First on CNN: Russians ‘barrel roll’ over another U.S. Air Force plane

A Russian SU-27 conducted a “barrel roll” Friday over the top of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 which was flying a reconnaissance mission in international airspace above the Baltic Sea, the Defense Department said.

The Russian SU-27 approached alongside within 25 feet of the U.S. aircraft and then flew inverted over the top of the plane to the other side, Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza, a U.S. Army spokesperson, said in a statement.
“The SU-27 intercepted the U.S. aircraft flying a routine route at high rate of speed from the side then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135,” Baldanza said.


Goal charity Amnesty International has warned that reducing encryption of electronic devices could threaten human rights across the globe.

Apple Vs FBI: The War On Encryption


Suicide Bomb In Istanbul Kills Five, Wounds 36


A suicide bomber attacked a major pedestrian street in central Istanbul on Saturday, killing five people, including himself, and injuring 36, officials say.

The explosion struck Istiklal Street, The Associated Press reports, a busy street full of cafes, shops, restaurants and foreign consulates.

Zeynep Bilginsoy, reporting from Istanbul, tells our Newscast unit that the bomb struck at 11 a.m. local time.

“The Istanbul governor said the suicide bomber detonated in front of the district governor’s building,” Zeynep says. “The neighborhood has been cordoned off and helicopters can be heard over the city.”

The strike comes less than a week after a car bomb in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, killed more than three dozen people. In January, an explosion in a tourist neighborhood in Istanbul killed 13 tourists.

China accuses U.S. of “double standards” on South China Sea row


China has accused the U.S. of “double standards” on the issue of militarisation of the South China Sea, days after it emerged that Beijing has deployed surface-to-air missiles on an island in the hotly disputed area.

“Instead of questioning China about “militarising” the region, the U.S. should reflect on its own behaviour. Stopping patrols, drills and reconnaissance will be the right way for it to serve its own interests and others,” the official Xinhua news agency said in a hard—hitting commentary.

“The US has taken double standards on the militarisation in the South China Sea,” it said, accusing Washington that it automatically links Chinese defence facility deployment to militarisation while “selectively dodging” the Philippines and Vietnam that have “militarised” the Chinese islands they occupy or the U.S. joint drills and patrols.

U.S. and Taiwanese officials last week confirmed satellite images showing two batteries of eight HQ—9 missiles placed on Woody Island in the resource—rich South China Sea (SCS).

China has not denied the appearance of the missiles, but says it was well within its rights to defend its territory.

Woody Island is part of the Paracels chain, under Chinese control that is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.

“The US, the self—styled guardian of freedom of navigation, rationalises its navy and air force patrols for such purposes and says it will continue to do so,” it said.

WHO Reports Rise of Neurological Disorder in Zika Outbreak

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A rare neurological disorder is on the rise in several Latin American countries that are also seeing an outbreak of the Zika virus, the World Health Organization said Saturday.

The U.N. health body in Geneva said in a weekly report that Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), which can cause temporary paralysis, has been reported in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Suriname and Venezuela.

The increase in Guillain-Barre cases is appearing in conjunction with the spread of the Zika virus to 34 countries and also with increasing cases of microcephaly, a rare condition in which infants are born with abnormally small heads.

Nuclear agreement with Iran is a done deal, at least for now


Oct. 18 was “adoption day” for the nuclear deal with Iran — formally, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). We are still far from full implementation of the agreement. This will occur only when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has certified that Iran has met its initial requirements under the JCPOA and when other parties grant sanctions relief as specified in the agreement. Both the United States and the European Union have begun laying the groundwork for lifting sanctions, though relief will not occur until IAEA certification has occurred. Tehran’s task will be harder. It needs to decommission over 10,000 centrifuges, ship 98 percent of its enriched uranium out of the country, and reengineer a nuclear reactor so that it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium. Iran has suggested that it could accomplish these tasks by the end of this year. It might well take longer.

TAGS: Iran, International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,JCPOA, Iran deal, Iran nuclear deal, Iran agreement, Iran nuclear agreement


ekia-grid-full The standards governing America’s drone assassinations may violate the Geneva Conventions and other international norms, legal experts say.

U.S. forces routinely classify bystanders felled in its Afghanistan drone strikes as “enemies killed in action,” even when they are not the intended targets of the strikes, according to a source and to documents obtained byThe Intercept published earlier this month. But the Geneva Conventions specify that when someone’s status is not clear, they should be classified as a civilian. Article 50 of Additional Protocol I, which dates to 1977 and was ratified by 174 countries, says that “in case of doubt whether a person is a civilian, that person shall be considered to be a civilian.”