2020-02-18: News Headlines

RT (2020-02-18). Up and at'em! China's Chang'e-4 probe resumes work on FAR SIDE of the Moon. rt.com China's Yutu-2 lunar rover and Chang'e-4 spacecraft have sprung back to life and resumed work on the far side of the Moon, after a brief slumber as the Earth's natural satellite was hidden from the Sun. | The lander awoke at 6: 57am Beijing time on Tuesday, while the rover had come back to life at approximately 5: 55pm Monday. Both machines are functioning normally and are ready to continue their work, the China National Space Administration said. | Also on rt.com | | And so begins the pion…

RT (2020-02-18). Head of Wuhan hospital dies of coronavirus as global death toll rises to nearly 1,900. rt.com The director of a hospital at the epicenter of China's coronavirus outbreak has died, according to state media, marking the latest death as Beijing scrambles to contain the virus. | Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, died on Tuesday morning after "all-out rescue efforts failed," state broadcaster CCTV reported. | Liu's death was initially announced on Monday night in a social media post by the Hubei Health Commission. However, in a follow-up message the commission said that the hospital director was alive and battling the virus. | At least six other medical workers in China have died from…

RT (2020-02-18). Sales for me, tariffs for thee? Trump says US 'OPEN FOR BUSINESS' & blasts China trade restrictions… as tariffs remain in place. rt.com President Donald Trump has unloaded on a series of measures that would restrict the sale of US goods to China, saying national security is no "excuse" for disrupting business. Meanwhile, Chinese imports remain penalized. | "The United States cannot, and will not, become such a difficult place to deal with in terms of foreign countries buying our product," Trump tweeted on Tuesday, "including for the always used National Security excuse." | The United States cannot, & will not, become such a difficult place to deal with in terms of foreign countries buying our product, including for the always used National Sec…

RT (2020-02-18). Only if you're rich: Coronavirus fears spark demand for private jet travel. rt.com Wealthy travelers stuck inside or outside of China due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak have been seeking private jet operators to arrange their flights despite the huge costs. | According to Darin Voyles of Paramount Business Jets, there was a "considerable uptick" in such requests, but the majority of these can't be filled as they can't get the crew or planes. | "Many simply do not want to send their aircraft and crews into mainland China. Aside from the risk of exposure for the crews, the operational and business concern is that when they return from mainland China they will essentially be unable to work…

RT (2020-02-18). Visitor numbers to Russia jumped by 20.5% last year — major e-visa liberalization planned for 2021. rt.com It may be the world's largest country and bursting with visitor attractions, but Russia has long punched below its weight in the tourism sector. Now, signs suggest this is beginning to change. | In 2019, 5.1 million people came to the country as tourists — a 20.5 percent increase on the previous year, during which the FIFA World Cup was staged in 11 Russian cities. That's according to brand-new figures released by the Association of Tour Operators of Russia. | At the top of the leaderboard for visitors is China. In 2019, 1.5 million Chinese crossed the border for the purposes of tourism, a rise of almost…

RT (2020-02-18). China to grant tariff exemptions on additional US goods. rt.com The Chinese government announced on Tuesday it would allow importers to apply for new tariff exemptions on nearly 700 products from the United States, including agricultural and energy goods. | According to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, applications will be accepted starting from March 2, and will need to undergo an approval process. Exemptions will only be effective for one year. | "[The exemptions are] to support enterprises to import goods from the US based upon their business considerations," said the commission. | The list of exemptions contains 697 product types, ranging from soybea…

RT (2020-02-18). Russia temporarily bans ALL Chinese visitors amid coronavirus epidemic. rt.com Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decree on Tuesday evening prohibiting Chinese citizens from entering Russia for tourism, work and for private purposes. The new rules are effective from Thursday. | The decision is the strongest measure yet taken to prevent the entry and spread of the new coronavirus in Russia. Previously, Russian Railways suspended all passenger traffic to and from China, and flights have been heavily restricted. In addition, border crossings in the Far East have been closed. | "From 00: 00 local time on February 20, 2020, the passage of citizens of the People's Republic of Chi…

RT (2020-02-18). 'Colonial rule ended in 1947!' Indians lay into British MP & Kashmir policy critic who demanded instant visa for 'private visit'. rt.com A British MP outraged that she was denied entry to India over a revoked visa has received a harsh backlash online, with some reminding the lawmaker — a critic of Delhi's policies in Kashmir — that India is no longer a UK subject.

RT (2020-02-18). Pay-to-play? Bloomberg & his deep pockets qualify for Nevada debate after DNC rule change opened door to billionaire contender. rt.com Michael Bloomberg will be allowed to participate in the upcoming Democratic primary debate in Nevada, thanks in part to a helpful rule change — and hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign spending. | As of Tuesday, the former New York City mayor has polled over 10 percent in four surveys, meeting the threshold set by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). (Alternatively, Bloomberg could have qualified by receiving at least one delegate from either the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary — but the billionaire has yet to rack up a single delegate.) | His qualification for Wednesday's deba…

RT (2020-02-18). Happy Presidents' Day! Obama & Trump argue over who gets credit for saving Wall St… err, US economy. rt.com With many Americans enjoying the day off in honor of their first president, the two most recent ones seized the moment to get into a fight over who should get the credit for the nation's economic recovery. | "Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history," Barack Obama tweeted on Monday, along with a photo of his signature on the bill that pumped an estimated $831 billion into Wall Street. | Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the…

RT (2020-02-18). 'Oligarch v oligarch' in 2020? Democrats could rob Bernie & nominate Bloomberg in Wall Street win-win — Lee Camp. rt.com Bernie Sanders is on course to triumph in the Democratic primaries, but backdoor deals could result in Michael Bloomberg being the nominee, leaving Americans to choose between two Wall Street-backed billionaires, Lee Camp warns. | In his new video, the American comedian and Redacted Tonight host argues that the Democratic establishment will do everything in its power to prevent the Vermont senator from clinching the nomination. | In one possible scenario, Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, could be handed the nomination if non-Sanders delegates throw their support behind him, resulting in a lose-lose situat…

RT (2020-02-18). European court reinstates order for Russia to pay $50 billion over Yukos. rt.com A Dutch appeals court has reinstated an international arbitration panel's ruling that Russia should pay $50 billion in compensation to ex-shareholders of the defunct Russian oil giant, Yukos, overturning a previous court decision. | The Hague Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday that the 2016 ruling cancelling the arbitration decision "was not correct," meaning that "the arbitration order is in force again." | The Russian Justice Ministry said immediately after the ruling that it would appeal the court's decision. The Ministry of Justice said the court had ignored the fact that the former Yukos shareholders were n…

RT (2020-02-18). Ukraine witch-hunter Mirotvorets blacklists retired NATO generals, Munich Security Conference head as 'PRO-RUSSIA' propagandists. rt.com A notorious witch-hunt website says the chairman of one the most reputed pro-NATO gatherings and some top US military retirees are now enemies of Ukraine, as they dared to sign a non-binding roadmap for peace in Donbass. | The controversial 'Mirotvorets' (Peacekeeper) website took aim at German Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, blacklisting him for what it said was "attempting to disrupt the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine" and for "taking part in Russia's propaganda events aimed against Ukraine." | | © Screenshot from myrotvorets.center | Ischinger chairs the Munich Security Conference (M…

RT (2020-02-18). Afghan President Ghani wins 2nd term — election commission. rt.com Afghanistan has declared incumbent Ashraf Ghani the winner of a disputed presidential election held almost five months ago. Ghani won 50.64 percent of the vote, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said on Tuesday. Abdullah Abdullah, Ghani's former deputy and main rival, was named runner-up with 39.52 percent. | The result could trigger new turmoil amid accusations of fraud, as hope remains for a possible peace deal with Taliban militants, Reuters said. Polls were held on September 28 to select a president for the fourth time since US-led forces overthrew the Taliban government in 2001. The election was m…

RT (2020-02-18). Like the 'Titanic,' the glory of the US won't prevent it from sinking… and it will sink — Iran's Khamenei. rt.com Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has denounced the US ahead of Iran's elections, likening Washington to a sinking ocean liner, and calling it out as a mass oppressor. | Pulling no punches, Khamenei tweeted that the country's arch rival is a clear "manifestation of oppression" that is "abhorred by the world." | Not stopping there, he also likened the US to the 'Titanic,' and promised its fate may be no less grim. | "The Americans decorate a facade to deceive others and to scare some. But, just as the magnificence of the 'Titanic' didn't prevent her from sinking, the glory of the US won't prevent it from sink…

RT (2020-02-18). Home-made bombs tested on PETS: New Columbine-style school massacre thwarted in Crimea, 2 teen suspects arrested. rt.com Two teenage fans of Vladislav Roslyakov, who killed 20 of his classmates in a Columbine-copycat shooting in the Crimean city of Kerch two years ago, were preparing similar school attacks, the Russian security service has revealed. | The suspects, who "were disciples of extremist ideology and followers of Vladislav Roslyakov" wanted to target two schools in Kerch, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement Tuesday. | Police discovered improvised explosive devices (IEDs) with striking elements at their homes as well as spare parts to make more IEDs, which the teens had purchased on the internet.

Staff (2020-02-18). "Worth the Price?" New Film Shows How Biden Played Leading Role in Push for U.S. to Invade Iraq. democracynow.org The Democratic presidential candidates face off in Las Vegas Wednesday night ahead of the Nevada caucuses. Nevada could be a decisive state for candidates who performed poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire, including former Vice President Joe Biden. As Biden hopes for a comeback, a new short documentary sheds light on his extensive role in the Iraq War — an issue that has been raised repeatedly on the campaign trail. Biden has apologized for supporting the war, but the new film, directed by the Center for Economic and Policy Research's Mark Weisbrot, exposes Biden's central role in pushing for an Iraq invasion.

RT (2020-02-18). Bombs away! WATCH close-up footage of Su-35S jet performing airstrike. rt.com The Russian Defense Ministry's TV channel, Zvezda, has placed numerous cameras on Su-35S fighter jets, filming a spectacular video from the bomb-dropping drills of the 4++ generation warplanes | The cams were not only in the cockpits, but also on the bodies of the jets, right in front of their bomb hatches, providing some unique footage. | The video was made during the recent exercises in the air above the Voronzeh and Tver Regions in central Russia, which involved Su-35S and MiG-31 jets, as well as around 500 servicemen. | The planes took off from the airfields with a time gap of just one minute and droppe…

RT (2020-02-18). But will he pardon Roger Stone? Trump clemency for Blagojevich, Kerik, Milken & DeBartolo fuel speculation. rt.com US President Donald Trump has surprised everyone with a series of pardons that — so far — do not include any of his aides caught up in 'Russiagate' investigations, although his tweets suggest this too might be coming. | First on the list was former San Francisco 49s NFL franchise owner Edward DeBartolo Jr, who pleaded guilty in 1998 to failing to report a felony, after he did not disclose that the governor of Louisiana extorted him for a bribe in exchange for a riverboat casino license. He was fined $1 million and sentenced to two years' probation. His NFL career effectively over, he transferred th…

Ed Rampell (2020-02-18). 'The Father': Alfred Molina in a meditation on dementia. peoplesworld.org PASADENA, Calif.—Alfred Molina renders a devastating depiction of dementia in Florian Zeller's award-winning play The Father. Ably directed by Jessica Kubzansky, this one-act Alzheimer-palooza is staged in what is usually described as a "cinematic" way, with intercutting and perhaps even montage used to indicate André's (Molina) increasingly fragmented, confused perception of reality. The lighting and …

Staff (2020-02-18). Trump Commutes Blagojevich Sentence, Pardons Others. truthdig.com WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has gone on a clemency blitz, commuting the 14-year prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and pardoning former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik, among a long list of others. | Trump also told reporters that he has pardoned financier Michael Milken, who pleaded guilty for violating U.S. securities laws and served two years in prison in the early 1990s. Trump also pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner convicted in a gambling fraud scandal who built one of the most successful NFL teams in the game's history. | Related Article…

Staff (2020-02-18). Boy Scouts' Future Uncertain After Bankruptcy Filing. truthdig.com Barraged with sex-abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday in hopes of working out a potentially mammoth victim compensation plan that will allow the 110-year-old organization to carry on. | The Chapter 11 filing in federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware, sets in motion what could be one of the biggest, most complex bankruptcies ever seen. Scores of lawyers are seeking settlements on behalf of several thousand men who say they were molested as scouts by scoutmasters or other leaders decades ago but are only now eligible to sue because of recent changes in their s…

RT (2020-02-18). Bercow attacks Tories claiming party only accept ethnic minority 'conformists', calls his abusers 'bigots'. rt.com Former Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow has provoked anger among the Tory faithful after insisting the party only accommodate "ethnic minorities" who play by "the rulebook," otherwise they're "rubbished." | In an interview for a 'Guardian Live' event on Monday night, Bercow — who has been dogged by accusations of bullying by his former parliamentary colleagues since he stepped down from his role in October — laid into the Conservative Party hierarchy's attitude towards ethnic minorities. | If they play by the rulebook dictated by those on high, they are accommodated, patted on the head a…

Staff (2020-02-18). Journalist: Harvey Weinstein's Defense Team Is Waging a War Against the #MeToo Movement. democracynow.org A jury of seven men and five women meet today in New York Supreme Court to begin deliberations on whether to find disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein guilty of sexual assault. The case has drawn international attention amid the #MeToo movement. If the jurors find Weinstein guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 100 women but in this case faces five charges based on evidence relating to two main accusers. One woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, alleges she was raped by Weinstein in a New York hotel, for which he has been charged wit…

RT (2020-02-18). As Weinstein verdict comes in, what has #MeToo wrought? rt.com Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is facing a reckoning for his 'casting couch' habits — but the #MeToo movement he triggered has not only empowered victims, it's grown into a weapon for politicians and culture warriors. | Weinstein was hauled before a Manhattan court

RT (2020-02-18). Chechen exile's Berlin park killer linked to Russia's FSB – Bellingcat, Der Spiegel, The Insider. rt.com When a Chechen exile was shot dead in a Berlin park last summer it strained relations between Germany and Russia. A new investigation suggests his alleged killer may have been trained by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB). | A joint report from Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, the US-government funded Bellingcat website and Russian outlet The Insider claims to have obtained the phone records of "Vadim Krasikov," which they say is the real identity of Vadim Sokolov, the man German police accuse of carrying out the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili. | Khangoshvili was regarded as a terrorist by Moscow for his…

RT (2020-02-18). Extraordinary Neanderthal skeleton found at famous burial site could finally answer ancient DEATH-RITES question. rt.com The landmark discovery in Iraq of the skeleton of a 70,000-year-old Neanderthal has reignited a debate about whether these ancient humans were sophisticated enough to have burial rituals. | The old bones were unearthed at Shanidar Cave in Iraq, where the partial remains of 10 Neanderthal men, women and children were found during excavations in the 1950s and 1960s. | | © Graeme Barker | The skeleton is the first "articulated" Neanderthal remains to be found in two decades. An articulated skeleton find is one where the bones are still arranged in their original positions. Researchers say it offers an unpa…

John Bachtell (2020-02-18). In politics, a day or a week makes a big difference. peoplesworld.org What a difference a day (or week) makes. During the first week of February, a sense of panic spread through the ranks of many Democrats and activists. First, there was the Iowa Caucus vote counting debacle, and then Trump was acquitted in the sham impeachment trial. Then the criminal, white supremacist, rapist, autocrat in the …

RT (2020-02-18). 5 civilians injured in explosive device blast in Bab Musalla, Damascus. rt.com Five civilians were injured in a car bomb blast in the Bab Musalla area in Damascus, SANA said on Tuesday. One of the victims sustained serious injuries, according to the report. | A source at Damascus Police Command said that the terrorists placed an explosive device in a car. | The automobile exploded while it was passing by the departures bus stop in Bab Musalla area in the Syrian capital, injuring five civilians, one of whom is in critical condition.

RT (2020-02-18). US 'shamelessly & impudently' PILLAGES Syrian oilfields but forbids supply of hydrocarbons to Damascus, says Russian defense chief. rt.com Russia's Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu slammed the US for occupying Syrian oilfields, calling it a major obstacle to the reconstruction of the country after the conflict. | "The oil fields… are controlled by the US. There's shameless, impudent pillage of the wealth that belongs to Syria and the Syrian people taking place," Shoigu said during a visit to the Italian capital Rome. | At the same time, the sanctions imposed by Washington against Damascus ban any oil shipments to Syria, putting the country in a tight spot. | "Most of the people, who are now suffering in Syria, are in need of heat, hot water and e…

RT (2020-02-18). Russian man diagnosed with coronavirus on board cruise ship in Japan. rt.com A second Russian citizen has been hospitalized over coronavirus concerns aboard the 'Diamond Princess' cruise ship. The Japanese government has confirmed that only one Russian national is infected with coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the Russian Embassy in Tokyo said on Tuesday. | "According to the explanations we have been given, the spouse of the Russian woman who was suspected to have COVID-19 as of February 17 has been diagnosed with the virus," the embassy informed. | The man is currently held at a special medical facility in Aichi Prefecture, the embassy added. His wife, who was reported…

RT (2020-02-18). Young man on trial for clashing with police at Moscow protests gets suspended sentence. rt.com Meshchansky District Court in Moscow on Tuesday handed student Andrei Barshai, a participant of the July 27 unauthorized rally, a three-year suspended sentence. Barshai, 21, was convicted of using force against an officer of the Russian National Guard Troops Service. | Barshai was freed at the court room. He had denied any wrongdoing, excluding the fact of 'a physical contact' with the officer. During the unauthorized action, Barshai "pushed him in the back," police said. The student apologized to the law enforcement officer. | More than 3,500 people took to the streets in July last year in support of unregist…

RT (2020-02-18). Putin orders to remove Surkov from Russian presidential aide office. rt.com Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an executive order to release Vladislav Surkov from the position of his aide, the Kremlin's press service said on Tuesday. | "To relieve Vladislav Surkov from the position of the aide to the Russian president," the order reads. The president's order also notes that it is effective on the day of signing. | Earlier reports this year said Surkov, the president's long-time influential aide and former deputy PM and the ex-deputy head of the presidential administration, had

Lorri Nandrea (2020-02-18). RNC 2020 and the symbols of history: Crowns, Hornets, and Boiler Plugs. peoplesworld.org This August, the Republican National Convention will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, the only city that offered to host it. After submitting their bid, the Charlotte City Council tried to retract it, but were cowed by the threat of being sued for breach of contract. So, the Republicans have somewhere to go. Charlotte was …

RT (2020-02-18). US-Taliban agreement to cut violence will start in next 5 days, Afghan minister says. rt.com An agreement between the Taliban and US forces to reduce violence will come into force within the next five days, Afghanistan's acting Interior Minister Masoud Andarabi said on Tuesday. | The 'reduction in violence' period "will begin in the next five days, which will be based on the negotiations between the US and the Taliban," he told a gathering of provincial police commanders in Kabul. | Last week, a senior US administration official said negotiations with Taliban representatives in Qatar had resulted in an agreement in principle for a week-long reduction of violence, but the seven-day period had not yet c…

Morning Star (2020-02-18). Amazon offers free shipping for illegal Israeli settlements, but not Palestinian Territories. peoplesworld.org Amazon has been accused of discrimination by offering free shipment to illegal settlers in the occupied West Bank, but not for Palestinians living there. The practice was discovered by the Financial Times as it entered illegal settlement addresses into the global online retailer's delivery portal. Amazon's website offered free shipping for orders, saying: "If your …

Robin Andersen (2020-02-18). Factchecking NPR's Attempted Takedown of Bernie Sanders. fair.org by Robin Andersen | The Iowa caucuses officially began the Democratic primary, and even in this ongoing, extended battle for the White House, Iowa remains an important marker for candidates and the media. A close look at a piece by two of NPR's leading political reporters, which aired just before the caucuses, provides a view of how journalists speak with authority on issues they seem to know very little about. The conversation between Mary Louise Kelly and her partner Mara Liasson, headlined "Where Iowa Falls in the Big Picture of the 2020 Election" (All Thing…

RT (2020-02-18). 'Doctors for Assange' worry he may die in UK prison having 'effectively been tortured to death'. rt.com Over 100 doctors are urging the UK government to stop the "psychological torture" of Julian Assange, and send him to a hospital. It's their fourth such letter since the journalist appeared in court. | WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may die in a UK prison, having "effectively been tortured to death," claim Doctors for Assange, a group of 117 doctors from 18 countries, in a recent letter The letter says that Assange requires urgent med…

RT (2020-02-18). It's official! India overtakes UK & France to become world's 5th LARGEST economy. rt.com India is developing into an open-market economy from its previous autarchic policies, US-based think tank World Population Review concludes in a report. | "India's economy is the fifth largest in the world, with a GDP of $2.94 trillion, overtaking the UK and France in 2019 to take the fifth spot," said the report, as quoted by the Press Trust of India. | To compare, the size of the UK economy is $2.83 trillion, while the French economy is $2.71 trillion. | Also on rt.com | | According to the…

Sasha Abramsky (2020-02-18). Trump Is Unleashing Militarized Goon Squads Against Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities. thenation.com Trump Is Unleashing Militarized Goon Squads Against Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities…

Mike Ludwig (2020-02-18). Sanders and AOC's Fracking Ban Angers Centrists and Their Fossil Fuel Backers. zcomm.org Source: Truthout Photo by J. Bicking/Shutterstock.com House Democrats have finally unveiled a flurry of climate bills aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but activists say only one proposal represents the "gold standard" for tackling the climate crisis: Legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that would ban fracking nationwide. While none of

Dr. C. Stephen Frost (2020-02-18). End Torture and Medical Neglect of Julian Assange. globalresearch.ca On Nov 22, 2019, we, a group of more than 60 medical doctors, wrote to the UK Home Secretary to express our serious concerns about the physical and mental health of Julian Assange.1 In our letter,1 we documented a history …

WSWS (2020-02-18). Support grows for New Zealand rallies to free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. wsws.org The Socialist Equality Group (NZ) is holding a rally in Wellington on Sunday February 23 as part of worldwide demonstrations in defence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

WSWS (2020-02-18). The Lancet publishes letter from doctors: "End torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange" wsws.org The world's pre-eminent medical journal carries a letter from 117 doctors in 18 countries calling for urgent action to save the life of the WikiLeaks publisher.

John Pilger (2020-02-18). John Pilger: It is time for Julian Assange to be saved, not betrayed. thegrayzone.com The truth is that Australia could have rescued Julian Assange and can still rescue him. Leaders of his homeland who have…

WSWS (2020-02-18). Australian court backs police raids on journalists. wsws.org The ruling highlights the driving forces behind the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Alexander Rubinstein (2020-02-18). While demanding Assange, US refuses to extradite CIA agent who killed British teen. thegrayzone.com High-ranking CIA agent Anne Sacoolas is charged with killing a teenage British citizen. While the US demands Julian Assange's extradition,…

John Pilger (2020-02-18). 'Julian Assange must be freed, not betrayed', says John Pilger. thecanary.co On Saturday, there will be a march from Australia House in London to Parliament Square, the centre of British democracy. People will carry pictures of the Australian publisher and journalist Julian Assange who, on 24 February, faces a court that will decide whether or not he is to be extradited to the United States and a living death. | Some Australian history: | I know Australia House well. As an Australian myself, I used to go there in my early days in London to read the newspapers from home. Opened by King George V over a century ago, its vastness of marble and stone, chandeliers and solemn portraits,…

WSWS (2020-02-18). Courage Foundation holds public meeting in New York City in defense of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. wsws.org The extradition hearing for Assange is scheduled to begin in London on February 24.

John Pilger (2020-02-18). Julian Assange Must Be Freed, Not Betrayed. zcomm.org When we speak about dictatorships, we call this brainwashing: the conquest of minds. It is a truth we rarely apply to our own societies, regardless of the trail of blood that leads back to us and which never dries…

2020-02-18: Social Media Postees

Please be social by posting these 'POSTEES' on social media!

Trump Is Unleashing Militarized Goon Squads Against Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities
Sasha Abramsky | thenation.com | 2020-02-18
Trump Is Unleashing Militarized Goon Squads Against Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities…
thenation.com/article/society/trump-immigration-sanctuary-cities/

Sanders and AOC's Fracking Ban Angers Centrists and Their Fossil Fuel Backers
Mike Ludwig | zcomm.org | 2020-02-18
Source: Truthout Photo by J. Bicking/Shutterstock.com House Democrats have finally unveiled a flurry of climate bills aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but activists say only one proposal represents the "gold standard" for tackling the climate crisis: Legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that would ban fracking nationwide. While none of Read…
zcomm.org/znetarticle/sanders-and-aocs-fracking-ban-angers-centrists-and-their-fossil-fuel-backers/

End Torture and Medical Neglect of Julian Assange
Dr. C. Stephen Frost | globalresearch.ca | 2020-02-18
On Nov 22, 2019, we, a group of more than 60 medical doctors, wrote to the UK Home Secretary to express our serious concerns about the physical and mental health of Julian Assange.1 In our letter,1 we documented a history …
globalresearch.ca/end-torture-medical-neglect-julian-assange/5704006

Courage Foundation holds public meeting in New York City in defense of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
wsws.org | 2020-02-18
The extradition hearing for Assange is scheduled to begin in London on February 24.
www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/02/18/wnyc-f18.html

Australian court backs police raids on journalists
wsws.org | 2020-02-18
The ruling highlights the driving forces behind the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/02/18/raid-f18.html

Julian Assange Must Be Freed, Not Betrayed
John Pilger | zcomm.org | 2020-02-18
When we speak about dictatorships, we call this brainwashing: the conquest of minds. It is a truth we rarely apply to our own societies, regardless of the trail of blood that leads back to us and which never dries…
zcomm.org/znetarticle/julian-assange-must-be-freed-not-betrayed/

'Julian Assange must be freed, not betrayed', says John Pilger
John Pilger | thecanary.co | 2020-02-18
On Saturday, there will be a march from Australia House in London to Parliament Square, the centre of British democracy. People will carry pictures of the Australian publisher and journalist Julian Assange who, on 24 February, faces a court that will decide whether or not he is to be extradited to the United States and a living death. | Some Australian history: | I know Australia House well. As an Australian myself, I used to go there in my early days in London to read the newspapers from home. Opened by King George V over a century ago, its vastness of marble and stone, chandeliers and solemn portraits,…
thecanary.co/opinion/2020/02/18/julian-assange-must-be-freed-not-betrayed-says-john-pilger/

While demanding Assange, US refuses to extradite CIA agent who killed British teen
Alexander Rubinstein | thegrayzone.com | 2020-02-18
High-ranking CIA agent Anne Sacoolas is charged with killing a teenaged British citizen. While the US demands Julian Assange's extradition,…
thegrayzone.com/2020/02/18/assange-us-extradite-cia-killed-british-teen/

The Lancet publishes letter from doctors: "End torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange"
wsws.org | 2020-02-18
The world's pre-eminent medical journal carries a letter from 117 doctors in 18 countries calling for urgent action to save the life of the WikiLeaks publisher.
www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/02/18/lanc-f18.html

Support grows for New Zealand rallies to free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning
wsws.org | 2020-02-18
The Socialist Equality Group (NZ) is holding a rally in Wellington on Sunday February 23 as part of worldwide demonstrations in defence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/02/18/asnz-f18.html

Australian court backs police raids on journalists
wsws.org | 2020-02-18
The ruling highlights the driving forces behind the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/02/18/raid-f18.html

John Pilger: It is time for Julian Assange to be saved, not betrayed
John Pilger | thegrayzone.com | 2020-02-18
The truth is that Australia could have rescued Julian Assange and can still rescue him. Leaders of his homeland who have…
thegrayzone.com/2020/02/17/john-pilger-julian-assange-saved-betrayed/

Support grows for New Zealand rallies to free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning
wsws.org | 2020-02-18
The Socialist Equality Group (NZ) is holding a rally in Wellington on Sunday February 23 as part of worldwide demonstrations in defence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/02/18/asnz-f18.html

'Doctors for Assange' worry he may die in UK prison having 'effectively been tortured to death'
rt.com | 2020-02-18
Over 100 doctors are urging the UK government to stop the "psychological torture" of Julian Assange, and send him to a hospital. It's their fourth such letter since the journalist appeared in court. | WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may die in a UK prison, having "effectively been tortured to death," claim Doctors for Assange, a group of 117 doctors from 18 countries, in a recent letter published in The Lancet, a leading medical journal. | The letter says that Assange requires urgent med…
rt.com/news/481096-doctors-worry-assange-condition/

While demanding Assange, US refuses to extradite CIA agent who killed British teen
Alexander Rubinstein | thegrayzone.com | 2020-02-18
High-ranking CIA agent Anne Sacoolas is charged with killing a teenage British citizen. While the US demands Julian Assange's extradition,…
thegrayzone.com/2020/02/18/assange-us-extradite-cia-killed-british-teen/

The Escalating Class War Against Bernie Sanders
Norman Solomon | counterpunch.org | 2020-02-18
More than ever, Bernie Sanders is public enemy number one for power elites that thrive on economic injustice. The Bernie 2020 campaign is a direct threat to the undemocratic leverage that extremely wealthy individuals and huge corporations constantly exert on the political process. No wonder we're now seeing so much anti-Bernie rage from leading corporate Democrats

The Escalating Class War Against Bernie Sanders
Norman Solomon | indybay.org | 2020-02-18
Corporate Democrats and corporate media on the attack…
indybay.org/newsitems/2020/02/17/18830739.php

In politics, a day or a week makes a big difference
John Bachtell | peoplesworld.org | 2020-02-18
What a difference a day (or week) makes. During the first week of February, a sense of panic spread through the ranks of many Democrats and activists. First, there was the Iowa Caucus vote counting debacle, and then Trump was acquitted in the sham impeachment trial. Then the criminal, white supremacist, rapist, autocrat in the …
peoplesworld.org/article/in-politics-a-day-or-a-week-makes-a-big-difference/

Teacher Strikes Boost Fight for Racial Justice in Schools
Staff | truthout.org | 2020-02-18
One year ago, Los Angeles teachers on strike were demanding an end to random searches where students were yanked out of class to be frisked. By the time they walked back into work, they had won a partial victory. | Now these searches are coming to an end districtwide

Striking LA Teachers' Win Against Random Frisking Is Becoming District Policy
Staff | truthout.org | 2020-02-18
One year ago, Los Angeles teachers on strike were demanding an end to random searches where students were yanked out of class to be frisked. By the time they walked back into work, they had won a partial victory. | Now these searches are coming to an end districtwide

Ukraine witch-hunter Mirotvorets blacklists retired NATO generals, Munich Security Conference head as 'PRO-RUSSIA' propagandists
rt.com | 2020-02-18
A notorious witch-hunt website says the chairman of one the most reputed pro-NATO gatherings and some top US military retirees are now enemies of Ukraine, as they dared to sign a non-binding roadmap for peace in Donbass. | The controversial 'Mirotvorets' (Peacekeeper) website took aim at German Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, blacklisting him for what it said was "attempting to disrupt the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine" and for "taking part in Russia's propaganda events aimed against Ukraine." | | © Screenshot from myrotvorets.center | Ischinger chairs the Munich Security Conference (M…
rt.com/news/481100-mirotvorets-ischinger-blacklist-donbass/

Libya's GNA scraps peace talks after attack on ship 'loaded with weapons' at Tripoli port
rt.com | 2020-02-18
The Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya has suspended UN-brokered ceasefire talks with the Libyan National Army after an LNA attack on a port in the capital on Tuesday. | "Today there was a renewed violation of the truce with the targeting of civilian facilities in the capital," the GNA said in statement, adding "we hereby suspend our participation in the military talks that are taking place in Geneva until a firm stand is taken against the aggressor and their violations." | The attack

Ukraine witch-hunter Mirotvorets blacklists retired NATO generals, Munich Security Conference head as 'PRO-RUSSIA' propagandists
rt.com | 2020-02-18
A notorious witch-hunt website says the chairman of one the most reputed pro-NATO gatherings and some top US military retirees are now enemies of Ukraine, as they dared to sign a non-binding roadmap for peace in Donbass. | The controversial 'Mirotvorets' (Peacekeeper) website took aim at German Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, blacklisting him for what it said was "attempting to disrupt the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine" and for "taking part in Russia's propaganda events aimed against Ukraine." | | © Screenshot from myrotvorets.center | Ischinger chairs the Munich Security Conference (M…
rt.com/news/481100-mirotvorets-ischinger-blacklist-donbass/

'The Deal of the Century' and Its Hidden Secrets
Hazim El-Naser | globalresearch.ca | 2020-02-18
We oppose and reject the US-Israeli peace plan, or the so-called "deal of the century", for many political, economic, social and religious reasons. It is rejected due to new signs that it will impede progress on the water issue between …
globalresearch.ca/deal-century-hidden-secrets/5703905

Mexico: Family Says Gov't Failed To Protect Murdered Girl
telesurenglish.net | 2020-02-18
Relatives of a seven-year-old girl murdered in Mexico said Monday the government had failed to protect her despite their pleas for help, while President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador blamed the crime on neo-liberal economics. | RELATED: | Women Glitter Mexico City to Protest Rape, Gendered Violence | Fatima Cecilia Aldrighett went missing on Feb. 11. Her body was discovered over the weekend inside a plastic garbage bag in Mexico City's Tlahuac neighborhood, only days after another mur…
telesurenglish.net/news/Mexico-Family-Says-Govt-Failed-To-Protect-Murdered-Girl-20200217-0021.html

Young man on trial for clashing with police at Moscow protests gets suspended sentence
rt.com | 2020-02-18
Meshchansky District Court in Moscow on Tuesday handed student Andrei Barshai, a participant of the July 27 unauthorized rally, a three-year suspended sentence. Barshai, 21, was convicted of using force against an officer of the Russian National Guard Troops Service. | Barshai was freed at the court room. He had denied any wrongdoing, excluding the fact of 'a physical contact' with the officer. During the unauthorized action, Barshai "pushed him in the back," police said. The student apologized to the law enforcement officer. | More than 3,500 people took to the streets in July last year in support of unregist…
rt.com/newsline/481134-man-trial-moscow-protests/

"Worth the Price?" New Film Shows How Biden Played Leading Role in Push for U.S. to Invade Iraq
Staff | democracynow.org | 2020-02-18
The Democratic presidential candidates face off in Las Vegas Wednesday night ahead of the Nevada caucuses. Nevada could be a decisive state for candidates who performed poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire, including former Vice President Joe Biden. As Biden hopes for a comeback, a new short documentary sheds light on his extensive role in the Iraq War

"Worth the Price?" New Film Shows How Biden Played Leading Role in Push for U.S. to Invade Iraq
Staff | democracynow.org | 2020-02-18
The Democratic presidential candidates face off in Las Vegas Wednesday night ahead of the Nevada caucuses. Nevada could be a decisive state for candidates who performed poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire, including former Vice President Joe Biden. As Biden hopes for a comeback, a new short documentary sheds light on his extensive role in the Iraq War

Explaining Syria: It's Everyone's Fault Except the U.S. and Israel
Philip Giraldi | globalresearch.ca | 2020-02-18
The first week in February was memorable for the failed impeachment of President Donald Trump, the "re-elect me" State of the Union address and the marketing of a new line of underwear by Kim Kardashian. Given all of the …
globalresearch.ca/explaining-syria-everyone-fault-except-u-s-israel/5703993

Trump's Budget: More Warfare, Slightly Less Welfare
Rep. Ron Paul | globalresearch.ca | 2020-02-18
Listening to the howls from Democrats and the applause from Republicans, one would think President Trump's proposed fiscal year 2021 budget is a radical assault on the welfare state. The truth is the budget contains some minor spending cuts, most …
globalresearch.ca/trumps-budget-more-warfare-slightly-less-welfare/5703985

Video: Turkish "Armed Groups" Don't Help. Syrian Army Liberates Entire Western Aleppo
South Front | globalresearch.ca | 2020-02-18
Syrian government forces have cleared the entire western countryside of Aleppo city of members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other Turkish-backed armed groups. | During the past week, the Syrian Army and its allies cleared up to 300km2 delivering a devastating …
globalresearch.ca/video-turkish-armed-groups-dont-help-syrian-army-liberates-entire-western-aleppo/5703963

Sanders on Geopolitical Issues
Stephen Lendman | globalresearch.ca | 2020-02-18
Follow what politicians do, not what they say they'll do. Time and again, rhetoric and actions are world's apart. | Obama and Trump are Exhibits A and B, their pledges to voters as presidential candidates polar opposite their policies in office …
globalresearch.ca/sanders-geopolitical-issues/5703987

Billionaire Bloomberg Aims to "Buy the US Presidency"
Stephen Lendman | globalresearch.ca | 2020-02-18
A fantasy democracy, never the real thing, Americans get the best rule of privileged interests money can buy… | Bloomberg's billions give him a significant edge only money can buy. Forbes ranked him 9th among the world's richest individuals, estimating his …
globalresearch.ca/billionaire-bloomberg-aims-buy-us-presidency/5703927

Russia temporarily bans ALL Chinese visitors amid coronavirus epidemic
rt.com | 2020-02-18
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decree on Tuesday evening prohibiting Chinese citizens from entering Russia for tourism, work and for private purposes. The new rules are effective from Thursday. | The decision is the strongest measure yet taken to prevent the entry and spread of the new coronavirus in Russia. Previously, Russian Railways suspended all passenger traffic to and from China, and flights have been heavily restricted. In addition, border crossings in the Far East have been closed. | "From 00: 00 local time on February 20, 2020, the passage of citizens of the People's Republic of Chi…
rt.com/russia/481133-russia-bans-china-visitors-coronavirus/

It's official! India overtakes UK & France to become world's 5th LARGEST economy
rt.com | 2020-02-18
India is developing into an open-market economy from its previous autarchic policies, US-based think tank World Population Review concludes in a report. | "India's economy is the fifth largest in the world, with a GDP of $2.94 trillion, overtaking the UK and France in 2019 to take the fifth spot," said the report, as quoted by the Press Trust of India. | To compare, the size of the UK economy is $2.83 trillion, while the French economy is $2.71 trillion. | Also on rt.com | | China & India to take control of one-third of global economy | According to the…
rt.com/business/481081-india-fifth-largest-economy/

Up and at'em! China's Chang'e-4 probe resumes work on FAR SIDE of the Moon
rt.com | 2020-02-18
China's Yutu-2 lunar rover and Chang'e-4 spacecraft have sprung back to life and resumed work on the far side of the Moon, after a brief slumber as the Earth's natural satellite was hidden from the Sun. | The lander awoke at 6: 57am Beijing time on Tuesday, while the rover had come back to life at approximately 5: 55pm Monday. Both machines are functioning normally and are ready to continue their work, the China National Space Administration said. | Also on rt.com | | New VIDEO shows Chinese probe roaming the 'dark side' of the Moon | And so begins the pion…
rt.com/news/481082-china-lunar-probe-resume-chang-e-4/

Sales for me, tariffs for thee? Trump says US 'OPEN FOR BUSINESS' & blasts China trade restrictions… as tariffs remain in place
rt.com | 2020-02-18
President Donald Trump has unloaded on a series of measures that would restrict the sale of US goods to China, saying national security is no "excuse" for disrupting business. Meanwhile, Chinese imports remain penalized. | "The United States cannot, and will not, become such a difficult place to deal with in terms of foreign countries buying our product," Trump tweeted on Tuesday, "including for the always used National Security excuse." | The United States cannot, & will not, become such a difficult place to deal with in terms of foreign countries buying our product, including for the always used National Sec…
rt.com/usa/481125-trump-china-trade-restrictions/

Only if you're rich: Coronavirus fears spark demand for private jet travel
rt.com | 2020-02-18
Wealthy travelers stuck inside or outside of China due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak have been seeking private jet operators to arrange their flights despite the huge costs. | According to Darin Voyles of Paramount Business Jets, there was a "considerable uptick" in such requests, but the majority of these can't be filled as they can't get the crew or planes. | "Many simply do not want to send their aircraft and crews into mainland China. Aside from the risk of exposure for the crews, the operational and business concern is that when they return from mainland China they will essentially be unable to work…
rt.com/business/481109-coronavirus-private-jets-demand/

Only if you're rich: Coronavirus fears spark demand for private jet travel
rt.com | 2020-02-18
Wealthy travelers stuck inside or outside of China due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak have been seeking private jet operators to arrange their flights despite the huge costs. | According to Darin Voyles of Paramount Business Jets, there was a "considerable uptick" in such requests, but the majority of these can't be filled as they can't get the crew or planes. | "Many simply do not want to send their aircraft and crews into mainland China. Aside from the risk of exposure for the crews, the operational and business concern is that when they return from mainland China they will essentially be unable to work…
rt.com/business/481109-coronavirus-private-jets-demand/

China Suspends the Annual Meeting of the National Assembly
telesurenglish.net | 2020-02-18
China's National Popular Assembly (ANP) Tuesday announced that its annual plenary meeting, at which 3,000 representatives from across the country attend, has been suspended until further notice. | RELATED: | Coronavirus Spreads on Quarantined Cruise Ship in Japan | Considered to be the Chinese most important political meeting, the plenary of the National Assembly usually begins in early March to address the discussion on public budgets. | Nevertheless, according to the ANP spo…
telesurenglish.net/news/China-Suspends-the-Annual-Meeting-of-the-National-Assembly-20200218-0005.html

China's Economy: Powerful But Vulernable
Walden Bello | counterpunch.org | 2020-02-18
China's economy is often presented as a powerful engine. This is, however, only one face of it. It has also been marked by vulnerabilities, and these have become more obvious over time, as the costs of high-speed growth have rebounded on the country, giving rise to social tensions that are straining the capacity of the…
counterpunch.org/2020/02/18/chinas-economy-powerful-but-vulernable/

China to grant tariff exemptions on additional US goods
rt.com | 2020-02-18
The Chinese government announced on Tuesday it would allow importers to apply for new tariff exemptions on nearly 700 products from the United States, including agricultural and energy goods. | According to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, applications will be accepted starting from March 2, and will need to undergo an approval process. Exemptions will only be effective for one year. | "[The exemptions are] to support enterprises to import goods from the US based upon their business considerations," said the commission. | The list of exemptions contains 697 product types, ranging from soybea…
rt.com/business/481076-china-tariff-exemptions-us-imports/

China's Economy: Powerful But Vulernable
Walden Bello | counterpunch.org | 2020-02-18
China's economy is often presented as a powerful engine. This is, however, only one face of it. It has also been marked by vulnerabilities, and these have become more obvious over time, as the costs of high-speed growth have rebounded on the country, giving rise to social tensions that are straining the capacity of the…
counterpunch.org/2020/02/18/chinas-economy-powerful-but-vulernable/

Head of Wuhan hospital dies of coronavirus as global death toll rises to nearly 1,900
rt.com | 2020-02-18
The director of a hospital at the epicenter of China's coronavirus outbreak has died, according to state media, marking the latest death as Beijing scrambles to contain the virus. | Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, died on Tuesday morning after "all-out rescue efforts failed," state broadcaster CCTV reported. | Liu's death was initially announced on Monday night in a social media post by the Hubei Health Commission. However, in a follow-up message the commission said that the hospital director was alive and battling the virus. | At least six other medical workers in China have died from…
rt.com/news/481067-head-of-wuhan-hospital-dies/

US-backed Saudi bombing kills at least 32 civilians in Yemen
wsws.org | 2020-02-18
The airstrikes, the latest in a long list of war crimes, are believed to have been an act of revenge for the downing of a Saudi warplane.
www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/02/18/yeme-f18.html

Cuban Doctors Will Return to Assist the Poorest in Brazil
telesurenglish.net | 2020-02-18
The Brazilian government will authorize 1,800 Cuban doctors who remained in the country after President Jair Bolsonaro ended the "Mais Medicos" (More Doctors) program to return to serve in the territory. | RELATED: | Brazil Struggles To Replace Departed Cuban Doctors, Thousands of Lives at Risk | The lack of health personnel in the poor and remote areas of the Latin American giant, which Brazilian doctors avoid, has been the main reason for this decision, local…
telesurenglish.net/news/cuban-doctors-will-again-assist-the-poorest-in-brazil–20200218-0003.html

Bolsonaro Hails Killer of Marielle Franco As 'Hero'
telesurenglish.net | 2020-02-18
In a press conference in Río de Janeiro, the right-wing Brazilian President said: "I requested my son to decorate ( to Nóbrega), to clear all doubts. He was a hero, I commanded him, you can put that on me". | RELATED: | Bolsonaro: 'More and More the Indian Is a Human Being Like Us' | Flavio Bolsonaro, Jair Bolsonaro ¥s first born son, gave the Tiradentes Medal to Adriano Magalhà£es da Nóbrega back in 2005, when he was in prison and accused of the assassination. The ex-…
telesurenglish.net/news/-bolsonaro-calls-marielle-francos-killer-a-hero-20200218-0004.html

Speeding Sea Level Rise Threatens Nuclear Plants
Paul Brown | globalresearch.ca | 2020-02-18
The latest science shows how the pace of sea level rise is speeding up, fuelling fears that not only millions of homes will be under threat, but that vulnerable installations like docks and power plants will be overwhelmed by the …
globalresearch.ca/speeding-sea-level-rise-threatens-nuclear-plants/5704001

The BJP is Not India, and Every Indian is Not a Modi-Devotee
Nyla Ali Khan | counterpunch.org | 2020-02-18
Rational people cannot gloss over the arbitrary exercise of authority in Kashmir, nor can they legitimize the lack of accountability in the union territory. Subsequent to the revocation of the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP made several tall claims to legitimize its decision. One of those claims was that the integration of J…
counterpunch.org/2020/02/18/the-bjp-is-not-india-and-every-indian-is-not-a-modi-devotee/

'Colonial rule ended in 1947!' Indians lay into British MP & Kashmir policy critic who demanded instant visa for 'private visit'
rt.com | 2020-02-18
A British MP outraged that she was denied entry to India over a revoked visa has received a harsh backlash online, with some reminding the lawmaker