Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Beyoncé - Pretty Hurts

Video - Russian combat drone footage: Military anti-tank multicopter in action

Congressional Black Caucus to formally endorse Clinton on Thursday

By Paul Kane

The Congressional Black Caucus is rushing to defend Hillary Clinton, following what many black lawmakers said was an expected loss in New Hampshire but one that should not hurt her in the next round of voting.
On Thursday morning, the CBC’s leaders will appear at the Democratic National Committee to formally endorse Clinton for president, through the CBC political action committee. The group will then disburse its African-American lawmakers to states where black voters are crucial, particularly in South Carolina’s Democratic primary on Feb. 27.
“It’s one thing to endorse and do nothing. It’s another thing to endorse and to go to work,” said Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), chairman of the CBC PAC. These lawmakers are, Meeks said, “people that can actually testify [to] the work that Hillary Clinton has done.”
Meeks said that 90 percent of the 20-member board of the CBC’s PAC voted to endorse Clinton, while none of the board members voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders and a few members abstained because they had not yet endorsed in the race.
On the neutral list was Rep. James E. Clyburn (S.C.), the No. 3 House Democratic leader and  the most prominent South Carolina Democrat, who has since then said he is considering backing a candidate and that candidate, he suggested, is likely to be Clinton.
“That was certainly my intention,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post of his initial plan to remain neutral. “But I am re-evaluating that. I really am having serious conversations with my family members.”
In an interview with MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” the Democratic leader reiterated his comments that he is considering endorsing Clinton.
Clyburn said that he would not make an endorsement this week, but Meeks spent considerable time speaking with the South Carolina Democrat throughout Wednesday both privately and on the House floor.
Clyburn didn’t choose sides in the 2008 Democratic primary battle between Clinton and Barack Obama, and ended up arbitrating a nasty feud over allegedly racially-tinged comments by Bill Clinton after Obama’s victory in the Palmetto State. And his backing could be crucial with African-American voters, who form a large portion of the primary electorate there.
Meeks made clear that if Clyburn objected to the caucus’s endorsement of Clinton, he had the power to prevent it from happening. “He is an important part of the Congressional Black Caucus and an important part of what we do at the PAC, and we are endorsing tomorrow,” Meeks said, laughing as he thought about the prospect of Clyburn objecting to the endorsement. “We wouldn’t be going forward tomorrow.”
Sanders’s rise, particularly among young voters — even young African-American voters — has struck a nerve with veteran black caucus members who think the new generation is  behaving naively.
“Many of these are first-time voters and Senator Sanders’ message resonates with the younger generation because of the promises that he is making,” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), chairman of the CBC. “But Mrs. Clinton and others are going to challenge the message by suggesting that it is unrealistic to believe that we can accomplish all of the things that Senator Sanders proposes.”
“They need to understand that when a candidate presents a message, you’ve got to pierce the message to determine whether or not it’s realistic, given the political climate that we live in,” Butterfield said. “It’s not a negative, it’s not an aspersion on the new voter. It’s the fact that many of them are inexperienced and have not gone through a presidential election cycle before.”

Video - Robot Marco Rubio LOOSER in New Hampshire

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Arab Music - وردة البغدادية كليب ♥

Why so Much Hate? Closer Look at Erdogan’s ‘Kurdophobia’

As the ongoing clashes between the Turkish government and Kurds intensify and more innocent civilians are dying, there is something distinct and perhaps intangible about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: his deep-rooted personal hatred of Kurds.

Is the reason behind the current war between Ankara and the Kurds in Southeastern Turkey Erdogan's ‘Kurdophobia'? Abd Salam Ali, a representative of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), recently said Erdogan "suffers from Kurdophobia." How true are his words? Sputnik looked at Erdogan's past quotes and actions to find out whether the Turkish president is a true Kurd-hater.
It's no secret that Erdogan calls the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and all other Kurdish groups "terrorists."
In one of his recent interviews, Erdogan said that he has been "fighting Kurdish terrorism for 35 years," adding that although different Kurdish groups and parties may have different names, they're all "terrorist organizations."
The president vowed Turkey would continue its "anti-terrorist" operation in the south-eastern part of Turkey until everyone who's fight against Turkey or even supports Kurds "will be buried in the trenches they have dug."
Although Kurdish leaders state numerous times that all they want is to have some level of self-governance and autonomy, Erdogan believes Kurds want to break away from Turkey under the disguise of autonomy and self-governance.
Erdogan said Turkey would do whatever is necessary to eliminate Kurdish "terrorism" and Ankara doesn't want to hear anybody's opinion about what to do with Kurds and how the ongoing confrontation could be solved using negotiations and other peaceful measures.
"Turkey doesn't need permission from anyone — we will do what is necessary," Erdogan said, showing that he would confront even Washington's demands when it comes to the Kurdish issue.
Last week, Erdogan lost his wits after finding out that the US government sent an envoy to the Syrian city of Kobani, currently controlled by Syrian Kurds. Washington's representative Brett McGurk went to Kobani to speak with leaders of the military-wing of the PYD.
"How can we trust you? Is it me that is your partner or is it the terrorists in Kobani?" Erdogan said.
Bloody Statistics of Turkish-Kurdish Conflict
The conflict between the Turkish government and Kurds started in 1984. Since then over 40,000 people have been killed because of it.
In 2015, around 3,100 PKK members were killed in Turkey. Since tensions escalated in July 2015, Turkish forces have been engaged in a full-blown war with the PKK.
Between August 16, 2015 and January 10, 2016 in 19 districts across the provinces of Diyarbakir, Sirnak, Mardin and Hakkari, a total of 58 curfews were imposed by the Turkish government. Over this period, 162 innocent civilians were killed by Turkish forces, according to the Turkish Foundation for human rights.
Late last week, Turkish forces killed 60 people in the basement of a building in the town of Cizre during a military raid.
The Kurds, Turkey's largest ethnic minority, are striving to create their own independent state. The PKK was founded in the late 1970s to promote the self-determination for the Kurdish community.  

Read more:

Erdogan Using al-Qaeda, Nusra Front to Encircle Kurds - Turkish Lawmaker

Turkish parliament member and Kurdish activist Osman Baydemir said that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is encouraging Islamist terrorists to encircle and isolate the 20 million Kurds who live in the eastern half of the country.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is encouraging Islamist terrorists to encircle and isolate the 20 million Kurds who live in the eastern half of the country, Turkish parliament member and Kurdish activist Osman Baydemir told reporters.
"Turkey wants to bring to power [in Syria] a regime [with ties to] al-Qaeda and al-Nusra to isolate the Kurds," Baydemir stated on Wednesday during his visit to Washington, DC to meet with State Department officials and members of the US Congress.
The Kurdish parliamentarian, who was previously the mayor of the city of Diyarbakir, accused Erdogan of welcoming ties with the extreme Islamist groups.
"[Erdogan] doesn’t want Kurds as neighbors, but he would like to see al-Nusra or al-Qaeda as neighbors," Baydemir said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Erdogan cast doubt on the United States' loyalty as a Turkish partner, condemning US support for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Ankara insists is a terrorist organization, but which Washington supports in the fight against the Islamic State terror group.

Read more:


"The Saudis are 'inviting' the US to put American soldiers at risk to advance their goals in Syria because they can't do it for themselves and probably wouldn't even if they could," he noted. They are essentially "trying to sucker the US into agreeing to fight their war for them."
Riyadh's military campaign in Yemen, which has been largely condemned as a humanitarian disaster, could serve as an indication of what the Saudis are willing to do. The operation has primarily been conducted through airstrikes. In fact, the Saudi-led coalition conducted some 1,200 airstrikes in the first three weeks of the intervention (which is incomparable to Riyadh's feeble efforts in Syria).
"Considering how unwilling the Saudis have been to commit large numbers of ground forces to their appalling war in Yemen, it was never credible that they would be willing to do more than that in Syria," Larison observed.
Even if the Saudis send their forces to Syria as part of a larger US-led ground efforts, US troops would likely do all the heavy lifting. Journalist Andrey Polunin recently pointed out that Saudi special forces are quite limited in their capabilities.
Saudi officials first mentioned that the oil kingdom was ready to participate in a US-led intervention in Syria last week, raising questions as to what Riyadh's intentions truly are. Numerous rebels groups, who are trying to overthrow President Bashar alAssad, have received financial support and weapons from Saudi Arabia. In addition, Riyadh has apparently tried to undermine the Syrian peace process in Geneva; FNA reported.

There's No Defending Saudi Arabia After a Starbucks Temporarily Banned Women

By Ruth Young 
Women were banned from entering a Starbucks branch in Saudi Arabia last week due to the collapse of the gender wall. The coffee shop in the capital Riyadh had put up a sign that reads, "Please no entrance for ladies, only send your driver to order. Thank you."
The issue was first brought up by "Manar M" who tweeted last Monday, "#Starbucks store in Riyadh refused 2 serve me just because I'm a WOMAN & asked me 2 send a man instead."
 store in Riyadh refused 2 serve me just because I'm a WOMAN & asked me 2 send a man instead@Starbucks

 Manal further complained of this treatment, comparing the sign on the store to a 1940 sign that reads, "This Park was Given for White People Only. Mexicans and Negros Stay Out."
The incident sparked reactions around the world, mostly of those condemning Saudi Arabia's "discrimination against women."
However, I would like to bring a side of a dialogue that defended the kingdom, and how an Arab-Canadian replied to them.
Palestinian-Canadian author Chaker Khazaal tweeted and posted the news, and raised a question, "what year is it over there? This brought to the conversation those who took offense in Khazaal's post. Some wondered what Khazaal's business was. Someone else tweeted, "You are not saudi and u don't live here so u don't have the right to judge us!"
Women are now BANNED from a @Starbucks in after collapse of " wall". What year is it over there?
On Facebook, Khazaal got similar comments, others going to the extend of accusing him of harming the reputation of Islam.
Among this dialogue and heated conversation, Khazaal replied today with the following statement replying to a woman who had defended her country:
I admire your passion for your country, and I thank you for your input in a dialogue regarding the banning of women from a Starbucks branch in Saudi Arabia.
It was not my intention to personally offend you. As a journalist and writer, I strive to bring attention to situations that need to be 'heard'. 
In this instance, I read a tweet from Manar N, @manarn8, claiming that, due to the collapse of the "gender wall", she was refused service at a specific Starbucks branch  -- a blatant violation of women's rights.
Manar could only share her thoughts. I merely provided a global voice. 
Opening such a dialogue collaborates opinions, facts, and the democracy of choice. For example, because of this approach, Saudi Arabia allowed women to vote in a local election this last December, for the first time.
Although you have a right, as a Saudi citizen, to question my 'weighing' into this issue, I believe that, as world citizens, we have a duty to share our thoughts about any issue happening - in every corner of the world.
Social media is a platform to hear voices, not silence them.
Chaker Khazaal 

Chaker Khazaal
Women are now BANNED from a Starbucks in ‪#‎SaudiArabia‬ after collapse of "gender wall". What year is it over there?
السعودية تمنع النساء من دخول فرع لمقهى "ستاربكس" بعد سقوط الستار الخشبي الفاصل بين الجنسين. بأي سنة بعدهم عايشين هناك؟
In this incident, there was a complaint, from a Saudi female resident, about what Khazaal called [and I agree], "a blatant violation of women's rights." Questioning Khazaal's "business" is like questioning our business when a child drowns on the shores of Europe, or when a blogger is flogged for sharing his opinions like it is the case of Raif Badawi in the same country, Saudi Arabia.
I hope this incident brings to the Kingdom another step forward in human rights, following the step they had taken last December when they allowed women to tovote in a local election this last December, for the first time. It is our duty to raise awareness, and in an ideal democratic society, it is up for the people to choose the way their country runs.

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Russia concerned over possible deployment of air defense system in S.Korea

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday expressed concerns over possible deployment of U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.
The Pentagon said Monday that the United States and South Korea have begun negotiations on the issue in response to the missile launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Feb. 7.
The Russian ministry noted that the action of DPRK was used by Washington to expand the deployment range of the U.S. global missile defense system, according to an online statement.
"The emergence of elements of the U.S. global missile defense system in the region, characterized by a rather difficult security situation, could provoke an arms race in northeast Asia and will further complicate the solution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula," the statement said.
"This step could only enhance the destructive impact of the U.S. global missile defense system on international security and strategic stability."
Accusing DPRK of disregard for international law, the ministry urged for creating comprehensive peace system in northeast Asia that would take into account the security interests of all regional countries.
"We hope that Washington and Seoul will contemplate the possible consequences that can result from such developments and draw appropriate conclusions," the ministry said.
The DPRK said Sunday that it had successfully launched a Kwangmyongsong-4 Earth observation satellite into orbit, which was widely seen as a disguised test of long-range ballistic missile technology.
Earlier in the day, head of Russian Foreign Ministry's security and disarmament department Mikhail Ulyanov also said the deployment of U.S. missile defense system, as well as the current developing trend of events, would benefit neither Pyongyang nor Seoul.
Meanwhile, Ulyanov warned that the U.S. is developing air defense systems that could in the future influence Russia's capability in providing nuclear restraint.
"Russia does not pose a real threat for NATO countries," Ulyanov said, vowing "adequate reaction to any changes of the military-political landscape in Europe."
Recent media reports said that NATO plans to step up military deployment along the European border with Russia.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Wednesday warned that increased NATO military presence near Russia's borders threatens European stability and security.
"Unfortunately, this is not an issue of threatening Russia. This is preventing the European continent from achieving common security," she said, suggesting that the NATO's move was aimed at containing Russia.
Relations between Russia and western countries have deteriorated over Moscow's annexation of Crimea and alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis, while disagreements also exist on Syria crisis and other international issues.

Russia discussing with US proposals on Syria truce, humanitarian issues - envoy to UN

Russia is discussing with the United States ideas to achieve a ceasefire regime in Syria, as well as humanitarian issues, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said Wednesday.

Churkin confirmed that Russia will present ideas relating to truce at a meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Munich on February 11.

However, he did not disclose Moscow’s proposals but said these issues are already discussed with Washington on a bilateral basis.

"We are holding discussions with the United States, including on the possibility to cease fire and on humanitarian issues," the diplomat said.

He said Russia is holding dialogue with humanitarian organizations, including the World Food Program.

Churkin also told journalists after the closed meeting of the UN Security Council, convened by Spain and New Zealand to discuss the situation in Aleppo, where the Syrian army, supported by Russia, conducts an operation against militants, that Russia will not find excuses for its activities in Syria because it is acting openly in full compliance with international law.

"We are not going to find excuses for our actions. We are acting very openly. Our Defense Ministry holds daily briefings, we are present in Syria on legal grounds - at an invitation of the Syrian government," the diplomat said.

He said the Syrian opposition needs to expand its delegation and make it more representative before the talks with the Damascus government resume on February 25.
He called for involving the internal Syrian opposition, which had held several rounds of consultations in Moscow and Cairo last year, as well as Syrian Kurds in the peace negotiations. Without them, discussing the Syrian settlement is senseless, Churkin said.
According to UN statistics, fighting between Syrian government troops and militants has killed over 220,000 people and displaced millions since its start in 2011. Gangs of militants making part of various armed formations, the most active of them being the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, fight government troops.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The air group initially comprised over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. They were deployed to the Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia.

On October 7, 2015, four missile ships of the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria. On October 8, the Syrian army passed to a large-scale offensive.

In mid-November 2015, Russia increased the number of aircraft taking part in the operation in Syria to 69 and involved strategic bombers in strikes at militants.

Targets of the Russian aircraft include terrorists’ gasoline tankers and oil refineries.
Russia’s aircraft have made thousands of sorties since the start of the operation in Syria.