2020-01-15: News Headlines

Kenn Orphan (2020-01-15). Missiles, Lies and Assassinations. counterpunch.org "In war, truth is the first casualty." — Aeschylus "Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state." — Noam Chomsky, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda "We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of." — Edward More

RT (2020-01-15). US govt wants to invest $1 billion to end China's dominance in 5G. rt.com A group of US lawmakers have introduced a bill to subsidize companies developing 5G technology to counter China's Huawei. It comes as Washington mounts pressure on its allies to turn away from Chinese technology. | The legislation titled 'Utilizing Strategic Allied Telecommunications Act' would allocate at least $750 million or up to five percent of annual auction proceeds for companies developing the next generation technology for the US mobile broadband market. Additionally, it stipulates the creation of a separate $500 million fund (Multilateral Telecommunications Security Fund) for developers of "trusted a…

Michael Kramer (2020-01-15). Hundreds rally in Jersey City, N.J., to defend public park. workers.org Jersey City, N.J. Jan. 11 — Over 700 people rallied in Liberty State Park today to oppose the transfer of 22 acres of parkland to the adjacent private Liberty National Golf Course. Liberty National, owned by billionaire tycoon Paul Fireman, has an initiation fee of $500,000. Jan. 11 rally in . . . | Continue reading Hundreds rally in Jersey City, N.J., to defend public park at Workers.org

RT (2020-01-15). Putin suggests launching new investment cycle in Russia to achieve growth rates above global average. rt.com Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a structural change to the economy and its efficiency during his annual address to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday. | "In 2021, Russia' GDP growth rates should be above the global average," he said, adding: "To get such a dynamic, it is necessary to launch a new investment cycle, to boost investments in creation of jobs, infrastructure, development of industry, agriculture and services sector." | Starting from 2020, annual growth investments should be at least 5 percent, and their share in the GDP should be increased from the current 21 percent to 25 percent in 202…

RT (2020-01-15). Constitution & citizens' rights to define the use of international law on Russian soil — Putin. rt.com Vladimir Putin has proposed a major amendment ensuring that provisions of international law can only be applied in Russia if they don't come into conflict with the constitution or abuse rights and liberties of Russian citizens. | "I believe that the time has come to make some changes to the basic law of the country, which directly guarantees the priority of the Russian constitution in our legal environment," President Putin said as he delivered his annual state-of-the-nation address on Wednesday. | In some cases, Russia's governing document may be placed above international legislation, he explained. | This li…

RT (2020-01-15). Trump's ex-adviser Flynn moves to withdraw guilty plea in Mueller investigation — court papers. rt.com The former national security advisor to the US president, General Michael Flynn, has asked the court to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming Russiagate prosecutors forced him to lie and make statements they knew were untrue. | In a court filing on Tuesday, lawyers for Flynn argued that the prosecutors "concocted the alleged 'false statements'" the general was accused of making in relation to his company's violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). | "The prosecutors concocted the alleged 'false statements' by their own misrepresentations, deceit, and omissions." | The newly-released court papers st…

RT (2020-01-15). 'More powers, more responsibilities': Putin proposes granting parliament power to choose PM & form government. rt.com Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed granting parliament more powers to nominate key government officials, adding that the president will not be able to reject their picks. | Under the current law, the president nominates the candidate for prime minister, who then must be approved by the lower house of parliament, the State Duma. | In his annual state-of-the-nation address on Wednesday, Putin proposed to change this by "allowing the State Duma not only to approve but to choose" the PM. Under his plan, the prime minister would then present parliament with the candidacies of the deputy prime ministers and g…

RT (2020-01-15). Turkey & Russia discussing 'secure zone' in Idlib, Syria — Ankara. rt.com Turkey and Russia are discussing the establishment of a 'secure zone' within Syria's northwestern Idlib region where Syrians displaced by fighting can shelter during the winter, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said. | "Our Idlib friends who have become refugees don't want to go to a government-controlled area," he added. | Ankara is reinforcing an observation post which has been "surrounded by Syrian forces," Akar told reporters on Wednesday. | His comments came after Turkish and Syrian intelligence chiefs met in Moscow on Monday — their first publicly acknowledged meeting for years — and di…

RT (2020-01-15). G20 emerged because G7 fails to decide 'issues of any significance' — Lavrov. rt.com Developing nations, absent from the UN Security Council, enjoy greater representation in the G20 — and its emergence shows that the elitist Group of Seven is steadily losing significance, the Russian Foreign Minister suggested. | The Group of 20 — which includes the G7 countries as well as the five-member bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) — proved workable, especially when developing countries "have grievances regarding the lack of progress in reforming the Security Council," Sergey Lavrov told an audience during his trip to New Delhi. | The creation of G20 was recog…

RT (2020-01-15). Putin proposes major amendments to Russia's constitution incl. about his own post, says people should vote on changes. rt.com The constitution should take priority over international law if the latter violates the rights of Russian citizens or violates Russia's constitutional principles, President Vladimir Putin has proposed. | Amendments to the constitution could be put to a popular vote to ensure "the development of Russia as a welfare and rule-of-law state," the Russian leader said in his annual state of the nation address. | Adopting a brand new constitution is not necessary because the current one will remain relevant for many years to come, Putin explained. But he did suggest some changes he'd like to see. | Domestic v inte…

RT (2020-01-15). Five nuclear-armed states must work together to neutralize threat of 'global war' — Putin. rt.com The nuclear-armed countries, permanent UN Security Council members, must work on a common approach aimed at preventing a global war, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. | Putin made the comments during his annual state-of-the-nation address on Wednesday. | The president said the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, China, Russia, Britain and France — carry a "special responsibility for securing the sustainable development of humanity." | These five nations must begin to devise measures aimed at neutralizing any conditions for a global war, and develop new approaches towa…

RT (2020-01-15). Moscow calls for collective security 'like OSCE for Europe' to be implemented in Persian Gulf region — Lavrov. rt.com Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged Persian Gulf nations to work toward the creation of a joint security mechanism, noting that Moscow was concerned about the tense standoff in the region. | Lavrov said Russia was troubled by tensions in the Persian Gulf, and encouraged regional states to cooperate to ensure regional stability. | "We have been suggesting to the Gulf countries to think about collective security mechanisms, something like OSCE for Europe", Lavrov told the international Raisina Dialogue conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. | "It´s not just 'let´s not fight with each othe…

RT (2020-01-15). Russian government resigns, after President Putin's State-of-the-Nation Address proposes changes to the constitution. rt.com Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has announced that the government is resigning. The statement came shortly after President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual state-of-the-nation address. | Accepting the resignation, Putin asked the ministers to function as a caretaker government until a new one is formed. | Before announcing the resignation of the cabinet, Medvedev met with Putin to discuss his state-of-the-nation address, which took place earlier on Wednesday, the Kremlin's press office said. | Putin also said that he plans to create a position of the deputy secretary of Russia's security council, and…

Gala Pin (2020-01-15). City Problems: A Fairly True Barcalona Story. counterpunch.org We won the elections. We won by an absolute minority and there's some merit in that. When you win you have to do a lot of incomprehensible things and no one explains them to you, among them negotiating who'll end up being mayor at the investiture. Since you're the winning force (sic) you've got to More

Evaggelos Vallianatos (2020-01-15). Australia on the Chasm of Climate Catastrophe. counterpunch.org Australia has had a series of bad governments beholden to the coal industry and to the Rupert Murdoch propaganda machine. The media empire of Murdoch controls about 60 percent of the newspapers and television stations. The Murdoch message, just like the message of Fox TV in America, is in defense of the oligarchs and against environmental protection of any kind. This propaganda is in accord with the continued use of fossil fuels and the ceaseless destruction of the natural world. More

RT (2020-01-15). Trump deal instead of Iran nuclear deal? I agree! US president gives Twitter nod to BoJo. rt.com Boris Johnson's suggestion that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal be replaced with a new one — named after Donald Trump — received an enthusiastic response from the US president. | "Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, stated, 'We should replace the Iran deal with the Trump deal.' I agree!" Trump proclaimed in a tweet released Wednesday. | Earlier, Johnson said he understands American concerns over the "flawed" 2015 pact with Iran, which saw the Islamic Republic dramatically reducing its nuclear program in exchange for lifting crippling economic sanctions. | Prime Minister of the United Ki…

Staff (2020-01-15). EU Nations Push Iran in Last-Ditch Bid to Save Nuclear Deal. truthdig.com Britain, France and Germany trigger pact's dispute mechanism, starting the clock on a process that could result in more sanctions on Iran.

RT (2020-01-15). Tehran calls on Washington to apologize for 'previous crimes' against Iran, claims regional 'crisis' led to shootdown of airliner. rt.com The United States should acknowledge its past crimes against Iran, Tehran has said, adding that Washington has fueled instability in the Middle East. | Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at the US during a televised speech on Wednesday, calling on Washington to make amends for its actions in the region. | His comments came as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a security conference in New Delhi that the Islamic Republic is not interested in negotiating with the US. | US President Donald Trump has proposed a "Trump deal" to replace the largely defunct 2015 nuclear accord, but Zarif argu…

RT (2020-01-15). 'Why do you allow the United States to bully you?' — Iranian FM to Europe over nuclear deal tensions. rt.com Iranian FM Zarif criticized the European decision to trigger an investigation into Tehran's alleged non-compliance with the nuclear deal — asking why it allows "bullying" from the United States, who derailed the agreement. | During an international conference in New Delhi, Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif was asked about the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal. The agreement went downhill in May 2018 when the US dropped out, then re-imposing sweeping sanctions and vowing to pile "maximum pressure" on Iran. | On Tuesday, the European trio triggered an investigation after Iran announced that it will move beyond u…

RT (2020-01-15). Cooperation between North and South Korea not dependent on US-N. Korea talks — Seoul. rt.com Inter-Korean cooperation doesn't necessarily have to wait for Washington's denuclearization talks with Pyongyang to progress, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said on Tuesday. | She made the statement after meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other diplomats in Palo Alto, California. "Our basic stance is that North Korea-US talks and inter-Korean dialogue complement each other in a virtuous cycle," the minister said. | Kang added that, with US-North Korea talks in stalemate, it is essential to revive "North Korea's engagement momentum" through inter-Korean talks. | The meeting came a…

Sara Flounders (2020-01-15). Iran-Iraq solidarity grows amid U.S. threats. workers.org United States policy toward both Iran and Iraq is based not on "bad advice" or howling blunders by President Donald Trump, as Democratic Party pundits claim. It is not just a "mismanaged" foreign policy. Times Square protest, Jan. 8, New York City. Washington's miscalculations of the past two weeks have . . . | Continue reading Iran-Iraq solidarity grows amid U.S. threats at Workers.org

RT (2020-01-15). Want a free trade deal with the US? Then align with Washington not Brussels on foreign policy, former Trump aide tells BoJo. rt.com A former aide to US President Donald Trump, Richard Goldberg, has warned British PM Boris Johnson that if the UK wants a free trade agreement with the US, then he'll need to follow Washington and not Brussels on foreign policy. | In an interview with BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday, Iran hawk Richard Goldberg — who recently stepped down from his role on the National Security Council following his part in ramping up US tensions with Tehran — ostensibly issued Johnson a veiled threat. | | Goldberg suggeste…

RT (2020-01-15). 'Step up to the plate!' Trump says Apple won't unlock devices used by 'criminals & drug dealers' in Pensacola shooter phone row. rt.com US President Donald Trump has demanded that Apple help federal agencies break into a pair of devices linked to the Pensacola shooter, accusing the company of not doing enough to assist investigators. | In a tweet on Tuesday, Trump implied that the tech giant has been ungrateful to his administration, which he said is "helping [it] all of the time on TRADE," calling on Apple to unlock two devices that belonged to the Saudi trainee who killed four at a US naval base in Florida in December. | "We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by kill…

RT (2020-01-15). 'Even Hillary and Trump shook hands': Warren snubs Sanders handshake after tense Democratic debate (VIDEO). rt.com Tuesday night's Democratic debate was marked by an ever-widening schism between long-time 'friends' turned rivals, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, which culminated in a spurned handshake which has become the talk of Twitter. | The talking match was punctuated by several increasingly tense and bitter exchanges between the pair as the night wore on. Roughly 45 minutes into the discussion, CNN moderator Abby Phillip asked Sanders to respond to reports he told Warren that a woman couldn't win the 2020 election. | pic.twitter.com/LUA49Z0JCc— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) Staff (2020-01-15). People Want a Wealth Tax, but Many Politicians Oppose It. therealnews.com Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are practically the only major politicians supporting a wealth tax to reduce inequality and fund government programs, even though polling shows nearly two-thirds of Americans support it.

RT (2020-01-15). Pigs will fly: Animal carcass hurled into millionaire's pool from chopper in apparent prank (GRAPHIC VIDEO). rt.com Argentinian fashion tycoon Federico àÅlvarez Castillo has fallen victim to a disgraceful prank after shocking footage showing a pig carcass being dropped from a helicopter into the swimming pool of his holiday home went viral. | Footage of the extraordinary incident has been widely shared on social media, prompting the fashion tycoon behind the Etiqueta Negra brand, who also dabbles in property development, to denounce the cruel prank on Instagram. | Castillo and his circle of friends were subjected to an avalanche of criticism after the galling video first emerged. | WARNING: This footage may disturb so…

Staff (2020-01-15). Another Trump Official Has Been Caught Red-Handed. truthdig.com In 2017, Dow Chemical scored a long-sought-after victory: After a push from the U.S. government, China approved the import of the company's genetically modified herbicide-resistant corn seeds. | A grateful Dow lobbyist emailed a senior Agriculture Department official whose support had been critical: "Thank you for your efforts in support of U.S. agriculture." | That official, Rebeckah Adcock, was no stranger to Dow. Before joining the Trump administration, Adcock was the chief lobbyist for the herbicide industry's trade group, of wh…

WSWS (2020-01-15). New Zealand's Daily Blog demands anti-immigrant measures against "Australians fleeing climate change" wsws.org The trade union-funded blog, which supports the Labour-led government, calls for a major increase in military spending to turn New Zealand into a "fortress" against immigrants.

sputniknews (2020-01-15). Anti-Citizenship Protests Have No Bearing on India as Investment Destination, Top Industrialist Says. sputniknews.com New Delhi (Sputnik): India witnessed protests after the government enacted a law to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants from several religious minorities, who faced persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, excluding Muslim.

WSWS (2020-01-15). An Open Letter to fellow Educators: Take a stand with Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. wsws.org A long-time educator has submitted the following statement to the WSWS.

Peoples Dispatch (2020-01-15). Assange's 12-minute hearing presents a grim picture of judicial indifference. peoplesdispatch.org Assange's legal team has complained of not being given enough time, by both the court and prison authorities, to discuss the evidence in the case with the defendant. A hearing on January 13 was wound up in under 12 minutes…

WSWS (2020-01-15). The prosecution of Julian Assange, the destruction of legality and the rise of the national security state. wsws.org The political and legal attack on Assange represents a qualitative intensification of the destruction of core rights and, indeed, on legality itself as the mode of bourgeois rule.

sputniknews (2020-01-15). Telling Stories Important to Promoting Peace Globally – Colleen Bell of California Film Commission. sputniknews.com New Delhi (Sputnik): Colleen Bell, the executive director of California Film Commission (CFC), is on her maiden India visit as part of Visit California's India Sales Mission. She will meet the Film Producers Guild of India on Wednesday night and discuss increasing entertainment industry production in both the countries through various offers.

teleSUR (2020-01-15). IACHR Denounces Ecuadorian Govt. Repression In October Protests. telesurenglish.net The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presented on Tuesday a report on its visit to Ecuador last October, when massive protests took place against the neoliberal measures promoted by President Lenin Moreno. | RELATED: | Ecuador Buys $4m Worth of Non-Lethal Weapons for Armed Forces | The IACHR report states that "the acts of protest, in…

No War on Iran (2020-01-15). J9 Protest in San Francisco. indybay.org Hundreds gathered at One Post St. above Montgomery BART on a day of national action.

ANSWER Coalition (2020-01-15). Global Day of Protest: No War on Iran! indybay.org Old Courthouse Sq, Santa Rosa, CA 95404…

Patrick Cockburn (2020-01-15). Who Wins and Who Loses in the Iran Crisis? counterpunch.org In the latest phase of the US-Iran confrontation, who came out on top is not clear-cut; both countries made gains and losses from the crisis and some of its the results are still to come. By ordering the assassination on 3 January of general Qassem Soleimani, the head of Quds Force, the external arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, President Trump claims to More

Ed Sykes (2020-01-15). Union issues powerful ultimatum to Labour leadership candidates. thecanary.co The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has given a strong, direct assessment of what went wrong in the 2019 election. And now, it's holding Labour leadership candidates' feet to the fire with a powerful ultimatum. | Lessons are "very clear": | In a December statement, CWU general secretary Dave Ward said of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn that: a prolonged assault from the media has assassinated the character of a man who has devoted his whole life to helping others | He added: what nobody can face away from is that we…

WSWS (2020-01-15). Kremlin maintains muted response to Suleimani assassination, insists on Iran nuclear deal. wsws.org An open war against Iran is likely to spread directly to the border of Russia, enflaming not only the entire Middle East but also the South Caucasus.

Peoples Dispatch (2020-01-15). Assassination of Communist leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in Germany. peoplesdispatch.org On January 15, 1919, communist leaders, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in Germany were murdered on the orders of German authorities. The assassination was an attempt to crush the growth of the German revolutionary movement that challenged the regressive state establishment.

Peoples Dispatch (2020-01-15). Moqtada al-Sadr calls for million-man march against US troops in Iraq. peoplesdispatch.org The Iraqi parliament has already passed a resolution asking the government to initiate the process of withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, following the assassination of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on January 3…

WSWS (2020-01-15). Bolsonaro backs Trump in war on Iran, while Workers' Party appeals to Brazilian military. wsws.org Brazil's fascistic President Jair Bolsonaro was one of the first to defend Washington's assassination of Iranian general Qassem Suleiman.

sputniknews (2020-01-15). Lavrov: Russia to Continue De-Dollarisation Drive Amid 'Increasingly Aggressive' US Sanctions Policy. sputniknews.com Once one of the largest national investors in US Treasury obligations and the US dollar, Russia has been shrinking its holdings substantially in recent years as relations with Washington continue to sour.

sputniknews (2020-01-15). PM Medvedev Announces Resignation of Russian Gov't Following Putin's Address to Parliament. sputniknews.com The Russian president addressed lawmakers, ministers and other high-ranking officials on Wednesday, with this year's address focusing mostly on domestic politics including social policy and the economy, but also proposals to amend the country's basic law.

sputniknews (2020-01-15). Team of Indian Ministers to Visit Kashmir, Will Focus on Development Initiatives. sputniknews.com New Delhi (Sputnik): During discussions on the bill to annul Article 370 of the Constitution and strip the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, India's federal government told Parliament that many state-funded development policies did not reach the people of the restive state.

Dean Baker via Common Dreams (2020-01-15). Mark Zuckerberg is a Rich Jerk. indybay.org Zuckerberg is not a political philosopher concerned about the public good. There is a zero evidence he is a deep thinker of any sort. | Reprinted here under Creative Commons License.

Binoy Kampmark (2020-01-15). Vague Imminence: US policy, Pre-emptive Force and Qasem Soleimani. counterpunch.org International relations is typified by its vagueness of definition and its shallowness of justification. Be it protecting citizens of a state in another, launching a pre-emptive strike to prevent what another state might do, or simply understanding the application of a treaty provision, justifications can prove uneven and at odds. The pre-emptive jerk behind the More

Michael Welton (2020-01-15). Traversed by Tensions: Quebec's Religious Symbols Law. counterpunch.org Fatima Ahmad, 23, an Education student at McGill University in Montreal, says that Bill 21 prevents her from working as a public school teacher in Quebec. A fourth year student, graduating in April 2020, she is already making plans to move to the United Arab Emirates or Calgary once she graduates. She is photographed wearing More

Thomas M. Magstadt (2020-01-15). A Fine Republic, But Can We Keep It? counterpunch.org As Benjamin Franklyn was leaving Independence Hall on the final day of the Constitutional Convention, the story goes, a woman asked him, 'Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" He is said to have replied without hesitation, "A republic, if you can keep it."* A Skeptical Founder Scholars tend to focus More

Howard Lisnoff (2020-01-15). Fifty Years and Still the Unrelenting Drumbeat of War. counterpunch.org The night was cold with a strong wind blowing in from the northwest. The nearly full waxing moon seemed to ride easily over the tops of the pine forest. A jet, with its lights still on, within minutes of taking off from the airport at Windsor Locks, Connecticut, flew westward against the departing day of More

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