2020-02-18: News Headlines

RT (2020-02-18). Ukraine witch-hunter Mirotvorets blacklists retired NATO generals, Munich Security Conference head as 'PRO-RUSSIA' propagandists. rt.com A notorious witch-hunt website says the chairman of one the most reputed pro-NATO gatherings and some top US military retirees are now enemies of Ukraine, as they dared to sign a non-binding roadmap for peace in Donbass. | The controversial 'Mirotvorets' (Peacekeeper) website took aim at German Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, blacklisting him for what it said was "attempting to disrupt the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine" and for "taking part in Russia's propaganda events aimed against Ukraine." | | © Screenshot from myrotvorets.center | Ischinger chairs the Munich Security Conference (M…

RT (2020-02-18). It's official! India overtakes UK & France to become world's 5th LARGEST economy. rt.com India is developing into an open-market economy from its previous autarchic policies, US-based think tank World Population Review concludes in a report. | "India's economy is the fifth largest in the world, with a GDP of $2.94 trillion, overtaking the UK and France in 2019 to take the fifth spot," said the report, as quoted by the Press Trust of India. | To compare, the size of the UK economy is $2.83 trillion, while the French economy is $2.71 trillion. | Also on rt.com | | According to the…

RT (2020-02-18). Chechen exile's Berlin park killer linked to Russia's FSB – Bellingcat, Der Spiegel, The Insider. rt.com When a Chechen exile was shot dead in a Berlin park last summer it strained relations between Germany and Russia. A new investigation suggests his alleged killer may have been trained by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB). | A joint report from Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, the US-government funded Bellingcat website and Russian outlet The Insider claims to have obtained the phone records of "Vadim Krasikov," which they say is the real identity of Vadim Sokolov, the man German police accuse of carrying out the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili. | Khangoshvili was regarded as a terrorist by Moscow for his…

RT (2020-02-18). European court reinstates order for Russia to pay $50 billion over Yukos. rt.com A Dutch appeals court has reinstated an international arbitration panel's ruling that Russia should pay $50 billion in compensation to ex-shareholders of the defunct Russian oil giant, Yukos, overturning a previous court decision. | The Hague Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday that the 2016 ruling cancelling the arbitration decision "was not correct," meaning that "the arbitration order is in force again." | The Russian Justice Ministry said immediately after the ruling that it would appeal the court's decision. The Ministry of Justice said the court had ignored the fact that the former Yukos shareholders were n…

RT (2020-02-18). US 'shamelessly & impudently' PILLAGES Syrian oilfields but forbids supply of hydrocarbons to Damascus, says Russian defense chief. rt.com Russia's Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu slammed the US for occupying Syrian oilfields, calling it a major obstacle to the reconstruction of the country after the conflict. | "The oil fields… are controlled by the US. There's shameless, impudent pillage of the wealth that belongs to Syria and the Syrian people taking place," Shoigu said during a visit to the Italian capital Rome. | At the same time, the sanctions imposed by Washington against Damascus ban any oil shipments to Syria, putting the country in a tight spot. | "Most of the people, who are now suffering in Syria, are in need of heat, hot water and e…

RT (2020-02-18). But will he pardon Roger Stone? Trump clemency for Blagojevich, Kerik, Milken & DeBartolo fuel speculation. rt.com US President Donald Trump has surprised everyone with a series of pardons that — so far — do not include any of his aides caught up in 'Russiagate' investigations, although his tweets suggest this too might be coming. | First on the list was former San Francisco 49s NFL franchise owner Edward DeBartolo Jr, who pleaded guilty in 1998 to failing to report a felony, after he did not disclose that the governor of Louisiana extorted him for a bribe in exchange for a riverboat casino license. He was fined $1 million and sentenced to two years' probation. His NFL career effectively over, he transferred th…

RT (2020-02-18). Young man on trial for clashing with police at Moscow protests gets suspended sentence. rt.com Meshchansky District Court in Moscow on Tuesday handed student Andrei Barshai, a participant of the July 27 unauthorized rally, a three-year suspended sentence. Barshai, 21, was convicted of using force against an officer of the Russian National Guard Troops Service. | Barshai was freed at the court room. He had denied any wrongdoing, excluding the fact of 'a physical contact' with the officer. During the unauthorized action, Barshai "pushed him in the back," police said. The student apologized to the law enforcement officer. | More than 3,500 people took to the streets in July last year in support of unregist…

RT (2020-02-18). Russian man diagnosed with coronavirus on board cruise ship in Japan. rt.com A second Russian citizen has been hospitalized over coronavirus concerns aboard the 'Diamond Princess' cruise ship. The Japanese government has confirmed that only one Russian national is infected with coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the Russian Embassy in Tokyo said on Tuesday. | "According to the explanations we have been given, the spouse of the Russian woman who was suspected to have COVID-19 as of February 17 has been diagnosed with the virus," the embassy informed. | The man is currently held at a special medical facility in Aichi Prefecture, the embassy added. His wife, who was reported…

RT (2020-02-18). Home-made bombs tested on PETS: New Columbine-style school massacre thwarted in Crimea, 2 teen suspects arrested. rt.com Two teenage fans of Vladislav Roslyakov, who killed 20 of his classmates in a Columbine-copycat shooting in the Crimean city of Kerch two years ago, were preparing similar school attacks, the Russian security service has revealed. | The suspects, who "were disciples of extremist ideology and followers of Vladislav Roslyakov" wanted to target two schools in Kerch, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement Tuesday. | Police discovered improvised explosive devices (IEDs) with striking elements at their homes as well as spare parts to make more IEDs, which the teens had purchased on the internet.

RT (2020-02-18). Visitor numbers to Russia jumped by 20.5% last year — major e-visa liberalization planned for 2021. rt.com It may be the world's largest country and bursting with visitor attractions, but Russia has long punched below its weight in the tourism sector. Now, signs suggest this is beginning to change. | In 2019, 5.1 million people came to the country as tourists — a 20.5 percent increase on the previous year, during which the FIFA World Cup was staged in 11 Russian cities. That's according to brand-new figures released by the Association of Tour Operators of Russia. | At the top of the leaderboard for visitors is China. In 2019, 1.5 million Chinese crossed the border for the purposes of tourism, a rise of almost…

RT (2020-02-18). Bombs away! WATCH close-up footage of Su-35S jet performing airstrike. rt.com The Russian Defense Ministry's TV channel, Zvezda, has placed numerous cameras on Su-35S fighter jets, filming a spectacular video from the bomb-dropping drills of the 4++ generation warplanes | The cams were not only in the cockpits, but also on the bodies of the jets, right in front of their bomb hatches, providing some unique footage. | The video was made during the recent exercises in the air above the Voronzeh and Tver Regions in central Russia, which involved Su-35S and MiG-31 jets, as well as around 500 servicemen. | The planes took off from the airfields with a time gap of just one minute and droppe…

RT (2020-02-18). Russia temporarily bans ALL Chinese visitors amid coronavirus epidemic. rt.com Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decree on Tuesday evening prohibiting Chinese citizens from entering Russia for tourism, work and for private purposes. The new rules are effective from Thursday. | The decision is the strongest measure yet taken to prevent the entry and spread of the new coronavirus in Russia. Previously, Russian Railways suspended all passenger traffic to and from China, and flights have been heavily restricted. In addition, border crossings in the Far East have been closed. | "From 00: 00 local time on February 20, 2020, the passage of citizens of the People's Republic of Chi…

RT (2020-02-18). Putin orders to remove Surkov from Russian presidential aide office. rt.com Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an executive order to release Vladislav Surkov from the position of his aide, the Kremlin's press service said on Tuesday. | "To relieve Vladislav Surkov from the position of the aide to the Russian president," the order reads. The president's order also notes that it is effective on the day of signing. | Earlier reports this year said Surkov, the president's long-time influential aide and former deputy PM and the ex-deputy head of the presidential administration, had

Staff (2020-02-18). Headlines for February 18, 2020. democracynow.org 2,000+ DOJ Ex-Officials Call for AG Barr to Resign as Judge Calls to Review Status of Roger Stone Case, Bloomberg Qualifies for Dem Debate as More Evidence of Past Comments Draw Ire, Calls Mount for Manhattan DA to Resign over Case of Alleged Sexual Abuser OB-GYN Robert Hadden, Prominent Wuhan Doctor Dies from Coronavirus as Cases Top 72,000, Pakistan Suicide Bomb Kills At Least 8 at Religious Rally, Mexican Protests Take Government to Task After Murder of 7-Year-Old Girl, Second-Strongest Storm to Hit North Atlantic Lashes United Kingdom, Mississippi Residents Displaced, Homes Inundated from Torrential Rains, Fl…

Lucas Leiroz de Almeida (2020-02-18). Nord Stream 2: Why Ukraine and Poland Are Against It. globalresearch.ca There is no doubt about the fundamental importance of the gas flow for the European energy balance. There is even less doubt about Russia's role in this process. Western Europe is not self-sufficient in producing gas, depending on its import. …

Robert Fantina (2020-02-18). The United States Supports the Mujahedeen-e Khalk (MEK) Terrorist Organization. globalresearch.ca The United States continues to support the Mujahedeen-e Khalk (MEK), despite the fact that that terrorist organization is losing popularity, not that it ever had very much anyway, around the world. The group remains basically based in Albania, a nation …

Conn Hallinan (2020-02-18). Irish Elections and Unification. counterpunch.org The victory by Ireland's leftwing Sinn Fein Party in the Republic's recent election has not only overturned some 90 years of domination by the island's two center-right parties, it suddenly puts the issue of Irish reunification on the agenda. While the campaign was fought over bread and butter issues like housing, the collapsing health care system, and homelessness, a united Ireland has long been Sinn Fein's raison d'être. In the aftermath, Party leaders called for a border referendum on the subject.

Hugo Drochon (2020-02-18). The Making of France's Presidential System. thenation.com The Making of France's Presidential System…

Diem25 (2020-02-18). Police violence on the rise in France. zcomm.org In Paris, armoured vehicles are being deployed, whilst hundreds of police motorcyclists, each with a driver and a passenger carrying a bat, are utilised to "accompany" demonstrators every week; where in fact the purpose is to assault people…

WSWS (2020-02-18). Erfurt, Germany: 20,000 demonstrate against fascism. wsws.org "Not with us! No pact with fascists—never and nowhere!" This was the main slogan for the mass demonstration which took place in the East German city of Erfurt on Saturday, February 15.

WSWS (2020-02-18). US-Europe conflict erupts at Munich. wsws.org This weekend's Munich Security Conference was dominated by a breakdown of the NATO alliance amid the resurgence of preparations for "great-power conflict."

Binoy Kampmark (2020-02-18). Buying Elections: The Bloomberg Meme Campaign. counterpunch.org Interfering, corrupting and altering the views of electors is apparently frowned upon. But it all depends on who that manipulating source is. The Russians might be condemned for being meddlers of minds in the US electorate, but an American billionaire who hires battalions of influencing agents to get his word across on social media platforms

Evaggelos Vallianatos (2020-02-18). Herakles in the Age of Climate Chaos. counterpunch.org On Monday afternoon of February 10, 2020, I went to the Classics department of Pomona College for a lecture on Herakles. Chiara Sulprizio of Vanderbilt University used cartoons and animation to help us understand the lasting influence and power of classical mythology. She chose the Soviet Union and Russia to illustrate how animated Greek myths may have

yenisafak (2020-02-18). Close to 150,000 Syrian civilians displaced in six days across Idlib. yenisafak.com As Assad regime forces and its allies continue to target Idlib, northwestern Syria, an area covered by a nominal cease-fire, 148,000 more civilians have been displaced in the past six days, according to Syria's Response Coordination Group. | With this latest figure, the number of displaced people in Idlib and neighboring areas since January 2019 has reached nearly two million, most of them taking shelter in areas close to the bordering Turkey, which already hosts over 3.6 million Syrian refugees. | Tens of thousands of people, including women and children, are in need of humanitarian assistance as the camps they…

yenisafak (2020-02-18). Turkey informs Russia of its 'clear' policy in NW Syria. yenisafak.com Turkey has made the necessary military preparations in northwestern Syria and told Russian counterparts it was determined to push Bashar al-Assad regime to previous boundaries, spokesman of ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party said on Tuesday.Omer Celik said Turkey completed necessary military preparations in Syria and it would take necessary steps if the Syrian regime did not withdraw to the previous borderline set by de-escalation deal.Celik underlined that Russia, an ally of the Syrian regime, was "clearly" informed about Turkey's stance in the region.With 148,000 people displaced in Idlib city in the pas…

yenisafak (2020-02-18). Turkey deports 229 foreign terrorist fighters. yenisafak.com Turkey has deported 229 foreign terrorists, 75 of whom are EU citizens, since its anti-terror operation in Syria, an official from the country's Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.Abdullah Ayaz, head of Turkey's migration department, told Anadolu Agency that the struggle against the foreign terrorists was ongoing, adding that since 2011, the country has deported 7,898 terrorists of 102 different nationalities.He noted that entry bans had been issued for 94,000 foreigners considered to be affiliated with terrorist organizations.The foreign terrorists will continue to be returned whether their home countries wanted…

yenisafak (2020-02-18). Turkish Airlines to launch flights to Vancouver, Canada. yenisafak.com Turkey's flag carrier Turkish Airlines will beef up its flight destinations in Canada by launching flights to Vancouver, in addition to Montreal and Toronto.Service on the Istanbul-Vancouver route will start on June 9, offered three times a week, the airline said in a press release on Tuesday.The carrier started to fly to Toronto in 2009 and Montreal in 2014. Vancouver will also be the carrier's 15th destination in North America."Introductory round-trip ticket fares from Istanbul to Vancouver will start at $645 with all taxes included," the firm said.Ilker Ayci, Turkish Airlines' chairman, said: "As one of our pr…

yenisafak (2020-02-18). Erdogan set to cut ribbon of Nation's Library in Turkey. yenisafak.com President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to inaugurate the Nation's Library in the capital Ankara on Thursday. The grand library will offer students, researchers and literature enthusiasts a collection enriched with millions of books, articles, and reports available in the printed and online format.Ayhan Tuglu, head of the presidential library department, said the new library was decorated with the traditional Seljuks, Ottoman and contemporary motifs.With the inauguration looming, the library will serve round-the-clock. It was built on 125,000-square meters (some 1,345.500 square feet) area inside the presidential c…

yenisafak (2020-02-18). Provocateur Pavlensky in court over Griveaux scandal. yenisafak.com The Paris prosecutor's office opened an investigation on Tuesday involving Pyotr Pavlensky, a Russian provocateur and performance artist, and his girlfriend, Alexandra de Taddeo, over the release of a sex video allegedly involving former Paris mayoral candidate Benjamin Griveaux.Pavlensky had already admitted posting the video that prompted Griveaux to drop out of the race last Friday. He had been the front runner of President Emmanuel Macron's party, La Republique En Marche party, and hand-picked by the president to run.Griveaux, 42, and a married father of three, has filed a legal complaint in the Paris court a…

sputniknews (2020-02-18). Erdogan's Treacherous Bluff. sputniknews.com Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is like the proverbial thief who has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Instead of slinking off in shame, he goes into a fit of rage as if he's the one who is the injured party.

sputniknews (2020-02-18). Turkey Deploys 300 Military Vehicles to Idlib Amid Conflict With Syria – Reports. sputniknews.com The situation in northern Syria remains tense since Damascus clashed with Ankara-backed militants, and later with the Turkish Army, as both sides accuse each other of breaking a ceasefire agreement.

sputniknews (2020-02-18). 'Not a Tactical Position': UK Trade Negotiator Frost Rejects Sticking to EU Rules Following Brexit. sputniknews.com On 31 January, Britain entered an 11-month transition period following its divorce from the European Union after three years of fierce debates. PM Johnson's government is now expected to negotiate trade agreements and common social standards with the remaining 27 EU states. It does not appear, however, that London is willing to stay too close.

sputniknews (2020-02-18). HSBC to Cut 35,000 Jobs, Reduce Europe, US Footprints in Bid to Expand Asian and Middle East Markets. sputniknews.com The company reported its annual earnings for 2019 with major losses, citing Brexit, lower central bank interest rates and the coronavirus epidemic, among others.

sputniknews (2020-02-18). Dutch Journalist's MH17 Investigation Backs Russia's Position – Kremlin. sputniknews.com MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The investigation by Dutch journalist Max van der Werff into the 2014 crash of the MH17 Boeing is substantiating Russia's stance on the issue, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.

sputniknews (2020-02-18). Russian FM Lavrov, Defence Minister Shoigu Hold Joint Presser With Italian Counterparts – Video. sputniknews.com Speaking to the Italian newspaper La Stampa on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that he regarded the upcoming meeting in the 2+2 format as a good opportunity to assess the issues of arms control and strategic stability as well as the situation in Libya and Syria in order to take coordinated measures.

Susan Price (2020-02-18). Belgium: Victory as court rules PKK is not a terrorist organisation. greenleft.org.au

RT (2020-02-18). 'Hell of a job' to secure deal: Verhofstadt blasts BoJo's Brexit negotiator treating UK & EU as being 'on two different planets'. rt.com EU chief Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt has warned it would be a "hell of a job" to secure a successful outcome in negotiations with the UK, hammering his counterparts for their approach to future relationship discussions. | During a joint press conference with London Mayor Sadiq Khan in Brussels on Tuesday, Verhofstadt appeared to take a swipe at recent comments made by David Frost — the UK's chief Brexit negotiator. | In a speech in the Belgian capital on Monday, Frost had insisted that Britain would not sign up to aligning with EU rules, regulations or any supervisory role with the European Court…

Patrick Cockburn (2020-02-18). Sinn Fein's election victory is Ireland's 'Brexit moment'. zcomm.org "People wanted to kick the government and Sinn Fein provided the shoe to do the kicking"

RT (2020-02-18). Twitter down across eastern US and parts of Europe in latest major outage. rt.com Hundreds of users have reported issues with the Twitter website Tuesday afternoon, while the mobile app appears to be largely unaffected. Twitter has not given any explanation for the mysterious outage at time of writing. | The reported issue with the site began at approximately 2: 34pm UK time according to popular crowdsourcing site DownDetector, which logged some 1,844 incidents of outages from around the globe. | While the vast majority of complaints were about the website, some eight percent of reports related to iphone or ipad users, indicating the outage may be spreading. | Think your friends would be int…

Eds. (2020-02-17). Isabelle Garo on Marx's strategic thought and the spirit of revolt. mronline.org The present context in France and across the world is quite bad for the exploited and oppressed in general, as also for the organised workers' movement. This long term weakening in the conditions of capitalist crises gave the green light to the ruling classes to take out their revenge at the end of the 1970s […] |

Paul Antonopoulos (2020-02-17). Is U.S. Sponsored Regime Change War Coming to Georgia? globalresearch.ca Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili (October 2012 — November 2013) is leading his party to dominate the Georgian parliament in the upcoming Autumn elections, if they actually go on schedule and not earlier as many commentators are speculating. Ivanishvili, Georgia's …

WSWS (2020-02-17). US threatens Europe over Huawei at Munich Security Conference. wsws.org After the UK, France and Germany announced they would not ban Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from their networks, US officials sought to threaten their NATO allies into changing course.

WSWS (2020-02-17). German President Steinmeier calls for German-European great power politics at Munich conference. wsws.org In his opening speech at this year's Munich Security Conference, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) stressed that the ruling class in Germany is determined to promote the return of militarism by all means.

WSWS (2020-02-17). Germany's Left Party appeals for cooperation with Christian Democrats and Free Democratic Party in Thuringia. wsws.org Although it was the target of the AfD in Thuringia, the Left Party has responded with evasions, concealing the truth, appeasement, and stretching out the hand of cooperation to the CDU and FDP.

teleSUR (2020-02-17). Venezuelan VP Accuses Spanish Right-Wing of Supporting Guaido. telesurenglish.net The Vice President of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, accused the Spanish right-wing of supporting the self-proclaimed 'president', Juan Guaidó. In an interview with the Venezuelan news channel Televen, the functionary accused the right parties in Spain of having "a profound double standard" because of their backing of Guaidó, who is in favor of a coup d'état in the South American country. | RELATED: | Rodríguez explained tha…

teleSUR (2020-02-17). Munich Conference: EU needs to Have More "Appetite for Power" telesurenglish.net The Munich Security Conference closed on Sunday with a call for the European Union to work more closely together and to have more power of decision and action in international conflict management, in a context marked by differences between the EU and the United States. | RELATED: | In this polarised world, Europe must "learn to speak the language of power," said the EU's High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrel…

teleSUR (2020-02-17). EU Members to Launch New Mission to Enforce Libyan Arms Embargo. telesurenglish.net European Union foreign affairs ministers agreed Monday to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean to enforce a United Nations arms embargo on Libya. | RELATED: | "We all agreed to create a mission to block the entry of arms into Libya," Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi di Maio said, adding that the mission would include a naval element to enforce the embargo – a sticking point for some member states. | The news was confirmed by his Ger…

IMEMC News & Agencies (2020-02-17). EU to Vote Against "Deal of the Century" as Israeli-US Mapping Committee Plans Weak Palestinian Entity. imemc.org Foreign Ministers from the European Union (EU) are expected to discuss US President Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century" and deliberate countermeasures to the plan on February 17, during a meeting in Brussels, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The paper reported that the decisions are still unclear. However, the EU …

John Horning (2020-02-17). NEPA is Our National Defense System‚Ä®. counterpunch.org Our nation is under attack. If the attack were coming from the sky, NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) would detect the threat. That is NORAD's mission, to anticipate threats to our homeland. The current attack on our land didn't originate in Russia or China; it began in Washington D.C., in January, when President Trump proposed dismantling NEPA — the law that protects our communities, land and water every bit as much as NORAD protects our skies.

Jason Ditz (2020-02-17). DOJ Investigating Former CIA Director's Role in Russiagate. theantimedia.com The Justice Department is investigating the role of John Brennan in the assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

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