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Sunday, February 16, 2020

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

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

Tweets For Today

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 10:14 PM PST

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 08:53 PM PST

The skeletal remains of the city center after the bombing. A 9-year-old German boy described being in the street during the second raid and seeing "Fire, only fire everywhere we looked.... It was beyond belief, worse than the most fearful nightmare."

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... 'The Most-Fearful Nightmare': 75 Years After The Bombing Of Dresden (RFE).

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau Criticized For Shaking The Hand And Bowing His Head To The Iranian Foreign Minister

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 08:55 PM PST

The National: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau under fire for warm greeting of Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran refuses to co-operate fully after shooting down plane carrying dozens of Canadian citizens

Canada's Justin Trudeau was under fire on Saturday for his warm embrace of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif despite the deaths of dozens of Canadian citizens when Iran shot down a passenger plane after it took off from Tehran's airport last month.

Iranian officials were jubilant when the Canadian prime minister grasped Mr Zarif with both hands and exchanged greetings with a broad smile at the Munich Security Conference. Canada has no relations with Tehran and has been under pressure to push Iran for accountability and compensation for shooting down the Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Bowing his head to the Iranian Foreign Minister .... what was he thinking? The optics are terrible, and not surprising, Iranian media is playing up this meeting. As for Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau's reaction to this criticisms, he is defending his meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister .... 'Important that we work together': Trudeau defends handshake with Iranian foreign minister months after plane crash (Vancouver Sun).

Update: I do not share Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau's optimism on Iran cooperating. Iran has made it very clear that they are not going to hand over the black boxes from Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 .... Iran not to hand over black boxes from UIA's downed plane to outside governments (UNIAN).

More News On The Reaction To Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau Shaking The Hand And Bowing His Head To The Iranian Foreign Minister

Trudeau attracts ire as he defends handshake with Iranian foreign minister months after plane crash -- National Post
Trudeau criticized for shaking hands with Iranian foreign minister after deadly plane crash -- Global News
Trudeau Criticized For Bowing To Iranian Foreign Minister As He Seeks UN Security Council Seat -- Daily Caller
Trudeau faces fury for shaking hands with Zarif -- Saudi Gazette
Iran FM, Canadian PM Meet in Munich -- IFP News

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif: ‘We Were Very Close To A War’

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 08:25 PM PST

Jerusalem Post: Iran's Zarif: We were close to war with US after Soleimani assassination

Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the US and Iran were "very close to a war" and that, at the moment, the black box of the crashed Ukrainian airliner is not being touched.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the US and Iran "were very close to a war" in an interview with NBC on Friday on the sidelines of the 2020 Munich Security Conference.

He explained that he thinks US President Donald Trump "was misled to believe that the United States would get away" with assassinating IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani.

Read more ....

More News On Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian FM: Trump, led by novice advisers, brought region close to war -- Times of Israel
Iran: President Trump Is Wrong to Think Tehran Regime Will Collapse -- Time
Saudis don't want to de-escalate tensions with Iran, Zarif says -- Reuters
Zarif: Iran Willing To Return To Full Compliance With Nuclear Deal If Europe Helps -- RFE

Rockets Strike Near US Embassy In Iraq

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 07:53 PM PST

The US embassy is located in the Green Zone, the Iraqi capital's high-security enclave (AFP Photo/Sgt. Kyle C. Talbot)

The Guardian/AFP: Baghdad explosions: rockets strike near US embassy in Iraq

Multiple blasts and circling aircraft heard near enclave where US mission is located

Multiple rockets hit near the US embassy in Iraq's capital early on Sunday, an American military source said, the latest in a flurry of attacks against US assets in the country.

The assault sent warning sirens blaring across the diplomatic compound but it was unclear exactly what was hit and how many rockets made impact, the US source and a western diplomat based nearby said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Agence France-Presse's correspondents heard multiple strong explosions followed by aircraft circling near the green zone, the high-security enclave where the US mission is located.

Read more ....

Update #1: Blasts hit U.S. coalition base in Baghdad, damage unknown -- Reuters
Update #2: Explosions hit US coalition base in Baghdad -- The National

WNU Editor: Here we go again.

Denouncing The U.S., Venezuela Holds Military And Militia Exercises

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 07:30 PM PST

Members of the Venezuelan army and the Bolivarian Militia take part in a military exercise in Caracas, Venezuela February 15, 2020. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero

Reuters: Venezuela holds military exercises as Maduro attempts to show force

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's military on Saturday held exercises that deployed civilian militia and armored vehicles in the capital Caracas and around the country, an effort by President Nicolas Maduro to show strength as Washington prepares to escalate sanctions.

Maduro accuses the United States of preparing an invasion of the OPEC nation, which in 2017 U.S. President Donald Trump described as a possibility. Since last year the United States has ramped up economic sanctions against his government.

The exercises were launched days after Maduro formally incorporated the civilian reserve, a group of some 4 million volunteers with limited military training, into the armed forces alongside the army, navy, air force and National Guard.

"We have proven the level of command and control of the Bolivarian militia, complemented by the National Bolivarian Armed Forces," said Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino in statements broadcast on state television.

Read more ....

Update: Denouncing US, Venezuelan troops, militias stage drills (AP)

WNU Editor: Reuters has a photo-gallery of this military/militia exercise. It is sad. In the meantime Venezuela's collapse continues .... 'All we have are walls': crisis leaves Venezuela's schools crumbling (The Guardian).

Is Ukraine Still Corrupt?

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 07:00 PM PST

CNN: Zelensky rejects Trump's claim that Ukraine is corrupt in interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour

In a CNN interview, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday strongly rejected US President Donald Trump's claim that Ukraine is corrupt. He also said he is ready for another phone call with Trump and open to visiting the White House.

Zelensky spoke wtih CNN's Christiane Amanpour at the Munich Security Conference in his first one-on-one interview since the end of Trump's impeachment trial. A July 25 telephone call between the two men, which Trump repeatedly called "perfect," was at the heart of the impeachment probe. The Senate acquitted Trump earlier this month, finding the President not guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Read more ....

Update #1: Ukrainian President Zelensky Vows to End War With Russia, Invites President Trump to Kyiv (Time/AP)
Update #2: Zelensky responds to Trump's claims: 'It's not true that Ukraine is a corrupt country' (USA Today)

WNU Editor: The culture of corruption has always been very deep in Ukraine. My Ukrainian cousin and her son are staying at my home in Canada this weekend. She has multiple business interests in Ukraine, and is also a regular commentator on a business cable channel in Kiev. Before making this post I asked her if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is telling the truth when he said that Ukraine is not corrupt. She is a supporter of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but the look she gave me was priceless. In short .... Ukraine is very corrupt.

Update: The main stream media is ignoring this part of the CNN interview, but Ukraine President Zelenskiy is once again undercutting the Democrat case for why President Trump was impeached .... Ukrainian President Zelensky Calls Impeachment A TV Soap Opera (The Federalist)

U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy Likes To See Things Fly And Explode When It Comes To Buying Military Hardware

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 06:00 PM PST

Ryan D. McCarthy pledged to be the Army secretary that soldiers deserve as he took the oath to be the 24th person in the job. US Department of Defense

Washington Examiner: 'Things are flying and exploding': How Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy shops for military hardware

When Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy shops for equipment that will help fight the next war, he likes to smell the gasoline before he decides.

"Ten years ago, we were buying billions of dollars over PowerPoint," he said during an appearance at the National Press Club on Friday. "Why do I think we're getting better now? Things are flying and exploding, and you can smell gasoline."

The move to more quickly develop the next generation of Army hardware requires private sector thinking, he said. To bring contractors on faster, the U.S. Army has leveraged an acquisition tool known as OTA, or Other Transaction Authority, to develop technology at the "speed of business."

"Ultimately, it's about speed," McCarthy said in one of numerous references to the use of OTAs. "You need to get this stuff into the field when it's relevant and then upgrade over time, like an iPhone."

The secretary of the Army said he will continue to use OTAs "early and often."

Read more ....

WNU editor: His remarks on PowerPoint are spot on.

Drudge Report: Mike Bloomberg 'Considering Picking Hillary Clinton As His Running Mate In The 2020 Democratic Race

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 05:31 PM PST

Daily Mail: Mike Bloomberg 'is considering picking Hillary Clinton as his running mate in the 2020 Democratic race to help take on Trump'

* Mike Bloomberg is considering Hillary Clinton as his running mate, source says
* Polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force to take on Trump in the race for the White House
* Bloomberg is said to be considering changing his official residence because the electoral college makes it tough for president and VP to reside in the same state
* 'We are focused on the primary and the debate, not VP speculation,' Bloomberg's campaign has said

Mike Bloomberg is considering making Hillary Clinton his running mate, a source close to his campaign has told Drudge Report.

Polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force to take on Trump in the race for the White House, the source said.

Former New York City Mayor and Democratic candidate Bloomberg is said to be considering even changing his official residence from New York to Colorado or Florida - where he also has homes - because the electoral college makes it difficult for US president and vice-president to reside in the same state.

Under the Twelfth Amendment to the US Constitution, which provides the procedure for electing the president and vice-president, it states that the two people could not both inhabit the same state as the elector.

Bloomberg's campaign would not confirm or deny the reports when reached out for comments.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If Bloomberg crazy? Hillary Clinton as his VP?!?!?! If true he better hire some food tasters.

Update: They are not denying these reports .... Bloomberg campaign downplays report he is considering Hillary Clinton as running mate (FOX News).

More News On Reports That Mike Bloomberg Is 'Considering Picking Hillary Clinton As His Running Mate In The 2020 Democratic Race

Bloomberg is considering Hillary Clinton as his running mate, says Matt Drudge -- CNBC
Bloomberg reportedly considering Hillary Clinton as his running mate -- NYPost
Drudge Report: Bloomberg considering Hillary Clinton for running mate -- Washington Examiner
Is He Crazy? Mike Bloomberg Considering Hillary Clinton as His Running Mate -- PJ Media
'Smokescreen': Drudge stokes Bloomberg-Clinton ticket -- Politico

Inside The Pentagon's Secret UFO Program

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 04:00 PM PST

Popular Mechanics: Inside the Pentagon's Secret UFO Program

The government can't keep its story straight about its involvement with UFO research. After a yearlong investigation, we bust open the files, break through the noise, and reveal the definitive, staggering truth.

As I sit in a small cafe in the shadow of the ancient Roman gates in Trier, Germany, talking to a person whose credibility seems beyond reproach, but who will only agree to talk to me if provide absolute assurances of anonymity, I can't help but feel like I'm trapped in a Dan Brown novel. The Da Vinci Code, however, never dealt with unidentified flying objects.

"Was it about UFOs? Of course," this person whispers with a grin of melodrama.

After almost a year of investigating the U.S. government's interest in UFOs, what they've just said should neither be shocking, nor revelatory. Unbeknownst to them, they've only further confirmed what over a dozen other people with backgrounds inside the government and the now-defunct Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) have already admitted to me.

Just like the fictional Robert Langdon, the path to understanding these mysterious government programs has taken me through the catacombs of informal secret societies, whose surprising memberships include accomplished professionals from the military, aerospace, academic, medical, and intelligence communities.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I love reading these reports on a cold and wintry Saturday evening.

Editor's Note

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 09:00 AM PST

Hosting some visitors from overseas for the next two days. Blogging will be light.

Turkey Supplying Syrian Rebels With Anti-Aircraft Missiles?

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 08:00 AM PST

Zero Hedge: A 2nd Syrian Helicopter Brought Down By MANPAD In Only A Few Days

Another Syrian military helicopter has been shot down by the jihadist insurgents now threatening western Aleppo amid fierce fighting in both Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

A surface-to-air missile, likely a MANPAD, was fired on the chopper by Turkish-backed militants in the countryside of the major northern Syrian city, in the second such rare helicopter downing in only a few days.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This changes the battle for the last rebel stronghold in Syria completely.

U.S. Defense Secretary Esper: World Must 'Wake Up To The Challenges Presented By China'

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 07:08 AM PST

Daily Mail: Trump's Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the world needs to 'wake up' to China's growing global threat and slams their 'predatory' treatment of rivals

* Esper, who is a frequent critic of China, made the comments at an international security event in Munich
* He said China tops Pentagon's list of potential adversaries, followed by Russia
* In his address, Esper slammed the communist country's 'internal repression, predatory economic practices, and heavy-handedness'
* He did however stress that the U.S does not want conflict with China, and noted the government had sent medical supplies to help combat the coronavirus
* Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi publicly dismissed Esper's comments as 'lies'
* Esper's comments were made in the same week the U.S Department of Justice filed 16 new criminal charges against Huawei for 'plotting to steal trade secrets'

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Saturday cast China as a rising threat to world order - saying the world's most populous nation steals Western know-how, intimidates smaller neighbors and seeks an 'advantage by any means and at any cost.'

A frequent critic of China, Esper used an address to an international security conference in Munich, Germany, to give his most comprehensive condemnation yet of a communist country that he said tops the Pentagon's list of potential adversaries, followed by Russia, 'rogue states' like North Korea and Iran, and continuing threats from extremist groups.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese foreign minister has responded .... U.S. criticism of China is 'lies', foreign minister says (Reuters).

More News On U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper's Remarks On China

US defense chief slams China as rising threat to world order -- AP
US defence secretary warns Huawei 5G will put alliances at risk -- The Guardian
World must 'wake up to the challenges presented by China,' says Defense Secretary -- CNN

China Moves To Disinfect Its Money To Prevent The Spread Of The Coronavirus

Posted: 15 Feb 2020 06:53 AM PST

China has today started disinfecting and isolating used banknotes in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) that has killed 1,527 people. Pictured is a woman spraying banknotes during a previous quarantine

Daily Mail: China disinfects BANK NOTES and quarantines them for 14 days as Beijing announces 143 new coronavirus deaths and 2,641 additional cases while death toll hits 1,527

* Chinese banks use ultraviolet light then seal and store the cash for up to 14 days
* The banks have been urged to provide new banknotes to customers if possible
* Central bank made an emergency issuance of four billion yuan in new notes

China has today started disinfecting and isolating used banknotes in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) that has killed 1,527 people.

Banks use ultraviolet light or high temperatures to disinfect yuan bills, then they seal and store the cash for seven to 14 days - depending on the severity of the outbreak in a particular region - before recirculating them.

The virus, which has infected 66,492 people in China and spread to more than two dozen other countries, has sparked a rush to disinfect public places and minimise contact between people.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I was wondering about this a week ago. Money can be a transmitter of disease. For the latest on the coronavirus outbreak, go here .... Latest on coronavirus spreading in China and beyond (Reuters).

Update: A long but good blog post on the coronavirus outbreak .... Wuhan Coronavirus—WUWT Update (WUWT).

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