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China Says More Than 10 US Balloons Flew In Its Airspace

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BEIJING, China — Washington said that Beijing has a fleet of surveillance balloons that fly all over the world. In response, China said on Monday that over ten US high-altitude balloons have flown in its airspace without permission in the last year. The US has denied operating any surveillance balloons over China.

The United States shot down what was thought to be a Chinese spy balloon that had flown from Alaska to South Carolina. This caused a new crisis in relations between the two countries, which were already at their worst in decades.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, provided no information about the alleged US balloons, how they were dealt with, or whether they had government or military ties.

“It is also common for US balloons to enter other countries’ airspace illegally,” Wang said at a daily briefing. “Since last year, US high-altitude balloons have illegally flown over Chinese airspace more than ten times without Chinese authorities’ approval.”

Wang suggested that the United States “first reflect on itself and change course, rather than smear and incite a confrontation.”

According to China, the balloon shot down by the US was an unmanned airship designed for meteorological research that was blown off course. It has said that the US overreacted by shooting it down, and it has threatened retaliation without saying what it would be.

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The U.S. Does Not Operate Spy Balloons Over China

According to Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the National Security Council in Washington, any claim that the US government operates surveillance balloons over China is false.

“China has a high-altitude surveillance balloon intelligence collection program linked to the People’s Liberation Army that it has used to violate the sovereignty of the United States and over 40 countries across five continents,” Watson said.

“This is the latest example of China scrambling to contain the damage. It has repeatedly and incorrectly claimed that the surveillance balloon it sent over the United States was a weather balloon, and it has yet to provide any credible explanation for its intrusion into our and others’ airspace.”

After the balloon incident, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a trip to Beijing that many people hoped would stop the deterioration of relations over Taiwan, trade, and human rights and threaten Chinese actions in the disputed South China Sea.

Also on Monday, the Philippines accused a Chinese coast guard ship of using a military-grade laser to target a Philippine coast guard vessel and temporarily blinding some of its crew in the South China Sea, calling it a “blatant” violation of Manila’s sovereign rights.

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Pillaphine Coast Guard Trespasses Into Chinese Water

Wang stated that on February 6, a Philippine coast guard trespassed into Chinese waters without permission, to which Chinese coast guard vessels responded: “professionally and with restraint.” China claims all of the strategic waterway and has been steadily building up its navy and outposts on islands.

“China and the Philippines are maintaining communication in this regard through diplomatic channels,” Wang said. The Chinese Defense Ministry did not respond immediately to a question about the incident.

To ratchet up tensions, a US fighter jet shot down an “unidentified object” over Lake Huron on orders from President Joe Biden on Sunday. It was the fourth such downing in eight days, part of an unusual string of events over US airspace that Pentagon officials believe has no peacetime precedent.

According to imagery from American U-2 spy planes, the Chinese balloon shot down by the US was equipped to detect and collect intelligence signals as part of a massive, military-linked aerial surveillance program that targeted more than 40 countries.

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Heightened Alert Following The First Spy Balloon

A “heightened alert” following the alleged Chinese spy balloon is part of the reason for the repeated shootdowns, according to Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of NORAD and the US Northern Command, during a press conference.

As part of its response to the incident, the US has imposed economic sanctions on six Chinese entities it believes are linked to Beijing’s aerospace programs. The United States House of Representatives also unanimously condemned China for a “brazen violation” of American sovereignty and efforts to “deceive the international community through false claims about its intelligence collection campaigns.”

Wang, China’s spokesperson, reiterated China’s denial of such claims, saying that “the United States’ frequent firing of advanced missiles to shoot down the objects is an overreaction of overexertion.”

SOURCE – (AP)

 

 

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

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AP - VOR News Image

Paris police find no weapons on a man detained at Iran’s consulate.

Police said Friday that they discovered no weapons on a man held at the Iranian consulate in Paris after responding to a report of a suspicious man carrying a grenade and an explosives vest.

A Paris police spokesperson told The Associated Press that authorities were verifying the man’s identity but discovered no such weapons on him or in his car.

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AP News – VOR News Image

G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not permitted to be publicly identified under police procedure.

Some of the police, special agents, and firefighters who rushed to the situation at the consulate were later spotted leaving the area after being arrested. A police cordon remained in place, although traffic had resumed in the area.

According to the official, the individual was observed late Friday morning, and police initiated a special operation as soon as they were notified.

The event occurred at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East, as Paris prepares to host the summer Olympics.

The director of the United Nations’ nuclear inspector says there was no damage to the Isfahan nuclear facility following a purported Israeli drone attack on a major air base near the Iranian city.

When asked about the nuclear facility on Sky News, International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi stated, “There hasn’t been any damage at the site or anything that would indicate that (there) were hits nearby or something that could lead you to believe that there was an intention to reach these places.”

The Isfahan facility has three small research reactors supplied by China, as well as fuel production and other activities for Iran’s civilian nuclear program.

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G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

Isfahan also contains locations related with Iran’s nuclear program, such as the subterranean Natanz enrichment facility, which has been frequently attacked by suspected Israeli sabotage strikes.

Iranian authorities claim that air defenses fired on a key air base in Isfahan, which has long housed Iran’s fleet of American-made F-14 Tomcats, purchased prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Missile remnants were discovered Friday near Latifiya, southwest of Baghdad.

An official with an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with journalists, said the missile was shot down due to jamming efforts. The Iraqi army lacks jamming systems similar to those used to destroy the rocket, but Iran has handed such gear to its allied militias.

It was unclear whether the rocket was part of an Israeli attack on Iran or last weekend’s Iranian attack on Israel. Local media images of the site showed what seemed to be an air-to-surface missile. There were no reports of Iran firing air-to-surface missiles during Saturday’s onslaught, which comprised over 300 drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles.

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G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

Tehran launched the attack in response to a purported Israeli strike in Syria on April 1, which killed two Iranian generals in an Iranian consulate building.

SOURCE (AP)

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Potential Jurors Called Into Courtroom For Start Of Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial

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NEW YORK — The historic hush-money trial of Donald Trump began Monday, with scores of prospective jurors crammed into a courtroom where the former president will face allegations that he fabricated business records to suppress revelations about his sex life.

The first criminal prosecution of any former US president will take place as Trump seeks to recover the White House, producing a fascinating split-screen spectacle in which the probable Republican nominee spends his days as a criminal defendant while also campaigning for government. Over the last year, he has combined both roles by portraying himself to supporters on the campaign road and social media as the object of politically motivated prosecutions intended to destroy his candidacy.

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Potential Jurors Called Into Courtroom For Start Of Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial

After a norm-breaking presidency shadowed by years of investigations, Trump’s trial is a legal reckoning. Four indictments accuse him of crimes ranging from hoarding confidential data to attempting to overthrow an election. However, the political stakes are less obvious because a conviction would not prevent him from becoming president, and the charges, in this case, reach back years and are viewed as less serious than the conduct behind the other three indictments.

The day began with hours of pretrial arguments, including potential penalties for Trump before jury selection began Monday afternoon. The first members of the jury pool, 96 in total, were summoned to the courtroom, where the parties would select who among them would be chosen to decide the legal fate of the former, and possibly future, American president.

Trump craned his neck to glance back at the pool, talking to his lawyer as they entered the jury box.

“You are about to stand trial by jury. Judge Juan Merchan told the jurors that the jury trial system is one of the pillars of our legal system. “The name of this case is the People of the State of New York vs. Donald Trump.”

Trump’s notoriety would make selecting 12 jurors and six alternates a near-herculean task in any year, but it’s likely to be especially difficult now, as the election takes place in the heavily Democratic city where Trump grew up and rose to celebrity status decades before winning the presidency.

Merchan has said that the question is “whether the prospective juror can assure us that they will set aside any personal feelings or biases and render a decision that is based on the evidence and the law.”

Regardless of the verdict, Trump is determined to gain from the proceedings, portraying the case and his other indictments as a broad “weaponization of law enforcement” by Democratic prosecutors and authorities. He claims they are staging bogus allegations to derail his presidential campaign. He’s been criticizing judges and prosecutors for years, a pattern of attacks that persisted until Monday, when he entered court and declared, “This is political persecution.” “This is a new kind of persecution.”

Earlier Monday, the judge dismissed a defense request to disqualify himself from the case after Trump’s lawyers alleged a conflict of interest. He also stated that the prosecution could not show the jury the 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording in which Trump was caught describing sexually assaulting women without their permission. However, prosecutors will be able to interrogate witnesses about the recording made public in the last weeks of the 2016 campaign.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office also urged Merchan on Monday to pay Trump $3,000 for social media statements that they said breached the judge’s gag order prohibiting him from assaulting witnesses. Last week, he used his Truth Social platform to label his former lawyer, Michael Cohen and adult film actress Stormy Daniels, “two sleaze bags who have, with their lies and misrepresentations, cost our country dearly!”

Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, contended that Trump was only responding to the witnesses’ comments.

“It’s not like President Trump is going out and targeting people. “He is responding to these witnesses’ salacious, repeated, vehement attacks,” Blanche stated.

Merchan did not rule out the request immediately but scheduled a hearing for next week.

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Potential Jurors Called Into Courtroom For Start Of Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges of falsifying company documents. Prosecutors believe the alleged fraud was part of an effort to prevent scandalous — and, Trump claims, false — tales about his personal life from surfacing during his 2016 campaign.

The allegations are based on $130,000 in payments made by Trump’s firm to Cohen. He paid that cash on Trump’s behalf a month before the election to prevent Daniels from going public with her claims of a sexual encounter with the married mogul a decade ago.

Prosecutors claim the payments to Cohen were falsely recorded as legal expenses to conceal their true purpose. Trump’s lawyers claim the disbursements were legal expenditures, not a cover-up.

After decades of fielding and bringing lawsuits, the businessman-turned-politician now faces a trial that may result in up to four years in prison if convicted, while a non-jail sentence is also an option. Trump is also expected to appeal any conviction.

Trump’s lawyers lost their quest to dismiss the hush-money case and have subsequently attempted to postpone it, resulting in a frenzy of last-minute appeals court proceedings last week.

Among other things, Trump’s attorneys argue that the jury pool in largely Democratic Manhattan has been corrupted by bad news about Trump and that the case should be transferred elsewhere.

An appeals judge denied an emergency motion to delay the trial, and a group of appellate judges will consider the change-of-venue request in the coming weeks.

Manhattan prosecutors have replied that most of the publicity derives from Trump’s words and that questioning will reveal whether prospective jurors can overcome their preconceived notions. They claim there is no reason to believe that 12 fair and impartial people cannot be identified among Manhattan’s roughly 1.4 million adult citizens.

The prospective jurors will only be identified by number since the judge has ordered that their names be kept secret from everyone save prosecutors, Trump, and their legal teams. The 42 preapproved, sometimes multi-pronged queries cover the basics while reflecting the case’s individuality.

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Potential Jurors Called Into Courtroom For Start Of Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial

“Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about former President Donald Trump, or the fact that he is a current candidate for president, that would interfere with your ability to be a fair and impartial juror?” asks a single inquiry.

Others inquire about attendance at Trump or anti-Trump rallies, opinions on how he is being treated in the case, news sources, and other factors — including any “political, moral, intellectual, or religious beliefs or opinions” that may “slant” a prospective juror’s attitude to the case.

Based on the responses, the attorneys can request that a court remove persons “for cause” if they fulfill certain criteria for being unfit to serve or impartial. The lawyers can also use “peremptory challenges” to dismiss 10 potential jurors and two prospective alternates without explaining.

“If you strike everybody who’s either a Republican or a Democrat,” the judge noted at a February hearing, “you’re going to run out of peremptory challenges very quickly.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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US Mainstream Media Pressures Biden to Debate Trump

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US Mainstream Media Pressures Biden to Debate Trump

On Sunday, twelve news organizations asked expected presidential nominees Joe Biden and Donald Trump to consent to debates, calling them a “rich tradition” that has been part of every general election campaign since 1976.

While Trump, who did not participate in the Republican nomination debates, has shown a readiness to face his 2020 opponent, the Democratic president has not promised to debate him again.

Although no formal invitations have been issued, the news organizations stated that it is not too early for each campaign to openly announce its participation in the three presidential and one vice presidential forums scheduled by the independent Commission on Presidential Debates.

“If there is one thing Americans can agree on during this polarized time, it is that the stakes of this election are exceptionally high,” the organizations said in a joint statement. “Amidst that backdrop, there is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other, and before the American people, their visions for the future of our nation.”

ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, PBS, NBC, NPR, and The Associated Press signed the letter.

Biden and Trump debated twice in 2020. A third debate was canceled after then-President Trump tested positive for COVID-19 and refused to debate remotely.

When asked on March 8 if he would agree to a debate with Trump, Biden replied, “It depends on his behavior.” The president was visibly irritated by his opponent during the freewheeling first 2020 debate, demanding, “Will you shut up?”

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to debate President Joe Biden – Photo Shutterstock.

Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, Trump campaign managers, stated in a letter last week that “we have already indicated President Trump is willing to debate anytime, any place, and anywhere—and the time to start these debates is now.”

They referenced Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas’ seven 1858 Illinois Senate debates, stating, “Certainly, today’s America deserves as much.”

In 2022, the Republican National Committee voted not to participate in Commission on Presidential Debates-sponsored forums. The Trump team has not indicated that it will follow through on that, but it has set some conditions.

The campaign managers stated that in 2020, the commission chose a “demonstrably anti-Trump moderator” in then-Fox News presenter Chris Wallace, and they want assurances that the commission debates will be fair and impartial.

Joe Biden

On Wednesday, a top Biden campaign official was noncommittal about President Joe Biden participating in the general election debates. – Shutterstock Photo

The Trump team also wants the timetable adjusted faster, claiming that many Americans will have voted by September 16, October 1, and October 9, the dates set by the commission for the three debates.

The Biden campaign declined to comment on the news organizations’ letter, citing the president’s previous statement. The Trump campaign did not immediately comment.

However, on Saturday, Trump hosted a rally in northeast Pennsylvania with two lecterns set up on stage: one for him to deliver a speech and the other to represent Biden’s unwillingness to debate him. The second podium included a banner that said, “Anytime. Anywhere. Anyplace.”

Midway into his campaign speech, Trump turned to the right and gestured to the second podium.

“We have a little, look at this, it’s for him,” he said. “Do you see the podium?” I’d want to challenge Crooked Joe Biden to a debate anytime and from anywhere. Right there. And we must debate because our country is headed in the wrong direction, and even though it is a little early, we must debate. “We must explain to the American people what the hell is going on,” Trump stated.

C-SPAN, NewsNation, and Univision also signed the letter demanding debates. Only one newspaper, USA Today, expressed its opinion. The Washington Post denied a request to participate.

Certainly, broadcasters may benefit from the buzz that discussions can generate. Television news ratings are down dramatically from the 2020 campaign. However, other variables, such as cord-cutting and the pandemic, contributed to increased interest in news four years ago.

There were no Democratic debates this election season, and Trump’s reluctance to participate in Republican forums reduced interest in them.

By Geoff Thomas

The Elites’ Hatred of Trump and Everyday Americans

The Elites’ Hatred of Trump and Everyday Americans

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