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EU Said to Eye ‘Nuclear Option’ to Force May’s Hand on Exit

Source: Bloomberg

Some in Europe want Theresa May to know their patience has its limits.
As the new British prime minister pushes back talks on leaving the European Union, officials on the continent have begun to float what they call “the nuclear option” to bring her to table: suspending Britain’s voting rights in EU institutions.

Several member states have started looking at whether that would be feasible by invoking Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, according to two European officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. That would mean arguing that the U.K. is no longer cooperating in good faith with the bloc in order to pressure May into ending the post-referendum limbo.

The EU’s harshest sanctioning procedure has never been deployed before and three other officials in Brussels said it was too heavy-handed to even be considered.

While May took office on Wednesday promising that “Brexit means Brexit,” her government is already sending out mixed signals on how long that might take. Trade Secretary Liam Fox is working on the basis that the two-year negotiating period could begin around the end of the year, but May on Friday said she won’t start the process of leaving the EU until she’s got Scotland’s backing. With Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon adamant that her country won’t be leaving at all, that pledge opens up the prospect of extensive delays.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-18/eu-said-to-study-nuclear-option-to-force-may-s-hand-over-brexit

China Closing Part Of South China Sea For Military Exercises: Report

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

July 19 2016 - 6:24AM

China will cut off access to part of the South China Sea for military drills, days after an international tribunal ruled against Beijing's broad claim to the waters.

Starting today China will host military exercises off the east coast of China's Hainan island province, its maritime administration said on its website, AFP reported.

China has also conducted combat air patrols in the region, too, which are slated to become a "regular" practice in the future, according to state newsagency Xinhua.

On Monday, the People's Liberation Army sent H-6K bombers, fighters, scouts and tankers to patrol islands and reefs that include Huangyan Dao, according to a spokesman for the PLA air force.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/china-closing-part-of-south-china-sea-for-military-exercises-report-20160718-gq8irf.htmlS

China Flies Nuclear-Capable Bomber Over Disputed Feature in South China Sea

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has flown a nuclear-capable long-range bomber over a disputed feature in the South China Sea, according to images published by China’s State Council Information Office on July 15.

The pictures of a nuclear-capable H-6K bomber flying over Scarborough Shoal, known as Huangyan Island in Chinese, first appeared on the PLAAF’s official Weibo microblog account. According to a statement by PLAAF Senior Colonel Shen Jinke on Weibo, quoted in The Wall Street Journal, the overflight was regular “practice” and part of the PLAAF’s more realistic combat training. There are currently around 16 nuclear-capable H-6Ks in service with the PLAAF.

“To effectively fulfill its mission, the air force will continue to conduct combat patrols on a regular basis in the South China Sea,” Shen said.
“The PLA Air Force will firmly defend national sovereignty, security, and maritime interests, safeguard regional peace and stability, and cope with various threats and challenges,” he added.

It remains unclear how many aircraft were involved in the flight over Scarborough Shoal , a feature 120 nautical miles off the coast of the Philippines’ Luzon Island.”The PLA sent H-6K bombers and other aircraft including fighters, scouts, and tankers to patrol islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao,” Xinhua news agency reported on July 18.



Trump Haters Bring Potential Windfall to Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters Inc. is capitalizing on a tumultuous presidential election by violating the unwritten rule of retail: never get political.

The company, which has a history selling controversial items, is offering a range of merchandise bashing Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee. That includes a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “IDK NOT TRUMP THO.” The shirts are exclusive to Urban Outfitters, and the phrase -- texting shorthand for “I don’t know. Not Trump, though” -- is also available on a mug or sticker.

“IDK NOT TRUMP THO” shirt, right, at Urban Outfitters Photographer: Lindsey Rupp/Bloomberg

Consumer brands typically avoid taking a stance on topics that might be contentious and alienate customers. But Urban Outfitters is known for offbeat products that occasionally cause offense: In recent years, it’s drawn flak for selling a tapestry that resembled Nazi concentration-camp garb and a Kent State sweatshirt that looked like it was splattered with blood.

With the anti-Trump merchandise, the retailer is taking a calculated risk, said Allen Adamson, who runs the branding firm Brand Simple Consulting.



Fiat Chrysler Sales Reports Probed by Justice Department, SEC

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is under investigation by U.S. authorities over how it reports sales, the company said.

Fiat Chrysler is cooperating with investigations by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission into the reporting of vehicle sales to customers in the U.S., the company said in a statement Monday.

Bloomberg News reported earlier that prosecutors had opened a criminal investigation into potential securities fraud, according to people familiar with the matter. The Justice Department inquiry is in an early stage, according to two people, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is confidential.

The federal investigation follows civil lawsuits that challenged the company’s sales numbers. In a suit filed in January, a Chicago-area dealer alleged the company inflated its U.S. car sales by paying dealers to report selling more vehicles than they actually did.



Guest/Panel Lineups For The Sunday News Shows

"Fareed Zakaria GPS"Conrad Black, former Canadian newspaper publisher, Other guests are American historians Nell Irvin Painter and Sean Wilentz, and George Osborne, member of Parliament and former chancellor of the Exchequer for Great Britain (David Cameron administration, 2010-2016).

“This Week:” RNC Chair Reince Priebus previews the upcoming convention. Secretary of State John Kerry discusses the events in France and Turkey. The panel will be Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, ABC's Matthew Dowd, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol and Alex Castellanos, Purple Strategies chair and Rebuilding America Now PAC strategist.

"Reliable Sources" Schieffer of CBS and Jeff Greenfield. Other guests are David Folkenflik of NPR, Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller, Scottie Nell Hughes of RightAlerts.com, "Democracy Now!" host Amy Goodman and Jamil Smith of MTV.

“Face the Nation:” Newt Gingrich will discuss being passed up in favor of Pence and his call to deport Muslims who believe in Shariah. Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will talk about the campaign’s strategy going into the convention. The panel will feature Kimberley Strassel of The Wall Street Journal and author of "The Intimidation Game: How The Left Is Silencing Free Speech"; Ben Domenech of The Federalist; and Matt Schlapp of the American Conservative Union. The political panel will be Bob Schieffer of CBS, Ed O'Keefe of The Washington Post and Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal.

“State of the Union:” Kerry and Priebus make appearances. The panel will be Corey Lewandowski, Ana Navarro, Bakari Sellers and Nina Turner.

“Fox News Sunday:” Priebus and Manafort make appearances to discuss the GOP convention. The panel will be Brit Hume, Bret Baier, Julie Pace of The Associated Press and Kirsten Powers of USA Today.

“Meet the Press:” Kerry and Priebus make appearances. The panel will be Tom Brokaw of NBC News, radio host Hugh Hewitt, Joy Reid of MSNBC and Sara Fagen, former White House political director for President George W. Bush.

"60 Minutes" will also air an interview with both Trump and Pence Sunday night.

Pentagon Loses Turkish Airspace Access Crucial In Airstrikes Against Isis

Source: Guardian UK

Spencer Ackerman in New York
Saturday 16 July 2016 14.24 EDT Last modified on Saturday 16 July 2016 15.26 EDT

The coup attempt in Turkey has yielded its first tangible disruption to the war against Islamic State, as the Pentagon has temporarily lost access to the Turkish airfield it uses as its primary staging ground for its air campaign in Syria and Iraq.

Although the Pentagon press secretary, Peter Cook, on Saturday portrayed the interruption as surmountable, there was no indication as to when the US would regain access to the Incirlik airbase in south-eastern Turkey, as a defiant Turkish elected government has begun arresting thousands of military officers and soldiers in reprisal for the failed coup.

Turkish airspace, including that over the Incirlik airbase, was closed to military aircraft – some of which flew above Ankara during the attempted takeover on Friday night.

“US officials are working with the Turks to resume air operations there as soon as possible,” Cook said in a statement, reversing an assurance on Friday that the then unfolding coup would not immediately affect the Isis campaign.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/16/isis-airstrike-turkey-airspace-us-air-force

Attempted Turkey Coup: U.S. Would Consider Extradition Request for Blamed Cleric


The United States would consider an extradition request for the Pennsylvania-based cleric blamed for the attempted military coup in Turkey, Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday.

In a televised speech, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the U.S. should extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who self-exiled from Turkey to the Poconos in 1999.

Erdogan and the Turkish government say Gulen is behind the clashes that broke out Friday night when the military attempted and failed to usurp the government. At least 194 people were killed in the turmoil.

But Gulen denied any involvement with the coup, telling reporters Saturday that he thinks it may have been "staged."

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/turkey-military-coup/attempted-turkey-coup-u-s-would-consider-extradition-request-blamed-n610906

Fethullah Gülen: Turkey Coup May Have Been 'Staged' By Erdoğan Regime

Fethullah Gülen, the reclusive cleric blamed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the failed coup in Turkey, believes the uprising by members of the country’s military could have been “staged” by the government it aimed to overthrow.

In a rare and brief interview on Saturday with a small group of journalists at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, Gülen rejected all accusations that he was behind the coup attempt.

“I don’t believe that the world believes the accusations made by President Erdoğan,” Gülen said. “There is a possibility that it could be a staged coup and it could be meant for further accusations [against the Gülenists].”

Gülen, who leads from exile a popular movement called Hizmet and split from Erdoğan over a corruption scandal in 2013, spoke in a small prayer room, lined with woven rugs and decorated with Islamic calligraphy and leather-bound religious books. Reporters were served Turkish tea and sweet dry figs at his Pennsylvania compound, which he moved into after arriving in the US in 1999.



Military Officer Fired for Gulenist Ties Named as Leader of Turkey's Coup

Colonel Muharrem Kose, a former officer in the Turkish Armed Forces was named by state-run Anadolu News Agency as the leader of the coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

04:59 16.07.2016(updated 08:40 16.07.2016)

The bloody coup attempt that struck Ankara on Friday now has a face — a former Turkish military officer who was dishonorably discharged in March 2016 for his alleged association with anti-government and US-based Imam Fethullah Gulen.

Colonel Muharrem Kose announced the formation of the "Peace Council," an interim government to restore democracy and human rights in Turkey that Erdogan's opponents claim have been stripped from the country as it had begun to drift ever closer to a theocracy after long being adored as the secular gem of the Middle East.

Military forces loyal to Colonel Kose seized the state-run TRT News station, the bridges, and Ataturk International Airport on Friday evening before being pushed back by Turkish forces loyal to Erdogan as bloody struggles have ensued throughout the country.

​It appeared that the coup effort had succeeded until President Erdogan took to CNN Turk, calling in via FaceTime, pleading with his countrymen to resist the effort to overthrow the government by taking to the streets. The move, initially mocked by Western media and leaders, appears to have been successful with millions of Turks taking to the streets to resist Colonel Kose's Peace Council.



FBI issues ‘credible threat’ warning to South Florida law enforcement

The FBI issued a “credible threat” warning to law enforcement agencies throughout South Florida on Friday.

In a brief, one-paragraph statement, FBI Special Agent Michael Leverock said his agency offered a “safety bulletin” regarding the threat to police departments. No further information was available.

Immediately after Leverock’s statement, a joint agency of local, state and federal law enforcement called the Southeast Florida Fusion Center said there was no credible threat to the public.

The threat, according to sources, was directed at police. As a precaution, police departments across South Florida doubled up patrols, pulled motorcycle cops from the street and had officers wear protective vests.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article89923272.html#storylink=cpy

U.S. Military’s Counter-ISIS Operations From Turkey Left Uncertain Amid Coup Attempt

The U.S. military’s future use of Turkish bases in the campaign against the Islamic State was left uncertain Friday evening amid an attempted coup against the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Defense officials at the Pentagon, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the attempted coup as it unfolded, said Friday that they were aware of what was occurring in Turkey but still working to determine its effects on U.S. operations.

The Pentagon has increasingly relied on Turkish military installations as the United States has waged its war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. In particular, U.S. troops at Incirlik Air Base near the southern border with Syria and at Diyarbakir Air Base in the southeastern part of the country both have a direct role in the military campaign against the militants.

At Incirlik, the United States has based A-10 attack planes, KC-135 tankers and unmanned aircraft, with an Air Force commander there assessing in May that his unit handled one-third of all refueling operations for the air war over Iraq and Syria.


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