Pentagon Condemns Turkey S-400 Test, Erdogan Dismisses US Criticism


The United States strongly condemned NATO ally Turkey on Friday after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the first test of a Russian-made S-400 air defense system and dismissed US criticism.

“The US Department of Defense condemns in the strongest possible terms Turkey’s October 16 test of the S-400 air defense system — a test confirmed today by Turkish President Recep Erdogan,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

“We object to Turkey’s testing of this system, which risks serious consequences for our security relationship,” Hoffman said.

“We have been clear and unwavering in our position: an operational S-400 system is not consistent with Turkey’s commitments as a US and NATO ally.”

“Turkey has already been suspended from the F-35 program and the S-400 continues to be a significant barrier to progress elsewhere in the bilateral relationship,” Hoffman said.

The Pentagon reaction came several hours after Erdogan confirmed that tests of the S-400, which was delivered to Turkey by Russia last year, had been carried out by the Turkish armed forces.

“It is true about the tests, they have been done and will continue,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul. “We’re not going to ask America for permission.”

Erdogan stressed

Americans Hit By Pandemic Create Start-ups At Record Clip


Americans enduring a feeble economy and high unemployment because of the coronavirus pandemic are creating start-up companies at a record pace.

The drive is favored by very low interest rates, banks that are eager to lend and people with money saved up — both because no one goes out anymore and because of government stimulus aid.

“It is not as surprising as you might think,” said John Dearie of the Center for American Entrepreneurship. “People are starting new businesses because they lost their jobs. And because they have capital to start those businesses.”

Around 1.6 million companies were created from July to September, by far a record, according to the Census Bureau. Never before had more than a million start-ups emerged in one quarter in America.

“The pandemic has definitely spurred interest among young people and adults to launch new businesses. The reason, we believe, is very simple. People are losing jobs,” said J.D. LaRock, the head of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, which is active in 12 countries.

US President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the economy in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in August 2020
 AFP / Brendan Smialowski

“And people are recognizing that the world is changing, and that there

France Vows ‘Won’t Give Up Cartoons’ As Teenagers Face Terror Charges


France will prosecute seven people over last week’s beheading of a history teacher, including two teenagers accused of pointing him out to his killer, anti-terror authorities said on Wednesday as the nation paid homage to the slain educator.

“We will not give up cartoons,” President Emmanuel Macron told a solemn ceremony at the Sorbonne university in Paris attended by the family of Samuel Paty, the teacher who was targeted for having shown cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed in a civics class discussion on free speech early this month.

The president gave France’s highest civilian award, the Legion of Honour, to Paty and said he had been slain by “cowards” for representing the secular, democratic values of the French Republic.

Thousands marched Tuesday in the suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine where murdered teacher Samuel Paty worked
 AFP / Bertrand GUAY

“He was killed because Islamists want our future,” Macron said. “They will never have it.”

Earlier Wednesday anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said the two children being held — aged 14 and 15 — had been in a group of pupils who shared 300-350 euros ($356-$414) offered by the killer to help find Paty.

The two stayed with the killer, Chechnya-born 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov,

US Slaps Google With Antitrust Suit, Eyes Possible Breakup


The US government filed a blockbuster lawsuit Tuesday accusing Google of maintaining an “illegal monopoly” in online search and advertising in the country’s biggest antitrust case in decades — opening the door to a potential breakup of the Silicon Valley titan.

The politically charged case, which could take years to play out, draws new battle lines between the US government and Big Tech with potentially major implications for the sector.

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said the case filed with Republican state attorneys general from 11 states takes aim at Google’s dominance of the online ecosystem.

“Google is the gateway to the internet,” Rosen told reporters.

“But it has maintained its monopoly through exclusionary practices that are harmful to competition.”

The suit said these agreements include long-term agreements requiring that Google search be pre-loaded on devices and making it impossible to delete some of its apps.

The government claims Google pays billions to maintain that position, thus reinforcing its monopoly position.

The lawsuit filed in Washington contends that Google’s actions shut out competitors, and proposes that the court consider a range of remedies.

The filing calls for the court to “enjoin Google” from anticompetitive practices and consider “structural” changes to

US Charges Russians With Cyberattacks On Ukraine, French Elections, Olympics


Six Russian military intelligence officers have been charged in the United States with carrying out cyberattacks on Ukraine’s power grid, the 2017 French elections and the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, the Justice Department announced on Monday.

The six GRU agents were also accused of staging a malware attack called “NotPetya” that infected computers of businesses worldwide causing nearly $1 billion in losses to three US companies alone.

In addition, they allegedly targeted international investigations into the nerve agent poisoning of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, and waged cyberattacks on media outlets and parliament in Georgia.

Assistant Attorney General John Demers said the six were responsible for “the most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group.”

Demers said members of the same GRU unit have been charged previously with seeking to disrupt the 2016 US elections — but there were “no (2020) election interference allegations” in this indictment.

An FBI poster shows six Russian military intelligence officers accused of staging cyberattacks

The indictment of the six, none of whom are in US custody, was brought by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where hospitals were allegedly

Israel And Bahrain Formalise Diplomatic Ties


Israel and Bahrain cemented Sunday a deal officially establishing relations and signed several memorandums of understanding, further opening up the wealthy Gulf region to the Jewish state.

An Israeli delegation, led by National Security Council chief Meir Ben Shabbat, headed to Manama from Tel Aviv on the first direct flight between the two countries to formalise the US-brokered deal they agreed to at the White House on September 15.

Israeli and Bahraini officials on Sunday signed the document establishing bilateral relations in the presence of other international dignitaries and reporters, an AFP correspondent said. They also agreed seven memorandums of understanding.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, as well as Bahrain’s crown prince and prime minister, were absent from the ceremony, the correspondent said.

Bahrain’s foreign minister, Abdullatif al-Zayani, said during the event that it was the “start of relations between the two countries leading to constructive cooperation in various fields”.

(L-R)Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan pose from the Truman Balcony at the White House

He said the decision to normalise ties with the Jewish state comes from the

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