Translate

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Top Stories Today

Top Stories Today


The Story Of Snowball Earth

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 07:04 AM PDT

Ancient rocks suggest that ice entirely covered our planet on at least two occasions. This theory may help explain the rise of complex life that followed.

The 'Stranger Things' Kids Are Dealing With The Scariest Monster Of Them All In This Season Three Trailer: Puberty

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 05:21 AM PDT

"We're not kids anymore," said every boy who ever grew a foot taller and sprouted the beginnings of a wispy mustache over the summer. Hopefully, the surging hormones in Hawkins don't distract the gang from the real threat in their midst come July 4th.

Inside A $30 Million 'Doomsday-Proof' Condo

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 07:34 AM PDT

This refurbished missile silo is capable of sustaining up to twelve families for five years.

Incredible Card With No Annual Fee And $150 Bonus

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 04:46 AM PDT

This cash back credit card offers a super long 15-month 0% APR in addition to great cash back perks. Get a $150 bonus, unlimited 1.5x cash back and pay 0% interest well into 2020.

Guy Shows His Mom And Grandma His Tesla's Autopark Feature, And Their Reaction Is Absolutely Delightful

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 07:23 AM PDT

Automated parking is cool (who likes parking, anyway?), but we're really here for the reaction from comedian and singer Lil Duval's mom.

Inside Airbnb's 'Guerilla War' Against Local Governments

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 07:04 AM PDT

From Nashville to New Orleans to Honolulu, Airbnb is battling local officials over requests to collect occupancy taxes and ensure that the properties listed on its site comply with zoning and safety rules.

Mike Trout Isn't Worth $430 Million — He's Worth Much More

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 04:46 AM PDT

The extension the center fielder is reportedly close to finalizing with the Angels will shatter records, but it doesn't come close to compensating him appropriately for his on-field performance.

Guy Tries To Use Water To Put Out Wax Fire, And Oh No No No

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 07:34 AM PDT

Rather than figure out the correct way to extinguish his homemade wax melter, he decided to go the classic "pour water on it and see what happens" route.

Brad Pitt Is Leonardo DiCaprio's Stunt Double In Quentin Tarantino Film 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood'

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 06:19 AM PDT

We've gone blind from all of the star power.

Apple's New AirPods Come With A Wireless Charging Case, Hey Siri Support, And More Battery Life

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 07:04 AM PDT

The wireless charging case will also be sold separately for $79 for existing customers.

Guy Messes Up Parkour Move In The Most Humiliating Way Possible

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 02:01 PM PDT

Yesterday, we declared parkour to be cool again. Unfortunately for parkour, that status only lasted for one day.

The Trap House-Busting Vigilante Of Pine Ridge Reservation

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 07:04 AM PDT

After Julie "Mama Julz" Richards's own family was nearly destroyed by addiction, fighting back against meth became a personal crusade.

This Is The Proper Etiquette For Leaving A Hotel Room

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 07:04 AM PDT

During your vacation, a hotel room is your home away from home, but it's much better than your actual home because you have fresh sheets every day. Here's how to properly thank, respect, and compensate the person making that happen.

Set Up A Secure, Second Phone Line — And Hide Your Real Number From Scammers

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 04:46 AM PDT

Whether you've got a side hustle and need to take calls from clients, or tend to have bad luck on Bumble, this subscription to Hushed Private Phone Line helps you set up a second number for calls and texts — without committing to another long, expensive phone contract. Get a lifetime phone line for just $25 today.

Very Vocal Parrot Tells Barking Dog To Shut Up

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 07:04 AM PDT

This interspecies quarrel is not one we'd expect, but it's one we need.

I Gave Up And Let Instagram Shop For Me

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 07:04 AM PDT

Targeted advertising has turned the platform into the best and worst place to buy stuff online.

Apple's Big New iMac Update Makes Me Feel Sad About iMacs

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 07:04 AM PDT

Is Apple just going to keep stuffing new chips into its flagship desktop, ignoring innovative design, until I die?

High School Student With Down Syndrome Sinks A Half-Court Shot At Tip-Off

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 09:27 AM PDT

According to another student, this kid has been practicing shooting every day after lunch for months.

Google Just Announced Its Own Gaming Platform, Stadia — Here's What We Know

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 11:27 AM PDT

Stadia seeks to combine any-screen game streaming with the video streaming of YouTube.

Most Of Us Have Been Lacing And Tying Our Shoes All Wrong

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 12:04 PM PDT

​We are mesmerized by these unnecessarily fancy and extremely beautiful shoe-lacing techniques.

The Surprisingly Long History Of Throwing Eggs At Politicians

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 04:57 PM PDT

Egg Boy follows a long legacy of political egg throwers.

The Relative Market Capitalization Of Major Tech Companies Since 1995, Visualized

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 05:53 AM PDT

Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google — known collectively as FAANG — currently have a total market capitalization of $3.1 trillion. But these tech companies haven't always dominated Wall Street.

Incredible Card With No Annual Fee And $150 Bonus

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 04:46 AM PDT

This cash back credit card offers a super long 15-month 0% APR in addition to great cash back perks. Get a $150 bonus, unlimited 1.5x cash back and pay 0% interest well into 2020.

Man Leaves His Car Doors Open, Returns To Find A Hot Koala Trying To Cool Down

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 04:57 PM PDT

Ah, yes, a car koala in its natural habitat, wrecking dashboards and not understanding how windows work.

Is It Ever Too Late To Pursue A Dream?

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 10:33 AM PDT

Dan Stoddard believes there is room in the NBA for a 42-year-old rookie.

MoviePass Brings Back Unlimited Plan With Heavy Caveats

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 05:53 AM PDT

The service's terms say that the company may limit your film selection based on location, times, movie titles and even your own historical usage.

David Attenborough Narrates 'Our Planet', The Next Great Nature Series To Get Baked To

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 07:20 AM PDT

"Our Planet" comes to your buddy's couch on April 5.

The Dangerous Normalization Of Islamophobia

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 04:46 AM PDT

Journalists and politicians push the social acceptance of vilifying Muslims — to bloody consequences.

Movie Theater Employees Spill The Dirty Secrets Of Their Trade

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 02:57 PM PDT

On second thought, maybe Moviepass wasn't such a great deal after all...

AI Robots Are Finally Being Put To Good Use — Entertaining Your Cat

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 02:29 PM PDT

This remote-controlled mouse toy has an auto-mode that will drive your feline nuts while you do human stuff.

This Ping-Pong Player's Signature Move Is Unreal

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 10:22 AM PDT

A technique that raises eyebrows the world over.

Google Fined $1.7 Billion By EU For Unfair Advertising Rules

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 05:53 AM PDT

European authorities on Wednesday fined Google 1.5 billion euros for antitrust violations in the online advertising market, continuing its efforts to rein in the world's biggest technology companies.

US Mathematician Becomes First Woman To Win Abel Prize, 'Math's Nobel'

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 04:46 AM PDT

"I find that I am bored with anything I understand," Karen Uhlenbeck once said — and that sense of curiosity is part of why she won the prestigious Abel Prize, from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Kids Are Refusing The World We Plan To Leave Them

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 04:00 PM PDT

The Youth Climate Strike highlights a new wave of activism among young people who are terrified of climate change.

Isla Fisher Relates What It's Like Being Married To Sacha Baron Cohen

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 06:15 AM PDT

It's as strange and sophomoric as you'd imagine.

Trump To Nominate Former Delta Airlines Executive To Lead FAA

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 04:57 PM PDT

The FAA has not had a permanent administrator since Michael Huerta, an Obama holdover, resigned in early 2018.

What Every Kid In The College Admissions Scandal Knew About The Scam

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 02:01 PM PDT

Here's a succinct — well, uh, a more succinct — list of everyone involved and what they did and did not know.

Why The iPhone's Durability Is A Double-Edged Sword For Apple

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 04:00 PM PDT

Used iPhones have a much higher resale value than other smartphones, which means that Apple is increasingly competing against the secondary iPhone market.

Welcome To Spotsylvania: The East Coast Battleground For Big Solar

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 02:57 PM PDT

The heart of the solar resistance is in a gated community called Fawn Lake. Stately homes surround the manmade lake. There's also a golf course, a country club and simmering anger that an industrial-scale solar farm could be the next neighbor.

FCC Admits in Court That It Can't Track Who Submits Fake Comments

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 04:00 PM PDT

The process for tracking down instances of comment fraud at the FCC is, as its lawyers accurately portrayed in court, a f**king headache. But what this really means is, if the commission is going to continue to use the ECFS to solicit public comments, the system needs to be retrofitted or completely re-built to facilitate fraud detection.

Woman Takes Her Leaf Monster For A Walk

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 01:25 PM PDT

A dachshund has way too much diving head first into the undergrowth.

Kickstarter's Staff Is Unionizing

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 04:00 PM PDT

The staff of Kickstarter announced plans to unionize today. If recognized, Kickstarter would be the first major tech company with union representation in the United States.

Ricky Gervais On Provocation, Picking Targets And Outrage Culture

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 02:57 PM PDT

Since "The Office," which debuted in 2001, Gervais's output — whether television, film or stand-up — has been divisive, at times drawing criticism for being smug or mawkish but never at any detriment to his popularity.

Fox News Pundit: Why Doesn't The US Get More Credit For Ending Slavery?

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 12:25 PM PDT

As the argument for reparations for African-Americans makes its way into the 2020 Democratic primary, you can bet your butt that Fox News will be talking about it. And, uh...

Who To Pick In Your NCAA Tournament Bracket, According To All The Experts

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 11:07 AM PDT

We gathered up what all the sports experts are predicting for the Final Four and National Champion, crunched the numbers and ranked the teams.

Brace Yourselves, The Rain Is On Its Way

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 04:46 AM PDT

As winter turns to spring, you're going to want a water resistant jacket. This one's guaranteed to keep you dry on your next run — and it fits in your pocket.

Latest World News, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs

Latest World News, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs


President Eisenhower's Rational For Using Nuclear Weapons

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 01:00 AM PDT

President Eisenhower. Biography

Politico: Eisenhower defends use of nuclear weapons, March 16, 1955

In response to a question at a news conference on this day in 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower upheld the use of battlefield nuclear weapons.

Charles S. von Fremd, the White House correspondent for CBS News, noted that on the previous day, John Foster Dulles, the secretary of State, had "indicated" to reporters "that in the event of [a] general war in the Far East, we would probably make use of some tactical small atomic weapons." He asked Eisenhower to comment.

He responded: "I wouldn't comment in the sense that I would pretend to foresee the conditions of any particular conflict in which you might engage; but we have been, as you know, active in producing various types of weapons that feature nuclear fission ever since World War II.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Rationalizing the use of battlefield tactical nuclear weapons. I hope we have evolved our thinking in the past 65 years.

Amnesty International Says U.S. Airstrikes In Somalia Are Killing Civilians

Posted: 20 Mar 2019 12:00 AM PDT

US strikes, which included missiles fired by manned aircraft as well as drones, targeted Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked insurgents, Al-Shabaab AFP/Isaac Brekken

CNN: Amnesty International accuses US of causing civilian deaths in Somalia

Amnesty International accused the US military on Tuesday of causing civilian casualties in a series of airstrikes in Somalia in 2017 and 2018, claims the US military denies.

The strikes in question came after President Donald Trump eased restrictions on the use of airpower in the East African nation.

US Africa Command, which oversees US military operations on the continent, firmly rejected the allegations, saying it has made efforts to ensure the safety of civilians and that it had reviewed the allegations and found no evidence to support them.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Amnesty International report is here .... The New US War in Somalia (Amnesty International)

More News On Amnesty International Saying U.S. Airstrikes In Somalia Are Killing Civilians

US airstrikes in Somalia are killing civilians, Amnesty International says -- The Guardian/AP
Civilian deaths mount as US drone strikes in Somalia escalate: Amnesty -- Channel News Asia/AFP
Report: U.S. Air Strikes Are Killing Civilians in Somalia in Wave of Attacks Under Trump -- The Intercept
Report Says U.S. Airstrikes Have Killed 14 Civilians in Somalia -- The New York Times
The US could be guilty of war crimes in Somalia and has killed civilians in airstrikes, according to a new report -- Business Insider

EU To Spend €525m For Military Projects But Illegal Tech Is Barred

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 11:00 PM PDT

The EU is set for a €13bn European Defence Fund in 2021. (Photo: NATO)

EU Observer: EU rolls out €525m for military projects, but bars illegal tech

The European Commission on Tuesday (19 March) announced hundreds of millions of EU funds for joint defence industrial projects - but promised that anything prohibited by international law would not be funded.

"Before this commission, the EU budget devoted to defence cooperation was zero," European commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen told reporters in Brussels.

His statement follows announcements of €525m of EU money earmarked for a whole range of military defence projects covering things like "counter-drone systems", "space situational awareness", "ground-based precision strike capabilities", "cyber technologies", and others.

The bulk of the money will go towards some 21 projects.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I would like to know what illegal tech is being barred.

Tweets For Today

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 10:30 PM PDT











Remembering The Japanese Battleship Yamato

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 10:00 PM PDT

Yamato running machinery trials off Bungo Strait (outside Sukumo Bay) on 20 October 1941

Kyle Mizokami, The National: Dead Battleship: How Japan's Monster Yamato Warship Committed Naval Suicide

How it all ended.

The story of the Yamato is a warning to all armed forces that the march of war technology is merciless and unsentimental.

In early 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy made a difficult decision: it would sacrifice the largest, most powerful battleships ever built to protect Okinawa, the gateway to Japan's Home Islands. The decision sealed the fate of the battleship Yamato and its crew, but ironically did nothing to actually protect the island from Allied invasion.

The battleship Yamato was among the largest and most powerful battleships of all time. Yamato has reached nearly mythical status, a perfect example of Japan's fascination with doomed, futile heroics. Built in 1937 at the Kure Naval Arsenal near Hiroshima, it was constructed in secrecy to avoid alarming the United States. Japan had recently withdrawn from the Washington Naval Treaty, which limited battleship tonnages, and was free to build them as large as it wanted.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Wikipedia's file on Yamato is an interesting read (see here).

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 09:30 PM PDT

One-third of Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, Nebraska, and home to US Strategic Command, found itself submerged underwater. (Offutt Air Force Base).

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... 'Battling Flood Waters': Key US Air Force Base Partially Underwater (PHOTOS) (Sputnik).

The Best Show On Television Is Coming Back

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 09:00 PM PDT



WNU Editor: Slightly off topic, but the best show on television is coming back .... The Expanse Is (Basically) the Show Game of Thrones Used to Be, and the one Westworld wishes it was (Joshua Rivera, GQ).

Iran's Wartime Preparations Include Terrorist Attacks And Assassination

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 08:03 PM PDT


Yahoo News: As Trump escalates rhetoric, Iran's wartime preparations include terrorist attacks and assassinations

In July 2017, Ahmadreza Doostdar, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, visited the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago, where FBI agents surveilled him performing what appeared to be a surreptitious exchange of information — a brush pass — with a woman in one of the museum's rooms.

After leaving the museum, Doostdar walked toward two nearby Jewish centers, snapping photos with his phone camera, appearing to pay particular attention to entrances and exits, including a wrought iron fence at the perimeter of one the buildings. Doostdar then traveled to Los Angeles where, according to U.S. prosecutors, he met with another Iranian man and tasked him with collecting information on U.S.-based members of Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, an Iranian opposition group listed as a terrorist organization by the United States until 2012.

The details of Doostdar's alleged activities in the United States were revealed in August 2018 when the Justice Department unsealed an indictment against him, claiming he was acting as an Iranian intelligence operative.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. and the West is not prepared for this.

With Allies Like This Who Needs Enemies

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 07:00 PM PDT

(U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SCW) F. Julian Carroll

Task & Purpose: Afghan security forces robbed and terrorized US-funded support staff to the tune of $780K

Members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces frequently robbed and abused native Afghan personnel hired under three maintenance and operations contracts at ANDSF military bases, according to an alarming new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, confiscating a total of $780,000 in property and equipment and often detaining workers at gunpoint.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  No wonder the Afghan army is losing this war.

The Pentagon Wants Particle Beam Anti-Missile Weapons In Space In Four Years

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 06:00 PM PDT

A mockup of McDonnell-Douglas' space-based NPB. McDonnell-Douglas via Aerospace Projects Review

Defense One: Pentagon Wants to Test A Space-Based Weapon in 2023

Defense officials have asked for $304 million to fund research into space-based lasers, particle beams, and other new forms of missile defense next year.

Defense officials want to test a neutral particle-beam in orbit in fiscal 2023 as part of a ramped-up effort to explore various types of space-based weaponry. They've asked for $304 million in the 2020 budget to develop such beams, more powerful lasers, and other new tech for next-generation missile defense. Such weapons are needed, they say, to counter new missiles from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. But just figuring out what might work is a difficult technical challenge.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The militarization of space continues.

The Pentagon Wants Particle Beam Anti-Missile Weapons In Space In Four Years

Budget Docs Show Pentagon Aims To Loft Particle Beam Anti-Missile Weapon Into Space In Four Years -- Warzone/Drive
US military wants $300M to start testing satellite-mounted lasers and 'particle beams' -- FOX News/The SUN
The Pentagon Wants to Test a Space-Based 'Particle Beam' by 2023 -- Popular Mechanics
The Pentagon Wants an Orbital Space Weapon to Blast Enemy Missiles -- Futurism

Air Force To Spend $7.86 Billion Over 5 Years To Buy 80 F-15Xs

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 05:12 PM PDT

The advanced F-15X. Boeing photo.

Air Force Magazine: USAF's Five-Year Plan Includes $7.86 Billion for 80 F-15EXs

The Air Force plans to spend $7.86 billion over the next five years buying 80 F-15EXs, new Eagles to replace aging F-15Cs that service leaders said they did not initially want.

The service will spend $1.05 billion in 2020 to buy the first eight aircraft, and that buy will accelerate to 18 at a cost of $1.65 billion in 2021, with that rate holding steady until 2024, according to new budget documents released Monday afternoon.

The new aircraft will be based on the F-15QA, which Boeing built for the Qatar Emiri Air Force, though it will have USAF-specific capabilities, including the Eagle Passive Active Warning and Survivability System and the Suite 9.1 Operational Flight Program software. The jet will have two seats to be flown by one or two aircrew, and will be multi-role capable, according to the justification document, or J-Book.

Read more ....

More News On The F-15X

Boeing's F-15X fighter jet gains at expense of Lockheed F-35 in Air Force's 5-year plan -- Seattle Times
Boeing's F-15X Gets a Boost Over Lockheed's F-35 -- Bloomberg
Air Force Eyeing F-15X Over the F-35? -- OpsLens
F-35 and F-15X: The Air Force Combo That Might Be Unstoppable -- National Interest
F-15X: Why the Air Force Needs this Deadly Fighter Jet -- National Interest

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 19, 2019

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 05:00 PM PDT

Stringer, Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, AFP | Qatari officials (C) take part in meeting between US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad (2nd-L), the US delegation, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai (6th-R), and the Taliban delegation in Doha, February 26, 2019.

Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio, Politico: Trump's Bad Deal with the Taliban

Under peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, the administration seems poised to give away everything America has fought for in Afghanistan since 9/11.

Last week, Afghanistan's national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, launched into a broadside against Zalmay Khalilzad, the chief American diplomat responsible for negotiating with the Taliban. Addressing reporters in Washington, Mohib insinuated that Khalilzad is seeking to install himself as the "viceroy" of a new "caretaker government." The State Department quickly issued a sharp rebuke, saying that any condemnation of Khalilzad was really a critique of its leader, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 19, 2019

New Zealand mass shooting reignites debates on what constitutes a 'lone wolf' terrorist attack -- Tasha Wibawa, ABC News Online

Israel's Place in the Middle East Mayhem -- Yoel Guzansky, Sigurd Neubauer and Alex Vatanka, National Interest

Oman's economic woes a sign of coming times -- Robin Mills, Asia Times

For both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, the trade war is a test of political will and ideology -- Cary Huang, SCMP

Kazakh Leader Resigning After Three Decades -- Peter Leonard, EurasiaNet

Deaths, jail and cyber spies: The dangers of dissent in Thailand -- Sippachai Kunnuwong and Sophie Deviller, AFP

Will Ethiopia-Eritrea Peace Last? -- Michael Rubin, National Interest

How CNN reported on 'child slaves' who were not really enslaved -- Betty Mensah & Samuel Okyere, Al Jazeera

Italy Signs Up for the Belt and Road Initiative -- Jacob Shapiro, RCW

Ukraine's next president — a laughing matter? -- Roman Goncharenko, DW

Five years after Crimea's illegal annexation, the issue is no closer to resolution -- Steven Pifer, Brookings

Maduro's Useful Idiots -- Shlomo Ben-Ami, Project Syndicate

How a Marine's Raw, Stunning Footage of War Became the Film Corps Leaders Don't Want You to See -- David Axe, Daily Beast

Is the world running out of gold? -- Ashutosh Pandey, DW

World News Briefs -- March 19, 2019 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 04:24 PM PDT



Reuters: Islamic State loses big part of enclave, SDF sees defeat 'very soon'

DEIR AL-ZOR PROVINCE, Syria (Reuters) - U.S.-backed Syrian forces said they were close to defeating Islamic State in its final scrap of territory at Baghouz in eastern Syria after seizing an encampment from the jihadists on Tuesday, though the battle was not over yet.

Hardened militant fighters holed up in the encampment had been mounting a last-stand defense of the Baghouz enclave, all that is left of Islamic State's self-proclaimed "caliphate" that once spanned a third of both Syria and Iraq.

"This is not a victory announcement, but a significant progress in the fight against Daesh," said Mustafa Bali, a media official with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Twitter, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

The Latest: Russia defense minister meets with Syria's Assad.

Troops celebrate as US-backed force seizes IS camp in Syria.

Islamic State loses significant camp in final hold-out territory Baghouz.

Syria force says it arrested jihadists behind attack on US troops.

Syria's Kurds criticise Damascus 'threats'.

Court: Germany must press US over Yemen drone strikes.

UN presents new plan for Yemen pullback from key port.

U.S. says Iran missile program detribalizing Middle East.

Gaza rights groups denounce Hamas crackdown on protests.

Turkey's Erdogan calls on New Zealand to restore death penalty over shooting.

Netanyahu's main election rival sidesteps Palestinian statehood.

Israeli forces kill Palestinian suspected of deadly attack.

ASIA

Kazakhstan's president announces resignation.

Six wounded in gunfire as Myanmar soldiers hunt insurgents in temple town.

Clashes in Kashmir after teacher dies in police custody.

Pakistan tells China of 'deteriorating situation' in Indian Kashmir.

China backs Pakistan on terrorism measures.

Report: China to fortify South China Sea island with 'logistics base'.

South Korea to discuss 'video reunions' with North.

New Zealand PM vows mosque attacker will remain 'nameless'.

AFRICA

Egypt tightens restrictions on media, social networks.

Tunisian forces kill three Islamic State militants near Algerian border.

Air strike kills four people in Somalia: relatives.

Thousands demonstrate in Algiers as protest leaders tell army to stay away.

11 militias in C.Africa peace deal demand PM's ouster.

Gunmen kill five miners in Ethiopia, TV says foreigners among dead.

At least 10 migrants die when boat sinks off Libyan coast: official.

Relief reaches Zimbabwe's cyclone survivors as death toll rises.

UN calls for aid as displaced from Cyclone Idai may reach 2m.

EUROPE

May seeks Brexit delay after third vote on her deal is derailed.

May's letter to EU on Brexit extension to be sent Wednesday: BBC.

EU ministers tell UK: Make up your mind over Brexit.

US, Russia divided on Venezuela after talks in Rome.


Russia's Putin signs into law bills banning 'fake news,' insults.

Italy may be ready to open up four ports to Chinese investment under 'Belt and Road Initiative'.

Germany eligible to deport refugees to EU countries with poor living conditions.

Italy blocks NGO ship carrying rescued migrants from docking.

'Our tolerance has limits!' Expel US envoy for acting like 'occupation commissioner', says German MP.

AMERICAS

Exclusive: Nancy Pelosi pushes back on Democratic critics of her impeachment stance.

Key Senate panel split on Trump-Russia collusion: sources.

Supreme Court sides with Trump in immigrant detention dispute.

Trump to meet with Bolsonaro in boost to US-Brazil alliance.

Mueller suspected Cohen may have been secretly acting as foreign agent in 2017.

U.S.-Russia talks on Venezuela stall over role of Maduro.

US imposes new sanctions against Venezuela - Treasury Dept.

Venezuela: Guaido loyalists seize diplomatic properties in US.

Economy center stage in April election in Canada's Alberta province.

Canada budget offers plenty of perks ahead of federal election.

Colombia war crimes: Mass protests in support of special tribunal.

Third Canadian official resigns in scandal threatening Trudeau.

US strongly looking at NATO membership for Brazil - Trump .

Three dead in record flooding in US Midwestern states.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Mosque shootings renew fears of terror by lone attackers.

France brings back IS jihadists' children from Syria camps.

'No direct links' between Utrecht suspect and victims: Police.

Letter in Utrecht getaway car may suggest terror motive.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street gives up gains on news of troubled trade talks.

Lyft's IPO oversubscribed on road show's second day: sources.

Palladium hits record high above $1,600/oz on plans for Russia export ban.

Venezuela says it may send U.S.-bound oil To Russia.

US-China trade war could slash US$1 trillion from US economy in a decade warns Chamber of Commerce.

Facebook and YouTube defend response to Christchurch videos.

U.S. Navy Plans To Cancel Six Planned Service-Life Extensions On Its Oldest Cruisers

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 03:44 PM PDT

The cruiser San Jacinto is one of the six cruisers the Navy plans to decommission by 2022, according to defense officials. (MCSA Brianna Thompson/U.S. Navy)

Defense News: Once again, the US Navy looks to scrap its largest combatants to save money

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is considering canceling six planned service-life extensions on its oldest cruisers, meaning the service will be short six of its current 22 largest surface combatants by 2022, according to defense officials who spoke to Defense News on background.

The plan, as it will be proposed to Congress, is to decommission the cruisers Bunker Hill, Mobile Bay, Antietam, Leyte Gulf, San Jacinto and Lake Champlain in 2021 and 2022, foregoing plans for service-life extensions that have previously seen support in Congress.

All the ships will be at or near the end of their 35-year service lives when they are decommissioned, but the Navy has yet to decide on a replacement for the cruisers, which are the largest combatants in the fleet with 122 vertical launch systems cells. This comes at a time when the Navy needs as many missiles downrange as it can field as it squares off with the threat of Chinese and Russian anti-ship missiles.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Pentagon is preaching on the need for more missiles, but here they are cancelling a program to extend the life of 6 cruisers that carry missiles more than anyone else. What am I missing here?

U.S. And Russia Remain Split On What On How To Resolve The Crisis In Venezuela

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 03:09 PM PDT

Russian Deputy FM Sergey Ryabkov and US special envoy Elliott Abrams. L) © Reuters / Thomas Peter, (R) © AFP / Johannes Eisele

RFE: No Agreement On Maduro After U.S.-Russia Talks On Venezuela

The United States and Russia have held "useful" and "substantive" talks on Venezuela, but the two sides remain split on how to resolve the South American country's crisis, according to the U.S. special representative Elliott Abrams.

Abrams made the comments in Rome on March 19 after meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who described the talks as "difficult" but frank.

Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in January, and was recognized by the United States, most European Union countries, and the majority of Latin American states.

Russia, along with other countries including Iran, Cuba, China, and Turkey, continues to recognize Nicolas Maduro as president.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These talks are going to go nowhere. Russia is committed to Venezuelan President Maduro, and will do everything in its power to keep him there .... Lavrov's deputy to war-hawk Abrams: Venezuela 'aid' op unacceptable, Russia to protect its interests (RT). I think this is a mistake, and by giving Maduro hope will only insure more bloodshed in the future.

More News On U.S. - Russia Talks On Venezuela

U.S.-Russia talks on Venezuela stall over role of Maduro -- Reuters
US, Russia divided on Venezuela after talks in Rome -- FOX News/AP
US, Russia hold talks on situation in Venezuela -- The Hill
Russia Does Not Recognize Guaido as Venezuelan Leader – Deputy FM -- Sputnik

President Trump Meets Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 01:53 PM PDT



Reuters: Trump forges bond with Brazil's Bolsonaro in White House visit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazil's new far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro forged a bond over their shared brand of conservative and populist politics on Tuesday, with Trump pledging to give more U.S. support to Brazil's global ambitions.

In a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said he told Bolsonaro he would designate Brazil a major non-NATO ally and possibly go further by supporting a campaign to make Brazil "maybe a NATO ally."

Bolsonaro, a former army captain who rode to the presidency with a brash, anti-establishment campaign modeled on Trump's 2016 run, has declared himself an unabashed admirer of the U.S. president and the American way of life.

He praised Trump for changing the United States in a way he said he hopes to change Brazil.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro knows what bottoms to press when it comes to President Trump .... See Trump's reaction when Bolsonaro uses term 'fake news' (CNN).

More News On President Trump Meeting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

Trump meets with Brazil's president: Live Updates -- CNN
Trump praises Brazil's far-right president at White House -- AP
Trump warns 'twilight hour of socialism has arrived' and threatens to slap 'tough sanctions' on Venezuela while hosting Brazilian leader who blasts 'gender ideology' and 'fake news' -- Daily Mail
Trump suggests admitting Brazil to NATO alliance -- The Hill
Jair Bolsonaro backs Trump's border wall ahead of White House meeting -- The Guardian
Bolsonaro in Washington: Brazil's leader on first trip abroad -- Al Jazeera
Brazil's New President Signals Better Relations With the U.S. -- RCP

New Air Force One Costs Have Jumped Up By A Third

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 01:25 PM PDT

Air Force One on December 3, 2018, during George H.W. Bush's funeral. U.S. Army photo by Spc. James Harvey

Defense One: Air Force One: New Estimate Bumps Total Cost By Nearly One-Third

The $5.3 billion price tag is the Pentagon's first public accounting to include the new hangars and various other costs.

The cost of buying, equipping, and preparing to operate the two Boeing 747s that will become the next Air Force One presidential transport aircraft is now pegged at $5.3 billion, nearly one-third more than the figure routinely touted by the White House, according to Air Force officials and Pentagon budget documents.

The projected price tag — included in the Pentagon's fiscal 2020 budget proposal — marks the first time the Defense Department has provided a total cost estimate for the project. It includes not only the cost of the planes themselves, but also work to build a new hangar complex at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and other administrative, engineering, and development work.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The new Air Force One will be delivered in 2024 .... The new Air Force One arrives in 2024. Here's what we know so far. (Popular Science).

More News On The Cost Of The New Air Force One

New Air Force One jets and hangars to cost 33% more than expected, Pentagon says -- New York Daily News
Air Force One Costs Jump by a Third to $5.3 Billion -- 24/7 Wall Street
White House Puts Price Tag for New Air Force One Jets, Hangars at $5.3 Billion -- Sputnik

Germany To Cut Its Defense Budget

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 01:16 PM PDT

A PzH 2000 howitzer, a Leopard 2 tank and a PUMA infantry fighting vehicle (L-R) of German army take part in an exercise in Munster on September, 28, 2018. © Reuters / Fabian Bimmer

Daily Mail: Germany says it will abandon its NATO spending commitments and invest less than promised, sparking US anger after Trump criticised European allies for expecting a free ride

* Berlin's latest budget will see defence spending drop well below two per cent
* Donald Trump has accused Germany of freeloading on U.S. military might
* Washington's ambassador in Berlin said planned cuts were a 'worrisome signal'
* But Angela Merkel said Germany would not cut aid to raise its military outlays

Germany's military spending is set to fall below its NATO targets, in the latest flashpoint in Berlin's long-running row with Washington.

The latest German budget plans, revealed on Monday, will see defence spending drop well below the two per cent of GDP expected from NATO members.

U.S. ambassador Richard Grenell said the cuts were a 'worrisome signal', while President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused Germany of freeloading on U.S. military might.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the U.S. criticism, saying Germany will not cut foreign aid to raise military spending.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Europeans like German Chancellor Merkel are questioning the U.S. commitment to NATO. The real question that should be asked is .... are European leaders like German Chancellor Merkel committed to NATO. If spending money is the metric that one uses to answer this question, I will have to say that their commitment to NATO is based on their own financial and political considerations.

Update: The Germans do not like being called out on broken promises .... Call for US envoy to Germany to be sent home over NATO spending row (Politico).

More News On German Defense Budget Cuts

German military commissioner, US ambassador alarmed by budgetary restraints -- DW
Merkel rejects criticism of German defense spending -- FOX News/AP
Germany Plans to Cut Military Budget in Spite of US Calls to Reach NATO Target -- Sputnik
Germany 'committed' to increasing defense budget, but nowhere near US expectations -- RT
Why Germany Should Further Boost Defense Spending, and Why It Probably Won't -- Franz-Stefan Gady, Defense One

Cyclone Idai Devastates Mozambique And Zimbabwe

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 11:17 AM PDT



The Guardian: Cyclone Idai: more than 1,000 feared dead in Mozambique

President describes scale of disaster as huge, as Red Cross says most of Beira damaged or destroyed

More than 1,000 people are feared dead in a devastating cyclone that hit Mozambique on Friday, the country's president has said.

Filipe Nyusi told Mozambican radio he had seen "many bodies" floating in the overflowing Pungwe and Busi rivers. "It appears that we can register more than 1,000 deaths," he said, adding that more than 100,000 people were at risk because of severe flooding.

Read more ....

More News On Cyclone Idai Devastating Mozambique And Zimbabwe

Cyclone Idai: 'Massive disaster' in Mozambique and Zimbabwe -- BBC
Cyclone's huge floods leave hundreds dead in southern Africa -- AP
Over 1,000 feared dead after cyclone slams into Mozambique -- AP
Cyclone hit millions across Africa in record disaster: U.N. -- Reuters
Cyclone Idai 'might be southern hemisphere's worst such disaster' -- The Guardian
Cyclone Idai devastates Mozambique and Zimbabwe -- DW
Cyclone survivors clinging to rooftops in Mozambique as they await rescue, aid officials say -- CNN
Cyclone Idai: Death toll 'could reach 1,000' -- DW
Cyclone's huge floods endangers the lives of more than 100,000 in southern Africa -- CNBC/AP
Zimbabwe cyclone survivors tearfully list dead relatives -- AFP
AP Explains: Why southern African cyclone is so shattering -- AP
Cyclone Idai leaves trail of destruction in southern Africa – video report -- The Guardian
Hundreds dead or missing in devastation of Cyclone Idai – in pictures -- The Guardian

Last ISIS Enclave In Syria Now Down To A Few Hundred Square Meters

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 11:10 AM PDT





Daily Mail: US-backed forces celebrate 'victory' as ISIS 'caliphate' is reduced to a few hundred square yards of bombed-out scrapyard: Tiny last stronghold is surrounded - as 'terrorists behind suicide attack that killed four Americans' are captured

* US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have been seen celebrating 'victory' after seizing key ISIS encampment
* SDF say some hardened jihadists were using their children as human shields as they defended slither of land
* It comes as the SDF said it had arrested alleged terrorists over a suicide bomb that left four Americans dead in the Syrian town of Manbij in January

US-backed forces are celebrating 'victory' after they captured a key ISIS encampment and reduced the terror group's 'caliphate' to a few hundred square yards of bombed-out scrapyard in Syria.

Officials from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were seen singing and dancing and giving 'V for victory' signs as they returned from the frontline in Baghouz in the country's east.

The extremists had retreated in to a tiny parcel of land with some reportedly having used their own children as human shields.

Read more ....

More News On The Battle To Capture The Last ISIS Enclave In Syria

Islamic State loses big part of enclave, SDF sees defeat 'very soon' -- Reuters
Troops celebrate as US-backed force seizes IS camp in Syria -- AP
Syria force makes gains in last IS redoubt -- AFP
Battle ongoing for Islamic state's last Syria enclave: SDF spokesman -- Reuters
US-backed Syrian fighters 'overrun IS encampment' -- BBC
ISIS Camp In Baghouz Is Captured, As U.S. Allies Declare Progress In Syria -- NPR
Last ISIS enclave a scene of 'devastation:' Fox News visits only remaining village ruled by terror group -- FOX News
Islamic State loses significant camp in final hold-out territory Baghouz -- DW
Doomed jihadists retreat within shrinking Syria bastion -- AFP
US-backed forces capture 'a group' of ISIS fighters tied to the suicide bombing in Syria that killed four Americans in January -- Daily Mail
US-backed fighters capture ISIS militants suspected of killing American troops -- The Hill
FIRST IMAGES of SDF forces in liberated ISIS camp near Baghouz, Syria -- RT

Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev Resigns After 30 Years Of Power

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 11:02 AM PDT





The Guardian: Kazakhstan president Nazarbayev steps down after 30 years in power

Nursultan Nazarbayev has led oil-rich country since fall of the Soviet Union

Kazakhstan's president has announced his retirement after nearly 30 years as leader of the central Asian nation.

Nursultan Nazarbayev has led the oil-rich country since the fall of the Soviet Union, first as its Communist leader and then as president. He made the announcement in a surprise public address on national television on Tuesday evening.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This was unexpected. His replacement will be Kazakhstan's Senate Speaker .... Kazakhstan's Senate Speaker Tokayev to serve as acting president (TASS). The Kremlin is surprised .... Senior Russian lawmaker says Kazakh leader's resignation is unexpected: agencies (REuters)

More News On Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev Resigning After 30 Years Of Power

Kazakh leader Nazarbayev resigns after three decades -- BBC
Kazakhstan's president to step down after 30 years in power -- AP
Kazakhstan's leader Nazarbayev resigns after three decades in power -- Reuters
Kazakhstan's long-serving President Nazarbayev will step down -- DW
Kazakhstan's president announces resignation -- TASS
Kazakh President Nazarbayev Resigns -- Sputnik
Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev, a key Russian ally, resigns after almost 30 years in power -- RT
Kazakhstan's leader Nursultan Nazarbayev resigns -- Al Jazeera

World News Briefs -- March 19, 2019

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 03:45 PM PDT



Reuters: Cyclone hit millions across Africa in record disaster: U.N.

MAPUTO/HARARE (Reuters) - Cyclone winds and floods that swept across southeastern Africa affected more than 2.6 million people and could rank as one of the worst weather-related disasters recorded in the southern hemisphere, U.N. officials said on Tuesday.

Rescue crews are still struggling to reach victims five days after Cyclone Idai raced in at speeds of up to 170 kph (105 mph) from the Indian Ocean into Mozambique, then its inland neighbors Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Islamic State loses significant camp in final hold-out territory Baghouz.

Syria force says it arrested jihadists behind attack on US troops.

Syria's Kurds criticise Damascus 'threats'.

Court: Germany must press US over Yemen drone strikes.

UN presents new plan for Yemen pullback from key port.

U.S. says Iran missile program detribalizing Middle East.

Gaza rights groups denounce Hamas crackdown on protests.

Turkey's Erdogan calls on New Zealand to restore death penalty over shooting.

ASIA

Kazakhstan's president announces resignation.

Six wounded in gunfire as Myanmar soldiers hunt insurgents in temple town.

Clashes in Kashmir after teacher dies in police custody.

Pakistan tells China of 'deteriorating situation' in Indian Kashmir.

China backs Pakistan on terrorism measures.

Report: China to fortify South China Sea island with 'logistics base'.

South Korea to discuss 'video reunions' with North.

New Zealand PM vows mosque attacker will remain 'nameless'.

AFRICA

Air strike kills four people in Somalia: relatives.

Thousands demonstrate in Algiers as protest leaders tell army to stay away.

11 militias in C.Africa peace deal demand PM's ouster.

Gunmen kill five miners in Ethiopia, TV says foreigners among dead.

At least 10 migrants die when boat sinks off Libyan coast: official.

Relief reaches Zimbabwe's cyclone survivors as death toll rises.

UN calls for aid as displaced from Cyclone Idai may reach 2m.

EUROPE

EU ministers tell UK: Make up your mind over Brexit.

US, Russia divided on Venezuela after talks in Rome.


Russia's Putin signs into law bills banning 'fake news,' insults.

Italy may be ready to open up four ports to Chinese investment under 'Belt and Road Initiative'.

Germany eligible to deport refugees to EU countries with poor living conditions.

Italy blocks NGO ship carrying rescued migrants from docking.

'Our tolerance has limits!' Expel US envoy for acting like 'occupation commissioner', says German MP.

AMERICAS

Supreme Court sides with Trump in immigrant detention dispute.

Trump to meet with Bolsonaro in boost to US-Brazil alliance.

Mueller suspected Cohen may have been secretly acting as foreign agent in 2017.

US imposes new sanctions against Venezuela - Treasury Dept.

Venezuela: Guaido loyalists seize diplomatic properties in US.

Colombia war crimes: Mass protests in support of special tribunal.

Third Canadian official resigns in scandal threatening Trudeau.

US strongly looking at NATO membership for Brazil - Trump .

Three dead in record flooding in US Midwestern states.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

France brings back IS jihadists' children from Syria camps.

'No direct links' between Utrecht suspect and victims: Police.

Letter in Utrecht getaway car may suggest terror motive.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Palladium hits record high above $1,600/oz on plans for Russia export ban.

Venezuela says it may send U.S.-bound oil To Russia.

US-China trade war could slash US$1 trillion from US economy in a decade warns Chamber of Commerce.

Facebook and YouTube defend response to Christchurch videos.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 19, 2019

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 09:29 AM PDT

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence. The proposed spending increase comes despite President Trump's sometimes tempestuous relationship with his intelligence agencies.CreditCreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

New York Times: Trump Administration Proposes $86 Billion Spy Budget to Take On Russia and China

WASHINGTON — American intelligence spending could rise to nearly $86 billion, a 6 percent increase that reflects the Trump administration's proposed boost in defense and national security spending and a renewed focus on threats from Russia and China.

The director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, released the overall proposed budget for American intelligence agencies on Monday, and the Pentagon also released its proposed intelligence spending for the fiscal year starting in October.

The budget covers expenses as diverse as spy satellites, cyberweapons and the C.I.A.'s network of overseas spies and informants. But neither the administration nor Congress releases details about the so-called black budget, which is classified.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 19, 2019

Trump administration requests nearly $86B for spy budget -- The Hill

US accuses China and Russia of undermining space peace push -- SCMP

Stealth Bombers, Nuclear Attack Submarines and Aircraft Carriers: The U.S. Military's Future -- National Interest

Air Force One: New Estimate Bumps Total Cost By Nearly One-Third -- Defense One

Boeing's F-15X Gets an Air Force Boost Over Lockheed's F-35 -- Bloomberg

'Afraid of Getting Your Wheels Wet?' US Doomsday Plane Redeployed Due to Flood -- Sputnik

Air Force To Turn Navy Air Defense Busting Missile Into High-Speed Critical Strike Weapon -- Warzone/The Drive

Once again, the US Navy looks to scrap its largest combatants to save money -- Defense News

USS George Washington gets its mast, part of four-year overhaul -- UPI

Navy to Begin Large Surface Combatant Buys in 2025; Delayed From Original 2023 Start -- USNI News

USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: March 18, 2019 -- USNI News

Pentagon sends Congress list of projects that could lose funds to Trump's emergency declaration -- The Hill

Nielsen warns US 'not prepared' for foreign cyberattacks -- The Hill

Exclusive: As Venezuela crisis deepens, U.S. sharpens focus on Colombia rebel threat -- Reuters

New Zealand attack exposes how little US, allies share intelligence on domestic terrorism threats -- Stars and Stripes/Washington Post

State Department approves sale of assault amphibious vehicles to Spain -- UPI

German military helicopters get 'mandatory' funding in budget plan -- Reuters

Norway presents evidence GPS attack on NATO exercise came from Russia -- News.com.au

British F-35s to gain Meteor, Spear missile systems -- UPI

Lack of Pilots, Operating Costs May Keep Norway's F-35 Fleet Grounded -- Sputnik

European militaries 'will do more to counter assertive China' in Indo-Pacific -- SCMP

Russian Aerospace Forces strengthened by over 1,000 warplanes & helicopters -- RT

Russians Use U.S. Navy's Aegis Ashore as Excuse to Deploy Strategic Bombers to Crimea -- USNI News

Russia's brand-new Yasen-class attack submarines -- TASS

Russian Submarine Makes Mysterious Exit From Black Sea -- USNI News

Putin says he considers Su-57 as world's best military plane -- TASS

This Video Might Be the Future of Russia's Army: Armed Ground Robots -- National Interest

Is China's cyberespionage a military game-changer? -- Washington Post

China, Pakistan Vow to Strengthen Counter-Terrorism Cooperation -- Bloomberg

Ukraine's New Laws Will Only Escalate The Current Ethnic Conflict

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 08:18 AM PDT



Elise Giuliano, Foreign Affairs: Is the Risk of Ethnic Conflict Growing in Ukraine?

New Laws Could Create Dangerous Divisions

The Ukrainian presidential election is only weeks away, and its outcome is highly uncertain. President Petro Poroshenko is lagging in the polls behind Volodymyr Zelensky, a television actor whose only political experience consists of playing the president of Ukraine in a sitcom. The country will head to the polls while still at war in its eastern region of Donbas, where in 2014, local separatists forcibly seized government buildings and declared people's republics in the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. Since then, the conflict has taken on elements of both a civil war and an interstate conflict, with Russia arming separatist combatants and sponsoring the breakaway regions. Violence is muted but steady: the number of deaths recently reached 13,000, one-quarter of them civilian.

Unsurprisingly, Ukraine's leading presidential candidates are all running on platforms resisting Russia. The choice is logical given popular anger over President Vladimir Putin's 2014 annexation of Crimea and continued interference in Donbas. But Poroshenko differs from other candidates in that he couches his anti-Russian message in a national identity incorporating elements of Ukrainian ethnicity. Whereas his campaign slogan in 2014 was "A New Way of Living," his current slogan is "Army! Language! Faith!"

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Kudos to Foreign Policy for warning what I have been warning about for a long time. Ukrainian laws and policies that discriminate against the Russian-Ukrainian population is the source of the conflict in Ukraine today. Banning Russian in schools, prohibiting Russian-Ukrainians from government and public jobs, and being told that government services will only be provided in Ukrainian .... all of this is a festering issue for many Russian-Ukrainians. But the new laws that President Poroshenko is advocating for is only going to make a bad situation worse, and developments like this one is only going to guarantee a Russian-Ukrainian backlash .... Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine (The Nation).

Ukrainian President Poroshenko Promises To Regain Crimea

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 06:16 AM PDT

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko

Kyiv Post: Poroshenko promises to regain Crimea – after election

Five years after Russia's occupation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea began, President Petro Poroshenko has promised Kyiv will regain control of the peninsula if he is re-elected.

Speaking in an interview on March 17 with TV channel Ukraina, Poroshenko said that "Crimea will be returned to Ukraine, without haggling and behind-the-scenes agreements."

"We will do everything for it to happen as soon as possible, immediately after the presidential election," he said, adding that he doesn't rule out the possibility that Ukraine will also see progress in the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission to the Russian-occupied parts of the Donbas – also right after the election.

Read more ....

Update: Poroshenko: Ukraine's most important task to ensure restoration of territorial integrity (UNIAN)

WNU Editor: It is not going to happen.