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Showing posts from February, 2017

Six anniversary of Libyan 17th February revolution celebrated in Tripoli not in Benghazi

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Friday the 17th of February marks the sixth anniversary of the Day of Rage that helped begin the revolt that overthrew the regime of Muamar Gaddafi. Many Libyan cities are preparing ceremonial activities to commemorate the event.
Tripoli municipality has been preparing Martyr's Square in downtown Tripoli for a ceremony marking the anniversary with thousands expected to gather in the historic square to chant support for the17th of February revolution.The celebrations actually began yesterday with the opening of part of the Tripoli International Airport that was destroyed in conflict between the Zintan brigades loyal to eastern commander Haftar and Libya Dawn forces as described in a recent DJ article.The Libya Observer says: In line with bringing happiness to Libyans in good times as these of the revolution anniversary, the Libyan Salvation Government of the General National Congress, headed by Khalifa Al-Ghweil, inaugurated the reopening of the Tripoli International Airport on Thur…

Attempted coup leader opens part of repaired Tripoli international airport

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(February 16) Khalifa Ghwell, the prime minister of the Salvation Government presided over the re-opening of the Tripoli International Airport, in celebration of the sixth anniversary of the 17th of February Revolution that overthrew Muammar Gadaffi.
The airport used to be under the control of Zintan brigades which are allied with the eastern commander Field Marshall Haftar. The brigades attacked the Libyan parliament in Tripoli in May of 2014 after Haftar began his Operation Dignity to clear Libya of all Islamists who opposed him. However, Islamists grouped together as Libya Dawn clashed with the Zintan brigades and eventually drove them from the international airport that they controlled, and eventually the city of Tripoli. The brigades still control considerable territory to the west of Tripoli. Wikipedia notes:On 14 July 2014, the airport was the site of fierce battle as militias from the city of Misrata attempted to take control of the airport. The airport has been closed to fligh…

US may send ground troops to Syria conflict with the Islamic State

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A anonymous defense official told CNN that the U.S. Defense Department might suggest that the U.S. send conventional ground troops to Syria in order to accelerate the fight against the Islamic State there.
CNN quotesan official as saying: "It's possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time." The ultimate decision is up to President Donald Trump. Trump ordered his defense secretary, James Mattis, to create a plan to combat the Islamic State(IS) before the end of the month. Up until now along with bombing raids U.S. military operations in Syria are made up mostly of Special Operation forces whose role is to provide training and assistance to groups fighting IS on the ground. The Obama administration has not recognized them as "boots on the ground" since they are not assigned a combat role. Presumably regular ground troops would have combat as part of their mission. At this point, officials claim that deploying groun…

US and Canadian stock indices set records for 3rd consecutive session

(February 15) There may be mayhem in the political news market with Trump facing all sorts of criticism about some of his administration members' relationship with Russia. There are also constant complaints about the uncertainty of his policies.
Given all this furore and uncertainty, one would expect investors would be selling due to uncertainty and heightened risk. The markets should be plunging.. However, for three days in a row now the major S&P/ TSX Toronto index has hit new highs along with the three major indices in the US. Are there headlines and roars of approval from the press? No! It is barely worth mentioning. Even the business press appears not to bother headlining what one would think would be historic events for the business world. I could find nothing on You Tube about todays markets! The S&P/TSX actually rose for the seventh straight day now. It was led by gains in the financial services sector after there was strong economic data from both the US and Canad…

Cairo meeting fails to come up with solution to Libya crisis

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Egyptian government attempts to mediate a peace deal between Presidency Council (PC) leader of the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA) Faiez Serraj and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) failed.
(February 15) The LNA is the armed forces associated with the rival government to the GNA the Al-Thinni House of Representatives (HoR) government. Haftar refused to meet with Serraj and Serraj flew back to Tripoli from Cairo. Mohamed Samir spokesperson for the Egyptian Army said that the two did agree that there should be parliamentary elections and a presidential election in February of 2018. However, the Libya Heraldclaims it was told by a source that although Serraj agreed to the proposal, Haftar did not. Ageela Saleh, said only that he would study the idea. Apparently the Egyptian spokesperson was manufacturing fake news! Serraj and Haftar were supposed to join in a meeting Tuesday that would have been chaired by Egyptian president Abdel e…

US intelligence community may be "out to get" Trump

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Dennis Kucinich, a former presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, in an interview on Fox Business Network claimed that the US intelligence community was responsible for leaking information that led to the resignation of Mike Flynn.
Flynnwas Trump's national security advisor. The leaked information showed that Flynn had discussed in secret with Russian officials sanctions imposed by the US. The discussing took place before Trump's inauguration. Kucinich argues that the goal was to worsen the relationship between Russian and the US. Trump has argued for improving US relations with Russia. Kucinichsaid: “What’s at the core of this is an effort by some in the intelligence community to upend any positive relationship between the U.S. and Russia. And I tell you there's a marching band and Chowder Society out there. There's gold in them there hills. There are people trying to separate the U.S. and Russia so that this military industrial intel axis can cash in.”Kucinic…

Eleven US Republican Senators urge Trump to keep Guantanao operating

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Barack Obama pledged to close Guantanamo during his campaign for president but when he left office on January 20th he still had not been able to keep his pledge.
It became clear as Obama's term neared its end that he was not going to be able to keep his promise to close the base or transfer out all the inmates. As aNational Reviewarticle pointed out: " The president and his team have expressed frustration that it is now impossible for them to fulfill his 2008 campaign pledge to close detainee operations at Gitmo, which he backed with one of the very first executive orders he signed upon taking office." Fox News reported last November that Trump had said as long ago as last April "we're gonna load it up with some bad dudes believe me. We're gonna load it up." He also said that he would support trying US citizens accused of terrorism at the base. In order to do that he would need to change federal law and he could still face constitutional challenges. Now …

Toronto and New York markets set new records again

(February 13) The Toronto stock market rose again today after setting records on Friday. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with U.S. president Donald Trump. They both vowed to strengthen economic ties.
The two issued ajoint statement after the meeting saying that the two countries have similar priorities and this included the need to bolster trade. On the issue of modifying NAFTA, Trump said that his bigger concern was Mexico and he was only aiming to "tweak" parts relating to Canada in order to better facilitate cross-border trade. There is more than $2 billion in trade between the two countries each day. Canadian markets strategist Craig Fehr said that the two leaders appeared to be on the same page on a number of issues including the mutual advantages of increasing trade between the two countries. Fehr said:"For those looking at it from a Canadian perspective, this meeting can perhaps be viewed as a sigh of relief — particularly when you compare it to what t…

NASA employee a natural-born US citizen has phone confiscated with demands for access PIN code at Houston airport

Sidd Bikkannavar a natural-born American citizen claims he was detained on January 30 at Houston International Airport. This was just days after new president Donald Trump signed an executive order banning citizens from seven countries.
Bikkannavarworks at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His hobby is driving solar-powered cars and he was just returning from a race in Patagonia Chile. Bikkanavar did not expect to have any trouble going through customs. He not only holds a U.S. passport but he is also part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that allows pre-approved low-risk travelers expedited clearance. Instead of providing Bikkanavar expedited clearance they pulled him aside. They demanded that he turn over his work issued phone and access PIN code. In response for a request to comment on the case, a CBP spokesperson said in an email:"U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strives to treat all travelers with respect and in a professional manner, while maintai…

Joint US Afghan raid kills 22 civilians in Afghanistan

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Both Afghan officials and local residents claim that 22 civilians mostly women and children were killed in a joint U.S., Afghan operation carried out in the southern province of Helmand. dJabar Qahraman, the presidential envoy for security in Helmand Province, said the raid against the Taliban killed 13 people from one family and nine from another.Qaraman said: “We are saddened to hear the news of civilians being killed. When the Taliban use civilians as their shield against security forces, such incidents occur.” TheUnited States has yet to admit that there were civilian casualties: U.S. Navy Cpt. Bill Salvin, a military spokesman, said “we are working diligently to determine whether civilians were killed or injured as a result of U.S. airstrikes” carried out to support Afghan forces in and around Sangin. The investigation is “continuing and has not reached any conclusions,” he added in a written statement.The U.S. does not usually admit at first that there were civilian casualties an…

Clashes break out between rival militias in Tripoli

(Febbruary 12) There were clashes between the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade (TRB) led by Haithem Tajouri and a group of mostly Misratan fighters based in Tripoli commanded by Mahmud Baiyu who goes by the name Sharikan.
The Libya Herald reports that there were clashes between the two groups on Saturday in a southern part of Tripoli in the suburbs of Wadi Rabih, Ain Zara, Khala Al-Furjan, and Salahedeen. The clashes involved heavy weapons and tapered off only in the evening. Locals claim that Sharikan moved to take a number of positions in Wadi Rabih that were held by the rival TRB. In fact it appears to be a turf war among rival militias. Sharikan was successful in the Khala Al-Furjan area. Sharikan is an ally of the Libyan National Guard formed just recently from brigades that are mostly but not all from Misrata. The group appears to be supportive of Khalifa Ghwell who was PM of the former Salvation Government and mounted a coup attempt some time ago. He has headquarters in the Rixo…

Veteran's support group raises over $200,000 to support Standing Rock pipeline demonstrators

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Veteran's Stand, a military veteran's organization has collected $213,500 to send supplies to the Standing Rock Native American reservation in North Dakota as part of a renewed campaign against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.
The pipeline will cost $3.7 billion and run through four states. Critics claim it threatens the water supply of millions of people. Thegroup wroteon Facebook: "We have continued to stay in contact with indigenous and camp leadership and have identified several areas where the Veterans Stand network can continue to serve the needs of the camp and local community." Michael Woods, founder of the group said to CNN that it was unlikely the group will send a large group of protesters as they have done in the past. He said the group did not want to do anything aggressive in response but wanted to give people a platform. The secretary of communications of the group, Anthony Diggs, spent a week at the Standing Rock Reservation meeting with camp leaders a…

Strange Dutch sculpture creature a big hit in Russia

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Margriet van Breevoort who created the sculpture of an odd creature at the Leiden University Medical Center was surprised when her creation won the hearts of Russian Internet users. The sculpture has been at the Leiden University Medical Center since Spring last year. Breevort called the sculpture "Homunculus Loxodontus" but when the photo of the creature spread to Russia it became known as "Zhdun" or "somebody waiting for something". Breevoort told Sputnik:"I wanted to give it a scientific name, like a new species. Homunculus means 'little guy' in Latin, or 'artificially created human.' And Loxodontus is the scientific name for African elephant, referring to the snout." Zdhun is featured in the appended video. It is in Russian as are most videos of Dhun. No text is needed though! As you can see Zdhun definitely has a distinctive appearance. It has a big snout but also large kind eyes and is quite fat. Breevort explained what moti…