Tag: United States


Coronavirus is forcing families apart, but it doesn’t mean you have to cut off contact


Perth 6000

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to change the way we live our lives, families are having to make some tough calls to protect their most vulnerable members and for many grandparents it could mean being isolated in their own home.

Key points:

  • People over 70 have been advised to avoid contact in the UK
  • Many in Australia are already self-isolating or preparing to
  • Older people are advised to maintain social connections remotely

The Federal Government has yet to officially call for Australians over a certain age to avoid social contact — as in the UK where those over 70 have been told to avoid going out for three months — yet many among that age group are already bracing for a life behind closed doors.

Add to that the Government’s decision to keep schools open, at least for now, and grandparents are facing an unknown time period where visiting their grandchildren is ill-advised.

But people who already live on the other side of the world from their families say there are ways to stay close without face-to-face contact.

What the experts are saying about coronavirus:

Lessons from those already kept apart

Emelyn Fuller is three years old and lives in Glasgow, Scotland. Her paternal grandmother, Alice Fuller, lives in Virginia in the United States.

They only see each other in person about once every 18 months and rely on technology to keep their bond alive.

Emelyn’s mother, Kara Fuller, is a lecturer in psychology at the University of Glasgow and is about 5,000 kilometres from her own parents, who also live in the United States.

Coronavirus questions answered
Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC’s Coronacast.

She said families separated by distance have long found ways to maintain connections and the lessons they have learned would be especially important during these difficult times.

“It is about changing your frame of mind to focus on the bond that you have and the social connection, rather than focusing on the physical distance,” Dr Fuller said.

“Everywhere in the news now we see the advice to practice social distancing.

“This is clearly important and responsible behaviour and it helps to ensure we minimise the spread of COVID-19.

“However, the term is misleading in a sense, because it seems to suggest that we will have fewer social connections — these can happen in person of course, but also through video, post, phone calls, messages and more.”



Photo:

Kara Fuller says grandparents can stay close, even when they can’t have physical contact. (ABC News: Briana Shepherd
)

Technology key for social connection

Bronwyn Harman, an expert on family psychology from Edith Cowan University’s School of Psychology and Social Science, said forced isolation was difficult for anyone.

“We know that human beings in general are social people, we like groups, we like to be with people,” she said.

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak

“Even introverts like to be with people to some extent, so having forced isolation is not good for anyone’s mental health.

“But despite the myth, many old people are good with technology.

“They might bumble through to start with, but older people have lived through times of lots of change and they’re pretty good at adapting when they have to.”



Photo:

Bronwyn Harman says despite the stereotypes, many older people can learn to use new technology. (ABC Radio Perth: Emma Wynne)

Dr Harman suggested taking the time now to make sure those vulnerable to COVID-19 were technologically prepared and knew how to use video applications like Skype, Zoom or FaceTime.

“And don’t forget the phone call, ring them up and talk to them. Even talking to them is sometimes enough to alleviate feelings of isolation,” she said,

“If it’s the case of people being isolated to an extent where they can’t go out into the community at all, I would really be ringing them every day just to check that they’re OK.

“And rope in as many family members as you can — children are very good with technology now, so you can even get a five-year-old to ring nana and grandad or to have a chat.

“Set up family dinners via Skype — the options in that sense are almost endless.”



Photo:

Children may enjoy writing letters to their grandparents while they are isolating. (Flickr: will
)

Write letters, use the post

For some people learning how to use a new technology might be overwhelming, especially if they are already struggling with heightened anxiety as the coronavirus crisis develops.

Dr Harman said if that were the case, it might be time to revisit a long-lost art of the past — letter writing.

“Get kids to write letters or draw pictures and post them, and that can be exciting for the kids because most don’t even know what a mailbox is anymore,” she said.

“They can send something in the mail and then nana or granddad will receive it a few days later, and maybe write one back.”

Your questions on coronavirus answered:

Honest communication a must

In the event schools were to be closed, Dr Harman said doing those types of activities would help the whole family in a lock-down situation.

She said whether they remained at school or not, children, especially those who were close to their grandparents, would be feeling the impacts of the already introduced measures around social distancing and isolation.

“I think it’s going to be particularly hard for little children because little children don’t understand time and so for them an hour can sometimes feel forever,” Dr Harman said.

“If they’re used to seeing their grandparents, for example, every day or every second day, in a few days they’re going to get really uptight … and may not understand why they can’t see them.”

External Link:

Tweet – Julia Baird on Norway PM children's press conference

In the same way the Norway Prime Minister recently held a children-only COVID-19 press conference, Dr Harman said communicating with our younger generation would be integral for them in the long term as well.

“I believe in telling children the truth, but not scaring the life out of them,” Dr Harman said.

“I would use age-appropriate language and explain to them what’s going on.

“An example might be to say there’s some germs around at the moment and nobody really knows what the germs are or where they’re coming from, so to keep nana and granddad safe, we decided to stay away from them — just so they don’t catch any germs.”


Video: Question of whether to close schools divides medical experts

(ABC News)

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Dozens killed as gunmen attack Kabul ceremony attended by top politicians


Afghanistan

At least 27 people have been killed in an attack by gunmen on a remembrance ceremony attended by top political leaders in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Key points:

  • The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack
  • Chief executive and former presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah escaped the attack unharmed
  • The ceremony marked the anniversary of the death of Abdul Ali Mazari, an ethnic Hazara leader who was killed in 1995 after being taken prisoner by the Taliban

Chief executive and former presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah escaped the attack unharmed but at least 55 others were injured, officials said.

It is the first major attack on the Afghan capital since the United States reached an agreement with the Taliban to withdraw US troops last week.

But the Taliban — the largest Islamist militant group in Afghanistan — denied responsibility for the attack.

“The attack started with a boom, apparently a rocket landed in the area, Abdullah and some other politicians … escaped the attack unhurt,” Mr Abdullah’s spokesman, Fraidoon Kwazoon, who was also present, said.

Broadcaster Tolo News showed live footage of people running for cover as gunfire was heard.

Health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said the casualty toll could rise as wounded were taken to hospitals in Kabul.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said all of the casualties were civilians.



Photo:

Afghan security personnel cordon off the site of the attack in Kabul.

Afghan security forces were still trying to flush the gunmen out of a half-finished apartment building, Mr Rahimi said.

Dozens of Afghan security forces had cordoned off the area.

Mr Abdullah was runner-up in the last three Afghan presidential elections.

He has served as chief executive of a coalition government since 2014 and is also a former foreign minister.

‘Crime against humanity’

The gathering marked the anniversary of the death of Abdul Ali Mazari, an ethnic Hazara leader who was killed in 1995 after being taken prisoner by the Taliban.



Photo:

Dozens of relatives gathered at hospitals, with many breaking down in tears. (Reuters: Omar Sobhani)

Several people were killed in a similar attack on the same commemoration last year, which Islamic State said was carried out by its militants.

President Ashraf Ghani tweeted that the attack was “a crime against humanity and against the national unity of Afghanistan”.

Dozens of relatives gathered at the morgue of a hospital not far from the blast, with many breaking down in tears as they waited to identify their loved ones.

“I was at the ceremony when gunshots started. I rushed toward the door to get out of the area but suddenly my foot was hit by a bullet,” Mukhtar Jan said.

External Link:

@USAmbKabul We strongly condemn today’s vicious attack against Afghans commemorating the anniversary of Abdul Ali Mazari’s assassination. We extend our condolences to the families of the victims & thank the Afghan security forces for swift response. We stand with Afghanistan for peace.

Ali Attayee, at the hospital to support his wounded brother, said: “Those who committed this crime want to destroy our people at this juncture in society, we’re sorry for those committing such crimes.”

Representatives of the United States, European Union and NATO condemned the attack.

“We strongly condemn today’s vicious attack … We stand with Afghanistan for peace,” the United States charge d’affaires in Kabul, Ross Wilson, wrote on Twitter.

The attack was one of the largest on civilians in Afghanistan in a year.

“Horrific attack in Kabul today … heartbreaking and unacceptable. We are tired of war and violence,” Shahrzad Akbar, head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission said.

The United States has sought to spearhead efforts towards a lasting peace arrangement.

Violence decreased during a seven-day hold-down accord with the Taliban before last Saturday’s deal, though the Taliban has since resumed attacks on Afghan forces.

Reuters/AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


US accuses Huawei of stealing trade secrets and helping Iran spy on anti-government protesters


United States

US prosecutors have accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets and helping Iran track protesters in its latest indictment against the Chinese company, escalating the US battle with the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker.

Key points:

  • Huawei has been accused of installing surveillance equipment in Iran that was used to identify protesters during anti-government demonstrations
  • The US has been waging a campaign against Huawei, which it has warned could spy on customers for Beijing
  • Last year the company was charged with bank and wire fraud, violating sanctions against Iran and obstructing justice

In the indictment, which supersedes one unsealed last year in federal court in New York, Huawei Technologies was charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets from six US technology companies and to violate a racketeering law typically used to combat organised crime.

It also contains new allegations about the company’s involvement in countries subject to sanctions.

Among other accusations, it says Huawei installed surveillance equipment in Iran that was used to monitor, identify, and detain protesters during the 2009 anti-government demonstrations in Tehran.

The United States has been waging a campaign against Huawei, which it has warned could spy on customers for Beijing.

Washington placed the company on a trade blacklist last year, citing national security concerns.

What’s behind Huawei anxiety?
Political editor Andrew Probyn takes a deep dive into Huawei’s history to unpick the anxiety within the Australian intelligence community.

The indictment is “part of an attempt to irrevocably damage Huawei’s reputation and its business for reasons related to competition rather than law enforcement”, the company said in a statement.

It called the racketeering accusation “a contrived repackaging of a handful of civil allegations that are almost 20 years old”.

Huawei pleaded not guilty to the earlier indictment unsealed against the company in January 2019, which charged it with bank and wire fraud, violating sanctions against Iran and obstructing justice.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang urged the United States to immediately stop suppressing Chinese companies without reason.

Such acts seriously damage the United States’ credibility and image, he said.



Photo:

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver in December 2018. (AP: Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press)

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in December 2018 in Canada on charges in that indictment, causing an uproar in China and a chill in Canadian-Chinese relations.

She has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition.

There are no new charges against Ms Meng in the superseding indictment.

New charges outline alleged trade secret theft



Photo:

Google stopped providing Huawei with access, technical support and collaboration involving its proprietary services last year. (AP: Andy Wong)

The new trade secret theft charges relate to internet router source code, cellular antenna technology, and robotics.

For example, beginning in 2000, Huawei and its subsidiary Futurewei Technologies are accused of misappropriating operating system source code for internet routers, commands used to communicate with the routers, and operating system manuals, from a company in Northern California.

Why is Huawei so controversial?
The dramatic arrest in Canada of Huawei’s chief financial officer for possible extradition to the US shocked many. But what exactly is Huawei and why does it seem like it’s continually being targeted by foreign governments?

Huawei then sold their routers in the United States as lower-cost versions of the US company’s products, the indictment says.

Although the US company is not identified, Cisco Systems sued Huawei in Texas in 2003 over copyright infringement related to its routers.

Huawei is also accused of recruiting employees from other companies, making efforts to get intellectual property from those companies, and using professors at research institutions to obtain technology.

The US Commerce Department in May put Huawei on a trade blacklist that restricted US suppliers from selling parts and components to the company.

Reuters

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Frustration over face masks as coronavirus cases in China climb to 440, nine dead as virus adapts and mutates


China

China’s National Health Commission says 440 people in 13 Chinese provinces are now infected with the new coronavirus, with nine people dying — and there is evidence of respiratory transmission from patient to patient.

Key points:

  • Chinese authorities say the outbreak can spread through human contact
  • The coronavirus strain is believed to have started in a Chinese seafood market
  • Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific flight attendants are asking to wear masks on flights

The number of confirmed cases as of Tuesday (local time) marks a rise from the more than 300 previously reported.

What is a coronavirus?
Here’s what we know about the novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, and how worried you should be.

Chinese officials said the new virus was also adapting and mutating, underscoring the challenges for health authorities in controlling the outbreak.

An official from the country’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said the coronavirus originated from a market dealing in illegal wildlife transactions.

The virus, which started in the city of Wuhan at the end of last year, has spread to Beijing and Shanghai, as well as overseas to the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

The Chinese special administrative region of Macau also confirmed its first case of pneumonia linked to the outbreak, state-owned news agency Xinhua said.

China is taking more strict measures in hospitals to protect healthcare workers from the outbreak, and will increase training for healthcare workers nationwide, officials from the health commission said.

Authorities added that infection of medical staff in the outbreak showed there were loopholes in treatment methods as authorities were still learning about the new virus.

Chinese residents vented their frustrations on social media over the limited availability of face masks being available to purchase in many cities such as Chengdu, as well as online.

Hong Kong confirms first case



Photo:

A sign at a local pharmacy in the city of Chengdu says all facial masks are sold out. (Weibo: Chengdu News)

Hong Kong confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus strain on Wednesday, local broadcasters RTHK, Cable TV and TVB said.

The infected patient arrived in Hong Kong via high-speed railway from the mainland, and has been quarantined at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, the reports said.

The Hospital Authority enhanced laboratory surveillance for pneumonia cases to include patients with travel history to all of mainland China.

Hong Kong had deployed temperature-screening machinery at the airport and the high-speed rail station.

Coronavirus spreads to the US and Thailand

Earlier today, a United States man from Washington state who recently travelled to China was diagnosed with the coronavirus, becoming the first confirmed US case of the newly identified illness.

The patient, identified only as a man in his 30s who recently returned from his hometown in China, fell ill over the weekend and was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Monday (local time), Washington Governor Jay Inslee told reporters at a press conference in the United States city of Seattle.

He was in a satisfactory condition at Providence Regional Medical Centre in Washington and was not known to have infected anyone else, Mr Inslee said.

“This is not a moment of high anxiety,” Mr Inslee said

“This is a low risk. It appears to have a transmission vector that really should not prevent anyone from going anywhere in Snohomish County [in Washington], except maybe the isolation ward at the hospital.”

Last week, the World Health Organisation said there was limited human-to-human transmission, and the global community would be prepared if an outbreak occurred, however authorities now say the virus can spread through human contact.


Video: Death toll from Wuhan coronavirus rises to nine

(ABC News)

The coronavirus, which causes respiratory symptoms similar to a cold or flu, has been linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, the largest city in central China with a population of about 11 million. That market has since been shut down.

The disease has spread to other parts of China, including the capital Beijing where there have been five cases. People have also been diagnosed in Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

The US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and Washington State said the agency was preparing for more US cases of the coronavirus to emerge, and the CDC raised its travel alert for Wuhan to a level 2, calling for enhanced precautions.

Under that alert level, the CDC recommends people travelling to Wuhan to avoid contact with sick people, animals and animal markets.

The agency said it had developed a new test that allowed it to identify the presence of the virus in a traveller.

A CDC medical officer said all travellers from Wuhan would be redirected to five US airports in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco for screening.

Airline crews fear being infected


Video: Footage circulating on Chinese social media shows medics checking the temperature of passengers on a Wuhan to Macau flight.

(ABC News)

The flight attendants union at Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways said it has asked the airline to let crew wear face masks on all flights to mitigate the risk of staff catching the new coronavirus.

The coronavirus struck as millions of Chinese prepared to travel for the Lunar New Year, heightening contagion risks and posing a fresh threat to the airline, which has been battered by months of sometimes violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

The Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union said it had received a “tremendous” amount of emails and messages from members concerned about catching the virus given they were exposed to more than 300 passengers from numerous places on a single flight.

“All of them are worried about the risk they are taking every time they go to work,” the union said on its Facebook page on Tuesday (local time).

“It is time for the company to properly address their concerns and allow cabin crew to wear masks on all flights.”



Photo:

The new coronavirus strain has been linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, the largest city in central China.

So far, it said, the airline was not allowing cabin crew to wear masks except on flights to and from Wuhan.

Cathay did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Cathay told the South China Morning Post, which first reported on the issue, that as required by Hong Kong health authorities, it was distributing health declaration forms and making face masks and antiseptic wipes available at the boarding gate to passengers travelling from Wuhan to Hong Kong.

Wuhan virus ‘super-spreaders’
One of China’s top health experts warns potential “super-spreaders” could worsen the impact of the new coronavirus strain, which can now be passed between humans.

Financial Services analysts from Jefferies said shares in Cathay and mainland Chinese carriers could remain under pressure for some time if the coronavirus situation became similar to the 2003 SARS outbreak and cases continued to increase. That coronavirus outbreak killed nearly 800 people.

Britain’s Heathrow Airport would introduce separate areas for passengers travelling from regions that had been affected by the new flu-like coronavirus in China, Transport Minister Grant Shapps said on Wednesday.

“That is something which we are keeping a very close eye on,” Mr Shapps told Sky News.

“There’s been some announcements this morning about flights that come direct from the infected region to Heathrow with some additional measures there. This is to ensure that when flights come in directly to Heathrow there is a separate area for people to arrive in.”

Reuters/ABC

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Trump spoke for 10 minutes while the world watched. But 10 words tell us all we need to know about what might come next


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

He knew the world was watching, so US President Donald Trump chose a provocative first line.

“As long as I am President of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon,” he said, before saying good morning and launching into scripted remarks.

It’s not the first time he’s made such a statement, but it was a notable choice for what was the President’s first formal explanation of the US position on Iran.

External Link:

@realDonaldTrump: IRAN WILL NEVER HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON!

Flanked by his top military brass, Mr Trump spoke for roughly 10 minutes during America’s work day but Iran’s primetime hours.

It’s been five days since the US assassinated Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in retaliation for an Iranian strike that left four servicemen wounded and one American contractor dead.

But it’s been more than a year since Mr Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Tensions have only escalated as Iran and America exchange threats and provocations.

A history of hate
Iran and the United States haven’t had formal diplomatic relations for decades, and at times appear on the brink of war. But why?

With his latest remarks, Mr Trump appears to be maintaining, but not escalating, the sense of tension. He’s decided to respond to Iran’s latest move with another round of economic sanctions, which will “remain until Iran changes its behaviour”.

“Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned, and a very good thing for the world,” he said.

“The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”

In other words, military escalation appears to be on pause for now.

But given his choice of an opening salvo, it’s clear peace comes with conditions. Mr Trump is leaving the door open to resuming the rhetoric if Iran pursues a bloodier revenge.



Photo:

A satellite image taken hours after the Iranian attack on the Al Asad air base in Iraq shows several impact sites. (Planet Labs)

New nuclear deal still one of Trump’s campaign promises

Mr Trump took time to praise America’s military preparedness and mentioned new supersonic weapons capabilities.

“We continue to evaluate options,” he said.


Video: Iran said 80 Americans were killed in the strikes, but Donald Trump disputed that.

(ABC News)

It’s unclear what the sanctions will target and what effect, if any, they’d have. There are years’ worth of sanctions already stacked on Iran’s beleaguered economy.

Mr Trump has long detested the Obama-era JCPOA, also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, which promised to end many of the sanctions on Iran in exchange for the country’s responsible and peaceful development of nuclear power.

The deal was considered Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy agreement. Mr Trump called it “weak” and “a failure” while on the campaign trail in 2016.

Why the killing of General Soleimani is such a big deal
The death of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani is a watershed moment, even in the long and bloody history of Middle East conflict.

“This was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made … It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will,” he said.

The Trump administration officially pulled out of the agreement in May 2018, and began a “maximum pressure campaign” that involved slapping a lot of sanctions on the country. The White House promised to renegotiate the deal and outlined 12 criteria for Iran to meet in order to start talks.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei scoffed at the suggestion.

“Even if we ever — impossible as it is — negotiated with the US, it would never ever be with the current US administration,” he said.

Mr Trump was heavily criticised for the change in policy and the resulting tensions that boiled up.

The remaining seven parties signed onto the deal have struggled to salvage the agreement, and after the death of Soleimani last week, Iran announced it would begin enriching more uranium.

External Link:

@JZarif: As 5th & final REMEDIAL step under paragraph 36 of JCPOA, there will no longer be any restriction on number of centrifuges This step is within JCPOA & all 5 steps are reversible upon EFFECTIVE implementation of reciprocal obligations Iran's full cooperation w/IAEA will continue

Foreign policy experts said this quashed any hopes the deal might be restored.

But if today means Mr Trump is keeping one campaign promise stagnant, he’ll use the occasion to boast a victory on another: Keeping the US out of foreign entanglements.

True, the US has positioned an extra 2,800 troops in the area in recent days. But threats and sanctions aren’t the same as actual bloodshed, especially in the eyes of his supporters.

Trump puts pressure on US allies

Mr Trump also spent part of today’s speech urging European countries to ditch the deal and join his maximum pressure campaign.

“Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed,” Mr Trump said.



Photo:

Scott Morrison released a statement just after the strikes, saying his Government was “closely monitoring” events. (AP: Susan Walsh)

“Instead of saying thank you to the United States, they chanted ‘Death to America’. In fact, they chanted ‘Death to America’ the day the agreement was signed.

“Iran went on a terrorist spree funded by the money from the deal and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq.”

It’s unclear what the JCPOA parties — including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and China — will do next. Mr Trump’s actions put them in a tough spot.

Five quick US-Iran questions answered
Let’s get you up to speed on the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran.

The deal was considered one of the European Union’s crowning foreign policy achievements, in part because it helped the region keep good ties with both the US and China.

China has a good track record of relations with Iran and is an economically important ally to Europe.

Mr Trump is effectively asking America’s long-standing European allies to choose between him or the leaders in Beijing.

That’d be a tough decision to make, even without the chance that the President might be out of office after the election.

The allies are surely also considering that the President could do something predictably unpredictable like suddenly kill an Iranian general or reverse course and start new talks.



Photo:

A man holds a picture of late Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, as people celebrate in the street after Iran launched missiles against US forces. (Reuters: West Asia News Agency)

Much depends on Iran’s response

Mr Trump’s speech gave little clarification of the specific motivations for killing General Soleimani other than to say he was responsible for taking the lives of hundreds of Americans and had been planning something very big.

The administration has offered only vague explanations after being pressed by the media and the public over the past few days. Mr Trump and his top aides are expected to discuss that intelligence today and decide whether to declassify the information for public release.

In terms of an Iranian response, the country’s Foreign Minister has already indicated the country has responded with proportionate force and does not seek to escalate tensions or go to war.

But with that slap-in-the-face-type opening line Mr Trump used, it could enrage the Iranians into taking more subtle steps to provoke the US in coming months. The question is how much.

More stories on the tension between the US and Iran:

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Iran has retaliated against the US. Here’s what you need to know


Iraq

Iran has launched strikes against US troops in Iraq.

If you’re not sure exactly what’s going on, or why this is happening, this is the perfect place to start.

Let’s get you up to speed and answer five quick questions about the situation.

1. What has happened?

Iran has confirmed it launched “tens” of surface-to-surface missiles at two military bases — Al Asad and Irbil in Iraq — that house US troops.

The Pentagon says the bases came under fire from “at least a dozen ballistic missiles” and it was clear the missiles were launched from Iran.

The US and Iraq both confirmed their forces did not suffer casualties from the strikes. Germany, Denmark, Norway and Poland also said none of their troops in Iraq were hurt.



Photo:

The Erbil and Al Asad airbases were hit in the attacks. (ABC News)

2. Why has this happened?

On January 4, the United States killed Iran’s most powerful military general, Qassem Soleimani, by firing three missiles at Baghdad airport.

General Soleimani was the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force and responsible for many of the nation’s proxy wars in the Middle East.



Photo:

The death of Major-General Qassem Soleimani sent shockwaves around the world. (News Video)

In a statement after the attack, the Pentagon said the strike was aimed at “deterring future Iranian attack plans” and it carried out the attack to “protect US personnel abroad”.

For context, academic Ranj Alaaldin described the attack as “bigger than taking out Osama bin Laden”.

On Tuesday millions of people attended funerals for General Soleimani, the first time Iran honoured a single person with a multi-city ceremony.

Go deeper: The ABC’s Matt Brown has a long look at the importance of General Soleimani, and the “watershed moment” of his death, in this piece here.

3. Is this actually the start of World War III?

It’s far too early to tell what might happen next, despite #WorldWarThree trending on social media in the days since the US killed General Soleimani.

Journalist with Al Jazeera based in Doha, and a former global affairs and Indigenous affairs analyst for the ABC, Stan Grant, wrote that Iran was dwarfed by the United States by any measure.

“Its population is a quarter the size of America’s, its economy is barely 2 per cent as large. Its outdated weapons are no match for the most powerful military force the world has ever known,” he wrote.

There are many moving parts to this story that are yet to play out, but Grant writes that World War III will look vastly different to World War I and II.

“A look around the world tells us we may already be in it,” he writes.

Get the full picture: You can read his full analysis of the situation here.

4. Are any Australians involved?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said all Australian Defence Force and diplomatic personnel in Iraq were safe.

Mr Morrison said the Australian Government was monitoring the situation as it unfolds.

Australia’s National Security Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, but Mr Morrison said it would meet earlier if needed.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said he had received a briefing on the situation from the Prime Minister, and said Australians were “located very close to where the Americans are located in the area”.

“They’re just next door,” Mr Albanese said.

5. What will happen next?

The frustrating answer is — we just don’t know. And we can’t do much but wait.

All eyes now turn back to the United States.


Video: President Donald Trump said he would ask NATO to become more involved in the Middle East

(ABC News)

At a news conference, President Donald Trump said Iran appeared to be “standing down” and declared the US would impose further economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.

“The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it. American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent,” he said.

He added that Americans should be “extremely grateful and happy” with the outcome.

Crucially, Mr Trump stopped short of making any more threats of military actions.

Read more about the tensions between the US and Iran:

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


America and Iran are teetering on the brink of war. This is why they hate each other


United States

America and Iran have despised each other for decades.

The hostility intensified in 2019, reaching a fever pitch yesterday as the Pentagon ordered an air strike that killed Iran’s most powerful general Qassem Soleimani.

But where does the bitter tension between the two nations come from?

Oddly enough, it began with the British in the Middle East during the first part of the 20th century.

It’s a story about oil, the Cold War, the jostling for power in the region, and a hostage crisis with a diplomatic impact “somewhere near” that of 9/11.

Oil, the Soviets and ‘a menace to Western interests’

Before World War II, Britain essentially dominated Iran’s oil industry through what was then called the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

But the war left a greatly weakened Britain in its wake.

“Its economy was pretty devastated, and it came to rely on some of its overseas facilities and programs to a greater degree,” says Malcolm Byrne, deputy director for the Non-Governmental National Security Archive based at George Washington University.

“And its most expansive area of interest was Iran … so it depended quite a bit on that.”



Photo:

Britain once dominated Iran’s oil industry. (Getty: Morse Collection/ Grado)

Around the same time, the presence of Russians in northern Iran was becoming a critical issue for the US.

“North-west Iran was very much the line drawn on the mountains between the West and the East, between the United States and Soviet Union,” explains Anoush Ehteshami, professor of international relations at Durham University.

“And the Soviet Union’s refusal to leave Iranian territory opened up new concerns about what became known as Soviet aggression.”

Under a US “containment strategy”, he says, the Shah of Iran was entrusted to keep that barrier, and also “make sure that oil continues to flow”.

But that began to unravel when Mohammad Mosaddegh, a “strong nationalist figure”, became Iran’s 35th prime minister in 1951.



Photo:

Mohammad Mosaddegh (fifth from right) nationalised the nation’s oil fields. (Getty: Bettmann)

Mosaddegh believed Iran, not Britain, should own and control the country’s oil.

“That was the clincher, the critical point,” Professor Ehteshami says.

In 1951 Mosaddegh nationalised the oil fields, and Washington saw red.

Professor Ehteshami says the leader was seen as “a menace to Western interests”.

“It is in that context that Britain and the United States begin to plot to ensure that his government is short-lived,” he says.

The CIA plans to overthrow a ‘demagogue’

In 1952 the British were expelled from Iran, and diplomatic relations ground to a halt.

The next year, the CIA mounted a covert operation to overthrow Mosaddegh.



Photo:

Demonstrators march during riots in Tehran in the wake of the coup. (Getty)

Osamah Khalil, a historian at Syracuse University, says there is some debate over whether the plot was about “a fear of communism” or “the issue of oil”.

While the US didn’t believe Mosaddegh was a communist, he says, it saw him as a “demagogue” whose reforms could “create instability that would lead to the rise of the communist party in Iraqi”.

The other theory is that the coup was “really about the control of Iran’s oil resources”.

“These two may not be mutually exclusive,” Mr Khalil adds.

“If Iran were to fall to communism, this would open up the broader Persian Gulf to communist influence and threaten the world’s major oil resources.”

Listen to the episode On Rear Vision, Annabelle Quince traces the history of the tense relationship between Iran and America.

Ali Ansari, a professor of Iranian history at the University of St Andrews, says though there was a “Cold War narrative in the background”, the coup had a “very hard-nosed corporate aspect to it”.

“The Americans had a fairly sophisticated network already in Iran, prepared really for Cold War reasons,” she says.

“Basically they had set up a network of agents and others that were there, meant to be, in case of a Soviet attack.

“They then turned this network against the domestic government.”

Mobs were paid, police and soldiers were bribed, and the prime minister was driven from office. The Shah of Iran was reinstated.

A staunch ally

“After Mosaddegh is overthrown, the United States now takes a major interest in Iranian oil, in a way that they didn’t have before,” Mr Khalil says.

“In this consortium that’s created after the coup, the United States now takes something in the area of 40 per cent of the profits.”

Mr Byrne says the Shah “clearly felt he owed his remaining in power to the US”, and the Americans in turn felt they now had a loyal partner in the region.

Over the years, the US pumped a lot of money into the Shah’s regime, and he was promoted in the Western press as a staunch ally. The Shah even received an honorary degree from Harvard.



Photo:

The Shah of Iran alongside Queen Elizabeth at Victoria Station during a state visit in London, in 1959. (Getty: Popperfoto)

“By the late 1960s, early 1970s, the United States decides effectively, because it’s bogged down in the war in Vietnam, that it really can’t maintain its interests around the globe,” Mr Khalil says.

In what became known as the Nixon doctrine, the US effectively deferred to local allies to contain the Soviets.

The Shah and Iran became “the regional policemen for the Persian Gulf”.

At the same time, coinciding with increasing oil prices, Iran started importing arms from the US at a massive scale.

“The Shah is buying all kinds of advanced weapons from the United States, his defence budget increases something like 800 per cent over four or five years,” Mr Khalil says.

“At the same time that’s causing a lot of instability in Iran economically. There is high inflation, there’s a big push from the rural areas into urban areas, there’s a lot of dislocation”.

The Shah was also becoming increasingly repressive.

“This is effectively an autocratic police state. Those who spoke out were often arrested or tortured. If you were lucky you got out,” Mr Khalil says.

Much of that was pushed under the rug by the US, which had come to rely on the Shah, Mr Khalil says.

Through the latter part of the 1970s, opposition to the Shah’s rule increased dramatically.

The turning point

Mass protests eventually erupted into a revolution in 1979, and the Shah fled to America.

“Things begin to unravel very, very quickly and the Americans are left between a rock and a hard place,” Professor Ehteshami says.

“Whether they support this transitional government of Shapour Bakhtiar that the Shah had put in place, or whether they try and reach out to the opposition and therefore undermine the government of Iran.”



Photo:

Demonstrators burn pictures of the Shah outside the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979. (Getty: Kaveh Kazemi)

Iranians then began to demand the return of the Shah, so he could be prosecuted.

“I think this is the turning point in the worsening relations,” Professor Ehteshami says.

“The Americans are honour-bound to come to the rescue of an ailing, ill ally of decades, and as they do, then we begin to see the Iranians take a much, much harder line.”

‘Somewhere near the impact of 9/11’

The American reluctance to return the Shah caused outrage, and led to a hostage situation at the US embassy.

Some 400 armed students took 52 diplomats hostage, demanding the return of the Shah, who was undergoing cancer treatment.

The crisis lasted for 444 days.

“From then on, this sense of suspicion has never really gone away,” Professor Ehteshami says.

“Iranians now are convinced that America is against the revolution and that they are doing anything and everything it can to undo the revolution.”



Photo:

The British and US flags are burned outside the former US embassy in Tehran in 2014, marking 35 years since Islamist students stormed the compound. (Getty: Atta Kenare)

Mr Byrne says it is hard to overstate the impact of the hostage crisis, which “sent shudders throughout the American public”.

“It might not have been as great an impact as 9/11 but it’s somewhere near there,” he says.

“We lost our big ally in the region. The Soviets seem to be taking advantage of all this.

“But then on top of that there is the undeniable breach of international law and moral and ethical behaviour of … going into sovereign territory and [taking] innocent civilians, as they were seen, hostage.”

During the 1980s, the war between Iran and Iraq isolated Iran from the international community, most of whom were supporting and even arming Iraq.

In the 1990s there were attempts on both sides for some form of dialogue, but they didn’t amount to much.

How likely is a US-Iran conflict? US-Iran tensions are on the rise. Here’s what that could mean for Australia, the region and world oil prices.

In 2001, when the September 11 terrorist attack devastated the US, Iran again reached out.

“The Iranian population are very much in sympathy with the Americans here. Iranians are very keen to highlight that their brand of Islam, Shi’ism, had not unleashed this terror on American soil,” Professor Ansari says.

“But that didn’t really cut much mustard with the Americans, and the Americans began to brush all Muslims as antagonistic and hostile.

“And again, very soon after that, President Bush invades Afghanistan, and two years later in March 2003, the new doctrine of pre-emptive strikes and Bush’s allies in the administration begin to talk about Iran being the next target.

“And this is terrifying, sitting in Tehran, and it is made much, much worse when President Bush declares that Iran, Iraq and North Korea are this so-called axis of evil.”

From Obama to Trump

During the Obama administration, a nuclear agreement was reached between Iran and the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including America.

“When a more accommodationist approach is taken, as we saw under Obama in the second term, it opens up a window for the reformists to emerge, and that’s effectively what we get when we get the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” Mr Byrne says.

The US has since withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, and adopted what Mr Byrne calls a “more confrontational approach”.

“Not just in terms of rhetoric but of openly adopting a regime change policy by the Trump administration,” he says.

“It’s again weakened the reformers in Iran, it’s allowed the hardliners to basically say ‘we told you so, we told you they couldn’t be trusted’.”



Photo:

President Donald Trump announces the withdrawal of the US from the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, 2018. (Getty: The Washington Post)

Professor Ansari says “of course there are moderates in Iran” — but a lot of them are in prison.

“Those moderates were crushed,” she says.

“Power at the moment is invested in the Supreme Leader and with the Revolutionary Guard and these are really the two axes that operate.”

Professor Ehteshami says there were three fundamental reasons for Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal.

The first? Internal pressures from “people in his administration [with an] inherent hostility towards the [Islamic] Republic”.

The second, he says, is that Mr Trump is “incredibly hostile to anything that the Obama administration achieved”.

“And if this was President Obama’s biggest achievement internationally, then Trump was bound to go after it and to dismantle it,” Professor Ehteshami says.

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Rear Vision puts contemporary events in their historical context, answering the question: “How did it come to this?”

The third factor, he says, is pressure from the region itself.

“When Trump comes to power, the Arab spring is turned into an Arab winter. There are bushfires in Syria, in Libya, in Egypt, in Tunisia, in Yemen and elsewhere in the region,” he says.

“America’s interests are endangered, and Iran is seen by America’s allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, as the main beneficiary of Arab uprisings.

“And the more Iran is involved in Syria, the more it is involved in Yemen, the more it supports the Shias in Bahrain and inside Arabia and in Iraq, the more fearful and hostile America’s allies in the region get. And while they felt that Obama did not have a listening ear, in Trump they found a willing ally in not just containing Iran but to try and roll back Iran’s influence.

“And so when you get those three, inevitably Trump’s strategy of an aggressive reaction to Iran wins the day.”

So where to from here?



Photo:

President Vladimir Putin has a strategy for Iran and sticks to it, says Professor Ansari. (Getty: Mikhail Svetlov )

Professor Ansari would like to see people in the West “taking the problem of Iran much more seriously”.

“I think people should focus on the issue of Iran and say where do we want to be in 10 years’ time, where do we want to be in 20 years’ time and how are we planning to get there?” he says.

“Our problem in the West has been that largely we’ve tended to be very reactive, we haven’t really had the patience to deal with this as a strategic issue, which I have to say the Russians do.

“I mean, the one advantage of Putin, as unpleasant as he is, is that certainly for those rulers in the Middle East is he seems to have a strategy and he sticks to it, whereas the West seems to be at sixes and sevens about what it’s planning to do and doesn’t really have a plan.”

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Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Taiwan’s highest-ranking general among eight dead in helicopter crash


Taiwan

Taiwan’s top military official has been killed alongside seven others after a helicopter carrying them to visit soldiers crashed in a mountainous area near the capital Taipei.

Key points:

  • The reasons for the crash are unknown, but an investigation is underway
  • A rescue team has found five survivors among the 13 who were onboard
  • The crash prompted those campaigning for Taiwan’s general election to stop momentarily

The main portion of the helicopter lies in a northern forest wreathed in mist, its blades shattered, as dozens of rescuers combed the wreck for survivors, pictures released by emergency authorities showed.

The reasons for the crash, in the wake of a forced landing, were unknown, Taiwan’s military said in a statement, adding that the chief of general staff, Air Force General Shen Yi-ming, had died, while five of the 13 aboard survived.

Mr Shen, who took up his post in July, was the territory’s highest-ranking general to die in the line of duty, President Tsai Ing-wen said, adding that she had asked the defence minister to launch an investigation.



Photo:

General Shen Yi-ming has become Taiwan’s highest-ranking military official to die during duty. (AP: Johnson Lai, file)

“We must find out the reason for the incident,” she told reporters in the north-eastern county of Yilan, where the helicopter had been heading after setting out from Taipei.

“Most importantly, [we] must ensure the stability of our military and national defence.”

The defence ministry said it had dispatched a rescue team following the Black Hawk helicopter’s crash in New Taipei City, after aviation authorities lost contact with the craft at 8:22am (local time).

A military spokesperson later confirmed that eight people had died onboard in a news conference broadcast live on television.



Photo:

Rescuers were dispatched to the crash site early on Thursday and found five survivors. (Yilan Country Fire Bureau via Reuters)

Crash stalls Taiwan’s general election campaigns

The incident, which comes a week before democratic Taiwan holds presidential and parliamentary elections on January 11, disrupted campaign events.

Ms Tsai, who is seeking re-election, cancelled all campaign activities until Saturday, while opposition presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang party called off campaigns until Friday.

External Link:

@iingwen tweet: My deepest condolences go out to the outstanding servicemen lost in today’s helicopter crash, as well as their families. We will do everything we can to help their families in this time of loss & investigate the cause of the crash.

“Kuomintang urges related authorities to probe the incident as soon as possible and make a thorough check on the same type of aircraft to prevent the tragedy from happening again,” the party said in a statement.

The helicopter involved in Thursday’s incident was one of 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters the United States sold to Taiwan in 2010, the official Central News Agency said.

Although the US has had no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan since the 1970s, it is the island’s strongest international backer and main arms supplier.



Photo:

Ms Tsai has forcefully advocated for a Taiwan free from Chinese territorial claims. (Supplied: Office of the President of Taiwan)

The incident was Taiwan’s latest aviation accident involving US-made aircraft, after the 2018 crash of a Black Hawk helicopter off its east coast killed six people aboard, and the crash of an F–16 fighter jet killed a pilot the same year.

In 2016, the Taiwanese Navy fired a supersonic missile in error, hitting a fishing boat in waters that separate Taiwan from diplomatic rival China.

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory to be brought under Beijing’s control by force if necessary, regularly calls its territorial claim the most sensitive issue in its ties with the United States.

Taiwan considers itself an independent country whose sovereignty is recognised by a small number of states including the Holy See, and a number of Pacific, Latin American and Caribbean states.

In September last year, Taipei lost the Solomon Islands and Kiribati to Beijing, representing a blow to the Tsai Government, which has lost seven allies since it was elected in 2016.

ABC/Reuters

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Here are the big centenaries you might be hearing about this year


Australia

Now that it’s 2020 and we into its third decade (or close enough for the sticklers), we’re starting to see how the 21st century is shaping up.

But in its previous iterations, the ’20s have been a massive time of change —from the economic spikes and seeds of war in the 1920s to the first pilgrims setting off to America in the 1520s

That means there are some big centenaries coming up that you might hear more about this year.

Let’s take a look back at some of the defining moments.

1920



Photo:

In 1920, the US passed the Nineteenth Amendment, enshrining the rights of women to vote. (Wikimedia Commons: Ladies’ Home Journal)

The hallmarks of the “Roaring Twenties” were (initially) economic growth and prosperity, as the wartime devastation of the previous decade gave way to social, artistic and cultural change.

At the turn of the decade, the national Country Party of Australia (now known as the National Party) was formed, while the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service (which would later become Qantas) was founded in Winton, in Central West Queensland.

Across the pond, the United States passed the Nineteenth Amendment, enshrining the right of women to vote, while a nationwide ban on the production, important and sale of alcohol was imposed (and we all know how well that turned out).

Further abroad, Soviet Russia and the Democratic Republic of Georgia signed the Treaty of Moscow, recognising the latter’s independence, while the Mexican Revolution came to an end when military leader Pancho Villa surrendered after reaching a peace agreement with interim Mexican President Adolfo de la Huerta.

Other notable moments in 1920 include:

  • Bloody Sunday (November 21, 1920): 32 people were killed in one of the most significant events to take place during the Irish War of Independence.
  • Wall Street bombing (September 16, 1920): 30 people were killed and hundreds more were injured following a bomb blast in the Financial District of Manhattan. The case has never been solved, although historians believe Italian anarchists may be responsible.
  • George Polley, who earned the moniker “the human fly” for his uncanny ability to scale buildings, was arrested after climbing up the Woolworth Building in New York — which was, at the time, the world’s tallest building.



Photo:

Though George Polley was caught, Harry Gardiner (pictured), also known as the Human Fly, continued to operate. (Wikimedia Commons: Evening public ledger)

1820

From scientific breakthroughs to new frontiers, the 1820s was truly a decade of exploration, discovery and change.

The year started with a shakeup for the British monarchy after 59 years with the death of George III, now the third-longest reigning monarch on January 20. His eldest son George IV (who had been Prince Regent during his father’s decline) ascended to the throne.

The Essex, an American whaler and the real-life inspiration for Moby Dick, was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in the southern Pacific Ocean in 1820, forcing its 20-man crew to fend for themselves.



Photo:

The Essex, an American whaler and the real-life inspiration for Moby Dick, was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in 1820. (Wikimedia Commons: Nantucket Historical Association)

After reaching land, the men suffered severe dehydration and starvation — and reportedly resorted to eating each other. The remaining survivors were rescued some three months later.

Speaking of people with no limbs, the Venus de Milo, now one of the Louvre’s star attractions, was discovered within the ancient city ruins of Milos during the same year (though it is believed to have been made by the sculptor Alexandros of Antioch in the 2nd century BC).



Photo:

The Venus de Milo, now one of the Louvre’s star attractions, was discovered within the ancient city ruins of Milos. (Wikimedia Commons: Jimmy Wee)

British explorer Edward Bransfield claimed Trinity Peninsula, the northernmost part of the Antarctic Peninsula, for Britain.

Other notable moments in 1820 include:

  • Danish scientist Hans Christian Oersted became the first person to identify electromagnetism after watching a compass needle.
  • The Royal Astronomical Society, which would later honour the likes of Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, was founded in London.
  • Robert Gibbon Johnson, an American farmer and judge, reportedly proved that tomato was non-poisonous by biting into one on the steps of a courthouse in Salem, New Jersey (although there are various doubts around this claim).

1720



Photo:

Calico Jack was captured and sentenced to death. (Wikimedia Commons)

Ahoy, me Hearties! Or rather, goodbye, with 1720 marking the end of the “golden age” of piracy.

Infamous captain John Rackham, otherwise known as Calico Jack, and his two female crew members, Mary Read and Anne Bonny, were captured by pirate hunter Jonathan Barnet and swiftly sentenced to death in Jamaica.

Though he was ultimately hanged, Read and Bonny won stays of execution after claiming they were pregnant.

Elsewhere, England was hit with its own wave — the “South Sea Bubble”.

The South Sea Company was founded to take over most of Britain’s unconsolidated national debt, but it didn’t quite go to plan. Share prices were massively inflated, before the English stock market crashed, creating a notorious economic bubble that ruined thousands of investors.

Other notable moments in 1720 include:

  • The Great Plague of Marseille reached French shores, killing a total of 100,000 people.
  • Edmond Halley, from whom Halley’s Comet was named after, was appointed the second Astronomer Royal in Britain.
  • The Royal Cork Yacht Club, credited as the first yacht club in the world, was founded in Ireland.

1620

At the turn of the decade, the Mayflower set sail from England to what we now know as the United States, carrying more than 100 English Puritans — making this year its 400th anniversary.

Though bound for Virginia, stormy weather and navigational errors forced it off course, and the Pilgrims ultimately landed in Massachusetts, founding the first permanent European settlement.

Other notable moments in 1620 include:

  • Astronomer Johannes Kepler’s mother was arrested for witchcraft and imprisoned for 14 months



Photo:

At the turn of the decade, the Mayflower set sail from England to what we now know as the United States. (Wikimedia Commons: William Halsall)

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Jahmiel – Tek It Off [New Music]


Jahmiel kicks off the new year with a lovers rock vibe single for the ladies, “Tek It Off.”

The dancehall singjay just concluded a phenomenal year with a number of hit singles and a hugely successful overseas tour. This year, he is looking to step his game up starting with an extensive global tour starting in the United States before going across the pond to Europe and then to Africa. There is no doubt that he will be performing this new joint on tour.

“Say she love me forever without 21, all me waan do a take it off, a so me feel when mi miss yo bad,” Jahmiel sings over a slow dancehall beat produced by Dunwell Productions. “Long time mi no see yo now me have closer, so much a gwaan in a me mind when me see yo close up, all me waan do a take it off, take it off take off.”

Related Posts


JAY-Z To Young Fan “You Will Be President Someday”



JAY-Z is one of those timeless rappers, he has fans ranging all ages, and on Monday night one young fan got a big shutout at his concert.

The rap legend was performing at his 4:44 Tour stop in Cleveland, Ohio, when he paused to acknowledge a 9-year-old girl rocking out to his music at the front of the audience. JAY-Z is himself a father of two girls so he has that protective instinct in him already. The rapper is also known for his commentary on social on political issues affecting us, so when he told this little girl that she will be president one day, it was no surprise.

“You can be anything that you want to be in the world,” Hov told his young fan who was delighted for the shout-out. “At this very moment, America is way more sexist than they are racist. But you, young lady, you got the potential to be the next president of the United States. You believe that.”

The part of his message about sexism made some fans a little uneasy since he was talking to a 9-year-old girl. But the point of his message way overshadow any little uneasiness that what he said may have caused. Watch the video below.

#444Tour

JAY-Z's spontaneous conversation with a 9 year old girl:

"At this very moment America is way more sexist than they are racist, but you young lady, you got the potential to be the next president of the United States, you believe that." ?

?: @naptural_mae pic.twitter.com/YxLUWdCNSV

— JAY-Z Daily (@JAY_Z_Daily) November 20, 2017

 


SZA Song “The Weekend” Certified Platinum



SZA has had a great year and now she has more to celebrate after her single “The Weekend” goes platinum.

The TDE singer gets her platinum plaque from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) just before she celebrated her 27th birthday on November 8th. The single is featured on her debut album CTRL, which was released in June of this year. The project has been doing well since its released and SZA is already prepping her next big project.

“YO YALL TOOK A SONG THT WASNT A F***ING SINGLE AND MADE IT PLATINUM!!!??” she tweeted excitingly. “AHH I LOVE U MORE THAN CHEESE! THANK U 4 THE BEST BDAY GIFT EVER.”

SZA previously earned another platinum record when her single with Travis Scott, “Love Galore”, sold more than a million copies in the United States. Her album CTRL is now certified gold and is on it’s way to getting platinum certification. She is also prepping her fans for a deluxe version of the album.

“Ummm NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE ONE UH THESE LET ALONE 2!! Thank u more than words !! Ya did it !! #TDE,” she wrote on IG.

Ummm NEVER THOUGHT I'D SEE ONE UH THESE LET ALONE 2!! ? Thank u more than words !! Ya did it !!????#TDE

A post shared by SZA (@sza) on Nov 10, 2017 at 4:48pm PST


Sean Paul To Upcoming Dancehall Acts “Work Hard Be Unique”


Sean Paul has sold over 26 million records in the United States and just recently the dancehall star was award with a plaque from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the achievement.

Additionally, he also received platinum plaques for his dancehall classics “Get Busy,” “We Be Burning,” and “Temperature” which was certified three times platinum. The achievement makes Sean Paul only one of six Jamaican artists to get platinum status in the United States. When asked about his formula for success for young acts, he said hard work, follow your heart and be unique.

“Just follow your heart and that’s what art is really about,” he said. “It’s about following your heart and creating beautiful things that maybe other people didn’t see or think of before. I’m very proud of the way that I’ve performed and that I’m able to present our music to a wider audience, and 26 million sales represent to me dedication over the years. It means also fans’ involvement. Without their support, I couldn’t be here. I just have to big dem up.”

Sean Paul is one of the most commercially successful dancehall artists out of Jamaica ever, and some international publications even call him the king of dancehall. A lot of Jamaican dancehall fans will disagree, but if we should base the kingship solely on international impact and music sales, then SP would easily sit on the thrown. But that debate is for another time. In the meantime, let’s congratulate Dutty Paul on his phenomenal achievement, for a job well done, and for representing dancehall and Jamaican music culture at the highest level.


Logic Single “1-800-273-8255” Now Certified Platinum


Logic single “1-800-273-8255” has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The single which features Alessia Cara and Khalid is anthem for fans battling depression and are considering suicide. The phone number for the title of the song is the actual number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Since performing the song at last month’s MTV Video Music Awards, the song has grown in popularity and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has reported that they are getting a lot more calls.

The RIAA revealed on Thursday that the song is now platinum, meaning it has sold over one million copies in the United States. Logic explained on Twitter the reason why he felt it necessary to record the single for fans who are in a dark place. “Over the years so many of you guys have told me that my music has helped you through so many tough times,” he tweeted. “Many of you have told me its even saved your life. I’m beyond humbled. But I felt I haven’t done enough.”

Over the years so many of you guys have told me that my music has helped you through so many tough times.

— Bobby Tarantino (@Logic301) April 26, 2017

Many of you have told me its even saved your life. I’m beyond humbled. But I felt I haven’t done enough.

— Bobby Tarantino (@Logic301) April 26, 2017

I’m beyond humbled. But I felt I haven’t done enough. I felt compelled to make a song that could actually help you.

— Bobby Tarantino (@Logic301) April 26, 2017


Pharrell – Yellow Light


[Intro]
The yellow light shining down
The yellow light shining down
The yellow light shining down
The yellow light shining
1,2,1,2
Everybody
Everybody
Let’s go!
Oh, hey!

[Verse 1]
Everyone’s overdosing, the blue light use
United States of anxiety continues
The redness in this town, we’re singing the flag burning blues
We feel like the nuts cause we feel the screws
We don’t care bout no fits, we don’t care ’bout no trouble
We just wanna get in
Let’s make out like we’re lovers

[Pre-Chorus]
So much for taking it slow
Now everybody knows
Here we go!

[Chorus]
The yellow light shining down (congratulations)
The yellow light shining down (whoopi do)
The yellow light shining down (you control the world now)
The yellow light shining down (look at you)
The yellow light shining down (I say hey)
The yellow light shining down (there’s a higher power)
The yellow light shining down (like a yellow light)
The yellow light shining down
When the stupid gets injected
The sunlights
The best gets infected
Oh just let the sun [?]
[?]

[Verse 2]
We don’t care bout no fits, we don’t care bout no trouble
We just wanna get in
Let’s make out like we’re lovers

[Pre-Chorus]
So much for taking it slow
Now everybody knows
Here we go!

[Chorus]
The yellow light shining down (congratulations)
The yellow light shining down (whoopi do)
The yellow light shining down (you control the world now)
The yellow light shining down (look at you)
The yellow light shining down (I say hey)
The yellow light shining down (there’s a higher power)
The yellow light shining down (like a yellow light)
The yellow light shining down

[Bridge]
Kill whatever you want
And undo what was done
But one thing you can’t kill is the fun
(fun, fun, fun, fun)

[Chorus]
The yellow light shining down (congratulations)
The yellow light shining down (whoopi do)
The yellow light shining down (you control the world now)
The yellow light shining down (look at you)
The yellow light shining down (I say hey)
The yellow light shining down (there’s a higher power)
The yellow light shining down (like a yellow light)
The yellow light shining down

[Post- Chorus]
So much for taking it slow
Now everybody knows
Here we go!
Here we go!
So much for taking it slow
Now everybody knows
Here we go!
Here we go!

[Chorus]
The yellow light shining down (congratulations)
The yellow light shining down (whoopi do)
The yellow light shining down (you control the world now)
The yellow light shining down (look at you)
The yellow light shining down (I say hey)
The yellow light shining down (there’s a higher power)
The yellow light shining down (like a yellow light)
The yellow light shining down

[Post- Chorus]
So much for taking it slow
Now everybody knows
Here we go!
Here we go!
So much for taking it slow
Now everybody knows
Here we go!
Here we go!

[Chorus]
The yellow light shining down (congratulations)
The yellow light shining down (whoopi do)
The yellow light shining down (you control the world now)
The yellow light shining down (look at you)
The yellow light shining down (I say hey)
The yellow light shining down (there’s a higher power)
The yellow light shining down (like a yellow light)
The yellow light shining down


The Lox – Filthy America (Filthy America… It’s Beautiful Album)


[Intro: Courtroom Clerk]
Good morning, your honor
The first case is the United States versus Sean Jacobs
AKA Sheek Louch
AKA Silverback gorilla
AKA Donnie G
Our records indicate he’s being charged with an 848 and a 926C

[Verse 1: Sheek Louch]
Yo, your honor, listen
A father figure to a lot of these niggas, your honor
I learnt to swim with the sharks in a school of piranhas
Smoke marijauna, even bagged it up in pounds
I made money, packed guns, yeah, I held my grounds
Bullets ring, I don’t know how we made it this far
A skinny nigga too, I got up on the pull-up bar
Niggas dying over who fucked who
Some broke ass bitch with a fat ass made beef in ya crew
I went to see niggas in jail when I had nothing to do
I got a call to grab my burner when I was sick with the flu
I gave my soul to this music, hood love it, big labels abuse it
Honestly I’m still learning how to use it
I gave to charity, I flew niggas around for free
For my kids, think about that when you sentence me
Your honor

[Intro: Judge & *Courtroom Clerk*]
The verdict is in
We find Mr. Jacobs guilty
Sentenced to life
Send him to D Block, get him out my courtroom
*Our next case, your honor
United States versus David Style
AKA Ghost
AKA the Phantom
AKA Pinero
He’s being charged with an 848 and a 922G*
David Styles, do you have anything to say for yourself?

[Verse 2: Styles P]
Imma plead guilty
But before I do, your honor
You and the D suck a dick ’cause yo filthy
White America be killing Black America
Jail system slavery, how’s that America?
Drugs in the hood and you’re poisoning the food
School system suck and it’s hard to get a job
And poverty put niggas in a really bad mood
Call me a menace but I could’ve been a dentist
So I wish I had the pump at Donald Trump’s Apprentice
Bill was half black but middle finger to the Clinton
‘Cause niggas still lie, fuck that, yeah I’m venting
That’s my word, I’ve been frightened for a bird to catch a judge or a DA
Make them bite the curb and
And then remove their nerves or their bones or their ligaments
Tie ’em to the pipe and get a knife and start digging in
So, your honor, if you wanna hear my thoughts
Fuck you and the DA and this whole fucking court

[Intro: Judge & *Courtroom Clerk*]
We’ve come to the conclusion, the verdict is in
David Styles: guilty
You don’t have respect for humanity
You’re a menace to society
We sentence you to death row
Get him out my courtroom also
Get outta here
*Our next case, your honor, Is United States versus Jason Phillips
AKA Jadakiss
AKA Al-Qaeda Jada
AKA Top Five Dead or Alive
Being charged with an 848 and a 924C*
Jason Phillips, do you have anything you could possibly say for yourself?

[Verse 3: Jadakiss & *Judge*]
Your honor
I already paid my dues to society
Allegedly, I sold drugs, huge variety
Had to feed the ones I love, that’s a priority
No matter the verdict, they’ll forever be a part of me
You would much rather see me laying on the gurney
18 holes of golf and play with my attorney
The system is designed to burn me, not learn me
My arresting officer is related to Mark Fuhrman
Throw the noose up on the tree, that’s how they do here
I ain’t see a black nigga get acquitted that came through here
And I ain’t do fear
So all I ask the court is that they move me to a new jail, every two years
Either way you looking, it’ll finish
This is just a bunch of paragraphs in my mentions
*So what you want, forgiveness?*
Nah, I ain’t looking for forgiveness
All I give a fuck about is if the Yankees win the Pennant
Let’s get it

[Outro: Judge]
The verdict is in
We find Jason Phillips guilty
Sentenced to two life sentences with no possibility of parole
We’re going to make sure you never see the streets again, sir


A$ton Matthews – Coldest Night In Hell letras

October 19, 2016

Lyrics

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[Intro]
Yeah, ok, yeah
These the darkest nights your boy done ever seen, yeah

[Verse 1]
These the darkest nights your boy done ever seen
A hunnid days, a hunnid nights, it’s like a murder scene
You know we seen but ain’t heard a thing
We just keep the choppers on the judge
The kitchen looking like the Medaying
Ball, who you think you playing with?
The ones that running with you
Them the ones you ain’t done playing with
Six feet under shit’s creek, dead sheep
You can hear the majors crying when the dead speak
They tell you everything you wanna hear, ok
Bare face, so I know you know you saw me clear
Thought I told you love was murder so you know it’s real
You always get the coldest feet before you close the deal
Ain’t no need to panic, I don’t feel no pressure
All my niggas pedal through the tragic, really with the extras
Catch a holy, catch a holy ghost, say a prayer
We don’t do the most, bed of black roses for your funeral

[Hook]
Dirty money, run it in the sink
This the coldest night in Hell you ever seen
Dirty money, run it in the sink
This the coldest night in Hell you ever seen
Dirty money, run it in the sink
This the coldest night in Hell you ever seen
Dirty money, run it in the sink
This the coldest night in Hell you ever seen

[Verse 2]
Been a long time coming, baby, hold your tongue
Ain’t no need for no opinions when you plottin’ on the millions
You been talking brazy, nigga, show me somethin’
But you more concerned with livin’, you been soft from the beginnin’
I could see it in your eyes, tell me what I gotta know
Spare me all the lies, put your body on the flo’
The code of honor wasn’t suited for ya
Buzzing through your Under Armour
Put six feet under, oughtta do it for ya
Snitches get the stitches, boy, you know the layout
Once you pulled up on the turf, you know the only way out
You know it’s death before dishonor, bullets from Nirvana
And we never put the pussy up before the commas
Boy, you really gotta see the vision
You really almost gotta lose it all before you see what’s missin’
And I’m just here to set the record straight
We sitting rats inside the barrel with snakes
Bullets through the heads and face
Hallelujah, drop my soul in that collection plate
Heaven gates, they already late
I picked the spot and you could set the date
I think I’m ready to die
I’ll fuck around and you’ll get buried alive, bitch

[Hook]
Dirty money, run it in the sink
This the coldest night in Hell you ever seen
Dirty money, run it in the sink
This the coldest night in Hell you ever seen
Dirty money, run it in the sink
This the coldest night in Hell you ever seen
Dirty money, run it in the sink
This the coldest night in Hell you ever seen

[Outro]
We begin tonight with that massive manhunt underway in Mexico for the man considered to be the world’s most dangerous drug lord. Joaquín Guzmán – you see him there – best known as “El Chapo,” has escaped from a maximum security prison for the second time. Worth more than a billion dollars, he’s the head of the cartel that controls much of the flow of cocaine, marijuana, and meth into the United States
But to be the man, you gotta beat the man!
And I’m saying – whoo! – right here, I’m, the, man – whoo!


Dubioza Kolektiv – U.S.A. lyrics

October 14, 2016

Lyrics

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I am form Bosnia
Take me to America
I really want to see
Statue of Liberty

I can no longer wait
Take me to United States
Take me to Golden Gate
I will assimilate

The grass is always greener
In neighbors’ courtyard
I wish to leave this nightmare
Go to a Promised Land
Please, take me to your leader
I want my green card
I want to fly over
Like a rocket from the Balkans

I want to start all over
And turn a new page
Forget this dreadful story
Escape the Stone Age
I’m waiting for chance
To get out of the cage
I feel like a slave
On a minimal wage

I am form Bosnia
Take me to America
I really want to see
Statue of Liberty

I can no longer wait
Take me to United States
Take me to Golden Gate
I will assimilate

One day, when you reach the end
One day, you will understand
One day, back to roots my friend
No place like a motherland

I hoped I’ll find what I need
I’ll be free like a bird
Now we’re pushed in a ghetto
Like the sheep in a herd
All the promises I heard
Became empty words
Completely disconnected
From the rest of the world

The grass is never greener
In neighbors’ courtyard
I want to start all over
Return to No Mans Land
Send greetings to your leader
Don’t want your Green Card
I want to fly back
Like a rocket to the Balkans




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