Sunday, September 30, 2018

Chinese Military Deploys Fighter Jets And Bombers To Conduct Live-Fire Drills In Disputed S China Seas



Chinese Air Force Holds Live-Fire War Drill In South China Sea Days After US Exercise



China Central Television, as per the Twitter account of the official People's Daily newspaper, reported Saturday that the Chinese military deployed fighter jets and bombers to conduct live-fire war drills in the disputed South China Sea, just days after the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and nuclear-capable US B-52 strategic bombers held exercises over the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan on September 27.
The report said dozens of jet fighters from the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force from the Southern Theater Command on early Saturday conducted "live-fire drills to tests pilots' assault, penetration and precision-strike capabilities at sea," said The Japan Times.







Beijing on Thursday blasted the US and Japan exercise over the East China Sea, calling them a "provocation."
"China’s principle and standpoint on the South China Sea are always clear," Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said, according to Chinese state-run media. "China firmly opposes U.S. military aircraft’s provocation in the South China Sea, and will take all necessary measures."
Japan's Mainichi Shimbun News said the joint drills between the US and Japan were highly "unusual," as what we pointed out last week, a China-Japan maritime crisis is inevitable over the disputed Senkaku Islands.
It seems that Thursday's move was aimed at keeping China in check amid increasing tensions between Beijing and Washington, including an intensifying trade war. 

But in a tit-for-tat effort, China hit back with war drills of their own on Saturday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang criticized unnamed countries (US, United Kingdom, and France) for using freedom of navigation and overflight as excuses to disrupt other countries’ sovereignty and security, disturbing regional peace and stability.
In August, US bombers conducted similar exercises over the South China Sea. In addition to those exercises, the warplanes integrated with the Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture-based Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group in the region.
In June, China’s Foreign Ministry said no military in the world could scare China from the South China Sea when the US flew planes in the heavily disputed waters miles from its militarized islands.
Washington and Beijing have unleashed a series of war drills over the militarization of the South China Sea, where China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines all have active claims.


U.S. vs Russia And China: Rumors Of War



US Hints At Naval Blockade Of Russian Energy Exports Which Moscow Warns Would Be "An Act Of War"



In a interview about fracking and the implications of making the United States less dependent on foreign sources of energy, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told the Washington Examiner that the US Navy has the ability to blockade Russia from controlling energy supplies in the Middle East. 
"The United States has that ability, with our Navy, to make sure the sea lanes are open, and, if necessary, to blockade... to make sure that their energy does not go to market," Zinke said on Friday at a Consumer Energy Alliance event in Pittsburg. 
The comments came as Russia, Germany and other European partners move forward on the Nord Stream II pipeline — something President Trump has vehemently opposed because of the leverage it gives Russia over Europe, and something which US officials have discussed sanctions over if Russia decides to play dirty with the pipeline. 

Zinke continued, "Russia is a one trick pony," and explained Russia's ability to sell energy is paramount to its economic survival: "I believe the reason they are in the Middle East is they want to broker energy just like they do in eastern Europe, the southern belly of Europe," he said. 
While Russia has been engaged in military action in Syria since 2015 at the request of the Syrian government, the West has long accused Moscow of seeking a permanent presence in the Middle East to ensure oil and gas access. 
In the process, Moscow and Tehran have grown closer as the two come under aggressive US sanctions and gained international pariah status. Secretary of the Interior Zinke explained of the Iran situation: "National security-wise, how are you going to deal with Iran?" Zinke asked. "Well, there are two ways."
"There is the military option, which I would rather not. And there is the economic option," he said. "The economic option on Iran and Russia is, more or less, leveraging and replacing fuels."
He added, "We can do that because... the United States is the largest producer of oil and gas."
Understandably, Zinke’s statements provoked an angry response from Moscow, which equated a potential maritime blockade to an “act of war,” while calling the internal secretary’s assumptions “nonsense.”
“A US blockade of Russia would be equal to a declaration of war under international law,” Russian Senator Aleksey Pushkov said, commenting on Zinke’s words. Russia does not currently export any energy to the Middle East, which itself is a major oil exporting region. The whole idea is an “absolute nonsense,” the Senator argued.





Meanwhile such US Naval jostling to keep sea lanes open in contested regions is already happening in the South China Sea, where China's series of man made islands are being used of Beijing to expand and claim territory. 
According to Reuters the latest incident occurred early Sunday:
A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Sunday, a U.S. official told Reuters, potentially angering Beijing at a time of tense relations between the two countries.
And just last week Beijing denounced recent US-B52 bomber flyovers of the South China Sea and East China Sea, calling the military maneuvers "provocative".
The UN estimates that one-third of global shipping passes through the expansive area claimed by China — and crucially there's thought to exist significant untapped oil and natural gas reserves.
There's been a series of incidents over the summer involving US aircraft and ships, as well as that of regional powers like the Philippines, which have involved Chinese military warning off the foreign vessels and aircraft. 
Also last week China denied a US warship's planned port visit to Hong Kong in what was a stunning symbolic rebuke in response to new tariffs enacted by the Trump White House.

With Russia now maintaining its own naval build-up in the Mediterranean after repeat US threats to attack Syria over the past month, we could soon see more confrontation over shipping lanes in the region and the West seeks to disrupt Moscow's access to Middle East energy markets. 


Tens Of Thousands Of Palestinians Protest Along Gaza Border: Hand Grenades, Bombs, Airborne Incendiary Devises



Incendiary balloons from Gaza spark two fires in south



Firefighters on Sunday worked to extinguish two blazes in southern Israel sparked by airborne incendiary devices launched from the Gaza Strip and police sappers defused another fire balloon on a highway, as a weekend of violent border clashes was followed by relative quiet.
Since Sunday morning, firefighters have combated two fires caused by incendiary balloons near Israeli towns along the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services said.
A police statement earlier on Sunday said sappers located and neutralized an arson balloon on Highway 35, which caused no damage.

The spate of arson attempts came after over 100 improvised bombs and grenades were hurled at Israeli troops during Friday’s riots at the Gaza border, the military said Saturday. The army released footage of the violent demonstrations, which it said were the worst in two months, depicting attempts to breach and sabotage the security fence.
It also said IDF forces were still engaged in the controlled detonation of unexploded bombs and grenades.
In Gaza on Saturday, funerals were held for the seven Palestinians killed in the previous day’s violence, including two teen boys.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians protested along the Gaza border fence, throwing hand grenades, bombs, rocks, and burning tires in clashes with IDF troops, who responded with tear gas, live fire, and air strikes.

The protest was one of the largest and most violent in recent weeks and comes following the break down of indirect talks with Israel over a ceasefire and warnings that the terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza, was gearing up for another conflict.

Seven people were killed, including a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old, and at least 210 Palestinians were wounded, including an 11-year-old boy, who was in serious condition, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry. It said 90 of the wounded were hit by live fire.
The ministry identified three of the dead as Nasser Mosabih, 12, Mohammed al-Houm, 14, and Iyad Al-Shaar, 18, and said they were shot. The other four were in their twenties.
The IDF said about 20,000 Palestinians took part in violent protests, spread out among a few locations along the Gaza security fence.

China 'Opposes U.S. Provocation In S China Sea', Holds Live-Fire Drills



Chinese warplanes hold live-fire drills in South China Sea days after U.S. bomber flights




The Chinese military has sent fighter planes and bombers to conduct live-fire exercises at a range in the disputed South China Sea, state broadcaster CCTV reported Saturday, just days after the U.S. sent heavy bombers through the strategic waterway twice during the past week.
The short report said that dozens of fighters and bombers from the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force from the Southern Theater Command had conducted the drills to test pilots’ assault, penetration and precision-strike capabilities at sea.
Beijing on Thursday blasted the U.S. flights over the South China Sea earlier this week by B-52 bombers, calling them a “provocation.”
“China’s principle and standpoint on the South China Sea are always clear,” Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said, according to state-run media. “China firmly opposes U.S. military aircraft’s provocation in the South China Sea, and will take all necessary measures.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang criticized unnamed countries for using freedom of navigation and overflight as excuses to harm other countries’ sovereignty and security, disturbing regional peace and stability.
Late last month, B-52s conducted similar training over the South China Sea. In addition to those exercises, the bombers integrated with the Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture-based Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group in the area.
In June, after two U.S. B-52 bombers flew near disputed islands in the South China Sea, China’s Foreign Ministry said no military ships or aircraft could scare China away from its resolve to protect its territory.
Washington and Beijing have frequently jousted over the militarization of the South China Sea, where China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines all have competing claims.
The two powers have often clashed over the region — which includes vital sea lanes through which over $3 trillion in global trade passes each year — and where China has built up a series of military outposts. China claims the area within its so-called nine-dash line, which encompasses most of the waterway.
China has said the facilities are for defensive purposes, but some experts say this is part of a concerted bid to cement de facto control over the South China Sea.
In a separate mission involving the U.S. Air Force and Air Self-Defense Force, a B-52 linked up over the East China Sea and Sea of Japan for a large-scale training mission involving 16 ASDF fighter jets, both countries’ militaries said Friday.
The mission, which took place Thursday, was the latest display by the U.S. and Japanese militaries of their improving integrated operations.

Death Toll Dramatically Increasing In Indonesia From Quake, Indonesia To Busy Tsunami Victims En Masse





Death toll from Indonesia quake and tsunami jumps to 832, fate of thousands more unknown


The death toll in Indonesia’s quake-tsunami disaster nearly doubled to more than 800 Sunday, as ill-equipped rescuers struggled to reach scores of trapped victims, health officials resorted to mass burials and desperate residents looted shops for food and water.

“The casualties will keep increasing,” said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, whose agency announced 832 deaths.
“Today we will start the mass burial of victims, to avoid the spread of disease.”
Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla said the final death toll in the north of Sulawesi island could be in the “thousands” since many regions have still not been reached.

Indonesia’s Metro TV on Sunday broadcast footage from a coastal community in Donggala, close to the epicentre of the quake. Some waterfront homes appeared crushed but a resident said most people fled to higher ground after the quake struck.
“When it shook really hard, we all ran up into the hills,” a man identified as Iswan told the TV.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrived in the region Sunday afternoon.
In Palu on Sunday aid was trickling in, the Indonesian military had been deployed and search-and-rescue workers were doggedly combing the rubble for survivors – looking for dozens feared trapped under one hotel alone.
“Communication is limited, heavy machinery is limited … it’s not enough for the numbers of buildings that collapsed,” Nugroho said.
The 7.5-magnitude quake struck Friday, sparking a tsunami that ripped apart the city’s coastline.


Save The Children programme director Tom Howells said access was a “huge issue” hampering relief efforts.
“Aid agencies and local authorities are struggling to reach several communities around Donggala, where we are expecting there to be major damage and potential large-scale loss of life,” Howells said.
Dozens of corpses lay in an open courtyard at the back of a Palu hospital, baking under a fierce tropical sun, with only one building separating it from an open triage site on the opposite side.

On Saturday evening residents fashioned makeshift bamboo shelters or slept out on dusty playing fields, fearing powerful aftershocks would topple damaged homes and bring yet more carnage.
C-130 military transport aircraft with relief supplies managed to land at the main airport in Palu, which reopened to humanitarian flights and limited commercial flights, but only to pilots able to land by sight alone.
Satellite imagery provided by regional relief teams showed severe damage at some of the area’s major ports, with large ships tossed on land, quays and bridges trashed and shipping containers thrown around.
Hospitals were overwhelmed by the influx of injured, with many people being treated in the open air. There were widespread power blackouts.
“People here need aid – food, drink, clean water,” said Anser Bachmid, a 39-year-old Palu resident.
Dramatic video footage captured from the top floor of a parking ramp as the tsunami rolled in showed waves bringing down several buildings and inundating a large mosque.
“I just ran when I saw the waves hitting homes on the coastline,” said Palu resident Rusidanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
“The Indonesian Red Cross is racing to help survivors.”
Images showed a double-arched yellow bridge had collapsed with its two metal arches twisted as cars bobbed in the water below.
A key access road had been badly damaged and was partially blocked by landslides, the disaster agency said.
Friday’s tremor was also felt in the far south of the island in its largest city Makassar and on neighbouring Kalimantan, Indonesia’s portion of Borneo island.
As many as 2.4 million people could have felt the quake, the disaster agency said.
The initial quake struck as evening prayers were about to begin in the world’s biggest Muslim majority country on the holiest day of the week, when mosques are especially busy.





The death toll in Indonesia’s quake-tsunami disaster nearly doubled to more than 800 Sunday, as ill-equipped rescuers struggled to reach scores of trapped victims, health officials resorted to mass burials and desperate residents looted shops for food and water.
“The casualties will keep increasing,” said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, whose agency announced 832 deaths.
“Today we will start the mass burial of victims, to avoid the spread of disease.”
Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla said the final death toll in the north of Sulawesi island could be in the “thousands” since many regions have still not been reached.
“It feels very tense,” said 35-year-old mother Risa Kusuma, comforting her feverish baby boy at an evacuation center in the gutted coastal city of Palu. “Every minute an ambulance brings in bodies. Clean water is scarce. The mini-markets are looted everywhere.”
Indonesia’s Metro TV on Sunday broadcast footage from a coastal community in Donggala, close to the epicenter of the quake. Some waterfront homes appeared crushed but a resident said most people fled to higher ground after the quake struck.
“When it shook really hard, we all ran up into the hills,” a man identified as Iswan told the TV.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrived in the region Sunday afternoon.

Save The Children program director Tom Howells said access was a “huge issue” hampering relief efforts.
“Aid agencies and local authorities are struggling to reach several communities around Donggala, where we are expecting there to be major damage and potential large-scale loss of life,” Howells said.
Dozens of corpses lay in an open courtyard at the back of a Palu hospital, baking under a fierce tropical sun, with only one building separating it from an open triage site on the opposite side.
“I have one child — he’s missing,” Baharuddin, a 52-year-old Palu resident, told AFP as he stood on floor tiles smeared with blood.
“I last spoke to him before he went to school in the morning.”
Satellite imagery provided by regional relief teams showed severe damage at some of the area’s major ports, with large ships tossed on land, quays and bridges trashed and shipping containers thrown around.
Hospitals were overwhelmed by the influx of injured, with many people being treated in the open air. There were widespread power blackouts.
“People here need aid — food, drink, clean water,” said Anser Bachmid, a 39-year-old Palu resident.
Dramatic video footage captured from the top floor of a parking ramp as the tsunami rolled in showed waves toppling several buildings and inundating a large mosque.



Saturday, September 29, 2018

Iran May Have Additional Nuclear Sites, Scrambling To Cover Up Recently Revealed Site



Iran scrambling to cover up newly revealed nuclear site, Israeli official says



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s revelation at the UN on Thursday of a previously unknown Iranian nuclear site has caused “growing pressure inside Iran,” a senior Israeli official said over the weekend.
“They’re wondering how to deal with this facility, how to evacuate it, how to cover it up,” the official said. “There is no doubt it is a very important site for them; they’re seeking to conceal it and stall in any way possible.”
According to the official, the 15 kilograms of radioactive material that Netanyahu said was removed from the facility and dispersed around Tehran was taken away at the beginning of August.


Netanyahu, meanwhile, told Israeli reporters in a briefing Friday that it was past time for the IAEA to act, and that Iran had been exposed “as deceiving and cheating the international community.” He also said that Iran was aiming to break out to a nuclear arsenal when it deems the time ripe: “There’ll be a crisis somewhere or other, and they’ll [take advantage of the distraction] to break out to a nuclear arsenal,” he warned. “That’s the Iranian plan.”


In his address to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, revealing the “secret atomic warehouse,” Netanyahu said “[Global] intelligence services and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have known about this for six weeks” and failed to act. The warehouse allegedly contained nuclear materials that Iran is not allowed to hold without declaring them to the IAEA.
Netanyahu, in his speech, claimed the warehouse was used for “storing massive amounts of equipment and material from Iran’s secret weapons program,” which was quickly being moved to other parts of the city.
The site may contain as much as 300 tons of nuclear-related equipment and material in 15 shipping containers, he added.








Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intended to reveal a third batch of intelligence material in his UN speech on Thursday, in which he exposed what he said was a “secret atomic warehouse” in Tehran and revealed details of Hezbollah missile factories in Beirut, a senior Israeli official said at the weekend.
Netanyahu ultimately elected not to include the third revelation in his address to the General Assembly because the security establishment recommended that he not do so, Israel’s Channel 10 news said Saturday night.
Beyond indicating that the intelligence material related to “a third site,” the official provided no further details of the information.


Netanyahu’s decision to specify the location and alleged content of the Tehran atomic warehouse, from which he said the Iranians recently removed 15 kilograms of radioactive material, was taken after consultations with the security establishment and with its approval, the prime minister has made clear.
Israel had provided details of the warehouse to the IAEA and to the US administration six weeks ago, but Netanyahu charged that the IAEA failed to act. It was decided after security consultations at the Prime Minister’s Office that Netanyahu would publicize the information at the UN, in the hope of galvanizing the IAEA into action.


'Close Encounter' Between Iran And U.S. Navy Ship Video Released, Iran Expects EU To Set Up Mechanism To Bypass U.S. Sanctions By November



Iran shows off footage of boats harassing US carrier



Iran’s state TV has broadcast footage purporting to show a close encounter between the Revolutionary Guard’s navy and the USS Theodore Roosevelt early this year.
Press TV’s website said the encounter occurred March 21 in the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea.
The TV agency said the video was aired Saturday as part of a documentary.


The footage is likely meant as a show of strength amid new US sanctions on Iran and the Trump administration plans to bring Iranian oil exports down to zero.
In the video, Guard speedboats are seen closing in on the US carrier.
Iranian sailors then warn the Americans over radio communication to “keep well clear” of the Guard patrol boats and say they advise the Americans to “refrain from the threat or use of force in any manner.”
There was no immediate comment from the US Navy.
Iranian harassment of US ships in the Gulf was a regular occurrence, but according to the US Navy, the practice declined sharply after the election of US President Donald Trump in 2016 and had totally stopped by 2018.








Iran on Saturday said it expected the European Union to establish a legal framework by November 4 to bypass American sanctions and to allow the continuation of trade between Tehran and EU member states.
The European Union said Monday its members would set up a payment system to allow oil companies and businesses to continue trading with Iran, in a bid to evade sanctions after the US withdrew from a historic nuclear agreement signed in 2015.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said in an interview with the official IRNA news agency that “the mechanisms initiated by Europe should begin at the most by November 4,” according to Hadashot TV.


November 4 is the date on which US sanctions against its vital oil industry are set to begin.
After high-level talks at the United Nations among the remaining members of the nuclear accord, Iran and the European Union announced their defiance towards US President Donald Trump’s administration, saying in a statement that they were determined “to protect the freedom of their economic operators to pursue legitimate business with Iran.”
With the United States and the dollar dominating so much of global trade, the statement said the new mechanism would “facilitate payments related to Iran’s exports (including oil) and imports, which will assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran.”
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, speaking at the United Nations alongside Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the countries were still working out the technical details.
“In practical terms, this will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with European Union law and could be open to other partners in the world,” she told reporters.

Macron Vows Punishment For States Refusing Mass Migration



Macron Vows Punishment for States Refusing Mass Muslim Migration



And this is why France and most of Western Europe is doomed. You can deny reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of denying reality.
The hijrah (jihad by immigration) has roiled the continent and the refusal to address the root cause leaves France and inevitably Western Europe at the mercy (and there is none) of their invaders.
“Macron Vows Punishment for States Refusing Third World Migration,” by Virginia Hale, Breitbart, September 21, 2018:

Emmanuel Macron has said funding should be withdrawn from pro-sovereignty nations reluctant to hand more power over to Brussels, and that countries which refuse to welcome third world migrants must be thrown out of the Schengen area.
“Europe is not a menu à la carte, it’s a political project,” the French president declared, speaking at the end of an EU mini-summit on migration in Salzburg Thursday evening.
At a press conference following the meeting of European leaders, Macron acknowledged there was “a crisis and tensions” over the topic but, crying out, “Who generates them?” the former investment banker launched a broadside at nations which reject asylum seekers and those which “refuse to let boats dock on its ports”.
Taking aim at the ex-communist Visegrad states, which are reluctant to follow the West down the road of globalist multiculturalism, he lashed out at “the leaders who tell me… ‘[I] love Europe when it gives me money, when it makes my people prosperous, when it allows my workers to make better a living in neighbouring countries,’ but at home, will not take a single migrant, not a single refugee.”
“Countries that do not want more Frontex or solidarity [in housing and feeding third world migrants] will leave Schengen. Countries that don’t want more Europe will no longer [get access to] structural funds,” he told journalists.
Turning the topic to EU Parliament elections, the banking protegé said next year’s vote would be “an historic fight [and] an election like no other”, as it would determine whether “the political project led by the founding fathers [of the union] … will prevail”….


Bombs, Grenades Hurled At Israeli Troops Friday During Gaza Riots


IDF: Over 100 bombs, grenades hurled at troops during Friday's Gaza riots



Over 100 improvised bombs and grenades were hurled at Israeli troops during Friday’s riots at the Gaza border, the military said Saturday.
The army released footage of the violent demonstrations, which it said were the worst in two months, depicting attempts to breach and sabotage the security fence.
It also said IDF forces were still engaged in the controlled detonation of unexploded bombs and grenades.


Meanwhile in Gaza Saturday funerals were held for the seven Palestinians killed in the previous day’s violence, including two teen boys.


Tens of thousands of Palestinians protested along the Gaza border fence, throwing hand grenades, bombs, rocks, and burning tires in clashes with IDF troops, who responded with tear gas, live fire, and air strikes.

The protest was one of the largest and most violent in recent weeks and comes following the break down of indirect talks with Israel over a cease-fire and warnings that the terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza, was gearing up for another conflict.


Seven people were killed, including a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old, and at least 210 Palestinians were wounded, including an 11-year-old boy, who was in a serious condition, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry. It said 90 of the wounded were hit by live fire.
The ministry identified three of the dead as Nasser Mosabih, 12, Mohammed al-Houm, 14, and Iyad Al-Shaar, 18, and said they were shot. The other four were in their twenties.
The IDF said about 20,000 Palestinians took part in violent protests, spread out among a few locations along the Gaza security fence.
In two cases IAF aircraft carried out strikes against grenade throwers, the army said, noting there were no injuries to IDF forces.
One of the strikes was on a Hamas post, the army said.
IDF troops also responded with tear gas and other less-lethal riot dispersal means as well as live fire “in accordance with the rules of engagement,” the army said.
Also, Palestinians launched several fire balloons into Israel, causing at least 16 blazes near Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services said. Firefighters were working to extinguish them.
The UN called Saturday for Israel and Hamas to rein in the violence. “I am deeply saddened by reports that seven Palestinians, including two children, were killed, and hundreds of others injured, by Israeli forces during demonstrations in the Gaza Strip yesterday (Friday),” the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, Jamie McGoldrick, said in a statement. “I call on Israel, Hamas and all other actors with the ability to influence the situation, to take action now to prevent further deterioration and loss of life.”

Russia Begins Delivery Of S-300 Missile System To Syria, Warns West


Russia begins missile system delivery to Syria, warns West on peace talks



Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday Moscow had started delivering the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria and warned Western powers of trying to undermine U.N.-led efforts to end the seven-year conflict.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had said on Monday the system would be delivered to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces in two weeks despite strong Israeli and United States objections. A week previously, Moscow had accused Israel of indirectly causing the downing of a Russian military jet in Syria.
"The delivery started already and as President (Vladimir)Putin said, after that incident ... the measures that we will take will be devoted to ensuring 100 percent safety and security of our men," Lavrov told a news conference at the United Nations.
Russia, along with Iran, has helped Assad recover huge amounts of lost territory in Syria without persuading him to agree to any political reforms. It has also pushed its own talks with Iran and Turkey, known as the Astana process, as U.N-led peace negotiations have stalled.
Some diplomats have said the Israeli incident and a Turkish Russian deal to suspend an offensive on the last rebel-held stronghold of Idlib could provide a window to push for the implementation of U.N. Security Council resolution 2254 that covers ending conflict in Syria.
The U.N. Security Council, which includes Russia and the United States, has mandated U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura to get a deal on a new constitution, new elections and a reform of Syria's governance.
De Mistura's first task is the formation of a constitutional committee to decide whom to pick. He has said he will select about 50 people, including supporters of the government, the opposition and independents to participate, but so far the Syrian government has rejected the idea.
Meeting in New York on Thursday, foreign ministers from the United States, Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Britain and Saudi Arabia called on de Mistura to convene the constitutional committee and report back on progress by the end of October.
Lavrov accused the group of trying to undermine the Astana efforts and putting pressure on de Mistura so that they could impose their own resolution of the conflict, describing it as "a grave mistake."
"This is aimed at undermining all that was done at Astana process and not the fact the Syrians decide what country they are going to live in but the architecture agreed on by foreign powers," Lavrov said.



Tsunami Aftermath: Death Toll In Hundreds And Rising, Rescuers Struggle To Reach Cut-Off City Of Nearly 300,000



Indonesian quake, tsunami kills hundreds, death toll seen rising



At least 384 people were killed, many swept away as giant waves crashed onto beaches, when a major earthquake and tsunami hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, authorities said on Saturday.
Hundreds had gathered for a festival on the beach in the city of Palu on Friday when waves as high as six meters (18 feet) smashed onshore at dusk, sweeping many to their death and destroying anything in their path, following a 7.5 magnitude earthquake.
"When the (tsunami) threat arose yesterday, people were still doing their activities on the beach and did not immediately run and they became victims," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency BNPB said in a briefing in Jakarta.

"The tsunami didn't come by itself, it dragged cars, logs, houses, it hit everything on land," Nugroho said, adding that the tsunami had traveled across the open sea at speeds of 800 kph (497 mph) before striking the shoreline.
Some people climbed six meter trees to escape the tsunami and survived, he said.
Amateur footage shown by local TV stations showed waves crashing into houses along Palu's shoreline, scattering shipping containers and flooding into a mosque in the city.
Around 16,700 people were evacuating to 24 centers in Palu.
Aftershocks rocked the coastal city until Saturday afternoon following the massive earthquake on Friday, which triggered the tsunami. The series of earthquakes were felt in an area with 2.4 million people.
Nugroho described the damage as "extensive" and said thousands of houses, hospitals, shopping malls and hotels had collapsed. A bridge washed away and the main highway to Palu was cut off due to a landslide.
Bodies of some victims were found trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, he said, adding 540 people were injured and 29 were missing. Dozens of injured people were being treated in makeshift medical tents set up outdoors, TV images showed.

Photos confirmed by authorities showed bodies being lined up along the street on Saturday, some in bags and some with their faces covered with clothes.
Nugroho said the casualties and the damage could be greater along the coastline 300 km (190 miles) north of Palu, an area called Donggala, which is closer to the epicenter of the quake.
Communications "were totally crippled with no information" from Donggala, Nugroho said. More than 600,000 people live in Donggala and Palu.
"We're now getting limited communications about the destruction in Palu city, but we have heard nothing from Donggala and this is extremely worrying. There are more than 300,000 people living there," the Red Cross said in a statement, adding that its staff and volunteers were heading to the affected areas.
"This is already a tragedy, but it could get much worse," it said.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the death toll could rise to thousands.
Indonesia's meteorological and geophysics agency BMKG issued a tsunami warning after the quake, but lifted it 34 minutes later.
The agency on Saturday was widely criticized for not informing that a tsunami had hit Palu, though officials said waves had come within the time the warning was issued.
The quake and tsunami caused a major power outage that cut communications around Palu making it difficult for authorities to coordinate rescue efforts.
The military has started sending in cargo planes with aid, authorities said, from Jakarta and other cities, but evacuees still badly need food and other basic necessities.







Rescuers are struggling to reach Donggala, a city of nearly 300,000 people in Indonesia, after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and a powerful tsunami hit the coast of the country, killing at least 384 and injuring hundreds more.
Power and telecommunications to the region have been cut off and the roads are damaged, leaving officials unable to reach those in need.
Aid is also yet to reach the nearby town of Mamuju, which has been severely affected by the quake.
At least 384 people were killed in the hard-hit city of Palu, Indonesia's disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
A landslide has blocked a major road leading to Palu, the capital of Indonesia's Central Sulawesi province, according to the BBC, and a key bridge crossing a coastal river has also collapsed.
Thousands of homes as well as hospital buildings have been damaged in Palu. Hundreds have been injured, leaving medical staff overwhelmed.
Tens to hundreds of people involved at a beach festival are also missing, the disaster agency said earlier.
More than half of the 560 inmates in a Palu prison fled after its walls fell during Friday's quake, according to the warden, Adhi Yan Ricoh.
"It was very hard for the security guards to stop the inmates from running away as they were so panicked and had to save themselves too," he told state news agency Antara.
Ricoh said there was no immediate plan to search for the inmates because the prison staff and police were consumed with the rescue effort.
"Don't even think to find the inmates. We don't even have time yet to report this incident to our superiors," he said.
The 3m tsunami was triggered by the earthquake and smashed into two cities and several settlements on Sulawesi island at dusk on Friday.
In some places the water rose as high as 6m.
"We got a report over the phone saying that there was a guy who climbed a tree up to 6m high," Nugroho said.
Palu, which has a population of 380,000 people, was strewn with debris from fallen buildings, including a shopping complex and a large mosque.








tsunami swept away buildings and killed at least several hundred people on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, dumping victims caught in its relentless path across a devastated landscape that rescuers were struggling to reach Saturday, hindered by damaged roads and broken communications. Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 384 people were killed in the hard-hit city of Palu alone.
The nearby city of Donggala and the town of Mamuju were also ravaged by the tsunami but have not yet been reached by aid due to damaged roads and disrupted telecommunications.
Nugroho said "tens to hundreds" of people were taking part in a beach festival in Palu when the tsunami, which was triggered by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake, struck at dusk on Friday. Their fate was unknown.

In some places, the water rose as high as 20 feet. "We got a report over the phone saying that there was a guy who climbed a tree up to 6 meters high," Nugroho said.
Palu, which has more than 380,000 people, was strewn with debris from collapsed buildings. A mosque heavily damaged by the quake was half submerged and a shopping mall was reduced to a crumpled hulk. A large bridge with yellow arches had collapsed. Bodies lay partially covered by tarpaulins and a man carried a dead child through the wreckage.
The chief of the meteorology and geophysics agency, Dwikorita Karnawati called the situation "chaotic" after the tsunami. "People are running on the streets and buildings collapsed," Karnawati told the Reuters news agency. "There is a ship washed ashore."
Communications with the area were difficult because power and telecommunications were cut, hampering search and rescue efforts.
"We hope there will be international satellites crossing over Indonesia that can capture images and provide them to us so we can use the images to prepare humanitarian aid," Nugroho said.
The disaster agency has said that essential aircraft can land at Palu's airport, though AirNav, which oversees aircraft navigation, said the runway was cracked and the control tower damaged.
AirNav said one of its air traffic controllers, aged 21, died in the quake after staying in the tower to ensure a flight he'd just cleared for departure got airborne safely. It did.
More than half of the 560 inmates in a Palu prison fled after its walls collapsed during Friday's quake, said its warden, Adhi Yan Ricoh.