5 Aug 2017

Preparing for the next missile onslaught
From his office at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Brig.-Gen. Zvika Haimovich has a clear view of the skies he is charged with protecting. With the Middle East skies more crowded than ever and with Israel’s enemies acquiring new and advanced weaponry, the Israel Air Force and Haimovich, the Aerial Defense Division commander, are facing challenges they’ve never faced before.

China holds drill to shut down ‘harmful’ websites
China has carried out an internet drill to practise closing down websites the authorities consider to be harmful. State run media said Thursday’s exercise was also aimed at forcing internet data centres to hand over contact details of website owners. China already operates a strict internet censorship regime.

Venezuela opens disputed new constituent assembly
Venezuela’s controversial new assembly has opened despite fierce opposition at home and abroad. President Nicolás Maduro says the constituent assembly is needed to bring peace after months of crisis. But the opposition says the new body, which has the ability to rewrite the constitution, is a way for the president to cling to power.

Syria war: 2,000 IS fighters still in Raqqa – US envoy
Some 2,000 Islamic State (IS) militants remain in the Syrian city of Raqqa amid an offensive to recapture the group’s stronghold, a senior US official says. Brett McGurk, special envoy for the coalition against IS, says US-backed forces have seized about 45% of Raqqa since the operation started in June. He says the group is fighting for its own survival and that the militants are likely to die in the city.

Nearly 100 sex abuse suits against Catholic priests rock island of Guam
…An investigation by the USA TODAY Network’s Pacific Daily News unearthed allegations of decades of assault, manipulation and intimidation of children reared on this remote, predominantly Catholic U.S. territory. Among the accusations: a boy fondled on the way to his grandmother’s burial, and another molested for the first time on his seventh birthday, then raped or assaulted 100 more times.

Israel to build underground barrier on Sinai border
Israel is planning to construct a huge underground barrier on its southern border with Egypt and Gaza as a precautionary measure to stave off threats posed by ISIS terrorists seeking to infiltrate via the Sinai desert through tunnels. Expected to be complete within one-and-a-half years, the new barrier will set Israel back NIS 3.4 billion.

North Korea’s ‘No. 2’ official on 10-day visit to Iran that may signal wider military ties
Amid new U.S. sanctions, North Korea’s “No. 2” official began a 10-day visit to Iran on Thursday that could result in the two sides expanding their ties. Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported Kim Yong Nam, chairman of the Supreme Assembly of North Korea, arrived Thursday for the weekend inauguration ceremony for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Mission Creep: Mueller Grand Jury Fishing for Evidence Unrelated to Russian Interference Probe
Mainstream media reports…indicating that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has far outstripped the original parameters of his investigation and begun digging into President Donald Trump’s business dealings…sources close to the investigation told them they are hopeful “the web of financial ties could offer a more concrete path toward potential prosecution than the broader and murkier questions of collusion in the 2016 campaign.”

Venezuela’s currency crumbles at dizzying speed
Venezuela’s money, the bolivar, is sinking faster and faster under an intensifying political and economic crisis that has left citizens destitute and increasingly desperate.

DOJ warns the media could be targeted in crackdown on leaks
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday announced a government-wide crackdown on leakers, which will include a review of the Justice Department’s policies on subpoenas for media outlets that publish sensitive information.

Bookies Now See Facebook CEO Zuckerberg More Likely To Be President In 2020 Than Hillary, Harris, & Biden
“For Zuckerberg, he’s emerging as a potential candidate, alongside Dwayne Johnson and current incumbent Donald Trump. Which means the US voters are caught somewhere between The Rock and a hard face.”

Trump Asks Why Congress, Insurance Companies Are EXEMPT From Obamacare Failings When Republicans failed to pass a healthcare bill that would have repealed and replaced portions of Obamacare, President Trump took to Twitter to express his disappointment. To increase pressure for a bill to pass, he questioned why members of Congress don’t pay the same for healthcare as Americans have to pay for Obamacare plans.

New Star Trek honchos tell star: No mentioning God; we want a universe where He doesn’t Exist 
I’ve been talking for nearly four years about the universe of mainstream television, where God doesn’t exist and plays no serious role in anyone’s life. In fact, you will often hear television characters refer to “the universe” itself as their de facto god.

FBI Monitored 2016 Election News
Dozens of FBI officials monitored social media on Election Day 2016 looking for “fake news” being spread as part of a Russian disinformation campaign against former candidate Hillary Clinton, multiple sources told CNN.

Seymour Hersh: “Russian Hacking” Story Was Completely Concocted By Former CIA
Journalist Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize investigative journalist and political writer, has given us good reason to believe what many have long suspected: that the “hacking” of the Democratic National Committee was an inside job.