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Tuesday, January 28, 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: 27 Jan 2020 10:32 PM PST











China's Industrial Core Is Now At A Standstill In Response To The Spread Of The Wuhan Coronavirus. Global Supply Chains Being Impacted

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 10:03 PM PST

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Jan. 27 visits the site of a new hospital being built to treat patients of a new coronavirus on the outskirts of Wuhan, one of China's major manufacturing hubs. © Reuters

Nikkei Asian Review: China's industrial core at standstill as cities extend shutdown

Shanghai and Suzhou bar operations for another two weeks

BEIJING -- The coronavirus outbreak in China is hitting the country's manufacturing nerve centers, as measures including an unusual decision to extend the Lunar New Year holiday lengthen plant shutdowns in industrial centers.

The Chinese government said Monday that the weeklong holiday would be extended by three days to Feb. 2 to curb the spread of the virus. Some local governments have gone further, such as Shanghai, which on Monday ordered all but certain essential companies, including utilities and supermarkets, not to resume business before Feb. 9.

The restrictions threaten to hit not only domestic manufacturers, but also foreign companies operating in the country -- which are concentrated in big cities like Shanghai -- and global supply chains that rely on Chinese output.

The city of Suzhou, a technology hub located northwest of Shanghai, on Sunday barred businesses from resuming operations before Feb. 8, according to China Central Television. More than 1,500 Japanese-affiliated businesses including Panasonic and Kobe Steel operate in the vicinity.

Read more ....

Update: China Closes Foxconn, Johnson & Johnson, And Samsung Factories Amid Virus Outbreak (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: The expectation is that everything is going to return to normal within two weeks. I do not see that happening at all. This virus has not even come close to its peak, and no one has a clue on when that peak is reached.

China Coronavirus Outbreak Has Now Claimed 107 Lives, 4,474 Infected, Tens Of Thousands Under Observation

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 09:49 PM PST

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Reuters: China records first virus death in Beijing as toll passes 100

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The new strain of coronavirus spreading across China claimed its first victim in Beijing, officials said on Tuesday, as the death toll climbed to 106, the United States warned citizens against trips to the country and financial markets recoiled again at the potential impact on the world's second-biggest economy.

Amid mounting concern about the virus on Chinese social media, the National Health Commission said in a statement that all but six of those killed by the previously unknown flu-like virus were in Wuhan, Hubei province. Though cases of the virus have been confirmed in other countries, no fatalities have been reported outside China.

The city of 11 million, where the virus emerged late last year, is now under effective lockdown. Footage shared on China's Twitter-like Weibo social media platform showed residents of apartment compounds in the city chanting "Wuhan, you can do it!" and singing the national anthem out of their windows.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: John Hopkins is updating this outbreak in real time (click here).

Mongolia Has Closed Its Border With China Over Concerns Of The Coronavirus

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 09:25 PM PST


FOX News: Coronavirus outbreak: Mongolia closes China border

The government of Mongolia said Monday it has closed its large border with China, and Malaysia announced that it would bar visitors from the Chinese province at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak after medical officials warned its ability to spread was growing.

The ban makes both nations the second and third countries to close its border with China, following North Korea. Malaysian officials said they would halt the issue of visas for Chinese travelers from Wuhan, where the virus was first reported last month, and surrounding areas.

The decision was made after consultations with experts and following the advice of the World Health Organization. Mongolia has also closed its schools, playgrounds and universities until March 2.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Asian countries are starting to close their borders. Malaysia is no longer issuing visas with China. North Korea has closed its borders. Mongolia has not only closed its border with China, but they have also closed their schools, playgrounds and universities until March 2.

The decision by Mongolia's government concerns me. They have close ties with China, and are very aware on what is happening there. This closure tells me that their contacts in China are telling them that this outbreak is incredibly dangerous, and that all precautions should be taken. Hence the closure of the border.

More News On Mongolia Closing Its Borders With China

Mongolia closes border with China as virus spreads -- The Hill
Mongolia closes border, China extends holiday to fight virus -- AP
Mongolia shuts universities, border crossings to halt virus spread -- Reuters
Mongolia closes border with China, shuts down ALL universities & training centers to stop coronavirus spread -- RT

U.S. Soldiers Can Now Give Blood To Wounded Comrades With Battlefield Blood Transfusions

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 05:00 PM PST

Photo: The Rangers used a technique known as the Rangers O Low Titre Program or ROLO which allows soldiers to donate blood to their wounded comrades on the battlefield in a matter of minutes (file photo)

Daily Mail: Soldiers in firefight with Taliban become the first to give blood to wounded comrades with battlefield blood transfusions - before picking up their guns to carry on

* Group of Army Rangers ended up giving blood while coming under enemy fire
* The real-time blood transfusions took place in Afghanistan last summer
* The Rangers were coming under enemy fire while still donating their blood
* After it was all over, those who had donated got up and ran back into battle

A group of Army Rangers that were engaged in a firefight in Afghanistan ended up donating blood to a fellow soldier after one of their comrades became severely wounded during a battle.

The on-the-spot blood transfusion was carried out last summer and saw three other soldiers who were on the field give blood in a process that took less than 10 minutes.

After donating their blood, the soldiers then got back up and carried on fighting the enemy.

The Rangers used a technique known as the Rangers O Low Titre Program or ROLO which allows soldiers to donate blood to their wounded comrades on the battlefield in a matter of minutes.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Loss of blood and shock are major killers on the battlefield. This application is going to save lives.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 04:00 PM PST



William Noah Glucroft, DW: Auschwitz, 75 years later: A race against time

A visit to Auschwitz is a visit to the cusp of comprehension. That is the death camp's enduring power and its greatest challenge. As the world marked 75 years since Auschwitz was liberated, both aspects came to the fore.

Auschwitz is many things at once. As a historic site, it was a massive compound constructed for arbitrary cruelty and systematic mass murder. As a symbol, it is a lasting expression of a monstrous crime without parallel. And on Monday, for just a few hours, Auschwitz was converted into an event space to mark the camp's excruciating end 75 years ago.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 27, 2020

Auschwitz's harrowing history -- Heike Mund, DW

Confusion and lost time: how testing woes slowed China's coronavirus response -- Yawen Chen and Cate Cadell, Reuters

Factbox: Countries evacuating nationals from China virus areas -- Reuters

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know -- Alexander Freund, DW

The mystification of Qassem Soleimani -- Fatima Ahmad Alsmadi (Al Jazeera)

What Awaits Iran? -- Hilal Khashan, RCW/Geopolitical Futures

How Europe Fussed and Fretted After U.S. Attack on Soleimani -- Conrad Black, The New York Sun

Burundi: Is President Pierre Nkurunziza ready to relinquish power? -- Chrispin Mwakideu, DW

Britain's EU Journey: When Brexit won the battle of Europe -- Pan Pylas, AP

The Story of How Huawei Seduced Britain's Elite -- Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

UK faces choice on Huawei with global implications -- Kelvin Chan and Danica Kirka, AP

Why the UK will try to remain close to the EU -- Caroline de Gruyter, European Council on Foreign Relations

Salvini's failure brings respite for embattled Italian government -- Angela Giuffrida, The Guardian

The Fate of the China-Russia Alliance -- Lyle J. Goldstein, National Interest

World News Briefs -- January 27, 2020 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 03:19 PM PST

A medical official takes the body temperature of a man at the departure hall of the airport in Changsha, Hunan Province, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, China, January 27, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Reuters: U.S., Canada warn against China travel as virus spreads, markets slide

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The United States warned against travel to China on Monday and Canada issued a more narrow travel warning as a spreading coronavirus outbreak has killed 81 people, stranded tens of millions during the biggest holiday of the year and rattled global markets.

Global stocks fell, oil prices hit three-month lows, and China's yuan dipped to its weakest in 2020 as investors fretted about damage to the world's second-biggest economy from travel bans and an extended Lunar New Year holiday.

U.S. President Donald Trump offered China whatever help it needed on Monday, while the U.S. State Department said Americans should "reconsider" visiting all of China due to the new virus.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Saudi Arabia, UAE caution oil market against gloom over China virus.

Thousands flee northwest Syria as Assad pushes closer to Idlib city. Syrian army reaches outskirts of key city in Idlib province: monitor.

Iraqi forces kill four demonstrators as protesters lose popular cleric's support.

US embassy in Iraq hit by rocket attack, wounding at least one.

Iranian nuclear agency says it can enrich uranium at any percentage.

Trump: U.S. won't lift sanctions against Iran for negotiations.

Trump to host Netanyahu, Gantz and unveil peace plan. White House to release Middle East plan on Tuesday: Trump.

Palestinians threaten to quit Oslo Accords over Trump peace plan.

Lebanon's parliament to debate new budget amid protests.

Ageing Iran airliner crash-lands on highway, injures two, as US sanctions block fleet upgrades.

Turkish rescuers find last quake victims; death toll hits 41.

ASIA

China confirms 2,700 cases of virus, 40 counted elsewhere.

Trump offers China 'any help' as virus spreads, markets reel.

Report: Mongolia closes border with China amid coronavirus fears.

U.N. seeks more emergency aid for Afghanistan as poverty grows.

Afghan forces launch air, ground attacks on Taliban, killing 51.

Nearly half of Afghans want US, NATO troops to leave following peace deal - Poll.

Myanmar warns sanctions over Rohingya genocide will push it closer to China and dismisses 'debt trap' concerns.

Huge crowds line New Delhi streets to see daredevil motorbike stunts, camel cavalry and thousands of troops in parade on India's Republic Day.

Kim Jong-un's aunt reappears, six years after purge rumours.

Magnitude-6.3 earthquake strikes Solomon Islands.

AFRICA

Tripoli airport hit by rocket fire as UN slams Libya arms violations.

Erdogan in Algeria: Libya conflict 'won't be solved by military means'.

Germany calls for UN sanctions in Libya crisis.

Mogadishu left reeling as conflict and climate shocks spark rush to capital.

Burundi's ruling party picks Gen. Ndayishimiye as presidential candidate.

Tunisia's Ennahdha party dismisses new coalition government.

Outrage as Zimbabwe seeks Uganda's help on corruption.

Gambia: 'We are moving from high hopes to a letdown'.

Man behind football exposé revealed as source of Dos Santos leak.

EUROPE

EU tells UK it will 'never, never, never' compromise on single market.

Irish leader says EU to have stronger hand in UK trade talks.

Germany plans to evacuate citizens from Wuhan: Der Spiegel.

Auschwitz commemoration: Holocaust survivors and world leaders gather for 75th anniversary.

Brexit withdrawal deal must be implemented 'with rigor': EU's Barnier.

Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec resigns, calls for new elections.

Italy regional elections: Salvini fails in left-wing stronghold.

Reported Pompeo comments put Ukraine in awkward spot before visit.

Prince Andrew giving 'zero' cooperation to Epstein inquiry, say US prosecutors.

AMERICAS

GOP defends Trump as Bolton book adds pressure for witnesses.

Donald Trump calls John Bolton's bombshell claim he directly linked Ukraine aid to a Biden probe 'FALSE' and accuses former national security advisor of trying to 'sell' book after $2 million deal.

Mitt Romney and Susan Collins say it's LIKELY Republicans will vote to call witnesses for impeachment trial after leak from John Bolton's $2 million book reveals he will say Donald Trump DID tie Ukraine aid to Biden probe.

U.S. Supreme Court allows Trump's 'public charge' immigration curb.

Bolivia's interim president asks ministers to resign after announcing election run.

Peru election: Crushing blow for president's opponents Popular Force.

Mexico homicide march: Kin of deceased protest high murder rate.

Kobe Bryant's helicopter pilot was given 'special clearance to fly at or below 2,500 feet in dangerous weather conditions' - relying only on his eyesight rather than instruments before the crash.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

France warns U.S. against pulling troops from fight against Islamists in Africa's Sahel.

ISIS orders militants to begin conquering Israeli settlements and start targeting Jews.

France warns Pentagon Africa cuts would 'severely limit' counter-terror ops.

Poll: Many in US support Trump decision to kill Iran general.

Jordanian charged with 'terror' over tourist stabbings.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Stocks tumble as virus fears spark sell-off; Dow falls 453.

China virus outbreak rams global tourism, costing billions.

Coronavirus fears hit global shares and oil price.

Oil prices plummet over fears of coronavirus outbreak spreading.

China & India to take control of one-third of global economy.

Should John Bolton Testify?

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 03:01 PM PST





Axios: Republicans fear "floodgates" if Bolton testifies

There may be enough new pressure on Senate Republicans to allow witnesses at President Trump's impeachment trial, after the leak from a forthcoming book by former national security adviser John Bolton that contradicts what the White House has been telling the country.

Why it matters: This is a dramatic, 11th-hour inflection point for the trial, with an eyewitness rebuttal to Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to investigations into Joe Biden.

* GOP sources say the revelation could be enough to sway the four Republican senators needed for witnesses — especially since Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine have already strongly signaled they'd vote for witnesses.

Read more ....

Update #1: Republicans in Trump impeachment trial on the spot over Bolton book report (Reuters)
Update #2: John Bolton's bombshell gives the GOP a glimpse of its nightmare scenario (Washington Post)

WNU Editor: New York Times publishes a few lines from John Bolton's manuscript (that they did not see) that makes the claim (according to their source) that Trump explicitly told John Bolton "he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Biden".

The problem with this allegation is that Ukraine did get their security assistance, and that top Ukrainian officials (including President Zelenskiy) have said publicly that they were not under any pressure to initiate an investigation on the Bidens or anyone else. So why the fuss? Why the rush for opening the floodgates on witnesses? Can a President be prosecuted because he is open on what he thinks, even though his actions end up being opposite to what his point of view is? You tell me.

World Markets Tumble Over Coronavirus Fears

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 01:49 PM PST



Reuters: Wall Street tumbles as virus fuels economic worry

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks suffered their worst day in over three months on Monday as China extended the Lunar New Year holiday due to a virus outbreak, fueling worries about the economic impact of containment efforts in the world's second largest economy.

The benchmark S&P 500 suffered its worst weekly performance since September last week as China locked down several cities and curbed travel, reminding investors of the deadly SARS virus that killed nearly 800 people in 2002-03 and cost the global economy billions.

Still, some investors viewed any long-term economic impact as unlikely, given past experiences with viral outbreaks.

"This whole thing is way overblown," said Stephen Massocca, senior vice president at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco.

Read more ....

Update: Stocks tumble as virus fears spark sell-off; Dow falls 453 (AP)

WNU Editor: The markets will recover. But expect lousy China GDP numbers in the next quarter.

US Officials 'Investigating' 110 Patients Across 26 States For Deadly Coronavirus That Has Struck Five Americans

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 01:43 PM PST





Daily Mail: US officials are 'investigating' 110 patients across 26 states for deadly coronavirus that has struck five Americans so far - but the CDC has the nation's ONLY test for the killer infection

* The CDC says it is testing 110 patients across 26 states for the deadly coronavirus that originated in China
* All hospital have to send samples to the CDC, because that is the only agency that has a test for the virus
* Five US cases have been confirmed in Maricopa County, Arizona; Orange County and Los Angeles County, California; Chicago, Illinois and Snohomish County, Washington
* Officials said the risk to the general public is low and that the virus is not spreading in the US 'community' at this time
* Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, has offered to resign amid criticism he and other officials responded to the crisis too slowly
* In an interview, he said he and the city's Communist Party secretary would 'bear any responsibility' for the rising number of cases worldwide.
* Nearly 3,000 people have been sickened by coronavirus in at least 13 countries and 82 have died, all in China

US federal health officials say they are investigating 110 possible American victims across 26 states of China's deadly coronavirus as the newly-discovered infection continues to spread across the globe.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the number of cases has not risen but that they expect to test a growing number of potential patients in the coming days and weeks.

So far, there have been 32 patients confirmed negative, but there is likely a testing bottleneck because only the CDC has tests for coronavirus and hospitals have to send samples to the agency to get a diagnosis.

Read more ....

More News On The US Response To The Deadly Coronavirus

The Latest: No evidence new virus from China spreading in US -- AP
U.S. CDC says no new confirmed cases of coronavirus, 110 under investigation -- Reuters
New coronavirus 'not spreading' in the US, CDC says -- ABC News
Coronavirus: 110 people in 26 states 'under investigation' for disease; 5 U.S. cases so far -- USA Today
Trump offers China 'any help' as virus spreads, markets reel -- Reuters
What we know about the coronavirus cases in the US -- CNN
U.S. State Department warns against visiting China, citing coronavirus -- Reuters

World Health Organization Declares China's Coronavirus Is A HIGH Risk To Other Countries

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 09:30 PM PST

Daily Mail: World Health Organization declares China's coronavirus is a HIGH risk to other countries and admits it rated it 'moderate' by MISTAKE last week as death toll rises to 82

* A 50-year-old man in Beijing has become the latest, and 82nd, victim of the outbreak – he died earlier today
* Cambodia today announced its first case and a second person was diagnosed in Toronto, Canada
* The World Health Organization now says there is a 'very high' risk of the virus spreading inside China
* Experts in the UK think the true number of cases is higher than 100,000 already, with many undiagnosed
* China's New Year public holiday shutdown will now continue for at least another week to buy authorities time

The World Health Organization has upgraded China's risk to other countries as 'high' because of the deadly coronavirus outbreak and admitted the 'moderate' rating it issued last week was a mistake.

The WHO's chief is in Beijing for crisis talks and today admitted the danger of the infection spreading to other countries is higher than previously claimed and is 'very high' inside China.

A total of 15 countries or territories outside of China have now confirmed cases, with Sri Lanka and Cambodia the latest to announce and a second case diagnosed in Canada today, in the wife of the Toronto man who was the first patient.

Beijing also today saw the Wuhan coronavirus claim its 82nd death when a 50-year-old man died in hospital in the nation's capital at around 8pm local time (12pm GMT).

Read more ....

Update #1: WHO chief arrives in China for talks on coronavirus crisis as death toll jumps -- SCMP
Update #2: WHO Chief Arrives in China Amid Growing Virus Fears -- Foreign Policy

WNU Editor: I would not be surprised if in the coming days this "high" classification will be upgraded to "very high".

Update #3: John Hopkins is updating this outbreak in real time (click here).

Anger Floods Chinese Social Media Over The Coronavirus Outbreak

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 01:23 PM PST

A street view after Wuhan government announced to ban non-essential vehicles in downtown area to contain coronavirus outbreak, on the second day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 26, 2020. cnsphoto via REUTERS

New York Times: As Virus Spreads, Anger Floods Chinese Social Media

The sheer volume of criticism of the government, and the sometimes clever ways that critics dodge censors, are testing Beijing's ability to control the narrative.

SHANGHAI — Recently, someone following the coronavirus crisis through China's official news media would see lots of footage, often set to stirring music, praising the heroism and sacrifice of health workers marching off to stricken places.

But someone following the crisis through social media would see something else entirely: vitriolic comments and mocking memes about government officials, harrowing descriptions of untreated family members and images of hospital corridors loaded with patients, some of whom appear to be dead.

The contrast is almost never so stark in China. The government usually keeps a tight grip on what is said, seen and heard about it. But the sheer amount of criticism — and the often clever ways in which critics dodge censors, such as by referring to Xi Jinping, China's top leader, as "Trump" or by comparing the outbreak to the Chernobyl catastrophe — have made it difficult for Beijing to control the message.

In recent days, critics have pounced when officials in the city of Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, wore their protective masks incorrectly. They have heaped scorn upon stumbling pronouncements. When Wuhan's mayor spoke to official media on Monday, one commenter responded, "If the virus is fair, then please don't spare this useless person."

The condemnations stand as a rare direct challenge to the Communist Party, which brooks no dissent in the way it runs China. In some cases, Chinese leaders appear to be acknowledging people's fear, anger and other all-too-human reactions to the crisis, showing how the party can move dramatically, if sometimes belatedly, to mollify the public.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I know among my friends and contacts in China, especially in the past two days, they are feeling scared/angry/and apprehensive on what is going to happen next. And they are telling me that everyone in China, even those in the government. are feeling that way.

Wuhan Coronavirus News Updates -- January 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 12:44 PM PST





Daily Mail: Deadly coronavirus outbreak DID start at the animal market in Wuhan where snakes, rats and wolf cubs were slaughtered on order, tests confirm

* China's Centre for Disease Control, Prevention confirmed outbreak's epicentre
* Market was home to stalls trading snakes, wolf pups, foxes, rats and peacocks
* Epidemic has so far claimed lives of more than 80 people and infected 3,000

The deadly Chinese coronavirus outbreak began at a wholesale animal market in Wuhan city, experts have confirmed.

Scientists from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said tests proved humans caught it from animals at the Huanan Seafood Wholesales Market.

It is not clear which animal was carrying the pneumonia-like illness but the market was home to stalls trading dozens of different species, including rats and wolf cubs.

Last week experts suggested the disease may have originated in snakes, which are known carriers of coronaviruses.

Read more ....

Wuhan Coronavirus News Updates -- January 27, 2020

The Latest: No evidence new virus from China spreading in US -- AP
Coronavirus: 73 test negative in UK as China death toll hits 81 – live updates -- The Guardian
China battles coronavirus outbreak: All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera

Coronavirus: Death toll rises to 81 as China extends holiday -- BBC
China virus death toll now at 81, more than 2,700 cases confirmed -- Al Jazeera
China coronavirus: Premier Li Keqiang orders Wuhan hospitals to admit patients as city struggles to cope -- SCMP
Chinese premier visits Wuhan, epicentre of coronavirus outbreak -- Al Jazeera
Coronavirus claims first life in China's capital, as spread continue across the globe -- ABC News Online
Beijing city reports first coronavirus death: state TV -- Reuters
Coronavirus: At least 81 dead in China; WHO head in Beijing -- UPI
In one Wuhan hospital, long lines, fear and frustration -- AFP
China coronavirus: mayor of Wuhan admits mistakes -- The Guardian
China's coronavirus outbreak sees Government budget $12.8 billion to help contain spread -- ABC News Online
Incredible footage shows China's 1,000-bed coronavirus hospital starting to take shape after just FOUR DAYS of construction as the nation rushes to build three MORE -- Daily Mail
Mongolia closes border, China extends holiday to fight virus -- AP
China coronavirus: Singapore reports fifth confirmed case -- SCMP
Wife of Canada's first coronavirus patient tests positive; 19 under investigation -- Reuters
Anxious foreigners await rescue from China virus epicentre -- AFP
Africa on alert for first case of Wuhan coronavirus -- SCMP
Which countries have confirmed cases of new coronavirus? -- Al Jazeera
Factbox: Countries evacuating nationals from China virus areas -- Reuters

U.S. Dropped 7,423 Munitions Against The Taliban In 2019

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 12:28 PM PST

A-10 Thunderbolt IIs fly a combat mission over Afghanistan. Sharp disputes arose again at a congressional hearing over Air Force plans to replace the A-10 as a close air support platform (Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon/Air Force)

Military Times: The US is bombing the hell out of the Taliban as munitions dropped reaches nearly 10-year high

In the backdrop of peace negotiations to end the 18-year long war U.S. aircraft are bombing the hell out of the Taliban and other militants as the warring parties slog through never-ending discussions to bring the fighting to a close.

According to U.S. Air Forces Central Command, U.S. aircraft dropped 7,423 munitions in 2019 — that's the highest number of bombs released in nearly a decade.

In 2018, U.S. warplanes dropped 7,362 bombs — the second highest total in a year thus far since AFCENT began publishing the number of munitions released in Afghanistan.

Read more ....

Update: US records highest airstrike rate in Afghanistan for a decade (Janes).

WNU Editor: Everyone knows that the US has intensified its bombing campaign against the Taliban to get them to the negotiating table. But you have to wonder if dropping 7,423 munitions in 2019 will make a difference.

Pentagon Confirms Air Force E-11A Networking Plane Has Crashed In Taliban-Controlled Territory In Afghanistan

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 11:38 AM PST





Daily Mail: Pentagon DENY US military plane was shot down by the Taliban but confirm jet 'with less than ten on board' crashed in Afghanistan

* Aircraft crashed in Dih Yek region of Afghanistan at 1.10pm local time Monday
* Taliban says it shot down plane and that high-ranking officers were among dead
* US official said surveillance plane with 'less than 10 people on board' crashed
* Footage from the scene shows wreck with US Air Force logo visible on the side
* Pentagon officials later denied that the jet was shot down by the militant group

The Pentagon has denied the Taliban shot down a US military plane over Afghanistan killing everyone on board, despite the terror group claiming responsibility.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the militant group, said that high-ranking American officers were among the dead after the aircraft was brought down in Dih Yak district around 1.10pm local time.

US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said there were no indications so far that the plane had been brought down by enemy activity.

One of the officials said there were believed to be fewer than 10 people on board the small military plane.

It comes after footage was posted online by a Taliban-affiliated journalist showed wreckage of the plane with a US Air Force symbol on the side.

Read more ....

More News On A US Air Force E-11A Networking Plane Crashing In Taliban-Controlled Territory In Afghanistan

Air Force E-11A Networking Plane Has Crashed in Afghanistan, Top General Confirms -- Military.com
A US Air Force battlefield communications plane crashed in Taliban-held territory in Afghanistan -- Business Insider
Highly Specialized Air Force E-11A Communications Aircraft Crashes And Burns In Afghanistan (Updated) -- Warzone/The Drive
U.S. military plane crashes in Afghanistan, Taliban claims responsibility -- Reuters
US says mystery crash in Afghanistan was US Air Force plane -- AP
US army investigates mystery plane crash in eastern Afghanistan -- France 24
U.S. military confirms E-11a airplane crash in Afghanistan -- Reuters
U.S. Air Force plane crashes in Taliban-held territory in Afghanistan -- CBS
US military plane crashes in Afghanistan, Taliban claims responsibility -- ABC News Online
Afghanistan: Taliban claim they shot down US air force plane -- The Guardian
US military investigating reports of Afghanistan plane crash -- CNN
US jet crashes in Taliban territory in Afghanistan: report -- The Hill
Afghan plane crash: Mystery over crash in Taliban territory -- BBC
Afghanistan: Plane crashes in Taliban territory -- DW
Taliban says US plane 'crashed' in eastern Afghanistan -- Al Jazeera
U.S. Air Force jet crashes in Afghanistan, reports say -- UPI
Taliban claims they DOWNED plane carrying high-ranking US officers in Afghanistan – Reuters -- RT

World News Briefs -- January 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 03:03 PM PST



Daily Mail: US scrambles to evacuate American citizens from coronavirus-infected Wuhan as China death toll climbs to 81 and officials warn the strain is spreading faster than predicted

* A single charter flight from Wuhan to San Francisco is scheduled for Tuesday
* Officials warned there is little space on the flight for private US citizens in addition to staff from the US consulate in Wuhan
* The plane is a Boeing 737 jet, which can carry 230 people
* The consulate began reaching out to all Americans registered as living in Wuhan - roughly 1,000 - last week to offer them a seat
* The State Department said 'priority will be given to individuals at greater risk from coronavirus'
* Upon arrival in the US passengers are expected to be quarantined and screened
* Coronavirus has sickened more than 2,900 people in at least 10 countries
* Seven cases are confirmed in North America - two in Canada and five in the US
* The death toll in China climbed to 81 on Monday
* The Chinese government is sending reinforcements into Wuhan, where the outbreak originated late last month

The US government is rushing to evacuate Americans from the coronavirus-stricken Chinese city of Wuhan as officials warn that the deadly strain's spread is picking up speed.

A charter flight is scheduled to fly from the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport to San Francisco International Airport on Tuesday.

The US consulate in Wuhan began reaching out to all Americans registered as living in the city - of which there are said to be roughly 1,000 - last week to offer them a seat on the plane.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Thousands flee northwest Syria as Assad pushes closer to Idlib city. Syrian army reaches outskirts of key city in Idlib province: monitor.

Iraqi forces kill four demonstrators as protesters lose popular cleric's support.

US embassy in Iraq hit by rocket attack, wounding at least one.

Iranian nuclear agency says it can enrich uranium at any percentage.

Trump: U.S. won't lift sanctions against Iran for negotiations.

Trump to host Netanyahu, Gantz and unveil peace plan. White House to release Middle East plan on Tuesday: Trump.

Palestinians threaten to quit Oslo Accords over Trump peace plan.

Lebanon's parliament to debate new budget amid protests.

Ageing Iran airliner crash-lands on highway, injures two, as US sanctions block fleet upgrades.

ASIA

Trump offers China 'any help' as virus spreads, markets reel.

Report: Mongolia closes border with China amid coronavirus fears.

Afghan forces launch air, ground attacks on Taliban, killing 51.

Nearly half of Afghans want US, NATO troops to leave following peace deal - Poll.

Myanmar warns sanctions over Rohingya genocide will push it closer to China and dismisses 'debt trap' concerns.

Huge crowds line New Delhi streets to see daredevil motorbike stunts, camel cavalry and thousands of troops in parade on India's Republic Day.

Kim Jong-un's aunt reappears, six years after purge rumours.

Magnitude-6.3 earthquake strikes Solomon Islands.

AFRICA

Tripoli airport hit by rocket fire as UN slams Libya arms violations.

Erdogan in Algeria: Libya conflict 'won't be solved by military means'.

Germany calls for UN sanctions in Libya crisis.

Mogadishu left reeling as conflict and climate shocks spark rush to capital.

Burundi's ruling party picks Gen. Ndayishimiye as presidential candidate.

Tunisia's Ennahdha party dismisses new coalition government.

Outrage as Zimbabwe seeks Uganda's help on corruption.

Gambia: 'We are moving from high hopes to a letdown'.

Man behind football exposé revealed as source of Dos Santos leak.

EUROPE

Germany plans to evacuate citizens from Wuhan: Der Spiegel.

Auschwitz commemoration: Holocaust survivors and world leaders gather for 75th anniversary.

Brexit withdrawal deal must be implemented 'with rigor': EU's Barnier.

Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec resigns, calls for new elections.

Italy regional elections: Salvini fails in left-wing stronghold.

Reported Pompeo comments put Ukraine in awkward spot before visit.

Prince Andrew giving 'zero' cooperation to Epstein inquiry, say US prosecutors.

AMERICAS

Donald Trump calls John Bolton's bombshell claim he directly linked Ukraine aid to a Biden probe 'FALSE' and accuses former national security advisor of trying to 'sell' book after $2 million deal.

Mitt Romney and Susan Collins say it's LIKELY Republicans will vote to call witnesses for impeachment trial after leak from John Bolton's $2 million book reveals he will say Donald Trump DID tie Ukraine aid to Biden probe.

U.S. Supreme Court allows Trump's 'public charge' immigration curb.

Bolivia's interim president asks ministers to resign after announcing election run.

Peru election: Crushing blow for president's opponents Popular Force.

Mexico homicide march: Kin of deceased protest high murder rate.

Kobe Bryant's helicopter pilot was given 'special clearance to fly at or below 2,500 feet in dangerous weather conditions' - relying only on his eyesight rather than instruments before the crash.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

ISIS orders militants to begin conquering Israeli settlements and start targeting Jews.

France warns Pentagon Africa cuts would 'severely limit' counter-terror ops.

Poll: Many in US support Trump decision to kill Iran general.

Jordanian charged with 'terror' over tourist stabbings.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Coronavirus fears hit global shares and oil price.

Oil prices plummet over fears of coronavirus outbreak spreading.

China & India to take control of one-third of global economy.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 27, 2020

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 10:06 AM PST

Breaking Defense: Pentagon Chief Readies Congress For Messy Budget Battles

The DoD wants to invest in new technologies, but no real budget growth means it's going to have to cut, and cut big to free up cash.

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Mark Esper began prepping Congress for what will likely be a series of heated battles over military modernization and scrapping legacy systems on Friday, warning that budgets "aren't going to get any better. They are where they are."

Esper's comments reflect the reality of the two-year budget deal reached between Congress and the White House in July, which caps the 2021 budget at $740 billion, just a tick higher than the $738 billion allocated this year.

The internal squabbles set off by that flatline bled into the open last week when Navy, Army, and Air Force officials all said they're not receiving their fair share of the budgetary pie.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 27, 2020

Why Does the US Spend So Much on Defense? -- Patrick Collins, Defense One

Iran war vote and top-secret brief scheduled in Congress, despite impeachment -- Defense News

The Navy Is Making Big Changes to the Way it Plans for Future Ships -- Military.com

The Navy's newest aircraft carrier just took a major step on its path to deployment -- Task & Purpose

The U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ship: A Successful Catastrophe? -- National Interest

Norfolk Naval Shipyard breaks ground on $200M dry dock renovation -- UPI

U.S. Navy's first MQ-4C Triton UAS Begins Initial Pacific Deployment -- Naval News

Navy fast-tracks offensive capabilities like hypersonic weapons, SPY-6 radar, and Maritime Tomahawk -- Military & Aerospace

DoD Stays Quiet About FY 2021 Funding For Expanding Navy Fleet -- USNI News

The Air Force Has Given the F-22 a New Weapon (And a New Way to Wage War Too) -- National Interest

US Air Force Use Mi-24 Helicopters to Simulate Enemy in Drills -- Sputnik

US Army picks 6 to work on autoloader for extended-range cannon -- Defense News

Prospective Army Battalion COs Must Now Face Senior Officer Grilling, Psych Review -- Military.com

A new satellite to produce imagery for the intelligence community -- C4ISRNet

Two Army Ranger medics saved lives by taking fresh blood from uninjured soldiers in the middle of a firefight -- Task & Purpose

US Army Reserve soldier serving in Syria dies from injuries sustained in rollover accident -- ABC News

US Army general says he's mourning a soldier killed in Syria instead of Kobe Bryant -- Business Insider

Lockheed adds Dunford, former top US military officer, to board -- Defense News

A group of sham companies sold the US Navy $2.7 million worth of nothing -- Quartz

Navy investigating secret videos of sailors posted on porn site -- The Hill

The US is committed to Syria mission, says top American general in the Middle East -- Military Times/AP

Why America Loses Wars. -- Heather Venable, RCD/Strategy Bridge

British Defence Ministry reveals why a drone program now costs $427M extra -- Defense News

UFOpen for business: Britain's Royal Air Force to declassify X-Files kept in secret for years -- RT

Russia invites NATO members to International Army Games exercise -- Defense Post

Report: Russia delivers S-400 missile system to China -- UPI

Watchdog: China is 2nd largest arms producer behind the US -- AP

With Its New Aircraft Carrier, Is China Now a Blue Water Navy? -- The Diplomat

Pakistan Navy vs. Indian Navy: Complete list of Weapons they possess -- Global Village Space

India's Army stocking up munitions for 40-day war -- Times of India

Egyptian army flexes muscle near border with Libya -- Al-Monitor

Head of US Naval Forces Europe: Russia's Defense Strategy Is The Way To Bolster Your Security Without Breaking The Bank

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 07:35 AM PST

A Russian S-400 air-defense system on display, with tulips in the foreground, at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, April 12, 2019. REUTERS/Alexey Pavlishak

Business Insider: US allies worried about pricey weapons should look at what Russia's doing, the Navy's top officer in Europe says

* US and NATO officials have expressed concern about the growing size and sophistication of the Russian military arsenal.
* But the way Russia is deploying those weapons has some lessons for countries that want to bolster their defenses without breaking the bank, according to the head of US Naval Forces in Europe.

Usually when US military officials discuss Russian weapons systems, it's with words of caution.

Navy Adm. James Foggo, the head of US Naval Forces Europe and Africa, for example, has warned more than once about increasingly sophisticated Russian submarines and their ability reach into Europe with sub-launched missiles.

But in Washington, DC, in December, when asked about the US military's adoption of unmanned systems, long-range weapons, and long-range sensors and what that could mean for his operations, Foggo struck a different tone, citing Russian tactics as ones to emulate.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Navy Adm. James Foggo is talking about having systems like this .... 'Missile hunters': Russian military to have TWICE AS MANY radars able to spot stealthy hypersonic projectiles in Arctic (RT).

China Develops Its Own Special Forces

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 07:21 AM PST

Reuters

Michael Peck, National Interest: China Has Been Watching America, And Now Has Special Forces Of Its Own

America heavily relies on its elite special forces.

Key point: Special forces are only as good as their transportation, and China is developing the capability to convey special forces to where they are needed.

Some special force units get all the attention. America's Delta Force, Russia's Spetnatz and Britain's SAS have glamorous reputations.

When was the last time you heard about China's commandos?

But Chinese special forces exist, and they have been growing in size, sophistication and global reach, according to the U.S. Army's Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO). Their command structure has been streamlined and training has become more realistic.

China put these changes to this summer during the first comprehensive assessment of its special forces. The exercise, Ingenious Special Operations Soldier-2018, "tested all levels of command, including brigade, battalion, company, element and squad levels," FMSO said. "While media coverage of the exercise emphasized tests of special forces skills, such as fast-roping from helicopters, night operations and sniper attacks, the underlying point of the exercise is likely to be the test of command capabilities."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese government made a decision over a decade ago to have a professional military, Hence the investment on having special forces.

Top 20 World's Arms Sellers

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 06:35 AM PST


WNU Editor: If trends are any prediction, it will only be a matter of time before a Chinese arms company breaks into the top five .... China is now world's 2nd-biggest weapons producer — SIPRI report (DW).

Should The U.S. Sell The F-35 To Saudi Arabia?

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 06:31 AM PST



Shimon Arad, War On The Rocks: The United States Shouldn't Sell the F-35 to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia wants to purchase Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth fighter jet. The aircraft is the most advanced fighter in the world, and it would give Riyadh a major military advantage in the Gulf. In addition, acquiring the F-35 would deepen its ties with Washington at a crucial moment. Its military campaign in Yemen and the shocking murder of Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 has dealt major reputational damage to Saudi Arabia in the United States, particularly in Congress. A lucrative defense purchase won't entirely reverse this trend, but it could be a first step.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Israeli security concerns aside, I  think it is only a question of time before a U.S. - Saudi F-35 deal is announced. There is just too much money involved, and the Saudis will look upon such a sale as a reaffirmation on the U.S. commitment to work with Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. Marines Get Their 1st F-35 Fighter Jet that Can Operate On An Aircraft Carrier

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 06:25 AM PST

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Cedar L. Hinton, commanding officer of Marine Wing Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing lands VMFA-314's first F-35C Lightning II on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., January 21, 2020. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Charles Plouffe)

Military.com: Marines Get 1st F-35 Fighter Jet that Can Operate on an Aircraft Carrier

A California-based Marine Corps squadron has received its first F-35C Joint Strike Fighter jet, which can fly off aircraft carriers and make longer-range flights.

Lt. Col. Cedar Hinton, commanding officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314, flew the next-generation Lightning II fighter jet to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Tuesday.

The Marine Corps has carried out flight operations in the "B" variant of the F-35, which can take off and land vertically on amphibious assault ships, since 2015. This is the first time a Marine squadron has had a "C" variant, which is designed for carrier operations.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It has taken a long time for the Marines to get this version of the F-35.

Was Twitter Instrumental In Deescalating U.S. - Iran Tensions?

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 06:17 AM PST



Sirwan Kajjo, VOA: Did Tweets Help Deescalate Recent US-Iran Tensions?

WASHINGTON - Minutes after Iran launched a barrage of ballistic missiles against U.S. forces in Iraq earlier this month, its foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, came out with a tweet, saying that his country did not seek to escalate with the United States.

And minutes after Zarif's comment, U.S. President Donald Trump posted a tweet, reassuring the American people that Iran's attack caused no casualties among U.S. military personnel.

The Iranian missile attack was in retaliation for the killing of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, who died in a recent U.S. airstrike in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Tweets and private messages

And while the world was awaiting a major confrontation between the two longtime foes, those Twitter messages from both sides helped mitigate the tensions and allowed back-channel diplomacy to take its course, experts argue.

"The relatively synchronous transmission of tweets, albeit of limited content, allowed both parties to publicly counteract the more strident messages coming via official news agencies and press releases," said Randall Rogan, professor of communication at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I personally think the tweets that were sent during that week helped immensely to deescalate the tensions between the two nations, and to look for a face-saving way out. Back-channels take time, a tweet is immediate, and the U.S. - Iran crisis needed to be deescalated immediately.

Iran's Military Knew It Accidentally Shot Down A Passenger Plane Moments After It Happened

Posted: 27 Jan 2020 06:04 AM PST

Debris of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that crashed after taking off from the airport near Tehran on Wednesday. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Business Insider: Iran's military knew it accidentally shot down a passenger plane moments after it happened, and a stunning new report details how it was covered up — even from Iran's president

* On January 8, a passenger plane carrying 176 people crashed outside of Tehran, in Iran. Everyone on board was killed in the crash.
* The plane was shot down by two antiaircraft missiles fired, by mistake, by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Iran's military was on high alert in early January after the United States ordered a drone strike in Iraq that killed Iranian military commander general Qassem Soleimani.
* According to a new report in the New York Times, Iran knew that it had accidentally fired on the aircraft immediately — but the country's Revolutionary Guards hid the truth for days, even from Iran's president Hassan Rouhani.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, carrying 176 people, crashed in Iran on January 8. Everyone on board was killed in the crash.

The cause of the crash, Iran's government initially reported, was unknown. Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps — a military division that answers directly to the country's supreme leader — suggested a potential mechanical failure on the Boeing 737 plane involved.

But days later, following claims from multiple foreign governments suggesting the plane was shot down, Iran admitted its mistake: A Revolutionary Guards soldier, on high alert in the wake of the US-ordered drone strike on Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, accidentally fired two antiaircraft missiles at the passenger flight.

That's according to a new piece in the New York Times on Sunday, which reports that Iran's Revolutionary Guards knew it had made the mistake immediately after the missiles were fired.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It was Iran's Revolutionary Guards who shot down the plane, and they are answerable to to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. As far as they are concerned, they did their job by notifying their superior on what had happened. I can also understand why the IRG wanted this information kept secret .... they did not want their anti-aircraft operators to have any doubts on doing their job. The question that needs to be asked is why did Ayatollah Ali Khamenei decide to keep this information secret from his President.

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