As EU Becomes Pariah, Iceland Dropping Membership Bid

eYSMaU5xKdSQhCJz-ahwLtqV6qAYutl1AvVgKMDEujezGJ91AZRncBq2xWyc2rTe4tzHCqG4IX8Oc4ciRCURfQ=w506-h284

First published online Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Written by Alex Newman

1f0c12f0f9749de5c831973ee1b3bc5d_MWith the European Union becoming increasingly unpopular across the continent amid a rapid plunge in what little public support ever existed for the unaccountable super-state seeking to become an all-powerful federal regime, authorities in Iceland announced last week that they planned to back out of membership talks and preserve what remains of their tiny island nation’s sovereignty. EU critics, who have been soaring in the polls, celebrated the news.

In a recent interview with a national radio broadcaster, Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, elected in 2013 on what has been widely described as a “centrist” platform, declared that all previous work on joining the controversial EU was “obsolete” and “not valid anymore.” He also suggested that Parliament would vote soon on a measure to officially withdraw Iceland’s membership application.

“Participating in EU talks isn’t really valid anymore, both due to changes in the European Union, and because it’s not in line with the policies of the ruling government to accept everything that the last government was willing to accept,” Sigmundur Davíð was quoted as saying during the radio interview by the Reykjavík Grapevine, sparking headlines worldwide.

“Because of that, we’re back at square one,” continued the Icelandic prime minister, whose Progress Party governs the estimated 325,000 Icelanders in an alliance with the conservative-leaning Independence Party. “All the work on it that had been carried out before is in fact obsolete.”

Icelandic Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson reportedly applauded the prime minister’s announcement and the decision to back out. According to media reports, Sveinsson also said he wanted the EU membership issue to be closed as soon as possible — and that Iceland should not join.

Critics of the EU reacted with glee to the news, while proponents of smashing national sovereignty and crushing self-government were left fuming. UK Independence Party (UKIP) chief Nigel Farage, whose anti-EU party dominated elections to the EU’s pseudo-Parliament last year on a platform of secession for Britain from the bloc, was among those who celebrated the Icelandic leader’s comments.

“This move by Icelandic authorities and the increasing Mediterranean opposition to the EU shows that the idea of the inevitability of EU integration has been smashed,” declared Farage, who also co-chairs an anti-EU political alliance in what passes as the Brussels-based super-state’s legislature. “More and more people throughout Europe either no longer wish to join the EU or, as in Greece, to leave the euro currency altogether.” Elections and surveys across the bloc show the EU is now deeply unpopular.

Blasting the super-state’s embattled single currency known as the euro, Farage also said the rapid rebound in Iceland’s economy following the global economic crisis could be attributed to the fact that, unlike many formerly sovereign European nations, it still retains its own currency. “Greece and other Mediterranean countries are caught inside the straitjacket of an unsuitable euro currency and unsympathetic political union dominated by Germany,” he continued, saying other nations should be encouraged by Iceland’s example and that Greece ought to ditch the euro to restore prosperity.

The previous Icelandic government, run by a coalition of leftist Social Democrats and radical Left-Greens, formally applied for EU membership in 2009 amid the economic crisis that hit Iceland especially hard. By early 2010, the European Commission, a hybrid legislative-executive branch run by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, responded favorably. Accession negotiations began shortly after that.

When the new prime minister and his coalition were elected in 2013, though, they promptly froze the discussions indefinitely. Especially problematic for Iceland, with an economy heavily reliant on its fishing industry, were EU-imposed “quotas” on how many fish can be caught.

Last year, the newly elected “center-right” government even floated a measure to abandon EU negotiations and formally withdraw its application to surrender what remains of national sovereignty and self-government. The effort was met with AstroTurf protests demanding a “referendum” on joining the EU.  

According to polls taken at that time, most Icelanders supported voting on the issue. However, the same surveys revealed that almost half of the nation’s voters would vote against the EU, while just over a third supported joining. The rest were undecided.

Ironically, pro-EU apparatchiks — after brazenly bulldozing over the wishes of voters in nation after nation that voted against expanding and empowering the controversial continental regime — suddenly displayed a newfound passion for referendums. In interviews with the Sputnik news agency, the Kremlin’s latest foray into the media world, various Icelandic EU supporters blasted the ruling alliance’s efforts to preserve national sovereignty.

Social Democratic lawmaker Össur Skarphéðinsson, for instance, Iceland’s foreign minister when the application to join the EU was fist submitted, lambasted the prime minister for not concluding negotiations with Brussels and then asking voters whether to join the super-state. “I think it is wise for Iceland to become a member of the large currency union,” Össur added, brushing aside concerns about the ongoing troubles facing the controversial single currency. “It is a security issue.”

In a separate Sputnik article aimed at salvaging efforts to quash Icelandic sovereignty, another lawmaker, Guðmundur Steingrímsson, who chairs Iceland’s Bright Future party, also blasted the ruling alliance over its decision. “I strongly oppose this move,” he said, referring to the government’s efforts to back out of membership talks. “I strongly believe that Iceland would benefit, with a good agreement, from EU membership.” Guðmundur also said negotiations should be concluded and then voters should decide in a referendum.

In the EU, however, referendums do not have the same meaning generally associated with the term around the world. When French and Dutch voters decided overwhelmingly not to shackle themselves to the draconian EU “Constitution,” for example, so-called “eurocrats” changed its name to the “Lisbon Treaty” and imposed it anyway. When Irish voters said no, they were bullied and threatened into holding another election and eventually voting yes. In Croatia, tax money and threats to pensions were used to terrorize voters into submission.

The vast majority of Europeans never even had a chance to vote on the scheme. The Swiss, meanwhile, despite voting overwhelmingly to remain independent, are regularly terrorized by the super-state to change their policies — sometimes after referendums. The EU continues to bully tiny Switzerland over everything from immigration to low taxes, and the Alpine nation is not even a member.

Today, the vast majority of “laws” imposed on around 500 million Europeans emanate from Brussels rather than national capitals, which have essentially become vassals of the EU bureaucrats who now rule the continent with an iron fist. Numerous top European politicians and even a former Soviet dictator have stated that the perpetually expanding super-state is moving quickly in the direction of the mass-murdering regime ruling the Soviet Union.

Of course, Iceland’s government is still a party to various sovereignty-usurping European regimes including the European Economic Area (EEA), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the visa-free travel Schengen area, and NATO. Because of its membership in the EEA, many of the radical decrees issued by the legions of Brussels bureaucrats are already imposed on Icelanders without their consent.

Aside from the fishing catch quotas and other draconian policies that would be imposed on the people of Iceland by unelected bureaucrats in faraway Brussels, Icelanders’ nerves are still raw following a vicious campaign by the EU to shackle taxpayers to unfathomable levels of debt. In the end, though, Iceland won.

In early 2013, Icelandic taxpayers secured their major victory against the EU and the European banking establishment, which sought to terrorize national authorities into foisting the wild debts of a failed private bank onto the backs of innocent Icelanders. After years of battling the super-state, an obscure European court ruled against the EU and said taxpayers had no obligation to cover the bank’s debt. Over nine out of 10 voters had previously rejected paying off the private bank’s debts in referendums.

Rather than surrendering what remains of their national sovereignty and self-government to out-of-control bureaucrats with an insatiable appetite for power located thousands of miles away, the people of Iceland would be much better served by withdrawing from existing sovereignty-crushing schemes such as the EEA. Of course, Brussels will shriek and threaten the tiny nation with loss of access to the market and more. But as the EU becomes increasingly authoritarian and openly boasts of plans to become an all-powerful federal regime, preserving self-government is now more important than ever.

 

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe.

BREAKING NEWS: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives to meet with representatives of a business community in St. Petersburg

Reuters 1 hr ago

Reuters 1 hr ago

Picture:
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L, bottom) arrives to meet with representatives of a business community in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 18, 2015. Greece has not asked Russia’s finance ministry for financial assistance and its prime minister is visiting Russia to discuss joint projects, not to seek cash, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said on Thursday. With time running out for Athens to reach a reform-for-aid deal with its international creditors, Tsipras arrived in St Petersburg earlier on Thursday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Athens (AFP) – The Greek central bank warned for the first time on Wednesday that the country could suffer a “painful” exit from the eurozone and even the EU if it fails to reach a bailout deal with international creditors.

The warning came as negotiations over the release of the last 7.2 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in rescue funds from Greece’s massive international bailout remained deadlocked, with payment deadlines looming.

All eyes are on a meeting of the 19 eurozone countries to take place Thursday in Luxembourg, but several officials including Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said they were not expecting a breakthrough in the cash-for-reforms standoff there either.

Asked during a visit to Paris whether he thought an accord could be reached at the meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg, he said late Wednesday: “I don’t think so. Now it is up to political leaders to arrive at an accord.”

In a sign the EU’s top financial brass are seriously considering the implications of a “Grexit”, the head of Germany’s central bank, Jens Weidmann, said it would “change the character of the monetary union” — but not destroy it.

And underscoring growing global concern about the crisis, US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen warned the world economy could see significant turmoil if Greece and its creditors failed to do a deal.

“This is a very difficult situation. In the event that there is not agreement I do see the potential for disruptions that could affect the European economic outlook and global financial markets,” Yellen said.

– ‘Incomprehensible’ –

Elected on an anti-austerity platform in January, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras warned Wednesday that an EU “fixation” on pension cuts would scupper any hopes of reaching an agreement to avert a catastrophic default.

Tsipras said his government had gone as far as it could to meet the demands of the International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank for tax hikes and pension reform.

“There is no room for further cuts without affecting the core of the (pension) system,” Tsipras said after meeting with visiting Austrian Chancellor Werner Feymann, one of the few European leaders supporting Greece in the talks.

“If Europe insists on this incomprehensible fixation… it must accept the cost of a development that will benefit no one in Europe.”

In one of the starkest warnings from a Greek institution, the Bank of Greece said failure to reach an agreement would start “a painful course that would lead initially to a Greek default and ultimately to the country’s exit from the euro area and -– most likely -– from the European Union”.

Leaving the single currency would lead to a deep recession, dramatic declines in incomes and a spike in unemployment in the southern European nation, the bank said.

Greek bank deposits had already dropped by nearly 30 billion euros between December and April, to 128 billion euros, it said.

On the other side of the fence, Bundesbank chief Weidmann warned that while failure to reach a deal would cause some contagion, the eurozone did not depend on Greece.

“A Grexit could change the character of the monetary union,” he said in an interview with French, Italian and Spanish media. “But this also changes when individual countries do not live up to their responsibilities to ensure a stable currency.”

Responsibility for Greece’s future lies entirely with its government, he said, adding that the consequences of it leaving the euro “would be hard to control” for Athens.

The Athens stock exchange fell 3.15 percent on Wednesday, its fourth straight day in the red.

– ‘Democracy, Not Blackmail’ –

As the clock ticked down to key June 30 repayment deadlines, the head of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, said he was still working to keep Greece within the fold.

But the mounting pressure has frayed tempers, illustrated by a public falling out in recent days between Tsipras and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, who has accused the Greek premier of misleading Greek voters about the talks.

Both men briefly spoke by phone on Wednesday, a European official told AFP, their first contact since Sunday. They agreed to talk again “in coming days”, the source added.

Greece is due to make a 1.6 billion euro payment to the IMF at the end of the month, with another 6.7 billion euros due to the ECB in July and August — payments Greek officials say they cannot afford.

With his creditors saying his reform proposals are insufficient, Tsipras on Tuesday accused creditors of trying to “humiliate” his country.

Polls show most Greeks support the government’s negotiating strategy, though its approval rating has steadily fallen.

Some 7,000 people gathered in Athens on Wednesday evening to protest against the creditors’ demands for further cuts, police said. In a show of support for the government, protesters carried banners reading: “End Austerity” and “Democracy, Not Blackmail”.

Tsipras is set to travel to the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday and is scheduled to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

Although the Russian government has stressed that Greece has never requested direct financial aid, observers say Tsipras is trying to send a message to Europe that he still has other cards to play.

NEWS FROM NOVOROSSIYA – jUNE 15, 2015

 

News from Novorossiya

Monday, June 15, 2015
(More updates to come)

.

slavyanskjun15r

.
Rally in Donetsk Downtown — People Demand Protection From Ukrainian Army / mediapulse.ru / June 15. 2015 / A rally is going on right now in Donetsk downtown, most of the participants are the residents of the constantly shelled Oktyabrskiy settlement. It has been reported that the protesters have cordoned off Artyoma street (on of the central street in Donetsk downtown). “There are different demands: some ask to start onset, the other ask to stop shelling in any possible way,” commented Andery Borodulin, the journalist witnessing the rally. Some people passing by ask the protesters to let the cars pass, the answer is “Let us live without everyday shellings!” There are about 200 protesters rights now, so far there were no conflicts and clashes. Andery Borodulin tells about Oktyabrskiy settlement in his Twitter account: 10 wounded there over the last 24 hours, at least 2 dead over the last week. People have been living like this since summer 2014. Oktyabrskiy settlement is in the North-West of the city, in Kuybishvskiy district, this part of the city and the outskirts suffer from artillery strikes daily.

DPR PM Alexander Zakharchenko

Editor’s Note: Donetsk People’s Republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko, despite illness apparently due to a knee wound sustained some weeks ago, came to the streets to talk with five representatives of the district, other sources report.

.

.

.

TWITTER update: Harald Doornbos tweeted the following message today: “Small demo now in Donetsk. Ppl of Oktyabrskiy-area asking DNR gov ‘to do something against daily Ukraine shelling.’” Harald included this photo.

.

Zakharchenko: DPR Is An Independent Country, Will Never Be Part of Ukraine / Ria Novosti / Edited autotranslation by Quemado Institute / June 15, 2015 / Whatever happens in Minsk, the DPR is an independent state and will not be under Ukraine, said the head of the [DPR] Republic Alexander Zakharchenko. He noted that “there was blood” between Ukraine and the DPR.

Zakharchenko visits Gorlovka (--Sputnik/ Sergey Averin)

DONETSK / “The Donetsk People’s Republic is an independent state and never will be a part of Ukraine,” said the head of the self-proclaimed republic Alexander Zakharchenko. “Whatever happens in Minsk, the DPR is an independent state that will never be under Ukraine. We have blood between us,” Zakharchenko state at a meeting with residents of the village of Oktyabrsky, which is often shelled by [Ukrainian] security forces.

The Ukrainian authorities, in April of last year in Donbass, started a military operation against the residents of the region, who were disgruntled with the coup. According to the latest UN data, there have been 6,500 victims of the conflict. The settlement of the situation in Donbass has been discussed, during meetings in Minsk, by the contact group, which since last September has adopted three documents governing steps to de-escalate the conflict. The last document, signed on February 12, which specified in addition to the cease-fire the withdrawal of heavy weapons and the establishment of a security zone, obliges the Ukrainian authorities to conduct a direct dialogue with the representatives of the DPR and LPR [Lugansk People’s Repbulic], in particular on the issue of local elections in the region, making changes to the Constitution of Ukraine, involving decentralization of power, as well as on legislative consolidation of the special status “of individual regions of Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts.”

The situation worsens in Donbass: On June 3 near Maryinka there were serious fights, of which 34 people became victims, according to the UN. [Ukraine] Security officials have accused the [Donbass] militias in the offensive, the same statement called “speculation” in Kiev. Representatives of the self-proclaimed republics reported that Ukrainian security officials continue to bring heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems to the contact line, and the intensity of attacks is growing. The authorities of the DPR and LPR insist that security forces remove heavy weapons to a safe distance, in accordance with the Minsk agreements. Editor’s update: A similar translation may be found at Sputnik News.

.

slavyanskjun15qNew Russia Press Monday Situation Report. Today the Ukrainian Army violated the ceasefire somee 200 times near Donetsk. Meanwhile, at least 5 Ukrainian SUV’s have been operating over the city. For more see Fights In Donbass 15.06.2015 (June 15), by George.

.

Miroshnichenko, Lugansk Information Center

Two High-ranking Ukraine Representatives Went Over to the Militia / ren.tv / edited autotranslation by Quemado Institute / June 15, 2015 / Two high-ranking representatives of the Ukrainian side, one an employee of the Foreign Intelligence Service and other an employee of the Embassy of Ukraine in France, have defected over to the side of the [Donbass] militias. Natives of Lugansk, they are the brothers Alex and Yuri Miroshnichenko. Why did they do this? The brothers themselves have explained their reasons in a meeting with journalists: “We can no longer tolerate it,” said the former employee of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine Alexey Miroshnichenko. He confirmed that at the front, on the side of the [Ukraine] security forces, there are mercenaries from abroad, most of all from Poland, Lithuania and Romania. According to the brothers, many of their former colleagues believe the Ukrainian authorities themselves are criminal, but people do not resign from the service often because of banal fear for themselves and loved ones, either due to lack of motivation, or simply not having enough willpower.

Miroshnichenko brothers defect to Lugansk

Defector Alexey Miroshnichenko: Ukraine Traitors Exterminate Donbass People. During a press conference with two employees of the foreign intelligence Service of Ukraine, brothers Alexei and Yuri Miroshnichenko, who defected from Ukraine over to the side of the Donbass militias, the former said, “Our desire to return to Lugansk is associated only with the dominance, in the government of Ukraine, of traitors, agents of foreign intelligence services and clear nationalists, who systematically exterminate the people of your country and lead to the collapse of Ukraine.” On a question by journalists about what the real situation in the ATO zone is, Alex told reporters, “Ukraine is now being strengthened, building fortifications for fear of attack, though they are constantly provoking.” For more, see LPR Today article Ukrainian scouts – we know real loss (video) (June 15), by Andrey Moiseenko.

Sputnik: Brothers Defect from Ukraine to Lugansk. This report from Sputnik adds detail about the statements of Alexei and Yuri Miroshnichenko, the two brothers who defected from Ukraine to the Lugansk People’s Republic. “Commenting on who is responsible for what they call genocide, the brothers noted that ‘the crimes against civilians are being committed mainly by representatives of the territorial battalions. This includes Aidar, Azov and Tornado. Innocent people are summarily shot, demeaned, and have their property taken from them. Women are raped en masse, including minors. There have been instances reported of conscripts who fled the battlefield being shot. Local branches of the ‘Nova Poshta’ [a Ukrainian delivery service] are crammed with property stolen from civilians.’” For more see Brothers in Arms: Two Kiev Officials Defect to Fight for Lugansk (June 15).

.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Ukrainian troops deploy weapon at beach on Azov Sea in Shirokino (--Sputnik/AP/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Pushilin: Donbass on Brink of Major War. Donetsk People’s Republic Contact Group envoy Denis Pushilin said today, June 14, that the situation in Ukraine is unpredictable, and war could break out at any time, in a matter of hours, due the smallest decision on the part of anyone involved. “We are actually on the brink of a major war right now. Our conflict is not an internal Ukrainian one, it is fully in line with what is happening in Syria, Yemen, the uprising in Macedonia,… and could lead to very tragic consequences and, as a result, things can escalate in a matter of hours,” said Pushilin. For more, see Sputnik article Donbass on Brink of Major War, Conflict May Escalate Any Time – DPR (June 14).

Eduard Basurin

MoD DPR recorded 185 instances of the ceasefire regime violation by the Ukrainian side in the last 24 hours / Novorossiya Today /June 14, 2015 / Donetsk People’s Republic, Novorossiya / Situation in the Donetsk People’s Republic remains tense and complicated, the DPR Defense Ministry spokesperson Eduard Basurin told a briefing today. “Over the past 24 hours, we have recorded 185 instances of the ceasefire regime violation by the Ukrainian side, including 30 cases of tank fire and 142 – of mortars of 82-mm and 120-mm caliber use upon the territory of the Republic. Ukrainian forces shelled Donetsk, Gorlovka, Dokuchaevsk, Spartak, Shirokino, Zhabunki, Yasnoye, Krasniy Partizan, Staromikhailovskaya, Veseloye, and the Donetsk airport. Three DPR fighters were wounded. One civilian woman was wounded in Kievsky district of Donetsk. She came under fire by the 93rd Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces commanded by Colonel Oleg Mikats,” – Basurin said.

slavyanskjun14xUkraine Shells Donetsk, Wounds AFP Reporter. British journalist Graham Phillips tweeted at 06:00 UTC June 14: “Today in Donetsk – Alexei is lucky to be alive after Ukrainian shelling hit, destroyed, his flat yesterday.” Twitter source News of Donbas tweeted at 22:00 UTC June 14: “AFP freelancer was wounded as result of shelling Donetsk, ‘DPR’ informs.” In a further clarification, Twitter source Leonid tweets at 22:30 UTC June 14: “Alexander Gayuk an AFP journalist wounded in Donetsk today.”

.

Sunday’s UAF Donetsk Shelling Wounds Eight. A Donetsk administration spokesman reports, “Ukrainian shells hit one house in Luzina Street and two houses – in Kremlevsky Avenue in the Kuibyshevsky district, five people were wounded. One house was hit in Baikalskaya Street in Petrivsky district and one house was hit in Shevchenko Street in the settlement of Alexandrovka, three people were wounded,” adding that one more house was damaged in Donetsk’s Kalininsky district. Source: TASS: 8 people wounded in shelling of Donetsk by Ukrainian army (June 14).

Strategic Culture Foundation: Britain’s Hammond Suggests Hosting US Nukes. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has put forth the possibility of the UK placing American nuclear weapons on its soil to counteract the “Russian threat”.  Columnist Finian Cunningham, slamming the insanity of Anglo-American attitudes, comments, “This slanderous attitude toward Russia is doubly contemptible, because not only is it calumnious, the deception also serves as a political and moral cover that allows the Anglo-American rulers to take outrageous steps toward jeopardising international peace, with the unprecedented deployment of nuclear weapons.” For full analysis see The Anglo-American Insanity (June 14) by Finian Cunningham. Quemado Institute comments: On the subject of American insanity, the United States government has become sick in many ways, and their behavior has grown abhorrent to reasoning people. Among the atrocities they sponsor, in addition to fomenting coups, unrest, and the bombing of civilians across the Euro-Middle East, are the spraying of skies over NATO countries with so-called “chemtrails”, whose contents are consistent with that of coal ash, filling the air on many days with a streaky overcast of toxins, which are believed to inhibit rainfall and have resulted in drastic fires, destroying many mountain forests across the US southwest, as well as severe and possibly irreparable drought in California, all the while euphemizing their actions under the catch-all term of “climate change”, as if it were not their fault, their reckless and misguided intent apparently to stop global warming.

Merkel: Minsk Process Extremely Fragile. Chancellor Angela Merkel feels that she, as well as Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French President Francois Hollande are responsible for the Normandy format talks seeking to find a peaceful resolution to the deadly Ukraine war with Donbass. “The system of security built thanks to the Minsk process in eastern Ukraine remains ‘extremely fragile,’ according to Merkel,” reports Sputnik News. For more see Germany, France Responsible for Minsk Peace Process in Ukraine – Merkel (June 12).

Minsk 2.0 participants (--Sputnik/Alexey Druzhinin)

US War Party Seeks to Kill Minsk 2.0. American weekly The Nation reported that US Hawks are seeking to destroy the Minsk 2.0 peace process. The war party is “ginning up the anti-Russian hysteria in both Kiev and Washington” in pursuit of this goal, the Nation explained. “Another goal is to force the European Union to extend the anti-Russian sanctions, imposed under the false pretext (albeit very popular in the West) that Moscow is involved in the Ukrainian civil war,” reports Sputnik. The issue will be discussed at the upcoming European Council summit. For more see US Hawks Want to ‘Drive a Stake Through the Heart of Minsk II’ (June 12).

Friday, June 12, 2015

Petro Poroshenko, Mariupol, 2015 (--The Independent)

Poroshenko Promises Constitutional Amendments. Kiev regime leader Petro Poroshenko, in a speech in Mariupol on Thursday, said that amendments to the Ukraine Constitution should be voted on by the Verkhovna Rada in a few weeks. “People should be able to exercise a lion’s share of their powers in their native cities,” vowed Poroshenko. “But, the questions of foreign policy, defense, the state’s integrity and the status of a unitary state will also be the key elements of our constitution.” For TASS report see Ukrainian parliament to adopt constitutional amendments in weeks to come — Poroshenko (June 11). Editor’s note: Poroshenko’s vow need not be taken too seriously. In fact, according to the Minsk 2.0 agreements, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine parliament) does not have the authority to determine the final amendments. The amendments in their finished form must be approved by the DPR/LPR Minsk Contact Group representatives, who have indicated they will accept nothing less than de facto independence. The amendments proposed by the Verkhovna Rada will carry no more weight that those proposed by the DPR/LPR on June 8. Minsk 2.0, it should be noted, confers no authority on Kiev that it does not also confer on the DPR/LPR. Control is the hands of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

Click to enlarge. (--Voice of Sevastopol)

Intensive Ukrainian Shelling in Donetsk. The Kiyevskiy and Kuybyshevskiy districts of Donetsk have been subject to intensive shelling by the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) in the last 24 hours, damaging a kindergarten, a hospital, residential buildings and power lines. Casualties have not been specified. See Novorossia Today report A hospital, a kindergarten and “Tochmash” works in Donetsk were subjected to shelling by Ukrainian military (June 11). Editor’s note: Kiyevskiy and Kuybyshevskiy are located just left of and above Donetsk at bottom center of map.

Two Children Survive Gorlovka Shelling. A 7-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl, originally reported dead, are found to be alive but injured. At least 3 women were killed in the Ukrainian shelling of Gorlovka June 10. See Novorossia Today report Two children in Gorlovka that had been reported dead are actually wounded, but alive (June 11).

Franklin Templeton Headquarters (--powerpolitics.ro)

Strategic Culture Foundation: Ukraine’s $15.5 Billion Debt Restructuring in Rothschild Death Grip. The June 15 deadline is approaching for restructuring Ukraine’s massive debt among wolfish lenders not likely to compromise, including Franklin Templeton. A related SCF article says, “Ukraine … has sold its securities to Franklin Templton. According to a recent Bloomberg report, the investment fund acts under US jurisdiction and is controlled by Rothschilds, the family known for its death grip.” Analyst Valentin Katasonov investigates the various IMF and private loans, most of them from “financial vultures”, and offers gloomy predictions for the monetary status of the post-coup regime in Kiev. See commentary Kiev Holds Talks With International Money Lenders: This Month is Decisive (June 12), by Valentin Katasonov. Editor’s Note: We regret the bad name such financial institutions give to the natural vultures of the sky, who soar in beautiful sweeping flight and never kill living creatures.

George Soros (--theblaze.com)

Ron Paul: Soros Urges US to Weaponize Ukraine. Petro Poroshenko’s close friend, billionaire George Soros, says in an email to the Kiev regime leader, “‘the US should provide Ukraine ‘with same level of sophistication in defense weapons to match the level of opposing force.’ In other words,” Ron Paul comments in his weekly column, “despite the February ceasefire, Soros is pushing behind the scenes to make sure Ukraine receives top-of-the-line lethal weapons from the United States. Of course it will be up to us to pay the bill because Ukraine is broke.” He adds, “Soros assured Poroshenko: ‘I am ready to call Jack Lew of the US Treasury to sound him out about the swap agreement.’ So George Soros will use his influence in the US government to put the American people on the hook for a bankrupt Ukraine — forcing us to pay for weapons, more military training, and Ukraine’s crippling debt.” For more see Ron Paul Institute editorial Soros Pushes US Bailouts and Weapons for Ukraine (June 7), by Ron Paul.

.

University of Geneva (--iun.ch)

Swiss Corruption Investigators Predict Unacceptable Future for Ukraine. Strategic Culture Foundation columnist Alexander Donetsky quotes experts from the Global Studies Institute of the University of Geneva from their 185-page document on prospects for the future of Ukraine. “We believe that future cannot be acceptable for Ukraine. Even if the country shall split in two different countries, the situation and challenges will remain the same: how to ensure a viable prosperity framework for the populations,” the Swiss report concludes. For more see commentary Swiss corruption investigators have pronounced their verdict on Ukraine (II) (June 12), by Alexander Donetsky. Editor’s note: It is significant the Swiss investigators consider the breaking of Ukraine into two countries a viable scenario. We certainly agree, and optimistically predict the independent DPR/LPR will provide “a viable prosperity for the population,” even if Kiev fails to do so.

.

Angela Merkel plays center stage at 2015 G7 summit, Krun, Germany (--Sputnik/AP)

G7 Accuses Russia. In this substantial analysis by political commentator Finian Cunningham, the roles of the G7 leaders in blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for circumstances in Ukraine beyond his control are examined in detail. “The United States and its Western allies are trying to ensnare Russia in an audacious disinformation trap over the Ukraine conflict,” notes Cunningham. “That trap involves imposing an insoluble conundrum on Vladimir Putin’s government.” He adds, “But how can Russia implement a peace deal in Ukraine if the Western-backed Kiev regime is the one that is the aggressor, not Russia? As Putin told Italian media in an interview last week, it is up to Washington and its European allies to influence the regime in Kiev to fulfil the terms of Minsk.” Cunningham points out astutely, “There is no evidence to substantiate the claims of Russian troops inside Ukraine, even though these accusations have been flying around the Western media for more than a year now. Surely, a US or NATO satellite must have a credible image of such Russian presence by now?” For more of this definitive analysis see Sputnik editorial Trapping Russia to Prove a Negative (June 10) by Finian Cunningham. Quemado Institute comments: We agree and have maintained consistently that Russia has no regular troops in Ukraine. There are rumors that Igor Strelkov, former Novorssiya volunteer commander who had actually never fought in the Russian armed forces and has become something of a loose cannon plagued with the sour grapes affliction of a has-been, recently said, “Anyone who believes Russia is not involved in Ukraine is an idiot.” We have no proof he made this statement, but if true, Strelkov is either calling his hero Putin an idiot or a liar. Strelkov apparently makes a pretense of knowing what goes on in Russian government inner circles. However, when he famously led the defensive battles in Slavyansk, 2014, he did not even know that Russian forces were never coming. Expecting their arrival any day, he overextended his position, and was forced to retreat from Slavyansk when the truth became evident. Given this gross miscalculation, how much can Strelkov really know about Putin’s intentions?

.

(--Sputnik/ Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

Shell Oil Exits Donbass. Royal Dutch Shell has announced it will abandon it plans for fracking operations in the Kharkov and Donetsk regions. In December 2014, Chevron also withdrew. For more see Voice of Sevastopol report Shell to Withdraw From Shale Gas Project in Eastern Ukraine (June 11). Editor’s note: the fewer the foreign corporate financial projects in Ukraine, the weaker will be Western support for Kiev.

Andrei Sokolov

Political Prisoner Sokolov May Face 15 Years. Andrei Sokolov has been jailed by the Ukraine Security Service (SBU) in Zaporozhye (Volnyansk) for “promoting the terrorist organization Donetsk People’s Republic.” His court hearing is to take place on June 19. According to author Victor Shapinov, Sokolov “faces 8 to 15 years in prison for volunteer work in Donetsk in December 2014. He is accused by the Security Service of Ukraine of providing information to assist the Defense Ministry of the DNR (advice on production issues at the Topaz plant in Donetsk). He is charged with neither terrorist attacks nor participating in hostilities.” Shapinov adds, “Solidarity and publicity is urgently needed.” See Red Star Over Donbass article Communist Andrei Sokolov faces trial in Ukraine (June 12), by Victor Shapinov. [If article does not appear, scroll to title.] Editor’s note: The charges are a violation of the Minsk 2.0 Agreements, which guarantee universal amnesty for any acts connected with the Donbass war.

.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

DPR PM Alexander Zakharchenko

Zakharchenko on DPR Independence. With the Minsk Agreements as fragile as they are, Dontesk People’s Republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko is thinking beyond this measure of peaceful reconciliation to a scenario of independence for the DPR. “The future of the DPR for me personally is a free independent state that can talk as an equal with Ukraine,” states Zakharchenko in his exclusive commentary to LifeNews agency. See Novorossia Today report Zakharchenko: I do not see the future of DPR in composition of Ukraine (June 10).

(--Sputnik/AFP/Sergey Polezhaka)

Pushilin: Kiev’s Rule Akin to Suicide. In a succinct summation of DPR policy, Donetsk People’s Republic Minsk contact group envoy Denis Pushilin told the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Wednesday that “Donbass is not ready to be ‘under Kiev’s rule,’ which would be ‘akin to suicide’ for Donetsk and Lugansk that were subject to Kiev’s special military operation in April 2014 in response to local residents’ refusal to recognize the new coup-installed government.” He added, “But contractual relations within the framework of international processes are possible and are not excluded.” For more see Sputnik report Donbass Offers Constitutional Reform Amid Increased Tensions in Ukraine (June 10).

slavyanskjun11z.

Voice of Sevastopol Wednesday Situation Report. For accounts of Ukrainian shelling of Donetsk and Lugansk on June 9 and 10, including maps, photos and videos, see The war in Novorossia Online 06.10.2015 Chronicle (June 10).

.

Pavlo Zhebrivsky (--Unian)

Zhebrivskyi Appointed New Donetsk Governor. Kiev regime leader Petro Poroshenko has appointed Pavlo Zhebrivskyi the new Governor of the Ukraine-held region of the Donetsk Oblast, replacing Oleksandr Kikhtenko, who was dismissed on the grounds of “inappropriate fulfillment of his duties.” Source: Ukraine Today report Ukraine’s president appoints new governor to conflict-hit Donetsk region (June 11).

.

Petro Poroshenko in Mariupol

Poroshenko and Zhebrivskyi Inspect Fortifications Near Mariupol / en.censor.net.ua / edited by Quemado Institute / June 11, 2015 / President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has arrived in Mariupol. He is accompanied by the incumbent head of the Donetsk Regional State Administration Oleksandr Kikhtenko and [recently appointed] future Governor of the Donetsk region Pavlo Zhebrivskyi. The itinerary of Poroshenko’s travel has not been disclosed. Activities are scheduled to be held at several strongpoints.

Petro Poroshenko in Mariupol

It is known that the president has already inspected a fortification structure, the strong point #3, Censor.NET reports citing Mariupol news outlet 0629. The motorcade of the president of Ukraine is moving without a stop so the city traffic lights are not working. “The president inspects the fortifications near Mariupol,” president’s spokesman Sviatoslav Tseholko wrote on Twitter. Quemado Institute comments: The Governer of the Kiev-held part of the Donetsk Oblast Oleksandr Kikhtenko has been dismissed, with Pavlo Zhebrivskyi appointed as his replacement. Reports were that Kikhtenko was not adequately meeting Poroshenko’s goals in the area. Twitter source Victoria sheds some light on this, tweeting at 15:00 UTC June 11: “Pavlo Zhebrivskyi, new head of Donetsk region, fought in Debaltsevo (commander of intelligence), former MP of Ukraine.” One can infer that Zhebrivskyi will act as more of a “yes man” to the authoritarian leader of the Kiev regime.

.

Petro Poroshenko in Mariupol (--Mikhail Palinchak/TASS)

Poroshenko Decries Fortifications. While visiting so-called strongpoints in Mariupol Thursday June 11, post-coup Ukraine “president” Petro Poroshenko said that fortifications to be built on the contact line must be ready by mid-July. He informed a news conference on June 5 that he was dissatisfied with the state of fortifications in the Kiev-held part of the Donetsk region, which is the area of responsibility of Alexander Kikhtenko, the recently dismissed Governor. “He will be held accountable for it,” Poroshenko added ominously. The fortifications will comprise “about 1,500 kilometers of trenches and connecting trenches; more than 8,000 dug-in emplacements for military hardware and more than 4,000 trench shelters; and the creation of a 60-kilometer [barrier] of non-explosive entanglements.” See TASS report Poroshenko orders to complete fortifications on disengagement line in Donbas by mid-July (June 11). Quemado Institute comments: fortifications this massive constitute a military offensive action insofar as they enhance Ukrainian Army assault capabilities. We are seeking a map of these offensive fortifications and ask readers to submit information.

.

Donetsk Shelling on June 11 by Ukrainian Army. This sad description of loss of homes and human lives is presented by the Kharkov News Agency. “Today around 16 hours was again shelled a residential district October in Donetsk. The shells brought considerable destruction to peaceful homes. Also in the shelling killed a man, local resident Vladimir Kartashov…” See Peaceful areas of Donetsk on fire “Minsk agreements” (June 11).

.

DPR Commander Motorola

Commander Motorola Interview. Dimtry Yevtushenko talks with Donetsk People’s Republic militia commander Motorola, the well-known hero of battles at the Donetsk airport. “Motorola: At the beginning of the war in Slavyansk, the Ukrainian army slowly tried to use artillery, they realized that it goes unpunished. Now they have nothing to fear, they do not care. All world community, all this blah-blah, all these peace talks. What is needed is concrete action. While the Nazis don’t stop, nothing good is expected. Yevtushenko: Why aren’t they afraid of? Motorola: Because no retaliatory action against them from the world community does not arrive. Acroaria quietly and with impunity, killing civilians, and with them nothing happens, they don’t.” See full interview at the Niqnaq website It would not be fitting for a true star to travel in anything less (June 10). Editor’s note: We are glad to learn that Motorola drives a safe and dependable Mercedes SUV.

Archbishop Georg Gaenswein greets Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Vatican, June 10, 2015. (--Bohumil Petrik/CNA)

Pope Francis Gives Putin Medal of the Angel of Peace. The second meeting of Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin was held on Wednesday, June 10, at the Vatican. “The private encounter lasted 50 minutes … Although the two looked at each other once they sat down in the meeting room, they remained silent until the door was closed. Pope Francis was described as being ‘very serious’ from the moment the two greeted each other, although he began to warm up a bit during the group photo.” Putin gave the Pope a golden embroidery of the church of San Salvatore, while Pope Francis gave the president a large medal of the Angel of Peace crafted by artist Guido Veroi as well as a copy of his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. See Catholic News Agency article Ukraine crisis the focal point in Pope’s discussion with Putin (June 10), by Elise Harris.

More to come.

RT NEWS – 2 April, 2015

16:10

China protests, 2 US jet fighters make emergency landing at Taiwan air base

China protested on Thursday after two American jet fighters landed at an air base in Taiwan, for the first time in 30 years, AFP said. Two US F-18 fighter jets made an emergency landing at an air force base in the southern city of Tainan on Wednesday. One of the planes had developed a mechanical failure, according to US authorities. “We require the US to abide by the ‘One-China Policy’ and the three joint communiqués between China and the US, and to prudently deal with the relevant issue,” Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said in Beijing.

15:06

Bahraini rights activist Rajab arrested – family

Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been arrested again and could face new charges as he appeals an earlier conviction, AP reported, citing family members. Defense lawyer Jalila al-Sayed confirmed Rajab’s arrest on Thursday. The activist’s wife, Sumaya Rajab, says the arrest was linked to comments Rajab made on Twitter about the treatment of inmates held at Jaw Prison, where unrest broke out last month. Rajab had been free on bail as he appeals a six-month jail sentence for insulting government ministries on Twitter.

14:21

Ukraine president signs law to ban films ‘glorifying’ Russian military, law enforcers

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed amendments to laws to ban films, audio or video products ‘glorifying’ Russian armed forces and law enforcement agencies. The Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament), passed a law in February banning films about Russia’s military and law enforcers. The legislation prohibits the screening of such films and series in Ukraine.

13:59

Second black box found from Alps plane crash

The second black box from the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps last week has been found after a nine-day search, AFP reported, citing French police. Authorities are hoping to unearth more clues about the disaster. The first voice recorder suggested that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately locked the plane on a collision course with the mountains, according to investigators.

13:18

Palestinians, Syrian rebels retake control of Damascus refugee camp from ISIS

Palestinian fighters and Syrian rebels retook control of large parts of a refugee camp in Damascus on Thursday. It had been seized by the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), AFP reported. A number of armed factions in the Yarmuk camp in south Damascus “were able to regain control over all of the areas that IS had taken over,” according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The jihadists overran the camp on Wednesday.

12:46

Planes to fly from Yemen to Moscow with evacuated Russian nationals

Two Russian planes are preparing to fly to Moscow with evacuated Russian nationals on board, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said on Thursday. “Two Russian planes are at Sanaa’s airport now. One of them has been loaded, there are 167 people aboard. In the next few minutes, it will take off through Cairo [to Moscow],” TASS quoted him as saying. The second plane will carry at least 150 people. At least three aircraft of Russia’s Defense Ministry will help evacuate Russian citizens from Yemen, a military-diplomatic source told TASS on Thursday. Clashes have intensified in Yemen between Shia rebels and the Arab military coalition.

10:30

Turkey detains 4 Russian citizens for trying to cross Syrian border illegally

Turkish police have detained four Russian citizens in the southeastern city of Gaziantep after they attempted to cross the border into Syria illegally, the Anadolu news agency reported. Gaziantep officials said the group was planning to enter the conflict zone in Syria. The suspects will reportedly be deported after questioning.

09:36

Heavy fighting between Houthi militants, gunmen in Yemen’s Aden Crater district

Houthi fighters and their allies battled gunmen in Aden’s Crater district on Thursday, Reuters reported. The clashes broke out in the heart of the southern Yemeni port city which is the last major foothold of forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Residents saw hundreds of Houthi and allied fighters in Crater, backed by tanks and armored vehicles. It was the first time fighting on the ground had reached so deeply into central Aden, after a week of airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition aimed at stemming the Houthi advances.

09:05

Plane flying from Cairo to Sanaa, Yemen, to evacuate Russian citizens

A Russian plane sent to evacuate Russian citizens from Yemen left Cairo Thursday for the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, Sputnik reported, citing a source at Sanaa’s airport. Russian nationals are gathering in the airport waiting for the plane’s arrival, according to the source. The plane that was sent to evacuate them was earlier turned away by the Saudi-led Arab coalition. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Riyadh has guaranteed that it will let through to Sanaa two planes to evacuate 150 Russian citizens, TASS said.

08:43

Suicide bomber kills 16, wounds 40 in E. Afghanistan

A suicide bomber attacked an anti-corruption demonstration in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing 16 people and wounding 40, AP said. The explosion in the eastern city of Khost wounded a local member of parliament, Hamayun Hamayoon, according to a governor’s spokesman. Earlier on Thursday, the police chief of a restive district in the country’s south was killed by a roadside bomb.

08:03

10 Egyptian troops killed in Sinai attacks

Two militant ambushes in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula have killed 10 soldiers, according to Egyptian security officials. The attacks also wounded 11 soldiers and several civilians, AP reported. Egypt battles a growing insurgency in the northern Sinai, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.

07:32

Al-Qaeda militants storm prison in SE Yemen, free 300 inmates

Al-Qaeda militants stormed a prison in southeastern Yemen’s Hadramawt province on Thursday. They freed more than 300 prisoners, AFP reported, citing a security official. Khalid Batarfi, a senior Al-Qaeda figure who had been held for more than four years, was among the escapees.

03:28

​Israeli approve Palestinian neighborhood construction in E. Jerusalem

The East Jerusalem municipality has approved a plan to construct 2,200 units of housing, a commercial center and a school for Palestinians, Xinhua reports. The new neighborhood, called Arab al-Sawahra, under the plan would see the development of about 370 acres of land. The move hailed by Arab residents would mark the largest construction project for Palestinian families in East Jerusalem since the 1967 Mideast War.

00:13

9 UK nationals detained in Turkey trying to cross to Syria

Nine British nationals have been arrested by Turkey’s authorities after they tried to illegally cross the border into Syria, the army announced. The arrests took place in the Hatay region of southern Turkey. No more information has been offered. The UK Foreign Office said it was aware of the reports and are on standby to offer consular assistance.

RT NEWS – 24 MARCH, 2015

24 March, 2015

21:03

Russian FM visits Cuba, calls to end blockade

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his visit to Cuba has called to end the illegal trade and financial embargo imposed on Cuba. Lavrov also said the two countries are planning to cooperate closely in energetics, transport and civil infrastructure, biotechnologies, healthcare, and civil aviation. According to Lavrov, Russian companies are interested in investing in the Caribbean country’s development. Cuba is the first stop of the Russian foreign minister’s tour of Latin America. The official is to visit Colombia, Nicaragua and Guatemala later this week.

15:52

Tunisia museum reopening delayed, security boosted

Tunisia’s national museum has delayed its reopening on Tuesday, officials said, as security was boosted around the site of last week’s jihadist massacre that killed 21 people, AFP said. “The Interior Ministry says that for security reasons we cannot receive a large number of visitors,” the museum’s representative, Hanene Srarfi, said. Several events had been planned for Tuesday to protest against the attack.

15:14

US & allies launch 14 airstrikes against ISIS

The US and its allies staged 14 airstrikes on Islamic State (also known as ISIS, or ISIL) targets in Syria and Iraq, Reuters reported. The strikes were conducted between Monday morning and Tuesday morning, the Combined Joint Task Force said. Five Islamic State fighting positions, four tactical units, a checkpoint and a vehicle were hit near the Syrian city of Kobani, the statement claimed. In Iraq, eight strikes near Bayji, Fallujah, Mosul, Sinjar and Tal Afar hit tactical units, vehicles, storage facilities and other targets.

14:32

‘Normandy 4’ meeting on Ukraine due in Paris on Wednesday – Kiev

Authorities in Kiev have confirmed that a meeting of political directors in the Normandy format will be held in Paris on Wednesday. Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France will discuss the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements. Ukraine will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Vadim Pristaiko, RIA Novosti reported.

13:43

Canada expands anti-ISIS mission into Syria

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expanding the country’s military mission against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants into Syria, Bloomberg said. Harper is reportedly seeking approval from lawmakers for a one-year extension of the current mission and authorization to expand attacks into Syria. The mission has been focused so far on airstrikes in Iraq. Harper’s Conservative Party has a legislative majority.

13:17

UEFA elects Platini for 3rd term as president

UEFA on Tuesday elected Michel Platini unopposed for a third straight term as president of European football’s governing body. The French football legend promised to run the world’s most powerful continental federation with more “democracy,” AFP reported. He also offered more cooperation with the heads of other confederations.

12:51

Tunisia again closes airspace to western Libya

Tunisia has again closed its airspace for flights from western Libya, Reuters reported. The move comes days after it allowed Libyan planes from Tripoli back for the first time in around six months. “We’ve suspended temporarily again Libya flights for security reasons,” a Transport Ministry official said on Tuesday, without elaborating. Militants killed 20 foreign tourists in an attack on the national museum in Tunis last week.

12:23

Houthis take Yemen town 100km north of Aden – reports

Houthi fighters and allied army units captured the town of Kirsh, about 100km north of Yemen’s second city of Aden, on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The capture followed heavy fighting with forces loyal to President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, local officials and residents said. The area lies about a 40-minute drive to the north of a major airbase, al-Anad, which remains in the hands of Hadi, who is based in Aden.

11:59

US-led coalition begins surveillance flights over ISIS-held Tikrit

The US-led coalition targeting the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has begun surveillance flights over the extremist-held city of Tikrit, AP reported. Intelligence is being sent to Iraqi forces fighting to retake Saddam Hussein’s hometown, a senior official said Tuesday. The flights, which began Saturday, mark the first time the coalition has been involved in the offensive. Up to now it largely has been supported by Iranian advisers including Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guard Quds Force.

11:29

Yemen Shiite militia kills 5 protesters in Taez

Shiite Houthi militiamen opened fire on Tuesday at demonstrators in the strategic Yemeni city of Taez, killing five protesters and wounding 80 others, AFP reported, citing a local official and medics. The gunmen attacked the demonstrators as they gathered for a third consecutive day to protest the militia’s arrival in Taez. Houthis have sent thousands of troops south from the capital Sanaa, which they control.

10:41

Iraq’s request to US-led coalition for Tikrit airstrikes ‘imminent’ – report

Iraq’s request to the US-led coalition for airstrikes in the campaign to retake Tikrit from ISIS insurgents is “imminent,” Reuters quoted a senior Western diplomat as saying Tuesday. The coalition has so far not taken part in the campaign. If it accepts the request, the move would see by far the biggest collaboration between Iraqi forces, Iranian-backed paramilitaries and the US and its allies.

09:56

30 people killed in central Yemen as Shiite rebels advance south

At least 30 people have been killed in clashes between pro- and anti-government forces in central Yemen, AFP reported, citing tribal sources. Meanwhile, Shiite rebels backed by forces loyal to the ousted president are advancing into southern Yemen, AP reported. The rebels and soldiers from an army battalion loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh have taken over the governor’s office in the southern regional capital of al-Dhalea, according to eyewitnesses. Rebel forces reportedly clashed with militias loyal to current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has taken refuge in the southern city of Aden.

07:24

US drone kills 9 Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan

A US drone strike killed at least nine Pakistani militants in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province early Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing intelligence officials. The strike, part of a drone campaign against Pakistani militants in Afghanistan, was near the site of fierce fighting on the Pakistani side of the border in recent days. Fighter jets have been pounding positions in the Tirah Valley in the Khyber region. The military says it has killed scores of militants, and at least seven soldiers have also been killed.

07:11

Gunmen attack vehicles on highway in E. Afghanistan, kill at least 13

Gunmen in eastern Afghanistan attacked passing vehicles on a highway during a midnight assault Tuesday, killing at least 13 people, AP reported. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Wardak province’s Sayad Abad district, where Taliban fighters hold a great deal of territory. The gunmen opened fire on three separate vehicles in the attack, including a bus traveling from Kabul. Several recent attacks have also targeted buses in the country.

05:30

​5 injured in shooting near university in Tennessee

Five people have been injured in a shooting near the Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Two of the injured were taken to hospital via medical helicopter. Local Clarksville police are still searching for the gunman, while the incident took place at around 9pm local time. It is not known if the shooting was connected at all to the university, though Austin Peay State did issue a statement, saying, “Although there does not appear to be a danger to the university community, please take precautions to ensure your safety,” according to Reuters.

04:49

13 dead in Afghanistan after militants attack passenger bus – report

At least 13 people were killed and two others injured after gunmen shot at a passenger bus in Afghanistan’s eastern Wardak province, Xinhua News Agency cited an official source as saying. Police are investigating the incident.

04:47

Over half of Vanuatu’s population affected by Cyclone Pam – UN

More than 165,000 people living on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu have been touched by Cyclone Pam, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. The body also confirmed that the death toll has risen to 16. “Around 166,000 people, more than half of Vanuatu’s population, have been affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam on 22 islands,” the UN office said. OCHA warned that “food stocks and water reserves are being exhausted and will not last more than a couple of weeks across the affected islands.” It added that somewhere between 50 and 90 percent of homes have been damaged by the storm and “around 65,000 people are in need of temporary emergency shelter.” Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu on March 13, with the damage categorized as catastrophic. Houses, roads and bridges were destroyed as the wind speeds reached 300 kph (186 mph).

Upcoming Album Release Calendar

hc208p17b

Upcoming Album Release Calendar

All dates are for U.S. releases unless otherwise noted. Release dates are subject to change, and often do.

16 February 2015
Joker The Mainframe
17 February 2015
A Place to Bury Strangers Transfixiation
Anthony Naples Body Pill
BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah Sour Soul
Brothers Of the Sonic Cloth Brothers Of the Sonic Cloth
Colin Hay Next Year People
Elle King Love Stuff
Estelle True Romance
Ibeyi Ibeyi
Imagine Dragons Smoke + Mirrors
Jose Gonzalez Vestiges & Claws
Kate Pierson Guitars And Microphones [Solo debut for B-52s singer]
Letts Hold Fast [Christian Letts]
Leviathan Scar Sighted
Lyal Strickland Balanced On Barbed Wire
Mourn Mourn
Nedelle Torrisi Advice From Paradise
Six Organs of Admittance Hexadic
Sonny & the Sunsets Talent Night At The Ashram
Steve Earle & the Dukes (& Duchesses) Terraplane
The Amazing Picture You
The Juliana Hatfield Three Whatever, My Love
The Mavericks Mono
Twin River Should The Light Go Out
Whitehorse Leave No Bridge Unburned
23 February 2015
The Pop Group Citizen Zombie
24 February 2015
Aidan Baker The Confessional Tapes [Of Nadja]
Alcoa Parlour Tricks
All That Remains The Order Of Things
Big Sean Dark Sky Paradise
Dan Deacon Gliss Riffer
Drug Cabin Yard Work [Marcus Congleton & Nathan Thelen]
Dutch Uncles O Shudder
Emile Haynie We Fall
Falling in Reverse Just Like You
Future Brown Future Brown
Gang of Four What Happens Next
Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders Playmates
James McMurtry Complicated Game
Keath Mead Sunday Dinner
Kid Rock First Kiss
Make Do and Mend Don’t Be Long
Mat Kearney Just Kids
MisterWives Our Own House
Oceans Ate Alaska Lost Isles
Revolution Saints Revolution Saints [Deen Castronovo, Night Ranger bassist Jack Blades, & Doug Aldrich]
Sam Prekop The Republic
Santiparro True Prayer [Alan Scheurman]
Scout Paré Phillips Heed The Call
Screaming Females Rose Mountain
The Black Ryder The Door Behind The Door
THEESatisfaction EarthEE
Torche Restarter
Wind In Sails Morning Light [Solo project for former Vanna guitarist Evan Pharmakis]
XYZ XYZ [Ian Svenonius project]
2 March 2015
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Chasing Yesterday
3 March 2015
Aero Flynn Aero Flynn
AJR Living Room
Au.Ra Jane’s Lament
Brandi Carlile The Firewatcher’s Daughter
Brodinski Br∂v∂
Cannibal Ox Blade Of The Ronin
Gateway Drugs Magick Spells
Jeff the Brotherhood Wasted On The Dream
La Batteria La Batteria [US release]
Moon Duo Shadow Of The Sun
Of Montreal Aureate Gloom
Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke Behold
Purity Ring Another Eternity
Ryan Culwell Flatlands
Swervedriver I Wasn’t Born To Lose You
9 March 2015
Egyptrixx Transfer Of Energy [Feelings Of Power]
10 March 2015
Aero Flynn Aero Flynn
ANAMAI Sallows
Cancer Bats Searching For Zero
Enslaved In Times
Evans the Death Expect Delays
Harm’s Way Rust
Jeff the Brotherhood Wasted On The Dream
Lieutenant If I Kill This Thing We’re All Going To Eat For A Week [Nate Mendel project]
Madonna Rebel Heart
Matthew E. White Fresh Blood
Taylor Berrett Great Falls
Will Butler Policy [Of Arcade Fire]
Young Guv Ripe 4 Luv
17 March 2015
AWOLNATION Run
Houndmouth Little Neon Limelight
Inventions Maze Of Woods
Joel Plaskett Joel Plaskett & The Park Avenue Sobriety Test
Modest Mouse Strangers To Ourselves
Nic Hessler Soft Connections
Nick Lutsko Etc.
Simon Joyner Grass, Branch & Bone
Sleeping With Sirens Madness
Twin Shadow Eclipse
23 March 2015
Brodinski Br∂v∂
Jam City Dream A Garden
Laura Marling Short Movie
The Cribs For All My Sisters
24 March 2015
Bala Brothers Bala Brothers
Courtney Barnett Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.
Gabrielle Papillon The Tempest Of Old
Hit the Lights Summer Bone
Hollerado 111 Songs
Humming House Revelries
Jimmy Whispers Summer In Pain
Kodaline Coming Up For Air [US release]
Laura Marling Short Movie
Lightning Bolt Fantasy Empire
Liturgy The Ark Work
LoneLady Hinterland
Portico Living Fields [Formerly known as Portico Quartet]
Steve Grand All American Boy
Strung Out Transmission.Alpha.Delta
The Cribs For All My Sisters
The Go! Team The Scene Between
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Freedom Tower – No Wave Dance Party 2015
Them Are Us Too Remain
Vetiver Complete Strangers
30 March 2015
Benoît Pioulard Sonnet
Donato Dozzy And Anna Caragnano Sintetizzatrice
The Prodigy The Day Is My Enemy
31 March 2015
Boxed In Boxed In [US release]
Death Cab for Cutie Kintsugi
Föllakzoid III
Hollywood Undead Day Of The Dead
Jerry Paper Carousel
Lower Dens Escape From Evil
Marching Church This World Is Not Enough [Side project of Iceage’s Elias Bender Rønnenfelt]
Ringo Starr Postcards From Paradise
Ron Sexsmith Carousel One
Sufjan Stevens Carrie & Lowell
The Prodigy The Day Is My Enemy
The Soft Moon Deeper
The Sonics This Is The Sonics
UFOmammut Ecate
6 April 2015
Marina and the Diamonds Froot
7 April 2015
ALSO ALSO [Appleblim and Second Storey]
American Wrestlers American Wrestlers
Brian Wilson No Pier Pressure
Delta Rae After It All
Doldrums The Air Conditioned Nightmare
East India Youth Culture Of Volume
Folk Family Revival Water Walker
Lapalux Lustmore
Marriages Salome
Matt & Kim New Glow
Mew +-
Royal Thunder Crooked Doors
Shlohmo Dark Red
The Mountain Goats Beat The Champ
The Very Best Makes A King
Toro y Moi What For?
Trickfinger Trickfinger [John Frusciante]
WATERS What’s Real
Waxahatchee Ivy Tripp
Weed Running Back
13 April 2015
Looper Offgrid:Offline
14 April 2015
Bop English Constant Bop [James Petralli]
Calexico Edge Of The Sun
Dwight Yoakam Second Hand Heart
John Andrews & The Yawns Bit By The Fang
Lowland Hum Lowland Hum
Suuns And Jerusalem In My Heart Suuns And Jerusalem In My Heart
The Damnwells The Damnwells
Villagers Darling Arithmetic
20 April 2015
Turbo Fruits No Control
21 April 2015
Alabama Shakes Sound & Color
Death N.E.W.
Dustin Kensrue Carry The Fire
Low Cut Connie Hi Honey
Mylets Arizona
OOFJ Acute Feast
Rocky Votolato Hospital Handshakes
San Fermin Jackrabbit
Speedy Ortiz Foil Deer
27 April 2015
The Brian Jonestown Massacre Musique De Film Imaginé
28 April 2015
Ambrosia Parsley Weeping Cherry [US release]
American Wrestlers American Wrestlers
Nai Harvest Hairball
Sam Cohen Cool It
5 May 2015
And So I Watch You from Afar Heirs
Ivan & Alyosha It’s All Just Pretend
Mikal Cronin MCIII
12 May 2015
Great Peacock Making Ghosts [Andrew Nelson and Blount Floyd]
Novella Land
Paul Weller Saturns Pattern
Prefuse 73 Rivington Não Rio
The Tallest Man on Earth Dark Bird Is Home
18 May 2015
Hot Chip Why Make Sense?
26 May 2015
Unknown Mortal Orchestra Multi-Love
1 June 2015
RiFF RAFF The Peach Panther
RiFF RAFF The Purple Panther
Slaves Are You Satisfied?
2 June 2015
Florence + the Machine How Big How Blue How Beautiful
Joanna Gruesome Peanut Butter
14 July 2015
Prefuse 73 Every Color Of Darkness

Anticipated Future Releases

These albums do not yet have a firm release date, but are in various stages of development. If an artist appears multiple times, that means multiple albums by that artist are forthcoming.

A$AP Rocky [Title TBA] TBA
Anti-Flag American Spring May 2015
Bang Gang [Title TBA] 2015
Beck [Title TBA] Summer 2015
Blackalicious Emoni Apr 2015
Built To Spill Untethered Moon Apr 2015
Chance the Rapper Surf 2015
Chemical Brothers [Title TBA] 2015
Chic [Title TBA] 2015
Chilly Gonzales Chambers TBA
Chris Cornell [Title TBA] TBA
Christina Aguilera [Title TBA] TBA
Chvrches [Title TBA] 2015
Cold Chisel [Title TBA] TBA
Coldplay A Head Full Of Dreams 2015
Defeater [Title TBA] 2015
Desaparecidos [Title TBA] 2015
Disclosure [Title TBA] TBA
DJ Premier Last Session @ 320 2015
Drake Views From the 6 2015
Faith No More [Title TBA] 2015
Giorgio Moroder 74 Is the New 24 2015
Gwen Stefani [Title TBA] 2015
Haim [Title TBA] TBA
Incubus [Title TBA] 2015
James Blake Radio Silence 2015
Kendrick Lamar [Title TBA] 2015
Kid Cudi Man on the Moon III TBA
Killing Joke [Title TBA] TBA
Lana Del Rey Honeymoon 2015
Lord Huron Strange Trails 2015
Mark Kozelek [Title TBA] Fall 2015
METZ [Title TBA] Spring 2015
Miguel Wild Heart Spring-Summer 2015
Muse [Title TBA] 2015
My Morning Jacket [Title TBA] 2015
My Morning Jacket [Title TBA] 2016
New Order [Title TBA] Fall 2015
No Doubt [Title TBA] 2015
Passion Pit Kindred Apr 2015
PINS [Title TBA] Jun 2015
PJ Harvey [Title TBA] 2015
Spiritualized [Title TBA] TBA
Tame Impala [Title TBA] 2015
The Cure 4:26 Dream / 4:14 Scream 2015
TLC [Title TBA] Sep 2015
Tyga The Gold Album 2015