Tag Archives: U.S

Russia queries U.S over terrorists in Syria

Russia has raised the alarm over some 300 Daesh terrorists on pickup trucks infiltrating through a US-controlled zone in Syria’s al-Tanf.

The Russian Defense Ministry has urged “the US side to explain its selective blindness regarding militants” operating near US forces in Syria.

The ministry’s spokesman said the 300 Daesh militants had tried to block a strategically important road linking Damascus and Deir ez-Zor, used for delivering humanitarian aid for civilians and supplies for the Syrian Army.

Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that truce in the southern de-escalation zone in Syria could be undermined after the relocation of 600 militants and two convoys with medical aid into the area.

“Considering such significant reinforcement in terms of manpower, medicines and food, at the US’ tacit approval, one does not have to be an expert to forecast an attempt to derail the truce in the southern de-escalation zone”, he said.

According to the spokesman, on October 2-3 a group of 600 militants, previously based in the Rukban refugee camp, located in the American-controlled al-Tanf zone, headed westward in SUVs, and after covering some 300 kilometers entered the southern zone of de-escalation through a former border control point at the Syria-Jordan border in Daraa.

“By another ‘strange’ coincidence, almost simultaneously with them, two convoys [30 and 60 tons respectively] with medicines and products for the local population entered this de-escalation zone…

“All humanitarian aid that arrived and, above all, medicines, was unloaded and is under control of the militants who came from al-Tanf. At the same time, according to available information, these settlements are under the control of al-Nusra Front ‘sleeper cells’,” he said.

Konashenkov said that meant that 600 militants who arrived from the US-controlled zone in al-Tanf were either to fight these ‘cells’ for medicines and food, or act jointly with them.

The spokesman underscored the US would solely bear all the responsibility for sabotaging the peace process in Syria.

US Actions in Syria Look Like an Attempt to Split the Country

In his turn, Director of the North America Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry Georgiy Borisenko told Sputnik that US actions near the al-Tanf base in Syria are reminiscent of an attempt to divide the war-torn state.

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Trump threatens North Korea again

U.S. President Donald Trump issued another undisguised threat to irritant North Korea on Tuesday dismissing the latest U.N. sanctions as  only a very small step and nothing compared to what would have to happen to deal with the country’s nuclear program.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned China that if it did not follow through on the new sanctions, the United States would “put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the U.S. and international dollar system.”

Another senior administration official told Reuters any such “secondary sanctions” on Chinese banks and other companies were on hold for now to give China time to show it was prepared to fully enforce the latest and previous rounds of sanctions.

The U.N. Security Council voted to boost sanctions on North Korea on Monday, banning its textile exports and capping fuel supplies, prompting a traditionally defiant threat of retaliation against the United States.

The U.N. move was triggered by the North’s sixth and largest nuclear test this month. It was the ninth such resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member Security Council over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006.

A tougher initial U.S. draft was weakened to win the support of China, Pyongyang’s main ally and trading partner, and Russia, both of which hold U.N. veto power. Significantly, it stopped short of imposing a full embargo on oil exports to North Korea, most of which come from China.

“We think it’s just another very small step, not a big deal,” Trump told reporters at the start of a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

”I don’t know if it has any impact, but certainly it was nice to get a 15-to-nothing vote, but those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen,” said Trump, who has vowed not to allow North Korea to develop a nuclear missile capable of hitting the United States.

Asked if Trump was considering other actions, including cutting off Chinese banks from the U.S. financial system, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said:

“All options are on the table. The president has also said that he wants every country involved to step up and do more. This was a small step in that process, and we’re hoping that they’ll all take a greater role and a more active role in putting pressure on North Korea.”

Washington so far has mostly held off on new sanctions against Chinese banks and other companies doing business with North Korea, given fears of retaliation by Beijing and possibly far-reaching effects on the world economy.

Trump is likely to make a stop in China in November during his first official visit to Asia. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks in Washington on Tuesday with China’s top diplomat, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, at which details of the trip were expected to discussed.

The U.S. president has wavered between criticizing China for not doing enough on North Korea to heaping personal praise on the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

North Korea said its Sept. 3 test was of an advanced hydrogen bomb and it was its most powerful nuclear blast by far. It has also tested a missile capable of reaching the United States, but experts say it is likely to be at least a year before it can field an operational nuclear missile that could threaten America.

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U.S. TO NORTH KOREA

The US is not seeking a regime change in North Korea, the secretary of state says, amid tensions over Pyongyang’s weapons programme.

Rex Tillerson said, “We’re not your enemy,” the US wanted a dialogue at some point.

But a Republican senator said President Donald Trump had told him there would be a war with North Korea if its missile programme continued.

Pyongyang claimed its latest missile could hit the US west coast.

The second test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday, celebrated by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was the latest to be conducted in defiance of a United Nations ban.

“We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek the collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel,” said Mr Tillerson, referring to the border between the Koreas.

“We’re not your enemy, we’re not your threat but you’re presenting an unacceptable threat to us and we have to respond.”

BBC/TSIDKENU

Chibok Girls’ film “Waiting for Hassana” premieres in U.S.

​New York – A film dedicated to telling the story of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, “Waiting for Hassana”, will be premiered in the U.S. on Friday.

This is contained in a statement by Adam Segal, a representative of The 2050 Group – Publicity, obtained.

The short documentary, the first Nigerian production ever selected to debut at the prestigious Sundance International Film Festival, focuses on the Chibok girls.

“WAITING FOR HASSANA is a powerful short documentary directed by Ifunanya ‘Funa’ Maduka and produced by Uzodinma Iweala and Ifunanya Maduka.

Waiting for Hassana
“It will premiere at the Sundance International Film Festival on Jan. 20, 2017.

“The short documentary, WAITING FOR HASSANA, tells the story of the Chibok abductions from a single perspective — a voice of one of the fifty-seven escapees.

“The film was shot over the course of 2016 in Nigeria by acclaimed Nigerian cinematographer, Victor Okhai.

“Nnamdi Asomugha, a Nigerian-American and former NFL cornerback turned producer, is the primary backer and executive producer on the project.

“Gallerist, Edward Tyler Nahem, and philanthropists, Ann and Andrew Tisch, are also executive producers,” the statement said.

With 46,660 attendees in 2016, Sundance is the largest independent film festival in the U.S.

Held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort, the festival is a showcase for new work from American and international independent filmmakers.

The statement quoted Maduka as saying: “This contained and intimate film introduces a new point of entry into the Chibok kidnappings.

“We know the global story, now we hear the personal one. As the director, my aim was to visually and sonically plunge audiences into the psychological and emotional landscape of our subject.

`My hope is that audiences will leave feeling inextricably linked to her life and her story – that it will become as much their story as it is hers.

“That radical intimacy is, to me, the basic and necessary function of art. It was also important to me that a Nigerian told this story, and I am proud that our crew reflects that drive.”

It also quoted Iweala as saying: “Within every tragedy there are incredible stories of resilience.

“When my mother came to me and said that people need to hear about the strength of these young women who have suffered the worst and yet still have so much to offer the world, I said I would help to get that story out there.

“WAITING FOR HASSANA is the result of a team of Nigerians dedicated to telling our own stories to ourselves and the world.”

It explained that WAITING FOR HASSANA is a film that seeks to reframe the narrative about the Chibok abductions by emphasising the strength and perseverance of an interrupted friendship that is both a source of profound pain and intense motivation to pursue a better life through education.

It said Maduka is a Nigerian American filmmaker and professional cinephile, with a penchant for world cinema.

Previously, she worked on the feature “Half of a Yellow Sun’’, and the documentary, “Building a Dream’’, it said.

The latter covered the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, where she was a founding member and served as the Academy’s first dean of students, it said.

“Funa holds degrees from Cornell University and Harvard University, and waiting for Hassana is her directorial debut.”

The statement also said Iweala is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and a medical doctor.

His first novel, “Beasts of No Nation’’, was released in 2005 to critical acclaim, and won numerous awards, it said.

Beasts of No Nation was translated into 14 languages and selected as a New York Times Notable Book, and it was adapted into the Netflix Film by the same name.

He is also the Editor-in-Chief and CEO of Ventures Africa, a Lagos-based news platform covering police, business, and culture in Nigeria, Africa, and the world.

Iweala is a graduate of Harvard College, Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.