In Raging Tweetstorm, Trump Says Russians “Laughing Their Asses Off”, Mocks “Leakin’ Monster” Schiff

After  excoriating the FBI for failing to act on multiple tips about “professional school shooter” Nikolas Cruz’s murderous intentions, and criticizing National Security Adviser HR McMaster over his Russia collusion comments, President Donald Trump shifted his focus toward one of his favorite targets, House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff, whom he “congratulated” for finally acknowledging that the Obama administration is responsible for any attempted interference by Russia during the 2016 election.

In one of his more memorable turns of phrase, Trump lauded “Liddle Adam Schiff“, whom he branded the “leakin monster of no control“, for finally “blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election. He is finally right about something. Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you Adam!”

Trump also expressed his amazement that nobody in federal law enforcement or Congress tried to stop the Obama administration from handing over nearly $2 billion in cash to Iran. The cash transfers were first reported by the Wall Street Journal in September 2016. The administration defended its actions by saying it was merely returning the money, which belonged to Iranian entities, but had been frozen because of sanctions.




Trump also repeated that he “never denied” the Russians tried to interfere in the election – he only denied that the Trump campaign in any way coordinated with the Russians…

… and he lamented that Schiff was probably only now blaming Obama for Russian interference to create another Democratic excuse for why Hillary Clinton lost to Trump, a “great candidate.”

Putting it all together, given the hysteria surrounding Russian interference during the 2016 election, the multiple investigations and countless public resources wasted, if it was Russia’s intention to create chaos in the US, then they’ve “succeeded beyond their wildest dreams”, Trump claimed.”They’re probably “laughing their asses off in Moscow,” he added.

Taking a swipe at recent reports that CNN’s ratings have tumbled over the past year, Trump tweeted a cartoon of Wolf Blitzer and the never-ending coverage of the “Russia probe.”

He ended his ranting (at least for now) with a tweet about a Republican pollster tabulating that the odds of the GOP retaining its Congressional majorities during the coming mid-term elections have been climbing, which the president attributed to his tax cut reform.

Trump has gone silent, but with Adam Schiff scheduled to appear on CNN’s State of the Union this morning – and Attorney General Jeff Sessions set to be interviewed by Maria Bartiromo – it’s likely we haven’t heard the last from the president during this long, President’s Day weekend.

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EURAUD is at a critical point

EURAUD is at a critical point


Hello friends!
Looking at the chart, you can see that EURAUD             is making a bull flag after bouncing off the lower parallel of another bull flag (2017 bull flag ), and now after making 3 attempts to break the top side, it is failed and is trending down toward the lower parallel of the most recent bull flag (2018 bull flag ). Recently we have seen a short trap on Tuesday followed by a bull trap on Thursday after failing to break higher. There is an all-time support just above the 2018 bull flag and the pair must break it and hold above that to confirm the bullish move which eventually leads to the touch of the upper parallel of the 2012 bull flag (third bull flag ).
I would like to draw your attention to the “Inverse H&S + Bull Flag measured moves” if price breaks the key resistance level . Until then this pair remains bearish as just failed to move higher after 3 consecutive attempts. We now have four structures
1) 2012 bull Flag
2) Inverse H&S
3) 2017 bull Flag
4) 2018 bull Flag
which all suggest a move higher but as mentioned there is actually a very significant resistance which has to be broken first.
Good luck and have a great trading week,

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65 Dead After Iranian Passenger Plane Crashes, Killing Everybody Onboard

An Iranian commercial plane crashed in a mountainous region of southern Iran on Sunday morning, killing all 65 people on board, a tragic consequences of Iran’s rapidly aging fleet of commercial aircraft according to the Associated Press.


The plane was an Aseman Airlines ATR-72, a twin-engine turboprop used for short-distance regional flying. It went down near its destination of the southern Iranian city of Yasuj, some 780 kilometers (485 miles) south of the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Aseman Airlines spokesman Mohammad Taghi Tabatabai told state TV that all passengers and crew aboard Flight No. EP3704 were killed in the crash.

“After searching the area, we learned that unfortunately … our dear passengers had lost their lives,” Tabatabai said. “This plane had 60 passengers, 59 adults and one child, as well as a pilot, a co-pilot, two flight attendants and two air marshals on board.”

Heavy fog prevented rescue helicopters from reaching the crash site in the Zagros Mountains, state TV reported. Tabatabai said the plane crashed into Mount Dena, which is about 4,400 meters (14,435 feet) tall.

The airline specializes in flights to remote airfields across the country. It also flies internationally. It is Iran’s third-largest airline by fleet size, behind state carrier Iran Air and privately owned Mahan Air.

Aseman has a fleet of 29 aircraft, including six ATR aircraft, per the AP. The ATR-72 that crashed Sunday had been built in 1993, Aseman Airlines CEO Ali Abedzadeh said. The plane left Tehran at 0433 GMT and gave its last signal at 0555 GMT. At the time the last signal was issued, the flight was at 16,975 feet and was descending, FlightRadar24 said.

Aseman Airlines has suffered other major crashes with fatalities. In October 1994, a twin-propeller Fokker F-28 1000 commuter plane flown by the airline crashed near Natanz, 290 kilometers (180 miles) south of Tehran, also killing 65 people on board. An Aseman Airlines chartered flight in August 2008, flown by an Itek Air Boeing 737, crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing 74 people.

Following the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with world powers, Iran signed deals with both Airbus and Boeing to buy scores of passenger planes worth tens of billions of dollars. U.S. politicians have expressed concern about the airplane sales to Iran. President Donald Trump remains skeptical of the atomic accord overall and has refused to re-certify it, putting the deal in question.

Decades of international sanctions have left Iran’s airline industry with an aging fleet. Aseman Airlines, which is owned by an Iranian pension fund and is considered semi-private, isn’t allowed to fly in the European Union because of safety concerns.

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White House Dismisses Reports Of Turkish Gas Attack In Syria As “Extremely Unlikely”

According a new Associated Press report a White House official says the US thinks it is “extremely unlikely” Turkey used chemical weapons against Kurds. The comments came late on Saturday following widespread reports which emerged earlier in the day that Turkish forces launched a chemical gas attack on Kurdish militias in the northern Syria village of Aranda on Friday, sending at least six civilians to the hospital.

In response, counter-terrorism expert Max Abrams appropriately quipped concerning the White House’s hasty excusal of US ally Turkey as a culprit: sounds scientific, right? 

Clearly, if a long-time US partner in Syria and NATO ally is to blame for a heinous chemical attack it couldn’t possibly be true according to the White House version of events. Yet, imagine if this were Assad or Russia being blamed… 

“A Syrian man receives treatment after shelling by a Turkish-led offensive on his village.” Source: Getty via New York Post.

As we described previously, multiple local and regional sources including medical personnel operating inside Afrin alleged the attack took place during Turkey’s ongoing ‘Operation Olive Branch’ – which has involved both Turkish soldiers and local jihadist proxies including the Free Syrian Army conducting joint ground attacks against Kurdish YPG forces (Kurdish “People’s Protection Units”). Syrian state-run SANA news agency and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) – an opposition monitoring group – also quoted local doctors in their reports.

And as Reuters reported, “the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters that Turkish forces and their Syrian insurgent allies hit the village on Friday with shells. The Britain-based monitor said medical sources in Afrin reported that six people in the attack suffered breathing difficulties and dilated pupils, indicating a suspected gas attack.” But predictably, Turkish officials slammed the reports, saying that Turkey has “never used” chemical weapons in Syria, describing this week’s accusations that either its military or allied forces had done so as “baseless” and according to one official, “black propaganda”. 

The AP described the specific delivery method of the alleged gas attack as follows:

SANA on Saturday said Turkey fired several shells containing “toxic substances” on a village in Afrin on Friday night, causing six civilians to suffer suffocation symptoms.

However, more interesting is the White House’s “extremely unlikely” comment when questioned about the incident. The AP summarizes the exchange as follows:

A White House official says the United States thinks it is “extremely unlikely” Turkey used chemical weapons against the Kurds.

The official says that they are aware of the reports, but cannot confirm them and called for the protection of civilians.

It should be immediately clear for anyone paying attention to Syria chemical attack allegations going to back to 2013 that the United States has been quick to blame the Syrian government for any and all claimed gas attacks based on the mere words of anti-Assad militant and pro-opposition media groups.

Both Obama and Trump administrations have admitted at various times to relying heavily on opposition produced “open source material” and “social media reports” including unverifiable YouTube videos to accuse Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of launching massive chemical attacks on civilians. Last April, for example, the White House conducted a massive Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat air base near Homs in response to opposition media reports of a Sarin gas attack on al-Qaeda held (HTS) Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib. 

And what was touted as a 4-page “intelligence report” released by the White House cited “open source” videos to make the case that the Syrian government was behind the chemical attack. As investigative journalist Robert Parry observed at the time, “All the Important People who appeared on the TV shows or who were quoted in the mainstream media trusted the images provided by Al Qaeda–related propagandists and ignored documented prior cases in which the Syrian rebels staged chemical weapons incidents to implicate the Assad government.”

In the case of Friday’s purported chemical attack on the Syrian Kurdish village of Aranda by Turkish forces, there is also plenty of available open source material, including Kurdish media videos and photographs of civilians receiving treatment for a possible gas attack in a local hospital. 

While none of this is to suggest that at this point we know exactly what happened at Aranda, the episode does provide yet further confirmation of one increasingly self-evident truth: all chemical attack claims out of Syria are simply fodder for manipulation by the White House and media pundits to serve Washington’s geopolitical ends.

The standard Washington logic is as follows: should NATO ally Turkey or US-backed rebels commit chemical attacks or other atrocities, these will be immediately dismissed as “extremely unlikely” – in the White House’s own words; while at the same time any American friendly group on the ground such as anti-Assad insurgents will be taken at their word and on the flimsiest of evidence should claims be made that Assad is using gas – no matter how much evidence stacks up against such claims

And what might Turkish President Erdogan be thinking right now? With not even the pretense of any kind of investigation or UN assembly meeting or diplomatic action called for by the White House, but instead an immediate brushing aside of the allegations as “extremely unlikely” – Erdogan has now been given a blank check to carry out atrocities against Syrian Kurds using any means at his disposal. 

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Abu Dhabi awards Spanish firm stake in offshore oil concession

The vast majority of the United Arab Emirates' crude oil reserves are located in Abu Dhabi — capital of the Gulf emirate. Abu Dhabi in recent years has granted concessions to ExxonMobil, Total, BP, Shell and China's CNPC, among others, as old concessions have expired. The new concessions have …

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India, Iran sign pact during Rouhani visit on leasing port

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind (R) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) welcome Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) during an official welcoming ceremony in New Delhi, India on February 17, 2018 [Iranian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency]
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) pose for a photo after signing a cooperation agreement between India and Iran in New Delhi, India on February 17, 2018 [Iranian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency]
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) attends a meeting with Vice-President of India Venkaiah Naidu (L) in New Delhi, India on February 17, 2018 [Iranian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency]
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (3rd L) scatters petals on the Mausoleum of Mahatma Gandhi, who was the leader of the Indian independence movement, in New Delhi, India on February 17, 2018 [Iranian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency]

India and Iran on Saturday signed agreements including Tehran leasing to New Delhi operational control of part of the Iranian east coast port of Chabahar for 18 months.

Reuters reports the $85 million project, just 90 km from the China-sponsored Gwadar port in Pakistan, creates a transit route between India, Iran and Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.

India is trying to develop Chabahar as a way to gain access to the markets of central Asia as well as Afghanistan.

But progress is slow because of concern that President Donald Trump’s administration in Washington may eventually scrap the Iran nuclear deal.

A leasing agreement giving operational control to India of Shahid Beheshti port – phase one of the Chabahar port – was signed in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Later, addressing a joint press conference with the Iranian president, Modi said both countries wanted to expand bilateral ties and cooperation in economic development.

“We will support the construction of the Chabahar-Zahedan rail link so that Chabahar gateway’s potential could be fully utilised,” Modi said.

We want to expand connectivity, cooperation in the energy sector and the centuries-old bilateral relationship.

Other agreements included a double taxation avoidance treaty, extradition, and cooperation in the farm sector.

Rouhani, who arrived in the southern city of Hyderabad on Thursday, will later address industrialists.

Rouhani arrived in India on a three-day visit part of efforts to expand bilateral ties and cooperation in economic development.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (2nd R) places a wreath at the Mausoleum of Mahatma Gandhi, who was the leader of the Indian independence movement, in New Delhi, India on February 17, 2018 [Iranian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency]
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shakes hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) after signing a cooperation agreement between India and Iran in New Delhi, India on February 17, 2018 [Iranian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency]
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind (L) meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) at Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India on February 17, 2018 [Iranian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency]
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind (2nd L) welcomes Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (2nd R) during an official welcoming ceremony at Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India on February 17, 2018 [Iranian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency]
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) in New Delhi, India on February 17, 2018 [Iranian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency]
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (not seen) attend an inter-delegation meeting in New Delhi, India on February 17, 2018 [Iranian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency]
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) inspect the honor guard during an official welcoming ceremony in New Delhi, India on February 17, 2018 [Iranian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency]

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Biden, in public and private, tiptoes toward a 2020 run

Sun, 2018-02-18 03:00

WASHINGTON: Former Vice President Joe Biden is tiptoeing toward a potential presidential run in 2020, even broaching the possibility during a recent gathering of longtime foreign policy aides.
Huddled in his newly opened office steps from the US Capitol, Biden began a planning meeting for his new diplomacy center by addressing the elephant in the room. He said he was keeping his 2020 options open, considering it a real possibility. He insisted he had made no decision, and didn’t need to yet, according to five people who either attended the meeting or were briefed on it by those who did.
Biden also expressed interest in bringing those in the room onto his team if he decides to launch a campaign. At the same time, he gave them an out: There would be no hard feelings if they decided they were content in their current roles outside of government, said the people, who demanded anonymity to discuss a private meeting.
The political world has long tried to game out Biden’s plans for 2020. After all, he came close to running last time only to see President Donald Trump pull off a victory that many Democrats openly suggest wouldn’t have happened had he, not Hillary Clinton, been their nominee. Several people came away from the meeting with the impression that if no strong Democratic candidate emerges in the next year or so, Biden would feel strongly compelled to run.
A presidential candidate twice before, Biden would be 78 on Inauguration Day if elected in 2020, a concerning prospect for some Democrats even though he’s only a few years older than Trump. One possibility that Biden’s longtime advisers have discussed privately is that he could announce his intention to serve only one term, clearing the path for his running mate to take over in 2024 and potentially setting up Democrats for a 12-year White House stretch.
Biden’s brief discussion about his 2020 deliberations came as he brought foreign policy staffers together to set the 2018 agenda for the newly opened Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement — where many of them are now working, including Colin Kahl, his vice presidential national security adviser, and Steve Ricchetti, his former chief of staff. Eli Ratner, his former deputy national security adviser, and Mike Carpenter, the former Pentagon and State Department official who’s now the center’s senior director, also attended, as did Julianne Smith, a Biden adviser in the Obama administration’s first term who now works at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank.
A Biden spokesman declined to comment. But in a recent NBC News interview, Biden said he’d decide on running in 2020 based on whether it was “the right thing to do.”
“I’m focused on one thing: electing a Democratic Congress to stop this erosion of the core of who we are,” Biden said. “I’ll look at that a year from now. I have plenty of time to consider whether or not to run.”
The meeting was one of several signs that Biden is beginning to position himself as an alternative to Trump. Biden has started denouncing the current president’s leadership more frequently in public, as he crisscrosses the United States and beyond to promote his new book, his cancer initiative, his new domestic policy institute in Delaware, the diplomacy center and his new political action committee, American Possibilities.
He’s also been gearing up to play a major role campaigning for Democrats seeking to retake the House and Senate in the 2018 midterms.
“Donald Trump’s looking out for Donald Trump. Republicans are looking out for Donald Trump. Who’s looking out for everyone else? Democrats,” Biden wrote in a recent fundraising pitch to the PAC’s supporters. He said in 2018, he would “beat a path all across this country to stand up for leaders who will stand up for all of us.”
In 2015, Biden’s face was plastered across cable news channels and newspaper front pages for months as he carried out a lengthy deliberation about whether to challenge Clinton for the nomination. Ultimately, he decided he and his family weren’t in position to run so soon after his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, died from brain cancer earlier that year. Yet many Democrats have argued that his “everyman” brand and blue-collar appeal would make him particularly well-suited to challenge Trump.

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Poland defends PM’s Holocaust remark

Sun, 2018-02-18 14:03

WARSAW: Poland on Sunday sought to defend remarks by its prime minister which Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu called “outrageous” and amounted to denying the Holocaust.
“The comments of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki during a discussion in Munich were by no means intended to deny the Holocaust, or charge the Jewish victims of the Holocaust with responsibility for what was a Nazi German perpetrated genocide,” Morawiecki’s spokeswoman Joanna Kopcinska said in a statement.
The Israeli premier, who like Morawiecki was in Munich for a global security conference, on Saturday responded angrily to the remark that the Holocaust had involved “Jewish perpetrators” as well as Polish ones.
It showed “an inability to understand history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people”, Netanyahu said in a statement.
Morawiecki’s spokeswoman countered on Sunday that to the contrary the Polish prime minister “has repeatedly and categorically opposed denial of the Holocaust-the murder of European Jewry-as well as anti-Semitism in all its forms”.
Morawiecki’s claim about the Holocaust’s perpetrators came amid an unprecedented diplomatic row with Israel sparked by a controversial law passed by Poland’s senate this month.
The law sets fines or a maximum three-year jail term for anyone ascribing “responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich”.
On Saturday Morawiecki had been questioned by a journalist who told of his mother’s narrow escape from the Gestapo in Poland after learning that neighbours were planning to denounce them, and asked if recounting that would now be against the law in Poland.
Morawiecki responded: “It’s not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal, to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukraine and German perpetrators.”
After a slew of negative reactions to the comments, the Polish PM’s spokeswoman sought to clarify the remark saying his words “should be interpreted as a sincere call for open discussion of crimes committed against Jews during the Holocaust, regardless of the nationality of those involved in each crime.”
“Each crime must be judged individually, and no single act of wickedness should burden with responsibility entire nations, which were conquered and enslaved by Nazi Germany,” she said.

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