Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites): Defense One – All Content: Trump Just Killed His Own Defense Strategy

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President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, with acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, right.

Defense One – All Content

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites)


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1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (114 sites): Voice of America: Insurers Sue California Utility Over Wildfire Damages

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Several insurance companies have filed lawsuits blaming Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for a deadly California wildfire that destroyed 14,000 homes and triggered billions of dollars in insurance claims.

The lawsuits filed by Allstate, State Farm, USAA and their subsidiaries come on top of several other cases filed by victims of the Camp Fire, which devastated the towns of Paradise, Magalia and Concow north of Sacramento after it started Nov. 8.

Investigators have not pinpointed a cause for the fire. But the insurance companies note in their lawsuits that flames ignited near the site of a transmission-line irregularity reported by the utility. They also note a potential second ignition point involving PG&E distribution lines. 

​California law

Under California law, PG&E is held entirely liable if lawyers can prove the fire is linked to the utility’s power lines or other equipment, a fact that sent shares of the company tumbling following the start of the fire.

Following a series of deadly fires in 2017 in Northern California’s wine country, PG&E executives and lobbyists tried to persuade state lawmakers to change the legal standard and reduce the company’s liability. Lawmakers declined, but they allowed the company to pass along some of the costs from the 2017 fires to its customers in hopes of sparing it from bankruptcy. The law does not help the company for the 2018 blazes.

The lawsuits were filed last month in Sacramento County Superior Court. They were first reported by the Sacramento Business Journal.

“We are aware of lawsuits regarding the Camp Fire,” Lynsey Paulo, a PG&E spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Our focus continues to be on assessing infrastructure to further enhance safety and helping our customers recover and rebuild.”

​Manslaughter charges possible

PG&E, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities with more than 5 million customers in Northern and Central California, is facing legal and regulatory challenges on a number of fronts, including the potential for criminal charges.

The California attorney general told a judge last week that PG&E could face charges as serious as involuntary manslaughter or murder if investigators determine that reckless operation or maintenance of power equipment caused any recent wildfires in the state.

A federal judge overseeing a case that resulted in a criminal conviction for the company following a 2010 pipeline explosion has asked PG&E to explain any role it may have had in the Camp Fire. The judge could impose new requirements on the utility if it’s found to have violated its probation in the pipeline case.

Voice of America

1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (114 sites)


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1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: New York City sees massive lines for salads after ‘eat healthy’ New Year’s resolutions

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New Yorkers trying to make good on “eat healthy” resolutions are mobbing salad joints — leaving many on long lines cursing their radicchio-strewn diets.

FOX News

1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: US-China Trade War: Making Up Is Hard To Do – Analysis

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By Caleb Mills

In the midst of rising tariffs and economic uncertainty, a chord of
relief was struck when on December 2nd, President Donald Trump and
Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced a much-needed truce
in their emerging trade war. Needless to say, businesses on both sides
of the Pacific breathed a sigh of relief in mere hours. Hong Kong’s Hang
Seng index climbed 2.5% and the Shanghai Composite index jumped 2.6%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 1%. In the West, the UK’s FTSE 100 index, the CAC40 in France, and Germany’s DAX were all up by about 2% at the end of the day.

But a truce isn’t peace, and that has been reflected by the political
maneuvering in both Washington and Beijing as the two governments
prepare for the next round of trade negotiations. Which begs the
question: What’s going on?

While this temporary armistice may have been struck in Buenos Aires
during the G20 Summit, the origins of the US-China trade war goes way
back to predate Trump’s populism or Xi’s imperial governance.

Trade relations with China, as well as many other Asian nations, for
America, has always had more than just pure capitalistic benefit at
heart. After all, it wasn’t until 1979 that the United States even
established ‘normal’ economic ties with the Chinese. Up until Richard
Nixon’s attempts to thaw relations during the Vietnam war, and President
Deng Xiaoping’s liberalization
of economic policy, the U.S. position on China had remained the same:
passive containment. But it lacked heart, particularly in the face of
greater foes such as the Soviet Union. In some cases, like with the
Nixon Administration, Washington even viewed China’s contentious
relationship with Moscow as potential shrapnel to be logged against the
Kremlin.

In fact, the average American had a rather positive view of China as a result. In 1979, Gallup
polling showed China’s favorability rating in the U.S. was 64%. In
fact, up until the early 90s, China remained relatively popular, peaking
at 72%. Even in the past five years, Uncle Sam’s Pacific neighbor has
hovered in the 45% approval range back home.

Hoping to avoid conflict while still spreading Western concepts of
economics and governance, much of America’s reasoning for a purposefully
lax trade policy with China was the hopes that the connection would
lead Beijing into the 21st Century as, at the very least, a neutralized
threat. And to an extent, it worked. In 2001, the United States even backed China’s entrance into the WTO. But perhaps in an ironic twist to the US foreign policy of self-preservation and human rights, these initiatives designed to push China toward a freer market worked a little too well.

There’s even a term for it: Red Capitalism, which also happens to be a
book written by Fraser J. T. Howie, a researcher who’s conducted
extensive studies on China’s maneuvering in international markets. When asked
about the recent truce, Howie told the Washington Post in an email
“Markets should be happy, in that the worst is postponed. But I don’t
see the West ever going back to business as usual with China. Too many
genies have been let out of bottles.”

China took advantage of the open-door policy given to them by the
United States in trade and used it to their advantage. Trade between the
two nations reached $211.6 billion in 2005, compared to the $2.4 billion exchanged in 1979. From  2001-2005, the volume of US-China trade increased
an average of 27.4 percent a year. As a result, the United States has
become the top market for Chinese merchandise and China is buying up more U.S. goods, with U.S. exports to China rising 21.5 percent in each of the last four years.

But China hasn’t been the only one utilizing these open markets. By 2030, it’s expected that US exports
to China alone will be a staggering $520 billion, according to a report
from the US-China Business Council. To put that into perspective, the combined
trade between Beijing and Washington in 2017 was worth $710 billion
dollars. The United States has continuously operated as a high-value
trade partner for the Chinese, providing trucks and construction
equipment, which totaled profits of $6.7 billion in 2014 and $7.1 billion in 2015. US exports to China made 1.8 million new jobs and $165 billion in GDP in 2015 according to the same report.

Overall, while cheaper Chinese products have created a damaging trade
deficit and led to the dissolution of countless U.S. jobs over the
years, it’s also necessary to note that this imbalance hasn’t been
without its positive effects. It’s estimated
by the US-China Business Council that the flood of cheaper products
have lowered overall prices in the marketplace by around 1.5%, which
when taking into consideration that the average family in the states
made $56,500 a year in 2015, means that this trade balance saved these
families around $850 a year.

The reasons behind this trade deficit
of $335.4 billion are rather straightforward and simple: American
businesses’ reliance on cheaper Chinese products have led to the U.S.
importing more than it exports to Beijing.

Many argue that the main reason for the economic imbalance between
these two superpowers –  China’s overall cheaper pricing – is purely an
artificial ploy by the government. By devaluing the yaun, China’s
currency, at a rate of 40%, Beijing has kept it below free-market levels. While China did agree in 2005 to a 2.1% increase in the yaun’s value, it pales in comparison to the work needed to restore the currency to normal levels, a claim backed up by the director of the Institute for International Economics, C. Fred Bergsten, among others.

Strangely enough, unlike the vast majority of issues that face the
United States, the problem of trade with China is a matter that draws
bipartisan support. A recent
UBS poll shows that 71% of U.S. business owners want a tariff increase
on Chinese products, a belief shared by 59% of high-value investors in
the same survey. Even politicians seem to agree on the issue for the
most part.

“China’s refusal to play by international economic rules cripples our
ability to compete on a level playing field.” Sen. Chuck Schumer,
current Senate Minority Leader said
back in 2006. Republican Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sponsored a bill in that
year that would have levied a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese
imports unless the yuan was significantly revalued. However, the bill
never made it to President Bush’s desk, as it was withdrawn in March
after the two lawmakers visited Beijing.

President Trump’s surprise victory in November of 2016 shook the
dynamic of this decades-old relationship to its core. His populistic
rhetoric and his position as the US champion of protectionism made some
think that as a man, as an idea, he was unelectable. But Donald Trump
didn’t invent the concept of ‘America First’ all by himself; he
carefully utilized the seed of discontent that had been sowed years ago.
His talk on China had always been tough, a mirrored reflection of much
of his positions in general on the campaign trail.

“China is neither an ally or a friend — they want to beat us and own our country” – a tweet from Trump on Sept. 21, 2011.

“We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country and that’s what
they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world.” –
another from the campaign trail in May 2, 2016.

But when Trump made his first visit to the Chinese mainland early in
his term, hints at a more moderate tone seemed to emerge. “I don’t blame
China,” Trump said
in Beijing. “After all, who can blame a country for being able to take
advantage of another country to the benefit of its citizens?” But then,
for a while, it seemed like maybe the 2016 candidate was back in the
saddle.

Tariffs on products worth around $250 billion were levied
on Chinese products by the Trump administration in 2018, with Beijing
responding with tariffs of its own. But the G20 Summit resulted in some
concrete results, with the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirming that the two leaders had instructed their teams to intensify talks. A truce in economic hostilities was also announced, a period to be accompanied by talks that should last around 90 days. A 40% decrease in Chinese tariffs on U.S. cars is also rumored to be in the works.

Yet some analysts argue that the issues go far deeper than just a trade deficit. Barclay’s Ajay Rajadhyaksha told CNBC in October at the Barclays Asia Forum in Singapore: “This is not the U.S. and NAFTA. This is not the U.S. and the European Union
… There is a significant part of the US administration that is worried
about China’s technology ambitions. The administration wants fundamental
changes in how the Chinese treat intellectual property, how they talk
to technology companies looking to invest in China. This is not about
the trade deficit. If it was, it would be easy to solve.”

Saying that it’s almost impossible to come to any truly comprehensive
conclusion on the full impact of the world’s most powerful trade
relationship is an understatement, but it’s not hard to see that things
have changed, and probably permanently. “Business as usual” isn’t a term
we can accurately use anymore when talking about these two giants of
the Pacific. The partisanship may continue, as well as the political
hearsay, but the facts remain the same. A lot rides on the coming talks,
and the impact they will have on the global economy is unpredictable.

I guess you could say: “it’s complicated.”

The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the authors are theirs alone and don’t reflect the official position of Geopoliticalmonitor.com or any other institution.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites): Eurasia Review: US-China Trade War: Making Up Is Hard To Do – Analysis

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By Caleb Mills

In the midst of rising tariffs and economic uncertainty, a chord of
relief was struck when on December 2nd, President Donald Trump and
Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced a much-needed truce
in their emerging trade war. Needless to say, businesses on both sides
of the Pacific breathed a sigh of relief in mere hours. Hong Kong’s Hang
Seng index climbed 2.5% and the Shanghai Composite index jumped 2.6%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 1%. In the West, the UK’s FTSE 100 index, the CAC40 in France, and Germany’s DAX were all up by about 2% at the end of the day.

But a truce isn’t peace, and that has been reflected by the political
maneuvering in both Washington and Beijing as the two governments
prepare for the next round of trade negotiations. Which begs the
question: What’s going on?

While this temporary armistice may have been struck in Buenos Aires
during the G20 Summit, the origins of the US-China trade war goes way
back to predate Trump’s populism or Xi’s imperial governance.

Trade relations with China, as well as many other Asian nations, for
America, has always had more than just pure capitalistic benefit at
heart. After all, it wasn’t until 1979 that the United States even
established ‘normal’ economic ties with the Chinese. Up until Richard
Nixon’s attempts to thaw relations during the Vietnam war, and President
Deng Xiaoping’s liberalization
of economic policy, the U.S. position on China had remained the same:
passive containment. But it lacked heart, particularly in the face of
greater foes such as the Soviet Union. In some cases, like with the
Nixon Administration, Washington even viewed China’s contentious
relationship with Moscow as potential shrapnel to be logged against the
Kremlin.

In fact, the average American had a rather positive view of China as a result. In 1979, Gallup
polling showed China’s favorability rating in the U.S. was 64%. In
fact, up until the early 90s, China remained relatively popular, peaking
at 72%. Even in the past five years, Uncle Sam’s Pacific neighbor has
hovered in the 45% approval range back home.

Hoping to avoid conflict while still spreading Western concepts of
economics and governance, much of America’s reasoning for a purposefully
lax trade policy with China was the hopes that the connection would
lead Beijing into the 21st Century as, at the very least, a neutralized
threat. And to an extent, it worked. In 2001, the United States even backed China’s entrance into the WTO. But perhaps in an ironic twist to the US foreign policy of self-preservation and human rights, these initiatives designed to push China toward a freer market worked a little too well.

There’s even a term for it: Red Capitalism, which also happens to be a
book written by Fraser J. T. Howie, a researcher who’s conducted
extensive studies on China’s maneuvering in international markets. When asked
about the recent truce, Howie told the Washington Post in an email
“Markets should be happy, in that the worst is postponed. But I don’t
see the West ever going back to business as usual with China. Too many
genies have been let out of bottles.”

China took advantage of the open-door policy given to them by the
United States in trade and used it to their advantage. Trade between the
two nations reached $211.6 billion in 2005, compared to the $2.4 billion exchanged in 1979. From  2001-2005, the volume of US-China trade increased
an average of 27.4 percent a year. As a result, the United States has
become the top market for Chinese merchandise and China is buying up more U.S. goods, with U.S. exports to China rising 21.5 percent in each of the last four years.

But China hasn’t been the only one utilizing these open markets. By 2030, it’s expected that US exports
to China alone will be a staggering $520 billion, according to a report
from the US-China Business Council. To put that into perspective, the combined
trade between Beijing and Washington in 2017 was worth $710 billion
dollars. The United States has continuously operated as a high-value
trade partner for the Chinese, providing trucks and construction
equipment, which totaled profits of $6.7 billion in 2014 and $7.1 billion in 2015. US exports to China made 1.8 million new jobs and $165 billion in GDP in 2015 according to the same report.

Overall, while cheaper Chinese products have created a damaging trade
deficit and led to the dissolution of countless U.S. jobs over the
years, it’s also necessary to note that this imbalance hasn’t been
without its positive effects. It’s estimated
by the US-China Business Council that the flood of cheaper products
have lowered overall prices in the marketplace by around 1.5%, which
when taking into consideration that the average family in the states
made $56,500 a year in 2015, means that this trade balance saved these
families around $850 a year.

The reasons behind this trade deficit
of $335.4 billion are rather straightforward and simple: American
businesses’ reliance on cheaper Chinese products have led to the U.S.
importing more than it exports to Beijing.

Many argue that the main reason for the economic imbalance between
these two superpowers –  China’s overall cheaper pricing – is purely an
artificial ploy by the government. By devaluing the yaun, China’s
currency, at a rate of 40%, Beijing has kept it below free-market levels. While China did agree in 2005 to a 2.1% increase in the yaun’s value, it pales in comparison to the work needed to restore the currency to normal levels, a claim backed up by the director of the Institute for International Economics, C. Fred Bergsten, among others.

Strangely enough, unlike the vast majority of issues that face the
United States, the problem of trade with China is a matter that draws
bipartisan support. A recent
UBS poll shows that 71% of U.S. business owners want a tariff increase
on Chinese products, a belief shared by 59% of high-value investors in
the same survey. Even politicians seem to agree on the issue for the
most part.

“China’s refusal to play by international economic rules cripples our
ability to compete on a level playing field.” Sen. Chuck Schumer,
current Senate Minority Leader said
back in 2006. Republican Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sponsored a bill in that
year that would have levied a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese
imports unless the yuan was significantly revalued. However, the bill
never made it to President Bush’s desk, as it was withdrawn in March
after the two lawmakers visited Beijing.

President Trump’s surprise victory in November of 2016 shook the
dynamic of this decades-old relationship to its core. His populistic
rhetoric and his position as the US champion of protectionism made some
think that as a man, as an idea, he was unelectable. But Donald Trump
didn’t invent the concept of ‘America First’ all by himself; he
carefully utilized the seed of discontent that had been sowed years ago.
His talk on China had always been tough, a mirrored reflection of much
of his positions in general on the campaign trail.

“China is neither an ally or a friend — they want to beat us and own our country” – a tweet from Trump on Sept. 21, 2011.

“We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country and that’s what
they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world.” –
another from the campaign trail in May 2, 2016.

But when Trump made his first visit to the Chinese mainland early in
his term, hints at a more moderate tone seemed to emerge. “I don’t blame
China,” Trump said
in Beijing. “After all, who can blame a country for being able to take
advantage of another country to the benefit of its citizens?” But then,
for a while, it seemed like maybe the 2016 candidate was back in the
saddle.

Tariffs on products worth around $250 billion were levied
on Chinese products by the Trump administration in 2018, with Beijing
responding with tariffs of its own. But the G20 Summit resulted in some
concrete results, with the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirming that the two leaders had instructed their teams to intensify talks. A truce in economic hostilities was also announced, a period to be accompanied by talks that should last around 90 days. A 40% decrease in Chinese tariffs on U.S. cars is also rumored to be in the works.

Yet some analysts argue that the issues go far deeper than just a trade deficit. Barclay’s Ajay Rajadhyaksha told CNBC in October at the Barclays Asia Forum in Singapore: “This is not the U.S. and NAFTA. This is not the U.S. and the European Union
… There is a significant part of the US administration that is worried
about China’s technology ambitions. The administration wants fundamental
changes in how the Chinese treat intellectual property, how they talk
to technology companies looking to invest in China. This is not about
the trade deficit. If it was, it would be easy to solve.”

Saying that it’s almost impossible to come to any truly comprehensive
conclusion on the full impact of the world’s most powerful trade
relationship is an understatement, but it’s not hard to see that things
have changed, and probably permanently. “Business as usual” isn’t a term
we can accurately use anymore when talking about these two giants of
the Pacific. The partisanship may continue, as well as the political
hearsay, but the facts remain the same. A lot rides on the coming talks,
and the impact they will have on the global economy is unpredictable.

I guess you could say: “it’s complicated.”

The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the authors are theirs alone and don’t reflect the official position of Geopoliticalmonitor.com or any other institution.

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites)


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The Global Security News: 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Palestinians’ Suffering Empowering Iran’s Extremist Regime – OpEd

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The failure to push Israel’s government to accept a just peace and end its occupation of Palestine and oppression of Palestinian rights has empowered extremist regimes, including and especially Iran. Tehran thrives on the fact that Palestinians suffer and uses every aspect of that suffering to strengthen its network of extremist allies.

By scorning peace with the Palestinians, Israel is steadily fueling the Islamic Republic’s growing strength. Although both Israel and America have vowed to wage conflict with Iran, history shows us that both nations have limited their military responses to Iran to air strikes, bombings and embargoes designed to punish Iran’s government and people.

On the other hand, the use of brutality and military strikes has done nothing to force Hamas to its knees in Gaza and only acted to give the group greater strength there.

If the Arab world would stand up to Israel’s war crimes, apartheid policies and extremist notions of Zionist superiority, it would not only be bringing about an end to the Palestine-Israel conflict, but it would also be weakening Iran, which feeds on the continuation of Palestinian suffering.

The near total lack of initiative by the Arab world has allowed the Israeli government to dismiss all efforts to achieve a genuine peace, meaning the region is at risk of being plunged into worsening conflict, while the Iranian regime is empowered by the extremist movements.

It takes true vision to see the unfolding catastrophe facing the Arab world in the wake of the dormant peace process and near total Arab acquiescence to Israel’s guileful policies.

Making peace with Israel without achieving a genuine resolution to the Palestine conflict will only empower extremists to unite around one radical agenda. And that empowers Iran to escalate its influence beyond its own borders.

Iran’s standing is empowered by the differing challenges facing the various Arab nations, such as the turmoil in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Iran continues to strengthen its influence in Lebanon through Syria and the radical Hezbollah militia.

In the absence of a Palestinian state that offers true hope to the Palestinians and fuel for the movement for social justice throughout the Middle East, Iran continues to grow in strength.

Now is the time for the Arab world to unite and turn the tables on Iran, not by trumpeting Israel’s violent aggression and threats against Iran but by demanding that America acts.

The US is the lynchpin in this equation. It sustains Israel through billions of dollars in funding and military support and the backing of its biased mainstream news media. American support has allowed Israel to be impervious to the concepts of justice and the rule of law.

The Arab world can’t keep Israel in check because Israel’s politics is too cunning and deceitful. But it can put pressure on America.

Despite Trump’s rhetoric and actions in support of Israel, he is walking a thin line that could easily provoke Tel Aviv into cleverly undermining his political will before shifting its support to someone else. It’s not like Trump or his wobbly Republican base is any different to his Democratic foes when it comes to supporting Israel. Israel’s government can stand with Trump for as long as he benefits them and showers them with gifts, or it can flip like a light switch and turn off support for Trump, instead embracing nearly any of the Democratic leadership.

It is Israel and, to some extent, America that have refused to embrace the laudable 2002 Arab League peace initiative originated by Saudi Arabia. That initiative still stands and has not been abandoned.

Pending peace in Palestine, extremism continues to maintain the threatening upper hand.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)

The Global Security News


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Palestinians’ Suffering Empowering Iran’s Extremist Regime – OpEd

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The failure to push Israel’s government to accept a just peace and end its occupation of Palestine and oppression of Palestinian rights has empowered extremist regimes, including and especially Iran. Tehran thrives on the fact that Palestinians suffer and uses every aspect of that suffering to strengthen its network of extremist allies.

By scorning peace with the Palestinians, Israel is steadily fueling the Islamic Republic’s growing strength. Although both Israel and America have vowed to wage conflict with Iran, history shows us that both nations have limited their military responses to Iran to air strikes, bombings and embargoes designed to punish Iran’s government and people.

On the other hand, the use of brutality and military strikes has done nothing to force Hamas to its knees in Gaza and only acted to give the group greater strength there.

If the Arab world would stand up to Israel’s war crimes, apartheid policies and extremist notions of Zionist superiority, it would not only be bringing about an end to the Palestine-Israel conflict, but it would also be weakening Iran, which feeds on the continuation of Palestinian suffering.

The near total lack of initiative by the Arab world has allowed the Israeli government to dismiss all efforts to achieve a genuine peace, meaning the region is at risk of being plunged into worsening conflict, while the Iranian regime is empowered by the extremist movements.

It takes true vision to see the unfolding catastrophe facing the Arab world in the wake of the dormant peace process and near total Arab acquiescence to Israel’s guileful policies.

Making peace with Israel without achieving a genuine resolution to the Palestine conflict will only empower extremists to unite around one radical agenda. And that empowers Iran to escalate its influence beyond its own borders.

Iran’s standing is empowered by the differing challenges facing the various Arab nations, such as the turmoil in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Iran continues to strengthen its influence in Lebanon through Syria and the radical Hezbollah militia.

In the absence of a Palestinian state that offers true hope to the Palestinians and fuel for the movement for social justice throughout the Middle East, Iran continues to grow in strength.

Now is the time for the Arab world to unite and turn the tables on Iran, not by trumpeting Israel’s violent aggression and threats against Iran but by demanding that America acts.

The US is the lynchpin in this equation. It sustains Israel through billions of dollars in funding and military support and the backing of its biased mainstream news media. American support has allowed Israel to be impervious to the concepts of justice and the rule of law.

The Arab world can’t keep Israel in check because Israel’s politics is too cunning and deceitful. But it can put pressure on America.

Despite Trump’s rhetoric and actions in support of Israel, he is walking a thin line that could easily provoke Tel Aviv into cleverly undermining his political will before shifting its support to someone else. It’s not like Trump or his wobbly Republican base is any different to his Democratic foes when it comes to supporting Israel. Israel’s government can stand with Trump for as long as he benefits them and showers them with gifts, or it can flip like a light switch and turn off support for Trump, instead embracing nearly any of the Democratic leadership.

It is Israel and, to some extent, America that have refused to embrace the laudable 2002 Arab League peace initiative originated by Saudi Arabia. That initiative still stands and has not been abandoned.

Pending peace in Palestine, extremism continues to maintain the threatening upper hand.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)

Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): The Global Security News: 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Palestinians’ Suffering Empowering Iran’s Extremist Regime – OpEd

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The failure to push Israel’s government to accept a just peace and end its occupation of Palestine and oppression of Palestinian rights has empowered extremist regimes, including and especially Iran. Tehran thrives on the fact that Palestinians suffer and uses every aspect of that suffering to strengthen its network of extremist allies.

By scorning peace with the Palestinians, Israel is steadily fueling the Islamic Republic’s growing strength. Although both Israel and America have vowed to wage conflict with Iran, history shows us that both nations have limited their military responses to Iran to air strikes, bombings and embargoes designed to punish Iran’s government and people.

On the other hand, the use of brutality and military strikes has done nothing to force Hamas to its knees in Gaza and only acted to give the group greater strength there.

If the Arab world would stand up to Israel’s war crimes, apartheid policies and extremist notions of Zionist superiority, it would not only be bringing about an end to the Palestine-Israel conflict, but it would also be weakening Iran, which feeds on the continuation of Palestinian suffering.

The near total lack of initiative by the Arab world has allowed the Israeli government to dismiss all efforts to achieve a genuine peace, meaning the region is at risk of being plunged into worsening conflict, while the Iranian regime is empowered by the extremist movements.

It takes true vision to see the unfolding catastrophe facing the Arab world in the wake of the dormant peace process and near total Arab acquiescence to Israel’s guileful policies.

Making peace with Israel without achieving a genuine resolution to the Palestine conflict will only empower extremists to unite around one radical agenda. And that empowers Iran to escalate its influence beyond its own borders.

Iran’s standing is empowered by the differing challenges facing the various Arab nations, such as the turmoil in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Iran continues to strengthen its influence in Lebanon through Syria and the radical Hezbollah militia.

In the absence of a Palestinian state that offers true hope to the Palestinians and fuel for the movement for social justice throughout the Middle East, Iran continues to grow in strength.

Now is the time for the Arab world to unite and turn the tables on Iran, not by trumpeting Israel’s violent aggression and threats against Iran but by demanding that America acts.

The US is the lynchpin in this equation. It sustains Israel through billions of dollars in funding and military support and the backing of its biased mainstream news media. American support has allowed Israel to be impervious to the concepts of justice and the rule of law.

The Arab world can’t keep Israel in check because Israel’s politics is too cunning and deceitful. But it can put pressure on America.

Despite Trump’s rhetoric and actions in support of Israel, he is walking a thin line that could easily provoke Tel Aviv into cleverly undermining his political will before shifting its support to someone else. It’s not like Trump or his wobbly Republican base is any different to his Democratic foes when it comes to supporting Israel. Israel’s government can stand with Trump for as long as he benefits them and showers them with gifts, or it can flip like a light switch and turn off support for Trump, instead embracing nearly any of the Democratic leadership.

It is Israel and, to some extent, America that have refused to embrace the laudable 2002 Arab League peace initiative originated by Saudi Arabia. That initiative still stands and has not been abandoned.

Pending peace in Palestine, extremism continues to maintain the threatening upper hand.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)

The Global Security News

Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Palestinians’ Suffering Empowering Iran’s Extremist Regime – OpEd

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The failure to push Israel’s government to accept a just peace and end its occupation of Palestine and oppression of Palestinian rights has empowered extremist regimes, including and especially Iran. Tehran thrives on the fact that Palestinians suffer and uses every aspect of that suffering to strengthen its network of extremist allies.

By scorning peace with the Palestinians, Israel is steadily fueling the Islamic Republic’s growing strength. Although both Israel and America have vowed to wage conflict with Iran, history shows us that both nations have limited their military responses to Iran to air strikes, bombings and embargoes designed to punish Iran’s government and people.

On the other hand, the use of brutality and military strikes has done nothing to force Hamas to its knees in Gaza and only acted to give the group greater strength there.

If the Arab world would stand up to Israel’s war crimes, apartheid policies and extremist notions of Zionist superiority, it would not only be bringing about an end to the Palestine-Israel conflict, but it would also be weakening Iran, which feeds on the continuation of Palestinian suffering.

The near total lack of initiative by the Arab world has allowed the Israeli government to dismiss all efforts to achieve a genuine peace, meaning the region is at risk of being plunged into worsening conflict, while the Iranian regime is empowered by the extremist movements.

It takes true vision to see the unfolding catastrophe facing the Arab world in the wake of the dormant peace process and near total Arab acquiescence to Israel’s guileful policies.

Making peace with Israel without achieving a genuine resolution to the Palestine conflict will only empower extremists to unite around one radical agenda. And that empowers Iran to escalate its influence beyond its own borders.

Iran’s standing is empowered by the differing challenges facing the various Arab nations, such as the turmoil in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Iran continues to strengthen its influence in Lebanon through Syria and the radical Hezbollah militia.

In the absence of a Palestinian state that offers true hope to the Palestinians and fuel for the movement for social justice throughout the Middle East, Iran continues to grow in strength.

Now is the time for the Arab world to unite and turn the tables on Iran, not by trumpeting Israel’s violent aggression and threats against Iran but by demanding that America acts.

The US is the lynchpin in this equation. It sustains Israel through billions of dollars in funding and military support and the backing of its biased mainstream news media. American support has allowed Israel to be impervious to the concepts of justice and the rule of law.

The Arab world can’t keep Israel in check because Israel’s politics is too cunning and deceitful. But it can put pressure on America.

Despite Trump’s rhetoric and actions in support of Israel, he is walking a thin line that could easily provoke Tel Aviv into cleverly undermining his political will before shifting its support to someone else. It’s not like Trump or his wobbly Republican base is any different to his Democratic foes when it comes to supporting Israel. Israel’s government can stand with Trump for as long as he benefits them and showers them with gifts, or it can flip like a light switch and turn off support for Trump, instead embracing nearly any of the Democratic leadership.

It is Israel and, to some extent, America that have refused to embrace the laudable 2002 Arab League peace initiative originated by Saudi Arabia. That initiative still stands and has not been abandoned.

Pending peace in Palestine, extremism continues to maintain the threatening upper hand.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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The Global Security News: 1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: Madonna seemingly responds to butt implants speculation: I’m ‘entitled to free agency over my body’

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Madonna is speaking out following recent speculation from fans that she enhanced her backside.

FOX News

1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites)

The Global Security News


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: Madonna seemingly responds to butt implants speculation: I’m ‘entitled to free agency over my body’

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Madonna is speaking out following recent speculation from fans that she enhanced her backside.

FOX News

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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Policy Dilemmas Cloud NATO’s Future – Analysis

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NATO is at a crossroads in terms of strategy moving forward. The Atlantic alliance faces challenges from within its membership, for example with Turkey, and from outside, specifically Russia. NATO is also stressed by extra-regional missions, such as in Afghanistan.

With members expected to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, NATO has committed to having 30 air squadrons, 30 combat vessels and 30 mechanized battalions ready to deploy within 30 days to defend the Baltic states by 2020. That commitment is going to be complicated by several factors.

There is no doubt that NATO’s problems are still left over from the Cold War, in that individual member states are befuddled by clashes in culture and identity, mixed with corruption, that ultimately affects military capability. Newer NATO members, particularly in some parts of Eastern Europe, just do not seem to be full-fledged, supportive members of the alliance. True, concentrating on specific missions such as counter-narcotics is important, but any conventional war set in the European theater involving a NATO member, and reaching the level of a fully-functional conventional armed force to face a Russian action, is problematic. It is well proven that Russia uses corruption in Europe to weaken the political order in a NATO state to achieve strategic gain in the EU.

Nevertheless, NATO and the EU are united in their common values, strategic interests and a majority of member nations. In the last few years, the two organizations have developed closer cooperation to improve security for European citizens because of internal and external threats. This cooperation ranges from cyber defenses and addressing threats to building maritime security.

Importantly, NATO and the EU cooperate on crisis management operations that help with confidence-building. In Kosovo, the NATO peacekeeping force KFOR works closely in the field with the EU’s Rule of Law Mission. And the EU’s Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina is commanded by the NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe and is located at NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. In Afghanistan, the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission and its predecessor, the International Security Assistance Force, have also cooperated with the EU’s Rule of Law Mission.

NATO and EU naval forces also work together in response to the refugee and migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. NATO deployed a maritime force to the Aegean Sea to conduct reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance of illegal crossings, supporting Turkish and Greek authorities and the EU. In the central Mediterranean, NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian supports EU Operation Sophia with information and logistics. Clearly, both regional organizations are implementing their mandates.

Russia remains a fundamental challenge to NATO because of a variety of sharp tensions, including in the Baltics and Ukraine. As such, NATO and Russia are meeting at a very high level in order to maintain an open line of communication for deconfliction. The Commander-in-Chief of NATO’s Armed Forces in Europe, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, met with the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, in Baku last month. Scaparrotti also met with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, thanking him for offering Baku as a platform for such a meeting for the second time. He said Baku was the perfect venue for a NATO-Russia meeting.

Baku is important because Azerbaijan represents an important strategic transit between Europe and Afghanistan. Baku has good relations with NATO and has participated in Afghan operations, but it is also keenly aware of the Kremlin’s interests and balances perfectly between the two, for now. Azerbaijan’s energy plans are a subject that requires NATO-Russia attention in order to reduce misunderstandings in the short term.

It should be noted that US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and Gerasimov have also been meeting in Baku to discuss issues face-to-face with the aim of easing tensions and preventing military incidents.

The third and most important factor in NATO’s outlook is what happens with Turkey. Debate rages over how to deal with an increasingly powerful and assertive Ankara, which now has a major say in Syria’s future. Aligned for the most part with Russia, NATO member Turkey is dancing with the devil for some observers in terms of its relationship with Moscow.

This relationship complicates NATO’s mission. With Ankara fighting a war in the Levant, Russia’s ability to pressure Ankara to achieve key geostrategic goals will give it an advantage against NATO in any future scenario. What is happening around the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and how Turkey is not reacting to Moscow’s moves against Ukraine is indicative.

In addition, Turkey’s relationship with Iran challenges NATO because of America’s position on Syria. With a pull-out pending by the US, NATO is looking at a Levant where Turkey will have a major say in what happens next. That puts Turkey in a more powerful position within the NATO alliance by being able to throw its weight around — an attitude that NATO is not about.

With James Mattis now out at the Pentagon, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan’s business approach to NATO is going to trump strategic priorities. That factor needs to be seen now in terms of how NATO moves forward in the coming years, especially when calculating requirements in the Baltics versus other potential theaters. 

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Could Widely Used Food Additive Cause Celiac Disease?

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Myths about gluten are hard to bust. Intolerance, allergy, sensitivity, hypersensitivity. What is what?

Celiac disease is none of these things. It is an autoimmune disorder, where gluten triggers the immune system to attack the gut. It is common, lifelong, and can seriously harm health – but nobody knows for sure what causes it. Now a review in Frontiers in Pediatrics says a common food additive could both cause and trigger these autoimmune attacks, and calls for warnings on food labels pending further tests.

Environment causes celiac disease – but only in susceptible individuals

Gluten-free diets have become popular despite little or no evidence
of benefit for most people. But for the 1 in 100 with celiac disease,
even a mouthful of bread can trigger an immune response that damages the
small intestine, impairing nutrient absorption.

Exactly what causes this autoimmune reaction to gluten – a protein
found in wheat, rye and barley – is uncertain. Specific mutations in an
important immunity-related gene called HLA-DQ seem to be necessary for
developing celiac disease, with one of two HLA-DQ variants present in
virtually every sufferer – but insufficient, as these variants are also
present in about 30% of the general population.

As a result, myriad environmental factors have proposed to interact
with genetic risk to cause celiac disease. These span infections, food
and toxins; vaccination, drugs and surgery. Most recently, food
additives have been suggested to contribute. Among these, microbial
transglutaminase – a bacterial enzyme heavily used in industrial
processing of meat, dairy, baked and other food products – has emerged
as a likely culprit, according to the new review.

How a food binder could be our undoing

“Microbial transglutaminase can glue together proteins, so it’s used
to improve food texture, palatability and shelf-life,” says co-author
Aaron Lerner, visiting professor at the Aesku.Kipp Institute in Germany.
“This enzyme functions like the transglutaminase produced by our body,
which is known to be the target of autoimmunity in celiac disease.”

There is a direct positive correlation between rising use of
industrial enzymes in bakery products and rising incidence of celiac
disease in the last four decades, according to Lerner and co-author Dr
Matthias Torsten of the Aesku.KIPP Insritute, Germany. But if
transglutaminase is produced normally in our tissues – and by our own
gut microbes – what difference should a little more in our diet make?

“This is mostly a question of scale,” argues Lerner. “Our own
transglutaminase has a different structure to the microbial sort, which
allows its activity to be tightly controlled. And while the relatively
indiscriminate microbial transglutaminase is produced by some of our
normal gut fauna, the amount of the enzyme could be significantly
increased when this microbial population is altered by factors like
infection, antibiotics or stress – or, indeed, through consumption of
industrially processed foods.”

What links gluten, transglutaminase, HLA-DQ genes and autoimmunity?

Gluten is tough to break down completely. This is useful for helping
baked goods to rise and keep their shape, but in celiac sufferers
presents a problem.

“The gluten protein fragments or ‘peptides’ that remain after
digestion are highly susceptible to transglutaminase, which modifies
them to make a variety of new peptides” Lerner explains. “These unusual
peptides are particularly likely to resist further breakdown, and to be
recognized as ‘foreign’ by HLA-DQ immune receptors inside the gut wall –
but only in those carrying the HLA-DQ variants associated with celiac
disease.”

Compounding this, components of gluten also loosen the connections
between cells lining the gut, allowing more gluten-derived proteins – as
well as microbial transglutaminase – to breach this barrier and
interact with immune cells.

“Microbial transglutaminase itself could also increase intestinal
permeability by directly modifying proteins that hold together the
intestinal barrier,” adds Lerner.

Human studies implicate microbial transglutaminase

This all begs the question: if it is gluten-derived proteins that
stimulate immune cells, why does the immune response target
transglutaminase? And are microbial and human transglutaminase
recognized interchangeably by the immune system?

“In one of our own studies, we tested antibodies from the blood of
celiac patients. We found that more antibodies were active against
complexes of transglutaminase bound to gluten fragments, than against
either component alone. The anti-complex antibody count was also the
best predictor of intestinal damage in these patients. This was true of
both microbial and human transglutaminase complexes, for which there
were similar antibody counts.”

In other words, microbial transglutaminase (bound to gluten
fragments) could in fact be the target of the immune response in celiac
disease – and the attack on our own transglutaminase merely a case of
mistaken identity. Microbial transglutaminase present in processed foods
is therefore a potential environmental cause of celiac disease.

Is microbial transglutaminase safe?

But according to Lerner, the jury is still out.

“Ultimately all we have so far are associations between microbial
transglutaminase and celiac disease. To test whether this enzyme causes
or triggers immune damage in celiac disease will require experimenting
with exposure in animal models, intestinal cell lines or biopsies”.

Nevertheless, with no known cure for celiac disease, treatment
depends on preventive measures – namely, adhering to a gluten-free diet.

“Until there is a clearer answer, we recommend transparency and
vigilance with regards to labeling of foods processed using microbial
transglutaminase.”

In Switzerland for example, such products must be labelled as unsuitable for persons with celiac disease.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Stars and Stripes: Former Marine charged with espionage in Russia has an unlikely background for a spy

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To hear the Russians tell it, American security executive Paul Whelan was a patient spy. They claim he spent years cultivating confidential sources via social media until he was arrested last week at his room in the Metropol hotel in Moscow.

Stars and Stripes

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The FBI News Review: “Peter Strzok” – Google News: Were Events Surrounding Flynn’s Moscow Visit Intentionally Misframed? – The Epoch Times

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Feedly Logo
January 03, 2019
“Peter Strzok” – Google News: Were Events Surrounding Flynn’s Moscow Visit Intentionally Misframed? – The Epoch Times
“fbi surveillance” – Google News: Feds charge Ald. Edward Burke, allege recordings capture him trying to extort Burger King owners – Chicago Tribune
Crime and Criminology from Michael_Novakhov (8 sites): “political crimes” – Google News: Machine learning can offer new tools, fresh insights for the humanities – Ars Technica
Crime and Criminology from Michael_Novakhov (8 sites): “political crimes” – Google News: Public security forces urged to uphold core role in national security maintenance – Viet Nam News
Charges from FBI’s college corruption investigation to remain – KABC-TV

“Peter Strzok” – Google News: Were Events Surrounding Flynn’s Moscow Visit Intentionally Misframed? – The Epoch Times

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (25 sites)
News Analysis Gen. Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, was interviewed on Jan. 24, 2017, by FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka about two December 2016 conversations that Flynn had with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
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“fbi surveillance” – Google News: Feds charge Ald. Edward Burke, allege recordings capture him trying to extort Burger King owners – Chicago Tribune

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (25 sites)
Longtime Ald. Edward Burke, one of Chicago’s most powerful figures and a vestige of the city’s old Democratic machine, turned himself in Wednesday on corruption charges alleging he used his political office for personal gain.
Read More

Crime and Criminology from Michael_Novakhov (8 sites): “political crimes” – Google News: Machine learning can offer new tools, fresh insights for the humanities – Ars Technica

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (25 sites)
Enlarge / Composite image based on Jacques-Louis David’s unfinished painting, “Drawing of the Tennis Court Oath” (circa 1790). Association of Cybernetic Historians
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Crime and Criminology from Michael_Novakhov (8 sites): “political crimes” – Google News: Public security forces urged to uphold core role in national security maintenance – Viet Nam News

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (25 sites)
Viet Nam News HÀ NỘI — The public security sector maintain its core role of maintaining national security and social order and safety, said Party General Secretary, President Nguyễn Phú Trọng. 
Read More

Charges from FBI’s college corruption investigation to remain – KABC-TV

KABC-TV
A federal judge on Thursday refused to dismiss federal criminal charges against former Auburn basketball assistant Chuck Person and former NBA referee Rashan Michel, who are accused of accepting bribes to steer players to certain financial advisers and agents once they turned pro.
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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. Podcasts from Michael_Novakhov (19 sites): NPR News Now: NPR News: 01-03-2019 10PM ET

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NPR News: 01-03-2019 10PM ET

Download audio: https://play.podtrac.com/npr-500005/npr-news.streaming.adswizz.com/2019/01/03/newscast220812.mp3?orgId=1&d=300&p=500005&story=682101410&t=podcast&e=682101410&ft=pod&f=500005

NPR News Now

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The Global Security News: 1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: Trump calls family of California cop allegedly killed by illegal immigrant

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President Donald Trump has spoken to the family and former colleagues of the Newman, California, police officer who was shot to death during a Dec. 26 traffic stop.

FOX News

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The Global Security News


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: Trump calls family of California cop allegedly killed by illegal immigrant

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President Donald Trump has spoken to the family and former colleagues of the Newman, California, police officer who was shot to death during a Dec. 26 traffic stop.

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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): The Global Security News: 1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: Trump calls family of California cop allegedly killed by illegal immigrant

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President Donald Trump has spoken to the family and former colleagues of the Newman, California, police officer who was shot to death during a Dec. 26 traffic stop.

FOX News

1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites)

The Global Security News

Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Iran’s Zarif Due In India, Iraq For Official Visits

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif plans to visit India and neighboring Iraq in coming days.

Heading a large economic delegation, Zarif is slated to travel to
India at the official invitation of South Asian country’s officials.

The top diplomat said representatives of Iran’s private sector would have an active presence in the trip.

After
visiting India, Zarif is planned to go to Iraq and hold talks with
senior officials of the Arab country on issues of mutual interest.

The visits would come against the backdrop of Iran’s efforts to boost its foreign trade in the US sanctions era.

Iraq’s
foreign minister said on Wednesday that his country is “not obliged” to
abide by sanctions imposed by the US against Iran and would be pursuing
options to continue bilateral trade.

On December 20, the US
granted Baghdad a 90-day extension to a waiver on abiding by the
sanctions that were re-imposed on the Islamic Republic in November.

Trade
between the two neighboring countries is thought to amount to around
$12bn, while Iran provides around 40 percent of Iraq’s electricity
needs.

Although Iraq faces possible censure by the US if it fails
to cease its trading with Iran by the end of the waiver period, Foreign
Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim said his country could continue relations
with Iran.

“These sanctions, the siege, or what is called the
embargo, these are unilateral, not international. We are not obliged (to
follow) them,” he said, speaking to a gathering of journalists on
Wednesday.

Eurasia Review

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1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: Pompeo on border security: It’s ‘an important part of American sovereignty’

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday discussed President Trump’s efforts to strengthen the border between the U.S. and Mexico, saying that having strong border security played an important role in protecting the nation.

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1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): FOX News: Missing Colorado woman’s child to temporarily remain in grandparent’s custody, judge rules

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A judge reportedly decided Thursday that the young daughter of missing Colorado mom Kelsey Berreth, who’s presumed dead, will temporarily remain in the custody of her maternal grandparents.

FOX News

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1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): Voice of America: Most Members of May’s Party Oppose Her Brexit Deal

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A majority of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party members oppose her Brexit deal with the European Union, according to a survey published Friday.

With less than three months until Britain leaves the bloc, May has yet to win parliament’s backing for her deal, and the survey may dent hopes that pressure from local members over Christmas might persuade Conservative lawmakers to support it.

May postponed a planned December vote on her deal in parliament after admitting it would…

Voice of America

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