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House committee holds hearing on modernizing US nuclear infrastructure

RT | April 30, 2016

… Currently, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) demands a complete and final design from potential nuclear developers. This, combined with expensive reviews that developers pay out of pocket, can deter potential startups with a multimillion dollar price tag with no assurance of ever being allowed to operate. The bipartisan panel’s tenor was that this needs to change. […]

The US’s 99 operational nuclear energy plants provide nearly 20 percent of the country’s power, but approximately 126,000 megawatts of nuclear power generation is set to be retired over the next 15 years. At the same time, the US Energy Information Administration forecasts a need for 287,000 megawatts of new electric capacity by 2040 – on top of replacing the electric capacity that is needed to replace the retired power plants.

This reality, combined with the fact that nuclear power produces no greenhouse gasses, has led to environmentally-conscious lawmakers on the committee making common cause with their innovation-minded colleagues worried about falling behind international competitors. … Read full article

Russian MoD States US Spy Plane Intercepted in Accordance With Int’l Law

Sputnik – 30.04.2016

The Russian Defense Ministry responded to the Pentagon claims that a Russian aircraft allegedly performed an “unsafe” interception of a US jet over the Baltic region, saying that all Russian aircraft frights are carried out under international rules.

“All flights of Russian aircraft are held in accordance with international regulations on the use of airspace,” ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told reporters.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon accused a Russian Su-27 of flying too close to another US spy plane operating in the Baltic, again a stone’s throw away from Russia’s borders. The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged the incident, but denied that unsafe maneuvers were performed.

“At the same time we want to note that the RC-135U reconnaissance plane tries to sneak up to the Russian border with the transponder turned off all the time. Therefore, air defense forces on duty have to lift our fighter to visually identify the type of aircraft and its tail number,” Konashenkov added.

On Friday, United States European Command (EUCOM) spokesperson Lt. Col. David Westover told Sputnik that Russia carried out an “unsafe and unprofessional air intercept” of a US Air Force RC-135 aircraft over the Baltic region.

While the Pentagon continues to complain of Russian “aggression,” Kremlin defense forces respond in precisely the same manner that the US does when foreign military units approach its borders.

Strengthening Biological Weapons Convention requires constructive approach

Dr Alexander Yakovenko | RT | April 30, 2016

Recently, the US Department of State has submitted to Congress its annual Report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments.

Among other things, Washington has chosen Moscow as the target for unsubstantiated insinuations and lies on the issue of Russia’s compliance with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC). It is becoming ever more obvious that regular verbal attacks against Russia are used to distract attention from the unseemly role that the US plays within the BWC context.

The reality is that it is the US who seriously damaged the BWC regime by single-handedly ruining the long-lasting multilateral talks on the supplementary BWC protocol that were about to come to an end. The microbiological activity of the member states under the developed protocol would have been subject to on-site inspections by an independent authority. Having derailed the protocol, the US now complains of having no possibility to verify compliance with the BWC.

However, it has nobody to blame but itself for this, including the fact that it has blocked any constructive attempts to step up specific work within the framework of the BWC since 2001. … continue

Yemen Talks: National Delegation Offers Its Vision of Political Settlement

Al-Manar – April 30, 2016

AbdelsalamThe Yemeni National delegation has offered its vision of a political and security settlement in the war-torn country, revolutionary movement, Ansarullah said.

Ansarullah spokesman, Mohamamd Abdelsalam, said that the national delegation, which includes Ansarullah and the General People’s Congress (GPC), said that the delegation handed over the draft which includes the vision to the United Nations.

Abdelsalam stressed meanwhile that the national delegation is committed to peaceful talks in a bid to halt the Saudi-led aggression and to lift the siege.

For his part, delegation member, Hamza al-Houthi warned against the continuous violations of ceasefire, committed by the Saudi-led coalition. … Full article

Health Ministry calls for opening Rafah crossing

Palestinian Information Center – April 30, 2016

GAZA – The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza Strip called Saturday on Egyptian Authorities to open Rafah border crossing and to allow thousands of patients to travel to receive medical treatment.

The Ministry pointed out in a statement issued Saturday that the Rafah crossing has been closed for 74 consecutive days, calling on the Egyptian authorities to open the crossing in both directions and to alleviate the suffering of Gaza’s people.

Thousands of patients are still waiting to complete their medical treatment abroad, the statement said, warning of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza due to the Israeli 10-year siege.

The Health Ministry underlined that Rafah crossing was opened only for three days since the beginning of 2016.

30,000 Palestinians are in urgent need to travel via Rafah crossing including four thousands patients, the Ministry continued.

The Rafah crossing, the sole gateway for Gaza to the outside world, has been closed since July 2013.

Israel prevents 50 West Bankers from traveling abroad last week

Palestinian Information Center – April 30, 2016

RAMALLAH – 50 Palestinian citizens in the West Bank were barred by Israel from traveling abroad through al-Karama border crossing during last week, according to the Palestinian police.

The police stated on Saturday that the Israeli security authorities barred the travel of those citizens for unknown security reasons and without providing explanations.

The week before that, 55 Palestinians were denied travel for the same undeclared reasons.

Israeli Soldiers Detain 42 Palestinians In Al-Aqsa Courtyards

IMEMC News – April 30, 2016

Israeli soldiers and police officers detained, Friday, at least 42 Palestinians from the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and released them later except for seven Palestinians, who remained under interrogation.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan said dozens of soldiers were deployed at the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, after completely surrounding it.

Lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud said the soldiers, and police officers detained more than 40 Palestinians from the Gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, its courtyard, and in the Old City, and took them to the al-Qashla police center for interrogation. … Full article

UN: Israel’s cement ban prevents hundreds of Gaza families from rebuilding homes

Ma’an – April 30, 2016

Israel’s punitive ban on cement imports into the Gaza Strip has prevented hundreds of families from rebuilding their homes devastated by the 2014 war, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a press release Thursday. […]

The current shortage of cement has also suspended jobs for some 40,000 construction workers in the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Contractors Union. […]

According to the UN, 75,000 Palestinians remain homeless in the blockaded Gaza Strip nearly two years after Israel’s last devastating offensive. … Full article

UK Labour Party in Grip of Zionist Inquisition

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | April 29, 2016

The orchestrated smear campaign against pro-Palestine sympathisers sent me reaching for my pen. But Gilad Atzmon too was eyeing the Labour Party’s crazed witch hunt for “antisemites” with misgiving and had already declared, in his usual robust way, that Labour under Jeremy Corbyn was not so much a party as a piece of Zionist-occupied territory.

Writing in his blog about Corbyn and McDonnell’s servile commitment to expel anyone whose remarks might be interpreted by Zionist mafioso as hateful or simply upsetting to Jews, Atzmon concludes: “Corbyn’s Labour is now unequivocally a spineless club of Sabbos Goyim” [which I take to mean non-Jewish dogsbodies who do menial jobs that Jews are forbidden to do for religious reasons].

“The Labour party’s policies,” says Atzmon, “are now compatible with Jewish culture: intolerant to the core and concerned primarily with the imaginary suffering of one people only. These people are not the working class, they are probably the most privileged ethnic group in Britain. Corbyn’s Labour is a Zionist Occupied Territory… It proves my theses that the Left is not a friend to Palestine, the oppressed or the workless people.

“I would have never believed that Jeremy Corbyn would engage in such colossally treacherous politics. I did not anticipate that Corbyn would become a Zionist lapdog. Corbyn was a great hope to many of us. I guess that the time has come to accept that The Left is a dead concept, it has nothing to offer.” … continue

‘Israel is a vicious racist construct… that claims tribal superiority over the entire rest of the world’

My Anti-Racist Comments on Israel

By Craig Murray – April 29, 2016

I was accused on Sky News of making comments attacking the Jewish tribe. Ripped from its context, the remark appeared so offensive I could not conceive I had ever made it. I find now that in fact I did say it, but in the context of a specific remark by an Israeli minister making a claim that the Israeli Prime Minister leads all Jews worldwide. My remark was part of a post attacking all racism. They could equally well have taken the quote “I wish nothing but good to all people, including all Jewish people” out of the post.

To be absolutely open, I repeat the post here… continue

The Lingering Danger of Google & Facebook

By Ulson Gunnar – New Eastern Outlook – 30.04.2016

… Google and Facebook are still very much engaged in information warfare for the US government and the special interests that it serves. Likewise, the US State Department is still very much in the business of subverting foreign nations by recruiting, training, equipping and directing collaborators from targeted nations.

Facebook, for example, has expressed plans to get everyone on the planet on the Internet. The seemingly humanitarian mission is in all actuality an attempt to get the world on Facebook, which through its algorithms and ability to censor, ban and delete accounts at will, would virtually control what the world saw and didn’t see. … Read full article

Hillary Clinton’s Damning Emails

Consortium News | April 30, 2016

Before the Democrats lock in their choice for President, they might want to know if Hillary Clinton broke the law with her unsecure emails and may be indicted, a question that ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern addresses. – Read article

US presidential elections: A view from the Middle East

By Sharmine Narwani | RT | April 30, 2016

Although the era of US global hegemony is coming to a close, the Middle East – more than most regions – is still reeling from the nasty last jabs of that Empire in decline.
It is little wonder, then, that the US presidential election season is scrutinized carefully in all corners of the Mideast.

Over here, the debate over the likely victor is less about economic, political and social projects than it is about which candidate is least likely to launch wars against us.

Anecdotally, there seems to be a consensus that Hillary Clinton would be the worst for the region, though of course – like in the United States – that perception changes dramatically when the conversation is with regional elites and ‘liberals.’ … continue

Hiding the Indonesia Massacre Files

Consortium News | April 29, 2016

Perhaps nowhere does U.S. hypocrisy over human rights stand out more clearly than Indonesia’s “Year of Living Dangerously” slaughter of vast numbers of people in 1965, dirty secrets that Jonathan Marshall says finally deserve airing. – Read article

Bodies of Shias killed by Nigeria army must be exhumed: Activists

Press TV – April 29, 2016

Rights activists have called for the bodies of hundreds of Shia Muslims massacred by the Nigerian army last December to be exhumed for further investigation into the exact number of victims.

Residents in the northern city of Kaduna, where the carnage took place, have rejected the official death toll and said a local inquiry into the incident suggests the government figures may be a gross underestimation. … continue

Sikh community furious at Texas authorities after detention on false terrorism accusations

RT | April 29, 2016

A Sikh man and a Pakistani-American man were arrested at gunpoint after fellow bus passengers claimed they were discussing a bomb threat in Arabic – even though they were speaking Punjabi. The Sikh Coalition has filed a complaint against the accusers.

Daljeet Singh, an asylum-seeker from India, began chatting with Mohammed Chotri, a Pakistani-American man, while the two were traveling on a Greyhound bus in February. The two conversed in Punjabi.

When a woman on the bus claimed she heard the word “bomb” mentioned in their conversation, she urged the bus driver to pull onto the side of the road. The bus was passing through Amarillo, Texas, at the time.

The driver dialed 911 and two other passengers restrained the men in their seats until police arrived and arrested them at gunpoint, the Hindustan Times reported. … continue

President Obama: The Race for the Imperial Legacy

By James Petras :: 04.29.2016

4ac1b719-19d5-4ad4-ad39-a98a9a658989President Obama is racing forward to establish his imperial legacy throughout Russia, Asia and Latin America. In the last two years he has accelerated the buildup of his military nuclear arsenal on the frontiers of Russia. The Pentagon has designed a high tech anti-missile system to undermine Russian defenses.

In Latin America, Obama has shed his shallow pretense of tolerating the center–left electoral regimes. Instead he is has joined with rabid authoritarian neo-liberals in Argentina; met with the judges and politicians engineering the overthrow of the current Brazilian government; and encouraged the emerging far-rightwing regimes in Peru under Keiko Fujimori and Colombia under President Santos.

In Asia, Obama has clearly escalated a military build-up threatening China’s principle waterways in the South China Sea. Obama encouraged aggressive and violent separatist groupings in Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjian and Taiwan. Obama invites Beijing billionaires to relocate a trillion dollars in assets to the ‘laundry machines’ of North America, Europe and Asia. Meanwhile he has actively blocked China’s long-planned commercial ’silk route’ across Myanmar and west Asia.

In the Middle East, President Obama joined with Saudi Arabia as Riyadh escalated its brutal war and blockade in Yemen. He directed Kenya and other African predator states to attack Somalia. He has continued to back mercenary armies invading Syria while collaborating with the Turkish dictator, Erdogan, as Turkish troops bomb Kurdish, Syrian and Iraqi fighters who are engaged on the front lines against Islamist terrorism.

President Obama and his minions have consistently groveled before the Jewish State and its US Fifth Column, massively increasing US ‘tribute’ to Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, Israel continues to seize thousands of acres of Palestinian land murdering and arresting thousands of Palestinians, from young children to aged grandparents.

The Obama regime is desperate to overcome the consequences of his political, military and economic failures of the past six years and establish the US as the uncontested global economic and military power. … continue

Reporters May Face Trial for Revealing Berlin’s Role in ‘Network of Death’

Sputnik – 29.04.2016

In their book “Network of Death”, three German journalists revealed illegal arms supplies from Germany to Mexico. However, instead of being praised for their efforts, all three of them may face a court trial on alleged breach of the German Press Act and disclosure of secret information.

The book written by German journalists Daniel Harrich, Danuta Harrich-Sandberg und Jürgen Grässlin revealed illegal arms supplies by German company Heckler & Koch to Mexico. It turned out that the weapons — G36 assault rifles made by the firm — appeared in the Mexican states of Guerrero and Chihuahua, although the supplies to these states were prohibited by German authorities.

In 2005, the German regulatory agency allowed the delivery of 9,000 assault rifles to Mexico between 2006 and 2009 on the condition that they won’t be available in the Mexican states of Guerrero, Jalisco, Chiapas and Chihuahua.

However, it recently became known that the arms not only leaked to these territories, but were also allegedly used during the assault on Ayotzinapa students on September 26, where six people were killed, 25 injured and 43 disappeared. … continue

Germany mulls sending NATO troops to Lithuania – defense official

RT | April 29, 2016

NATO is looking at a number of strategies to boost its presence in Eastern Europe, including sending German troops to Lithuania, according to German media citing a Defense Ministry spokesman.

“There are various models under preliminary discussions and voting in NATO is underway,” the ministry’s spokesman Jens Flosdorff told the DPA news agency. “Decisions will be made this fall at the NATO summit in Warsaw.”

The remark confirmed Thursday’s reports that the country’s military was ready for a broader engagement to protect NATO’s eastern frontiers. The military alliance is to meet in the Polish capital Warsaw in July. The 28 member states are expected to agree on a roadmap to enhance combat readiness in Eastern Europe amid what NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has described as a challenging regional security situation.

Der Spiegel that German armed forces may send some 1,000 soldiers to take part in the NATO mission in Lithuania if the alliance’s members approve the plan. … continue

Ukraine Halts Welfare Payments to 600,000 Pending Their Status Verification

Sputnik — 29.04.2016

1038801989The Ukrainian government has suspended pensions and other social-welfare benefits to more than 500 000 people internally displaced by fighting between government forces and autonomy seekers in the east, UN Assistant Secretary-General Taye-Brook Zerihoun told the Security Council.

Access to urgently needed services is impeded by bureaucratic impediments, Zerihoun said on Thursday.

“This is further compounded by the decision of the Ukrainian government to suspend social payments, including pensions, to an estimated 600,000 displaced people, pending verification of their status.”

The UN official also explained that battles have recently intensified, despite agreements to suspend hostilities that were negotiated in the Belarus capital of Minsk in 2015.

“Fighting is still reported daily, with a sustained period of escalation witnessed over recent weeks and months, at a level not seen since the intense phase of the conflict in August 2014.”

Zerihoun urged all parties to immediately cease hostilities and adhere to the Minsk accords and other commitments made to the so-called Trilateral Contact Group, which consists of Russia, Germany and France.

7 elderly Palestinians indicted for ‘incitement’ at Aqsa

Ma’an – April 29, 2016

JERUSALEM – Seven elderly Palestinians from Jerusalem were issued indictments on Friday by an Israeli court for alleged incitement and involvement with Murabitun, an Islamic group outlawed by Israel last year.

The seven, indicted for alleged incitement at Al-Aqsa Mosque, were banned by the Israeli Magistrate Court from entering the holy site and the Old City of Jerusalem until their court date, which has been postponed until May 17th.

The seven men — identified as Saadi al-Rajabi, Anwar al-Qaq, Adli Abu Rmeileh, Muhammad Taher Arafeh, Amin Yassin, Jamal al-Natsheh and Khader Abu Snine — were detained almost two weeks ago after Israeli forces raided and searched their homes.

sileaniccThe seven are the most recent to be targeted by the Israeli authorities for alleged involvement with Murabitun, a group who frequently demonstrates at Al-Aqsa against what they see as increasing Israeli control over the holy compound.

Volunteers from the group and its female counterpart Murabitat often station themselves at Al-Aqsa in order to intervene when Israeli extremists attempt to worship on the compound — an act which contravenes a longstanding agreement between Israel and the Islamic trust that controls the site not to allow non-Muslim worship in the area.

Last year Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon declared the Murabitun and Murabitat illegal organizations, before banning the groups’ main source of funding, the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, months later.

Both were banned for their alleged role in inciting violence and tension in the Al-Aqsa compound.

However, the group claims they are defending the mosque from Israeli extremists, who regularly enter the compound protected by armed guards, and incite against Palestinians with the aim of challenging the long-standing status quo in the area. … Full article

Israel issues 27 administrative detention orders against Palestinians

Ma’an -April 28, 2016

RAMALLAH – The Israeli authorities issued 27 administrative detention orders against Palestinian prisoners from across the occupied West Bank for periods between two and six months.

A lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society Mahmoud al-Halabi said that 14 of the orders are new while others are extensions of old administrative detention orders.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there are currently 700 Palestinians being held in administrative detention. … Full article

Photo story: Living under occupation in Jerusalem

International Solidarity Movement | April 28, 2016

1-2-600x399Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine – Young men are constantly being stopped, interrogated and searched by occupying forces in front of Damascus Gate and in the old city. In the top left corner you can see a snipers post on a building overlooking Damascus Gate. This post was placed without permission from the Palestinian owners.

The body searches are harsh and humiliating. Young men are required to remove belts and shoes and pull up their shirts and trousers in full view of the passing public.

Armed to the teeth border police are a very intimidating presence.

Young men are stopped, apparently at random, to be searched on the outskirts of the old city.

People going about their everyday business must negotiate the military and police presence that is everywhere in the old city. … continue

Livingstone vindicated: There WAS a Nazi-Zionist agreement and Hitler DID support it

By Mike Sivier | Vox Political | April 28, 2016

It turns out all those who clamoured for Ken Livingstone to be suspended from the Labour Party – on the basis that Nazi Germany and Zionist Jews never had an agreement – were completely wrong.

Perhaps John Mann needs to reconsider his actions of earlier today (April 28) – along with all those who accused Livingstone of “rewriting history” when he really was simply quoting it. … continue

Where Angels Fear to Tread

By Craig Murray | April 28, 2016

I have accepted an offer from Sky News tomorrow to discuss anti-Semitism in the UK, where I shall argue that opponents of Israeli policy are being tarred with anti-Semitism in an witch-hunt.

I do this with some trepidation, because the media hype has become so hysterical that I am certain to face accusations of anti-Semitism myself for daring to question the narrative that has gripped the corporate media and political elite. But witch-hunts succeed because not enough decent people have the courage to stand against them; I imagine Sky contacted an awful lot of people who refused to do it before they worked all the way down to me.

Nor am I expecting to get a level playing field from the Murdoch media on which to argue my point. As I doubt I shall get a chance to put my case without interruption, this is what I am going to be trying to say. … continue

US Senator Marco Rubio Calls for More Sanctions on Venezuela

teleSUR – April 28, 2016

U.S. Senator and former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio called on Washington to extend its sanctions on the Venezuelan government Wednesday.

President Barack Obama renewed sanctions against Venezuela last March, which refers to the South American state as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

During his comments on Wednesday, the Florida senator stated, “there will be an effort here, I hope, in the next day or so, to extend those sanctions for another three years.”

In efforts to impose additional sanctions, Rubio called on allies within the Organization of American States or OAS to support actions against Venezuela.

“The United States should ask our allies in the region, countries that receive an extensive amount of aid from this country—Haiti, Colombia, the Central American nations, our neighbors up north in Canada, among others—to support this effort,” Rubio added. … Full article

Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Plans ‘Don’t Make A Lot of Sense’

Sputnik – 29.04.2016

Following Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s exploratory foreign policy speech on Wednesday, political analyst Daniel McAdams speaks with Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear to discuss what, exactly, the candidate’s worldview encompasses.

“It is clear that in Washington he has aligned himself with foreign policy advisors that are not the usual neocons. So that’s good news, to a degree. That’s why you have so much gnashing of the teeth in Washington,” McAdams, of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, tells Loud & Clear, referring to billionaire Donald Trump.

“On the other hand, the people that he does have around him are realists, to a degree, but that is not super satisfying to a non-interventionist and an anti-war person because realists… lack the philosophy… of avoiding war and avoiding entangling alliance.” … continue

Obama Plans to Spend $38Bln on Missile Defense Over Next Five Years

Sputnik — 29.04.2016

President Barack Obama has approved $38 billion for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) through 2020 despite it only conducting one successful test against an intercontinental ballistic missile in eight years, a Government Accountability office (GAO) report revealed.

An earlier GAO report on US missile defense on February 17, 2016 stated that the MDA had failed to demonstrate through flight testing that it could defend the US homeland against the current missile defense threat.

It also noted that a full assessment of the system’s effectiveness was currently not possible.

“MDA plans to spend around $38 billion through fiscal year 2020 to continue its efforts to develop, integrate, and field BMDS [ballistic missile defense systems] elements and targets necessary for testing,” the report said on Thursday.

The MDA has claimed only one successful interception of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-like target in the past eight years of tests.

“Since 2002, MDA has received approximately $123 billion to develop and deploy the BMDS, which is a highly complex group of systems,” the GAO report stated.

Turkey Doesn’t Want Red Cross on Its Territory Near Syrian Border – ICRC

Sputnik – 29.04.2016

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has requested permission to work in a number of regions in Turkey, but Turkish authorities are not too interested in the organization’s presence in the country, ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord said.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier asked Turkey to provide information on the alleged murders of refugees on the border with Syria.

Daccord said in an interview with RIA Novosti that the Directorate has “a good understanding and overview of what’s happening around the migratory road.”

“For us we have a very good visibility on the country of origin because we work within Syria and we know it very well. We have no visibility in Turkey because we don’t work in Turkey. We don’t have access and we don’t work in Turkey specifically,” he said.

According to Daccord, the human rights agency needs permission from Ankara in order to operate in Turkey, adding that the ICRC had made a request, but “so far they are not extremely interested to have us in Turkey where we would like to be in Turkey.” … Full article

US-led drone strike leaves 6 dead in eastern Afghanistan

Press TV – April 29, 2016

At least six people have been killed in a drone strike carried out by US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar, Press TV reports.

The aerial attack was conducted in the Dih Bala district of the province, which is located 120 kilometers (74 miles) east of the Afghan capital, Kabul, late on Thursday. […]

On April 14, at least 40 people lost their lives in US drone strikes in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province. […]

The CIA spy agency regularly uses drones for airstrikes and spying missions in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border.

Washington has also been conducting targeted killings through remotely-controlled armed drones in Somalia and Yemen. … Full article

Pentagon shifts to Libya for airstrikes on Daesh

Press TV – April 29, 2016

The United States military has deployed spy drones to Libya where the Pentagon’s latest shift over Daesh (ISIL) will reportedly see added air fire against militants in the North African state.

American surveillance drones have been moved into the skies over Libya to gather intelligence against militants there and based on recommendations from the US commander for Africa.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, has told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the decision was made more than a month ago to increase resources for US Africa Command.

Earlier this month, General David Rodriguez, head of US Africa Command, said the number of ISIL militants in Libya has doubled in the last year or so to as many as 6,000. He said the terror group seeks to conduct attacks against the US and other nations in the West.

ISIL terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, now control parts of Syria and Iraq. They have been engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control.

Daesh and other militant groups have used Libya’s lack of security over the past few years to build a base in the country.

The US has conducted two airstrikes in Libya in recent months targeting purported Daesh militants and commanders, but Rodriguez said that those are limited to militants that pose an “imminent” threat to US interests. … Full article

What’s Behind Saudi Arabia’s Claim To Have Killed 800 Terrorists In Yemen?

By Brandon Turbeville | Activist Post | April 28, 2016

… While it was reported that the coalition members had conducted airstrikes against “AQAP positions” in Yemen, it is important to note that coalition forces admittedly met no resistance when entering Mukalla. Putting aside the fact that the Yemeni people would scarcely be able to tell the difference between AQAP and Saudi Arabian control of their country to begin with, at what point did the Saudis kill 800 AQAP members? Was it in the alleged and unconfirmed airstrikes which apparently kill only terrorists but no civilians?Is it not extremely convenient that Saudi forces would bomb Yemen back into the Stone Age, allow AQAP to gain vast amounts of territory against Houthi, rebel, and government forces in the process and then retake it from them “without any resistance” shortly after a ceasefire agreement is made that does not include AQAP?

Was the Saudi bombing merely an act of death squad herding or was the Saudi bombing never aimed at AQAP at all? Were the casualties actually civilians simply labeled as terrorists for propaganda purposes? Was there actually a bombing campaign?

What kind of military operation kills 800 militants while, at the same time, faces no resistance from those militants? … Read full article

House committee backs requirement for women to register for draft

RT | April 28, 2016

In the wake of the Pentagon fully embracing gender equality, a House of Representatives committee narrowly approved a measure requiring women to register for Selective Service, the US military draft system.

Following a lengthy and often provocative debate on Wednesday night surrounding the role of women in the military, the House Armed Services Committee carried the motion with a vote of 32-30, signaling a change to the policy that has been in place since 1981. … continue

Russian Military Denies Reports of Alleged Airstrike on Aleppo Hospital

Sputnik — April 28, 2016

The Russian Defense Ministry denied on Thursday media reports of an alleged Russian airstrike on a hospital in Syria’s Aleppo that killed scores of civilians.

1038170949Some Western media outlets earlier claimed, citing Doctors Without Borders group, that a Russian combat plane delivered an airstrike on a hospital in Aleppo killing at least 14 patients and staff.

However, the charity did not indicate whether the Syrian government or rebel forces were behind the attack on the hospital.

“Russian combat aircraft have not carried out missions in Aleppo Area in the past few days,” ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told reporters.

“According to our data, an aircraft belonging to a country from the so-called “anti-Daesh coalition” was operating in the skies over Aleppo on April 27,” Konashenkov added.

China passes law on foreign NGO operations

Press TV – April 28, 2016

China’s legislature has passed a law governing the operations of foreign non-governmental organizations in the country.

On Thursday, the National People’s Congress (NPC) ratified the law that focuses on preventing foreign NGOs from subversive activity against the country.

While exempting international schools and hospitals, it authorizes the security forces to interrogate suspected subversive operatives enlisted with the organizations, the parliament said in a communiqué.

Empowered by the legislation, the police would revoke the registration of any organization that “damages national interests” or “threatens society’s interests,” the statement noted, adding that any groups committing actions deemed “separatist” or “subverting of state organs” will also be banned.

“There have been some foreign NGOs which have planned or carried out activities threatening the stability of society and national security,” NPC official Zhang Yong told reporters at a briefing.

At least 1,000 foreign NGOs are thought to operate in China.

The German Embassy in Beijing said the law adopted some positive changes, including the removal of an expiry clause on registration licenses.

Chinese officials were, meanwhile, reported as saying that Beijing welcomed law-abiding NGOs to work in the country. … Full article

Crisis in Congo-Brazzaville: France’s hidden hand

By Gearóid Ó Colmáin | American Herald Tribune | April 27, 2016

Since the re-election on the 20th of March of President Denis Sassou-Nguesso for a controversial third term, the government of the Republic of Congo has been criticised by the international community for its alleged bombing of ‘civilian neighborhoods’, following post-election terrorist attacks in the country’s capital, Brazzaville. In reality, however, the West African nation is currently fighting the early stages of a  US/French or NATO-backed insurgency  – an attempt by NATO to destabilize a country moving closer to the BRICS sphere of influence. In this report, I examine the geopolitical and historical background of a West African political crisis of global significance. … continue

Big money in politics doesn’t just drive inequality — it also fuels war

By Rebecca Green | OtherWords | April 20, 2016

The 2016 presidential elections are proving historic, and not just because of the surprising success of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders, the lively debate among feminists over whether to support Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump’s unorthodox candidacy.

The elections are also groundbreaking because they’re revealing more dramatically than ever the corrosive effect of big money on our decaying democracy. … continue

Trump’s Worldview: Old Wine in New Bottles

By Stephen Lendman | April 28, 2016

Believe nothing politicians say. They all lie. Trump sent mixed messages in delivering his first foreign policy address. His worldview is more nightmarish than visionary.

His America first agenda features uni-polarity, nativism and US military supremacy while claiming to “want to live peacefully with Russia and China.”

Absent was urging respect for and adherence to rule of law principles along with wanting mutual cooperation among all nations.

He failed to denounce America’s imperial agenda, its phony war on terrorism as a pretext for endless aggression against nonbelligerent states threatening no others.

On the one hand, he called “(o)ur foreign policy… a complete and total disaster.” On the other, his “administration will lead a free world (sic) that is properly armed and funded…” … continue

‘Hitler was a Zionist’ claim gets Ken Livingstone suspended from Labour

RT | April 28, 2016

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone has been suspended from the Labour party after he said Hitler had supported Zionism, during an interview where he defended a colleague accused of anti-Semitism.

Livingstone refused to apologize for his comments and said people should not confuse criticizing the Israeli government’s policies with being anti-Semitic after being confronted by Labour MP John Mann, who called him a “Nazi apologist” and claimed he was “rewriting history.”

The row, which was captured on video, broke out after the veteran politician went on BBC Radio London to defend MP Naz Shah who was accused of anti-Semitism over a series of Facebook posts. … continue

Germany Silences Erdogan Critics to Build New Air Force Base in Turkey

21st Century Wire | April 27, 2016

… It is definitely possible that Erdogan threatened to stop the proposed development of the German air base in Turkey unless Merkel stamped on his critics.

Erdogan has many reasons to fear criticism, primarily because the vast majority of it is absolutely justified. Turkey has been documented to be working with ISIS to smuggle oil out of Syria, and the Turkish government has just faced protests for suggesting a religious constitution should be enacted.

The economic situation is also taking a turn for the worst in Erdogan’s Turkey, as tourism to the nation has dropped a massive 40% due to the government’s reckless actions.

The fact that what is clearly free speech has been so openly trampled upon, to further the development of military progress, suggests that supposed Western priorities with peace and democracy are far from sincere. – Read full article

Fukushima ice wall won’t stop all radioactive groundwater from seeping out – chief architect

RT | April 28, 2016

An ice wall being built at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant won’t completely prevent groundwater from flowing inside the facility and leaking out into the earth as radioactive water, according to a chief architect of the project.

Chief architect Yuichi Okamura told AP that gaps in the wall and rainfall will still allow for water to creep into the facility and reach the damaged nuclear reactors, which will in turn create as much as 50 tons of contaminated water each day.

“It’s not zero,” Okamura, a general manager at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said. “It’s a vicious cycle, like a cat-and-mouse game… we have come up against many unexpected problems.” … continue

Syria condemns US troops deployment as blatant aggression

Press TV – April 28, 2016

Syria has strongly criticized the United States for the deployment of a contingent of troops on its soil, saying the move amounts to aggression against national sovereignty.

A Syrian Foreign Ministry official on Thursday called the reported deployment of 150 US troops to Rumeilan airport east of Syria as “an unacceptable and illegal intervention” which came without authorization from the Syrian government.

“We received with great concern the reports about the entry of 150 American soldiers to the Syrian territory of Rumeilan,” said the official, adding, “The Syrian Arab Republic strongly condemns this blatant aggression, which represents a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty.”

The official said the deployment clearly violated the territorial integrity of Syria and ran contrary to internationally recognized norms and conventions. He called for governments and responsible bodies to take action against the US move. … Full article

Drones kill more civilians than manned war planes. Why? That’s a state secret.

PrivacySOS | April 26, 2016

In his first public comments on the US drone campaign in Pakistan, President Obama described it as “a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists who are trying to go in and harm Americans, hit American facilities, American bases, and so on.” In 2011, then-national security advisor to the president John Brennan said of the CIA drone campaign that “there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we’ve been able to develop.” Popular American mythology in the Obama era has held that drones are the surgeon’s tool in the endless, global war on terror. American soldiers and spies can knock off terrorists without bogging down the military in ground occupations, or killing civilians.

So says the myth. The reality is starkly different… continue

US Apocalypse in Mosul in the Guise of Bombing ISIS

By Felicity Arbuthnot | Dissident Voice | April 27, 2016

… There is a sickening familiarity to some of the targets – food, pharmaceuticals, water treatment plants, electricity generation, communications and educational facilities, bridges (the country, towns and cities are divided by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers) have been favoured targets since 1991. Every time painstakingly and imaginatively restored they have been re-bombed for a quarter of a century. … Read full article

Popular representation and democracy in Syria – end of `Alawite dictatorship’?

By Kristian GIRLING | Oriental Review | April 27, 2016

The Syrian parliamentary election of 13 April 2016 is demonstrative of the apparent and continuing plurality of Syrian society as manifested within the People’s Council – a parliamentary body which has often been regarded as merely a façade of legitimation for the ruling Baath Party government of President Bashar al-Assad. Plurality within the parliament is of significance insofar as it is indicative of the involvement of a range of religious communities in Syrian political life and runs directly contrary to the prevailing narrative of Syria as a dictatorship dominated by the Alawite religious community, of which the Assad family are members, and to the exclusion of the involvement of other religious communities in political activity. … continue

Hamas bloc wins over student vote in Birzeit University elections

Ma’an – April 28, 2016

377659CRAMALLAH – A student bloc of the Hamas movement on Wednesday came out on top in the closely-followed elections at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

Following debates between factions vying for the student vote, the pro-Hamas al-Wafaa Islamic bloc claimed victory after gaining 25 seats, with the Yasser Arafat bloc of the Fatah movement trailing behind with 21 seats.

The bloc representing Leftist movement Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine for its part came out with five seats, while other leftist parties including the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian People’s Party did not receive enough votes to garner a seat. […]

As this year marked ten years since the last national elections, university elections are seen as important indicators of public opinion by political commentators in Palestine and Birzeit is considered to be the most important campus in the yearly political contests. […]

Hamas and PFLP in particular have lambasted the PA’s ongoing security coordination with Israel as an alleged attempt to quash resistance against the Israeli occupation, while Hamas last summer accused the PA of attempting to eradicate the movement from the West Bank. … Read full article

Israeli Army Opens Fire On Gaza Farmers

IMEMC News & Agencies – April 28, 2016

Israeli soldiers opened fire, on Thursday morning, on a number of Palestinian farmers in their lands, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and east of Gaza city.

The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the soldiers, stationed across the border fence, fired many live rounds on the farmers, while working in their own lands, forcing them away.

WAFA said the two latest attacks targeted Palestinian lands east of Khan Younis city, in the southern part of the coastal region, and east of Gaza city. … Full article

The Woman, Who was Killed By Israeli Soldiers Along With Her Brother, Was Pregnant

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC | April 28, 2016

Maram_Ibrahim-e1461800901749Palestinian medical sources confirmed that the Palestinian woman, who was killed by Israeli army fire, on Wednesday, did not carry an explosive belt as the army claimed, but was instead five months pregnant, and “her only fault was walking the wrong route and not understanding Hebrew.”

The Israeli police and army tried to come up with various allegations, including the usual claim of “carrying a knife,” and then tried to claim that she “was wearing an explosive belt,” while the only thing she “carried” was her fetus.

The slain woman has been identified as Maram Saleh Abu Ismael, 24, a mother of two children; Sarah, 6, and Remas, 4. Her brother, Ibrahim Taha, only sixteen years of age, was also killed as he was walking with her, heading to Jerusalem, after she obtained for the first time, a permit to enter the city.

Contrary to the Israeli allegation that Maram “carried a knife,” and the second allegation of “carrying an explosive,” eyewitnesses said the two victims walked the wrong route while heading to the Qalandia terminal, as they took the route that is only used for vehicles, instead of the pedestrian path.

The soldiers then started shouting in Hebrew, a language neither Maram nor her brother understood, and the woman just froze from fear before the soldiers started firing at her, and when her brother rushed to rescue her, the soldiers shot him too, and both were left to bleed to death. … continue

Obama’s Legacy: al-Qaida’s Protector-in-Chief

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford | April 27, 2016

President Obama is caught in a trap of his own making in Syria. Actually, the trap was laid long ago, when the U.S. and Saudi Arabia partnered to create something the world had never seen: an international jihadist network. Now that network is facing defeat at the hands of Russia and the Syrian government, and must be saved by U.S. “boots on the ground.” – Read article

What Kerry’s ‘Absolute Lines’ in Syria Really Mean

Sputnik | April 27, 2016

US Secretary of State John Kerry wants to draw “absolute” lines across Syria to create the Western “areas of influence” there. Such an approach resembles nothing so much as neo-colonialism, experts say.

The idea to create spheres of influence in Syria voiced recently by US Secretary of State John Kerry clearly indicates that Washington continues to pursue its Plan B in Syria.

In his interview with The New York Times editorial board Kerry narrated that the White House proposed to draw clear lines in Syria to the Kremlin.

“We’ve even proposed drawing a line, an absolute line, and saying, ‘You don’t go over there, we don’t go over here, and anything in between is fair game.’ And they are considering that, and I think we will get there in the next week or so,” Kerry told the editorial board.

However, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, such an approach is oversimplified. … continue

Bernie Sanders Says US ‘Kill List’ Legal, Backs Troops in Syria

teleSUR – April 26, 2016

People in the United States have “a lot of right to defend ourselves,” presidential contender Bernie Sanders said at a town hall meeting Monday when asked if he too would have an extrajudicial “kill list” like President Barack Obama. The senator from Vermont also endorsed Obama’s recent deployment of another 250 soldiers to Syria as part of the war against the Islamic State group.

“Look. Terrorism is a very serious issue,” Sanders told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “There are people out there who want to kill Americans, who want to attack this country, and I think we have a lot of right to defend ourselves.” However, the senator added, “it has to be done in a constitutional, legal way.” … continue

#FeelTheBern Goes #UpInSmoke

By John Stauber | CounterPunch | April 27, 2016

From the moment he announced, it was obvious what newly christened Democrat Bernie Sanders would become: The Great Progressive Hope who would fight to slay Wall Street’s champions and reclaim the party for some long ago or long imagined liberal greatness. And it was obvious how his campaign would end, as it is now wrapping up, with Bernie begrudgingly conceding that he cannot win against Hillary’s oligarchy backing and the rigged process of establishment SuperDelegates designed to make sure no self-proclaimed democratic socialist-type ever wins the nomination. … continue

Likud Becomes a Regional Member of the European Parliament

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | CounterPunch | April 27, 2016

Although Israel is geographically located in Asia, the self-described “Jewish state” has emphasized its Europeanness whenever it has suited it to do so. It has been allowed to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest since 1973, as the Israeli Broadcasting Authority has been a member of the European Broadcasting Union since 1957. Israeli soccer clubs began playing in European competitions in 1991 and Israel became a member of UEFA in 1994. Even more importantly, in the political sphere, Tel Aviv’s recent major political step towards realizing its apparent desire of becoming a fully-fledged European state has passed under the radar of the media.

In March, a delegation from the Likud visited Strasbourg at the invitation of the European Conservatives and Reformists faction in the European Parliament. According to the Jerusalem Post, the delegation explained the Likud’s policies to a group of 15 ECR members of Parliament. The Likud reached an agreement with the ECR that enables it to become one of the ECR’s “regional members,” which allows Likud representatives to attend ECR faction meetings and influence its policies.

Within a year, the Likud will become a regional party ally of the European Conservatives and Reformists faction in the European Parliament. The move is likely to boost relations between Israel’s ruling party and Europe. The ECR decided the Likud could already become observers in the faction and that a delegation of ECR members would be hosted by the Likud in Israel in October. … continue

Israeli journalist: Sisi would accept a Palestinian state in Sinai

MEMO | April 27, 2016

An Israeli journalist has called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to exploit the readiness of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi to concede Egyptian land in return for money to solve the conflict with the Palestinians, Arabi21 reported yesterday.

Haggai Segal, the editor of the Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon, wrote: “Al-Sisi’s concession of Tiran and Sanafir islands shows that Arabs do not revere the land. Al-Sisi conceded the two islands for money.”

The journalist, who is very close to Netanyahu, added: “Two years ago, Al-Sisi showed his willingness to accept the establishment of a Palestinian state in Sinai. This makes us expect reaching an agreement with Al-Sisi and the Palestinian Authority (PA) regarding this in return for a respectable sum of money.” … continue

April – 2016

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