This Week in the World Affairs Brief:

SHOOTDOWN OF MH17ĖA MAZE OF CONTRADICTIONS

It now seems doubtful that we will ever find out the truth about who shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 that was flying over war-torn Ukraine. Virtually all of the claims proffered by Ukrainian, Russian, rebel and even US sources are contradictory and canít all be right. Rather than provide raw data from a trustworthy source, we see only evidence that has been manipulated or interpreted so as to blame either Ukraine or Russia. Some even say the facts suggest an outside black operation that placed a bomb on board. Establishment media sources canít independently verify any of these claims because access to the evidence is highly restricted and the site contaminated by scavenging. In the end sorting out the blame for this shoot-down wonít make any difference. There is no significant up-tick in sentiment for a larger war or appetite for direct confrontation with Russia, so any apparent motive for intentionally shooting down this civilian flight in order to blame the other side falls flat on its face. The only explanation is that this was a mistake. Itís hard to see how anyone benefits from this tragedy. You can request a one-time free sample of the briefs by sending an email to editor@worldaffairsbrief.com.

Also:

  • Israeli-Hamas WaróMedia Bias and Civilian Deaths
  • British Hypocritically Complain about Weapons for Russia
  • Jim Willieís Hype about Germany Joining BRICS
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Daily News

North Korea Fires Short-Range Missile into Sea

posted by askousen - Saturday, July 26 2014
South Korea's Defense Ministry says North Korea has fired a short-range ballistic missile into waters off its east coast. The launch is the latest in a slew of missile and rocket tests the North has been conducting in recent weeks. — Time

Barack Obama has already checked out of his job

posted by askousen - Saturday, July 26 2014
The degree to which Barack Obama is now phoning it in - sleepwalking perfunctorily through his second term, amid golf rounds and dinner parties - is astonishing — Telegraph

Vans May be New Form of Transportation for Illegals, as Feds Attempt to Avoid Scrutiny

posted by askousen - Saturday, July 26 2014
It appears that many illegal immigrants in California are being transported by federal agents via van caravans instead of large Department of Homeland Security (DHS) buses. Dropping off illegal immigrants from vans, rather than buses, may serve to draw less attention and scrutiny from local residents, many of whom remain resistant to the dumping of foreigners in their communities. — Breitbart

Obama Eyes Major Immigration Move

posted by askousen - Saturday, July 26 2014
The President may be preparing to provide temporary legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants When President Obama issues executive orders on immigration in coming weeks, pro-reform activists are expecting something dramatic: temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for perhaps several million undocumented immigrants. — Time

GOP Senator: Obama To 'Effectively End Immigration Enforcement'

posted by askousen - Saturday, July 26 2014
The Obama administration is preparing to effectively "nullify" the immigration laws of the United States through an executive action, says one Republican senator. As Time reported Thursday, President Obama appears prepared to provide millions of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. work authorization via executive orders: When President Obama issues executive orders on immigration in coming weeks, pro-reform activists are expecting something dramatic: temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for perhaps several million undocumented immigrants. If the activists are right, the sweeping move would upend a contentious policy fight and carry broad political consequences. — Weekly Standard

DARPA Wants New Technology to Predict "Societal Unrest"

posted by askousen - Saturday, July 26 2014
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting companies to provide new technology that would allow the U.S. Department of Defense to predict future "societal unrest" by keeping track of "all human activities that can be measured." — Infowars.com

Gun-toting psychiatrist shoots suspect who killed Pennsylvania hospital employee: police

posted by askousen - Friday, July 25 2014
...The hospital has a policy barring anyone except on-duty law enforcement officers from carrying weapons anywhere on its campus, a spokeswoman for the Mercy Health System said.... But Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux said that "without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives." "Without that firearm, this guy (the patient) could have went out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition," the chief said. — NY Daily News

Obama takes on 'corporate deserters,' steps up drive to close tax loophole

posted by askousen - Friday, July 25 2014
Striking a populist stand ahead of the midterm elections, Obama is demanding "economic patriotism" from American corporations that seek overseas mergers to avoid U.S. taxes. Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing to severely limit such deals, a move resisted by Republicans who argue the entire corporate tax code needs an overhaul. — Sun Times

Ted Cruz Questions Whether Obama Is Boycotting Israel By Grounding Flights

posted by askousen - Wednesday, July 23 2014
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) suggested Wednesday that the Obama administration was conducting an "economic boycott" of Israel in order to force an immediate halt to its latest military incursion into the Gaza Strip, which has been marked by escalating death and destruction since it began earlier this month. In a sharply worded statement released by his office, the conservative firebrand questioned why the Federal Aviation Administration had extended its prohibition on U.S. flights heading to Israel's main airport in Tel Aviv for a second day in a row. — Huffington Post

Report Cites 'Aggressive' Islamic Push in British City's Schools

posted by askousen - Wednesday, July 23 2014
First there was an anonymous letter outlining an Islamic takeover of British schools in Muslim neighborhoods ominously called Operation Trojan Horse. Then the letter was found to be riddled with inaccuracies and widely deemed to be a hoax. Now a report by a former antiterrorism chief suggests that some of the concerns raised by the letter - fake or not - may in fact be real, the latest twist in a tortured debate about how to reconcile Islam and Britishness in a country that has one of Western Europe's largest Muslim communities. — NY Times

Texas State Sen: More Illegals Enter than People Born in State Each Week

posted by askousen - Wednesday, July 23 2014
...Patrick said "we didn't have this great wave of young people" before President Barack Obama unilaterally enacted his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) plan in 2012, which was when the number of illegal immigrants coming across the border spiked even as the murder rates in Central American nations declined. — Breitbart

Lois Lerner's Hard Drive Was 'Scratched' Then 'Shredded'

posted by askousen - Wednesday, July 23 2014
... The IRS claims that it lost Lerner's emails from 2009 to 2011 including emails to and from the White House, when her computer crashed in the midst of the agency's conservative targeting program. The IRS also claimed in a transcribed interview that many other IRS employees who worked under Lerner in her Washington, D.C. department and its Cincinnati-based affiliate also experienced computer crashes that deleted their emails, bringing the total number of crash victims to "less than 20." — Daily Caller

Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down as Kiev accuses Moscow of sending more arms to separatists

posted by askousen - Wednesday, July 23 2014
...The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said two Sukhoi-25 fighters were shot down Wednesday afternoon over an area called Savur Mogila. The planes may have been carrying up to two crew members each, according to Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky. The pilots ejected from the planes but it is not known if they survived, Fox News confirms. A search party is out looking for them. — Fox News

Hollande Defies Critics Over Warship Sale to Russia

posted by askousen - Tuesday, July 22 2014
France is forging ahead with plans to supply Russia with at least one powerful warship despite objections from the U.S. and other allies, President Fran√ßois Hollande said, while dangling the possibility he might cancel the delivery of a second vessel....France is determined to hand over the first of two Mistral-class carriers capable of launching helicopter, tank and missile attacks from the sea, dramatically boosting Russia's military capability. — WSJ

Obama Admin. Says Health Subsidies Will Continue

posted by askousen - Tuesday, July 22 2014
..The Obama administration immediately declared that those policyholders will keep getting financial aid for their premiums as it seeks review of the ruling. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the decision would have "no practical impact" on tax credits as the case works its way through further court appeals. — ABC News

Court Strikes Down Obamacare Subsidies

posted by askousen - Tuesday, July 22 2014
A major pillar of Obamacare crumbled under the gavel of a federal appeals court on Tuesday, which ruled that billions of dollars of government subsidies are illegal. The three-judge panel struck down premium subsidies used by 36 states, ruling that the Affordable Care Act doesn't allow the IRS to dole out the subsidies in federal insurance exchanges, and that customers must pay out of pocket for the full insurance cost. The ruling is the result of a wording glitch in the ACA‚ÄĒas written it says subsidies should be paid to those who purchase through an "exchange established by the state." This restricts premium tax credits to state-run exchanges. The government is expected to appeal. — Daily Beast

Luis Gutierrez to La Raza: Obama Assured Steps to 'Stop the Deportation of Our People'

posted by askousen - Tuesday, July 22 2014
Speaking at the National Council of La Raza conference in Los Angeles, Gutierrez said that Obama assured him during a White House meeting with Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus last week that he would be as "generous and broad" as he can to "stop the deportation of our people each and every day." "You gave us a down payment when you freed 600,000 DREAMers from deportation," Gutierrez said. "Now it is time for the president in the United States... [to] free the Mom and Dads of the DREAMers. And to go further. Be broad and expansive and generous." Gutierrez said giving amnesty to 100,000 illegal immigrants was "not expansive" enough, and he called on Obama to give amnesty to "millions of our undocumented," including the parents of illegal immigrant children. — Breitbart

Obama's LGBT Executive Order Threatens Religious Liberty, Say Advocates

posted by askousen - Tuesday, July 22 2014
Unwilling to wait for Congress to pass the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, Obama signed an executive order Monday prohibiting organizations with federal contracts from discriminating against employees who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or transgender. For religious freedom advocates, that could pose a major problem. Obama's order does not provide an exemption for religious organizations, whereas the ENDA bill before Congress does. — Daily Caller

Russia challenges accusations that Ukraine rebels shot down airliner

posted by askousen - Tuesday, July 22 2014
... "Russian air space control systems detected a Ukrainian Air Force plane, presumably an SU-25 (fighter jet), scrambling in the direction of the Malaysian Boeing ... The distance of the SU-25 plane from the Boeing was from 3 to 5 kilometres (2 to 3 miles)," Air Force Lieutenant-General Igor Makushev said. "Earlier, Ukrainian officials said that on the day of the Boeing 777 crash there were no military aircraft in the region - as you can see this does not appear to be true." Another officer, Lieutenant-General Andrei Kartopolov, said that, "whether it is a coincidence or not", a U.S. satellite had been monitoring the area at the time. "We also have some questions for our U.S. partners," he said. "According to the U.S. declarations, they have satellite images that confirm the missile was launched by the rebels. But nobody has seen these images." "If the American side has pictures from this satellite, then they should show the international community." — Yahoo News

Israel keeps up Gaza assaults, Kerry presses for truce

posted by askousen - Tuesday, July 22 2014
...Israel has signalled it is not in a hurry to achieve a truce before reaching a goal of crippling Hamas's militant infrastructure, including rocket arsenals and networks of tunnels threatening Israelis living along the Gaza frontier. "This is not the time to talk of a ceasefire," Gilad Erdan, communications minister and a member of Netanyahu's inner security cabinet, said on Monday. "We must complete the mission, and the mission cannot end until the threat of the tunnels is removed," Erdan told reporters. — Reuters

Vendor to McDonald's, Yum in China Promises Swift Response to Expired-Food Report

posted by askousen - Tuesday, July 22 2014
McDonald's and Yum, parent of KFC and Pizza Hut, said they halted orders from Shanghai Husi Food Co., owned by OSI Group Inc. of Aurora Ill., after local Chinese media reported that Shanghai Husi was selling meat products beyond their shelf life. China's Food and Drug Administration announced it halted on Sunday all business activities of Shanghai Husi and that it launched a nationwide investigation of the company — WSJ

Western officials believe Russian commander linked to missile strike on airliner

posted by askousen - Saturday, July 19 2014
Senior Western intelligence officials believe they have found evidence that the Russian commander Igor "Strelkov" Girkin oversaw the missile strike Thursday that downed a Malaysian commercial airliner over Ukraine, killing all 289 aboard, U.S. officials tell Fox News. Girkin, whose nom de guerre means "shooter" in Russian, is the Russian commander who has overseen the uprising of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine over roughly the past four months. — Fox News

Hundreds of protests set this weekend against illegal immigration, Obama's policies

posted by askousen - Saturday, July 19 2014
Hundreds of protests are taking place across the United States this weekend in opposition to the surge of immigrants illegally crossing the country's southern border and proposed immigration reform that organizers say gives amnesty to those already living illegal in this country. Organizers say 321 protests will take place over the next two days -- from state capitals to highway overpasses to Mexican consulates. — Fox News

Ukraine charges anti-aircraft systems moved to Russia

posted by askousen - Saturday, July 19 2014
Officials also described difficult conditions at the aircraft's crash site, which they say is being kept under strict control by pro-Russian separatists who may have removed bodies and the plane's "black boxes." ‚ÄúThree missile launchers trespassed the Ukraine border on July 18,‚ÄĚ Vitaly Nayda, Ukraine‚Äôs counterintelligence chief, told reporters in Kiev. The statement came a day after a government advisor posted a video purportedly showing a Buk system, with at least one missile missing, traveling toward Russia on a road in eastern Ukraine. — LA Times

Initial U.S. assessment: Pro-Russian rebels fired missile that downed Malaysia jet

posted by askousen - Friday, July 18 2014
..."Our assessment is that Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 .?.?. was likely downed by an SA-11 missile, operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told the U.N. Security Council on Friday. She added that "because of the technical complexity of the SA-11," it was unlikely that the separatists could have effectively operated it on their own. "We cannot rule out Russian technical assistance," Power said. — Washington Post

Ukraine air traffic controllers instructed MH17 to fly lower, MAS says

posted by askousen - Friday, July 18 2014
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) said tonight that it was told to fly low over Ukrainian airspace by ground controllers, putting it at 33,000 feet, just skimming 1,000 feet above restricted altitude. — Malay Mail

Ukraine: Intercepted calls pin MH17 shootdown on rebels

posted by askousen - Friday, July 18 2014
The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has released purported tapes of intercepted calls of Russian separatist fighters discussing the shooting down of a Malaysia airline jet by a fellow rebel group and the realization that the plane, carrying 289 people, was a civilian airliner. The tapes -- which could not be independently verified -- were released to reporters at a briefing in Kiev late Thursday by SBU chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko. — USA Today

Australia's carbon tax repealed after 2 years

posted by askousen - Thursday, July 17 2014
Australia's Conservative government repealed a much-maligned carbon tax on the nation's worst greenhouse gas polluters on Thursday, ending years of contention over a measure that became political poison for the lawmakers who imposed it. The Senate voted 39 to 32 to axe the $24.34 Cdn tax per metric tonne of carbon dioxide that was introduced by the centre-left Labour government in July 2012. Conservative lawmakers burst into applause as the final tally was announced. — CBC News

Malaysian passenger plane shot down over east Ukraine, Kiev says

posted by askousen - Thursday, July 17 2014
A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country, and Malaysian Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights over Ukrainian airspace. Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine‚Äôs Interior Minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher. A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday. The Buk missile system can fire missiles up to an altitude of 72,000 feet. — The Globe and Mail

Ukraine accuses Russia of downing plane; Moscow attacks new sanctions

posted by askousen - Thursday, July 17 2014
A Ukrainian official on Thursday accused Russian forces of shooting down one of his nation's warplanes the day before near their shared border, raising tensions between the two nations as Ukrainian troops continued their campaign against pro-Russia insurgents. — LA Times