Monday, December 31, 2018

NEWS SUMMARY-INTELLIGENCE REPORT NEW YEAR NEWSDUMP TUESDAY 1/1/2019


(THIS NEWS SUMMARY WAS PREPARED LATE TUESDAY THROUGH MIDNIGHT AND MAY BE UPDATED INTO THE MORNING)

Happy New Year to all.........


In Tokyo just after midnight a car plowed into pedestrians injuring eight, one seriously.

The crowds on Tokyo's popular Takeshita Street were heading to a shrine for New Year's prayers.

The suspect taken into custody by police for intent to kill was a 21 year old man who said he committed the act to protest executions.

Capital punishment is legal in Japan and last July 13 members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult including leader Shoko Asahara were executed for murder in the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway that killed 12.

In the United Kingdom a man reported shouting by an eyewitness:

"Allah"


stabbed three people at the central railway station in Manchester, England around 850pm local time New Year's Eve.

BBC journalist Sam Clack who works as a producer for Radio 5 Live was the eyewitness who said he was close enough to touch the attacker.

The train station close to the site of the suicide bombing in May 2017 that killed 22 people.

Reacting to the attack on Facebook activist Tommy Robinson:

"It's a New Year but we still have the same old Islamic Terror in the UK.  Another jihad attack tonight, multiple people stabbed in frenzied attack at Manchester train station by a man shouting 'Long live the Caliphate, Allahu Akbar'.  Absolute Scum"


The US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson says the country is:

"in need of leadership"


over Brexit.

Johnson told a BBC radio interviewer that if Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan were approved it would block the possibility of a trade deal with the US.

President Trump has said that a separate trade deal with US would not be possible under May's plan locks the UK into the EU and prevents a separate trade agreement with the US.


In  France the year end message from President Emmanuel Macron promised order in the country "without compromise".

He denounced Yellow Vests protesters for their attacks on "elected officials, the police, the journalists, Jews, foreigners, homosexuals".

Yellow Vests protesters mixed in with the 250-thousand gathered to celebrate the New Year on Champs-Elysees in Paris.   The Yellow Vests faced off with police in Bordeaux where they occupied the Aquitaine Bridge to bring in the New Year.

More at this link...........FRANCE BREAKING POST 12/31/2018


The word from Washington is that the withdrawal of US military forces from Syria will be spread out over four months.   Administration officials told this to the "New York Times" following Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's Sunday meeting with President Trump.

Graham was worried about the withdrawal going into the meeting but came out more reassured about the situation.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton is travelling to Israel and Turkey within the next week to discuss the withdrawal accompanied by US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.

Brazil's new president of the "Right" Jair Bolsonaro is being sworn into office New Year's Day.  Dignitaries on hand include US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu spoke with reporters at a news conference in Brazil Monday saying he will not resign if Israel's Attorney General moves forward with recommendations for his indictment ahead of the April 9th election.

A hearing would have to held follwing the Attorney General's recommendation and as Netanyahu put it:

"According to law, the prime minister does not have to resign during the hearing process...The hearing doesn't end until my side is heard.."


North Korea's ruler Kim Jong-un says in his New Year message that he is willing to meet President Trump at any time, but that if the US demands unilateral actions, he will pursue a 'new path'.

Kim says he remains committed to complete denuclearization but it would move more quickly if the US took corresponding actions.

Massachusetts Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren announcing an exploratory committee to run for President in 2020.   She is the first Democrat to do so.

Ray Sawyer, an eye-patch wearing member of the "Dr Hook and the Medicine Show" band, is dead at the age of 81.   Sawyer sang lead vocals on the 1972 hit song "On The Cover Of The Rolling Stone"

And that's the way it really is as we enter the New Year, Wednesday January 1st, 2019.

FRANCE BREAKING:  MACRON BLASTS 'HATE CROWD' IN YELLOW VESTS, VESTS JOIN NEW YEAR'S CELEBRATION


In his end of the year message at 8pm local time tonight French President Emmanuel Macron denounced the "hateful crowd" among the Yellow Vests protesters.

He denounced those who use the protest as an "excuse to speak on behalf of the people" and those who:

"attack the elected officials, the police the journalists, Jews, foreigners, homosexuals"


as he put it.

Macron also trashed 'misinformation' being spread about issues like migration and the recently approved UN agreement on migration in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Macron said from henceforth that order in regards to protests would be applied:

"Without compromise"


Reacting to his speech online, leader of the National Rally Marine Le Pen tweeted:

"The president is an imposter" 


"And a pyromaniac"


For the Left, leader Jean-Luc Melenchon's tweet in part was:

"We do not know why but everything he says falls flat"


Macron's credibility under question during the holiday period with new revelations about his former bodyguard Alexandre Benalla.  There was a storm of controversy over Benalla including his beating of  protesters during a May Day demonstration as he dressed up as an ordinary policeman to face the protesters.

Even after Benalla lost his job with the French president, he was travelling around with  diplomatic passports and even visited the African nation of Chad early in December just weeks before Macron was there.

Over the weekend it was revealed that Benalla was in communication with Macron online since he left his bodyguard job using encrypted messages.

Yellow Vests called for a festive and non violent protest in Paris tonight and at least one yellow banner with "1789, 1968 and 2018" on it was seen in the crowd at 1015 pm local time tonight in Paris.

Yellow Vests were in the crowd on the Champs-Elysses estimated at 250-thousand with one vest reading "GO MACRON" as in urging him to leave office. 

Yellow Vests also occupied the Aquitaine Bridge in Bordeaux to bring in the New Year.  They faced off with riot police there.

There was a police and military deployment of some 147-thousand personnel across France for New Year's  Eve.



(EDITED MONDAY PM WITH MORE DETAILS, REACTION)
(INFORMATION FROM BFM-TV VIA GOOGLE TRANSLATION ALSO USED IN POST)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

NEWS SUMMARY-INTELLIGENCE REPORT MONDAY 12/31/2018  NEW YEARS EVE NEWSDUMP


(THIS IS POSTED AT 11PM SUNDAY NIGHT BUT WILL BE UPDATED AND EXPANDED EARLY MONDAY MORNING AFTER 4AM)

Turkey and Russia have reached agreement on the next steps, military, humanitarian and otherwise in Syria.

But the Turkish government is frustrated with the pace of the US military withdrawal from Syria.

And Turkey says that Egyptian security teams have been spotted in the city of Manbij at the western end of the US occupied region of Syria.

Internet sources that monitor air traffic say that an Egyptian C-130 aircraft was flying in and out of Aleppo in northern Syria, 55 miles southwest of Manbij.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a major supporter of jihadist groups opposing the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad, says he's reassured after speaking with President Trump about the withdrawal of US forces from Syria.

Graham says Trump is planning a slow withdrawal from the country and that he is committed to the defeat of Islamic State.

Russia's FSB security agency says an American citizen has been detained while on a spy mission.

A man identified by the Russian authorities as Paul Whelan was taken into custody Friday in Moscow.   The Tass News Agency reports an investigation is underway and if Whelan is found guilty, he faces 10 to 20 years in jail.

A South Korean newspaper reports a conciliatory message from North Korea's ruler to President Trump.   It quotes a diplomatic source as saying Kim sent the message to Trump Friday.

Kim also sent a message to South Korea's President Moon Jae-in expressing hope for future summit meetings between the two Koreas.

New revelations about French President Emmanuel Macron's former bodyguard Alexandre Benalla.
Christmas week we learned that Benalla had a diplomatic passport after he left Macron's employ and was travelling overseas.  Now on the week of the New  Year we learn that Benalla is saying he exchanged encrypted messages with Macron online since he left his employ earlier this year amidst controversy.

With the call for a 'festive and non-violent' Yellow Vests protest and a recent terrorist attack in the country some 12-thousand French police will deploy in Paris for New Year's Eve.   As of 4pm local time (10 am in the Eastern US) a security zone will be set up around the Champs-Elysees where a traditional series of light shows are planned for the evening.

Those entering the area will be searched.  At least 8-thousand have indicated on social media they plan to attend the Yellow Vests protest in Paris.    Other Yellow Vests gatherings are set for Nice and Bordeaux, France to bring in the New Year.

Stepped up patrols in the English Channel by both the UK and France following a recent uptick in migrant arrivals on the southern English coast.

Closed Circuit Television pictures of the Parkland High School mass murder last February have been released over the weekend ahead of a report on it.   The link is below:


In the Congo, once called Zaire, now called the "Democratic Republic of Congo" a presidential election that has been delayed two years held Sunday with electronic voting machines not working in some places.

Over 1 million of the country's 40 plus million voters not able to vote because of the ebola virus.

21 candidates running for president of the country with three frontrunners, one of them loyal to the current President Joseph Kabila, who's been in power for 17 years.

The final result of the election due in one week.

In Bangladesh the presidential election held with the opposition leader in jail on corruption charges and the opposition alleging a rigged election.

The official results show a big win for incumbent President Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League.    Her majority increased as results came in.

The BBC reports that one of its correspondents saw filled ballot boxes at polling places before the voting started.

There's plenty of new polling data in Israel following the big political development over the weekend, a decision by two of the country's most prominent politicians to form "The New Right" party.

The new party could draw anywhere from six to 14 seats in the April 9th elections for the 120 seats in Israel's parliament.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked are leaving the more religiously based "Jewish Home" party to launch the more broad-based party as a more conservative alternative for those disaffected from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party and his policies.

And that's the way it really is on this New Year's Eve morning, December 31st, 2018.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

ISRAEL POLITICS BREAKING:  'JEWISH HOME' LEADERS ANNOUNCE 'NEW RIGHT' PARTY, THE NEW GANTZ PARTY POLLS SECOND


"The new right-wing party is on the right, period, for the land of Israel, without compromises, against a Palestinian state"


Education Minister Naftali Bennett Announces A New "Right" Party In Israel 12/29/2018


Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced Saturday night the formation of "The New Right" party to contest the April 9th elections.   

They are leaving the "Jewish Home" party where Bennett served as its leader.

Bennett and Shaked will be the co-leaders of the new party.

The party will 'represent secular and religious Israelis'.

Bennett said religious Israelis have been used for too long by politicians like Mr. Netanyahu who have "abused" them and taken them for granted.

Bennett said too many compromises have been made including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent decision to allow Qatari cash in suitcases into Gaza in the midst of the provocations and attacks against Israel from the territory.

The move came as a surprise.

It appears that the two politicians are hoping to reach a broader audience than religious Israelis and those who live in settlements in Judaea and Samaria ("West Bank").

Religious forces in the "Jewish Home" party were already organizing and looking for new allies as their leading and most widely known politicians announced their departure.   They hope to gain seats without Bennett and Shaked in what mainstream media in Israel are describing as a "far-right faction".

There's also been a report saying that former Defense Minister and Likud parliament member Moshe Ya'alon intends to join forces with former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and his newly formed Israel Resilience Party.

The Gantz party comes in second place in early election polling data to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party.

Netanyahu spoke to reporters Thursday night as he flew to Brazil for the New Years Day inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro as that country's new president, suggesting Gantz is just another candidate of "the Left" in Israel.

(COMMENT AND ANALYSIS)

What is the "Israel Resilience Party" about in the end?

My initial analysis sees it as a force of the "Center" backed by business and banking forces ala Emmanuel Macron in France.

They are at the ready as the Attorney General in Israel Avichai Mandelblit comes to an expected March decision in three corruption cases involving Benjamin Netanyahu.

If he follows the police recommendation and the leaked report of what state prosecuting attorneys are recommending, there will be an indictment of Netanyahu on multiple charges.

Netanyahu will fight back as the election campaign nears its climax but just in case he falters and is brought down these folks are ready.

Links below.....

FRANCE YELLOW VESTS:  ACT 7 OF PROTESTS DURING HOLIDAY PERIOD TODAY,  PLANS FOR NEW YEARS EVE IN PARIS, OTHER LOCATIONS


"The president of the rich is drinking champagne in Saint-Tropez while tens and hundreds of thousands of French people scream in pain and misery and have been on the dams and roundabouts for several weeks"


Benjamin Cauchy of the Yellow Vests speaks to BFM-TV In France 12/29/2018


Sharp words regarding French President Emmanuel Macron who's surfaced on the French Riviera for a holiday getaway from a Yellow Vests spokesman today.

Benjamin Cauchy called Macron a "bling-bling" president who must speak to the "France of the poor".

He hopes for a miracle when Macron makes his traditional New Year's Eve speech that will mark a real and dramatic change in policy.

On the streets of Paris today some 800 Yellow Vests marched in several processions with 57 arrested and 33 detained.   Yellow Vests appeared on the Champs-Elysses but they also put away their vests and put them back on again at Trocadero Square in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Other sites of protest included media buildings like those of France Television (government television) and BFM-TV.  The media being accused in its reporting of collaborating with the government's agenda.

12-hundred Yellow Vests were on the streets in the eastern French city of Metz today with police using tear gas after paving stones and sewer grates, among other objects, were thrown at them.

Some 1000 Yellow Vests in Rouen, France today with police using stun grenades and tear gas.   The door of the Bank of France there was burned during the protest.

In northern France at Lille police fired tear gas at a procession of 500 to 600 Yellow Vests.   Some injuries reported and six arrests.

900 protesters reported in Marseilles today and some 24-hundred in Bordeaux.

Meanwhile at least 59-thousand have expressed interest and 8-thousand indicated they plan to attend a "peaceful" and "festive" Yellow Vests protest in Paris on the Champs Elysees New Year's Eve.

Other Yellow Vests protests are planned for Bordeaux and Nice on New Year's Eve.

The city is staging its usual light shows there and a security perimeter with searches of all those entering will set up around the Champs-Elysees from 4pm New Year's Eve.

A pro-President Macron protest is being planned for January 27th in Paris.

(UPDATES AND EDITING SATURDAY PM)

(INFORMATION FROM BFM-TV VIA GOOGLE TRANSLATION USED IN THIS POST)

Friday, December 28, 2018

NEWS SUMMARY-INTELLIGENCE REPORT SATURDAY 12/29/2018  NEWSDUMP EDITION


(THIS IS BEING POSTED AT MIDNIGHT AND MAY BE UPDATED INTO SATURDAY MORNING)

President Trump urging action Friday to provide border wall funding as the old Congress reaches its last days.

His Friday tweets suggested a closing of the southern border if the Democrats don't allow the Senate to pass border wall funding.

The Senate will resume for a brief session on New Years Eve but after the beginning of the year a new Congress with the House run by Democrats hostile to President Trump takes over.

The President also tweeted Friday about cutting off aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

On Friday police in Bakersfield, California arrested the suspect in the murder of a Stanislaus County, California Sheriff's officer early Wednesday. 

Gustavo Perez Arriaga is the suspected illegal immigrant accused of killing Cpt. Ronil Singh in Newman, California.

Two others were taken into custody accused of being his accomplices.

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck shaking residents of the southern Philippine Island of Mindanao mid-day Saturday, late Friday night in the USA.

The quake centered in the ocean southeast of the island.

A tsunami warning was in effect for the southern and eastern coasts of Mindanao until 1am Eastern US time, 2 pm local time.

In Syria Friday announcements from various sides that they were marching towards or taking control of the city of Manbij at the western edge of the Kurdish part of Syria.

But the US coalition forces say they are still present inside the city and a local Manbij council official explains that Turkish and Turkish aligned forces, Syrian government aligned forces including Russian military police and Kurdish-US coalition forces all have their own zones in the area for now.

Pro-Syrian government Twitter feeds say that Syrian forces are in the countryside north of Manbij and will repel any Turkish moves in the direction of the city.

A high level Turkish delegation led by its Foreign Minister and presidential spokesman are in Moscow Saturday to discuss the future of Kurdish northeastern Syria following the withdrawal of US forces from the country expected in the coming months.

The United Arab Emirates announced Thursday the re-opening of its embassy in Damascus, a sign of a return to normalcy in relations after support for the Syrian government's enemies in the last seven years.   

Bahrain says its re-opening its Damascus embassy as well, another sign of the Gulf Arab states taking a new stance towards Syria after their support for the jihadist opposition.

Four are dead and ten injured after a roadside bomb exploded next to a tourist bus near the pyramids in Giza, Egypt Friday.   A group of Vietnamese tourists were on the bus.

The bomb was planted next to a wall and detonated as the bus passed.

Authorities in Egypt say they conducted raids on suspected terrorists and that 40 have been killed in the aftermath of the bombing.

Police in the Netherlands have arrested four suspected terrorists.   The arrests took place in Rotterdam.

More Yellow Vests protests were called in at least five French cities on Saturday, in what is expected to be an Act 7 of the protests, but there is larger interest on social media for a festive, non-violent Yellow Vests presence on the Champs-Elysses in Paris on New Year's Eve.

The city of Paris plans to go ahead with its regular celebrations Monday night including light shows.

Late word is that hundreds gathered in the southern French city of Marseille today and that a hundred Yellow Vests appeared on the Champs-Elysees for a brief confrontation with police.

There have been new questions raised about the activities of Alexandre Benalla, a former bodyguard for France's president Emmanuel Macron.  Benalla traveled to Chad three weeks ahead of President Macron at the beginning of this month and met with that country's president.  Benalla was cutting business deals in the country as he explained it.

He is still using special diplomatic passports including one given to him four days after he was fired from his job for dressing up as a policeman and attacking protesters at a May Day demonstration in Paris.  He had signed a document last May saying he was turning in any diplomatic passports and testified that he had turned his in before a French Senate committee in September.

The ex-Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Benny Gantz has created a new political party to contest the April 9th elections.  Little is known about the positions of the Israel Resilience Party other than it is committed to a "Jewish" and "democratic" Israel.   A Gantz party polls second to Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud in opinion polls released this week.

Speaking to reporters, Netanyahu dismissed a Gantz party saying it doesn't matter to him how "the Left" divides up its votes.

The grave of the father of Israel's Attorney General has been vandalized.    The tombstone specifically was vandalized.  Police are investigating the incident which took place last week.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit will decide on the indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in three corruption cases.    Police have recommended Netanyahu's indictment and Mandelblit's decision is likely in March during the heat of the political campaign for the April 9th election.

Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement, calling the vandalism "a shocking event that must be condemned".    He was also questioning the ten day delay in the vandalism being publicized.

Jewish Home party leader Education Minister Naftali Bennett called the vandalism in part:

"....a terrible act that crosses red lines.  It is forbidden for the Israeli discourse to reach violent areas.."

Opposition protesters were met with tear gas and stun grenades in Sudan as anti-government protesters gathered following Friday prayers.

Nine opposition leaders were arrested Thursday by the government.

Protests against poor economic conditions have been going on for more than a week in the country.

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid has declared a "major incident" as migrants in small boats have been crossing the English Channel from France  in significant numbers since November.  221 migrants have come across in total with 12 reported on Friday morning.

On Christmas morning, dozens of migrants in several boats appeared off the southern coast of England with 40 being taken off the small boats.

Javid has asked to speak with his French counterpart about the situation and is considering the deployment of additional border security vessels into the Channel but its possible that may not deter migrant crossings but only make them more likely.

The Federal Communications Commission investigating after a massive 911 outage across large portions of the country Thursday and Friday.    Outages in western Washington state, Idaho, Montana, Arizona and Massachusetts among other places.

The source of the outage was CenturyLink with the company identifying the problem late Thursday but it still took many hours for service to come back to normal on Friday.

Banking giant Wells Fargo has reached a 575 million dollar settlement with all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The settlement stems from the companies banking and sales practices that involved millions of fake bank accounts being created under the names of real people who didn't know about them.

The money will be dished out to the various states with Mississippi for example getting 2.5 million dollars and Pennsylvania getting 16.5 million dollars dumped into its treasury.

The chairman of Sears, hedge fund billionaire Eddie Lampert, put in a last minute bid to save the company from liquidation Friday.   Lampert's 4.4 billion dollar offer would preserve the 425 stores still open and the jobs of 50,000 of the company's 68,000 employees.

From Her Majesty The Queen in London the 2019 honors list.   "Monty Python" star Michael Palin is knighted.   Yes indeed.  Model Twiggy is named a dame among others honored.

Also Canadian novelist Margo Atwood, best known for "The Handmaid's Tale", joins the "Companions of Honour"

Lyricist Norman Gimbel is dead at the age of 91.  Gimbel's lyrics are well remembered.     Some examples.  He wrote the words that went with theme of the "Happy Days" television series in the 1970's, the "Killing Me Softly" lyrics as recorded by Roberta Flack and others, plus the English language lyrics to "The Girl From Ipanema" as sung by Astrud Gilberto accompanied by Stan Getz  in the 1960's.

A prolific writer of lyrics, Gimbel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984.

And that's the way it really is as we enter Saturday morning December 29th, 2018.


FRANCE YELLOW VESTS LATEST: PROTEST CALLS FOR SATURDAY AND FOR PARIS ON NEW YEARS EVE


The call is out for protesters to gather again tomorrow (Saturday December 29th) in cities across France with limited numbers expressing their support on social media.

Lille, Lyon, Toulouse and Paris are listed as sites for protest tomorrow with prominent figures in the Yellow Vests movement joining a protest in Marseille.

But there is greater interest in a gathering on the Champs-Elysees on New Years Eve for a "festive and non violent" Yellow Vests event.

The city of Paris is going ahead with its planned light shows on New Year's Eve capped by a 20 minute show to bring in the New Year with lights projected onto the Arc de Triomphe.

Police intend to create a security perimeter around the center of Paris from 4 pm December 31st through 3 am January 1st.   Everyone entering the area will be checked by police.


(THIS POST WAS UPDATED AND EXPANEDED SLIGHTLY FRIDAY PM)


(INFORMATION FROM BFM-TV VIA GOOGLE TRANSLATION WAS USED FOR THIS POST)

SYRIA LATEST:  TURKISH WARNING AS SYRIAN GOVERNMENT FORCES REPORTED MOVING INTO KURDISH REGION


"The YPG/PKK terrorist organization that controls the region by force does not have the right and the authority to make a statement and invite other elements on behalf of people in the region"


Turkish Defense Ministry Statement 12/28/2018-YENI SAFAK TURKISH MEDIA STORY


"Due to the invading Turkish state's threats to invade northern Syria and displace its people similarly to al-Bab, Jarabulus and Afrin, we as the People's Protection Units, following the withdrawal of our forces from Manbij before, announce that our forces will be focusing on the fight against ISIS on all fronts in the east of the Euprhates.


In conjunction with this, we invite the Syrian government forces which are obliged to protect the same country, nation and borders, to assert control over the areas our forces have withdrawn from, in particularly Manbij, and to protect these areas against a Turkish invasion"


YPG Kurdish Official Statement 12/28/2018-KURDISH STORY



When President Trump decided during a phone call with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month that US troops were leaving Syria, it appeared that the Turks and their proxy forces would have a free hand to move into northeastern Syria to take out Kurdish forces Turkey sees as a threat to its national integrity and security.

But word today after days of a military buildup in the region, is that Syrian government forces accompanied by Russian military police are moving in the western part of northeast Syria at Manbij.


The Turkish President spoke after Friday prayers saying in part:

"Our goal is terrorist groups leaving there.  If the (terrorist) groups leave, then there is no job left for us"


Tomorrow a high-level Turkish delegation will go to Moscow for a meeting with Russian officials to discuss the Syrian situation.

The Syrian government said in a statement earlier today that Manbij is officially under its control and that its forces entered the city.

A pro-Syrian government Twitter feed sending pictures from Manbij says there is no sign of Syrian government forces in the city center yet.       The Syrian government forces had moved into the countryside west of the city at the village of Arima in recent days.

The "IvanSidorenko1" Twitter feed also showed pictures of US coalition forces helicopters over Manbij today.

Another development in recent hours was an announcement by the Turkish aligned Free Syrian Army units that an offensive by the Turks and FSA was underway in the Manbij area.-AL MASDAR NEWS STORY

Lots of bluff and bluster here, but the real situation will sort itself out in the coming hours and days.

It certainly appears that the Kurds are ready to give up the Turkish border regions to the Syrian government as the alternative to Turkish invasion.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

NEWS SUMMARY-INTELLIGENCE REPORT THURSDAY 12/27/2018


(THIS SUMMARY POSTED AT MIDNIGHT EASTERN WEDNESDAY WITH UPDATES, EDITING POSSIBLE INTO THURSDAY MORNING)


President Trump paid a visit to the US military in Iraq for Christmas,  Word of his visit came out Wednesday afternoon US time a few hours after a Twitter post of an Air Force One picture taken during the day Wednesday over England.

The President spent three hours at an airbase west of Baghdad but a planned meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi did not come off because of disagreement over how to conduct the meeting.

The two leaders spoke by phone.

The President expressed his belief that those who disagree will come around to his point of view regarding the US military withdrawal from Syria.

President Trump also got a chance to greet members of the military during a refueling stop at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany on the way home.

Sources who support Syria's government say the US is setting up two new bases in western Iraq with one less than 100 miles from the Syrian border.

Syrian government troops and Russian military police are moving eastwards towards the western portion of the Kurdish area soon to be vacated by US troops.   The Syrian force is said to be just west of the city of Manbij.

A high level Turkish delegation including its Foreign Minister and presidential spokesman is headed for Moscow on Sunday to discuss Syria.    A Turkish backed Syrian militia force and Turkish military units are massed on the Turkish side of the border with Syria opposite the Kurdish area.

The Israeli airstrike on Damascus Tuesday evening Christmas Day has been condemned by Russia as a serious violation of Syrian sovereignty that endangered civilian aircraft landing approaching the Damascus and Beirut airports

The Russians say six F-16's fired 16 missiles at Damascus with air defenses shooting down 14 of them.   They add the Syrian air defenses were not able to fully engage because of the civilian aircraft, which was diverted to a Russian military base for safety.

A US defense official claimed several Hezbollah officials were injured in the attack, something that the Iranian back Lebanese movement denies.  There are many stories out there about the attack but what's worth noting is the size of the attack, six aircraft and 16 missiles.   It's a larger than usual attack.

And an Israeli official, speaking on anonymity, acknowledged for the first time Wednesday night that Israel was behind the Christmas night attack on Damascus.   The official said Iranian targets were attacked and a Syrian anti-aircraft battery was taken out in the attack when it fired at the Israeli planes.

A Hezbollah tunnel was destroyed on Israel's northern border Wednesday night.  This would be the fifth tunnel destroyed on the Lebanese border in recent weeks by Israel.

There's plenty of electioneering going on Israel with Monday's call for new elections on April 9th.

Tipzi Livni, the leader of the opposition in Israel says its time to put ego's aside and unify in opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu.  Livni is involved in the Zionist Union party, which used to be Israel's once mighty Labor party before she joined it and the name was changed.   Avi Gabbay, the party leader, insists he will lead the party into the election.

A Jewish Home party parliament member, Betzalel Smotrich, is shocked that some Jewish settlement leaders from settlements in Judaea and Samaria are meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in what amounts to a campaign appearance.

Smotrich says Netanyahu has ignored the settlements saying in part:

"All the demands from the settlements were rejected by Netanyahu's requests....almost no roads, no construction and no budget"


A poll was released Tuesday in Israel saying if the election were held today Netanyahu's Likud would lead with 30 seats while the new party of retired Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz is in second place at 13 seats.   The secularist Yesh Atid party at 12 seats,  the Arab dominated Joint List at 11, the Jewish Home also at 11, with the Zionist Union at 9.

In all 13 parties are shown in the "Maariv" newspaper poll getting seats under Israel's proportional system for the 120 seats in the parliament.

And Israel's Army Radio reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu advanced the notion of changing the electoral law to affect the upcoming election with a thresh hold lower than four percent to get seats in the parliament.   Netanyahu's office denied that report.

French judges dropped a probe into the shooting down of a plane carrying Rwanda's then president Juvenal Habyarimana in 1994.

The French inquiry was on behalf of the French crew members of the plane who were also killed

A French judge accused the Tutsi rebel faction of involvement.   That faction is led by Rwanda's current President Paul Kagame.   Arrest warrants had been issued for people close to Kagame.

In October prosecutors recommended that the charges be dismissed because there was no enough evidence.

The plantiffs in the case are appealing.

The alert level has been raised by Indonesia around the Krakatoa volcano with a 5 kilometer exclusion zone and the rerouting of airliner traffic.   There are continuing fluctuating eruptions, but a government official says the trend is towards increasing volcanic activity.

Last Saturday the volcano triggered a tsunami that killed at least 430 with hundreds still missing.

Dozens of injuries after a 4.8 magnitude earthquake on the Italian island of Sicily where the Mt. Etna volcano erupted on Monday.

Its the strongest tremor of the dozens since the eruption.

A  great day on Wall Street Wednesday with a massive rally as the Dow Jones Industrial Average went up over 1086 points, the NASDAQ jumping over 361 points.    The price of oil rose to 46 dollars, 14 cents a barrel.

The former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak testified Wednesday at a retrial for ex-Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi who too over when Mubarak was overthrown in 2011.

Mubarak limited his answers saying he could not answer some of them until current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave him permission because they would reveal information related to national security.

While Mohamed Morsi's death penalty conviction was overturned, he has received life plus additional years of prison sentences related to his rule.

Russia tested its new hypersonic Avanguard missile system successfully Wednesday.   Russia says the system that can deliver nuclear weapons without being detected will be deployed in 2019.

A Russian Soyuz carrier rocket has been launched from the Vostochny spaceport.

Its delivering Russian Kanopus-V remote sensing satellites and foreign spacecraft to orbits around the Earth.

A symbolic ceremony held in the North Korean border town of Kaesong Wednesday to begin re connection of the railroad that once ran between North and South Korea.   Plans are for railroads and highways between the two Koreas to be reconnected, but sanctions prevent work from taking place on the northern side of the border.

And that's the way it really is for Thursday morning December 27th, 2018.


BREAKING NEWS:  IS THE PRESIDENT ON THE MOVE?


"I believe Trump just flew to the Middle East"


Twitter Posting "Aircraft Spots" 12/26/2018-LINK


There has been a posting on a Twitter account called "Aircraft Spots" showing what appears to be an Air Force One like aircraft over England earlier today.

The POTUS could be on a mission to visit the military somewhere, maybe even Afghanistan.

We have had Twitter silence for some 20 hours from the President.

Link to account.....AIRCRAFT SPOTS TWITTER

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

BREAKING NEWS:  ISRAELI ATTACK ON DAMASCUS A CHRISTMAS TRADITION, SYRIAN AIR DEFENSE MISSILE OVER ISRAEL


"Residents in the area of the northern city of Hadera, south of Haifa on the Mediterranean coast, reported seeing a trail in the sky, and residents of Hefer Valley Regional Council, between Netanya and Hadera, reported hearing a loud explosion"


"Haaretz" Newspaper In Israel Reports At 418 PM Eastern US (1118 PM Israel-Syria Time)  12/25/2018-LINK TO STORY


The other year at Christmas militias supporting President Assad in Damascus were targeted by Israeli missiles.    The pro-Assad militia leader killed had a track record that included Palestinian terrorist activity against Israel.

And the tradition continued with an attack said to be on arms depots tonight in Damascus, according to the state television quoting a military official.  Three Syrian soldiers reported wounded.  Loud explosions were heard in the city.

Syrian air defenses activated and Israel shot down a Syrian missile over central Israel tonight.  The Syrian air defenses were firing missiles for some 30 minutes over the Damascus area.

Lebanese media reported Israeli aircraft operating over southern Lebanon at low altitude tonight just west of Damascus geographically.

What was targeted tonight by Israel?   Pro-Syrian government sources point to Syrian army depots with anti-Syrian government sources claiming Iranian weapons were being targeted perhaps even long range missiles.

Links below.....

WITHIN SYRIA BLOG TWITTER-PRO-GOVERNMENT

'SOUTHFRONT' STORY WITH SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEO EMBEDDED

(THAT'S ALL FOR NOW-POST CONCLUDED)

NEWS SUMMARY-INTELLIGENCE REPORT TUESDAY 12/25/2018 CHRISTMAS NEWSDUMP EDITION


(THIS SUMMARY WAS PREPARED BEFORE MIDNIGHT CHRISTMAS EVE AND COULD BE UPDATED ON CHRISTMAS MORNING)


President Trump and the First Lady taking phone calls from children as part of the "Santa Tracker" program of NORAD on Christmas Eve as Santa made his way to the USA to deliver presents.

Early elections have been called in Israel.    April 9th is the date.   Elections could have been delayed until November of next year, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the call saying its difficult to pass laws.  Netanyahu also cited recent destruction of Hezbollah tunnels at the Lebanese border as clearing the way for the new elections.

His coalition has only 61 seats in the 120 seat parliament (Knesset) after the recent departure of former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beteinu  faction.

There are plenty of factions, Right to Left, Religious to Secular in Israel, with a proportional system of representation in the parliament after a 4 percent thresh hold of votes for any political party.

An expected new entry in the upcoming election is a faction led by former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.

More on the Israel election call here....LINK TO BREAKING NEWS POST

Turbulence on Wall Street in the shortened Christmas Eve session.   Sunday night it was revealed that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had talked to the CEO's of the top six banks getting reassurances about their liquidity after the large stock market losses last week.

The Treasury Department released word at around Noon Monday saying Mnuchin wasn't asking the banks about their liquidity when he spoke to them.

Regarding the economy President Trump tweeted Monday in part:

"The only problem our economy has is the Fed, they don't have a feel for the Market..."


The Dow Jones Industrial Average down Christmas Eve some 653 points or 2.91 percent of value as well as NASDAQ down some 140 points or 2.21 percent of value and the price of oil continued its slide finishing at 42.68 a barrel.

That should lower gas prices at the pump once we get past Christmas when prices were kept steady this year instead of being hiked (at least that was the picture here in Central PA).

A federal judge ruled Monday that North Korea should be paying over 501 million dollars to the family of student Otto Warmbier, who died after suffering a severe brain injury while detained there.

District Judge Beryl A. Howell in the District of Columbia held North Korea liable for the "torture, hostage taking and extrajudicial killing of Warmbier.   He was returned to the United States in a vegetative state in June 2017 and died later that month.

President Trump sent out a tweet Monday afternoon with a picture of him working with his team on North Korea.   Trump tweeted that he looks forward to another summit meeting with Kim Jong-un.

Actor Kevin Spacey has been charged with sexual assault in Massachusetts.  He's  accused of assaulting an 18 year old male. Spacey will appear in court for arraignment January 7th.   The incident is alleged to have occurred on Nantucket Island at a bar-restaurant in July 2016.

Spacey posted an "in character" video of himself as Frank Underwood from "House of Cards" Monday saying among other things:

"You wouldn't rush to judgements without facts"


Other men have made accusations against Spacey but none have led to criminal charges.

Pictures of an Arab princess reported missing earlier this year have been released by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

Sheikha Latifa, the daughter of Dubai's ruler, was reported to have fled the oil kingdom in March but then was snatched from a yacht off the coast of India and forcibly returned to her country.

The pictures show Sheikha Latifa alongside Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of Ireland.   The UAE says they were taken on December 15th.   The government statement says that Robinson was assured that the princess was "receiving the necessary care and support she requires".

A suicide bomber followed by three gunmen launched an assault on a government building in Afghanistan's capital Kabul Monday.  Latest word is that 43 were killed and 10 wounded in the attack.

The Russian reconciliation center in Syria reports that militants launched shelling attacks from the Idlib deconfliction zone in northern Syria Monday against many villages in the region and that one member of the Syrian military was wounded in the shelling.

The Russian center also reports humanitarian and reconstruction efforts underway in war-torn Syria with restoration of nearly 31,000 homes, 713 educational and 121 medical facilities in the country as of Sunday.    209 513 people are reported to have returned to Syria.

Turkey's presidential spokesman says Turkey wants to send its forces into northeastern Syria as soon as possible and will coordinate its actions with Russia.  Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he intends to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin soon.

The spokesman for Turkey's President Erdogan says any purchase of US Patriot missiles will not affect the country's purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system.  Ibrahim Kalin told a new conference Monday:

"The deal on the S-400 is closed.   The first systems will be supplied in October 2019."


The Russian military fired anti-ship missiles during drills in Crimea.    Various military weapons were used during the drills.  Crimea was annexed to Russia after a coup overthrew the democratically elected pro-Russian government in Ukraine in 2014.

Western nations are demanding that Crimea be returned to Ukraine.

The government in Italy is rushing through its budget after reaching a deal with the European Union on the size of the country's deficit.   The Senate approved the budget over the weekend and the House is expected to take the bill Friday going into the last weekend of the year. 

The deficit is 2.04 percent next year, instead of the 2.4 percent originally proposed.

It funds a "citizenship wage" basic income for people entering the work force as envisioned by the Five Star Movement, one of the governing parties. 

Retired government employees with large pensions will not receive increases they would normally get, a priority of The League, the other governing party.

Leader of The League, Matteo Salvini, hopes for change in the EU in the coming year.  He is in coalition with other groups including Marine Le Pen of France's National Rally for the European Parliament elections in May.


"We would ask that the press please respect our privacy and leave us to try and get through Christmas as best we can"


That's the statement from the British couple arrested and suspected, then released in connection with the drone sightings at London's Gatwick Airport.

Paul Gait and Elaine Kirk, released without charge, said "The way we were initially perceived was disgusting".

Authorities have taken security measures spending five million pounds on the effort obtaining the technology from an Israeli company.

Peter Hitchens wrote about the matter in his "Mail On Sunday" column in part:

"But all these organizations and "security" personnel can't find a way to deal with what is, in effect, a large remote-controlled toy helicopter buzzing about near the runway.....It is rather lucky that we don't actually have any serious enemies at the moment, isn't it?"


And the political establishment in the UK got a Christmas Eve message on Facebook from activist Tommy Robinson, noting his popularity on Facebook in relation to the Labor and Conservative parties:

"Merry Christmas to the establishment


This is what the traitors are really scared of!


10 or 11 times more engagement than the Tory party or Labour, and they know it.  People have had enough and I predict a political revolution is coming....2019 #UKIP #PeoplePower"


Robinson was arrested May 25th for live streaming outside a child sex abuse trial involving Muslim defendants in Leeds, England.  He was imprisoned for more than two months until he was released on appeal.  His case is being delayed by the court system as the UK goes through the Brexit turmoil that will last into April.

And tonight as Christmas arrives we remember those in prison in our own country, the men imprisoned in connection with the Bunkerville Standoff near Bundy Ranch in Nevada back in April 2014.

This was posted Christmas Eve on the "Support Greg Burleson" Facebook page:

"I cant stop thinking about our 3 guys still in prison.  Greg, Todd Engel and Jerry Delemus.  My heart breaks for them and their families.  Especially on my heart of course is Greg.  I have no idea what he is going through.  Have had no word since the middle of the month.  It breaks my heart to think what is going through his mind as he sits in his dark world.  I pray that the Lord will send him some light as He sent the light of the world in His son Jesus Christ.  Please remember Greg in your prayers"


By the way Burleson who's gone blind since his 2016 arrest is being punished by being denied visitors among other things at the Allenwood Federal Prison in Pennsylvania because he won't return to a cellblock where inmates were being raped and assaulted and he felt threatened.

Greg Burleson, Jerry Delemus and Todd Engel.    May they be set free. ….

And that's the way it really is as we enter Christmas Day December 25th, 2018.   Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2018

BREAKING NEWS:  NEW ELECTIONS CALLED IN ISRAEL TO CLEAR THE WAY FOR TRUMP'S "DEAL OF THE CENTURY" OPPOSED BY CONSERVATIVE PARTY


"The release of United States President Donald Trump's 'deal of the century' for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be postponed until the summer to enable Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party to win the April 9th Knesset election, according to Channel 2 News"


"Arutz Sheva"-Israel National News Report 11:41 AM Eastern Time US 12/24/2018-LINK


"Anticipating the Trump administration's rollout of its peace plan, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told the "Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference" on Wednesday that it will be a waste because the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians are too great to bridge"


"Jerusalem Post" Report  11/21/2018-LINK


"Trump's deal of the century includes a Palestinian state, under certain conditions. We will object to that because that means there will be another Arab entity west of the Jordan (River)"


Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the "Jewish Home" Party Inteviewed By Israel's Army Radio-Galei Zahal-LINK



There will be new elections early in Israel on April 9th.    That was the word today from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying "bills could not be passed" in Israel's Parliament (Knesset).

Now the various factions will compete for the 120 seats allocated proportionally to any party getting more than four percent of the popular vote.

Israel's outspoken Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz says the division of religious and secular factions is bringing on the election.   And they are real enough, with both sides fighting over a law on the drafting of religious Israelis for military service as the secularists resent the exemptions for religious people and religious insist their religious obligations come first.

But another issue lurking in the shadows and opposed by the Zionist conservatives of the Jewish Home party has been cited,  President Donald J. Trump's "Deal of the Century" between Israel and the Palestinians.

And then there's the corruption cases against Mr. Netanyahu with word leaked out to the "Haaretz" newspaper last week that prosecutors in the State Prosecutors Office want the Attorney General to indict the Prime Minister in the Case 2000 and Case 4000 bribery-corruption cases.

The AG says the election call will not impact when or if he decides on indictment.

Avi Gabbay, the leader of the Zionist Union (the former and once mighty Labor Party) in Israel, says it's an election between him and Netanyahu to "save Israel's democracy".


(THIS ENDS THE POST)


BEHIND THE SHUTDOWN:  DONALD TRUMP GIVES TURKEY THE GRAVY FOR CHRISTMAS AND WILL JEWS GET A RAW DEAL (HAM)




"I just had a long and productive call with President @RT_Erdogan of Turkey.  We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly coordinated pullout of US troops from the area.  After many years they are coming home.   We also discussed heavily expanded Trade."


President Donald J. Trump Twitter  December 23, 2018-LINK






"I was just exposed to the daily trolling of the anti-Semitic dictator Erdogan"


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  December 23, 2018-LINK



"Forced to choose between Turkey, with 80 million people and the second-largest army in NATO, which sits astride the Dardanelles and Bosphorus entrance to the Black Sea, and the stateless Kurds with their Syrian Democratic Forces, or YPG, Trump chose Recep Tayyip Erdogan."


Pat Buchanan Column December 20, 2018-LINK




Turkey's elected but authoritarian Muslim Brotherhood aligned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is wishing Christians in general and Turkey's Christians a "happy Christmas", but it is he who is receiving the presents and treats from the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

Trump offers him a withdrawal of US troops from Syria (a good idea IMHO), Patriot missiles, more trade and consideration of extraditing the most wanted man in Turkey, Islamic cleric Fetullah Gullen.

Gullen the man seen behind the July 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan.   The Turkish media quotes its Foreign Minister as saying an FBI investigation of Gullen's movement already underway in 15 states with arrests already in New Jersey.

It is what it is, likely linked to the need to keep Turkey in the orbit of the US and NATO as things seem to be ratcheting up against Russia and perhaps to get Turkey away from Iran, also a clear target of ratcheting up pressure comparable to that imposed on Germany and Japan in the 1940-41 period.

Then there's this other thing in the picture, the notion of  broader Middle East settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian question.

Donald J. Trump and his point man son-in-law Jared Kushner are dead serious about the "Deal of the Century".   Kushner was discussing it with relish and generalities with Sean Hannity recently and outgoing US UN Ambassador Nikki Haley gave it a generalized plug in a speech she made earlier this month.

Trump and his partner in Riyadh,  Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, are into this deal and no doubt Benjamin Netanyahu, also a big promoter of Bin Salman as a force for stability in the region, are somehow involved in the cooking up of this scheme.

But Erdogan has some dirt on the Crown Prince, incriminating dirt about the murder of Saudi opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi.    The brutal murder on October 2nd in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul has enraged Erdogan and he needs to be mollified.

I sense Donald Trump is trying to clear the deck for that important move, his "Deal of the Century", but conservative and nationalistic Zionists in Israel sense danger coming.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home party in Israel stated last month that LINK the "Deal of the Century" is not wanted in Israel because the sides are too far apart and she recommended Trump not waste time with the notion.-

And more recently,  Jewish Home party leader and Education Minister Naftali Bennett has said the deal includes a separate Palestinian state 'under certain conditions" in Judaea and Samaria (aka "The West Bank") and he will oppose the notion.-LINK

And now maybe as a stalling tactic and response to recent events including the report last week that prosecutors in Israel would like to indict him in two corruption cases, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  has made the early election call for April 9th.

(LATE ADDITION: ISRAEL'S CHANNEL 2 NEWS REPORTS THE 'DEAL OF THE CENTURY' IS NOW POSTPONED TO SUMMER TO ENABLE NETANYAHU TO WIN THE ELECTION IN APRIL, THEN THE DEAL WITH ITS SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES FOR JEWS WILL BE UNLEASHED)


(THIS WAS UPDATED CHRISTMAS EVE TO REFLECT THE CALL FOR NEW ELECTIONS IN ISRAEL ON APRIL 9TH)

NEWS SUMMARY-INTELLIGENCE REPORT MONDAY 12/24/2018 NEWSDUMP EDITION 


(SUMMARY PREPARED MAINLY BEFORE 1AM EASTERN AND UPDATED IN PART, EDITED IN MORNING)

President Trump spoke with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday.

They discussed the fight against ISIS, the issue of Syria including coordination of the US military withdrawal from Syria and expanded trade with Turkey that has been on hold in recent years as relations were strained.

In a Sunday night tweet the President said Erdogan told him "he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS in Syria.....and he is a man who can do it..."

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the Turkish president Erdogan an "anti-Semitic dictator" on Sunday saying among other things about Erdogan:

"He is obsessed with Israel.  He knows what a moral army is and he knows what a genuine democracy is, as opposed to an army that massacres women and children in Kurdish villages and a state which, to my regret, is becoming more dictatorial day by day"


On Saturday Erdogan, speaking at the Turkish Youth Federation, said that "the Jews in Israel kick people when they're lying on the ground" adding:

"In fact, Jews kick not only men, but women and children as well....as Muslims, we will confront these people, if they have courage to deal with us.  We'll teach them a lesson."


The war of words has been harsh in recent days with Turkey's Foreign Minister calling Prime Minister Netanyahu a "cold-blooded killer of modern times" who has massacred Palestinians by the thousands.

The Turkish DHA news agency reported military reinforcements moving towards Turkey's border with Syria on Sunday.  After President Trump's announcement of a withdrawal of troops from Syria, Turkey said it was delaying a military offensive into northeastern Syria to destroy Kurdish military units.

Israel's Education Minister and leader of the Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, says President Trump's Middle East peace plan includes a Palestinian state in the West Bank. 

Bennett says he will oppose what Trump calls "the deal of the century" to settle Israeli-Palestinian differences.

Bennett spoke with "Galei Tsahal" Israel's "Army Radio" and said in part:

"Trump's deal of the century includes a Palestinian state; under certain conditions.  We will object to that because that means there will be another Arab entity west of the Jordan (River)"


LATE WORD FROM ISRAEL THIS MORNING THAT THE DATE FOR ELECTIONS IS APRIL 9TH.   A NEW ELECTION HAD TO BE CALLED BY NOVEMBER OF NEXT YEAR.  IN ANNOUNCING THE NEW ELECTIONS, PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU SAID IT WAS TOO DIFFICULT TO PASS LAWS SO AN ELECTION WAS NEEDED.

President Trump has named Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan acting Secretary of Defense as of January 1st.  Shanahan will replace the outgoing Jim Mattis.

The speedup in the change at the Pentagon from Mattis's planned February 28th departure is apparently the result of the resignation letter pointing to differences in policy between General Mattis and President Trump.

A sealed order from the US Supreme Court's Chief Justice John Roberts Sunday temporarily halting a contempt citation from a lower court against an unknown foreign company.

The company is in a secret case over its fight with a grand jury subpoena related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.  What is known about the company is that is owned by a foreign government.

Fines against the company are halted and Mueller's lawyers have until Dec. 31st to file a response to the Supreme Court.    The full court will have to vote on whether they want to intervene in the case.

US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin put out the word Sunday evening that he has spoken with the CEO's of the six largest US banks and they told him they have the assets needed to serve their customers.

His calls follow a rough week on Wall Street last week.

Fears of another tsunami on the coasts of the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra as the Krakatoa volcano continued its series of eruptions on Sunday.

Saturday's eruption is believed behind a deadly tsunami Saturday night that killed at least 334 people and injured more than 1,000.

Police using tear gas and apparently more in the African country of Sudan as protests against the government spread across the country.

Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with riot police in the country's capital, Khartoum, on Sunday.  The protest began as fans emptied out of a soccer stadium after a match.

The opposition says 22 have died in the protests but official figures from the government are lower.  Doctors say they are treating cases involving gunshot wounds that caused death and injury to protesters.

Opposition leaders in the country have been arrested.

The protests began after bread and fuel prices were raised.

A call for "order" from French President Emmanuel Macron as the "Yellow Vests" protests continued for the sixth Saturday in a row over the weekend.   Only 40-thousand protesters involved but on Saturday evening groups of protesters clashed with police in the center of Paris.

At one point Saturday evening protesters attacked police at an intersection on the Champs-Elysees in Paris with one of the police officers pulling a gun to hold back the demonstrators.   There was strong reaction to the attack and the police pulling the gun with criticism from all sides...LINK TO VIDEO

Macron was on a visit to French soldiers in Chad on Saturday and said there should be "severe" judicial responses to the actions of the protesters.

The former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been sent back to prison on a seven year sentence.  He was convicted by an anti-corruption court of having investments beyond his reported assets.

More than 80,000 on hand in Tokyo Sunday to pay respects to Japan's Emperor Akihito on his last birthday on the throne.

The 85 year old emperor spoke to the crowd offering his thanks to the people of Japan for their support.

He expressed his condolences to those who have died in natural disasters in the previous year.

And the emperor expressed his hope that Japan would welcome newcomers to the country under new legislation to make it easier for foreign workers to enter Japan.   The legislation is said to be needed to ease a labor shortage caused by an aging population.

Akihito is relinquishing his throne in April to his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito.

And that's the way it really is,  Monday morning Christmas Eve December 24, 2018.


Sunday, December 23, 2018

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS:  'THE FIRST CIRCLE' BY ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN



This month marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Russian writer and I must say prophet Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

A statue was erected this month in a Moscow neighborhood to mark the anniversary of his birth with Russia's President Vladimir Putin paying his respects.

One Christmas when I was a teenager, I received a gift of the Solzhenitsyn novel, "The First Circle".

Its a story that happens to take place in and around December 25th, 1949.   Christmas Day in the Western nations, but not in Russia.  However, it certainly is the Christmas season as it happened USSR style.

Among other people in the story are the prisoners of the "best prison" in the Soviet Gulag Archipelago on the edge of Moscow.

The central character, Gleb Nerzhin, is actually Alexander Solzhenitsyn retelling his story of his final hours in this special prison.

In 2006 Russian television presented a ten-part series based on the novel with the screenplay written by Solzhenitsyn himself.

Gleb does not bend over to obey the state and pays the consequences being sent back into the bowels of the Gulag at the end.

There are stories inside the story and there are unpleasant things in this story which may disturb or offend, but who wouldn't be disturbed and offended by the USSR in all its filthiness.

Here is a link to the whole series "In The First Circle"...........


NEWS SUMMARY-INTELLIGENCE REPORT SUNDAY 12/23/2018 NEWSDUMP WEEK


(THIS SUMMARY WAS PREPARED SATURDAY PM UNTIL MIDNIGHT SUNDAY EASTERN TIME WITH SOME UPDATING, EDITING ETC. AFTER MIDNIGHT)

The Senate was unable to approve money for a wall on the US-Mexico border Saturday.

The Senate is adjourned until Thursday but a short session is set for tomorrow, Christmas Eve.

President Trump is staying at the White House and will not go to Florida while five government departments are shutdown because there is no border wall funding in the budget package for them.

The US envoy to the coalition fighting Islamic State, Brett McGurk, submitted his resignation Friday.

McGurk is reported to be resigning over President Trump's decision to withdrawal US troops from Syria.

A tsunami has struck the coasts of Indonesia's Sunda Strait after the nearby legendary Krakatoa volcano erupted Saturday.   Undersea landslides after the eruption are a possible cause of the tsunami.
Eyewitnesses describe seeing a small wave come ashore before a larger one swept through.

At least 220 are dead and 843 injured according to Indonesian authorities.  20 are missing.

In 1883 the massive eruptions of Krakatoa spewed hot ash that killed thousands and created massive tsunami waves that killed thousands more.    The eruptions were heard thousands of miles away and spread volcanic ash around the world.

40-thousand Yellow Vests protesters were on the streets and highways of France on the Saturday before Christmas.    In Paris some two thousand participated with some confrontations with police during the evening in the city.   A police officer pulled a gun during a confrontation.

There were protests at border crossings with Spain, Italy and Germany with the crossings blocked by demonstrators.

220 protesters were arrested with 81 kept in police custody nationwide.

There was no chance to save nine miners trapped in Russia.   The Governor of the Perm Region posted on his Instagram account that six attempts were made to rescue the miners after a fire broke out Saturday morning just over one thousand feet underground.   Eight miners made it out of the mine but the nine others could not be reached in the fire and smoke.

The late word is that the bodies of the nine miners were recovered today.

Palestinian factions in Gaza issued a statement Saturday pledging to avenge what they called "Israel's stupidity and its crimes against our people".   Four Palestinians were killed in protests at the border fence with Israel on Friday.

Its reported that China has successfully tested a Russian S-400 air defense system delivered to the Chinese military last May.   The S-400 was able to shoot down a ballistic target at a range of 250 kilometers with a missile moving at 3 kilometers per second.   The S-400 is Russia's most advanced air defense system.

Some 3-thousand members of Russia's military have conducted drills in southern Russia to simulate the aftermath of a massive nuclear attack.   Russia's Southern Military District announced Saturday that the drills included practicing the decontamination of weapons and equipment after nuclear attack.

India has slashed its national sales tax for 23 different items including movie tickets, televisions and other items with the rate for wheelchairs and parts being cut from 28 percent to five percent.

Its seen as a political move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his BJP party lost five state elections recently with national elections coming in the spring.    The GST was imposed in July 2017 and has resulted in job losses for thousands of workers in small businesses.

Those pre-Christmas visits to military forces around the world from political leaders continue with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the African nation of Mali.  Trudeau visited with Canadian soldiers who are part of a UN peacekeeping mission there sharing a turkey dinner and dropping off a foosball table.

Late word from the UK that police have released the couple they arrested Friday night, satisfied they are not the suspects in the drone flights around Gatwick Airport.   The police have also found a damaged drone on the ground in the area.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office will not file charges against actor Steven Seagal.  Former model Faviola Dadis told police earlier this year that Seagal groped her when she was 17 years old in 2002 during an audition at a Beverly Hills hotel.

The DA's office says there wasn't sufficient evidence and the statute of limitations had expired.

One of the last Jewish fighters of 1943's revolt against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto is dead.

Simcha Rotem was 94 years old.   He was a leader of the Jewish Combat Organization that planned the resistance to Nazi deportation of the last Jews in the ghetto to death camps.

And that's the way it really is Sunday morning December 23rd, 2018.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS: JUSTICE FOR SIR CLIFF RICHARD AND PERHAPS OTHERS


"My congratulations to Sir Cliff Richard.  By taking the BBC and the police to court over their shocking treatment of an unproven allegation against him, he has struck a mighty blow for justice...."


Peter Hitchens Column July 21st, 2018-LINK


"....A time for living, a time for believing, a time for trusting, not deceiving, love and laughter and joy ever after, ours for the taking, just follow the Master...."


Cliff Richard Sings His UK Number One Christmas Song "Mistletoe and Wine"-LINK


As Tommy Robinson's appeal was heard at the UK's High Court on July 18th this year, another case was ruled on with a victory for Sir Cliff Richard.

When the American rock n roll stars hit the scene in the late 1950's the UK didn't have one to compare with Elvis Presley or Rick Nelson or Little Richard etc. etc.

But then along came Cliff Richard who became a music and movie superstar in his early years.   His music career spanned the decades and while he was famous in the UK and other countries, he would have limited success in the United States best remembered in the 1970's for songs like "Devil Woman" and "We Don't Talk Anymore".

In 1964 Cliff, raised in the Anglican Church, would come forward at a Billy Graham Crusade and begin a life as a popular music star and a committed Evangelical Christian.

His reputation was smeared in the secular, cynical media but Cliff successfully sued when he was called a "fascist" in the British media decades ago.

So it should come as no surprise when this awful accusation against him surfaced and the South Yorkshire Police (the ones who arrested Tommy Robinson on May 25th this year) would leak to the  BBC which in turn would draw attention to the notion that Cliff Richard was a child sex abuser, Richard would go to court again.

The police settled for 400-thousand pounds and the BBC and the police were forced by the court ruling to pay 210-thousand pounds in damages for invading his privacy.

FRANCE LATEST:  40-THOUSAND YELLOW VESTS ESTIMATED TODAY,  POLICE IN PARIS ATTACKED THIS EVENING


The government says that some 40-thousand Yellow Vests protesters were active on this Saturday before Christmas in France.   That's down from 66-thousand last week.

220 were reported arrested by evening nationwide with 81 kept in custody.

Among those arrested Eric Drouet who called on protesters this morning at 9am to come onto the streets of Paris in the 9th Arrondissement of the city.     This is an area where police would find it difficult to contain or control protesters.

The protest was moved from Versailles after police shut down railroad stations to prevent people from Paris reaching Versailles.

2000 protesters were estimated to be on the streets of Paris today.

By  evening there were some confrontations with police in the city including an incident with three police motorcyclists attacked by protesters throwing paving stones and scooters along the Champs-Elysees.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux denounced the actions of Yellow Vests protesters posting on Twitter that they were "racist, anti-Semitic, putschist".   He denounced a reported protest Friday night in southwestern France where a mock trial of President Emmanuel Macron was held and an effigy of him was decapitated.

In Toulouse, 2500 hundred protesters were on the streets and 2600 took to the streets in Bordeaux.

Border crossings with Spain, Italy and Germany were blocked by Yellow Vests protesters.


(INFORMATION FROM BFM-TV VIA GOOGLE TRANSALTION WAS USED IN THIS POST)

NEWS SUMMARY-INTELLIGENCE REPORT SATURDAY 12/22/2018  NEWSDUMP WEEK


(UPDATES, EXPANSION, EDITING ETC. UNTIL 815 AM EASTERN US)

The House and Senate will return at Noon today after there was failure to reach agreement on border wall funding in Friday night talks.

Budget funding for five federal departments was not passed because of the lack of agreement on the money for a wall on the US-Mexico border.

President Trump reiterated his call for border wall funding in a Friday night video posted on Twitter.

He has tweeted that Republicans in the Senate should change the rules so 51 votes will get the border wall funding approved instead of the 60 needed to end debate.

The situation being hyped in the media as a partial government shutdown, but with this weekend leading into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, one could argue the departments are pretty much shut down anyway.

Act Six or Phase Six of the Yellow Vests protests underway in France today.   Speculation as to the size of the protests on the Saturday before Christmas with expectation for smaller demonstrations than on other Saturdays.

Versailles was cited as a major gathering point for protesters today, a city associated with the French Revolution.  But with police ordering a railway shutdown from Paris to Versailles, a procession of Yellow Vests formed in Paris.

Yellow Vests protesters were visible in the Montmarte section of Paris at 4am Eastern time US, 10am in Paris.  Some 43 arrests were reported in Paris as of 11am Paris time.

A procession estimated to number 800 was in the 9th Arrondisement of Paris, northeast of the Champs-Elysees.     More on today's protests in the Breaking News post....LINK

What if the "Yellow Vests" were a political party in France?    They would get 8 percent of the vote in the European Parliament elections set for next May.   But the leading party would still be the National Rally of Marine Le Pen at 21 percent with President Emmanuel Macron's LaREM party at 19 percent.

Without Yellow Vests National Rally has 24 percent and LaREM would be at 21.5 percent.

The US Supreme Court decided 5 to 4 to uphold lower court rulings against President Trump's policy denying asylum to those who enter the country illegally.

The liberal justices were joined by Chief Justice John Roberts.    The four in favor of the Presidents's policy were justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas.

Cancer surgery for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.    Two malignant nodules were removed from her lung.    They were discovered when she fell and broke her ribs last month.

The statement released by the Supreme Court said there is "no evidence of any remaining disease".

The CEO of China's JD.com e-commerce site will not face rape charges in the US.

Prosecutors in Minneapolis say there was not enough evidence to charge Liu Qiangdong.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said:

"As is the case in many sexual assault incidents, it was a complicated situation"


A court in Ecuador rejected Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's appeal for better conditions at the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he is currently seeking refuge from criminal charges in the United States.

The court ruled there was no infringement of his rights there.  Restrictions were imposed on Assange earlier this year believed to be a way of forcing him out of the embassy and into the arms of British authorities, who would extradite him to the United States.

Federal court documents released into the public record in northern Virginia recently point to federal charges pending against Assange.

The US and Canada are calling for the release of two Canadians detained in China.

Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland formally demanded the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in a written statement issued Friday.

They were arrested in China after Canadian authorities arrested Chinese businesswoman Meng Wanzhou of the Huawei telecom firm for extradition to the United States on charges of breaking US sanctions on Iran.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also issued a statement calling for release of the two men.

Both cited the "rule of law" in connection with arrest of Meng in their statements.

The UN will be sending a team to oversee a ceasefire in the key Yemeni port of Hudayah.   The UN Security Council agreed Friday to send the team after the cease-fire began Tuesday of this week.

The port a key lifeline of supplies to civilians in Yemen where millions have suffered from famine.

Fighting in Yemen reported also with 18 Houthi rebels killed and 12 injured by Saudi backed Yemeni government forces.

More declarations of states of emergency in more parts of the African nation of Sudan Friday as protests over economic conditions went into their third day.

Schools and universities were closed in many parts of the country.    The President of Sudan recently paid a visit to Syria and met with that country's President Bashar Assad.  Hopefully his country is not descending into the kind of conditions Syria experienced during the last seven years of civil war.

The US aircraft carrier John C. Stennis has entered the Persian Gulf, the first US aircraft carrier there in months.

On the northern side of the Persian Gulf is Iran.   Today Iran announced military maneuvers on an island at the northern side of the Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Persian Gulf.  Ground units, drones and helicopters said to be involved.

Government officials making the rounds of pre-Christmas visits to military units.

The British Defense Minister chose to visit a Royal Navy warship in Ukraine.    HMS Echo came into the Black Sea and arrived at the port of Odessa after the recent incident when Russian border police seized three Ukrainian warships that entered Russia controlled waters at the Kerch Strait.

Gavin Williamson said to the crew of the warship:

"What we are saying to Russia-what we are saying to President Putin-they cannot continue to act with no regard or care for international laws or international norms"


French President Emmanuel Macron visited French troops in the African nation of Chad.

And the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited 800 members of his military on a logistical support mission in Iraq.

British police made two arrests at 10 pm local time Friday over the drone sightings that forced closure of London's Gatwick Airport for nearly two days.

A man and a woman taken into custody with police saying their investigation into "malicious use of drones" is continuing.    The police also urging vigilance at the airport and the cooperation of the public in their investigation.

A report from the office of Michigan's Attorney General hits hard at Michigan State University for obstruction of its investigation into the former US gymastics team doctor Larry Nassar who also worked at the university.

The report released Friday notes how the university is still withholding documents related to the investigation.

The outgoing special prosecutor in the case, Bill Forsyth, says MSU has stonewalled his investigation by refusing to turn over relevant documents that would have revealed:

"Who knew what, when they knew it and what if anything, they did about it"

Criminal charges were brought against the former MSU president Lou Anna Simon and two others in connection with his investigation.

Nassar was convicted and sentenced on sex abuse and child pornography charges.

The new AG in Michigan who takes office at the beginning of the new year promises to continue the probe.

And that's the way it really is Saturday morning December 22nd, 2018.

Friday, December 21, 2018

BREAKING NEWS FRANCE:  ACT SIX OF YELLOW VESTS PROTESTS SATURDAY DECEMBER 22ND


(LATEST NEWS IS AT BOTTOM OF POST WITH UPDATES UNTIL 830 AM EASTERN US)

(130 AM EASTERN US, 730 AM IN PARIS)

Lighter concentrations of police will be deployed in France this Saturday in anticipation of smaller demonstrations by Yellow Vests.

1,225 Mobile Guards and CRS riot police are deployed in Paris, where protests are expected to be light with a major protest site being nearby Paris in Versailles.    A large police operation there is set to box in, search and possibly detain in advance any protesters who show up.

(4 AM EASTERN TIME US, 10 AM IN PARIS)

Yellow Vests protesters are visible in the Montmarte section of Paris at this hour.

(535 AM EASTERN TIME US, 1135 AM IN PARIS)

Yellow Vests are now marching in Paris in the 9th Arrondissement of Paris.....30 arrests reported in Paris as of 11 am local time

The notion of a protest at Versailles today was changed with the announcement of this protest placed online at 9am local time by activist Eric Drouet, who had earlier called for the protest at Versailles.

Authorities had closed train stations to prevent people from using trains to reach Versailles from Paris.

(735AM EASTERN TIME US, 135PM IN PARIS)

As the procession moved through the streets of Paris, the number of Yellow Vests was estimated at 800.   There have been protests in other cities including Marseilles and at border crossings including one on the border of France and Spain.  Another site of protest was the city of Toulouse.

(830AM EASTERN TIME, 230 PM IN PARIS)

Authorities in southwestern France are investigating after a rally of Yellow Vests Friday night in Angouleme reportedly staged the decapitation of a puppet effigy of President Emmanuel Macron after a mock trial.

That is all for now.  This concludes the post.

Link below......

BFM-TV LIVE VIDEO FROM FRANCE

(MORE TO COME LATER)

FRANCE LATEST:  YELLOW VESTS AT VERSAILLES TOMORROW, POLICE PLAN TO BOX THEM IN


Yellow Vests protests are expected tomorrow in Versailles, an historic place in France associated with the French Revolution.

Authorities have decided to close the Palace of Versailles and to create a perimeter in which protests will be allowed tomorrow.   They plan to box in any Yellow Vests that show up.

Yellow Vests figure Eric Drouet, accused by authorities for comments he made on television several weeks ago, called on social media for protesters to gather in Versailles tomorrow.

The prefecture of Yvelines, where the protest is to take place, said the perimeter will keep the protesters from the area of the Palace of Versailles.

The police will also stop protesters for preventive detention and or confiscation of items they may be carrying.

In an obvious attempt to deter the arrival of protesters in the area, railway stations will be closed in the area to prevent anyone traveling into Versailles from the direction of Paris.

(BFM-TV IN FRANCE VIA GOOGLE TRANSLATION INTO ENGLISH PROVIDED INFORMATION FOR THIS POST)


NEWS SUMMARY INTELLIGENCE REPORT FRIDAY 12/21/2018  NEWSDUMP WEEK


(EDITING, UPDATES, ADDITIONS, ETC. POSSIBLE UNTIL 8 AM EASTERN)


Its all played out like a WWE wrestling show produced by President Trump's close friend Vince McMahon, but the drama over border wall funding is moving towards its climax as we approach Christmas.

President Trump started out talking about a partial government shutdown if Congress did not approve the border wall funding, then suggested funding could be achieved by using other funds, then it came back to saying he would veto spending bills to cause the partial shutdown if the wall funding wasn't in it.

Late Thursday President Trump tweeted congratulations as the House passed border wall funding 217-185.   Now its up to the Senate and we shall see.   This morning the President posted a series of tweets urging Senate passage and urging GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell to fight hard for funding for the wall.

General Jim Mattis is leaving as Secretary of Defense.    

President Trump tweeted that Mattis is "retiring, with distinction, at the end of February".

The President says a new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly.

In his resignation letter, Mattis urged that the challenges of China and Russia be confronted and that international alliances be promoted.   Mattis also said that the President is entitled to a Secretary of Defense whose views are more in line with his.

There are media reports that Mattis was upset with President's decision to pull the US military out of Syria and stop all US military activity there including air support.

Other reaction to the President's Syria decision was negative from the UK and France, which have participated in military operations in Syria.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to intensify Israel's efforts against Iranian influence in Syria.

Speaking at his end of the year news conference in Russia yesterday, President Vladimir Putin called Trump's decision a "fair" one, but said there is no evidence of the withdrawal yet.

A leader that President Trump contacted almost immediately about his decision was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was trumpeting a military operation against Kurdish fighting units that have been helping the US in Syria.

LATE WORD THIS HOUR IS THAT THE TURKS HAVE DECIDED TO POSTPONE THE OPERATION FOR NOW.

This decision and other decisions on issues that matter to Turkey appear to send a strong signal that the US wants Turkey back in the NATO fold as a buffer against Russia.   Turkey has been drawing closer to Russia in recent years.

On to Afghanistan where President Trump has decided to pull out half of the US troops in that country.   Word is he made the decision at the same time he committed to the withdrawal of US forces from Syria.

This week US Afghanistan representative Zalmay Khalilzad met with the Taliban for two days of talks in the United Arab Emirates with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE also participating.   Those three countries recognized Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

A three month cease fire for talks to occur between the Taliban and the Afghan government was discussed.

The Justice Department is charging two Chinese men with hacking into computer networks of private companies and government agencies.

The men, Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong, are alleged to part of a hacking group linked to China's leading intelligence agency.

The FBI says the two men have been conducting hacking operations for at least 12 years that included US Navy computer systems stealing personal info on more than 100,000 Navy personnel.

They focused their activities on commercial and defense technology companies along with government networks in at least 12 US states and 12 countries.


Israel's "Haaretz" reported Wednesday night that attorneys in Israel's State Prosecutors Office are recommending indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in two corruption cases, Case 2000 and Case 4000.

Israel's State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit are now deliberating the three corruption cases against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Israeli police have recommended to the Attorney General that Netanyahu be indicted on the charges involving bribery.

The State Prosecutor says his office's legal opinion review of the corruption cases against Netanyahu is some 800 pages long.

Argentina's former left-wing president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner can go on trial.  A court ruled that she can be tried on corruption charges accused of accepting millions in bribes over a 12 year period.

She denies the charges and says they are politically motivated.

Because Fernandez de Kirchner is a senator she cannot be imprisoned if convicted of the charges.

Auto executive Carlos Ghosn was re-arrested on new charges in Japan hours after a court ruled he could apply for bail on the original charges against him.   The new charges will keep him in jail for now.

Japan is set to leave the International Whaling Commission.    Word is that the government has told members of parliament of its intention.  The Kyodo News Agency says there will be a formal announcement next week.

The IWC imposed a whaling "moratorium" in 1986 in the name of building whale stocks back up but it has turned into a permanent ban.   Japan sought a loosening of the ban in September but failed.

If Japan sends notification by the end of the year, it can leave the commission on June 30th of next year.

The British army is deployed after a nearly two day shutdown of London's Gatwick Airport.    Repeated drone sightings around the airport have caused the complete closure of the busy airport There's disruption of hundreds of flights and thousand of travelers.

Police say shooting down the drone is an option.

The military presence led to the reopening of the airport this morning for some 800 plus scheduled flights today,

Two Scandanavian university students murdered in Morocco were the victims of a terrorist attack.

The students, one from Denmark and the other from Norway, were reportedly stabbed in the neck.

Police have made three arrests.

The suspects pledged allegiance to ISIS in a video they made before the killings.

Former President Barack Obama has visited a children's hospital in Washington DC wearing a Santa hat and offering cheer to patients there.

In France, a pre-Christmas visit to a children's home by embattled President Emmanuel Macron with a question about gasoline prices from the children.   Macron saying they will go down.

The Yellow Vests protest movement has raised that issue and others.   President Macron is trying to get his popularity back up.   A poll released in recent days shows a slight improvement to 27 percent approval for him, but 72 percent disapprove.

Overnight emergency legislation was passed by the National Assembly in France to increase wages and pensions to answer grievances raised by the Yellow Vests protest.  Its expected to quickly pass the Senate today.

Yellow Vests are still contemplating protests over the holiday period including one on the Champs-Elysees Christmas Eve.

AND LATE WORD IS THAT YELLOW VESTS ARE SET TO PROTEST AT VERSAILLES TOMORROW WITH THE PALACE OF VERSAILLES BEING CLOSED AND A POLICE PERIMETER TO BE SET UP WHERE PROTESTERS WILL BE BOXED IN

In the independence minded Spanish region of Catalonia pro-independence protesters are blocking roads and facing off with police in the regional capital of Barcelona today as the Spanish cabinet holds a meeting in the city.

The local Catalan leader and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez agreed to have today's meeting as a means of reducing tensions one year after the central government held snap elections in Catalonia in an attempt to break the independence movement.

Back here at home the "First Step Act" passed Congress, criminal justice reform as supported by the President.  President\Trump wants to see less jail time for non-violent offenders saying its the right thing to do and will save taxpayers money.

It expands job training opportunities for federal inmates and requires they be housed within 500 miles of their families if possible.  3,000 crack cocaine offenders will get reduced federal sentences under the legislation and judges will have greater discretion in sentencing.

13 are dead in the Czech Republic following an explosion at a coal mine Thursday.   The methane blast occurred about  a half mile underground.

Getting back to Russian President Vladimir Putin's year end press conference Thursday, he said the US decision to threaten withdrawal from the intermediate nuclear forces treaty raises the risk of nuclear war.    The US is claiming that Russia is in violation of the treaty.

Putin also said US voters chose Donald Trump as President and UK voters chose Brexit but their choices are being disrespected by political elites in their various countries.

On the UK and Brexit Putin noted:

"Brexit happened, but nobody wants to implement it"


The British media regulator Ofcom says the "Russia Today" channel, RT, was airing biased news and it is considering sanctioning the Russian media outlet.

And Merriam-Webster Dictionary has its "word of the year".    The word is:

"Justice"


With all the talk about a Supreme Court nominee, now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, that does seem to have been a very popular word this year.

And that's the way it really is, Friday morning December 21st, 2018.