Sunday, March 17, 2019

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

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

Tweets For Today

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 11:00 PM PDT

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 10:00 PM PDT

Participants of the rally in support of the legitimate president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. © Sputnik / Eva Marie Uzcategui

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures: 9 - 15 March (Sputnik).

More Signs Of U.S. Military Planning For Venezuela

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 09:00 PM PDT

Military Times: There are mounting signs of military planning for Venezuela

President Donald Trump has been talking about ordering a military operation targeting Venezuela since 2017.

At first, that was widely dismissed as a rash threat, but the idea of a U.S. effort to force "regime change" in the oil-rich South American country may be gaining momentum in Washington.

"It's a regime that, frankly, could be toppled very quickly by the military if the military decides to do that," Trump said in September.

In January, National Security Adviser John Bolton flashed a notebook that read "5,000 troops to Colombia."

And on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ordered all U.S. diplomats to leave Venezuela, saying their presence there "has become a constraint on U.S. policy," hinting at opening potential military options.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Some CIA-linked assets are also in the air .... CIA Linked Plane Makes Brief Trip To Venezuela As American Diplomats Evacuate (Warzone/The Drive). But as to a U.S. military intervention .... I doubt it. Over 100,000 soldiers would be required, and the costs to stabilize the country would be enormous. There is also no political or public will in the U.S. for such a military operation. So why the discussion on U.S. military moves? I see these moves more as a green-light to Venezuelan opposition groups and the Venezuelan military that the U.S. would support them should they decide to move against the Maduro government.

White House Moves To Secure Funding for Developing Hypersonic Weapons

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 08:00 PM PDT

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

RT: Pentagon plans to spend $2.6 billion on developing hypersonic weaponry

The US defense budget proposal for FY 2020 boasts a record-breaking research and development request, as the Pentagon seeks to get its hands on all the shiny new things, such as artificial intelligence and hypersonic weaponry.

The US Department of Defense has rolled out the proposal for its budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The Pentagon needs even more funds compared to the massive $716 billion budget in 2019 and now wants it to grow by some five percent – to a whopping $750 billion.

A significant part of the funding is needed to run multiple research and development programs, as the US military is keen to get new weapons and technologies – such as hypersonic missiles, already successfully tested by Russia and China.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It appears the U.S. is playing catch-up .... Panel: China Leading the World in Hypersonic Weapon Development (USNI News).

U.S. B-52 Bombers Head To Europe

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 07:00 PM PDT

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, above the coast English coast, March 14, 2019. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Emerson Nuñez

Business Insider: A big batch of B-52 bombers is flying into Europe amid heightened tensions with Russia

* A large Bomber Task Force reportedly consisting of up to six B-52 Stratofortress heavy long-range bombers are flying into Europe this week.
* The rotation, which comes at a time of heightened tension with Russia, is focused on interoperability training, but there is a deterrent element as well.
* This week, B-52 bombers also flew over the disputed South China Sea, where the US and China have repeatedly found themselves at odds.

US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress heavy long-range bombers are flying into Europe this week, US Air Forces Europe - Africa announced Thursday, at a time Russia is making threats against the US as a Cold War-era missiles ban collapses.

A Bomber Task Force consisting of bombers from the 2nd Bomb Wing out of Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana are deploying to the US European Command area of operations.

Read more ....

More News On B-52 Bombers Heading To Europe

B-52 Bombers Arrive in Europe for Integration Exercises and Training --
American B-52 bombers to fly into UK this week amid mounting Russia tensions -- Mirror
U.S. Air Force Nuclear-Capable Bombers Head To Europe -- Zero Hedge
USAF B-52 Bomber Reportedly Spotted Flying Near Russia's Borders in Baltic Sea -- Sputnik

Department of Defense Inspector General: Pentagon Does Not Know How $2.1 Billion Was Spent On F-35 Parts

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 06:00 PM PDT

Lockheed Martin employees work on the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter production line in Fort Worth, Texas. (Lockheed Martin)

The Hill: Watchdog: Pentagon doesn't know where $2.1B was spent on F-35 parts

Pentagon officials did not account for and manage $2.1 billion worth of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter parts and must now rely on the aircraft's maker, Lockheed Martin, to tell them where and when it spent the funds, according to a new watchdog report.

The scathing report from the Defense Department's (DOD) Office of Inspector General found that Pentagon officials "failed to implement procedures, and failed to appoint and hold officials responsible, to account for and manage government property for more than 16 years."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Inspector General's report is here .... Audit of Management of Government‑Owned Property Supporting the F‑35 Program (Department of Defense).

More News On The Department of Defense Inspector General's Report On F-35 Parts

DoD inspector general slams F-35 program office for allowing Lockheed to manage government property -- Defense News
Pentagon doesn't really know how $2.1 BILLION was spent on F-35 parts – watchdog -- RT
Bombshell Report: Pentagon Mismanaged $2.1 Billion In F-35 Stealth Jet Parts -- Zero Hedge

More Details Emerge On How Venezuela's Oil Capital And Second Largest City Was Ransacked When The Power Went Out

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 05:04 PM PDT

A manager walks by the debris at the Centro 99 supermarket in Maracaibo, Zulia on March 14. Photographer: Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg

Bloomberg: Venezuela's Oil Capital Ransacked When the Lights Went Out

* In Maracaibo, hundreds of businesses were looted in blackout
* The pillage shows that anyone's grip on the nation is tenuous

The sack of Maracaibo was almost over Thursday after a frenzy of violence and looting that showed just how close Venezuela is to total chaos.

In the country's sweltering oil capital, about 500 businesses -- bakeries, tire shops, entire shopping malls -- were pillaged during the nationwide power blackout that began March 7. Looting continued even after the lights flickered on as residents overwhelmed the security forces of the Nicolas Maduro regime. Storekeepers are just beginning to clean up as the desperate keep sifting through the rubble.

Read more ....

Update: "This Country Has Gone To Hell": Total Chaos In Venezuelan Oil Capital After Blackout (Zero Hedge)

Previous Post: Venezuela Blackout Devastates The Country's Second Largest City

WNU Editor: It is everyone for themselves right now.

Thousands Of Catalan Separatist Supporters March In Madrid

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 04:35 PM PDT

The protesters, many of whom made the journey from Catalonia, waved Catalan flags [Juan Medina/Reuters]

BBC: Big pro-Catalan rally staged in Madrid

Tens of thousands of supporters of Catalan independence have rallied in Spain's capital Madrid in protest at an ongoing trial of 12 separatist leaders.

Many waved Catalan flags and had placards reading "Self-determination is not a crime".

Protest organisers said 120,000 people marched in Madrid. Spanish police put the number at just 18,000.

The separatist leaders of Catalonia's failed 2017 independence bid face rebellion and sedition charges.

If convicted, some could face up to 25 years in prison.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Pro-Catalan Rally In Madrid

Marchers in Madrid back Catalan separatists on trial -- AP
Thousands of Catalan separatist supporters protest in Madrid -- Reuters
Catalan independence march passes through Madrid peacefully -- The Guardian
Thousands of Catalan separatist supporters protest in Madrid -- RTE
Mass rally in Madrid against trial of Catalan separatist leaders -- Al Jazeera

Riots Rock Paris Again

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 04:02 PM PDT

Police used tear gas and water cannons to repel protesters who gathered at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe [Philippe Wojazer/Reuters]

Daily Mail: Macron cuts short ski trip to attend emergency meeting of French ministers as Yellow Vest violence explodes in Paris and 'stretched' police arrest 25 rioters after cars are torched and shops are trashed

* Smoke bombs and bricks were hurled at officers in so-called 'Act XVIII' Day of Rage organised by movement
* Fighting broke out on Champs Elysee, the most famous avenue in the French capital, with 25 arrests by 11am
* They have been protesting since November 17 last year and are calling for President Macron to step down

French President Emmanuel Macron has cut short a skiing trip in the Pyrenees to return to Paris for a crisis meeting after 'yellow vest' protesters trashed shops and torched cars in the heart of Paris.

Businesses on the famed Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris were destroyed on Saturday, on the 18th weekend of French the protests, characterised by a sharp increase in violence after weeks of dwindling turnout.

Macron is now due to hold an emergency meeting at the interior ministry, his office said.

Protesters were seen vandalising and later setting fire to Fouquet's brasserie, a favourite hangout of the rich and famous for the past century - as well as luxury handbag store Longchamp, a bank, another restaurant and several news stands.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: With the weather getting better and with French President Macron's six month moratorium on implementing his climate/economic agenda fast approaching, these protests are only going to continue, and they will get worse.

More News On Today's Riots In France

The Latest: French protesters slam Macron's 'empty words' -- AP
French protesters riot in Paris, accuse Macron of "hot air" -- AP
Looting, clashes as Yellow Vests seek new momentum -- France 24
French violence flares as yellow vest protests enter fourth month -- Reuters
Yellow vest protests: Violence returns to streets of Paris -- BBC
France: Violence flares at yellow vest protest reboot -- DW
France's gilets jaunes target luxury shops and restaurant in protests -- The Guardian
Yellow Vests & police clash in Paris as Macron's 'great debate' ends (VIDEO) -- RT
'Yellow vest' rioting in Paris as anti-Macron protests persist -- Al Jazeera

Is Chelsea Clinton Responsible For Friday's New Zealand Mosques Attack?

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 03:40 PM PDT

Daily Mail: Bizarre moment Chelsea Clinton is berated by Muslim NYU students who blame HER for New Zealand mosques attack because she 'incited an Islamophobic mob' against Rep Ilhan Omar

* Chelsea Clinton tried to attend a vigil at New York University on Friday
* Students berated her and said her words had inspired attack in New Zealand
* White nationalist shooter killed 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch
* NYU students said that Clinton had inspired 'Islamophobic mob' with her words
* Was referring to Clinton's criticism of Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar last month
* Clinton accused Omar of using 'anti-Semitic tropes' in her language about Israel

Muslim students have berated Chelsea Clinton at a vigil for the victims of the New Zealand mosques massacre, saying she is to blame for the attack.

Clinton, who is pregnant with her third child, was attending the vigil at New York University on Friday when senior Leen Dweik began castigating her in an astonishing moment caught on video.

'This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world,' says Dweik, gesturing to the vigil for the 49 who were killed in Christchurch when a white nationalist shooter stormed two mosques.

Read more ....

Update: NYU students confront Chelsea Clinton, say she 'stoked' hatred behind New Zealand shootings (New York Post)

WNU Editor: I found it bizarre that some in the media were blaming President Trump for the terror attack against two mosques in New Zealand. But blaming Chelsea Clinton?!?!?!?! These people have lost their minds.

Editor's Note

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 07:36 AM PDT

Blogging will return later this evening.

Growing Concerns On What Are China's Goals In The Arctic

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 07:25 AM PDT

Reuters: Pompeo seen attending Finland Arctic talks amid China concerns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to attend the May 6-7 Arctic Council meeting in Finland in a show of Washington's commitment to the region amid growing U.S. concern about China's interests there, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.

Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States are members of the Council, which coordinates Arctic policy and is gaining clout as sea ice thaws to open up new trade routes and intensify competition for its oil, gas and mineral resources.

Read more ....

Update #1: New Arctic defense strategy expected to zero in on concerns about China (Stars and Stripes/Washington Post)
Update #2: Arctic ambitions of China, Russia – and now the US – need not spark a cold war (Nong Hong, SCMP)

WNU Editor: I have been raising this issue on China and the Arctic for a long time .... China Wants To Lay Claim To The Arctic (April 6, 2014).

No New Activity Spotted At North Korean Nuclear Sites

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 07:19 AM PDT

Washington Post: Group Plotting Kim Jong-un’s Overthrow Responsible For Raiding The North Korean Embassy In Spain Last Month

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 06:49 AM PDT

A journalist from South Korea stands outside the North Korean embassy in Madrid, Spain, on February 28, 2019. Photo: Reuters/Sergio Perez

SCMP/Washington Post: Shadowy group plotting Kim Jong-un's overthrow raided a North Korean embassy in broad daylight

* Masked assailants infiltrated compound in Madrid, Spain, tied staff up with rope, stole computers and phones, and fled in two luxury vehicles
* Experts say devices seized are a treasure trove of information that foreign intelligence agencies are likely to seek out

Days before US President Donald Trump was set to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, a mysterious incident in Spain threatened to derail the entire high-stakes nuclear summit.

In broad daylight, masked assailants infiltrated North Korea's embassy in Madrid, restrained the staff with rope, stole computers and mobile phones, and fled in two luxury vehicles.

Read more ....

Update #1: Group seeking to overthrow Kim behind North Korea embassy raid in Spain: Washington Post (Reuters)
Update #2: Dissident group unrelated to CIA: WaPo pitches new version of N. Korea Embassy break-in (RT)

WNU Editor: Spanish media is saying that it is the CIA who were responsible for last month's break-in .... Spanish Media: Two Members With Links To The CIA Broke Into The North Korean Embassy In Madrid (March 13, 2019).

President Trump Makes A Rare Visit To The Pentagon For A Classified Briefing

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 06:41 AM PDT

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan along with other top miltiary and civilan leadership at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., March 15, 2019. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Angelita M. Lawrence)

WNU Editor: No details have emerged from this meeting .... Trump, top national security officials discuss Afghanistan (AP). This is frustrating those who cover these stories .... White House releases painfully obvious statement about Trump visiting the Pentagon (Task & Purpose).

CV-22 Osprey Aerial Refueling With KC-10 (Cockpit View)

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 07:27 PM PDT

Popular Mechanics: Watch The Harrowing Way A Osprey Refuels in Midair

It doesn't look safe, but it's done every day.

The V-22 Osprey is built to transport U.S. special operations commandos long distances, and mid-air refueling comes with the territory. This video certainly makes Osprey refueling look like a harrowing experience, yet this is a job the aircraft carry successfully out around the world every day.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Impressive.

Venezuela Blackout Devastates The Country's Second Largest City

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 06:32 AM PDT

An employee cleans a store inside a shopping mall after looting in Maracaibo, March 12, 2019. Photograph: Issac Urrutia/Reuters

The Guardian: Venezuela blackout devastates country's second city as world focuses on Caracas

The sick must provide their own medical supplies as havoc grips Maracaibo, but shelves in the looted shops are bare

The air in the crowded emergency ward was already thick with the rusty smell of dried blood when the door burst open and two men barged in, screaming for help.

Between them, they carried a third man: barefoot, bare-chested – and bleeding freely from a deep wound which had nearly severed his right arm.

Two doctors ran over to help; one examined the wounded man while the other told his friends to go and find bottled water and sutures; there were none left in the hospital.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Venezuelan government is now saying that power has been restored .... Power has finally been restored to Venezuela, minister says (CNN). My one contact in Caracas was able to send me a message to me yesterday after being incommunicado for 3 weeks, and he is telling me another story. There are rolling blackouts in Caracas, and outside of Caracas the information that he is receiving from family is that the electricity is unreliable even if it does come on. Water supplies are also unreliable, and in Caracas law enforcement has been completely overwhelmed by the crime and looting that has engulfed the city in the past week. He is surprised that martial law has not been declared.

President Trump Issues His First Veto

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 06:52 AM PDT

Politico: Trump issues first veto of his presidency

The resolution against his emergency declaration was a stunning bipartisan rebuke to Trump, but lawmakers currently do not have the votes to overturn his veto.

Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency Friday afternoon, rejecting a congressional resolution that would have blocked him from funding his border wall without congressional approval.

"Consistent with the law and the legislative process designed by our founders, today I am vetoing this resolution," Trump said. "Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution, and I have the duty to veto it. And I'm very proud to veto it."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Some are calling this veto proof that President Trump is a dictator .... Menendez lashes into Trump. "If a Democratic president acted in this way, Republicans would be calling him or her a dictator.'' ( To put everything into perspective, here is a list of past Presidents and the number of vetoes that they issued when they were in the Oval Office (from Wikipedia) ....

President Obama : 12
President Bush : 12
President Clinton : 37
President Bush Sr. : 44
President Reagan : 78
President Carter : 31
President Ford : 66
President Nixon : 43
President Johnson : 30
President Kennedy : 21
President Eisenhower : 181
President Truman : 250
President Roosevelt : 635

More News On President Trump's Veto

Trump issues veto over border emergency declaration -- BBC
Trump vetoes resolution blocking his border wall emergency, his first use of that power -- USA Today
In his first veto, Trump rejects bill that would block his border emergency -- CNBC
Trump issues first veto of his presidency, says resolution 'put countless Americans in danger' -- CNN