Thursday, March 22, 2018

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

The Project 667BDRM Yury Dolgoruky nuclear ballistic missile submarine of the Russian Navy's Northern Fleet in Gadzhiyevo in the Murmansk region. © Sputnik/ Ramil Sitdikov

WNU editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Day of the Russian Submariner in Pictures (Sputnik).

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy Faces Corruption Charges Over Libyan Cash

BBC: Nicolas Sarkozy: French ex-president under formal investigation

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been placed under formal investigation over allegations he received campaign funding from late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

He is being investigated for illicit campaign financing, misappropriation of Libyan public funds and passive corruption.

He was released on Wednesday following two days of questioning over the financing of his 2007 campaign.

Mr Sarkozy, 63, has denied wrongdoing.

He says his Libyan accusers are seeking vengeance for his decision to deploy French warplanes during the uprising which overthrew Gaddafi in 2011.

The centre-right politician failed in his bid to return to power in 2012, losing to socialist Fran├žois Hollande.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am surprised that they are going forward with this. It has been almost 6 years.

More News On Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy Facing Corruption Charges Over Libyan Cash

France: Ex-leader Sarkozy charged over Libyan money claims -- AP
France's Sarkozy told he suspected of taking Gaddafi election money -- Reuters
Nicolas Sarkozy, Ex-President of France, Faces Corruption Charges Over Libyan Cash -- New York Times
French judges place Sarkozy under formal investigation in Libyan probe -- Euronews
Sarkozy Charged in Libyan Campaign-Finance Case -- Bloomberg
Sarkozy indicted over Libyan financing of 2007 election campaign – reports -- RT

U.K. Foreign Minister Boris Johnson Compares Russia's World Cup To Adolf Hitler's 1936 Olympics

BBC: Putin 'will use World Cup like Hitler's Olympics', agrees Johnson

Boris Johnson has likened the way President Putin is promoting the World Cup in Russia to Hitler's notorious use of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The foreign secretary said Labour MP Ian Austin was "completely right" to say Russia's president wanted to "gloss over [his] brutal corrupt regime".

Mr Johnson said that he would have an "urgent conversation" with Russia about the safety of fans at the tournament.

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said he was "poisoned with hatred".

A Downing Street spokesman confirmed Mr Johnson was speaking on behalf of the government and that they were working closely with police on plans for the World Cup.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here we go again .... comparing someone to Hitler. The Russian Foreign Ministry has responded .... Moscow slams Boris Johnson for comparing Russia's World Cup to Nazi Olympics (DW).

More News On U.K. Foreign Minister Boris Johnson Comparing Russia's World Cup To Adolf Hitler's 1936 Olympics

Boris Johnson, Britain's Top Diplomat, Compares Putin's Russia to Nazi Germany -- New York Times
Britain's Boris Johnson compares Russian World Cup to 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany -- Washington Post
Boris Johnson says Vladimir Putin will use World Cup like Hitler used Olympics to bolster image -- ABC Online
British Lawmakers Compare Vladimir Putin's World Cup to Hitler's Olympics -- Newsweek
UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson compares Vladimir Putin's World Cup to Adolf Hitler's 1936 Olympics -- South China Morning Post
Boris Johnson says Putin hosting the World Cup is like Hitler hosting the 1936 Olympics -- Business Insider

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Has Resign On Eve Of Impeachment Vote

Reuters: Peru's president, ensnared in scandals, resigns on eve of impeachment vote

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru’s center-right President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski announced his resignation on Wednesday after vote-buying allegations ensnared him in a fresh scandal on the eve of an impeachment vote, capping months of political turmoil in one of Latin America’s most stable economies.

Kuczynski, a 79-year-old former Wall Street banker who once held U.S. citizenship, promised a “constitutional and orderly” transition of power to end what he described as a hostile political climate that had made governing nearly impossible.

But Kuczynski, who is expected to be replaced by Vice President Martin Vizcarra on Friday, denied allegations of wrongdoing and blamed the premature end of his five-year term on the right-wing opposition party that controls Congress.

Read more ....

More News On Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Resigning On The Eve Of An Impeachment Vote

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski: Under fire Peru president resigns -- BBC
Peruvian President Kuczynski resigns amid corruption scandal -- CNN
Saying he doesn't want to 'block the path of harmony,' Peru's president resigns amid scandal -- Los Angeles Times
Explosive video, corruption claims push Peruvian president to resign -- Miami Herald
Peru's President Submits Resignation Amid Vote-Buying Scandal -- Sputnik

Is Chinese President Xi About To Purge China's Massive Bureaucracy?

(Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

Business Insider: China expanded its controversial anti-corruption probe to focus on every official in the country

* China has created a new anti-corruption agency that can investigate any government employee in the country, including managers who work in schools, hospitals, universities, and state-run companies.
* The National Supervision Commission works outside the court system, and can hold suspects for up to six months without granting access to a lawyer.
* Corruption has been widespread in China, and can be linked to the concept of 'guanxi,' that considers close relationships to be crucial for accomplishing business.
* But experts say the commission is abusive, and will undermine efforts to thwart corruption and grow the economy.

China has officially established a new anti-corruption agency that can investigate any government official in the country.

Since coming to power in 2012, President Xi Jinping spearheaded an anti-graft crackdown on the 89 million-strong Communist Party. In that time, 1.5 million members have been punished.

But the introduction of the National Supervision Commission (NSC) will drastically expand the scope of the crackdown. Now, any government official who isn't a party member can be investigated, including mangers at state-run schools, hospitals, universities, companies, cultural institutions, sports organizations, and village officials.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is all being done to make sure that no one objects to the policies and edicts of Chinese President Xi. And if there is a hint of protest and/or disloyalty .... expect the worse. I am sure this is sending a chill throughout China .... and especially among those who work for the government.

U.S. Special Forces Want U.S. Companies To Manufacture Russian Guns

Michael Peck, National Interest: U.S. Special Forces: Soon to Be Armed with Russian Guns?

Though USSOCOM is starting with a pair of Russian machine guns, the research proposal speaks of foreign-made weapons in general. “Developing a domestic production capability for foreign-like weapons addresses these issues while being cost effective as well as strengthens the nation’s military-industrial complex, ensures a reliable and secure supply chain, and reduces acquisition lead times." One wonders whether there could be a copyright issue with producing Russian weapons in America without a license, though Russian and Chinese spies haven’t been reticent about helping themselves to U.S. technology. Either way, it seems like a sensible and economical idea to produce foreign weapons in America, rather than having to procure them from unreliable or unsavory international arms merchants.

Why would U.S. special forces want to manufacture Russian machine guns?

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I say buy it directly from the Russian manufacturers themselves .... it would be cheaper. But yes .... I know that such a deal is not going to happen.

Leftist Front-Runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Leads Ahead Of Mexico's Presidential Vote

Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador waves to supporters after a floral tribute to mark the 212th anniversary of the birth of president Benito Juarez, at the Hemiciclo a Juarez monument in Mexico City, Mexico March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Ginnette Riquelme

Reuters: Left-wing Mexico candidate leads ahead of presidential vote: poll

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took the lead in the last three months ahead of the country’s presidential election, according to a poll published on Wednesday.

The poll, by GEA/ISA, shows two-time runnerup Lopez Obrador grew almost four percentage points to 26.8 percent of vote preference, compared with the firm’s previous survey.

The poll of 1,070 people was taken face to face between March 1 and 3 and has a margin of error of 3 percent. The prior poll was taken in November.

The former Mexico City Mayor Lopez Obrador leads all major polls ahead of the election.

Second-place candidate Ricardo Anaya, with the right-left “For Mexico in Front” coalition, maintained 23 percent of the vote in the GEA/ISA poll. Jose Antonio Meade, with the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) grew slightly to 20.3 percent.

Independents took 2 percent of the vote, while around 28 percent were undecided, did not respond or said they will not vote.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: All my friends from Mexico have been telling me the same thing for the past few months. The sentiment for change is overwhelming, and the old established political parties are going to lose bad.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- MArch 31, 2018

Philipp Bilsky, DW: China's Xi Jinping — the man who decides the fate of billions

China made a series of historic decisions at its 13th National People's Congress in Beijing. Not only will President Xi Jinping be able to rule indefinitely, he is more powerful than ever, says DW's Philipp Bilsky.

It was one of the longest National People's Congresses in years. Representatives from around the country met in Beijing for more than two weeks, and they had a lengthy agenda. Among other things, members of China's pretend-parliament rubber-stamped the most comprehensive restructuring of the country's state apparatus in decades. A major element thereof was a substantial reduction in the number of government agencies and ministries in an attempt to make the bureaucracy leaner and more efficient. China's government, with its millions of administrators, is not only one of the world's largest, it is also one of the most unwieldy.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 31, 2018

Xi’s power boost raises new risks for Silicon Valley -- Kent Harrington, Reuters

New Legislation May Push China and Taiwan Toward War -- J. Michael Cole, National Interest

No Longer a Secret: How Israel Destroyed Syria's Nuclear Reactor -- Amos Harel and Aluf Benn, Haaretz

Israel Finally Tells All About Its Top-Secret Strike on Syrian Nuclear Reactor -- Adam Rawnsley, Daily Beast

Could Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions shake up the Middle East? -- Wesley Dockery, DW

The Saudi Crown Prince’s American Charm Offensive -- Kimberly Dozier, The Cipher Brief

Erdogan is triumphant, maybe too triumphant, but it's unclear where he goes from here -- Patrick Cockburn, The Independent

Might Kim Actually Want to Cut a Deal? -- Ron Huisken, The Strategist

The Strange Tale of Trump's Phone Call to Putin -- David Graham, The Atlantic

How can NATO regain its military might without raising tensions with Russia? -- Antony Funnell, ABC News Online

Liberal World Order, R.I.P. -- Richard N. Haass, Project Syndicate

The End of the Petrodollar? -- James Grant, National Interest

It’s Time to Regulate the Internet -- Franklin Foer, The Atlantic

Zuckerberg Offers the Bare Minimum on the Cambridge Analytica Mess -- Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic

Breaking up with Facebook? It’s harder than it looks -- Barbara Ortutay, AP

World News Briefs -- March 21, 2018 (Evening Edition)

Piles of steel pipes to be exported are seen in front of cranes at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province March 7, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Reuters: Trump set for China tariff announcement on Thursday, trade war fears grow

President Donald Trump will announce tariffs on Chinese imports on Thursday, a White House official said, in a move aimed at curbing theft of U.S. technology that is likely to trigger retaliation from Beijing and stoke fears of a global trade war.

There was no indication of the size and the scope of tariffs, which U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday would target China’s high technology sector and which could also include restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States. Other sectors like apparel could also be hit.

Read more ....


Khamenei says Iran has foiled US plans in Mideast.

Israel will prevent enemies from obtaining nuclear weapons: Netanyahu.

Israel confirms it carried out 2007 airstrike on Syrian nuclear reactor.

Syria's White Helmets: 56 people killed in Eastern Ghouta.

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in eastern Ghouta: sources.

Syrian Kurds bitter over West turning a blind eye to Afrin.

US denies reaching deal with Turkey over Syria's Manbij. Turkey says understanding, but no deal, with U.S. on Syria's Manbij.

Turkish air strike 'neutralizes' 12 Kurdish militants in Iraq: military.

Yemeni minister resigns after calling for President Hadi's return.

Hamas says searching for suspect in attack on Palestinian PM.


China, Philippines agree 'prudent' cooperation on joint sea exploration.

Kabul Sakhi shrine: 'Dozens dead' in New Year attack. Kabul suicide bombing: Heavy casualties in New Year's blast. Suicide bomber kills at least 29 near shrine in Afghan capital.

South Korea's Moon says three-way summit with North Korea, U.S. possible.

China's aircraft carrier sails by Taiwan as tensions rise.

China activists fear high-tech crackdown in Xi's 'new era'.

China to reorganise propaganda efforts at home and abroad.

Htin Kyaw, Myanmar president and Aung San Suu Kyi confidante, resigns.

Maldives ex-leader Gayoom charged with terrorism.


44 African nations sign pact establishing free trade area.

UN in final push to salvage Libya political deal.

Executions, torture and slave markets persist in Libya: U.N..

Burundi on brink again as president wants to rule until 2034.

Sierra Leone: Violence fears as tense election reaches runoff.

Boko Haram returns some of the girls it kidnapped last month. Nigeria: Kidnapped schoolgirls 'freed' by Boko Haram.

South Sudan: Drought and war devastating economy.

DR Congo jails former anti-graft chief for life over rebellion.

Armed gangs cream off 'taxes' on river traffic in C. Africa.

Ahead of Egypt vote, most Christians put faith in Sisi.


Sparks fly in Moscow as Russia and Britain trade accusations over spy poisoning.

Nicolas Sarkozy: ex-president faces second day of questioning over Libya case.

Kremlin: Putin & Trump agree that arms race is ‘undesirable’.

Germany proposes Ulm as NATO logistics hub against Russia.

Trump and Juncker under fire for hailing Putin election victory.

Russia threatens to block Telegram app.

Spain refuses to back withdrawal deal over Gibraltar concerns.

Poland accuses EU of 'double standards' on democracy as standoff deepens.

Anger over ruling that British army did not use torture in Northern Ireland.

EU executive unveils plan for digital tax on tech giants.


Trump to announce China trade sanctions on Thursday.

Trump defends congratulatory phone call to Russia's Putin.

Austin bombing suspect blows himself up as SWAT moves in. Texas bombing suspect blows self up as police close in, official says.

Senators press Trump officials on safeguarding 2018 ballots.

US Fed to hike interest rates for first time in 2018.

Venezuelans launch new currencies amid economic crisis.

China stays on the sidelines as Venezuela spirals downward.

U.S. ties 'super important' says Mexican leftist's pick to lead NAFTA talks.

Obama in New Zealand for meetings, golf, but no public talks.

Canada introduces new gun control measures.


US military will not pursue Taliban into Pakistan.

Families of IS India victims learned of deaths on television.

Iraq holds more than 19,000 on Islamic State, militant links.


Zuckerberg: Facebook must 'step up' after data scandal. Zuckerberg says Facebook made mistakes on user data, vows curbs.

Bayer wins EU approval for $62.5 billion Monsanto buy.

White House plans China trade crackdown Thursday.

Trump trade war biggest risk to world economy: German experts.

WhatsApp co-founder says it is time to delete Facebook.

Has President Trump Already Won The 'Trade War' Against China And The EU?

Kevin Drum, Mother Jones: Europe and China Have Surrendered to Trump

Why does President Trump feel “liberated” just because he’s done a few dumb things lately? Dan Drezner has the right idea: “Trump has such a short-term worldview that if something calamitous does not happen immediately after he does something, it bolsters his assumption that he’s bulletproof.” So if Trump levies tariffs on steel and aluminum and the world is still spinning on its axis a week later, he figures that all the Chicken Littles were wrong yet again.

Oddly enough, the rest of the world seems willing to confirm this worldview. Here’s Europe:

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Kevin Drum and Mother Jones admitting that maybe President Trump pulled it off? I thought I would never see this day. As to what is my take .... still to early for anyone to claim victory.

China Sends Its Aircraft Carrier Through The Taiwan Strait

Taiwan’s defence ministry said the carrier group, led by China’s sole operational aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, entered the waterway late on Tuesday. (File Photo)

Indian Express/Reuters: Taiwan shadows China carrier group after Xi Jinping’s warning against separatism

Taiwan's defence ministry said the carrier group, led by China's sole operational aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, entered the waterway late on Tuesday but kept on its western side.

Taiwan has sent ships and aircraft to shadow a Chinese aircraft carrier group through the narrow Taiwan Strait, its defence ministry said on Wednesday after Chinese President Xi Jinping offered his strongest warning against Taiwan separatism to date. China claims Taiwan as its sacred territory and considers the self-ruled island a wayward province, which Xi said on Tuesday would face the “punishment of history” for any attempt at separatism.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Chinese President Xi makes his big speech directed at Taiwan .... Chinese Nationalism On Full Display With Chinese President Xi Jinping's Closing Speech At The National People's Congress (March 20, 2018) ....  24 hours later we have this aircraft carrier showing up.

More News On China Sending Its Aircraft Carrier Through The Taiwan Strait

China's aircraft carrier sails past Taiwan as tensions rise -- AFP
China dispatches aircraft carrier through Taiwan Strait after warning by Xi: report -- The Japan Times
Taiwan Military Tails Chinese Aircraft Carrier -- Wall Street Journal
US affirms Taiwan support after Chinese carrier enters Taiwan Strait -- Financial Times

Islamic State Suicider Bomber Kills 31 In Afghan Capital

VOA: Suicide Bombing Kills 31 in Afghan Capital

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Afghan officials say a suicide blast has killed at least 31 people and wounded more than 65 others in Kabul.

Officials and witnesses say the bomber targeted a crowd during celebrations to mark the Persian new year, Nowruz, Wednesday near a Shi'ite Muslim neighborhood.

Islamic State claimed responsibility, according to the SITE Intelligence Group that monitors global jihadist threats. The terrorist group identified the bomber as a Pakistani man, saying he detonated his suicide vest amidst the gathering in the Kart-e-Sakhi area.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Maybe one day this insanity will stop.

More News On Today's Terror Bombing In Kabul, Afghanistan

The Latest: Afghan official says 31 dead in suicide bombing -- AP
IS Suicide Bomber Kills 33 as Afghans Celebrate New Year -- US News and World Report/AP
Suicide bomber kills more than 30 near shrine in Afghan capital -- Reuters
Blast kills 29 near Sakhi shrine in Kabul, Afghan officials say -- CNN
Islamic State suicide bomber kills 29 as Afghans celebrate new year -- Los Angeles Times

The Pentagon Wants To Use Lasers As Non-Lethal Weapons

Defense One: The US Military Is Making Lasers Create Voices out of Thin Air

Within three years, the Pentagon's non-lethal weapons lab hopes to have a direct energy weapon that can produce an effect like a haunted walkie-talkie or the biblical burning bush.

Watch the video above and listen carefully for what sounds like a human voice during the second spin. That’s not an audio recording or a broadcast transmitted over radio…it’s not human at all. It’s an auditory effect that’s created by military scientists who manipulated the air with lasers — and it’s the Pentagon’s most interesting idea for stopping people charging checkpoints, or just scaring the crap out of them.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Pentagon wants a workable device in three years.

Who Leaked President Trump's Briefing Papers To The Press?

CNN: Trump furious over leak of warning to not congratulate Putin

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump was infuriated after it quickly leaked that he had been directly instructed by his national security advisers in briefing materials not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his recent election victory during their call Tuesday morning, a source familiar with the President's thinking said.

Trump was fuming Tuesday night, asking his allies and outside advisers who they thought had leaked the information, noting that only a small group of staffers have access to those materials and would have known what guidance was included for the Putin call, the source said.

According to the source, the incident resurfaces his long-held belief there are individuals inside his administration -- especially in the national security realm -- who are actively working to undermine him.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Someone in National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster's staff leaked this. This is serious .... there will be repercussions. As for President Trump congratulating President Putin and his election win .... every U.S. President has congratulated the winner of the Russian Presidency since Boris Yeltsin. No surprises here.

Facebook Facing Backlash On How It Handles Its Data

Washington Times: Trump campaign’s use of Facebook data routine, first employed by Obama

The near-hysterical reaction to the Trump campaign’s reported use of personal Facebook data in 2016 ignores a fact of life about social media: businesses, platforms and political campaigns have been collecting users’ personal preferences for years through a variety of online tools to reach their target audiences.

This alleged data “breach” from Facebook accounts is not identity theft, in which hackers try to steal your credit card information, Social Security number or bank account. The accusation leveled against the voter-profiling research firm Cambridge Analytica involves the exploitation of Facebook users’ personal choices and “likes” — expressed online voluntarily for their friends to see — that let researchers and analysts make educated guesses about a person’s political leanings and susceptibility to advertising.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A personal confession. I have always been interested in using social media as a marketing/networking tool .... and I have worked with people who do just this. That is why much of what I am reading now is not a surprise to me. As for how it can be used by political parties and or special interest groups .... again .... no surprises there. This has been known for a very long time .... case in point .... President Obama's campaign team was praised in 2012/2013 for using social media in their election campaign, and the people behind it boasted about it .... Ex-Obama Campaign Director: It's 'Unfair' Facebook Let Us 'Ingest Entire Social Network of US' (IJR). As for Facebook .... make no mistake about it .... they are not innocent. They know what they have, and they know how to use it. This is why they are a multi-billion dollar company, and this is how they monetize their platform. The personal data that you give to them is theirs .... not yours. And they have used (and are using) that data to enrich themselves. So why is the mainstream media acting in the matter that they are now? Why all the political demands for hearings and investigations? And more importantly .... why are many members of the public upset? As I said .... this is nothing new .... but what is new is that it appears that some smart people in the Trump campaign found out a way to do the same thing that their opponents have been doing for years .... but being more sophisticated about it. And while the denials are coming in that this is not the same .... No, Obama Didn’t Employ the Same Strategies as Cambridge Analytica (Washington Monthly) .... the means to have access to a Facebook user's friend list is the same .... and that is what this issue is all about. As for the future .... Facebook has a huge problem right now. In Canada the privacy commissioner is now involved, and I know too well on how that organization works (I was involved in a case dealing with security cameras being used in the public 15 years ago) .... and I can say with confidence that they will be telling Facebook that no one can have access to a user's Friend list. In the U..K., the EU, and in the U.S. there are now going to be hearings and investigations .... and I can tell by their rhetoric that there is going to be a push to change the status quo. Here is an easy prediction .... social media as we know it is now going to change .... expect government involvement and regulation and all that it will entail.

Update: I would not be surprised if he is right .... Academic behind Facebook breach says political influence was exaggerated (Reuters).

More News On The Backlash That Facebook Is Now Facing On How It Handles Its Data

US FTC probing Facebook data scandal: media -- AFP
Lawmakers zero in on Zuckerberg -- The Hill
Cambridge Analytica: Facebook ‘outraged’ over misuse of user data -- DW
British MPs summon Mark Zuckerberg, saying Facebook misled them -- The Guardian
UK investigates Facebook over Cambridge Analytica data breach -- Al Jazeera
Alexander Nix, Cambridge Analytica CEO, suspended after data scandal -- The Guardian
Cambridge Analytica bosses claimed they invented 'Crooked Hillary' campaign, won Donald Trump the presidency -- ABC News Online
Cambridge Analytica execs boast of role in getting Donald Trump elected -- The Guardian
Owners of Cambridge Analytica Accused of Caribbean Election Meddling, Bribery -- Sputnik
Facebook data row: Cambridge Analytica academic a 'scapegoat' -- BBC
Facebook scandal: I am being used as scapegoat – academic who mined data -- The Guardian
Academic says he’s being scapegoated in Facebook data case -- AP
Facebook investors may want to quiz Mark Zuckerberg -- Nils Pratley, The Guardian
Here's everything you need to know about the Cambridge Analytica scandal -- CNBC
Psychometrics: How Facebook data helped Trump find his voters -- AFP
How to protect your personal data from Facebook profiteering -- NBC
Facebook's biggest challenge yet -- Amol Rajan, BBC
This Is the Personal Data that Facebook Collects—And Sometimes Sells -- Fortune

In Its First Public Comments, North Korea Takes Credit For Thaw In Relations With The U.S.

The Guardian: 'Peace-loving' North Korea claims credit for thaw with US

State media hits out at suggestions rapprochement on the peninsula is a result of sanctions and Donald Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign

North Korea has commented for the first time on the recent rapprochement on the peninsula, saying warming relations with Seoul and Washington are thanks to its “proactive measure and peace-loving proposal”.

North Korea also dismissed suggestions international sanctions were the cause of improved ties in a commentary published by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency, instead saying diplomatic efforts were a sign of Pyongyang’s strength and confidence.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: One has to ask the question .... if President Trump was not so insistent on sanctions, would we be where we are today? Considering North Korea's behavior under Kim Jong-un for the past few years, I would say no. On a side note, the speculation is now on where will this summit be held .... DMZ? Sweden? Washington? Trump-Kim summit site rumors swirl (AP)

More News On North Korean Denying That Sanctions Forced It To Seek Talks

North Korea says sanctions did not push it to seek US talks -- BBC
N. Korea breaks silence on diplomatic thaw, denies sanctions drove it to dialogue -- Stars and Stripes/LATimes
Trump Had Nothing to Do With Korea Peace Talks, Says North Korea -- Newsweek
North Korean media lashes out at skeptics, softens tone on Seoul, U.S. -- UPI
N. Korea denies sanctions prompted diplomatic thaw -- AFP
NKorea says its diplomatic moves are not a sign of weakness -- AP
North Korea warns its detractors, notes an 'atmosphere for reconciliation' ahead of talks -- Washington Post
Kim Jong Un's “warm compatriotism” is responsible for thawing tensions, says Kim Jong Un -- VICE News

Update: South Korean President Moon wants trilateral talks ....

South Korea's Moon says three-way summit with North Korea, U.S. possible. -- Reuters
Moon: Trilateral summit with Seoul, U.S., North possible -- UPI
South Korea's Leader Floats 3-Way Talks With Trump and Kim Jong-un -- New York Times

Israel Admits To Destroying A Nuclear Reactor In Syria In 2007

BBC: Israel admits striking suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

Israel has for the first time confirmed that it destroyed a suspected nuclear reactor being built in Syria in 2007.

The military said fighter jets bombed the al-Kibar facility in Deir al-Zour province, 450km (280 miles) north-east of Damascus, as it neared completion.

Syria's government has repeatedly denied that it was building a reactor.

The Israeli defence minister said the public acknowledgement of the strike after more than 10 years of secrecy was a message to his country's enemies.

"The motivation of our enemies has increased in recent years, but the strength of our army, our air force and our intelligence capabilities have increased compared with the capabilities we had in 2007," Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement.

"This equation should be taken into account by everyone in the Middle East."

Read more ....

More News On Israel Admitting To Destroying A Nuclear Reactor In Syria In 2007

Israel admits bombing suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007, warns Iran -- Reuters
Israel defence minister says 2007 Syria strike message to enemies -- AFP
Israel confirms it carried out 2007 airstrike on Syrian nuclear reactor -- The Guardian
Declassified: How an Israeli operation derailed Syria’s nuclear weapons drive -- Defense News
Israel admits it bombed Syrian 'nuclear site' in 2007 -- DW
Israel admits to 2007 bombing of suspected Syrian nuclear site as 'message' to others -- ABC News Online
Israel confirms bombing 'Syria nuclear reactor' in 2007 -- Al Jazeera
Israel Finally Owns Responsibility For Syrian Nuclear Facility Bombing, After a Decade -- International Business Times
Israel officially admits striking ‘Syrian nuclear reactor’ in 2007 -- RT
WATCH Israeli Defense Forces' Destruction of Syrian Nuclear Reactor -- Sputnik
Israel Finally Tells All About Its Top-Secret Strike on Syrian Nuclear Reactor -- Daily Beast
Why Did Israel Destroy A Syrian Nuclear Reactor? -- Newsweek
Israel just warned Iran it won't tolerate another nuclear power in the region -- VICE News

The News From Israel

Israel's bombing of Syrian reactor proves it won't accept existential threats -- The Jerusalem Post
Liberman says 2007 Syria nuclear facility strike 'a message to enemies' -- i24NEWS
The Intelligence Failure: It Took Years for Israel to Discover Syria's Reactor -- Haaretz
No Longer a Secret: How Israel Destroyed Syria's Nuclear Reactor -- Haaretz
Engineers of Syrian nuclear reactor strike hail it as 'historic' and 'brave' -- The Times of Israel
Has IDF Intelligence learned the lessons from the Syrian reactor strike? -- The Jerusalem Post
'The Atmosphere Was Tense': Inside the First Briefings About Syria's Secret North Korean Nuclear Reactor -- Haaretz