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Thursday, January 2, 2020

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

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


This Was How A Soviet Helicopter Was Stolen

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 11:43 PM PST



FoxTrotAlpha: How To Steal A Soviet Helicopter

Deep in the Sahel, as Muammar Qaddafi's Libya exploited instability in Chad to expand its territory, a daring operation took place to obtain one of the Soviet Union's most advanced attack helicopters. It was a complex plan involving Chadian rebel groups as well as French and American soldiers and spies, but it worked.

A Libyan Mi-24 Hind had been abandoned in a forward base not far from the frontier between Libya and Chad that had now been secured by Western-backed Chadian rebels. Though the helicopter was now in friendly hands, it was going to be a challenge to remove it from dangerous territory so close to the threat of Libyan fighter jets.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These spy/heist stories never get old.

Tweets For Today

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 10:30 PM PST











A Closer Look At The U-2's 'Moon Suit'

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 10:01 PM PST


Popular Mechanics: The U-2's 'Moon Suit' Is Almost as Impressive as the Plane Itself

Pilots have worn the astronaut-like pressurized suits for more than 60 years.

* The U-2 spy plane has flown continuously for the intelligence community and U.S. military for 64 years.
* As the times have changed and technology improves, the suits have gotten better at keeping pilots comfortable and alive.
* One company, the David Clark Company, has been the sole manufacturer of the suits since the 1960s.

The U.S. Air Force is continuing to improve the pressurized flight suit used by U-2 spy plane pilots, 64 years after the airplane's first flight. The service is using emerging tech, including 3D printing, to make the suits lighter, more comfortable, and most importantly, safer than ever before.

The U-2 spy plane first flew on August 1st, 1955. The black jet's ability to climb to extremely high altitudes and collect intelligence on adversaries and potential adversaries has kept it in Air Force service longer than any other aircraft. The airplane flies so high that pilots are required to wear a pressurized flight suit. Although the cockpit is normally pressurized, a sudden loss of pressurization could endanger a mission—and the pilot's life—so pilots wear full body suits that resemble the astronaut suits.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This type of tech always fascinates me.

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 09:30 PM PST

A wounded member of Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces) gets help during a protest to condemn air strikes on their bases, outside the main gate of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq December 31, 2019. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily

WNU Editor: The above picture came form this photo-gallery .... Violent protests erupt around U.S. Embassy in Baghdad (Reuters).

The Purge Of The U.S. National Security Council Has Begun

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 09:00 PM PST

Trump speaks to reporters with US hostage negotiator Robert O'Brien after he named O'Brien as his fourth White House national security adviser [Tom Brenner/Reuters]

Washington Times: NSC chief slashing Obama's 'bloated' staff to create efficient, tight-lipped White House operation

The White House National Security Council staff is being downsized sharply in a bid to improve efficiency within the policy coordinating body by consolidating positions and cutting staff.

A second, unspoken thrust of the overhaul is a hoped-for end to what many critics see as a string of politically damaging, unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information. Leaks of President Trump's conversations with foreign leaders and other damaging disclosures likely originated with anti-Trump officials in the White House who stayed over from the Obama administration, according to several current and former White House officials.

White House National Security Adviser Robert C. O'Brien is leading the NSC reform effort. He revealed in a recent interview with The Washington Times that 40 to 45 NSC staff officials were sent back in recent months to the agencies where they originally worked, with more likely to be moved out.

Read more ....

Update: Obama's NSC Holdovers Finally Booted After Three Years Of Non-Stop Leaks (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: President Kennedy's NSC had a policy making staff of 12. But when President Obama left the White House in 2016 there were 450!?!?!? These cutbacks should have been done in the first week of the Trump Presidency. But President Trump was elected without the support of the Republican establishment, and not having loyal people to fill in these positions has obviously taken a long time.

Is North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Making A Mistake?

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 08:19 PM PST

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). KCNA via REUTERS

Gordon G. Chang, National Interest: Did North Korea Just Make a Grave Mistake?

Pyongyang, no doubt, is entering into a far more assertive phase. Given the overall situation, that would undoubtedly be a grave mistake for the regime. When regimes make grave mistakes, something must be wrong internally.

North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un late last month promised to "shift to a shocking actual action"; hinted he would no longer honor a "commitment" to a testing moratorium; and "confirmed that the world will witness a new strategic weapon." There was also a reference to "the ultra-modern weapon system."

Kim's threats were delivered during the four-day 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party, which ended December 31.

Pyongyang, no doubt, is entering into a far more assertive phase. Given the overall situation, that would undoubtedly be a grave mistake for the regime. When regimes make grave mistakes, something must be wrong internally.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Gordon G. Chang is right that expectations of a better life is now the state of mind for most North Koreans. The country is no longer a "closed country". North Koreans know how their neighbours are living, and they want the same thing. Failure to meet these expectations will result in a backlash against Kim Jong Un, starting within his inner circle and among the cadres within the Party.

This Is What President Trump Accomplished In 2019 While Everyone Was Focused On Impeachment And The President's Tweets

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 07:00 PM PST

Photo courtesy Wikimedia commons.

Benjamin Wofford, Washingtonian: While You Were Paying Attention to Ukraine, Here's What Trump's Appointees Achieved

We ranked the most overlooked deeds of the Trump government in 2019—and didn't even have to mention Ukraine.

In 2019, the Trump administration issued 44 executive orders, signed 94 bills into law and finalized more than three thousand new rules. One hundred judges were confirmed to the federal bench, the most of any year in Trump's term. Simply put, it was a busy year in Washington.

But there were dozens of stories that flew under the radar—policy changes and personnel sagas, norms eroded and scores settled—that captured the essence of what happened in the marrow of Trump's government. Often, these stories ran in parallel to the glitzier headlines that consumed Washington (SharpieGate, anyone?). But even as the Ukraine scandal unfolded and impeachment became a certainty, the Trump administration was leaving its mark on policy and government agencies in ways that often went unnoticed, and yet are likely to affect Washingtonians and the country for generations.

Read more ....

WNU editor: The above columnist is no fan of President Trump, and is deeply unsettled that the Trump administration has been able to achieve its policy goals for 2019. But what he fails to point out is that many of the bills that President Trump signed into law this year were first approved by a Democrat Congress. As to his observation that President Trump has been successful in distracting everyone while he pursued his agenda, on that point I agree with him 100%. So this statistic should surprise no one .... Donald Trump doubled his tweets in 2019 (NYPost).

Taliban Begin The New Year With More Attacks

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 06:03 PM PST

The latest attacks came as the US and Taliban were discussing a possible reduction in violence [Omar Sobhani/Reuters]

RFE: Taliban Attacks On Afghan Security Forces Leave Dozens Dead

At least 26 members of Afghanistan's security forces were killed in a new wave of Taliban attacks in northern Afghanistan, local officials said on January 1.

The insurgents claimed responsibility for all the attacks.

In northern Kunduz Province, at least 10 Afghan officers were killed and four others wounded in an attack on a police checkpoint in the district of Dashti Archi late on December 31, the head of the provincial council Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi said.

In Balkh Province, the Taliban killed nine police officers in an attack on their checkpoint. The fate of four other policemen who were at the checkpoint was unknown, said Mohammad Afzel Hadid, head of the provincial council.

Read more ....

More News On The Afghan War

Officials: Taliban target Afghan security forces, killing 26 -- AP
Taliban kill 23 in attacks on Afghan checkpoints -- AFP
Dozens of Afghan security forces killed in Taliban attack -- France 24
Taliban attacks kill more than 20 Afghan security forces -- Al Jazeera

Mexican President López Obrador Says El Chapo 'Had The Same Power' As Past Presidents

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 05:40 PM PST

Mexico President Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador (pictured) criticized previous administrations during an online end-of-year address in which he asserted that Joaqu铆n 'El Chapo' Guzm谩n to enjoy the same power as a world leader

The Guardian: Mexico's Amlo says El Chapo 'had the same power' as past presidents

L贸pez Obrador took a blow at his predecessors while claiming Mexico's era of corruption is 'gone to the garbage dump of history'

Mexico's president, Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador, closed out 2019 with a parting shot at his predecessors, saying the imprisoned drug kingpin Joaqu铆n "El Chapo" Guzm谩n Loera had once wielded the same power as the country's president.

In a video message from the southern city of Palenque on Wednesday, L贸pez Obrador recounted his administration's successes in its first year and highlighted its challenges foremost surging violence.

He claimed without offering any evidence that he had already done away with the high-level corruption that was rampant in previous governments, but said it was crucial to draw a bright line between criminal elements and authorities so that the two sides do not mingle as they had in the past.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This admission from the Mexican President is surprising no one.

More News On Mexican President L贸pez Obrador Admitting That El Chapo 'Had The Same Power' As Past Presidents

Mexico president says "El Chapo" had same power as president -- AP
Drug lord 'El Chapo' once held as much power as Mexican president: Lopez Obrador -- Reuters
El Chapo wielded the same power and influence as a Mexican PRESIDENT says country's leader -- Daily Mail

British Courts Confirm That The State's Security Services Have The License To Kill

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 05:25 PM PST


Zero Hedge: Britain's Security Services Granted License To Kill

In a landmark ruling last week, a panel of five senior British judges ruled that a secret government policy of granting immunity to its state security service was "legal".

First though, some background to the issue.

British government policy holds implicitly that agents or informants operating for the state's security service, MI5, are permitted to commit crimes without fear of prosecution if those crimes are committed in the line of duty to protect national security.

This is tantamount to the British state granting its agents and proxies a "license to kill".

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Cannot say that I am surprised.

China's Air Force Is Growing On A Nearly Exponential Growth /Curve

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 05:19 PM PST


Warzone/The Drive: A Whopping 20 Y-20 Airlifters Seen At Chinese Aircraft Plant And Test Base

The activity at Yanliang Air Base is yet another glaring reminder that Beijing's military might seems to be on a nearly exponential growth curve.

Xi'an Aircraft Company, which makes China's most prominent large aircraft, among other responsibilities, has its primary plant located at the sprawling Yanliang Air Base that also houses China's Flight Test Establishment, as well as academic institutions that deal with aircraft design. Beyond being a strategic production line for China's aerospace industry, the installation supports testing for the vast majority of aircraft within the People's Liberation Army's stable and executes avionics and other systems integration work for those aircraft. As of late, Xi'an has been building China a fleet of airlifters that can help make its geopolitical aspirations abroad a reality, as well as providing updated long-range bombers to support its emerging anti-access military strategy.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: China has always been behind aviation. No more now. One can only speculate what China's air force is going to look like in 10, 20, or 30 years.

The US Army Has Chosen Its Top 10 Science And Technology Advances For This Year

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 03:18 PM PST

Soldiers moving in an augmented-reality space. US Army

Business Insider: The US Army has chosen its top 10 science and technology advances for this year — here are the potential game changers that made the list

* US Army and service-funded researchers are making strides in numerous areas, including the material sciences, robotics, and artificial intelligence.
* Alexander Kott, the chief scientist at Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory, recently picked the Army's top 10 science and technology advancements of 2019.
* The list of potential game changers features things like artificial muscles for robots, self-repairing materials, and 3D printed steel that's tougher than anything commercially available, among other things.

US Army researchers and engineers have been busy this year, developing new capabilities and technologies meant to help modernize the force.

Alexander Kott, the chief scientist at Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory, recently picked the Army's top 10 science and technology advancements of 2019. These are potentially game-changing developments intended to help Army soldiers fight and win on future battlefields.

The list includes research and development efforts in material science, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Robots and robot warfare are the future.

President Trump Hints That He May Use His China Trip to Get More Trade Concessions From China

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 02:57 PM PST


SCMP: Donald Trump 'may use China trip to push for more concessions in further trade war deal'

* Observers say Trump could make additional demands when he travels to Beijing after a phase-one trade deal is signed
* They could include buying more goods from the US and structural reforms

US President Donald Trump may use a trip to China to try to nudge Beijing into committing to changes in its economic model, according to observers.

And while a visit might help to ease trade frictions, they said Beijing would be bracing for the US leader to push for more concessions from China. Trump on Tuesday said a partial US-China trade pact – the so-called phase-one deal – would be signed on January 15, and he would also then travel to China for more talks.

"The ceremony will take place at the White House. High-level representatives of China will be present," Trump tweeted. "At a later date I will be going to Beijing where talks will begin on Phase Two!"

There was no mention of Trump's tweet in Chinese state media on Wednesday.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: In every business deal that I have done with the Chinese over 35 years, they have used this tactic of saying a deal has been agreed upon, and then showing up later wanting more concessions. President Trump is doing to the Chinese what the Chinese have been doing to everyone else for decades, but in this case President Trump is the one with the leverage because of his power on tariffs. I am also not surprised that Chinese state media is keeping much of this trade deal and President Trump's comments off the air. They do not know how to spin this as a win.

Was There A Security Failure At The U.S. Embassy In Iraq?

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 02:45 PM PST

(Click on Image to Enlarge) 
Thousands of Kataeb Hezbollah supporters left funerals held for 25 fighters killed by US strikes on Sunday night. They then marched towards the US embassy, pouring through the heavily fortified 'Green Zone' before reaching the gates of the compound. As the mood deteriorated security personnel headed into the building and carnage ensued outside, with rioters eventually tearing through the main gate and inside the main forecourt of the embassy

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
This map shows the Embassy compound located along the Tigris River in Baghdad, Iraq

The Hill: Top Foreign Relations Democrat calls for explanation of security failure at US Embassy in Iraq

Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is calling for the Trump administration to give Congress an explanation for the security failure at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad after protesters stormed it on Tuesday.

Menendez condemned the attack in a statement in which he said that the U.S. is prioritizing ensuring American diplomats and personnel are safe. He also requested Iraq assist in protecting the U.S. personnel in the region.

"I call on all Iraqis, including the government and security forces, to continue our partnership with American security forces and diplomatic personnel to restore security and order," he wrote.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:The embassy's perimeter was not breached. The guard house at the entrance was burned down, but this small building was always exposed. The US Marines and embassy security responded quickly, and no serious casualties were reported. US military reinforcements in Baghdad came in quickly to aid the embassy, followed by US soldiers from Kuwait. All within hours after the first altercation. Hundreds of additional US forces were assembled in the U.S. and sent to the Middle East within 12 hours. From my vantage point everyone responded quickly and professionally. If there is a security failure it is within the Green Zone itself, and that is an Iraqi responsibility. It is clear to me that Iraqi forces turned a blind eye that permitted these protesters to show up, and that a discussion on how to prevent this from happening again in the future will need to be done.

Taiwan Rejects China's Offer To Unify Using The Hong Kong Model

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 12:51 PM PST

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen talks during a graduation ceremony for the Investigation Bureau agents in New Taipei City, Taiwan, December 26 , 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang

Reuters: Taiwan leader rejects China's offer to unify under Hong Kong model

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday the island would not accept a "one country, two systems" political formula Beijing has suggested could be used to unify the democratic island, saying such an arrangement had failed in Hong Kong.

China claims Taiwan as its territory, to be brought under Beijing's control by force if necessary. Taiwan says it is an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.

Tsai, who's seeking re-election in a Jan. 11 vote, also vowed in a New Year's speech to defend Taiwan's sovereignty, saying her government would build a mechanism to safeguard freedom and democracy as Beijing ramps up pressure on the island.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am surprised that China bothered to make the offer.

More News On Taiwan Rejecting China's Offer To Unify Using The Hong Kong Model

Taiwan rejects Hong Kong model for unity with China -- DW
Taiwan leader spurns China's offer to unify under Hong Kong model -- Al Jazeera
Tsai stresses Taiwan's sovereignty -- NHK News
China rattles saber - and offers friendship - days before Taiwan's elections -- Reuters

Hong Kong Protests Continue In 2020

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 12:01 PM PST



SCMP: Hong Kong begins 2020 just like 2019 ended – with protest chaos

* Police say at least 400 people arrested, mostly for illegal assembly and possession of offensive weapons
* Violence escalates as night falls with at least five HSBC outlets smashed up or firebombed and Starbucks outlet vandalised

Hong Kong started the first day of the year with a massive anti-government protest march that ended in chaos, as radicals blocked roads, smashed traffic lights, threw petrol bombs, vandalised bank branches, trashed shops and also targeted the High Court, while police fired tear gas and water cannon, and arrested hundreds.

After ending the last day of 2019 with protest chaos, the city set the tone on New Year's Day for another year fraught with civil unrest as masked radicals rampaged on the streets of Hong Kong Island long after the organisers were forced to call off the march early by police.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction. The protests in Hong Kong are going to continue in 2020 with the same intensity as they were in 2019.

More News On The Unrest In Hong Kong

Police, protesters clash in New Year's rally in Hong Kong -- AP
Hong Kong rings in 2020 with democracy chants instead of harbour fireworks -- ABC News Online
Hong Kong rings in new year as muted celebrations give way to defiant anti-government protests -- SCMP
Police, protesters clash during huge Hong Kong pro-democracy rally -- AFP
Tear gas fired at Hong Kong New Year's protests -- Reuters
'At least 400 arrested' in Hong Kong as massive New Year's Day march gets cut short amid protest violence -- SCMP
Hong Kong police fire tear gas, water cannon at 2020 New Year's Day protests -- ABC News Online
Hong Kong protesters vow to 'keep fighting' in New Year's Day march -- France 24
Hong Kong protesters open 2020 with fresh pro-democracy rally -- DW

Australian Fires Continue To Devastate Major Portions Of The Country

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 03:12 PM PST





The Guardian: Australia fires: nine dead and hundreds of properties destroyed, with worse to come

Residents in Victoria and New South Wales count terrible cost during brief reprieve from disaster that has sent smoke as far as New Zealand

Nine people are confirmed dead, with four still missing, and more than 200 properties have been lost since Christmas Day in Australia's catastrophic bushfires.

Smoke still hung thick over the south-east of the country on Wednesday evening, even as weather conditions offered a reprieve to take stock of the destruction.

Read more ....

More News On The Massive Fires In Australia

Australian authorities scramble to reach victims of deadly fires as death toll rises -- Reuters
Australia sending aid to wildfire towns as death toll rises -- AP
Australia fires: Death toll rises as blazes destroy 200 homes -- BBC
Australia sends aid to thousands stranded by bushfires -- France 24
Australian wildfires claim more lives on New Year's Day -- DW
Australia's bushfire towns battle on, despite what they have lost: supplies, power, houses, 'the lot -- The Guardian
Australia: Thousands trapped on beach as fires approach -- DW
Australia fires: Seven dead, hundreds of homes destroyed -- UPI
Australia deploys military aircraft & navy ships to help fire-ravaged communities -- RT
Death toll rises as bushfires spread across Australia -- Al Jazeera
'Apocalyptic': New Zealand shrouded in smoke from Australian bushfires -- The Guardian

Iran-Backed Militiamen Withdraw From Siege Of US Embassy In Baghdad

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 11:53 AM PST


Al Jazeera: Protesters leave US embassy compound in Baghdad

After being fired at with tear gas, demonstrators who rallied against deadly US air raids heed calls to retreat.

Protesters withdrew from the United States embassy perimeter in Baghdad after the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) paramilitary force ordered them to leave, a day after their dramatic demonstration.

Iraq's military confirmed on Wednesday that the protesters had left.

On Tuesday, thousands of Iraqi supporters of the largely Iranian-trained group had encircled and vandalised the embassy compound, outraged by US air raids in Iraq and Syria that killed 25 Hashd fighters over the weekend.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is a surprise. I expected them to stay for a while.

More News On Iran-Backed Militiamen Withdrawing From Their Siege Of The US Embassy In Baghdad

Rock-throwing Iraqi militias quit U.S. embassy after protests -- Reuters
Militiamen withdraw from US Embassy but Iraq tensions linger -- AP
Pro-Iran protesters leave US embassy in Baghdad -- AFP
Iranian-backed militias begin to withdraw from US Embassy in Baghdad: reports -- The Hill
Protesters at US Embassy in Baghdad disperse as security personnel fire tear gas -- USA Today
Protesters outside Baghdad embassy disperse, US citizens still warned to avoid area -- ABC News
Iran-backed militiamen withdraw from siege of US Embassy in Baghdad as more American troops deployed -- FOX News
Iraqi security forces regain control of area around US Embassy after second day of protests -- CNN
Iraqi protesters withdraw from US Embassy in Baghdad (VIDEOS) -- RT

World News Briefs -- January 1, 2020

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 11:31 AM PST



DW: New Year's 2020 around the world: As it happened

People across the globe have not just rung in a new year, but a new decade. Germany has joined the world in welcoming 2020. DW tracked the New Year's festivities live.

— Germany and the rest of Europe have welcomed 2020

— Sydney, Australia renowned fireworks show went ahead despite controversy over wildfires

— NYE protests disrupted festivities in Hong Kong, India and Lebanon

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Protesters leave US embassy compound in Baghdad.

US embassy attack: Trump threatens Iran over violent protest in Iraq.

Iran rejects US accusation of being behind Baghdad protests.

State Department: US ambassador to Iraq will return to Baghdad.

Iraq anti-govt protesters say US-Iran tensions won't derail rallies.

Yemen's southern separatists pull out of Riyadh agreement committees.

Fatah supporters hold rare Gaza rally.

Ghosn met Lebanese president after fleeing Japan: sources.

Netanyahu says he'll seek immunity from prosecution in corruption cases.

ASIA

North Korea's leader promises 'new strategic weapon,' leaves room for talks.

Kim Jong Un: North Korea ending test moratoriums.

Dozens of Afghan security forces killed in Taliban attack.

Hong Kong protesters vow to 'keep fighting' in New Year's Day march.

Indonesia rejects China's claims over South China Sea.

Taiwan rejects Hong Kong model for unity with China.

China to cut reserve ratio by 50 basis points from Jan. 6. China cuts banks' reserve ratios again, frees up $115 billion to spur economy.

Death toll rises as bushfires spread across Australia.

India approves third moon mission, months after landing failure.

Floods in Indonesia's capital kill 9 people and force thousands to evacuate.

AFRICA

Africa starts 2020 battling extremism, Ebola and hunger.

Somali army kills 20 al-Shabab militants in southern region.

Arab League warns against 'foreign interference' in Libya.

Guinea-Bissau opposition chief wins presidential election.

Central African Republic: UN steps in for peace efforts. C.Africa authorities and UN vow to disarm flashpoint district.

Mauritania's new president sets down his mark in volatile country.

Angola hits ex-leader dos Santos's daughter with asset freeze. Angolan ex-president's family in crosshairs of anti-graft probe.

South African Telecom giant MTN accused of paying bribes to Taliban, al-Qaeda.

South Africa's Jacob Zuma faces corruption inquiry.

EUROPE

Climate change, Brexit divorce: EU faces challenges in 2020.

In New Year's Eve speech, Macron hopes for 'quick compromise' with unions on pension reform. Macron's new year address falls flat as pension row deepens.

Numerous cars TORCHED during New Year's Eve mayhem in Strasbourg, France (VIDEOS).

Let's get Brexit done and end division in 2020, Johnson tells Britons.

Western Balkans left 'betrayed' by EU over membership talks.

Russian companies divert oil from Belarus amidst deal impasse.

Minsk discusses with NATO possibility of joint peacekeeping exercises.

Russia, Ukraine sign gas transit deal ahead of deadline.

Bosnia indicts Serb army general over Srebrenica genocide.

Huge rise in number of people trying to cross Channel to UK by sea.

Ayia Napa: Mother of convicted Briton backs Cyprus boycott.

Pope Francis apologises for 'bad example' of slapping arm of pilgrim who tugged him.

AMERICAS

Noisy countdown to 2020 as revelers party at Crossroads of the World.

Trump says happy to have a trial in the Senate, but he does not really care.

Pompeo postpones Ukraine trip after attack on US embassy in Iraq.

Top Foreign Relations Democrat calls for explanation of security failure at US Embassy in Iraq.

US Federal debt up more than $10 trillion in 2010s.

Security tight, Jews gather at MetLife stadium in New Jersey for religious event.

Year-end violence highlights danger of worshipping.

Sixteen inmates killed in Mexico prison fight.

Mexico president says "El Chapo" had same power as president.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

'Jihadi Jack' married into 'top ISIS family', says Ex-British sniper – report.

AFRICOM airstrikes take out four al-Shabab militants.

AFRICOM ends 2019 with record number of strikes in Somalia.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Stocks close out best year since 2013; S&P 500 soars 28.9%.

Global markets end 2019 with healthy gains.

Exclusive: Airbus beats goal with 863 jet deliveries in 2019, ousts Boeing from top spot.


Donald Trump 'may use China trip to push for more concessions in further trade war deal'.

Nissan ex-head Carlos Ghosn flees to Lebanon from Japan.

Huawei says 'survival' is its priority in 2020, after US blacklisting.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 1, 2020

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 10:41 AM PST




The Hill: Esper says 750 troops to deploy 'immediately' in response to violent embassy protests in Iraq

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday that 750 U.S. soldiers will deploy "immediately" to the Middle East after violent protests at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

In a series of tweets, Esper said that more U.S. forces stand ready to deploy to the region.

"At the direction of the Commander in Chief @POTUS, I have authorized the deployment of an infantry battalion from the Immediate Response Force (IRF) of the @82ndABNDiv to the @CENTCOM area of operations in response to recent events in Iraq," Esper said.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 1, 2020

Trump deploys more troops to Mideast after US embassy attack -- AP

US deploying additional troops in wake of protests at U.S. Embassy in Iraq -- France 24

Up to 4,000 US troops could deploy to Middle East amid Baghdad unrest: officials -- FOX News

US Fed Up with Baghdad's Failure to Act Against Iran-Backed Militias, State Officials Say -- Military.com

Lockheed Martin nabs $2.35B in contracts for F-35 -- UPI

The Air Force Must Learn From The F-35 Before It Builds Its Next Fighter -- National Interest

14th Air Force Redesignated as Space Operations Command -- Air Force Magazine

General Atomics nets $10.1M for work on USS Kennedy, future USS Enterprise -- UPI

U.S. Fleet Created to Counter Russian Subs Now Fully Operational -- USNI News

Correcting the Legacy of Los Angeles-Class Submarines -- Captain William Toti, U.S. Navy, US Naval Institute

Suppose There Was a War and the Merchant Marine Didn't Come? -- US Naval Institute

New in 2020: Army combat casualties trend upwards into 2020 -- Army Times

Pentagon Creates 'Cadre of Pricing Experts' to Curb Parts Abuses -- Bloomberg

Faulty Equipment, Lapsed Training, Repeated Warnings: How a Preventable Disaster Killed Six Marines -- ProPublica

TikTok app banned by US Army on work mobile phones -- BBC

Robert O'Brien Slashing National Security Council Staff -- Bill Gertz, Washington Times

Lockheed nabs $114M deal to deliver Patriot missiles to UAE -- UPI

AFRICOM ends 2019 with record number of strikes in Somalia -- Stars and Stripes

North Korea to develop new 'strategic' weapon: Kim -- DW

North Korea's Kim says world will soon witness 'new strategic weapon' -- France 24

China steps up warship building programme as navy looks to extend its global reach -- SCMP

The U.S.-China Tech Wars: China's Immigration Disadvantage -- The Diplomat

Russian troops to use solar panels to power their equipment -- TASS

Russia's aerospace forces to receive about 100 planes and helicopters in 2020 -- TASS

Hypersonic Putin and Gonzo Weaponry -- Binoy Kampmark, International Policy Digest

President Trump 'Blasts' The Media For Saying He Played Golf During The Embassy Crisis In Baghdad When He Was Not

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 09:39 AM PST


Sputnik: Trump Blasts 'Lamestream Media' for Reporting He Was Playing Golf During Iraq's US Embassy Assault

"The corrupt lamestream media", as POTUS referred to mainstream left-leaning news outlets, were well aware of his busy meeting schedule as he was monitoring the situation in Iraq, but "failed to report or correct" things to make them reflect reality.

US President Donald Trump has lashed out at mainstream media who reported he was playing golf during an assault on the American Embassy in Iraq.

"The Fake News said I played golf today, and I did NOT!" Trump hit back at the claims, noting he held meetings at different locations while "closely monitoring the US embassy situation in Iraq" and adding he is still doing so.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Where I live in Canada the CBC reporter did say this morning that President Trump went to play golf while the crisis at the US embassy in Baghdad was unfolding. That is false, and the CBC has not corrected this story as of now. But President Trump does play a lot of golf, and he does it at his resorts .... Trump spent 1 of every 5 days in 2019 at a golf club (CNN). In comparison to former President Obama (another avid golfer), the former President played golf 333 times over his 8 years in office (see here). As to what is my take on Presidents playing golf. I said it was positive that then President Obama was playing golf, and ditto today for President Trump. People in executive positions do need to be distracted from what they are doing. Golf and other sports do clear one's head, and you are better focused when you get back to work. As for the media coverage of this story. This is not the first time that they have erred on the topic of President Trump playing golf .... Newsweek fires journalist who reported Trump was golfing for Thanksgiving before he secretly travelled to Afghanistan (The Independent).

President Trump Says He Does Not Want, Or Foresee, War With Iran

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 08:30 AM PST



WNU Editor: You may not want war, but war may want you .... Trump says he does not want, nor foresee, war with Iran (Reuters). My prediction. Iran is going to back down, but will keep the demonstrations loud and less violent.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Says The U.S. Can't Do A Damn Thing

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 08:25 AM PST

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei meeting with Iranian nurses. January 1, 2020

Daily Mail: You can't do a damn thing!' Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei hits back at Donald Trump after the president threatened to make him pay a 'big price' for US embassy attack

* Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has strongly condemned deadly US strikes on Iraq
* Supreme leader warned his country was ready to confront threats from the US
* President Donald Trump warned the Islamic republic would pay a 'big price'
* He accused Iran of 'orchestrating' the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad

Iran's supreme leader today strongly condemned deadly US strikes on Iraq and warned his country was ready to confront threats after US President Donald Trump issued one against the Islamic republic.

It was Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's first remarks since Sunday's deadly US strikes on the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary network in western Iraq.

The United States carried out the raids in retaliation for rocket fire that killed an American civilian contractor at a base in northern Iraq on Friday.

Khamenei said in a speech broadcast on state television: 'I and the government and the nation of Iran strongly condemn this American crime.'

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei should not underestimate what the U.S. can do. They can do a lot. Iran is already suffering from U.S. sanctions and isolation.

More News On Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Saying The U.S. Can't Do A Damn Thing

Khamenei Defiant After Trump Threat, Says 'You Can't Do Anything' -- Radio Farda
Iran's Khamenei shrugs off Trump threat to retaliate over Iraq embassy violence -- Times of Israel
US taking revenge on Iraqi popular forces for defeating Daesh: Leader -- Press TV
Iran's Khamenei strongly condemns U.S. attacks in Iraq: TV -- Reuters

Iraqi Activist: US Embassy Attackers Are the ‘Same People’ Who Have Been Killing Anti-Government Demonstrators For The Past Few Months

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 08:22 AM PST

US Marines fired tear gas at the Iran-backed militia and their supporters early on Wednesday as the siege outside the US embassy in Baghdad continued for a second day. Iraqi flags were seen being flown, as well as the yellow of Kataeb Hezbollah

Sputnik: US Embassy Attackers Are 'Same People' Killing Peaceful Iraqi Protesters - Activist

While Washington leaders have attempted to draw parallels between the Iraqi protesters demonstrating peacefully for months and the violent group who attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad Tuesday, the truth is that nonviolent protesters have also been victims of these violent groups, an Iraqi-American activist told Sputnik.

Several hundred protesters stormed the International Zone (IZ) in central Baghdad on Tuesday, laying siege to the US Embassy there and prompting police to fire tear gas into the crowd.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: An eye-opening report on what is the Iraqi sentiment towards these embassy "protesters". And what is even more surprising about this report is that it is from Russian media, not from a Western news source.

Pro-Iran Militia Members Are Preparing For A Long Stay Outside The U.S. Embassy In Baghdad

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 08:11 AM PST

Demonstrators waving Iraqi flags outside the US embassy in Iraq as the siege rumbled on for a second day. Trump has squarely levelled blame at Iran for the assault on the consulate

Cooking pots set up outside the embassy where 50 tents and a number of portable toilets have been shipped in for the long haul

Daily Mail: Siege at the US embassy: Pro-Iran militia storm Baghdad compound for a second day as Marines fire tear gas and video reveals how bloodthirsty Hezbollah fighter vowed to kill every American inside

* Yesterday thousands of demonstrators - many of them members of Iran-backed militia - rushed the heavily fortified Green Zone after US strikes killed 25 members of the Iran-backed Kataeb Hezbollah in air strikes
* One militant said: 'God willing if this fire reaches inside the embassy, we will not spare a single employee'
* President Donald Trump's reinforcements were engaged early Wednesday as tear gas was fired to disperse those who had spent the night outside the main gates. Several ambulances arrived to ferry the wounded
* Yesterday's riot, which included smashing through the embassy's security area, setting fires around the complex and hurling rocks, ended in a camp being set up outside the consulate
* Some 50 tents, portable bathrooms and cooking pots were shipped in as hundreds of the furious mob prepared a sit-in at the embassy's gates, demanding that the US withdraw from Iraq

Pro-Iran militia have stormed the US embassy in Baghdad for a second day, with US marines firing tear gas on the militants this morning following demands for American blood in retaliation for airstrikes on Iraq.

Yesterday thousands of demonstrators - many of them Iran-backed militants - rushed through the heavily fortified Green Zone after US air strikes killed 25 members of the Iran-backed Kataeb Hezbollah in air strikes Sunday night.

One furious militant said: 'God willing if this fire reaches inside the embassy, we will not spare a single employee.'

President Donald Trump's reinforcements were engaged early Wednesday when tear gas was fired to disperse those who had spent the night outside the main gates. Several ambulances arrived to ferry those stricken by the gas.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There are a number of impressive pictures in the above Daily Mail post. It is in Iran's interest to have these demonstrations continue. It diverts attention away from the massive anti-Iran demonstrations that have been occurring daily in Iraq for the past few months, as well as suppressing coverage of the anti-government demonstrations and hardships in Iran itself.

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