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Member since: Wed Oct 7, 2015, 08:51 AM
Number of posts: 2,208

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Many Islamic State leaders trying to flee to Syria: Iraqi minister

Source: Reuters

Many Islamic State leaders have fled Mosul with their families toward Syria ahead of a planned offensive by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces on the city, Iraq's defense minister said on Saturday.

Khaled al-Obeidi said he had intelligence of increasing conflict, especially over financial issues, among ultra-hardline militants of the group known as Daesh in Arabic by its enemies.

"Many Daesh families and leaders in Mosul have sold their property and sneaked out towards Syria, and a segment even tried to sneak out towards (Iraq's Kurdish) region", he said in an interview on state television.

Islamic State has lost at least half the territory it seized in Iraq in 2014. The group has also lost territory in Syria, where it emerged amid a civil war which is now in its sixth year, but U.S.-backed rebel forces there have had less success in beating it back.

Fighters in Mosul, the group's de facto capital in Iraq and the largest city under its control anywhere across its self-proclaimed caliphate, are thought to number in the thousands but probably under 10,000.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-mosul-idUSKCN10A0OX

UK's May worried by China investment, intervened to delay Hinkley

Source: Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May was concerned about the security implications of a planned Chinese investment in the new Hinkley Point nuclear plant and intervened personally to delay the project, a former colleague and a source said on Saturday.

The plan by France's EDF to build two reactors with financial backing from a Chinese state-owned company was championed by May's predecessor David Cameron as a sign of Britain's openness to foreign investment.

But just hours before a signing ceremony was due to take place on Friday, May's new government said it would review the project again, raising concerns that Britain's approach to infrastructure deals, energy supply and foreign investment may be changing.

The decision could prove a test for May, with any attempt to renegotiate the terms of the project potentially straining relations with Paris and Beijing at a time when Britain is seeking to build trade deals following the country's vote to leave the European Union.

"When we were in government Theresa May was quite clear she was unhappy about the rather gung-ho approach to Chinese investment that we had," Vince Cable, Britain's former business secretary, told BBC Radio.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-edf-britain-nuclear-idUSKCN10A0HT

The Democrats' Putin dilemma

While Obama and Clinton ridicule Trump's vow to "get along great" with the Russian leader, the administration is quietly trying to open a dialogue of its own.
By Michael Crowley
07/30/16 07:41 AM EDT

But some Democratic national security veterans fear that a potentially dangerous level of hostility to Russia has emerged in recent weeks. They say the growing rivalry between Washington and Moscow, stoked by campaign rhetoric aimed at discrediting Trump, may be taking on a life of its own, making global problems harder to solve and increasing the risk of an accidental conflict—potentially even a nuclear one.

“We’re sleepwalking into a new Cold War,” said William Perry, who served as Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1996, an era of relatively warm relations between the U.S. and Russia. “There’s hardly any debate about it, and the public doesn’t understand the danger.”

Perry said he is particularly concerned that poor communication, an arms buildup on both sides, and jangled nerves increase the possibility of an accidental or unintentional nuclear confrontation. “In case anyone thinks that’s an academic concern, I can tell you that’s not academic,” Perry said, recalling a night when we was awoken at 3 a.m. by a night duty officer and informed that radar was showing hundreds of Russian missiles en route to the U.S.

At the moment, the Obama administration’s top worry is not nuclear war but ending the Syrian civil war, which has left more than 400,000 people dead, fueled the Islamic State and al Qaeda, and flooded the Middle East and Europe with refugees. With Obama's approval, Kerry has been working closely with Lavrov — the two men have spoken dozens of times this year — to strike an agreement that would begin limited military cooperation between Washington and Moscow in Syria. Many U.S. officials believe the Syrian conflict can only be settled with Russian assistance.


No clean bill of health for EU banks in stress test

Source: Reuters

Banks from Italy, Ireland, Spain and Austria fared worst in the latest European Union stress test, which the region's banking watchdog said on Friday showed there was still work to do in order to boost credit to the bloc's economy.

Eight years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers sparked a global banking meltdown, many of Europe's banks are still saddled with billions of euros in poorly performing loans, crimping their ability to lend and putting off investors.

"While a number of individual banks have clearly fared badly, the overall finding of the European Banking Authority - that Europe's banks are resilient to another crisis - is heartening," Anthony Kruizinga at PwC said.

Italy's Monte dei Paschi (BMPS.MI), Austria's Raiffeisen (RBIV.VI), Spain's Banco Popular (POP.MC) and two of Ireland's main banks came out with the worst results in the EBA's test of 51 European Union (EU) lenders.

"Whilst we recognize the extensive capital raising done so far, this is not a clean bill of health," EBA Chairman Andrea Enria said in a statement. "There remains work to do."

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-banks-tests-idUSKCN1092EA

Rut roh.

Turkey kills 35 militants after they try to storm base, officials say

Source: Reuters

urkey's army killed 35 Kurdish militants after they attempted to storm a base in the southeastern Hakkari province early on Saturday, military officials said.

The overnight attack came hours after clashes in Hakkari's Cukurca district between soldiers and militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that left eight soldiers dead, the officials said.

The militants attempted to take the base in three different groups, but were spotted by aerial reconnaissance. An air operation was launched, killing 23 of them, the officials said.

Four more were then killed in a ground operation, they said. The remaining eight were killed in clashes in Hakkari's Cukurca district.

Friday's clashes in Cukurca also left 25 soldiers wounded, the officials said.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-kurds-idUSKCN10A063

The near civil war in Turkey's southeastern Kurdish region continues apace.

Afghan Taliban delegation visits China to discuss unrest: sources

Source: Reuters

A delegation from the Taliban visited China earlier this month to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, where the insurgent movement is fighting the Western-backed government in Kabul, sources in the Taliban said.

A delegation led by Abbas Stanakzai, head of the Taliban's political office in Qatar, visited Beijing on July 18-22 at the invitation of the Chinese government, a senior member of the Taliban said.

"We have good terms with different countries of the world and China is one among them," said the Taliban official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We informed Chinese officials about the occupation by invading forces and their atrocities on Afghan people," he said. "We wanted the Chinese leadership to help us raise these issues on world forums and help us get freedom from occupying forces."

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-taliban-china-idUSKCN10A09H

Remind me, we are staying in Afghanistan because we hope to achieve what exactly?

Trump to Clinton: 'No more Mr. Nice Guy'

Source: Reuters

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he was taking the gloves off in his battle against Democrat Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House after taking a scorching from speakers at the Democratic National Convention.

Trump wrapped up a five-day, seven-state campaign swing in Colorado on Friday, where for a fifth straight day his supporters chanted "lock her up" whenever he brought up Clinton's name.

Trump supporters say Clinton deserves to be prosecuted for her handling of U.S. foreign policy as President Barack Obama's first-term secretary of state and for her use of a private email server while in that office.

All week Trump has sought to tamp down the chants by stressing that his main goal is to simply beat Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-idUSKCN10A00N

Since when was tRump ever a nice guy?

Russia says spyware found in state computer networks

Source: Reuters

Russia's intelligence service said on Saturday that the computer networks of 20 organizations, including state agencies and defense companies, have been infected with spyware in what it described as a targeted and coordinated attack.

The Federal Security Service, the FSB, said the malware and the way the networks were infected were similar to those used in previous cases of cyber espionage found in Russia and other countries. The agency did not say who it suspected of being behind the attacks.

"Information technology resources of government agencies, scientific and military institutions, defense industry companies and other entities involved in crucial infrastructure have been infected," the FSB said in a statement on its website.

The FSB's announcement follows reports of cyber attacks on the U.S. Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the fundraising committee for Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-cyber-attacks-idUSKCN10A0F0

A lot of that going around it seems... So everyone hacks everyone else? Seems so.

Remember when the Chinese hacked back in 2008?

"Chinese government hackers infiltrated computer networks of Obama, McCain presidential campaigns in 2008: report

Chinese government hackers gained access to the computer networks of Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain during the 2008 presidential election, officials revealed on the eve of bilateral talks between the U.S. and China on cybersecurity that kicks off Friday.

Campaign staffers say they grew suspicious that they were being monitored after Chinese officials approached them to complain about foreign policy positions written in secret, internal documents that had not yet been publicized.

Though President Obama previously alluded to a cyberattack on his presidential campaign staff but officials are only now connecting the electronic espionage operation to the Chinese government.

The Chinese were trolling campaign networks to monitor the candidates' policies on China."

Florida cases seen as first sign Zika transmitted locally in U.S.

Source: Reuters

Florida authorities on Friday reported what is believed to be the first evidence of local Zika transmission in the continental United States, concluding that mosquitoes likely infected four people with the virus that can cause a rare but serious birth defect.

Governor Rick Scott said the state believed active transmission of the virus was occurring within an area of Miami about the size of a square mile (2.6 square kms). Testing showed that one woman and three men had been infected, Scott said.

While health officials have yet to identify mosquitoes carrying the virus, the state has ruled out other means of transmission, including travel to another country with a Zika outbreak, and sexual contact.

"We have worked hard to stay ahead of the spread of Zika and prepare for the worst," Scott said in a statement. "We will continue to put every resource available to fighting the spread of Zika in our state."

Zika's greatest risk is believed to be posed by infection in pregnant women, given its ability to cause microcephaly in babies, a condition defined by small head size that can lead to developmental problems. The current outbreak was first detected in Brazil last year and has since spread rapidly through the Americas.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-zika-florida-idUSKCN1091NZ

Killing TPP would hand China 'keys to the castle': U.S. trade representative

Source: Reuters

Failure to ratify the U.S.-led sweeping trade pact TPP would hand China "the keys to the castle" on globalization and do nothing to solve the real problems underlying American anxiety over jobs, the top U.S. trade official said Thursday.

The tariff-slashing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has turned into a hot-button topic in the run-up to the Nov. 8 U.S. election, threatening to dampen support from lawmakers needed to pass a deal critics condemn as a job-killer.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said he was still optimistic Congress would pass the 12-member TPP, in part because China has been moving ahead with a trade deal of its own, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), that would boost its exports and let it set labor and environmental standards in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region.

"We're one vote away from either cementing our leadership in this region and in the global trading system or ceding it to China," Froman told reporters in Lima after attending the inauguration of Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

"At the end of the day I don't think Congress wants to be responsible for handing the keys to the castle to China."

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-idUSKCN1090QZ
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