Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testified Tuesday that he has never seen a more precarious global security environment than the one United States faces today.
“I’ve said before that the global security environment is as uncertain as I’ve ever seen it,” Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “The world is rapidly changing everywhere, and we’re seeing significant shifts in an already complex strategic landscape.”
Dempsey made this admission during testimony about the United States’ war of attrition against the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL), but the security threats he described spanned the globe.
Militants from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have executed two men in the Syrian city of Raqqa, accusing them of involvement in local efforts to smuggle out news of the extremist group’s atrocities.
The interrogations of Bushra Abdulazim al-Salem, 21, and Faisal Husain al-Habeeb, 20, are shown in a video released by Isil on Sunday. The men are dressed in the same lurid orange jumpsuits that the group uses in many of its execution videos.
“I took photos in Rumaila, Tal Abyad, al-Wadi, streets, main and local streets, panorama, Isil members—anybody who comes in front of it, any street that has a base for Isil,” said Mr Salem, referring to areas that have been held by the extremists.
Sitting handcuffed in a darkened room, Mr Habeeb said he had taken photographs and had footage on Isil positions using a smart watch, and later encrypted the files before sending them to an activist group in Turkey.
An emergency summit of European leaders called to salvage Greece’s financial rescue broke up acrimoniously late Tuesday, with officials saying the country now has just five days to avoid bankruptcy.
Following a day of talks in Brussels aimed at finding a way out of months of bitter deadlock, European leaders were scathing in their assessments of Greece’s proposals, calling them inadequate and demanding that the Greek government return with a detailed plan by Friday morning. The leaders of all 28 European Union members will then meet on Sunday in what officials said would be the final chance to save Greece from economic oblivion.
The White House is targeting Jewish groups in its latest push to blunt congressional criticism of an Iran deal that observers expect to be sealed in the coming days, according to a recording of a strategy conference call obtained by the Washington Free Beacon and experts familiar with the call.
The White House’s liaison to the Jewish community on Monday advised dozens of progressive groups to push a poll commissioned and distributed by the liberal fringe group J Street, which has been defending a deal with Iran.
Six men, including four schoolteachers, have been arrested in Israel accused of setting up an Islamic State terror cell and plotting to join the terror group in Syria.
The Shin Bet security agency said the four detainees who worked at schools in Hura – a Bedouin township in the Negev desert – had been using their positions to radicalise students.
One of the men worked in a primary school and is said to have used ‘every opportunity’ to deliver pro-ISIS propaganda to his students – ordering them to sing jihadi songs and lavishing praise on the bloodthirsty terror group during lessons.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3151898/Four-teachers-planning-travel-Syria-arrested-supporting-ISIS-including-one-young-children-sing-Islamic-State-songs-praised-terror-group-class-Israeli-school.html#ixzz3fEA9cH1p
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The Obama administration is issuing a slew of executive orders to boost the solar panel industry, this time by pushing for more solar panels to be used at federally subsidized housing developments.
The White House announced a goal of getting 300 megawatts installed at federally subsidized housing all while providing technical and financial assistance to subsidized housing operators looking to go green. The administration also says it’s leveraged $520 million in “independent commitments from philanthropic and impact investors, states, and cities” to boost solar energy among the low income community.
“The executive actions and private sector commitments that we are announcing today will help continue to scale up solar for all Americans, including those who are renters, lack the startup capital to invest in solar, or do not have adequate information on how to transition to solar energy,” the White House said in a statement.
The move to push solar panel on federally-subsidized housing comes less than one month after Obama unveiled “executive actions” to “make information about energy and climate programs … accessible and more understandable to the public, including to mission-driven investors.” Obama also ordered the IRS to issue guidance on how groups could invest in green energy.
Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that the idea that Americans should honor racism with the Confederate flag is similar to a disease in people’s minds.
“I think in many people’s minds the Confederate battle flag is not only a memorial to our ancestors, which is perfectly OK, but also a symbol of white superiority and an inclination for people to believe that even slavery would’ve been OK,” Carter said on HuffPost Live .
“I think that’s a minority [of people], but it’s still like a cancer in many people’s minds that racial distinction should be honored in law and symbolism.”
South Carolina lawmakers voted Monday to remove the Confederate battle flag that flies at the state capitol in Columbia, after weeks of debate following last month’s massacre that left nine people dead at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
“It makes us safer,” Mirkarimi said. “I firmly believe it makes it safer. We’re a world-renowned city with a large immigrant population. And of that population is a population that is also here undocumented. From a law enforcement perspective, we want to build trust with that population. And our sanctuary city and other attendant laws have allowed us to do that.”
The Pentagon is currently training only 60 Syrian rebels to fight against Isis in the Middle East, it has emerged.
In testimony before the Senate armed services committee on Tuesday, US secretary of defense Ashton Carter revealed the United States government is currently only training 60 fighters, a number which he said was “much smaller than we hoped for”. In 2014 the Pentagon announced that it intended to train 5,000 moderate Syrian rebels a year over the next three years.
The Obama appointee did try to justify this low number by noting that there were 7,000 potential fighters currently being vetted by the United States. Carter noted the number of trainees was so small because of strict criteria being imposed. This included screening recruits to insure that they had no history of atrocities and willingness to campaign in a way that complies with laws of armed conflict.
Carter’s admission came in the midst of a bruising hearing at which Republican senators peppered the defense secretary and Martin Dempsey, the chair of the joint chiefs of staff, with tough questions about the Obama administration’s Middle East policy.
John McCain repeatedly pushed Carter on whether the administration had promised recruits that “we will defend them against Bashar Assad’s barrel bombs.” The defense secretary was evasive and insisted that the question of whether US-trained Syrian rebels would fight regime forces or only Isis would only be made when “we introduce fighters into the field”.
In a direct response to Michelle Obama’s declared war on childhood obesity, another food company has changed its business practices and received her blessing. Subway restaurants joined her healthy eating initiative Thursday with a pledge to only include the most nutritious foods on its kids menu and meet the restrictions the federal government has placed on school lunches to include apples on the side and low-fat or nonfat milk or water as a beverage.
To mark the occasion, the first lady visited a Subway sandwich shop a few blocks from the White House, and had lunch and a news conference there with three athletes who endorse the chain and a group of students and parents from Bancroft and Harriett Tubman Elementary Schools in the District.
Before eating a turkey sandwich on wheat stacked with banana peppers, green peppers and spinach, Obama praised Subway for “actually working to get kids excited about eating their vegetables.”
“I asked companies to stop targeting kids with unhealthy products,” Obama said. “Now as parents and consumers — we actually have to buy their [healthier] products. We need to vote with our wallets. That’s how we get even more fresh food in our communities.”
Subway has pledged to spend $41 million over three years promoting its healthier kids menu with commercials and marketing campaigns, which will include the Muppets and the theme “playtime powered by veggies.” It has also stocked the kids menu with fruit, vegetables, non-sugary drinks and lean diary products. Employees will encourage children to pile the vegetables high, a company spokesman said.
One day in May, operatives from a Washington-based super PAC gathered New Hampshire mayors, state representatives and local politicos at St. Anselm College for a day of training.
They rehearsed their personal tales of how they met Hillary Rodham Clinton and why they support her for president. They sharpened their defenses of her record as secretary of state. They scripted their arguments for why the Democratic front-runner has been “a lifetime champion of income opportunity.” And they polished their on-camera presentations in a series of mock interviews.
The objective of the sessions: to nurture a seemingly grass roots echo chamber of Clinton supporters reading from the same script across the communities that dot New Hampshire, a critical state that hosts the nation’s first presidential primary.
The super PAC, called Correct the Record, convened similar talking-point tutorials and media-training classes in May and June in three other early voting states — Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada — as well as sessions earlier this spring in California.
Presidential campaigns have for decades fed talking points to surrogates who appear on national television or introduce candidates on the stump. But the effort to script and train local supporters is unusually ambitious and illustrates the extent to which the Clinton campaign and its web of sanctioned, allied super PACs are leaving nothing to chance. […]
But asking local supporters to use talking points could undermine the organic nature of grass-roots political interactions. No longer can a journalist call up a state representative in Iowa and expect to hear his or her personal, unvarnished take on Clinton — nor can a Rotary Club member watch a fellow small-business owner talk about Clinton at their monthly luncheon — without suspecting he or she is reading from a script.
The super PAC’s effort also comes as Clinton struggles on the campaign trail to appear accessible and genuine. Some Democrats have long believed Clinton sounds too scripted on the stump, especially compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), her insurgent primary rival whose authenticity and liberal message are drawing thousands of Democrats to his rallies.