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January 1, Iraq PM Tells US to Plan on Leaving



IGood morning Middle Americans,

Our founding father Ben Franklin famously said, “guests like fish, begin to smell after three days.” How about after 17 years. That’s how long the US military has been in Iraq. The US led invasion started in the early Spring of 2003. And now Iraq’s prime minister is asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for America’s exit strategy. 

Also, the US and Canada, are both fairly certain that Iran shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing all 167 people on board.  Our intelligence source tell the missile strike on the plane was most likely a tragic mistake, despite conspiracy theories that say otherwise.  We also have a tragic story about a couple. One of them got on the flight, one of them did not. 

And we are hearing that the Impeachment trial of President Trump will start “soon” – whatever that means.  You’d have to ask House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

Read all about it. 

– Fraser Dixon 

This Day in History | 1901

An oil derrick near Beaumont, Texas starts gushing crude oil, signaling the start of the American oil industry. 

Iraqi PM Tells US to Decide Mechanism for Troop Withdrawal

(AP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has told the U.S. secretary of state to send a delegation to Iraq tasked with formulating the mechanism for the withdrawal of U.S troops from Iraq.

A statement from the prime minister’s office on Friday says the request came in a telephone call between Abdul-Mahdi and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday night. It says Pompeo called the Iraqi premier.

The prime minister said Iraq rejects all violations against its sovereignty including the attacks carried out by Iranian forces against U.S. bases and American violations of Iraq’s airspace in an airstrike that killed a top Iranian general.

Find out more about the request from Iraq’s PM here

Video Shows Ukrainian Plane Being Hit Over Iran

(New York Times) – Video verified by The New York Times appears to show an Iranian missile hitting a plane near Tehran’s airport, the area where a Ukrainian jet crashed on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.

As investigators work to determine an official cause of the accident, the video offered new clues about the crash, which came hours after a violent confrontation between Iran and the United States. American and allied officials on Thursday said they believed an Iranian missile had accidentally brought the plane down.

A small explosion occurred when what appears to be a missile hit the plane above Parand, a city near the airport, but the plane did not explode, the video showed. The jet continued flying for several minutes and turned back toward the airport, The Times has determined. The plane, which by then had stopped transmitting its signal, flew toward the airport ablaze before it exploded and crashed quickly, other videos verified by The Times showed.

See the video here

Iran Plan Crash: Ticket Mixup Leaves Ottawa Man in Terminal While His Wife Gets Aboard Doomed Flight

(Ottawa Citizen) – They were supposed to be flying together. Instead, Ottawa resident Mohsen Ahmadipour said goodbye to his wife Roja Azadian at the airport in Tehran on Tuesday, telling her he would join her as soon as he could get on another flight.

That would be the last time he ever saw her.

Azadian, 43, was among eight Ottawa residents who died aboard Ukrainian International Airline Flight 752 when it crashed in flames shortly after takeoff Tuesday.

The Ottawa couple had been in Iran visiting their families. Azadian had studied at the Iran University of Science and Technology there.

They had planned to return home to Ottawa together, taking a popular route between Iran and Canada, by way of Ukraine. But when they arrived at the airport in Tehran, Ahmadipour was surprised to learn that his ticket was no longer valid.

That mix-up saved his life.

Read more here

Pelosi to ‘Soon’ Send Impeachment Articles for Senate Trial

(AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she will “soon″ transmit the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, signaling a potential thaw in the standoff with Senate Republicans as she warned against rushing to an acquittal without a fair trial.

Pelosi, D-Calif., faces mounting pressure from Republicans and some Democrats to quit delaying the president’s trial in the Senate, three weeks after the House Democrats impeached Trump on charges of abuse and obstruction. Republicans say Democrats are embarrassed by their vote. But Pelosi countered that Democrats are ’’proud″ of upholding the Constitution and said she doubted that Senate Republicans will do the same.

Learn more here

Trump Now Says Climate Change is ‘Serious’ and not ‘A Hoax’

(The Week) – President Trump announced plans Thursday to change National Environmental Policy Act rules in order to make it easier to build gas pipelines and construct mines and highways.

As written now, the regulations require federal agencies to determine the environmental impact of such projects, including effects on the climate. “These endless delays waste money, keep projects from breaking ground, and deny jobs to our nation’s incredible workers,” Trump said. “From day one, my administration has made fixing this regulatory nightmare a top priority.”

Trump has long been a climate change denier, calling global warming “a hoax” created “by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” When asked by reporters on Thursday if he still believes climate change isn’t real, Trump said, “No, no. Not all all. 

Nothing’s a hoax. … It’s a very serious subject. The environment is very important to me. I’m a big believer in that word, the environment. … I want clean air, I want clean water. I also want jobs, though.”

Read more here

Surveillance Video from Jeffrey Epstein’s First Apparent Suicide Attempt ‘No Longer Exists’

(NBC News) – The surveillance video taken from outside Jeffrey Epstein’s jail cell on the day of his first apparent suicide attempt has been permanently deleted, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Epstein, the disgraced financier who was facing federal sex-trafficking charges, was found semiconscious in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, or MCC, in New York around 1:27 a.m. on July 23.

But that video is now gone because MCC officials mistakenly saved video from a different floor of the federal detention facility, prosecutors said in a court filing.

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