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Sun, 30 Apr 2017
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Puppet Masters


'Euro is dead': Le Pen eyes return of the Franc, preserving single currency for international trade

© Eric Gaillard / Reuters
A week before the 2nd round of the French election, eurosceptic presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen has reminded her supporters that the "euro is dead" and should be left only for international trade, while France should regain control and reintroduce the Franc.

"We need to control the currency, to adjust it to the economy because today the single currency is a burden," Le pen said ahead of May 7 French presidential election, stressing that the "euro is dead."

"We will have a national currency like all other countries, and we will have a common currency together," Le Pen said in in an interview with Le Parisien.


Trump invites Duterte to Washington to develop 'warm' post-Obama relations

© Carlos Barria / Reuters
The US president has invited his Philippines counterpart to visit him at the White House to try and mend bilateral relations, which soured under the previous administration.

Donald Trump held a phone conversation with Philippines' leader Rodrigo Duterte where they touched on regional security issues, including the ongoing Korean crisis, the White House said in a statement.

"President Trump enjoyed the conversation and said that he is looking forward to visiting the Philippines in November," the readout said. "President Trump also invited President Duterte to the White House to discuss the importance of the United States-Philippines alliance."

Bad Guys

North Korea slams Israel as 'disturber of peace armed with illegal nukes under US patronage'

© Damir Sagolj / Reuters
North Korea has accused Israel of being the "only illegal possessor" of nukes and threat to peace in the Middle East, and threatened Tel Aviv with a "thousand-fold punishment" after Israeli Defense Minister called Pyongyang's leadership a "crazy and radical group."

In an interview with Hebrew news site Walla this week, Avigdor Lieberman stated that North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un is a "madman" in charge of a "crazy and radical group" which is "undermining global stability."

Pyongyang "seems to have crossed the red line with its recent nuclear tests," the Israeli defense minister said, according to the Times of Israel.

In response, Pyongyang promised a "thousand-fold punishment to whoever dares hurt the dignity of its supreme leadership," calling Lieberman's "sordid and wicked" remarks a part of Israel's smear campaign to cover up its own crimes.

Firing back at the perceived hypocrisy, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said that, unlike Israel, which is a "disturber of peace" in its neighborhood, their country is full entitled to seek deterrence against "US aggression."

Comment: See also: Why the US should accept China's proposal for direct talks with North Korea


US deploys troops at Syrian border to stop clashes between Turkish & Kurdish forces

© Photo by AFP
This file photo taken on March 5, 2017 shows a convoy of US forces armored vehicles on the western outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Manbij
The US has deployed troops to Syria's northeast border with Turkey in an attempt to prevent an escalation of fighting between the Turkish forces and Kurdish militia units that followed Turkish airstrikes hitting two Kurdish-held areas in Syria and Iraq.

"Coalition forces are conducting joint patrols along the northeastern Syria-Turkey border to assess reports from both the [Kurdish] SDF and Turkey regarding skirmishes and cross-border fires between their respective security forces," an official from the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) Public Affairs Office told RT via email, confirming the deployment.

"The patrols' purpose is to discourage escalation and violence between two of our most trusted partners in the fight to defeat ISIS [Islamic State terrorist group (IS, former ISIS/ISIL)] and reinforce the Coalition's commitment to both Turkey and the SDF," the CJTF - OIR statement added.

The Coalition also called on both Turks and Kurds to "remain focused on the fight to defeat ISIS, which is the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security."

Comment: See also: US deploys troops along contested Syria-Turkey border


Russian FM Lavrov says Moscow fully ready to cooperate with Washington on Syria

© Ammar Abdullah / Reuters
Smoke rises from an emergency service point in Idlib province, Syria April 27, 2017
Moscow is eager to resume cooperation with Washington on solving the Syrian crisis, Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said during his meeting with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, in the Russian capital.

During the meeting, Lavrov noted that Jordan's King Abdullah II has repeatedly emphasized the importance of joint Russian-American efforts in Syria.

"I can assure that we're fully ready for this. We count on Washington to demonstrate the same approach," he said.

The Russian FM added: "The ceasefire between the government forces and the armed opposition is also important regarding the effectiveness of tackling terrorist threats in Syria."

But it can only be achieved "by unifying the efforts of all those who are fighting terrorism in Syria, I mean, both the Russian Air Force and the coalition led by the Americans," he added.

Comment: See also:

Bizarro Earth

Syriana Analysis: An alliance of convenience - why Israel supports ISIS

Since the beginning of the war in Syria, Israel took the opportunity to pursue its strategic interests in the neighboring country, by tacitly and sometimes publicly allying itself with Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Syriana Analysis addresses the recent bombings of Israel and US on Syria, elaborating the geopolitical goals behind these strikes.

Comment: See also: Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon confirms Israel's collaboration with ISIS in Syria


Duterte says N. Korean leader 'wants to end world,' warns Trump 'not to play into his hands'

© Erik De Castro / Reuters
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has urged the White House to be "prudent and patient" in dealing with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, warning that "the guy simply wants to end the world."

"There seems to be two countries playing with their toys and those toys are not really to entertain," Duterte said during a media briefing in Manila on Saturday.

"You know that they are playing with somebody who relishes letting go of missiles and everything. I would not want to go into his (Kim's) mind because I really do not know what's inside but he's putting mother earth, the planet to an edge," he added.

Comment: Does Duterte see the bigger picture of why N. Korea is being stirred up?

Eye 1

The Rise of the Generals

Has President Donald Trump outsourced foreign policy to the generals?

So it would seem. Candidate Trump held out his hand to Vladimir Putin. He rejected further U.S. intervention in Syria other than to smash ISIS.

He spoke of getting out and staying out of the misbegotten Middle East wars into which Presidents Bush II and Obama had plunged the country.

President Trump's seeming renunciation of an anti-interventionist foreign policy is the great surprise of the first 100 days, and the most ominous. For any new war could vitiate the Trump mandate and consume his presidency.

Trump no longer calls NATO "obsolete," but moves U.S. troops toward Russia in the Baltic and eastern Balkans. Rex Tillerson, holder of Russia's Order of Friendship, now warns that the U.S. will not lift sanctions on Russia until she gets out of Ukraine.


'Disturbing trend': Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor slams decision to side with police in brutality case

© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
One of America's top judges has slammed a court decision to side with a city police officer in an excessive force lawsuit.

Disputed facts surrounding a 2010 shooting prompted Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to describe the decision as a "disturbing trend" within the US legal system.

Justice Sotomayor's comments relate to an incident that happened on the night of October 29, 2010, when an unarmed man named Ricardo Salazar Limon was shot in the back by Houston police officer Chris Thompson.

The shot caused catastrophic injuries to Salazar Limon's spine, paralyzing him below the waist.


Russia slams US arms control report as 'biased' and ignores Washington's violations

© Kacper Pempel / Reuters
The Russian Foreign Ministry has criticized an annual report by the US State Department on global arms control, saying Washington remains in denial about its own misdeeds, while accusing other nations of violations.

The US report, released earlier this month, reviewed several international treaties on arms control, non-proliferation and reduction in which the US has an interest. It stated that the US has been in compliance with its own obligations under those treaties and accused several other nations, including Russia, of deviating from theirs.

In a statement Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Washington's report was biased and failed to acknowledge issues with America's adherence to its international obligations.

"The US claims it has monopoly rights in assessing other nations' compliance with treaties. Washington does this in a lecturing manner and ignores the established practice for settling points of dispute through corresponding multilateral mechanisms," the statement said.