World News

Dan Williams

Sat, January 14, 2023, 1:32 PM CST

TEL AVIV (Reuters) -Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated in three major cities on Saturday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reform plans, with organisers accusing him of undermining democratic rule weeks after his reelection.

Bestriding a religious-nationalist coalition with a solid parliamentary majority, Netanyahu, now in his sixth term, wants to rein in the Supreme Court in what he has described as a restoration of the balance of the three branches of government.

Critics say the proposed reforms would cripple judicial independence, foster corruption, set back minority rights and deprive Israel’s courts system of credibility that helps fend off war-crimes allegations abroad. Among those opposed are the Supreme Court chief justice and the country’s attorney-general.

After President Isaac Herzog appealed to polarised politicians to “lower the temperatures” of the debates, organisers of the demonstrations – held under chilly winter rain – sought to strike a note of national unity.

“Take an Israeli flag in one hand, an umbrella in the other, and come out to protect democracy and law in the State of Israel,” said centrist ex-defence minister Benny Gantz, who attended the Tel Aviv rally but, like other opposition figures, was not due to address it.

“We Are Preserving Our Shared Home,” read one demonstrator’s placard. Netanyahu was guilty of a “legal putsch”, said another.

Israeli media put the number in attendance at some 80,000, with thousands more at protests in Jerusalem and Haifa.

Social media footage showed a small number of Palestinian flags on display, in defiance of Netanyahu’s far-right allies. One of these, National Security Ministry Itamar Ben-Gvir, told Kan TV he wanted such flags removed but was awaiting the opinion of the attorney-general before ordering any crackdown by police.

The 73-year-old Netanyahu on Friday signalled flexibility on the reform plan, saying it would be implemented “with careful consideration while hearing all of the positions”.

Polls have diverged on public views of the reforms. Channel 13 TV last week found 53% of Israelis were opposed to changing the court appointments’ structure while 35% were in support. But Channel 14 TV on Thursday found 61% in favour and 35% opposed.

Critics of the Supreme Court say it is overreaching and unrepresentative of the electorate. Its proponents call the court a means of bringing equilibrium to a fractious society.

“Tens of thousands of people were at tonight’s demonstrations. In the election held here two and a half months ago, millions turned out,” tweeted Miki Zohar a senior lawmaker in Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party.

“We promised the people change, we promised governance, we promised reforms – and we will make good on that.”

Greek police clash with demonstrators

Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters


“We don’t need protectors!” one of the banners carried by the demonstrators read. Some could be heard exclaiming: “Yankees go home!”


Τους τσάκισε μια μάντρα νομιμότητα

Οι φοιτητές καίνε την Αμερικάνικη σημαία και ενώνονται με


Protesters are rallying against US policy that is “creating tensions” with various countries around the world, starting with China and Russia, as well as against the US attempts to “overthrow the government in Ukraine,” Greek journalist Aris Chatzistefanou. Apart from that, protesters are blaming the US for supporting“Islamic extremists”which led to“well-known consequences.”


“While the Greek government is trying to present the visit of Obama as a visit of a peacemaker, thousands of demonstrators came onto the streets to protest US policy in [such] parts of the world from Latin America to Middle East, Afghanistan and Syria,” Chatzistefanou said.

Pro-Russia Candidate Appears Likely to Win Bulgarian Presidency

Bulgarian pro-Russia presidential candidate, Rumen Radev (Photo by AFP)


SOFIA, Bulgaria — A pro-Russia former air force commander with no previous political experience appeared headed for a decisive victory on Sunday in a runoff election to become Bulgaria’s president. The results prompted the current governing party’s prime minister to say he would resign, setting the stage for early elections in the spring.


A presidential runoff was also held Sunday in Moldova. There, too, a pro-Russia candidate appeared certain of victory over his pro-Western opponent, a former World Bank official. That would put a Moscow-leaning socialist back in the Moldovan presidency for the first time since 2009.


The two elections provided further evidence that nationalism is on the rise in many parts of the globe and delivered another burst of good news for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who has aimed to weaken ties among European Union nations and erode international sanctions on Moscow. Mr. Putin also warmly welcomed the election of Donald J. Trump in the United States.


Growing nationalism — driven by a rejection of Western liberal attitudes and inflamed by the largest refugee crisis since World War II — has further frayed ties between many European Union member nations as populist demands for national sovereignty increasingly drown out pleas for Western unity.


At the same time, stubborn levels of corruption and national economies that continue to lag far behind the West have driven a rising number of voters in the region to cast a warmer eye toward Mr. Putin.


When asked which city he intended to visit first — Moscow or Washington — the presumed victor in Bulgaria, Rumen Radev said he intended to have close relationships in both capitals, and he praised Mr. Trump for his warmer attitude toward Mr. Putin.


“During his election campaign, the new American president-elect openly said that he was ready to develop a more in-depth relation with Russia,” Mr. Radev, 53, said. “This brings big hope for finding a peaceful resolution to the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine and avoiding further confrontation and escalation.”


In both Bulgaria and Moldova, the presidency is largely a ceremonial post, with power concentrated in the prime minister’s hands, a common arrangement in Europe. But the presidents are generally elected by a vote of the whole nation, rather than just one constituency.


In Bulgaria, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov’s coalition government took power two years ago, ending a period of fierce political turmoil that peaked with a major financial crisis in 2014 involving the collapse of the country’s fourth-largest bank.


Like other populist leaders, Mr. Radev has adopted a tough anti-migrant stance, pledging to prevent Bulgaria, which shares a border with Turkey, from becoming “Europe’s migrant ghetto.”


He also vowed to repair ties with Moscow and to push for the end of international sanctions against Russia that were imposed after the seizure of Crimea. Bulgaria remains very dependent on Russia for energy and trade and as a prime source of summer tourists.


“The big question is whether Radev would translate all this political talk during the campaign into actions,” said Daniel Smilov, a program director at the Center for Liberal Strategies, a research group in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital.


Since 2009, Moldova has been pursuing a pro-European Union path. In 2014, it signed an association agreement with the union, and Russia retaliated by imposing import restrictions on a number of Moldovan goods.


The campaign of the likely winner in Moldova’s presidential election, Igor Dodon, featured photographs of him with Mr. Putin. Mr. Dodon, 41, has said he wants to call a referendum on whether to extricate Moldova from its European Union agreement, in favor of membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Union.


The election was held at a time of increased dissatisfaction in Moldova. A separate banking scandal there in 2014 involved the disappearance of $1 billion, roughly an eighth of the country’s gross domestic product, from three of the country’s banks, with many blaming those in power for the rampant corruption, as well as the influence of powerful oligarchs.


“It is a sort of protest vote,” said Igor Munteanu, the executive director of the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives, a Moldovan research group. “This is not a victory for Putin per se, but it is a defeat for pro-democratic forces.”

Why Turkish President dampen his rhetoric.

Transporting the pilot barbarously murdered


ANKARA: Mesajlar  Türkçe (Türk basın incelemesi) AP, Der Sonntag, Corriere Della Sera …


Saturday,November 28 2015, CET time is 10:18:42


Turkey ‘saddened’ about Russian jet’s downing says President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He’s  wishes plane downing had not happened.


To recap


Two days ago:


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned Russia not to “play with fire” but added he did not want to harm relations with Moscow, comments that look more likely to inflame than quell the dispute over a downed Russian bomber this week.


“We very sincerely recommend to Russia not to play with fire,” Erdogan told supporters during a speech in Bayburt, in northeast Turkey. “We really attach a lot of importance to our relations with Russia… We don’t want these relations to suffer harm in any way.”


Erdogan said he may speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a climate summit in Paris next week, a discussion that would be welcomed by the United States and EU, both of which fear the spat has distracted from the battle against Islamic State militants in Syria.


Putin has so far refused to contact Erdogan because Ankara does not want to apologize for the downing of the jet, Putin aide Yuri Ushakov said on Friday.


Today 11/28/2015

… in the western city of Balikesir


…. was the first expression of regret by the strongman leader since Tuesday’s incident in which Turkish F-16 jets shot down the Russian jet on grounds that it had violated Turkey’s airspace despite repeated warnings to change course. It was the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane and drew a harsh response from Moscow…


“We are truly saddened by this incident,” Erdogan said. “We wish it hadn’t happened as such, but unfortunately such a thing has happened. I hope that something like this doesn’t occur again.”


Asked why Putin hasn’t picked up the phone to respond to Erdogan’s two phone calls, he said that “we have seen that the Turkish side hasn’t been ready to offer an elementary apology over the plane incident.”


Erdogan said Turkey downed the jet as a result of what he called the automatic enforecement of the rules of engagement.


Russia’s lower house speaker, Sergei Naryshkin, said on Friday that Moscow had the right to make a military response, calling the incident an “intentional murder of our soldiers.”

(Reporting by Daren Butler; Writing by David Dolan; editing by Ralph Boulton)


The Russian response


Russia is to suspend its visa-free agreement with Turkey at the beginning of next year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrovhas said and has also started sending back Turkish trucks loaded with exports at the border and stopped Turkish tourists – who normally do not need visas – entering the country.



Web Administration


Erdogan’s friendly overture however, came after he again vigorously defended Turkey’s action and criticized Russia for its operations in Syria.”


“Asked why Putin hasn’t picked up the phone to respond to Erdogan’s two phone calls, he said that “we have seen that the Turkish side hasn’t been ready to offer an elementary apology over the plane incident.”


Instead of “elementary apology” Turks were bragging and celebrating their barbaric actions toward already murdered Russian pilot’s body and Erdogan was applauding. After Putin’s plan to punish Turkey, Erdogan is acting like a typical brownnosing Islam. I hope Putin will do to Turkey what Turkey would do if it was done to them. It is time to dismantle ,, threat to world peace’’ .


The US tax payer does benefit in part, at least for now with a strong dollar and cheap gas; but once this is settled, we are going to be back to paying $5 a gallon due to a weakened dollar, and a likely $25-30 trillion dollar national debt

The fifth-generation Sukhoi T-50   tend to grab the most headlines

This tiny Russian plane has a ridiculous number of weapons


In the world of Russian jet fighters, Moscow’s finest  —  such as the Flanker and the fifth-generation Sukhoi T-50  —  tend to grab the most headlines.


But the Yakovlev Yak-130, a comparatively non-glamorous twin-seat jet trainer, is quietly turning heads … because it’s obviously more than just a trainer. The twin-engine jet dubbed “Mitten” by Western intelligence is now showing its credentials as a genuine multi-role fighter.


When an air force wants to maximize its combat potential, a trainer  —  even a jet-powered one  —  might not be the most obvious choice of aircraft.


But today’s multi-role combat trainers are a viable and comparatively low-cost alternative to conventional fighters  —  even one that originates from behind the former Iron Curtain.


Like many post-Soviet military projects, it took a long time before any pilots got their hands on the Yak-130. But now the aircraft is showing up at the Russian air force’s advanced flight training schools.


Further, the Kremlin has begun deliveries to Belarus, a close military ally of Moscow. Previously, the Kremlin delivered Yak-130s to Algeria, another established customer of Russian-made warplanes.


Another option for a future upgrade is a flight refueling probe, which would expand the jet’s range for offensive missions.


Hang two 500-pound bombs, a gun pod and a pair of fuel tanks on a Yak-130 and it will have a maximum operational radius of 367 nautical miles. That’s fairly respectable compared to the F-16, which will haul two 2,000-pound bombs, two AIM-9 Sidewinders, and a pair of external fuel tanks over a radius of 740 nautical miles.


The subsonic Yak-130 belongs to a class of aircraft known as lead-in fighter trainers  —  or LIFTs. For a modern-day air force, LIFTs allow student pilots to familiarize themselves with the advanced technology they’ll encounter once strapped into a front-line fighter’s cockpit.


For its part, the U.S. Air Force is currently looking to buy 350 copies of a new LIFT to replace its hopelessly outdated T-38 Talon jet trainers. The Air Force calls the multi-billion-dollar program T-X.

…..both British planes has shot down while they were carrying weapons for the ISIL terrorists….

FOTO design by Farwa Rizwan/ Al Arabiya News




Fars News and Al-Arabiya – Iraq’s army has shot down two British planes as they were carrying weapons for the ISIL terrorists in Al-Anbar province, a senior lawmaker disclosed on Monday.


“The Iraqi Parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee has access to the photos of both planes that are British and have crashed while they were carrying weapons for the ISIL,” Head of the committee Hakem al-Zamelisaid, according to a Monday report of the Arabic-language information center of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.


He said the Iraqi parliament has asked London for explanations in this regard.


The senior Iraqi legislator further unveiled that the government in Baghdad is receiving daily reports from people and security forces in al-Anbar province on numerous flights by the US-led coalition planes that airdrop weapons and supplies for ISIL in terrorist-held areas.


The Iraqi lawmaker further noted the cause of such western aids to the terrorist group, and explained that the US prefers a chaotic situation in Anbar Province which is near the cities of Karbala and Baghdad as it does not want the ISIL crisis to come to an end.


Earlier today, a senior Iraqi provincial official lashed out at the western countries and their regional allies for supporting Takfiri terrorists in Iraq, revealing that US and Israeli-made weapons have been discovered from the areas purged of ISIL terrorists.


“We have discovered weapons made in the US, European countries and Israel from the areas liberated from ISIL’s control in Al-Baqdadi region,” the Al-Ahad news website quoted Head of Al-Anbar Provincial Council KhalafTarmouz as saying.


He noted that the weapons made by the European countries and Israel were discovered from the terrorists in the Eastern parts of the city of Ramadi.


Al-Zameli had also disclosed in January that the anti-ISIL coalition’s planes have dropped weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL in Salahuddin, Al-Anbar and Diyala provinces.


Al-Zameli underlined that  the coalition is the main cause of ISIL’s survival in Iraq.


“There are proofs and evidence for the US-led coalition’s military aid to ISIL terrorists through air(dropped cargoes),” he told FNA in January.


He noted that the members of his committee have already proved that the US planes have dropped advanced weaponry, including anti-aircraft weapons, for the ISIL, and that it has set up an investigation committee to probe into the matter.


“The US drops weapons for the ISIL on the excuse of not knowing about the whereabouts of the ISIL positions and it is trying to distort the reality with its allegations.


He noted that the committee had collected the data and the evidence provided by eyewitnesses, including Iraqi army officers and the popular forces, and said, “These documents are given to the investigation committee … and the necessary measures will be taken to protect the Iraqi airspace.”


Also in January, another senior Iraqi legislator reiterated that the US-led coalition is the main cause of ISIL’s survival in Iraq.


“The international coalition is only an excuse for protecting the ISIL and helping the terrorist group with equipment and weapons,” Jome Divan, who is member of the al-Sadr bloc in the Iraqi parliament, said.


He said the coalition’s support for the ISIL is now evident to everyone, and continued, “The coalition has not targeted ISIL’s main positions in Iraq.”


In late December, Iraqi Parliamentary Security and Defense Commission MP disclosed that a US plane supplied the ISIL terrorist organization with arms and ammunition in Salahuddin province.


MP Majid al-Gharawi stated that the available information pointed out that US planes are supplying ISIL organization, not only in Salahuddin province, but also other provinces, Iraq TradeLink reported.


He added that the US and the international coalition are “not serious in fighting against the ISIL organization, because they have the technological power to determine the presence of ISIL gunmen and destroy them in one month”.


Gharawi added that “the US is trying to expand the time of the war against the ISIL to get guarantees from the Iraqi government to have its bases in Mosul and Anbar provinces.”


Salahuddin security commission also disclosed that “unknown planes threw arms and ammunition to the ISIL gunmen Southeast of Tikrit city”.


Also in Late December, a senior Iraqi lawmaker raised doubts about the seriousness of the anti-ISIL coalition led by the US, and said that the terrorist group still received aids dropped by unidentified aircraft.


“The international coalition is not serious about air strikes on ISIL terrorists and is even seeking to take out the popular (voluntary) forces from the battlefield against the Takfiris so that the problem with ISIL remains unsolved in the near future,” Nahlah al-Hababi told FNA.


“The ISIL terrorists are still receiving aids from unidentified fighter jets in Iraq and Syria,” she added.


Hababi said that the coalition’s precise airstrikes are launched only in those areas where the Kurdish Pishmargaforces are present, while military strikes in other regions are not so much precise.


In late December, the US-led coalition dropped aids to the Takfiri militants in an area North of Baghdad.


Field sources in Iraq told al-Manar that the international coalition airplanes dropped aids to the terrorist militants in Balad, an area which lies in Salahuddin province North of Baghdad.


In October, a high-ranking Iranian commander also slammed the US for providing aid supplies to ISIL, adding that the US claims that the weapons were mistakenly airdropped to ISIL were untrue.


“The US and the so-called anti-ISIL coalition claim that they have launched a campaign against this terrorist and criminal group – while supplying them with weapons, food and medicine in Jalawla region (a town in DiyalaGovernorate, Iraq). This explicitly displays the falsity of the coalition’s and the US’ claims,” Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said.


The US claimed that it had airdropped weapons and medical aid to Kurdish fighters confronting the ISIL in Kobani, near the Turkish border in Northern Syria.


The US Defense Department said that it had airdropped 28 bundles of weapons and supplies, but one of them did not make it into the hands of the Kurdish fighters.


Video footage later showed that some of the weapons that the US airdropped were taken by ISIL militants.


The Iranian commander insisted that the US had the necessary intelligence about ISIL’s deployment in the region and that their claims to have mistakenly airdropped weapons to them are as unlikely as they are untrue.


“No to Maidan – no to war”

People wearing orange ribbons of St. George, a symbol widely associated with pro-Russian protests in Ukraine attend an “Anti-Maidan” rally to protest against the 2014 Kiev uprising, which ousted President Viktor Yanukovich, in Moscow February 21, 2015 (Reuters / Sergey Karpukhin)


The march had a slogan: “A year since Maidan. We won’t forget, we won’t forgive!” The banners people were carrying read: “No to Maidan – no to war”, “Russia against Maidan”, “Maidan is deceit”. According to its organizers, the rally numbered 50,000 people.


Aleksandr Zaldostanov, the leader of Russian motorcycle club “The Night Wolves”, said: “When the mobilization of Russia’s enemies takes place, I call to rally round Russia’s president,” TASS reported.


The “Anti-Maidan” movement was founded this January in Moscow by a group of social activists to counter what they believe could pose a threat to Russia. Its main goal is to prevent so-called “color revolutions” in the country.


Russian President Vladimir Putin, FIFA president Joseph Blatter and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during the official ceremony of handing over the 2018 World Cup signed certificate to Russia

Brazil hands over World Cup to Russia at Rio’s Maracana Stadium


From right: Russian President Vladimir Putin, FIFA president Joseph Blatter and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseffduring the official ceremony of handing over the 2018 World Cup signed certificate to Russia, July 13, 2014. (RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskyi)


Published time: July 13, 2014 23:00


News in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil-The Rio Times


Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff symbolically handed over the World Cup to her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Sunday, as Russia is set to host the 2018 tournament. The two were joined by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

The ceremony took place inside Maracana Stadium before the Germany-Argentina final in Rio de Janeiro.

“I want to congratulate President Rousseff on how the World Cup was organized,” Putin said, according to a FIFA statement. “We will do all we can to organize the event on the highest level.”


“Football helps to solve social problems. Our task is to create the best possible conditions for the coaches, players, experts and fans. I am grateful to President Blatter and his colleagues from FIFA for the honor to organize the World Cup,” he added.

“I want to congratulate President Rousseff on how the World Cup was organized,” Putin said, according to a FIFA statement. “We will do all we can to organize the event on the highest level.”


“Football helps to solve social problems. Our task is to create the best possible conditions for the coaches, players, experts and fans. I am grateful to President Blatter and his colleagues from FIFA for the honor to organize the World Cup,” he added.







Latin American countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Cuba and others are already in the side of Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro at Revolution Palace in Havana, on July 11, 2014. (AFP Photo / Alejandro Ernesto / Pool)


Russia’s Rosneft to help Cuba explore offshore oil reserves


Russian oil company Rosneft will help Cuban State oil company Cupet explore the country’s offshore oil reserves, according to one of the cooperation documents signed between Russia and Cuba during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Havana.


Putin concluded his first stop on his six-day tour to Latin America in Havana, Cuba, where he met the nation’s President Raul Castro.


Speaking at a press conference, Putin confirmed that many major cooperation deals have been signed between the two nations.


One of the most significant agreements allows the Russian oil company Rosneft to help explore and drill on an offshore oil platform on Cuba’s northeast coast. The area potentially has up to 20 billion barrels of oil, according to Cupet.


“Developing new blocks on Cuba’s offshore shelf is (expected) in the very near future,” Putin said.


During the discussions, Putin was joined by Rosneft head Igor Sechin in order to finalize the deal. Cuba has limited onshore production and relies heavily on imports from Venezuela for its oil consumption needs. Putin also confirmed that Russia is writing off 90 percent of Cuba’s debt, which amounts to $32 billion. The remaining 10 percent will be reinvested into the Cuban economy, the president added.


“We will provide support to our Cuban friends to overcome the illegal blockade of Cuba,” Putin said. Read more: Russia writes off 90% of Cuba’s debt ahead of Putin’s ‘big tour’ to L. America


Meanwhile, Russian company Inter RAO Export and Cuba’s Union Electrica signed a contract for the construction of four 200 megawatt units for the Maximo Gomez power plant.


Other documents signed on Friday include a bilateral statement on the non-placement of weapons in outer space and an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the area of international information security.


During the visit to Cuba, Putin also met with former President Fidel Castro, who stepped down due to health concerns in 2008, after 49 years in power.

Putin and Fidel Castro discussed international affairs, the global economy, and Russia-Cuba relations, the Kremlin stated.

Later on Friday, Putin made a surprise stop in Nicaragua on his way to Argentina. He will then go to Brazil.

Cuban News Agency

The diplomatic gaffe in Ukraine

Sorry, Wrong Flag: Swiss President Greeted with Denmark flag in Ukraine.


Swiss president Didier Burkhalter got a shock when Ukraine’s interim prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk greeted him in front of a Danish flag instead of the Swiss logo when they met for the first time in Kiev.

Burkhalter did not look happy with the diplomatic gaffe, as the picture above shows. Burkhalter was visiting Kiev to “underscore the constructive role played by the [Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe] in the Ukrainian crisis and the organisation’s intention to step up its efforts to contribute to de-escalating the tensions in the country,” according to Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.