Top 5 News Headlines Saturday 13th February 2016


Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 7.32.45 am

5: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Face Off in Milwaukee, WI

Last night, Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton faced off at a PBS-hosted debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was the first Democratic debate since Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ decisive victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. At the debate, Bernie Sanders drew a sharp distinction between himself and the former secretary of state on issues of foreign policy by highlighting Clinton’s close relationship with another former secretary of state, Henry Kissinger.

Democracy Now

4: Syrian president Bashar al-Assad vows to retake whole country

Bashar al-Assad has dealt a swift blow to international efforts to secure a ceasefire, deliver aid and promote a negotiated solution to the war in Syria, vowing to regain control of the entire country and warning that it could still “take a long time”.

The Syrian president was speaking to the AFP news agency in Damascus on Thursday, hours before an agreement was reached in Munich on arranging a cessation of hostilities and the urgent despatch of food, medicines and other supplies to hundreds of thousands of civilians in besieged areas.

Assad said his armed forces would try to retake all of Syria but added that the involvement of regional players “means that the solution will take a long time and will incur a heavy price”. He warned of the possibility of direct intervention by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who back the rebels.

The Guardian

3: Barack Obama plans intervention in Britain’s EU referendum

Barack Obama is planning to make “a big, public reach-out” to persuade British voters to stay inside the European Union, the chair of the US Senate foreign relations committee has revealed.

The plan emerged amid fears in Washington that the UK’s EU referendum is a dangerous gamble that could unravel with disastrous consequences for the entire continent.

His “reach out” is likely to focus on the need for the EU to stick together to combat the migration crisis and the growing threat of Russian aggression in the Baltics, Ukraine and Middle East.

But there are concerns in both Washington and London that an intervention by the US president has to be handled sensitively and could backfire unless it is pitched at the right geopolitical level.

The Guardian

2: The Pentagon Is Betting Big on Space Warfare — Against China and Russia

The US Defense Department has asked Congress for $108 million to fund a new facility in Colorado dedicated to drawing up plans and running experiments for war in outer space, as anxiety grows about the possibility of extraterrestrial conflict with China or Russia.

“Potential adversaries are rapidly developing capabilities to deny the US and its allies’ use of space during a conflict,” US Air Force Major General Robert D. Rego, the US Strategic Command official responsible for the center, told VICE News.

The facility he’ll run is called the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center, which goes by the awkward military handle JICSpOC. Its job, he said, will be to “better integrate our space operations in response to these threats.”

The funding request follows Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s preview last week of the Pentagon’s budget for fiscal year 2017, which he promised would enhance America’s “ability to identify, attribute, and negate all threatening actions in space.”

Vice News

1: Syria: Russian PM warns of world war if troops sent in

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned that the deployment of foreign ground troops in the Syrian conflict could result in a world war.

Medvedev was quoted as saying in an interview published late on Thursday by the German newspaper Handelsblatt that “a ground operation draws everyone taking part in it into a war”.

When asked about a recent proposal from Saudi Arabia to send in ground troops to Syria, the Russian prime minister answered that “the Americans and our Arab partners must consider whether or not they want a permanent war”.