Six In The Morning Friday 21 June 2019

US-Iran: Trump ‘pulls back after approving military strikes’

President Donald Trump approved retaliatory military strikes against Iran on Thursday before changing his mind, US media report.

The New York Times, citing senior White House officials, says strikes were planned against a “handful” of targets.

They say the operation was allegedly under way “in its early stages” when Mr Trump stood the US military down. The White House has so far made no comment.

This comes after Iran shot down a US spy drone.

Tehran says the unmanned US aircraft entered Iranian airspace early on Thursday morning. The US maintains it was shot down in international airspace.

Dozens injured after Georgia police fire rubber bullets at demonstrators

The unrest was sparked by the appearance of a Russian MP, who was allowed to chair a session of parliament

olice in Georgia used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to stop protesters storming the country’s parliament early on Friday, leaving dozens requiring medical treatment. Thirty-nine police officers and 30 civilians had been treated in hospital for injuries after the clashes, with the number likely to rise, said David Sergeenko, an adviser to the prime minister.

Thousands had rallied through the night outside the building in the centre of the capital, Tbilisi, after a Russian MP was allowed to chair a session of parliament on Thursday.

The outcry began after Russian MP Sergei Gavrilov took the chair’s seat during an assembly of legislators from Orthodox Christian countries being held in Tbilisi. As news of Gavrilov’s appearance began to circulate, a crowd gathered outside parliament, and by late evening, about 10,000 people were massed outside the building, waving Georgian flags, chanting and later on, attempting to breach the lines of riot police and storm the building.

The West is silent over the death of a man it once called the great hope of Arab democracy

The lack of comment from our heads of state is positive encouragement to every Middle Eastern leader who now knows their own misdeeds will go unpunished

Robert Fisk @indyvoices

Ye Gods, how brave was our response to the outrageous death-in-a-cage of Mohamed Morsi. It is perhaps a little tiresome to repeat all the words of regret and mourning, of revulsion and horror, of eardrum-busting condemnation pouring forth about the death of Egypt’s only elected president in his Cairo courtroom this week. From Downing Street and from the White House, from the German Chancellery to the Elysee – and let us not forget the Berlaymont – our statesmen and women did us proud. Wearying it would be indeed to dwell upon their remorse and protests at Morsi’s death.

For it was absolutely non-existent: zilch; silence; not a mutter; not a bird’s twitter – or a mad president’s Twitter, for that matter – or even the most casual, offhand word of regret. Those who claim to represent us were mute, speechless, as sound-proofed as Morsi was in his courtroom cage and as silent as he is now in his Cairo grave.

Hong Kong protesters block major highway near parliament

Protesters have gathered near Hong Kong’s main government complex, blocking most of a major city highway. They insist that a controversial law allowing extradition to the Chinese mainland, be scrapped completely.

Thousands of people filled the streets outside government headquarters in Hong Kong on Friday to demand the complete withdrawal of contentious legislation allowing extradition to China.

The demonstrators, mostly students wearing black, staged a sit-in on the major traffic artery of Harcourt Road, which runs through the busy commercial district. Video footage appeared to show they had left one lane open for vehicles.


June 20 2019

CALLS FOR MILITARY ACTION against Iran grew louder this week in response to the Trump administration’s claims that the Islamic Republic was responsible for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Many analysts and politicians, both in the U.S. and abroad, expressed skepticism of those claims. But the U.S. media appears to be falling into a familiar pattern, providing a sympathetic platform for the administration without fundamentally questioning its premises. What can we learn from the last push for a war in the Middle East 17 years ago? Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell during the run-up to the Iraq War, joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the lessons of recent history.

Ebola has spread for nearly a year in Congo. Officials are scrambling to ‘reset’ the response.

 A dozen young men revved their motor­cycle engines in front of the wooden gate of a makeshift checkpoint — too impatient to have their temperatures checked or to wash their hands with chlorinated water. Health workers manning the post had little choice but to let them pass.

Every day, thousands of people travel this road through the epicenter of Congo’s ongoing Ebola outbreak, where they are supposed to comply with field nurses toting gun-shaped thermometers testing for fevers. But that operation is far from perfect, and extinguishing the nearly year-old outbreak is months away at best. Days with a dozen new cases are normal.