USA determined not to let Russia build naval base in Sudan


Russia and the United States are now sorting out relations in Sudan, where Moscow intends to build a new naval base.

The new base will appear on the shores of the Red Sea, in Port Sudan. Russia signed a relevant agreement with Khartoum (the capital of Sudan) in late 2020. Nevertheless, the United States, of course, shares its own opinion on the situation.

According to the Al-Arab website and the Sudanese press, the African Command of the US Armed Forces (AFRICOM, headquartered in Germany) has been forcing Sudan to abandon agreements with the Russian Federation and cooperate with the Pentagon for two months already.

Tellingly, the USNS Carson City expeditionary transport ship with US Marines on board arrived in Port Sudan a few days ago. This is the first time since AFRICOM was founded in 2008.

It was reported that the US Navy ship arrived in Port Sudan as part of certain military agreements Khartoum and Washington.

USA starts to bootlick Sudan

This is some extraordinary news just because the US excluded Sudan from the list of terrorist sponsors in December 2020.

It just so happens that the Americans were not interested in this African country for more than 20 years, had no military contacts with Khartoum, let alone cooperation. At the same time, the Americans imposed a bunch of sanctions on Sudan that literally obstructed the country from developing.


Nevertheless, on January 6, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrived in Khartoum, which became quite a manifestation of the level of claims. The Americans managed to meet with Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, the Chairman of the Sovereign Council, the Defense Minister and the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Sudan.


After visits of this level, reports began to appear in the media about military agreements signed with the Americans. The Sudanese authorities neither confirmed nor denied those reports. Still,  General Abdel Fattah al-Burkhan demonstrates his readiness for dialogue with the West.


The subject of the talks was about the sanctions. During Mike Pompeo’s previous visit to Sudan, the United States promised to help the country’s development financially and urged Sudan to make peace with Israel.

As a result, the sanctions were lifted, and on January 6, 2021, like some other Arab countries, Sudan signed an agreement to normalize relations with Israel.

The Americans also allegedly helped Sudan “settle Khartoum’s debts to the World Bank.” So far, the country has seen no active investment in its economy.

Many experts say directly that the recent activity of the Americans in Sudan is connected with the decision of Russia to build its own naval base there.

As long as Russia remains one of the main enemies for the United States not only in Europe, but also in the Middle East and Africa, Sudan did not escape pressure. In addition, the United States has its own interests in the Red Sea region. Almost a tenth of all world sea freight is transported through the Suez Canal, so the interests of the United States are becoming too obvious, said military expert Colonel Nikolai Shulgin. According to him, Sudan’s former leader Omar al-Bashir considered this region “the keys to Africa” ​​and persistently asked Russia to establish and consolidate its presence there.

It is worth adding that in the area of ​​the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which is the shortest route from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, is already “occupied” by the following states:


  • USA,

  • Great Britain,

  • Germany,

  • France,

  • Spain

  • other “guardians of order”.

Tellingly, the Americans appeared in Sudan even before Russia started doing something there. Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Timur Ivanov recently announced that the terms for the construction of the naval base in Sudan had not been determined yet. If Russia continues to sit on its hands, her “Western partners” will build their own full-fledged base in Sudan first.

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silver price: Commodity strategies: Gold, silver, crude, base metals


By Tapan Patel

Commodity prices traded mixed on Wednesday as bullion traded with cuts while crude oil moved up and base metals traded weak, continuing the mixed trading outlook from Tuesday’s session on strong equity rally globally. The US bond yields rallied while dollar index recovered marginally for the day. Here is a look at how different commodities are behaving in today’s market.

Outlook: Bullion

Bullion prices traded weak with spot gold price at COMEX was trading near $1,793 per ounce while spot silver price at COMEX was trading marginally up near $27.31 per ounce in the morning trade. Bullion prices traded under pressure with rise in bond yields as vaccine rollouts boosted economic growth optimisms. The risk on sentiments drove investors out of precious metals. The ETF gold holdings at SPDR gold share fell to 1136.68 tonnes from 1142 tonnes. We expect bullion prices to trade sideways to down for the day.

Trading Strategy:

MCX Gold April resistance for the day lies at Rs. 47,200 per 10 grams with support at Rs. 46,600 per 10 grams.

MCX Silver March support lies at Rs. 68,000 per KG, resistance at Rs. 71,000 per KG.

Outlook: Crude Oil

Crude oil prices traded higher with benchmark NYMEX WTI crude oil prices were trading above $60 per barrel in the morning trade keeping the firm trading range. Crude oil prices traded up on hopes over fuel demand recovery and lower supply expectations due to cold snap in Texas. The upside remained capped for crude oil due to dollar recovery, keeping prices to marginal gains. Crude oil prices are expected to trade sideways to up for the day.

Trading Strategy:

MCX Crude Oil February support lies at Rs. 4,320 per barrel with resistance at Rs. 4,430 per barrel.

Outlook: Base Metals

Base metals complex traded weak as most of the metals were trading off the recent highs. Nickel prices traded under pressure on inventory build in LME while Copper and Zinc traded in the red on stronger dollar. The rally in equity indices and vaccine rollouts may keep investment sentiments high in base metals. Base metals are expected to trade sideways to up for the day.

Trading Strategy:

MCX Copper February support lies at Rs. 642 and resistance at Rs. 648.

MCX Zinc February support lies at Rs. 225, resistance at Rs. 230.

MCX Nickel February support lies at Rs. 1,340 with resistance at Rs. 1,370.

(Tapan Patel is a Senior Analyst (Commodities) at HDFC Securities)


By Ravindra Rao

MCX Gold April futures witnessed sharp decline as price failed to move above the 5 day EMA (47,480) and breached the key support of Rs 46,960. Meanwhile, key support for April futures holds around Rs 46,600-46,500 zone (previous bottom and trend line support). On the other hand, key resistance exists around Rs 47,290 (5 DEMA), followed by Rs 47,500. However, price is still moving inside the downward sloping channel with channel resistance near Rs 47,600. So price needs to sustain above the channel resistance to turn bullish. On the momentum front, RSI is hovering around 31, suggesting sideways to the weaker bias. Going by the above analysis price is expected to move in the band of Rs 46,500-47,300 with sideways to downside bias.

Strategy:

Sell MCX Gold April at Rs 47,180 with a target of Rs 46,650 and a stop loss at Rs 47,500.

MCX Silver March futures held the key support of 21 day EMA near Rs 68,400 as price witnessed a sharp decline from the resistance zone of Rs 70,760. Meanwhile, price is hovering above the bullish crossover of 5 and 21 day EMA which has supported the recovery in price. Price is still moving inside the rising channel with RSI at 53 suggesting sideways trend. However, it needs to sustain above to rebuild the strength. Below Rs 68,400, next key support exists around Rs 67,200 (50 DEMA and lower band of the upward channel). However on the upside, key resistance exists around Rs 70,760, followed by Rs 71,600. So for the day price is expected to move in the range of Rs 68,400-70,760 with a sideways bias.

Strategy:

Sell MCX Silver March at Rs 69,850 with a target of Rs 68,500 and a stop loss at Rs 70,850.

(Ravindra Rao is VP-Head Commodity Research at Kotak Securities)



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US President Donald Trump leaves White House for farewell at Joint Base Andrews


Donald Trump has left the White House and boarded Marine One for the last time as the 45th President of the United States.

The presidential helicopter landed on the South Lawn just before 8:00am Wednesday (local time) to pick up Mr Trump.

Mr Trump and his wife Melania emerged from the building Wednesday morning and strode across the South Lawn to board Marine One before addressing members of the media.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stop to talk with the media as they leave the White House.(AP: Alex Brandon)

“It’s been a great honour, the honour of a lifetime,” Mr Trump said.

“We love the American people and … it has been something very special. And I just want to say goodbye, but hopefully it’s not a long-term goodbye. We’ll see each other again.”

Mr Trump landed shortly after at Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland, where he was honoured with a red carpet arrival, military band and a 21-gun salute.

The President made a short speech in Maryland as part of his final official engagement, describing America as the greatest country in the world.

“It is my greatest honour and privilege to have been your president,” he said, and added he wishes the incoming government “great success”.

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“I will always fight for you. I will be watching, I will be listening. I will tell you the future of this country has never been better.”

“They have the foundation to do something really spectacular, and we put it in [that] position.

“Have a good life, we will see you soon.”

Mr Trump not attending Joe Biden’s inauguration represents the first time in more than a century that a sitting president has rejected the tradition of attending his successor’s inauguration.

By the time Mr Biden is sworn in as the 46th US president, Mr Trump will already have landed at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

AP

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Car Bomb Hits Near Russia Base in Northeast Syria


A car bomb detonated near a Russian military base in northeastern Syria Friday in the first such jihadist attack in the area against the ally of Damascus, a war monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported several wounded in the attack after midnight in the Tal Saman area in Raqa province, but did not give an exact figure.

There was no immediate Russian report of the incident, which occurred in a broader area controlled by Kurdish-led forces but where the Syrian regime and its ally Russia are also present.

A statement circulated on social media and attributed to the Al-Qaeda-linked Hurras al-Deen jihadist group claimed the attack.

The Observatory said two men parked an explosives-laden pickup truck outside the base and fled, in what was a rare such assault by Hurras al-Deen in the area.

“It’s the first such direct attack against a Russian base in northeastern Syria,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Hurras al-Deen has fighters in the country’s last major rebel bastion in the northwestern region of Idlib, but very rarely operates outside that area.

Russia entered Syria’s war in 2015, and its air force has backed Damascus regime forces in several deadly military campaigns against Idlib.

Russia has repeatedly accused rebels in Idlib of attacking its Hmeimim airbase west of the opposition stronghold with drones, but car bomb attacks are much rarer.

Russian troops are stationed in northern Syria, including as part of several deals brokered with rebel backer Turkey.

Syria’s war has killed more than 387,000 people and displaced millions from their homes since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.



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GWS Giants announce plan to set up training base in Albury in lead-up to AFLW season start | The Border Mail


news, local-news,

Greater Western Sydney’S AFLW team will be the latest national sporting team to relocate to Albury to dodge the worsening COVID-19 situation in the NSW capital. The Giants confirmed on Wednesday their AFLW team will be heading south from Friday and using the recently redeveloped Lavington Sportsground as its base in the lead-up to the 2021 season starting in late January. The approval to use Lavington was given by Albury Council chief executive Frank Zaknich, subject to compliance with all existing or new NSW Public Health Orders, with some councillors unaware of the call until media reports surfaced mid-afternoon. Cr David Thurley expressed some reservations about the decision and was miffed at finding out about the decision after the Giants had issued a media release announcing they were coming to Albury. “Provided they meet all the relevant health protocols I am comfortable with the decision,” he said. “But given what is happening in Sydney we need to be taking all the appropriate precautions.” Cr Thurley voted against Melbourne Storm coming to Albury based on the health advice at the time. NSW new coronavirus cases jumped to 18 in the last 24 hours with the state government responding by announcing tougher than originally planned restrictions for New Year’s Eve celebrations in the city. Giants AFLW players who reside in Sydney have to test negative to COVID-19 before departing and once again when they arrive in Albury. IN OTHER NEWS Players, coaches and support staff will not be entering a quarantine bubble when in Albury and will be subject to the same rules in place for National Basketball League teams, the Sydney Kings and Illawarra Hawks, who are already in the border city. National Rugby League premiers Melbourne Storm was originally granted permission at a staff level to use the council-managed Greenfield Park as a training base earlier this year before councillors rolled the decision 5-4 at an extraordinary meeting. Mr Zaknich confirmed council received the initial request to come to Albury on December 27. “The visit requires strict adherence to NSW COVID-19 and AFL public health protocols, including any new requirements that may apply should circumstances change,” he said. Rugby league official Mike Eden congratulated council staff for making the call. “The executive of Albury Council allowed the Storm to use their facilities for training before being overturned by councillors,” he said. “Good on them for being consistent.” Melbourne Storm was able to stay in Melbourne when they were able to train at Albury Sportsground under conditions included in a lease deal between council and Albury Tigers Football-Netball Club. “The NSW government has done a brilliant job keeping the Northern Beaches cluster under control, but in light of the current border restrictions, we have had to make alternative plans as part of our lead in to the commencement of the 2021 AFLW season,” Giants’ official Jason McCartney said. By relocating to Albury for 14 days, the Giants team can satisfy government requirements to enter Victoria, which will then in turn satisfy meet the criteria to travel to Western Australia. The Giants play Fremantle in Western Australia on January 31.

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Wildfire Breaks Out North of Fallbrook, California, and Spreads into Marine Corp Base



A wildfire that broke out near Fallbrook, California, late on Wednesday evening, December 23, quickly spread into Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base in the area. “Fire is 50 acres on Camp Pendleton,” tweeted CAL FIRE. “Stay alert for updates and if you feel threatened, evacuate early.” The fire broke out just after 11 pm, according to authorities. Credit: AlertWildfire.org via Storyful



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Melbourne City to relocate base in fan expansion bid


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City chief executive Brad Rowse said the move was being made with the future in mind.

“We thought the Team 11 location was incredibly attractive, the demographic there was perfect … there are 160-odd different nationalities there and [for many of them] football is the number one sport,” Rowse said.

“A lot of our membership base is in that region. This has been the fastest growing area for us in the last few years anyway.

“We want to own the geography. Moving there is doing what was right for us, and if someone else has done that groundwork then that’s fine by us.”

Team 11, which was backed by the Casey and Dandenong councils, licked their wounds for six months following their unsuccessful bid but then approached City Football Group (CFG) to try to reactivate the concept with City’s backing. Work has been going on to develop the initiative for the past 18 months.

A key plank in Team 11’s bid was the call for a $175 million boutique stadium to be built in the heart of Dandenong as part of a major regional regeneration program.

The state government did not back that call then but it is now sure to be put on the agenda once more, with the Andrews administration urged to use such a venture to kick start infrastructure investment in a post-COVID era, with CFG also likely to face calls to foot some of the bill.

Melbourne City is relocating from Bundoora to Casey Fields. Credit:Mark Metcalfe

City’s senior teams will remain at their current Bundoora base – leased from La Trobe University – until the end of this season although their W-League side will begin the pivot to the south-eastern region by playing four fixtures at Dandenong City. City’s W-League champions will make their first appearance in Dandenong on January 2 and will also play a W-League derby against Victory at the venue.

The youth teams will this season base themselves at the $18 million stage one of the Casey Fields development, which is already complete. The four full-sized floodlit pitches and single-storey building there are available for immediate use.

City’s men’s team will still play in their light blue strip and their A-League games will be played at AAMI Park.

Melbourne City's W-League champions will make their first appearance in Dandenong in January.

Melbourne City’s W-League champions will make their first appearance in Dandenong in January. Credit:Mark Evans

The new set-up in the 84-hectare Casey Fields precinct will be known as the Etihad City Football Academy (CFA) and will feature an elite training pitch, four full-sized floodlit pitches, a two-storey elite performance and HQ building and space for a 4000-capacity mini-stadium, to be created as part of a future stage three construction.

The remaining stage two facilities, which will allow City’s senior A-League side to move to Casey, will be completed by early 2022 and are expected to cost around $20 million, jointly funded by the local authorities and the CFG.

City of Casey chief executive Glenn Patterson said: “This is a game-changer for the City of Casey and South East Melbourne.

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“We are proud of Casey Fields as an elite sport precinct, and the addition of a second, full-time professional club adds to its status as the region’s premium sporting precinct … [It] will result in wide-ranging economic and social benefits, as will the creation of much needed construction jobs for our local community.”

City of Greater Dandenong mayor, councillor Angela Long, pointed out the importance of the previous Team 11 bid in creating an appetite for a team in the region and its key role as a driver for the development of a new stadium.

“[It] set out to foster grassroots football development with professional pathways, to connect with and grow our burgeoning business community, to market the region to national and international audiences and to provide a platform for community outreach programs,” she said.

“The proposed Dandenong Sports and Events Centre was an important part of that bid and today’s announcement marks a step forward in bringing that idea to life.

“Football is the number one participation sport in south-east Melbourne, with 115 grassroots clubs and 23,000 registered players across the wider region.”

Asked about a new stadium in Dandenong, Rowse was circumspect.

“We don’t have anything concrete on that one, if that is something that gets explored in the future we would of course have a look at it but it’s not been part of the decision making process at this point,” he said.

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The gateway to Africa. Carnegie Moscow Center experts explain why Russia is setting up a naval base in Sudan




In recent years, the main indicator of Russia’s military presence in Africa has been the activities of mercenaries and political consultants associated with Kremlin-linked oligarch Evgeny Prigozhin. But now, for the first time since the Soviet era, Moscow is set to make its presence official. In the near future, Russia will have a new naval base in Sudan, on the shores of the Red Sea. That said, it’s too early to talk about large-scale Russian expansion, to put it mildly, argue Africa specialists Andrey Maslov and Polina Slyusarchuk in an article for the Carnegie Moscow Center. In their opinion, this is largely a phantom threat created by Western media — and one that’s only supported by extreme patriots inside Russia itself. 



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Base shrinking, anxious to keep BJP happy, JDS walks a thin line


By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |

December 13, 2020 5:19:18 am





Kumaraswamy has avoided criticising BSY govt.

On December 8, soon after the BJP government passed The Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – to withdraw restrictions that allowed farm land to be purchased only by agriculturists – in the state Legislative Council with support from the opposition Janata Dal (Secular), JDS leader and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy was accused by some farmer groups of abandoning their cause. Farmers are a core constituency of the party in Karnataka.

One farmer leader called Kumaraswamy a “deal master”, and the CPI(M), an ally of the JDS, said “the real face of the JDS has been exposed” by its support for an “anti-people law”.

Former Chief Minister and leader of the Congress in the state legislature Siddaramaiah asked on social media: “In the morning they support the farmers’ protest and in the evening they vote in favour of anti-farmer laws. What kind of politics is this H D Kumaraswamy? How can people who call themselves sons of the soil and children of farmers stab farmers in the back?”

Kumaraswamy had expressed support for the land reforms Bill in September as well, saying he too faced allegations of illegal ownership of agricultural land. But the support to the BJP’s amendments to the Karnataka law at a time when farmers are leading a massive protest against the central government at the borders of Delhi, have opened JDS up to criticism.

“Let farmer leaders who are attacking the JDS conduct an introspection. Let them ask themselves if it is possible for the JDS to take an anti-farmer stand? I want to remind such people that it is this Kumaraswamy who waived the loans of farmers to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore despite opposition. No one patted my back then,” a visibly upset Kumaraswamy said the next day.

Rapidly losing ground to the BJP in areas that were once its bastion in south Karnataka and with very little hold on BJP-dominated north Karnataka, the JDS, which ruled the state in alliance with the Congress in 2018-19, is now fighting for its political survival.

The party and Kumaraswamy are walking a narrow line in attempting to retain their core support base while being in the good books of the BJP, which is in power both in the state and at the Centre.

Like in 2006, when Kumaraswamy chose to ally with the BJP against the wishes of his father, former Prime Minister and JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda, the JDS once again seems to be in a dilemma over choosing between its core secular, pro-farmer credentials and cosying up to the BJP. The fact that the BJP is in possession of an arsenal of cases against JDS leaders has not helped.

There have been signs in recent weeks of the JDS – particularly Kumaraswamy – leaning towards the BJP and Chief Minister Yediyurappa. Several senior members among the 33 JDS MLAs in the state have weighed the option of joining the BJP in order to ensure their political survival.

Kumaraswamy has been assiduously avoiding criticising the BJP and its leadership, and has instead often targeted Siddaramaiah, his arch rival from the time they were together in the JDS.

“The goodwill earned in 2006-2007 (when he was CM for the first time) was lost by allying with the Congress party. When I stepped down as Chief Minister in 2006 I was popular. After allying with the Congress in 2018, Siddaramaiah and his gang destroyed my reputation. I walked into their trap and agreed to the alliance because of Deve Gowda,” Kumaraswamy said earlier this month. “The Congress cannot fight the BJP so it keeps targeting the JDS, which is a small party,” he said.

Some of the rivalry between Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah stems from their affiliations to castes – Vokkaligas and the OBC Kurubas – who are considered to be arch rivals at the ground level in south Karnataka. There is also the old perception that the Deve Gowda family does not promote any leaders from outside of the family.

In September, as charges of corruption emerged against Yediyurappa’s family, Kumaraswamy had a closed-door meeting with the CM, which gave rise to speculation that the former allies were discussing alternative alliance strategies. In November, Kumaraswamy and Yediyurappa held another closed-door meeting.

“I have not met the Chief Minister secretively. I met him in his house during the day. I have met him to discuss the development work in the constituencies of my MLAs,” Kumaraswamy said.

During the recent winter session of the state legislature, the JDS’s attitude towards the BJP has been mixed, especially in the Legislative Council. While it did help the BJP pass the land reform amendment, it sought modifications to The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020, resulted in the BJP dithering over tabling the Bill in the Council on Thursday.

“Opposition parties are not there to merely oppose. They have to execute responsibilities in a constructive manner. JDS has treaded a constructive path with respect to the amendments to land reforms act by protecting the interests of farmers. The JDS ensured that the legislation became a balanced one,” Kumaraswamy said after the land reforms Bill was passed.

He said that an earlier version of the Bill allowed individuals to own up to 216 acres of farm land, but on his suggestion, this had been capped at the existing 108 acres.

On the opposition to the cattle slaughter Bill, Kumaraswamy said: “JDS is not acting in the interest of any vote bank but in the interest of the welfare of farmers.

“Let those criticising me scrutinize my pro-farmer stands and study our pro-farmer programmes. Being a person who is walking the path of Deve Gowda – who hails from the farming community and rose from the dust – myself and the JDS will not deceive the soil and sons of the soil,” he said.

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Pilots eject from Super Hornet in aborted take-off at Amberley RAAF Base outside Brisbane


A $75 million Air Force jet has hit the runway during an aborted take-off at the Amberley RAAF Base outside Brisbane.

Witnesses have told the ABC they saw pilots eject from a F/A-18F Super Hornet as it was about to take off from RAAF Base Amberley.  

Photos from the scene suggest the Super Hornet has suffered some damage to its forward starboard fuselage.

Analysis of photos suggests the plane has a collapsed nosewheel, or the nosewheel is in a drain.

A Defence Department spokesperson said the aircrew of the aircraft were safe and no other personnel were involved in the incident.

The RAAF Super Hornet (circled) appeared to have crashed on the runway at RAAF base Amberley.(Supplied)

“Defence will provide more information once the immediate actions associated with the incident are completed.

“The cause of the incident is not known at this time and will be subject to investigation.”

The plan was taking off from south to north.

Plane only a decade old

Australia has 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets, based out of Amberley approximately 20km west of Brisbane.

They entered operation in December 2012 and have participated in a range of exercises and operations including Operation OKRA in the Middle East.

Defence says the Super Hornets “ensure that Australia’s air combat capability edge is maintained until the full introduction of the F-35A Lightning II”.

Australia is due to accept another 15 F-35s in 2021, as part of a $17 billion deal to eventually acquire 72 of the newer jets.

But the F-35 program has been beset by delays exacerbated by the pandemic.



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