FBI and Justice Department declined to comment.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These aviators are suppose to be the best from Saudi Arabia?!?!?!

More News On Reports The U.S. Will Expel A Dozen Saudi Trainees After Pensacola Shooting

U.S. Officials: More Than 20 Saudi Students To Be Expelled In Wake Of Fla. Shooting -- NPR
Federal probe sparks push to boot multiple Saudi military students -- Navy Times
US to expel a dozen Saudi trainees after base attack probe: media -- AFP
U.S. to Expel a Dozen Saudi Military Trainees After Pensacola Shooting -- The New York Times
Saudi service members to be expelled after investigation into Florida base shooting -- CBS

Has The Media Been Always Wrong When Covering President Trump's National Security Decisions?

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 06:29 AM PST


The Federalist: The Media Is Always, Always Wrong About Trump And National Security

We should stop listening to the media on national security issues, since they are always wrong. As a captive audience, they make us accompany them through their stages of hysteria, and it's insufferable.

If anything may be gleaned from the recent hyperbolic reporting about Iran, it is that our media betters, particularly those reporting on national security issues, are deeply and inexorably challenged at providing reasonable and thoughtful analysis due to a blinding animus towards President Trump.

Nothing evinces this phenomenon more succinctly than the recent days in which supposedly serious national security reporters waxed poetic about the likelihood of World War III, while sharing unverified reports about tens of killings of Americans from Iranian state media. If we knew what was good for us, we would never offer the privilege of precious airwaves again to such individuals, but alas, they remain alert in the bunkers, waiting for the next national security issue to spin into full-blown crisis, if only to crush Trump. They have become the self-anointed soldiers of the Resistance, defending the Obama foreign policy legacy at all costs, even sacrificing their reputations to take up the mantle formerly assumed by Ben Rhodes.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I would not say that they have always been wrong. But they have definitely failed in their coverage of Iran since the beginning of this year.

Israel Is Becoming A Natural Gas Superpower

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 06:17 AM PST



Legal Insurrection: While you were focused on Soleimani, Israel became a natural gas superpower

"During the last week, earth-shattering events occurred that completely disrupted the Middle East …. In other news the Americans assassinated Iranian General Qassem Soleimani."

In March 2013, I noted that Israel's discovery and development of huge offshore natural gas fields was a game-changer, putting Israel on course to become an energy superpower.

At that time, the field that had just come on line was the Tamar field. I wrote, Yesterday the Middle East changed forever, and you didn't know it:

Israel now is pumping natural gas from one of the enormous offshore fields which will transform Israel into an energy-independent nation and a global energy powerhouse:

Read more ....

WNU Editor: No longer being dependent on energy imports from hostile neighbours is a huge security boost for Israel. This is a game changer for its economy and its independence.

Chinese President Xi Rejected President Trump's Wish To Have A Joint Signing Of The Trade Deal

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 06:11 AM PST

US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping leave a business leaders event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: AFP

SCMP: Trade war deal: How Xi Jinping rejected Donald Trump's signing ceremony proposal during turbulent period

* Xi Jinping rejected proposals for a bilateral meeting with Donald Trump after the Apec summit in Chile was cancelled in November
* A frantic three months in US-China relations will culminate in Liu He's trip to Washington next week, but analysts point to more choppy waters ahead

In the first week of November, after Chile cancelled the Apec summit and before the BRICS summit took place in Brasilia, there were intense discussions between China and the United States about a potential face-to-face meeting between their two respective leaders.

The hope was that after plans of a meeting in Chile's capital of Santiago were wrecked by violent street protests, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump might find a location to finalise a phase one trade deal, according to two separate sources briefed on the matter.

Trump's desire for an eye-catching photo opportunity with Xi has always been clear, with the US president looking for a "win" in the trade war to help boost his re-election campaign.

For Xi, however, the timing was off. The text of the agreement had not been finalised and the broader US-China bilateral relationship was clouded by protests in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Among the Chinese that I know they have trouble seeing this trade deal succeed. The Chinese are not motivated to buy US products, they are more focused on what they can sell. Chinese President Xi's reluctance to meet President Trump for a signing-op is also Beijing's way of deliberating sending a message to its citizens that this deal is not important, and it will not be enforced. But China does have a huge problem. As much as the Chinese leadership do not trust President Trump, foreign businesses do not trust China, and they are now leaving .... China's manufacturing exodus set to continue in 2020, despite prospect of trade war deal (SCMP).

This Russian Expert Believes That The US Carrier Fleet Will Defeat The Chinese Carier Fleet Due to Its Superior Reconnaissance Capabilities

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 06:11 AM PST

Reuters

Michael Peck, National Review: Even the Russians Think The U.S. Navy Would Defeat the Chinese

Konstantin Sivkov, a member of the Russian Academy of Rocket and Artillery Sciences, says superior U.S. reconnaissance would give it the defining advantage.

Key Point: Sivkov's scenario relies on a lot of built-in assumptions, but it's still useful in designing strategy.

If U.S. and Chinese aircraft carriers were to clash, the U.S. Navy would win.

And who makes that prediction? A Russian military expert.

Konstantin Sivkov, a member of the Russian Academy of Rocket and Artillery Sciences, argues that superior U.S. reconnaissance capabilities would trump China's advantages in hypersonic missiles.

Sivkov lays out a sort of wargame for an America vs. China carrier clash that seems based on the World War II carrier battles between America and Japan, particularly the Battle of Midway. Those battles tended to be nail-biting, knife-edge affairs where victory or defeat rested on which side first spotted the other side's carriers, and then dispatched an airstrike against the vulnerable flattops.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Seeing the enemy before they can see you is always a big plus in warfare.

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