World watch – Tuesday

Monday GMT


For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.


  1. Gezza

     /  20th February 2018

    Aljazeera TVNews, midnight.

    Weird stuff happening in Syria. Al Jazeera tv is reporting that Kurdish forces have made an agreement for Syrian Government militias to come to Afrin to fight against Turkish forces. Their on the spot reporter is a bit confusing – hopefully things will be clarified soon.

    Aljaz’s website reports: “The Kurdish YPG fighters claim they have reached a deal to allow Syrian government troops to enter Afrin in the northwestern part of the border town.

    Nuri Mahmoud, a spokesman for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), told Al Jazeera on Monday that they are calling on the Syrian government forces “to preserve a united Syria”, in a development that could mean regime forces might directly confront Turkish troops in the region.”

    But their tv reporter is currently saying it will be Syrian government MILITIA forces who are coming to confront the Turkish forces. They are expected to arrive within hours.

    He’s also saying Kurdish troops may be being released from elsewhere in Syria to come to Afrin.

    Aljaz’s website also notes:

    “The [Kurdish] PYD/YPG has come to control large swaths of northern Syria, including Afrin, in the course of the Syrian war as it led the US-backed umbrella organisation Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

    The US support for SDF has infuriated Turkey and created the ongoing diplomatic crisis between the two NATO allies.

    The latest development highlights the complex battlefield of northern Syria, which hosts a high number of actors, including the PYD/YPG, the Syrian government, rebel factions, Turkey, the US and Russia.”
    The problem for the US is that it’s backing & supporting the Kurds in this area at the same time as Turkey is an official ally. What a shambles!

    • Gezza

       /  20th February 2018

      Aljaz tv 6am news: Syrian government TV confirms it is sending forces to Afrin: Turkey says it will confront them.

  2. Gerrit

     /  20th February 2018

    Gets even more complicated as Turkey is also in a row with the EU over Italian oil exploration in Cyprus waters.

    Turkey is really pushing the confrontation button. In dispute with Greece as well.

  3. Gezza

     /  20th February 2018

    Aljazeera TV 6am news is reporting Trump backs better background checks on gun purchasers as pressure builds for better gun control in the US.

    • Gezza

       /  20th February 2018

      Nothing about ban on military style high capacity assault rifles: fiddling around the edges:

      Trump spoke to Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, on Friday about a bi-partisan bill that he and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy introduced to improve federal compliance with criminal background checks, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

      “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system,” Sanders said in a statement.

      Cornyn and Murphy introduced the bill to improve federal background checks last November, days after a gunman killed more than two dozen people in a church in Texas.

      The bill, called the Fix NICS Act, would ensure that states and federal agencies comply with existing law on reporting criminal history records to the national background check system.

      Cornyn, of Texas, had complained when introducing the legislation that compliance by agencies was “lousy.”

      Students from the Florida high school where a former student is accused of murdering 17 people last week using an assault-style rifle, are planning a “March For Our Lives” in Washington on March 24 to call attention to school safety and ask lawmakers to enact gun control.

    • Gezza

       /  20th February 2018

      “US President Donald Trump offered support for an effort to strengthen the federal gun background check system as he hunkered down at his private Florida golf course, just 65km from last week’s deadly school shooting.

      Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president spoke on Friday (Saturday NZ Time) to Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, about a bipartisan bill designed to strengthen the FBI database of prohibited gun buyers.

      “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system,” Sanders said in a statement.

      Trump, who is spending the weekend at his private Palm Beach estate, started President’s Day at his nearby golf club. The White House did not immediately answer questions about whether he was playing golf. The president spent most of the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, as White House aides advised against golfing too soon after the shooting at a Parkland high school that left 17 dead.

      Trump spent much of the holiday weekend watching cable television news and grousing to club members and advisers about the investigation of Russian election meddling.

      In a marathon series of furious weekend tweets from Mar-a-Lago, Trump vented about Russia, raging at the FBI for what he perceived to be a fixation on the Russia investigation at the cost of failing to deter the attack on a Florida high school. He made little mention of the nearby school shooting victims and the escalating gun control debate.

      Surviving students have called for tougher gun control and are planning a march in Washington next month. Trump has focused his comments on mental health, rather than guns.

      The White House said on Sunday (Monday NZT) the president will host a “listening session” with students and teachers this week, but offered no details on who would attend or what would be discussed.”

  4. Missy

     /  20th February 2018

    The spy allegations against Jeremy Corbyn were expanded over the weekend to include other members of the Labour Party, including Ken Livingston (gives new meaning to his nickname Red Ken) and John McDonnell.

    The allegations have been made by a former Czech agent who was posing as a diplomat in London in the 1980’s. Labour are denying the allegations, going on the attack – not against the former Czech agent, but rather the media outlets that report the allegations, blaming the media for the ‘lies and smears’ (in their words).

    What has been most disturbing about this whole story is the complete indifference most of Corbyn’s supporters have dealt with it, most with a view that it is history and therefore irrelevant today.

    The debate can be had around the extent to which Corbyn knew that the man he met was a spy, and a debate as to the robustness of the claims of the former Czech agent, but the claims should not be dismissed. On this point the Guardian had a good column in yesterday’s paper.

  5. Missy

     /  20th February 2018

    More trouble for Germany ahead.

    In a poll released today the AfD has over taken the SPD to be the second most popular party in Germany. AfD are only .5% ahead of SPD, and will be within the margin of error. The poll puts the CDU / CSU up 2.5% on the previous poll.

    The SPD appear to be losing support, this could be a temporary blip in response to the recent disagreements and resignation of Martin Schulz, however, if it isn’t it could cause problems if Germany end up having a snap election due to the coalition agreement not being ratified.

    This is a problem for

    • People will conflate this with Nazism of course.

      • Gezza

         /  20th February 2018

        I wonder if Missy’s gone to answer the doorbell?

        • Missy

           /  20th February 2018

          oops….. I thought I had deleted that bit at the end. I was going to write something else, deleted and wrote it in a different way, but guess I didn’t delete it properly.

          I am having some issues with proofing today! I blame the Sinus tablets.

          I away a typically nasty comment from Blazer.

      • Missy

         /  20th February 2018

        Of course, and they will nicely ignore any connection it may have to Germany’s open borders policy to the illegal migrants and the promoted ever closer union from the EU.

  6. Patzcuaro

     /  20th February 2018

    Pennsylvania Supreme Court throws out Republican gerrymander and redraws Federal Congressional districts in an equitable way.

  7. High Flying Duck

     /  20th February 2018

    Our good friend and all round “most reliable source” KDC is still pushing the DNC Hack as being an inside job:

    “Dotcom tweeted “Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn’t even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why,” adding “Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied.

    Dotcom’s assertion is backed up by an analysis done last year by a researcher who goes by the name Forensicator, who determined that the DNC files were copied at 22.6 MB/s – a speed virtually impossible to achieve from halfway around the world, much less over a local network – yet a speed typical of file transfers to a memory stick.

    The local transfer theory of course blows the Russian hacking narrative out of the water, lending credibility to the theory that the DNC “hack” was in fact an inside job, potentially implicating late DNC IT staffer, Seth Rich.

    While one could simply write off Dotcom’s claims as an attention seeking stunt, he made several comments and a series of tweets hinting at the upcoming email releases prior to both the WikiLeaks dumps as well as the publication of the hacked DNC emails to a website known as “DCLeaks.”