Thursday, May 5, 2016

Did Pakistan's Intelligence Service Poison The CIA Chief After The Osama Bin Laden Raid?

Washington Free Beacon: Report: CIA Operative Thought He Was Poisoned By Pakistan’s ISI After Bin Laden Raid

The CIA chief in Pakistan who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 left the country with an ailment and suspicions that he had been poisoned by the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

The Washington Post reported:

The CIA station chief was so violently ill that he was often doubled over in pain, current and former U.S. officials said. Trips out of the country for treatment proved futile. And the cause of his ailment was so mysterious, the officials said, that both he and the agency began to suspect that he had been poisoned. Mark Kelton retired from the CIA and his health has recovered after he had abdominal surgery. But agency officials continue to think that it is plausible–if not provable–that Kelton’s sudden illness was somehow orchestrated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, known as the ISI.

Reports at the time of the CIA chief’s exit, which occurred just months after bin Laden’s death, attributed it to illness and also indicated that he left amid tense relations with the ISI. The CIA chief did not accept requests from the Post for an interview but said briefly over the phone that the cause of his ailment “was never clarified.” He said he was not the first individual to suspect being poisoned.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When it comes to Pakistan .... I learned a long time ago to be wary of what they say/do/and promise. Mind you .... the CIA also has a chequered past in this region. The Washington Post article that explores this possibility is here .... After presiding over bin Laden raid, CIA chief in Pakistan came home suspecting he was poisoned by ISI (Washington Post). Note: Washington Post has a pay-wall limit.

Video Shows Intense Fire-Fight In Iraq Where U.S. Navy SEAL Was Killed



The Guardian: Video shows Navy Seal's death was result of intense combat with Isis

Exclusive footage obtained by the Guardian shows firefight between US special forces, Kurdish commandoes and Isis fighters, in which Charles Keating IV died.

Video footage obtained by the Guardian shows the grueling firefight between US special forces, Kurdish commandoes and Islamic State fighters this week, in which a US Navy Seal was killed.

The footage – filmed on a cellphone during the battle, which lasted more than half a day – reveals the extent to which the US military is once again engaged in intense combat in Iraq.

Provided to the Guardian by the lieutenant of an elite Kurdish peshmerga unit, the video shows a convoy of four by four vehicles coming under fire near Tel Osqof, a Christian town about 30km north of Mosul.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The above video is intense. This is also true .... 'No boots on the ground' has its limits as U.S. Navy SEAL is killed in Iraq (Isabel Coles, Reuters).

Update: This is 3 too many .... The American Casualties in the Fight Against ISIS: Three U.S. service personnel have been killed in Iraq since October 2015. (Krishnadev Calamur, The Atlantic).

Update #2: Something that I saw in the above video .... at the 14 second mark two U.S. Special Forces personnel have a U.S. flag carefully wrapped up on their backs.

UNICEF: 460 Million Children Live In Countries Facing War, Famine, And Other Catastrophes

Internally displaced children run inside a refugee camp in Dana town after fleeing Palmyra, in northern Idlib province, Syria April 2, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS/KHALIL ASHAWI

Annalisa Merelli, Quartz: Half a billion of our children are growing up in war, famine and other catastrophes

An estimated 462 million children of school age live in countries affected by humanitarian crises—including war, famine, and deadly epidemics—a UNICEF report published on May 4 found.

It’s an astonishing number, nearly one and a half times the total population of the US. For many of these children, living in crisis translates into a severe disruption of their education.

In Syria, for instance, at least 6,000 schools have been destroyed, taken over by military operations or repurposed. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, seven million children are missing out on education. Less than 30% of girls are literate in Nepal, and only 38% of children go to school in Liberia. Official enrollment data is missing for most of the world.

Read more ....

More News On UNICEF Claims That 460 Million Children Live In Countries Facing War, Famine, And Other Catastrophes

Nearly a quarter of the world’s school-age children live in crisis-hit countries – UNICEF -- UN News Centre
Quarter of school-age children live in crisis affected countries: UNICEF -- Reuters
Unicef Says 75 Million School-Aged Children In Crisis Areas In Desperate Need Of Educational Support -- IBTimes
Unicef: 75m children in desperate need of education support -- BBC

This Is Not The Time To Cut Fire-Prevention And Fire Fighting Budgets



Reuters: Canada fire hit as government cut spending on prevention, planes

CALGARY (Reuters) - Alberta's cash-strapped government cut funding for wildfire prevention, including millions for programs created in response to the province's last major fire disaster, just weeks before a raging fire swept across the city of Fort McMurray, forcing a mass evacuation as hundreds of homes burned to the ground.

The cuts, some of which have not previously been reported, came as Alberta struggled to cope with a prolonged slump in oil prices that has reduced tax revenue, and as climate change makes fires more frequent and damaging in Canada's vast boreal forest.

Alberta, which projects a C$10 billion deficit this fiscal year, does not have a fixed budget for fire fighting, with spending rising and falling based on need.

But the government, which took power a year ago, does set budgets for fixed costs, including contracts with companies that operate air tankers, and programs meant to prevent damaging fires, areas where the latest cuts in April were made.

Read more ....

Update: Alberta wildfire could cost insurers as much as C$9 billion: BMO (Reuters)

WNU Editor: For readers who are not Canadian (I am a Canadian citizen) .... this news is impacting everyone in Canada. This is a huge disaster, and for the families directly impacted .... words escape me. I have just finished talking to a distant cousin who works in Fort McMurray. He owns and runs a service company in the oil industry .... he is OK .... but many of his friends and workers are not. Some have lost homes .... and those who have not are worried that they may lose their home today or tomorrow. He tells me that Fort McMurray will bounce back .... there is too much oil in the ground (literally tens of billions of barrels) .... but we both know it will never be the same.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- May 5, 2016



Tin Arango and Ceylan Yeginsu, New York Times: How Erdogan Moved to Solidify Power by Ousting a Pivotal Ally

ISTANBUL — In pursuit of more power, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has purged the judiciary of enemies, jailed journalists and crushed anti-government protests. Now, he has ousted his closest political ally, the country’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, whose modest effort to check Mr. Erdogan’s ambition was too much for the president.

Mr. Davutoglu, publicly loyal to Mr. Erdogan even as he pushed back privately on some of his excesses, said Thursday that he would step aside as the leader of the Islamist Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., and give up his position as prime minister.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- May 5, 2016

Brutal Erdogan Forces Out Turkish Prime Minister in 'Palace Coup' -- Thomas Seibert, Daily Beast

Turkey's Last Shreds of Balance Are Disappearing -- Marc Champion, Bloomberg

Turkey’s Prime Minister Is Stepping Down. Here’s Why That’s Alarming. -- Sophia Jones, Huffington Post

Whatever Happened to the ‘Turkish Model’? -- Mustafa Akyol, New York Times

Russia returns to a Middle East it never really left -- Sean McMeekin, Chatham House

Analysts: Russia Cynical on Syria, Goal Is International Prestige -- Daniel Schearf, VOA

Iran May Be Ready for Joint Action With Opec Within Months -- Bloomberg

North Korea's nuclear program: What do we know? -- Euan McKirdy, CNN

A history of North Korea's party congresses – what should we expect? -- Fyodor Tertitsky for NK News/The Guardian

Nuclear battles in South Asia -- Pervez Hoodbhoy and Zia Mian, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Great Power Confrontation in the South China Sea -- Gordon G. Chang, World Affairs

Two Years of War the Ukraine Death Toll is Rising - Roland Oliphant, The Telegraph

Why Gazprom’s ‘Monopoly’ in Europe is Far from Over -- Irina Slav, Oil Price

Nicolas Maduro And The Art Of Clinging To Power -- Marcelo Cantelmi, Worldcrunch

The Taxi Drivers Turned Black-Market Nuke Smugglers -- Anna Nemtsova, Daily Beast

World News Briefs -- May 5, 2016 (Evening Edition)



Reuters: Canadian wildfire explodes in size, forces more evacuations

A catastrophic wildfire that has forced all 88,000 residents to flee Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada exploded tenfold in size on Thursday, cutting off evacuees in camps and shelters north of the city.

The out-of-control blaze has burned down entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray in Canada's energy heartland and forced a precautionary shutdown of some oil production, driving up global oil prices.

Three days after the residents were ordered to leave Fort McMurray, firefighters were still battling to protect homes, businesses and other structures from the flames. More than 1,600 structures, including hundreds of homes, have been destroyed.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Air strikes on camp for displaced Syrians kill 28, monitor says.

Syria conflict: Uneasy calm in Aleppo as partial truce declared. Truce takes hold in Aleppo but fighting goes on elsewhere in Syria. Fresh strikes around Syria's Aleppo despite ceasefire.

US worried political chaos in Iraq will hurt IS fight.

Iraq routed IS from Ramadi at a high cost: A city destroyed.

Iraq’s PM replaces military commander over Green Zone breach.

Iraq PM orders probe after Amnesty report on detention centers.

Yemen foes discuss key issues in direct talks: UN.

Al Qaeda militants begin to leave two Yemeni towns: residents.

Turkey PM Ahmet Davutoglu to quit amid reports of Erdogan rift.

Israel says found second Hamas tunnel from Gaza since 2014 war.

Israeli military carries out air strikes on Gaza. Israel launches airstrikes on four Hamas targets in Gaza.

120 nations accuse US top court of violating law over Iran.

ASIA

US Embassy says American targeted in attempted kidnapping in Kabul.

Fear spreads as Thai junta jails online critics.

'Trump of the East' widens lead in last poll before Philippine vote.

Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia to coordinate against militant pirates. East Asia trio agree to boost maritime security.

Finishing touches in North Korea capital ahead of rare party meeting.

Despite sanctions and isolation, Pyongyang skyline grows.

Helicopter corruption case rocks Indian parliament.

Bangladesh opposition leader loses death penalty appeal. Bangladesh Islamist leader Motiur Rahman Nizami loses final appeal.

Japan's Abe says he will work with whoever wins U.S. election.

Pakistan elders 'ordered girl's killing' in Abbottabad.

AFRICA

Nigeria's Buhari urges other nations to speed up recovery of stolen money.

Militants attack Chevron platform in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta.

Militants stage attacks between Libyan stronghold of Sirte and coastal Misrata.

Intelligence official: Islamic State growing in Somalia.

Burundi police say 450 people killed in political violence in past year.

Libya oil output could fall if Hariga port dispute continues.

DR Congo cracks down on 'foreign mercenaries'.

Uganda bans media coverage of election result protests.

Zimbabwe to print own version of US dollar.

Kenya electoral body prepares for 2017 vote, dismisses calls to quit.

Kenya: Woman found alive after 6 days in collapsed building.

EUROPE

Depression reigns as EU presidents debate future of Europe.

Merkel warns of return to nationalism unless EU protects borders.

Russia to deploy troops to counter growing NATO presence.

'Resurgent Russia': New hardline NATO Europe commander raises hackles in Moscow.

Russia issues fresh threats against unaligned Nordic states.

Labour set to recapture London after bitter mayoral campaign.

‘Islam does not belong in Germany’: 60% agree with AfD.

Spanish court seeks arrest of Putin-linked Russians.

Greek parliament to vote on tax, pension reforms before Eurogroup meeting.

European Central Bank to withdraw €500 note.

AMERICAS

Wildfire in Alberta now 85,000 hectares in size.

Thousands flee western Canada's raging wildfires.

After jokey start, Canadian PM Trudeau promises wildfire help.

Alberta wildfire could cost insurers as much as C$9 billion: BMO.

Alberta declares state of emergency as wildfire forces Fort McMurray evacuation. New evacuations around fire-struck Fort McMurray in energy heartland.

FBI interviews Clinton aides including Huma Abedin as part of email probe.

Pew report: Americans apprehensive about role in world.

Ex-Venezuela parliament head sues News Corp over drug article.

Brazilian justice suspends house speaker, foe of president. Brazil court suspends Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha.

Brazil crisis: Rousseff tells BBC she will fight on.

Paul Ryan: 'I'm just not ready' to back Donald Trump.

Trump starts VP search after last rival drops out.

Romanian hacker Guccifer: I breached Clinton server, 'it was easy'.

U.S. jobless claims rise; planned layoffs surge.

Illegal immigrant numbers skyrocket at Mexican border.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

French documentary provides footage from within IS group cell.

ISIS fighter, wife, killed in airstrike, U.S. says.

Australia’s top ISIS recruiter killed in US airstrike. Australian IS recruiter Neil Prakash 'killed in Iraq'.

UN diplomat says Islamic State seeking new revenue streams.

Top U.S. intel official: ISIS can stage Europe-style attacks in U.S..

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Shift in Saudi oil thinking deepens OPEC split.

U.S. regulators ban e-cigarette, cigar sales to minors.

Cupertino's mayor: Apple 'abuses us' by not paying taxes.

Alibaba profits triple as mobile sales soar.

President Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser Reveals How The White House Spins Its Media Message On Foreign Policy

Rhodes (center) and Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, listening as President Obama spoke to reporters during an off-the-record discussion. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

New York Times: The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru

How Ben Rhodes rewrote the rules of diplomacy for the digital age.

Picture him as a young man, standing on the waterfront in North Williamsburg, at a polling site, on Sept. 11, 2001, which was Election Day in New York City. He saw the planes hit the towers, an unforgettable moment of sheer disbelief followed by panic and shock and lasting horror, a scene that eerily reminded him, in the aftermath, of the cover of the Don DeLillo novel “Underworld.”

Everything changed that day. But the way it changed Ben Rhodes’s life is still unique, and perhaps not strictly believable, even as fiction. He was in the second year of the M.F.A. program at N.Y.U., writing short stories about losers in garden apartments and imagining that soon he would be published in literary magazines, acquire an agent and produce a novel by the time he turned 26. He saw the first tower go down, and after that he walked around for a while, until he ran into someone he knew, and they went back to her shared Williamsburg apartment and tried to find a television that worked, and when he came back outside, everyone was taking pictures of the towers in flames. He saw an Arab guy sobbing on the subway. “That image has always stayed with me,” he says. “Because I think he knew more than we did about what was going to happen.” Writing Frederick Barthelme knockoffs suddenly seemed like a waste of time.

Read more ....

Update #1: Obama's Foreign Policy Guru Boasts of How the Administration Lied to Sell the Iran Deal (Lee Smith, Weekly Standard)
Update #2: Seven Takeaways from the NY Times Profile of Failed Novelist Ben Rhodes (David Rutz, Washington Free Beacon)

WNU Editor
: This is sweet ....

.... He had also developed a healthy contempt for the American foreign-policy establishment, including editors and reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and elsewhere, who at first applauded the Iraq war and then sought to pin all the blame on Bush and his merry band of neocons when it quickly turned sour. If anything, that anger has grown fiercer during Rhodes’s time in the White House. He referred to the American foreign-policy establishment as the Blob. According to Rhodes, the Blob includes Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates and other Iraq-war promoters from both parties who now whine incessantly about the collapse of the American security order in Europe and the Middle East.

To say that I am surprised that the New York Times is posting a story on how the White House crafts its media message on foreign policy .... and none of it is "pretty" or "flattering" .... is an understatement. We all know instinctively that governments lie, but it is rare when we are served the details on how they do it. And as for Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes .... a man who apparently cultivates anonymity .... I suspect that he is probably in shock right now with this expose .... or he does not give a shit. Either way .... this New York Times post is a must read.

Romanian Hacker ‘Guccifer’ Claims He Hacked Hillary Clinton’s ‘Completely Unsecured’ Email Server



FOX News: Romanian hacker Guccifer: I breached Clinton server, 'it was easy'

EXCLUSIVE: The infamous Romanian hacker known as “Guccifer,” speaking exclusively with Fox News, claimed he easily – and repeatedly – breached former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal email server in early 2013.

"For me, it was easy ... easy for me, for everybody," Marcel Lehel Lazar, who goes by the moniker "Guccifer," told Fox News from a Virginia jail where he is being held.

Guccifer’s potential role in the Clinton email investigation was first reported by Fox News last month. The hacker subsequently claimed he was able to access the server – and provided extensive details about how he did it and what he found – over the course of a half-hour jailhouse interview and a series of recorded phone calls with Fox News.

Fox News could not independently confirm Lazar’s claims.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Hillary Clinton campaign has responded with following statement .... Campaign dismisses claim hacker accessed Clinton email server (Politico).

Update: Here is an interesting twist to the story .... Why Did NBC News Sit on Explosive Story About Clinton’s Alleged Hacked Email Server For Weeks? (LawNewz)



More News On Romanian Hacker ‘Guccifer’ Claiming He Hacked Hillary Clinton’s Email Server

Hacker 'Guccifer': I Got Inside Hillary Clinton's Server -- NBC
Hacker: I easily breached Clinton's email server -- The Hill
Romanian Hacker ‘Guccifer’ Claims He Hacked Hillary Clinton’s ‘Completely Unsecured’ Email Server -- IBTimes
‘Guccifer’ claims he hacked Hillary Clinton’s ‘completely unsecured’ server -- Washington Times
Hacker who exposed Hillary Clinton's private email claims he accessed server: Hillary Clinton in the news -- Cleveland.com
'Easily & Repeatedly’: Romanian hacker on gaining access to Hillary Clinton’s server -- RT
Hacker 'Guccifer' says he broke into Hillary Clinton's email server -- Tech Insider

UPDATE: This case is getting even more serious ... FBI interviews Clinton aides including Huma Abedin as part of email probe (CNN)

Is War Between The U.S. And Russia Possible?

Stephen F. Cohen, The Nation: Is War With Russia Possible?

The US is undermining opportunities for cooperation in Syria and Ukraine, while escalating NATO’s military presence near Russia.

Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions—after a two-week “sabbatical”—about the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments are at TheNation.com.) Cohen laments that during the past two weeks the Obama administration appears to have been undermining cooperation with Moscow on three Cold War fronts.

Refusing to accept President Putin’s compelling argument that the Syrian army and its allies are the only “boots on the ground” fighting the Islamic State effectively, currently around the pivotal city of Aleppo, Washington and its compliant media are condemning the Syrian-Russian military campaign against “moderate” anti-Assad fighters in the area, many of them also jihadists. At risk are the Geneva peace negotiations brokered by Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. Regarding the confrontation over Ukraine, where Kiev’s political and economic crisis grows ever worse, the best hope for ending that civil and proxy war, the Minsk Accords, was virtually sabotaged at the UN, where US Ambassador Samantha Power claimed the accords require Russia returning Crimea to Ukraine. (In fact, Crimea is not mentioned in the Minsk agreement.) And in Europe, where opinion mounts favoring an end to the economic sanctions against Russia—as evidenced by the Dutch referendum against admitting Ukraine to the European Union and the French Parliament’s vote in favor of ending the sanctions—the Obama administration (not only Ambassador Power but President Obama himself) is lobbying hard against such a step when the issue comes up for a vote this summer.

Read more ....

WNU editor
: If you have 40 minutes, I recommend listening to the interview. As to what is my take .... this Nation post is correct when it says that there is a faction in the Kremlin and in the national security/defense establishment that firmly believes in the idea that the West wants a "hot-war" against Russia, and that Putin has not prepared Russia for such a possibility. But is war possible .... for the moment I do not see it happening .... not even close. But I do see an arms race, and I do believe that Putin is being pressured by his hard-line critics to spend the money necessary to send the message that they cannot and will not be "pushed around". As for what does the Russian public think .... on this one issue alone Putin enjoys a 90% approval rate.

NATO's New Commander Sparks Criticism From Moscow

United Nations Commander Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti. © Jeon Heon-kyun / Reuters

TASS: Kremlin comments on remarks of new NATO commander in Europe

New commander of NATO’s armed forces in Europe US General Curtis Scaparotti mentioned Russia among NATO’s main security challenges in his first speech at the ceremony of assuming command

MOSCOW, May 5. /TASS/. Russia will safeguard its national interests should there be any threat to them, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said about statements by the newly appointed commander of NATO’s forces in Europe, US General Curtis Scaparotti, who described Russia as one of the new challenges to the alliance’s security.

"Certainly, Russia cannot leave unnoticed any actions that directly or potentially may pose a threat to its national interests. Russia will traditionally protect its interests," Peskov said.

"We’ve said more than once that reviving Russia is not a threat to anyone," he added. "Russia systematically presses for mutually beneficial cooperation with due regard for the interests of all partners and for the joint settlement of conflicts.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Saying things like this .... Scaparrotti: NATO should consider what weapons to give Ukraine (AP), or this .... NATO's New Commander: 'Ready To Fight If Deterrence Fails' (RFE) .... are not helpful. Mind you .... the Kremlin has not been helpful either.

More News On NATO's New Commander Sparking Criticism From Moscow

'Resurgent Russia': New hardline NATO Europe commander raises hackles in Moscow -- RT
New NATO Europe Commander Surpasses Predecessor in 'War Hysteria' -- Sputnik
Russian lawmakers skeptical about new NATO commander in Europe -- TASS
New Commander, Old Story: NATO Considers 'Resurgent Russia' a Challenge -- Sputnik
Kremlin Responds to NATO Commander: Russia Not a Threat to Anyone -- Sputnik
How Russia is changing the Pentagon's calculus in Europe -- Anna Mulrine, CSM

NATO's European Missile Defense System Goes Live Today

© Flickr/ US Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

New York Times: NATO Ratchets Up Missile Defense Despite Russian Criticism

LONDON — NATO’s European missile defense system will go live on Thursday when a base in Romania becomes operational. The next day, Poland is scheduled to break ground on its NATO missile-defense base.

The decision by the United States and its allies in Eastern Europe to proceed with ballistic missile defense in the face of increasingly loud Russian criticism is an important stage in the alliance’s new stance toward Moscow.

Those deployments will be coupled this spring with major military exercises in Poland and the Baltics, with significant American participation, and a beefed-up rapid reaction force of up to 5,000 troops.

Altogether, said Derek Chollet, a former United States assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, “There will be a quite robust display of military power in Europe and allied resolve, and hopefully Moscow will see it for what it is, an alliance improving its capabilities.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russian reaction to these troop deployments and to missile defense is going to be harsh .... to Moscow this is just an affirmation that we are entering a new Cold War and a new arms race.

Majority Of Americans Sceptical Of U.S. Involvement Overseas

PEW Research Center: Public Uncertain, Divided Over America’s Place in the World

Growing support for increased defense spending

The public views America’s role in the world with considerable apprehension and concern. In fact, most Americans say it would be better if the U.S. just dealt with its own problems and let other countries deal with their own problems as best they can.

With the United States facing an array of global threats, public support for increased defense spending has climbed to its highest level since a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when 50% favored more defense spending.

Currently, 35% say the U.S. should increase spending on national defense, 24% say it should be cut back and 40% say it should be kept about the same as today. The share favoring more defense spending has increased 12 percentage points (from 23%) since 2013.

Read more ....

Update: Poll: Most Americans skeptical of US involvement overseas (The Hill).

WNU Editor: The U.S. public may be sceptical of U.S. involvement overseas, but they still support the war against the Islamic State .... U.S. military action against ISIS, policy toward terrorism (PEW Research Center)

The Impact On Oil Prices From Tthe Fort McMurray Fire Disaster



CBC: Oil prices jump as Fort McMurray wildfire slows down oilsands production

What's the impact on the oil market? And on the workers?

The price of crude is rising this morning as the wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., slows oilsands production.

The Wood Buffalo region of Alberta is the economic heart of the province, and key to world oil markets. It produces more than half of Canada's oil each day and is an important exporter to the United States.

While the oilsands plants themselves are not at risk at this moment, production has not just slowed down, but in some cases has stopped because the plants can't operate at full capacity without staff. The entire population of Fort McMurray has been evacuated, thousands of homes have been lost and it's unclear when the city will be habitable again.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Canadian oil sands are huge producers of oil .... its shut-down will impact global oil prices. I have a distant cousin in Alberta who runs a service company in the oil industry .... and he is telling me that the oil plants and infrastructure will not be impacted by these fires. Unfortunately .... he told me that the staff that operate these plants are impacted .... their homes are being burned down .... and going to work is on the bottom of their to-do list right now.

Dramatic Footage From The Fort McMurray Disaster



CTV News: Fort McMurray in flames: The most dramatic footage from the disaster zone

Fort McMurray residents fleeing a ferocious wildfire are sharing jaw-dropping footage of their escapes through what resembled apocalypse-like conditions.

More than 80,000 people have fled the municipality on a mandatory evacuation order that was expanded late Wednesday night.

Residents travelling on the main highway out of the city captured footage of towering trees being devoured by flames, while burning debris fell onto the roadway.

Read more ....

Update: 11 jaw-dropping videos from the Fort McMurray wildfire (CBC)

WNU Editor: Wow .... looking at the above video .... I just cannot imagine what would be in my mind while watching such a disaster unfold. Here are some incredible pictures of this disaster .... Incredible aerial shots show the sheer scale of Alberta wildfire set to become costliest Canadian natural disaster ever with $1.6BILLION-worth of damage (Daily Mail).

Fire Disaster In Fort McMurray -- News Updates



CTV: Evacuation zone expanded in Fort McMurray

Wildfires continue to burn out of control in Fort McMurray on Thursday and the situation prompted officials to expand the evacuation zone overnight.

Residents, many of whom who had already escaped the city, were now told to evacuate further as the fire expanded, threatening Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation.

The communities are about 50 km south of Fort McMurray itself. All residents were transported to Lac La Biche.

Read more ....

Fire Disaster In Fort McMurray -- News Updates

LIVE BLOG: Breaking updates on the Fort McMurray wildfire -- CBC
LIVE BLOG: Fort McMurray fire updates -- CTV
Alberta fire evacuees moved a 2nd time as weather shifts -- AP
'Catastrophic wildfires' force thousands to flee in Canada -- AFP
New evacuations around fire-struck Fort McMurray in energy heartland -- Reuters
Fort McMurray airport under seige from raging wildfire -- CBC
More evacuation orders issued for Fort McMurray area -- CBC
Massive Alberta wildfire spreads south forcing more evacuations -- BBC
Alberta declares state of emergency as wildfire forces Fort McMurray evacuation -- The Guardian
‘Fire Refugees’ Flee Alberta Town With Flames Lapping at Wheels -- Bloomberg
Fort McMurray fires knock out third of Canada’s oil capacity and close major pipelines -- National Post/Reuters
Fort McMurray residents make tough choices on what to bring from home -- CBC
Fort McMurray wildfire burning so hot, only weather can stop it -- CBC
Stories of escape from a city on fire: For many, it came down to what was in the tank -- National Post/Edmonton Journal
What Canada’s wildfire disaster looks like from Earth and space -- Washington Post

Neither Former Presidents George HW Bush Or George W Bush Will Endorse Donald Trump



The Guardian: Neither George HW nor George W Bush will endorse Donald Trump

Non-endorsements come as Trump has become presumptive nominee and many have tried to come to terms with fact that he will be party’s standard-bearer

Neither George HW nor George W Bush, the only two living former Republican presidents of the United States, will endorse Donald Trump.

In statements released to the Guardian on Wednesday evening, spokesmen for both former presidents said they would be sitting out the 2016 election. Freddy Ford, a spokesman for George W Bush, told the Guardian: “President George W Bush does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is only going to help Donald Trump.

More News On Presidents George HW Bush And George W Bush Not Willing To Endorse Donald Trump

Former presidents Bush plan to sit out 2016 general election -- FOX News
Former Republican presidents will not endorse Trump -- BBC
Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush Stay Clear of WH Race -- NBC News
Bush 41, 43 won't be endorsing Trump -- USA Today
George W. Bush said to be not commenting on Trump victory -- AP

World News Briefs -- May 5, 2016



Reuters: Truce takes hold in Aleppo but fighting goes on elsewhere in Syria

A cessation of hostilities agreement brokered by Russia and the United States brought a measure of relief to the battered Syrian city of Aleppo on Thursday but President Bashar al-Assad said he still sought a total, crushing victory over rebel forces.

Syrian state media said the army would abide by a "regime of calm" in the city that came into effect at 1 a.m. (6.00 p.m. ET on Wednesday) for 48 hours, and relative calm prevailed on Thursday morning after two weeks of death and destruction.

The army blamed Islamist insurgents for violating the agreement overnight by what it called indiscriminate shelling of some government-held residential areas of divided Aleppo. But residents said the violence had eased by morning and more shops had opened up.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syria conflict: Uneasy calm in Aleppo as partial truce declared. Truce takes hold in Aleppo but fighting goes on elsewhere in Syria. Fresh strikes around Syria's Aleppo despite ceasefire.

US worried political chaos in Iraq will hurt IS fight.

Iraq routed IS from Ramadi at a high cost: A city destroyed.

Iraq’s PM replaces military commander over Green Zone breach.

Al Qaeda militants begin to leave two Yemeni towns: residents.

Turkey PM Ahmet Davutoglu to quit amid reports of Erdogan rift.

Israel says found second Hamas tunnel from Gaza since 2014 war.

Israeli military carries out air strikes on Gaza.

ASIA

Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia to coordinate against militant pirates. East Asia trio agree to boost maritime security.


Finishing touches in North Korea capital ahead of rare party meeting.

Despite sanctions and isolation, Pyongyang skyline grows.

Helicopter corruption case rocks Indian parliament.

Bangladesh opposition leader loses death penalty appeal. Bangladesh Islamist leader Motiur Rahman Nizami loses final appeal.

Japan's Abe says he will work with whoever wins U.S. election.

Pakistan elders 'ordered girl's killing' in Abbottabad.

AFRICA

Intelligence official: Islamic State growing in Somalia.

Burundi police say 450 people killed in political violence in past year.

Libya oil output could fall if Hariga port dispute continues.

DR Congo cracks down on 'foreign mercenaries'.

Uganda bans media coverage of election result protests.

Zimbabwe to print own version of US dollar.

Kenya electoral body prepares for 2017 vote, dismisses calls to quit.

Kenya: Woman found alive after 6 days in collapsed building.

EUROPE

Russia to deploy troops to counter growing NATO presence.

'Resurgent Russia': New hardline NATO Europe commander raises hackles in Moscow.

Russia issues fresh threats against unaligned Nordic states.

Labour set to recapture London after bitter mayoral campaign.

‘Islam does not belong in Germany’: 60% agree with AfD.

Spanish court seeks arrest of Putin-linked Russians.

Greek parliament to vote on tax, pension reforms before Eurogroup meeting.

European Central Bank to withdraw €500 note.

AMERICAS

Alberta declares state of emergency as wildfire forces Fort McMurray evacuation. New evacuations around fire-struck Fort McMurray in energy heartland.

Brazilian justice suspends house speaker, foe of president. Brazil court suspends Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha.

Brazil crisis: Rousseff tells BBC she will fight on.

Trump starts VP search after last rival drops out.

Romanian hacker Guccifer: I breached Clinton server, 'it was easy'.

U.S. jobless claims rise; planned layoffs surge.

Illegal immigrant numbers skyrocket at Mexican border.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Australia’s top ISIS recruiter killed in US airstrike. Australian IS recruiter Neil Prakash 'killed in Iraq'.

UN diplomat says Islamic State seeking new revenue streams.

Top U.S. intel official: ISIS can stage Europe-style attacks in U.S..

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

U.S. regulators ban e-cigarette, cigar sales to minors.

Cupertino's mayor: Apple 'abuses us' by not paying taxes.

Alibaba profits triple as mobile sales soar.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- May 5, 2016



Reuters: Russia warns of retaliation as NATO plans more deployments in Eastern Europe

Russia will reinforce its western and southern flanks with three new divisions by the year-end, officials said on Wednesday, threatening retaliation to NATO's plans to boost its military presence in eastern members Poland and the Baltic States.

While Moscow accuses the Western alliance of threatening its Russia's security, NATO says intensified military drills and its plans for increased deployments on its eastern flank are purely defensive after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in 2014 and backed separatist rebels in Ukraine.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Monday NATO was weighing up rotating four battalions of troops through eastern member states amid rising tension in the Baltic.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- May 5, 2016

Russia threatens to respond to NATO's military buildup along eastern border -- FOX News

Russia to set up 3 divisions to counteract NATO — defense minister -- TASS

NATO Ratchets Up Missile Defense Despite Russian Criticism -- New York Times

The West needs to stop panicking about Russia's "hybrid" warfare -- Mark Galeotti, VOX

Syria's Civil War: Go Inside Russia's Base in Latakia -- NBC

Russian military get reconnaissance information from Kurds — Russian defense ministry -- TASS

Russia does not need another air base in Syria — defense ministry -- TASS

Lavrov: Russia May Consider Iran's Request on Buying Tanks, Military Jets -- Sputnik

This is Why Russia's S-500 Air Defense System Makes Pentagon Nervous -- Sputnik

China Claims 'Series of Tricks' by US Led to Port Snub -- Sputnik

China's military deploys its first corruption inspectors -- Reuters

Russia, China to hold anti-missile drill as US mulls radar deployment in S. Korea -- RT

North Korea May Be In Advanced Stage Of Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile Development, Latest Satellite Imagery Shows -- IBTimes

Pyongyang Nearing Submarine Launched Nuclear Missile Capability Against US -- Sputnik

N. Korea shows off military might in face of "imperialist U.S." -- CBS

Turkey Rushes Armed Drones After Increased ISIS Threat -- Defense News

IDF military chief backtracks after appearing to compare Israel to Nazi Germany -- The Independent

Italy ponders military intervention in Libya -- The Economist

Canada Sends Military Aircraft to Stop the Spread of Massive Alberta Wildfires -- VICE News

NATO Accepts Israel, 4 Other Nations as Headquarter Liaisons -- Defense News

Finland May Turn to Drones To Supplement Combat Aircraft -- Defense News

U.S. Ships Tanks To Georgia For Military Drills -- Eurasianet.org

Revealed: Inside the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Ballistic Missile Submarine -- National Interest

USAF to automate MQ-9 takeoffs and landings -- Flight Global

F-35 vs. A-10: Air Force Test Pilot Weighs In -- Defense News

Petition urges lawmakers to keep women out of the military draft -- The Hill

Army captain sues Obama over lack of ISIS war authorization -- The Hill

The Pentagon Wants to ‘Fingerprint’ the World’s Hackers -- Defense One

What Lessons Do China’s Island Bases Offer The US Army? -- Sydney Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense

U.S. military currently unable to handle major crisis: Study -- Washington Times