Tag: United States


Bloomberg learned that the United States will respond to Russia’s security requirements


Bloomberg: U.S. in response to security guarantees will name its concerns because of Russia Washington will not give a specific written response to every Russian security demand, an EU official told Bloomberg ://s0.rbk.ru/v6_top_pics/media/img/8/55/756431157327558.jpg” alt=”Bloomberg learned that the United States will respond to Russia's security demands” />

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinkenas meets with Minister Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov in Geneva

The United States is coordinating with the European Union and NATO the content of a written response to Russia's demands for security in Europe published in December 2021. This was told to Bloomberg by one of the EU officials, who wished to remain anonymous.

The interlocutor of the agency also revealed the approximate content of the response that Washington is preparing to send to Moscow.

According to him, it is unlikely to contain detailed response to specific requirements. Instead, the White House will name areas where the US and its allies are ready to “resolve” Russian issues.

In addition, the United States also intends to point out to Moscow its actions, which cause concern among NATO allies in Europe.

Earlier, the Kremlin and the Foreign Ministry stated that the final assessment of the results of negotiations with the United States, They will give NATO and the OSCE in Geneva and Brussels in the first half of January 2022 after they receive a written response from the United States to the demands made, which in the West have been dubbed “Putin's ultimatum”.

As The Washington Post wrote, the United States asked Russia not to make public its written response to Moscow's proposals. At the same time, a senior State Department official admitted that the Russian side could release the document as soon as Washington hands it over.

The interlocutor noted that while the United States response still does not satisfy Russia's demand that NATO refuse to move east and accept Ukraine into its ranks, the administration of President Joe Biden believes that Russian leader Vladimir Putin,— in the interests of the USA. “There is one person in Russia who makes decisions, and this person— President Putin»,— said an administration official.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US intends to send Russia a written response to its security guarantee proposals this week. “We shared our ideas with our European allies. We receive feedback from them and take it into account in the written response. And when we're ready to hand it over, we'll do it. We expect it to happen this week,— Price said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki did not announce the content of Washington's written response. She only said that it would present areas of concern and areas where the parties could work together. “But I have nothing to announce about how it will look,” — she added. Nevertheless, Psaki said earlier that the United States would lay out its proposals to strengthen arms control and build confidence.

NATO and US representatives have repeatedly stated that one of the main demands of Russia— ban on NATO expansion— will not be executed and the block will continue to implement the “open door” policy. At the same time, Washington stated that among the proposals of Russia there are both unacceptable and those that can be discussed.

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Ryabkov announced the expectation from the United States of an article-by-article answer about security


Ryabkov: Russia is waiting for a direct answer on security guarantees in the form of an article-by-article analysis Moscow is waiting for a direct and understandable answer from the United States in the form of an article-by-article analysis of proposals on security guarantees, the deputy minister said. He explained that such an unprecedented situation has developed due to the destructive course of the United States and NATO .jpg” alt=”Ryabkov announced that he expects an article-by-article response from the United States regarding security” />

Sergey Ryabkov

Russia expects the United States to give a direct response and conduct an article-by-article analysis of Russian proposals for security guarantees, which Moscow handed over to the American side in December, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at the Valdai discussion club.

“We need a direct and understandable answer, and in writing, in the form of an article-by-article analysis of those projects that we have put on the table. We understand the complexity of such a task, we understand the unprecedentedness of such a formulation of the question, but it is dictated by the unprecedentedness of the whole situation in which we find ourselves as a result of the destructive course of the United States and NATO allies towards the geopolitical, military development of the territory, from which comes a direct, immediate threat or threats to our security. ,— explained the Deputy Minister.

He noted that Moscow is not ready to wait indefinitely and “plunge into the usual diplomatic and bureaucratic mess about what formats are optimal for this.”

According to Ryabkov, now “the ball is definitely on the side of the United States”, and Russia is counting on the continuation of the dialogue.

Earlier, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia has not yet received a written response from the United States to its proposals. “Hopefully we'll get [an answer] one of these days,” — he added.

On January 21, negotiations between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will be held in Geneva. Peskov, commenting on the upcoming meeting, expressed the opinion that it is extremely important for the process of formulating Washington's response and that the agenda is “absolutely clear.”

The content of the draft security guarantee agreements that Moscow handed over to Washington and NATO became known in the middle of December. In particular, Russia offered the US to agree not to harm each other's security, not to use the territory of other countries to attack each other, and to rule out NATO's eastward expansion. Moscow also considers it necessary to exclude the deployment of weapons in areas where it would be perceived as a threat.

The United States has already stated that some of Russia's proposals are unacceptable.

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In the United States proposed to “neutralize” Ukraine as Austria


The author of the idea was accused of pro-Russian views

It is unprofitable for America to participate in the conflict on the territory of Ukraine, whether it is a confrontation with proxies or, even worse, with Russian troops, says American columnist Katrina Vanden Heuvel . A mutually acceptable solution could be the “neutralization” of Ukraine along the lines of Austria, that is, giving it a neutral, non-bloc status. Huvel wrote about this in The Washington Post.

Photo: facebook.com/MinistryofDefence.UA

“What is happening within the framework of the Ukrainian crisis is called “madness” in diplomatic language,” Katrina begins not even for health, but immediately after her repose. Then there are the standard accusations of Russia and the story about “100 thousand soldiers on the border with Ukraine.” But then Heuwel switches to the US. In her opinion, Washington is doing the wrong thing at all.

“Against the backdrop of the challenges of the pandemic, the growing economic stratification of the population, deep racial division, catastrophic climate change and the strong rivalry of the American administration with China, America still lacked a war with proxies or, for good, directly with Russia in Ukraine,” she writes.

According to her, President Biden, despite his statements that now is “time for diplomacy”, is assembling a national security team from some clowns whose activities have led to a series of failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc.

The United States is conducting failed diplomacy, as it has played the role of a superpower that always pushes through its decision, Heuwel said. What else to expect from a country that has more military bases abroad than the number of diplomatic missions, and a bunch of countries from Venezuela to Russia that have economic sanctions? accept Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. The policy of the three previous US presidents made it clear to the whole world that no one is going to fight for Ukraine.

And this is a chance for President Biden to finally show a modicum of diplomacy. A solution is given in the 1950s, when Austria, occupied by Soviet and Western troops, realizing that it was just a bargaining chip in other people's games, chose permanent neutrality in exchange for de-occupation.

“For Ukraine, our European allies and for ourselves, this alternative sounds much better than fighting the Russians to the last Ukrainian,” Katrin writes. And that will require a tough compromise. The Russians guarantee the independence of Ukraine and refuse threatening military maneuvers on their territory. The US is closing the issue with NATO. Ukraine is conducting its federalization and giving guarantees to its Russian-speaking residents.”

Such a decision will allow both leaders – Biden and Putin – to save face in front of the voter, Katrina believes.

Malignant commentators on social networks do not They made us wait a long time.

The Lamdo user turned out to be radical: “Putin must be stopped at any cost. If we surrender Ukraine, Xi will attack Taiwan and chop it off. Next, Kim Jong-un will go to South Korea.

A user with the nickname sword1001 called Katrina and her husband “Russian trolls.” Cleveland Doug wrote with undisguised disgust that “this reads like Kremlin propaganda.” Manray saw a capitalist conspiracy in history: “The economy needs war. Manufacturers, that is.”

Far East LA was very reserved compared to the others: “I don't agree with the author, but I'm also not interested in getting into a position that will prove him right.”< /p>

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Ryabkov saw no reason for a new round of talks with the United States


Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia “will not buckle” under Western sanctions The Deputy Foreign Minister said that the West had responded with a virtual refusal to Russian proposals on security guarantees and non-expansion of NATO. Russia, according to Sergei Ryabkov, “has nowhere to retreat”

Sergei Ryabkov

Moscow has no reason for a new round of negotiations with Washington on security guarantees in the near future. This was stated by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in an interview with RTVI TV channel.

“ I don't see any reason to sit down in the coming days (at the negotiating table. & mdash; RBK ), to meet again and start these very discussions, '' & mdash; Ryabkov said.

The main problem, he said, was that the United States and NATO “ under no guise, for any reason '' do not agree to Russia's demands not to expand the alliance and return its borders to the 1997 borders, as well as to provide “ legally binding guarantees that the relevant systems will not be located in the immediate vicinity of our borders. ''

He specified, that the United States and its allies actually responded with “ no '' in response to key Russian proposals for security guarantees; and want to discuss only those issues that interest them. “ And where they tell us 'yes, let's discuss further,' we, in turn, note that for all the importance and seriousness of these particular subjects, they are secondary to the same non-expansion of NATO. This is, to a certain extent, a dead end or a difference in approaches '', & mdash; noted the Deputy Minister.

He stressed that at the talks, Russia's opponents expressed their readiness to discuss those topics that are convenient for them. “ For us, this is not an option, because we are interested in the opposite. We need first of all what I said, and the rest goes in addition, '', & mdash; Ryabkov said.

At the same time, the diplomat noted, “ Americans want & lt; & hellip; & gt; let off steam from the Russian position, relieve pressure, relieve tension '' and, under the guise of this, “ continue the same process of geopolitical, military development of more and more territories, approaching further and further to Moscow. ''

“ We have nowhere to retreat. We already see that other measures, other methods will be applied in relation to opponents in the future, if they do not ultimately take into account our requirements and our needs, '' & mdash; added by the deputy minister.

The diplomat said that Russia will not bend under the pressure of possible new US sanctions and will find alternatives to its existence. “ We will find alternatives … Russia has never buckled under pressure, never succumbed to threats and blackmail, '' & mdash; Ryabkov said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an interview with Channel One; called the results of the talks on security guarantees a reflection of “ serious confrontations in the world arena, an attempt by the West to assert its dominance. ''

Negotiations between Russia and the United States on security guarantees were held in Geneva on January 9 & ndash; January 10, January 12 in Brussels meeting of the Council Russia & mdash; NATO, which discussed, in particular, the non-expansion of the alliance to the east.

On the eve it became known that American senators proposed, in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, to impose sanctions against the Russian leadership, the national debt, the banking sector and Nord Stream -2 & raquo ;.

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Experts linked protests in Kazakhstan with upcoming talks between Russia and the United States


“Americans struck the first blow”

The protests in Kazakhstan, according to political scientists, are not only an internal affair of this country, but also have an international connotation. The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, made concessions and announced a price cut, but the unrest after that not only did not stop, but even intensified. Is the “Ukrainian scenario” possible in Kazakhstan? Yuri Lyamin, a military expert and co-author of the Allies book of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), answered this question to MK.

Photo: Still from video

“Now it is difficult to predict the development of the situation. But it is already clear that in the event of further destabilization, various external players will try to take advantage of this for their own purposes, – said Yuri Lyamin. “Kazakhstan is of great strategic importance not only for Russia, but also for China, therefore our foreign policy opponents and rivals can make great efforts to develop the situation in a negative way for us.”

A similar opinion is shared by the Belarusian political scientist Alexander Shpakovsky, who published his observations on Telegram.

“Of course, no one expected protests in Kazakhstan, but it cannot be said that these events greatly surprised anyone. Such situations always have prerequisites: in Kazakhstan, there is an acute problem of social differentiation, and the degree of corruption of local authorities is very high, the political scientist states. – Only Nursultan Nazarbayev could balance this explosive mixture. But recently, footage went to the public space where people saw for the first time that the Elbasy (Nazarbayev's title, translated from Kazakh as “leader of the nation” – “MK”) is actually very weak. ”

As a result, “peaceful protests” were not long in coming, the political scientist notes. “It is safe to say,” wrote Alexander Shpakovsky, “that the underground infrastructure was very well prepared. The danger also lies in the fact that the ideas of nationalism and Islamic extremism are very often the outlet of protest energy for many people. ” , thereby trying to either divert forces and means from the Ukrainian direction, or to disperse Russian forces as much as possible. ”

“ Given the importance of Kazakhstan in the context of Russia's interests in Central Asia, it is possible that forces will have to The Collective Security Treaty Organization, which includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, “said Alexander Shpakovsky.

In Kazakhstan, the increase in fuel prices provoked riots: shots of pogroms

See the related photo gallery

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American reconnaissance plane flies over Donbass for three days: what the United States is striving for


We decided to find out how great the “Russian threat” is

The US reconnaissance plane has been patrolling Donbass for three days already: on December 27, it flew over Eastern Ukraine for the first time. The liner took off in Germany, then flew through Kiev almost to Kharkov and turned towards Severodonetsk, from where it proceeded along the line of contact with the LPR and DPR. Near Mariupol, he turned to the west, flew along the northern border of Crimea and returned to patrol the Donbass again. The experts explained to MK what goal the American intelligence officers had set for themselves.

Photo: dvidshub.net

– The flight of the reconnaissance plane over the Donbas proves the relevance of Russia's demands on the United States regarding the inadmissibility of NATO's eastward expansion. “They fly where it is not supposed to fly in order to determine the deployment of the defense forces of the DPR and LPR. Apparently, satellites are not enough for this. While the military is collecting information just to have it. Apparently, the troops understand that politicians can ask them for data on Donbass. In turn, politicians will need this information in order to decide whether to start a war, and if so, when and where exactly. In particular, this suggests that the United States has different opinions on how to deal with Ukraine, the expert told MK.

In turn, retired FSB general Alexander Mikhailov noted that the reconnaissance aircraft collects audiovisual information, monitors negotiations, records the presence of troops, and so on. However, according to him, this does not mean that Washington is preparing for war. “Over time, there will be more and more of these flights. The Americans want to understand the real situation in Donbass, because the speculative conclusions of various experts contradict what is happening in practice. As a result, the world periodically falls into hysterics due to the allegedly existing “Russian threat”. In this sense, trusting the Ukrainian authorities means plunging into lies and extortion of money. Moreover, the Ukrainians themselves do not know what they want from the DPR and LPR. They are not going to either release them or accept them back, “Mikhailov emphasized.

At the same time, the FSB general said that Russia is not going to attack Ukraine. He believes that Moscow does not want to wage a war on the territory of a foreign state at all. Nevertheless, Russia wants the citizens of Ukraine, who are not needed by their country, to become its citizens.

Recall that on December 30, the heads of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, are going to hold telephone talks at the initiative of the Russian side. They are expected to discuss the situation in Donbass and Russia's demand for NATO to ensure that it refuses to move to the East. And on January 10, Russian-American talks on strategic stability and security issues will take place. This will be followed by meetings of the NATO-Russia Council and the OSCE.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the possibility of the United States to turn the ruble into a “wooden” one as a fantasy


The head of the foreign ministry department called the possibility of the United States to restrict the conversion of the ruble fantastic. At the beginning of December, Bloomberg reported on negotiations on limiting the conversion of the Russian currency by Washington and Brussels. The agency linked possible sanctions with the escalation of the situation in eastern Ukraine

The ability of the United States to restrict the conversion of the ruble as a national currency, to make it “ wooden '' looks extremely unlikely. About this in an interview with RIA Novosti said Dmitry Birichevsky, Director of the Department of Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“ You can, of course, try to prohibit some individual financial market participants from certain transactions in the American jurisdiction or with American companies, which, in general, often happens. But in any way to limit the convertibility of the ruble as the Russian national currency & mdash; this is something from the category of fiction & raquo;, & mdash; said the diplomat.

Birichevsky also noted that these are “ extremely exotic measures '' that hardly took place in history. At the same time, according to him, it is difficult to imagine how this can be implemented.

In early December, Bloomberg reported that Washington and Brussels may impose sanctions against the largest Russian banks and RDIF in the event of aggression against Ukraine. As one of the most likely measures, the agency's sources named restrictions on the conversion of rubles into other currencies. CNN also wrote about possible sanctions against Russia, including with respect to its sovereign debt. In extreme cases, the country can be disconnected from the SWIFT interbank system, they indicated there.

Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said in response that such publications continue the line of “ information hysteria ''. “ Rather, this is not news, but a continuation of the information hysteria that we see in the media these days, '' & mdash; he said.

As the vice-president of the Association of Banks of Russia Alexei Voilukov clarified to RBC, possible restrictions may complicate the situation in Russia, but nothing prevents, for example, from buying currency from third countries, in particular from China. “ Yes, it can be more expensive, the conversion is more difficult, the path is longer. But in this case, citizens, as now, will be able to receive dollars in our banks, cash and non-cash, go out with them, pay, '', & mdash; he explained.

That Russia could 'invade'; to Ukraine early next year, wrote The Washington Post, Bild, Associated Press and other media. The Pentagon accused the Russian side of concentrating its armed forces near the border with Ukraine and called on Moscow to be “ more transparent '' in their intentions. Biden said the US is working with its European allies on a “ comprehensive '' a package of measures to prevent the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied the accumulation of troops near the borders with Ukraine and the possible “ aggression. '' At the same time, the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, pointed out that the movement of military equipment and army units across the country & mdash; it is exclusively Russia's internal affairs. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in turn, promised that Moscow will respond to possible sanctions.

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Russia and the United States in January to hold talks on the situation in Ukraine


On January 10, Russia and the United States will hold talks on arms control and the situation in Ukraine.

Photo: pixabay.com

On January 10, Russia and the United States will hold talks on arms control and the situation in Ukraine. This is reported by Agence France-Presse, referring to representatives of the White House.

“The United States of America and Russia will sit at the negotiating table on January 10th. It is planned to discuss issues related to arms control and the situation around Ukraine, “the newspaper notes.

Earlier it was reported that representatives of the United States and Poland discussed the situation on the border between Russia and Ukraine. They exchanged views on Russia's military build-up near the border with Ukraine and reaffirmed the importance of Allied unity in diplomatic and containment efforts.

Источник www.mk.ru


Will you be the third? In the United States failed the next test of a hypersonic missile


New tests of the American hypersonic missile AGM-183A under the ARRW (Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon) program ended in failure. According to an Air Force spokesman, the sequence of launch operations was interrupted prior to the separation of the rocket due to an unknown problem. AiF.ru figured out what happened this time with the weapons, tests of which literally pursue failures.

The specialized portal The War Zone reported about the failure with reference to a representative of the US Air Force. Rocket accelerator tests took place on Thursday, December 16. The test missile was to be launched from a B-52 strategic bomber. It was supposed to accelerate to a speed of five times the speed of sound. However, according to an Air Force spokesman, “the launch sequence was interrupted prior to [missile] separation due to an unknown problem.”

According to him, the rocket will be returned to the manufacturer for immediate analysis of telemetry and onboard data. The US military expects to resume flight testing as soon as possible. Experts have not yet figured out the reasons for what happened – they are studying telemetry and launch data. And, of course, the US military plans to resume flight testing as soon as possible.

The main purpose of the test was to demonstrate the ability of the rocket booster to work as intended. The Air Force hoped to conduct three successful tests of the launch vehicle this year before testing prototypes with real hypersonic gliding missiles loaded into them. But it didn't work out.

Previously, tests of the AGM-183A hypersonic cruise missile were conducted on July 28 over the Point Mugu Ridge off the coast of Southern California. They were attended by the 419th Flight Test Squadron from the US Air Force Edwards Air Force Base in California and the Global Power Bomber Joint Test Group. The rocket safely separated from the carrier aircraft & mdash; strategic bomber B-52H, & mdash; but the AGM-183A ramjet never started. In April of this year, the missile did not even leave the pylon of the B-52H strategic bomber. This can make the & nbsp; disappointment with the new hypersonic weapon.

However, the failure does not mean that the United States will not be able to create hypersonic weapons. Recall that Elon Musk faced a huge number of problems on the way to the conquest of outer space. For example, from 2013 to 2016, Musk tried to land SpaceX rockets on an offshore platform. It didn’t work out right away: hitting the water, engine sensor error, lack of hydraulic fluid, damage to the rocket leg. His Falcon 1 rockets exploded three times. The approach is quite simple – not many times to check and recalculate, but to test the entire product at once. And, ultimately, his ships carry people to the ISS. And perhaps they will be taken to Mars.

Problems during testing of the experimental strategic missile defense system “ A '' at the Soviet V-1000 anti-missile. On March 4, 1961, with its help, for the first time in the world, the warhead of an R-12 medium-range ballistic missile (8K63) was intercepted. And it was a triumph of domestic weapons and equipment. However, before that there were 11 unsuccessful launches.

Tests of hypersonic weapons & mdash; it is a marathon that Russia, China and the United States have embarked on. However, for the time being, there is no need to pay much attention to the facts who are somewhat ahead and who are a little behind. The important thing here is who will be the first to come to the finish line, that is, will take hypersonic weapons into service and launch their mass production.

AGM-183A ARRW (Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon) & mdash; promising hypersonic cruise missile with a ramjet engine and a guided warhead – & mdash; developed by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (a division of Lockheed Martin Corporation). Strategic bombers В-1В and В-52Н and multifunctional fighters of the 4th generation F-15EX are considered as carrier aircraft.

ARRW uses a rocket to accelerate all weapons to a given speed and altitude, after which the nose cone “ breaks '' and a hypersonic vehicle exits. It glides back towards its target at hypersonic speed. This device is not only fast, but also maneuverable.

Officially, the characteristics of the AGM-183A ARRW missile have not been disclosed. At the end of 2020, it was reported that the new hypersonic missile would fly at an average speed of 6.5 to 8 Mach numbers over a range of thousands of kilometers.

Source:

< p> https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/43575/third-test-of-the-air-forces-hypersonic-weapon-has-failed-like-the-ones-before-it

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Satanovsky assessed the likely response of the United States to the proposals of the Russian Federation: “They will definitely send it.”


“It could end with anything”

The proposals for achieving strategic stability voiced by the Russian Foreign Ministry on December 17 will most likely not be accepted by the United States and NATO. The consequences will be unpredictable, right up to the war. This is the opinion of the well-known Russian political scientist Yevgeny Satanovsky.

The reaction of the US and NATO, he wrote on his Telegram channel“ Armageddon “is generally predictable:” something can be discussed, but generally unacceptable. ” Otherwise, according to him, the United States “will have to curtail all the work of strangling Russia by military means, leaving only agitation, propaganda, recruitment, espionage and, at worst, sabotage to achieve this goal …”.

“ They will certainly send us, – the political scientist believes. – Only Biden lacks after Afghanistan to retreat to the initial positions in Europe. The Republicans and the particular Trump will not forgive him and the Democrats for this. And the entire foreign policy of America, as you know, is nothing more than a reflection of domestic policy. ” won't do it at all. ”

“ A damn curious situation. It can end with anything, ”the expert noted.

At the same time, he believes, “it makes no sense for Biden to fight for Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic States and Georgia with Romania and the Czech Republic either.”

“It's one thing to bring them to Russia – he noted. – … Rhetoric and military exercises, assault and onslaught, NATO bases and strongholds, a little money and weapons and a lot of promises to increase self-esteem – it's understandable. But to fight seriously ?! And if the proposals made by Russia are not accepted, this means exactly this development of events … “.

Источник www.mk.ru


An unprecedented tornado in the United States played into the hands of Biden: the number of victims is multiplying


Disaster in Kentucky may raise the ratings of the American president

Tornadoes in the American state of Kentucky have been recognized as the most destructive in US history. In addition, the disaster struck another eight neighboring states. The total number of victims is measured in dozens, only in Kentucky about a hundred people died, many people are reported missing. US President Joe Biden has declared a state of natural disaster, which means maximum mobilization of all local emergency services, including military units

Photo: AP

“ The death toll in Kentucky has already exceeded 100, & mdash; told & quot; MK & quot; resident of Louisville, the largest city in the state, Pfice Rhine. & mdash; Although, according to official data, there are still 70-80 victims, more than 100 households were affected. Some of them are completely destroyed, the other part is subject to major, repairs, which is comparable to complete destruction. This is perhaps the largest disaster in the state's history. At the same time, it cannot be said that the local authorities did not take proper measures to prevent the disaster. Such disasters are difficult to predict, and in this situation the emergency services acted quite quickly: in any case, if they were less careful, the number of victims could have been much higher. '' & Nbsp;

If we talk about some kind of personal responsibility, then few local residents assign it personally to the leadership of the region & nbsp; or to President Joseph Badien, who already has many tasks, including the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Some neighboring states offered their help in combating the consequences of the disaster, but the Kentucky authorities do not feel the right to accept this help, given that the situation in the neighbors is also not very favorable.

“ So we are all essentially in the same boat right now, & mdash; say the inhabitants of the region. & mdash; No one knows where storms and hurricanes will spread in the coming days & nbsp; and which states will need help from neighboring regions, so the primary task now is & mdash; it is to rebuild damaged infrastructure in order to be ready for new challenges. ”

President Biden has already admitted to use all available resources, including the involvement of the National Guard to overcome the consequences of the tornado. We are talking about providing the victims with tents, clothing, food, medicine, etc. & nbsp; Old people and children should be promptly redirected to safe places, and all work to restore destroyed homes will be undertaken by local insurance companies & mdash; regardless of whether the victims were their clients.

Such a policy, some believe, may turn away part of his electorate from Biden, but at the same time draw sympathy for him, for example, the voters of retired socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. Republicans, on the other hand, have nothing to offer to the victims of the disaster, so the “ sleepy Joe, '' as Donald Trump contemptuously calls him, has a chance to build up seriously sagging public confidence ratings.

Источник www.mk.ru


The Russian Security Council suspects the United States of trying to create a digital analogue of NATO


Photo: pixabay.com

One of the topics of the Summit for Democracy organized by US President Joseph Biden was the discussion of high technologies. It is highly likely that Washington is trying to form a digital alliance like NATO. The bloc will live and develop according to the rules prescribed by the American IT giants.

This opinion was expressed by the First Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Yuri Averyanov in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta. In other words, if countries want to receive recognition from the White House as democracies, they must implement technological standards convenient for Washington.

“In fact, the foundations are being laid for creating a digital alliance like NATO, where sovereign states will simply be make decisions and will be ordered to live by the rules that Google, Apple or Amazon will write them. Here is the so-called democracy by American standards, “Averyanov specified.

To participate in the Summit for Democracy “held in Washington on December 9-10, Russia, China and a number of other countries were not invited. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the meeting a get-together.

Источник www.mk.ru


The admiral spoke about the provocative activities of the United States in the Arctic


Intelligence records an increase in NATO military activity near the Russian borders

The Arctic is of great interest to various states, including those located thousands of kilometers from the region. NATO's military activity in the Arctic has increased. All this forces Russia to take measures to protect its interests in the northern latitudes. This was stated by the commander of the Russian Northern Fleet, Admiral Alexander Moiseev at the International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg.

Photo: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

The Northern Fleet has long received the status of a joint strategic command and is equated to a military district. For example, the rather large Pacific Fleet is operatively subordinate to the commander of the Eastern Military District, and the Black Sea Fleet is subordinate to the commander of the Southern Military District. But the Northern Fleet today, on the contrary, unites not only divisions of submarine missile carriers and surface ships, but also brigades of ground forces, air defense units and aviation, which are deployed in the north – from the border with Norway and almost to Alaska.

The Northern Fleet protects the country's territory from attacks from the sea and air in the most important direction. Protects the most important transport artery – the Northern Sea Route, the wealth of our shelf. The military task is to be ready to inflict unacceptable damage on any aggressor.

After the collapse of the USSR, the military infrastructure in the Far North was severely degraded. Due to a lack of funds, many military camps and airfields were abandoned, and air defense units were reduced. In the reconnaissance system of the sea and air situation, huge holes were formed, which, if desired, could be used by any enemy. But now the matter has been corrected, said Admiral Moiseev. For example, a continuous zone of radar detection of air and surface targets along the northern border of the Russian Federation has been recreated, the underwater situation in the coastal areas of the Arctic zone is being monitored.

The polar airfield network and port infrastructure are being restored. New military camps have been built on the islands of the Arctic Ocean and on the Arctic coast. Now it is possible to use military airfields as spare for civil aviation.

Admiral Moiseev responded to accusations from the West against the Russian Federation of “militarizing” the Arctic. “Russia is significantly inferior to the United States and NATO in terms of the number of military facilities in the Arctic,” the admiral said and cited intelligence data. In the Arctic, there are up to 50 military infrastructure facilities of foreign states, such as the USA, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Iceland. These are 22 airfields, 23 naval bases, basing points or ports used, including for military purposes, as well as 4 nuclear-strike warning radars. 19 thousand people are serving at these facilities.

The military activity of foreign states in the North has grown. The US Navy and NATO regularly send ships to the Barents Sea. In 2019-2021, almost 60 military exercises and trainings were held in the region. Over the past three years, the number of single and group flights over the Arctic by strategic bomber aircraft of the US Air Force has increased. In 2019, there were 7 such flights (17 aircraft), and in 2021 – already 10 (28 aircraft). Such actions are provocative and have a negative impact on the regional security system as a whole, ”warned Admiral A. Moiseev.

Источник www.mk.ru


Lavrov promised a response in case of “hellish sanctions” of the United States against Russia


Over the past few days, the head of the State Department Anthony Blinken, his deputy Victoria Nuland, the Secretary General of NATO, the European Union and Angela Merkel have made threats of new sanctions against Russia


Russian Ambassador said about “staff shortage” due to the expulsion of diplomats from the United States


According to Anatoly Antonov, on January 30, the United States will be forced to leave 27 Russian diplomats with their families. Washington considers Moscow as an enemy, he said


WSJ learns that the United States disrupted the construction of a secret Chinese military facility in the UAE


China has begun building a military facility at a port near Abu Dhabi. The United States learned about this from “classified satellite images” and convinced the UAE to stop construction, sources told WSJ

View of the port of Khalifa

US intelligence learned that China was building a secret military facility in the United Arab Emirates. The Wall Street Journal reported this with reference to sources.

According to the interlocutors of the publication, US intelligence learned about the suspicious activity of the PRC in the port of Khalifa, located about 80 km north of Abu Dhabi about a year ago. The Chinese conglomerate COSCO has built its container terminal in this port.

At first, the information seemed unconvincing to US officials, but this spring, the “ classified satellite imagery '' allowed them to conclude that China is building a military facility in the port. The data alarmed the administration of US President Joe Biden, and it made diplomatic efforts to convince the UAE of the military purpose of the facility and the need to stop construction, WSJ sources say.

After a series of meetings and visits by US officials to the UAE, construction of the facility was stopped, the edition writes.

The UAE Embassy in Washington, DC, told the WSJ that Abu Dhabi did not have an “ agreement or plan to locate a Chinese military base. '' A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in the United States did not respond to a request from the publication.

Last week, Bloomberg sources reported that US top officials do not receive enough intelligence about what is happening in Beijing and “ understand little '' on the real state of affairs in the leadership of China, in particular who can become the successor of President Xi Jinping.

military force in the South China Sea, limiting the investigation into the origin of COVID-19, pressure on Chinese companies that were going to go public in the United States, and an increase in hacker attacks, '' the agency writes.

According to its information, Beijing caused significant damage to the US spy network even before Xi Jinping came to power. In addition, American intelligence lacks people who speak Mandarin Chinese.

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Источник rbc.ru


Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation: the United States is testing strike-combat weapons in space


The Pentagon is actively developing the latest combat weapons and is testing them in orbit without notification, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

“ The actions of the American side are assessed as a threat and are incompatible with the declared the purposes of the peaceful use of outer space '', & ndash; think the Russian defense department.

They also called hypocritical statements made by representatives of the State Department and the Pentagon, who tried to accuse the Russian Federation of creating “ risks ''; for the cosmonauts of the ISS.

The Defense Ministry recalled that Russia has long been calling on the United States and other space powers to sign an agreement to prevent the deployment of weapons in space. The draft of this treaty has been submitted to the UN, but its adoption is blocked.

“ At the same time, the United States created the Space Command in 2020 and officially adopted a new strategy for space. One of its main goals is to “ create a comprehensive military advantage in space '', & ndash; noticed in the ministry.

Earlier, the US military said that the Russian side allegedly tested an & nbsp; anti-satellite & nbsp; right ascension rocket. The shell hit a Soviet satellite, the debris of which threatened the ISS. The State Duma replied that this statement is not true, Russia & nbsp; is not engaged in the militarization of outer space.

Источник aif.ru


“Lost the shores.” Who, together with the United States, is preparing to “attack Crimea”


Joint military exercises of the Armed Forces of Georgia and the USA “Worthy Partner”

But, apparently, Washington is not enough. In early November, Republican senators called on Joe Biden to expand the presence of the US Navy in the Black Sea, predictably justifying this by the need to “fight Russian aggression.” But, according to the Montreux Convention of 1936, the total tonnage of military vessels of any non-Black Sea state in the Black Sea in peacetime cannot exceed 30 thousand tons. The current grouping of the Sixth Fleet barely fits into this limit.

All hope is on the Black Sea allies. But the same Georgian fleet is only two corvettes and several artillery and missile boats.


The historian assessed the risk of war between the Russian Federation and the United States: they are closer than ever


NATO and Ukraine will side with Washington

Russia is now more than ever close to an open military conflict with the US, NATO and Ukraine. This point of view was expressed by military historian Boris Yulin, who suggested that Washington would start hostilities under the pretext of conducting peacekeeping operations and “enforcing peace.”

Photo: dvidshub.net

“Considering that militant rhetoric sounds more and more often on both sides, that the arms race is escalating, we are very close to an open military confrontation,” the historian said in an interview with Lenta.ru.

According to the interlocutor editions, the United States is deliberately escalating the situation in Eastern Europe in order to get a pretext for bringing its armed forces into the territory of Ukraine on a permanent basis.

The historian noted that Russia has something to respond to the potential threat, since since the times of the USSR, the country has a powerful nuclear potential, which remains the second in the world. And this arsenal, according to Yulin, remains the only defense of Russia.

“NATO is much stronger than Russia both numerically and in terms of armaments. So, if suddenly the Americans develop a really high-quality anti-missile defense, we can expect military acts against our country, “he said.

At the same time, the expert emphasized, the main headache for the United States is China. which poses a serious threat to the economic power of the Americans.

If a military conflict does occur, then, according to Yulin, it will proceed according to the classic scenario: with weapons in hand and on the battlefield.

“Most likely, all this will take place under the slogans of a peacekeeping operation, compulsion to peace,” the historian clarified, citing NATO's military aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999 as an example.

Earlier, Bloomberg reported with reference to anonymous sources that the United States allegedly warned its allies about Russia's plans to launch an “invasion” of Ukraine.

Источник www.mk.ru


Scientists from the United States have recorded a prolonged solar flare


A prolonged flare has occurred on the Sun, according to the Space Weather Forecast Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The phenomenon was recorded yesterday at about 20.00 Moscow time. The flash is assigned the class M2 & mdash; moderately strong. It was accompanied by a coronal mass ejection. It is likely that it is not directed at the Earth and will pass by its orbit.

According to the head of the laboratory of X-ray astronomy of the Sun of the Physical Institute named after P.N. Lebedev RAS Sergei Kuzin, the plasma clouds that the Sun throws out at such moments, in two or three days can cause a magnetic storm on Earth, writes RIA Novosti.

Earlier in November, a magnetic storm was recorded on the planet, in reaching its peak power in G3 out of five possible levels.

A powerful solar flare was also observed at the end of October.

Источник aif.ru


Jay-Z & Kanye West’s “Ni***s In Paris” Now 8x Platinum, Inches Toward Diamond Status


American rappers Jay-Z and Kanye Wests’ 2011 hit “Ni**as in Paris” is now 8X platinum.

The song is from the artists’ collaborative album Watch the Throne. The song debuted at number 75 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and eventually peaked at number 5. In Australia, the song is currently at 2X platinum with 140,000 sales, while the single is certified Platinum in Belgium with 15,000 sales.

On top of its impressive numbers, the song also earned Ye and Jay Grammy awards for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the 55th Grammy awards in 2013. Now, its’ latest achievement being the 8x platinum certification in the United States through the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the single has racked up a whopping eight million in sales.

“Ni**as in Paris” in its radio version called “Fellas in Paris” has received close to 315 million views on YouTube. The album from which it stems, Watch the Throne, was released through Roc-A-Fella Records, Def Jam Recordings, and Roc Nation. Chart Data confirmed the news via Twitter that the song surpassed 8 million units in the United States and inches towards joining the diamond club.

US Certifications (@RIAA): Jay Z & @kanyewest, N****s in Paris 8x Platinum (8,000,000).

— chart data (@chartdata) March 24, 2021

The duo released a total of seven singles to get fans ready for the album’s release. “Otis,” “Lift Off,” “No Church In the Wild,” “H.A.M,” and as noted “Ni**as in Paris,” we’re also all blessed with music videos.

This was not the first time Jay-Z and Kanye West collaborated, as they had worked together on various singles before the album’s release.

It is reported that an album was not what the two had planned, but instead, they wanted to produce a five-song EP together. The album features other major artists, including Jay-Z’s wife Beyonce, Frank Ocean, Connie Mitchell, The Dream, Mr. Hudson, and Charlie Wilson.

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Black Thought – Welcome To America Lyrics


Play this song

[Chorus: C. S. Armstrong]
Welcome to America
Where you can dream, as long as you can breathe
You can be the muh’fuckin’ President of United States
And get murdered right on these streets
Welcome to America

[Verse 1: Black Thought & C. S. Armstrong]
The sins of the father my pop gave me to suffer
The friends I would follow was crack babies and hustlers
It’s steel sharpen steel in the block, made me a cutler
My pen is from the future like Octavia Butler (Wеlcome to America, oh)
My grandmother suturеd a flag from bloody cotton
The fruits of her labor alas already rotten (Welcome to America, yeah, ayy)
My man said, “Yo, it’s crazy how fast that we’ve forgotten
That we used to pull boxes and plows like we were oxen
And cows”, without an option, and now it’s this glorious
Victorious, story only pitched
For me to shut it down, they sold some of us down the rivers
It’s such a poor level of thought, I get the shivers
It’s insidious and it’s always been hideous
I had to tread water and run, be amphibious
They do you so dirty for one, yo, what’s cleanliness?
They make you wanna let off a gun into the emptiness like

[Bridge 1: Angela Hunte & C. S. Armstrong]
Preach now, lover, preach now, lover
That we runnin’, runnin’, runnin’, runnin’, runnin’
Welcome to America

[Verse 2: Black Thought & C. S. Armstrong]
Yo, I’m ill-fated and hated, I’m hella melanated
Blackness is my religion to that I’m dedicated (Welcome to America)
I follow the laws of nature by which I’m regulated
The universe my university, I’m educated
This one is for my very revolutionaries
After keeping it a hundred even though the truth is heavy
Who stand firmly and see their life is a journey
That either God or the gurney, my public defender burned me
So did the district attorney in a turbulent trial
They told me that time is master, well I’m serving it now
Tell my family I’ll be making my return in a while
And every symbol of oppression, I’ll be burning it down

[Chorus: C. S. Armstrong & Angela Hunte]
Welcome to America (Yeah)
Where you can dream, as long as you can breathe (Long as you breathe)
You can be the muh’fuckin’ President of United States (That’s right)
And get murdered right on these streets (Doo, doo)
Welcome to America
Land of the brave (Yeah) and home of the free (That’s bullshit, man)
You can be a saint or a sinner or a billionaire (Yeah)
Or just stand on your feet
Welcome to America (Keep on runnin’, runnin’)
America, oh Lord (Keep on runnin’, runnin’)
Welcome to America (Keep on runnin’, runnin’)
America, oh yeah

[Post-Chorus: C. S. Armstrong]
‘Cause when it’s over, the world ain’t over (The world ain’t over)
What they say is what we’ll do (It’s what we gon’ do now)
We outpowered, still have power (Still got power)
And that’s what we cannot lose

[Bridge 2: Angela Hunte]
Runnin’ in the shadows, got my eye on the sparrow
Tomorrow may not come, at least my soul felt this love (Uh)
If I let you go, at least my soul felt this love
Hey now, hang now, hey now, hang now

[Verse 3: Black Thought]
Now, a Black soul never passes alone
If its blood spilled on the ancestor’s ashes and bone
From a pure heart, the Lord fashioned after His own
Went packaged and flown to the essence of his African throne
For every lost body, crossed, tarred, feathered, and tossed
It’s no way I could measure the course or ever exhaust
But whether it’s yours or mine, this American cloth
Has never been soft, while history was running its course
I ran hard from Jamestown with slaves, found Jesus
And foul demons that never be charged with malfeasance
I sat through they revival, though I never found credence
I found that we had never known shit about freedom
I’ve been charged with treason, I’ve been scarred and freezin’
I’ve been called a nigga and then called a heathen
When hounds found me, they couldn’t even tell if I was breathin’
In America where on black men, it’s open season


It was meant to be a serious meeting, but Lizet couldn’t remove her potato-head filter


Melbourne 3000

Lizet Ocampo was having some trouble explaining to her colleagues why, instead of her face on the videoconference call, all her colleagues could see was a potato with her eyes and lips.

She wasn’t really sure what had gone wrong herself.

“I didn’t understand why I had a filter and why, of all things, I was a potato,” she told the ABC.

As millions of people around the world are studying and working online for the first time thanks to the coronavirus crisis, the transition has not gone smoothly for everyone.

And, much to the amusement of the rest of us, many of those who have experienced hiccups have been happy to share their embarrassing moments.

Coronavirus update: Follow the latest news in our daily wrap.

Earlier in that day, Ms Ocampo — the political director of an organisation that promotes progressive politics in the United States — had been trying to download some filters for a “virtual happy hour” but kept getting an error message and gave up on the idea.

The problem only became obvious later during the online meeting to discuss candidates the organisation was supporting in upcoming elections, Ms Ocampo explained.

“I tried to fix the settings for some time, turned off the camera a couple of times.

“It wasn’t working so I decided just to remain as a potato.”

External Link:

Potato head tweet

‘There are no rules’ when children and work collide

Ms Ocampo’s working from home fail became a viral sensation, but as thousands more people have moved away from boardrooms and into video chatrooms, she isn’t alone.

In Melbourne, disability sector worker Jodie Henry has been working full-time from home, with her two children and mother also in the house.

She said her family had made several accidental cameos in her work videoconference calls.

Those who saw “BBC Dad” Robert Kelly’s young children being dragged out of his office by their mother while he was being interviewed in 2017 know a closed door does not always stop family members.

External Link:

Children interrupt a BBC interview

On one occasion, Ms Henry was on a conference call and her daughter decided it was an appropriate time to show her all her recent purchases.

Another day, her mother came in with her walking frame “yakking” with the dog at the top of her voice.

“There are no rules,” she said.

“They will just come in and start talking to you and you try and tell them you are busy and they will keep talking.”

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 podcast.

However, she said she had noticed workplaces were becoming more understanding of the challenges people faced working from home.

“I ran my own business years ago from home when my kids were a lot younger and I used to be really paranoid about not being professional,” she said.

“I think it has flipped everything now and people are realising you can work from home and you can have your kids and your mum and your dog around and you can still be really productive and professional.”

Accidentally topless at university

For some, the convenience of working from home has become something of a trap.

Your questions on coronavirus answered:

Law student David Lewis had a regrettable moment when he logged on to a live criminal law video tutorial one night half-naked.

“Because I have been stuck at home for many weeks now, I have kind of let my appearance standards slip a lot,” he said.

“I logged on barely dressed. I had no shirt on. I had not shaven in a few days. I hadn’t showered that day and the camera just came on unbeknownst to me, because it was automatically enabled.

“I was trying to find my notes for the tutorial which I keep online, so I am browsing the internet and I have no idea my camera is on and my fellow students and tutor can see me not looking my best.”

When Mr Lewis did eventually return to the Zoom screen, he was shocked to realise he was the only person with their camera on.

“My eyes widened, I must have looked startled and I could not switch that camera off fast enough.”

External Link:

This video of a man in his underwear during a video meeting has been popular online

He decided not to discuss his topless moment during the tutorial.

“I tried to overcompensate by participating more than I ever had,” he said.

“I tried to answer every question and distract people by dazzling them with my grasp of whatever it was we were learning.”

A different side of colleagues and classmates

Another student later messaged Mr Lewis to say it was OK, and that she too had experienced a videoconference failure.

She had done job interview via Zoom not realising her camera would automatically come on and show the poster of hip hop diva Nicki Minaj in a G-string on the wall behind her.

“It was nice of another student to relate to me and give me a similar story,” Mr Lewis said.

“No-one else said anything but they can’t have missed it, they were all online.”

What the experts are saying about coronavirus:

While he would be the first to admit videoconferencing has its pitfalls, Mr Lewis — who also works as a media adviser — said remote working had at times helped him get to know his colleagues better.

“One of my favourite things about this whole process has been taking a peek at people’s bookshelves and see what they have been reading and how that reflects their personality and interests,” he said.

In a strange way, he said, people were getting to know their workmates better, now that they are physically distanced from one another.

“We are all in lockdown. We are prevented from seeing each other but we are learning more about each other at the same time,” he said.

‘Check if you are a vegetable first’

Back in the United States, unwitting viral star Ms Ocampo said what had originally been planned to make a few people giggle at a happy hour catch-up, it ended up making many, many more people laugh.

“The public loved it,” Ms Ocampo said.

“It made so many people in the country and around the world laugh at a time where many people need laughs.”

She had some valuable advice for everyone else working from home.

“Maybe check if you are a vegetable first before joining work meetings,” she said.

“But generally, stay planted and safe.”

What you need to know about coronavirus:


Video: Why you should get your flu shot early this year

(7.30)

External Link:

Ask us your coronavirus questions

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


More than 41,000 people have died in the US. Why is there talk of easing restrictions?


United States

Only several months after reporting its first cases of COVID-19, the United States has become the global epicentre of the crisis.

Key points:

  • All 50 states and several US territories have reported cases of COVID-19
  • President Donald Trump is pushing for states to loosen restrictions on business
  • Some states will begin reopening businesses and schools in the coming weeks

The US has by far the world’s largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 740,000 infections and more than 41,000 deaths.

Last Thursday, 4,591 Americans died over the course of a 24-hour period — the country’s largest single-day death toll to date.

But even as much of the nation is in the midst of a catastrophe, President Donald Trump is already talking about reopening America by May 1.

What are protests across the country calling for? And when might America’s recovery begin?

Coronavirus update: Follow the latest news in our daily wrap.

Here’s a rundown of how the United States is faring.

Have all US states been hit by COVID-19?

Yes. Community transmission of coronavirus was first detected in February.

By mid-March, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and four US territories had reported cases of COVID-19.

Trump’s coronavirus strategy
In a week when 2,500 Americans are dying every day from COVID-19, US President Donald Trump has launched his plan for ending the nationwide lockdowns.

Infections continue to surge in the north-east of the United States.

New York — the country’s fourth-most-populous state — is the coronavirus epicentre of the US, with more than 236,000 confirmed cases and 17,000 deaths.

Hospitals there are still reporting nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 patients per day.

Neighbouring New Jersey has reported more than 81,000 cases and 4,000 deaths, while Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California and Michigan all have more than 30,000 cases each.



Photo:

New York has been devastated by COVID-19. (AP: Mark Lennihan)

According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), coronavirus deaths are likely under-reported across a number of states.

“Reported deaths are also likely underestimated because of incomplete follow-up on all reported COVID-19 cases as well as death among persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 who did not receive a COVID-19 diagnosis,” it said in a recent report.

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak

What are protests across America calling for?

State governors across the US, who hold most of the power to implement lockdowns, have increasingly faced protests as restrictions grind local economies to a halt.

Many of the protesters are calling for an immediate lift on restrictions and the reopening of businesses.


Video: Groups of protesters gathered across the United States

(ABC News)

The most recent demonstrations were in Texas, Indiana and Wisconsin, after similar protests in Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota and Idaho throughout last week.

External Link:

@realDonaldTrump tweet: LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!

Mr Trump appeared to encourage protesters with a series of Twitter posts calling for them to “liberate” Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia, all run by Democratic governors.

Democratic strongholds in dense urban centres such as Seattle and Detroit have been hit hard by the virus, while more Republican-leaning rural communities are struggling with the shuttered economy but have seen fewer cases.



Photo:

Many supporters of Donald Trump have opposed state-based restrictions. (AP: Andrew Selsky)

But protests have happened in Republican-led states as well, including at the Texas Capitol and in front of the Indiana Governor’s home.

Texans chanted “let us work”, in a state where more than 1 million people have filed for unemployment since the crisis began.

The rally in Austin was organised by a host of Infowars, owned by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who joined protesters on the Capitol steps.

Public health officials have said the ability to test enough people and trace contacts of the infected is crucial before easing restrictions, and that infections could surge again unless people continue to take precautions.

What the experts are saying about coronavirus:

Are all US states locked down?

Not quite. Restrictions vary significantly across different parts of the US.

For example, most states have imposed a 10-person limit on gatherings. In California and New York, people may only leave their house for essential needs or to go to work.



Photo:

The ferris wheel on Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles was lit up in blue to show support for medical workers and first responders. (AP: Mark J. Terrill)

Restaurants and bars are shut across much of the country except for providing takeaway.

Most states have imposed school closures since March, many which will last until May. California Governor Gavin Newsom has said schools may not open there for the rest of the school year, which ends in late June.

Nevertheless, the states of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Arkansas all have few or no restrictions at all.

Texas and Vermont, both of which have Republican governors, will soon allow some businesses to reopen while still observing coronavirus-related precautions, Mr Trump announced over the weekend.


Video: Donald Trump says some governors will start relaxing COVID-19 restrictions

(ABC News)

For the first time in weeks, people have been able to access some beaches in Florida but were still subject to restrictions on hours and activities.

Other states will look to transition out of lockdown in the coming weeks.

“Montana will begin lifting restrictions on Friday. Ohio, North Dakota and Idaho have advised non-essential businesses to prepare for a phased opening starting May 1,” Mr Trump said.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert said the state is aiming to reopen restaurants and gyms and resume elective surgeries in early May.

Your questions on coronavirus answered:

When might the recovery begin?

It is not entirely clear.

Different states will begin easing restrictions and reopening businesses at their own pace.

According to the US Department of Labour, 22 million Americans filed unemployment claims in the four weeks to April 11. Many economists say a recession is inevitable.

Mr Trump has been keen to reopen things as soon as possible, launching his three-phase Opening Up America Again plan last week.


Video: Donald Trump announces plan to 'open America again'

(ABC News)

He suggested some states, like Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota, could move to phase one “literally tomorrow because they’ve met all the guidelines”.

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, task force coordinator Deborah Birx and Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, all backed the plan.

Fox News reported that the President’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner would be on the council leading the recovery effort, along with senior members of his cabinet.



Photo:

Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka will be on the council leading the recovery effort. (AP: Evan Vucci)

“When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total,” Mr Trump claimed earlier this month in reference to his alleged ability to supersede state authorities and ease social restrictions.

Legal experts challenged this assertion, stating that under the United States’ federalist system, it is ultimately up to governors to determine when and how to lift precautionary measures.

Mr Trump later backtracked, telling governors they “call [their] own shots” on how the country starts to recover economically from the pandemic.

What you need to know about coronavirus:


Video: Four Corners looks at how coronavirus unleashed a financial wrecking ball right through the Australian economy.

(Four Corners)

ABC/wires

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


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




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