18 Mar 2017

G20 financial leaders acquiesce to U.S., drop free trade pledge
Financial leaders of the world’s biggest economies dropped a pledge to keep global trade free and open, acquiescing to an increasingly protectionist United States after a two-day meeting failed to yield a compromise.

‘Known radical Muslim’ dead after seizing soldier’s gun at Paris airport
Security forces shot dead a man who seized a soldier’s gun at Paris Orly airport in France on Saturday soon after the same man shot and wounded a police officer during a routine police check, the interior minister said. The man was known to police and intelligence services, Interior Minister Bruno le Roux told reporters. A police source described him as a radicalized Muslim but did not identify him by name.

Rocket explodes in open area near Gaza border, no injuries
A rocket exploded in an open area Saturday morning in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. Rocket alert sirens were heard in the southern Gaza border communities. No one was injured in the incident. Additional reports indicate that a second rocket was also launched but landed within the Gaza Strip.

Russia demands explanation for Israel’s Syria strikes
Israel’s ambassador to Russia was summoned by Russia’s Foreign Minister on Friday to give an explanation for Israel’s Thursday night air strikes in Syria, Israeli media reported…An IDF source told The Jerusalem Post that Israel has no plans to escalate or intensify tension with the Syrian army; however, Israel will continue to operate according it’s red lines, working to stop transfer of weapons, mainly accurate long-range missiles being transferred from Iran, through Syria, to Hezbollah.

Netanyahu: Syria strikes were to block transfer of weapons to Hezbollah
In a rare statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday acknowledged Israeli airstrikes in Syria, saying that they were conducted to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah. “Our policy is very consistent,” Netanyahu said. “When we detect attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, and we have the intelligence and feasibility to carry out an operation, we will work to prevent it.”

Rex Tillerson urged to be ‘cool-headed’ over North Korea
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has urged the US to remain “cool-headed” over North Korean tensions. The situation was at a “crossroads”, but must not be allowed to develop into a conflict, he said after hosting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Mr Tillerson spoke of “dangerous levels” of tension, a day after suggesting the US might launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea.

UK troops in Estonia to deter ‘Russian aggression’
The first of 800 UK troops being sent to bolster Nato defences in the Baltic have arrived in Estonia. The 120 soldiers from the 5th Battalion The Rifles will set up a UK headquarters in the country before the remaining troops arrive in April. The defence secretary said they would deter “Russian aggression”.

Germany to use voice recognition to identify migrant origins
Germany is to begin testing new voice recognition software that can tell which country migrants without documentation come from, officials say. The Federal Office for Migrants and Refugees said the automated new system would begin within two weeks. But it will not be ready for routine use for at least a year and there are doubts over its effectiveness.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Defends Globalization in China Speech
Apple Inc.’s Chief Executive Tim Cook defended globalization in a rare public speech in China, as his company faces political pressure in the U.S. to bring back factories. Mr. Cook also said data privacy was one of the company’s values, although he stopped short Saturday of criticizing decryption demands from governments as Apple has previously in the U.S. It was his first time speaking at the China Development Forum, an annual conference sponsored by China’s central government.

New Republican bill seeks to keep traveling gun owners safe from states with anti-gun laws
On Tuesday, Senate Republicans introduced a bill that would protect the rights of gun owners traveling over state lines from falling into the complicated laws that differ in each state. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) introduced S.618 , which would amend the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 to clarify key provisions in the law…the bill will prevent anyone with a gun, ammunition, or magazines from falling outside of the law simply by passing through.

Trump Responds To Obama Wiretap Question: “At Least Merkel And I Have Something In Common”
Donald Trump: “on wiretapping by this past administration, at least we have something in common.”

Trump’s Budget Revives Yucca Mountain After Obama Killed It
President Donald Trump’s budget revives plans to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The budget “provides $120 million to restart licensing activities for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste, repository and initiate a robust interim storage program,” according to a budget summary. “These investments would accelerate progress on fulfilling the Federal Government’s obligations to address nuclear waste, enhance national security, and reduce future taxpayer burden.”

Reagan intel analyst: Obama made world more dangerous
The man who successfully predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union says the world is increasingly dangerous because the U.S. takes less of a leadership role, but he is hopeful President Trump will reverse that trend.

Rush Limbaugh on Obamacare 2.0: ‘Why Do the Republicans Want to Hurt Trump’s Base?’
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh questioned why Congressional Republicans seem determined to inflict pain on Trump’s economically-struggling base with their healthcare bill on Friday: 

IRS Director Needs to Take the Perp Walk
Nearly two months into the Trump administration, the IRS commissioner remains on the job. IRS Director, John Koskinen, has harassed Tea Party members and audited the political enemies of former President Obama. He doesn’t need to just be fired, he needs to be prosecuted for abuse of power. Here is the complete story.

Obama’s Final Year: US Spent $36 Million in Records Lawsuits
The Obama administration in its final year in office spent a record $36.2 million on legal costs defending its refusal to turn over federal records under the Freedom of Information Act, according to an Associated Press analysis of new U.S. data that also showed poor performance in other categories measuring transparency in government.