US, allies prepared to use ‘overwhelming force’ in North Korea, general says

The U.S. and its allies are prepared to use “rapid, lethal and overwhelming force,” if necessary, against North Korea, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces warned Saturday night.

The statement from Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander, came after the militaries of the U.S., South Korea and Japan spent 10 hours conducting bomber-jet drills over the Korean Peninsula.

The training mission was a response to North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches and nuclear program, and part of the U.S. regular commitment to defending its allies in the Asia-Pacific region, the general’s statement said.

“The time for talk is over. The danger the North Korean regime poses to international peace is now clear to all,” said United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley in a statement.

“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” O’Shaughnessy said.


“Diplomacy remains the lead,” he said. “However, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario.

“If called upon,” he added, “we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”

North Korea conducted test launches of ICBMs on July 3 and July 28, and has claimed that its weapons can now reach the U.S. mainland.

The country’s recent actions have drawn condemnation from President Trump, and prompted U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to confer with counterparts from South Korea and Japan to develop a response, Fox News has reported.

Both Trump and Tillerson have criticized China, saying the Beijing government has failed to use its influence to discourage North Korea from developing its nuclear program, Fox News reported.

On Saturday, two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers, under the command of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, joined counterparts from the South Korean and Japanese air forces in sequenced bilateral missions.

According to the Pentagon, the U.S. bombers took off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, then flew to Japanese airspace, where they were joined by two Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self Defense Force) F-2 fighter jets.

The B-1s then flew over the Korean Peninsula, where they were joined by four F-15 fighter jets from the South Korean air force.

The B-1s then performed a low-pass over Osan Air Base, South Korea, before leaving South Korean airspace and returning to Guam.

Throughout the approximately 10-hour mission, the air crews practiced intercept and formation functions, enabling them to improve their combined capabilities and strengthening the long-standing military-to-military relationships in the region, the Pentagon said.

U.S. Pacific Command maintains flexible bomber and fighter capabilities in the Indo-Asia-Pacific theater, retaining the ability to quickly respond to any regional threat in order to defend the U.S. and its allies, the statement said.


Courtesy Fox News

Trump intends to sign ‘final version’ of Russia sanctions bill – White House

President Donald Trump will sign into law new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, according to the White House.

READ MORE: Senate sends new Russia sanctions bill to Trump’s desk

According to a statement late Friday, Trump “read early drafts of the bill” and after negotiating “critical elements,” has reviewed the final version approved nearly unanimously by Congress. The Senate back it 98-2 Thursday, and the House 419-3 earlier this week.

The president “has now reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it,” the statement read.

The sanctions target Russian gas and pipeline developments by codifying six of former President Barack Obama’s executive orders implemented near the end of his term.

They also take aim at Russia’s major defense, mining, shipping and railway industries.

The bill has alarmed the EU as it would harm the European companies taking part in Russian-EU energy projects, with Nordstream II pipeline being the prominent example. Top European officials, including those of Germany and Austria, have called the sanctions unacceptable and warned of retaliatory economic measures.

READ MORE: ‘We told you so’: EU reaps bitter harvest of siding with US in sanctions row – Russia’s UN envoy

Moscow on Friday responded to the series of sanctions imposed by Washington by demanding to downsize of the number of US diplomatic service staff in Russia to the same number of Russian diplomats in the US, or about 455 people, by September 1.

READ MORE: ‘Russia’s response to sanctions – beginning of pushback against increased US aggression’

Courtesy RT

Entire US mainland in range of N. Korean nukes after latest test – Kim Jong-un

Entire US mainland in range of N. Korean nukes after latest test – Kim Jong-un
The North Korean ICBM system is now able to fire at “random regions and locations at random times” with the “entire” US mainland within its range, according to the latest statement by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

He spoke shortly after the second flight test of yet another long-range missile, the Hwasong-14.

According to the Korean Central News Agency as cited by AP, Kim expressed “great satisfaction” with the test aimed at reaffirming that the missile was able to deliver a “large-sized, heavy nuclear warhead.”

Kim said that the latest launch confirmed that the missile system is reliable, and is able to fire at “random regions and locations at random times,” with the “entire” US mainland now within range.

The North Korean leader went on with a “serious warning” to the US, which has been “meaninglessly blowing its trumpet” in threatening Pyongyang.

The missile reportedly flew for 45 minutes, reached up to 3,725 kilometers in height, and travelled 998 kilometers, landing in Japanese waters, according to AP.

The Russian military described the weapon as an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), citing data from its missile warning system, adding that it flew for 732 kilometers, while the US and South Korea said it was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). While IRBMs have ranges between 3,000 and 5,500 kilometers, known ICBMs can fly out 10,000km or more.

Following the launch, the US and South Korea carried out live fire drills. The two countries also pondered their “military options” in response to the test, and Seoul requested additional missile defense units from Washington.


Courtesy RT

Hamburg knife murderer known as ‘Islamist, mentally unstable’

Published time: 29 Jul, 2017 11:46

Hamburg knife murderer known as ‘Islamist, mentally unstable’
Hamburg State Interior Minister Andy Grote said that the knife attacker who fatally stabbed one person and wounded several others in Germany’s largest port city on Friday, was actually known to authorities as an Islamist.

Grote told a press conference on Saturday that the man, whose asylum claim had been rejected, was known to have been radicalized.

For some reason, he had not been considered dangerous.
The 26-year-old suspect, born in the United Arab Emirates, was “mentally unstable,” the minister said.

He had come to Germany as a refugee, but his asylum application was rejected and he should have been deported in the following days, as soon as his papers arrived, Tagesspiegel reported.

Hamburg Police Chief Ralf Martin Meyer said initial findings showed the attacker had acted alone, adding that it could not be completely ruled out that he had accomplices, Reuters reported.

READ MORE: 1 killed, multiple injured in Hamburg knife attack – police

On Friday evening, police searched a refugee camp in the district of Langenhorn, where the attacker is thought to have lived.

One person was killed and at least five others were injured during the attack at a supermarket in Hamburg’s Barmbek district. The suspect was overwhelmed by passers-by and arrested.

A 50-year-old woman, as well as four men aged 19, 56, 57, and 64 years, are among the injured, Tagesspiegel reported.
According to Grote, none of the survivors’ wounds are life-threatening.

Courtesy RT

South Korea & US missiles launched in response to North Korea test (VIDEO)

South Korea & US missiles launched in response to North Korea test (VIDEO)
The US and South Korean militaries responded to North Korea’s latest missile test with its own display of military strength, firing live surface-to-surface missiles from rocket launchers, amid renewed tension on the peninsula.

Videos posted by the South Korean Ministry of Defense show the US-made Tactical Missile System, known as ATACMS, as well as its own Hyunmoo Missile II.

The missiles hit the East Sea on Saturday morning, where North Korea’s ballistic missile is believed to have landed, as part of a live-fire exercise to demonstrate its “precision firing ability,” the US 8th Army said.

US Forces in Korea said two missiles were fired from the ATACMS along with two Hyunmoo system missiles.

The ministry said it was responding “to provocations of North Korean ballistic missiles.”

“The systems can be rapidly employed to provide deep-strike precision capability, enabling the ROK-U.S. Alliance to engage a full array of time-critical targets under all weather conditions,” the 8th Army explained on Facebook.

READ MORE: Russian military says North Korean missile launch was IRBM, flew 732 km

The Hyunmoo Missile II is a South Korean-created missile with a range of 800km, Global Security reports.

The ATACMS is a guided surface-to-surface missile created by Lockheed Martin, with a range of 160km that can be fired from a range of rocket launchers.

South Korea said it would deploy four additional THAAD [Terminal High Altitude Area Defense] anti-missile launchers after North Korea’s test. The THAAD deployment had been delayed after South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered an environmental assessment.

READ MORE: US & S. Korea fire tactical missiles, demonstrate ‘deep strike capability’ to Pyongyang (VIDEO)

Angelina Jolie reveals Bell’s palsy diagnosis, opens up about ‘difficult’ divorce with Brad Pitt

Angelina Jolie opened up on Wednesday about her hypertension and Bell’s palsy diagnosis and how her family is dealing with a public divorce from her now-ex, Brad Pitt.

The Oscar-winning actress and U.N.Goodwill ambassador spoke to Vanity Fair about how her six children were coping with the split and the new development with her health. Along with hypertension, Jolie, 42, said she was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, when muscle weakness occurs on one side of the face, due to damaged facial nerves.

“Sometimes women in families put themselves last,” Jolie told Vanity Fair. “Until it manifests itself in their own health.”


Jolie, who previously had a double mastectomy, said acupuncture helped her recover from Bell’s palsy, but she now notices her skin becoming drier and she has a few extra gray hairs.

“I can’t tell if it’s menopause or if it’s just been the year I’ve had,” she joked, adding that she “actually feels more of a woman” these days.

“I feel like I’m being smart about my choices, and I’m putting my family first, and I’m in charge of my life and my health. I think that’s what makes a woman complete,” Jolie said.

Nearly a year after Jolie and Pitt’s split was announced, the actress is settling in with her children in the new Los Angeles mansion she purchased for $25 million.

“It’s just been the hardest time, and we’re just kind of coming up for air. [This house] is a big jump forward for us, and we’re all trying to do our best to heal our family,” she told the magazine.


Jolie and Pitt were together for 12 years and only tied the knot in 2014. She never disclosed what ultimately led to the couple’s divorce, but admitted “things got bad.” She later clarified that “things became ‘difficult.'”

“[Our lifestyle] was not in any way a negative,” Jolie said. “That was not the problem. That is and will remain one of the wonderful opportunities we are able to give our children…They’re six very strong-minded, thoughtful, worldly individuals. I’m very proud of them.”

Jolie added the family is still “healing” from the incidents leading to the divorce.

“They’re not healing from divorce. They’re healing from some . . . from life, from things in life,” she clarified.

When asked if she and Pitt communicate, Jolie responded: “We care for each other and care about our family, and we are both working towards the same goal.”

Jolie and Pitt filed for divorce in September 2016. The FBI and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services opened an investigation into Pitt shortly after amid child abuse claims, but he was later cleared of any wrongdoing. Pitt later admitted in an interview with GQ Style that he had a serious drinking problem.

Now he’s sorry! California Imam preaches sound bites of hate

John Moody

Sound bites are funny things. Just ask a politician who’s uttered something stupid in front of a Smartphone, and lived to regret it. But here’s a sound bite that grabs your attention: “Oh, Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa mosque from the filth of the Jews…. Oh, Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one.”

Those words, separated by two sentences, were spoken this month by Ammar Shahin, the imam of the Islamic Center at Davis, California. It represented about two minutes of his 52-minute khutbah, or sermon.

When it went up on the mosque’s YouTube page, there was, understandably, vehement denunciation from people who accused him of calling for genocide.

The Al-Aqsa mosque is a holy site for both Jews and Muslims in East Jerusalem.

Hate speech is hate speech. It shouldn’t be camouflaged by calls to God to do what, clearly, God wouldn’t want us to do.

Earlier this month, after two Israeli soldiers were shot to death near the mosque, Israel installed electronic scanners that visitors were required to pass through. Muslim leaders deemed this an insult to their faith and organized protests. This week, Israel removed the scanners.

Shahin told the Washington Post he was calling for the annihilation only of the Jews who were at Al-Aqsa.

So what? If that isn’t hate speech, what is? Would a call to eliminate only Muslims who hate America be acceptable under those rules?

That’s when funny things started to happen. Arab scholars claimed that Shahin’s words were mistranslated by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, a not-for-profit group that tracks hate speech in the Middle East and posts videos on its website.

Bellwether asked an Arabic speaker to listen to Shahin’s remarks. The verdict: he called for the death of “the Jews.”

Other apologists said the words had to be put in context. Only two minutes of the khutbah called for people to be annihilated. They also noted that the imam was angry.

Then the capper: as a result of the public outcry about the sermon, Muslims in Davis were afraid they might be targeted for violence.

On Friday, Shahin, sounding like a naughty schoolboy in the principal’s office, told a news conference in Davis, “I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused.”

“Islam gets away with everything,” says Nonie Darwish, who was born Muslim but converted to Christianity after 9/11. Along with her apostasy, her book, “Wholly Different: Why I chose biblical values over Islamic values,” won her death threats from Muslims.

She adds: “The preachers who make these statements about Jews try to cover up their meaning by saying they’re just using the words of the Prophet Muhammed, and no one can criticize what Muhammed said. And to quote Muhammed is pure Islam. They know that and use it.”

Steven Stalinsky, MEMRI’s executive director, says this kind of shell-game hate speech goes on all the time.

“He spoke in English and then he goes into Arabic,” Stalinsky told me about Shahin.

“Then people say, ‘It was in reaction to something Israel did, so that justifies it.’ But in the sermon he didn’t mention exterminating Israelis. He said Jews.”

Stalinsky also notes that Shahin had delivered a similar sermon a week earlier, also posted on YouTube.

Hate speech is hate speech. It shouldn’t be camouflaged by calls to God to do what, clearly, God wouldn’t want us to do. And it shouldn’t be tolerated by any faith.

John Moody is Executive Vice President, Executive Editor for Fox News. A former Rome bureau chief for Time magazine, he is the author of four books including “Pope John Paul II : Biography.

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