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Cairo-bound EgyptAir flight crashes; terrorism likely

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/05/19/egyptair-flight-from-paris-to-cairo-was-likely-brought-down-by-terror-attack-officials-say.html?intcmp=hpbt1

"A Cairo-bound EgyptAir flight that went down in the Mediterranean Sea with 66 aboard early Thursday hours after departing from Paris zig-zagged sharply before plunging, according to aviation officials, who said terrorism was a more likely cause of the crash than technical failure.

Government officials from France, Greece and Egypt spoke at separate news conferences even as boats and ships from several countries were scouring the waters off of the Greek island of Karpathos, near where a witness reported seeing a fireball in the sky..."

[Zag Note: Please use neutral heading for topics in Today's News]
Posted Thu May 19, 2016 6:06 pm by Scamp.

Senate passes bill allowing families to sue Saudis over 911

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/05/17/senate-oks-bill-letting-families-911-victims-sue-saudi-arabia-despite-threats.html?intcmp=hplnws

"The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation allowing families of Sept. 11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia, defying a White House veto threat as well as brazen threats of economic retaliation from Riyadh.

By voice vote, senators approved the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. The bipartisan sponsors of the bill, Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, are now calling on the House to follow suit.

“It’s up to the House,” Cornyn said, while insisting the legislation would not damage the U.S.-Saudi relationship despite what he described as “saber-rattling.”

Schumer said any foreign government that aids terrorists who strike the U.S. "will pay a price if it is proven they have done so."

Saudi Arabia’s government has threatened to pull billions of dollars from the U.S. economy if the plan is enacted.

The legislation gives victims' families the right to sue in U.S. court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the 2001 attacks that killed thousands in New York, the Washington, D.C. area and Pennsylvania.

Relatives of Sept. 11 victims have urged the Obama administration to declassify and release U.S. intelligence that allegedly discusses possible Saudi involvement in the attacks.

In a statement on Tuesday, a group of them applauded the passage in the Senate and said it “reaffirms the commonsense principle that no person, entity or government enjoys blanket immunity from legal responsibility for participation in a terrorist attack that takes lives or causes injury inside the United States of America.”

But while the bill is a bipartisan measure, the Obama administration has threatened to veto. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated that message on Tuesday, saying: “It’s difficult to imagine the president signing this legislation.”

Earnest warned of “unintended consequences,” saying the bill would “change longstanding international law regarding sovereign immunity and the president continues to harbor serious concerns this legislation would make the U.S. vulnerable in other court systems around the world.”

Schumer said Tuesday that the White House concerns, though, “don’t stand up.” He even warned the Senate could override a presidential veto.

The House already is planning to move on the bill. A House Judiciary Committee aide told Fox News the panel intends to hold a hearing on the Senate version of the bill in the near future.

Many Senate Democrats backed the bill, including Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, putting them at odds with the White House.

Some lawmakers also have voiced reservations.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, warned that the legislation, if passed, would alienate Saudi Arabia and undermine a longstanding yet strained relationship with a critical U.S. ally in the Middle East."
Posted Tue May 17, 2016 8:14 pm by Scamp.

US poultry workers denied breaks and forced to wear diapers

Quote:
Routinely, poultry workers say, they are denied breaks to use the bathroom. Supervisors mock their needs and ignore their requests; they threaten punishment or firing. Workers wait inordinately long times (an hour or more), then race to accomplish the task within a certain timeframe (e.g., ten minutes) or risk discipline.


http://m.motherjones.com/environment/2016/05/oxfam-poultry-industry-routinely-denies-workers-bathroom-breaks

Several other serious issues are outlined.

This is why we need unions. It's also a fairly serious blow to the idea that employee conditions would be just fine if we let the free market handle it.
Posted Mon May 16, 2016 2:56 pm by mikema63.

Venezuela president declares a state of emergency

Reuters

Reuters wrote:
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared a 60-day state of emergency on Friday due to what he called plots from within the OPEC country and the United States to topple his leftist government.

Maduro did not provide details of the measure. A previous state of emergency, implemented in states near the Colombian border last year, suspended constitutional guarantees in those areas, except for guarantees relating to human rights.

Earlier on Friday, U.S. intelligence officials told reporters they were increasingly worried about the potential for an economic and political meltdown in Venezuela and predicted Maduro was not likely to complete his term.

Venezuela's opposition is seeking to recall the unpopular leader, 53, amid a worsening crisis that includes food and medicine shortages, frequent power cuts, sporadic looting and galloping inflation.

But the former union leader and bus driver has vowed to stick out his term, and accuses the United States of fomenting an undercover coup against him. He pointed to this week's impeachment of fellow leftist Dilma Rousseff in Brazil as a sign that he is next.

"Washington is activating measures at the request of Venezuela's fascist right, who are emboldened by the coup in Brazil," Maduro said during a Friday night broadcast on state television.

Washington has had an acrimonious relationship with Caracas for years, especially following U.S. support for a short-lived 2002 coup against late leader Hugo Chavez.

Venezuela's ruling Socialist Party has long been a strong ally of Rousseff's Workers Party, however, and her departure adds to Maduro's isolation in Latin America.

Flanked by his ministers and a statue of Chavez, Maduro signed a state of emergency and extend a state of economic emergency to protect the country from foreign and domestic "threats," without providing details.

Venezuela's opposition, which scoffs at Maduro's accusations of coups-mongering, quickly condemned the measure.

"Today Maduro has again violated the constitution," said opposition lawmaker Tomas Guanipa. "Why? Because he is scared of being recalled."


Lexington slow claps then raises his glass

"To the Bolivarian Revolution!"

I'm sure this will go great for the Venezuelan people. I mean, come on. What Venezuela really needs now - after shortages of everything right down to toilet paper - is the government suspending civil rights. We should have a shortage of those too!
Posted Sat May 14, 2016 5:07 am by Lexington.

Top Hezbollah Commander Killed in Israeli Airstrike

Quote:

http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.719407

Top Hezbollah Commander Badreddine Killed in Israeli Airstrike, Group Claims

May 13, 2016 6:32 AM

Mustafa Amine Badreddine, one of Hezbollah's highest ranking military commanders, was killed in what Syrian and Lebanese media are attributing to a covert Israeli attack in Syria.

According to Hezbollah's Al-Mayadeen network, Badreddine, 55, was killed by an Israeli Air Force attack near Damascus' airport on Tuesday.

Describing Badreddine as "the great jihadi leader," Hezbollah announced his death in a statement early Friday, saying he "took part in most of the operations of the Islamic resistance since 1982."

Badreddine was said to have assumed the position of his brother-in-law, Hezbollah commander Imad Moughniyeh, who died in a 2008 assassination in Damascus also attributed to Israel. However, some dispute his official status as the group's military leader, saying he was only in charge of its operations in Syria, as Hezbollah has never publicly named a successor for Moughniyeh, whose son Jihad was also killed in Syria in an attack said to be Israel's doing.

Israel has previously been accused of striking targets in Syria belonging to the Lebanese group and, in April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to confirm Israel struck dozens of Syrian weapons shipments that were en route to Hezbollah.

Blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury, Badreddine “is assessed [by the U.S.] to be responsible for Hizballah’s (sic) military operations in Syria since 2011, including the movement of Hizballah fighters from Lebanon to Syria, in support of the Syrian regime," and even joined the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah in his weekly briefingswith embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad - claims corroborated by reports in Syria and Lebanon.

According to a security official who spoke with Reuters, Badreddine was said to have led Hezbollah's ground offensives in the Syrian border town of al-Qusair in February 2013, a key battle in the group's attempt to aid the embattled Syrian regime.

Even before supposedly taking over the group's military operations in the country, Badreddine was considered a prominent Hezbollah commander, with an illustrious record of crimes and attacks ranging from claims he was the bomb maker behind the 1983 bombing of the U.S.­ Marines barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans, to his playing a key role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, for which he was tried in absentia at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Outrage at his role in the Hariri assassination might have prompted the group to move him away from Lebanon and into Syria.

Badreddine was also sentenced to death in Kuwait for his role in bomb attacks there in 1983. He escaped from prison in Kuwait after Iraq, under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, invaded the country in 1990.

Such reports are rarely confirmed by Israel, but if true, it would be the third time Israel has struck inside Syria since Russia launched its aerial campaign in the war-torn country.

Reuters contributed to this report




Israel has an unfinished score with Hizbollah. The history: Right back to the late 1960s, following the 1967 Six-Day War, the Palestinian terrorist organization were given freedom under the Cairo agreement in 1969, to attack Israel from Lebanese soil. Attacks into Israel, including rocket attacks, massacring schoolchildren etc. became the catalyst for Israeli invasions into Lebanon, first in 1978 and again subsequently and decisively in 1982. Since there was no central power in Lebanon Israel had to station as occupying force along the border in Lebanon to prevent the attacks. Follow 1973 war, Syria kept its agreement not to attack Israel from its soil instead she and Iran created Hizbollah to attack Israel from Lebanese soil. Israel entered to Lebanon to protect Israel from PLO attacks and found itself involved in bloody conflict with the Shia in Lebanon with whom she didn't have any dispute. Israel repeated its quest to quit from Lebanon provided a central power in Lebanon will keep the peace at the borders, but Hizbollah's masters in Iran and Syria rejected the idea and called its proxy to keep attacking Israel. In 2000, Israel reluctantly decided to withdraw from Lebanon unilaterally, without any agreement, a move which caused a huge effect on Israel position in the area, with Hizbollah and there masters felt rightly that they won. Since then, Syria become devastated by civil war, instead Lebanon, Hizbollah is called to defend its Alawites (a Shia sect) minority rule masters in Syria, and Israel has the opportunity from time to time to settle some old scores there.
Posted Fri May 13, 2016 4:58 am by Pongo.

Susan Rice: U.S. national security agencies are too white

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/11/susan-rice-us-national-security-agencies-too-white/

"In a White House often accused of being stacked with loyalists, President Obama’s national security adviser said Wednesday there are too many white people in key government posts, endangering national security because they think alike..."
Posted Thu May 12, 2016 9:08 pm by Scamp.

U.S. to switch on European missile shield - Russia pissed

Quote:
World | Wed May 11, 2016 9:14pm EDT
Related: World, Russia

U.S. to switch on European missile shield despite Russian alarm

BUCHAREST | By Robin Emmott


The United States' European missile defense shield goes live on Thursday almost a decade after Washington proposed protecting NATO from Iranian rockets and despite Russian warnings that the West is threatening the peace in central Europe.

Amid high Russia-West tension, U.S. and NATO officials will declare operational the shield at a remote air base in Deveselu, Romania, after years of planning, billions of dollars in investment and failed attempts to assuage Russian concerns that the shield could be used against Moscow.

"We now have the capability to protect NATO in Europe," said Robert Bell, a NATO-based envoy of U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter. "The Iranians are increasing their capabilities and we have to be ahead of that. The system is not aimed against Russia," he told reporters, adding that the system will soon be handed over to NATO command.

The United States will also start construction on a second site in Poland on Friday that is due to be ready in 2018, giving NATO a permanent, round-the-clock shield in addition to radars and ships already in the Mediterranean.

Russia is incensed at such of show of force by its Cold War rival in formerly communist-ruled eastern Europe where it once held sway. Moscow says the U.S.-led alliance is trying to encircle it close to the strategically important Black Sea, home to a Russian naval fleet and where NATO is also considering increasing patrols.

The foreign ministry in Moscow, in comments on Russian news agencies, said Iran's missile program posed no threat to NATO states in Europe and called the U.S. move a mistake and a treaty violation that directly affected Russia's national security.

The readying of the shield also comes as NATO prepares a new deterrent in Poland and the Baltics, following Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea. In response, Russia is reinforcing its western and southern flanks with three new divisions.

Despite U.S. assurances, the Kremlin says the missile shield's real aim is to neutralize Moscow's nuclear arsenal long enough for the United States to make a first strike on Russia in the event of war.
Related Coverage

› Russia: U.S. missile shield in Romania flouts nuclear treaty

The shield relies on radars to detect a ballistic missile launch into space. Tracking sensors then measure the rocket's trajectory and intercept and destroy it in space, before it re-enters the earth's atmosphere. The interceptors can be fired from ships or ground sites.

The Russian ambassador to Denmark warned a year ago that Danish warships would become targets for Russian nuclear missiles if Denmark joined the shield project by installing radars on its vessels. Denmark is upgrading at least one frigate to house a ballistic missile sensor.

Turkey already hosts a U.S. radar and the Netherlands has equipped ships with radars. The United States also has four ships in Spain as part of the defenses, while all NATO nations are contributing funding.

"Ballistic missile defense sites could pose threats to the stability and strategic assets of the Russian Federation," Russia's ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, told Reuters last month.

'ROGUE STATES'

U.S. officials dismiss the Russian view as "strategic paranoia" and blame Moscow for breaking off talks with NATO in 2013 that were aimed at explaining how the shield would operate.

The United States says Russia was seeking a treaty limiting the capability and range of ballistic missile interceptors. "No government could agree to that," U.S. adviser Bell said.
Related Coverage

› After long wait, U.S. to unveil European missile shield

Russian officials are concerned about technology that the United States says it does not have, including a missile defense interceptor capable of speeds of 10 km (6.2 miles) per second that could destroy Russian missiles.

First agreed by the U.S. government 2007 and then canceled and relaunched by the newly-elected U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009, the missile defense shield's stated aim is to protect North America and Europe from so-called rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. That is part of a U.S. strategy that includes missile interceptors in California and Alaska.

Ballistic missiles, which differ from cruise missiles because they leave the earth's atmosphere, can travel distances of up 3,000 km (1,875 miles).

Despite a historic deal between world powers and Tehran to limit Iran's nuclear program, the West believes Iran's Revolutionary Guards continue to develop ballistic missile technology, carrying out two tests late last year.

"They are looking for greater distance and accuracy," said Douglas Barrie, an aerospace defense specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). "They can still miss by hundreds of meters, but that doesn't rule out firing against a city or a very large airfield."

(Additional reporting by Alexander Winning in Moscow and Alastair Macdonald in Brussels; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

Reuters


The Russians recently announced that they have an 'unbeatable' missile, so why are they complaining about the NATO missile shield? Shouldn't these Russians keep their stories straight, at the very least.
Posted Thu May 12, 2016 7:35 pm by The Sabbaticus.

Say goodbye to OPEC, powerful Putin pal predicts

Quote:
Markets | Tue May 10, 2016 12:19pm EDT
Related: Russia

Exclusive: Say goodbye to OPEC, powerful Putin pal predicts

MOSCOW | By Vladimir Soldatkin

Internal differences are killing OPEC and its ability to influence the markets has all but evaporated, top Russian oil executive Igor Sechin told Reuters in some of his harshest remarks ever about the oil cartel.

Russia, which has been hit hard by the oil price collapse, was flirting with the idea of cooperating with OPEC in recent months until tensions between OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Iran ruined a global deal to freeze output.

Sechin - one of the closest allies of President Vladimir Putin - was the only Russian official to consistently oppose the deal with OPEC even after the Kremlin effectively endorsed the plan.

Now that his gloomy predictions about talking to OPEC have come to pass, Sechin feels vindicated and wants to help Russia avoid similar embarrassment in future.

"At the moment a number of objective factors exclude the possibility for any cartels to dictate their will to the market. ... As for OPEC, it has practically stopped existing as a united organization."

"The company (Rosneft) was skeptical from the very beginning about the possibility of reaching any sort of joint agreement with OPEC's involvement in current conditions," said Sechin, in comments over the weekend which were embargoed until Tuesday.

"Just to remind you, the only one question with which we responded to those who were interested to know our position: 'Who should we agree with, and how?' The development of the situation has clearly shown we were right."

Sechin's comments about the end of the era when OPEC could influence prices chime with those of Saudi Arabia's newly appointed energy minister Khaled al-Falih.

Falih, who took over on Saturday from long-serving Ali al-Naimi, has been very vocal in the past year about his views that the oil market needs to rebalance through low prices and that the Saudis have the resources to wait.

Falih's ultimate boss, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who oversees Saudi oil policies, has also signaled that the world is moving to a new era where supply and demand rather than OPEC will determine prices.

Sechin, who was born in 1960 - the same year as Falih - is also calling on Russia to abandon any hope that prices can be fixed by anything other than market rebalancing.

"At the moment, key factors which are influencing the market are finance, technology and regulation. We can see this with the example of shale oil which ... became a powerful tool of influence on the global market," Sechin said in the emailed comments.

(Writing by Katya Golubkova and Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Andrew Osborn and William Hardy)

Reuters


More infighting, please. Thank you.
(Incidentally, Iran banned the annual hajj (this year) for Iranian citizens as a political gesture towards the Saudi Humanitarians.)
Posted Thu May 12, 2016 7:19 pm by The Sabbaticus.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff is to face trial

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff is to face trial after the Senate voted to impeach and suspend her.
Quote:
Ms Rousseff is accused of illegally manipulating finances to hide a growing public deficit ahead of her re-election in 2014, which she denies.

Senators voted to suspend her by 55 votes to 22 after an all-night session that lasted more than 20 hours.

Vice-President Michel Temer will now assume the presidency while Ms Rousseff's trial takes place.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-36273916

At least 60% of the entire senate is facing investigation for corruption/criminal conduct.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/B ... -0015.html

Unless they throw the baby out with the bath water, this means nothing, a more corrupt baby will weasel its way into the bathwater.

Also, olympics nobody gives a shit about are scheduled in 3 months.
Posted Thu May 12, 2016 7:09 pm by Igor Antunov.

Saudi officials were 'supporting' 9/11 hijackers

Saudi officials were 'supporting' 9/11 hijackers, commission member says

Quote:
A former Republican member of the 9/11 commission, breaking dramatically with the commission’s leaders, said Wednesday he believes there was clear evidence that Saudi government employees were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers and that the Obama administration should move quickly to declassify a long-secret congressional report on Saudi ties to the 2001 terrorist attack.

The comments by John F Lehman, an investment banker in New York who was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, signal the first serious public split among the 10 commissioners since they issued a 2004 final report that was largely read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.
9/11 judge and prosecutors should step down over 'destroyed evidence', defense demands
Read more

“There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” Lehman said in an interview, suggesting that the commission may have made a mistake by not stating that explicitly in its final report. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016 ... -hijackers

Only took 15 years for the blindingly obvious to go on public record. More details coming soon. Time to start dusting off some of those threads from the conspiracy sub-forum.
Posted Thu May 12, 2016 7:05 pm by Igor Antunov.
Editor's Pick
Over a thousand feared killed in Damascus gas attack - If true, this is utterly horrific, whoever is responsible. It just reinforces that in war, whichever side wins, the people always lose.
DPRK ends peace pacts with South Korea - It doesn't mean war, but tensions on the Korean peninsular are steadily being ratcheted up notch by notch.
Seismic activity in North Korea [Nuclear Test] - The DPRK continues to show the word that it will do whatever it likes, consequences be damned.
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