February 19, 2017

Russia plotted to overthrow Montenegro’s government by assassinating Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic last year, according to senior Whitehall sources


Russia plotted to assassinate the prime minister of a European nation and overthrow its government last year, according to senior Whitehall sources.

An election day coup plot to attack Montenegro’s parliament and kill the pro-Western leader was directed by Russian intelligence officers with the support and blessing of Moscow, to sabotage the country’s plan to join Nato.


North Korean chemistry expert suspected of killing Kim Jong-un’s half-brother is arrested in a dramatic raid

  • Ri Jong-chol, 47, was arrested by Malaysian police in Kuala Lumpar overnight
  • Malaysian police said Jong-chol studied medicine and chemistry in Pyongyang
  • Kim Jong Nam was murdered on Monday using a fast-acting liquid poison 
  • Malaysian police believe he was assassinated on the orders of Kim Jong-un 

Malaysian police have arrested a North Korean chemistry expert in connection with the murder of Kim Jong-un’s half brother Kim Jong Nam.

Ri Jong-chol, 47, who studied medicine and chemistry in Pyongjang was detained in Kuala Lumpur in connection with the murder.

Police are also hunting four North Korean men who flew out of Kuala Lumpur the same day Jong Nam was assassinated.

The four suspects are believed to have been part of a hit squad sent to murder the despotic leader’s half brother on the tyrant’s orders.

Malaysian police have so far arrested four people – including the chemistry expert – in connection with the murder probe.


Senior White House Officials Support Bolton To Replace Flynn

Former U.N. ambassador championed by Flynn loyalists

John Bolton in 2006. State Department photo.

February 18, 2017 3:26 pm

Senior White House officials and members of the National Security Council are pushing former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton as a replacement for ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

Among Bolton’s most vocal supporters are senior administration officials loyal to Flynn and who are upset at the general’s firing. Multiple sources described an effort by these Flynn loyalists to ensure that Bolton is selected as his replacement.


Sweden ‘covering up’ migrant rape and violent crime for the sake of ‘humanitarianism’

OFFICIALS in the Swedish government have been accused of “covering up” migrant rape and refugee violence for the sake of appearing politically correct, a commentator has claimed.

Journalist Ami Horowitz told Fox Newspeople high up in the Swedish government are purposely covering up the perpetrators of rape crimes to protect “vulnerable” migrants.

During an explosive interview on Friday, Mr Horowitz claimed the refugee violence crisis was out-of-control but that “European virtues” had put a stop to any discussion on the statistics.

Sweden accepted 160,000 asylum-seekers last year, with Fox News claiming only 500 have managed to gain employment – 0.3 per cent of those who arrived to claim refugee status.

Tucker Carlson, an anchor at the US news station, called Sweden’s response “grotesque”

The filmmaker told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson: “Sweden consider themselves a humanitarian superpower, perhaps the only superpower they could possibly qualify for.

“So they want to open up their borders up to everyone and anyone.

“From the onset of the refugee crisis, there was a surge in gun violence and rape – the statistics were clear.

“But locals were just said ‘it was men, not refugees’ so the majority in Sweden still want to have an open door policy. It’s confounding, really.”

He added: “The Swedish government try to cover up refugee rapes.



Erdogan banks on motley crew of Syrian armed groups

US not persuaded to ditch Syrian Kurds

Fehim Tastekin writes this week that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s expansive goals for Syria include a “Manbij and Raqqa in a three-phased operation. First will be setting up a ‘terror-free safe zone,’ which must also be covered by a no-fly zone. Second, Arabs and Turkmens will be settled in the safe zone. Finally, a national army will be established through a ‘train and equip’ program.”

Erdogan’s top priority remains the defeat of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Democratic Union party (PYD), which Turkey links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which it considers a terrorist group. Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield in August to break the influence of the PYD and PKK, as well as the Islamic State (IS), in northern Syria.

Erodgan’s war against the Syrian Kurds seems to be the cause of irreconcilable differences with the United States over Syria. The US counts on the YPG as the core of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), its key on-the-ground partner in Syria. US plans for an attack on Raqqa, IS’ ‘”capital” in Syria, reportedly depend on the SDF for the first assault wave.


Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/02/erdogan-syria-armed-groups-referendum-coup-mattis-russia.html#ixzz4ZAqmk6th

Trump hints at ‘big order’ of F/A-18 Super Hornets instead of some F-35s

Carrier Strike Group 1 Conducts South China Sea Patrol

Story Number: NNS170218-01Release Date: 2/18/2017 8:03:00 AM

By From Carrier Strike Group One Public Affairs

SOUTH CHINA SEA (NNS) — Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1, including Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 1’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, began routine operations in the South China Sea, Feb. 18.

Prior to their operations in the South China Sea, ships and aircraft from within the strike group conducted training off the islands of Hawaii and Guam to maintain and improve their readiness and develop cohesion as a strike group. The strike group recently enjoyed a port visit to Guam and after departing the Marianas, conducted operations in the Philippine Sea.


Hamas condemns 6 ‘informants for Israel’ to death by hanging

Verdict raises number of people on death row to 10; others given jail term for alleged spying

Sunday’s verdicts raise the number of people on death row to 10.

Seven other people were given prison sentences Sunday ranging from 12 to 17 years long for spying for Israel.



US will ‘moderate commitment’ to Nato if allies don’t spend more. Can Norway hit the goal?

US Defence Secretary James Mattis used his first Nato meeting to assure its allies of Washington’s commitment to the alliance but he also delivered an ultimatum to American allies.
Mattis said that if the other Nato countries don’t live up to their spending commitments, the United States will be forced to “moderate its commitment” to the nearly 70-year-old alliance.
“I owe it to you all to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States, and to state the fair demand from my country’s people in concrete terms,” Mattis said, according to numerous US media reports.
“America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show its support for our common defence,” he continued.
Nato has a defence spending target of two percent of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), something only five countries meet.
Norway currently uses 49 billion kroner on defence, amounting to 1.56 percent of its GDP. Hitting the two percent target would require spending an additional 13 billion kroner but as the Norwegian GDP grows, that price tag will only get larger with every passing year.

No need to include US in Ukraine peace talks, German FM says

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel says he sees no need to add the US to the current format of four-way ministerial meetings concerning the Ukraine settlement, noting, however, that close contact with Washington on the matter is “necessary.”

There must be close contact with the United States, but we think this [Normandy] format… should be maintained,” Gabriel said after he met with his Russian, French, and Ukrainian counterparts on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. The Minister added that the matter had been discussed with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and that he had “agreed with this.”


Pence visits former concentration camp

Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen and daughter Charlotte on Sunday visited Dachau, a former concentration camp built by the Nazis in 1933 near Munich in southern Germany.

The Pences laid a wreath beneath the international memorial at the center of the camp, according to a reporter traveling with the vice president, and visited Jewish and Catholic memorials on the grounds.


Vladimir Putin orders Russia to recognise documents issued in rebel-held east Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian authorities on Saturday to temporarily recognise civil registration documents issued in separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine, a decision strongly criticized by Ukraine’s president.

The decision will enable people from the conflict-hit region to travel, work or study in Russia.

According to Putin’s order, published on the Kremlin website, Russia will temporarily recognize identity documents, diplomas, birth and marriage certificates and vehicle registration plates issued in the eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.


FBI has three probes looking into Russia’s election hacking

Each investigation focuses on a different aspect of Russia’s influence campaign.

It’s no secret that the FBI has been investigating Russia’s alleged bid to influence US elections through hacking, but it’s now clear just how deep that investigation goes. Reuters tipsters understand that there are “at least” three FBI probes into the hacks, each of which focuses on a different aspect of the breaches targeting Democratic Party officials. A Pittsburgh field office wants to identify the people behind those intrusions, while a San Francisco office wants to identify the people behind “Guccifer 2.0,” the persona credited with key leaks and frequently linked to the Russian government. A third investigation in Washington, DC is orchestrating a counterintelligence campaign based on intercepted foreign communications and tips from informants.


Syria regime executes paediatrician for treating Aleppo children

Syrian paediatrician Mahmoud Satu, executed by the Assad regime.

Syrian paediatrician Mahmoud Satu, executed by the Assad regime.

Syrian regime forces have executed the Syrian paediatrician Mahmoud Satu after he was indicted for treating and feeding the children of Aleppo when its eastern districts were controlled by the opposition, the Jordanian Assabeel newspaper reported yesterday.

Citing the London-based news website Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Assabeel said that local sources in Aleppo said that Satu and another Syrian resident called Ahmed Assad were executed two months after they were arrested.

According to the sources, the two men were executed in the main square of the Al-Sukarri neighbourhood in Aleppo, the area where he and his family had lived.


Iraq begins battle to free western Mosul from IS

Iraqi government forces have launched an offensive to liberate the western part of the city of Mosul from the so-called Islamic State.

Hundreds of military vehicles, backed by air power, rolled across the desert towards IS positions early on Sunday.

Iraqi forces retook several villages south of the city in the first hours of the operation, taking them within striking distance of Mosul airport.


Turkey’s prime minister campaigns in Germany for Turkish constitutional referendum

Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim told a crowd in Germany that Turkey will not be intimidated by the West. His speech came as Ankara rallies support for a controversial referendum on centralizing presidential power.

Deutschland Türkei Oberhausen Auftritt Ministerpräsident Binali Yildirim (Getty Images/AFP/S. Schuermann)

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim spoke to a crowd of more than 10,000 Turks and Turkish Germans in the western city of Oberhausen on Saturday. He addressed the voters as Ankara vies to whip up support for April’s constitutional referendum on expanding the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


Royal Caribbean cancels all cruise stops in Turkey in 2017

Royal Caribbean has decided to cancel all scheduled stops in Turkey for the 2017 cruise season, citing “unpredictability” in the country.

In a statement to travel agents, Royal Caribbean said that due to the current unpredictability of Turkey, and taking guests’ and crew members’ safety and wellbeing into account, Royal Caribbean has decided to replace our calls in Ephesus (Kusadasi) with alternate ports-of-call for the 2017 Europe season.

“We truly regret having to take this action and thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Any decision we make is made in an abundance of caution and safety, as your clients experience in our ports of call is always our utmost priority.”

This will affect the following ships:

  • Brilliance of the Seas will now call on Mykonos, Greece.
  • Jewel of the Seas will now call on Rhodes, Greece.
  • Rhapsody of the Seas will now call on:
    • Kotor, Montenegro
    • July 14th: Chania, Greece
    • October 7th: Mykonos, Greece


Germany scrambles fighter planes for Jet aircraft after communication snag

| TNN |


  • Plane’s communication with local ATC broke down temporarily over Cologne, pilots could not respond to instructions
  • German fighters escorted plane till communication was re-established
  • Flight crew de-rostered pending investigations


NEW DELHI: The German Air Force scrambled two fighter jets for a Jet Airwaysflight after the Cologne air traffic control could not establish contact with the Indian aircraft due to a reported communication failure.

The Boeing-777 was flying from Mumbai to London on Thursday (February 16) as 9W-118 and was overflying close to the German city Cologne when its cockpit crew did not respond to ATC communications.

GREECE IN PANIC: Citizens withdraw £2.1bn from banks in 45 DAYS amid default fears

GREEK citizens have taken more than £2billion out of their bank accounts in just 45 days as they fear the economy is set to crash.

And they are stashing the cash under their mattreses, in safes and in furniture amid a new run on the banks, it has been claimed.

Greece faces running out of money in just five months as it faces repayments of more than £5.1bn (€6bn) which they will not be able to achieve without help or restructuring.

Despite capital controls preventing individuals withdrawing more than £1,540 (€1,800) per month from their accounts, money has been vanishing at an expedited rate, with projections the Government will default when their next payment is due in July.


Russian Defence Ministry fires a series of cruise missiles at Islamic State targets including military training camps in Raqqa

  • Russian Defence Ministry published video today showing a building being struck
  • They said the Tupolev-95 bombers targeted an ISIS training camp in Raqqa
  • Dramatic footage shows huge explosion followed by clouds of smoke at building 

The Russian Defence Ministry has published a video showing a building being bombed after saying it had struck an Islamic State base in Syria.

The ministry said in a statement that the Tupolev-95 bombers had taken off from Russia and flown over Iran and Iraq to get to Syria, where it said they had successfully targeted militant training camps and a command point in the city of Raqqa.

The aerial video, published by the military today, shows the long-range bombers lining up their target before striking the building.


Lavrov calls for ‘post-West’ world order; dismisses NATO as Cold War relic

The Russian world view, as advocated by its foreign minister, sees countries develop bilateral relations. His words were at odds with those of US Vice President Mike Pence – and others at the Munich Security Conference.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s comments came during a speech at the annual Munich Security Conference, where US Vice President Mike Pence spoke earlier in the day, vowing that the United States would “hold Russia accountable,” even as the White House seeks common ground with the Kremlin.


Democrats ask for hearings involving Trump’s smartphone security

By Andrew Blake – The Washington Times

President Trump’s purportedly lax security practices are the subject of a letter sent from more than a dozen congressional Democrats this week to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Rep. Ted Lieu, California Democrat, urged committee leadership this week to investigate “troubling reports” that have emerged recently with respect to Mr. Trump’s operational security, including his apparent use of a consumer-grade Android smartphone to communicate over Twitter, among other items of concerns.

Those reports, according to Mr. Lieu and 14 colleagues, suggest Mr. Trump “is jeopardizing national security by egregiously failing to implement commonsense security measures across the board.”


U.S. calls on Venezuela to release more than 100 ‘prisoners of conscience’

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