March 30, 2017
SUPREME COURT CONFIRMATION HEARINGS
US HAS ‘NO GOOD MILITARY OPTIONS’ AGAINST KIM JONG UN, EX-AMBASSADOR SAYS
"In the last few years, North Korea's threat has really grown"
Josh Keefe | IBTimes
With each new weapons test, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un continued this month to inch closer to developing the ability to conduct a nuclear strike against the U.S.
But while tensions with the isolated country have continued to escalate, the world’s foremost military force has no viable options for striking the communist nation, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea said Sunday. “There are no good military options,” Christopher Hill, who served as former President George W. Bush’s ambassador to South Korea from 2004 to 2005, said in an interview on New York’s AM 970.
“In the last few years, North Korea’s threat has really grown,” said Hill, who also served as ex-President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Iraq from 2009 to 2010. “Now we are seeing them modernize their missile arsenal such that it’s quite likely in the near future… North Korea will have a deliverable nuclear weapon. And then the question is, what are we all going to do about that?” Despite conducting what U.S. military officials described as a on Wednesday, North Korea remained undaunted and was still aggressively trying to build its nuclear weapons program, experts warned. U.S. officials believed the country was ready to conduct its sixth nuclear test.
MINISTER: GREECE WON’T TAKE BACK REFUGEES FROM NORTHERN EUROPE
‘A new wave of refugees this summer would overwhelm us,’ foreign minister said
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said his country does not have the capacity nor the financial means to take back refugees from Germany and other northern European countries.
“Some EU countries think that they can use Italy and Greece as closed boxes, where refugees can be stored,” Kotzias told newspaper Die Welt in an interview published Thursday. The comments follow German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere’s announcement he would return rejected asylum seekers to Greece after the country’s asylum syystem had improved. Germany had stopped deportations to Greece in 2011 following deficiencies in the system. The European Commission had also proposed reintroducing the so-called Dublin rules on March 15, forcing refugees to claim asylum in the country where they first entered Europe.
"This is not European thinking,” Kotzias said, ahead of a meeting with his German colleague Sigmar Gabriel on Thursday in Athens. “Greece has shown great humanity in the reception of refugees. But a new wave of refugees this summer would overwhelm us. Greece is at the limit of its potential,” he said, and called for more support from EU member countries in dealing with the refugee crisis. Over the past year, tens of thousands of refugees have arrived in Greece, making their way from the Middle East to Europe. In the first months of 2017, 3,000 refugees arrived in the country.
FINANCIAL INCENTIVE OFFERED BY EU FOR MIGRANTS RETURN TO COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
By Florian Muller
Financial incentive. Reward for good behavior. Gift. Bribe. Call it what you like, but payments to migrants to encourage them to return to their countries of origin are now key to Europe’s migration policy.
They are also creating a problem. The amount offered in so-called assisted voluntary return payments varies considerably across the EU. Migrants in Germany, can receive upwards of €5,000 in payments and in-kind assistance to leave, while those in the Czech Republic receive nothing. That has created perverse incentives, with the European Commission warning about migrants “shopping” around for the best deal. In a communication earlier this month, the Commission argued that the levels of cash or in-kind contributions returnees receive for leaving voluntarily should be consistent across the bloc. Member countries have officially welcomed the move but there is little sign yet of it being put into practice.
A common return policy was discussed by EU home affairs ministers. Carmelo Abela, the home affairs minister of Malta, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council, said the current return policy is not effective. “We need to make sure that our assistance helps to boost these returns,” he said. Paying asylum seekers and other irregular migrants to leave might seem a politically dangerous tactic for EU members
to deal with their immigration headache, particularly with nationalist movements on the rise across the Continent
. But it has been adopted by most EU countries as a way to unclog their overwhelmed asylum systems. According to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, only a third of those whose applications to stay are unsuccessful actually leave, something he described earlier this month as”not sustainable.” In some cases, in order to receive the payment and other assistance, the migrant must agree to go voluntarily before their case has been decided. This works out cheaper for the host country in the long run than forceful deportation.
"Voluntary returns are a very important part of our return policy, "the more migrants that leave voluntarily, the less have to be locked up and deported
." a Commission official said.
TRUMP HANDED MERKEL $375 BILLION INVOICE FOR NATO DEFENSES DURING RECENT VISIT
Trump trolls Merkel with "bill" for NATO debt
A couple of weeks ago we wrote several notes about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s painfully awkward visit to the White House. After meeting in private, the pair sat down in the oval office for a brief press conference where you could cut the tension with a knife. At one point someone from the media asked for a handshake but the request was promptly ignored. Now, a couple of weeks later, we learn what may have prompted some of the tension in the room between Merkel and Trump that day. According to a new report from The Times of London President Trump apparently took advantage of Merkel’s visit to Washington D.C. to pass her a $375 billion invoice for ‘overdue’ NATO defense expenses. According to The Hill, chancellor Merkel largely ignored the invoice though it certainly seems to have accomplished it’s goal of ruffling some feathers. “The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond to such provocations,” a German minister told the newspaper.
During Mr Trump's presidential campaign he said the NATO alliance was outdate and has called for member countries to increase defense spending to support the organization. Merkel “ignored the provocation,” the Times said. As reported, the invoice was based on a 2014 pledge from NATO countries to spend 2% of their GDP on national defense. As such, Trump allegedly instructed aides to calculate how much German spending fell below that 2% target for the past 12 years, added interest and created an invoice which he hand delivered. Meanwhile, with the benefit of this new information, Trump’s tweets from March 18th, after his meetings with Merkel, take on all new meaning.
Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes..... vast sums of money to NATO and the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany! And while Merkel has largely ignored the invoice, other German ministers have decided upon more aggressive responses. In response to the claims, Germandefence minister Ursula Von der Leyen rejected the notion the European nation owed the US or Nato. She issued a statement saying: “There is no debt account at Nato. Defence spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against [Isis] terrorism. Her comments were backed by Ivo Daalder, permanent representative to Nato from 2009 to 2013 under the Obama administration, who queried the President’s understanding of the organisation. Daalder tweeted: “Sorry Mr President, that’s not how Nato works. The US decides for itself how much it contributes to defending Nato. “This is not a financial transaction, where Nato countries pay the US to defend them. It is part of our treaty commitment.”
ATTORNEY GENERAL: SANCTUARY JURISDICTIONS WILL NOT RECEIVE FEDERAL FUNDING
Jurisdictions which 'willfully refuse to comply' with immigration laws will not be eligible for federal funds
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans to rollback federal funding for towns and states across the US which refuse to enforce federal immigration laws. In remarks delivered Monday, Sessions encouraged local and state jurisdictions to comply with immigration laws, and indicated communities which defy federal detention and deportation procedures would likely lose grants totaling upwards of $4.1 billion. The charges and convictions against these aliens include drug trafficking, hit and run, rape, sex offenses against a child and even murder.
Sessions went on to describe two instances in which sanctuary policies led to the murders of innocent US citizens. We all remember the tragic case of Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old woman who was shot and killed two years ago in San Francisco as she walked along a pier with her father. The shooter, Francisco Sanchez, was an illegal immigrant who had already been deported five times and had seven felony convictions. Just eleven weeks before the shooting, San Francisco had released Sanchez from its custody, even though ICE had filed a detainer requesting that he be kept in custody until immigration authorities could pick him up for removal. Even worse, Sanchez admitted that the only reason he came to San Francisco was because of its sanctuary policies.
A similar story unfolded just last week, when Ever Valles, an illegal immigrant and Mexican national, was charged with murder and robbery of a man at a light rail station. Valles was released from a Denver jail in late December, despite the fact that ICE had lodged a detainer for his removal.
In accordance with President Trump’s commitment to law and order, Sessions announced that jurisdictions which “willfully refuse to comply” with immigration laws would not be eligible for federal funds, “except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary." This policy is entirely consistent with the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) guidance issued last July under the previous administration, the attorney general stated. Additionally, communities which “willfully” violated 8 U.S.C. Section 1373 and have already received funding may have to pay it back. The American people want and deserve a lawful immigration system that keeps us safe and serves our national interest. This expectation is reasonable, and our government has a duty to meet it. And we will meet it.”
400 ISIS JIHADISTS BACK IN UK, WARNS SECURITY EXPERT
Security fail - or police state win?
The top priority for any government is meant to be to protect its citizens. Britain has allowed hundreds of battle-hardened ISIS fanatics to walk back into the country. Security services are now warning that more than 400 ISIS jihadists are back in Britain. It is an absurd, mad position to put the public in. Why on Earth were these nutcases ever allowed to return? Why were their passports not cancelled and citizenship stripped? Instead, Britain now faces the very real possibility of trained killing machines carrying out attacks on the streets of London or elsewhere. When we talk about strong borders outside of the EU, we usually talk about the numbers of migrants. Now the country is reduced to allowing in terrorists.
HOUSE APPROVES BILL TO LET INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS SELL YOUR BROWSING HISTORY
Rule had required telecommunications firms to get permission to market customers’ app, web-browsing history
John D. McKinnon | WSJ
House lawmakers on Tuesday voted to overturn an Obama-era privacy rule for broadband providers, buoying telecommunications firms but potentially muddying consumer-protection standards.
The vote, largely along party lines, was 215 to 205. The rule, adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in the waning months of the Obama administration, required telecommunications firms such as Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications to get customers’ permission to market their app and web-browsing history to third parties. It was opposed by broadband providers, who said it could unfairly tilt the playing field in favor of internet rivals, such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit and Facebook which generally are regulated by another agency, the Federal Trade Commission, and face less stringent standards when it comes to consumers’ data.
Congressional Democrats as well as consumer advocates complained on Tuesday that the rollback removes important legal protections for broadband-access customers.
The bill “totally wipes out consumer protections” on the internet, said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D, Calif).
HPV VACCINE PARALYSES 12-YEAR-OLD ASPIRING POP STAR
Doctor claims it is all psychological
Standing proudly as she clutched a microphone and belted out a tune, 12-year-old Mia Blesky dreamed of being a pop star.
However, just days after being videoed she found herself unable to move and just weeks later she was left paralysed from the neck down and in hospital. Mia’s family claim she has suffered an alleged reaction to the controversial HPV vaccine. However, doctors claim that her problem is psychological – and the only help they’ve offered the family is to section her. A harrowing video shows how her health deteriorated rapidly – as she shuffles before lying still in her adapted bed at home and croons softly, unable to move.