Tuesday, July 22, 2014

U.S., Canadian, And European Airlines Have Halted Flights To Israel For 24 - 36 Hours

European Airlines Halt Flights To Israel Due To Instability -- Reuters

* Delta, United suspend operations to Tel Aviv until further notice
* American cancels flight from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv
* Lufthansa, KLM, Air France also suspend Israel flights (Recasts throughout with FAA statement, details on European carriers)

July 22 (Reuters) - U.S. air carriers Delta Air Lines , American Airlines Group and United Airlines on Tuesday halted flights to Israel under directions from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to ensure passenger safety as turmoil in the region has intensified.

The U.S. moves were swiftly followed by flight stoppages from European carriers, including Germany's Lufthansa, Air-France and Dutch airline KLM. Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest carrier, said it halted its flights through Wednesday, citing the situation on the ground in Tel Aviv.

Read more ....

More News On U.S., Canadian, And European Airlines Halting Flights To Israel For 24 - 36 Hours

F.A.A. Halts U.S. Flights to Israel -- NYT
U.S. airlines prohibited from flying to or from Tel Aviv -- Washington Post
FAA Bans US Flights to Tel Aviv Airport -- VOA
FAA Tells Airlines to Halt Israel Flights on Rocket Fire -- Bloomberg Businessweek
US and European airlines halt Israel flights -- BBC
Airlines Scrap Israel Flights Over Missile Fear -- AP
European airlines follow FAA ban on flights to Israel -- Jerusalem Post
Major American and European airlines suspend flights to and from Israel -- RT
Air France, Lufthansa suspend flights to Tel Aviv -- AP
Air France suspends all flights to Tel Aviv due to security situation -- Reuters
Dutch carrier KLM cancels Tel Aviv flight for security reasons -- Reuters
Lufthansa says suspends service to Tel Aviv for 36 hours -- Reuters
Israel-Gaza conflict: Air Canada cancels Tel Aviv flight over safety concerns -- CBC News
Tel Aviv airport safe for carriers -Israel regulator -- Reuters

Israel - Hama War News Updates -- July 22, 2014

Israel Hits Hundreds Of Targets In Gaza As Soldier Is Confirmed Missing -- The Guardian

• Israeli soldier captured during intense battle in Shujai'iya
• Palestinian death toll nears 600, with 27 Israeli soldiers killed
• John Kerry to meet UN chief and Egyptian mediators in Cairo

Israel continued to pound Gaza overnight, including hitting 100 targets in Shujai'iya, the scene of the most intense fighting of the conflict, as the Israeli military confirmed that one of its soldiers was missing.

Hamas claimed on Sunday that it had captured an Israeli soldier during the intense battle in Shujai'iya.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) named the missing soldier as Sergeant Oron Shaul, 21, a combat soldier of the Golani brigade.

Read more ....

Israel - Hama War News Updates -- July 22, 2014

Gaza crisis: John Kerry and Ban Ki-Moon step up attempts to broker ceasefire - live updates -- The Guardian
LIVE UPDATES: Airlines suspend Israel flights over missile fears -- Haaretz
Gaza Blog Live -- Al Jazeera
Israel launches ground incursion in Gaza Strip LIVE UPDATES -- RT

Israel pounds Gaza despite international peace efforts -- Reuters
600 deaths in Israeli Gaza op: Military hits mosques, stadium, homes, hospital -- RT
Horror piles on horror: Now Israeli tank shells destroy two floors of a HOSPITAL as death toll tops 550 on 14th day of conflict in Gaza -- Daily Mail
Hamas terrorists wear Israeli army uniforms to ambush soldiers in Gaza -- Washington Times
Seven more IDF soldiers and officers killed in clashes with Hamas -- Jerusalem Post
Watch: IAF spots, destroys terrorists targeting Israeli ground troops -- Jerusalem Post
Israel Hits More Than 70 Targets in Gaza, as Ban and Kerry Call for Truce -- Time
Israeli soldier missing, presumed dead in Gaza -- Reuters
Israeli soldier reported missing in Gaza -- Al Jazeera
Israel Confirms One Soldier Is Missing in Gaza -- New York Times
Israel Identifies Missing Soldier; Shelling Continues -- VOA
Talk of peace doesn't slow flow of blood, rockets in Gaza and Israel -- CNN
Delta Cancels All Israel Flights Over Missile Fear -- CBS
Israel finds Hamas are no longer amateur fighters -- CNN
Israeli troops' face threat from the ground beneath their feet -- CNN
Kerry Says U.S. Would Address Hamas Demands After Cease-Fire -- NYT
U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict -- Washington Times
Kerry Discusses Gaza with Arab League, Egyptian Officials -- VOA
Kerry: 'Hamas Has a Fundamental Choice' -- VOA
Kerry urges Hamas to end conflict, has 'constructive' Egypt talks -- Reuters
Gaza conflict: UN chief Ban urges end to fighting -- BBC
EU calls on Hamas to disarm, condemns use of civilians as shields -- Jerusalem Post
Israeli-Gaza Cease-Fire Talks at a Stalemate - Time
Egyptian media applauds Israel’s Gaza offensive -- France 24
Support in Israel for Gaza Operation Remains Strong, Despite Soldiers' Deaths -- WSJ
In Pictures: Destruction and devastation in Gaza -- Al Jazeera

World News Briefs -- July 22, 2014

Israel Hits Hundreds Of Targets In Gaza With Airstrikes After One Of Their Soldiers Is Confirmed Missing In Area -- Daily Mail

* The soldier has been identified as Sgt. Oron Shaul, 21
* Among 7 soldiers in vehicle hit by an anti-tank missile in Gaza at weekend
* Disappearance raised the possibility that he had been captured by Hamas
* In the past, Israel has paid a heavy price in lopsided prisoner swaps

An Israeli soldier is missing following a deadly battle in the Gaza Strip it was announced today.

The news came as Israeli airstrikes pummeled a wide range of locations along the coastal area and diplomatic efforts intensified to end the two week war that has killed more than 600 Palestinians and 29 Israelis.

Military officials said the soldier, identified as Sgt. Oron Shaul, 21, was among seven soldiers in a vehicle that was hit by an anti-tank missile in a battle in Gaza over the weekend.

It was not immediately known if the missing soldier was alive or dead, the Israeli defence official told The Associated Press.

Read more ....


Israel pounds Gaza despite international peace efforts.

Israel confirms one soldier is missing in Gaza. Israel identifies missing soldier; Shelling continues.

U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict.

Free Syrian Army advances on military strongholds near Damascus.

Syrian opposition coalition dissolves interim government.

Islamic State crushes and coerces on march towards Baghdad.

Iraqi Ambassador: US should begin airstrikes in Iraq now.

ISIS robs Christians fleeing its edict in Mosul: Convert, leave, or die.

US, UN denounce ISIL persecution of Iraqi minorities.

Dozens of Turkish police detained for alleged spying on government.


Australian P.M. Abbott: MH17 evidence tampered with on ‘industrial scale’. Australian PM alleges ‘coverup’ at MH17 crash site.

Taliban suicide bomber kills 4 in Kabul. 'Foreigners' killed in Kabul airport suicide attack.

Why is Afghanistan sending aid to Gaza?

Jakarta governor wins Indonesian election. Joko Widodo set to be declared next Indonesian president.

China food scandal drags in Starbucks, Burger King and McNuggets in Japan.

Chinese city sealed off after bubonic plague death.

Typhoon Rammasun kills 11 in Vietnam as China's death toll climbs to 33.


15,000 flee after Boko Haram overtakes Nigerian town.

Bloody clashes break out in Libya's Benghazi. Fighting intensifies in Libya, airport control at stake.

S.Sudan rebel team quits Uganda without meeting on mending ties.

DR Congo 'repels' attack on Kinshasa barracks.

Central African leader appeals for ceasefire as talks open in Congo.

Striking South African unions considering latest offer.


Bodies of plane cCrash victims moved out of combat area.

Ukrainian military and rebel fighters clash in Donetsk.

Ukraine votes to call up more military reserves to protect border.

Putin vows to use influence on Ukraine rebels, rejects Western meddling.

Russia reported to be cancelling duty–free trade with Ukraine.

EU to present extended Russian sanctions on Thursday – Ashton. EU ministers threaten Russia with sanctions, action unsure.

Britain's Cameron urges military sanctions against Russia.

Germany, France, Italy condemn anti-Semitism in anti-Israel protests.


US court deals setback to Obamacare.

Texas Governor Rick Perry to deploy troops to US border.

Key business leaders say US economy bouncing back.

Cuba hopes for more investment as Chinese President arrives.

China provides $4B to Venezuela in exchange for oil.

China lends Argentina $7.5 billion for power, rail projects.

Argentine default in balance as government refuses to capitulate.


Al Qaeda renews its oath of allegiance to Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

FBI entrapped suspects in almost all high-profile terrorism cases in US.

At least six top al-Qaeda leaders killed in US drone attack.


Netflix profits double to $71m as subscriptions rise.

Oil gains further on concerns over Ukraine, Gaza.

Switzerland, China agree swap boosting role of yuan.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 22, 2014

An EA-18G Growler launches from the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson. A Senate subcommittee added $1.3 billion for a dozen of the aircraft. (MC2 John Philip Wagner/ / Navy)

US Senate Panel Proposes Keeping A-10, 11 Aircraft Carriers With $547.9B Defense Bill -- Defense News

WASHINGTON — A US Senate panel on Tuesday approved nearly $550 billion in military spending as part of a bill that would keep alive weapon systems the Pentagon wanted to retire.

The chamber’s Appropriations Defense subcommittee unanimously approved legislation that would give the Pentagon $489.6 billion in base spending and $58.3 billion in war funding. It would block a long list of weapon system retirement proposals or Pentagon plans to not purchase systems next year to save money.

In short, the proposed $547.9 billion total figure is yet another victory for the US defense sector, which has long warned it will see a financial hit due to sequestration.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 22, 2014

Despite Opposition, US War Funding Likely To Pass -- Defense News

Congress seeks better deal for U.S. contractors on Israeli Iron Dome system -- Washington Post

Eyes on Ukraine, Poland presses for more support from NATO -- Stars and Stripes

Ukrainian PM Calls On West for Weapons After Airliner Downed -- Defense News

Ukraine to Conscript Military Reserves to Fight Separatists in Country's East -- Moscow Times/Reuters

UK will establish independent inquiry into death of ex-KGB agent Litvinenko -- CNN

BAE Brings 3-D Printing to Warplanes -- Defense Tech

BAE ‘Bullish’ Army Will Buy Missile Guidance Kits -- DoD Buzz

China's secretive military cracks open door -- Stuff.co.nz

Military Exercises Delay Flights Throughout China -- AP

Does China Care About Air Power? -- Ankit Panda, The Diplomat

China Says Spy Ship Operations at RIMPAC 'In Line With International Law' -- Defense News/AFP

China Pushes Limits to Closer Ties With U.S. Military -- Wall Street Journal

Whatever You Do, Don’t Call This Ship an Aircraft Carrier: Inside Japan’s helicopter destroyer ‘Ise’ -- Kyle Mizokami, War Is Boring

How Japan Fell in Love With America’s Drones -- Daniel A. Medina, Defense One/Quartz

South Korea’s video game addicts may be exempt from military service -- FOX News

B-2 stealth bomber, at age 25, to get major upgrades from Air Force -- Kansas City

Army intelligence system pulled from key test -- AP

Edward Snowden to work with Russia on anti-spy technology -- Washington Times

Experts: Don't Bet on Revival of 2nd F-35 Engine -- Defense News

Congress Plans to Boost the Tomahawk Missiles Fleet -- DoD Buzz

Hamas tactics highlight U.S. military’s preparation for tunnel warfare -- Washington Post

Beyond UCLASS: Preparing the Navy for Next Generation Warfare -- Samuel Brannen and Michael Horowitz, War On The Rocks

Special Report: The top 5 best bases for airmen -- Air Force Times

Interview: Gen. Charles Jacoby: Commander, US Northern Command and NORAD -- Defense News

It's Time to Get Ready for Cyberwar -- William Brooke Stallsmith, Real Clear Defense

After MH17, France Must Cancel Sale of Warships to Russia -- Robert C. O'Brien, The Diplomat

U.S. military's new foe -- Sharon E. Burke, CNN

As US draws curtain on combat role, resilient Taliban plans patient comeback -- Heath Druzin, Stars and Stripes

6 modern U.S. troops whose extreme heroism didn’t get the Medal of Honor -- Dan Lamonthe, Washington Post

NASA Reveals US Military Plans To Build A Military Base On The Moon

Moonbase Alpha: How site may have looked

US Military Once Planned On Building Surveillance System On The Moon -- ABC News

The United States military once planned to build a surveillance station on the moon.

Code named "Project Horizon," a declassified report released today on the 45th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's historic moonwalk outlines the military's detailed plans to install a moon-to-Earth surveillance system that would have been used for "facilitating communications with and observation of the earth." The report that was originally published in 1959 exceeds 100 pages.

Project Horizon also included a proposal to build a moon-based weapons system that would have allowed the military to launch offensives from the moon towards Earth and even into outer space.

The declassified documents also reveal that the military attempted to investigate the effects of detonating a nuclear weapon on and in the vicinity of the moon.

Read more ....

More News On NASA Revealing US Military Plans To Build A Military Base On The Moon

Secret spy base on the moon:Pentagon planned surveillance station to monitor Earth before Moon landings -- Daily Mail
US Military Planned Spying Base On The Moon -- SKY News
America planned military spying base on MOON and considered firing missiles at enemies from it -- Mirror
US Military Planned Surveillance System On Moon -- Value Walk
Apollo 11 Moon Landing: NSA Reveals US Military Planned Surveillance System On Moon -- Design & Trend

My Comment: This Pentagon report is from 1959 .... they were definitely dreaming then.

U.S. Sgt. Ryan Pitts Receives The Medal Of Honor For His Actions In Wanat, Afghanistan

'It Is For My Fallen Brothers': Hero Who Held Off 200 Taliban Fighters Dedicates His Medal of Honor To The Nine Comrades Who Perished That Day -- Daily Mail

* Ryan Pitts, 28, received the Medal of Honor for his heroics in one of the deadliest battles of the Afghanistan War in 2008
* He spent 90 minutes fighting off enemy fighters despite shrapnel injuries
* Nine paratroopers gave their lives and 27 were wounded
* President Obama said Pitts displays 'the humility and loyalty' that defineAmerica's men and women in uniform
* Sgt. Pitts became only the ninth living recipient of the Medal of Honor to have served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In a proud ceremony that recognized his heroism in one of the bloodiest battles in the Afghanistan War, former Army Sgt. Ryan Pitts became only the ninth living recipient of the Medial of Honor to have served over the past decade.

Presented with the nation's highest military honor by President Obama, Sgt. Pitts was congratulated for his 'selfless service' by his Commander-in-Chief.

Obama said Pitts displays 'the humility and loyalty' that define America's men and women in uniform.

The president noted that the 28-year-old Pitts has said his honor belongs to everyone who was with him during the July 13, 2008 attack in Wanat, Afghanistan.

Read more ....

More News On Sgt. Ryan Pitts Receiving The Medal Of Honor For His Actions In Wanat, Afghanistan

President Obama Presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts -- White House
President Awards Medal of Honor to Former Army Staff Sergeant -- US Department of Defense
Medal of Honor recipient Pitts: 'It is their names, not mine' -- Army.mil
Obama bestows Medal of Honor on NH veteran -- FOX News/AP
Ryan Pitts awarded Medal of Honor for a day when ‘valor was everywhere’ -- Stars and Stripes
Ryan Pitts on the Medal of Honor: The ‘real heroes’ are the nine men who died -- Washington Post
Medal of Honor Awarded to Soldier Injured in Afghanistan -- WSJ
Medal Of Honor Goes To Soldier 'Who Held The Line' -- USA Today
Veteran Who Held Off Taliban Attack On His Own Receives Medal Of Honor -- NPR
Obama awards Medal of Honor to soldier who ‘held the line’ -- The State/McClatchy News
MoH Recipient Wants Son to Know of Outpost Attack -- Military.com/Stars and Stripes

The End Of 'Bomb Sniffing' Dogs?

Researchers Develop Laser ‘Bomb Sniffers’ -- Value Walk

Bomb sniffing dogs may become obsolete thanks to new technology developed by researchers at UC Berkeley

Bomb sniffing dogs have become an important part of law enforcement, but that could change. Over the weekend, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley published their findings in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

“Bomb sniffing” laser sensor

Mechanical engineering professor Xiang Zhang headed up the team. They found a way to make laser sensors sensitive enough to be able to detect “incredibly minute concentrations of explosives,” according to the UC Berkeley News Center. Researchers said law enforcement could use the sensor to detect a type of explosive that is used by terrorists and usually difficult to detect.

Read more ....

My Comment: Dogs give "unconditional love" .... lasers .... hmmmm .... nope. But technology being what it is .... expect these "bomb sniffing" lasers becoming the standard for U.S. soldiers very soon.

American Buyers Scramble To Buy Kalashnikov Rifles Following Sanctions

Gun Buyers Scoop Up AK-47 Rifles After New Sanctions -- FOX News

Following another round of sanctions, demand for Russian-made firearms like the AK-47 rifle has picked up in recent days.

The U.S. and European nations have imposed economic sanctions targeting Russian companies over the country’s role in backing separatists that are fighting the Ukraine government. Additional penalties could be handed down in response to the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight late last week. Federal officials believe the jet was shot down by a surface-to-air missile fired by rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The sanctions unveiled on Wednesday include Kalashnikov Concern, the maker of AK-47s and Saiga firearms. American companies are now prohibited from having Kalashnikov products imported into the U.S.

Read more ....

More News On American Buyers Scrambling To Buy Kalashnikov Rifles Following Sanctions

Treasury Department Tells AK-47-Owning Americans They Won't Be Affected By New Russia Sanctions -- Business Insider
Imports of Russian-made Kalashnikov AK Rifles, Products, Banned Under New Sanctions -- HS Today
If you like your AK-47, you can keep your AK-47 -- Market Watch
U.S. Sanctions On Russia Cause Run on AK-47s -- Inquisitr
Scramble To Buy Kalashnikov Rifles In US Following Sanctions -- Defense World
AK-47s become hot commodity after U.S. sanctions -- CNN
New sanctions have U.S. gun buyers scrambling for popular Russian rifles -- T. Becket Adams, Washington Examiner

Russia's Oligarchs Are Afraid Of Sanctions

Russia's Billionaires 'Horrified' At Sanctions Threat That Could Push Economy Into Recession But Too Terrified Of Putin To Speak Out -- Daily Mail

* Billionaire oligarchs 'scared of sanctions but more scared of Putin'
* Dare not speak out over measures which could cripple Russian economy
* Putin allies are already suffering from existing U.S. measures
* Britain pushing for EU sanctions against Mr Putin’s 'crony group'
* Foreign secretary Philip Hammond said Russia risks becoming 'pariah state'
* Additional U.S. measures may be imposed in the next few weeks

Russia's billionaire businessmen are 'horrified' at the prospect of crippling economic sanctions in response to Moscow's involvement in Ukraine, but are too terrified of president Vladimir Putin to say so openly, it has been claimed.

The U.S. has already imposed a raft of sanctions against Russian companies and individuals with Britain and the Netherlands pushing for the EU to impose even tougher measures following the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

Additional U.S. measures may be imposed in the next few weeks and financial experts believe Russia's $2 trillion economy could be pushed into recession.

Read more ....

My Comment: A small confession .... I am not going to stay up all night wondering how hard life is going to be for these oligarchs.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Look At the Airlines Who Are Flying Over Warzones

War Zones Don't Deter Some Carriers -- Wall Street Journal

Malaysia Airlines Flies Over Conflict Areas Days After Flight 17 Is Downed in Ukraine

Four days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed by a surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine, the carrier and other major airlines are still flying over war zones, underscoring how crucial that airspace is to the industry.

Airlines have discretion to plan flight routes along airways they think are safe, but rely on governments to issue warnings if they deem airspace unsafe. The decision by some airlines to fly over war zones—while others avoid them—underscores the complexity flight routing presents for industry and governments.

A leading global air-safety organization on Monday called for a sweeping review of the procedures aviation regulators use to warn airliners about potential hazards from flying over combat zones. The Flight Safety Foundation called on the International Civil Aviation Organization to hold a high-level meeting about "the systems in place to warn airlines of hostile airspace." ICAO, an arm of the United Nations, typically is the world-wide clearinghouse for notices to pilots and airlines about potential overflight dangers.

Read more ....

My Comment: U.S. airlines are barred from flying over Iraq .... but that is not stopping other airlines.

With Eastern Ukraine Airspace Closed Malaysian Flights Are Now Flying Over The Warzone In Syria

Swedish flight tracking service Flightradar24 AB posted a flight map on its Twitter account on Monday showing the change in the route of Malaysian Airlines flight MH4, which flies from Kuala Lumpur to London.

Malaysia Airlines Flight Over Syria Reflects War Zone Challenge -- Voice of America/Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia Airlines rerouted a flight over Syria on Sunday after its usual path over Ukraine was closed, reflecting the challenges airlines face in finding conflict-free routes between Asia and Europe.

After Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down Thursday by a ground-to-air missile in eastern Ukraine, airlines began to avoid the airspace above where the Ukrainian military has been fighting Russian-backed rebels.

Swedish flight tracking service Flightradar24 AB posted a flight map on its Twitter account on Monday showing the change in the route of Malaysian Airlines flight MH4, which flies from Kuala Lumpur to London.

Read more ....

More News On Malaysian Airlines Flying Over The Warzone In Syria

Malaysia Airlines plane diverts from Ukraine to Syria -- AFP
MAS diverts flight over Syria to avoid Ukraine airspace -- Malay Online
After MH17 Shootdown Over Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines Sends Flight MH4 Over Syria -- IBTimes
Malaysia Airlines flight over war-torn Syria draws fresh criticism -- Wire Update
What could possibly go wrong? Malaysia Airlines rerouting flights over Syria instead of Ukraine -- Blake Seitz, Washington Examiner

My Comment: WTF!?!?!?!

Financial Times Photo Shows Signs Of A Missile Strike On Malaysian Flight MH17

WNU Editor: The Financial Times has published the first photo that shows signs of a missile strike on Malaysian Flight MH17. The link is here.

The Rise Of China's Currency

RMB Developing Quickly As Major World Currency -- China Daily

The renminbi is on track to become the third-largest international currency behind the US dollar and the euro within five years as China accelerates its promotion of the yuan, said a Renmin University of China report released on Sunday.

Last year, RMB cross-border trade settlement amounted to 4.63 trillion yuan ($746 billion), up 57.5 percent from 2012. It accounted for 2.5 percent of cross-border trade settlement worldwide, the report said.

By the end of the fourth quarter of 2013, direct investment settled in renminbi amounted to 533 billion yuan, 1.9 times the same period in 2012.

The RMB is currently the fifth-most widely used currency internationally. The British pound is third and the Japanese yen fourth.

Read more ....

My Comment: China still has a long way to go .... and it has it's own serious economic/debt problems .... but it's currency is rising in value and popularity .... and this is a trend that is only going to continue.

Update: More evidence that the days of the U.S. currency being the world's reserve currency are coming to an end .... BRICS shake up global economic architecture -- AFP

Gaza Underground Infrastructure (A Photo Gallery)

WNU Editor: An impressive photo gallery from Cryptome on the many tunnel complexes that exist in Gaza. The link is here.

Hat Tip: Good Shit

A Look At The Humanitarian Disaster In Gaza

Gaza's Humanitarian Disaster -- Inside Story/Al Jazeera 

As Israel continues its assault on the occupied territory, relief and refuge are in short supply.

The UN Relief and Works Agency has warned of a severe humanitarian crisis as people in the Gaza Strip run out of food and medicine.

The UNRWA says the number of displaced Palestinians seeking shelter in Gaza now exceeds 50,000 in 44 UN schools.

The agency says it is concerned that a more intensive military operation will mean these numbers rise even higher, imposing an additional burden on people who are already vulnerable.  

Read more ....  

My Comment: This is one of those classic situations where the overwhelming majority on one side supports a conflict and war .... and then become horrified that the cost of such a conflict ends up utterly destroying their lives. Hamas enjoys enormous support in Gaza because of their non-compromising position against Israel .... but you reap what you sow and for those who live in Gaza .... hell is now visiting their neighborhoods. Unfortunately .... when this conflict is over .... nothing is going to be resolved. The hatred will still exist .... on both sides .... and the preparations for the next war will be initiated almost right away.

ISIS Continues It's Military Campaign In Both Syria And Iraq

Syria Civil War: Bloodiest 48 Hours Sees 700 Killed as Isis Gain Influence -- IBTimes

More than 700 people were killed in clashes over two days between pro-government forces and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) militants in Syria.

Activists from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the deaths represented the bloodiest fighting since the civil war began in 2011.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and Isis militants battled following the rebel group's capture of the Shaar gas field east of Homs city.

By Thursday 270 have been killed in clashes while the death toll for the day's combined unrest was 396.

Read more ....

More News On Iraq's And Syria's Civil Wars

More than 700 killed in Syria as ISIS tightens grip on east -- Asharq Al-Awsat
Syria Just Had Its Bloodiest Two Days Yet -- Think Progress
Syria rebels battle ISIS jihadists near Damascus -- Daily Star/AFP
'Hundreds killed' in Syrian gas field capture -- Al Jazeera
More Western fighters joining militants in Iraq and Syria -- L.A. Times
A surge of fighters into Iraq and Syria stokes worry about plots targeting US -- Tribune
Time Is Running Out For Iraq As Nation Spirals Into Chaos -- MSNBC
U.N. accuses Islamic State of executions, rape, forced child recruitment in Iraq -- Reuters
Fresh attacks in two Iraq cities kill at least 16 -- AP
Australia teenager behind Iraq blast -- BBC
Jihadists sell Syrian oil to Iraqi businessmen -- Daily Star/AFP
New Parliament Speaker: Iraq ‘Cannot be Divided’ -- Rudaw
Top Kurdish security official warns West of Iraq blowback -- Reuters
Iraq Chaldean Catholic leader says Islamic State worse than Genghis Khan -- Reuters
While Iraq burns, Isis takes advantage in Syria -- Michael Stephens & Sofia Barbarani, BBC
Is Iraq’s Kurdish region outside of ISIS’ calculus? -- Dina al-Shibeeb, Al Arabiya News

Ukraine Civil War News Updates -- July 21, 2014

Fighting Breaks Out in E. Ukraine City of Donetsk -- Voice of America/Reuters

DONETSK, UKRAINE — Explosions rocked the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk Monday as government troops sought to reclaim control of the rebel stronghold, marking the first heavy fighting since Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down last week.

Intense shelling was reported near the rail station. The AFP news agency said that terrified civilians were fleeing the city, though local authorities warned them to stay indoors.

Sergei Kavtaradze, a leader of the pro-Russian separatists, said Ukrainian government forces were trying to break into the city with at least four tanks and armored vehicles.

Read more ....

Ukraine Civil War News Updates -- July 21, 2014

Ukraine's army launches massive offensive operation on Donetsk -- ITAR-TASS
Ukraine launches assault on Donetsk rebels -- Al Jazeera
Kiev forces attack city of Donetsk, civilian casualties reported -- RT
Ukraine conflict: 'People in Donetsk are panicking' -- BBC
Ukrainian troops take control of three settlements in Donetsk region -- ITAR-TASS
Northwest Donetsk rocked by explosions as residents hide in bomb shelters -- Interfax-Ukraine
Ukraine military renews assault on rebels in region where airliner was downed -- Washington Post
Ukraine says military operation in 'active phase', cannot comment on Donetsk -- Reuters
Security Council Says Ukrainian Army Not Behind Donetsk Fighting -- NYT/Reuters
Eight Ukrainian law servicemen killed in special effort zone in 24 hours -- Interfax-Ukraine
Ukraine to Suspend Military Action Within 25-Mile Radius of MH17 Crash Site -- RIA Novosti
Luhansk militants cut off from supply routes -- Kyiv Post
Luhansk to remain closed for three days -- Kyiv Post
Volunteer Aidar Battalion fights on front lines in Luhansk Oblast -- Kyiv Post
Pro-Kiev Forces Receive US Demining Robots for Special Op in Eastern Ukraine -- RIA Novosti
Refugees crisis grows as Ukraine conflict shows no sign of ending -- ABC News
Russia’s Rostov Region Accommodating More Than 35,000 Ukrainian Refugees -- RIA Novosti
Ukraine tops journalist death toll this year: report -- Reuters

Russian President Putin's Approval Rating Among Russians Soars To The Highest Level In Years

Russian Approval Of Putin Soars To Highest Level In Years -- Gallop

Ratings of U.S., European Union leadership sink to record lows, in single digits.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Vladimir Putin's popularity in Russia is now at its highest level in years, likely propelled by a groundswell of national pride with the annexation of Crimea in March on the heels of the Sochi Olympic Games in February. The 83% of Russians saying they approve of Putin's leadership in late April/early June ties his previous high rating in 2008 when he left office the first time.

The 29-percentage-point increase in Putin's job approval between 2013 and 2014 suggests he has solidified his previously shaky support base. For the first time since 2008, a majority of Russians (73%) believe their country's leadership is leading them in the right direction. This renewed faith is apparent in their record-level confidence in the country's military (78%), their national government (64%), and honesty of elections (39%).

Read more ....

More News On Russian President Putin's Approval Rating Among Russians

Putin's Approval Rating Highest in Years, U.S. Gallup Poll Finds -- Moscow Times
New record high poll popularity for the president--Putin, that is -- Investor.com
Vladmir Putin's popularity among Russians soars while Obama diminishes -- Examiner
Putin's popularity in Russia soars to highest level in years as Obama's star fades -- T. Becket Adams, Washington Examiner
Vacation loving president reaches new high in popularity polls -- Hot Air

My Comment: Among all of my Russian family members, friends, and associates .... I can state unequivocally that they are all supportive of Putin. The only person that I know who is a critic of his policies is .... me. Sighhh .... this is not the first time that I have been banished to the wilderness .... nor will it be the last. What can I say .... faced with international criticisms the Russians are now circling the wagons .... and this is not going to change in the foreseeable future. Putin's weakness has always been the economy, but even here many Russians are giving him a pass.