Friday, May 26, 2017

Macron Vows To 'Change A Lot Of Things' In The World, Iran Has 3rd Underground Missile Factory, Is The Pope To Visit Israel To Push For Peace?




Macron seeks 'more efficient, fairer' EU



The new French president, Emmanuel Macron, made his debut on the international scene in Brussels on Thursday (25 May) vowing to "change a lot of things" in the world and calling for a "more efficient and fairer" EU.

Ahead of a Nato summit, Macron met with Belgian prime minister Charles Michel, had lunch with US president Donald Trump and met European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
From a robust handshake with Trump to a paternalistic embrace from Juncker, Macron held discussions that focused on the fight against terrorism, climate policies, trade, and social issues.

"I am happy to be able, together, to change a lot of things," he said at his meeting with Trump, which he later described as being "extremely direct and frank".
At a later joint press conference, Macron was greeted by Juncker as "an ally to the European Commission".
He replied that he would be an ally to “what makes Europe stronger, more intelligible to the citizens, more efficient, and fairer".

Macron and Juncker were meeting for the first time since Macron was elected and since Juncker said just after that the EU had a "particular problem" with France spending too much.



Earlier this week, the Commission said France needed to do more to reduce its deficit and to reform its labour market.

"France is characterised by weak competitiveness and high and increasing public debt, in a context of low productivity growth," the Commission said in its economic recommendations to France.
The EU executive said that without fresh measures, France would still not respect its deficit targets this year and that the deficit would increase next year.
It added that so far, France had relied "primarily" on elements that are "outside [its] control", such as global growth and low interest rates, instead of doing its own reforms.
Macron, who has pledged to work closer with Germany to "relaunch" the EU, will have to find a balance between his ambitions and what his partners expect from him.
So far, he has been welcomed with "encouragement and benevolence," Charles de Marcilly from the Robert Schuman Foundation, a think tank in Brussels, told EUobserver.
He said that while EU leaders recognised the "necessity that France plays again a leading role with Germany", Macron's France "must show what it can do".

"Is this France's true come-back as the EU locomotive?" he asked, adding that Macron would need results to strengthen his position.







The semi-official news outlet quoted a senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard in their report.
The development is likely to fuel tensions with the United States in a week when President Donald Trump, on his first foreign trip, has called Iran a sponsor of militant groups and a threat to countries across the Middle East.
"Iran's third underground factory has been built by the Guards in recent years ... We will continue to further develop our missile capabilities forcefully," Fars quoted Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guard’s airspace division, as saying.
Since taking office in January, Trump has imposed new sanctions on Iran in response to its recent missile launches, putting Tehran "on notice".
Iran has reacted defiantly. Newly re-elected pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday: "Iran does not need the permission of the United States to conduct missile tests".
Iran's Sunni Muslim Gulf neighbors and its arch-enemy Israel have expressed concerns over Tehran's ballistic missile program, seeing it as a threat to regional security.






With each passing day since the Manchester suicide bombing, as more details come to light of the terrorist Salman Abedi’s links with a broad ISIS network, it is becoming increasingly clear that the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May, as well as the British secret services, face their biggest security and intelligence crisis in the war on terror.

Their actions on Thursday, May 25, showed that Britain’s political and security authorities were doing their best to avoid being questioned about who deserves blame for allowing the attack, which claimed the lives of 22 people and injured more than 60. One such maneuver was to try and point the finger at President Donald Trump’s administration after photos showing debris from the bomb were leaked to US media from the investigation.

This was followed by expressions of outrage and reports that Britain was halting its intelligence sharing with the US. It was subsequently explained that it was only the Manchester police which had stopped transferring intelligence to their US counterparts, while other sharing continued. President Donald Trump said later the leaks were “deeply troubling” and asked the US Justice Department and other agencies to launch a full investigation.

These events were peripheral to the real question of how 22-year-old Salman Abadi, who had once been on an intelligence watch list, had been able to operate unnoticed by the security authorities, build several bombs, bring one of them to the intended  target - a pop concert at the Manchester Arena - and detonate it without being stopped.

British media Thursday reported police certainty that a terror network operated within Manchester and that Abedi was nothing more than a “mule” whose entire role was to carry the explosive device and detonate it.


But a statement on Wednesday by French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb that Abedi had travelled to Syria to meet with ISIS figures, and leaks on Thursday from German intelligence that the bomber flew from Turkey to the city of Dusseldorf four days before the attack, showed Abedi in a much more central role in a terror network that spanned a number of countries in Europe and the Middle East.

Dusseldorf was also the home of Tunisian terrorist Anis Amri, who carried out the December 2016 truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that left 12 dead and 48 wounded.
In that context, the next question is: How did the bomber’s name come to disappear from the terrorist watch list that prevents suspects from boarding international flights?
There is also the question of how the security services failed to notice the ability of the bomber or his network to build a new generation of small but powerful explosives capable of causing massive slaughter.

One of the main reasons the British were so angry over the leaks was that it demonstrated how easy it was to build such bombs as the one used in Manchester, There is no need to manufacture them at secret venues in faraway Yemen, or smuggle them in pieces aboard planes. They can be built in the kitchens of rented apartments in Western Europe’s main cities, as in the case of the Manchester bomb.    
  
Even worse, if Abadi was trained to build bombs, many other members of his network may have received the same training.

The big holes exposed in Britain’s counterterror system undoubtedly beset other European countries laboring to contend with the Islamic terror threat.

The tragedy at Manchester Arena dominated the NATO 28-member summit taking place in Brussels Thursday. There was a minute’s silence for the victims, many of them children, and all-round condemnation by leaders who have no notion when the Islamist terror hammer will descend on their own people.










Israeli and Vatican officials have launched talks to discuss the possibility of Pope Francis paying a visit to Israel and the wider region in a bid to push peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

A Vatican delegation is expected in Israel next month and is looking at three possible dates for a potential visit this coming fall, Channel 10 reported Thursday, citing unnamed Vatican sources.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Vatican.

The report came a day after the pope met with US President Donald Trump in Rome. Trump on Tuesday wrapped up a Middle East visit that included Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Saudi Arabia.

In Israel, Trump indicated that he wants to pursue the “ultimate deal” and would like to help facilitate peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. He has tasked his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former real estate lawyer Jason Greenblatt with charting a course forward. Greenblatt stayed on after the trip and has been holding follow-up meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

After his “fantastic” meeting with the pope on Wednesday, the US president vowed to pursue peace around the world.
The pontiff has repeatedly called on Israelis and Palestinians to seek a peace deal, most recently in January.







The head of a private investigative team in Washington, D.C., trying to solve the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich insists that officials with the Metropolitan Police Department – in collusion with the mayor – are withholding key evidence from the public and obstructing the investigation for political purposes.

Jack Burkman, the head of the Profiling Project investigative team, said police are no longer cooperating with anyone, and he believes they’ve completely stopped the investigation into Rich’s murder.


“The police have shut down all full operations,” Burkman told WND. “The police are not cooperating with us or anyone, which is sad. This has become a very systematic and deliberate effort by the D.C. police and the mayor to end the Seth Rich investigation.”

As WND reported, a manager at Lou’s City Bar, the last known location where Rich was seen before his murder, claims police never interviewed the bar’s staff or requested evidence, such as footage from security cameras.
Burkman – who is also a Republican lobbyist and has offered a $105,000 reward of his personal money for information leading to the arrest of Rich’s killers – said police initially cooperated with his team. But now he claims they’re not cooperating with any parties involved.

Furthermore, Burkman insists the police are withholding important evidence crucial to finding Rich’s murderer.
“We believe there is additional security footage that we need to see,” Burkman said. “There is other video that the police have that we need to see. We need ballistics from them – we need a lot from them. We think the police are now deliberately concealing an awful lot of stuff in an effort to shut this investigation down. I have been very patient and favorable to the D.C. police, but it’s time to shine the light on what they’re doing.”

Burkman said he believes there is a political motive behind the suspension of the investigation, and he claims law-enforcement authorities are colluding with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
“I very strongly believe that the D.C. police and the D.C. mayor, for her own political reasons, want this ended,” he said. “This is going to become an issue in the mayor’s race, and this is really going to hurt her politics. This is a real black eye. This is becoming a real big thing – it’s on its way to becoming an O.J., and it could derail the mayor’s re-election.”
WND requested a comment from the mayor’s office, but at publication no one had responded.
After Burkman and his team conducted thorough research and reviewed the only video police released of the shooting, he said, it became clear to him that the shooting wasn’t motivated by a robbery.
“We’ve done investigations that really prove this was not a robbery,” Burkman said. “I took one look at that video, and I knew that the police story that this was a robbery gone awry was nonsense. I mean, my God, he was shot twice in the back and nothing was taken. The police hypothesis is just ridiculous! It’s beyond silly.”

Burkman said the Democratic National Committee has also stopped cooperating with his team, and he believes the DNC wants to shut down all investigations.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the DNC wants this thing shut down,” Burkman charged. “They’re not comfortable with it at all. They’re probably in debt to the D.C. police on this. They want this whole thing suffocated.”























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