March 1, 2017

Believe in America: Trump reboots his presidency with condemnation of hatred, a rousing vision of what country can be by 250th anniversary of independence and a heartbreaking appearance by the widow of SEAL hero whose father snubbed him

  • President Trump addressed both houses of Congress in a Joint Session just over a month into his presidency 
  • New U.S. leader channeled Kennedy to speak of the ‘courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts’ 
  • But bluntly political speech also tells the House and the Senate to take action on his agenda  
  • He told them to ‘increase funding for our veterans,’ pass ‘historic tax reform’, ‘repeal and replace Obamacare,’ and ‘help ensure new parents have paid family leave’
  • Most electrifying moment of address lasting slightly over one hour was when he paid tribute to William ‘Ryan’ Owens, SEAL killed on raid in Yemen last month
  • The SEAL’s widow Carryn Owens sat beside Ivanka Trump and cried as the divided Congress united for the longest ovation of the evening
  • Trump refused to back down on immigration saying: ‘what would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income, or their loved one?’
  • Opening sentences of speech robustly condemned anti-Semitic attacks and allegedly racially motivated Kansas City shooting of two Indian men
  • Democratic women wore white in reference to fight for suffrage and made thumbs down gestures to speech

President Donald Trump took his first mission-critical trip down Pennsylvania Avenue on Tuesday to address a Joint Session of Congress, telling his political opponents that ‘the time for small thinking is over, the time for trivial fights is behind us.’

At that very moment, a member of the Democratic Party hissed.

But Trump’s 60-minute speech drew 94 interruptions for applause, including a sustained, tear-jerking ovation for the widow of a Navy SEAL killed in action just eight days after Trump took office.

As Carryn Owens wept and Ivanka Trump comforted her, Trump said her husband Ryan was happy that the lengthy applause ‘broke a record.’

The slain sailor’s father made headlines last week when he said he had refused to speak with the president when his son’s remains were returned to the U.S. in a somber ceremony. He also blasted Trump for green-lighting what he called the ‘stupid mission’ that claimed Ryan’s life.

But the president praised Ryan as ‘a warrior and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation.’

‘Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity’ Trump said. ‘For as the Bible teaches us, there is no greater act of love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom. We will never forget Ryan.’

Trump began Tuesday night with a claim on the role of political peacemaker, saying he wanted to bring Americans who voted for him together with those who didn’t.

‘I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart,’ he said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4269814/Trump-strikes-presidential-tone-addresses-Congress.html#ixzz4a4kPYlkE

ISIS leader ‘admits DEFEAT in Iraq and orders militants to flee or kill themselves in suicide attacks’

  • Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is said to have issued a statement called ‘farewell speech’
  • Terror mastermind reported to have told fighters to flee, hide of launch attacks
  • Comes as Iraqi army units seized back the last major road out of western Mosul
  • UK Defence Minister Michael Fallon said he expected to see ISIS expelled from Iraq’s major towns by the end of 2017

The terror mastermind is said to have issued a statement called ‘farewell speech’ which was distributed among ISIS preachers and clerics in parts of Iraq it still controls.

According to local media, he urged supporters to run and hide and told ‘non-Arab fighters’ to either return home or blow themselves up with the promise of ’72 women in heaven’.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4270686/ISIS-leader-Abu-Bakr-al-Baghdadi-admits-DEFEAT-Iraq.html#ixzz4a5XlW4mj

Two British medics who joined Islamic State killed in Iraq: BBC

Two British medics who abandoned studies in Sudan to join Islamic State with a group of other students have been killed in fighting in Iraq, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

Ahmed Sami Khider and Hisham Fadlallah died at the weekend, the BBC said, with Khider believed to have been killed in a convoy as it left the city of Mosul, which U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are trying to retake from IS militants.

Britain’s Foreign Office said it was unable to confirm the deaths.

The two men had been part of a group of nine mainly British-Sudanese medical students from Khartoum’s University of Medical Sciences and Technology who had joined IS in 2015. Five other Britons from the institution joined them soon afterwards and at least four had now been killed, the BBC said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-britons-idUSKBN1685A1?il=0

Ex-CIA spy freed in Portugal, avoids extradition over kidnapping

 

A former CIA officer convicted of involvement in the 2003 kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in Italy was released on Wednesday after winning a last-minute reprieve from extradition.

Sabrina de Sousa, a dual U.S.-Portuguese citizen, was waiting at Lisbon airport to be flown to Italy early on Wednesday when word came she was to be released, after Italy’s president granted her a partial pardon.

“I’m happy with how this worked out here after two years of having this troubling my mind,” a smiling de Sousa told reporters as she left the Judiciary Police headquarters. “But this is not over yet, as I still have the process in Italy, and we have to see how it goes.”

The partial pardon by Italian President Sergio reduced her sentence to three years from four. That means she can apply for alternatives to a prison sentence.

“We will now await the Italian court’s decision on alternative sanctions to prison, which is likely to be community service,” her lawyer, Manuel Magalhaes e Silva, who accompanied de Sousa out of the police building, told Reuters.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-us-cia-pardon-idUSKBN1683ZC

 

PAC-3 missiles deployed on Taiwan’s east coast ‘in response to Chinese military strategy’

One of the world’s most powerful air defense missile systems, the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3), has been stationed on Taiwan’s east coast, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in a report, citing China’s “changing military strategy.”

The ministry confirmed that (PAC-3) missile systems were moved to the area of Hualien and Taitung to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself in the event of an attack, Taiwan’s national news agency, CNA, reported.

It is the first time Taiwan’s military has acknowledged stationing the missiles in the scantly populated Hualien and Taitung areas, according to Taiwan News. Until now, Patriot PAC-3 missile defense systems were believed to have been located close to the populous cities of Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung, the newspaper said.

The MND said in a report that Taiwan’s military is determined to boost its combat readiness through innovations in military drills and training, deployment of military forces, and enhanced exchanges between various branches of the armed forces, in light of increased military spending by China, CNA reported.

https://www.rt.com/news/379055-pac-missiles-taiwan-china/

US & South Korea launch large-scale war games amid tensions with North Korea

The US and South Korea have kicked off Foal Eagle, an annual joint military exercise that has been denounced by North Korea as a rehearsal for invasion. The exercise comes amid tensions in the region following North Korea’s recent missile test.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry and the US military based in the South confirmed the commencement of the joint drills on Wednesday.

The exercise is a field training exercise involving ground, air, and naval forces from both US and South Korea that will run through the end of next month. The two allies are likely to deploy their major strategic assets in the drills to deliver a warning against what they see as North Korean provocations. In March, both countries also plan to separately conduct Key Resolve practice, a computer-simulated command post exercise, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing the South Korean Defense Ministry.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-Koo had a phone conversation early on Wednesday, in which Mattis expressed Washington’s commitment to the defense of its ally.

https://www.rt.com/news/379039-korea-us-drills-tensions/

 

Terrorist breaks into West Bank home, stabs resident

Israeli man lightly wounded, manages to shoot his attacker dead in Havat Mor, near Hebron

A Palestinian stabbed and lightly wounded a resident of the southern West Bank settlement outpost of Havat Mor inside his home on Wednesday, the army said.

The Israeli man drew his gun and shot the terrorist, who was pronounced dead on the scene by a local doctor, a spokesperson for the Magen David Adom ambulance service said.

The Palestinian man had broken into the West Bank outpost in the Hebron Hills, the army said.

Israeli troops and Magen David Adom ambulances were called to the scene.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/terrorist-breaks-into-west-bank-home-stabs-resident/

The Air Force Wants a Lightweight Fighter to Do What the F-35 Can’t

By Kyle Mizokmi, PopularMechanics.com

The U.S. Air Force will request funding to test a number of airplanes for a new low-cost fighter concept. The goal is to field a fleet of small, lightweight airplanes capable of flying low and slow against enemies without advanced air defenses, providing support to ground forces fighting low-tech opponents such as the Taliban and the Islamic State.

The service is requesting $8 million to fund the tests, which it hopes will identify suitable candidates for OA-X, or Observation, Attack-Experimental aircraft. OA-X aircraft would be small, typically single-seat aircraft capable of flying intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions or ground attacks. The plane should be capable of operating from austere environments and airfields. A key requirement is that the aircraft be inexpensive to fly on a per-hour basis.

http://ameriforce.net/air-force-wants-lightweight-fighter-f-35-cant/

Putin’s Russia Seen Dominating European Gas for Two Decades

Elena Mazneva

and

Anna Shiryaevskaya
Energy majors see Russia shrugging off competition from LNG
Gazprom’s gas sales abroad account for 10% of Russia’s exports

Europe has wanted to wean itself from Russian natural gas ever since supplies from its eastern neighbor dropped during freezing weather in 2009. Almost a decade later, the region has never been more dependent.

Gazprom PJSC, Russia’s state-run export monopoly, shipped a record amount of gas to the European Union last year and accounts for about 34 percent of the trading bloc’s use of the fuel. Russia will remain the biggest source of supply through 2035, Royal Dutch Shell Plc said last week, echoing comments by BP Plc in January.

EU lawmakers have had their hearts set on diversifying supplies with liquefied natural gas delivered by tanker from the U.S., where production of the fuel skyrocketed last year. So far, those shipments have failed to materialize amid a lack of firm contracts and higher prices outside Europe. Overall, LNG shipments to the region, led by Qatar, were stagnant last year.

“Russia will for sure remain Europe’s largest gas supplier for at least two more decades,” even if most of the incremental gains in EU imports are met by LNG from somewhere else, said Vladimir Drebentsov, chief economist for Russia and CIS at BP in Moscow.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-01/putin-s-russia-seen-dominating-european-energy-for-two-decades

Russian jets accidentally bomb US-backed forces in Syria

Airstrikes targeting Islamic State jihadists quickly called off after American soldiers communicate error to Russians

In this frame grab provided by the Russian Defense Ministry press service, a Russian long range Tu-22M3 bomber carries out an air strike over Aleppo region of Syria on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)

In this frame grab provided by the Russian Defense Ministry press service, a Russian long range Tu-22M3 bomber carries out an air strike over Aleppo region of Syria on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)

WASHINGTON — Russian warplanes bombed US-backed fighters in several small villages in northern Syria after they mistakenly thought Islamic State forces were in the area, a top US general said Wednesday.

Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said Russian and Syrian regime aircraft attacked the villages to the southeast of Al-Bab in Aleppo province on Tuesday, resulting in an unspecified number of casualties.

The Russians apparently had observed IS fighters moving out of the area and so wrongly assumed that incoming forces were jihadists.

“We had some Russian aircraft and regime aircraft bomb some villages that I believe they thought were held by ISIS, yet … actually on the ground were some of our Syrian Arab Coalition forces,” Townsend told reporters in a video call from Baghdad.

The SAC forms part of a broader alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) comprising Kurdish and other groups that the United States have been training and advising to lead the fight against IS.

Townsend added that US troops were less than five kilometers (three miles) away from the villages and observed the bombing.

The American soldiers communicated the error, which was then quickly passed on to the Russians through a special “deconfliction” hotline the two powers have established to avoid mishaps.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/russian-jets-accidentally-bomb-us-backed-forces-in-syria/

FBI planned to pay spy behind Trump-Russia dossier to continue his research 

The retired British spy who authored the infamous dossier about President Trump’s alleged Russian relations was tapped by the FBI to continue his research with government funds, according to multiple reports.The FBI arranged just weeks before the election to pay former MI6 agent Christopher Steele for more digging on his dossier, sources familiar with the deal told the Washington Post. Sources told CNN the FBI even started reimbursing some of Steele’s expenses shortly before Election Day.

But the arrangement fell through before Trump took office, with Steele ultimately pulling out, a source told NBC News.

Steele apparently got fed up after feeling the U.S. government was not taking his findings seriously — especially after FBI Director James Comey went public with an ultimately fruitless second probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Meanwhile, Comey never disclosed the investigation into Trump.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/fbi-planned-pay-spy-behind-trump-russia-dossier-article-1.2985467

Russia, Turkey hold missile sales talks

Moscow, Ankara yet to strike deal on sale of S-400 air defense system to Turkey, says Russian minister

Moscow and Ankara continued with talks on delivering the S-400 missile system to Turkey, Russia’s deputy defense minister said on Tuesday.

“The talks are still continuing. The delivery is only possible if an agreement is reached and there is no agreement so far,” Alexander Fomin told reporters in comments reported by Russian news agency TASS.

Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Feb. 22 President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin would handle the issue during a High-Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) meeting expected between March 8 and 9 in Moscow.

Iraq To Be Removed From US Travel Ban List In New Immigration Order: Officials

Donald Trump is expected to sign a new immigration order on Wednesday, a report said

WASHINGTON:  President Donald Trump’s new immigration order will remove Iraq from the list of countries whose citizens face a temporary US travel ban, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday, quoting unnamed US officials.

Four officials say the decision follows pressure from the Pentagon and State Department, the Associated Press reported. They had urged the White House to reconsider Iraq’s inclusion given its key role in fighting the ISIS, it added.President Trump is expected to sign the new order on Wednesday. An earlier order was blocked by federal courts.

http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/iraq-to-be-removed-from-us-travel-ban-list-in-new-immigration-order-officials-1664746

Why airplane parts from Miami to Syria just got a company in trouble

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