America and Iran: On a Path Towards War?

America and Iran: On a Path Towards War?Iran’s leader has taken a defiant stance against the United States and its allies, signalling a potential “fraying” of the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program, The New York Times reported.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on July 16, 2019 denounced “the vicious British” after U.K. forces earlier in the month seized an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar.In a speech to clerics, Khamenei “appeared to signal his intention to ignore diplomacy for the moment and stoke tensions with the West over the embattled nuclear accord,” the Times’ Rick Gladstone wrote.“Khamenei spoke as unconfirmed news reports suggested Iran’s Revolutionary Guards may have seized a United Arab Emirates tanker in the Persian Gulf, possibly in retaliation for Britain’s impounding of an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar this month.”Iranian militia troops had attempted to retaliate on July 10, 2019 by seizing a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. A Royal Navy frigate intervened and stopped the assault.Khamenei’s tone has sharpened of late. “The defiance expressed by the top leader … contrasted with what seemed like a less confrontational stance taken at the White House,” Gladstone added.U.S. president Donald Trump told reporters his administration is “not looking for regime change” in Iran. “They’d like to talk, and we’ll see what happens,” Trump said.Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, claimed Iran was willing to negotiate over its missile program, which Gladstone pointed out is “an area of Western concern that was not covered in the 2015 nuclear agreement.”


Italian, U.S. police make arrests as Mafia clan looks to regroup

Italian, U.S. police make arrests as Mafia clan looks to regroupItalian and U.S. police have launched a coordinated crackdown against major crime families who were looking to rebuild their Mafia powerbase in Sicily, Italian investigators said on Wednesday. More than 200 police, including officers from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), have been carrying out 19 arrest warrants since dawn targeting the Inzerillo clan in Sicily’s capital Palermo and the New York-based Gambino family. Sicily’s organised crime group, known as ‘Cosa Nostra’ (Our Thing), has been in a state of flux since the death of the feared boss of bosses Salvatore “Toto” Riina, who died in prison in 2017 after spending almost a quarter of century behind bars.


Apollo 11: The strange things that happened in the hours as astronauts headed for Moon landing

Apollo 11: The strange things that happened in the hours as astronauts headed for Moon landingOn this day 50 years ago, the Apollo astronauts who were being hailed as heroes didn’t have all that much to do. They were a central part of a mission watched around the world, one which would define the century that followed, and which required intensive intelligence and ingenuity beyond our imagining – but at the moment they were engaged in housekeeping and sleeping.Now is the anniversary of perhaps the most unusual part of the Moon mission: that intermediate period after astronauts had completed the all-important liftoff, and as they waited, quietly drifting through space, on their way to the Moon.The launch happened on 16 July, 1969. The landing happened four days later, on 20 July.Between those days were a strange and eerie silence, filled with activities that would be humdrum were they not happening inside of the most ambitious activity ever launched by humankind.As the three astronauts – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins – floated serenely through space, they began to think about what would happen at Earth. They were travelling at immense speed which meant that they had left the Earth quicker than many of those who had come along to watch would be able to get out of the parking lots they’d viewed it from.”As we proceed outbound, this number will get smaller and smaller until the tug of the Moon’s gravity exceeds that of the Earth’s and then we will start speeding up again,” Collins later said. “It’s hard to believe that we are on our way to the Moon, at 1200 miles altitude now, less than three hours after liftoff, and I’ll bet the launch-day crowd down at the Cape is still bumper to bumper, straggling back to the motels and bars.”Soon after that, they would get to the main work they had to do during the journey, which began early. Collins was assisted by his two colleagues to separate the command module from the third stage of the Saturn rocket, and then spin it around and connect with the lunar module known as Eagle that would be used to descend to the service.”This of course was a critical maneuver in the flight plan,” Aldrin later said. “If the separation and docking did not work, we would return to Earth.”There was also the possibility of an in-space collision and the subsequent decompression of our cabin, so we were still in our spacesuits as Mike separated us from the Saturn third stage. Critical as the maneuver is, I felt no apprehension about it, and if there was the slightest inkling of concern it disappeared quickly as the entire separation and docking proceeded perfectly to completion.”The nose of Columbia was now connected to the top of the Eagle and heading for the Moon as we watched the Saturn third stage venting, a propulsive maneuver causing it to move slowly away from us.”After that was completed, the really stressful work was over. The astronauts could get to sitting out the journey, waiting until they reached their distant target.By the next day, the astronauts were able to darken the windows with covers that served as curtains, and try and get some sleep as the command module slowly rotated them through space. They’d spend the following days doing chores and talking with Earth.During those intermediate days, there was considerably less activity on board the craft. Nasa’s official timeline – which gives detailed information on absolutely everything the crew did – lists only a few activities over the course of the 17th and 18th, as the three astronauts floated through space.On 17 July, for instance, the crew simply conducted three TV transmissions and did one small burn of their engines to correct their course. The day after, there was another TV transmission and a quick journey into the lunar module and back so that it could be inspected ahead of the landing.But the day later, as they approached the Moon and, the atmosphere would change.”Day four has a decidedly different feel to it,” Collins later said. “Instead of nine hours’ sleep, I get seven – and fitful ones at that.”Despite our concentrated effort to conserve our energy on the way to the Moon, the pressure is overtaking us (or me at least), and I feel that all of us are aware that the honeymoon is over and we are about to lay our little pink bodies on the line.”At this point, everything became much more real: for one, the astronauts could once again see the Moon properly for the first time in nearly a day. They were now in orbit around the Moon, and it was vividly clear.”The Moon I have known all my life, that two-dimensional small yellow disk in the sky, has gone away somewhere, to be replaced by the most awesome sphere I have ever seen,” said Collins later.”To begin with it is huge, completely filling our window. Second, it is three-dimensional. The belly of it bulges out toward us in such a pronounced fashion that I almost feel I can reach out and touch it. To add to the dramatic effect, we can see the stars again. We are in the shadow of the Moon now, and the elusive stars have reappeared.”At this point, the work to get ready to touch the lunar surface begins. The astronauts each carry out the checks that would try and ensure that the descent was as safe as possible, and that the lander that would carry them down was as secure as it could possibly be.Collins would spent yet more time on his own, waiting, as Aldrin and Armstrong jumped around the lunar surface. As they did, he waited, floating above the Moon – occasionally disappearing behind it and being plunged into the all-consuming quiet of the far side of the Moon – and waiting for his two colleagues to make their return, before heading back to Earth.


The Latest: De Blasio says officer entitled to due process

The Latest: De Blasio says officer entitled to due processThe Latest on the U.S. Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute the officer involved in Eric Garner’s death. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the officer who placed a chokehold on Eric Garner exactly five years ago is entitled to due process under state law. De Blasio said Wednesday the decision whether to fire Officer Daniel Pantaleo (pan-tuh-LAY’-oh) is up to Police Commissioner James O’Neill.


Investigators ‘discover mysterious 200lb load’ on board MH370 after take-off

Investigators 'discover mysterious 200lb load' on board MH370 after take-offInvestigators looking into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have discovered a “mysterious 200lb load” added to the flight list after take-off, according to an engineer whose wife and two children were on board. Ghyslain Wattrelos said the cargo was revealed in a report on the passengers and baggage by French investigators. Mr Wattrelos, who believes the flight was deliberately downed, told Le Parisien newspaper: “It was also learned that a mysterious load of 89 kilos was added to the flight list after take-off. A container was also overloaded, without anyone knowing why. It may be incompetence or manipulation. Everything is possible. This will be part of the questions for the Malaysians.” MH370 became one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries when it vanished with 239 people on board en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. French investigators who examined flight data at Boeing’s headquarters in Seattle believe that the pilot was in control of the airliner “right up to the end”.  A modern mystery | Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mr Wattrelos said the investigators told him the data “lends weight” to the theory that the pilot crashed into the sea in a murder-suicide, although they stressed that there was no proof. The investigators expect it to take up to a year to examine the data fully. However, some experts believe a hijack by a stowaway is a possibility and the mysterious load could lend credence to the theory. Tim Termini, an aviation security specialist, told Channel 5 earlier this month: “It’s highly likely that a hijack took place and again, there’s four options for the hijack. “One is the hijack of the aircraft through a crew member. The second is a hijack coming from a passenger. A third option, which is a fairly unusual one, would be a stowaway. And then of course the fourth option is an electrical takeover of the aircraft from a ground-based station.” Mr Wattrelos, 54, who has led a campaign to find out what happened to the flight, acknowledged that “there is a risk that I may never learn the full truth.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.


Kuwait hands Cairo over eight Egyptians allegedly linked to Muslim Brotherhood – The North Africa Post

  1. Kuwait hands Cairo over eight Egyptians allegedly linked to Muslim Brotherhood  The North Africa Post
  2. HRW slams Kuwait for deporting Egyptian ‘dissidents’  Aljazeera.com
  3. Kuwait official defends decision to extradite 8 Egyptians – Middle East Monitor  Middle East Monitor
  4. Kuwait pledges to continue security cooperation with Egypt  MENAFN.COM
  5. Rights Group: Kuwait deports arrested Islamists to Egypt  Minneapolis Star Tribune
  6. View full coverage on Google News

Pakistan arrests US-wanted terror suspect in Mumbai attacks

Pakistan arrests US-wanted terror suspect in Mumbai attacksPakistan on Wednesday arrested a radical cleric and U.S.-wanted terror suspect implicated in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, officials said, just days ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s trip to Washington. Hafiz Saeed was taken into custody in Punjab province while traveling from the eastern city of Lahore to the city of Gujranwala, according to counterterrorism official Mohammad Shafiq. Saeed founded the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which was blamed for the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.