Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More Suspected Submarine Sightings Reported In Sweden

Sweden Has More Sightings Amid Russian Submarine Speculation -- Bloomberg Businessweek

Sweden’s Armed Forces received reports of two further sightings as it continued to search for foreign vessels in waters near Stockholm amid media speculation a damaged Russian submarine was seeking to evade capture.

The most recent sightings bring the total to five as the army searches both on water and land “for something or someone,” Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad, the deputy chief of operations at the Swedish Armed Forces, said today at a press conference in Stockholm. While the army can’t confirm an intrusion, it is “very likely” that such an event took place, he said. The events are “completely unacceptable,” he said.

Commenting on the search, Grenstad said “it’s like Jesus - - everyone knows who he is but noone has seen him.” The army has moved its operation into open water, which is an easier area to search than within the archipelago, said Grenstad.

Read more ....

More News On More Suspected Submarine Sightings Reported In Sweden

Two New Sightings of Alleged Submarine Reported in Sweden -- RIA Novosti
Swedish search for 'foreign sub' focuses on Ingaro Bay -- BBC
Sweden ready to use force to surface sub -- The Local
Sweden May Use Military Force Against Alleged Submarine: Armed Forces Chief -- RIA Novosti
Sweden says it's ready to use force against suspicious submarine -- AFP
Sweden ready to force submarine to surface -- News24
Sub hunt: 'There is something out there' -- The Local
Swedish Military Chief Rejects Claims That Russian Transmitter Started Submarine Search -- RIA Novosti
Submarine hunt exposes Swedish readiness gap -- AP
Swedish submarine hunt: on patrol in the Stockholm archipelago -- The Telegraph
Mystery Submarine Hunt Resurfaces Cold War Tensions -- ABC News
The 'Russian Submarine' in Swedish Waters Isn't the Only Unwelcome Visitor in the Baltic Sea -- Elisabeth Braw, Newsweek
The Swedish Navy Is Hunting a Russian Submarine and Doesn't Have the Tools for It -- Foreign Policy

Iran Arrests Several Suspected Spies Near Bushehr Nuclear Plant

Iranian Intelligence Minister Seyed Mahmoud Alawi

Iran Arrests Several Spies In Bushehr Province -- FARS News Agency

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Intelligence Minister Seyed Mahmoud Alawi announced on Tuesday that the country's security forces have arrested several spies in the Southern province of Bushehr which hosts the nation's first nuclear power plant.

"Thanks to the vigilance of the Intelligence Ministry forces who monitor the moves of the foreign intelligence services, some agents who intended to carry out surveillance and intelligence gathering for the foreigners in Bushehr province have been identified and sent to justice," Alawi said, addressing a number of local officials in Bushehr city today.

The minister further reminded the decisive role of the Bushehr province for the country, and stressed, "This province as the economic, industrial, military, trade and nuclear hub of the country has a special position at the national level."

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Update #1: Iran arrests several spies near Bushehr nuclear plant: Fars news agency -- Reuters
Update #2: Iran Arrests Suspected Spies Near Bushehr Reactor -- Arutz Sheva
Update #3: Iran Arrests Suspected Spies Near Bushehr Reactor -- Jerusalem Post

My Comment: An Israeli spy operation?

The Battle For Kobane Continues -- News Updates October 21, 2014

ISIL 'Launches Fierce New Assault' On Kobane -- Al Jazeera

Kurdish fighters hold the line but struggle as they await reinforcements to cross from Turkey.

Kurdish fighters in the battle for the Syrian town of Kobane weathered a fresh onslaught by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as they awaited promised reinforcements from Iraq.

The Kurdish militia faced fierce attacks on Tuesday, fresh from heavy battles on Monday evening in which ISIL appeared to be trying to cut off the border with Turkey before the reinforcements could arrive.

This account is according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who also reported that coalition forces carried out further air strikes overnight, following weeks of attacks in and around Kobane.

Read more ....

The Battle For Kobane Continues -- News Updates October 21, 2014

Islamic State: Fresh fighting in key Syrian town of Kobane -- BBC
Kobane under renewed assault from Islamic State -- Middle East Eye
IS jihadists launch new offensive on Syria's Kobane -- France 24
U.S. bombings near Kobane target own supply drop -- AFP
U.S. Drop Weapons as Turkey Allows Iraq Kurds Into Kobani -- Bloomberg
Islamic State: Turkey to let Iraq Kurds join Kobane fight -- BBC
Iraq’s Peshmerga sending fighters to Kobane -- Al Arabiya
Photos: The battle for Kobane, revealed by U.N. satellite imagery -- Washington Post
Inside Kobane's fight to the death: Incredible satellite images reveal the scale of destruction after a month of U.S. airstrikes and intense street battles with ISIS -- Daily Mail
Battle for Kobane: Before and after images -- BBC
Battle for Kobane: Key events -- BBC
On the run from ISIS: Heartbreaking pictures of Kobane refugees who fled for their lives across Turkish border to escape fanatics -- Daily Mail

U.S. Accidentally Drops A Cargo Of Weapons To Islamic Fighters (Video)

ISIS Video: America’s Air Dropped Weapons Now in Our Hands -- Josh Rogin, Daily Beast

In a new video, ISIS shows American-made weapons it says were intended for the Kurds but actually were air dropped into territory they control.

At least one bundle of U.S. weapons airdropped in Syria appears to have fallen into the hands of ISIS, a dangerous misfire in the American mission to speed aid to Kurdish forces making their stand in Kobani.

An ISIS-associated YouTube account posted a new video online Tuesday entitled, “Weapons and munitions dropped by American planes and landed in the areas controlled by the Islamic State in Kobani.” The video was also posted on the Twitter account of “a3maq news,” which acts as an unofficial media arm of ISIS. The outfit has previously posted videos of ISIS fighters firing American made Howitzer cannons and seizing marijuana fields in Syria.

Read more ....

My Comment: Ooops ....

Ukraine, Russia, EU Energy Chiefs Meet At Brussels To Finalize Gas Deal

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko as he arrives for a meeting on the sidelines of a Europe-Asia summit (ASEM) in Milan October 17, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Daniel Dal Zennaro/Pool

Ukraine, Russia, EU Energy Chiefs Meet To Finalize Gas Deal -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Russia and Ukraine aim to resolve an impasse over natural gas supplies on Tuesday as their energy ministers meet in Brussels for talks brokered by the European Union's energy commissioner.

Citing unpaid bills worth more than $5 billion, Russia cut off gas flows to Kiev in mid-June, adding to tensions sparked by Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

After months of stalemate, pressure has mounted to reach a deal to allow gas deliveries for heating as winter approaches.

Read more ....

More News On Ukraine, Russia, EU Energy Chiefs Meeting At Brussels To Finalize Gas Deal

Russia, Ukraine Energy Ministers To Finalize Natural Gas Supply Deal In Tuesday Talks -- IBTimes
Russia, Ukraine Seek Interim Gas Accord at Brussels Talks -- Bloomberg
High-stakes Russia-Ukraine-EU gas talks begin in Brussels -- AFP
Russia, Ukraine meeting over energy dispute as ruble plummets -- FOX News
Russia, Ukraine, EU to discuss in Brussels interim conditions for gas supplies to Ukraine -- ITAR-TASS
Ukraine, Russia gas deal may be just enough to get through winter -- Reuters

My Comment: The EU is going to make sure that this deal will go through .... and it will be them paying off Russia to make sure that gas deliveries are made to both the EU and .... not surprising .... Ukraine.

Human Rights Watch: Ukraine Military Used Cluster Bombs In Eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian Military Accused Of Repeatedly Using Cluster Bomb Rockets Against Separatists -- Washington Post

The Ukrainian military has used cluster munitions numerous times in its conflict with pro-Russian separatists, likely scattering deadly bombs that did not immediately explode and putting civilians at risk, Human Rights Watch said in a new report.

An investigation earlier this month found that the weapons were used more than a dozen times in fighting in eastern Ukraine, Human Rights Watch reported. Dozens of countries, including the United States, agreed not to use cluster munitions in a treaty signed in 2008, citing the indiscriminate nature of the weapon. Ukraine has not signed the treaty.

Read more ....

Human Rights Watch: Ukraine Military Used Cluster Bombs In Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine crisis: Army accused of using cluster bombs -- BBC
Cluster bombs used in eastern Ukraine, says human rights group -- The Guardian
Ukraine Used Cluster Bombs, Evidence Indicates -- NYT
Ukrainian troops 'used banned cluster bombs' on populated rebel cities, report claims -- The Telegraph
Human Rights Watch says Ukraine may have used cluster bombs -- Reuters
Ukraine Government Troops Used Cluster Bombs, Rights Group Says -- Bloomberg
Kiev govt used cluster munitions in populated zones in E. Ukraine – HRW -- RT
Watchdogs Allege Human Rights Violations, War Crimes in Ukraine -- VOA
Report: Ukraine military has used cluster bombs -- Deutsche Welle
Reports claim Ukraine used cluster bombs in Donetsk city -- UPI
Rights Group Accuses Kyiv Of Using Cluster Munitions -- Radio Free Europe

Update: Ukraine is denying these claims ....

Ukraine military denies using banned cluster bombs against rebels -- Al Jazeera
Ukraine Vows to Probe Banned 'Cluster Bomb' Charges -- Naharnet
Ukraine rejects claims of banned cluster bomb use -- Global Post/AFP
HRW Report on Use of Cluster Munitions by Kiev Lack Evidence: Ukrainian Foreign Ministry -- RIA Novosti

Afghanistan Opium Poppy Production Booming

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
Defense Department map, released by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

After $7Bln US Effort, Afghanistan Poppy Cultivation Still Booming: US Watchdog -- RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, October 21 (RIA Novosti) – Despite US counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan amounting to $7.6 billion, opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan hit an all-time high in 2013, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) stated in a special report released last Tuesday.

"Despite spending over $7 billion to combat opium poppy cultivation and to develop the Afghan government"s counternarcotics capacity, opium poppy cultivation levels in Afghanistan hit an all-time high in 2013," Special Inspector General John Sopko said in the report.

Read more ....

More News On Afghanistan's Opium Poppy Production Reaching An All-Time High

This map shows all the areas in Afghanistan where poppy production rose -- Washington post
Poppy cultivation hits record high in Afghanistan in 2013 despite over $7B spent to combat it -- FOX News/AP
US watchdog: Afghanistan poppy production at record levels despite counternarcotics efforts -- Stars and Stripes
Afghan Opium Poppies Thrive Despite $7 Billion From U.S. -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Despite costly U.S. effort, Afghan poppy cultivation hits new high -- Reuters
Afghan Poppy Cultivation At All-Time High -- Radio Free Europe
Afghan Opium Poppies Hit Record High Despite $7 Billion US Campaign -- NBC
America’s $7.6B war on opium in Afghanistan failing: inspector general -- Washington Times
America’s $7.6 billion war on Afghan drugs fails, opium production peaks -- RT
Afghan Poppy Cultivation at ‘All-Time High’ -- Washington Free Beacon
Opium Poppy Cultivation Hits All-Time High in Afghanistan -- IBTimes
The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. -- Slate
We Spent $7.6 Billion To Crush The Afghan Opium Trade—And It's Doing Better Than Ever -- Mother Jones

World News Briefs -- October 21, 2014

A black flag belonging to the Islamic State is seen near the Syrian town of Kobani, as pictured from the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, October 6, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Umit Bektas

Kurds, Islamic State Militants Continue Kobani Fighting -- Voice of America

Kurdish fighters and Islamic State militants continue to battle in the northern Syrian town of Kobani.

Plumes of smoke could be seen Tuesday from across the border in Turkey, as the two sides clashed again in the weekslong fight that has drawn international support to help the Kurds hold off militant attempts to take the town.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said planes from the U.S.-led coalition also carried out fresh airstrikes in the area Tuesday, targeting the Islamic State group.

Read more ....


ISIL 'launches fierce new assault' on Kobane.

Kurdish fighters enter Syria as Turkey, US continue talks on Islamic State.

Islamic State wins ground from Syrian government in east: monitor.

Consumed by Islamic State, Iraq's Anbar province a key battleground again.

Baghdad restaurant bombs kill 21. Multiple car bombings rock Baghdad.

Exclusive: Iran offers 'compromises' in nuclear talks, West unmoved.

Palestinians downbeat on promised rebuilding of ruined Gaza Strip.

Iranian cleric's death leaves gap in key power body.


India says Islamic State not yet a threat.

Taliban bomb attack on bus kills four Afghan troops and wounds 12, as terrorists target 'slave soldiers'.

Pakistan Taliban sack spokesman Shahidullah Shahid for IS vow.

Hong Kong leader extends olive branch to pro-democracy protesters. Hong Kong talks fail to break impasse.

Exclusive: North Korean Ambassador says his country will keep nuclear program.

Japan PM's woes may not end despite resignations of two ministers.

Activists: China executed 2,400 people in 2013.


WHO outlines next steps in Ebola crisis.

WHO: Ebola vaccine trials in W. Africa in January.

Boko Haram ceasefire ignored as violence flares in Borno state.

South Sudan sexual violence ‘rampant’, says UN envoy.

US urges investigation into Congo security forces violations.

Sudan's Bashir to seek re-election in 2015.

Oscar Pistorius given five years for Reeva Steenkamp death. Pistorius starts five-year term for killing Reeva Steenkamp. Oscar Pistorius starts serving 5-year prison term.


Ukraine, Russia, EU energy chiefs meet to finalize gas deal.

Ukraine used cluster munitions in populated areas of Donetsk: HRW. Ukraine crisis: Army accused of using cluster bombs.

Ukraine parliament says hundreds died in battle.

War heroes and activists to shape new-look Ukraine parliament.

Polish ex-minister quoted saying Putin offered to divide Ukraine with Poland. ‘Total tripe’: Kremlin spokesman slams article on ‘Putin’s plan to divide Ukraine with Poland’.

Russia plans to deploy troops along entire length of Arctic border.

Cyprus cries foul as Turkish vessel enters waters.

Poland to appeal European court ruling on CIA jails.


Radicalized Canadian Muslim convert runs down two young soldiers in his car before being shot dead by police.

US cautiously optimistic after no new Ebola in 5 days.

Mexico offers rewards for information on missing students.

Polls shows Rousseff gaining momentum as Brazil election nears.

UN rights chief urges Venezuela to free opposition leader.

Latin America's growing middle classes are restless.

Baseball's World Series matches Kansas City, San Francisco.


US seeks to avoid civilian casualties during drone strikes: White House.

What we learn from ISIS' online magazine.

Report: ISIS oil production worth $800M per year.


Oscar de la Renta, legendary designer, dead at 82.

Total's CEO Christophe de Margerie dies in Moscow plane crash.

Apple's record 39.3 million iPhones sales over three months drive its revenue to $42BILLION - but company reveals number of customers buying the iPad has stalled.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 21, 2014

U.S. Fighter Jocks Pray The ‘ISIS Air Force’ Rumors Are True -- Dave Majumdar, Daily Beast

Syrian rebels say ISIS now has a few aircraft. American pilots can’t wait to shoot the things down.

The ISIS terrorist group may have acquired a few old Soviet-built MiG fighters, according to a Syrian opposition group. But even if ISIS does have jet fighters, there is little chance that the group can do any real damage with those antiques beyond their value as propaganda tools, U.S. military pilots say.

“If ISIS is flying, or is thinking about flying, it will not be doing so for very long,” one Air Force official said.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights—an opposition group based in London—ISIS has managed to acquire three Soviet-built Mikoyan MiG-21 Fishbed and MiG-23 Flogger fighters. The aircraft are allegedly being flown by former Iraqi air force pilots, who are also training wannabe ISIS aviators to fly the jets.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 21, 2014

Iraq PM Rules Out Foreign Intervention by Ground Forces -- Defense News

Pentagon denies that ISIS has air capability -- The Hill

US Considers $600 Million Arms Sale to Iraq: Official Report -- RIA Novosti

UK to fly military drones over Syria -- The Guardian

Junk and knockoffs: Iran's military weaponry panned, but regime still formidable, say experts -- FOX News

Iran Military Ready to Ship Equipment to Lebanon -- AP

The Rest Is Mystery as Swedes Chase Possible Russian Sub -- Bloomberg Businessweek

Sweden vows to increase defence spending as capability questioned -- Financial Times

Swedish Forces Admit Failure, Issuing False Information on Alleged Foreign Submarine Location -- RIA Novosti

Latvia warns Swedish hunt for Russian submarine could become a security 'game changer' in the Baltic Sea -- Daily Mail

Ukraine Government Troops Used Cluster Bombs, Rights Group Says -- Bloomberg Businessweek

Russia to Launch Third and Final Bulava SLBM Last Week of November: Defense Source -- RIA Novosti

Russia prepares for ice-cold war with show of military force in the Arctic -- The Guardian

North Korea Gets New Submarine -- RIA Novosti

China's Only Aircraft Carrier Is Having Some Technical Difficulties -- Business Insider

Rafale Fighters India is Buying Can't Match Chinese Fighters: Russian Envoy -- NDTV

India Gives In to Russia's Terms For High-Priced Tank Ammunition -- Defense News

In harm's way: British Army medics leave RAF Brize Norton for the Ebola front-line -- Daily Mail

Nuclear weapons deal with US renewed in secret, UK confirms -- The Guardian

US Military Drone Makes 'Hard Landing' in Niger -- AP

New Izumo-class carriers to greatly boost Japan's force projection -- Want China Times

U.S., Japan to conduct joint military drill for island defense -- Reuters

U.S., South Korea to Detail Wartime Military Command Plans -- WSJ

NATO seeks more U.S. ships -- Navy Times

America’s $7.6 billion war on Afghan drugs fails, opium production peaks -- RT

More US troops arriving in West Africa for Ebola fight -- Stars and Stripes

Boeing Seeks Revised Schedule for U.S. Aerial Tanker -- Bloomberg

Navy's Advanced Hawkeye will deploy next year -- C4isr & Networks

Two F-16 fighter jets collide in Elk County -- KSN.com

US Senators Urge White House to Escalate War Against IS -- RIA Novosti

Obama Could Reduce Nuclear Arsenal Without Harming National Security: Disarmament Expert -- RIA Novosti

Navy takes different approach to painting vessels -- Stars and Stripes/The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot (MCT)

Bring back the Harrier fighter -- The Telegraph

The Coming Swarm: Robotics on the Battlefield -- Paul Scharre, Real Clear Defense

Did China And Russia Just Make The F-35 Obsolete?

Did China Just Render America's $1 Trillion Stealth Fighter Program Obsolete? -- Rich Smith, The Motley Fool

Over-budget, behind schedule, and -- reportedly -- not a particularly good fighter jet, Lockheed Martin's ultramodern Joint Strike Fighter may be destined for the scrap heap.

In a 2013 RAND Corporation report, one of the nation's foremost military analysts, blasted the F-35 for being a fighter that "can't turn, can't climb, can't run." Proponents of the F-35 reply that because it's stealthy, it shouldn't have to do any of those things -- lobbing missiles at its foes from over the horizon, and long before they can even see it.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the F-35 may not do the "invisibility" thing very well, either.

Read more ....

My Comment: The bad news on the F-35 program continues to build up.

Islamic State Forces Launch Multiple Attacks Against Kurdish Positions In Iraq

ISIS Forces Launch Multiple Attacks On Kurdish Territory In Iraq, Officials Say -- CNN

(CNN) -- ISIS militants launched about 15 near-simultaneous attacks on Kurdish forces in northern Iraq on Monday in what Kurdish government officials and the news agency Rudaw said was a fierce and renewed push for territory.

ISIS also launched attacks against Mosul Dam, a strategic prize, and also renewed its offensive on the Sinjar mountain range in northern Iraq.

An ISIS-commandeered military truck loaded with explosives targeted a Peshmerga checkpoint along the security belt circling the dam, killing six security force members and injuring seven others critically, according to Peshmerga spokesman Said Mamazeen.

Read more ....

Update: Jihadists Renew Attacks in Iraq -- WSJ

My Comment: This looks like an attempt by the Islamic State to pin down the Kurds so that they are unable to support their fellow Kurdish fighters in Kobani.

Satellite Images Reveal The Destruction From U.S. And Coalition Airstrikes On The Syrian City Of Kobani

Pounding: With intense fighting between Kurdish fighters and ISIS militants a daily occurrence in Kobane, simply getting from one destroyed street to another appears to have become an incredibly difficult business

Inside Kobane's Fight To The Death: Incredible Satellite Images Reveal The Scale Of Destruction After A Month Of U.S. Airstrikes Intense Street Battles With ISIS -- Daily Mail

* Before and after photographs show dramatic changes that have taken place in Kobane over the past few weeks
* Hundreds of buildings have been destroyed and many roads are impassable due to rubble and jihadist roadblocks
* Outside Kobane empty fields have been turned into refugee camps and highways are full of ISIS' ambush points
* Images emerge as fierce street battles broke out inside Kobane this morning, as ISIS fanatics once again storm city

Satellite images have captured scenes of destruction in Kobane as sustained American airstrikes and four weeks of intense fighting between Kurdish resistance fighters and Islamic State militants take their toll on the besieged Syrian city.

The before and after images show how in just one month hundreds of buildings have been levelled and a large number of roads rendered completely impassable by huge craters and mountains of rubble created since ISIS militants first attempted to capture the Kurdish city in mid-September.

Read more ....

My Comment: After weeks of intense bombing .... I am actually surprised that a number of buildings are still standing.

Sweden To Increase Defense Spending As Its Military Continues The Search For A Foreign Submarine In Its Waters

Sweden Vows To Increase Defence Spending As Capability Questioned -- Financial Times

Sweden's prime minister pledged to increase spending on defence in Thursday's budget as the Nordic country's search for a foreign submarine entered a fifth day.

Sweden's new centre-left government has been placed in an awkward situation by the chase for the submarine – presumed to be Russian – as it is firmly against Nato membership and wants to focus more on co-operation with the UN rather than partnership with the western military alliance.

But, on a visit on Tuesday to Estonia, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said: "We need to increase our capacity, meaning that we need to put more resources into defence."

Sweden currently spends about 1.2 per cent of GDP on defence.

Read more ....

My Comment: This is an embarrassment for Sweden. It is clear that they lack the ability to locate and track any incursion into their borders .... and they are now realizing it.

Update: If this report is true, it is becoming an even bigger embarrassment .... Swedish Forces Admit Failure, Issuing False Information on Alleged Foreign Submarine Location (RIA Novosti).

An Islamic State Attack In Canada?

Soldier Hit By 'Radicalized' Driver In Quebec Dead -- Globe and Mail

One of the two soldiers struck by a Quebec motorist with suspected jihadi sympathies has died.

The Canadian Forces member, who had been taken to hospital in critical condition Monday, died during the evening, a Sûreté du‎ Québec spokesman, Sergeant Benoît Richard, confirmed in a telephone interview. He said the provincial police is not releasing more information at this time about the victim.

The soldiers were hit while they were walking late Monday morning in a shopping mall parking lot, a few kilometres from the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, the military academy operated by the Department of National Defence.

Read more ....

More News On Yesterday's Attack Against Two Canadian Soldiers In Quebec By A Convert To Radical Islam

Martin Rouleau, Quebec driver shot by police, 'radicalized': RCMP -- CBC
Soldier dies, man killed by police, following hit and run in St. Jean -- CTV
Canadian soldier dead after hit by 'radicalized' driver -- Reuters
Canadian Soldier Dies in Hit and Run -- WSJ
Canadian soldier dies after car attack; driver shot dead -- USA Today/AP
Driver who hit Canadian troops was 'suspected radical' -- France 24
One of two Canadian soldiers hit by 'radicalized' driver dies of his injuries -- FOX News
Apparent terrorist attack kills Canadian soldier in Montreal -- CBS/AP
Canadian police kill 'radicalised' man who rammed soldiers in Quebec -- The Guardian

My Comment: This attack occurred about 30 minutes away from where I live. And while I do know that there are many radical Muslims in Montreal, the surprise is that this was a young French Quebecer who embraced ISIS propaganda and converted to Islam.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Is The U.S. And Saudi Arabia Manipulating Oil Production (And Prices) To Bring Russia And Iran To The Brink Of Economic Collapse?

Is The Oil Crash A Secret US War On Russia? -- Anthony Zurcher, BBC

Lower oil prices, reflected in falling petrol prices at the pump, have been a boon for Western consumers. Are they also a potent US weapon against Russia and Iran?

That's the conclusion drawn by New York Times columnist Thomas L Friedman, who says the US and Saudi Arabia, whether by accident or design, could be pumping Russia and Iran to brink of economic collapse.

Despite turmoil in many of the world's oil-producing countries - Libya, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria - prices are hitting lows not seen in years, Friedman writes.

Analysts identify a number of possible reasons for the steep drop - increased US production, slowing economies in Europe and China and steady production from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).

Read more ....

My Comment
: Zero Hedge posted on this a few weeks ago .... Why Oil Is Plunging: The Other Part Of The "Secret Deal" Between The US And Saudi Arabia. As to what is my take .... countries that are dependent on oil production are hurting .... and it will only be a question of time before this "discomfort" results in serious unrest.

What Is Russian President Putin's Next Move?

Russia's President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow.

Putin's Next Move Could Make Eastern Europe Explode -- Brett LoGiurato, Business Insider

What is going on in Vladimir Putin's mind?

That's the question a panel of Russia experts was trying to answer Tuesday morning. Attention on Russia and the crisis in Ukraine has dwindled as the press has focused more on the West's fight against the extremist group calling itself the Islamic State.

US Secretary of State John Kerry also announced Tuesday increased intelligence-gathering cooperation with Russia on the group — also known as ISIS — a particularly significant development given the recent thaw in US-Russia relations.

Read more ....

My Comment: Putin has always been an opportunist .... if he sees an opportunity he will always take it. When Ukraine exploded in revolution earlier this year .... Putin was more focused on the Sochi Olympics rather than Crimea and eastern Ukraine. But a few days after the close of the Olympic games .... he shifted his focus on Ukraine and .... well the rest is history. The same can be said about his future moves. If Russians revolt in the Baltics, and the regional governments crack down hard .... Putin will respond. But if the Baltic governments reach out to their Russian populations with promises of accommodation and reconciliation .... Putin will be effective neutered and we in the West will not have to be worried about his "next move".

Ukraine Separatist Leader Declares That The Ceasefire Is Over

Separatist 'Prime Minister': The Ceasefire In Ukraine Is Over -- Business Insider

The self-declared "prime minister" of the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) has declared on Twitter that the month-old ceasefire between Ukraine and the separatist republic has ended.

Granted, this was the sort of cease-fire during which heavy combat was frequent, including fighting that destroyed much of the Donetsk airport. But on Monday, DNR leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko admitted what has been obvious for some time, and tweeted the following after a period of particularly heavy fighting in Donetsk:

Read more ....

More News On Reports That The Ukraine Ceasefire Has Ended

No Ceasefire in Ukraine, As Donetsk Airport Gets Shelled And Top-Level Talks Fail -- IBTimes
'No More Talks About Ceasefire': Donetsk Explosion Shatters Ukraine's Fragile Detente -- Vice News
Blast rocks chemical plant in Donetsk, claims of tactical missile -- RT
Ukraine crisis: Donetsk explosion sends blast wave across rebel-held city amid claims Kiev fired 'tactical missile' at factory -- The Independent
Ukraine Fighting Batters Truce Before Gas Talks Begin -- Bloomberg
Eastern Ukraine conflict: Summary killings, misrecorded and misreported -- Amnesty International
Ukraine crisis: Amnesty deplores abuses by both sides -- BBC
In Ukraine, executions — and propaganda about them -- Washington Post
Kiev denies German intel claim that militia captured BUK missile from Ukraine army -- RT
Donetsk airport, Ukraine, in ruins -- News.com.au
Russia to Reject Conditions to End Sanctions After Ukraine Talks -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Global Banks Slashed Lending to Ukraine, Endangering a Recovery -- WSJ
In war-weary Donetsk, Ukraine, lives are in limbo -- USA Today

My Comment: This is not a good day if you live in Ukraine. The ceasefire is now effectively over.

Nigeria's Ceasefire With The Boko Haram Is 'Falling Apart'

Cease-Fire Falling Apart Amid Renewed Fighting In Northeast Nigeria -- Voice of America

The cease-fire deal announced by the Nigerian government on Friday appears to be unraveling as fresh clashes between soldiers and Boko Haram militants are reported in the northeastern town of Damboa.

The news comes as the government prepares for more regionally mediated talks in Chad to discuss the release of 219 schoolgirls still held by the sect.

Residents of Borno state said that since the cease-fire was announced Friday, militants have attacked several communities - killing at least 40 people and hoisting their black flag over the border town of Abadam.

The government said those attacks were the work of “fringe groups” who hadn’t yet gotten word of the cease-fire.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That Nigeria's Ceasefire With Boko Haram Has 'Falling Apart'

Nigeria Boko Haram blamed for raids despite truce claim -- BBC
At least 30 killed in northeast Nigeria clashes despite 'truce' -- Reuters
Nigeria Boko Haram Storms Towns Despite Government Cease-Fire Claim -- WSJ
Islamist Attacks in Nigeria Cast Doubt on Cease-Fire Claims -- Bloomberg
Boko Haram 'ceasefire' doubts after attacks reported in Nigeria -- The Telegraph
Deal on missing girls in doubt as Nigeria truce is breached -- Irish Times
Nigeria says return of kidnapped girls close despite shaky state of truce -- The Guardian
#BringBackOurGirls: Will it happen? Nigeria says yes; Boko Haram silent -- Ben Brumfield, CNN
That Boko Haram Ceasefire in Nigeria Isn’t A Ceasefire -- Sarah Kaufman, Vocativ

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 20, 2014

What Does It Mean For An Ebola Outbreak To End? -- Alexandra Sifferlin, Time

And how does the World Health Organization decide when that happens?

Nigeria’s most recent outbreak of Ebola is over, the nation’s government and World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday.

But — with fear of Ebola continuing to grip the world — what does that even mean? How does the WHO know that Nigeria is in the clear?

The answer, it turns out, is very specific: The WHO says a country can declare their outbreak to be over when it makes it through 42 days without a new case. That’s two incubation periods for the Ebola virus, so as long as 42 days have passed, during which the country had in place active surveillance and diagnostics but discovered no new cases, the WHO says it’s enough time to confidently say an outbreak is over. For health care workers to be considered “in the clear” they have to be monitored for 21 days after their last possible exposure to the virus, even if they were wearing full protective gear. Health care workers’ date of last contact is considered the day when the final patient with Ebola tests negative for the disease.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- October 20, 2014

Ebola in America: Has the Fever Broken? -- Maggie Fox, NBC

Could Ebola rank among the deadliest communicable diseases? -- Daniel Schwartz, CBC News

Fighting to Lose in Iraq and Syria: Obama’s coalition is falling apart before it can get going. -- Ira Straus, NRO

Why Turkey Changed Course on Kobani -- Naina Bajekal, Time

Slowly but surely, the tide is beginning to turn against ISIL -- Hussein Ibish, The National

How to Financially Starve ISIS -- Naina Bajekal, Time

Could Iraq's tribes provide the glue that keeps the country from falling apart? -- Dominique Soguel, CSM

Welcome Back, Kim Jong Un. Want to Talk? -- Bloomberg editorial

China Versus America -- Roger Cohen, NYT

Afghanistan: ‘A Shocking Indictment’ -- Rory Stewart, New York Review Of Books

#BringBackOurGirls: Will it happen? Nigeria says yes; Boko Haram silent -- Ben Brumfield, CNN

In Zimbabwe, another Mugabe seeks the presidency -- CSM

West Needs to Put Up or Shut Up About Ukraine -- Mark Adomanis, Moscow Times

Submarine hunt sends Cold War chill across Baltic -- Karl Ritter and Matti Huutanen, AP

The oil price is tumbling. Is that good or bad news for the world economy? -- The Economist

World News Briefs -- October 20, 2014 (Evening Edition)

Turkey To Let Iraqi Kurds Reinforce Kobani As U.S. Drops Arms To Defenders -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Turkey said on Monday it would allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters to reinforce fellow Kurds in the Syrian town of Kobani, while the United States air-dropped arms for the first time to help the defenders resist an Islamic State assault.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington had asked Ankara to help "get the peshmerga or other groups" into Kobani so that they could help defend the town on the Turkish frontier, adding that he hoped the Kurds would "take this fight on".

Read more ....


Kerry: U.S. told Turkey arms drop to Syrian Kurds 'momentary' response to crisis.

Islamic State insurgents advance into Iraqi town of Qara Tappa.

Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds reinforce Kobani as U.S. drops arms to defenders. Islamic State: Turkey to let Iraq Kurds join Kobane fight.

US launches new strikes against ISIS in Kobani, activists say.

Deadly car bombings hit Iraq's Karbala. Bombings hit Baghdad Shi'te mosque, military convoy in northern Iraq.

Iraq crisis: MPs complete anti-IS government.

Sunni Arabs feel sting of discrimination in northern Iraq.

UN sanctions 'to target high-profile Yemenis'.

Al Qaeda attacks kill at least 33 people in Yemen. Scores of rebels killed in Yemen fighting.

UN nuclear chief: Progress slow in Iran investigation. Iran acts to comply with interim nuclear deal with powers: IAEA.

Hamas leader's daughter received medical treatment in Israel: sources.

Saudi Arabia steps up beheadings; some see political message.


China boosts efforts to help Afghan, regional stability.

In Japan, two female ministers quit, dealing a blow to Abe and ‘womenomics’.

Kerry in Indonesia seeks Asian support against Islamic State. Kerry urges Asia to boost anti-Islamic State push.

Afghan officials: Attacks by insurgents on army, police checkpoints kill at least 4 troops.

At least 22 people are reported killed in attack at a market in western China.

China Communist Party plenum begins in Beijing.

After clashes, Hong Kong students, government stand their ground before talks.

Joko Widodo sworn in as Indonesian president.

Marine accused in Philippine killing tests US ties.

Amnesty International: South Korea abuses migrant workers.

Sri Lanka calls early presidential elections.


No plan for Egyptian military action against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria.

Ebola crisis: Nigeria declared free of virus.

EU seeks $1.27 billion in Ebola aid for W. Africa.

West Africa 'could lose an entire generation'.

At least 30 killed in northeast Nigeria clashes despite 'truce'.

Nigeria Boko Haram blamed for raids despite truce claim.

Libya violence: Western powers urge cessation.

Libya's parliament allies with renegade general, struggling to assert authority.

Second massacre in days leaves 20 dead in east DR Congo.


Swedish military claims three credible sightings of undersea activity in search for suspected Russian submarine. Mysterious ‘Russian sub’ off Sweden may be Dutch – Defense Ministry source.

Dutch deny link to mystery submarine off Sweden.

Finland says not planning to assist Sweden in search for alleged submarine.

Blast rocks chemical plant in Donetsk, claims of tactical missile.

Ukraine crisis: Amnesty deplores abuses by both sides.

Ukraine’s Euromaidan reforms reveal deep divisions.

Hope and obstacles as Russia and Ukraine seek gas deal.

US-Russian relations ‘close to bottom, to remain low a long time’ – Lavrov.

Dutch battle surge of desperate, violent Muslim refugees.


Up to 34 MILLION blank 'green cards' and work permits to be ordered ahead of Obama illegal immigrant 'amnesty'.

U.S. hospitals gird for Ebola panic as flu season looms.

Dallas officials: 120 still on Ebola monitoring. Ebola fear ends for dozens on U.S. watch lists.

Polls: Opposition has slight lead in Brazil Presidential runoff. Brazilian poll shows Rousseff gaining momentum as election nears.

Venezuela's Maduro approval rating drops to 30 percent, poll says.

Chile ex-mayor arrested for Pinochet-era human rights crimes.

Federal police take control of 13 towns in Mexico.

Mexico finds many corpses, but not lost 43.

Fed chief rips widening gap between rich, poor Americans.


Denmark tries a soft-handed approach to returned Islamist fighters.

ISIS releases training guide on 'how to tweet safely, without giving out your location to NSA'.

Senior al Qaeda leader reported killed in US airstrike in eastern Afghanistan.

Benghazi attack suspect Khatallah pleads not guilty to 17 new charges.

France struggles to cope with terrorism on its home turf.


CIA analyst: Next Great Depression 'about to strike'.

Plunging oil prices have unpredictable impact on politics, economics.

Is the oil price fall more than just a coincidence?

Lufthansa says strike results in 1,511 canceled flights.

Poll: Majority Of Americans Believe That Events In The U.S. Are 'Out Of Control'

POLITICO Poll: Alarm, Anxiety As Election Looms -- Politico

An overwhelming majority of voters in the most competitive 2014 elections say it feels as if events in the United States are “out of control” and expressed mounting alarm about terrorism, anxiety about Ebola and harsh skepticism of both political parties only three weeks before the Nov. 4 midterms.

In a POLITICO poll testing the hardest-fought states and congressional districts of the year, two-thirds of likely voters said they feel that the United States has lost control of its major challenges. Only 36 percent said the country is “in a good position to meet its economic and national security” hurdles.

Read more ....

My Comment: The focus is on President Obama .... but both parties are receiving negative reviews from the electorate. As to what is my take .... this is just one poll, but I am surprised that the electorate is more inclined to vote Democrat rather than Republican in the upcoming Congressional elections. If the numbers are accurate .... the Democrats will retain control of the Senate, and may even pick up a few seats in the Congress.

Update: Politico Poll: 64% Believe America Is 'Out of Control' -- Breitbart

Russian Foreign Minister -- US-Russian Relations ‘Close To Bottom, To Remain Low A Long Time’

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (Reuters / Carolyn Kaster / Pool)

US-Russian Relations ‘Close To Bottom, To Remain Low A Long Time’ – Lavrov

Moscow does not expect its relations with Washington to get better anytime soon, but on the other hand they won’t plunge any deeper, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov believes.

“We have gone down pretty deep. I really hope this downward movement of the level of our cooperation has reached some kind of a bottom,” he said on Monday in Moscow in an open lecture on Russia’s foreign relations.

Lavrov said the cold does not amount to a new Cold War, but the period is likely to be a long one.

“Of course it’s not a Cold War. The right question is: where do these relations go now?” he said. “Let’s leave it to historians. Certainly someone sometime will describe this period for the textbooks with a colorful term.”

He described the situation as “abnormal” and said Washington is the side that chose to escalate the tension.

Read more ....

Update: Russian foreign minister sees no quick fix to U.S. ties -- Reuters

My Comment: My prediction .... U.S. - Russian relations will be in the deep freeze until the next U.S. Presidential election in 2016.