12 Dec

Parliament just called for trump to be banned from a state visit to U.K.

Parliament just called for trump to be banned from a state visit to U.K.

12 Dec

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

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World Politics

United States

Women who accuse Trump of sexual misconduct call for Congress investigation – video

A group of women who have accused Donald Trump of sexually inappropriate behaviour demanded that Congress open an investigation on Monday. The three women – Samantha Holvey, Rachel Crooks and Jessica Leeds – first came forward during the 2016 presidential election but say they hope politicians from across the political divide will now take action in the wake of public support for the #MeToo movement

The EPA has fulfilled almost all major demands made by the American Petroleum Institute within its first year under Trump

Demonstrators in California protest against Donald Trump’s executive order fast-tracking the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

Demonstrators in California protest against Donald Trump’s executive order fast-tracking the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration’s zeal for environmental rollbacks has enabled it to fulfill almost all of the top priorities in a “wishlist” drawn up by the American Petroleum Institute (API), the leading lobby group for US oil and gas companies.

In a document called “comments on specific regulations” sent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in May, API highlighted eight key changes it wanted to ease the regulation of air and water pollution. An analysis shows that the EPA has now so far either partially or wholly delivered on six out of these eight key demands within the first year of the Trump administration, which solicited input on government rules from a number of trade groups.

This comes as the Guardian and the Center for Public Integrity publish an investigation into the way the oil lobby has worked for decades to influence US government policy – and is tightening its hold.

Earlier this year a letter penned by Howard Feldman, senior director of regulatory affairs at API, accompanied the lobby group’s wish list for government, and it stated that fossil fuel companies are thriving “despite the unprecedented level of federal regulatory actions targeting our industry”.

Feldman called for the federal government to alter regulations in a way that “promotes access to domestic oil and natural gas resources, streamlined permitting and cost-effective regulations”.

The letter is addressed to Samantha Dravis, an EPA associate administrator who previously held a senior role at the Republican Attorneys General Association and was counsel to Freedom Partners, one of the groups in the Koch brothers network.

The 25-page list of API’s suggested regulatory changes places particular emphasis on eight key demands that peel away standards primarily imposed under Barack Obama’s administration. The EPA’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, previously a harsh critic of the agency who has pledged to reign in its “out of control, anti-energy agenda”, has overseen the delay or repeal moves in line with six of API’s eight highest priorities.

“There’s no question that energy lobbyists are calling the shots in this administration, which has been all too willing to roll back public health protections,” said Jeremy Symons, vice-president of Environmental Defense Fund. “Anyone who doubts that can just look at their record.”

Pruitt and his team have made it clear that oil, gas and coal industries trump science

Liz Purchia Gannon, former EPA communications head

On March 22, Pruitt met with API executives at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC . Less than a month later, Pruitt wrote to Feldman, as well as three other oil and gas industry representatives, to tell them he was temporarily suspending regulations that curb leaks from drilling operations while the EPA reconsiders the rule.

In June, the EPA proposed a two-year pause to the rule, which was drawn up under the Obama administration in 2016 and aimed to reduce “fugitive” emissions such as methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In July, a federal court blocked the attempted suspension of the rule.

The EPA has fared better in fulfilling other top API priorities. In June, Pruitt signed a two-year delay to regulations designed to improve the safety of chemical facilities. API argued that the rule, which followed several disastrous incidents at chemical plants, would be burdensome and do little to improve safety.

API said the EPA “should reverse” a separate regulation requiring power plants to follow air pollution rules when they are starting up, shutting down or undergoing maintenance. Pruitt, who previously sued the EPA to halt the rule, is now reassessing it.

Read Full Article>>

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European council president Donald Tusk to tell EU summit that mandatory quotas have been ‘divisive and ineffective’

Syrian migrants wear life-jackets before boarding a dinghy to cross the Aegean Sea to the Greek island of Lesbos from the Ayvacik coast in Canakkale in 2016.

Syrian migrants wear life-jackets before boarding a dinghy to cross the Aegean Sea to the Greek island of Lesbos from the Ayvacik coast in Canakkale in 2016. Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

The EU could scrap a divisive scheme that compels member states to accept quotas of refugees, one of the bloc’s most senior leaders will say this week.

The president of the European council, Donald Tusk, will tell EU leaders at a summit on Thursday that mandatory quotas have been divisive and ineffective, in a clear sign that he is ready to abandon the policy that has created bitter splits across the continent.

Tusk will set a six-month deadline for EU leaders to reach unanimous agreement on reforms to the European asylum system, but will propose alternatives if there is no consensus.

“If there is no solution … including on the issue of mandatory quotas, the president of the European council will present a way forward,” states a draft letter from Tusk to national capitals, seen by the Guardian.

In effect this means scrapping mandatory quotas, because Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic are fiercely opposed to the idea of dispersing refugees around the bloc based on a formula drawn up in Brussels. Tusk is likely to face opposition, however, from other EU bodies, including the European commission.

EU leaders introduced compulsory quotas in 2015 at the height of the migration crisis, as thousands of people arrived daily on Europe’s shores, many of whom were refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea. Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and the Czech Republic voted against the move, but the policy was forced through by a majority vote.

Hungary and Poland have defied the rest of the EU by not taking a single refugee under the scheme, which aimed to relocate about 120,000 refugees, mainly Syrians. The Czech republic has taken in only 12. All three countries were referred to the European court of justice last week for failing to implement the policy, the usual procedure for flouting EU rules.

Despite the backlash against the emergency scheme, the European commission proposed making quotas a permanent feature of EU law in 2016. Under its proposal, countries that refuse to take part in a “corrective allocation mechanism” to take the pressure off member states bearing the brunt would have to pay a “solidarity contribution” of €250,000 (£220,000) per asylum seeker.

The idea has been stalled for months, as home affairs ministers who make the law have been unable to agree on it. Any move to drop the plan is likely to upset Italy and Greece, countries that have urged the rest of the EU to help them cope with large numbers of refugees and migrants in recent years. Germany and Sweden, backed by the European commission, are also likely to contest any plan deemed to reduce the help offered by other member states.

One EU diplomat said some member states were surprised by Tusk’s letter “because it doesn’t seem to be in sync” with work undertaken by home affairs ministers working on the file.

Tusk, a former prime minister of Poland, thinks mandatory quotas have been a gift to hardliners, such as the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, who has seized on migration as part of his wider Stop Brussels campaign. Eurosceptics in Poland, such as the Law and Justice leader Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski, whose party won an election victory over Tusk’s centre-right group in October 2015, have also criticised the policy.

Tusk’s scepticism about the prospect of consensus has been evident for months. He said in October that mandatory quotas had put members states in almost permanent conflict.

Tusk will call on EU governments to take charge, rather than leaving Brussels to set the pace in managing refugee policy.

“Only member states are able to tackle the migration crisis effectively,” Tusk’s letter says. “The EU’s role is to offer its full support in all possible ways to help member states handle the migration crisis. But the EU has neither the capacity nor legal possibilities to replace member states.”

Read Full Article>>




12 Dec

United States Wars, News and Casualties

United States Wars, News and Casualties


The War Criminals

The war criminals of the Bush regime lied and fabricated evidence to go to war.

Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Powell are war criminals and today they are enjoying freedom.

The thousands dead, the region in chaos, the creation of Islamic State and the trillions of dollars cost and for what? The worst of all is that they were so desperate for war that they had no plans for peace.

So where are the protests and demonstrations today in the US to bring Bush, Chaney, Wolfowitz, Rice, Powell andRumsfeld to Justice? There are none. There has been none. And now the US people ask – why do we have so many enemies and why do peoples from other cultures hate us?

We condemned children to death, some after many days of writhing in pain on bloodstained mats, without pain relievers. Some died quickly, wasted by missing arms and legs, crushed heads. As the fluids ran out of their bodies, they appeared like withered, spoiled fruits. They could have lived, certainly should have lived – and laughed and danced, and run and played- but instead they were brutally murdered. Yes, murdered!

The war ended for those children, but it has never ended for survivors who carry memories of them. Likewise, the effects of the U.S. bombings continue, immeasurably and indefensibly.

The McGlynn


War News


This data is based on 51,544 database entries from the beginning of the war to 28 Feb 2017, and on monthly preliminary data from that date onwards. Preliminary data is shown in grey when applicable, and is based on approximate daily totals in the Recent Events section prior to full analysis. The full analysis extracts details such as the names or demographic details of individuals killed, the weapons that killed them and location amongst other details. The current range contains 36,537–38,380 deaths (20%–19%, a portion which may rise or fall over time) based on single-sourced reports.

Graphs are based on the higher number in our totals. Gaps in recording and reporting suggest that even our highest totals to date may be missing many civilian deaths from violence.

Total Dollar Cost of War>>

Cost of War in Iraq>>

Cost of War in Afghanistan>>

Cost of Military Action Against ISIS>>

REU: More than 8 million Yemenis ‘a step away from famine’: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – Warring sides must let more aid get through to 8.4 million people who are “a step away from famine” in Yemen, a senior U.N. official said on Monday.

A Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen’s civil war blockaded ports last month after a missile was fired toward Riyadh.

Jamie McGoldrick, the humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said the blockade has since been eased, but the situation remained dire.

“The continuing blockade of ports is limiting supplies of fuel, food and medicines; dramatically increasing the number of vulnerable people who need help,” McGoldrick said in a statement.

“The lives of millions of people, including 8.4 million Yemenis who are a step away from famine, hinge on our ability to continue our operations and to provide health, safe water, food, shelter and nutrition support,” he added.

Read full story »

AP: Syrian opposition says government obstructing Geneva talks

GENEVA (AP) — The Syrian opposition claims the government delegation to the Geneva peace talks is coming up with new conditions, making it difficult to move forward.

Opposition spokesman Yahya Aridi said on Tuesday that the Damascus delegation told U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura they won’t negotiate directly. He said de Mistura told them about the government’s stance.

Aridi says the opposition delegates “consider this to be a precondition.” There was no immediate response from the government team in Switzerland.

Syrian opposition and government delegates are back in Geneva for a new round of U.N.-sponsored talks after a short break. The government delegation has protested the opposition’s insistence on the absence of President Bashar Assad from any future transition period.

Read full story »

AP: Thousands of Russian private contractors fighting in Syria

MOSCOW (AP) — Before he was killed by a sniper in Syria at age 23, Ivan Slyshkin wrote a poignant message on social media to his fiancee: “We will see each other soon — and I will hold you as tight as I possibly can.”

But Slyshkin’s name won’t be found among the Russian Defense Ministry’s official casualties in the fight against Islamic State extremists.

That’s because the young man who left his hometown of Ozyorsk in the Ural mountains was one of thousands of Russians deployed to Syria by a shadowy, private military contractor known as Wagner, which the government doesn’t talk about.

Slyshkin’s gravestone depicts him holding a machine gun, according to a local news website that sent a reporter to his March 2 funeral in Ozyorsk, where friends said he joined Wagner to earn money to pay for his wedding.

“He was in Wagner’s group,” his friend Andrei Zotov told The Associated Press, adding that Slyshkin was killed as the security forces were advancing on the Al-Shayer oil field north of Palmyra.

“There are many good guys there. He volunteered to join the company,” Zotov said. “Like many Russian fighters, he wanted to solve his money issues.”

The St. Petersburg-based website Fontanka reported that about 3,000 Russians under contract to the Wagner group have fought in Syria since 2015, months before Russia’s two-year military campaign helped to turn the tide of the civil war in favor of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a longtime Moscow ally.

Read full story »

REU: Putin, in Syria, says mission accomplished, orders partial Russian pull-out

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin flew into Syria and ordered “a significant part” of Moscow’s military contingent there to start withdrawing on Monday, declaring their work largely done.

Putin, who polls show will be re-elected comfortably in March, made the announcement during a surprise visit to Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria – his first since Russia intervened in the conflict. He held talks with President Bashar al-Assad and addressed Russian forces.

The first leg in a three-country one-day whirlwind diplomatic visit which sees Putin also meeting his Egyptian and Turkish counterparts, Putin is keen to leverage the heightened Middle East influence that Syria has given him to cast himself as a leader who can do diplomacy as well as military force.

The Kremlin first launched air strikes in Syria in September 2015 in its biggest Middle East intervention in decades, turning the tide of the conflict in Assad’s favor. Now that it regards that mission complete, Putin wants to help broker a peace deal.

“In just over two years, Russia’s armed forces and the Syrian army have defeated the most battle-hardened group of international terrorists,” Putin told Russian servicemen.

Read full story »

AP: Iraqi Shiite cleric urges militias to disarm after IS defeat

BAGHDAD (AP) — An influential Iraqi Shiite cleric on Monday urged his fighters to hand state-issued weapons back to the government, following Iraq’s declaration of victory against the Islamic State group.

In a speech broadcast on Iraqi television, Muqtada al-Sadr also called on his forces to hand over some territory to other branches of Iraq’s security forces, but said his men would continue to guard a holy Shiite shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad.

Al-Sadr commands one of several mostly Shiite militias that mobilized after IS militants swept across northern and central Iraq in the summer of 2014. The paramilitaries are state-sanctioned and officially under the command of the prime minister, but have their own chains of command.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over IS in a national address on Saturday, after Iraqi forces drove the militants from their last strongholds in the western desert.

Al-Sadr, the scion of a revered Shiite clerical family, commanded a powerful militia that battled U.S. troops in the years after the 2003 invasion. His fighters are today known as the Peace Brigades, and are part of the Popular Mobilization Forces, the official name of the mostly Shiite militias allied with the government.

Read full story »

NYT: Turkish Air Strikes Kill 29 Kurdish Militants in Northern Iraq-Army

ISTANBUL — Turkish warplanes hit Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq on Monday and killed 29 of the group’s militants, Turkey’s armed forces said.

The PKK fighters were believed to be preparing an attack on Turkish border posts from the Hakurk and Metina regions of northern Iraq, the army said in a written statement.

Several caves and shelters used by the militants were destroyed in the air strikes, it said.

The PKK, which has been waging an insurgency in southeast Turkey since the 1980s, is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Read full story »

Iraqinews: 22 people killed, injured in Salahuddin mortar attack

Salahuddin ( About 22 people were killed and injured in a mortar attack on Tuz Khurmatu city east of Salahuddin province, a lawmaker said on Tuesday.

“Five mortar shells were fired from a Kurdish-controlled mountainous area towards Tuz Khurmatu city, leaving two people dead and 20 others injured,” MP Jassem Mohammed Jaafar told Alsumaria News.

“One of the mortar shells fell on a secondary school in the city,” he said, adding that the attack caused damage to several buildings.

Jaafar expected demonstrators to take to streets later in the day to call on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to protect them from the Kurdish attacks.

Read full story »

IraqiNews: Three Islamic State militants killed, attack foiled in Salahuddin

Salahuddin/Diyala ( Iraqi troops and tribal fighters killed three Islamic State members in a raid and foiled another attack by the militants in Salahuddin province on Tuesday.

The Iraqi military intelligence directorate said in a statement, quoted by Shafaq News, said intelligence services in Salahuddin, backed by Popular Mobilization Forces and Tribal Mobilization chased four IS members in an island at the center of the Tigris River.

Forces engaged with the militants at the town of Shirqat, killing three, while the fourth blew himself up.

In a separate incident, Alsumaria News quoted Abdul-Khaleq al-Ezzawi, a member of Diyala province council, saying that a joint security force foiled a sneaking attempt by IS members inside Al-Bou Essia village, on the borders between Diyala and Salahuddin.

Read full story »

NYT: Hunting Taliban and Islamic State Fighters, From 20,000 Feet

Afghan youths near the site of a American bombing during an operation against Islamic State militants in Asadkhil, Afghanistan, in April. Credit Noorullah Shirzada/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

ABOARD A B-52, over Eastern Afghanistan — Flying at more than 20,000 feet, the hulking long-range bomber circled ominously above a militant-infested swath of Afghan territory near the rugged border with Pakistan, hunting for Taliban or Islamic State fighters who could threaten friendly troops nearby.

A ride in the cockpit on a recent 13-hour combat mission provided a rare bird’s-eye view of the Trump administration’s newly revamped Afghanistan policy of sending thousands of additional American troops closer to the front lines — and more warplanes like this one to protect them. That includes striking Taliban drug depots to cripple the group’s financial lifeline, as the Pentagon did in Iraq and Syria in hitting the Islamic State’s oil tankers and cash-storage sites.

During the Obama administration, American commanders were barred from carrying out offensive airstrikes against the Taliban. Attacks had to be defensive, aimed at protecting Afghan forces on the ground, conditions that commanders complained tied their hands and led to a stalemate. Now the gloves are off, and American warplanes have already dropped more than 3,900 bombs and missiles against targets in Afghanistan this year, three times as many as last year.

Read full story »

NYT: Afghan President’s Critics Losing Patience Over Delayed Vote

KABUL, Afghanistan — Over the past year, as Afghanistan’s strained power-sharing government struggled in the face of intense criticism, Western officials repeatedly stepped in to urge patience.

American and European diplomats shuttled to the blast-wall-protected villas of the country’s political elite, asking them to give President Ashraf Ghani some space to keep pursuing the reforms that had rankled so many. In return, Mr. Ghani would finally deliver parliamentary elections (already delayed by two years) before the next presidential vote.

But the year is closing with little progress toward the elections, still scheduled for next July, although now almost certain not to occur then. Mr. Ghani’s critics — and there are more than ever — are losing patience, turning to public demonstrations, issuing ultimatums or threats, and joining in calls for a nationwide, traditional referendum on his authority.

The Afghan president, in return, has reacted in ways that many Western officials see as panicked. He has ordered sudden corruption investigations against critics, barred government employees from joining demonstrations and been accused of grounding the flight of a powerful northern governor to keep him from joining an opposition meeting.

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NYT: US Military: 1 Soldier Dies, 2 Injured in Vehicle Incident

KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S. military says that an American soldier has died as a result of injuries sustained during a vehicle incident in eastern Afghanistan.

A statement released by the U.S. forces on Tuesday says that two other American service members were injured in the incident, which took place in eastern Nangarhar province on Monday.

According to the statement, the U.S. forces were not in contact with enemy forces at the time. It says the injured soldiers are receiving medical treatment………..It provides no further information. The military did not identify the dead service member.

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Hekmatyar offers all-out support to Taliban if the group opts peace talks

The leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has offered an all-out support to Taliban if the group opts to participate in peace talks with the Afghan government. Hekmatyar made the offer during his visit to southeastern Paktia and Khost provinces where he met with supporters of his party during his three-day stay. He said the ongoing

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Breakthrough reported in Pak-US ties and talks on Afghanistan

A breakthrough has been reported in relations between the United States and Pakistan as the two countries are busy holding talks on Afghanistan. According to the local media reports, citing officials privy with the development, the officials of the two counties have held a series of talks on Afghanistan following the visit by defense secretary

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Russia emphasizes on Taliban and neighbors role to resolve Afghan conflict

Moscow has emphasized on the importance of the role of Taliban and the neighboring countries of Afghanistan in a bid to help resolve and put an end to the ongoing violence. Russia’s minister of foreign affairs Sergei Lavrov said Monday that the situation in Afghanistan could not be resolved without having “everybody” on board. Lavrov

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Russia and West exchange heated words over Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria

The Russian and US-led coalition officials have reportedly exchanged heated words over the circumstances surrounding the anti-terror fight in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq as well as the recent breakthroughs achieved in anti-IS fight in Syria. According to RT Russian television network, the spokesperson of the ministry of foreign affairs of Russia Maria Zakharova reacted at

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Recent Casualties

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Cpl. Todd L. McGurn, of Riverside, California, died Nov. 25, 2017, in Baghdad, Iraq as a result of a non-combat related incident.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas. The incident is under investigation.


The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Sgt. 1st Class Hughton O. Brown, 43, of Brooklyn, New York died Nov. 14 in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, as a result of a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 306th Engineer Company, 411th Engineer Brigade, Farmingdale, New York. The incident is under investigation.


DOD: The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lee M. Smith, 35, of Arlington, Texas, died Nov. 11 at Camp Taji, Iraq, due to injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, KY. The incident is under investigation.

Iraq Coalition Casualties: Military Fatalities By Name>>

Afghanistan Coalition Casualties: Military Fatalities By Name>>

Care for Veterans:

PTSD: National Center for PTSDPTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and FamiliesSee Help for Veterans with PTSD to learn how to enroll for VA health care and get an assessment.

All VA Medical Centers provide PTSD care, as well as many VA clinics.Some VA’s have programs specializing in PTSD treatment. Use the VA PTSD ProgramLocator to find a PTSD program.If you are a war Veteran, find a Vet Center to help with the transition from military to civilian life.

Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran.DoD’s Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) 24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury provides information and helps locate resources.

Call 1-866-966-1020 or email resources@dcoeoutreach.orgMilitary OneSourceCall 24/7 for counseling and many resources 1-800-342-9647.Need further assistance? Get Help with VA PTSD Care

11 Dec

Guess who came to dinner.

Guess who came to dinner.



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