Sunday morning news with Ray – September 6, 2015
From the headquarters of Reach More Now in Fort Worth, Texas, and this is the morning news for Sunday, August 6, 2015……
A Russian intelligence ship, capable of cutting undersea communications cables and other sensors, has been spotted by the U.S. military off the coast of Kings Bay, Ga., home to the U.S. Navy’s East Coast ballistic missile submarine fleet.
U.S. military satellites have been tracking the Russian spy ship since it was spotted in the north Atlantic last month and slowly began transiting toward its next destination — Cuba. A senior military official said the ship is now about 300 miles off the coast of the U.S., as it heads toward the island.
Another senior defense official told Fox News that while the Pentagon is tracking the Russian intel ship, the Russian ship “remains in international waters.”
When asked if the U.S. had similar spy ships off the coast of Russia, he answered, “Of course we do, what do you think all those ‘oceanographic ships’ are doing, studying whales?”
At the U.S. sub base in Georgia, there are six Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, known as “boomers,” each capable of firing 24 Trident intercontinental ballistic missiles. Each missile holds up to 10 independent nuclear warheads. In addition to the ballistic missile subs, there are two other guided-missile subs capable of firing hundreds of Tomahawk cruise missiles.
In January, another Russian spy ship was spotted moored in Havana harbor in Cuba. Russian intel ships have been spotted in Cuba on a number of occasions in the past year.
The Washington Free Beacon was first to report the most recent sighting of the Russian spy ship.
In April, the head of the U.S. military’s Northern Command, Adm. Bill Gortney, confirmed the presence of two other Russian military ships operating near the United States at the time.
Separately, five Chinese warships were spotted in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska during President Obama’s visit to the state – but they have turned around and are heading back in the direction of China, according to a defense official briefed on the latest intelligence Thursday morning.
“They were the same ships that took part in the Russian-Chinese naval exercises which recently concluded in the Sea of Japan,” the official said.
In a possibly unrelated story, unconfirmed reports about Russia possibly planning to expand its military support for Syrian President Bashar Assad has prompted a warning from the U.S. that such actions could lead to a clash with coalition forces.
The State Department issued a statement after Secretary of State John Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to express concern over the rumors “suggesting an imminent enhanced Russian military build-up” in Syria.
The State Department said Kerry made it clear to Lavrov in their conversation that such actions “could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation” with the anti-Islamic State coalition led by the U.S. that is carrying out airstrikes in Syria. However, the State Department didn’t elaborate or confirm the accuracy of those reports.
Russia has been an ally of Assad throughout Syria’s civil war and has provided diplomatic support and weaponry to help the Syrian leader maintain his grip on power. Moscow also maintains a small naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartous on the Mediterranean Sea.
Meanwhile, anti-government violence erupted on Saturday in the southern Syrian province of Sweida. The violence followed the killing of prominent cleric Sheik Wahid Balous in an explosion, which also claimed the lives of at least 25 others. Rioters holding the government responsible for the cleric’s death destroyed the statue of late Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad and besieged security offices, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other activist groups said.
Balous died in one of two consecutive car bomb explosions, including one near the National Hospital in Sweida. He was strong supporter of the rebels trying to topple Asasd.
The Observatory said the death toll rose Saturday to 37, including six security personnel killed in clashes with rioters. The city had witnessed large rallies in the days before the explosions against the failure of the government to provide basic services. Activists reported that there was no Internet service for the past few days.
Syria’s official news agency and other activist groups put the death toll from the blasts at 26. There was no immediate claim of responsibly for the bombings.
The Syrian government called the blasts “cowardly terrorist acts.” A police commander in the city, Mohammed Samra, said Sweida was “calm and stable” and denied any unrest, saying reports of violence were aimed at undermining security in the area.
Some of Balous’ supporters said in a statement they will expel security forces from Sweida province, which until now has largely stayed out of the fighting in Syria’s civil war.
City elders appealed for calm, warning against attempts to drag the province toward violence. Another statement from the city’s Druze leaders urged supporters to be patient as the cleric’s brother, who was seriously wounded in the attack, recovers.
A 10th century offshoot of Shiite Islam, the Druze made up about 5 percent of Syria’s prewar population of 23 million people, and is split between supporters and opponents of Assad.
In neighboring Lebanon, which also has a sizeable Druze population, the sect’s political leader Walid Jumblatt said Balous’s death was a “painful strike” to the community.
“It is time for the honorable citizens (of Sweida) to rise up in the face of the Syrian regime that wants repression and to spread sedition,” he told the anti-government Syrian Orient TV.
The National Syrian Coalition opposition group in exile also blamed the Syrian government for the killing of the cleric, known as “the Dignity Sheikh,” saying it was part of an attempt to stop the anti-government protests in recent days. In a statement, coalition member Suheir Attasi said killing Balous only “increased the popular anger in the province.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
An Arizona judge upheld the state’s landmark immigration law on Friday after challengers failed to show that police would enforce the statute differently for Latinos than it would for people of other ethnicities.
The ruling could signal the end of the case and give a victory to backers of the 2010 law. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton dismissed the challenge and upheld provisions previously ruled on by appeals courts.
Bolton upheld the law’s controversial requirement that police, while enforcing other laws, can question the immigration status of those suspected of being in the country illegally. The Supreme Court also upheld the requirement, but the law’s challengers continued to try to get it overturned at a lower-level court.
Opponents have “not produced any evidence that state law enforcement officials will enforce SB1070 differently for Latinos than a similarly situated person of another race or ethnicity,” Bolton wrote.
It’s unclear whether challengers will appeal Bolton’s ruling. Karen Tumlin, an attorney representing a coalition of civil rights groups, said in a statement they would “evaluate all legal options moving forward.”
Former state Sen. Russell Pearce, who sponsored the initial legislation, applauded Bolton’s judgment.
“She made it very clear the law was written very carefully not to be a race issue. It’s not a racial law,” Pearce said.
The judge did make one change to the law. She permanently barred a section of the law that prohibited people from blocking traffic when seeking or offering day labor services on the streets. An appeals court previously also held Arizona couldn’t force such provisions. Opponents argued that day labor rules unconstitutionally restrict the free speech rights of people who want to express their need for work.
Arizona’s frustrations over federal enforcement of the state’s border with Mexico spawned a movement nearly a decade ago to have local police confront illegal immigration. Several such laws — including the state’s ban on immigrant smuggling and automatic denial of bail to people in the country illegally who are charged with certain crimes — have since been thrown out by the courts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(CNN)West Point thrives on tradition, including a mass pillow fight held on campus to give first-year students a chance to blow off steam after a “tough first summer” of basic training, academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr. said in a statement.
But the pillow fight held August 20 got rough, with 30 members of the class of 2019 requiring medical attention and 24 suffering concussions, Caslen said in a statement.
Other injuries included a broken nose, a dislocated shoulder, and a hairline fracture of a cheekbone, he said. All the students have returned to duty.
Caslen didn’t say how the injuries occurred but that an investigation has been started.
The New York Times, which broke the story, reported some plebes swung pillow cases containing hard objects.
A video posted on YouTube showed several hundred students pouring into a courtyard and swinging pillowcases in a disorganized manner.
“While these spirit events do occur, we never condone any activity that results in intentional harm to a teammate,” he said. ” Although the vast majority of the class appears to have maintained the spirit of the event; it is apparent that a few did not.”
Medical personnel will follow up with the injured students, he said.
Caslen also said he takes full responsibility for the pillow fight. “We remain committed to the development of leaders of character. We will continue our investigation, ensure accountability, and reinforce with the Corps that we must all take care of our teammates.”
US President Barack Obama celebrates his 54th birthday on August 4. Traditionally, Obama goes to Hawaii for his birthday, where he plays golf with his friends. Sometimes, Obama’s golf trips to Hawaii raise scandals in the United States as Obama goes to relax at the time when he should deal with many more important things in the White House. The US elite has chosen the president who is inexperienced in everything: in business, politics, administration, diplomacy, and so on and so forth. This leads to strategic errors in domestic and foreign policy. There is even a prophecy that the 44th President of the US will be the last.
1. A Harvard graduate, Barack Obama is weak in history, geography and English. “We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad, the Interstate Highway System,” Obama once said. To do that, the US would have to build a railroad to Paris. Praising an interpreter of Haitian descent, Barack Obama called him “Navy Corpse-man Christian Brossard” making a mistake in pronunciation. Interestingly, Obama believes that residents of Austria speak the “Austrian language.” Obama believes that there are 57 states in the USA, although there are 50 of them, plus the District of Columbia. Such slips of the tongue may cause international scandal. The United States had to apologize to Poland for Obama’s remarks about WWII. Talking about the Holocaust, the US president referred to “a Polish death camp” while posthumously awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski.
2. Barack Obama does not know the rules of diplomatic etiquette. He may have bad advisors too. British newspapers had written a lot about the exchange of gifts between Obama and then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown during the visit of the latter to Washington in March 2009. Barack Obama reportedly gave Brown 25 classic American DVDs, while Brown presented Obama with an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet and the first edition of seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.
3. Barack Obama ignores his allies. Millions of people, including more than 50 world leaders, marched in an anti-terrorist “Je suis Charlie” action in Paris. Barack Obama did not come to France – it was US ambassador to France Jane Hartley that was in Paris instead. It took White House officials a long time to explain to allies that Barack Obama misspoke when he said in an interview with Vox that the attack on a kosher store in Paris was “accidental”, while Paris was trumpeting that the terrorist act had been prepared in advance. In fact, the attack was not a terrorist act – it was an operation of special services, quite possibly, American ones. Barack Obama was aware of that. The day after the crash of the Malaysian Boeingin the sky over the Donbass, when Western leaders and celebrities were donating money to help the victims of the terrible tragedy, the US president attended an event to raise funds for the Democratic National Committee in New York City.
4. Let the world go to hell, but I will play golf. Sounds like an allusion to the film “I Am Legend.” In America, many still can not forgive Obama for the game of golf that he played after the execution of the first hostage of the Islamic State, American photojournalist James Foley. Barack Obama does not know what to do to counter the threat of the Islamic State. The President played his 200th game of golf in October, and the same day, a second American was diagnosed with Ebola virus, many US publications wrote. One shall assume that Americans think of Obama as a golf player, rather than a politician.
5. Barack Obama has a sense of superiority to his fellow citizens. Speaking at The Tonight Show, he made an awkward joke when he said that his bowling was “like Special Olympics or something” (a competition for mentally handicapped people). In the US, this type of humor is unacceptable for all, even for presidents. On January 8, 2015, Barack Obama’s motorcade drove past the Phoenix hospital for veterans who had requested assistance from the US administration in the provision of housing and medical treatment. There was a big scandal. The Americans were very upset, when Barack Obama did not allow journalists to attend the ceremony commemorating the 45th anniversary of the first American mission to the moon.
6. Barack Obama is indecisive when it comes to red lines. He drew a red line for Bashar al-Assad and threatened to invade Syria, but when it was time to act, Obama refused to fight without the permission from the Congress, which, incidentally, he never received. Obama drew a red line for Russia as well. He said that Russia would have to pay a very high price for its actions in Ukraine. Obama said that Russia would be isolated from the world, but it never happened. According to IMF, Western sanctions cost Russia nine percent of GDP. Russia is building a new world order in cooperation with China, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Does Obama still believe in Russia’s isolation?
7. The Americans are very concerned about the current state of affairs in the nation’s economy. Obama has bad history when it comes to jobs, the unemployment rate, social and business projects. Barack Obama is finishing his second term with a civil war between the blacks and the whites, the goal of which is to win the votes of the blacks.
8. The President of the United States does not learn lessons of the past. He pulled US troops out from Iraq promising to end the unjust war in the country. Islamic State fighters filled the vacuum instantly. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was referred to as a peacemaker after the Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler in 1938, but Chamberlain was ridiculed when fascism conquered Europe. The agreement with Iran will be ridiculed too: if Barack Obama has ensured peace, it will last only till the end of his term in the office.
9. Barack Obama does not have the free spirit of an American entrepreneur either. Of course, Obama is not pleased with Russia’s support for Iran, Syria and the Russian world in Ukraine. Many observers believe the White House imposed sanctions against Russia because of Putin’s decision not to deliver Edward Snowden to the USA. Crimea’s reunion was used as a distraction. In American gangster films, there is a tradition to say “nothing personal, just business” when killing someone. The slogan reflects the common American belief that it is business that sets rules of conduct. Obama takes revenge on Putin personally – this is bad for business, bad for his country, bad for the West.
Pravda.Ru – See more at: http://english.pravda.ru/world/americas/04-08-2015/131574-barack_obama_birthday-0/#sthash.XOwNY0OV.dpuf
Sunday morning news with Ray – September 6, 2015