2020-01-13: News Headlines

Sheldon Richman (2020-01-13). Trump's Escalation Imperils Innocents. counterpunch.org While an eerie, surreal calm has fallen over US-Iranian relations, I wouldn't assume we're out of the woods yet. Trump had no reason to be confident that Iran's response to his most recent escalation of violence would be little more than symbolic. Although he's accepted that response more or less passively for now, with Trump, things can turn on a dime. Who can tell what determines his mood at any given time? More

Ramzy Baroud (2020-01-13). Embracing Palestine: How to Combat Israel's Misuse of "Antisemitism" counterpunch.org At a talk I delivered in Northern England in March 2018, I proposed that the best response to falsified accusations of antisemitism, which are often lobbed against pro-Palestinian communities and intellectuals everywhere, is to draw even closer to the Palestinian narrative. In fact, my proposal was not meant to be a sentimental response in any More

Harry Blain (2020-01-13). The Useless War Powers Act. counterpunch.org Practically speaking, the Trump administration's extrajudicial assassination of a top Iranian general was probably legal. The rationale is straightforward: Congress has steadily settled on a constitutionally dubious theory of handing the president near-limitless authority over how, when, and why the country goes to war. The 1973 War Powers Resolution, the often-cited check on this extraordinary More

RT (2020-01-13). Double success: Russian ice-dancing duos take gold & silver at 2020 Youth Olympic Games (VIDEO). rt.com Russian ice-dancing couples have brilliantly finished their performances at the 2020 Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland taking the first two places on the podium after flawlessly delivered free programs. | Irina Khavronina and Dario Cirisano twizzled their way to first place setting a new personal best of 101.11 for their dynamic free routine. | READ MORE: Russian figure skating duo Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov claim gold at 2020 Youth Olympics (VIDEO) | The couple perfectly executed al…

RT (2020-01-13). Good progress made in Libya ceasefire talks in Moscow although not all sides signed the deal – Lavrov. rt.com Negotiations in Moscow helped to achieve some progress in the Libyan peace process, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. However, not all parties signed the document. | The Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) have agreed upon some ceasefire details, but they are still working on a document elaborating some concrete aspects of the ceasefire deal. | Some warring parties signed the agreement immediately, but General Khalifa Haftar, the LNA commander, requested until Tuesday morning to study the document. | The talks in Moscow, which involved the leaders of…

RT (2020-01-13). Moscow talks offer chance for peace in Libya's post NATO-intervention bloody civil war. rt.com Peace talks in Moscow bringing together the leaders of Libya's warring parties were a serious step forward in attempts to put an end to a brutal civil war sparked by NATO's disastrous 2011 military intervention. | Fayez al-Sarraj, who heads the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and Khalifa Haftar, who commands the rival Libyan National Army (LNA) forces, spent six hours in closed-door discussions mediated by Russia and Turkey. The meeting came as a bit of a surprise as Haftar previously snubbed the ceasefire suggested by Moscow and Ankara. | By Monday evening Moscow time, a draft agreeme…

RT (2020-01-13). Libya's warring parties vow to observe ceasefire without preconditions, stop all offensive military actions — draft agreement. rt.com The Libyan National Army (LNA) and the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli have pledged to observe the ceasefire suggested by Russia and Turkey after negotiations in Moscow. | The draft document suggests that all parties would stop military actions and observe the ceasefire conditions. Meanwhile, a commission is to be established to determine a contact line between the warring sides. Russia and Turkey promised to support all sides in the conflict to help them implement the agreement. | Libya has been plunged into chaos for years after its longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was…

RT (2020-01-13). Libya ceasefire talks in Moscow: Good progress made although not all sides signed the deal, Lavrov says. rt.com Negotiations in Moscow helped to achieve some progress in the Libyan peace process, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. However, not all parties signed the document. | The Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) have agreed upon some ceasefire details, but they are still working on a document to elaborate upon some aspects of the ceasefire deal. | Some warring parties signed the agreement immediately, but General Khalifa Haftar, the LNA commander, wanted to wait until Tuesday morning to have more time to study the document. | The talks in Moscow, which i…

RT (2020-01-13). Russia among Europe's top performing stock markets in 2019. rt.com While last year was marked by political and economic uncertainty across the world, Greece, Russia and Italy have been Europe's top performing stock markets. | Some investors dismissed these markets as "too dangerous, too politically unstable, too reliant on commodities, too weak economically or a combination of all four," Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, a UK investment platform, said in a note to clients seen by CNBC."But this just goes to show that buying what is comfortable is rarely the route to big profits," he added. | According to economists, Greece, which was once Europe's sick man, seems to…

RT (2020-01-13). We really want Libya ceasefire signed, Moscow talks are heading in 'positive direction' — Turkey's Erdogan. rt.com The two rival Libyan leaders, Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar, both arrived in Moscow for talks facilitated by Russia and Turkey. The negotiations are going well, Turkey's president said expressing hope for a ceasefire deal. | "We want the ceasefire to be signed in Libya as soon as possible," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a joint press conference with Italian PM Giuseppe Conte in Ankara on Monday, shedding some light on the ongoing talks in Moscow. | I think it will end in the evening, I received the information that [the talks] continue in a positive direction. | The Moscow talks come ahead of a m…

RT (2020-01-13). Civilians in Syria's Idlib can flee via 3 new checkpoints — Russian military. rt.com Syrian civilians could leave a de-escalation zone in the Idlib province via three new checkpoints, the Russian Defense Ministry has said. | Many requests had been received from Syrian civilians in Idlib in areas controlled by armed groups to return to their homes in territory controlled by Syrian government forces, the statement issued late on Sunday added. The Russian military warned armed groups to allow people to leave Idlib if they want to. | Local military sources earlier said that the Syrian Army has prepared three humanitarian corridors for civilians to leave Idlib. They are located in the area of &sbqu…

RT (2020-01-13). Unstoppable rally: World's most precious metal rhodium is now 5 times more costly than gold. rt.com The extremely rare, silvery-colored metal rhodium has extended its multi year growth, surging 32 percent so far this month and touching the highest mark since 2008. | The metal which is mainly used in autocatalysts for cars has risen 225 percent year on year. It has rallied 12-fold in the past four years, far outperforming all major commodities, on rising demand from the car sector. | "Rhodium is subject to crazy volatility," Anton Berlin, head of analysis and market development at Russia's Norilsk Nickel, told Bloomberg. The Russian company mines about 10 percent of all rhodium. | | © Wikipedia | Tight…

RT (2020-01-13). 'First step in right direction': World reacts to talks between Libya's warring parties in Moscow. rt.com Talks in Moscow between the two major rivals in the Libyan civil war have been called progress and a positive development as they ended with one party signing a draft document and the other taking time until Tuesday. | The Libyan National Army (LNA) and the UN-backed Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) have joined a ceasefire suggested by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the leaders of the two warring factions arrived in Moscow for talks aimed at brokering a lasting truce. | Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Russian counterpart, Sergey…

RT (2020-01-13). Libyan leaders Sarraj & Haftar to hold talks in Moscow on Monday — Russian Foreign Ministry. rt.com Libya's two key political figures — Fayez al-Sarraj, the prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), and Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar will take part in talks held under the auspices of the Russian and Turkish Foreign and Defense Ministries in Moscow on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS. | "In [the] context of implementing the initiative of the Russian and Turkish presidents announced following a summit in Istanbul, inter-Libyan contacts will be held today in Moscow," the diplomats said. "The contacts are expected to be attended by Sarraj, Haftar an…

RT (2020-01-13). 'A month or 2 ago nobody thought it could happen': Moscow hosts talks between Libya's rival parties in hopes of ending civil war. rt.com Russia enjoys a unique position as the most-trusted and impartial player in the Libyan peace process, which helped the country bring together the two chief civil war rivals for talks in Moscow. | The years-long chaos in Libya "didn't give much room for optimism," so "a month or two ago no one had thought that the leaders of the two main warring factions would arrive in Moscow and sit down to negotiate," President of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vitaly Naumkin, told RT. | The talks in Moscow are a serious [diplomatic] breakthrough for Russia in Libya… They have solidif…

RT (2020-01-13). US imposes sanctions on 7 Venezuelans, Treasury Department says. rt.com The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on seven Venezuelans, the US Treasury Department said. The move is Washington's latest action to ramp up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro's government. | The US special envoy for Venezuela said on January 6 that Washington was looking at imposing additional sanctions on Caracas. Elliott Abrams made the statement at the US State Department a day after troops blocked Venezuelan opposition legislators, including their leader Juan Guaido, from entering parliament, Reuters said. | Washington imposed sanctions on the Venezuelan state company PDVSA in early 2019 in a…

RT (2020-01-13). King of Jordan says ISIS on the rise, warns thousands of fighters moved to Libya from Syria's Idlib, spelling more trouble for EU. rt.com Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) is once again on the rise in the Middle East, King Abdullah of Jordan has warned, adding that "thousands" of fighters moved from Syria to Libya — bringing the whole problem even closer to Europe. | The revelation was made by the king during an exclusive interview with France 24 which aired on Monday. The monarch said that his "major concern is that we have seen over the past year the re-establishment and rise of ISIS, not only in southern eastern Syria but also in western Iraq." | We have to deal with the reemergence of ISIS. | Ironically, the timeframe given by King Abd…

Staff (2020-01-13). Calling Bernie Sanders Anti-Semitic Is Islamophobic. therealnews.com Sahar Aziz discusses her article from The New Arab, "Accusing Bernie Sanders of anti-Semitism is nothing but thinly veiled Islamophobia." The accusation of anti-Semitism has been weaponized to attack people who promote solidarity with Muslim Americans and who demand sustainable foreign policy towards the Middle East.

RT (2020-01-13). 'I wish I was inside that plane': Iran's IRGC chief expresses sorrow over downing of Ukrainian jet. rt.com The top commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Major General Hossein Salami, expressed his deepest condolences, saying he had never felt more ashamed in his life than after the Ukrainian passenger jet tragedy. | Debriefing a session of Iran's parliament on Sunday, Salami stated that the IRGC has no other purpose or wish "but to be torn into pieces for the sake of the security, welfare and peace of [the Iranian] people." | I swear on the life of my children… I wish I were inside that plane and fell down and burned along with those loved ones instead of witnessing this tragic incident. | Also…

RT (2020-01-13). Iranian president orders implementation of law blacklisting Pentagon as 'terrorist organization'. rt.com Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday issued an order to implement a law blacklisting the US Department of Defense as "terrorist organization," Tasnim reports. Rouhani called on the relevant Iranian organizations to implement the law which was passed by Tehran's parliament last Tuesday. | According to the vote, "all members of the Pentagon, the affiliated institutions and companies, and the US commanders who planned and perpetrated [the] assassination" of Qasem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), were blacklisted. | The law has been endorsed by the…

RT (2020-01-13). UkraineGate documentary shows Joe Biden's 'someone solid' for Ukrainian General Prosecutor was anything but. rt.com Former US vice-president and White House hopeful Joe Biden "brazenly lied" about supporting anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine while actually hindering them, according to a new hard-hitting documentary film. | US President Donald Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives based on the narrative that he interfered in Ukrainian domestic affairs for personal political gain — but it was Biden himself who interfered while he was Barack Obama's deputy, according to 'UkraineGate: Inconvenient Facts.' | The documentary was produced by F…

RT (2020-01-13). Cory Booker drops out of race for Democratic presidential nomination, vows to focus on impeaching Trump. rt.com New Jersey Senator Cory Booker dropped out of the Democratic presidential race on Monday after failing to secure a place in the next debate following a campaign which failed to break double digit support in the polls. | Booker did not manage to capture any significant attention among Democratic voters in an already crowded race for the nomination, consistently polling in the low single digits (an average of two percent nationally, according to some data). | He fell short of qualifying for…

Staff (2020-01-13). "Stop the Money Pipeline": 150 Arrested at Protests Exposing Wall Street's Link to Climate Crisis. democracynow.org Nearly 150 people were arrested on Capitol Hill Friday in a climate protest led by Academy Award-winning actor and activist Jane Fonda. Fonda has been leading weekly climate demonstrations in Washington, D.C., known as "Fire Drill Fridays," since October. For her last and 14th protest, actors Martin Sheen and Joaquin Phoenix, indigenous anti-pipeline activist Tara Houska, journalist Naomi Klein and dozens more lined up to get arrested as they demanded a mass uprising and swift political action to thwart the climate crisis. Fonda then marched with supporters down Pennsylvania Avenue to a Chase Bank branch where en…

RT (2020-01-13). UK home secretary defends Extinction Rebellion's inclusion on terror list, after group judged to promote 'extremist ideology'. rt.com UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has defended anti-terror police for placing Extinction Rebellion (XR), the climate change protest group, on a list of extremist ideologies, saying it's right to look at "a range of security threats." | In an interview with LBC radio on Monday, Patel accepted that the environmental group was not a terrorist organization, but the decision to put XR on the UK terror list was made "in terms of risk to the public, security risks, security threats." | That is based on information from the police, and various intelligence that we will receive. That's the proper thing to do. | XR came to…

Staff (2020-01-13). Who Profits when Iran and America Fight? therealnews.com We spoke to Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin after Thursday's War Powers resolution vote. Whose interests are driving the narrative around conflict with Iran?

RT (2020-01-13). 'Stop buying Iranian oil or face sanctions': US in talks with China over Iran. rt.com Washington has managed to "cut off probably over 95 percent of the oil revenues" of Iran, according to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. | He told Fox News that US officials are now working on the issue with China, as the country accounts for a significant part of Iran's remaining oil exports. | "I sat down with the Chinese officials. They flew in a delegation to meet with us and the State Department to talk about this. They've cut off all of the state companies from buying oil, and we're working closely with them to make sure that they cease all additional oil activities," Mnuchin said. | Also on rt.com

RT (2020-01-13). Extraterrestrial Tinder? Japanese billionaire posts 'wanted' ad for girlfriend to join him on trip around the moon. rt.com Eccentric Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has launched an online appeal seeking a female companion — and potential "life partner" — to accompany him on his 2023 SpaceX journey around the moon. | Maezawa, an avid patron of the arts, recently broke up with his actress girlfriend Ayame Goriki, 27 and has now embarked on a mission to find the right "single [woman] aged 20 and over" who wants to "enjoy life to the fullest" by accompanying him on his planned SpaceX flight around the moon. | #MZ_looking_for_love t.co/R5VEMXwggl Martha Grevatt (2020-01-13). Biggest strike in world history: 250 million Indian workers. workers.org India is the world's second-most populated county, with about 1.374 billion people. Over 928 million are "working age" (15 to 64 years old; statistics from worldometers.info) On Jan. 8, one in four people in this age group — 250 million — stayed off the job in the biggest strike to . . . | Continue reading Biggest strike in world history: 250 million Indian workers at Workers.org

RT (2020-01-13). 'Free Hong Kong': Denmark's iconic Little Mermaid statue sprayed with protest graffiti (PHOTO). rt.com Denmark's famous 'Little Mermaid' sculpture in Copenhagen Harbour has been defaced with slogans from the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. | "Free Hong Kong" was scrawled onto the base of the statue in both large red letters and smaller white script overnight Sunday. The slogan has been frequently used by anti-government demonstrators in Hong Kong in protests which started in March 2019. | Also on rt.com | | China-UK stock trade scheme 'suspended' over Britain's stance on Hong Kong protests | Copenhagen Police have cordoned off the sculpture and…

Ed Sykes (2020-01-13). Rapper MIA supports Julian Assange at court. thecanary.co Rapper and singer MIA has supported Julian Assange as the WikiLeaks founder appeared in court on Monday. She joined dozens of Assange supporters as he attended a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court.Fellow rapper Lowkey has also supported Assange, and recently spoke to The Canary about the importance of whistleblowers and media freedom.Assange, 48, is currently being held in HMP Belmarsh, awaiting the outcome of an extradition request by the US, where he faces 18 charges, including c…

RT (2020-01-13). WATCH: Assange caught on camera leaving UK court in prison van after US extradition hearing. rt.com WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been filmed leaving Westminster Magistrates' Court in a police van after a brief preliminary hearing on Monday, part of his bid to prevent his extradition to the US to face espionage charges. | The 48-year-old Australian — who has been charged by the US with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, working with former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into Department of Defense systems and gain access to US state secrets — left court after a 12-minute hearing in London. | He was caught on camera as he was taken away in a police van, looking pale-f…

C.J. Atkins (2020-01-13). Khamenei regime has no authority to rule Iran, says Tudeh Party. peoplesworld.org The Iranian people are back in the streets protesting the theocratic regime of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei following the government's stunning about-face on the downing of a Ukrainian airliner in the midst of war tensions with the United States last week. Tear gas and live ammunition were fired at demonstrators in Tehran and several cities over …

RT (2020-01-13). Huge swarm of grasshoppers splatter plane cockpit, force pilots to abandon landing and divert (PHOTOS). rt.com An Ethiopian Airlines flight from Djibouti was forced to divert after running afoul of an enormous swarm of grasshoppers mid-air, splattering the engines and cockpit with insects and seriously hampering the pilots' visibility. | The initial encounter on January 9 was light enough that the pilots decided to continue on to their destination of Dire Dawa, but then hit a second and much heavier volley of the insects, according to local reports. | The crew tried landing at their destination twice with an insect-splattered windshield, before abandoning the airspace to the grasshoppers and diverting to Addis Ababa, w…

RT (2020-01-13). Democratic establishment & MSM panic as Sanders surges into the lead in primary polls. Who's worse, him or Trump? rt.com The US political and media establishment is belatedly lashing out at "democratic socialist" presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who has taken the lead in polls by laying into the Democratic Party elite's bland corporate centrism. | "Democrats had better attack Sanders before it's too late!" Monday's Daily Beast headline may be hyperbole, but it accurately expressed the mood of the party's centrist establishment. Independent Vermont Senator Sanders is running for president as a Democrat, and has promised to back the Democratic nominee should he fail to secure the top prize. But that's cold comfort to the party…

Staff (2020-01-13). "America Exists Today to Make War": Lawrence Wilkerson on Endless War & American Empire. democracynow.org Retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff from 2002 to 2005, says the escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran today is a continuation of two decades of U.S. policy disasters in the Middle East, starting with the 2003 run-up to war with Iraq under the Bush administration. "America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is," says Wilkerson. "We are going to cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue th…

RT (2020-01-13). NFL Playoffs: Patrick Mahomes leads stunning fightback as Chiefs down Texans 51-31 (VIDEO). rt.com Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes produced a brilliant performance to lead his side back from a 24-point deficit and win a blistering NFL divisional playoff with the Houston Texans 51-31 at Arrowhead Stadium. | The Chiefs started disastrously as the Texans raced into 24-0 lead by the end of the first quarter as the Deshaun Watson-led Houston team threatened to run away with the game. | But, after being shown on the big screen pacing the touchline and firing up his teammates and the fans in the stands, Mahomes came out on fire from the second quarter onward. | The third-year quarterback threw for 3…

Special to People's World (2020-01-13). Iranian, U.S., British Communists issue joint statement on Mideast war danger. peoplesworld.org The following is the text of a statement issued jointly on Jan. 8, 2020, by the Tudeh Party of Iran, the Communist Party USA, and the Communist Party of Britain. It was issued in the wake of the U.S. assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Iraq and the launching of retaliatory missile strikes by …

RT (2020-01-13). Blast rattles central Stockholm, another explosion reported in Uppsala shortly afterwards (PHOTOS). rt.com A posh district in central Stockholm was rocked by an explosion in the early hours of Monday morning. The blast was so intense it shattered windows and bathed the entire street in broken glass. | An explosive charge was reportedly placed on the gate outside a property in the area at roughly 1am local time in the Östermalm area. The blast, which completely destroyed one vehicle, damaged several others and blew the windows out of apartments along the entire street, could be heard several kilometers away.

RT (2020-01-13). Military conflict with Iran would impact entire world, Japan's Abe warns. rt.com Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warned that military confrontation with Iran will impact global peace and stability. | The comments came at the start of Abe's five-day Gulf tour as he hopes to ease tensions spiked by the US killing of a top Iranian general. The PM called "on all relevant countries to engage in diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions," AFP said. | Tokyo has decided to send a destroyer for intelligence activities along with two P-3C patrol aircraft to the Middle East. However Japan will not join a US-led coalition in the region. | The prime minister's tour includes visits to Saudi Arabia, t…

Ahmed Abdulkareem (2020-01-13). During Yemen's Annual Martyr Week, Anti-American Sentiment Prevails. mintpressnews.com SANA'A, SADAA, YEMEN — As the ongoing war and blockade against their country enters its sixth year, Yemenis are commemorating the annual Martyr Week amid an increasing feeling of hatred and resentment towards the United States, a feeling never seen at this level in the war-torn country. | In Yemen, a country far from the prosperous and bustling United States, the size of cemeteries has increased dramatically in the past five years, with new burial sites springing up to house victims of the weapons supplied by western countries, particularly by the United States, as well as the blockade, hunger, and disease…

RT (2020-01-13). Catalan leader Puigdemont attends EU Parliament session despite Spain arrest warrant. rt.com Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has arrived for his first session as a member of the European Parliament despite facing an arrest warrant against him in Spain. | The former Catalan president is bent on using the parliament to continue his political fight for an a independent Catalonia breaking away from Spain. His parliamentary position also gives him immunity. | Puigdemont used his arrival on Monday to demand the immediate release from a Spanish jail of another Catalan leader who was elected to the European Parliament, former Catalonia Vice President Oriol Junqueras, AP said. | Puigdemont was together with f…

RT (2020-01-13). Trump defends killing of Soleimani regardless of 'imminent' threat, says he had a 'horrible past'. rt.com US President Donald Trump has lashed out against the "fake news media" and their "Democrat partners" over criticism of his administration's decision to assassinate Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. | The president claimed in tweets marred with misspellings that it does not matter if Soleimani presented an imminent threat to the US, something he had said previously to defend the assassination, because of the general's "horrible past." | The Fake News Media and their Democrat Partners are working hard to determine whether or not the future attack by terrorist Soleimani was "imminent" or not, & was my team in agr…

RT (2020-01-13). Pensacola Naval Air Station shooting by Saudi student was act of terrorism motivated by jihadist ideology – AG Barr. rt.com The December shooting by 21-year-old Saudi military student Mohammed Alshamrani at Naval Air Station Pensacola that killed three people was an act of terrorism, US Attorney General William Barr has confirmed. | The shooting was an "act of terror" that was "motivated by jihadist ideology," Barr told reporters on Monday at a press conference, adding that Alshamrani is believed to have acted alone. | Also on rt.com | | FBI confirms identity of Pensacola shooter, US Navy says slain sailors confronted him before demise (PHOTO) | Alshamrani visited…

RT (2020-01-13). Trump's odd tweet of Pelosi and Schumer in Muslim garb sparks outrage, but defense even more bizarre. rt.com White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham gave a strange defense of a tweet from President Donald Trump that depicted Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in Muslim clothing and sparked major backlash. | Grisham says Democrats are "taking the side of terrorists" and that was the point Trump was trying to make when he retweeted an image of Pelosi and Schumer photshopped with Muslim garb on in front of an Iranian flag. | Fox News host Harris Faulker confronted Grisham about the tweet on Monday and even read a response that called the photoshopped image a "slur." | "Why the actual hell is the president of the Unite…

RT (2020-01-13). Shedding 'crocodile tears' and 'dishonoring' Persian language: Iranian officials blast Trump's Farsi tweets. rt.com Officials in Tehran slammed both the language and the message of US President Donald Trump's tweets in Farsi, in which he backed anti-government protesters in the country and claimed to be standing up for ordinary Iranians. | "Hands and tongues smeared with threatening, sanctioning and terrorizing the #Iranian nation, are not entitled to dishonor the ancient #Persian language," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi tweeted on Monday. | By the way, are you actually 'standing by' millions of Irania…

Staff (2020-01-13). Turkey's Bounty on Ex-Palestinian Security Chief Reveals Web of Intrigue. therealnews.com Palestinian security chief Mohammed Dahlan was involved in mercenary operations in Palestine and Yemen, and was expelled from Palestine's Fatah party. Evidence of his involvement in the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey reveals his operations are more extensive than previously thought.

RT (2020-01-13). US removes China from currency manipulator list ahead of trade deal signing. rt.com US Treasury has removed China from its list of currency manipulator as Washington and Beijing are preparing to sing a large-scale trade deal. | The Treasury said in a statement that China agreed to publish relevant data on exchange rates and made an effort to refrain from "competitive devaluation" ahead of the agreement signing. | In its semi-annual report released on Monday, the Treasury said that while China "took concrete steps to devalue its currency," Beijing still needs "to take the necessary steps to avoid a persistently weak currency." | The report explicitly credits the tentative phase one trade agree…

RT (2020-01-13). Macron meets leaders of 5 Sahel states as France's military role is questioned. rt.com French President Emmanuel Macron will on Monday host counterparts from five Sahel countries seeking more backing in the fight against a jihadist uprising as France's military role is being questioned, AFP said. | Recent tensions between France and Sahel governments could make for a tricky exchange at the six-way talks in the southwestern city of Pau, to be attended also by the heads of the UN, African Union, and EU Council. | Macron insists his counterparts from Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Chad must use the occasion to express public support for France's military presence. It has been the largest…

RT (2020-01-13). UK summons Iran's ambassador over brief detention of British envoy accused of taking part in 'illegal rally' in Tehran. rt.com The Foreign Office has summoned the Iranian ambassador to express its "strong objections" over the brief detention of his UK counterpart in Tehran who was nabbed by law enforcement when he took part in an "illegal rally." | In the ongoing diplomatic spat, London summoned Ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad in an apparent tit-for-tat move. UK envoy Rob Macaire was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Sunday over his "unconventional behavior." | "This was an unacceptable breach of the Vienna Convention and it needs to be investigated," the Foreign Office said on Monday. "We are seeking full assurances from the I…

Staff (2020-01-13). "A System Failure": Iran Admits to Downing Airplane, Sparking Renewed Anti-Government Protests. democracynow.org Iranian protesters have taken to the streets for a third day, after the Iranian military acknowledged it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner last week, killing all 176 people on board, including 82 Iranians and 57 Canadians. Iran initially denied downing the plane, but Iran's Revolutionary Guard took responsibility for what authorities now describe as a "disastrous mistake." The plane was downed hours after Iranian forces fired 22 rockets at military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops, in retaliation for the U.S. assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Millions of Iranians took to the streets la…

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