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Saturday, January 18, 2020

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

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


Tweets For Today

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 10:32 PM PST











Picture Of The Day

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 10:16 PM PST

Russian President Vladimir Putin and (former) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev before meeting with members of the Russian government on 15 January. © Sputnik / Dmitry Astakhov

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures: 11-17 January (Sputnik).

Former Russian Prime Minister Medvedev Hints That Chaos Will Be Russia's Future

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 09:58 PM PST

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, March 27, 2014. Ekaterina Shtukina/RIA Novosti/Pool/Reuters

Julia Davis, Daily Beast: Did Russian Prime Minister Medvedev Drop a Grim Hint About Putin's Latest Power Grab?

Reading from Chekhov's "A Night in the Cemetery" on national television Tuesday, Dmitry Medvedev foreshadowed the upheaval to come with his government's resignation on Wednesday.

At a celebration of the Russian Orthodox New Year on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev chose a grim message, the sarcasm of which left his audience on edge. But, then, Medvedev probably knew what Wednesday would bring—the resignation of his entire government—and the audience did not.

On national television, the prime minister read at length from Anton Chekhov's story "A Night in the Cemetery," which suggests with ironic wit that celebrating the coming of the New Year is a foolish pursuit, unworthy of a properly functioning mind, since "every coming year is as bad as the previous one," and the newest year is bound to be even worse. Instead of celebrating the New Year, Chekhov wrote—and Medvedev read—one should suffer, cry and attempt suicide. Every new year brings you closer to death, makes you poorer, your bald spots larger and your wife older, he said.

Medvedev's sour greetings brought on some awkward laughs and sparse applause from confused Russian bureaucrats in the studio audience, most of whom remained stone-faced. The prime minister seemed nervous and almost dropped his papers at the end of the speech.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am speculating now, but I think it was only the day before he was fired that Russian Prime Minister Medvedev and his cabinet learned that they were going to be gone the next day. As to when did Putin make the decision to fire his Prime Minister and the cabinet .... it had to be between Russian Christmas and Russian Orthodox New Year (January 7 - 14). Everyone was distracted with enjoying the holidays, a perfect time for Putin to plot and implement his agenda without anyone noticing and/or leaking it.

Nations Cannot Agree On Rules To Regulate The Use Of 'Killer Robots' In Future Wars

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 09:27 PM PST

ARCHIVE PHOTO: A model of ECA Robotics' K-Ster Mine Killer is displayed at the MAST Asia 2015, defence exhibition and conference in Yokohama, south of Tokyo May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Reuters: Nations dawdle on agreeing rules to control 'killer robots' in future wars

Nations are investing in developing lethal autonomous weapons systems which can identify, target, and kill a person all on their own - but there are no international laws governing their use.

NAIROBI, Jan 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Countries are rapidly developing "killer robots" - machines with artificial intelligence (AI) that independently kill - but are moving at a snail's pace on agreeing global rules over their use in future wars, warn technology and human rights experts.

From drones and missiles to tanks and submarines, semi-autonomous weapons systems have been used for decades to eliminate targets in modern day warfare - but they all have human supervision.

Nations such as the United States, Russia and Israel are now investing in developing lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) which can identify, target, and kill a person all on their own - but to date there are no international laws governing their use.

"Some kind of human control is necessary ... Only humans can make context-specific judgements of distinction, proportionality and precautions in combat," said Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The genie is out of the box on this one.

What Would Be The Impact Of A War Over Taiwan?

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 07:00 PM PST


Grant Newsham, Asia Times: Taiwan war: global economic, psychological damage

Think of the empires that ruled most of the world in 1914, and their decline into rubble by the end of 1918

Besides the human toll and physical damage to Taiwan and the likely staggering casualties on all sides, the global economic and financial ripple effects of a war for Taiwan will be immense and long-lasting.

It is not hyperbole to suggest the world will be unrecognizable afterwards: think of the powerful empires that ruled most of the world in 1914, and their decline into rubble by the end of 1918.

China is so deeply integrated into the world economy – given its position as a manufacturing hub and exporter as part of global supply chains and as a huge consumer of many nations' raw commodities – that serious disruptions to global economic activity are unavoidable.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A sobering read on the consequences of a China - Taiwan war.

Obese ISIS Religious Leader Is Arrested In Iraq But He Is So Heavy He Had To Be Loaded Onto The Back Of A Truck

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 06:00 PM PST


Insider: An ISIS preacher captured in Iraq was apparently so overweight that police had to take him away in the back of a pickup truck

A well-known ISIS preacher was captured by Iraqi police, but he was apparently so overweight he had to be taken away in the back of a truck.
Shifa al-Nima was captured in the Mansour neighborhood of Mosul by the Nineveh police command, according to Iraqi police.
Police said he incited extremist ideology and pledged allegiance to ISIS during their control of Mosul.
Pictures posted to social media appear to show al-Nima being put in the back of a pickup truck by Iraqi forces.

A well-known ISIS preacher was captured by police forces in Iraq on Thursday, but he was so overweight he had to be carried away in the back of a truck.

Police in Iraq posted a tweet on Thursday announcing that Shifa al-Nima was captured in the Mansour neighborhood in Mosul by the Nineveh police command.

Recent photos that appear to show extremely overweight of al-Nima started to circulate on Twitter, including one that shows him slumped in the back of what appears to be a police pickup after his arrest

Insider has not been able to independently verify that the pictures show al-Nima or the moment of his capture.

Read more ....

Update #1: He must be on a FAT-wa: Obese ISIS religious leader is arrested in Iraq and is so heavy he has to be loaded onto back of truck (Daily Mail)
Update #2: Iraq: Obese Daesh mufti who called for rape and genocide caught (Middle East Monitor)

WNU Editor: You just cannot make this stuff up.

Tonight's Movie Is 'Hell in Normandy' (1986)

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 05:00 PM PST

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 17, 2020

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 04:00 PM PST

Russian military personnel attend a memorial service for the late Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the Iranian embassy in Damascus on January 5, 2020 [Reuters/Yamam Al Shaar]

Anton Mardasov, Asia Times: Soleimani's killing strengthens Putin's hand in Syria and Iraq

In the latest US-Iran escalation, Russia sees new opportunities to expand its influence in the Middle East.

On January 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin travelled to Syria for the second time in three years. During his previous trip to Syria in December 2017, Putin landed at Russia's Hmeimim airbase for security reasons.

This time he took the ostensibly riskier step of touching down at Damascus International Airport, which had previously been the target of attacks, including by Israel trying to hit pro-Iran militias.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 17, 2020

Blame Iran for Iran's Problems -- Brandon Weichert, RCW

'Days of God': A look at Iran's mounting crises -- Joseph Krauss, AP

Syrian, Turkish intel chiefs thaw ties in Moscow -- Sami Moubayed & Alison Tahmizian Meuse, Asia Times

Exclusive: Pakistani PM Imran Khan says escalation of Iran conflict would be 'disastrous' -- Shamil Shams, ABC News Online

What Americans Don't Get About China's Power -- David Leonhardt, New York Times

Safe and sound? China launches propaganda blitz to discredit Uyghur #StillNoInfo campaign -- Erin Handley, ABC News Online

Taiwan Vote Confuses, Embarrasses China -- Rod Wye, Nikkei Asian Review

The battle to succeed Jeremy Corbyn (and more besides) -- Eleni Courea, Politico

Putin's Power Puzzle: Russia's President Loses a Cabinet and Gains an Exit Strategy -- Nikolas K. Gvosdev, National Interest

Putinism and Putin's retirement plan -- Leonid Ragozin, Al Jazeera

5 reasons why US-Europe tensions will grow in the 2020s — and how to stop it -- David Whineray, The Hill

Iran Crisis Triggers Alarm On Venezuela -- Benny Avni, The SUN

Anti-Trump protests have shrunk. What's it mean for 2020? -- Sara Burnett, AP

How Turbulent Will Trump's Trial Become? -- Hunter DeRensis, National Interest

World News Updates -- January 17, 2020 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 03:00 PM PST



Don Hepburn, The Hill: Why the US needs Russia and China to help change Iran's behavior

Predicting the future behavior of any country in the Middle East is a dangerous undertaking. Some might suggest it's a lot cheaper and more effective to rely on a pack of tarot cards than a report from the U.S. intelligence community. However, even considering the recent seemingly unpredicted and unprecedented events there, history does remain a prologue to this region's future. As the next stage of this latest twist with Iran unfolds, the U.S. cannot, alone or with regional Arab allies, change Iran's adventurism unless Russia and China become part of the calculation out of self-interest.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Isolated Iran leader lashes out at Europe as nations join US in ramping up pressure.

Iran leader's speech fails to quell plane anger.

Iran can take fight beyond its borders, Khamenei says after U.S. strike, unrest.

Iran's supreme leader calls Trump a clown, praises missile attack in rare appearance.

Iran's president says 'no limit' to nuclear enrichment.

Ukraine says Iran to hand over downed jet's black boxes.

Top U.N. human rights official: Syria truce has failed 'yet again'.

Syria war: Society leaders hold secret peace summit in Berlin.

Iraq protester killed in Baghdad clashes.

Lebanon releases protesters as rights groups slam security forces.

ASIA

Taliban say they handed cease-fire offer to US peace envoy.

'We don't have political problems with India': Iran's Zarif urges Delhi to defy US sanctions & resume buying Iranian oil.

China just reported its weakest annual growth in 29 years.

China's Xi arrives in Myanmar on billion-dollar charm offensive.

South Korea president's office reprimands U.S. ambassador for remarks.

U.S. warship transits Taiwan Strait less than week after election.

Australia bushfires: Heavy rains, floods provide some relief.

Chinese patients test positive for new coronavirus in Japan, Thailand.

AFRICA

S.Sudan talks fail to end impasse over state boundaries.

Lesotho PM confirms resignation after alleged link to wife's murder.

Angolan ex-president dos Santos denies ties to daughter's alleged graft.

Libya strongman Haftar in Greece for talks ahead of Berlin peace conference.

Greek offer to send peacekeeping troops to Libya could spark 'indirect' conflict between Ankara and Athens.

Libya conflict: UN proposes ceasefire monitor.

Putin to take part in Libya peace conference in Berlin – Kremlin.

Niger violence: Rising death toll and affected families.

Guinea protesters urged to continue general strike.

DR Congo police fire tear gas to break up opposition march.

EUROPE

Russia's foreign minister slams 'aggressive' US policies.

EU under pressure to prepare for Libya peace force.

State media hailed Putin's power shake-up. Moscow residents seem less enthused.

Putin's ministers were not told of resignation plans in advance.

Iranian representative coming to Ukraine next week, Kiev says.

Ukrainian president rejects prime minister's resignation.

China tells European Union it won't miss out because of trade deal with US.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen announces 2022 presidential bid.

German population hits all-time high but growth is slowing.

AMERICAS

Trudeau urges Iran to send downed jetliner's black boxes to France.

POLL-Sanders climbs, now tied with Biden among registered voters.

Pompeo says he 'never heard' about any efforts to surveil Yovanovitch.

Bolivia exiled ex-president Morales retracts call for 'armed militias'.

HSBC aware of Huawei's ties with Iran unit before arrest of founder's daughter, documents show.

Brazil: Far-right culture minister fired after echoing Nazi Goebbels.

Guatemala breaks off diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

Mexico's Amlo considers presidential jet raffle in desperate bid to offload it.

UN chief calls on Haiti to 'resist escalation' 10 years after quake.

Canada offers funds to families of Canadian victims of Flight 752.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Hit by jihadist attacks, African states seek more say in Libyan crisis.

US military resumes counter-Islamic State operations in Iraq.

Shabab militants from Somalia may have received help from Kenyans for deadly Manda Bay attack.

British envoy to Pakistan claims 'it is clear terrorist groups operate from within' the country.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Tech, communications stocks push US indexes to more records.

Global markets rise despite slowest Chinese growth for 30 years.

Senate passes, sends U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade deal to Trump's desk.

Intel reclaims top position in semiconductors over Samsung.

Will President Trump's Impeachment Trial In The US Senate Hurt Senator Sanders' Campaign?

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 02:00 PM PST



Politico: Trump accuses Dems of using impeachment trial to hurt Sanders campaign

The president is suggesting Nancy Pelosi orchestrated the timing of the trial to give Joe Biden a boost.

President Donald Trump on Friday accused Democrats of trying to sabotage Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential bid, echoing allegations from Sanders supporters during the 2016 primary.

"They are rigging the election again against Bernie Sanders, just like last time, only even more obviously," Trump said in a pair of tweets, claiming that Democrats were using his impeachment trial beginning next week to keep Sanders off the campaign trail in the critical final weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

Read more ....

Update #1: Trump: Impeachment timing intended to hurt Sanders (The Hill)
Update #2: Trump: Impeachment trial is a scheme to hurt Bernie Sanders' chances in Iowa (NYPost)

WNU Editor: Senator Sanders believes this will hurt his campaign .... Sanders says he's concerned about lost campaign time during impeachment trial (The Hill).

President Trump Chooses His Impeachment Defense Team

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 01:51 PM PST



NBC: Trump impeachment defense team expected to include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz

Starr investigated President Bill Clinton, and Dershowitz's past clients include Jeffrey Epstein and O.J. Simpson.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's defense team for his Senate impeachment trial will include former independent counsel Ken Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton, and famed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, sources familiar with the president's legal strategy told NBC News Friday.

Also joining the team is Robert Ray, who succeeded Starr as Clinton special counsel, and Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general who joined the White House in November to help manage the messaging around impeachment, the sources said.

Read more ....

More News On President Trump Choosing His Impeachment Team

Trump impeachment: president's legal team to include Bill Clinton investigator Ken Starr – live -- The Guardian
Trump finally gets his TV-ready lawyers — thanks to impeachment -- Politico
Trump to add Dershowitz, Ken Starr to impeachment defense team -- The Hill
Clinton prosecutor Ken Starr to defend Trump in impeachment -- BBC
Ken Starr, celebrity lawyer Dershowitz join Trump defense team -- France 24

Does Soleimani's Death Create A Power Vacuum Within Iran?

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 01:35 PM PST

Iranian General Qassem Soleimani

Jason M. Brodsky, The Hill: Soleimani's death creates power vacuum within Iran

Qassem Soleimani, former head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, was feared at home and abroad. He held both symbolic and substantive authority. Iran's supreme leader dubbed him a "living martyr." Also, while technically serving under the commander-in-chief of the IRGC, he often eclipsed those at the highest ranks of Iran's Praetorian Guard. While after Soleimani's death the supreme leader said the Quds Force's mission "is the same as it was under" his commandership, three areas to watch will be the status of the Quds Force within the IRGC's top brass, the Ayatollah's decision-making circle and Iran's Foreign Ministry's attempts to assert more control over regional foreign policy.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He is definitely not easy to replace. He was the operational arm for Iran in the Middle East, and he had the experience, contacts, and charisma to be a major political figure within Iran's political establishment. I have been following Iran for years, and there is no one in my mind who comes close to what he was able to do.

Is The Iranian Government Turning On Its Military?

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 12:19 PM PST



Business Insider: The Iranian government is turning on its military after it lied about the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane

* Iran's leadership has turned on its military over its response to the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 last week.
* While Iran initially insisted that the plane crashed because of technical issues, it later said its Revolutionary Guard Corps shot down the commercial plane down by mistake.
* President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran must "compensate" for the crash and demanded that the Revolutionary Guard "explain to people" exactly what happened.
* Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also rebuked the military for its actions and said on Wednesday that recent heated protests in the country were a response to the Iranian public's being "lied to."
* Experts have said the Iranian government's U-turn on its military indicates it is struggling to control the narrative around the downing of the plane.

Iran's leadership has turned on its military its response to last week's downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in the country's capital, Tehran, which killed all 176 people on board.

Iran initially insisted that the plane crashed because of technical issues, but days later it said its Revolutionary Guard Corps shot down the Boeing 737-800 by mistake.

Iran has promised to prosecute those involved, and senior officials have been quick to accept responsibility for the jet's downing.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Iranian President And the Iranian Foreign Minister may be critical on how the Iranian military, but the man that counts in Iran is publicly supporting the armed forces .... Iran's Khamenei stands by Guards after unrest over downed plane (Reuters).

Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Praises Strikes On U.S. Bases In Friday's Sermon

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 12:05 PM PST





NBC: Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praises strikes on U.S. bases in rare address

The supreme leader's decision to speak at Friday prayers shows how seriously authorities take reaction to the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet.

TEHRAN — The recent missile attack on U.S. troops in Iraq dealt a "blow to America's image," Iran's supreme leader said Friday as the government grappled with the fallout of the killing of a top general by the United States and scrambled to contain anger at the subsequent accidental downing of a passenger plane.

"They stealthily and cowardly assassinated Gen. [Qassem] Soleimani," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the huge crowd, according to a translation by state-owned Press TV.

Khamenei also slammed Britain, France and Germany for triggering an official dispute clause Tuesday in the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

Read more ....

More News On Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Praising Strikes On U.S. Bases In Friday's Sermon

Iran's supreme leader says Trump is a 'clown' who will betray Iranians -- France 24
Iran: Khamenei praises attack on US bases as 'day of god' -- DW
Khamenei: Missile attacks major blow to U.S. 'superpower image' -- UPI
Iran's Khamenei stands by Guards after unrest over downed plane -- Reuters
Iran plane crash: Khamenei defends armed forces in rare address -- BBC
Iran's Khamenei defends Revolutionary Guard in Friday sermon -- Al Jazeera
Iran's Khamenei Defends Military Amid Anger Over Downed Plane -- RFE
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls US President Donald Trump a 'clown' -- ABC News Online
Iran's supreme leader calls Trump 'clown' in rare Friday sermon -- The Guardian
Iran's supreme leader calls Trump a clown, praises missile attack in rare appearance -- FOX News

President Trump Called Top Military Brass In 2017 A 'Bunch Of Dopes And Babies'

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 11:44 AM PST

'Losers!' Donald Trump unloaded on top officers including Marine General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (second right) and Paul Selva, his deputy and a four-star Air Force General (right).

Daily Mail: 'I wouldn't go to war with you people. You're all LOSERS!' How Donald Trump insulted the military's most senior officers as 'dopes' prompting Rex Tillerson to call him a 'f***ing moron' is revealed in new book

  * Dramatic details of how Donald Trump ranted against his most senior generals is revealed in new book
  * He spewed abuse at meeting chaired by Marine General Joe Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying: 'You're all losers'
  * Sitting beside combat veteran Dunford was his deputy Paul Selva, a four star air force general who flew transport aircraft
  * He accused one general who was not present - John Nicholson, in charge of combat in Afghanistan - of not knowing how to win
  * Book claims he could barely breathe as he vented with rage, demanding South Korea pay for U.S. military bases
  * Rex Tillerson, then Secretary of State, whose family included career officers, intervened to shut Trump down
  * He accused Trump of wanting to turn U.S. forces into mercenaries and said they don't join up 'to make a buck,' saying: They do it to protect our freedom.'
  * After Trump stormed out of the room Tillerson - the son of a combat veteran - turned to the group and called him a 'f***ing moron'

Donald Trump, shortly into his presidency, unleashed a wave a fury upon his military advisers and national security team, calling them 'dopes and babies' who he wouldn't go to war with, a new book revealed.

'You're all losers,' Trump told an assembled group of military brass and cabinet officials during a security briefing at the Pentagon. 'You don't know how to win anymore.'

The details are revealed in, 'A Very Stable Genius' — a 417-page book on the presidency by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig being published next week.

The Washington Post printed an excerpt on Friday.

Read more ....

More News On President Trump Calling His Top Military Brass In 2017 A 'Bunch Of Dopes And Babies'

'You're a bunch of dopes and babies': Inside Trump's stunning tirade against generals -- The Washington Post
Washington Post: Trump called top military brass in 2017 a 'bunch of dopes and babies' -- CNN
Trump blasted top military generals as 'a bunch of dopes and babies' according to new book -- Military Times
Trump called top national-security officials 'losers,' 'dopes and babies' when they tried to walk him through the basics of US diplomacy, an explosive new book says -- Business Insider
Trump Called His Generals a 'Bunch of Dopes and Babies' in a Fit of Rage, Book Claims -- Daily Beast
Trump blasted Mattis and other top Pentagon leaders as 'dopes and babies' in an intense meeting, new book claims -- Task & Purpose
'A Bunch of Dopes and Babies': Inside the Meeting Where Trump Unloaded on Generals -- VICE

Ukraine's President Zelenskiy Rejects Prime Minister's Resignation After Audio Recording Emerged Of The PM Criticizing Him

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 11:38 AM PST



DW: Ukraine's President Zelenskiy rejects prime minister's resignation

The prime minister's offer to resign came after leaked audio appeared to show him criticize President Zelenskiy, a former comedian, for his lack of knowledge. Zelenskiy later said he would give Honchurak a second chance.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy rejected the resignation of Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk on Friday.

Honchurak was caught up in controversy after an audio recording emerged earlier this week that appeared to show him questioning Zelenskiy's ability to manage the economy.

He called Zelenskiy a "layman" in economics and said the president should be better educated. Zelenskiy is a former comedian with no political experience until he came into office in 2019.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Ukraine President has declined his resignation .... Ukraine's Leader Rejects Premier's Resignation Over Leaked Audio (WSJ). More here .... Ukrainian president rejects prime minister's resignation (AP).

More News On Ukraine's President Zelenskiy Rejecting His Prime Minister's Resignation After Audio Recording Emerged Of The PM Criticizing Him

Ukraine PM Honcharuk offers to quit in audiotape furore -- BBC
Ukraine PM offers resignation after recording suggests he criticised president -- France 24
Ukrainian PM Honcharuk submits resignation amid scandal -- UPI
Ukraine PM offers to resign over alleged slurs against president -- Al Jazeera

World News Updates -- January 17, 2020

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 02:32 PM PST



Reuters: Iran's Khamenei stands by Guards after unrest over downed plane

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader threw his support behind the elite Revolutionary Guards in a rare sermon on Friday after their belated admission that they had accidentally downed an airliner triggered days of protests on the streets.

In his first Friday prayers sermon in eight years, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also told worshippers chanting "Death to America" that the elite Guards could take their fight beyond Iran's borders after the U.S. killing of a top Iranian commander.

Washington said any threats would only isolate Iran further.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Iran can take fight beyond its borders, Khamenei says after U.S. strike, unrest.

Iran's supreme leader calls Trump a clown, praises missile attack in rare appearance.

Iran's president says 'no limit' to nuclear enrichment.

Ukraine says Iran to hand over downed jet's black boxes.

Top U.N. human rights official: Syria truce has failed 'yet again'.

Syria war: Society leaders hold secret peace summit in Berlin.

Lebanon releases protesters as rights groups slam security forces.

ASIA

Taliban say they handed cease-fire offer to US peace envoy.

'We don't have political problems with India': Iran's Zarif urges Delhi to defy US sanctions & resume buying Iranian oil.

China just reported its weakest annual growth in 29 years.

China's Xi arrives in Myanmar on billion-dollar charm offensive.

South Korea president's office reprimands U.S. ambassador for remarks.

U.S. warship transits Taiwan Strait less than week after election.

Australia bushfires: Heavy rains, floods provide some relief.

Chinese patients test positive for new coronavirus in Japan, Thailand.

AFRICA

Libya strongman Haftar in Greece for talks ahead of Berlin peace conference.

Greek offer to send peacekeeping troops to Libya could spark 'indirect' conflict between Ankara and Athens.

Libya conflict: UN proposes ceasefire monitor.

Putin to take part in Libya peace conference in Berlin – Kremlin.

Niger violence: Rising death toll and affected families.

Guinea protesters urged to continue general strike.

DR Congo police fire tear gas to break up opposition march.

EUROPE

State media hailed Putin's power shake-up. Moscow residents seem less enthused.

Putin's ministers were not told of resignation plans in advance.

Iranian representative coming to Ukraine next week, Kiev says.

Ukrainian PM Honcharuk submits resignation amid scandal. Ukraine Prime Minister Honcharuk submits resignation.

China tells European Union it won't miss out because of trade deal with US.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen announces 2022 presidential bid.

German population hits all-time high but growth is slowing.

AMERICAS

POLL-Sanders climbs, now tied with Biden among registered voters.

Pompeo says he 'never heard' about any efforts to surveil Yovanovitch.

Bolivia exiled ex-president Morales retracts call for 'armed militias'.

HSBC aware of Huawei's ties with Iran unit before arrest of founder's daughter, documents show.

Brazil: Far-right culture minister fired after echoing Nazi Goebbels.

Guatemala breaks off diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

Mexico's Amlo considers presidential jet raffle in desperate bid to offload it.

UN chief calls on Haiti to 'resist escalation' 10 years after quake.

Canada offers funds to families of Canadian victims of Flight 752.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

US military resumes counter-Islamic State operations in Iraq.

Shabab militants from Somalia may have received help from Kenyans for deadly Manda Bay attack.

British envoy to Pakistan claims 'it is clear terrorist groups operate from within' the country.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Global markets rise despite slowest Chinese growth for 30 years.

Senate passes, sends U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade deal to Trump's desk.

Intel reclaims top position in semiconductors over Samsung.

Daily Military And Intelligence News -- January 17, 2020

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 08:57 AM PST



Daily Signal: Iranian Missile Attacks Offer Insights Into Tehran's Intentions, Capabilities

Iran fired missiles at two U.S. bases in Iraq on Jan. 8, setting off a wave of speculation in the American media. Now that the dust has settled, analyzing the strikes can provide important insights into Iran's intentions and capabilities—and how the United States should respond.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, many commentators were quickly bogged down by the question of whether the Iranian strikes were meant to be precise.

Read more ....

Daily Military And Intelligence News -- January 17, 2020

'Massive Improvement' In Accuracy Of Iran Missiles Over Scud-B -- Breaking Defense

Here's how far Iran's missiles can strike -- CNBC

After Iran missiles hit Iraq base, the US military lost contact with multiple Predator drones -- War Is Boring

US military may send missile defense batteries to the Middle East in wake of Iran strike -- Military Times

Despite billions spent on missile shields, US troops were defenseless when Iran attacked -- Washington Examiner

11 U.S. Service Members Were Treated for Concussion Symptoms After Iranian Missile Attack -- Time

Paratroopers to replace Marines at US Embassy in Baghdad -- Army Times

US Army cancels current effort to replace Bradley vehicle -- Defense News

F-35 logistics system to be reinvented and renamed, official says -- Reuters

Watch the Defiant helicopter exceed 100 knots -- Defense News

Navy officials ask for bigger share of Pentagon budget -- UPI

The Space Force gets its first member, and Trump gets his first briefing on the new service -- Defense News

Congress wrestles with deterring China ― beyond nukes -- Defense News

China's Antics Are a 'Game-Changer' for the Navy and Marine Corps, 4-Star Says -- Military.com

Here's how much border wall has been built with the military's money -- Military Times

House Armed Services chairman exploring options to stop Trump from taking $7.2B in DOD funds for wall -- The Hill

Trump criticizes Apple's encryption stance on Pensacola phones -- Reuters

U.S. ambassador: South Korea should share more defense costs -- UPI

Pentagon: US could soon restart training Saudi military students -- FOX News

DoD says it will update vetting for foreign military students -- UPI

Saudi Arabia has paid $500M toward the cost of US troops in country -- CNN

Egypt launches largest military base in Middle East -- Middle East Monitor

Analysis For Egypt, a New Sparkling Army Base Instead of a Risky Military Adventure in Libya -- Haaretz

Israeli Air Force Inaugurates Second Squadron of F-35I Adir Stealth Aircraft -- Sputnik

Former fighter pilot picked to lead British military's space command -- Defense News

Canadian military seeks help to clean up space junk -- CBC

Australian defense leaders defend submarine buy with France's Naval Group -- Defense News

Germany's $6.7 billion frigate deal with Dutch shipbuilder Damen may be the last of its kind -- Defense News

South Korea to rule on first transgender soldier -- CNN

'If anything happens, we can scramble': Taiwan's air force pilots on the front line with mainland China -- SCMP

China's new killer robot ship goes through its first sea trial -- SCMP

The Five Most Valuable U.S. Tech Companies Are Now Worth A Combined $5.2 Trillion

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 07:41 AM PST

CNBC: Big Tech is worth over $5 trillion now that Alphabet has joined the four comma club

* Alphabet became the fourth U.S. tech company to reach $1 trillion in market value, after Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, which has since dipped below that mark.
* The five most valuable U.S. tech companies now account for over 17% of the S&P 500, up from 11% in 2015.
* Even in the face of heightened regulatory pressure, the dominant companies continue to grow and attract investor dollars.

Even as regulators bear down on the top technology companies and some lawmakers seek to break them up, Big Tech is bigger than ever.

On Thursday, Alphabet topped $1 trillion in market value, becoming the fourth U.S. technology company to reach that level, after Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, which has slipped back to about $930 billion.

Adding Facebook into that group, the five most valuable U.S. tech companies are now worth a staggering $5.2 trillion, accounting for over 17% of the S&P 500, according to FactSet. That's up from 11% five years ago, with about two-thirds of the value, or $3.5 trillion, accruing over that stretch.

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WNU Editor:The future has always been in tech, and will continue to be in the years to come as AI platforms continue to be developed.

The Air Force Completes Another Round Of Testing A Hypersonic Rocket Booster

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 07:33 AM PST

Shown is an X-60A air-launched rocket during a hot-fire test at Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 14, 2020. The X-60A, developed through an Air Force Research Laboratory Small Business Innovation Research contract, is an air-launched rocket designed for hypersonic flight research. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Popular Mechanics: The Air Force Is Testing a Hypersonic Rocket Booster

The X-60A will propel vehicles at speeds in excess of Mach 6.

* The X-60A is a test vehicle designed to aid hypersonic weapon research, reaching speeds of mach 8.
* Hypersonic vehicles can reach temperatures of 3,800 degrees, making testing difficult.
* The rocket is meant to fly payloads at hypersonic speeds, allowing scientists to test the stresses of high speed flight on the payload.

The Air Force Research Laboratory's X-60A hypersonic research rocket completed a new round of realistic ground testing. The rocket's engine was tested in both "cold flow" and "hot fire" testing, and incorporated realistic operational procedures that a real rocket might face. The goal of the program is to create an affordable, reliable hypersonic propulsion system, one that can reach Mach 7.

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Update: X-60A program conducts integrated vehicle propulsion system verification test (US Air Force)

WNU Editor: Russia is currently deploying hypersonic missiles, the US is testing to see if their engines can work. I could be wrong, but I sense the U.S. is years behind the Russians in this field.

China Has Its Own Version Of America's Nellis Air Force Base

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 07:23 AM PST

PHOTO © 2020 Planet Labs Inc.

Warzone/The Drive: This Massive Desert Base Is China's Version Of America's Nellis Air Force Base

As China's air combat capabilities rapidly evolve so do the bases used to support them. One in the Gobi Desert is uniquely critical to those efforts.

As China's military capabilities continue to rapidly expand and mature, so do the bases that support and test them. Case in point, the Dingxin Test and Training Base, a sprawling facility located Gansu Province, in the Gobi Desert, an area that has long been a military and weapons testing stronghold for the People's Liberation Army. The base is one of the most unique in China as it supports the development of tactics and weaponry and advanced training of People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) units in high-end, complex scenarios. Live fire drills are also a big part of what goes on there. The base hosts a fleet of aggressor fighters, as well as full-scale aerial target drones, the latter of which are converted largely from stocks of antique MiG clones. As such, Dingxin is roughly analogous to Nellis Air Force Base in the United States, with a bit of Eglin Air Force Base and Edwards Air Force Base mixed in.

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WNU Editor: Now that is one massive base.

Most Millennials Believe There Will Be A Nuclear Attack Within The Next Decade

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 07:09 AM PST

Daily Mail: Most millennials believe there will be a nuclear attack within the next decade and nearly half think World War Three will occur in their lifetime

* The poll of 16,000 young people aged 20 to 35 was carried out by the Red Cross
* Respondents came from 16 countries, including UK and war zones like Syria
* Only 54 per cent of those questioned had heard of the Geneva Convention
* And 41 per cent said they would support torture in some circumstances

More than half of millennials fear a nuclear attack somewhere in the world within the next decade, according to a survey by the Red Cross.

The poll of 16,000 young people also showed that 47 per cent believe World War Three is 'more likely than not' in their lifetime.

Adults aged between 20 and 35 took part in the survey - both in war-torn countries such as Afghanistan and Syria and largely peaceful ones like Britain and France.

Peter Maurer, president of the charity's International Committee, said in the report: 'Millennials appear to see cataclysmic war as a real likelihood in their lifetime.'

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WNU Editor: I expected a lower number. Historically speaking we are living in an age where war is not as prevalent as it was in the past, and economic growth has helped raise the standard of living to levels that have never happened before. Fears of a nuclear attack/incident are legitimate. But World War III .... I do not see that happening in today's world.

Who Will Be Russian President Putin's Successor?

Posted: 17 Jan 2020 06:59 AM PST


Mark Galeotti, The Spectator: The hunt is on for Putin's successor

Putin does like to spring a surprise. The first hour or so of his state of the nation address yesterday was the usual fare: Russia standing tall again, measures to address poverty, encouraging larger families. So far, so cut and paste. Then suddenly he dropped a series of constitutional bombshells: tougher presidential term limits, more powers for both parliament and the prime minister. Within three hours, prime minister Dmitry Medvedev was clearing his desk, and we had a sense of the shape of Russia after Putin's presidency.

Which is not, by any means, Russia after Putin. His current term ends in 2024, and although no one doubted he could stay on if he wanted, regardless of term limits, the real question was whether he truly wanted to. In recent years, even as his international stature as geopolitical bad boy has grown, he has seemed increasingly detached from the humdrum challenges at home: economic diversification, demographic decline, pension reform and even the politics of refuse disposal.

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WNU Editor: First things first. The firing/demotion of former Prime Minister Medvedev means that he will not be Putin's successor. And the reason why is simple. President Putin also reads polls, and he noticed that Medvedev is probably the most despised politician in Russia. Allegations and multiple videos of Medvedev's lavish properties on social media have given him the image of being the most corrupt person in Russia, and it is an image that is now stuck with him. Bottom line. I far as Putin is concerned, Medvedev will not win the next Presidential election. After Medvedev there is no one else that Putin can really trust, hence this search for an alternative path to protect his position and status. The problem that I see is that there is really no clear path on what needs to be done, and there is certainly no appetite among the Russian public for this type of change. And as for a successor. The ones who are well positioned to win the next Russian Presidential election have an agenda that is completely opposite from Putin's. A prospect that is totally unacceptable to Putin.

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