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Thu, 27 Jul 2017
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Syrian ambassador reports Turkey grabbing Syrian land by moving border fence

© Murad Sezer / Reuters
A Turkish soldier on an armoured military vehicle surveys the border line between Turkey and Syria.
Turkey has unilaterally moved a border fence deeper into Syrian territory in an apparent "land grab" violating Syria's sovereignty, Syria's ambassador to Russia has told RIA Novosti.

Speaking to RIA Novosti, Syrian ambassador Riad Haddad said Turkey "has moved the barbed-wire [border fence] deeper into our territory, exploiting the drying up of Afrin River southeast of the town of Jandaris, as if it is now Turkish lands."

"This is how land grab is being done on Syrian soil," the ambassador stated, stressing "we consider such actions a violation of our country's sovereignty."

Treasure Chest

STRATCOM chief complains US has 'no defense' against Russian cruise missiles

© James Kimber / Reuters
NATO and the United States have "no defense" against land-based cruise missiles if Russia deploys them in any quantity, the chief of US Strategic Command told senators, arguing the US must respond to Russian threat "from the position of strength."

Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday to report on STRATCOM programs, Air Force General John E. Hyten argued for fully funding the modernization of the US "nuclear triad" lest the American atomic arsenal fall behind the weapons developed by Russia, China and North Korea.

Senators appeared particularly interested in Russian nuclear capability, which Hyten described as "a primary element of their overall national security strategy."

"We have to meet strength with strength," he told the committee, as one never wants to negotiate with potential adversary from a position of weakness.

The US "has only effectively dealt with Russia from the position of strength," Hyten said.

Comment: Instead of working with Russia to better humanity, the 'snakes in suites' bring cap in hand for more money to spend for death and destruction.


Info

EU slams 'occupying power' Israel over plans to demolish Bedouin village in West Bank

© Abbas Momani / AFP
Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The European Union has delivered a public diplomatic rebuke to Israel, which plans to demolish 42 homes in a Bedouin village in the West Bank that are expected to make way for Jewish settlements, accusing it of breaking the Geneva Convention.

EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen chose to voice the protest during a traditionally courteous introductory meeting between ambassadors of the 28 EU states and incoming Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Yuval Rotem. As officials exchanged pleasantries in an upmarket Tel Aviv hotel, Faaborg-Anderson brought the room to a standstill to read a lengthy scathing message, approved by the EU's security and diplomacy commission, with Rotem stood in the audience.

Comment: The EU is all 'bark' with no 'bite'.


Jet5

Pentagon expands air base in Northern Syria for use in battle for Raqqa

© REUTERS/ Rodi Said
The US military has expanded an air base near the city of Kobani, Syria, to assist in the fight to liberate Raqqa from the Daesh terrorist group.

The base is located about 90 miles north of Daesh's self-proclaimed Syrian capital of Raqqa. It gives the US an additional location from which to launch aircraft to support the efforts of anti-Daesh forces to retake the city.

Col. John Thomas, spokesman for US Central Command, said that the importance of the Kobani base cannot be overestimated, as, just like the Qayyarah West Airfield used a staging base for operations in Mosul, it is "out of enemy range but close to the fight."

As the headquarters for US-led coalition operations to recapture Raqqa, it enables the delivery of essential supplies and equipment.

Document

Judicial Watch obtains 695 pages of Obama IRS scandal documents

© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
The conservative think tank, Judicial Watch, has obtained and released nearly 700 pages of Obama IRS Scandal documents that show officials used "inappropriate political labels" to screen applications from conservative tax-exempt organizations.

The documents were made available following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch in 2015.

The FOIA request was made following a scandal in 2013, that revealed the US Internal Revenue Service had selected political groups applying for tax-exempt status for intensive scrutiny based on their names or political themes. The revelation led to wide condemnation of the agency and prompted several investigation, including an FBI order by the US Attorney General Eric Holder.

Rocket

'Threat to planes and ships': Japan fumes as North Korea test-launches another ballistic missile

© KCNA / Reuters
North Korea has reportedly test-fired a middle-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, drawing strong condemnation from its neighbors, Japan and South Korea. The launch comes as the US-China summit is about to kick off in Florida.

The South Korean military defined the type of missile as a "KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile" or Pukguksong-2, the South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC) said in a statement to Yonhap. The launch was performed at about 6.42 am local time from the area near the North Korean seaside town of Sinpo in the South Hamgyong Province, it said. The missile covered the distance of about 60 km within nine minutes of its flight before it landed into the Sea of Japan, without incurring any damage and short of reaching Japan's exclusive economic zone.

It is too early to say if the launch was a success or a failure, the military said.

Light Saber

Hungary approves law that could force Soros-financed university out of the country

© Laszlo Balogh / Reuters
Demonstrators hold up banners during a rally in Budapest, Hungary, April 4, 2017 protesting the closure of a Soros-funded university.
Hungary has approved a new law that could force a George Soros-financed university out of the country, despite widespread protests against the bill in Budapest.

The Central European University (CEU), founded by the US billionaire investor in 1991, is the only international college in the country with no overseas affiliate. The ruling Fidesz party's new higher education bill would require institutions funded by foreign investment to also host students at a home nation campus.

The bill also states that certain universities could be blocked from issuing foreign diplomas to Hungarian residents.

The government says the law is designed to address the administrative shortcomings of foreign universities, according to Reuters. Last week, Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused the CEU of violating regulations in awarding diplomas, which the college denies.

Comment:


Bad Guys

Medvedev slams organizers of illegal anti-corruption protests for using minors to further selfish political interests

© Maxim Shemetov / Reuters
Moscow police detained over 500 people in the capital for violating public order and public protest laws after an illegal rally where over 8,000 people gathered.
The organizers of illegal protests in Russia pursued selfish political interests and didn't hesitate to make minors hostages of their political program by persuading them to come out onto the streets, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

During a visit to a meat processing plant in Russia's Tambov Region on Tuesday, Medvedev was asked to comment on a recent video posted online by opposition activist Aleksey Navalny and his team, in which the PM is accused of corruption.

The clip was heavily promoted on social media and eventually was used as the justification for unsanctioned protests in Moscow and other Russian cities in late March.

Such videos are being ordered by "people with very specific political goals," said Medvedev, who has previously denied all corruption accusations.

"They are, of course, trying to show that the government is behaving badly, and that they are better than the others," he said.

Comment: Putin also had some choice words regarding Navalny's call for protests:
Putin said that fighting corruption is necessary, but organizing an "Arab Spring" or another "color revolution" in the country is not, because this ends badly and has nothing to do with fighting corruption.

For the record, nowhere - literally nowhere - where local "Navalny's" have won and seized power, including by using anti-corruption slogans, has corruption become any less. A paradox, is it not? There's only more corruption, poverty and social inequality.
...

Putin outlined the government's clear, rational, and coherent position. First of all, the government is fighting corruption and will continue to do so. This is a special message for those who were too busy in recent months to notice the several governors and even federal minister arrested, not to mention high-profile cases in the Ministry of Culture. Secondly, the government will not allow anyone to use the theme of fighting corruption to break the country.



Jet2

Breaking News: Rebel warehouse with chem weapons hit by Syrian airstrike in Idlib - Russian MOD

© Sputnik/ Dmitriy Vinogradov
The Syrian Air Force has destroyed a warehouse in Idlib province, where ammunition dump containing chemical weapons was being produced by militants before being delivered to Iraq, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman has said.

The strike, which was launched midday Tuesday, targeted a major rebel ammunition depot east of the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

The warehouse was used to both produce and store shells containing toxic gas, Konashenkov said. The shells were delivered to Iraq and repeatedly used there, he added, pointing out that both Iraq and international organizations have confirmed the use of such weapons by militants.

The same chemical munitions were used by militants in Aleppo, where Russian military experts took samples in late 2016, Konashenkov said.

The Defense Ministry has confirmed this information as "fully objective and verified," Konashenkov added.

According to the statement, Khan Sheikhoun civilians, who recently suffered a chemical attack, displayed identical symptoms to those of Aleppo chemical attack victims.

Bad Guys

If terrorists targeted Russia, who's behind the terrorists?

© New Eastern Outlook
Eleven have been killed and dozens more injured in what is an apparent terrorist attack on St. Petersburg's metro system. Western analysts are assigning possible blame for the attack on either terrorists operating from Russia's Chechnya region, or possibly terrorist groups affiliated with fronts fighting in Syria.

Western analysts are also attempting to cement a narrative that downplays the significance of the attacks and instead attempts to leverage them politically against Moscow. A piece in the Sydney Morning Herald titled, "Fears of a Putin crackdown after terror attack on St Petersburg metro," would attempt to claim:
So who is to blame? No one has said officially. The BBC's Frank Gardner says suspicions will centre around Chechen nationalists or an Islamic State inspired group wanting payback for Putin's airstrikes in Syria. Or it could be a combination of both.

Putin has in the past justified crackdowns on civilian protests by citing the terror threat. But will he this time, and will it work?

At least one pro-Kremlin commentator has linked the attack to the recent mass demonstrations organised by Putin's political opponent.
Yet, in reality, the demonstrations and the terrorist groups being implicated both share a significant common denominator - both are openly long-term recipients of US-European aid, with the latter group also receiving significant material support from US-European allies in the Persian Gulf, primarily Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

US-European support for foreign-funded organizations posing as "nongovernmental organizations" (NGOs) running parallel efforts with terrorist organizations undermining Moscow's control over Chechnya have been ongoing for decades.