Monday, November 20, 2017

U.S. Launches Airstrikes Targeting The Taliban's Opium Production Facilities In Afghanistan





VOA: US Launches Airstrikes in First Operation Targeting Afghan Opium

ISLAMABAD — The United States has launched its first counter-narcotics military offensive in partnership with local allies in Afghanistan to try to deprive the resurgent Taliban of its largest source of funding. The move follows years of criticism that international forces are not doing enough to curb the opium trade.

Speaking in Kabul Monday, General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. troops and NATO’s Resolute Support military mission, shared details of the coalition's first overnight counter-narcotics airstrikes.

He said the bombing campaign destroyed major Taliban narcotics production facilities in Helmand, the main poppy producing southern Afghan province, depriving the insurgent group of major revenues.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Islamic State had oil refineries to finance its wars .... until U.S.air strikes changed that. And now the Taliban ... with their opium production facilities financing its war .... are being targeted by U.S. air strikes. Hmmm .... I see a pattern here.

Update: U.S. on track to triple bombs dropped on Afghanistan against Taliban (NBC).

More News On The U.S. Launching Airstrikes Targeting The Taliban's Opium Production Facilities In Afghanistan

U.S., Afghan forces strike opium factories to curb Taliban funds -- Reuters
US hits Taliban drug labs in Afghanistan under new strategy -- ABC News/AP
US hits 'Taliban where it hurts' by striking drug labs -- AFP
US Airstrikes in Afghanistan Take Aim at Taliban Opium Labs -- New York Times
US, Afghan aircraft target Taliban's poppy facilities -- UPI
Drug Labs Used By The Taliban In Afghanistan Are Now A US Target After Trump Authorizes Strikes -- Newsweek
U.S. Strikes Taliban Drug Facilities in Strategy Shift to Target Revenue Sources -- Washington Free Beacon
Strikes on Taliban opium facilities first major use of new bombing authorities in Afghanistan -- Stars and Stripes
US, Afghan Forces Target Taliban Drug Labs, Hit 'Where it Hurts' -- Department of Defense

China Makes A Deal With South Korea That Undermines U.S. Efforts To Establish A Regional Defense Umbrella Wth Japan And South Korea

Chinese President Xi Jinping gives his epic speech to the 19th National Congress. Photo: Reuters

David Josef Volodzko, SCMP: China wins its war against South Korea’s US THAAD missile shield – without firing a shot

Seoul signs up to military constraints in return for Beijing lifting economic sanctions, setting a worrying precedent for China’s regional rivals.

A detente between China and South Korea may be good news for the Korean economy and a necessary step towards resolving the North Korea issue, but at the same time it threatens to degrade regional security for years to come.

When South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on November 11 to “normalise exchanges”, they ended a conflict that began more than a year ago with Seoul and Washington’s decision to deploy an anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea.

Beijing, which claims the system’s radar can be used by the United States to spy on China, retaliated against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system with unofficial sanctions against the South. Seoul has now agreed to accept military constraints in return for the lifting of those sanctions, creating a worrying precedent for Beijing’s rivals in the region.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The key parts of this deal are the following ....

.... The military constraints are known as the “three nos”, meaning Seoul agrees there will be no further anti-ballistic missile systems in Korea, no joining of a region-wide US missile defence system and no military alliance involving Korea, the US and Japan. This is an enormous sacrifice but for reasons both economic and political Moon had few other options.

South Korea has been suffering from Chinese economic sanctions for the past 16 months .... they just threw in the towel. Unfortunately .... it also undermines U.S. efforts to establish a regional defense umbrella that would involve South Korea, Japan, and the U.S.. To put it bluntly .... President Trump's strategy of containing North Korea by working with South Korea and Japan has just suffered a setback. This also explains what has happened in the past few weeks. President Trump goes to Japan .... and is told by the Japanese on how dangerous the situation is in this part of Asia. He goes to South Korea .... and is told that they are negotiating with China on a defense and economic arrangement that will squeeze the U.S. out .... but China will play an important role in holding back North Korea. Trump goes to China .... is told the same thing, but with even more promises from the Chinese that they will contain North Korea.  President Trump and his advisers do not share the same optimism that South Korea and China have on being able to contain North Korea, and they make the judgement call that it is going to get worse ..... hence we are now reading reports like this .... U.S. Escalates Its Research To Try And Stop North Korean Missiles From Leaving Korean Airspace (November 16, 2017). As for China's promises and optimism on containing North Korea .... I guess it is not working out ....North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Is Ignoring China's Special Envoy To Improve Ties.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 20, 2017

Many observers, including this author, were surprised to see China back such tough sanctions | Photo: UN

Andrei Lankov, NK News: Why Beijing is changing its tune on North Korea

China increasingly wants sanctions and pressure - but on its own terms

Song Tao, a prominent diplomat and head of the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC), arrived in North Korea on Friday for a four-day visit as a special envoy of Beijing.

Song Tao’s trip comes at a time when relations between North Korea and China are changing fast: since mid-August, Beijing has been increasingly tough on its neighbor and, technically, ally.

Readers with good memories may recall that we have seen this before: in recent years there have been many episodes when observers claimed that China had finally decided to get serious about economic sanctions on North Korea.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 20, 2017

Trump Declares North Korea a "State Sponsor of Terrorism." Does North Korea Really Commit Terrorism? -- Joshua Keating, Slate

U.S. To Impose More Sanctions On North Korea, But How Effective Will They Be? -- Jackie Northam, NPR

North Korea's 'ballistic submarine': Will Kim's gamble pay off? -- Julian Ryall, DW

Escalatory Dangers Could Push North Korea Into a War -- Michael Kraig, National Interest

Will Zimbabwe's Mugabe Resign or Be Impeached? -- Katelyn Newman, US News and World Report

Who is in charge of Zimbabwe? -- -- Inside Story/Al Jazeera

Coup in Zimbabwe: A win-win for China – for now -- Grant Newsham, Asia Times

Saudi Arabia Gathers Allies Against Iran 'Terror,' but Lebanon, Iraq and Syria Don't Show -- Tom O'Connor, Newsweek

What is Mohammed bin Salman's next move? -- Inside Story/Al Jazeera

The House Finally Debates the War in Yemen. But the War Will Go On. -- Daniel R. DePetris, National Interest

Angela Merkel's career in jeopardy as Germany's coalition talks fail -- James Glenday, ABC News Online

Germany's Political Crisis Is No Tragedy -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

Pinera faces battle to win Chile presidency against resurgent left -- Antonio De la Jara and Mitra Taj, Reuters

Real Puerto Rico Fiasco Starts After Recovery -- Timothy L. O'Brien, Bloomberg

The coming economic downturn in Canada -- Deb Shaw, Markets Now

Brazil Is on Track to Get Its Own Trump -- Mac Margolis, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- November 20, 2017 (Evening Edition)



DW: Coalition talks: Germany's Angela Merkel prefers fresh elections over minority government

Preliminary coalition talks collapsed between Chancellor Merkel and potential partners over the weekend. After speaking with President Steinmeier, Merkel said she was ready to lead her party to fresh elections.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Monday that she was ready to take her Christian Democratic (CDU) party into fresh elections after coalition talks with the Green party and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) failed over the weekend.

"I'm very skeptical," about leading a minority government, Merkel told public broadcaster ZDF. The center-right politician said that she was ready to lead Germany for four more years, but that she felt a majority government was necessary for stability in her country and Europe.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Hezbollah says ready to pull forces from Iraq after IS defeat.

Hezbollah denies sending arms to regional conflicts.

Chief of mainstream Syria opposition group resigns.

Critical week for Syria as parallel talks get under way.

Syria: ISIS militants defeated in final stronghold.

Arab states hold emergency meeting on Iran, Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia seeks to ratchet up pressure against Iran.

'Saudi propaganda': Iran slams Arab League statement lashing out at Tehran, Hezbollah.

Iraq Supreme Court rules Kurdish referendum unconstitutional. Iraqi court rules Kurdish independence vote unconstitutional.

Iraqi authorities clamp down on sectarian hate speech.

Iran earthquake: Khamenei criticises government's response.

US sanctions 'network' accused of forging money for Iran.

Hundreds of rights violations documented in Yemen.

Rafah border crossing to remain open for two more days.

UN warns of conflict in Gaza if Cairo talks fail.

Israel to deport 40,000 African refugees without their consent.

ASIA

Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terrorism, triggers sanctions.

North Korean prison camps stopped reporting deaths under Kim Jong Un, ex-prisoner claims.

US hits 'Taliban where it hurts' by striking drug labs.

Myanmar: EU and Germany see positive signals amid Rohingya crisis.

Suu Kyi blames world conflicts partly on illegal immigration.

North Korea: The US will regret 'letting such a depraved and stupid guy occupy the Oval Office'.

The city on the North Korean border where Chinese come to peer in.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern 'regrets Trump story'.

Bangladesh arrests militant suspect in US blogger killing.

Okinawa car crash sparks US troops alcohol ban in Japan.

AFRICA

Burundi opposition to boycott new round of talks: UN.

The crocodile returns: Zimbabwe's ex-vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa is due in country to meet Mugabe as military chiefs announce 'Operation Restore Legacy' to remove despot from power.

Zimbabwe: Ruling ZANU-PF party drafts impeachment motion against President Robert Mugabe.

Boko Haram kills six in NE Nigeria: militia, local.

South Sudan says ex-military chief freed from house arrest.

Kenya Supreme Court upholds Kenyatta election victory. Supreme Court upholds Uhuru Kenyatta's victory.

Two killed in protests after Kenya's top court upholds election.

Angola's Lourenco replaces police and intelligence chiefs.

Deadly plague epidemic in Madagascar that is at 'crisis' point will trigger an outbreak of POLIO because aid workers are now focused only on the 'medieval disease', researcher warns.

EUROPE

Merkel signals readiness for new election after coalition talks collapse.

Germany plunged into political crisis after coalition talks fail.

Germany's Merkel suffers blow as FDP pulls out of coalition talks.

German government talks collapse; Merkel seeks to reassure.

France on a mission to restore lost Middle East clout.

Michel Barnier warns Theresa May the EU 'will not wait' for a new free trade deal with Britain.

Poland fury over 'attack' by EU's Tusk.

George Soros decries Hungary's PM Orban for anti-Semitic attacks 'reminiscent of the 1930s'.

Putin plan to rejuvenate Russian politics makes slow progress.

France wrestles with the line between seduction, harassment.

AMERICAS

Mexico's Lopez Obrador to propose more infrastructure, social spending.

Yellen to leave Fed board once successor Powell sworn in.

Chile election: Conservative Piñera to face Socialist Guillier in run-off. Ex-President Pinera leads Chile vote, but faces runoff.

Trump open to dropping healthcare provision in Senate tax bill: aide.

Special counsel sends wide-ranging request for documents to Justice Department.

After border agent is killed and partner injured in Texas, Trump renews call for wall.

U.S. envoy to Russia: visa consultations in consulates may resume soon - TASS.

Argentina navy: Missing sub 'had called to report breakdown'.

Puerto Rico's misery: Thousands without homes, power 2 months after storms.

New groping allegation against US Senator Al Franken. Roy Moore accuser Leigh Corfman shares why she went public in exclusive interview. Moore dodges the press as harassment scandal spirals.

Charles Manson dies aged 83 after decades in prison.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

USA's Tillerson and Saudi crown prince discuss terrorism by phone.

Hamas rejects Arab League labelling Hezbollah 'terrorists'.

After years of letting captives own their artwork, Pentagon calls it U.S. property. And may burn it.

Understanding al Qaeda through the massive trove of Osama bin Laden’s files.

Lebanon's president rejects terrorism suggestion.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street ticks up, lifted by Verizon, chipmakers.

US files suit to block $85 bn AT&T-Time Warner merger.

Global stocks gain on global growth outlook, euro falls.

Canada, Mexico to question U.S. auto content demands at NAFTA talks.

Making space for the millionaires: Monaco's £1.5billion plan to reclaim 15 acres of land from the Med so thousands can move to the tax haven in the next decade.

Keystone XL pipeline faces last major regulatory hurdle.

President Trump Declares North Korea A State Sponsor Of Terror



Politico: Trump announces designation of North Korea as state sponsor of terrorism

'Should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago,' Trump says.

President Donald Trump announced Monday that the U.S. will designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, saying the move would ratchet up sanctions against the repressive state to "the highest level."

"We will be instituting a very critical step and that will start right now," Trump said in remarks at the top of a Cabinet meeting at the White House. "Today, the United States is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago."

Read more ....

More News On President Trump Declaring North Korea A State Sponsor Of Terror

US declares NKorea a terror sponsor; new sanctions expected -- AP
Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terrorism, triggers sanctions -- Reuters
Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terror -- AFP
Trump declares North Korea 'sponsor of terror' -- BBC
President Trump designates North Korea as 'state sponsor of terror' -- ABC News
US puts North Korea back on terrorism sponsors list -- DW
Donald Trump designates North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, triggering sanctions -- ABC News Online
Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terrorism -- RT
North Korea's on-again-off-again status as a state sponsor of terrorism -- Washington Post
Trump redesignates North Korea a state sponsor of terror: What that means -- FOX News

South Korea Spy Agency: North Korea Readying A New Round Of Missile Launches



Reuters: South Korea fears further missile advances by North this year in threat to U.S.

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea may conduct additional missile tests this year to polish up its long-range missile technology and ramp up the threat against the United States, South Korea’s spy agency said on Monday, adding that it was monitoring developments closely.

North Korea is pursuing nuclear weapons and missile programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions and has made no secret of its plans to develop a missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland. It has fired two missiles over Japan.

The reclusive state appears to have carried out a recent missile engine test while brisk movements of vehicles were spotted near known missile facilities, Yi Wan-young, a member of South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence committee which was briefed by Seoul’s National Intelligence Service, said.

Read more ....

More News On South Korea's Spy Agency Claiming That North Korea Is Readying A New Round Of Missile Launches

North Korea could launch another ballistic missile before year end -- Arirang
North Korea could test 'array of ballistic missiles' before end of the year, South Korea spy agency says -- FOX News
Kim Jong-un can develop a missile capable of reaching the US mainland THIS YEAR, claims South Korea -- Daily Mail
North Korea Readying New Round of Launches, Intel Says -- Foreign Policy
South Detects "Engine Test" At North Korean Nuclear Facility -- Zero Hedge

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Is Ignoring China's Special Envoy To Improve Ties

Chinese special envoy Song Tao (second from left) meets with Choi Ryong-hae, Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party at the Mansudae Assembly in Pyongyang on Nov. 17. (taken from the Chinese Communist Party International Liaison Department website)

Korea Herald: ‘NK leader’s attitude toward Chinese envoy shows his frustration’

A lack of response from the North Korean leader toward an ongoing visit by China’s special envoy may be a sign of Kim Jong-un’s frustration toward China’s newfound cooperation with the United States, an expert in South Korea said Monday.

“The meeting between Kim Jong-un and Song Tao, if realized, could be viewed as a barometer for the North Korea-China relationship and if there is no sign of such interaction by the end of the trip, it means Kim is expressing his discomfort over China’s North Korea policy,” said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Dongguk University in Seoul.

Beijing dispatched Song Tao, who heads the ruling Communist Party’s external affairs department in Beijing, to Pyongyang on Friday to “inform North Korea of the (19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party),” said China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: People are beginning to notice .... Chinese special envoy yet to meet with Kim Jong-un (The Hankyoreh). This blog noticed this two days ago .... China Says Will Work With North Korea. North Korea Sends A Different Message (November 18, 2017).

Sale Of Migrants In Libya 'Slave Markets' Exposed





CNN: Libya opens investigation into slave auctions following CNN report

Libyan authorities have launched a formal investigation into slave auctions in the country following an exclusive CNN report earlier this week, the government said Friday.

"A high-level committee has been convened encompassing representatives from all the security apparatus to oversee this investigation," Anes Alazabi, an official with the internationally recognized government of Libya's Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency, told CNN.

"Priorities of the investigation are not only to convict those responsible for these inhumane acts, but also to identify the location of those who have been sold in order to bring them to safety and return them to their countries of origin."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Slave markets have been with mankind since the beginning .... and sad to say that it still exists.

More News On Reports Of Slave Markets In Libya

Sale of migrants in Libya 'slave markets' sparks global outcry -- Reuters
Sale of Migrants as Slaves in Libya Causes Outrage in Africa and Paris -- New York Times
Footage shows African migrants being sold as slaves at auction for as little as £300 each -- The Telegraph
People for sale: Where lives are auctioned for $400 -- CNN
UN chief: Libya slave auctions may be crimes against humanity -- CNN
Libya to launch slave trading investigation after video footage appeared to show migrants being auctioned off for as little as $400 -- Daily Mail
Libya to launch probe into slave trading in the country -- Middle East Monitor
Libya says to probe 'slave auction' footage -- AFP
Libyan human rights body upset over CNN report of slave auctions in Libya -- The Libya Observer
Slavery in Libya: Top traders to be hunted down -- International Business Times

The Search For Argentina's Missing Submarine Is Facing Severe Weather



CNN: Argentinian navy detects noises that could be from missing sub

Argentina's navy on Monday picked up what could be noises from the country's missing submarine and said the sub's captain reported a "failure" in the vessel's battery system before it disappeared.

The sonar systems of two ships detected noises sounding like tools being banged against the hull of a submarine, according to a senior US Navy official familiar with the Navy's assistance in the search for the vessel.

The official said that crews of submarines in distress bang on the vessel's hull to alert passing ships to their location. The missing submarine -- the ARA San Juan -- has a crew of 44.

The Argentinian navy was able to fix the rough location of the sounds and is now concentrating its search in an area of 35 square nautical miles approximately 330 miles off the coast of Argentina, the official said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Not surprising, this story is big news in Argentina .... Mystery of missing submarine keeps Argentina on tenterhooks (Irish Times)

More News On The Search For Argentina's Missing Submarine

Foul Weather Slows Search for Missing Argentine Sub With 44 Aboard -- VOA
Search for missing submarine is stymied by new challenges: 20-foot waves, 50 mph winds -- Stars and Stripes
Satellite calls yield no clues on missing Argentine submarine -- Reuters
Missing Argentina submarine crew didn't make satellite calls, navy says -- CBS/AP
Missing Argentine Submarine Had Reported Electrical Malfunction -- US News and World Report/Reuters
Argentina navy: Missing sub 'had called to report breakdown' -- BBC
Missing Argentine submarine had reported electrical malfunction -- Reuters
Argentina missing submarine: Specialist equipment deployed -- BBC
UPDATED: U.S. Submarine Rescue Equipment, Crews Sent to Argentina; 2nd P-8A Sent to Region -- USNI News
U.S. Navy rescue team joins search for missing Argentine submarine ARA San Juan -- NBC
Argentina's first female submarine officer on board missing vessel -- Reuters

There Are 16 Non-Domestic Sexual Assaults Reported Each Day At U.S. Military Bases

McClatchy News: More than 16 sexual assaults are reported each day at military bases

More than 6,150 non-domestic adult sexual assaults were reported to the U.S. military from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016, according to a new report by the Department of Defense.

Nearly 400 of them were reported at North Carolina’s major military installations.

There were six North Carolina bases included in the report — Camp Lejeune (169 reported cases), Fort Bragg (146), Marine Corps Air Station New River (32), Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (27), Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (13) and Pope Army Airfield (10).

For context, Fort Bragg, the largest military base in the United States, has a population of about 140,000 soldiers and civilians – outnumbering all but a handful of North Carolina cities.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: With all the public discussions, laws, policies, and actions initiated by the Pentagon, Congress, and the White House over the years .... it is incomprehensible that this is still a crisis. But a crisis it is.

Hat tip to Fred for this link.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Reaction To The Political Crisis In Germany



Andrea Shalal, Reuters: What happens now after collapse of German coalition talks?

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s failure to forge a three-way coalition government has plunged Europe’s largest economy into uncharted waters, raising pressure on the three-term conservative chancellor to maintain stability.

The pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) abruptly pulled out after more than four weeks of negotiations with Merkel’s conservative bloc and the ecologist Greens, citing irreconcilable differences.

The euro recovered from a two-month low on Monday as investors brushed off the broader political risks.

But Germany now faces a prolonged period of political wrangling and uncertainty. The path to a new election would be difficult and involve more than one vote in parliament.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like Germany is going to have another election .... Merkel 'prefers new vote' after talks fail (BBC).

Commentaries, Analysis, And Reaction To The Political Crisis In Germany

What next? Germany’s options after coalition talks collapse -- AP
Germany's coalition talks: What are the sticking points? -- Richard Fuchs, DW
What now for Germany after coalition talks fail? -- Christian Walz, DW
Collapse of German coalition talks underlines Merkel's weaknesses -- Philip Oltermann, The Guardian
Germany political crisis: What are the options? -- BBC
Collapse of German coalition talks deals Merkel a blow; new elections likely -- Washington Post
German coalition talks collapse: the press verdict -- DW
German political instability threatens Merkel's leadership -- UPI
Russian expert says political crisis in Germany unlikely to affect European Union -- TASS
German coalition talks collapse is 'bad news for Europe': Dutch minister -- Reuters
Brexit: why German turmoil is cruelly timed for Britain -- Dan Roberts and Jon Henley, The Guardian
UK PM May's spokesman says not aware of Brexit concerns over German political crisis -- Reuters
Macron says not in French interests for German coalition talks to stall -- Reuters
France wants 'strong and stable' Germany, President Macron says -- Reuters
German stocks recoup losses from collapse of coalition talks -- DW
Euro crashes with Angela Merkel’s fourth term as chancellor in doubt -- RT

German Government Coalition Talks Have Collapsed -- News Updates November 20, 2017



The Guardian: German coalition talks collapse after deadlock on migration and energy

Chancellor Angela Merkel left facing prospect of forming minority government – or fresh elections – after FDP quits negotiations

Exploratory talks to form Germany’s next coalition government collapsed shortly before midnight on Sunday when the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) walked out of marathon negotiations.

“The four discussion partners have no common vision for modernisation of the country or common basis of trust,” the FDP leader, Christian Lindner, announced after the four parties involved missed several self-prescribed deadlines to resolve differences on migration and energy policy. “It is better not to govern than to govern badly.”

Read more ....

German Government Coalition Talks Have Collapsed -- News Updates November 20, 2017

German government talks collapse; Merkel seeks to reassure -- AP
Angela Merkel fourth term in doubt as German coalition talks fail -- ABC News Online
Majority of Germans think Merkel is finished, poll shows: Chancellor battles for political survival after coalition talks collapse leaving country facing snap election -- Daily Mail
German coalition talks fail after FDP walks out -- Al Jazeera
Merkel Moves to Salvage Fourth Term as President Weighs In -- Bloomberg
German president presses parties to form coalition for good of Europe after talks collapse -- Reuters
German president prods parties to break government impasse -- AP
German president calls on party leaders to return to coalition talks -- The Guardian
German coalition talks: Parties must make coalition possible, says President Steinmeier -- DW
German president says country faces situation not seen in decades after coalition talks fail -- RT
Merkel gets strong backing from her party after talks fail -- Reuters
German Social Democrats Not Afraid of New Parliamentary Election - Schulz -- Sputnik
SPD leader says voters must reassess German political situation -- Reuters

Zimbabwe's Ruling Party Says Mugabe Impeachment To Go Ahead -- News Roundup



Daily Mail: Mugabe is 'too old, let his wife usurp government powers and created a 15-year economic tailspin in Zimbabwe': Draft impeachment declares despot is a 'source of instability' as lawmakers claim it will take two days to get rid of him

* Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, 93, clung to power on Sunday night with a rambling speech in Harare
* The dictator vowed to hold a Zanu PF party conference in the coming weeks and said he would preside over it
* Tweets from his opponents suggest he was supposed to deliver a resignation speech, but went off-script
* There are claims Mugabe decided to fight on after intervention from his trusted cleric Father Fidelis Mukonori
* However, he is now said to have drafted a resignation letter having insisted on immunity for him and his wife
* Ruling Zanu PF said in a draft impeachment motion that Mugabe is a 'source of instability'

Robert Mugabe is a 'source of instability', has shown disrespect for the rule of law and is to blame for an economic tailspin over the past 15 years, his ruling party said in a draft impeachment motion today.

The 93-year-old could be thrown out of parliament within two days and is said to have demanded immunity for him and his wife, Grace, 52.

One member of the ruling Zanu PF party said the main charge against Mugabe was 'allowing his wife to usurp government powers' and that 'he is too old and cannot even walk without help'.

Read more ....

More News On The Crisis In Zimbabwe

The Latest: Ruling party says Mugabe impeachment to go ahead -- AP
Zimbabwe crisis: What we know -- AFP
Deadline passes for Mugabe to resign -- BBC
Zimbabwe ruling party: Mugabe could be impeached in 2 days -- AP
Zimbabwe's Mugabe ignores party deadline to quit -- BBC
Noon deadline for defiant Mugabe passes as Zimbabwe crisis deepen -- AFP
Zimbabwe's opposition to decide on Mugabe impeachment Tuesday: chief whip -- Reuters
Zimbabwe: Ruling ZANU-PF party drafts impeachment motion against President Robert Mugabe -- ABC News Online
Zimbabwe: Mugabe ignores deadline to resign, faces impeachment -- UPI
Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF sets Mugabe impeachment ball rolling -- Reuters
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe clings to power as deadline passes -- DW
Robert Mugabe ignores ZANU-PF deadline to resign -- Al Jazeera
You and I have work to do. Thank you and goodnight': Mugabe's rambling 20-minute speech in full, which ended not with a resignation but with a vow to fight on -- Daily Mail
Robert Mugabe swapped speeches, say Zimbabwe war veterans -- The Guardian
Zimbabwean students rage against defiant Mugabe -- AFP
Zimbabwe broadcaster on stand-by for address by military: ZBC workers -- Reuters
Figure known as ‘Crocodile’ could replace Zimbabwe president -- AP
'Strategist' Mugabe's refusal to go a classic tactic -- AFP
Zimbabwe: Social media reacts to Robert Mugabe's speech -- Al Jazeera
'You can't sack our dad!' Robert Mugabe's pampered playboy son posts defiant message on Facebook before his father refuses to step down as Zimbabwe's president -- Daily Mail
Gucci Grace is held by the rebels she threatened to crush: Mugabe’s wife is detained at secret military base -- Daily Mail
Harare's streets are deserted as Zimbabwe stays home to watch Mugabe's speech - but is this the calm before the storm? -- Daily Mail
Zimbabwe opposition wants inclusive political process after military intervention -- Reuters
Zimbabwe’s political drama: What just happened? A timeline -- AP
Zimbabwe takeover: Five things you should know -- BBC

World News Briefs -- November 20, 2017



Reuters: China draws three-stage path for Myanmar, Bangladesh to resolve Rohingya crisis

NAYPYITAW (Reuters) - China called for a ceasefire in Myanmar’s Rakhine State so that Rohingya Muslim refugees can return from Bangladesh, proposing a three-stage approach to the crisis as diplomats from 51 mostly Asian and European countries gathered in Myanmar on Monday.

More than 600,000 Muslim Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since late August, driven out by a military clearance operation in Buddhist majority Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

Amid a burgeoning humanitarian catastrophe, rights groups have accused the Myanmar military of atrocities, while foreign critics have blasted Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace prize winner who leads a civilian administration that is less than two years old, for failing to speak out more strongly.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Critical week for Syria as parallel talks get under way.

Syria: ISIS militants defeated in final stronghold.

Arab states hold emergency meeting on Iran, Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia seeks to ratchet up pressure against Iran.

'Saudi propaganda': Iran slams Arab League statement lashing out at Tehran, Hezbollah.

Iraq Supreme Court rules Kurdish referendum unconstitutional.

Iraqi authorities clamp down on sectarian hate speech.

Iran earthquake: Khamenei criticises government's response.

Hundreds of rights violations documented in Yemen.

Rafah border crossing to remain open for two more days.

Israel to deport 40,000 African refugees without their consent.

ASIA

Myanmar: EU and Germany see positive signals amid Rohingya crisis.

Suu Kyi blames world conflicts partly on illegal immigration.

North Korea: The US will regret 'letting such a depraved and stupid guy occupy the Oval Office'.

The city on the North Korean border where Chinese come to peer in.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern 'regrets Trump story'.

Bangladesh arrests militant suspect in US blogger killing.

Okinawa car crash sparks US troops alcohol ban in Japan.

AFRICA

Zimbabwe: Ruling ZANU-PF party drafts impeachment motion against President Robert Mugabe.

Boko Haram kills six in NE Nigeria: militia, local.

South Sudan says ex-military chief freed from house arrest.

Kenya Supreme Court upholds Kenyatta election victory. Supreme Court upholds Uhuru Kenyatta's victory.

Two killed in protests after Kenya's top court upholds election.

Angola's Lourenco replaces police and intelligence chiefs.

Deadly plague epidemic in Madagascar that is at 'crisis' point will trigger an outbreak of POLIO because aid workers are now focused only on the 'medieval disease', researcher warns.

EUROPE

Germany's Merkel suffers blow as FDP pulls out of coalition talks.

German government talks collapse; Merkel seeks to reassure.

Michel Barnier warns Theresa May the EU 'will not wait' for a new free trade deal with Britain.

Poland fury over 'attack' by EU's Tusk.

George Soros decries Hungary's PM Orban for anti-Semitic attacks 'reminiscent of the 1930s'.

Putin plan to rejuvenate Russian politics makes slow progress.

France wrestles with the line between seduction, harassment.

AMERICAS

Chile election: Conservative Piñera to face Socialist Guillier in run-off. Ex-President Pinera leads Chile vote, but faces runoff.

Trump open to dropping healthcare provision in Senate tax bill: aide.

Special counsel sends wide-ranging request for documents to Justice Department.

After border agent is killed and partner injured in Texas, Trump renews call for wall.

U.S. envoy to Russia: visa consultations in consulates may resume soon - TASS.

Argentina navy: Missing sub 'had called to report breakdown'.

Puerto Rico's misery: Thousands without homes, power 2 months after storms.

New groping allegation against US Senator Al Franken. Roy Moore accuser Leigh Corfman shares why she went public in exclusive interview.

Charles Manson dies aged 83 after decades in prison.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

After years of letting captives own their artwork, Pentagon calls it U.S. property. And may burn it.

Understanding al Qaeda through the massive trove of Osama bin Laden’s files.

Lebanon's president rejects terrorism suggestion.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Canada, Mexico to question U.S. auto content demands at NAFTA talks.

Making space for the millionaires: Monaco's £1.5billion plan to reclaim 15 acres of land from the Med so thousands can move to the tax haven in the next decade.

Keystone XL pipeline faces last major regulatory hurdle.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 20, 2017

A police officer stands guard near Japan and South Korea national flags at a hotel in Tokyo, June 22, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

SCMP: Friends or ‘frenemies’? South Korea fails to meet obligations of military intelligence sharing deal with Japan

Known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement, the pact was signed in late November 2016 under president at the time, Park Geun-hye

South Korea is failing to meet the terms of an agreement reached last year with Japan to share a wide array of military intelligence, according to a report in Japan’s Asahi newspaper.

An unnamed source in the Japanese armed forces claimed that the only information that Seoul has shared to date relates directly to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes. Data that South Korean has gathered on the activities of the Chinese military in the South China Sea, for example, has not been provided, the source said.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 20, 2017

South Korea refuses to share military intelligence with Japan: report -- Korea Herald

Seoul: 2 top North Korean military officers punished -- ABC News/AP

N. Korea conducts rare inspection of key military organ: spy agency -- Korea Herald

South Korea fears further missile advances by North this year in threat to U.S. -- Reuters

South Korea Fears Further Missile Advances by North This Year in Threat to U.S. -- US News and World Report

South Korea Renews Vow to Buy Stealth Fighters, Drones, Missile Systems -- Defense Tech

Countering North Korea: US Congress authorizes major buildup in homeland missile defense -- Defense News

U.S. Plans to Use Weapons of the Future to Take Down North Korean Missiles -- Newsweek

How Do U.S. Military Ships Compare to North Korea's Growing Navy? -- Newsweek

China sends bombers and intelligence-gathering planes through international airspace near Okinawa -- Japan Times

China’s aircraft carrier conundrum: hi-tech launch system for old, heavy fighter jets -- SCMP

Kabul Investigates Reports of Taliban Using Russian-made Night Vision Equipment -- VOA

Iraqi militia publicizes Iranian Qods Force chief by Syrian border town -- Long War Journal

Are Hamas drones really a threat to Israel? -- Shlomi Eldar, Al-Monitor

Russian Military Mounts Missiles Near NATO Borders in Central Kaliningrad -- Newsweek

Russia's Supersonic Bombers: Now Locked and Loaded with New Supersonic Missiles -- National Interest

Not That Invisible: Russian Radars Spot Overhyped French Stealth Frigate -- Sputnik

Russian Navy keeping close eye on French stealth frigate in Black Sea — source -- TASS

Ukraine Fields an Armed Drone for Use Against Pro-Russian Forces -- Defense One

Erdogan's Top Aide Reportedly Calls to Reconsider Turkey's Membership in NATO -- Sputnik

Erdogan’s chief adviser calls for Turkey’s NATO membership to be reconsidered – local media -- RT

Head of NATO tells Canada to gear itself up for Russian cyber threats -- CBC

Argentine navy ramps up hunt for missing German-built submarine with 44 crew -- DW

U.S. military builds up in land of ‘Black Hawk Down’ disaster -- Politico

US troops lack support despite expanding mission in Africa -- Military Times

US service members restricted to base, alcohol prohibited after deadly crash in Okinawa -- ABC News

The Air Force is throwing money at pilots to stay. Fewer and fewer are interested. -- Air Force Times

US Army's next-gen cruise missiles can reach targets over 480km away -- IBTimes

All Navy Carriers to Deploy with Dive Chambers to Treat Sick Pilots -- Defense Tech

The U.S. Military Is Building a Fleet of Star Trek-Inspired 'Shadow' Bombers Invisible to Radar -- Newsweek

West Point cadet makes the list of Rhodes scholars -- AP

Earning it: A complete history of Army berets and who's allowed to wear them -- Army Times

Separate housing for veterans in jail becomes a national trend -- Washington Examiner

False Flag: Investigating Stolen Valor -- Todd Brogowski, Medium

U.S. drafted request to deploy nukes on Honshu in 1960s, documents show -- Japan Times

What’s inside the $700 billion defense budget plan headed to Trump’s desk? -- Military Times

Top U.S. Air Force General: Expect More Bombers Flying Near North Korea

U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber aircraft from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, like the one pictured above, deployed in 2015 to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as a routine deployment providing global strike capability and extended deterrence against potential adversaries in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joel Pfiester/Released)

Defense Tech: More Bombers Likely to Join Pressure Campaign Against North Korea: Goldfein

More bombers could fly to the Pacific — even if for shorter missions — in the U.S. military’s pressure campaign against North Korea, the Air Force’s top general said Thursday.

The B-52 Stratofortress or B-2 Spirit, both nuclear-capable, long-range bombers, could make appearances if top leadership in the Pacific sees fit, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon.

Recently, “We’ve actually had all three rotating through Andersen [Air Force Base, Guam],” he said, alongside Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. Goldfein was referring to the U.S.’ continuous bomber presence mission.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Aside from the training aspects and sending a message to North Korea, this is also being done to reassure U.S. allies.

Hat tip Fred for this link.

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Exposes How Difficult It Is For Foreign Companies To Operate In China



Daily Mail: Victoria's Secret Police! Shanghai fashion show is in CHAOS because 'authorities are closely controlling the event with SPIES even combing emails and stalking models to expel regime critics'

* The show is scheduled to begin on Monday, but organizers are scared to send emails due to the police state
* They're trying to get around visa issues for Gigi Hadid and Adriana Lima but worry about secret police
* Hadid purportedly made a racist 'Asian' face in February; other models may have made social media remarks
* Katy Perry's performance visa was pulled after authorities found out about a 'pro Taiwan' gig she did in 2015
* The show's executive producer has not denied that Perry and Hadid were blocked, but commended China
* He said that officials had been very helpful when they were putting the show together

China's secret police are usually concerned about undercover foreigners, but right now they're more worried about foreigners that are under barely any cover at all, it has been claimed by Victoria's Secret insiders.

The organizers of Monday's lingerie show in Shanghai are dealing with a string of organizational disasters that have seen top model Gigi Hadid and guest star Katy Perry banned from the country and Adriana Lima's residency - she's currently in China - imperiled.

Victora's Secret is hardly the first Western firm to struggle with the incomprehensible bureaucracy and managerial incompetence that's endemic in China, but things are complicated by fears that they are being spied on.

That's left the China-based team flustered, as they can't call on help from the US headquarters for fear of having their missives intercepted and used against them.

Read more ....

Update: Victoria's Secret Staff Think The Chinese Are Spying On Them (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction .... this will be the last time that a Victoria Secrets show will be held in China. And as for doing business in China .... here is the golden rule. If the Chinese really want what you are selling (or have), they will give you the red-carpet treatment. But if you are selling (or having) something that they do not need .... and it appears that lingerie is not a priority for the Chinese government (God only knows why) .... expect headaches.

Will U.S. Military And CIA Leaders Be Investigated For War Crimes?

Huffington Post: U.S. Military And CIA Leaders May Be Investigated For War Crimes

On November 3, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) informed the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber, ”[T]here is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan.”

In what Amnesty International’s Solomon Sacco called a “seminal moment for the ICC,” Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the court for authorization to commence an investigation that would focus on US military and CIA leaders, as well as Taliban and Afghan officials.

Bensouda wrote in a November 14, 2016, report that her preliminary examination revealed “a reasonable basis to believe” the “war crimes of torture and ill-treatment” had been committed “by US military forces deployed to Afghanistan and in secret detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, principally in the 2003-2004 period, although allegedly continuing in some cases until 2014.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  The International Criminal Court will launch an investigation and I will not be surprised if charges are laid against senior U.S. military and intelligence leaders. Will former senior Bush and Obama officials be held accountable .... I doubt it, but we shall see.

Where Is Edward Snowden?

Snowden’s temporary asylum document from August 2013.

Yahoo News: Russian investigative journalist: Snowden is 'a sort of ghost'

Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov, who co-wrote the definitive books on the post-Soviet security services and the history of the Russian internet, has kept tabs on National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s ongoing exile.

“He is a sort of ghost,” Soldatov told a recent Lawfare podcast. “It looks like he’s there, but since he’s banned from talking to Russian journalists or Moscow-based foreign journalists, … he speaks only to journalists coming specifically to interview him, so they are all approved [by the Russian government] in advance. So he is almost nowhere.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am not surprised that he still has a security detail around him. He is probably the most wanted man within the U.S. intelligence community (Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is probably number two) .... and he would be a prize if he is brought back to the U.S.. As to the question .... will he come back on his own free will? I doubt it .... spending the next 20 years (or more) in a federal penitentiary is definitely something that he does not want. So living in Russia it is .... whether he likes it or not.

Is Special Counsel Robert Mueller Now Investigating The Justice Department?

CBS News

ABC News: Special Counsel sends wide-ranging request for documents to Justice Department

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating whether President Donald Trump sought to obstruct a federal inquiry into connections between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives has now directed the Justice Department to turn over a broad array of documents, ABC News has learned.

In particular, Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter, according to a source who has not seen the specific request but was told about it.

Issued within the past month, the directive marks the special counsel's first records request to the Justice Department, and it means Mueller is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Attorney General Jeff Sessions's decision to recuse himself from the entire Russian inquiry has now put him in the cross-hairs of the Mueller Commission. So much for him thinking that this would not touch him if decided to step away. He either got poor advice when he made the decision to recuse himself .... or he never calculated the consequences of his actions. Bottom line .... Mueller is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation, or to put it bluntly .... Attorney General Jeff Sessions now finds himself answerable to Robert Mueller and not the other-way around.

Poll: Merkel, Macron, May Are Less Popular Than Trump

YouTube

Washington Examiner: Europe's Merkel, Macron, May less popular than Trump

President Trump’s approval ratings, often mocked by Democrats and the media, top those of Europe’s biggest three leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Britain’s Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron.

A new Zogby Analytics survey of people in those countries also finds that the disapproval ratings are sky-high.

“Citizens of France, Germany and U.K. not happy with Macron, Merkel and May,” is the poll headline. “A majority of adults in France and U.K. dislike Macron and May; nearly half of adults in Germany dislike Merkel.”

Trump’s approval ratings range from 38 percent to the mid 40s, and Rasmussen set it at 42 percent this week.

Zogby found the three European leaders below that:

* Merkel approval 40 percent, disapproval 49 percent.
* Macron approval 28 percent, disapproval 52 percent.
* May approval 28 percent, disapproval 61 percent.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here is the kicker on Merkel, Macron, and May's poll numbers .... this is as high as it will get for them. As for Trumps .... who knows .... Strong economy boosts Trump among otherwise skeptical voters (L.A. Times).