Pompeo says US tried & failed to unite Venezuelan opposition in leaked audio
A leaked audio of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reportedly exposed the US effort to unite the Venezuelan opposition, whose top figures are apparently too absorbed in power games to become the next US-approved president.

Venezuelan opposition leaders are lining up in droves to pick up the mantle of presidency once Nicolas Maduro is ousted with Washington's help – and the US is struggling to get them to work together, the Washington Post reported citing a leaked audio. The recording was allegedly made during Pompeo's meeting with Jewish leaders last week.

The effort to cobble together a united front against Maduro is not a thing of "these past months," according to Pompeo. It has been ongoing since he became CIA director, just after Donald Trump's swearing-in as president.

"Since the day I became CIA director, that was something that was at the center of what President Donald Trump was trying to do," he said.

The task "has proven devilishly difficult" though, as everybody in the opposition camp is after their own interests and wants to fight over the spoils rather than focus on the common cause of a coup.

"The moment Maduro leaves, everybody's going to raise their hands and [say], "Take me, I'm the next president of Venezuela.' It would be forty-plus people who believe they're the rightful heir to Maduro," Pompeo reportedly said in the audio.

READ MORE: Pompeo says US intel only OCCASIONALLY ‘gets things wrong’, after bragging about ‘lying’ CIA

In an attempt to force Washington's various stooges to team up, Pompeo sought to enlist help from religious organizations.

"We were trying to support various religious... institutions to get the opposition to come together," he said.

Pompeo blamed the disarray among the opposition for the failure of the April 30 coup attempt by a group of soldiers, which fizzled out within 24 hours.

He maintained that Maduro is overwhelmingly under the influence of foreign backers, mainly Cuba – an idea often repeated by Washington and recently used to put more sanctions on Havana. Venezuelans don't like Maduro, but are looking out for themselves instead of working towards Washington's goals, he complained.

"He [Maduro] doesn't trust Venezuelans a lick. I don't blame him. He shouldn't. They were all plotting against him. Sadly, they were all plotting for themselves."

While the US says that all options, including military, are on the table in Venezuela and pushes the crisis-hit Latin American country further into destitution with crippling economic sanctions, the opposition and the Maduro government are making tentative attempts at dialogue. Late last month, a second round of talks between representatives of self-declared 'interim president' Juan Guaido and Maduro was held in Oslo, but ended without any deal.

Behind the scenes, John Kerry deemed Crimea referendum legit, but urged a repeat – Lavrov
Former US Secretary of State John Kerry recognized that the outcome of the 2014 Crimea referendum reflected the will of the people, but instead of admitting it publicly, quietly called for a repeat vote, Sergey Lavrov said.

In an extensive interview with RBK news site, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the Obama administration's secretary of state, John Kerry, agreed with Moscow that the March 2014 referendum in Crimea, which turned out overwhelmingly in favor of reuniting with Russia, genuinely showed the people's support for the move.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 23:47| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

New Safety Concerns Worth Millions Plague Boeing 787 Dreamliner - Reports

Flight Cancelations Spike as FAA Identifies New ‘Potential Risk’ in Boeing’s 737 MAX
TEHRAN (FNA)- A US airline announced Wednesday that over 3,000 flights would be canceled through August after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found a possible new risk for the embattled Boeing 737 MAX during a simulator test.

The FAA issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying it had, in conjunction with its appointed Technical Advisory Board (TAB), identified a “potential risk” that Boeing would have to address before the agency would proceed in ungrounding the 737 MAX 8 fleet, Sputnik reported.

“The FAA is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service. The FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when we deem it is safe to do so,” the administration’s release read.

The FAA went on to highlight that it is continuing to review Boeing’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), the state-of-the-art software that, along with improper training, was deemed responsible for the downings of both of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which killed 189 and 149 people, respectively.

Speaking to Reuters, sources said to be close to the ongoing certification process claim the undisclosed risk occurred during a simulator test last week. As a result, Boeing will reportedly be forced to delay the actual test flight for airworthiness until “July 8 at the earliest.”

Shortly after Boeing’s announcement, United Airlines published a statement announcing at least 1,290 flights in July and 1,900 trips in August would be canceled, as the airline is suspending all scheduled 737 MAX flights until September 3, in accordance with the anticipated timetable. Both Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, the other two US airlines that operate 737 MAX 8s, announced earlier this month that they would be canceling flights using the plane until September as well.

The FAA’s news also comes exactly one week after pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger delivered his testimony against the Boeing 737 MAX 8’s initial certification process before a House Transportation Subcommittee panel.

“Our current system of aircraft design and certification has failed us,” Sullenberger noted during his testimony, admonishing the FAA and Boeing, adding, “It is clear that the original version of MCAS was fatally flawed and should never have been approved.”

It’s not clear if the hearing and criticism of the certification process were the motives behind the announcement, or if the timing is simply a coincidence.

Though the FAA claims there is no “timetable” for the certification, sources said to be close to the matter told Reuters that the FAA will take “two to three weeks” to review the plane again after the issue is addressed.

SPUTNIK 11:10 05.06.2019
New Safety Concerns Worth Millions Plague Boeing 787 Dreamliner - Reports
On Sunday the US Federal Aviation Administration announced there was a new problem with Boeing’s 300 grounded 737 MAX jets, warning it could lead to the aircraft being damaged during flight.

Boeing is making headlines again, as just two days after the Federal Aviation Administration announced a new problem with the company's 300 grounded 737 MAX jets, the DailyMail.com has disclosed that the US aerospace company has been handed new Airworthiness Directives by regulators.

The latter pertain to identified safety flaws in Boeing's 787 jets − the company's so-called Dreamliner.

According to the FAA, the wheels of the recently launched 787-9 and 787-8 “could be susceptible to damage, resulting in a loss of braking on one main landing gear truck, loss of nose wheel steering and loss of directional control on the ground when below rudder effectiveness speed.”

According to FAA estimates, ensuing repairs to rectify the revealed safety concern will cost operators over $5 mln.

The directive is effective 6 June and affects an estimated 87 airplanes on the US registry.

Airlines are also required to conduct detailed inspections of particular parts in all of the 787s in their fleets, following reports of damage potentially causing dangerous hydraulic leakage in the event of lightning strikes.

DailyMail.com cites a statement by Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman, who said:

“Boeing works closely with the FAA to monitor the fleet for potential safety issues and take appropriate actions. This is a continuous and ongoing process.”

He added issues had “been resolved with system improvements that have been incorporated into production of all 787 models.”

Operators are compelled by the new FAA directives to make required repairs on affected aircraft already in use in their fleets.

According to the Boeing spokesman, the directives “align with recommendations that the company had issued in two separate service bulletins to operators”.

The 787 “Dreamliner” is flown by 72 major airlines around the world, including British Airways and TUI Airways.

Boeing recently announced it was expanding to 235 new routes, and referred to its 787 Dreamliner fleet as an “industry leader”, the largest of which can fly 330 passengers internationally.

The new directives come as an additional blow to the beleaguered company.

On Sunday the US Federal Aviation Administration announced a new problem with some parts used in the Boeing 737 MAX and NG planes.

Up to 148 leading edge slat tracks made by a Boeing sub-tier supplier may have been improperly manufactured, necessitating the upgrading of 133 NG and 179 MAX aircraft worldwide. The FAA said that it will require their replacement.

Boeing has been struggling to get their global fleet of 737-MAX jets back in the air after months of grounding in the wake of two fatal crashes, with still no fix in sight.

The company’s most popular jet was grounded in March after a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash that closely followed the crash of a Lion Air flight in Indonesia in October.

Both crashes left no survivors, racking up a casualty list of 346 people.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 16:56| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

Report: US OKed Nuclear Power Sharing with Saudi 'After Khashoggi Murder'

Report: US OKed Nuclear Power Sharing with Saudi 'After Khashoggi Murder'
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Donald Trump administration granted two authorisations to US companies to share sensitive nuclear power information with Saudi Arabia not long after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October, a US senator who saw the approvals said on Tuesday.

The timing of the approvals is likely to heap pressure on the administration of US President Donald Trump from politicians who have become increasingly critical of US support for Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, Al-Jazeera reported.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the murder - a conclusion the kingdom denies.

Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia where Khashoggi lived, called the timing of the approvals "shocking".

The Department of Energy granted the first Part 810 authorisation on October 18, 16 days after Khashoggi, who was a US resident, was killed. The second occurred on February 18.

The authorisations were among seven granted to US companies by Trump's administration since 2017, as Washington and Riyadh negotiate a potential wider agreement to help Saudi Arabia develop its first two nuclear power reactors.

The Part 810 authorisations allow companies to do preliminary work on nuclear power in advance of any deal, but not ship equipment that would go into a plant, a source with knowledge of the agreements told Reuters News Agency in late March.

Kaine, who had urged the administration to release the authorisations, stated that the approvals were "one of the many steps the administration is taking that is fueling a dangerous escalation of tension in the region".

The authorisations were first reported in March, but it was not yet known if any were issued after Khashoggi's killing.

The Energy Department has kept the companies involved in the sharing of nuclear technology information with the kingdom confidential, citing the need to protect business interests. In the past, 810 approvals have been made available for the public to view at department headquarters.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera, Kaine accused the Department of Energy of dragging its feet on revealing the dates of the authorisations.

"They wouldn't give us the date and they dragged it out for two and a half months because they knew that we would be shocked when we got the information about it," Kaine said.

"There is something going on where Saudi Arabia gets just a complete free pass that no other nation in the world gets from this administration. I don't know why that it is but I think we have to dig into it and figure it out," Kaine noted, citing the disastrous war in Yemen and the Trump administration's unwillingness to respond with sanctions for Khashoggi's murder.

"I want to dig into the companies that get the nuclear approval. I think we need to do more work to explore their financial ties to the Trump family," he added.

Energy Department officials were not immediately available for comment.

Many US legislators are concerned that sharing nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia could eventually lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Politicians have been anxious to be kept updated about talks on nuclear power between the administration and Riyadh to make sure a deal contains strict nuclear nonproliferation standards. Last year, MbS said the kingdom does not want to acquire a nuclear bomb, but if Iran did, "we will follow suit as soon as possible".

Riyadh plans to issue a multibillion-dollar tender in 2020 to build its first two nuclear power reactors, sources said in April. Originally expected last year, the tender has been delayed several times.

The US, South Korea, Russia, China and France are competing for the business. US reactor builder Westinghouse, owned by Brookfield Asset Management Inc, would likely sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in any deal that involved US technology.

Legislators have also accused the administration of attempting to evade Congress on sharing nuclear power with the kingdom.

Separately, Trump swept aside objections from Congress last month to complete the sale of over $8bln of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

Citing Iran, the Trump administration circumvented a long-standing precedent for congressional review of major weapons sales.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 01:15| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

Russia Once Again Rejects Turkey's Demand to Stop Military Operations in Idlib Province

Russia Once Again Rejects Turkey's Demand to Stop Military Operations in Idlib Province
TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia rejected another demand by Turkey to bring to a halt its military operations in Northern Syria as Damascus army troops are making fresh advances in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib, media reports said.

The terrorist groups' commanders and the Turkish Army's officers have recently attended a joint meeting in Northern Syria, the pro-militant Arabic-language al-Wasl news website quoted some special sources as saying.

The sources also told al-Wasl that Turkey continues logistical support and arms shipments to the terrorists, including anti-Tank missiles.

Meantime, the Syrian Army completed its mop-up operations in the villages of al-Hawash and Tal Hawash after fierce clashes with Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) North of the town of al-Jaberieh in Southern Idlib.

The Syrian Army' Air Defense systems for the fourth consecutive day targeted and destroyed several drones of the terrorists that tried to target Jabal Ramleh Airport in Northwestern Hama.

In a relevant development on Tuesday, Ankara dispatched a large number of militants to reoccupy the vital al-Qassabiyeh-al-Habit road in Southern Idlib after its affiliated militants sustained a heavy defeat from the Syrian army in the region.

Sources close to the terrorists reported that hundreds of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) special forces and military equipment have been sent to Southern Idlib to take control of the town of al-Qassabiyeh from the Syrian army.

Meantime, a Syrian military source said that the terrorists' supply route from the town of al-Qassabiyeh to the strategic region of al-Habit has been cut off during the Syrian army operations on Monday, and added that the army forces plan to take back control of al-Habit by advancing from the two fronts of Kafar Naboudeh and farms between al-Habit and al-Qassabiyeh.

He added that the army troops have killed tens of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at terrorists and other militants fighting under Ankara's command during the operations to liberate al-Habit.

Also, the Syrian army targeted the positions and moves of Tahrir al-Sham in the towns of al-Naqsir, Tarmila, Ma'arat Harmah, Ma'ar Zita, Kafar Sajnah and Ma'arat Numan in Southern Idlib with missile and artillery fire, destroying several of their positions and military vehicles.

The Syrian army on Monday seized control of the first region in the Southern parts of Idlib province during a major offensive on Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group in Northern Syria.

The Arabic-language service of Sputnik reported that the Syrian army, supported by heavy artillery and missile fire and air force, attacked Tahrir al-Sham's positions in the town of al-Qassabiyeh in Southern Idlib from the Northern parts of the town of Kafar Naboudeh, taking back control of the town after heavy clashes.

Meantime, a military source underlined the Syrian army troops' control over the hills near the town, saying that the army forces could extend the security umbrella over Kafar Naboudeh from the North.

The terrorists had transferred their first defense lines to this region after losing Kafar Naboudeh in Northwestern Hama.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 00:04| Comment(0) | 国際・政治