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Friday, January 17, 2020

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

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

Iran's Missile Attack On Iraq Shows How Accurate They Have Become

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 12:00 AM PST

U.S. soldiers are seen at the site where an Iranian missile hit at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province, Iraq January 13, 2020. At the sprawling base in Iraq's western Anbar desert, U.S. Air Force and Army teams cleared piles of metal and concrete debris from the airfield and around bunkers using bulldozers and pickup trucks after Iran's first direct missile attack against U.S. forces on January 8. REUTERS/John Davison

Stratfor: How Iran's Missile Attack on American Bases Showcases Its Weapons' Accuracy

The attacks were a warning.

The images paint a picture of precision: The first satellite imagery of the aftermath of the Iranian strike on Ayn al-Asad Air Base in Iraq highlights Iran's improved ability to accurately strike distant targets with its extensive missile arsenal. The pictures, released by imaging company Planet Labs on Jan. 8, show that Iran can chalk up its strike as a success even without inflicting U.S. casualties. What's more, they also show how Iran sought to skirt a delicate line in exacting public retribution while also avoiding an escalation that would lead to outright war.

Read more ....

Update: Iran's attack on Iraq shows how precise missiles have become (The Economist)

WNU Editor: The Iranians could have easily fired more missiles than what they used on January 8.

U.S. Military Resumes Counter-Islamic State Operations In Iraq

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 11:00 PM PST

US army soldiers sit next a military vehicle in the town of Bartella, east of Mosul, Iraq, December 27, 2016. © REUTERS/Ammar Awad

NBC: U.S. restarts counter-ISIS operations paused after Soleimani killing

American troops in Iraq had focused on force protection rather than offensive operations after the senior Iranian general was killed in a drone strike.

The United States has restarted joint counter-ISIS operations with Iraq that were suspended after a drone strike killed a senior Iranian commander in Baghdad, two American military officials told NBC News late Wednesday.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media on the subject, said Iraq was now also interested in the resumption of the operations that have been in place since 2015 as the Islamic State militant group took control of swaths of Iraq and Syria.

However, Gen. Abdulkarim Khalaf, a spokesman for Iraq's armed forces, told the state run Iraq News agency that, his country, did not give permission to "the US-Led coalition to be active again."

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Military Resuming Counter-Islamic State Operations In Iraq

US military resumes operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq -- Military Times/AP
U.S. Military Resumes Joint Operations With Iraq -- The New York Times
Iraq denies resuming joint ops with US-led coalition -- AFP
US military resumes counter-Islamic State operations in Iraq -- Stars and Stripes
Joint US-Iraqi military operations against ISIS resume -- Kurdistan 24
US Resumes Military Operations With Iraq After 2-Week Pause - Reports -- Sputnik
US military resumes joint ops in Iraq that were halted after Soleimani's killing – reports -- RT

Tweets For Today

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 10:30 PM PST

Eleven US Troops Were Left With Concussion Injuries After Iran's January 8 Missile Attack On Bases In Iraq

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 10:00 PM PST

Debris and rubble are seen at the site where an Iranian missile hit at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province, Iraq

Daily Mail: Eleven US troops were left with concussion injuries after Iran's missile attack on bases in Iraq officials reveal - despite Trump's claim NO American service members were hurt

* Eleven U.S. troops were treated for concussion symptoms after the attack
* Eight were transported to hospitals in Germany, and three to Kuwait
* Officials say they initially displayed no symptoms but are being evaluated
* Military initially said that there were no deaths or injuries in the attack

Eleven U.S. troops were treated for concussion symptoms as a result of the January 8 Iranian missile attack on an Iraqi base where U.S. forces were stationed, the U.S. military said on Thursday - after initially saying no service members had been hurt.

'While no U.S. service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad Air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,' Captain Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said in a statement.

Read more ....

More News On Eleven U.S. Troops Injured In January 8 Iran Missile Strike

Eleven U.S. troops injured in Jan. 8 Iran missile attack in Iraq -- Reuters
Eleven US Troops Were Injured in Jan. 8 Iran Missile Strike -- Defense One
11 US troops injured in Iran missile strikes on Iraqi bases: report -- The Hill
US troops were injured in Iran missile attack despite Pentagon initially saying there were no casualties -- CNN
US service members treated for concussions after Iranian missile strikes -- NBC
Iran rocket attack on Iraqi military base injured 11 US service members, official reveals -- FOX News
11 US troops treated for injuries after Iran missile attack -- USA Today
11 US soldiers have been evacuated from Iraq with concussion symptoms after Iran's missile strike -- Business Insider

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 09:30 PM PST

An electronic screen, installed on the facade of a business center, shows an image of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a quote from his annual address to the Federal Assembly, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Editor's Choice Pictures (Reuters).

40% Of The World’s Countries Will Witness Civil Unrest In 2020

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 09:07 PM PST

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

CNBC: Almost 40% of the world's countries will witness civil unrest in 2020, research claims

  * Nearly 40% of the world's 195 countries will see civil unrest during 2020, according to Verisk Maplecroft.
  * Risk of backlash by security forces is deemed high in countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia and China.
  * Corporations will be under increased pressure to avoid getting tangled up in this "new normal."

Almost a quarter of the world's countries witnessed a surge in protest and unrest last year and that figure is set to rise further in 2020, according to a new study.

There are 195 countries in the world, if the Vatican and Palestine are included, and a newly released index of civil unrest has claimed that 47 of those states witnessed a rise in civil unrest in 2019.

The data model, published Thursday by socio-economic and political analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft, has also predicted that in 2020, the number will balloon to 75 countries.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: 2019 was a turbulent year. 2020 is going to be worse.

Erdogan Announces Turkey Has Started To Send Troops to Libya

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 08:54 PM PST

Reuters: Erdogan says Turkey starting troop deployment to Libya

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey is beginning to send troops into Libya in support of the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, days before a summit in Berlin which will address the Libyan conflict.

Last week, Turkey and Russia urged Libya's warring parties to declare a ceasefire. However, despite talks in Moscow aimed at halting Khalifa Haftar's months-long campaign to seize the Libyan capital, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement when Haftar failed to sign a binding truce on Monday.

Turkey, which backs Fayez al-Serraj's Government of National Accord (GNA), has previously said that it sent a training and cooperation team which is now active in Libya.

Read more ....

More News On Turkish President Erdogan Announcing The Deployment Of Troops To Libya

Turkey's Erdogan says country sending troops to Libya -- France 24
Turkey starts troop deployment to Libya - Erdogan -- TRT
Erdogan sending Turkish troops to Libya ahead of Berlin peace talks -- RT
Erdogan Announces Turkey is Sending Troops to Libya -- Sputnik
2,000 Syria fighters arrive in Libya to confront Haftar's forces -- Middle East Monitor

There Were 257 Bomb Attacks In Sweden In 2019

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 07:54 PM PST

Police work on the site where an explosion damaged a residential building in central Stockholm, Sweden January 13, 2020. Janerik Henriksson/TT News Agency/via REUTERS

Reuters: Sweden suffers surge in bomb attacks as gang violence rises

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A surge in drug-linked gang-violence in Sweden led to a 60% increase in bomb blasts in 2019, government statistics showed on Thursday, as police work to rid the streets of explosives and guns with more officers on patrol.

Sweden has been hit by a wave of shootings and bombings over the past couple of years which police have linked to gang conflicts in major cities, shocking Swedes, who have long considered their country one of the safest in the world.

Some 257 bomb attacks were reported to police last year, up from 162 the previous year, the statistics from the National Council for Crime Prevention showed.

The agency did not give any information about the types of explosives used most frequently or any other details, but Swedish media have reported some attacks using make-shift bombs made from vacuum flasks packed with explosive material.

The figures were part of a report on crime rates which showed that overall, the number of crimes reported to the police was slightly down last year.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The above Reuters post does not say and/or describe the composition of these gangs, but the BBC is not hesitant to say who they are .... Sweden's 100 explosions this year: What's going on? (Maddy Savage, BBC).

Former FBI Director James Comey Under Investigation For Leaks To The New York Times And Washington Post

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 06:40 PM PST

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "Russian Federation Efforts to Interfere in the 2016 U.S. Elections" on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on June 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

FOX News: James Comey focus of FBI leak investigation, report says

The Justice Department is investigating whether then-FBI Director James Comey illegally leaked secret information concerning a Russian document to The New York Times and The Washington Post, the Times reported late Thursday.

The new review, which the Times downplayed as a possibly politically motivated probe, reportedly concerned a Russian intelligence document "claiming a tacit understanding between the Clinton campaign and the [Obama] Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server," as the Post described it in May 2017.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Others have gone to jail for doing far less. But here is the bottom line .... a former FBI Director is not going to be indicted.

More News On Former FBI Director James Comey Under Investigation For Leaking Secret Information To The Media

Justice Dept. Investigating Years-Old Leaks and Appears Focused on Comey -- The New York Times
NYT: Justice investigating alleged Comey leak of years-old classified info -- The Hill
DOJ investigating leaks on Russian document that influenced how Comey handled Clinton emails -- Washington Examiner

US Democrats Release Documents Indicating A Possible Surveillance Operation Against The Former U.S. Ambassador In Ukraine

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 05:43 PM PST

Politico: Ukraine probes possible surveillance of US ambassador

The interior ministry has called on the FBI to help shed light on 'possible criminal offense.'

Police in Ukraine are investigating the possibility that the country's former U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was under illegal surveillance before she was recalled from her post, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

The announcement came two days after Democratic lawmakers released documents showing that Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, communicating about the removal of Yovanovitch as the ambassador to Ukraine.

In a statement Thursday, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said "the published messages contain facts of possible violations of Ukrainian law and of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which protect the rights of diplomats on the territory of another state."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The person who sent these texts implying that former U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was under surveillance is Robert Hyde. To say that Robert Hyde is an oddball is an understatement. To begin. He is saying that he was drunk when he sent these texts, which makes sense because when you read his texts you cannot help but wonder if he is stupid. Even the person who received these texts, Lev Parnas, is saying that he did not take Hyde seriously, accusing him of excessive drinking (see video here). But politics and the media being what it is in Washington, this story is being covered extensively. On a side note, and this one made me laugh, Robert Hyde is running for Congress in Connecticut. As for Lev Parnas, he is getting his 15 minutes of fame right now .... 'I don't even know who that man is. I don't know him. I know nothing about him.' Furious Donald Trump DENIES knowing Lev Parnas 14 times - but Rudy Giuliani's indicted sidekick reveals MORE photos of them together (Daily Mail).

More News On Ukraine Investigating Reports That A Former US Ambassador In Ukraine Was Under Surveillance

State Dept chided for silence over alleged threats to envoy -- AP
Ukraine opens criminal probe into whether Trump allies put U.S. ambassador to Kiev Marie Yovanovitch under surveillance -- Daily Mail
Pompeo under pressure over threats to Yovanovitch -- The Hill

GAO: White House's Hold On Military Aid To Ukraine Broke The Law

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 05:20 PM PST

Daily Mail: White House's hold on military aid to Ukraine broke the law because Donald Trump cannot override Congress, nonpartisan watchdog rules hours before Senate is sworn in for his trial

* The nonpartisan General Accountability Office announced its findings in a report
* It was revealed shortly before Senators are to be sworn in for President Trump's impeachment
* White House Office of Management and Budget 'violated the' Impoundment Control Act
* It held back millions Congress earmarked for security aid
* Giuliani associate Lev Parnas says the funds were held back as pressure to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens
* 'Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law'

The non-partisan Government Accountability Office has concluded that the White House Office of Management and Budget violated a budgeting law by withholding millions of aid the Congress had directed to Ukraine.

The government watchdog released its scathing conclusions Thursday morning, just minutes before 100 U.S. senators were to be sworn in for the commencement of an impeachment trial of president Trump that hinges on his and his associates conduct toward Ukraine.

The administration held back, but ultimately released, $391 million in aid that had been designated for Ukraine, which is countering Russia after its neighbor seized Crimea. The funds were enacted in appropriations legislation.

Read more

WNU Editor: The problem with this GAO report is that Ukraine got their aid. The GAO report is here .... READ: GAO report finding Trump administration broke the law on Ukraine aid (The Hill)

More News On The GAO Report That The White House's Hold On Military Aid To Ukraine Broke The Law

Watchdog: White House violated law in freezing Ukraine aid -- AP
U.S. watchdog says Trump administration violated law by withholding Ukraine aid -- Reuters
White House violated the law by freezing Ukraine aid, GAO says -- Politico
GAO finds Trump administration broke law by withholding Ukraine aid -- The Hill
Impeachment trial opens as watchdog says Trump broke law on Ukraine -- The Guardian
New allegations, watchdog report complicate GOP position on impeachment trial -- The Hill

The Impeachment Of President Trump -- News Updates January 16, 2020

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 05:15 PM PST

Daily Mail: 'Do you solemnly swear you will do impartial justice, according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?' Chief Justice John Roberts and the 100 senators are sworn as jurors in to put Donald Trump on trial

* Donald Trump's trial began at 12.05 pm on Thursday January 16; he is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress
* The House Democratic impeachment managers arrived in the Senate chamber Thursday to formally read the articles of impeachment against President Trump
* The Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger proclaimed: 'Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment'
* Then Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic impeachment manager began to read the resolution from Congress which impeaches 'Donald John Trump.' The Senate was silent as Schiff stood in the well of the chamber
* Just after 2pm, John Roberts, the Chief Justice, entered the chamber, and was sworn in by Chuck Grassley, the president pro-tempore
* Roberts then invited senators to stand and take the oath themselves; after that each signed the Book of Oaths, recording their commitment to 'impartial justice'
* The hearing adjourned until Tuesday at 2p.m.; in the meantime the Democratic prosecution and Donald Trump's defense will deliver documents to the Senate making their case
* The Senate trial will begin in earnest on Tuesday when senators debate the rules of the trial. That is the same day the president is due to deliver a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
* The earliest possible conclusion to it would be on Saturday January 25

Donald Trump's impeachment trial began Thursday in high ceremony and amid vicious political division - as outside the Senate a series of new bombshells exploded in the Ukraine scandal.

At 2.10pm, John Roberts, the Chief Justice of the United States, was sworn in.

Chuck Grassley, the president pro-tempore administered the oath, saying: 'Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice, according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?'

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  The Democrats are hoping to duplicate what they did in the House in the Senate. The problem is that even though they controlled what witnesses could show up and the testimony that was provided in the House, it still bombed with President Trump's approval rating going up. Can they change this outcome in the Senate even though they do not control it? I doubt it. The only thing that is going to come out of this Senate trial is President Trump being acquitted with all Republicans backing the President, and the Democrats crying  the process was unfair and the outcome was partisan. Memo to the Democrats. The process was already partisan, and no one likes a crybaby. But as an outside looking in I will admit this .... this impeachment is going to be great theatre, and we are going to see many American politicians and media pundits going nuts.

The Impeachment Of President Trump -- News Updates January 16, 2020

The Latest: Pelosi says Trump has options for State of Union -- AP
Trump's impeachment trial underway with reading of charges -- AP
Trump impeachment trial opens; White House faulted on Ukraine aid freeze -- Reuters
Historic Trump impeachment trial begins in Senate -- AFP
Senate opens Trump impeachment trial -- The Hill
Impeachment trial will kick off with battle over witnesses -- Politico
Chief Justice Roberts swears in Senators for Trump impeachment trial -- The Hill
John Roberts likely to play modest role in impeachment trial -- AP
Collins says she's 'likely' to support calling witnesses for impeachment trial -- The Hill
Trump impeachment: What happens next? -- Reuters

Who Is Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin?

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 12:39 PM PST

Leonid Bershidsky, Moscow Times: Russia's New Prime Minister Is a Bureaucratic Superman

The appointment highlights the Putin system's fundamental paradox: It is an antiquated, Byzantine, nepotistic, deeply corrupt governance model that nevertheless values and rewards technocratic brilliance.

After a blitz of constitutional reform proposals aimed at keeping him in power after his presidential term ends in 2024, Russia's President Vladimir Putin named his new prime minister — a tech-obsessed tax administrator with no interest in politics. The appointment highlights the Putin system's fundamental paradox: It is an antiquated, Byzantine, nepotistic, deeply corrupt governance model that nevertheless values and rewards technocratic brilliance.

In the Russian power succession scheme, the prime minister takes over when the president is for some reason unable to govern; Prime Minister Putin became acting president when Boris Yeltsin resigned in the final minutes of 1999. Putin waited out Dmitry Medvedev's presidential term between 2008 and 2012 as prime minister, and Medvedev assumed the post afterwards. But there have been periods under both Yeltsin and Putin when the prime minister post wasn't occupied by politically ambitious or important individuals; those were times when the president claimed full responsibility for Russia's course.

Mikhail Mishustin, the newly confirmed prime minister, fits neither precedent.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I know that Mikhail Mishustin's push (and success) to reform and modernize Russia's tax system, especially when it comes to business taxes, has made him a hero in Russia's business community. In fact, I find my Canadian business and personal tax returns far more complicated and confusing to do when compared to Russia's, and I am talking from personal experience. As for Mikhail Mishustin appointment and confirmation as Prime Minister, and President Putin's declaration to change the constitution, I am still digesting this news. For now, I am recommending the above post by Leonid Bershidsky. It is one of the best analysis that I have read so far.

Update: This is how fast events are moving in Russia .... Mikhail Mishustin didn't have an English Wikipedia page on Wednesday morning. A day later, he's Russia's prime minister (CNN).

More News On Who Is Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin

Who is Mikhail Mishustin — Russia's next prime minister? -- DW
Russia's new PM a career bureaucrat with no political aims -- AP
Who Is Russia's New Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin? -- Foreign Policy

Editor's Note

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 12:07 PM PST

Sorry for the light blogging. Events in Russia for the past two days has taken me away from what I usually do. Been on the phone with family and friends that I know in Russia. Been on two Moscow radio shows since yesterday who want to know what is my opinion on President Putin's decision to fire PM Medvedev and to change the constitution. Assessing what are the business risks for some people that I know who have large investments in Russia. Etc., etc. etc.. Blogging should be back to normal tomorrow. And as to what is happening in Russia. To say that President Putin surprised everyone is understatement. Case in point. Even Mikhail Mishustin was shocked when he learned that he was going to be Putin's Prime Minister.

The Trump Administration Threatened 25% Tariffs On European Cars Over Their Iran Policy

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 12:00 PM PST

The Guardian: Germany confirms Trump made trade threat to Europe over Iran policy

Defence minister says Trump threatened to impose 25% tariff on European cars.

The United States threatened to impose 25% tariffs on cars to push Europeans to initiate proceedings against Iran for violating the nuclear deal, the German defence minister has confirmed.

"This threat exists," said the German defence minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, at a press conference in London.

She was asked about an article in the Washington Post that claimed Trump had secretly warned France, Germany and the UK that the US would impose a "25% tariffs on European cars" if they did not activate the mechanism for the settlement of disputes (MRD) of the Iranian international nuclear agreement reached in Vienna in 2015.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Iran is accusing Europe of "selling out" .... Iran says Europeans of "sold out" nuclear deal under Trump's auto tariff threat (CBS/AP). Also see above video.

More News On The Trump Administration Threatening 25% Tariffs On European Cars Over Their Iran Policy

The Trump administration threatened 25% tariffs on European cars if Britain, Germany, and France didn't play ball on Iran -- Business Insider
'The threat exists': Germany confirms possibility of higher European car tariffs from US -- The Local/AFP
Trump threatened UK with 25% car tariffs unless it agreed to accuse Iran of breaking nuclear deal -- The Independent
US threatened Europe with auto tariffs over Iran: Washington Post -- Al Jazeera
German defence minister confirms US car tariff threat over Iran -- City A.M.

Iranian President Rouhani Makes Veiled Threat To U.S. And European Troops In The Middle East

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 11:40 AM PST

CNBC: 'Danger tomorrow': Iran's Rouhani makes veiled threat to US and EU troops in Middle East

* Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at the U.S. and Europe in a televised speech on state TV on Wednesday.
* Rouhani slammed the EU's "failure to keep it promises" under the 2015 nuclear deal and blamed the U.S. for making the Middle East insecure.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates ⁠— In an angry speech on state television, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at the U.S. and Europe for its presence in the Middle East and for what he described as the latter's failures in upholding the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.

U.S. troops are "insecure" in the region today, and EU troops "might be in danger tomorrow," Rouhani declared, according to a Reuters translation, marking the first time the leader has directed a threat toward European forces in the region. He demanded the U.S. leave and accused it of making the region insecure, saying it should "apologize to Tehran" for its "previous crimes."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Some of the threats that Iran is issuing are not veiled .... US Envoy In Germany Warns Iran Over Call To 'Chop British Ambassador Into Pieces' (RFE).

More News On Iranian President Rouhani Making Veiled Threats To U.S. And European Troops In The Middle East

Any wrong step will harm Europeans: Rouhani -- Tehran Times
European troops may be at risk after dispute process triggered – Iran -- The Guardian
Iran's President Lashes Out at Europeans Over Crumbling Nuclear Deal -- The New York Times
Iran accuses Europe of yielding to 'high school bully' Trump in nuclear row -- Reuters
Iran tries to woo Europeans by threatening to kill them -- Washington Examiner

President Hassan Rouhani Says Iran Is Now Enriching More Uranium Than It Did Before 2015 Deal

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 11:32 AM PST

Daily Mail: Iran warns it is enriching more uranium now than it did before agreeing to a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015

* President Hassan Rouhani said there was 'no limit' on Iran's nuclear programme
* He spoke as EU's top diplomat met Iran's foreign minister to try and save deal
* Rising tensions raise fears Iran could be close to becoming a nuclear power

Iran's president warned today there is 'no limit' on the country's uranium enrichment programme since it abandoned the global nuclear deal in response to the killing of its top general in a US airstrike.

President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech: 'We are enriching more uranium than before the deal was reached ... Pressure has increased on Iran but we continue to progress.'

The speech increased fears Iran could be close to building its own nuclear weapons as European diplomats try desperately to salvage the 2015 deal which President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I take this as an official declaration that Iran's agreement to limit its nuclear program is now dead. So where are the international sanctions?

More News On President Hassan Rouhani Saying That Iran Is Now Enriching More Uranium Than It Did Before 2015 Deal

Iran's president says 'no limit' to nuclear enrichment -- AP
Iran's nuclear enrichment at higher level than before 2015 deal: president -- Reuters
Iran is enriching more uranium now than before the nuclear deal, Rouhani says -- CNN
Iran's Rouhani says 'no limit' to uranium enrichment, producing more than before Obama-era deal -- FOX News
Iran is now enriching MORE uranium than before the 2015 nuclear deal – President Rouhani -- RT

Egypt, Ethiopia And Sudan Make Draft Deal On Nile River Dispute

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 10:02 AM PST

BBC: Nile River dam row: Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan make draft deal

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have reached an initial deal on the filling and operation of what will be Africa's biggest hydro-electric dam.

The three nations agreed, following a meeting in Washington, that the mega dam on the River Nile should be filled in stages during the rainy season.

Ethiopia, which is building the dam, wants to start generating electricity as soon as possible.

But Egypt is concerned about its water supplies if it is filled too fast.

Read more ....

Update: Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan make slow progress in Nile dam row (DW).

WNU Editor: This dispute has been going on for a very long time. I for one am surprise to see this agreement.

Egypt Opens A Massive New Air And Naval Base On The Red Sea

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 11:51 AM PST

Middle East Eye: Egypt seeks to bolster Red Sea influence with massive new base

Egyptian facility, inaugurated with much fanfare and presence of Abu Dhabi crown prince, set to be used as an anti-Iran bulwark.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi inaugurated on Wednesday a massive air and naval base on the Red Sea, which analysts say is an attempt to counter Iranian influence in the region and could host US troops.

Sisi opened the southern Berenice military base at a ceremony held days after the Egyptian military conducted one of its largest drills since the general-turned-president came to power in 2013.

Abu Dhabi's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, among other heads of Arab states and foreign ministers, attended.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This new base reflects not only on the importance of the Red Sea to Egypt, but also on its tense relations with its southern neighbours.

Russian MPs Confirm Mikhail Mishustin As New Prime Minister

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 08:00 AM PST

Daily Mail: 'I'm sure the Russian people will support me': Putin is confident of becoming Russia's leader for LIFE after changing the constitution

* Putin says he believes Russians will support sweeping changes to constitution
* Planned changes could pave the way for him to extend leadership beyond 2024
* Putin is supposed to step down as president by 2024 under the current rules

Vladimir Putin believes the Russian people will support his sweeping changes to the country's constitution that could keep him in power long after his presidential term ends.

The Russian President announced, as part of his annual state address on Wednesday, changes that could pave the way for him to extend his leadership beyond 2024.

A day after the shock announcement, that saw his entire government - including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev - resign, Putin said he believed the people supported these changes.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russia's new Prime Minister is a very rich man on a Russian technocrat's salary .... Putin critics ask how his PM choice acquired expensive properties (The Guardian). More here .... Putin's New PM Hiding Elite Moscow Property – Proekt (Moscow Times).

More News On Russian President Putin's Constitutional Changes

Russian MPs confirm Mikhail Mishustin as new prime minister after cabinet resignation -- RT
Russian parliament backs Putin's pick for PM after 'January Revolution' -- Reuters
Putin fast-tracks effort to extend his rule, new PM approved -- AP
Russian parliament approves Mikhail Mishustin as new prime minister -- DW
After shakeup, Russian Duma approves Mikhail Mishustin as next PM -- UPI
Putin's party backs president's pick for prime minister -- Al Jazeera
Who is Mikhail Mishustin — Russia's next prime minister? -- DW
Russia's new PM a career bureaucrat with no political aims -- AP
Russian political earthquake: Putin sets out plan for Kremlin departure & Medvedev resigns -- Bryan MacDonald, RT
Putin may be following Xi's lead, but he's nowhere near as secure as the Chinese leader -- James Griffiths, CNN
Putin Shakes Up Russia to Keep Things the Same -- Anthony Halpin, Bloomberg
Like Stalin, he'll rule to the death: Vladimir Putin's new constitutional changes are an audaciously disguised power grab for the future -- Mark Almond, Daily Mail
Dmitry Medvedev: the rise and fall of the Robin to Putin's Batman -- Luke Harding, The Guardian
Putin's plans are all about keeping his hands on levers of power -- Andrew Roth, The Guardian
Vladimir Putin clears the way for his next step to everlasting power -- Matt Bevan, ABC News Online
What is Russia's Putin up to? -- Paul Kirby BBC
'Not Everything Works Out': Medvedev's Career, in Photos -- Moscow Times

Taliban Offer The U.S. A Ceasefire To Last Seven And Ten Days

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 07:31 AM PST

The Hill: Taliban offers temporary cease-fire: report

The Taliban say they have offered a temporary cease-fire to the United States in Afghanistan that would last between seven and 10 days, according to The Associated Press.

The offer given to U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad would give U.S. troops the opportunity to pull out of the country. Khalilzad reportedly received the offer late Wednesday in Qatar where the Taliban run a political office.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This ceasefire is to last 7 to 10 days, and the Taliban are saying that it will be during this period of time that they U.S. can then leave Afghanistan. If these reports are true, it is not even remotely a realistic proposal.

More News On The Taliban Offering The U.S. A Ceasefire To Last Seven And Ten Days

Taliban say they handed cease-fire offer to US peace envoy -- AP
Taliban Offer to Reduce Violence in Afghanistan Ahead of Deal With U.S. -- The New York Times
Afghan Taliban chief agrees to a brief ceasefire for talks to resume -- Daily Times
Taliban chief agrees to a brief 'ceasefire' for talks resumptions -- Khaama Press

The U.S. Navy Is Considering Arming Its Zumwalt Class Destroyers With Conventional Missiles

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 07:00 AM PST

The USS Zumwalt (U.S. Navy)

FOX News/Warrior Maven: Navy may arm new destroyer with conventional missile able to hit anywhere on Earth in an hour

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Navy's newest destroyer may fire a not-yet-to-be fielded Conventional Prompt Strike conventionally-armed missile engineered to hit anywhere on earth within an hour, service program managers said. The weapon, now being considered by Navy weapons developers for the emerging USS Zumwalt, will bring new attack options to the stealthy destroyer being prepared for combat as soon as 2021, Capt. Kevin Smith, Zumwalt-class destroyer Program Manager said Jan. 15 at the Surface Naval Association Annual Symposium.

"This would be the perfect platform for Conventional Prompt Strike," Smith said.

The Conventional Prompt Strike weapons program, which emerged [in] the era of former President George W. Bush, is designed to arm a ballistic missile with a conventional warhead, bringing the range and speed similar to a nuclear weapon to conventional strike.

The weapon has virtually unprecedented range for a conventional weapon and has the ability to hit anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes in some instances.

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WNU Editor: The problem with firing such a missile is that countries like Russia and China will not know if this "ballistic missile" is carrying a conventional warhead or a nuclear one.

The U.S. Navy's $3 Billion-a-Year Oxidation Problem

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 06:38 AM PST

Popular Mechanics: Rust: The U.S. Navy's $3 Billion-a-Year Oxidation Problem

Where there's a lot of metal, there's a lot of rust.

* The U.S. Navy spends $3 billion a year fighting rust, according to
* Corrosion takes place both on ships and shore, affecting cruisers, helicopters, and fighter jets.
* A deep fix of corrosion issues on just two ships cost the service $170 million alone.

The U.S. Navy was founded in 1775, and every day since has faced the same implacable enemy: iron oxide, or rust. For more than 200 years, this quiet war has caused untold billions—and there's no end in sight.

According to the Los Angeles Times, rust costs the U.S. Navy $3 billion billion a year, or at least it did in 2014. Spread over 293 ships that's the equivalent of $10.2 million per ship. But some of the Navy's ships are huge, with aircraft carriers displacing 100,000 tons while littoral combat ships (LCS) displace 3,900 tons. The tiny, aluminum-hulled LCS suffers from fewer corrosion issues.

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WNU Editor: One thing that I have noticed about the Chinese Navy is how clean and rust-free their ships look. It is almost as if there is a permanent crew on board whose sole job is to paint the ship.

China Discovers Underwater Spy Drones In Its Waters

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 07:01 AM PST

The Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) found by China are generally small, but they can gather important intelligence. This example was discovered in 2012. Few are reported in the media. H I Sutton (Author)

Forbes: China Discovers Underwater Spy Drones In Its Waters

The secretive world of naval underwater surveys rarely breaks the surface. Now recent events are briefly shining a light into the darkness. In the Adriatic a Croatian fishing vessel caught one of the U.S. Navy's undersea sensor systems last week. That mysterious object has largely been explained. Meanwhile, China has held an award ceremony for fishermen who alerted authorities after discovering similar devices in their nets. The devices may have been operating in international waters, but still in China's back yard as they see it. We can infer that some of these devices may also belong to the U.S. Navy.

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WNU Editor: Someone or someones have been active near Chinese waters ....

.... This year 11 fishermen were rewarded for handing over unidentified underwater vehicles which they had found. The number of devices was not reported, but in 2018 nine were handed over.

Update: Why are Chinese fishermen finding so many 'submarine spies'? (Owen Amos, BBC)

Tweets For Today

Posted: 16 Jan 2020 06:27 AM PST

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