Tuesday, July 04, 2017



JEWISH KING JESUS IS COMING AT THE RAPTURE FOR US IN THE CLOUDS-DON'T MISS IT FOR THE WORLD.THE BIBLE TAKEN LITERALLY- WHEN THE PLAIN SENSE MAKES GOOD SENSE-SEEK NO OTHER SENSE-LEST YOU END UP IN NONSENSE.GET SAVED NOW- CALL ON JESUS TODAY.THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WHOLE EARTH - NO OTHER. 1 COR 15:23-JESUS THE FIRST FRUITS-CHRISTIANS RAPTURED TO JESUS-FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT-23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.ROMANS 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.(THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE)


12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates;(WERE WW3 STARTS IN IRAQ OR SYRIA OR TURKEY) and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.(THE TURKEY ATATURK DAM ON THE EUPHRATES CAN BE SHUT AND DRIED UP ALREADY BY TURKEY)
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon,(SATAN) and out of the mouth of the beast,(WORLD DICTATOR) and out of the mouth of the false prophet.(FALSE POPE)
14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.(WERE 2 BILLION DIE FROM NUKE WAR)
15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.(ITS AT THIS TIME I BELIEVE WHEN AMERICA GETS NUKED BY RUSSIA ON THE WAY TO THE MIDEAST)

44 But tidings out of the east(CHINA) and out of the north(RUSSIA, MUSLIMS WHATS LEFT FROM WAVE 1) shall trouble him:(EU DICTATOR IN ISRAEL) therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.( 1/3RD OF EARTHS POPULATION)

12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four(DEMONIC WAR) angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.(WORLDWIDE WAR)(TURKEY-IRAQ-SYRIA)(EUPHRATES RIVER CONSISTS OF 760 MILES IN TURKEY,440 MILES IN SYRIA AND 660 MILES IN IRAQ)
15 And the four(DEMONIC WAR) angels were loosed,(WORLDWIDE WAR) which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.(1/3 Earths Population die in WW 3 2ND WAVE-2 billion)
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand:(200 MILLION MAN ARMY FROM CHINA AND THE KINGS OF THE EAST) and I heard the number of them.
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.(NUCLEAR BOMBS)
18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.(NUCLEAR BOMBS)

Hong Kong’s uneasy deal with China-[Christian Science Monitor]-yahoonews-The Monitor's Editorial Board-July 2, 2017

Hong Kong is part of China, now and forever.That’s the clear message the government of Chinese President Xi Jinping is sending to the former British colony on the 20th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule.Mr. Xi himself visited Hong Kong over the weekend to make the point. A military parade that featured thousands of Chinese government troops, the largest yet staged on the island, added an exclamation point.As part of the 1997 turnover from Britain, China promised to follow a “one country, two systems” approach with its new acquisition. That has meant a great deal of local autonomy for Hong Kong, including an independent judicial system, unfettered capitalism, a free press, and personal freedom of expression.But many of the 7.3 million Hong Kongers feel that in recent years the Chinese ratchet has been tightening, twist by twist, on their freedoms. In late 2014 many took to the streets for 11 weeks in what became know as the “Umbrella Movement,” protesting China’s interference in Hong Kong’s electoral system.Today the legislature contains members both pre-approved by the Chinese government as well as those independently elected who support democracy and autonomy. The result has often been legislative gridlock: Work on vital issues such as education reform and infrastructure projects has ground to a halt.Voices speaking for Beijing point to the stalled legislature and ask if a little more Chinese efficiency, and a little less sloppy Western democracy, might be a good thing.Older Hong Kongers are more likely to tread a careful line, politely reminding China of its commitment that “one country, two systems” will remain uneroded. But a younger generation, used to Western-style freedoms, has begun talking about full independence from China. In a recent poll only 3 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds in Hong Kong consider themselves Chinese. To them Xi’s visit was that of a foreigh politician, not the leader of their country.What next? The leverage would appear to be all on China’s side. It’s made clear that while “one country, two systems” is the policy, it remains subject to broad interpretation by the Chinese government.China is unlikely to risk any open show of force against its most prosperous urban center. It’s more likely to try to continue to influence events in less obvious ways, including actions against individuals who speak up too loudly.In his speeches at the 20th anniversary, Xi sought to lower tensions.“[T]he success of ‘one country, two systems’ is recognized by the whole world,” Xi said. But while strike a conciliatory tone he also issued a warning. “Any attempt to endanger China’s sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government … or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line, and is absolutely impermissible,” he said, according to an account in the South China Morning Post.Hong Kong’s new chief executive, Carrie Lam, who took office July 1, was China’s favored candidate. She has pledged to “heal the divide and to ease the frustration – and to unite our society to move forward.”China could learn much about the benefits of democracy from Hong Kong. But it doesn’t seem especially interested now. What Hong Kong can do is continue to showcase the advantages of a more open society, with the hope that someday China will be ready to listen.

China slams US warship move as Xi, Trump talk-[AFP]-Laurent Thomet, with Laurent Barthelemy in Washington-yahoonews-July 3, 2017

Beijing (AFP) - The US and Chinese presidents spoke on Monday in a scheduled call hours after relations came under renewed pressure as an American warship sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea.Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping discussed efforts to denuclearise North Korea and improve US-Chinese trade relations, though the ship's passage was not mentioned in a White House readout of the conversation.Relations between the two nations had been warmer since Trump and Xi met in April, but Washington has taken a series of actions that have infuriated Beijing in recent days.The latest move to anger China came on Sunday, when the USS Stethem destroyer sailed less than 12 nautical miles from tiny Triton Island in the Paracel Islands archipelago, which is claimed by China as well as Taiwan and Vietnam, a US official told AFP.The distance is commonly accepted as constituting the territorial waters of a landmass. Such operations are meant to demonstrate freedom of navigation in disputed waters.The move prompted China to deploy military vessels and fighter jets, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a statement late Sunday, calling the US operation a "serious political and military provocation".The spokesman called on Washington to "immediately stop" operations that violate Chinese sovereignty and threaten the country's security.It was the second operation of its kind carried out by the United States since Trump took office.Last week, China lashed out at Washington after Trump authorised a $1.3 billion arms sale to Taiwan, which China considers a rebel province, and the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on a Chinese bank accused of laundering North Korean cash.Washington also vexed Beijing by voicing concern about freedom in semi-autonomous Hong Kong and placing China on a list of the world's worst human trafficking offenders.- A sharp cooling -Hours after the naval operation, Trump held separate phone calls with Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe focused on the regional tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme.In his call with Xi, "President Trump raised the growing threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes," the White House said."Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearised Korean Peninsula," it said.Trump, who berated Beijing over trade during the US election campaign, also "reiterated his determination to seek more balanced trade relations with America’s trading partners".While there was no mention of the warship in the White House statement, it said the two leaders discussed "a range of other regional and bilateral issues of mutual interest" and indicated the two would meet at the Group of 20 summit in Germany this week.The recent tensions marked a sharp reversal in tone from April, when Xi travelled to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for a first face-to-face meeting that Trump later said had helped build an "outstanding" relationship.Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said it was possible that during the call Xi would agree to take some of the steps Trump has demanded to pressure Pyongyang."I think that Xi is keen to keep Sino-US relations on an even keel," Glaser told AFP. "Of course, he can't appear to be making concessions or taking steps in response to US pressure."- A growing Chinese presence -The latest US "freedom of navigation" exercise came as Beijing continues muscular efforts to cement its claim to nearly all of the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by Taiwan and Southeast Asian nations including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.China has rapidly built reefs in the area into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.On May 25, the USS Dewey guided-missile destroyer sailed less than 12 nautical miles from Mischief Reef -- part of the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, south of the Paracel Islands.

US, Japan 'united' on pressuring N. Korea: White House-[AFP]-yahoonews-July 2, 2017

Washington (AFP) - The United States and Japan are united in their efforts to clamp down on North Korea's "growing threat," as the regime ramps up its nuclear drive and other belligerent efforts, the White House said Sunday.During a phone call, President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe "reaffirmed that the United States-Japan Alliance stands ready to defend (against) and respond to any threat or action taken by North Korea", the White House said in a statement.It added that the pair expressed "unity with respect to increasing pressure on the regime to change its dangerous path."During a separate phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the White House said it was Trump who "raised the growing threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.""Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula."But the White House made no mention of possible discussions between Trump and Xi over disputed islands in the South China Sea, even though the call took place just hours after a US warship sailed near an island in the waterway.Beijing termed the incident a "serious political and military provocation."The destroyer, the USS Stethem, sailed less than 12 nautical miles from tiny Triton Island in the Paracel Islands archipelago, which is claimed by China as well as Taiwan and Vietnam, a US official told AFP.On the call, Trump also "reiterated his determination to seek more balanced trade relations with America's trading partners," the White House said, a reference to the US administration's aggressive stance on trade matters, especially as concerns China.- Pinning hopes on China -The Trump administration has been growing increasingly exasperated with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's regime, which has staged a barrage of missile tests in recent months.Trump had been pinning his hopes on China -- North Korea's main diplomatic ally -- to bring pressure to bear on Pyongyang, but declared last week that their efforts had failed.He has presented sanctions as the best way to proceed with the hermit state, opting for that approach over dialogue with the regime.During talks with South Korean leader Moon Jae-In -- who has pushed for a policy of engagement with Pyongyang -- on Friday, Trump called for a "determined response" to the North. But the pair failed to map out a joint strategy on how to handle North Korean threats."The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed, many years it has failed. Frankly, that patience is over," Trump said.There was also deep anger in the United States after Otto Warmbier, an American student who was detained in North Korea on a tourist trip around 18 months ago, was returned home in a coma earlier this month. He died several days later.

Thailand's new labor rules send thousands of migrant workers fleeing-[Reuters]-By Amy Sawitta Lefevre-yahoonews-July 3, 2017

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of workers have fled Thailand, most of them for homes in neighboring Myanmar, immigration officials said on Monday, after new labor regulations adopted by the military government sparked fear and panic among the migrant community.Millions of workers from poor neighbors, such as Cambodia and Myanmar, form the backbone of Thailand's manual labor force, with industries such as the multi-billion-dollar seafood business heavily reliant on foreign workers.Since taking power in a 2014 coup, Thailand's ruling junta has attained varying degrees of success in campaigns to regulate the foreign workforce, spurred partly by media reports that unregulated workers faced exploitation by employers.About 60,000 workers left between June 23 and 28, and the number has risen since, an Immigration Bureau official said."They were of all nationalities, but the biggest group was from Myanmar," Deputy Commissioner Pornchai Kuntee told Reuters. "They are probably very scared."Following news of the exodus, Thailand on Friday promised a 120-day delay in enforcing parts of the decree, including fines that can range up to 800,000 baht ($23,557) for employers who hire unregistered foreign workers without permits.Geta Devi, 28, a Myanmar worker based in Bangkok, the Thai capital, said some of her friends panicked after hearing about the decree."They went back to Myanmar," she added.The mass movement leaves undocumented workers vulnerable, said Andy Hall, a British specialist in migrant workers' rights who has monitored such migration in Thailand for more than a decade."It's clear to me tens of thousands of migrants only move like this after instigation," Hall, who has worked extensively with Myanmar workers, told Reuters.Despite the threat of punishment, "corrupt officials" would try to take bribes from fleeing migrants, he said."Mass profit is to be made in a short time from the panic and commotion," Hall added.Police officers who try to extort money from employers or migrant workers will be punished, Thai police chief Chaktip Chaijinda said on Friday, in a bid to discourage exploitation of undocumented workers.Last month, the United States kept Thailand on a trafficking watch list, saying it did not meet the minimum standards to end human trafficking.Thailand defended its efforts to stop trafficking and urged U.S. officials to visit and gauge its campaign.More than 3 million migrants work in Thailand, the International Organization for Migration has said, but rights groups put the figure higher.(Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)


LUKE 21:25-26
25 And there shall be signs in the sun,(HEATING UP-SOLAR ECLIPSES) and in the moon,(MAN ON MOON-LUNAR ECLIPSES) and in the stars;(ASTEROIDS ETC) and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear,(TORNADOES,HURRICANES,STORMS) and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:(DESTRUCTION) for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.(FROM QUAKES,NUKES ETC)

South China floods kill 15, thousands evacuated-[Reuters]-yahoonews-July 2, 2017

BEIJING (Reuters) - Floods in southern China have killed at least 15 people over the past few days and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands more, state media said.In Guangxi region, seven died and three were missing following torrential rains, with more than 23,000 people being evacuated to safer areas, the Xinhua news agency said late on Sunday.In neighboring Hunan province, more than 300,000 people have been evacuated and eight people have died, the agency said.More rain is forecast in coming days, according to the China Meteorological Administration.Floods kill dozens of people every year in China during the summer rainy season.(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Aid helicopter crash kills 8 after Indonesian volcano erupts-[Associated Press]-yahoonews-July 3, 2017

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A rescue helicopter crashed while heading to help evacuate residents near an active volcano on Indonesia's main island, killing all eight people on board, officials said Monday.The helicopter crashed about three minutes before arriving at Dieng Plateau, the popular tourist area where the volcanic eruption Sunday injured at least 10 people. The aircraft reportedly hit a cliff on Butak Mountain in the Temanggung district of Central Java province.All eight people on board were killed, said Maj. Gen. Heronimus Guru, deputy operations chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency. He told The Associated Press, "We are now at the Bhayangkara Hospital in Semarang," the Central Java provincial capital where the victims' bodies were taken.Brig. Gen. Ivan Tito, director of operation and training at the search agency, told TVOne station in a live interview from Temanggung, that the victims were four navy officers and four rescuers. He also said the Indonesian-made Dauphin AS365 helicopter was airworthy.The Sileri Crater at Dieng Plateau spewed cold lava, mud and ash as high as 50 meters (164 feet) into the sky when it erupted Sunday morning, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.The sudden eruption occurred while about 17 visitors were around the crater. Ten people were injured and were treated at a hospital.Soldiers and police officers were dispatched and local residents and visitors were asked to evacuate in case of further eruptions, Nugroho said.Sileri is the most active and dangerous among some 10 craters at Dieng Plateau. Its most recent eruption was in 2009, when it unleashed volcanic materials up to 200 meters (656 feet) high and triggered the creation of three new craters.Dwi Suryanto, head of culture and tourism in the Sileri area, said the crater was quiet Monday but remains closed to visitors. Other craters on the plateau are still open, he said.Dieng Plateau, located in the Central Java district of Banjarnegara, is a popular tourist attraction because of its cool climate and ninth-century Hindu temples. It sits about 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) above sea level.Some 142 people were reportedly asphyxiated in 1979 when the volcano spewed gases.


EUROPEAN UNION-KING OF WEST-DAN 9:26-27,DAN 7:23-24,DAN 11:40,REV 13:1-10



GENESIS 6:11-13
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.(WORLD TERRORISM,MURDERS)(HAMAS IN HEBREW IS VIOLENCE)
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence (TERRORISM)(HAMAS) through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

GENESIS 16:11-12
11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her,(HAGAR) Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael;(FATHER OF THE ARAB/MUSLIMS) because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
12 And he (ISHMAEL-FATHER OF THE ARAB-MUSLIMS) will be a wild (DONKEY-JACKASS) man;(ISLAM IS A FAKE AND DANGEROUS SEX FOR MURDER CULT) his hand will be against every man,(ISLAM HATES EVERYONE) and every man's hand against him;(PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM BEING BEHEADED) and he (ISHMAEL ARAB/MUSLIM) shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.(LITERAL-THE ARABS LIVE WITH THEIR BRETHERN JEWS)

ISAIAH 14:12-14
12  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,(SATAN) son of the morning!(HEBREW-CRECENT MOON-ISLAM) how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14  I (SATAN HAS EYE TROUBLES) will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.(AND 1/3RD OF THE ANGELS OF HEAVEN FELL WITH SATAN AND BECAME DEMONS)

JOHN 16:2
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.(ISLAM MURDERS IN THE NAME OF MOON GOD ALLAH OF ISLAM)

At least 15 killed in fresh C. Africa clashes: source-[AFP]-yahoonews-July 2, 2017

Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - At least 15 people died in clashes between UN peacekeepers and former rebels in the centre of the chronically restive Central African Republic, a humanitarian source said Sunday.The violence broke out on Saturday in the market town of Kaga-Bandoro when rebels from the former Seleka movement of mainly Muslim fighters attacked the town "to settle an old score," a source in MINUSCA, the UN mission which has some 12,000 troops in the country, told AFP."They (the former Seleka rebels) were confronted by the Pakistani and Burundian contingents stationed in the town," the UN source said."The MINUSCA forces did their job and protected the civil population" in the town, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of the capital Bangui, the source added.Seleka rebels briefly seized power in March 2013 and deposed the Christian President Francois Bozize.The Seleka group was itself then ousted, leading to a wave of violent reprisals against the Muslim population by the Christian anti-Balaka militia.Clashes towards the end of last month left around 100 people dead in the central town of Bria just hours after the government signed a peace deal with rebel groups aimed at ending simmering sectarian violence which has blighted Central Africa since 2013.Although the unrest has long pitted Christian anti-Balaka militias against mainly Muslim ex-Seleka rebels, there have been growing splits within the various armed groups that have turned deadly.Violence resurfaced at the end of May in Kaga-Bandoro, the main town in the Nana-Grebizi region where some 20,000 displaced people have been housed since last year.

Italy urges EU ports to take migrants as pressure builds-[AFP]-Ella IDE-yahoonews-July 2, 2017

Paris (AFP) - The French and German interior ministers met with their Italian counterpart Marco Minniti in Paris on Sunday to discuss a "coordinated response" to Italy's migrant crisis, hours after Minniti had called on other European countries to open their ports to rescue ships.The working dinner at the French interior ministry -- also attended by EU Commissioner for Refugees Dimitris Avramopoulos -- was aimed at finding "a coordinated and concerted response to the migrant flux in the central Mediterranean (route) and see how to better help the Italians," a source close the talks said.The four-way talks between Minniti, Thomas de Maiziere of Germany, Gerard Collomb of France and Avramopoulos will also prepare them for EU talks in Tallinn this week."The talks went off very well," a member of the Italian delegation told AFP after the Paris meeting, with the "Italian proposals being discussed". The source offered no other details."We are under enormous pressure," Minniti had said earlier Sunday in an interview with Il Messaggero.With arrivals in Italy up nearly 19 percent over the same period last year, Rome has threatened to close its ports to privately-funded aid boats or insist that funding be cut to EU countries which fail to help."There are NGO ships, Sophia and Frontex boats, Italian coast guard vessels" saving migrants i the Mediterranean, Minniti said, referring to the aid boats as well as vessels deployed under EU border security missions."They are sailing under the flags of various European countries. If the only ports where refugees are taken to are Italian, something is not working. This is the heart of the question," he said."I am a europhile and I would be proud if even one vessel, instead of arriving in Italy, went to another European port. It would not resolve Italy's problem, but it would be an extraordinary signal" of support, he said.- 'Unfolding tragedy' -More than 83,000 people rescued while attempting the perilous crossing from Libya have been brought to Italy so far this year, according to the UN, while more than 2,160 have died trying, the International Organization for Migration says.Italy's Red Cross has warned the situation in the country's overcrowded reception centres is becoming critical."What is happening in front of our eyes in Italy is an unfolding tragedy," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on Saturday.One of the rescue organisations, SOS Mediterranee, which runs an aid vessel along with Doctors Without Borders (MSF), said forcing boats carrying migrants to go to other European ports would be logistically difficult.If the order came, "we would have no choice, we would obey. But it would be completely impossible with more than 1,000 people on board," SOS Mediterranee spokeswoman Mathilde Auvillain told AFP."And then we'd need to make a stopover in an Italian port anyway to refuel, or we'd end up needing to be rescued ourselves."After weeks or months spent in Libyan camps -- where many migrants are raped or tortured -- those rescued are already traumatised, "imagine adding two or three more days at sea. Our priority is to protect them," she said.- Code of conduct -Minniti said Rome would be pushing for a way to shift the asylum application process from Italy to crisis-hit Libya, and safely bring to Europe those who win the right to protection."We have to distinguish before they set off (across the Mediterranean) between those who have a right to humanitarian protection and those who don't," he said.Unsourced Italian media reports said Rome was likely to call for a European code of conduct to be drawn up for the privately-run aid boats, with the Corriere della Sera saying vessels that did not comply could be "seized".Rome would like a regional maritime command centre to oversee all rescue operations from Greece to Libya to Spain, which would spread the migrant arrivals between European countries, it said.And Italy insists that the EU refugee relocation programme -- which is largely limited to people from Eritrea and Syria -- should be expanded to include other nationalities, such as Nigerians, La Repubblica said.

Macron in Mali for diplomatic push on Sahel anti-jihadist force-[AFP]-Laurence BENHAMOU-yahoonews-July 2, 2017

Bamako (AFP) - French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday threw his weight behind a planned Sahel force to fight jihadists on a lightning visit to Mali but told countries in the region their efforts had to bear fruit.Faced with a growing number of jihadist attacks in central Mali which have also hit neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, the so-called G5 Sahel nations have moved to set up a regional force to tackle the threat.The aim is to combat the wave of Islamist bombings, shootings and kidnappings in the Sahel, the region just south of the Sahara.Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen -- an alliance of Al-Qaeda-allied Sahel groups -- on Saturday offered a reminder of the jihadist threat by releasing a proof-of-life video of six foreign hostages.Joining the heads of state of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger at a summit in Bamako, Macron hailed the initiative as "a dynamic, a groundswell which France is proud to back".But, he said, "it will be up to you and your armed forces to demonstrate that the G5 can be effective while respecting humanitarian conventions. The results have to be there to convince your partners."The force, which will initially count some 5,000 troops, will begin its operations in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger with Macron saying he wants it to be operational by the end of August."The important thing is that the joint force be fully operational by autumn, with the initial funds unlocked ... and exhibit first signs of success," he said.With a base in Sevare in central Mali, the force will work alongside France's 4,000-strong Operation Barkhane as well as with MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping operation in Mali.- 'Essential in our eyes' -At a news conference with Macron, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said the leaders had agreed on a budget of 423 million euros ($480 million)."Each of our states will make a 10-million-euro contribution," he said, noting that the question of funding had taken precedence at the closed-door talks.The European Union has already made an initial 50-million-euro pledge which Macron said was "the start of a long-term commitment".On June 21, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution backing the joint counterterror operation."This is a major step for Sahel security, essential in our eyes," Macron told a crowd of French expatriates in Bamako on Sunday.Macron is also hoping for extra support from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United States, and said he hoped it would be possible to make a French-German funding commitment after talks in Paris on July 13.Although Chad's military is widely viewed as the strongest of the five Sahel nations, President Idriss Deby has said his country cannot afford to mobilise large numbers of troops simultaneously for the UN peacekeeping mission and also in the new force.Deby and Macron also discussed the financial issue on the sidelines of the Bamako summit, with the French and Malian leaders both saying the Chadian president had been reassured by the talks.- Laboratory for coordination -France intervened in Mali 2013 to chase out Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists who had overtaken key northern cities. A year later, that mission evolved into Operation Barkhane with an anti-terror mandate stretching across the Sahel.The new Sahel force will support national armies trying to catch jihadists across porous frontiers, and its operations will be closely coordinated with Barkhane, a source in the French presidency told AFP.Analysts have compared the new force with the Multinational Joint Task Force battling Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region, comprising troops from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.But the G5 Sahel force will face other problems, with the inherent weakness of the armed forces in Burkina Faso and Mali, while Chad and Niger are already engaged on multiple fronts, said Rinaldo Depagne of the International Crisis Group.The three-nation border of Liptako-Gourma between Burkina, Mali and Niger, will become a "laboratory" where French forces will work with them before bringing Chad and Mauritania into the mix, he predicted.The G5 Sahel force's top commander, Malian general Didier Dacko, has said each country's contingent would initially operate on its own soil and gradually shift focus to their mutual borders.

Airstrikes propel Mosul gains, despite toll on civilians-[Associated Press]-SUSANNAH GEORGE-yahoonews-July 2, 2017

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi forces say their recent territorial gains against the Islamic State group in Mosul's Old City have largely been propelled by airstrikes, despite a spike in allegations of civilian casualties and warnings from human rights groups of the dangers of using large munitions in the dense, highly-populated area.As strikes pummeled the Old City Sunday, hundreds of civilians fled. Many were badly injured and had to be carried out over mounds of rubble by family members. Deeper inside the district, narrow alleyways were littered with bodies.Special forces Lt. Col. Muhanad al-Timimi said over the past three days his forces have carried out about 20 airstrikes a day on IS-held territory within there are of operation — a portion of the Old City measuring about one square kilometer (0.6 square miles) in size."It's because we have a lot of enemy forces here," he said, conceding the number of munitions used was relatively high.Half buried in a mound of rubble beside a strike crater, limbs protruded, darkened by dust and rotting in the summer heat. The pile of rocks was once a brightly painted house with a courtyard garden."Those were two Daesh fighters," said Sgt. Ali Mehdi, a member of al-Timimi's security detail, using an Arabic acronym for IS.When the small unit rounded another narrow street the men silently stepped over the body of an elderly man lying in a pool of fresh blood.A warning cracked over the radio that an airstrike was called in on a position just 50 meters away and the men ducked into a cleared home. When they emerged two more bodies, in civilian clothes and without weapons, lay in the next street.Throughout the fight against IS, the U.S.-led coalition has largely relied on airstrikes to enable Iraqi ground forces to advance. But in previous battles, civilians were evacuated from front lines. In Mosul, the Iraqi government told the city's estimated one million people to stay put to avoid massive displacement.Iraqi forces have repeatedly requested airstrikes in Mosul, often to kill teams of just two or three IS fighters armed with light weapons.Manhal Munir was sheltering in the basement of his home with his extended family when IS fighters took a position on his roof. They were targeted by an airstrike Sunday morning. The house collapsed."I just pulled my youngest daughter out with me," Munir said at a nearby medic station, the toddler on his lap. "My mother was stuck between two large blocks of cement. We tried to free her," he said, still covered in dust and his eyes red with grief. "After two hours she died."In the weeks leading up to the operation to retake the Old City the UN and human rights groups warned the Iraqi government against the use of explosive weapons with wide effects in the Old City area, where houses are tightly packed and the civilian population is dense."In the crowded Old City, using explosive weapons with wide area effects puts civilians at excessive risk," Lama Fakih of Human Rights Watch said in a statement.The coalition did not immediately respond to a request from The Associated Press as to what munitions are being used."The Coalition always seeks to use weapons that are proportional to the target to minimize collateral damage," the U.S-led coalition said in a written statement."Nearly all munitions released have been precision guided to ensure we achieve the desired effects," the statement continued. "The avoidance of civilian casualties is our highest priority."In a report Friday, Airwars said they "presently estimate that between 900 and 1,200 civilians were likely killed by Coalition air and artillery strikes over the course of the eight month (Mosul) campaign."The group said the territorial gains in Mosul come at a "terrible cost."The United Nations estimates that tens of thousands of civilians are still trapped inside the Old City.Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake the Old City — IS' last stand in Iraq's second-largest city — in mid-June after eight months of grueling battles across Mosul's eastern half and around the city's western edge.Iraq's Prime Minister declared an end to IS' so-called caliphate in late June and pledged victory was "near" after Iraqi forces retook the landmark al-Nuri mosque in the Old City.Iraq's federal police declared a partial victory Sunday, announcing they had completed "the liberation of our sector," according to spokesman Captain Bassam Khadim.Iraq's special forces are now just 450 meters from the Tigris River that roughly divides Mosul in half, according to Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi."For us, the airstrikes are better than artillery because they allow us to target the enemy accurately," said special forces Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil. "They help us minimize civilian casualties and casualties among our own forces."

Merkel overshadows party ahead of September election-[AFP]-Tom BARFIELD-yahoonews-July 2, 2017

Berlin (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday formally launches her campaign to win a fourth term in a September parliamentary election more likely to be decided on personality than policy.Challenger Martin Schulz of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) is leading his campaign with "more social justice", promising reforms to tax, unemployment benefits and childcare after having just succeeded with a push to legalise same-sex marriage.Merkel's centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has so far failed to counter its opponents' focused campaign with a unifying policy theme of its own.Social media users last week mocked party secretary-general Peter Tauber's slogan "For a Germany where we live well and gladly", after he transformed the initial letters of the German phrase into an unpronounceable Twitter hashtag: #fedidwgugl.Schulz, struggling to catch up with Merkel in the polls, last week shocked observers by accusing the chancellor of systematically refusing to debate him on the future of the country.But the lacklustre CDU campaign does not appear to have hurt the re-election prospects of the veteran leader dubbed "Mutti" (Mummy) by German voters.- 'Germany in good hands' -After a brief spell between January and March when Schulz, a newcomer on the German political landscape, surged into the lead, the former European Parliament president has fallen far behind Merkel as the preferred candidate in polls by public broadcaster ARD.Rallying around a trusted leader is a long tradition for the CDU, whose simple "No experiments!" campaign posters for Konrad Adenauer's reelection in 1957 remain a touchstone of German political culture.Merkel's mentor, recently-deceased former chancellor Helmut Kohl, was accused of transforming the CDU into a "chancellor electing society" during his 16-year reign.And Merkel herself echoed the strong-leader theme in 2013, with gigantic posters featuring her fingers clasped and the slogan "Germany in good hands".Merkel's government faced heavy pressure in 2015 when it opened the nation's borders to a mass influx of refugees, sparking a xenophobic backlash.But as the arrivals have slowed sharply, the issue has faded from public debate, as the upstart anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party slipped back into single digits in the polls.- Tax cuts and families -The few concrete policies that have filtered out from the CDU party machinery, and their Bavarian CSU allies, are familiar to conservatives the world over.The sister parties plan to lower income taxes, increase the threshold for the highest bracket and wind down so-called "solidarity surcharges" introduced after Germany's 1990 reunification to pay for government spending on the former communist East Germany, news agency DPA reported last week.Lower taxes favouring higher consumer spending and thereby increased imports could also be seen as a gesture to foreign critics of Germany's massive trade surplus.While US President Donald Trump has made the bluntest attacks on the imbalance, experts at the International Monetary Fund as well as European allies like France have all called on Germany to reduce it.Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has suggested there is room for around 15 billion euros ($13.1 billion) of income tax cuts.That figure is unlikely to satisfy the government's critics at home or abroad when compared with the 1.35 trillion euros in taxes and social contributions collected by Germany's federal, state and municipal governments last year.Other local media have reported on CDU/CSU plans to increase benefits and tax relief for families with children, improve primary schools and daycare, and accede to a longstanding industry demand to exempt research and development spending from taxes.Only one major issue, an echo from the refugee crisis, continues to divide Merkel from the more conservative Bavarians: whether Germany should set an upper limit on the number of refugees allowed to enter the country each year.

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