Turkey withdraws troops from Norway after Erdogan is listed as ‘enemy’ during NATO drills

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the country’s troops have left ongoing NATO war games ahead of schedule, after his name appeared in an “enemy chart.” The move comes amid tensions between the US and Turkey within the military bloc.
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On Friday, the Turkish leader slammed an “incident” during NATO drills in Norway, in which Erdogan himself and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the modern Turkish state, were depicted in an “enemy chart.”

“They used an enemy chart in Norway. In that chart, there was my name and [Mustafa Kemal] Ataturk’s picture,” the Turkish leader told his Justice and Development (AK) Party members, as cited by Turkish media.

Erdogan said it was decided to withdraw all 40 Turkish soldiers from a NATO drill “immediately,” adding that even the removal of those names would not change the decision.

“There can be no alliance like that,” Erdogan said.

Later in the day, Norwegian media reported that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had apologized for the “offence,” saying that “the incidents were the result of an individual’s actions and do not reflect the views of NATO.” The apology was contained in a letter from Stoltenberg, which was obtained by NTB agency. The Secretary General said that an investigation into the incident is ongoing, and added that the person responsible for the offence had been “removed from the exercise.”

“The individual in question was immediately removed from the exercise by the Joint Warfare Centre, and an investigation is underway. He was a civilian contractor seconded by Norway and not a NATO employee,” he said.

According to the NATO website, Norway is currently hosting a Trident Javelin 17 military exercise, as well as Polaris-17 and Gram-17 drills, aimed at improving Norway’s military ability “to execute high-intensity national and NATO operations within Norwegian territory.” It is not clear what maneuvers Erdogan was referencing.

Turkey is currently at loggerheads with some of its allies within the military alliance. Ankara’s decision to buy Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems triggered concerns among its NATO member states, including the US. Erdogan lashed out at his critics, saying that he is not going to wait for protection from NATO allies.

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and U.S President Donald Trump. © Kevin Lamarque

In October, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that Ankara’s decision to purchase the S-400 does not harm the alliance’s interests. As the deal enters its final stage, the US reportedly supports Stoltenberg’s view, saying that it could affect Turkey’s use of F-35 jets.

“Right now, I can tell you our policies do not allow us to be interoperable with that system,” Heidi Grant, Air Force deputy undersecretary for international affairs, stated as cited by Defense News.

“It’s a significant concern, not only to the United States, because we need to protect this high-end technology, fifth-generation technology”but for “all of our partners and allies that have already purchased the F-35,” Grant said.

Turkey is involved in production of the advanced F-35 aircraft, with one of 10 participating firms being a sole source supplier for its two major components – missile remote interface units and the panoramic cockpit display. The possibility of simultaneous use of both Russia’s S-400 systems and the F-35 could harm the security of the latter, Defence News reported, citing analysts’ concerns.

 

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Purchase of Russian S-400 system creates incompatibility issues for Turkey’s use of F-35

Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said earlier this week that Ankara had completed the purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missiles. “It is finished, the S-400 missiles have been bought. The rest is just details now,” he said in televised comments, as quoted by Reuters.

The purchase is a major concern for the US, according to Heidi Grant, the deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs. Such concern comes as Turkey awaits the delivery of its first F-35s in 2018.

Defense News reported that analysts have expressed worry that Turkey operating both the F-35 and the S-400 could compromise the security of the F-35s, as the data collected by the S-400 may expose the F-35’s vulnerabilities.

Grant seemed to agree with that logic during an interview with the news outlet on Wednesday, which was given from the Dubai Air Show. “It’s a significant concern, not only to the United States, because we need to protect this high-end technology, fifth-generation technology” but for “all of our partners and allies that have already purchased the F-35,” she said.

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Traits of bad leaders and how not to acquire them

It’s great to read books and articles about what the great leaders do so that we can model ourselves on the best, and I highly recommend that.

However, it’s also worthwhile taking the time to understand what bad leaders do so that we can learn what to avoid which can be just as helpful.

Over my 25 years in leadership, here are some of the habits of unsuccessful and ineffectual leaders that I have seen, and in some cases, their justification for having them.

These are habits best avoided, if possible!

1. Believe they have all the answers

They know that the reason that they have been put in charge is that they are smarter and better than everyone else. So when it comes to deciding strategy, solving problems, or resolving issues, there is no need, or point in involving anyone else.

2. React, don’t respond

Driven by their emotions, they react quickly to situations without worrying about facts or the repercussions of their actions.

They can always show good emotional intelligence by apologizing later.

Bad leaders like to gamble and take big risks.William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

3. Take big risks, the bigger the better

They like to gamble and take big risks.  Believing in the adage “Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained” and that Smart Risk taking is for wimps.

When I questioned a decision that one boss was taking his response was, “That’s not your concern, I get paid big bucks to take the big risks and make the tough calls.”

Personally, I thought he got paid the big bucks to take the right risks and to be successful, but what did I know.

4. Believe that talking about it and doing it are the same thing

I always remember the first boss I worked for, when the CEO asked him how it was going, he said: “It’s going great, we have been discussing the problem for two days now.” The only problem was, that was two days that the business couldn’t operate, and we were no closer to finding a solution.

5. Focus on blame not solutions

It’s better to know whose fault it is so that we can fire them and make sure this doesn’t happen again.

There is a big difference between confidence and arrogance.Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

6. Believe their own PR

There is a big difference between confidence and arrogance; the former helps build trust in the leader, the latter destroys it.  As soon as you start to believe your own PR, then you are leaning more towards arrogance and starting down a path that is going to end in tears.

7. Don’t waste valuable time on planning and preparation

Sometimes you just have to dive and get it done. Don’t worry about what’s involved, or whether you’re focused on the symptom or root cause, just do it.  My favorite comment was, “we can afford to spend time and money on planning; we just need to get started.”

Which was interesting because we found the time and money to do it again correctly, after that first attempt failed badly.

8. Hire people beneath them

As a leader, it is critical that you are the most skillful and knowledgeable member of the team, that way everyone can focus on their job rather than working out how they could replace you.

I worked at one company where the boss told me that he liked to recruit from the bottom quartile because it kept the costs down. He then added, “the only problem with that was the results sucked.”

Ineffective leaders believe that a lot of short-term success will lead to long-term success.Matt Cardy/Getty Images

9. Focusing on instant success

It’s all about results, and if we find that they are not coming, then we need to move quickly on to another topic.

They believe that a lot of short-term success will lead to long-term success

10. Focus on the big picture, not the details

Don’t worry about the details, focus on the big picture, as that will keep you motivated. We all know the devil is in the details, but that could lead to concerns, a lack of belief and even worse, de-motivation.

11. Focus on weaknesses not strengths

As leaders we cannot have or show any weaknesses, so we need to work on eliminating them, or failing that, hiding them.

Stubbornness and determination are not the same.Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

12. Confuse stubbornness with determination

“Winners never quit, and quitters never win” is a great approach to achieving results.

However you’re bordering on stubbornness if your approach is failing but you refuse to change it.

13. Doesn’t play well with others

It’s hard to play well with others when you adapt a command and control approach to leadership. People like to be led not managed.

14. Think praise is for wimps

It’s ok to praise people once we have achieved success, but praising people just to keep them happy is not a good approach to building a strong, resilient team. We’ve got to be mean to keep them keen, and praising people too often makes a team soft.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

15. Take, don’t give

The more we take, the more we have, that’s how winners are made.

It’s a dog eat dog world, and we have to fight for our share.

16. Quick to criticize

If you want people to improve, you need to point out their mistakes quickly and clearly. It’s also best to do this publicly so that others can learn too.

17. Easily distracted

Never content with their current goals, they are constantly looking for the next big thing that the get involved in. I think the reason for this is that it’s much easier to start something new than to finish something important.

18. Make excuses

There are a million and one reasons why things don’t work out as planned, so it’s not always our fault, and we need to remember that so don’t become too de-motivated.

One boss told me never ever accept responsibility, as it could be career limiting, and to always have someone ready to blame or a good excuse handy.

19. Love to micro manage

It’s hard to trust everyone, so by micro-managing your staff, you can keep a close eye on things, and look to offer advice or step in if things start to go wrong.

20. Practice inconsistently

It’s great to be inconsistent because it keeps your team guessing, which in turn keeps them on their toes.  Predictability, on the other hand, can lead to complacency.

 

Read the original article on Inc.. Copyright 2016

Russian Blackjack returns

Russia unveils newly built Tu-160 supersonic strategic bomber
A newly built Tupolev Tu-160 long-range heavy strategic bomber – the first one since 1992 – was rolled out of the hangar as Russia resumes production of the world’s largest operational bomber that NATO designates as Blackjack.
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The new Tu-160, which is nicknamed White Swan in Russia, was revealed at the Kazan Aviation Factory, a branch of Moscow-based Tupolev Design Bureau, on Thursday. The aircraft was built, using parts stored since Soviet times, to establish if the factory was capable of resuming serial production of the legendary bombers.

The bomber will now undergo testing on the ground, before taking to the skies in February 2018. The serial production of Tu-160s, which remained stalled since 1992, will resume after the aircraft proves that it matches the assigned criteria, Major-General Sergey Kobylash, the chief of Russia’s Long-Range Aviation, told RIA-Novosti.

Russia’s military announced the decision to resume production of the Tu-160s in modernized Tu-160M2 variation back in 2015. The serial production of the bombers is likely to begin in early 2020s, with the Defense Ministry planning to purchase at least 50 aircraft. The modernized planes will get new improved engines, also seeing analog onboard equipment replaced with digital hardware.

“All the Tu-160 planes currently in service with the Russian Air Force will be fully modernized. Taking into account the pace of reproduction and the level of modern technology, I assume that it’s going to happen in the coming years,” Kobylash said.

Blackjack is largest combat aircraft in the world, with maximum takeoff weight of about 275 tons. It can cover a distance of more than 12,000 kilometers without refueling. The record distance it covered during one flight was 18,000 kilometers, spending more than 24 hours in the air. The bomber is equipped with variable-sweep wings, which it wedges against the fuselage when switching to supersonic speed.

READ MORE: Tycoons want to convert Russian strategic bomber into a supersonic business jet

The Tu-160 and other long-range aircraft resumed patrol flights over the Pacific and Atlantic in 2007. The bombers also proved their effectiveness during Russia’s air campaign in Syria as they took off from airfields in Russia to strike terrorist targets.

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‘Israel shouldn’t go into war with Lebanon, as we will surely win’ – Lebanese FM

Lebanon has capabilities to counter “any threat,” but only wants peace and stability in the region, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has told RT in an interview. He warned that any potential aggressor state would suffer consequences, which could reach as far as Europe.
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The Middle Eastern country has always chosen to “maintain constructive and sound policies” with its neighbors and other states in the Arab world, but this hasn’t prevented “hostile actions” against Lebanon, Bassil told RT in an exclusive interview Friday. Citing the current crisis triggered by the “unexpected” resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announced from Saudi Arabia, the official said it is a “good example [showing that] virtually anyone can start a war against us.”

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Former Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri. © Mohamed Azakir

“We are ready to act in case of such developments, but we are trying to do everything we can to prevent this from happening and to maintain a good relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Bassil said, adding Beirut would “stick to” its peaceful and diplomatic approach “unless forced to defend ourselves.” While Lebanon is against any interference in its internal affairs, it also “does not approve of any attacks by its citizens against Saudi Arabia,” he said.

However, the current situation appears to involve far more players, the foreign minister said, having mentioned Israel and the US in particular. “We should not be provoking Israel into a war simply because it is likely to lose it. We should restrain Israel from starting a war exactly because Lebanon is sure to win it,” he claimed.

READ MORE: Will Saudi’s gamble in Lebanon with Hariri lead to war between Israel and Hezbollah?

“Any country can take action against Hezbollah like the US does, even though the leader of Hezbollah has said repeatedly: ‘If you want to fight us, you can fight us, but leave Lebanon alone. We don’t want Lebanon to suffer because of us.’ We think if they target us, they will punish all the people of Lebanon, and those who dare do this will also face consequences. There will be consequences for the whole region, for Europe.”

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© Global Look Press

Earlier this week, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the chief of staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, has said he believes the current escalation in the region “is Iranian provocation.” He said that while Israel had no intention of launching an attack on Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement allied with Tehran, it was ready to share intelligence on Iran with Riyadh. “There is an opportunity for a new international alliance in the region and a major strategic plan to stop the Iranian threat,” said in an unprecedented interview with a Saudi newspaper. Tel Aviv and Riyadh do not officially have diplomatic ties with each another.

READ MORE: Lebanon suffers intimidation attempts to cancel gas deal with Russia – Lebanese FM

During his official visit to Moscow on Friday, Bassil said that there is currently an anti-Lebanon campaign in the Middle East. “Some countries are trying to use certain forces to remove the head of Lebanon,” he claimed, without specifying which ones. In his interview with RT, Bassil said that what the whole world is witnessing today in the region is “yet another attempt to create hotbeds of chaos and instability, which in turn lead to terrorism.”

“Even if Lebanon is a likely winner in a war, it does not mean it wants to fight,” he said, but pointed out he found it unlikely that the conflict would turn into a hot one. “I doubt that it will come to it because the party that starts such a war will have to deal with consequences.”

Quarter-life crisis? You’re not alone

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According to a LinkedIn research, 75% of 25-33 year olds have experienced a quarter-life crisis, often related to feeling as if they were at a crossroads in their career. Women and men alike have experienced it (73% vs. 76%, respectively), with 85% of those in Arts & Culture having had a quarter-life crisis, followed closely by IT & Telecoms, at 84%. The average age of a quarter-life crisis is 27 years old. Globally, nearly 80% of those aged 25-33 have felt under pressure to succeed in relationships, career or finances before hitting 30. Finding a job or career that they’re passionate about is the top reason this age group feels anxious (61%), even more so than about finding a life partner (47%) or dealing with student debt (22%). Nearly half (48%) of respondents feel anxious when comparing themselves to others. The online survey was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of LinkedIn from Oct. 31-Nov. 3, among 6,014 respondents across the United States, United Kingdom, India and Australia.

American Teenager ‘sells virginity to businessman for £2.2million

A Hollywood celeb and Russian politician were outbid !

Seem the price of a virgin can come real high these days

A teenager claims to have sold her virginity for £2.2million and that it is “a dream come true”.

The girl, named only as Giselle, auctioned her innocence through the notorious website Cinderella Escorts.

An unnamed businessman apparently made the highest offer of $3million – outbidding a Hollywood celeb and a Russian politician, according to the site.

Giselle, a 19-year-old American, says she plans to use the money for tuitions fees and travelling.

“I would never have dreamed that the bid would rise so high and we would have reached 2.5 million euros,” she said.

“This is a dream come true.

“I think the trend to sell your virginity is a form of emancipation and I am shocked about people who are against allowing a woman to sell her virginity.”

Giselle said selling her virginity for $3million is “a dream come true” (Image: Cinderella Escorts)

“If I want to spend my first time with someone who is not my first love, that’s my decision.”

A hotel has already been booked in Germany for the encounter and Giselle will be accompanied by security and can cancel at any time, it is claimed.

Cinderella Escorts, described as “the world’s most famous escort agency”, has been accused of taking advantage of girls who say they want to auction their virginity.

The mother of a Dutch girl called ‘Lola’ who offered her virginity before taking her profile down, accused the website of “dubious practices”.

Giselle said she will use the money to pay tuition fees and go travelling (Image: Cinderella Escorts)

She told Dutch media that her daughter suffered from mental illness and the advert had started off as a ‘a joke’.

Jan Zakobielski, 27, the man behind the German escort website, defended his business.

“Of course, the mother may now try to take articles offline by telling all kinds of horror stories,” he said.

“Do you get the impression that the girl in the video has psychological problems? I don’t think so.”

Cinderella Escorts rose to worldwide fame earlier this year when Aleexandra Khefren, an 18-year-old Romanian model, sold her virginity for 2.3 million EUR (£2million) to an unnamed Hong Kong businessman.

The website reportedly keeps 20% of every ‘sale’ as a fee.

Earlier this month Jasmin, a 26-year-old student from London, hit the headlines after bids for her virginity reached £100,000.

She revealed her parents agreed with the decision to sell her virginity rather than wait for “Mister Right”.

Giselle, 19, said she is delighted with the total which she plans to spend on tuition fees and travelling