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President Trump spent Thanksgiving morning on the golf course before speaking with members of the military via video call. President-elect Joe Biden and his family gave up their usual large gathering because of the pandemic. Ben Tracy reports.
Washington’s desperate attempts to stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany resemble mafia methods, senior German parliament member, Klaus Ernst, told RT, calling on the EU to fight back.
“Their actions resemble those of a mafia,” Ernst told RT Deutsch on Wednesday, speaking about the renewed threats of US sanctions against the European companies involved in the project. Ernst chairs the Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy at the German parliament, the Bundestag.
Just like mafia members exporting ‘protection money’ from businesses, the US comes to Europe claiming it seeks to protect its allies from the Russians but threatens European companies with economic downfall in case such “protection offer” is rejected, the parliamentarian said. On Thursday, it emerged that the US pressure forced a Norwegian-German risk management and quality assurance company to quit.
“It’s not about our security; it’s about Americans seeking to sell us their liquified gas, their slate gas hat harms the environment… and is more expensive,” Ernst, a member of the Left Party, said.
We cannot let another state to dictate us how we should manage our energy supply.
Also on rt.com
The lawmaker added that both his fellow MPs and the German government considers the US actions a violation of the international law. Merely voicing a protest against such tactics would not be enough, as Nord Stream 2 is unlikely to be an isolated case of this behavior, Ernst believes, saying that Washington would hardly stop at that and would simply find new reasons to continue slapping Europe with sanctions.
The US “does not see its partners as partners but… as unwelcome competitors or as servants,” the parliamentarian said, adding that the European companies trading with China and particularly supplying chips to the Chinese tech giant Huawei are likely to be next on America’s list.
“It’s not just about gas, it’s about defending Europe’s sovereignty,” Ernst said, calling on the European leaders to respond to the US pressure with sanctions of their own. The MP particularly suggested imposing punitive tolls on the US gas imports to Europe as a way to stop America’s campaign against Nord Stream 2.
Also on rt.com
Slapping specific US officials responsible for the sanctions policy with personal restrictions could be another way out, the lawmaker believes. Strengthening the European financial system and ditching dollar transactions in the long run could also give Europe independence it needs, he added.
“This must be stopped once and for all. We cannot stand anything like this,” he said. The only way forward for Europe is to make Washington recognize Europe’s “independence” and stop treating it “like a colony,” Ernst believes. “Everything else leads either into a dead end or into submission.”
Also on rt.com
The Russian gas pipeline project that involves dozens of European companies has been a source of irritation for Washington for quite some time. Following repeated attempts to dissuade European companies from participating in the project, the US eventually included it into an act supposedly aimed at protecting Europe’s energy independence. What is apparently does, though, is making any company participating in the project subject to the US sanctions.
Now, more than 120 enterprises face America’s punitive measures over their involvement into the Nord Steam 2 construction as the US still hopes to boost its own liquified gas sales to the European “partners.” Meanwhile, the construction continues, and the Russian President Vladimir Putin said in January that the pipeline would be finished either by the end of 2020 or in the first quarter of the next year.
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MONTREAL (Reuters) – Transport Canada said on Thursday it plans to take a harder look at the relationship between regulators and the manufacturers they oversee, an effort to change the way it validates aircraft following the return of Boeing’s 737 MAX to the skies.
We “have to look at the interaction that different authorities have with their manufacturers,” Nicholas Robinson, the regulator’s director of civil aviation, told a Canadian hearing on aircraft certification and the MAX.
Canada is close to validating the jet that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cleared for flight earlier this month after it was redesigned following two fatal crashes that killed 346 people.
There will be some differences between what the FAA has approved for the MAX and what Canada will require for its airlines, such as in training.
In the past, regulators promptly followed the guidance of the FAA on Boeing aircraft, but many are now wary of seeming to toe the FAA line after the U.S. agency was faulted for lax oversight.
“It’s public record that information was not forthcoming with regard to particular aspects of this aircraft,” Robinson said. “That will have to change.”
The ability of regulators to cooperate is crucial in a sector spanning dozens of jurisdictions. Having a regulator such as the FAA do the heavy lifting to certify a U.S. plane reduces costs and time, because agencies abroad can validate the results without having to duplicate them.
Transport Canada, which spent about 15,000 hours in its validation of the MAX jet, expects to play a greater role in overseeing aircraft in the future, but would not displace the existing system, Robinson said.
“We’ll see a greater involvement in validation, but we do have to keep with the system where the state of design certifies the aircraft and the other leading authorities go ahead and validate the aircraft independently.”
(Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Aurora Ellis)
MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s capital Madrid turned on its Christmas lights on Thursday, spending more than last year to illuminate 30 additional streets and squares despite a sharp economic downturn driven by the coronavirus pandemic.
Banners of LED lights in the red and yellow of the Spanish flag appeared in parts of the city, including stretches of over a kilometre alongside the central boulevard that runs past the world-famous Prado museum.
The lights are usually an important tourist attraction, but this year there are far fewer people on the streets due to the pandemic.
The cost of lighting the over 200 decorated streets is budgeted at 3.17 million euros ($3.8 million), slightly higher than the 3.08 million euros a year ago. Plans to spend even more on the lights were scuppered by the COVID-19 crisis, the council said in a statement.
Spain forecasts economic output will fall 11.2% this year, after 2% growth last year, due to the effects of the pandemic.
(Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Aurora Ellis)
SYDNEY (Reuters) – A British-Australian academic who was freed from Iranian jail on Thursday was detained in 2018 on espionage charges after authorities there found her partner was an Israeli citizen, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Friday.
Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a specialist in Middle East politics at the University of Melbourne, was released from prison in exchange for three Iranians who had been detained abroad, Iran’s state broadcaster IRIB reported.
Australia and Iran took more than six months to come to an agreement for a prisoner-swap deal for Moore-Gilbert, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the Sydney Morning Herald said, citing unidentified sources.
The prisoner exchange deal – which Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday repeatedly declined to comment on – also involved high-level negotiations with the Thailand government, the report said.
Thai authorities disclosed three Iranians who were arrested in 2012 had been deported and sent to Iran. The New York Times reported the three Iranians had been held in Thailand over a bomb plot.
Australia and Moore-Gilbert have rejected Iran’s allegations that she was working as a spy for Israel.
Australia’s foreign affairs ministry declined to comment on the report citing privacy reasons for Moore-Gilbert and her family, while the Israeli Embassy in Australia did not respond to requests seeking comments.
(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
Massive Armada Of IRGC Boats Mobilize In Gulf Amid Rumors Israeli Strike Imminent Tyler Durden
Thu, 11/26/2020 – 18:45
The naval forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Thursday conducted large-scale exercises in the Strait of Hormuz at a moment Tehran believes Israel will launch a preemptive strike aimed at drawing Trump into ordering US military action in the region before he leaves office in January.
According to state-run English language PressTV, “The event saw sailors, enlisted with the popular volunteer Basij force, taking to the waters aboard more than 1,000 light and semi-heavy-lift vessels.”
Photos showed an impressive number of small but fast military boats that are typically used by the IRGC Navy (which is separate from the much larger national navy of the Islamic Republic) to harass and encircle larger ships, whether tankers or foreign warships.
IRGC Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri, who oversaw the maneuvers, called it a display of strength and a showcasing of Iran’s “maritime power” which provides security in the Arabian and Oman Seas.
Earlier this month The New York Times reported that Trump’s advisers talked him down from ordering a strike, which they argued would certainly spiral into a larger war.
Included in the “strike options” were most likely plans to hit the Natanz enrichment facility, according to the report, which suffered sabotage and damage last summer in a likely Israeli covert operation but which is being repaired and rebuilt.
Israel too is said to be preparing for such a scenario, with its armed forces said to be in a high state of readiness. Iran is apparently taking these reports very seriously.
America’s “stability promotion” works in mysterious ways…
(The US – and the region – would be better off it the US simply didn’t…)
Middle East war correspondent for Al Rai Media, Elijah Magnier has cited unnamed Iranian military sources who say they believe Israeli leaders are planning to create a “pretext” designed to trigger US intervention just weeks before the inauguration of Joe Biden:
In an unprecedentedly high level of military readiness, the “Axis of the Resistance” led by Iran has declared a maximum alert on all fronts, as a preparation for a possible battle or war breaking out in the Middle East prior to the arrival in office of President-elect Joe Biden.
Sources within the “Axis of the Resistance” say that “the US may not be planning for a war against Iran with President Donald Trump leaving office soon. However, it is not excluded that the “bully of the neighborhood”, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, would like to carry out a swift hit on the Iranian nuclear facilities in order to sabotage the nuclear deal ready for when Biden takes over. In the case of an Israeli bombing followed by an Iranian retaliation, the Trump administration can then intervene with the pretext of “defending” Israel.
This means that it’s more than likely we’ll see Iran ramp up its military exercises and shows of strength as the weeks wind down on the Trump presidency.
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s second-largest state, once the country’s COVID-19 hotspot, said on Friday it has gone 28 days without detecting any new infections, a benchmark widely cited as eliminating the virus from the community.
The state also has zero active cases after the last COVID-19 patient was discharged from hospital this week, a far cry from August when Victoria recorded more than 700 cases in one day and active infections totalled nearly 8,000.
The spread of the virus was only contained after a lockdown lasting more than 100 days, leaving some 5 million people in Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, largely confined to their homes.
While the lockdown has seen infections wane, it slowed Australia’s economic recovery from its first recession in three decades after large swathes of the country’s economy was shut down in March.
Australia’s economy shrank 7% in the three months to the end of June, the biggest quarterly decline since records began in 1959. The unemployment rate hit a 22-year high of 7.5% in July as businesses and borders closed to deal with the coronavirus.
Still, Australia’s nearly 28,000 COVID-19 infections recorded to date, according to health ministry data, are far fewer than many other developed countries. Victoria accounts for more than 90% of the country’s 905 deaths.
(Reporting by Colin Packham; editing by Richard Pullin)
On Wednesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Outnumbered Overtime,” Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan reacted to the Seattle City Council’s cut of the police budget by stating that such moves are “going to spread across the nation,” and