Russia to NATO: Stop Dominating World, Warns of Arms Race

Russia condemned NATO's "reckless" and "destructive" efforts, and warned that continued actions near Russia's border would lead to an arms race.

On Friday in response to the ongoing North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Brussels, the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned in a statement Friday the “destructive line” of NATO allied nations which it said are an attempt to dominate global affairs. The ministry warned that the alliance's actions make a constructive relationship impossible, and will lead to an arms race.

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Moscow blamed deteriorating NATO-Russian relations on western aggression. “The growing negative tendency is not Russia's choice,” the Foreign Ministry reiterated. “This is a direct result of a destructive line of the bloc, aimed at reckless achievement of military and political dominance in European and global affairs,” they continued.

The statement comes in response to NATO reaffirming its approach of simultaneously building up defense against Russia, while also seeking a more “constructive relationship.”

“NATO is a defensive alliance. NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia. Actually we recognize that Russia is our biggest neighbour, Russia is here to stay, and we are striving for a better and more constructive relationship with Russia. At the same time, NATO has to deliver credible deterrence and defence. Because by delivering credible deterrence and defence we are preventing conflict. We are preventing war,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a press conference on Wednesday.

The statement went on to justify heightened NATO activity near Russia as being necessary following the annexation of Crimea.

However, Moscow does not view NATO actions as “defensive,” as Stoltenberg insisted. Rather they see them as “the alliance's desire to legitimize military preparations near the Russian borders, which – in conjunction with the military activity of individual bloc countries – change the alignment of forces in Europe and lead to a dangerous spiral of an arms race.”

In addition to tensions from conflicts of interest in the ongoing Syrian conflict, last year NATO stationed 1,100 soldiers in the Baltic region close to the Russian border, 900 of which were U.S. troops.

The Russian ministry acknowledged that Russian-NATO relations “are in the deepest crisis since the end of the Cold War,” and went on to condemn efforts at “whipping up a myth on 'a threat from the East'.”

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U.S. President Donald Trump has pressured for NATO European allies to increase military spending in order to do their “fair share.” Doubts are cast over the unpredictable U.S. President's committment to the organization, which he called "obsolete" while campaigning.

NATO was founded in 1949 as a collective defense alliance between various North American and European states. According to Article 5 of the NATO charter, members are obligated to assist any member country that is attacked. NATO countries formed an allied military bloc in opposition to the socialist Soviet bloc during the cold war.

Since the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the militaristic organization has played a role in regime change interventions like Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya that claimed tens of thousands of lives and produced a crisis of refugees due to destabilization. As member nations arrived in Brussels this week, thousands protested the meeting of the organization.

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Pentagon: 45 civilians killed by coalition strikes on Islamic State

Investigations conducted during the month of March reveal that US-led coalition airstrikes targeting Islamic State killed 45 civilians, mostly in and around the Iraqi city of Mosul, according to a Pentagon statement released on Sunday.

In each incident, the Pentagon said "all feasible precautions were taken," but the strikes still resulted in "unintentional" loss of civilian life.

The report did not include findings from an ongoing investigation into a March 17 strike targeting Islamic State fighters in Mosul. That strike resulted in more than 100 civilian deaths, according to reports from residents. Last month, the US acknowledged coalition planes conducted a strike "at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties," but did not confirm the reports of high civilian casualties.

A car bomb explodes next to Iraqi special forces armored vehicles as they advance towards Islamic State held territory in Mosul in 2016A bomb explodes next to Iraqi special forces armored vehicles as they advance towards Islamic State held territory in Mosul in 2016 Credit: AP

The March 17 strike sparked outrage in Iraq and beyond with calls from local government officials as well as the United Nations for greater restraint in the fight against IS for Mosul. The United Nations reported nearly 2,000 civilians have been treated for trauma since the fight for western Mosul began in February following the formal launch of the operation to retake Mosul in October 2016.

Coalition officials have declined to give a time frame as to when the investigation into the incident will be complete.The Pentagon acknowledged at least 352 civilians have been killed by coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria since the start of the air campaign against Islamic state, also known as Isil, in 2014. Activists and monitoring groups put the number much higher. The London-based monitoring group Airwars reported that coalition strikes have killed more than 3,000 civilians in Iraq and Syria since 2014. 

Iraqi forces declared Mosul's eastern half "fully liberated" in January, but have since struggled to retake the city's western side. Claustrophobic terrain and tens of thousands of civilians being held by the extremists as human shields have bogged Iraqi and coalition forces down.

The Sunday statement also included the findings of an audit begun in March that inspected the way the US-led coalition reports and tracks civilian casualties in the fight against Islamic State. The statement said the audit found that 80 civilian deaths caused by coalition airstrikes had not been previously publicly reported and two civilian deaths previously reported were found to have not been caused by the coalition.

The US began the campaign of airstrikes against Islamic State in 2014 after the extremists pushed into Iraq from Syria, overrunning Mosul and large swaths of Iraq's north and west. Since then Iraqi forces have slowly clawed back territory. Now a cluster of western Mosul neighborhoods are the last significant urban terrain under Islamic State control in Iraq. 

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Is Trump’s Wall Tilting?

The republican senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz (Texas) proposed last Tuesday a wild idea: that the Wall be financed with the money confiscated to Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán.

The Spanish state agency EFE reported that Trump won't be able to meet ideas announced for the beginning of this border plan.

Therefore, the approval of the transitory budget, theoretically before Saturday has now been extended until September.

“It’s good for the country that Trump withdraws the financing of the Wall from these negotiations", said the leader of the democratic minority of the Senate, Chuck Schumer.

"Now the negotiators of both parties may carry on in high-priority issues", he added.

The new link forced Sean Spicer, White House spokesman to clarify that they will continue that work.

Analysts remembered that, in his presidential campaign, Trump promised to build a 3,100-kilometer long wall in the Mexican border that “would put an end to illegal immigration.”

He even dared to say that the Mexican government would be paying for the expenses of the building.

However, last Tuesday, once again, high-ranking Mexican officials denied the validity of such unrelenting statement.

It was this time the Foreign Affairs Minister for Mexico, Luis Videgaray who denied such beliefs.

What did he say? At a meeting with legislators he assured that “we won't pay a cent” for Trump’s wall.

He went even further when he qualified this project as a hostile act against his country.

It’s not just a bad idea, but also an "unfriendly and hostile" act, against us, Videgaray remarked.

Lastly he sentenced: “it will hardly serve its ultimate purpose.”

Earlier, Trump had requested the Congress of Washington the granting of federal funds to begin the construction of the wall.

Observers alerted that on Monday he gave hints of preferring “to freeze” that intention until next September.

Meanwhile, chancellor Videgaray added another annoying question to the process.

He assured that his government “would consider” to reduce the security cooperation with the United States if the bilateral dialogue on immigration and trade doesn't go well.

He also noticed, without giving details that they are evaluating to charge North Americans entering their territory.

It’s a clear indicator how far Trump’s Wall rarifies important matters in the area when the Mexican government –far from being a left-wing government – dares to take such stance against the United States.

It’s even more significant, because this is a keystone of his yet uncertain administration.

Undocumented in the United States: the Heavy Load of Anguish

Constant fear of separation from her mother, who has an order of deportation and risks being detained by authorities, forms part of the life of Leah, an 11 year-old girl of the U.S.

The child was recently part of a youth caravan of 40 who traveled from the southern state of Florida to Washington DC to call the attention on the anti-immigration policies of President Donald Trump's administration.

'No matter how much you try, you will never break our spirit!', said Leah in a message addressed to the Head of State last April 13 from the front of the White House.

There, participants in that march had the company of children, youths and parents of this capital and also from New York, Colorado, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia, in an initiative with the slogan We Belong Together.

Leah had the opportunity of sharing with those present that children are strong and will defend their communities and families from hatred. We are here to stay, said the girl who said to be the proud daughter of a domestic worker who has taught her to treat people gently and with respect.

Luna, another participant in the demonstration, assured that Trump does not worry over the 11 million undocumented in the United States and added 'we should unite and make our voices heard'.

I want to protect my community by all means possible. We the youths have the power to resist, united we stand negroes, indigenous and latinos, commented 13-year old Joanna in North Carolina.

According to organizers of the march, many of these kids have been directly affected by deportations and separation of families, lack of investment in their schools and criminalization of friends.

In the opinion of Carmen Rodriguez, undocumented of North Carolina, said the caravan should be the beginning of a great fight of immigrants all over the world.

Slogans such as 'We are here and we won't go and if you throw us out, we will return', and 'The immigrant community is here to stay' distinguished the march.

Other similar initiatives have taken place in different parts of the country. Participants in the march, many from Latin America, mainly Mexicans but also from Jordan, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan have asked to reform migratory policies and stop persecution by these persons.

On the other hand, democrat members of the House of Representatives presented at the end of March in Congress a bill to forbid authorities from detaining undocumented immigrants in notable public places.

According to its promoters, there has been an increase of denunciations of arrests of those persons in schools, hospitals and places of religious cults.

Legislator for New York, of Dominican origin, Adriano Espaillat and his colleagues José Serrano, also of New York; Suzanne Bonamici (Oregón) and Don Beyer (Virginia) support this bill.

For the U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, when those cities and states deny to help comply with the law, its country is less secure and such policies cannot continue.

Of the same opinion is U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, who defended last week the workers under his command in face of constant critics due to the migration policies.

Frequently, public officials make fun of them, they offend them and are condemned in the court of public opinion due to unfounded accusations invented by shysters and profesional spokespersons, he added.

Kelly asserted that Congressmen who criticize migration laws should have the courage and skill to change them or, on the contrary, shut up.

Official statistics show that over 21 thousand illegal immigrants, of them some five thousand 500 without a criminal record, have been arrested since Trump took over the White House.

Under the presidency of Barack Obama (2009-2017), the agents had instruction to detain only the immigrants guilty of severe crimes or that for any reason represented a threat to public security.

China and the U.S. Advocate for Greater Bilateral Coordination

Chinese president Xi Jinping and his U.S. peer, Donald Trump, agreed today over the telephone to increase coordination in global issues.

Both discussed bilateral links and the situation in the Korean peninsula and committed to keep a close contact through several channels and exchange perspectives on the main issues of common worry.

Xi emphasized that China firmly opposes any action that violates resolutions of tyhe UN Security Council and expressed his trust that the parties involved exercise contention and prevent taking steps that heighten tension in the península.

He also advocated for the parties to achieve denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as soon as possible in a peaceful way.

He affirmed China is ready to work and do everything possible with all parties involved, including the United States, to materialize peace in the Korean península, Northeast Asia and the whole world.

He recalled the important consensus reached with Trump during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago, Florida, previously this month and indicated that both have kept a very good communication recently, obtaining the positive evaluation of the Chinese and U.S. peoples and the rest of the international community.

With a quick change of the international situation, it is very necessary that China and the United States to maintain close contact and exchange points of view on important issues in an opportune manner, he considered.

He advocated that the two biggest world powers implement the consensus achieved between both nations and consolidate the thrust of a stable development of bilateral links.

The Chinese president also called the work teams of both territories to strengthen coordination on a good preparation of the visit of Trump to China this year and the prompt opening of the bilateral four-way dialogue mechanism, which includes the areas of foreign affairs and security; economy; application of the law and cybersecurity; and social and personal exchanges, as an important result of the meeting between Xi and Trump in Florida.

In the same way, the leader of the Asian giant called on Beijing and Washington to promote the economic and comercial cooperation, expand the exchange in the military field; the application of the law; Internet and interpersonal exchanges, strengthen communication on the main global and regional issues and promote China-U.S. relations to continue achieving new progress.

For his part, Trump described as very good his meeting with president Xi in Mar-a-Lago and expressed his satisfaction over the development of relations between both countries.

He considered relevant to keep in close contact and coordination over the main issues.

He calle don Xi to meet again in the short term and exposed his will to visit this country.

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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Registers to Run for President

Former leader insists he will not run in the May 19 poll, saying his registration aims to support a political ally.

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a surprise move, has registered as a candidate for next month's presidential election. He had previously said he would not run, after being so advised by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Ayatollah suggested Ahmadinejad throw his support behind his former deputy, Hamid Baghaie.

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Ahmadinejad said he remained committed to his "moral promise" to Khamenei of not running for the May 19 election. At the registration center, the former leader stated that the Khamenei's "advice was not a ban. I repeat that I am committed to my moral promise [of not running] and my presence and registration is only to support Mr. Baghaie."

Ahmadinejad left office in August 2013 after two troublesome four-year terms, which left Iran divided, isolated and struggling to find its footing economically.

His 2009 re-election was followed by one the largest protests to hit the country since the Islamic revolution three decades before. Two candidates backed by reformists Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi - who have been under house arrest since February 2011 - contested the results. Both Ahmadinejad's terms also sparked anti-Western and anti-Israeli rhetoric, including skepticism towards the Holocaust.

But, Ahmadinejad approach and humble roots make him a popular figure among the poorer sections of society.

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United States: Is its happiness declining?

A comment from the Miami Daily asked on Monday about it: Are Americans less happy?


And then it wrote that, although it seems a sarcasm to many, UN celebrated again “The International Day of Happiness” on Monday.

Theoretical reason? In recognition to the key role that such a feeling plays in the life of people all over the world.

This commemoration was instituted on June 28th, 2012, by the United Nations General Assembly, sponsored by the Kingdom of Bhutan.

In addition, also in the theoretical level and with inevitable diplomatic language, to recognize the importance of its inclusion in official policies.

Even those who think and act like that acknowledge that studying happiness may seem rather frivolous.

However, remarks Miami Daily, “for years renowned academics have been requesting more testing on people’s emotional well-being, especially in the United States”.

In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences of that country suggested that its federal statistics and surveys, focused on income, spending, health and housing, begin to ask questions on happiness.

A new UN report shows that a number of Americans are “increasingly sad”, and “it takes more than just money to be happy”.

According to an Associated Press (AP) study, the average income of many Americans rose over the past decade, “but their happiness is falling”.

U.S. ranks 14th in the latest ranking, dowm #13 in the previous year.

The investigation approaches 155 territories, while economists began ranking countries five years ago.

What are they mainly based on?

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, life expectancy and four factors from global surveys.

Those polled gave scores from 1 to 10 on how much social support they receive if something goes wrong, their freedom to make life choices, perceived government and corporate corruption and how generous they are.

The long scientific survey was carried out by Happiness Research Institute, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Another of its comments also draw people’s attention, “most of these countries are happier or try to be, unlike United States where this perception “dropped 5 percent over the past decade”.

The report closed with the following note:

The United Nations invite all people of all ages, as well as schools, businesses, and governments to celebrate the International Day of Happiness.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff


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