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Thursday, January 30, 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: 29 Jan 2020 10:50 PM PST











Picture Of The Day

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 10:19 PM PST

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wearing a mask and protective suit speaks to medical workers as he visits the Jinyintan hospital where patients with the new coronavirus are being treated, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 27, 2020. cnsphoto via REUTERS

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Inside Wuhan after China quarantines virus-hit city (Reuters).

Thailand's Government Admits It Is 'Unable To Stop The Spread' Of China's Deadly Coronavirus

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 10:16 PM PST

A banner on coronavirus is pictured at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi international airport in Thailand, January 25, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Daily Mail: Thailand admits it is 'unable to stop the spread' of China's deadly coronavirus as health minister warns more cases are coming

* Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said there are too many Chinese visitors
* At least 22,000 people from Wuhan are believed to have visited in January
* Thailand, with 14 cases, is so far the worst affected country outside of China

Thailand is 'not able to stop the spread' of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus which has been imported from China, according to a health minister in the country.

With 14 confirmed cases of the disease, Thailand is the worst-affected nation outside of China.

And it became the first one to confirm overseas cases on January 13, before Japan followed suit on January 16.

But health minister Anutin Charnvirakul has reportedly admitted the country cannot stop the virus from spreading because there are so many Chinese travellers there.

Read more ....

Update: Thai Government Admits "Unable To Stop" Spread Of Coronavirus (Zero Hedge).

WNU Editor: So much for the media narrative that I have been hearing from all the experts for the past week that this is an outbreak that can be controlled.

Yemen’s Iran-Aligned Houthis Say They Fired At Saudi Targets Including Aramco Oil Facilities

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 09:45 PM PST

Reuters: Yemen's Houthis say they fired at Aramco, other Saudi targets

DUBAI (Reuters) - Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement said on Wednesday it had fired rocket and drone strikes at Saudi targets including Aramco oil facilities, the group's first claim of such attacks since it offered to halt them four months ago.

Few details were given of the precise nature and timing of the attacks, and there was no immediate confirmation from the Saudi authorities of any strikes.

In comments reported by Houthi-run Al Masirah TV, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saria said more than 15 "operations" had been carried out in the past week inside Saudi Arabia in retaliation for an escalation in air strikes.

Read more ....

More News On Yemen's Iran-Aligned Houthis Saying They Fired At Saudi Targets Including Aramco Oil Facilities

Houthis Claim Responsibility For Today's Failed Air Strike On Aramco Facilities -- OilPrice.com
Saudi Air Defenses Thwarted Attack on Aramco -- The Wall Street Journal
Yemeni Rebels Target Saudi Aramco in Jazan -- Bloomberg
Yemen's Houthis Launch Failed Missile Attack On Saudi Aramco Facility -- Zero Hedge
Houthis claim attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities -- Anadolu Agency

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 29, 2020

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 09:34 PM PST

Chinese President Xi jinping speaks during a meeting with Tedros Adhanom, director general of the World Health Organization, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, January 28, 2020. Naohiko Hatta/Pool via REUTERS

Gordon Watts, Asia Times: Wuhan virus threat is Xi's 'greatest challenge'

Ruling Communist Party goes on a 'war footing' as confirmed cases continue to surge on the mainland and across the globe

President Xi Jinping has put China on a war footing against an enemy with more firepower than a carrier group.

As the microscopic predator continues to stalk the streets of the country's major cities, the general secretary of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) conjured images of "demons" in the battle to curb the spread of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus.

Nearly 8,000 people have become infected by the 2019-nCoV disease with the death toll rising to 170. Already the tightly controlled state-owned media have called for calm and warned of the dangers of mass "panic" after practically ignoring the unfolding tragedy in the early part of last week.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 29, 2020

China faces bigger epidemic than Sars in 'complicated and grave' coronavirus outbreak -- Josephine Ma and Laurie Chen, SCMP

Coronavirus could strengthen China -- Frank Sieren, DW

New coronavirus may be much more contagious than initially thought -- Jessica Hamzelou, New Scientist

Factbox: What do we know about the new coronavirus? -- Reuters

What is coronavirus and how worried should we be? -- Sarah Boseley, Hannah Devlin and Martin Belam. The Guardian

New coronavirus looks set to cause a pandemic – how do we control it? -- Debora MacKenzie, New Scientist

How Africa is preparing for the coronavirus -- Jan Philipp Wilhelm, DW

China coronavirus: WHO in uncharted territory in dealing with emergency in world's second largest economy -- Finbarr Bermingham, SCMP

Chaos in Iraq may further US regional strategy -- MK Bhadrakumar, Asia Times

Trump's Mideast plan: What's in it? -- Rami Ayyub. Reuters

The Long-Term Costs of NATO Expansion -- Michael Krepon, National Interest

Zelensky's reform drive appears to have stalled -- Oleg Sukhov, Kyiv Post

Huawei Wins the 5G Battle for Britain (But America and China's 5G Fight Is Not Over) -- Daniel R. DePetris, National Interest

Brexit's divorce date is set. But what will happen to the UK on January 31? -- Peta Fuller, ABC News Online

What Did Canadians Do to Deserve This Government? -- Conrad Black, National Post

Russiagate Regrets: Why Washington Remains Focused on the Wrong Foreign Influence -- Lyle J. Goldstein, National Interest

World News Briefs -- January 29, 2020 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 04:00 PM PST



Reuters: WHO to reconsider declaring global emergency as China virus evacuations begin

BEIJING/GENEVA (Reuters) - Foreign governments flew their citizens out of the epicentre of China's coronavirus outbreak on Wednesday, as the number of deaths jumped to 133 and the World Health Organization voiced "grave concern" about person-to-person spread in three other countries.

The WHO said its Emergency Committee would reconvene behind closed doors on Thursday to decide whether the rapid spread of the new virus from China now constitutes a global emergency.

"In the last few days the progress of the virus especially in some countries, especially human-to-human transmission, worries us," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva, naming Germany, Vietnam and Japan.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Fire erupts on Panama-flagged oil tanker off UAE coast.

Syria war: Army 'recaptures' key town from opposition in Idlib.

Turkey's Erdogan says Russia not abiding by Syria agreements: NTV.

Trump Middle East plan: Palestinians reject 'conspiracy'. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to Trump peace plan: 'No, no and no'.

World leaders react to Trump's Middle East plan.

Iraq economic crisis: 'Everyone is suffering'.

Iraq president gives parliament 3 days to name new PM.

Iran lawmakers call for debate on quitting nuclear arms treaty.

UAE confirms first cases of new coronavirus.

Dutch court rejects war crimes case against Israeli military chiefs.

ASIA

China virus evacuations begin as death toll rises at outbreak epicenter.

Coronavirus: Japan and US fly citizens home as China death toll jumps.

Two Hongkongers infected in mainland China as city gets 10th confirmed coronavirus case.

South Korea police authorized to arrest coronavirus patients.

Afghan security forces killed in Taliban attacks on checkpoints.

Pakistan shuts main Afghan border crossing after mortar fire.

'Bleak domineering vision': Amnesty says human rights at risk as Asia-Pacific's strongmen rise.

New Zealand volcano death toll reaches 21 as victim dies in hospital.

AFRICA

Mali plans to increase the size of its army to rein in jihadists.

First African measures to stop spread of Chinese virus.

Coronavirus: 'No plans to evacuate Kenyans from China'.

Nigeria closes shop over coronavirus seafood fears.

Libya conflict: Government forces stop Haftar from taking Misrata.

Macron accuses Erdogan of failing 'to keep word' on Libya.

Turkey says France to blame for Libya instability.

UAE accused of forcing Sudanese to fight in war.

Why African countries seek greater role in Libya peace process.

Attack kills 15 in eastern DR Congo.

Botswana opposition loses bid to nullify election results.

EUROPE

Russia limits rail service with China from Jan. 31 over coronavirus.

Putin pardons US-Israeli woman jailed in Russia for drug trafficking.

Europe steps up China virus fight, aims to repatriate 600.

Paris to evacuate citizens from Wuhan as fourth coronavirus case confirmed in France.

EU Parliament backs UK's departure terms from bloc. European Parliament to give final Brexit approval in Brussels vote.

EU rules out Huawei ban — but maps out strict rules on 5G.

French protesters take to the streets in 8th protest day against pension reform.

Hungary border patrol fires warning shots to stop refugees.

Catalan president to call early election as divisions grow.

Prince Andrew 'angry' at claims he is not cooperating on Epstein inquiry.

AMERICAS

Trump attacks Bolton as Senate impeachment trial enters new phase.

US, Canada sanction eight over Crimea involvement.

Restrictions for airlines flying to China under discussion: White House's Kudlow.

US Fed watching global economy for signs of infection from virus.

Americans flown from China virus zone arrive in California.

Coronavirus in the U.S.: Map of where the virus has been confirmed across the country.

Battle looms over witnesses as defence rests in Trump impeachment trial. GOP scrambles to sidestep messy witness fight.

US Congress passes bill in support of Tibet human rights.

White House threatens veto of House Iran bills.

Canada cuts consular staff in China amid coronavirus outbreak.

Peru's opposition leader Keiko Fujimori in custody again.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Suspected Islamist militants kill at least 30 in Congo: local officials.

UN: Islamic State militants not getting fair trials in Iraq.

Islamic State tries to stage comeback amid rising US-Iran tensions.

Five killed in jihadist attack in Cameroon.

Families languish in winter winds, legal limbo at Syria's Islamic State camp.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Stocks lose steam in wake of Fed statement.

Trump signs US Mexico Canada Agreement.

Coronavirus: Starbucks closes 2,000 Chinese branches.

McDonald's closes all branches in virus-hit Chinese province.

John Bolton Described Trump - Zelinsky Relationship And Phone Calls As Cordial In 2019

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 03:23 PM PST


WNU Editor: So much for the media narrative that says John Bolton's book makes the claim that in their phone calls and meetings President Trump strong-armed/threatened Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

Russian Government Is Getting Ready For The Coronavirus

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 03:14 PM PST

© Sputnik / Kirill Kallinikov

RT: Putin tells Russia's government to 'be prepared' as new coronavirus goes global

As infections spread worldwide, Vladimir Putin has called on Russian officials to do all they can to prevent the spread of the new Chinese coronavirus in Russia.

The Russian president emphasized the goal must be to minimize human losses. So far, the number of confirmed cases in Russia remains at zero, but given the length of the country's border with China and the extent of bilateral trade, it's considered only a matter of time before the virus appears.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: My contacts in Russia are telling me that the Russia - China/Manchurian border is still open. But they will close it if the coronavirus virus continues to spread.

More News On The Russian Government Getting Ready For The Coronavirus

Wuhan virus: Russian airline suspends flights to Europe over coronavirus -- Straits Times
Moscow imposes special safety measures at tourist sites over coronavirus fears -- Reuters
Russia Ramps Up Safety Measures Over Coronavirus Fears -- RFE
How Is Russia Preparing for the Coronavirus? -- Moscow Times

Is Putin's New Title To Be 'Supreme Ruler'?

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 03:04 PM PST

Russia's President Vladimir Putin submitted the amendments to the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, on Monday, just days after presenting them in the annual state-of-the-nation address last week

Daily Mail: Kremlin confirms new title of SUPREME RULER for Vladimir Putin is being considered following his recent changes to Russia's constitution

* The title is one of several proposed by a new government commission
* It is seen as part of Putin bid to cling on to power after his presidency ends
* Kremlin played down significance claiming Putin 'has no view' on the new title

Vladimir Putin could become Russia's 'Supreme Ruler' when he steps down as president under proposed changes to the country's constitution, it emerged today.

The Kremlin confirmed that the new title was one of several proposals but played down its significance claiming Putin 'has no view' on it.

The proposal was put forward by a government commission looking into constitutional changes widely seen as a bid by Putin to 'rule for life' after his presidency ends in 2024.

Putin has already announced sweeping changes to the constitution that were passed by parliament earlier this month.

Read more ....

Update #1: Supreme Ruler Putin? Kremlin non-committal on proposed new job description -- Reuters
Update #2: Vladimir Putin has no view on proposed new title of 'Supreme Leader', the Kremlin says -- Telegraph.co.uk

WNU Editor:  Good grief!!!

Is The Spread Of The Wuhan Coronavirus Also Spreading Anti-Chinese Racism?

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 02:44 PM PST


SCMP: 'Made in China': how Wuhan coronavirus spread anti-Chinese racism like a disease through Asia

* Xenophobic chatter about Chinese eating habits is going viral on the internet
* Such ignorance isn't just unpalatable – in misdiagnosing the problem, it's dangerous, too

As Singaporeans gathered over the Lunar New Year
weekend, jokes were cracked about Chinese eating habits and how a propensity to eat "anything with four legs except the table and everything that flies except planes" had given rise to the Wuhan coronavirus.

One meme said there was no need to worry – the virus would not last long because it was "made in China".

The jokes, tinged with racism, soon grew into a call for the city state to ban Chinese travellers from entering. A change.org petition started on January 26 had 118,858 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon. Among those calling for health to be prioritised over tourism dollars was Ian Ong, who wrote: "We are not rat or bat eaters and should not be made to shoulder their nonsense."

Read more ....

More News On Reports That The Spread Of The Wuhan Coronavirus Is Also Spreading Anti-Chinese Racism

'No Chinese allowed': Racism and fear are now spreading along with the coronavirus -- Market Watch
Coronavirus: French Asians hit back at racism with 'I'm not a virus' -- BBC
Chinese Canadians warn public against spreading fear, racism over coronavirus -- Global News
Canada's Chinese community faces racist abuse in wake of coronavirus -- The Guardian

Coronavirus Outbreak Will Impact The World Economy If IT Continues To Spread

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 01:53 PM PST



Daily Mail: Dwindling travel, slowing growth, and impacts on trade: How the coronovirus outbreak that has killed 131 could wreck the global economy as investors fear it will be a 'black swan event'

* Coronavirus outbreak could have widespread economic impact if it spreads
* China accounts for 16% of global GDP and a slowdown there could hurt
* Already severe impacts have been felt in the travel and tourism industries
* Supply chains could be disrupted if the outbreak worsens in China
* Starbucks expects hit from coronavirus after closing half of China stores
* Apple widens revenue guidance range because of uncertainty due to outbreak

Fears are mounting that the coronavirus outbreak could wreak economic havoc worldwide.

Even if the deadly virus doesn't spread significantly outside of China, the potential economic ripple effects could be profound — the type of unexpected calamity known as a 'black swan event'.

China itself makes up 16 percent of global GDP, and an economic slowdown there amid mass quarantines could quickly impact global supply chains and international trade.

On Tuesday, Starbucks became the first major U.S. company to signal a hit from the outbreak, as it temporarily closed more than half of its 4,300 stores in China and adjusted operating hours in others.

Read more ....

More News On The Global Economic Impact From The Coronavirus

How China's new virus could disrupt the phase one trade deal with the US -- CNBC
China's Coronavirus Has Revived Global Economic Fears -- New York Times
Morgan Stanley warns coronavirus could drag on global, Chinese GDP growth -- Reuters
Toyota closes its plants in China over coronavirus -- Autoblog
Coronavirus Outbreak Revives Global Economic Fears -- Yahoo News/FX
The coronavirus is a big economic deal -- Desmond Lachman, The Hill
Factbox: Apple, Starbucks warn of hit from virus; firms restrict travel, airlines cancel flights -- Reuters

Major Airlines Are Dropping Flights To Hong Kong And China Due To The Spread Of The Wuhan Coronavirus

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 12:46 PM PST



SCMP: China coronavirus: major airlines pull plug on services to Hong Kong and mainland as US considers stopping all flights

* Lufthansa, British Airways and Lion Air cancel all flights to mainland while host of other carriers reduce services
* United Airlines among those cutting Hong Kong route as virus death toll climbs

China was becoming increasingly isolated on Wednesday as major airlines rushed to pull flights to the mainland, while the death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus continued to grow.

More than 130 people are now known to have died from the disease and the number of people infected in China has risen above 6,000, a higher figure than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) epidemic in 2003.

The Lufthansa Group, British Airways, and Indonesia's Lion Air Group have cancelled all flights to the mainland, while the likes of United Airlines, American Airlines, Air Canada, IndiGo, Finnair, and Jetstar Asia have drastically reduced their services.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Dire predictions for the airline industry are now being made .... American & Chinese Airlines May Never Bounce Back From The Coronavirus Outbreak (Zero Hedge).

More News On Major Airlines Dropping Flights To Hong Kong And China Due To The Spread Of The Wuhan Coronavirus

More airlines drop flights to China as deadly virus spreads -- AP
Germany's Lufthansa cancels China flights over coronavirus -- DW
Airlines suspend China flights as WHO calls emergency coronavirus meeting -- France 24
Factbox: Airlines suspend some flights to China over coronavirus -- Reuters

US Offer To Send Scientists To Help China Fight The Coronavirus Was Refused Three Times Before Finally Permitting International Experts To Come In

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 12:55 PM PST



Daily Mail: China turned away US offer to send scientists to help fight coronavirus THREE times - before finally allowing international experts to come to its aid

* US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar revealed at a Tuesday press conference that the US had made two direct and one indirect offer to help China
* He urged China to be more 'transparent and cooperative'
* It and other nations wanted to send scientists to help address the coronavirus
* The outbreak that began last month in Wuhan has killed more than 130 in China and sickened more than 5,500 people worldwide
* China has been praised for quickly sharing the virus's genome sequence and for being more transparent than during the SARS outbreak of 2003
* But its reticence to allow outside scientists in has drawn suspicion
* An hour later during the same Tuesday press conference, the WHO announced that China had agreed to allow foreign scientists in

Amid its outbreak of coronavirus that has killed over 100 people and sickened more than 4,500, China refused two direct offers from the US to send infectious disease experts to help fight the virus's spread, and a third made via the World Health Organization.

It was only as US Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Alex Azar was disclosing this information to reporters in a Tuesday press conference the China at last acquiesced, telling the WHO it would welcome foreign assistance.

Although the global public health community has widely praised China's quick - if 'Draconian' - work to address the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, the Communist Party run nation is haunted by its secretive handling of past outbreaks.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The message from the White House is different .... Trump says he spoke to China's Xi, U.S. working closely with China on coronavirus (Reuters).

Wuhan Coronavirus News Updates -- January 29, 2020

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 10:34 AM PST



Reuters: U.S., Japan pull nationals from China, big virus economic hit forecast

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The United States and Japan flew nationals out of China's virus epicenter on Wednesday and some big-name airlines suspended flights as deaths leapt to 133 and a senior economist predicted a major impact on growth.

Beijing's plans to slay the "devil" coronavirus may have won the trust of the World Health Organization (WHO), but confirmation of another 1,459 cases - taking the total to 5,974 in China - only fueled global public alarm.

Deaths from the flu-like virus also rose by 27 to 133.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: WHO will announce tomorrow if the Wuhan Coronavirus is a global emergency .... WHO panel to reconvene on Thursday to decide if virus global emergency (Reuters).

Update: This is still unknown .... China's 'demon' virus leaves health experts at odds on when infection rate will slow (SCMP).

Wuhan Coronavirus News Updates -- January 29, 2020

Coronavirus: returning Britons to be 'safely isolated' for 14 days, says Hancock – latest news -- The Guardian
New virus infects more than 6,000 in China, other countries -- AP
Virus cases in China top SARS as evacuations begin -- AP
Human spread of virus in three countries outside China worrying: WHO chief -- Reuters
WHO lauds Chinese response to coronavirus, says world 'at important juncture' -- Reuters
Europe steps up China virus fight, aims to repatriate 600 -- AP
Coronavirus: Japan and US fly citizens home as China death toll jumps -- The Guardian
Americans flown from China virus zone arrive in California -- AP
Paris to evacuate citizens from Wuhan as fourth coronavirus case confirmed in France -- France 24
Countries evacuate citizens from China as coronavirus infections rise -- DW
Hundreds of foreigners evacuated from China coronavirus epicentre -- Al Jazeera
Two Hongkongers infected in mainland China as city gets 10th confirmed coronavirus case -- SCMP
Thailand steps up coronavirus measures amid anger at handling -- The Guardian
UAE confirms first cases of new coronavirus -- Al Jazeera
Papua New Guinea bans travellers from all 'Asian ports' -- AFP
Coronavirus: Australia plans island quarantine as foreigners leave Wuhan -- BBC
Has coronavirus reached AFRICA? Sudan and Equatorial Guinea quarantine six patients with symptoms of the killer SARS-like infection --Daily Mail
Coronavirus: 'No plans to evacuate Kenyans from China' -- BBC
South Korea police authorized to arrest coronavirus patients -- UPI
Villages on Beijing's outskirts isolate selves amid outbreak -- AP
'Shops ran out of food, everyone was wearing masks': Japanese Wuhan evacuees describe scenes of fear and confusion in the city as they arrive safely back in Tokyo -- Daily Mail
China faces bigger epidemic than Sars in 'complicated and grave' coronavirus outbreak -- SCMP
'Utter chaos': Coronavirus exposes China healthcare weaknesses -- Al Jazeera

World News Briefs -- January 29, 2020

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 03:24 PM PST



Daily Mail: Officials in hazmat suits meet evacuation flight after it arrives at California air base from coronavirus epicenter Wuhan as all 201 passengers prepare for final health screenings and 72-hour quarantine

* The rescue flight landed at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, just after 8am Wednesday
* Officials in hazmat suits met the plane on the tarmac before passengers began filing out
* The 201 passengers will now undergo health screenings and be quarantined at the base for 72 hours
* The US government chartered the flight to bring diplomats and US citizens home from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China
* All passengers previously passed screenings before departure in Wuhan and during a fuel stop in Alaska
* The plane was initially meant to fly to Ontario, California, but was diverted to the base late Tuesday night
* In addition to the United States, countries including Japan and South Korea have also planned evacuations
* The coronavirus death toll in China stands at 132 with more than 6,000 cases confirmed worldwide

An evacuation flight bringing 201 Americans home from the Chinese city at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak has landed at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California.

The plane chartered by the US government to fly diplomats and private citizens back from Wuhan touched down at the air base just after 8am PST Wednesday.

Officials in hazmat suits were seen approaching the plane on the tarmac before passengers began filing out and stepping into awaiting buses.

The passengers will now undergo health screenings and be quarantined at the base for 72 hours as they complete the repatriation process.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syria war: Army 'recaptures' key town from opposition in Idlib.

Turkey's Erdogan says Russia not abiding by Syria agreements: NTV.

Macron accuses Erdogan of failing 'to keep word' on Libya.

Trump Middle East plan: Palestinians reject 'conspiracy'. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to Trump peace plan: 'No, no and no'.

World leaders react to Trump's Middle East plan.

Iraq economic crisis: 'Everyone is suffering'.

Iraq president gives parliament 3 days to name new PM.

Iran lawmakers call for debate on quitting nuclear arms treaty.

UAE confirms first cases of new coronavirus.

Dutch court rejects war crimes case against Israeli military chiefs.

ASIA

Coronavirus: Japan and US fly citizens home as China death toll jumps.

Two Hongkongers infected in mainland China as city gets 10th confirmed coronavirus case.

South Korea police authorized to arrest coronavirus patients.

Afghan security forces killed in Taliban attacks on checkpoints.

Pakistan shuts main Afghan border crossing after mortar fire.

'Bleak domineering vision': Amnesty says human rights at risk as Asia-Pacific's strongmen rise.

New Zealand volcano death toll reaches 21 as victim dies in hospital.

AFRICA

First African measures to stop spread of Chinese virus.

Coronavirus: 'No plans to evacuate Kenyans from China'.

Nigeria closes shop over coronavirus seafood fears.

Libya conflict: Government forces stop Haftar from taking Misrata.

UAE accused of forcing Sudanese to fight in war.

Why African countries seek greater role in Libya peace process.

Attack kills 15 in eastern DR Congo.

Botswana opposition loses bid to nullify election results.

EUROPE

Europe steps up China virus fight, aims to repatriate 600.

Paris to evacuate citizens from Wuhan as fourth coronavirus case confirmed in France.

EU Parliament backs UK's departure terms from bloc. European Parliament to give final Brexit approval in Brussels vote.

EU rules out Huawei ban — but maps out strict rules on 5G.

French protesters take to the streets in 8th protest day against pension reform.

Hungary border patrol fires warning shots to stop refugees.

Catalan president to call early election as divisions grow.

Prince Andrew 'angry' at claims he is not cooperating on Epstein inquiry.

AMERICAS

Americans flown from China virus zone arrive in California.

Coronavirus in the U.S.: Map of where the virus has been confirmed across the country.

Battle looms over witnesses as defence rests in Trump impeachment trial. GOP scrambles to sidestep messy witness fight.

US Congress passes bill in support of Tibet human rights.

White House threatens veto of House Iran bills.

Canada cuts consular staff in China amid coronavirus outbreak.

Peru's opposition leader Keiko Fujimori in custody again.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

UN: Islamic State militants not getting fair trials in Iraq.

Islamic State tries to stage comeback amid rising US-Iran tensions.

Five killed in jihadist attack in Cameroon.

Families languish in winter winds, legal limbo at Syria's Islamic State camp.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Trump signs US Mexico Canada Agreement.

Coronavirus: Starbucks closes 2,000 Chinese branches.

McDonald's closes all branches in virus-hit Chinese province.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 29, 2020

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 08:39 AM PST



Military Times: Coronavirus update: Illness spreads, US troops in Southeast Asia advised to take precautions

With the new coronavirus having sickened more than 4,500 in China and five people in the United States, the U.S. government is encouraging Americans to take precautions against contracting any respiratory illness, including the flu or a cold.

Stressing that the current health risk of the new virus in the U.S. is low, the Departments of Health and Human Services and defense officials have nonetheless said people should practice good health hygiene and avoid contact with anyone who displays symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath and fever.

"Americans should know that this is a potentially a very serous public health threat, but at this point, Americans should not fear for their safety," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday during a press conference.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 29, 2020

U.S. Forces Korea Issues Travel Warning After Coronavirus Case Found in Man Living Near Two Military Bases -- Newsweek

Xi orders military to contribute to winning battle against epidemic -- Xinhua

China Sends Military Aid to Help Fight Coronavirus Outbreak -- Newsweek

US evacuees from China head to California military base as coronavirus outbreak grows -- CNN

Britons evacuated from China over coronavirus fears face military quarantine -- The Times

Coronoavirus a leaked bio-weapon? Know all about bio-warfare pathogens -- IBTimes

The USS Ford is in the Atlantic for first-of-its-kind aircraft testing — here's what the Navy is learning about its new carrier -- Business Insider

US Navy tests new sleek, stealthy destroyer hull in rough seas -- FOX News/Warrior Maven

The Navy Is Overlooking Air-Independent Propulsion Submarines At Its Own Peril -- National Interest

The Spectacular & Public Collapse of Navy Force Planning -- Mark Cancian and Adam Saxton, Breaking Defense

US cuts number of Black Hawks to Afghanistan by two-thirds -- Military Times

Review finds heavy use of commando forces led to ethics slip -- AP

Pentagon Seeks a Way to Shoot Down Putin's 'Invincible' Hypersonic Missiles -- Defense One

US Defense Department launches Gremlins drone from a mothership for the first time -- Defense News

How Laser Weapons are Changing the Defense Equation -- Lockheed Martin

Air Force Moves Forward with F-15EX Fighter Jet Buy -- Military.com

Hackers Brought Down A U.S. F-15, Is Americas Air Force At Risk? -- National Interest

Lockheed Martin gets $2B boost from F-35 fighter jet -- FOX News

Lockheed Has Best Year Ever, And Expects a Better 2020
-- Defense One

US Air Force must figure out how to survive ramifications of KC-46 delays, says service leader -- Defense News

Trump will seek 20% budget boost for nukes, says Inhofe -- Defense News

Cutting U.S. Military Support for France in West Africa Would Be a Mistake -- John Campbell, Council on Foreign Policy

Pentagon, State Officials Worry Looming Military Cuts in Africa's Sahel Are Political, Leave Window for China -- Foreign Policy

Details Emerge About The Secretive RQ-170 Stealth Drone's First Trip To Korea -- Warzone/The Drive

US to put 9,000 South Korea workers on leave as military funding row deepens -- The Guardian/Reuters

Huawei Not OK For UK: Intelligence Experts, Congress -- Breaking Defense

Why Britain's Huawei decision frustrated lawmakers -- Andrew Eversden, Fifth Domain

UK Huawei 5G decision: will there be blowback from 'disappointed' ally US? -- Hilary Clark, SCMP

Germany rejigs reconnaissance system plan, drops US drones -- AP

Germany to buy Bombardier jets instead of Northrop reconnaissance drones - document -- Reuters

Iraq weighs larger NATO role to replace US-led coalition -- AFP

Iran, photos suggest a US-criticized satellite launch looms -- Military Times/AP

US warship 'sailed close to' Chinese-occupied reefs in South China Sea -- SCMP

Su-35S Squadron Performs Training Flight in Russia's North - Video -- Sputnik

Japan almost a 'sixth eye' as Five Eyes keep closer watch on Chinese military, North Korea -- SCMP

China's Coronavirus Outbreak Has Become President Xi's Greatest Political Challenge

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 07:36 AM PST

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with visiting World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 28, 2020. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)

CNBC: China's Xi faces his 'greatest political challenge' with coronavirus outbreak, says analyst

* By the end of Tuesday, there were 5,974 confirmed cases of a new coronavirus in mainland China, said the country's National Health Commission. The death toll was 132.
* "This is the probably the greatest political challenge that (President Xi Jinping) has faced since taking office in 2012," said Allison Sherlock, China researcher at the Eurasia Group, a risk consultancy.
* Beijing is taking measures like locking down cities housing millions, restricting travel and extending the Lunar New Year holiday. Economists expect the economic fallout to hit tourism and consumption in and outside China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is facing a major political crisis from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, experts said.

By the end of Tuesday, there were 5,974 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in mainland China, according to the country's National Health Commission. The death toll was 132.

To contain the spread of the virus, Beijing is taking measures like locking down cities housing millions, restricting travel and extending the Lunar New Year holiday. Economists expect the economic fallout to hit tourism and consumption in and outside China.

Read more ....

Update #1: Outbreak Death Toll Rises to 132, as China's Xi Vows to Defeat 'Devil' Coronavirus (VOA)
Update #2: China's President Xi says containing the virus remains a grim and complex task (Reuters)

WNU Editor: In public the Chinese President has positioned himself to be a leader who is on top of the crisis, and voicing full confidence that this outbreak will be controlled very soon .... China Focus: Xi voices full confidence in winning battle against novel coronavirus (Xinhua). All that I can say is that if this epidemic continues to escalate in the coming weeks, the loss to his credibility will be enormous.

First Cases Of The Coronavirus Have Been Confirmed In The Middle East

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 07:07 AM PST



CNBC: First Middle East cases of coronavirus confirmed in the UAE

* The infected patients are four members of a family that had traveled from Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million and the epicenter of the new virus that has killed 132 people and infected more than 6,000.
* The UAE's Ministry of Health and Community Protection reported the family as being in a stable condition under medical observation.
* The vast majority of deaths and infections are in mainland China.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The first cases of the deadly coronavirus in the Middle East have been confirmed in the United Arab Emirates, the country's Ministry of Health and Community Protection said in a statement Wednesday.

The infected patients are four members of a family that had traveled from Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million and the epicenter of the new virus that has killed 132 people and infected more than 6,000. The vast majority of deaths and infections are in mainland China.

Read more ....

Update #1: Coronavirus hits Middle East as first case confirmed in UAE (France 24)
Update #2: U.A.E. Reports First Middle East Cases of Novel Coronavirus (Bloomberg)

WNU Editor: The medical facilities in places like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, etc. are modern. But heaven help the region if this virus spreads to war zones like Syria and Yemen where the medical facilities are stretched to their limits and refugee camps are perfect breeding grounds for spreading this disease.

Do Russians Care What President Putin Does Next?

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 06:51 AM PST

Several cities have seen protests and this banner warns of a "constitutional coup" but not all Russians are so concerned

Sarah Rainsford, BBC: Putin's Russia: Do Russians care what president does next?

Two weeks after Vladimir Putin announced a radical overhaul of the constitution, loyal officials in Moscow have been moving at lighting speed to implement his changes.

Deputies in parliament have already passed the amendments in a first reading even as protesters insist the move is a smokescreen to allow Mr Putin to retain influence, or even power, beyond 2024, when he is due to step down as president.

But as analysts argue over his real intentions, just a short drive from the capital many people are either unaware of what's happening or indifferent.

At the entrance to Pereslavl-Zalessky, there's a giant Soviet hammer and sickle by the side of the road that it seems no-one ever bothered to remove.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The priority for most Russians is to make money and to have a better life. It does not mean that they are unaware on what is happening, it only means that for now their focus is elsewhere.

U.S. Special Operations Command's Ethics Review Has Been Released

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 06:31 AM PST

An over-emphasis on prowess in combat has eroded leadership and professionalism in special operations, according to a SOCOM review. (Lance Cpl. William Chockey/Marine Corps)

Task & Purpose: Special Operations Command review finds deployment and leadership issues but no 'systemic ethics problem'

The long-awaited Special Operations Command's ethics review has finally been released, which argues that there is no "systemic ethics problem" in the special operations community while acknowledging a range of underlying problems stemming from a high operations tempo and insufficient leadership.

Army Gen. Richard Clarke, head of SOCOM, ordered the ethics review following several incidents of special operators being accused of crimes, including two SEALs and two Marine Raiders being accused of killing a Green Beret in Mali; a SEAL platoon being kicked out of Iraq over allegations of drinking and sexual assault; members of a SEAL team using cocaine and other drugs; and Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher being accused of killing a wounded ISIS fighter. Gallagher was found not guilty of murder. He was convicted of posing for a picture with the fighter's corpse.

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Special Operations Command's Ethics Review

Review Finds No Systemic Ethical Problems in Special Ops -- US Department of Defense
Spec Ops Culture Sets Conditions 'Favorable for Inappropriate Behavior,' 4-Star Says -- Military.com
Ethics slips involving Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets stem from combat culture, review finds -- FOX News
US Special Ops chief says leadership shortcomings contributed to 'conditions for unacceptable conduct' -- CNN
US special forces discipline hit by repeat deployments: Pentagon -- AFP
Special operations has an entitlement problem. Here's how they intend to fix it. -- Military Times
Special operations review finds leadership, discipline issues -- The Fayetteville Observer
US military's Special Operations Command says its newest recruits may have an 'unhealthy sense of entitlement' -- Business Insider

Is Developing AI Targeting Capabilities For Drones 'This Generation's Manhattan Project'?

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 06:18 AM PST

U.S. airmen prepare a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone as it leaves on a mission at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan March 9, 2016. Picture taken March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Josh Smith

Business Insider: A Palantir exec described the company's secretive AI drone program as 'this generation's Manhattan Project'

* Palantir executive Shyam Sankar described the company's work developing AI targeting capabilities for drones as "this generation's Manhattan Project," according to two people familiar with the comments.
* The comments, made during a January all-hands meeting, come as the company expands its work on "Project Maven," a department of defense project which Google stopped working on in March following protests inside of the company.
* Sankar also told employees the company was profitable in 2019, the people said, though it's not clear by what metric.

Secretive data analytics firm Palantir believes its work helping drones autonomously identify enemy targets is as urgent and important as America's race to develop a nuclear weapon during World War II, two sources have told Business Insider.

At a company all-hands meeting earlier this month, Palantir President Shyam Sankar described Project Maven, the artificial intelligence defense initiative that Palantir joined after Google announced its departure in 2018, as "this generation's Manhattan Project," according to two sources with knowledge of the meeting.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I somewhat concur. Developing AI platforms for the military is a critical program for the military. And like nuclear weapons, it will redefine how future conflicts and wars will be fought.

Will The Pentagon Ever Get Its Financial House In Order?

Posted: 29 Jan 2020 06:04 AM PST

The Pentagon. Wikimedia

Sean Kennedy, Washington Examiner: Pentagon's deep dysfunction exposed by 30 years of financial failure

Imagine the following scenario: The year is 1990, and you have been selected by the IRS to undergo an audit. Unfortunately, you are unable to provide adequate documentation tracking either your income or expenses. No worries, says the IRS, you can try again next year.

Now, repeat this scenario every year through 2019, and you will have matched the financial track record of the Department of Defense.

The department remains the sole federal agency that has not undergone a clean audit under the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990. On Nov. 15, 2019, the Pentagon released its fiscal year 2019 financial report and again failed its attempt at a clean audit.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Pentagon's priority is to is to develop strategies for future conflicts, fight current conflicts, and procure the necessary equipment and weapons to fight today's and tomorrow's wars. It is obvious that for the Generals accounting is a low priority.

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