Connect with us

Foreign News





The downing of a huge Chinese balloon off the US coast, followed by the shootdowns of three smaller objects over Alaska, Canada and Lake Huron on the US-Canada border has raised concerns about North American security and further strained relations with China.

Here is what we know so far:

– What were the four objects? –

The drama began in late January when a giant Chinese balloon – dubbed a spy craft by American officials – drifted for days through US skies before being shot down on February 4 by an F-22 jet off the South Carolina coast. China insisted the balloon was conducting weather research and had gone astray.

The Pentagon said it had a gondola the size of three buses and was equipped with multiple antennas and had solar panels large enough to power several intelligence-gathering sensors.

It also appeared to be able to steer itself, using winds and possibly a propulsion mechanism, officials said.

Then Friday, US fighter jets downed another object off northern Alaska. It was much smaller than the Chinese balloon, and lacked any system of propulsion or control, officials said.

On Saturday, a US F-22 jet, acting on US and Canadian orders, downed a “high-altitude airborne object” over Canada’s far northwest Yukon territory, saying it posed a threat to civilian flight. Canada described it as cylindrical like and about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.

On Sunday Biden ordered US warplanes to down yet another unidentified object over Lake Huron. The object was described as an octagonal structure with strings hanging off it.

It too posed a hazard to civil aviation as it flew at about 20,000 feet (6,000 meters), officials said.

The Pentagon said none of the four objects appeared armed or posed any threat of attack.

Officials would not comment on the origin or function of the three objects that came after the Chinese balloon. Only the balloon has been attributed to Beijing so far.

– What has been recovered? –

Military teams working from planes, boats and minisubs are scouring the shallow waters off South Carolina for the first object, and military images showed the recovery of a large piece of balloon. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking custody of the debris for analysis.

Operations to recover the second object continue on sea ice near Deadhorse, Alaska. “Arctic weather conditions, including wind chill, snow and limited daylight, are a factor,” the military said.

Recovery teams are searching for debris from the third object in the Yukon, Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said Saturday.

The Pentagon said Sunday that US and Canadian teams were preparing an operation to try and recover the fourth object.

– What was the objects’ purpose? –

US officials say the Chinese balloon, which flew over sensitive US nuclear missile sites, had surveillance equipment that could intercept telecommunications.

They said that such balloons skirted US territory at least four times in the past six years, but none had flown deep into US territory.

The balloons were part of a “fleet” operated by China — likely the Chinese military — that has conducted surveillance on some 40 countries over five continents, US officials said.

Speculation was growing about the other objects. US Assistant Secretary of Defense Melissa Dalton said it was known that public and private research bodies launch their own research craft into the atmosphere at those altitudes.

But after decades of investigating some strange sightings by US military pilots that were categorized as “UFOs”, officials were not ready to completely dismiss the idea that aliens or extraterrestrials were the source.

“I haven’t ruled out anything at this point,” said US Northern Command Commander General Glen VanHerck Sunday when asked about that possibility.

– Why so many objects now? –

Dalton said Sunday that after the Chinese balloon was detected, US air defense made adjustments to radar systems to be able to detect smaller and slower-moving objects in the atmosphere.

Analysts said normally US and Canadian intelligence constantly receive huge amounts of raw data, and generally screened some out to focus on the threat of incoming missiles, not slow-moving objects like balloons.

After the radar adjustments, “What we are seeing is very, very small objects that produce a very, very low radar cross section,” said VanHerck.

– What’s the impact on US-China ties? –

The United States scrapped a visit to China by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, intended to stabilize severely strained relations, and has sanctioned six Chinese entities believed to support military spy balloon programs.

Beijing denounced the first balloon’s downing, saying it “seriously violated international practice.” It reserved the right “to use necessary means to deal with similar situations.”

Dalton said Sunday that after Beijing rejected US overtures for several days, US officials have had “contacts” with China over the balloon. She did not characterize the contacts.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Foreign News




*Former US President fires back, says it’s witch-hunt that will backfire massively on Joe Biden

Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter – the first time in American history that a current or former president has faced criminal charges. But in a swift reaction, Trump released a statement in response to the indictment claiming it was “Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history.” The former President  faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud the  indictment, according to two sources familiar with the case The indictment has been filed under seal and would be announced in the coming days. The charges are not publicly known at this time, one source told CNN. Manhattan District Attorney (DA), Alvin Bragg’s office would reach out to Trump’s attorneys to discuss his surrender to face an arraignment, CNN disclosed, adding that it had reached out to Trump’s attorneys for comment. Bragg said the office has contacted Trump’s attorney to “coordinate his surrender” for arraignment on “a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal.” “Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected,” it added. The DA’s office has been investigating the former president in connection with his alleged role in a hush money payment scheme and cover-up involving adult film star Stormy Daniels that dates to the 2016 presidential election. Manhattan grand jury votes to indict Trump, sources tell CNN The decision is sure to send shockwaves across the country, pushing the American political system – which has never seen one of its ex-leaders confronted with criminal charges, let alone while running again for president – into uncharted waters. The legal action against Trump jolts the 2024 presidential campaign into a new phase – where the former president has vowed to keep running in the face of criminal charges. Trump has frequently called the various investigations surrounding him a “witch hunt,” attempting to sway public opinion on them by casting himself as a victim of what he’s claimed are political probes led by Democratic prosecutors. As the indictment reportedly neared, Trump urged his supporters to protest his arrest, echoing his calls to action following the 2020 election as he tried to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden. Trump has long avoided legal consequences in his personal, professional and political lives. He has settled a number of private civil lawsuits through the years and paid his way out of disputes concerning the Trump Organisation, his namesake company. As president, he was twice impeached by the Democratic-led House, but avoided conviction by the Senate. In December, the Trump Organisation was convicted on multiple charges of tax fraud, though Trump himself was not charged in that case. Trump’s Republican allies – as well as his 2024 GOP rivals – have condemned the Manhattan district attorney’s office over the looming indictment, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has vowed to launch an investigation into the matter. Bragg’s office had signaled as recently as early March that they were close to bringing charges against Trump after they invited the ex-president to testify before the grand jury probing the hush money scheme. Potential defendants in New York are required by law to be notified and invited to appear before a grand jury weighing charges. But Trump ultimately declined to appear before the panel. The long-running investigation first began under Bragg’s predecessor, Cy Vance, when Trump was in office. It relates to a $130,000 payment made by Trump’s then-personal attorney Michael Cohen to Daniels in late October 2016, days before the 2016 presidential election, to silence her from going public about an alleged affair with Trump a decade earlier. Trump has denied the affair. At issue in the investigation was the payment made to Daniels and the Trump Organization’s reimbursement to Cohen. According to court filings in Cohen’s own federal prosecution, Trump Organisation executives authorised payments to him totaling $420,000 to cover his original $130,000 payment and tax liabilities and reward him with a bonus. The Trump Organisation noted the reimbursements as a legal expense in its internal books. Trump has denied knowledge of the payment. Meanwhile, Trump in response to the indictment claiming it was “Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history.” “I believe this Witch-Hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden,” the former president said. “The American people realise exactly what the Radical Left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it. So our Movement, and our party – united and strong – will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these Crooked Democrats out of office so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said in a statement that Trump ,“is a victim of a corrupt and distorted version of the American justice system and history. He will be vindicated.” Trump was caught off guard by the grand jury’s decision to indict him, according to a person who spoke directly with him While the former president was bracing for an indictment last week, he began to believe news reports that a potential indictment was weeks – or more – away.

Continue Reading

Foreign News




Ben Llewellyn Jones

Mr Llewellyn-Jones said the strength of Lagos is its diversity as Nigeria’s cosmopolitan city.

The government of the United Kingdom has condemned ethnic profiling and disenfranchisement of Igbos in Lagos during the just concluded governorship election held on March 18.

“People chanting anti-Igbo messages and walking on the streets by polling units on election day is totally unacceptable. Not just in Lagos, but also in Enugu and Rivers where we had our teams as well and many other places,” Ben Llewellyn-Jones, British deputy high commissioner to Nigeria, said.

Mr Llewellyn-Jones, in an interview with Nigeria Info FM on Sunday, said the strength of Lagos is its diversity as Nigeria’s  cosmopolitan city. 

“Why is it that people who pay taxes, who work, who provide teachers, who build businesses, who create jobs, who live in Lagos, who happen to be from a different ethnicity to some other people are not Lagosians? Of course, they are. 

“The strength of Lagos is its diversity, and if Lagos can’t be that kind of cosmopolitan melting pot of culture and language and all the things it should be, then really how is Lagos going to succeed?

“If you live in London, you are a Londoner, a British-Pakistan is a Londoner. The British Prime Minister lives in London. My boss, the British foreign Secretary, is clearly British-Sierra Leone and lives in London, they are Londoners,” Mr Llewellyn-Jones said.

The UK and United States have condemned violence and voter intimidation that marred the March 18 election across the country, threatening sanctions against political actors responsible for it. 

Ethnic tension rocked Lagos in the days running up to the governorship election as operatives of the All Progressives Congress parroted ethnic-laced rhetoric to scare opposition voters away from the election. On the voting day proper, APC thugs roamed the streets unfettered, warning those who will not vote for their party to stay indoors.

Before the election, Musiliu ‘MC Oluomo, a notorious All Progressives Congress thug in Lagos, threatened Igbos who would not vote for the APC to stay indoors. However, Nigerian Police dismissed his threat as a joke.

After the election, Bayo Onanuga, spokesman for President-elect Bola Tinubu took to Twitter to push a toxic anti-Igbo message, calling for total exclusion of Igbos from politics of Lagos, Nigeria’ commercial and cosmopolitan city.

Condemned for his divisive statement, Mr Onanuga doubled down on his position, calling Igbos “existential threats to Yorubas”. Contrary to Mr Onanuga’s stance, the Igbos and Yorubas have coexisted peacefully for decades in Lagos and other parts of the country. 

Continue Reading

Foreign News




The United Kingdom, UK, said it had embarked on an exercise of collating information with the aim to impose visa bans and other sanctions against politicians that engaged in electoral fraud and anti-democratic exercises.

According to the UK, the individuals to be punished were those who engaged in violence and voter suppression in the governorship and state assembly elections in Nigeria.

In a statement by the British High Commission in Abuja, the UK said there were positives to take away from the elections but noted that violence and voter suppression were observed in many states including Lagos, Enugu and Rivers.

The UK was following suit initiated earlier by the United States in condemning the “use of inflammatory ethnoreligious language by some public and political figures”.

The British High Commission said, “These are positive markers to build on for future elections. However, there were notable points of concern. Members of our observation mission personally observed violence, and voter suppression in numerous voting locations.

“We witnessed and received credible reports from other observer missions and civil society organisations of vote buying and voter intimidation the destruction and hijacking of election materials and the general disruption of the process in numerous states including Lagos, Enugu and Rivers.

“In addition, we observed incidents of harassment of journalists. Freedom of speech and a free press are crucial for a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to go about their work without being threatened.

“The UK is concerned by the use of inflammatory ethnoreligious language by some public and political figures.  We call on all leaders not just to distance themselves from this kind of language, but to prevent those who speak on their behalf from doing so in this way.

“It is a testament to their commitment to democracy that many Nigerians were prepared to vote despite being faced with intimidation and hostility.

“The UK Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell MP, said on 21 February, that the UK is prepared to take action against those who engage in or incite electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours, and action could include preventing people from obtaining UK visas or imposing sanctions under our human rights sanctions regime.

“We can confirm that we are collating relevant information, with a view to taking action against some individuals.”

Continue Reading


Copyright © Estreet On TV 2023