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Thu, 19 Apr 2018
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Russian Economy Minister: BRICS discussions more constructive than G20, everybody listens to each other's positions and comes to common view

brics leaders
© Sputnik/ Grigoriy Sisoev
This is why a dialogue between BRICS member states is more constructive than the G20, according to the Russian Minister of Economic Development.

Russian Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin said Tuesday that in comparison with the G20, the BRICS countries always listen to each other's positions on various issues and reach a consensus.

"In fact, compared to G20, the discussion here is much more constructive, everybody listens to each other's positions, all reach consensus, come to a common point of view. There is a very big difference [between BRICS and G20], [it is] very positive," Oreshkin told reporters.

The minister also said that cybersecurity and energy security were among the topics discussed at the summit.

"Another key point regards world trade. Here the positions of all countries are also similar, all are in favor of open trade and are against protectionism. Preparations for the WTO [World Trade Organization] ministerial conference to be held in December was actively discussed," Oreshkin added.

The three-day BRICS summit in China's Xiamen kicked off on Sunday. The event was held in the new so-called BRICS Plus format, with the leaders of such non-BRICS countries as Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand also taking part in the summit alongside the leaders of the five BRICS nations: Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa and India.


Myanmar military jet goes missing during training mission

galeb g-4 jet
A military G-4 fighter jet from Myanmar's Air Force went missing in the southern Ayeyarwady region.

The incident occurred at about 03:00 GMT in the southern Ayeyarwady region, the Xinhua news agency reported citing Myanmar's Office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Service.

The missing G-4 fighter was on a training mission with two other planes.

The Air Force is conducting a search and rescue operation involving aircraft and helicopters.


Rohingya conflict: Soros and hydrocarbons behind destabilization in Myanmar

© AP Photo/ Kevin Wolf
The Rohingya conflict in Myanmar, which had caught its second wind in August 2017, appears to be a multidimensional crisis with major geopolitical players involved, experts say, referring to both internal and external reasons behind the recent upsurge in violence in the country.

The Rohingya conflict, which erupted between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar's western Rakhine state in late August, was apparently fanned by external global players, Dmitry Mosyakov, director of the Centre for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told RT.

According to the academic, the conflict has at least three dimensions.

"First, this is a game against China, as China has very large investments in Arakan [Rakhine]," Mosyakov told RT. "Second, it is aimed at fuelling Muslim extremism in Southeast Asia.... Third, it's the attempt to sow discord within ASEAN [between Myanmar and Muslim-dominated Indonesia and Malaysia]."


Russia's new self-propelled howitzers, to be supplied beginning in 2020, will leave its Western counterparts far behind

russia self propelled howitzer
© Sputnik/ Alexander Vilf
The first batch of state-of-the-art Koalitsiya-SV self-propelled guns will be supplied to the Russian Armed Forces beginning in 2020. The system is undergoing field tests now, but it is already clear that it leaves its best Western counterparts far behind, RIA contributor Andrei Kots wrote.

First seen in public during rehearsals for the 2015 Victory Day parade in Moscow the Koalitsiya-SV is built around an auto-loaded 152 mm howitzer capable of firing up to 16 rounds a minute, twice as much as any other modern main battle tank.

Targeting is done via satellite navigation or a laser target indicator.

The Koalitsiya-SV is a highly robotized system, with a high degree of automation. It features a unified command-and-control system that can automatically select the appropriate shell type for a specific task and the amount of charge required.

Light Sabers

North Korea warns US its missile launches are 'gift packages' meant to defend against US provocations

© KCNA / Reuters
North Korea says its recent missile launch and other "self-defense" measures were a "gift package" to the United States. It warns other such gifts are on the way if Washington continues its "reckless provocations."

"The recent self-defense measures by my country, the DPRK, are a gift package addressed to none other than the US," Han Tae-song, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, said during an address to the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday.

"The US will receive more gift packages from my country as long as it relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK," he continued.

Han's statements come just two days after North Korea launched its sixth and most powerful missile test, with Pyongyang claiming the test involved a hydrogen bomb which can be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).


UK Navy tests new air defense system against supersonic missiles

Royal Navy ship
© Royal Navy
The Royal Navy has carried out the first tests of its new generation air missile defense system - capable of intercepting and destroying enemy missiles travelling at supersonic speeds.

The Sea Ceptor missiles, developed by MBDA Missile Systems, were successfully fired from HMS Argyll off the coast of Scotland, according to the Ministry of Defence.

The new system is being fitted to replace the Sea Wolf weapon system on Type 23 frigates and uses UK-developed missiles capable of reaching up to three times the speed of sound.

It will be able to deal with multiple targets at the same time while protecting an area of around 500 square miles (1,300 square kilometres) over land or sea.


Good luck with that: Top UN official tells Saudis 'stop war in Yemen, fund 100% of humanitarian aid'

Starving child in Yemen
© Abduljabbar Zeyad / Reuters
Forsaking the UN's customary diplomatic stance, a leading official has directly blamed the Saudi-led coalition for Yemen's devastating humanitarian crisis, urging Riyadh to fund aid and stop the conflict, which has raged since 2015.

"Saudi Arabia should fund 100 percent of the needs of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen," David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program told Reuters, during a visit to Ethiopia. "Either stop the war or fund the crisis. Option three is, do both of them."

With assistance from the US vessels, Saudi Arabia has imposed a naval blockade, as well as shutting key airports, in a bid to tip the balance in the stalemate between the deposed government it supports, and the Houthi rebels. According to a joint statement from several leading UN agencies in July, 60 percent of Yemen's 27 million people are suffering from food insecurity, while 2 million children are acutely malnourished.

Particularly problematic is control over the port of Hodeidah, which was previously responsible for 80 percent of all food imports into the water-scarce country.

"We are having problems with access," said Beasley.

"The Saudis have created serious complications for us because of the port being blockaded to a certain degree, and the destroying of the cranes at Hodeidah port... That has substantially reduced our capacity to bring food in."


Putin: Military hysteria over N. Korea may lead to planetary catastrophe and heavy loss of life

Vladimir Putin
© Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik
The examples of Iraq and Libya have convinced the North Korean leadership that only nuclear deterrence can protect them, so no sanctions can dissuade them, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

Pyongyang will not relinquish its military program under pressure of sanctions and military threats, because the examples of Iraq and Libya have convinced it that nuclear deterrence is the only credible way to ensure its security, President Putin told journalists on Tuesday.

"Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it's a dead end," he added. "It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue."


'Working with people who confuse Austria & Australia is hard' - Putin on US establishment

Trade Representation building
© Eric Baradat / AFP
Members of the US State Department Police are seen inside the compound of the Trade Representation building of the Russian Federation on September 2, 2017 in Washington DC.
Russian President Vladimir Putin lamented the poor level of diplomatic competence demonstrated by Washington lately, saying Moscow found it difficult to work with people who cannot tell Austria and Australia apart.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Putin said the Americans were acting like bullies by shutting down Russian diplomatic facilities.

Star of David

Israeli PM's wife faces fraud charges over wasting $100k of public funds - report

Sara Netanyahu
© Amir Cohen / Reuters
Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is to be charged with fraud over allegedly misspending public funds at a time when her husband is also a suspect in two corruption cases, Israel's Haaretz daily reports.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is expected to indict Mrs. Netanyahu, the prime minister's third wife, in the coming weeks, Haaretz reports, citing its sources. She is accused of diverting 400,000 shekels ($112,000) from government funds for her private housekeeping needs.

She reportedly threw lavish dinner parties at the prime minister's residence, improperly ordered chef's meals in violation of the residence regulations and later concealed these facts. One of the most serious accusations against her involves hiring an electrician by circumventing the required tender process, the Times of Israel reports.

The electrician, Avi Fahima, who was also a member of the Central Committee of Netanyahu's Likud Party, was hired despite the Prime Minister's Legal Office ruling against it. He was also reportedly paid some $2,500 from public funds for the work he did at Netanyahu's private residence in the town of Caesarea, according to the i24news TV Channel.

Comment: See also: Sara Netanyahu expected to be indicted for fraud in accepting over $110,000 in goods