Monday, 4 June 2018

Headlines - 06/03/2018

No sanctions relief for N. Korea until ‘verifiable & irreversible’ denuclearization – Mattis


No sanctions relief for N. Korea until ‘verifiable & irreversible’ denuclearization – Mattis
Pyongyang will have to demonstrate clear steps towards denuclearization before any sanctions are eased, US Defense Secretary James Mattis has warned, ahead of highly anticipated US-North Korean leaders’ talks.
We will continue to implement all UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea. North Korea will receive relief only when it demonstrates verifiable and irreversible steps to denuclearization,” Mattis stated in Singapore on Sunday.
The remark was given at a meeting with the South Korean and Japanese defense ministers, Itsunori Onodera and Song Young-moo, on the sidelines of the Asia Security Summit, known as the Shangri-La Dialogue. It was the first time since October that the three top defense officials have met.

We can anticipate, at best, a bumpy road to the negotiations,” the defense secretary added.


NATO ‘security guarantees’ do not apply to partner Israel – Stoltenberg

NATO is not obliged to come to the rescue should a hypothetical war break out between Iran and Israel, Jens Stoltenberg has told Germany’s Der Spiegel, amid increased tensions between the bitter Middle East rivals.

Israel is our partner, but not a member of NATO. The security guarantee of Article 5 does not apply to Israel,” Secretary General of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg told the magazine. Article 5 of NATO’s treaty stipulates that an attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all allies, but it does not apply to those designated only as “partners” of the alliance.

Stoltenberg added that the alliance is not involved in Mideast peace efforts, or in conflicts in the region. “This is not our job,” he stressed, somehow overlooking that, just last year, NATO formally joined the US-led coalition against IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

Were such a hypothetical war to break out, it also remains an open question if the US will rush to defend its closest regional ally, as Washington and Tel Aviv do not have a formal mutual defense treaty, despite a new milestone in bilateral relations being reached when the US recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and moved its embassy there.


In a major turn of events which places the entire Atlanticist order in question, NATO's secretary-general says NATO refuses to back Israel in the event it attacks, or is attacked by, it's regional foe Iran

In a major turn of events which places the entire Atlanticist order in question, NATO’s secretary-general says NATO refuses to back Israel in the event it attacks, or is attacked by, it’s regional foe Iran.

This news has spread quickly across social media, as Jens Stoltenberg explained NATO’s now official position to the magazine Der Spiegel.  Published today, June 2nd, Stoltenberg iterated that while Israel is a ‘partner’, it is not a member, and that NATO’s “security guarantee” does not and will not apply to Israel.




China is reportedly looking to line up other countries against the U.S. in a pending trade war, after the White House announced an unexpected move forward on trade tariffs, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The countries in question are mostly in Europe and Asia, where companies could benefit from China's plans to give foreign companies more open access to its markets.

A day earlier, the White House said it would have a final list of $50 billion in imports that would be subject to 25 percent tariffs by June 15.



New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy's administration ordered an immediate halt to state spending and hiring, because of what NJ.com describes as "an esoteric accounting maneuver caught up in charged state budget talks."


In short, if the state doesn't quit non-essential spending or the state Legislature doesn't allow the Murphy administration to shuffle spending from one part of the budget to another, they risk ending next month's fiscal end-of-year in the red, according to the New Jersey Treasury Department.



President Trump wants to impose a total ban on the imports of German luxury cars, according to a new report from CNBC and German magazine WirtschaftsWoche.
Several U.S. and European diplomats told the news outlets that Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron about his plans last month during a state visit.
Trump reportedly told Macron that he would maintain the ban until no Mercedes-Benz cars are seen on Fifth Avenue in New York.


The world should stand up to Washington’s bullying behavior, Iran’s foreign minister was quoted as saying on Sunday by state media in a letter to counterparts, as the top diplomat intensifies efforts to save a nuclear deal after a U.S. Exit.

In a letter from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to his counterparts last week, he asked “the remaining signatories and other trade partners” to “make up for Iran’s losses” caused by the U.S. exit, if they sought to save the deal.

The JCPOA (nuclear deal) does not belong to its signatories, so one party can reject it based on domestic policies or political differences with a former ruling administration,” Zarif was quoted as saying in the letter, parts of which were published by the state news agency IRNA on Sunday.

The nuclear deal was the result of “meticulous, sensitive and balanced multilateral talks”, Zarif said, and could not be renegotiated as the United States has demanded.

He said U.S. “illegal withdrawal” from the deal and its “bullying methods to bring other governments in line” with that decision have discredited the rule of law in international arena.

Why India is ignoring US sanctions and sticking with Iran



It's not just about oil – there's a complex interconnection of geopolitics and geoeconomics between the two countries

Pay very close attention to what India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, said after meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier this week in New Delhi:

Our foreign policy is not made under pressure from other countries … We recognize UN sanctions and not country-specific sanctions. We didn’t follow US sanctions on previous occasions either.”




Iran has threatened to give petroleum giant Total's stake in the South Pars gas fields to China if the French company could not secure protection from U.S. nuclear-related sanctions.

Total signed a $4.8 billion contract to develop phase 11 of the South Pars—by far the world's largest natural gas field—last July, after the 2015 nuclear deal struck between the U.S., Iran and five other world powers saw a rolling back of sanctions against the revolutionary Shiite Muslim nation in exchange for it cutting nuclear production. Trump's May 8 withdrawal from the nuclear accord, however, has put this investment at risk and Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Zanganeh said the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which already claims 30 percent of the project, could take the French supercompany's 50.1 percent stake.

"Total has 60 days to negotiate with the U.S. administration while the French government can also use these 60 days to negotiate with the U.S. administration so that Total can stay in Iran," Zanganeh said in a statement, according to The Financial Times.

"If the U.S. administration does not agree with Total staying in Iran, China will replace this company," he added.


The United States has only a few days to take some urgent action if it wants to avoid a full-scale trade war with its European allies, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned during a G7 meeting.

We still have a few days to take the necessary steps to avoid a trade war between the European Union (EU) and the US and prevent a trade war between the G7 members,” Le Maire told reporters after a meeting of finance ministers of the G7 in Canada at the Whistler Mountain Resort in British Columbia. He added that it is up to the US to take the first step.

The ball is in the United States’ court. It is up to the US administration to make the right decisions to ease the situation and ease the difficulties,” he added. Other senior officials from the world’s leading economies joined the French minister in calling for urgent action.



Over 70 Syrian tribes issued a joint statement on Saturday that announced the formation of a new combined force that would fight the US-backed militias and foreign troops in northern Syria.

The tribesmen from the Al-Hasakah, Aleppo, and Al-Raqqa governorates reportedly met in the government-held city of Deir Hafer, where they all agreed that they will come together to expel the US and their militias from their provinces.

Given the size of these tribes, they could present a serious problem for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria, if they receive military assistance from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad stated during his latest interview with Russia Today that the US-backed forces and foreign troops in northern Syria will be dealt with militarily if they do not withdrawal.

The Pentagon responded to this threat by warning the Syrian President that any attack on their forces in Syria will end ‘badly’ for him.


Defence ministers tell security forum they are contributing to rule-based order


France and Britain will sail warships through the South China Sea to challenge Beijing’s expanding military presence in the disputed waters, their defence ministers said on Sunday.

The two countries, both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, made the remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, echoing the latest US plan to ramp up its freedom of navigation operations to counter Beijing’s militarisation in the region and its stance that territorial disputes should be a matter between China and its Asian neighbours.


Sources from inside the Pentagon have told me the word on NATO from the White House is stunning: "If NATO members continue to fail in meeting their spending obligation, the United States will begin a speedy NINETY PERCENT REDUCTION in forward-deployed troops, planes, and all other war-fighting equipment."

Officers in the Pentagon have been told to begin planning such a drawdown to begin 6 months from now, around Christmas.  That will have given NATO members over a full year to bring their spending up to Treaty compliance.  If they fail to do that, the US drawdown is to commence.
Tackling NATO nations failing to meet their alliance obligations is a key priority for President Trump, his right-hand-man in Europe has revealed in major and unprecedented remarks on the credibility of the military of the European Union’s largest economy.
Speaking to Breitbart London during a sit-down interview at the U.S. residence in Berlin, recently confirmed Ambassador Richard Grenell delivered a frankly worded condemnation of Germany’s contribution to the NATO alliance to which the United States is a significant contributor.

Tackling NATO nations failing to meet their alliance obligations is a key priority for President Trump, his right-hand-man in Europe has revealed in an exclusive interview.
Speaking to Breitbart London during a sit-down at the U.S. residence in Berlin, recently confirmed Ambassador Richard Grenell delivered a frankly worded condemnation of Germany’s contribution to the NATO alliance to which the United States is a significant contributor.

The Arkady Babachenko “Putin kills journalist” hoax goes from bad to worse for Ukraine.
Tackling NATO nations failing to meet their alliance obligations is a key priority for President Trump, his right-hand-man in Europe has revealed in an exclusive interview.
Speaking to Breitbart London during a sit-down at the U.S. residence in Berlin, recently confirmed Ambassador Richard Grenell delivered a frankly worded condemnation of Germany’s contribution to the NATO alliance to which the United States is a significant contributor.


Spy scandal in Ukraine: Special forces tried to recruit RIA Novosti reporter, asking to leak data

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Spy scandal in Ukraine: Special forces tried to recruit RIA Novosti reporter, asking to leak data


Ukrainian security forces asked a Lithuania-based journalist working for a Russian news agency to spy for them and leak data on her colleagues. Russia’s Foreign Ministry reacted, saying freedom of expression in Ukraine is “dead.”

A reporter working for RIA Novosti news agency in Lithuania, Irina Vysokovich, travelled to the Ukrainian town of Kherson to cover the trial of her colleague, Kirill Vyshinsky, deputy editor-in-chief of RIA Novosti Ukraine. He had been arrested in Kiev and accused of treason.However, Vysokovich didn’t make it to court on Friday as events took a turn worthy of a spy blockbuster. Before she managed to enter the courtroom, she was put into a car and driven to the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) office.

The reporter was interrogated for several hours about her work by special service agents. They then made the reporter sign papers stating that she was ready to leak data on her colleagues.

‘We must respond to US tariffs, end sanctions on Russia’ – Austrian vice chancellor


‘We must respond to US tariffs, end sanctions on Russia’ – Austrian vice chancellor
It’s time to respond to US President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs and lift EU sanctions against Russia, Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache said ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Vienna.

Rethinking EU sanctions policy towards Russia is “desirable” because the measures are damaging the national economy, Strache told the Austrian newspaper Osterreich in an interview published on Saturday.

I have always warned against pushing Russia into the arms of China. It is high time to put an end to these annoying sanctions and normalize political and economic relations with Russia,” he said.


Strache was responding to a question asking whether the EU should change its approach to Moscow in the light of the US tariffs on European steel and aluminum. The tariffs, imposed by Trump, officially took effect on June 1. The president claims this measure will protect US manufacturers, while the EU denounced the tariffs as “unjustified,’ accusing America of starting a “trade war.”




Anti-migrant party set to win Slovenia election as vote count underway

The rise of right-wing governments continues across Europe as the opposition anti-migrant Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) is leading at Sunday’s general election in Slovenia, with the vote count still underway.

The SDS was ahead of the pack with 26.3 percent after some 25 percent of votes had been counted, the State Election Commission said. They were followed by Lista Marjana Sarca (LMS), which was running in the election for the first time, with 12.2 percent.

A total of 25 parties contested the election in the Balkan republic, with nine of them expected to make it to parliament, according to exit polls.




Earlier this week, several media outlets reported, citing Sinjar Governor Mahma Khalil that the US military had been deployed to the Sinjar Mountain of Iraq’s Mosul province

This is the obsession (along with a new Brexit vote) of the British liberal press.



More than 350 mosques and Muslim organisations have written to the Conservative Party backing calls for a formal inquiry following a number of allegations of Islamophobia, The Independent can reveal.

The calls mirror and endorse those made by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), who wrote to the party last week urging a full audit to tackle the “more than weekly occurrences of Islamophobia from candidates and representatives of the party”.

Now 11 separate umbrella organisations from all over the UK including Wales, Belfast, Scotland and Manchester have backed the calls for an urgent inquiry after a dozen examples of Islamophobia from party members in a two-month period from April were revealed.


War Erupts Between Italy's Government And Soros: "You Profited From The Death Of Hundreds Of People"



A feud has broken out between liberal billionaire activist and fervent Clinton supporter, George Soros, and Italy's anti-immigrant League party, which on Friday formed a populist movement in coalition with the 5-Star party, and whose leader Matteo Salvini stepped into his new job as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior on Friday, pledging to deport hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants.


Tommy Robinson Protests Continue For Second Week As Thousands Take To The Streets


Thousands of Tommy Robinson supporters and free speech advocates around the world took to the streets for a second week of protests against the imprisonment of the UK journalist and political activist. Robinson was arrested on May 25 outside Leeds Crown Court for reporting on a pedophile grooming trial. After a brief court proceeding in which he did not have access to his lawyer, Robinson was handed a 13-month prison sentence for violating the terms of a suspended sentence on a similar offense.

Demonstrations were held in Britain, Germany, the United States and several other countries. Around 400 people gathered outside Leeds Crown Court on Saturday for a march through the city center, while approximately 1,000 filled the streets of Manchester for a #FreeTommy demonstration, reported to have been spearheaded by the Democratic Football Lad's Alliance.







In a world where bizarre crowdfunding campaigns have become all the rage, with good samaritans even venturing to raise $30,000 so that a cash-strapped Kim Jong-Un can stay in his Trump Summit hotel...
 
... a politically turbulent Malaysia, whose currency and stock market recently plunged, then spiked after a shock political outcome in last month's election, likened by many to Trump's unexpected presidential victory, has decided to take crowdfunding to the next level, and as the BBC reportslast Wednesday the local finance ministry resorted to an unorthodox way of raising money to pay off their country's debt: beginning online.

Perhaps because they felt in a "historically" generous mood after the first change in government in over 60 years, Malaysians gave nearly $2 million in the 24 hours after authorities announced a fund would be set up to raise cash.

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