2020-02-21: News Headlines

RT (2020-02-21). Kremlin: Claims of Russian backing for Trump in US election 'untrue' & down to 'paranoia'. rt.com Vladimir Putin's spokesman says statements suggesting Russia plans to interfere in this year's US Presidential election "don't have anything in common with the truth." | Dmitry Peskov slammed the idea Moscow will attempt to help President Donald Trump achieve re-election as being of "paranoid character." | He was responding to US media reports which claimed US intelligence has warned politicians that Moscow is already laying the groundwork to get behind the Republican Party incumbent. | CNN, quoting its usual anonymous sources, told of a briefing where Russian readiness to use hacking, the 'weaponisation' of s…

RT (2020-02-21). Shadow of war: What are the odds Turkey will start a full-scale offensive against Syria in Idlib? rt.com Tensions are boiling over between Ankara and Damascus as Turkey vowed to take matters into its own hands and openly intervene in Syria's Idlib province, where government forces are routing the Turkish-backed militants. | The troubled north-western province is the last major bastion of the militants in war-torn Syria. It saw another round of escalating violence on Thursday. Local armed groups seeking to push back the Syrian Army from the territories along the strategic highway it recently seized were counting on support from Turkish artillery, which only stood down after Russian forces in the area intervened.

RT (2020-02-21). Reports of 'hundreds of thousands' of civilians heading to Turkish border because of hostilities in Idlib not true — Russian MoD. rt.com The Russian military has denied claims that scores of refugees are fleeing Syria's Idlib province and moving towards the Turkish border due to battles between the Syrian Army and terrorists in the area. | "There are no verifiable photos and videos, or any other data to confirm the statements that 'around a million' refugees are supposedly moving from the Idlib de-escalation zone," the head of Russia's Reconciliation Center for Syria, Rear Admiral Oleg Zhuravlyov, said in a statement. | The information alleging that 'hundreds of thousands' of civilians are heading for the Syrian-Turkish border because of battle…

RT (2020-02-21). Withdrawal of mercenaries and Turkish troops from Libya is a condition for end of hostilities — General Haftar. rt.com Ankara and Libya's Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) have used the truce to deploy fresh troops and mercenaries from Syria, Libyan National Army Commander Khalifa Haftar said in an interview. | Haftar told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency that his forces will halt their advance towards Tripoli if Turkish troops and mercenaries leave Libya. The Libyan National Army has been closing in on the city, which is controlled by UN-backed GNA chief Fayez al-Sarraj. | Ankara and allied GNA have been deploying reinforcements to Tripoli during the ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey, Haftar said. | The…

RT (2020-02-21). Turkey's Erdogan says will not withdraw from Syria's Idlib. rt.com Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed not to remove Turkish troops from Syria's Idlib region and said that his upcoming phone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin will help Ankara determine its policies. | Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed not to remove Turkish troops from Syria's Idlib region until Damascus ends "violence". Exact policies will depend on the upcoming talk with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, he said. | DETAILS TO FOLLOW…

RT (2020-02-21). Another 'highly likely'-style accusation: Moscow brushes aside 'evidence-free' Georgia cyberattack. rt.com The US and its allies have claimed Russia's military intelligence defaced Georgian websites with an image of the country's former president. Moscow says the accusation is not backed by any evidence and is clearly just a PR stunt. | In late October last year, Georgia suffered what was described as the largest cyberattack in its history. Over 15,000 web pages — including those of government agencies, newspapers and banks — were defaced and later became inaccessible. The original content was replaced with a photo of former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, currently a fugitive from justice, with t…

RT (2020-02-21). A Russia-Ukraine team would be a powerhouse, so competitors will do anything to tear us apart — Putin. rt.com Efforts by some foreign actors to drive a wedge between Russia and Ukraine make sense, since the synergies coming from both countries working together would be of great mutual benefit, Vladimir Putin has said. | Russia and Ukraine have common historic roots and great potential for benefiting each other from joint efforts, so it's no surprise that hostile players put so much energy into preventing any rapprochement, the Russian president said in an interview. | "Since any integration of Russia and Ukraine, along with their capacities and competitive advantages would spell the emergence of a rival, a global riva…

The Canary (2020-02-21). Britain First leader Paul Golding charged under the Terrorism Act. thecanary.co The leader of far-right political group Britain First has been charged with an offence under the Terrorism Act after refusing to give police access to his phone. | Paul Golding was stopped at Heathrow Airport in October on his way back from a trip to the Russian Parliament in Moscow by officers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command. | He refused to give the pin codes for a number of his electronic devices. | Golding was later charged with refusing to comply with a duty under Schedule 7 of the act. | In a statement, Golding said he was not a terrorist and described the charges as "an abuse of legislation". | Sc…

WSWS (2020-02-21). Fighting mounts as Washington backs Turkish attack on Syria, Russia. wsws.org US-backed Turkish military operations targeting Syrian and Russian units in Syria could escalate into an all-out clash between Russia and the entire NATO alliance.

Gaither Stewart (2020-02-21). Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans. counterpunch.org Drive across the Alps into Italy and set out southwards and you're surprised that the capital city on the Mediterranean is still hundreds of kilometers away. That long road ahead makes you conscious of the isolation of the ancient city called Roma. And you are right. Rome is isolated. Far away from the "real" Europe

WSWS (2020-02-21). Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa. wsws.org The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature…

WSWS (2020-02-21). Stop the right-wing terror in Germany! wsws.org A right-wing extremist terrorist shot and killed nine people in the German city of Hanau on Wednesday evening.

sputniknews (2020-02-21). Hopes Low for Julian Assange's France Asylum Bid as Extradition Battle Looms. sputniknews.com A hearing begins next week in London on whether Julian Assange should be extradited to the United States on charges of espionage. Emmanuel Macron could become the unlikely maker of Assange's destiny as the WikiLeaks founder's lawyers are going to submit a request for asylum to France.

sputniknews (2020-02-21). Don't Extradite Julian Assange Says Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights. sputniknews.com On 28 January the parliamentary arm of Europe's largest human rights body, the Council of Europe, passed a resolution on media freedom declaring that Julian Assange's extradition to the US "must be barred" and that he "must be promptly released". The body is made up of 327 legislatures from each of the Council's 47 members, which includes the UK.

sputniknews (2020-02-21). India Unveils Pic of US-Made Chinook Helicopter's First Mission on Chinese Border at Siachen Glacier. sputniknews.com New Delhi (Sputnik): A multi-role, vertical-lift platform US helicopter has taken over from the Indian Air Force's erstwhile fleet of Russian Mi-26s in difficult terrain along India's border with China in the Himalayas, the highest potential battleground on Earth. It would be used to transport of troops and equipment.

sputniknews (2020-02-21). Russia Suggests to Minsk Lower Oil Premium to Offset Lower Export Tax – Novak. sputniknews.com MOSCOW/MINSK (Sputnik) – Russia has suggested lowering oil price premium for Belarus by $2 per one tonne every year, which would partly offset Minsk's losses from Russia's tax manoeuvre, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Friday.

sputniknews (2020-02-21). A Falling Meteor Caught on Camera in Russia's Karelia – Video. sputniknews.com The natural phenomenon occurred at 4: 35 local time and lasted for about six seconds.

sputniknews (2020-02-21). Funds Investing in Russia Saw Net Inflow of $190Mln From February 13-19 – Fund Research. sputniknews.com MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Funds investing in Russian assets and bonds, including multi-country funds, saw a $190 million inflow in the week ending on February 19, against $330 million the week before, according to data from Emerging Portfolio Fund Research (EPFR) compiled by Russian broker BCS Global Markets.

sputniknews (2020-02-21). 'Largest American Troop Deployment to Europe in 25 Years': US Joins Major NATO Exercise. sputniknews.com Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov promised that Moscow would naturally "react" to the Defender Europe 20 drills, but that Russia's response would "not create unnecessary risks."

sputniknews (2020-02-21). Kremlin Spokesman Criticises Political Scientists for Always Making Putin 'Retired'. sputniknews.com MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday lamented the tendency of certain political scientists to make premature assumptions about Russian President Vladimir Putin's retirement, saying that the leader was just starting off his term.

sputniknews (2020-02-21). Turkey to Remain in Idlib As Long As Damascus Continues 'Violent Onslaught' – Erdogan. sputniknews.com Earlier this week, a Turkish delegation arrived in Moscow for talks regarding the situation in Idlib. However, Ankara announced it was dissatisfied with the negotiations, and no deal was struck. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey was fully ready for its own operation in Idlib and could launch it at "any minute."

yenisafak (2020-02-21). President Erdogan urges 'concrete action' over Idlib in Merkel, Macron call. yenisafak.com Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a concrete action to prevent humanitarian crisis in Syria's Idlib in a phone call with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday.The aggression by the Syrian regime and its supporters in the country's northwestern Idlib province should come to an end, Erdogan said, stressing on more support based on concrete actions to prevent humanitarian crises.He added that Turkey was continuing work setting up housing for Syrian migrants in a 30-35 km (19-22 mile) safe zone in Syria along the border with Turkey.The trio discussed the…

yenisafak (2020-02-21). Moscow deploys facial recognition technology for coronavirus quarantine. yenisafak.com Moscow is using facial recognition technology to ensure people ordered to remain at home or at their hotels under coronavirus quarantine do so, the mayor of the Russian capital said on Friday.Russia has temporarily barred Chinese nationals from entering the country to curb the spread of the virus, but has welcomed Russians who return home with an order to spend two weeks at home, even in the absence of symptoms.Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, said some 2,500 people who had landed in the city from China had been ordered to go into quarantine. To prevent them leaving their apartments, the authorities are usin…

yenisafak (2020-02-21). Turkey's new companies launch up 26.6% in January. yenisafak.com The number of newly established companies in Turkey jumped 26.6% on an annual basis in January, a key business body said on Friday.Last month, almost 10,500 new businesses started, up from some 8,300 in the same month last year, the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) said in a report.The top three fields of operation among new companies were wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, and construction.This January, some 1,100 companies with foreign partners were launched. The figure was nearly 1,200 in January 2019.The report showed that some 2,200 companies went out of business in the month,…

yenisafak (2020-02-21). Turkish police arrest 14 YPG/PKK suspects in Ankara. yenisafak.com Turkish security forces arrested 14 people in the capital Ankara on Friday for their suspected links to the YPG/PKK terror group, police said.Anti-terror squads carried out an operation to nab 15 foreign nationals, the Ankara police said on Twitter.With 14 suspects arrested, police hunt for the other suspect at large is underway.In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK

yenisafak (2020-02-21). Six cases of coronavirus in Italy's Lombardy region: official. yenisafak.com Six Italians have tested positive for the coronavirus in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, a local official said on Friday in the first known cases of local transmission in Italy of the potentially deadly illness."We have got six cases of coronavirus," Lombardy councillor Giulio Gallera told a news conference, adding that hundreds of people who had been in contact with the patients were now being tested to see if they had been infected.The first person confirmed to have contracted the virus was believed to have fallen ill after meeting a friend who had recently returned from China. Residents of the norther…

yenisafak (2020-02-21). Germany to tighten mosque security after racist attack. yenisafak.com Germany will step up security around mosques and migrant organizations following a racist terror attack in Hanau, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Friday."What happened in Hanau was clearly a racism motivated terror attack," Seehofer told a news conference in Berlin, adding that far-right extremism has become a very serious threat to democracy in Germany.He said police presence will be increased across the country ahead of major public events, and authorities will take additional security measures to protect mosques and migrant organizations due to the growing threat posed by the far-right.A 43-year-old f…

Jonathan Latham (2020-02-21). Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory. counterpunch.org The case of an animal rights activist who infiltrated an independent German chemical testing laboratory has triggered the discovery of an apparently extensive chemical testing fraud. LPT Hamburg, with around 175 employees, is one of the largest contract laboratories in Germany. It is a family owned private company. It prepares regulatory studies on behalf of

RT (2020-02-20). Roger Stone sentenced to serve 40 months in prison. rt.com Long-time political operative and Trump confidant Roger Stone has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for perjury and obstruction of the 'Russiagate' probe, in a process marked by controversy and accusations of partisanship. | Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison for obstruction of justice, another 18 months for witness tampering, and 12 months for making false statements to Congress — but the sentences are to run concurrently, so the maximum time Stone would spend in prison is three and a half years. | She also assessed a $20,000 penalty, for what she argued was wasting the gov…

The Canary (2020-02-20). Far-right terror probe after nine killed in shootings in Germany. thecanary.co A German man has shot and killed nine people at several locations in a Frankfurt suburb in attacks that appear to have been motivated by far-right beliefs, officials said.The gunman first attacked a hookah bar in central Hanau at about 10pm on 19 February, killing several people, before heading about 1.5 miles west and opening fire again, claiming more victims.Hookah lounges are places where people gather to smoke flavoured tobacco from Middle Eastern water pipes.Witnesses and surveillance videos of the suspect's getaway car led authorities to his home, near the scene of the second attack, where he was found dead…

Dr. Binoy Kampmark (2020-02-20). Pardoning Julian Assange: Donald Trump, WikiLeaks and the DNC. globalresearch.ca The central pillar to Democratic paranoia and vengefulness regarding the loss of Hillary Clinton in 2016 was the link between Russian hacking, the servers of the Democratic National Committee and the release of emails via WikiLeaks. Over time, that account …

Eva Bartlett (2020-02-20). Video: Aleppo City's Countryside Fully Secured, Syrians in Aleppo Celebrate the End of Terrorism. globalresearch.ca In December 2016, the Syrian Arab Army, Russia and allies liberated the northern Syrian city of Aleppo of the al-Qaeda and equally-heinous terrorists who had occupied and terrorized civilians in the city since 2012. | In subsequent years, Aleppo to a …

Stephen Lendman (2020-02-20). The War On Syria is Not Over: SAA Forces and Russia Confront US Sponsored "Jihadists", Turkey's Phony "Safe Zone", Israel Threatens "Escalated Aggression" globalresearch.ca On Wednesday, Turkey's Erdogan threatened escalated cross-border aggression against Syria. | He ignored his regime's illegal occupation of northern Syrian territory, support for anti-government jihadists, and his revanchist aims, wanting Syrian territory bordering Turkey annexed. | That's what his phony "safe zone" …

news.un (2020-02-20). More than $1 billion pledged for post-earthquake recovery in Albania. news.un.org The international community has pledged $1.25 billion to help Albania recover from a devastating earthquake during a European Union-led donors' conference in Brussels.

Jason Ditz (2020-02-20). Turkey Kills Over 50 Syrian Troops, Russian Warplanes Intervene to Halt Offensive. theantimedia.com Russia called the situation a "worst case scenario."

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (2020-02-20). Is Russia Doomed? US-NATO Is Preparing for "A Major Military Conflict" globalresearch.ca Winston Churchill said that Russia was "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." Having read two contrasting news reports of attitudes in Russia, I understand what Churchill meant. | General Valery Gerasimov, chairman of the Russian General Staff, …

Prof. Tim Anderson (2020-02-20). The Axis of Resistance Holds Firm as Washington Faces Retreat. globalresearch.ca The shifting sands of the Syrian conflict have left many wondering what might happen next between the Kurds, the US, and Russia inside Syria. I reached out to, Professor Tim Anderson, an Australian political economist, and author of "…

WSWS (2020-02-20). US slaps sanctions on Russian oil company trading with Venezuela. wsws.org The unilateral sanctions are aimed at tightening the US blockade of Venezuela's crisis-ridden economy.

Mike Whitney (2020-02-20). Putin vs. Erdogan: Who's Going to Blink First? globalresearch.ca An explosive situation is developing in Idlib province where the Syrian army is conducting a major offensive that has triggered a harsh response from Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is threatening to attack Syrian forces anywhere in the country …

splcenter (2020-02-20). SPLC Statement on the Far-Right Shooting in Hanau, Germany. splcenter.org

WSWS (2020-02-20). Germany: Left Party proposes a Christian Democrat as state premier in Thuringia. wsws.org The Left Party is forging an alliance of all establishment parties in order to strengthen the state apparatus and implement a policy of blatant social inequality.

Staff (2020-02-20). Far-Right German Gunman Calling for Genocide Kills 9 People. truthdig.com HANAU, Germany — A 43-year-old German man who posted a manifesto calling for the "complete extermination" of many "races or cultures in our midst" shot and killed nine people of foreign background, most of them Turkish, in an attack on a hookah bar and other sites in a Frankfurt suburb, authorities said Thursday. | He was later found dead at his home along with his mother, and authorities said they were treating the rampage as an act of domestic terrorism. | The gunman first attacked the hookah bar and a neighboring cafe in Hanau at about 10 p.m. Wednesday, killing several people, then traveled about 2.5 ki…

pip.hinman (2020-02-20). The climate crisis and the need for peace. greenleft.org.au

Andre Vltchek (2020-02-19). Could the Latest Outburst of Ankara's Temper lead to Escalation in Syria? dissidentvoice.org So far Turkey, militarily the second mightiest NATO country, has been able to get away with virtually anything it has chosen to brew in the Middle East. The reason why is simple: to confront Turkey's bullying and expansionism militarily would be like confronting the United States or Israel; thousands of innocent people would die as …

IMEMC News (2020-02-19). Soldiers Shoot A Young Man In Southern Gaza. imemc.org Israeli soldiers shot, on Wednesday afternoon, a young Palestinian man east of Khuza'a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Media sources said the soldiers shot the young man near the perimeter fence, inflicting moderate wounds before he was rushed to the European Hospital …

news.un (2020-02-19). At Stockholm road safety summit, UN officials join global call to end 'scourge' of preventable deaths. news.un.org Road traffic accidents take some 1.35 million lives every year and cost most countries three per cent of their gross domestic product, the top UN health official said on Wednesday as the Third Global Ministerial Conference On Road Safety kicked off in Stockholm, Sweden.

Antonio Carty (2020-02-19). Forget Brexit, Rebellion is the Verb! zcomm.org While I essentially agree with Patrick Cockburn's article in the Independent "Sinn Fein's Election Victory is Ireland's Brexit Moment". I would like to make a distinction against its use of Brexit as a new verb for political upset and rebellion. Rebellion is a perfectly clear and uncontaminated verb! As Patrick points out, Ireland's surprise surge

The Canary (2020-02-19). Brexit trade talks 'a different ball game' to Canada agreement, PM warned. thecanary.co Boris Johnson has been warned that the European Union (EU) views negotiations with the UK as a "different ball game" to the trade talks which secured an agreement with Canada. | The prime minister wants a Canada-style trade deal which would leave the UK free to diverge from EU rules. | But a key aide to Brussels' chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the EU would not budge from its insistence on a "level playing field" on state subsidies, environmental protections and workers' rights as the price of any deal. | Stefaan De Rynck said: "It's clear that for us it's a different ball game that we are playing with the U…

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…

news.un (2020-02-18). Hope for 'long-elusive progress' in negotiating peace in eastern Ukraine. news.un.org Marking the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Minsk II agreement, the UN political chief told the Security Council on Tuesday, that along with the Minsk Protocol and the Minsk memorandum, it remains "the only agreed framework" for a negotiated, peaceful settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

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