Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
by Bjinse on Mon Feb 12th, 2018 at 09:33:42 PM EST
Conservative hysteria erupts over North Korean cheerleading squad's masks
A controversy erupted on Feb. 10 during the unified Korean women's hockey game against Switzerland when members of the North Korean cheerleading squad donned masks ... as they sang the song, "Whistle," which is about a man's unrequited love for his neighbor.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 12:08:10 AM EST
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Let's recap
While president of Georgia from 2004-2013, Mr Saakashvili was praised [!] for implementing economic reforms but criticised for oppressing opponents. In 2008, the Georgian military fought a seven-day war with Russia over two breakaway enclaves.
After Russia annexed Crimea and fomented a separatist war in eastern Ukraine, he was invited by Mr Poroshenko  ... to serve as governor of the Odessa region. He took on Ukrainian citizenship, prompting the authorities in Tbilisi to remove his Georgian passport.
In late 2016, Mr Saakashvili resigned as governor accusing Mr Poroshenko of corruption and stalling reforms.
Persona non grata
Saakashvili expelled to Poland, border guards had to used force
"[D]uring the procedure, law enforcers were attacked by unknown persons from Mikheil Saakashvili's entourage and the border guards were forced to defend themselves," [Ukraine State Border Guard Servicespokesman Oleh Slobodian] wrote on Facebook on Monday evening.
On February 6, the Kyiv's District Administrative Court dismissed Saakashvili's appeal against the Federal Migration Service's decision to refuse issuing documents to recognize him as a refugee or a person in need of additional protection," he said.
As reported, in July, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree revoking Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship, while the former Georgian president was in the United States.
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko earlier voiced the options of possible measures against Saakashvili in an interview the TSN television channel, they were [1] extradition at the request of the Georgian Prosecutor General's Office, [2] voluntarily return to any country of his choice, for instance, the Netherlands, where his country lives [?!], as well as [3] "voluntarily or forcible deportation to a country of his choice or the country, from which he had illegally crossed the Ukrainian border, namely Poland."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 06:12:47 AM EST
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by Oui on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 09:43:17 AM EST
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A "high-level" group of Commonwealth leaders are meeting to review the governance of the Commonwealth nations - amid a report that the group will also discuss the succession to Queen Elizabeth when she dies.
Any suggestions?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 07:59:15 AM EST
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Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 08:04:25 AM EST
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the difficulty is that Prince charles is not considered good leadership material. Australian politicians have often suggested that when Liz dies, they will reassess their relationship with the UK.

However, both of Diana's sons are popular and I can see this group suggesting that Harry take over the reins to give him an official role that earns his keep with the business.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Feb 14th, 2018 at 08:11:29 PM EST
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Why Harry? Do they have better blackmail material on Harry than they do on William?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2018 at 05:12:46 PM EST
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why blackmail? It's a figurehead role.

William is training to be king so he's got quite a lot of official stuff to be getting on with. Harry doesn't actually have anything to do, so this seems like a good way to keep him occupied.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 19th, 2018 at 04:18:07 PM EST
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I had always thought it was a duty of the Monarch, but I guess it could be delegated. It might be easier for Harry to travel to the various commonwealth countries.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 28th, 2018 at 04:40:37 PM EST
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Israel: Shot-down Iranian drone was copy of US craft - New York Post

The Iranian drone that an Israeli chopper shot down was a copy of an American unmanned aerial vehicle that Iran intercepted six years ago, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus and Yuval Steinitz, a minister in Israel's security cabinet, said the drone was based on a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel, the Washington Post reported.

Experts who examined footage of the downed drone released by the IDF agreed that the shape closely resembled that of Iran's Saeqeh, or "Thunderbolt," drone, which was based on a CIA-operated Sentinel captured by Iran in 2011.

Conricus said he could not specifically confirm that the drone was a Saeqeh and that the wreckage was still being examined. Iran has produced several other drones based on the RQ-170, according to reports.

I read elsewhere that the RQ-170 Sentinel was kept so secret, no pictures have ever been released by the US government, but apparently this was a picture of the drowned drone in 2012 in Iran:

by Bjinse on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 09:52:57 PM EST
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That's not a RQ-170 Sentinel.  The photograph is something in the Predator/Wing Loong class:

The footage:

does seem to show an RQ-170.  How a helicopter was vectored into a successful intercept is interesting since the RQ is supposedly stealthy.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Feb 15th, 2018 at 04:30:26 PM EST
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by Oui on Thu Feb 15th, 2018 at 06:40:23 PM EST
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The Iranian drone: When advanced technology comes back to bite us | JPost |

In April 2016 and June 2017, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems announced its development of a Drone Dome system. The system uses a directed-energy and hard-kill intercept capability to detect and neutralize UAVs used by terrorists to perform aerial attacks, collect intelligence and other threatening activities. These systems have recognized limitations and are still relatively untested.

An open question has been how well Israeli defenses would deal with multiple drones [swarming drones]. Israel has yet to contend with the matter, but if the well-planned use of one drone in combination with antiaircraft missiles led to the downing of an Israeli aircraft, it confirms the comptroller's criticism that Israel is not ready for the likelihood that US technology has been turned against it.

THIS FOLLOWS the Stuxnet cyberattack pattern.

According to foreign reports, the US and Israel used the Stuxnet computer worm in 2009-2010 to sabotage Iran's nuclear program in a series of major incidents that may have set it back several years.

Initially, the cyberattack was heralded as possibly the West's most successful in history, hampering Iran's nuclear program and giving the West and Israel badly needed strategic time to pressure Iran while it still had not crossed the nuclear-weapons threshold.

However, Stuxnet eventually spun out of control and was identified and dissected by Iran and Russia. Top cyber experts say that some of Iran and Russia's most successful cyber attacks have their roots in turning Stuxnet against the US and Israel-just as Iran may have done by adapting the 2011 captured US drone for its own attack-drone needs.

My recent post about Stuxnet cyber warfare ...

Cyber Vulnerability: Contour of Next Global War

by Oui on Thu Feb 15th, 2018 at 07:01:35 PM EST
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there was a fantastic TV prog about this subject on BBC a while back, Zero Days, which detailed how stuxnet worked, how Netenyahu compromised it by being impatient and reckless and how Iran turned it back on the US, including a harmless demonstration of capability.

Which more or less explained why neither Israel nor the US will do any more than sabre rattle over Iran.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 19th, 2018 at 05:37:51 PM EST
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About the drone crash site inside Iran, as I recall there was plenty of misinformation and false photographs. Israel launched drones from its airbase inside Azerbaijan ... always looking for friends near the Iranian border. Drone in photo above also looks like the Israeli Hermes 900 drone.

Another Israeli Hermes drone shot down (near Baghdad) | Fars News - Aug. 2014 |

Quite a strange photo of crash site from RT/Ruptly in 2014

Iran displays Israeli drone downed near nuclear facility (Hermes 450) | RT - Aug. 2014 |

by Oui on Thu Feb 15th, 2018 at 07:50:08 PM EST
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word on the street is, Zuma has 48 hours to resign.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 10:09:17 PM EST
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South Africa: Zuma to Be Recalled After Refusing to Resign, Sources Say
The ANC national executive committee (NEC) has decided to recall President Jacob Zuma at its marathon meeting in Irene on Monday. This brings to an end the stand-off between ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and Zuma.[...\
On Sunday morning, News24 reported that cautious NEC members want the party's highest decision-making body, between conferences, to also give the Parliamentary caucus a mandate to support a motion of no confidence against Zuma, in case he defies the NEC decision to recall him.

South Africa: If Zuma Goes, So Must Parliament - Opposition's Rationale

The seven parties agreed that they will ask National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to urgently move the EFF's motion, scheduled for February 22, up to this week.

They comprise the DA, EFF, ACDP, FFP, UDM, IFP, PAC and COPE.

"Everyone in South Africa has called for the removal of Jacob Zuma," DA leader Mmusi Maimane said at a press briefing in Parliament. "In the context of that, we can't be spectators to the ANC's internal factions. Let us go to Parliament and remove Zuma."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 10:20:51 PM EST
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Jacob Zuma defies ANC demand to quit as South Africa's PresidentJacob Zuma defies ANC demand to quit as South Africa's President
If he refuses to quit, the ANC will be forced into the ignominious choice of siding with the opposition in a vote of no confidence in parliament, or put forward a motion of its own. The president's term of office lasts until next year, and only parliament can remove him before then.

Other than that, how's business in the House of Commons?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 10:24:58 PM EST
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South Africa: ANC Moves to Replace Zuma as President
This was announced by the ANC's chief whip in Parliament, Jackson Mthembu, at a news conference in Parliament on Wednesday. He said the opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), had refused to withdraw a motion of no confidence it had already tabled, and the ANC was procedurally unable to override the EFF motion with its own.
Mthembu said that if Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was available, the ANC might move to elect party president Cyril Ramaphosa as the country's president later on Thursday or on Friday.

The South African Constitution provides that Parliament elects the country's president.

Later on Wednesday, the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, announced that she had scheduled the debate on the no-confidence motion for 2 pm on Thursday.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Feb 14th, 2018 at 03:59:16 PM EST
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Jacob Zuma resigns as South Africa's president - Guardian

Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, has resigned after days of defying orders from the ruling African National Congress to leave office and on the eve of a no-confidence vote in parliament.

In a televised address to the nation late on Wednesday, the 75-year-old said he was a disciplined member of the ANC to which he had dedicated his life.

"I fear no motion of no confidence or impeachment ... I will continue to serve the people of South Africa and the ANC. I will dedicate my life to continuing to work for the execution of the policies of our organisation," Zuma said.

The resignation ended an extraordinary day in South African politics which had begun with a dawn raid on a business family at the centre of the recent corruption allegations levelled at Zuma.

At noon, ANC officials announced they would vote for an opposition party's no-confidence motion in parliament on Thursday.

Late in the afternoon, Zuma gave an angry and rambling TV interview to justify his refusal to obey his own party's order to step down. His speech was more confident and warm. The president expressed his gratitude to the ANC and South Africans for the privilege of serving them at the "pinnacle" of public life.

Here's hoping that this is the start of South Africa and the ANC in particular getting their act back together. Let the cleaning up begin.

by Bjinse on Wed Feb 14th, 2018 at 09:18:19 PM EST
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South African police raid properties of President Jacob Zuma's associates Gupta brothers
"The police did not disclose the identities of the detainees. "

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Feb 15th, 2018 at 01:34:15 AM EST
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Cyril Ramaphosa sworn in today at 14:30 following ANC opposition bid to dissolve the assembly, schedule general election.
South Africa: Parliament Elects Cyril Ramaphosa As President
EFF leader Julius Malema then rose from the floor to say that before the business of electing a new president was conducted, Parliament should debate an urgent motion to dissolve the National Assembly.
"You were represented at those meetings, and you did not mention these issues then," Mbete said. The EFF walked out as a result.

"We will not legitimise the circulation of ANC factions and elites," Malema said over the yells of ANC MPs motioning the EFF caucus out the chamber.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Feb 16th, 2018 at 01:15:34 AM EST
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Crybaby Malema has wisened up moderately since I last wrote about him, because he has got a point (and the ANC knows well how deep the rot has festered) - but Malema is still mostly about theatrics.
by Bjinse on Fri Feb 16th, 2018 at 12:03:13 PM EST
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Police recommends indicting Netanyahu for bribery | Ynet News |

The Israel Police announced Tuesday there is sufficient evidence to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two cases against him, Case 1000 and Case 2000.

Case 1000 concerns illicit gifts Netanyahu allegedly received from business moguls Arnon Milchan and James Packer, whereas Case 2000 concerns talks the premier had with Yedioth Ahronoth owner and publisher Arnon Mozes regarding the Israel Hayom daily.

The police also recommended the indictment of Milchan for giving bribes and Mozes for offering bribes.

Adelson's Yisrael HaYom Doing for Gingrich What It Does for Bibi | Tikun Olam |
Confidential, The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan

Posted as a diary @BooMan - here.

by Oui on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 10:24:48 PM EST
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Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 10:25:51 PM EST
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I guess that's what the Syrians bought the S-300 for.
by generic on Wed Feb 14th, 2018 at 07:37:44 AM EST
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best news we've had out of Israel in years

that said, Israel is now the country that he made, removing him will not clean the stain he's left.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Feb 14th, 2018 at 08:13:42 PM EST
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OK, I'm no native English speaker, but "Police recommends indicting Netanyahu" doesn't read like he's effectively indicted. And unless I'm missing something, he's still not indicted as of tonight.

Polls show support for Netanyahu may be rising after police allegations - Times of Israel

About half of Israelis want Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down over allegations of corruption, but the popularity of his ruling Likud party has been largely unaffected by police recommendations to indict him, a pair of polls released Wednesday showed.

A day after police published detailed criminal graft allegations in two separate cases, recommending the prime minister be indicted, 50 percent of respondents told a Channel 10 news poll Netanyahu should resign or declare his incapacity, while 42% said he should continue to serve as premier.

by Bernard on Wed Feb 14th, 2018 at 09:31:40 PM EST
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And it keeps going on, and on, and on, and on...

So Is Bibi Netanyahu Finally Getting Indicted or What? - Slate

 Israeli police have officially announced that they think there is enough evidence to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for corruption in two separate cases. This long-teased and widely expected announcement does not, however, mean that charges will actually be filed against Netanyahu.

If you're experiencing a bit of déjà vu, that's because there have been "BREAKING" news stories for months now indicating that the Teflon prime minister is on the verge of being prosecuted. But only the country's attorney general can actually file charges against Bibi, and it will likely take him several months to decide whether or not to do so. Even then, Netanyahu would not be legally required to step down.

by Bernard on Sun Feb 18th, 2018 at 07:04:21 PM EST
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Attorney General Knew That Private Investigators Were Tailing Actors in Netanyahu Probe

Erdan urges AG to order probe claims Netanyahu investigators were followed

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan urges Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to investigate claims made by Police Chief Roni Alsheich that the officers investigating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's alleged corruption were followed.

"This is a significant and worrisome statement that should keep the attention of anyone who is responsible for the rule of law and the independence of law enforcement," Eran tells Mandelblit in a letter. "I cannot ignore these things and move on to the next item on the agenda."

"An attempt to intimidate the police investigators who are doing their duty is an act that can not be tolerated," he says.

Last week, Alsheich said that "powerful figures" had hired private investigators to collect information about the police investigators in the corruption cases against the prime minister, apparently to personally discredit them should they recommend indictments.

The Police investigation makes the recommendation for indictment. In a normal procedure the Attorney General follows the recommendation. In case of a Prime Minister, he does not need to step down once indicted. It would take a no-confidence vote in the Knesset to make him leave the Office of Prime Minister. The Likud Party would nominate a new leader and PM. AFAIK

There will be a lingering political crisis in Israel and endless debates in the Knesset causing months of delay before the AG makes his call.

Reminder: They got Capone on tax evasion | Mondoweiss |

 « click for more info »

Tax breaks, visas, et al: The 6 frauds for which police want Netanyahu charged
PM Netanyahu: 'Police recommendations have more holes than Swiss cheese, no new elections'

Further reading ...

Bibitours: Overseas Trips Involved 30 Knesset Ethics Violations | Tikun Olam - 2011 |
New York Times Egypt-Israel Scoop That Never Was | Tikun Olam |

by Oui on Wed Feb 14th, 2018 at 10:05:08 PM EST
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by generic on Mon Feb 19th, 2018 at 12:42:20 PM EST
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Don't you mean "had entered what he said was Israeli airspace"? It was actually shot down over Syrian airspace (the Golan heights).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 19th, 2018 at 12:47:43 PM EST
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His resignation wasn't totally unexpected. Still, it led to some wild and impromptu jubilations on the streets and a collective sigh of relief. His end is partly his own making, the new circumstances, and the oldest rule of politics--that a leader without a solid base of support from which to govern is no leader at all.

Prime Minister Hailemariam had literally no political base--hailing from a small ethnic group in the south--in a country where political loyalty is defined along ethnic lines.   When he assumed the reigns in 2012, many presumed that he would gradually grow out of the shadow of his predecessor, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and become his own man.  He stayed in Meles's cocoon till the bitter end.  To make matters worse, while holding onto the formal trappings of the office, he relinquished actual power to the head of the country's powerful security chief, Getachew Asseffa, and the equally powerful Chief of Staff, General Samora Yunus. And he watched helplessly, at times as a clueless clown, as the two deployed the full might of the state and all instruments of oppression to suppress unprecedented protests by the Oromo and the Amhara, the country's largest and second largest ethnic groups, as well as different groups from his own home turf, the southern region. However, no amount of repression would restore control of the streets to the ruling party.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Feb 16th, 2018 at 01:22:22 AM EST
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Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad are to enter the northwestern district of Afrin, under siege by Turkish forces, in the coming hours after reaching an agreement with Kurdish forces that control the area, Syrian state media said.

Should Syrian government forces enter Afrin, it would re-establish a Syrian government presence along border with Turkey, which has actively supported a range of armed groups intent on overthrowing Assad's government.

by generic on Mon Feb 19th, 2018 at 05:13:59 PM EST
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So no regular Syrian troops. If I'm not getting my atrocities wrong, those are the guys everyone thinks it is A OK to bomb, without starting a war with Russia or pretending it was a mistake?

by generic on Tue Feb 20th, 2018 at 02:10:53 PM EST
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