New violation of Venezuelan airspace by U.S. plane

Caracas, November 15 (RHC)-- The Strategic Operational Command of the Armed Forces of Venezuela (Ceofanb) has denounced that Washington once again violated Bolivarian airspace with a spy plane of the U.S. Air Force.

"Once again the U.S. violates international aeronautical treaties when entering with a spy plane RC135 of the USAF in the FIR (region of flight information) controlled by the RBV (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela), without complying with the protocols and putting at risk the safety of aircraft that were in the airspace, " Ceofanb said on Twitter.

This year so far, the Venezuelan Armed Forces have repeatedly denounced threats to their airspace by U.S. military aircraft.  On October 22nd, Ceofanb reported the overflight of a drone around the facilities of the Paraguana Refining Complex, in the state of Falcón (northwest Venezuela).

Similarly, on July 27th, they also warned that a U.S. plane entered our territorial airspace again and violated aeronautical safety and international treaties.

Also, on July 19th, the Comprehensive Aerospace Defense Command (CODAI) detected and intercepted a U.S.-type EP-3E (intelligence and radio-electronic exploration) spacecraft in Venezuelan airspace.

Earlier, Vice President of Communications of Venezuela Jorge Rodríguez explained that American spy planes had made more than 70 incursions into the airspace of his country.

Edited by Ed Newman
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The world demands an end to the US blockade against Cuba

Countries from different continents raised their voices on Wednesday at the UN General Assembly to call for an end to the US economic blockade against Cuba, which with its extraterritorial nature affects many nations.

The permanent representative of Vietnam to the UN, Danh Dinh Quy, stressed that this policy is a violation of Cubans' human rights and also transgresses international law.

For his part, the Mexican Ambassador to the United Nations, Juan Ramon de la Fuente, expressed his rejection of unilateral measures against Cuba, such as the US blockade.

Syrian representative Bashar Al Jaafari condemned the unjust US policy against Cuba, whose effects go beyond that country's borders.

The Ambassador of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Inga Rhonda King, denounced that the US blockade is a unilateral measure that represents an affront to all the principles on which international relations are based.

In addition, she highlighted the example and spirit of solidarity of Cuba in areas such as health and humanitarian assistance.

This Wednesday and Thursday, for the twenty-eighth consecutive occasion, the draft resolution 'Necessity to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba' is being presented to the UN General Assembly.

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Cuba denounces selectivity, double standards in humanitarian issues

United Nations, Nov 1 (Prensa Latina) The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Anayansi Rodriguez, denounced on Friday at the UN that selectivity, double standards and political manipulation in human rights issues persist.

These negative practices are moving forward again, which does not favor the spirit of dialogue and cooperation that should prevail, and only contributes to confrontation, she stressed in her speech at the General Assembly.

In her opinion, progress can only be made in the promotion and protection of human rights for all, based on the principles of universality, objectivity and non-discrimination.

Such pillars must be fully respected by the special procedures of the Human Rights Council and by the bodies created under instruments of that subject, she added.

Unfortunately, in some cases this does not happen, because while bitter criticisms are made against certain countries of the South, complicit silence is kept in the face of obvious human rights violations committed in highly developed nations, she denounced.

Cuba shares the criterion that the Human Rights Council can and should work better, and must continue to be a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly.

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Turkey "Heading In Wrong Direction" Over Syria: US

Brussels, Belgium: Turkey is "heading in the wrong direction" with its incursion into Syria and its deal with Russia to jointly patrol a "safe zone" there, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper warned Thursday.

"Turkey put us all in a very terrible situation" by sweeping into northern Syria this month to fight Kurdish militia allied with the US in the fight against the Islamic State group, Mark Esper told a conference in Brussels ahead of a NATO defence ministers' meeting.

"I think the incursion's unwarranted," Mark Esper said.

The onus was on Turkey's NATO allies to now "work together to strengthen our partnership with them, and get them on the trend back to being the strong reliable ally of the past," he said.

The issue of Turkey's military offensive in Syria is set to dominate the two-day NATO meeting, with diplomats in the organisation saying "frank" discussions with Ankara's representatives have already taken place.

A subsequent arrangement with Russia to clear Kurdish militia that Turkey regards as "terrorists" linked to the outlawed PKK group on its soil has also raised hackles.

Yet, while isolated in NATO, Turkey's strategic position between Europe and the Middle East is seen as too important to jeopardise, so the other alliance members have limited themselves to criticism only.

Mark Esper defended the US decision to pull US forces out of northern Syria, effectively opening the path to the Turkish operation.

"The US decision to withdraw less than 50 soldiers from the zone of attack was made after it was made very clear to us that President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan made the decision to come across the border," he said.

He added that "I was not about to put less than 50 US soldiers in between a 15,000-man-plus Turkish army preceded by Turkish militia and jeopoardise the lives of those servicemen". Nor was he "about to start a fight with a NATO ally," he said.

Mark Esper acknowledged "there has been some criticism" about the US withdrawal "but nobody's yet offered a better alternative to what the United States did. We are trying to keep a very strategic perspective."

In his speech and question-and-answer session at the event hosted by the German Marshall Fund think tank, Mark Esper highlighted threats he said were posed by Iran, Russia and, especially and above all, China.

"NATO allies should be looking east," to China, he said, stating that Beijing's "heavy hand" was being seen politically, militarily and economically not only in Asia but further abroad, including into Europe with its "belt-and-road" project.

Adoption by NATO allies of China's Huawei company to build 5G telecoms networks would be a threat to intel-sharing within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, he said.

"I'll counsel our allies -- if Huawei becomes your provider of choice, this will affect our ability to share intelligence. We can't trust those networks," he said, adding: "We need to address those threats with eyes wide open."

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Stealth aggression: US attacked Iran with cyberweapons, including after Saudi oil refinery airstrike – reports

The US has conducted several cyberwarfare operations against Iran in recent months, including one in retaliation for the September 14 attack on Saudi oil infrastructure, according to Reuters sources.

The latest cyber-strike was conducted by the Pentagon sometime in late September and affected physical hardware, two sources told the news agency. The target is related to what the sources described as Tehran’s ability to spread “propaganda.” The operation was said to be smaller in scale than previous ones that took place during several months of US-Iranian brinkmanship.

Washington has a long record of using its cyber-offensive capabilities against Iran. The most famous example was Operation Olympic Games, which involved infecting industrial controllers at an Iranian uranium enrichment plant with a virus designed to damage centrifuges in ostensibly natural malfunctions. The campaign was conducted under the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and was stopped after the virus, called Stuxnet, got out of control and spread across the internet, where it was identified by cybersecurity experts.

Also on rt.com Khamenei tells Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to create its own advanced and modern weapons...

The latest cyberoperation was meant as retaliation for the September 14 drone and missile attack on a Saudi Arabian oil facility which the US and its allies blamed on Tehran. Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have been fighting against a Saudi-led military incursion into their country since 2015, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The escalation of tensions between the US and Iran started last year when President Donald Trump broke an international agreement signed by his predecessor and launched a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. Trump re-imposed economic sanctions which had been lifted in exchange for Iran’s agreement to restrict its nuclear industry, and targeted Iranian oil exports, threatening buyers of Iranian crude with secondary sanctions.

Washington’s public response to the September 14 airstrikes was to deploy additional troops and weapons to the region – the latest in a series of similar moves this year.

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‘We don’t need aircraft carriers, we need weapons to sink them with’ – Russian defense minister

The US may have a military budget that far exceeds that of Russia, but it doesn’t matter since the Russian military is there to defend the country, not attack other nations, the Russian defense minister said.

Russia’s military budget received a hike a few years ago for a massive rearmament program, but has been rolled back in recent years. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimated Russia to be the world’s sixth biggest defense spender in 2018, behind the US, China, Saudi Arabia, India, and France. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has been showered with money under the Trump administration, dwarfing other nations’ military budgets.

Also on rt.com US Navy’s most expensive ship ever can’t get ammo to deck, can’t launch new F-35 fighters...

But the man in charge of the Russian Defense Ministry says his fellow Russians have no reasons to worry, because their taxpayer rubles are well spent.

“The US spends huge amounts of money on private military contractors, on aircraft carriers. Well, does Russia really need five to ten aircraft carrier strike groups, considering that we do not intend to attack anyone?” Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told a Russian newspaper.

We need the means we could use against the enemy’s carrier strike groups should our country come under attack. They are far less costly and more efficient.

The minister also criticized Washington for its habit of justifying its military interventions throughout the world by the interests of the people living in the nations it targets.

“In which of the nations they went ‘to bring democracy’ did democracy flourish? Was that Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria?” Shoigu said. “And one certainly can forget about sovereignty and independence after American involvement.”

Also on rt.com Trump deploys reinforcements to Persian Gulf to defend ‘American oil’ & other assets, not US allies....

He added that the US doesn’t seem to be losing its appetite for ruining other nations, be it through military intervention or other means.

“Our Western colleagues love to accuse Russia of waging ‘hybrid wars’ or whatever. Well, I say [the] West is the one conducting actual hybrid warfare. The US now is about to leave Afghanistan in half-ruins and at the same time they work hard to stir things in Venezuela – all for the ‘triumph of democracy’ of course.”

The US tried this year to topple the Venezuelan government by supporting Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president of the Latin American country. His pretendership, however, has not been that successful. His two attempts at triggering a large-scale public uprising and ousting President Nicolas Maduro fizzled despite Washington’s promise that it would lift crippling economic sanctions against Venezuela once their man takes control.

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China urges US to take steps to ensure North Korea talks resume

China urged the United States on Thursday to adopt a more conducive approach towards North Korea, in order to restart stalled nuclear talks after Pyongyang indicated it wanted to resume negotiations. 

North Korea said on Monday it was willing to restart nuclear talks with the US in late September but warned that dealings between the sides could end unless Washington takes a different approach.

A few hours later, it fired a new round of short-range projectiles.

Speaking in Beijing, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said China welcomed North Korea's recent "positive signals" on restarting stalled talks.

"We would be glad to see North Korea and the United States resuming talks on schedule at the end of the month," Wang told a joint news conference with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

Arguing that both sides' core concerns must be addressed in order for talks to achieve real progress, Wang added: "If there are only preconditions made for the other side ... or even trying to use extreme pressure to get the other side to make unilateral concessions, then this didn't work in the past and it won't work now or in the future."

North Korea has so far this year taken a series of positive steps, and has asked the US to meet them halfway, he said.

China urged the United States on Thursday to adopt a more conducive approach towards North Korea, in order to restart stalled nuclear talks after Pyongyang indicated it wanted to resume negotiations. 

North Korea said on Monday it was willing to restart nuclear talks with the US in late September but warned that dealings between the sides could end unless Washington takes a different approach.

A few hours later, it fired a new round of short-range projectiles.

Speaking in Beijing, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said China welcomed North Korea's recent "positive signals" on restarting stalled talks.

"We would be glad to see North Korea and the United States resuming talks on schedule at the end of the month," Wang told a joint news conference with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

Arguing that both sides' core concerns must be addressed in order for talks to achieve real progress, Wang added: "If there are only preconditions made for the other side ... or even trying to use extreme pressure to get the other side to make unilateral concessions, then this didn't work in the past and it won't work now or in the future."

North Korea has so far this year taken a series of positive steps, and has asked the US to meet them halfway, he said.

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‘We’re living the end of Western hegemony’: Macron urges to stop pushing Russia away from Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that it would be a “strategic mistake” for Western nations not to change their attitude toward Moscow.

“We are living the end of Western hegemony,” Macron told diplomats on Tuesday, after hosting the G7 meeting in the city of Biarritz on France’s Atlantic coast over the weekend. He named the rise of Beijing and Moscow as signs of a shift on the world scene.

Pushing Russia away from Europe is a profound strategic mistake.

“We’re either pushing Russia into isolation, which increases tensions, or to ally itself with other major powers like China, which would not be in our interest,” Macron said, calling for the “rethinking” of relations with Moscow. Otherwise, Europe will be stuck with “frozen conflicts” and will remain “a theater for strategic struggle between the US and Russia,” he stressed.

Also on rt.com Trump would ‘certainly’ invite Putin to next G7 summit...

Macron’s rhetoric towards Moscow has somewhat softened in recent months. During cordial talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin last week, he vowed to do his best to rebuild trust between Russia and the EU.

US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, suggested inviting Putin to attend the G7 event next year, which he will be hosting. He argued that it would be more useful to discuss pressing world issues with Russia, a major player, present at the table.

Also on rt.com Putin-Macron meeting heralds glorious summer after long winter of disconten...

The French leader also talked about the “unprecedented crisis” plaguing the global market economy.

The world order is being shaken like never before.

“It’s being shaken because of errors made by the West in certain crises, but also by the choices made by the United States in the past few years – and not just by the current administration.”

These “choices” are impacting “the conflicts in the Middle and elsewhere, making it necessary to rethink military and diplomatic strategies,” the president noted.

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