Students for Democracy - uncensored international political forums
  StudentsforDemocracy home     StudentsforDemocracy - forums     StudentsforDemocracy - guestbook  
Register   Login  
 Main Menu

Warning: This text and the email address is not visible in a browser! Do not ever send any emails to:
ccvfhbgr@contact.studentsfordemocracy.org


 Latest Picture


 SfD Top Posters
No avatar
EngineerSoldier (12240)

SfD's Top-Poster #2
odin (9239)

SfD's Top-Poster #3
tude dog (7668)

SfD's Top-Poster #4
twiw (7595)

SfD's Top-Poster #5
headrock (6554)


 SfD Site Stats
People Online:  30
Memberships: 1107

Newest Members:
smithwig (3/5/2019)
blair2019 (2/19/2019)
caicai2017 (11/14/2018)
GERHARD GUNTER (10/12/2018)
huangjian123 (9/8/2018)

 Please donate!
Newest Link from Studentfordemocracys Link Page

Save the children

War child charity 

 
StudentsforDemocracy World News

Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines 
  • The Shady Connections of a Retired U.S. General Who Made It Rain In Iraq

    The Shady Connections of a Retired U.S. General Who Made It Rain In IraqMohammed Ameen/ReutersLieutenant General Frank Helmick was a decorated U.S. Army officer. In 2004, he led the raid that killed the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s murderous sons, Uday and Qusay. Later, Helmick commanded NATO’s training mission in Iraq, then spent a year as Deputy Commanding Officer of all American forces in the country.But in December 2011, the U.S. military withdrew from Iraq. A few months later, after 36 years in the Army, Helmick retired, too. At the ceremony, then-CIA Director David Petraeus called him an “exceptional officer.”Since then, Helmick’s actions have won him fewer accolades. By the end of 2012, he was back in Iraq. The war had privatized and Helmick privatized with it. U.S. Paid $1B to Contractor Accused of Bigotry at Iraq Air BaseAfter the American withdrawal, Iraq had a gold rush. Billions of dollars of leftover U.S. military equipment was free for the taking and huge contracts were available as the country struggled to rebuild. Helmick used his contacts to take advantage of this. He joined a military contractor that struck deals with Iraqi oligarchs who are steeped in corruption and have at least superficial ties to some notorious Iranian operatives.Some might say that’s just the price of doing business in Iraq over the last few years, but that doesn’t make the business any less ugly.In late 2012, Helmick became Vice President of SOS International LLC (SOSi). At that time, SOSi was a small family-owned company focused on translation and training, and Helmick, as the saying goes, was a rainmaker.A retired general joining a military contracting company isn’t unusual. But many former high-ranking officials cash out simply by joining the board of a large company, earning tens of thousands to attend meetings and lobby old friends. Helmick, for his part, took a more hands-on role than his retired peers, overseeing SOSi’s “Mission Solutions Group” and managing the company’s Iraq work. His qualifications were obvious. As one former SOSi employee told us, “Helmick was hired specifically for his contacts in Iraq.”Before Helmick joined SOSi, the company had never received a large government security or logistics contract, according to government contract databases.Since Helmick signed on, SOSi has won nearly $2 billion in base protection contracts in Iraq and expanded into commercial work. But the deals Helmick helped to make have the potential to land SOSi in legal trouble.A Government Accountability Project investigation for The Daily Beast uncovered substantive ties between SOSi, an Iraqi oligarch who has been linked to Iranian terrorist networks, and a criminal group backed by Iraq’s former prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. All these connections were developed after Helmick joined the company.The FBI is conducting interviews relevant to at least one of the resulting deals, according to sources who were questioned by federal agents about SOSi activities.The FBI declined to comment and Helmick did not respond to our inquiries.Although we submitted detailed questions to SOSi regarding every aspect of this story and allowed weeks to respond, the company declined to address most of the specific issues raised:“The business of SOSi is to support critical activities of the United States government—often in hostile and dangerous environments,” SOSi said in a statement. “The company has been a federal contractor for more than 30 years and has effectively served the U.S. military in Iraq since 2003. In performing this work, SOSi consistently complies with all U.S. and applicable foreign laws. The company likewise carries out extensive programs to ensure that its employees do the same, while also observing the highest professional and ethical standards. … SOSi has no knowledge and is aware of no credible evidence to suggest the existence of any investigation of the company by any federal law enforcement agency.” * * *The Oligarch* * *Helmick joined SOSi with an important relationship: he knew Iraq’s then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki personally. In December 2012, Helmick met with al-Maliki on SOSi’s behalf, according to an interview he gave to the conservative website Human Events. “When I was [in Iraq], I had the opportunity to speak to Prime Minister Maliki, who I have a great relationship with,” said Helmick. “It was Julian Setian, the [SOSi] CEO and myself, and we sat down for 45 minutes.”Helmick also met with other high level Iraqi officials. “I went to see all these guys because I do have pretty good relationships with many of the senior Iraqis,” Helmick said. “I went to see my old buddies.”Helmick said in the Human Events interview that al-Maliki told him Iraq was open for business.At that time, doing business in Iraq meant working with al-Maliki’s people.A key figure in al-Maliki’s orbit is an oligarch named Essam al-Asadi. Several diplomatic and intelligence officials spoke on background about al-Asadi’s connections to al-Maliki, summed up  by one source as “extensive and deep.” And by late 2012, al-Asadi and SOSi were working together, thanks to Helmick.Al-Asadi also has at least a passing acquaintance with some of the shadier characters in al-Maliki’s orbit, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was sanctioned as a terrorist by the U.S. Treasury Department. The Daily Beast obtained photos of a 2015 meeting among al-Asadi, al-Maliki, and al-Muhandis.Al-Muhandis is an advisor to Qassem Soleimani, the infamous commander of Iran’s Quds Force who was blamed for many deadly attacks on Americans and is now preparing for a proxy war against the United States. In 1983, as part of the Iranian backed campaign against Saddam Hussein and his allies during the Iran-Iraq war, al-Muhandis allegedly helped bomb the American and French embassies in Kuwait and in 1985 tried to assassinate the emir of that country.Today, al-Muhandis is the operational commander of Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, a predominantly Shia, quasi-governmental paramilitary network that formed to fight the so-called Islamic State after the virtual collapse of much of the American-trained Iraqi Army in the summer of 2014.Al-Muhandis also commands Kata’ib Hizbollah, a Shia militia in Iraq accused of war crimes by Amnesty International, including torturing and murdering Iraqi Sunnis. The group also has killed American and coalition forces in Iraq. In 2015, Kata’ib Hizbollah kidnapped and ransomed 26 members of the Qatari royal family.Al-Asadi and al-Muhandis may have no financial ties or working relationship, but as the photograph suggests, they travel in the same al-Maliki circles. Essam al-Asadi’s ties to another terror-linked figure are clearer. Al-Asadi has a business relationship with a banker facing Treasury Department sanctions, Aras Karim Habib, who allegedly helped finance the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. In 2004 the CIA reportedly believed Habib was a paid agent of Iran, working closely with the late financier and politician Ahmed Chalabi to draw the U.S. into Iraq. Habib has denied the charges.Habib now runs Al-Bilad Islamic Bank, which was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2018 because of very specific allegations stating “Aras Habib, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Al-Bilad Islamic Bank” had been “assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of [Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force].”The Treasury Department went on to say that Habib “enabled” the Quds Force’s “exploitation of Iraq’s banking sector to move funds from Tehran to Hizballah, jeopardizing the integrity of the Iraqi financial system. Habib, who has a history of serving as a conduit for financial disbursements from the IRGC-QF to Iranian-backed Iraqi groups, has also helped provide IRGC-QF financial support to Lebanese Hizballah. Al-Bilad Islamic Bank is being designated for being owned or controlled by Aras Habib.”Put more simply, as one source told us, “His bank served as a big vehicle for facilitating the movement of money to Iran, Lebanon and Syria.”Previously, Al-Bilad Islamic Bank held shares of Baghdad Soft Drinks Co., Pepsi’s Iraqi affiliate, which is controlled by none other than Essam al-Asadi. Aras Habib served on Baghdad Soft Drinks Co’s board. Al-Asadi’s relationship with Habib was also confirmed by four sources.Neither Nouri al-Maliki’s office, which was sent questions via the Iraqi Embassy in Washington D.C., or al-Asadi responded to requests for comment about their relationship, business deals or connections to Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. SOSi did not respond to questions about its relationship with al-Asadi and al-Maliki.But despite al-Asadi’s unsavory associations, for SOSi, partnering with him was worth the risk.* * *Taji* * *In April 2013, al-Asadi’s network hooked SOSi up. The Iraqi prime minister’s office awarded SOSi an exclusive land use agreement for four Iraqi military bases: Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, Forward Operating Base Hammer in Besmaya, the Umm Qasr Naval Port, and Balad Air Base. This agreement meant only SOSi, and no other contractors, could freely do business on those bases.The land use agreement was signed by an Iraqi government official who worked closely with a corruption network built up around a business originally known as Afaq Umm Qasr Marine Services Company, but eventually referred to simply as Afaq. The broader network’s leadership includes Essam al-Asadi and al-Maliki, according to four sources.Afaq developed into a system of shell companies, businessmen and current and former Iraqi government officials associated with al-Maliki and used by his cronies for organized corruption. Afaq companies partner with foreign companies doing business in Iraq and take a share of the profits, allegedly in return for paying off Iraqi politicians. They also obtain exclusive subcontracts to deliver supplies, like fuel and water, from the companies they’re partnering with for extra profit.During “the Maliki administration [Afaq] was the corporate arm” of the prime minister’s operations center, said a former U.S. government official. Working in Iraq required “some sort of agreement with Afaq,” they said.SOSi is listed as a partner on the website of Afaq Umm Qasr Marine Services, which also goes by AUMS. DOJ Is Investigating Whether U.S. Payoffs to Iraqi Officials Opened the Door for ISISAfaq’s existence and its connections to another military contractor, Sallyport Global Services, were exposed in a Government Accountability Project investigation for The Daily Beast earlier this year. After The Daily Beast published that article, which revealed Sallyport was under federal investigation for alleged payments to Iraqi government officials via a partnership with Afaq, the contractor’s parent company, Caliburn International, canceled a $100 million IPO. Caliburn attributed the cancelled IPO to “variability in equity markets."But even before that, Caliburn International’s S-1 filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States devoted several pages to its problematic relationship with Afaq, noting: “We have voluntarily disclosed to the [Department of Justice] a potential violation of the [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act] and other U.S. laws by Afaq, our former subcontractor, relating to alleged promises made by Afaq to pay Iraqi government officials in exchange for those officials naming Sallyport as a provider of services at the Balad Air Base.”According to our sources, SOSi’s arrangement with Afaq is similar to that of Sallyport. The network considered itself entitled to a portion of SOSi’s net profits and subcontracts at Iraqi military bases. A detailed investigation of the LinkedIn pages of SOSi and Afaq employees revealed Afaq was working with SOSi at Camp Taji through another Afaq controlled company, Shahed al Sharq. Confidential sources confirmed this is the main business name Afaq is using at Taji.The Daily Beast obtained Iraqi corporate records which showed Shahed al Sharq is owned by a figure in the Afaq network, who is also a board member of an Afaq bank, the World Islamic Bank, owned by Sami Shannan Zuwaid al-Asadi, an Afaq leader whose history The Daily Beast documented in our Sallyport exposé. Shahed al Sharq is also registered to the same address as another Afaq company, an entity called Peace Wings for Security Protection and Demining. Peace Wings shares a phone number with Afaq Umm Qasr Marine Services.A former SOSi employee, speaking of Afaq’s deal with SOSi, notes that, “You don’t get an exclusive contract from the Iraqi government having never done that type of work before because you’re good guys.”Today, SOSi’s relationship with Afaq at Taji is the subject of FBI inquiries, according to sources who were interviewed about the ties.Certainly the deal has been lucrative for the company.In May 2013, SOSi received a contract for security and logistics at Balad Air base from the U.S. Army. SOSi lost that contract after generating $79 million in revenue.Despite losing Balad, at Taji SOSi was still making money. The company received sole-source contracts for operations that have collectively paid out over $500 million so far. In December 2018, SOSi won a five-year contract renewal valued at over $1.1 billion at the base. Because al-Maliki and Afaq granted SOSi the exclusive land use agreement, no other companies were allowed to compete with SOSi for this massive contract.Meanwhile, because of the nature of the agreement, SOSi’s profits at Taji aren’t limited to its military contract. Unlike contractors working on Iraqi bases without an agreement with the Iraqi government, SOSi is allowed to restrict other businesses’ access to Taji and charge them rent.SOSi didn’t respond to any questions about its land use agreement or any contracts or subcontracts with Afaq and its allied operations at Camp Taji or other Iraqi bases. The Department of Defense is upset with SOSi’s exclusive control at Taji, according to a 2019 letter written by the State Department and obtained by The Daily Beast through an information request.The letter explains the Department of Defense tried to convince the Iraqi government to allow competition for contracts at Camp Taji. “Embassy Baghdad has continuously and on all occasions declared its support of the Department of Defense request that the exclusive license agreement currently held by SOSi at Camp Taji be rescinded,” said the letter. “All such efforts have been met with resistance from senior [Government of Iraq] leaders.”Afaq wouldn’t allow the U.S. government to take the contract away from SOSi.* * *Beginning of the Partnership* * *The deal at Taji was just one of several. SOSi’s relationship with Afaq and Essam al-Asadi appears to have started with a deal to distribute fuel to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad negotiated by Helmick and Setian a month before Helmick officially joined the company.“Iraq Oil Technology: A new SOSi venture, new partners,” said a December 2012 SOSi tweet.Iraqi Oil Technology is a subsidiary of a company called Al-Essam United Group, according to an archived copy of Al Essam’s website from 2011. Essam al-Asadi owns Al-Essam United Group.“Iraq Oil Technology existed long before SOSi decided to do commercial work,” said a former SOSi employee, who confirmed Iraq Oil Technology had been an Al-Essam subsidiary. “Somewhere down the line it became a joint venture,” they said. Using a pre-existing subsidiary was the “easiest path,” the former employee said, because the company already “had a commercial business license in Iraq.” Al-Essam provided the political connections SOSi needed to move oil within Iraq, said another former SOSi official.It appears Helmick officially joined the Al-Essam subsidiary. At the time of publication, Helmick’s Twitter biography still listed him as Director of International Operations for Iraq Oil Technology.“Iraq Oil Technology was dissolved shortly after it was formed and was never active,” said a SOSi spokesperson in part of the company’s statement. “Any published reports to the contrary would be plainly false.”It’s true Iraq Oil Technology appears to have been short lived. “We didn’t manage to get anything started with them,” said one source involved with the project. “But we understood [SOSi] had strong ties to Iraq.” Sources said the partnership had been created to compete for contracts, including a major contract to supply the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in 2013, which SOSi failed to win. In 2013, SOSi was also doing business with the Babylon Hotel, a Baghdad hotel where Essam al-Asadi is chairman, three former SOSi employees said. “Babylon Hotel will be the perfect option for contractor lodging,” Helmick wrote on Twitter in 2013. “Will be available through SOSi.”In response to questions about the Babylon Hotel, a SOSi spokesperson said the company had never held any direct or indirect “ownership interest” in the hotel. They didn’t address whether the company had a business relationship with the Babylon Hotel.No specific accusations of corruption were made regarding SOSi’s Babylon Hotel and Iraq Oil Technology deals, but given the situation at Taji and Essam al-Asadi’s connections, these deals raised eyebrows among former SOSi employees. While some of the ties are worse than others, none of them are a good look for a retired American general and an American military contractor.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




  • Hotel Hit Squad: The Bulgari Hotel London has upped its game with a new restaurant based on a New York favourite

    Hotel Hit Squad: The Bulgari Hotel London has upped its game with a new restaurant based on a New York favouriteIt is a marvel to me that many New Yorkers think their city has better food than London. I spend four months a year across the pond and am continually exasperated by their saccharine, dairy-free dressings and my regular bouts of food poisoning. I once had to move into my bathroom for 24 hours after an incident involving razor clams, and last summer I encountered a bug so pernicious that it gave me liver damage. There is, of course, truly great dining in New York City. Eleven Madison Park is a treasure, and I can’t wait for chef Daniel Humm to open its cousin at Claridge’s in London. But generally, NyLon transplants don’t fare well. Balthazar was fun for five minutes in Covent Garden, but the promise of fried chicken and live music makes Red Rooster in Shoreditch a no-go for me. Scarpetta is a NoMad neighbourhood staple that recently came to the Bulgari in Knightsbridge in the shape of sibling Sette. I was at the Manhattan mothership a couple of weeks before visiting the London arriviste, and it is – as it always has been – a sort of American Psycho Dorsia throng of businessmen, gloss and quirky negronis, with everyone fawning over the most blogged dish: a $24 (£19) pile of prosaic basil and tomato spaghetti that arrives beneath a glass cloche. It is Florentine trattoria quality, which in New York is celestial praise. I never visited Alain Ducasse’s Rivea, the previous restaurant at the Bulgari Hotel London. I don’t know anyone who did. Its replacement should do well. The basement bar is boîte-like and lovely, while the upstairs dining room bathes that aforementioned spaghetti dish, as well as a fantastic duck and foie gras ravioli, in the kind of light that makes everyone looks comely, nay filtered. The most fawned after dish at Sette – as well as its sister restaurant – is the basil and tomato spaghetti • The sleek and chic Dakota Manchester is a new club classic  Sette couldn’t be more on-message with the Bulgari. The hotel is a luxed-up Italianate experience for people who wear white nubuck driving shoes without socks all summer. It’s what I’d call 'Italian modern' – by and large an oxymoron. Milan may be the centre of the universe in terms of showcasing contemporary design, but there is a tendency the length and breadth of the country to over-egg the pudding of every modish interior with outlandish materials and Hanna-Barbera-on-acid lighting fixtures. Designer Antonio Citterio has articulated something special and different for the Bulgari, with an overall look that’s luxurious and expensive – lots of stained oak, silver and glossed mahogany – but that never tips over into bling. I stayed in one of the many suites – Bulgari I (from £12,000 per night) – which is impressive, indeed. It has a vast living room with a gargantuan custom-made sofa and a giant television that I thought wasn’t working, but which was actually hidden behind a sliding black panel. Lots of stained oak, silver and glossed mahogany are to be found in the rooms and suites – but that never tips over into bling Credit: Roberto Bonardi/Roberto Bonardi • The Richmond Harbour Hotel is a great finishing point for a west London-ish safari – even for territorial eastenders It has an office and kitchen, a behemoth of a bedroom and a bathroom with steam room. Apart from a curious lack of phones where I would have liked them, and the fact that the lights in the lounge never actually turn off (minus eco points), I couldn’t fault the experience. Sure, it’s a little rich for my modernist tastes but like everything else at the Bulgari, from the service to the fragrances pumped out around the corridors, it is exquisite. As well as having dinner at Sette, I had supper with a friend in my suite one night, and was impressed by everything, from quality and flavour (particularly the prawn dumplings, which I had again for breakfast) to generous portion size and pricing. I ordered a burger from room service at the Dolder Grand in Zurich a few years ago and was sent what I can only describe as a slider, for £45. I shudder to think what that costs today in Brexit-era sterling. The Bulgari hotel – where a giant plate of smoked salmon with soda bread clocks in at £21 – offers bargains in comparison. The swimming pool at Bulgari Hotel London is huge and glows in emerald Credit: RICHARD BRYANT • With statement design and high-interest food, ex bank HQ The Edinburgh Grand is bang on the money I get the feeling that the Bulgari hotel is a place where nothing bad could ever happen. It has the most beautiful private screening room in London, and the fitness club is as snazzy as it is well equipped: the space-age green strip lighting around the hallways offers a visual dialogue with the huge swimming pool, which glows emerald. I spent a whole day there, leaving only for a 90-minute £350 Signature Energy Facial that rendered my customary resting-cynic face looking profoundly bright, alert and clean. It was the sort of expression I might wear permanently if my life involved little more than rolling around on the rug of a suite in Knightsbridge wearing nothing but a beautiful, voluminous grey linen robe, full of duck and foie gras ravioli.  Rooms from £660 per night, not including breakfast.  Read the full hotel review: Bulgari Hotel London




  • Johnson to become Britain's new PM with Brexit mission

    Johnson to become Britain's new PM with Brexit missionBoris Johnson takes charge as Britain's prime minister on Wednesday, on a mission to deliver Brexit by October 31 with or without a deal. A politician with celebrity status best known for his gaffes and rhetorical flourishes, Johnson will be appointed by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. The former foreign secretary became the new leader of the governing, centre-right Conservative Party on Tuesday.




  • Johnson Builds Team to Deliver Split From EU: Brexit Update

    Johnson Builds Team to Deliver Split From EU: Brexit Update(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson becomes prime minister Wednesday afternoon, and is preparing to announce his top ministerial team to deliver the U.K.’s exit from the European Union. Brexiteer Priti Patel is expected to be included. Three members of the current Cabinet, including Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, have said they will resign before Johnson takes office.Key Developments:Johnson to be appointed premier by Queen Elizabeth II mid-afternoon; he’s expected to give speech outside Downing StreetIncoming prime minister to give Brexiteer Priti Patel a Cabinet role, according to person familiar with the matter; Employment Minister Alok Sharma also expected to be in top teamJustice Secretary David Gauke and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart have said they’ll step down on WednesdayJohnson to Appoint Cummings as Adviser: BBC (9:40 a.m.)Dominic Cummings, the director of Vote Leave during the 2016 Brexit referendum, is expected to become senior adviser to incoming Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg said in a tweet, without saying how she obtained the information.Cummings, played by Benedict Cumberbatch in a recent television drama, is known for his combative style, and was found in contempt of Parliament this year for refusing to answer lawmakers’ questions about targeted online advertising during the 2016 Brexit campaign. He was previously an adviser to Cabinet minister Michael Gove, who along with Johnson, was the public face of the Vote Leave campaign.While the appointment -- if confirmed -- would further bolster the pro-Brexit credentials of Johnson’s administration, it also risks a potential conflict with the Tory party’s anti-EU caucus. Cummings has called the European Research Group “useful idiots” for the Remain campaign to keep the U.K. in the EU.Duncan Smith: ‘One Last Shot’ at Regaining Trust (9:20 a.m.)Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said Parliament and especially his party has “one last shot” at regaining the trust of voters by delivering Brexit by Oct. 31, warning that the Brexit Party is ready to take advantage if it doesn’t happen.“The truth is that Nigel Farage is sitting in the wings with the Brexit Party, and I think they will be rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of the U.K. not leaving on October 31st,” Duncan Smith told the BBC on Wednesday.It’s a reminder of the difficulty Boris Johnson is likely to face as he tries to unite the Tories to deliver Brexit. Sticking to the Oct. 31 deadline to appease Brexiteers including Duncan Smith will further alienate prospective rebels on the pro-EU wing of the party.Irish PM Set to Speak to Johnson in Coming Days (9 a.m.)Irish European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee told RTE radio that Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and his incoming British counterpart, Boris Johnson, are expected to speak by phone in the coming days. McEntee also said a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for the U.K.“I think the intention is for the Taoiseach to speak to him as soon as possible, whether that’s a phone call later today or tomorrow, or the next few days,” she said.Hancock Rules Out Tory Electoral Pact With Farage (8:30 a.m.)Cabinet minister Matt Hancock -- who is hoping to serve in Boris Johnson’s new administration -- ruled out an electoral pact with Nigel Farage, after the Brexit Party leader told Sky News there was a “possibility” of a deal.“There is no way we are going to have any kind of electoral pact with the Brexit Party, with Nigel Farage,” Hancock told BBC radio. “I don’t want to see an early election, Boris doesn’t want to see an early election.”The Conservatives currently have a single-figure governing majority that includes the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, and an election may be the only way to break the parliamentary stalemate over Brexit. In theory, the Brexit Party could agree not to run candidates in key Tory districts, as long as Johnson keeps his promise to leave the EU by Oct. 31.“Theresa May told us 108 times we were leaving on March 29 and we didn’t, so just because Boris says we’re leaving on the 31st October doesn’t mean we’re going to,” Farage told Sky. “There is a possibility of an electoral pact but we would need to believe them, and at the moment that’s not very easy.”Earlier:Johnson Seeks to Build Team to Deliver Brexit as Revolt LoomsBoris Johnson Needs to Get Serious for Britain: EditorialU.K. Plc Urges Johnson to Soften ‘Hugely Worrying’ Brexit StanceBrexit Bulletin: Team Johnson\--With assistance from Dara Doyle and Peter Flanagan.To contact the reporter on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs, Andrew AtkinsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




  • British vessel transits strait where Iran seized tanker

    British vessel transits strait where Iran seized tankerA large British-flagged vessel transited the Strait of Hormuz and arrived at a port in Qatar on Wednesday in the first such passage made by a British ship of its size since Iran seized a U.K.-flagged tanker last week, according to maritime tracking data. Maritime publication Lloyd's List identified the vessel as the BW Elm and reported that a British warship, likely the HMS Montrose, closely shadowed the large liquefied petroleum gas carrier but that the Royal Navy did not provide a direct escort. The Ministry of Defense declined to specifically comment on the transit and referred to recent comments made by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in which he the confirmed the HMS Montrose has accompanied more than 30 ships over the last ten days through the strait.




  • 2 S. Koreans, 15 Russians held in NKorea after boat drifts

    2 S. Koreans, 15 Russians held in NKorea after boat driftsSeoul says two South Koreans and 15 Russians have been held in North Korea for a week after their boat drifted into North Korean waters. Seoul's Unification Ministry said Wednesday that the crew members were aboard a Russia-flagged fishing boat when it was detained by North Korea on July 17. A ministry statement says North Korea hasn't responded South Korea's repeated calls for their repartition.




  • Drewry Sees DP World's Traffic Jarred by Politics, Rival Port

    Drewry Sees DP World's Traffic Jarred by Politics, Rival Port(Bloomberg) -- U.S. sanctions against Iran and competition from Abu Dhabi are reducing traffic at DP World Plc’s home ports in Dubai, according to industry consultant Drewry.Restrictions on cargo shipments to Qatar due to an embargo by the United Arab Emirates and some other Arab nations have also hurt container traffic in Dubai. However, the recent surge in tensions over shipping incidents in the Persian Gulf region have had little if any impact on DP World’s second-quarter throughput, said Neil Davidson, senior analyst for ports and terminals at London-based Drewry.DP World, which operates ports from Vancouver to Hong Kong, released data on Tuesday showing that it handled smaller cargo volumes in Dubai for the fifth consecutive quarter. The company runs cargo terminals at Jebel Ali and Port Rashid in Dubai in the U.A.E.Davidson also said:U.S. President Donald Trump’s tightening of sanctions on Iran in November was a “significant factor” behind the company’s declining cargo volumes in DubaiTough competition from Khalifa Port in the neighboring emirate of Abu Dhabi also had an impact, particularly due to Khalifa Port’s joint venture agreements with Hong Kong-based Cosco Shipping Ports and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co.Jebel Ali will remain the Gulf region’s biggest port, even if expansion of Khalifa Port erodes Jebel Ali’s market share Abu Dhabi Ports Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Al Shamsi said in December that Khalifa Port’s capacity will double in 2019DP World Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said that U.A.E. ports handled less cargo in the second quarter because of “a loss of lower-margin cargo and challenging market conditions,” without elaborating. A company media official had no immediate response when Bloomberg asked on Wednesday for details.To contact the reporter on this story: Verity Ratcliffe in Dubai at vratcliffe1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bruce Stanley at bstanley5@bloomberg.net, Rachel GrahamFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




  • The Latest: Iran says US did not intercept drones

    The Latest: Iran says US did not intercept dronesIran has again denied that any of its drones were intercepted after the U.S. military said it took aim at two of them last week. U.S. Central Command said Tuesday that one Iranian drone crashed into the sea after the USS Boxer took what Central Command called "defensive action" against it last Thursday.




  • Iran is ready to negotiate but not if negotiations mean surrender - Iran president

    Iran is ready to negotiate but not if negotiations mean surrender - Iran presidentIran is ready for "just" negotiations but not if they mean surrender, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, without saying what talks he had in mind. Rouhani seemed to be referring to possible negotiations with the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran last year but has said he is willing to hold talks with the Islamic Republic.




  • Johnson gets blanket coverage in Iran as 'Britain's Trump'

    Johnson gets blanket coverage in Iran as 'Britain's Trump'Iranian newspapers gave blanket coverage to news that Boris Johnson would become British prime minister on Wednesday, with many comparing him to US President Donald Trump. The former foreign secretary takes power amid a tense standoff with Tehran over British authorities' seizure of an Iranian tanker in early July and Iran's detention of a UK-flagged ship in the Gulf last week. Dailies across Iran's political spectrum splashed his election to lead the Conservative Party -- propelling him to the office of prime minister -- across their front covers.




  • China says US 'power politics' undermines global stability

    China says US 'power politics' undermines global stabilityChina on Wednesday accused the U.S. of undermining global stability with unilateral policies and "power politics" in the Chinese Defense Ministry's first comprehensive outline of its policies since President Xi Jinping came to power. The U.S. was the first country mentioned in the document's opening section about "prominent destabilizing factors" and "profound changes" in the international security environment. "The U.S. has adjusted its national security and defense strategies, and adopted unilateral policies," China said in the document.




  • UK's Johnson will not form pact with Brexit Party - health minister

    UK's Johnson will not form pact with Brexit Party - health ministerIncoming British prime minister Boris Johnson will not form an electoral pact with the Brexit Party or seek an early election to gain stronger parliamentary backing for his Brexit plans, health minister and Johnson ally Matt Hancock said on Wednesday. "There is no way that we are going to have any kind of electoral pact with the Brexit Party and Nigel Farage," Hancock told BBC radio, after being played a clip of U.S. President Donald Trump saying that he expected Brexit Party leader Farage and Johnson to work well together.




  • UPDATE 1-Britain's Johnson to appoint his Brexit team

    UPDATE 1-Britain's Johnson to appoint his Brexit teamBoris Johnson will take office on Wednesday as British prime minister and will unveil the names of the team he has tasked with delivering Brexit by the end of October, with or without a deal. Johnson enters Downing Street at one of the most perilous junctures in post-World War British history - the United Kingdom is divided over Brexit and weakened by a three-year political crisis since the Brexit referendum.




  • Accident in Turkey injures 25 tourists; most from Poland

    Accident in Turkey injures 25 tourists; most from PolandTurkey's state-run news agency says a tour bus carrying tourists from Poland, Russia and Norway veered off a road near the Mediterranean coast and rolled over, injuring at least 25 people. Anadolu Agency said the accident occurred Tuesday near the popular holiday resort of Kemer, in Antalya province. The private DHA news agency said most of the injured were tourists from Poland and two of them were in serious condition.




  • Europe Should Cut Boris Johnson a New Brexit Deal

    Europe Should Cut Boris Johnson a New Brexit Deal(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Britain’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, won the job promising to do something Europe’s leaders have long refused to allow: renegotiate the Brexit withdrawal agreement. The EU should think again — not to help Johnson, but for strictly selfish reasons.The constant sticking point in the Brexit saga has been the so-called backstop — the plan to avoid new border infrastructure between Ireland, which will remain part of the EU, and Northern Ireland, which won’t. This ties the U.K. into a customs union with the EU and requires compliance with much of Europe’s single-market regulation. It would be a kind of second-class membership, with no say in the rules, and no exit clause. The U.K. can devise alternative border arrangements, but Europe gets to decide whether they suffice, and Britain can’t quit the arrangement unilaterally.You can see why Brexiteers are unimpressed. Opposition to this part of the Brexit deal is the main reason Theresa May’s government failed, three times, to get the agreement through parliament. It’s why Johnson is now in charge. Amid the current political chaos, rule nothing out — but the chance that the deal as it stands can be revived in the next 100 days (the Brexit deadline is Oct. 31) and might pass at a fourth attempt seems vanishingly small.Other possibilities are much more likely — a deliberate no-deal Brexit of the kind Johnson has promised as a last resort, an accidental no-deal Brexit if Brexiteers and Remainers in Parliament continue fighting each other to a standstill, a second referendum, a general election — even, conceivably, unilateral revocation of the decision to quit the union. Here’s the thing: All of these possibilities are worse for the EU than agreeing to a new deal with no backstop.A no-deal Brexit would hurt Britain severely, no doubt — but it would also damage the EU’s economies at a time when their prospects aren’t bright. A referendum, general election or revocation of the U.K.’s Article 50 notice to quit would each cause further protracted delay and uncertainty, quite likely with a constitutional crisis (or crises) thrown in for good measure. Again, the U.K. would be the principal victim of the ongoing turmoil — but, again, Europe would suffer collateral damage. A Britain’s that’s half in and half out of the EU is a paralyzing distraction.None of these alternatives offers closure, or even a foreseeable outcome. Europe’s leaders are already sick, justifiably, of the Brexit saga. And that’s why they should be helping to push it toward, rather than away from, an orderly resolution.The form this should take is simple: Take the backstop out of the withdrawal agreement and replace it with an undertaking to avoid, by whatever means, installing physical infrastructure at the Northern Irish border. Exactly how much of a challenge it will be to devise an invisible border depends on the specifics of the long-term trade deal that Britain and the EU eventually strike. Formal negotiations on that long-term deal have barely begun, because Europe insisted on settling the details of the exit deal first. The withdrawal agreement provides for a transitional period where trade arrangements don’t change, pending agreement on the long-term deal. The backstop issues can therefore be tabled and dealt with later.There are two main objections, both seemingly accepted as self-evident truths. In fact, both are plainly wrong.First is the idea that this solution would betray the people of Ireland, north and south of the border, by leaving a vital question affecting their futures unresolved.  But whether one likes it or not, the border issues cannot be fully resolved until the long-term trade deal is finished and the exact nature of the problem laid bare.True, technological and administrative solutions will take time and money to work out — but they aren’t impossible and shouldn’t be dismissed as magical thinking. Bear in mind that EU members apply different rates of value-added tax, which would ordinarily require border checks; these are avoided using exchanges of information, registration schemes, and behind-the-border procedures. The challenge posed by a U.K. that stood outside the customs union and single market would be much greater, but the problem isn’t insuperable.Also, Britain and Ireland both have a compelling security interest in maintaining a low-friction border: A post-Brexit Britain is most unlikely to shirk this obligation. Bear in mind, as well, that in the case of a no-deal Brexit — the alternative that the EU seems willing to contemplate — it’s Brussels, not London, that will be calling for new infrastructure on the border to curb smuggling and protect the integrity of the EU’s single market. The claim that Europe’s insistence on the backstop arises from its overriding concern to maintain an invisible border and peace in the North is more than a little disingenuous.The second objection is that Johnson would seize on any concession as a victory — and the EU, eager to discourage further defections, can’t allow the U.K. anything that looks like success. But if this was ever a danger, the events of the last three years have dispelled it. No other member of the European Union could look at what has happened in Britain since the referendum passed in 2016 and think, “That’s the way to go.”The country’s politics is shattered. The economy has taken a serious hit, with more to come. Two prime ministers have lost their jobs. And the country’s standing in the world seems damaged beyond repair. Is that not a sufficient deterrent? Allowing an orderly exit wouldn’t undo the economic and political harm that Britain has already inflicted on itself. Nor would it assure Brexit’s success — assuming, of course, that Europe’s leaders are right that the EU confers great benefits on its members.Talks and refusals to talk are matters of strategy, and the best course isn’t always obvious. In this case, though, it is. Europe should think again. Insisting on the backstop and refusing to reopen the withdrawal agreement is just plain irrational.To contact the author of this story: Clive Crook at ccrook5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clive Crook is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist and writes editorials on economics, finance and politics. He was chief Washington commentator for the Financial Times, a correspondent and editor for the Economist and a senior editor at the Atlantic.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




  • Europe Should Cut Boris Johnson a New Brexit Deal

    Europe Should Cut Boris Johnson a New Brexit Deal(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Britain’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, won the job promising to do something Europe’s leaders have long refused to allow: renegotiate the Brexit withdrawal agreement. The EU should think again — not to help Johnson, but for strictly selfish reasons.The constant sticking point in the Brexit saga has been the so-called backstop — the plan to avoid new border infrastructure between Ireland, which will remain part of the EU, and Northern Ireland, which won’t. This ties the U.K. into a customs union with the EU and requires compliance with much of Europe’s single-market regulation. It would be a kind of second-class membership, with no say in the rules, and no exit clause. The U.K. can devise alternative border arrangements, but Europe gets to decide whether they suffice, and Britain can’t quit the arrangement unilaterally.You can see why Brexiteers are unimpressed. Opposition to this part of the Brexit deal is the main reason Theresa May’s government failed, three times, to get the agreement through parliament. It’s why Johnson is now in charge. Amid the current political chaos, rule nothing out — but the chance that the deal as it stands can be revived in the next 100 days (the Brexit deadline is Oct. 31) and might pass at a fourth attempt seems vanishingly small.Other possibilities are much more likely — a deliberate no-deal Brexit of the kind Johnson has promised as a last resort, an accidental no-deal Brexit if Brexiteers and Remainers in Parliament continue fighting each other to a standstill, a second referendum, a general election — even, conceivably, unilateral revocation of the decision to quit the union. Here’s the thing: All of these possibilities are worse for the EU than agreeing to a new deal with no backstop.A no-deal Brexit would hurt Britain severely, no doubt — but it would also damage the EU’s economies at a time when their prospects aren’t bright. A referendum, general election or revocation of the U.K.’s Article 50 notice to quit would each cause further protracted delay and uncertainty, quite likely with a constitutional crisis (or crises) thrown in for good measure. Again, the U.K. would be the principal victim of the ongoing turmoil — but, again, Europe would suffer collateral damage. A Britain’s that’s half in and half out of the EU is a paralyzing distraction.None of these alternatives offers closure, or even a foreseeable outcome. Europe’s leaders are already sick, justifiably, of the Brexit saga. And that’s why they should be helping to push it toward, rather than away from, an orderly resolution.The form this should take is simple: Take the backstop out of the withdrawal agreement and replace it with an undertaking to avoid, by whatever means, installing physical infrastructure at the Northern Irish border. Exactly how much of a challenge it will be to devise an invisible border depends on the specifics of the long-term trade deal that Britain and the EU eventually strike. Formal negotiations on that long-term deal have barely begun, because Europe insisted on settling the details of the exit deal first. The withdrawal agreement provides for a transitional period where trade arrangements don’t change, pending agreement on the long-term deal. The backstop issues can therefore be tabled and dealt with later.There are two main objections, both seemingly accepted as self-evident truths. In fact, both are plainly wrong.First is the idea that this solution would betray the people of Ireland, north and south of the border, by leaving a vital question affecting their futures unresolved.  But whether one likes it or not, the border issues cannot be fully resolved until the long-term trade deal is finished and the exact nature of the problem laid bare.True, technological and administrative solutions will take time and money to work out — but they aren’t impossible and shouldn’t be dismissed as magical thinking. Bear in mind that EU members apply different rates of value-added tax, which would ordinarily require border checks; these are avoided using exchanges of information, registration schemes, and behind-the-border procedures. The challenge posed by a U.K. that stood outside the customs union and single market would be much greater, but the problem isn’t insuperable.Also, Britain and Ireland both have a compelling security interest in maintaining a low-friction border: A post-Brexit Britain is most unlikely to shirk this obligation. Bear in mind, as well, that in the case of a no-deal Brexit — the alternative that the EU seems willing to contemplate — it’s Brussels, not London, that will be calling for new infrastructure on the border to curb smuggling and protect the integrity of the EU’s single market. The claim that Europe’s insistence on the backstop arises from its overriding concern to maintain an invisible border and peace in the North is more than a little disingenuous.The second objection is that Johnson would seize on any concession as a victory — and the EU, eager to discourage further defections, can’t allow the U.K. anything that looks like success. But if this was ever a danger, the events of the last three years have dispelled it. No other member of the European Union could look at what has happened in Britain since the referendum passed in 2016 and think, “That’s the way to go.”The country’s politics is shattered. The economy has taken a serious hit, with more to come. Two prime ministers have lost their jobs. And the country’s standing in the world seems damaged beyond repair. Is that not a sufficient deterrent? Allowing an orderly exit wouldn’t undo the economic and political harm that Britain has already inflicted on itself. Nor would it assure Brexit’s success — assuming, of course, that Europe’s leaders are right that the EU confers great benefits on its members.Talks and refusals to talk are matters of strategy, and the best course isn’t always obvious. In this case, though, it is. Europe should think again. Insisting on the backstop and refusing to reopen the withdrawal agreement is just plain irrational.To contact the author of this story: Clive Crook at ccrook5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clive Crook is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist and writes editorials on economics, finance and politics. He was chief Washington commentator for the Financial Times, a correspondent and editor for the Economist and a senior editor at the Atlantic.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




  • Is Boris Johnson really Britain's Trump?

    Is Boris Johnson really Britain's Trump?Both are loudmouthed man-children, whose professional success is a combination of immense privilege, unscrupulous opportunism, and relentless self-promotionBoris Johnson and Donald Trump composite. ‘The similarities are indeed striking.’ Photograph: Reuters; AFP/Getty ImagesThe United Kingdom has a new prime minister, again, roughly three years after Theresa May took over to clean up David Cameron’s Brexit mess. The new PM is Boris Johnson, one of the many European politicians to be portrayed as a local equivalent of the US president Donald Trump in the US media. This time, however, the similarities are indeed striking.Both are loudmouthed man-children, with a history of adultery and other scandals, whose professional success is a combination of immense privilege, unscrupulous opportunism, and relentless self-promotion, all happily promoted by a complicit media environment. They share an “unorthodox” approach to politics as well as a “tell it like it is” communication style – media euphemisms for reckless opportunism and a combination of homophobia, racism and sexism.While Trump mainly lies about himself, from his richness to the size of his inauguration crowd, Johnson mostly lies about the European Union. After first being fired by the Times (of London), for making up a quote from his godfather (historian Colin Lucas), he was quickly picked up by the Daily Telegraph as its EU reporter. From Brussels, where his father had served as a Member of the European Parliament and a top Eurocrat at the European Commission, Johnson filed report after belligerent report bursting with lies and myths about alleged EU regulations and scandals, eagerly repeated by the Eurosceptic elites and masses.> Like Trump, Johnson’s 'gaffes' … include a litany of racist, homophobic, and sexist statementWriting for the paper-of-record for the Conservative party, it set him up perfectly for a political career in a party that was increasingly moving away from Brussels. For years the MP for Henley in Oxfordshire used his Daily Telegraph column to advance his political career, something he continued to do as he was launching his campaign as the next leader of the Conservative party – and, by extension, the next prime minister of the United Kingdom.Like Trump, Johnson’s “gaffes,” another media euphemism almost exclusively reserved for upper-class white men, include a litany of racist, homophobic, and sexist statement, from referring to Africans as “piccaninies” with “watermelon smiles”, to Muslim women wearing burqas as “bank robbers” and “letter boxes”, to gay men as “tank-topped bumboys” and to female Labor MPs as “hot totties”.However, there are also important differences between the American president and the British premier. Trump was actually elected by a much larger percentage of the population than Johnson. While Trump lost the popular vote decisively against Hillary Clinton, he was at least elected by 46.1 % of the voting population. In sharp contrast, Johnson was chosen by the membership of the Conservative party, which accounts for roughly 0.02% of the British population. This makes Johnson’s electorate not just smaller than Trump’s, but also even older and whiter.And while the two share a remarkable flexibility in terms of policy positions, Johnson is much more solidly Conservative than Trump is Republican. Both politically and socially he is the product of an elitist upbringing that is uniquely British and Conservative. As Simon Kuper has so brilliantly described, Johnson is a perfect example of the public schoolboys that brought us Brexit (confusingly, private schools are called public schools in the UK).This is not to say that Johnson is any less a loose cannon than Trump, but he is much more a professional politician. He is also, professionally and socially, fully connected to the British political and social elites – consequently, unlike Trump, Johnson does not really have a chip on his shoulder about being scolded by “the elite”. His support is therefore much more partisan and much less charismatic – in Trump’s terms, Johnson could not kill someone at Oxford Circus and get away with it.In short, Boris Johnson is probably as close to a European Trump as you can find – just as Britain is the most American country in Europe. But Johnson is ultimately British, just as Trump is essentially American. He is a product of a specific elitist class culture, steeped in privilege and tradition, to which he has both an allegiance and responsibility.It is this rootedness in Britain’s elite culture and society that propelled him to power but that will also lead to his downfall. Unlike Trump, who is largely a one-man movement that captured an establishment party with an increasingly anti-establishment electorate, Johnson is the voice of both the establishment and the anti-establishment. And it is this dependence on both elements of the Conservative party, which he perfectly embodies in his own schizophrenic political career, that will make it more likely he goes down into the history books as the shortest term prime minister rather than the prime minister who delivered Brexit.




  • Johnson Seeks to Build Team to Deliver Brexit as Revolt Looms

    Johnson Seeks to Build Team to Deliver Brexit as Revolt Looms(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson will formally take office as U.K. prime minister Wednesday and seek to build a government that will bring his Conservative Party together and deliver Brexit.The new leader, elected with two thirds of members votes, will give hardline Brexiteer Priti Patel a cabinet role and promote politicians of all stripes to try to reflect modern Britain, according to a person familiar with his plans.Johnson spent the hours after his victory Tuesday telling Conservative members of Parliament what most of them wanted to hear: the U.K. will leave the European Union on Oct. 31, and there won’t be an early general election.It was a concerted effort to rally the troops before he takes office -- after Theresa May formally resigns to Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday afternoon. Many Tory MPs fear Johnson will be forced to hold an election to try to break the parliamentary deadlock that destroyed his predecessor, but he assured them in a private meeting that it isn’t his intention.Johnson’s cabinet choices will show the sort of government he intends to lead, and he’ll try to bring the party together when he starts to appoint ministers, the person said. The new premier will fill key roles, including chancellor of the exchequer, foreign secretary and home secretary on Wednesday and promote ethnic minority and women lawmakers to ministerial jobs, the person said.The Hard PartThe announcements will also be the moment when at least some of those who backed Johnson -- hoping for promotion -- will be disappointed, potentially creating enemies for the future.Former International Development Secretary Patel, forced out of May’s cabinet in 2017 after a series of unauthorized meetings with the Israeli government, will be rewarded for her support with a return to cabinet. Employment Minister Alok Sharma will join her at the top table, the person said.‘Vintage Boris’Johnson, who was foreign secretary when Patel lost her job, described her at the time as “a very good colleague and friend” with “a great future ahead of her.’’ It was unclear what roles she and Sharma will be given, though the Times reported that Patel will be made Home Secretary.At the meeting with MPs, Johnson was cheered when he reiterated the key message from his leadership campaign: That he will deliver Brexit by the end of October, come what may. It remains hard to see how he can do that, and his supporters disagree about what constitutes a proper Brexit. But on Tuesday, few were arguing.His speech was “vintage Boris,” Nicky Morgan, who heads Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee, told reporters outside the meeting. Johnson made the party feel better about itself, she said.‘Love-Bombing’That’s not true for everyone, though. So Johnson began the process of trying to win over those who have doubts. “The love-bombing starts now,” he told MPs, according to two people who were in the room.Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, Justice Secretary David Gauke and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart have all said they don’t want to serve under Johnson, citing his pledge to deliver Brexit with or without a deal, and plan to resign to May before she stands down. Other more junior ministers have also quit.Johnson acknowledged the divisions in his victory speech.“I know that there will be people around the place who will question the wisdom of your decision,” Johnson said. His answer was to appeal to their instinctive Conservative values -- owning a home, looking after family -- and to move away from the divisions over Brexit to bring the party together.The appointment of Mark Spencer as chief whip -- a key role in Johnson’s administration given his wafer-thin ruling majority in Parliament -- was welcomed by Tory lawmakers from both sides of the Brexit divide.‘Energy and Enthusiasm’Nicholas Soames, a pro-European and fierce critic of Johnson, called the appointment “a really excellent sane and wise choice” on Twitter, while Steve Baker, a prominent member of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, described him as a “very skillful and authoritative man.”On Tuesday, many Conservative MPs were content to have a leader who cheered them up.“It was such a relief to have some energy and enthusiasm in the room,” said the pro-Brexit Theresa Villiers. She contrasted it with the “rather painful exchanges” between May and Tory backbenchers in recent years.The question is whether Johnson’s charm offensive will be enough over the coming weeks and months. Keith Simpson, who rebelled against the party whip for the first time in his career last week to try to stop a no-deal Brexit, left Johnson’s speech early and unimpressed.“I couldn’t stand any more,” he told reporters waiting outside. “The circus has come to town.”\--With assistance from Joe Mayes.To contact the reporters on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net;Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net;Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs, Emma Ross-ThomasFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




  • Boris Johnson Needs to Get Serious

    Boris Johnson Needs to Get Serious(Bloomberg Opinion) -- And that’s that. With 92,153 votes from Conservative Party members, Boris Johnson — the mononymous former mayor, foreign secretary and Brexit impresario — has become the new Tory leader and hence the U.K.’s prime minister.It will no doubt be an eventful ride. As Johnson takes office, his party is fracturing and his majority is shrinking. A crisis is simmering in the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran has seized a British tanker. Public services are flagging, the economy is stalling, and the pound is sliding. In just 99 days, the country is set to depart the European Union — potentially precipitating its biggest crisis since the war.Is Johnson the man for these challenges?His public record gives reason for pause. As mayor of London, he revealed an aptitude for showmanship but not one for prudence. His stint as foreign secretary was punctuated by reckless speech and mortifying gaffes. Even his allies in government concede that he’s often heedless, unreliable, detail-averse, and unmindful of the truth — hardly a promising combination for the intricate negotiations that lie ahead.Much of Johnson’s stated agenda, meanwhile, manages to be both vague and irresponsible. A centerpiece of his campaign was a package of regressive and unnecessary tax cuts that could cost nearly $25 billion a year. These were paired with extravagant commitments to boost spending on schools, social care, police, broadband expansion, “great projects” and more. Where the money will come from is anyone’s guess.Inevitably, though, it is Brexit that will define Johnson’s term in office. And here his plans are alarming. He hopes to convince the EU (against its will) to completely renegotiate the deal the two sides have hashed out, yet he hasn’t specified what he thinks should take its place. He proposes to replace the deal’s “backstop” — intended to avoid a hard border with Ireland — with technological arrangements that few experts think are feasible. And he has vowed to withhold Britain’s $48 billion divorce settlement unless the EU meets his terms.If this strategy fails, as seems likely, Johnson has vowed to leave on Oct. 31 without a deal, “do or die.” This is in all probability a bluff: Such a chaotic exit would grievously wound Britain’s economy, clobber its public finances, split Johnson’s own party and likely lead to electoral disaster. Cabinet ministers have been preemptively quitting in protest.If he is indeed bluffing, though, Johnson has played a weak hand badly. By asserting that the odds of a no-deal exit were “a million to one,” he has discouraged businesses from making the kinds of preparations — such as stockpiling inputs or revamping supply chains — that would convince the EU to take the threat seriously. By proposing to divert funds from the government’s no-deal reserve to pay for his tax cuts, he has implied that he himself doesn’t take the possibility all that seriously.There is not much that he does seem to take seriously, in fact, which is perhaps the most worrisome thing about the months to come. Nearly any decision Johnson makes on Brexit is likely to have momentous consequences — for his party, for the economy, even for the union itself. If he senses the gravity of the moment, he’s given few signs of it.—Editors: Timothy Lavin, Clive Crook.To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg Opinion’s editorials: David Shipley at davidshipley@bloomberg.net, .Editorials are written by the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




  • Check out This Amazing Video of an Iranian F-14 Firing a Fakour-90 Air-To-Air Missile

    Check out This Amazing Video of an Iranian F-14 Firing a Fakour-90 Air-To-Air MissileThe missile is a copy of the Hughes AIM-54 Phoenix missile that was sold together with the F-14 to Iran in the late 1970s.The following interesting video is the first known footage that shows an Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) F-14A Tomcat firing a Fakour-90 air-to-air missile.The missile is a copy of the Hughes AIM-54 Phoenix missile that was sold together with the F-14 to Iran in the late 1970s.The missile was developed by the Iranian Army, Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, and IRIAF. In Oct. 2011, it was announced that the missile had reached the stage of mass production.The U.S. Navy retired the iconic Tomcat on Sep. 22, 2006 and today the F-14 remains in in service with IRIAF.




  • Boris Johnson Needs to Get Serious

    Boris Johnson Needs to Get Serious(Bloomberg Opinion) -- And that’s that. With 92,153 votes from Conservative Party members, Boris Johnson — the mononymous former mayor, foreign secretary and Brexit impresario — has become the new Tory leader and hence the U.K.’s prime minister.It will no doubt be an eventful ride. As Johnson takes office, his party is fracturing and his majority is shrinking. A crisis is simmering in the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran has seized a British tanker. Public services are flagging, the economy is stalling, and the pound is sliding. In just 99 days, the country is set to depart the European Union — potentially precipitating its biggest crisis since the war.Is Johnson the man for these challenges?His public record gives reason for pause. As mayor of London, he revealed an aptitude for showmanship but not one for prudence. His stint as foreign secretary was punctuated by reckless speech and mortifying gaffes. Even his allies in government concede that he’s often heedless, unreliable, detail-averse, and unmindful of the truth — hardly a promising combination for the intricate negotiations that lie ahead.Much of Johnson’s stated agenda, meanwhile, manages to be both vague and irresponsible. A centerpiece of his campaign was a package of regressive and unnecessary tax cuts that could cost nearly $25 billion a year. These were paired with extravagant commitments to boost spending on schools, social care, police, broadband expansion, “great projects” and more. Where the money will come from is anyone’s guess.Inevitably, though, it is Brexit that will define Johnson’s term in office. And here his plans are alarming. He hopes to convince the EU (against its will) to completely renegotiate the deal the two sides have hashed out, yet he hasn’t specified what he thinks should take its place. He proposes to replace the deal’s “backstop” — intended to avoid a hard border with Ireland — with technological arrangements that few experts think are feasible. And he has vowed to withhold Britain’s $48 billion divorce settlement unless the EU meets his terms.If this strategy fails, as seems likely, Johnson has vowed to leave on Oct. 31 without a deal, “do or die.” This is in all probability a bluff: Such a chaotic exit would grievously wound Britain’s economy, clobber its public finances, split Johnson’s own party and likely lead to electoral disaster. Cabinet ministers have been preemptively quitting in protest.If he is indeed bluffing, though, Johnson has played a weak hand badly. By asserting that the odds of a no-deal exit were “a million to one,” he has discouraged businesses from making the kinds of preparations — such as stockpiling inputs or revamping supply chains — that would convince the EU to take the threat seriously. By proposing to divert funds from the government’s no-deal reserve to pay for his tax cuts, he has implied that he himself doesn’t take the possibility all that seriously.There is not much that he does seem to take seriously, in fact, which is perhaps the most worrisome thing about the months to come. Nearly any decision Johnson makes on Brexit is likely to have momentous consequences — for his party, for the economy, even for the union itself. If he senses the gravity of the moment, he’s given few signs of it.—Editors: Timothy Lavin, Clive Crook.To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg Opinion’s editorials: David Shipley at davidshipley@bloomberg.net, .Editorials are written by the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




  • France stresses need for Iran to respect nuclear accord

    France stresses need for Iran to respect nuclear accordFrench authorities in a meeting Tuesday with an Iranian envoy stressed the need for Tehran to quickly respect the 2015 nuclear accord it has breached and "make the needed gestures" to deescalate mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf region. A statement by the French Foreign Ministry said Seyed Abbas Araghchi gave a message to President Emmanuel Macron from Iranian leader Hassen Rouhani. Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who met with Araghchi, is working with European partners on an observation mission to ensure maritime security in the Gulf, where tensions have mounted after Iran's seizure last Friday of a U.K.-flagged oil tanker.




  • Australian Parliament to ban extremists from coming home

    Australian Parliament to ban extremists from coming homeAustralia is set to pass laws as early as Wednesday that would allow the government to prevent suspected extremists from returning home for up to two years while Australian supporters of the Islamic State group are demanding to be repatriated from crowded Syrian refugee camps. The bills based on British law are scheduled for debate in the Senate on Wednesday after they were passed Tuesday night in the House of Representatives where the conservative government holds a majority. The center-left Labor Party opposition wants the legislation made more consistent with the British model with amendments that would allow a judge rather than Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to decide which Australians are banished.




  • The Iranian Navy's Sorry History of Losing Every Fight

    The Iranian Navy's Sorry History of Losing Every FightOn April 14, 1988, the frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts struck an Iranian mine while escorting tanker ships through the Persian Gulf. The carrier USS Enterprise led a retaliatory raid.Tensions have escalated in the Persian Gulf region in the aftermath of U.S. president Donald Trump’s decision unilaterally to withdraw the United States from the agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program.The U.S. military has implicated Iranian agents in several summer 2019 attacks on civilian ships sailing near Iran. The U.S. Navy sent the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and her strike group to the region. The U.S. Air Force deployed B-52 bombers and F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters.If war breaks out, American forces could target Iran’s small navy as well as the vessels belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps militia.(This first appeared in July 2019.)The battle could be brief. Iran’s fleet has a long history of waging losing fights with the United States and other Western powers.During World War II, the Allied powers worried that Iran, while technically neutral, might sympathize with and aid the Nazis, potentially depriving the Allies of the country’s oil. On Aug. 25, 1941, Commonwealth and Soviet forces invaded.British and Australian warships steamed into Abadan Harbor as part of a surprise attack. HMS Shoreham opened fire first, striking the Iranian warship Palang. Soon virtually the entire Iranian fleet was in ruins and commander-in-chief Adm. Gholamali Bayandor lay dead.The British and Soviets divided up Iran and deposed its shah. In the two decades following the war, the new regime rebuilt the navy with mostly British-made ships, some of which remain in service today.




  • House opposes Israel boycott in bipartisan vote

    House opposes Israel boycott in bipartisan voteThe House overwhelmingly approved a resolution Tuesday opposing an international effort to boycott Israel, a rare bipartisan vote as Democrats try to tamp down increasingly heated political rhetoric over differences with the longtime U.S. ally. Liberal lawmakers, most notably Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., two newly elected Muslim Americans, have spoken out about the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, known as BDS, as they criticize Israel's treatment of Palestinians, particularly in the occupied territories. Republicans have amplified the views of the left flank to portray Democrats as deeply divided and at odds with Israel.




  • Iran Warns Brazil Over Stranded Ship Barred From Refueling

    Iran Warns Brazil Over Stranded Ship Barred From Refueling(Bloomberg) -- Iran has threatened to cut its imports from Brazil unless it allows the refueling of at least two Iranian ships stranded off the Brazilian coast, in a sign of the global repercussions of U.S. sanctions on the Islamic republic.Iran’s ambassador in Brasilia, Seyed Ali Saghaeyan, told Brazilian officials on Tuesday that his country could easily find new suppliers of corn, soybeans and meat if the South American country refuses to permit the refueling of the vessels. Brazil exports around $2 billion to Iran a year, mostly commodities like corn, meat and sugar. Tehran buys one third of all Brazil’s corn exports.“I told the Brazilians that they should solve the issue, not the Iranians,” Saghaeyan said in a rare interview at the Iranian Embassy in Brasilia. “If it’s not solved, maybe the authorities in Tehran may want to take some decision because this is a free market and other countries are available.”State-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA refuses to supply the ships -- which have been floating for over a month off the port of Paranagua, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of Sao Paulo -- due to the risk of U.S. sanctions. Petrobras has said it was a business decision and other companies could sell fuel to the vessels. Without the fuel, the ships carrying Brazilian corn are unable to return to Iran. While Brazil has a long history of good relations with Tehran, President Jair Bolsonaro’s commitment to ripping up the country’s traditional foreign policy has put those ties in doubt.As a strong supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro warned exporters of the risk of trading with Iran, adding that Brazil sides with the U.S. on its policy toward the Middle East country.“We are aligned to their policies. So we do what we have to,” Bolsonaro said.To resolve the stand-off, Iran is considering sending fuel to the stranded ships, although this option would take longer and prove costly, Saghaeyan said.“Independent and big countries like Brazil and Iran should work together without interference from any third part or country,” he added. Saghaeyan has requested a meeting with Brazil’s foreign minister, Ernesto Araujo, but has yet to receive an answer.In a statement the Brazilian foreign office said that it would follow legal guidance on the issue.To contact the reporters on this story: Samy Adghirni in Brasilia Newsroom at sadghirni@bloomberg.net;Sabrina Valle in Rio de Janeiro at svalle@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at jspinetto@bloomberg.net, Bruce Douglas, Walter BrandimarteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




  • US finally gets new Pentagon chief as Senate confirms Esper

    US finally gets new Pentagon chief as Senate confirms EsperFormer soldier Mark Esper was sworn in as US secretary of defense Tuesday after earning Senate confirmation, filling America's longest-ever Pentagon leadership vacuum as Washington faces mounting tensions with Iran and struggles to end the long-running Afghanistan war. President Donald Trump's second Defense Department chief takes over nearly seven months after the shock departure of Jim Mattis, the deeply respected career US Marine who broke with Trump over policy on the Middle East and Afghanistan.




  • Surviving a Traumatic Childhood With the Help of Imaginary Friends

    Surviving a Traumatic Childhood With the Help of Imaginary FriendsA woman who grew up in Iran describes how having nine imaginary friends helped her get through a traumatic childhood.




  • US spars with key allies at UN over Mideast peace approach

    US spars with key allies at UN over Mideast peace approachThe U.S. derided the viability of reaching "international consensus" on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Tuesday, further distancing itself from the two-state solution preferred by most of the world and drawing rebukes from its European allies. President Donald Trump's Mideast negotiator, Jason Greenblatt, delivered the harsh assessment during a U.N. Security Council debate as the White House says it is preparing to unveil the political portion of its Mideast peace plan. Greenblatt dismissed the prospect of reaching global consensus on sensitive issues, including the fate of Palestinian refugees and the final status of contested Jerusalem.




  • US now says it 'engaged' 2 Iranian drones, not 1

    US now says it 'engaged' 2 Iranian drones, not 1The U.S. military says that when it destroyed an Iranian drone last week over the Strait of Hormuz, it also took aim at a second drone. Iran denies it lost any drones. U.S. Central Command says that one Iranian drone crashed into the sea after the USS Boxer took what Central Command called "defensive action" against it last Thursday.




  • How the Middle Classes Ruined Britain review: anyone who eats avocado is the enemy

    How the Middle Classes Ruined Britain review: anyone who eats avocado is the enemyAs a working class, Tory-voting, pro-Brexit comedian, Geoff Norcott is rarer than a hen’s tooth in the liberal, left-leaning, middle-class world of stand-up comedy. So much so, that as soon as the refined folk at the top of the BBC got a sniff of his existence, they threw out a net to catch him and promptly appointed him to a "diversity panel" of people whose existence must be acknowledged in the eternal quest for balance. Norcott immediately set about biting the hand that feeds with How the Middle Classes Ruined Britain (BBC Two), identifying the BBC and we who watch it – “you lot” – and especially anyone who regularly eats avocado, as the enemy. “The thing about the middle classes is they talk out both sides of their mouth,” he said at the outset. “They’re hypocrites because they claim to be virtuous and caring, yet simultaneously they’re doing things that serve their self-interest.”   Whether you agree with Norcott or not, he hit the nail on the head sometimes: “You know the type, usually called Oliver or Jemima – they like a protest march so long as it’s followed by a spot of light brunch.” To begin with, his targets to illustrate middle-class hypocrisy seemed well chosen. Like those who “game the system” to get their little darlings onto the best state schools. He travelled to Manchester to rail at luxury developments with no affordable housing quotas, and to Deptford to join protesters against council flats being redeveloped by a housing charity. Too often though, Norcott’s his views on class seemed to run contrary to his own free-thinking, small state, right-wing views. Especially when he started banging on about the middle classes trying to “keep people like [him] at arms’ length”, using heinous methods like a dating app that only paired up people who’d been to public school. His attempts to game this circle, by consulting a posh dating counsellor and crashing a toffs-only dating event backfired – leaving him looking cowed, obsessed with his own sense of difference, and patronised by everyone he met. Similarly, his decision to try out his schtick on university students’ union officers was a car crash waiting to happen. When his feeble jokes about disability fell on deaf ears and stony faces, the students’ response – that they were unmoved not out of humourlessness but because they had “heard it all before” – left Norcott with nowhere to go and looking weak. In the end, despite successfully skewering some examples of middle-class hypocrisy, his approach was just too scattergun and politically inconsistent. I have seen Norcott shine on The Mash Report and his Right Leaning But Well Meaning stand-up show for Radio 4 was very, very funny. His is a voice that deserves to be heard. But he needs to be sharper if he’s to adopt the role of social commentator and take on something as nebulous as the class system. Otherwise this most relevant-seeming of comedians will quickly end up looking out of touch.




  • US citizens and Iranian relatives sue over travel ban

    US citizens and Iranian relatives sue over travel banA group of American citizens and legal residents trying to bring their Iranian spouses and other family to join them in the United States has filed a federal lawsuit saying they are being unfairly blocked by the Trump administration's travel ban. The families sued late Monday in federal court in Santa Ana, California, saying they have waited months for waivers to be able to be reunited, but the U.S. government hasn't issued them. Escalating tensions between the United States and Iran cause the families additional stress, and they fear they could be separated indefinitely.




  • House Democrats Unveil Climate Goal Short of Ocasio-Cortez’s

    House Democrats Unveil Climate Goal Short of Ocasio-Cortez’s(Bloomberg) -- House Democrats unveiled a target to stave off climate change Tuesday, one that is a far cry from the controversial Green New Deal being championed by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives.Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced they would pursue legislation this year that calls for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a less ambitious but politically, and technologically, achievable alternative to Ocasio-Cortez’s sweeping Green New Deal that called for hitting that target by 2030.“We just think that target is more realistic,” said Representative Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the committee.“If we don’t go down to net-zero carbon pollution by then we have a catastrophic situation,” Pallone said, citing scientific reports on the issue by the United Nations and others.The announcement comes as some Democrats worry the Green New Deal could cost them at the polls. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has thrown cold water on that plan, which drew Republican derision for its jobs guarantee and other elements.“Mainstream Democrats are determined to make climate change a centrist -- not a far left -- policy as an electoral issue,” said Paul Bledsoe, who advised President Bill Clinton on climate issues and now works as an adviser with the Progressive Policy Institute. “I think they are concerned that Ocasio-Cortez and others could actually alienate swing voters rather than attract them with aggressive rhetoric.”Pallone said there would be a series of hearings and meetings with stakeholders with the aim of creating legislation by the end of the year. The first hearing, on ways to decarbonize the economy, is scheduled for Wednesday. “We’re going to start a process,” Pallone said.Pallone said the committee would try to incorporate parts of the Green New Deal into their plan.The Sunrise Movement, the progressive advocacy group that helped pioneer the Green New Deal, criticized Pallone’s announcement, arguing that Democratic leaders were “misrepresenting the science.”“To set a low goal that is misaligned with what science demands out of the gate is irresponsible, and bargaining against our future,” co-founder Varshini Prakash said in a statement.A spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez didn’t respond to a request for comment.Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 is no small task, and may reflect the way the Green New Deal has shifted the political conversation around climate change -- as well the goal posts.“The majority of the Democratic caucus is behind aggressive but not socialist climate policies,” Bledsoe said. “They worry the Green New Deal rhetoric could alienate rather than attract swing voters needed in 2020.”Democratic presidential candidates, including front-runner Joe Biden, have outlined plans to reach decarbonization targets by mid-century as well.But nobody thinks it will be easy. Analysts say achieving such a goal will require massive shifts such as an end to vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, most electricity produced by coal, and the use of natural gas in buildings for heat and cooking. New bio-based fuels for aviation and carbon capture technology for cement factories and chemical refineries will be required. And a shift away from the consumption of meat could be required.“We are looking for any and all ideas,” said New York Representative Paul Tonko, the head of the Environment and Climate Change subcommittee.The Green New Deal’s manifesto, in the form of a non-binding resolution offered in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, calls for a “10-year national mobilization” to shift the nation to 100% “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” -- a high bar, given that fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas and coal) accounted for 80% of U.S. energy consumption in 2018.In addition to Tonko, Pallone was flanked by Bobby Rush of Illinois, the head of the Energy subcommittee, and other committee cardinals. Ocasio-Cortez and other Green New Deal architects didn’t attend the press conference.The Natural Resources Defense Council’s John Bowman applauded the initiative.“Reaching 100% clean energy and zero net carbon pollution by 2050 must be the guidepost for every energy, environmental, and economic policy decision we make over the next 30 years,” Bowman, the organization’s managing director for government affairs, said in a statement.(Updates with Pallone comments starting in third paragraph, Sunrise Movement in ninth.)To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Natter in Washington at anatter5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net, Joe SobczykFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




  • Send in the F-22s: Why Iran's F-14s Are No Joke

    Send in the F-22s: Why Iran's F-14s Are No JokeThe U.S. Navy retired its last Tomcat in 2006. But with its long range and powerful radar, the F-14 remains one of the world’s most capable fighters. For that reason, the Americans for many years have been trying to ground the Ayatollah’s F-14s.Tensions have escalated in the Persian Gulf region in the aftermath of U.S. president Donald Trump’s decision unilaterally to withdraw the United States from the agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program.The U.S. military has implicated Iranian agents in several summer 2019 attacks on civilian ships sailing near Iran. The U.S. Navy sent the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and her strike group to the region. The U.S. Air Force deployed B-52 bombers and F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters.If war breaks out, American forces likely will attempt to secure Gulf air space by destroying or suppressing Iran’s air forces. The regular Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force and the air wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps militia together operate around 700 aircraft.(This first appeared in July 2019.)The IRIAF’s 1970s-vintage F-14s could be U.S. forces’ first targets. According to a survey by Flight Global, the Iranian air force in 2019 operates around 24 F-14 Tomcats from a batch of 79 of the Grumman-made, swing-wing fighters that Iran acquired in the mid-1970s before the Islamic revolution.The U.S. Navy retired its last Tomcat in 2006. But with its long range and powerful radar, the F-14 remains one of the world’s most capable fighters. For that reason, the Americans for many years have been trying to ground the Ayatollah’s F-14s.




  • Russian activist's murder raises fears of wave of anti-LGBT violence

    Russian activist's murder raises fears of wave of anti-LGBT violenceA female activist in St Petersburg has been brutally murdered in what friends fear may be the start of a new wave of violence against LGBTQ people.  Yelena Grigoryeva, 41, was found on Sunday in bushes near her home with stab wounds to her back and face and signs of strangulation, the Fontanka news outlet reported.  Law enforcement later detained a 40-year-old man with a history of bad debts and charged him with murder, it said.  The killing comes after a homophobic vigilante group called Saw, in the style of the horror film, posted that it had “prepared very dangerous and cruel gifts” for LGBTQ activists including Ms Grigoryeva. Russian authorities banned the group's site last week. Vitaly Bespalov, a fellow activist and friend of Ms Grigoryeva whose name was also on the Saw list, said her acquaintances suspected the tragedy was connected to her activism. “She was always standing up against discrimination against LGBTQ people, violence against LGBTQ people, and now she herself has been murdered,” he said.  Ms Grigoryeva had often been photographed at protests holding signs like, “In Russia there are more than 5 million gay people. Because of backwardness and hatred, they have to live secretly”. Mr Bespalov said activists on the Saw list and supporters would ask law enforcement to take measures to prevent further violence against LGBTQ people, fearing her murder was “one link in a bigger chain”.  Last week an LGBTQ support centre in Yekaterinburg received a threat from people who said they had “liquidated gays in Chechnya and Ukraine” and warned that it would “become the next victim of our game” if it didn't shut down.  The email contained a link to the Saw site and an image showing the centre, a bomb, a bloody body and a gravestone.  Activist Dinar Idrisov accused the Russian government of failing to protect Ms Grigoryeva. She had been receiving death threats and even asked a mutual friend to take care of her cat if she was murdered, he posted on Facebook. “Lena and her lawyer appealed to law enforcement about violence, about threats, but there was no noticeable reaction,” he said. “It was all in the style of, 'Call us if you're being killed.' She didn't have time to call.”  Vladimir Putin signed a law against gay propaganda among minors in 2013 as the government stepped up promotion of traditional values and the Orthodox church exerting increasing influence on society.  Activists and groups like Human Rights Watch said the law led to a rash of homophobic violence, including groups of vigilantes who taunted, beat and poured urine on gay people in online videos.  It has also curtailed mental health support and education for LGBTQ youth.  In 2017, several people died after Russia's Chechnya republic began rounding up gay men en masse and torturing them in secret facilities.  Opposition activists have also faced threats and violence. Mr Idrisov was beaten up by three men during a St Petersburg protest ahead of Mr Putin's re-election last year, and his fellow activist Konstantin Sinitsyn was beaten to death shortly before that.  Friends have called into doubt the police conclusion that his murder resulted from a conflict with a coworker.




  • Trump envoy says only direct talks can solve Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    Trump envoy says only direct talks can solve Israeli-Palestinian conflictPresident Donald Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt told the United Nations Security Council Tuesday that an "international consensus" cannot solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, only direct talks between the two. Greenblatt, who is working with White House advisor Jared Kushner on a controversial peace plan, put the United States at odds with other council members by insisting that UN resolutions and international law were not the answer.




  • Turkish banker released from US prison in sanctions case

    Turkish banker released from US prison in sanctions caseA Turkish banker convicted of helping Iran evade economic sanctions has been released from a U.S. prison, his defense attorney said Tuesday. Mehmet Hakan Atilla was released from prison Friday and surrendered to U.S. immigration officials to await deportation, attorney Victor Rocco said. It was not immediately clear when Atilla would be deported to Turkey.




  • Boris Johnson to become new UK PM: What that means for Brexit

    Boris Johnson to become new UK PM: What that means for BrexitCharged with unifying a politically divided country, Johnson will lead the U.K. in the face of an impending Oct. 31 Brexit deadline.




  • IMF downgrades world growth, warns of 'precarious' 2020

    IMF downgrades world growth, warns of 'precarious' 2020Global trade tensions, continued uncertainty and rising prospects for a no-deal Brexit are sapping the strength of the world economy, which faces a "precarious" 2020, the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday. Trade conflicts are undercutting investment and weakening manufacturing, and the IMF urged countries to avoid using tariffs to resolve their differences. "Global growth is sluggish and precarious, but it does not have to be this way, because some of this is self-inflicted," IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath told reporters.




  • 'Different kind of guy' - Trump sees kindred spirit in Boris Johnson

    'Different kind of guy' - Trump sees kindred spirit in Boris JohnsonIn Boris Johnson, U.S. President Donald Trump may be getting the brash British prime minister he wanted after Trump made up his mind that Theresa May was a hapless leader for failing to deliver a credible Brexit deal. Trump appeared poised to quickly extend an invitation to Johnson to visit the White House once he takes over as prime minister on Wednesday after winning the Conservative Party leadership. Suddenly, the two provocateurs will be the caretakers of the "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom that has stood the test of time and underpinned one of the strongest military and diplomatic alliances in the West.




  • Former Israeli PM apologizes for killing of Arab protesters

    Former Israeli PM apologizes for killing of Arab protestersFormer Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak apologized Tuesday for the killing of 13 Arab protesters by Israeli police in 2000. Ehud Barak's statements on Israeli public radio addressed a point of friction between him and Israel's Arab minority. "There is no place for protesters to be killed by their country's security forces," said Barak, the leader of the newly formed Democratic Israel party.




  • UPDATE 1-IMF says Q1 global trade growth slowest since 2012, big downside risk

    UPDATE 1-IMF says Q1 global trade growth slowest since 2012, big downside riskGlobal trade expanded by just 0.5% in the first quarter of 2019, marking the slowest year-on-year pace of growth since 2012 amid signs a more significant slowdown is possible, International Monetary Fund officials said on Tuesday. The IMF on Tuesday lowered its forecast for global growth this year and next, warning that more U.S.-China tariffs, auto tariffs or a disorderly Brexit could further slow growth, weaken investment and disrupt supply chains. IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath told reporters in Santiago, Chile, the global lender did not see signs of a recession, but did see "significant downside risks" for global growth going forward, including escalating trade wars.




  • Trump falsely claims ‘I can do whatever I want’ because of Article 2, as he says people in the UK love him

    Trump falsely claims ‘I can do whatever I want’ because of Article 2, as he says people in the UK love himDonald Trump told a group of conservative students in America that Boris Johnson, the next prime minister of the UK, will be “Britain’s Trump”.“We have a really good man who’s going to be the prime minister of the UK now, Boris Johnson,” Mr Trump said to the audience at Turning Point USA’s Teen Student Action Summit in Washington DC. “He’s tough, and he’s smart,” the president continued. “They say ‘Britain’s Trump’, they call him Britain’s Trump, and that’s a good thing. They like me over there. That’s what they wanted. That’s what they need. “He’ll get it done,” he added, appearing to refer to Brexit, which the new leader has just a few months to finalise. “Boris is good. He’s gonna do a good job.”After praising the next prime minister, Mr Trump attempted to shout out Nigel Farage, who was, according to the president, in the audience. “Where’s Nigel?” he said, placing a hand above his eyes. “He’s here some place. I saw him. I said, ‘what is he doing here!’ He’s a little older than most of you. I’ll tell you what, he got 32 per cent of the vote from nowhere, over in UK. Thank you Nigel. He did a great job. I know he’s going to work well with Boris.”Turning Point opened the president’s speech with a video recalling his election in 2016, beginning from doubt and ending with his victory. Led by right-wing organiser Charlie Kirk, the group is meant to “educate students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government”.Mr Trump used his lengthy speech to disperse lies about his tariffs, saying they’re bringing in “billions” of dollars, insult representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with another riff about her two-part last name, and assert that he has unlimited power.“I have an Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president,” he said to applause, referring to the part of the US Constitution that gives him executive – but not unlimited – power. “But I don’t even talk about that.” As is common with his speeches, he also referenced the number of federal judges he’s appointed while in office. According to him, the current total is 124.




  • Boris Johnson Hires Sky Executive as Adviser to Woo Business

    Boris Johnson Hires Sky Executive as Adviser to Woo Business(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s incoming Prime Minister Boris Johnson hired pay-TV broadcaster Sky Ltd.’s Chief Operating Officer Andrew Griffith as his senior business adviser, giving him the job of improving the government’s relations with U.K. companies.Griffith will start on Wednesday, as soon as Johnson officially replaces Theresa May, according to an internal Sky memo seen by Bloomberg. A 20-year veteran of the company, Griffith most recently helped handle its $39 billion takeover by Comcast Corp.Johnson is looking to bolster his credentials with Britain’s business community, which is concerned about the potential damage of a no-deal Brexit and was stung when he reportedly said “F*** business” after being prodded on the Brexit needs of U.K. employers.In recent weeks Johnson has been using Griffith’s London townhouse as a base as he prepares to enter No. 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence. Griffith, who is also a board member of food delivery firm Just Eat Plc, has previous ties with the Conservative Party, unsuccessfully standing for parliament in both 2001 and 2005.The appointment was first reported by the Financial Times.To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Mayes in London at jmayes9@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at rpenty@bloomberg.net, John BowkerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




  • Johnson Rules Out Election After Leadership Win: Brexit Update

    Johnson Rules Out Election After Leadership Win: Brexit Update(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson addressed Conservative members of Parliament after he was elected their leader and ruled out an early general election. He is preparing to take over as U.K. prime minister on Wednesday and is facing a new civil war inside the party over Brexit.Must read: How Boris Johnson Plans to Deliver Brexit in 100 DaysKey Developments:Trump tweets his congratulations, EU leaders reactRory Stewart joins Hammond and Gauke in indicating he will resignJohnson has just over 3 months to deliver Brexit, deal or no-dealJohnson is selecting his Cabinet; current deputy leader of the House of Commons Mark Spencer will be his chief whipGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel says she’s looking forward to working well with JohnsonThe pound fell for a third day as Johnson’s landslide victory revived Brexit anxietyJohnson’s EU Adviser Is Former Diplomat: BBC (5:30 p.m.)Johnson has appointed David Frost, a former ambassador and Europe Director at the Foreign Office, as his EU adviser, the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg reports.The role, known also as EU sherpa, is a key one for Brexit talks.Frost also worked for Johnson when he was foreign secretary, and is CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.Johnson Appoints Sky Exec as Business Adviser (5:15 p.m.)Boris Johnson has appointed Sky’s Chief Operating Officer Andrew Griffith as his senior business adviser, according to an internal Sky memo seen by Bloomberg.Griffith worked at Sky for over 20 years and most recently helped handle its acquisition by Comcast. Johnson has been using Griffith’s London townhouse in recent weeks as he prepares to enter No. 10.Johnson Enthusiasm May Sway MPs: Villiers (5 p.m.)Theresa Villiers, a former Cabinet minister and an early backer of Johnson, said he’s injected enthusiasm back into the parliamentary Conservative Party, which may help shift the math in the House of Commons.“It was such a relief to have some energy and enthusiasm in the room,’’ Villiers said, contrasting it with the “rather painful exchanges” between Theresa May and Tory backbenchers in recent years.“I’m not naive, I know that the divisions are still there, there’s still going to be difficult parliamentary maths, but I really think there is a lot of support for him and I think opinion has shifted decisively within the Conservative Parliamentary Party,” Villiers said. “There is an acceptance that we promised to leave on March 29 and we didn’t. We got punished in the European elections. We have to stick to this Oct. 31 deadline.”Labour to Call Vote at ‘Appropriate Time’ (4:45 p.m.)Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the BBC the main opposition party will call for a no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson’s government at the “appropriate time,” without giving details.“It will be an interesting surprise for all of you,” Corbyn said. “We will do a motion of no confidence at the time of our choosing.”Earlier, Labour Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer (see 2:45 p.m.) indicated the party won’t propose a confidence motion before Parliament begins its summer recess on Thursday, saying the current focus is on building a coalition of lawmakers to block Johnson from pursuing a no-deal Brexit.MPs Say Johnson’s Bringing Party Together (4:35 p.m.)Matt Hancock, who was knocked out of the leadership contest in voting among Parliamentarians said Johnson’s speech “left everyone feeling good and positive and cheerful.” The cheering was “the sound of the party coming back together,” he told reporters.Former party leader Iain Duncan Smith said Johnson will face trouble from rank-and-file lawmakers but he will “deal with it by leading.” Johnson “lifted the room, made everyone feel part of the team,” Duncan Smith told the BBC.Johnson Rules Out Early Election (4:30 p.m.)Boris Johnson ruled out an early general election, according to three MPs who were in the room for an address to the Parliamentary Conservative Party on Tuesday afternoon.During the leadership campaign, Johnson’s rival Jeremy Hunt warned that if Johnson stuck to his deadline of delivering the divorce from the EU by Oct. 31 it risked triggering an election.“He said he didn’t want an early election,” Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Treasury Select Committee told reporters outside the meeting. She said the speech had been “vintage Boris” and that he makes the party feel better about itself.Not all Tories were impressed (4:25 p.m.)While there were cheers for Johnson in the room, one unimpressed Tory MP walked out before he finished. Keith Simpson, who rebelled against the party whip for the first time in his career last week in order to stop a no-deal Brexit, told reporters outside: “I couldn’t stand any more.”Simpson said Johnson’s speech was “very funny. There was a supermarket trolley, into which he chucked every policy. The circus has come to town.”Tory Cheers Greet Johnson at 1922 Committee (4 p.m.)Boris Johnson is addressing the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee of rank-and-file members of Parliament. As expected, he also got a lively reception with loud cheers and banging of desks -- just as his vanquished rival Jeremy Hunt did moments before.Hunt Gets Raucous Reception From Tories (3:55 p.m.)The Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee of rank-and-file members of Parliament is meeting in Westminster, and Boris Johnson is due to speak shortly. His vanquished opponent Jeremy Hunt just got a raucous reception as he went in, with MPs cheering and banging desks.Merkel Looking Forward to Working With Johnson (3:50 p.m.)Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Boris Johnson on his victory and is looking forward to working well with him, Ulrike Demmer, a deputy German government spokeswoman, said in a Tweet.“Our nations should continue to be linked by a close friendship in the future,” Demmer cited Merkel as saying.Johnson Chooses Mark Spencer as Chief Whip (3:45 p.m.)Boris Johnson has chosen Mark Spencer -- currently deputy leader of the House of Commons -- to be his chief whip, according to a person familiar with the matter. It was earlier reported by Sky News.The role will be hugely important (see 2:10 p.m.) in Johnson’s administration, given the wafer-thin majority with which he will have to govern.DUP’s Foster Calls Johnson, Will Review Support (3:15 p.m.)Democratic Unionist Party Leader Arlene Foster said she’s spoken with Johnson to congratulate him and discuss their shared objectives to implement Brexit and restore devolution to Northern Ireland.In a statement, she said the confidence-and-supply agreement between her party and the Tories remains in place, but will be reviewed “over the coming weeks.” That review "will explore the policy priorities of both parties for the next Parliamentary session," she said.Foster’s support is crucial for Johnson, because the ruling Conservative Party relies on the DUP’s 10 members of Parliament for its majority in the House of Commons. The DUP’s opposition to the Brexit deal struck by Theresa May was influential in persuading Tory rebels to vote against the agreement three times, ultimately bringing about her downfall.Varadkar Anticipates Johnson ‘Engagement’ (2:55 p.m.)Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar congratulated Johnson on his election win but, in a hint of the issues ahead, added he is looking forward to “an early engagement” on Brexit and other matters.Finding a solution to avoiding a hard border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland is seen as key to whether the U.K. Leaves the EU with a deal or not. So far, the Irish government has maintained the EU position that the withdrawal agreement will not be changed.Starmer Hints Labour Will Wait for Confidence Vote (2:45 p.m.)Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the main opposition Labour Party, said the question of whether to call for a vote of no confidence in the government is an issue for leader Jeremy Corbyn. He stressed that the party’s focus is on building the coalition of lawmakers in Parliament to block Johnson from pursuing a no-deal divorce from the EU.The best timing for a confidence vote is when there’s a chance to win it, Starmer told Sky News. That’s a fairly strong indication that Labour won’t propose a no-confidence motion before Parliament’s recess begins on Thursday.Earlier, Corbyn repeated his call for a general election and said in a series of tweets that a no-deal split “would mean job cuts, higher prices in the shops, and risk our NHS being sold off to US corporations in a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump.”French President, New EU Chief Weigh In (2:40 p.m.)“I am happy to get to work with him as quickly as possible, not just on European issues such as Brexit, but on the daily international issues on which we closely coordinate with the British and the Germans, such as the situation in Iran,” Emmanuel Macron says. He salutes the work of outgoing premier Theresa May, saying she was “loyal.”Incoming EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says: “There are many issues to tackle together, we have challenging times ahead of us. We have the duty to deliver something good for the people in Europe and the United Kingdom.”Johnson’s Chief Whip is Mystery Man (2:10 p.m.)The incoming premier is planning to speak to Tory MPs in Parliament in a private meeting at around 4 p.m. and is working on who he’ll appoint to his first Cabinet, a person familiar with the matter said.Only one MP has been told he’ll have a Cabinet job so far -- Johnson’s chief whip, who is helping him choose ministers. It will be a man, but beyond that, the identity of Johnson’s party enforcer remains a secret.It also isn’t yet clear whether Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds, will move in to the premier’s official Downing Street apartment with him.Iran Doesn’t Seek Confrontation: Foreign Minister (1:40 p.m.)“Iran does not seek confrontation. But we have 1500 miles of Persian Gulf coastline. These are our waters & we will protect them,” Javad Zarif says in a tweet in which he also congratulated Johnson.Tensions have escalated between the two countries after the Royal Navy seized an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar earlier this month, saying it carried contraband cargo. Iran retaliated by holding a British tanker on Friday near the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 40% of the world’s seaborne oil travels.Hammond’s Message to Johnson: Get a Brexit Deal (1:35 p.m.)Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has delivered a message to Johnson: get a deal on Brexit.The in-between-the lines message is that Hammond won’t support Johnson if he pursues a no-deal Brexit. Hammond said on Sunday that he’d quit Wednesday if Johnson wins, and he’s an implacable opponent of no-deal departure, having rebelled against party orders last week in a vote on a provision that makes one less likely.Stewart Signals He’ll Quit Cabinet (1:20 p.m.)International development Secretary Rory Stewart on Tuesday reiterated his long-stated intention to resign in the event of Boris Johnson winning the leadership contest. The cabinet minister posted a tweet that congratulated the victorious candidate before saying it’s been an honor to serve in various ministerial roles and concluding with the comment: “Backbench tomorrow serving Cumbria.”It’s not his actual formal resignation, but rather an indication that he, like Justice Secretary David Gauke and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, intends to resign before Johnson takes the reins from Theresa May on Wednesday afternoon.Trump Wastes No Time Congratulating Johnson (12:29 p.m.)Donald Trump was quick to congratulate Johnson. The U.S. president has been highly critical of Theresa May, calling her Brexit strategy “ a disaster.”Tory MP Morgan Says Confidence Vote Unlikely (9 a.m.)Conservative MP Nicky Morgan said there’s unlikely to be a confidence motion against the government this week in Parliament, adding that MPs should give the new prime minister time to establish a Cabinet and lay out policies. The situation will become more unpredictable in September, she said.She told Bloomberg TV that while a no-deal Brexit would be a “highly undesirable outcome,” the Oct. 31 deadline should not be pushed again because businesses want the issue resolved.Morgan also called for the next prime minister to include members of the so-called One Nation caucus of moderate Tories in his Cabinet, citing Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.“Boris talks about unifying the party and that’s absolutely right,” Morgan said. “We have got to heal the divisions in the country, too, so he’s got to make sure there’s a spread of people around his table.”Unhappy Tories Could Back New Brexit Vote: Swinson (Earlier)Support in Parliament for a second Brexit referendum could get a boost from Tories unhappy with Boris Johnson and his apparent willingness to take the U.K. out of the European Union without a deal if he becomes prime minister, according to Jo Swinson, the new leader of the pro-EU Liberal Democrats.“There’s a chance there’ll now be more Conservative MPs, including some people who are currently or soon to be not in government, who can back a People’s Vote as a way out of this absolute Brexit mess,” Swinson told BBC radio. Parliament rejected a second Brexit referendum in a vote in March.Confidence Vote ‘Such a Risk’ for Tories, Gauke Says (Earlier)Justice Secretary David Gauke, who has said he’ll resign if Boris Johnson becomes prime minister, said his Conservative Party colleagues would be wary of bringing down the administration in a confidence vote because it risks bringing the Labour Party to power.“It may well end up with a Jeremy Corbyn government,” Gauke said on BBC radio on Tuesday. “The idea that there will be some sort of national government that gets formed, I don’t think anyone can say that whatsoever.”Gauke’s comments reflect the debate in Westminster about far Tory rebels would go to block a government attempt to pursue a no-deal Brexit. While Gauke, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and former Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan have said they’ll do everything they can to prevent it, the justice secretary’s remarks indicate there may be a line they won’t cross.Earlier:Next U.K. Prime Minister Faces Crises at Home and AbroadBrexit Bulletin: Already in DoubtU.K. Lawmakers Plan Scottish Suit to Block Parliament SuspensionIran Exposes Boris Johnson’s Brexit Bombast: Therese Raphael\--With assistance from Stuart Biggs, Robert Hutton, Thomas Penny, Peter Flanagan, Caroline Alexander and Emma Ross-Thomas.To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Mayes in London at jmayes9@bloomberg.net;Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net;Tim Ross in London at tross54@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




  • Boris Johnson wins race to become Britain's next PM

    Boris Johnson wins race to become Britain's next PMBoris Johnson won the race to become Britain's next prime minister on Tuesday, heading straight into a confrontation over Brexit with Brussels and parliament, as well as a tense diplomatic stand-off with Iran. The former London mayor easily beat his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in a vote of grassroots members of the governing Conservative Party.




  • World reacts to Britain's PM to-be Johnson

    World reacts to Britain's PM to-be JohnsonBritain's main allies congratulated Boris Johnson on Tuesday after he won a party leadership vote that will see him become Britain's next prime minister, but the EU warned of challenging times ahead over Brexit. Trump has declared himself a big fan of Johnson.




  • Iran warns new British PM it will 'protect' Gulf waters

    Iran warns new British PM it will 'protect' Gulf watersIran warned Britain's next prime minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday that it will "protect" waters of the oil-rich Gulf, amid a standoff between the two countries over the seizure of tankers. In the face of rising hostilities with the United States, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Friday impounded a tanker sailing under the flag of US ally Britain. The seizure of the Stena Impero has been seen as a tit-for-tat move after British authorities detained an Iranian tanker on July 4 in the Mediterranean on suspicion it was shipping oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.




  • U.S. charges Chinese nationals with sanctions violations related to North Korea

    U.S. charges Chinese nationals with sanctions violations related to North KoreaThe U.S. Department of Justice said on Tuesday that four Chinese nationals and a Chinese company have been charged with conspiring to evade sanctions related to North Korea by trying to conceal financial transactions on behalf of North Korean entities linked to weapons of mass destruction. In a statement, the Justice Department said an indictment by a federal grand jury in Newark, New Jersey charged Ma Xiaohong, her company Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co, and three of its officials with sanctions violations, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and conspiracy to launder money.




  • Venezuela: widespread blackouts could be new normal, experts warn

    Venezuela: widespread blackouts could be new normal, experts warnCountry struggled to restore power after massive blackout on Monday left millions without powerThe lights went out in most of Caracas on Monday. Photograph: Yuri Cortéz/AFP/Getty ImagesWidespread electricity outages could become the new normal in Venezuela, experts have warned, as the country struggled to restore power after a massive blackout that left millions without power or access to the internet.The energy minister, Freddy Brito, said on Tuesday morning that power had been restored in Caracas and at least five states after the outage which the government blamed on an “electromagnetic attack” at hydroelectric dams in the south of the country. About 80% of Venezuela’s grid is served by hydropower.But energy analysts were deeply suspicious of government claims, arguing instead that years of corruption and mismanagement have eroded Venezuela’s energy capacity.“This blackout is the result of negligent mis-operation of the power grid,” said José Aguilar, a Venezuelan energy and risk consultant based in the US. “These will keep happening and it will get worse before it gets better.”Other analysts express similar incredulity. “It’s hard to believe that it was an electromagnetic attack, when you’ve seen years of theft and corruption in the energy sector,” said Geoff Ramsey, an analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America. “This blackout shows government doesn’t have the tools to return to normalcy.”Some supporters of Nicolás Maduro have claimed that US sanctions aimed at Venezuela’s oil industry have hampered his government’s ability to keep the lights on, but many of those sanctions target individuals accused corruption.A wave of nationwide blackouts struck Venezuela in March helped drive support for Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader who is heading a movement to unseat Maduro.Since taking office in 2013, Maduro has overseen a political and economic crisis without parallel in Latin America’s recent history. Hyperinflation could reach 10m% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, while shortages in foodstuffs and medicines are commonplace. More than 4 million people have fled the country, according the the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.Guaidó swore himself in as president in January, but although he counts on the backing of the US and dozens of other western states, he has been unable to force Maduro from power, and public support for his campaign has run into headwinds.“Popular sentiment goes against politicians that cannot resolve the country’s problems,” said Dimitris Pantoulas, an analyst. “That goes for the whole political class.”Guaidó is set to hold a rally on Tuesday morning in Caracas, where he is likely to address the blackouts.“They tried to hide the tragedy by rationing supplies across the country, but their failure is evident,” Guaidó tweeted on Monday night. “They destroyed the system and they don’t have answers.”





 SfD Poll
SfD back online
don't care
great!
SfD what?
where have you been?
not needed
View Results

 Web Search
Google

 Calendar
Previous Month  April 2019  Next Month
S M T W T F S
  1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
       

Full Calendar

©2003-2016 Students for Democracy |  Site Launched: July 21, 2003

StudentsforDemocracy's validated RSS 2.0 feed

Warning: This text and the email address is not visible in a browser! Do not ever send any emails to:
ccvfhbgr@contact.studentsfordemocracy.org