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Wednesday, February 12, 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: 11 Feb 2020 10:30 PM PST

This U.S. GPS-Guided Excalibur 155mm Artillery Round Can Hit A Target 30km Away With One-Meter Of Accuracy

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 10:00 PM PST

Excalibur S round photographed during a test. (Raytheon)

FOX News/Warrior Maven: New laser-guided artillery round destroys moving target

Enemies hiding under a bridge, bunkered down on a specific floor in a large building, seeking cover on the backside of a mountain ridge or moving to attack in an armored vehicle convoy --- are all now more vulnerable to U.S. strikes due to an emerging laser-guided artillery round that can destroy enemy targets on the move in combat.

"We have many different experiments that are going on for long-range precision fires," Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Martin told Warrior in an interview last fall.

The laser-guided Raytheon-developed weapon is an upgrade or adaptation to the well-known, GPS-guided Excalibur 155mm round first fired in Iraq more than 10 years ago. Using GPS and Inertial measurement precision guidance technology, Excalibur can pinpoint and eliminate targets from 30km (18.6 miles) -- within just one-meter of accuracy. The combat debut of Excalibur in Iraq ushered in what could be called a land-war transformation, marking the advent of a new kind of precision land attack.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:Impressive. The Russian military is doing the same thing .... Russian Military Modernizing Its Artillery (October 30, 3019).

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 09:30 PM PST

Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Roe demonstrates an attack procedure with Jack, a military working dog, aboard the USS America in the Philippine Sea, Feb. 7, 2020.

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... U.S. Department of Defense.

Here Is The Number Of Bombs That The U.S. Plans To Buy In The Next Year

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 09:00 PM PST

AV-8HB Harrier pilot Maj. Joseph Swindell inspects a GBU-54 joint direct attack munition during pre-flight checks May 20, 2019, on the flight deck of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) in the Arabian Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryre Arciaga/Navy)

Defense News: Here's how many bombs the US plans to buy in the next year

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon's fiscal 2021 budget request seeks to buy fewer munitions needed for the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq as it attempts to pivot towards investments in the kind of weapons that will be used in a high-end fight against China or Russia.

The DoD has requested $21.3 billion in munitions, including $6 billion for conventional ammunition, $4 billion for strategic missiles and $11.3 billion for tactical missiles. Munitions and missiles make up 8.8 percent of overall procurement in the budget request.

The department is pursuing a two-pronged approach, according to a budget summary provided by the Pentagon. The first is to make sure "U.S. worldwide munition inventories are sufficiently stocked" for ongoing needs. The second is to ensure "sufficient procurement of more advanced high-end weapon systems, which provide increases standoff, enhanced lethality and autonomous targeting for employment against near-peer threats in more contested environment."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: That is a lot of bombs.

Top Hong Kong Official Fears That The Coronavirus Could kill 45 Million People And Infect Sixty Percent Of The Global Population

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 07:49 PM PST

Professor Gabriel Leung, chair of public health medicine in Hong Kong and pictured at the University of Hong Kong last month, made the comments on a visit to London

Daily Mail: Coronavirus could kill 45 MILLION people and infect SIXTY PER CENT of the global population if it cannot be controlled, top Hong Kong medical official warns

* Professer Gabriel Leung said authorities need to establish the spread of the virus
* A one per cent death rate could result in hundreds of thousands of deaths
* There are 43,000 cases worldwide so far, with more than 42,000 in China
* But if it reaches its potential, each infected person could give the virus to another 2.5, on average, sickening up to 60 percent of the world's population
* China's number of new daily cases has begun to level off, which may mean public health officials are gaining some handle on its spread

Coronavirus could kill 45 million people and infect more than 60 per cent of the global population if containment methods fail, a top Hong Kong medical official has warned.

Professor Gabriel Leung, chair of public health medicine in the city, also said that even if the death rate reaches just one per cent, the potential spread means it could still kill thousands of people.

With the global population currently at more than 7billion (7,577,130,400), that means that the virus has the potential to infect more than 4billion (4,546,278,240) if Professor Leung is correct and its spread continues to accelerate.

And if one per cent of those people die, that means there will be more than 45million deaths.

Read more ....

Update: Coronavirus 'could infect 60% of global population if unchecked' (The Guardian)

WNU Editor: I hope he is wrong, but it may happen if reports like this one are true .... Coronavirus could spread through the AIR even after a patient has left the room, Chinese official claims as the disease's death toll rises past 1,100 (Daily Mail).

Update: Older men seem to be more susceptible to this disease .... Men could be more vulnerable to coronavirus infection as research finds they made up 68% of early cases in outbreak epicenter of Wuhan (Daily Mail).

Quarantined Cruise Ship In Japan Now Has 174 Cases Of The Coronavirus

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 07:20 PM PST

FOX News: Japan confirms 39 new coronavirus cases on cruise ship

Japan confirmed 39 new cases of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on a cruise ship quarantined at one of its ports, bringing the total number infected on the vessel to 174, health officials said Tuesday.

The Diamond Princess has been docked at the Yokohama port since Feb. 3 after it was determined some passengers had been sicked with the virus. Japan confirmed 66 new cases Monday and said officials may test everyone aboard the ship.

The American-based ship had completed a 14-day cruise in which it stopped in Hong Kong and several other Asian ports.

Read more ....

More News On The Quarantined Cruise Ship In Japan

Another 39 people on Japan cruise ship test positive for coronavirus -- Reuters
39 more on board Japan cruise ship have new coronavirus: minister -- AFP
Japan's cruise ship quarantine enabling coronavirus, expert says -- UPI
Coronavirus: Quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship has 39 new cases; elderly a concern -- USA Today
As coronavirus spreads on cruise ships, what does it mean for cruisers and cruise lines? 'It's day-by-day' -- Morgan Hines, USA TODAY
Photos inside the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where thousands of passengers have been quarantined for a week because of the coronavirus outbreak -- Business Insider

Coronavirus Outbreak In The U.S. -- News Updates February 11, 2020

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 06:59 PM PST

The camps will be set up next to 11 major airports around the US. On February 1, the Associated Press reported that they would house as many as 250 people each.

Daily Mail: US military approves 11 COVID-19 quarantine camps 'for up to 1,000 people' next to major US airports

* The Department of Defense approved 11 'installation sites' near major airports around the US
* They will be used if and when hospitals are unable to accommodate passengers in their own quarantine sites
* The airports are located in Hawaii, Illinois, Texas , California , Georgia, New York, Washington state, Washington DC, New Jersey and Michigan
* Americans returning from the coronavirus outbreak epicenter in Wuhan, China, are required to spend 14 days under quarantine
* Those returning from China who did not visit Wuhan are subject to 14 days of self-isolation in their homes
* Foreign nationals who have traveled to China in the last 14 days are not allowed into the US

The Pentagon is setting up 11 quarantine camps on military bases near major airports across the US in anticipation of an influx of American citizens returning from China in need of monitoring for the deadly coronavirus that is now being called COVID-19.

The 13th US coronavirus case was confirmed in California on Tuesday. The deadly strain, which is now being called COVID-19, has killed 1,107 people and sickened more than 42,000 worldwide since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in late December.

The Department of Defense approved a request from the Department of Health and Human Services early this month for the possible use of military facilities to accommodate 1,000 people who may have to be quarantined upon arrival from overseas through the end of the month.

Read more ....

Coronavirus Outbreak In The U.S. -- News Updates February 11, 2020

CDC identifies 13th patient with coronavirus in US -- The Hill
CDC confirms 13th case of coronavirus in United States -- UPI
US confirms 13th American with coronavirus after CDC officials mistakenly said they tested negative and sent the Wuhan evacuee back to quarantine on California air base -- Daily Mail
CDC and hospital errors led to US coronavirus patient being sent back to military base, health official says -- CNN
U.S. evacuees freed from coronavirus quarantine, officials fear discrimination -- Reuters
Chinese student, 22, sneaks out of locked-down Wuhan and hitchhikes 570 miles to Shanghai so he could catch a plane to the US to study in a university -- Daily Mail
Coronavirus could impact Chinese purchases of U.S. farm goods: U.S. official -- Reuters
Coronavirus: US Postal Service suspends items destined for China and Hong Kong amid outbreak -- SCMP

Coronavirus Outbreak In China -- News Updates February 11, 2020

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 06:52 PM PST

Reuters: New coronavirus cases lowest since Jan. 31 in China province at outbreak's epicenter

GUANGZHOU, China/GENEVA (Reuters) - The coronavirus outbreak in China may be over by April, the country's senior medical adviser said on Tuesday, and the latest numbers of new cases may further feed that optimism.

Hubei, the province at the epicenter of the outbreak that has been under virtual lockdown, reported 94 people died and there were 1,068 new coronavirus cases as of Tuesday.

That is down from a peak of over 3,000 new cases on Feb. 4, and the lowest number of new infections since 1,347 were reported on Jan. 31.

Read more ....

Coronavirus Outbreak In China -- News Updates February 11, 2020

Coronavirus live updates: China death rate appears to slow as 39 new cases found on cruise ship – latest news -- The Guardian
China coronavirus outbreak: All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera
Coronavirus live updates: China reports 97 additional deaths as total confirmed cases top 44,000 -- CNBC
Coronavirus death toll surpasses 1,100: Live Updates -- CNN

Coronavirus: China's Hubei province reports 94 new deaths, 1,638 new confirmed cases -- SCMP
China's Hubei province, epicenter of coronavirus outbreak, reports 94 new deaths on Feb. 11 -- Reuters
China's online censors tighten grip after brief coronavirus respite -- Reuters
At least 500 Wuhan medical staff infected with coronavirus -- SCMP
China fires two senior Hubei officials over coronavirus outbreak -- The Guardian
China's Communist Party is purging local officials as public anger mounts at coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 1,000 -- Business Insider
Virus storytellers challenge China's official narrative -- AP
Coronavirus: Outspoken Chinese lawyer critical of government missing in Wuhan, family says -- NBC
Coronavirus: China's small firms at risk while outbreak poses challenge to Beijing's grand economic goals -- SCMP
Factbox: China takes major steps to prop up coronavirus-hit economy -- Reuters
Factbox: Latest on coronavirus spreading in China and beyond -- Reuters

WHO Has Designated The Coronavirus As Covid-19

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 06:19 PM PST

SCMP: Coronavirus illness given official name Covid-19 as hopes rise that cases could peak soon

* One hundred deaths are reported in a single day for the first time, but statistics show number of new cases decreasing
* First senior heads roll as Beijing tries to contain public anger over outbreak of respiratory disease

The World Health Organisation on Tuesday gave an official name – Covid-19 – to the disease caused by the coronavirus that has ravaged China and spread across the globe, as statistics suggested that infections could level off in the coming weeks and Beijing vowed to hold local cadres to account for failing to contain the outbreak.

China's National Health Commission said on Tuesday that the country had reported 108 new deaths from the virus – the first time that 100 or more fatalities were recorded in a single day.

The outbreak, which was generally believed to have originated from Wuhan in central China, has killed 1,018 people worldwide – including one death in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines.

Read more ....

More News On WHO Designating The Coronavirus As Covid-19

Coronavirus disease named Covid-19 -- BBC
WHO names deadly virus from China as 'COVID-19' -- AFP
COVID-19: WHO renames deadly coronavirus -- Al Jazeera
WHO dubs coronavirus 'public enemy number 1' -- DW
WHO warns coronavirus, now dubbed COVID-19, is 'public enemy number 1' and potentially more powerful than terrorism -- ABC News Online
Coronavirus should be seen as 'public enemy number one', says WHO -- The Guardian

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 11, 2020

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 06:09 PM PST

AFP: The global spread of the coronavirus: Where is it?

The new coronavirus that emerged in central China at the end of last year has killed more than 1,000 people and spread around the world.

The latest figures from China show there are more than 42,600 people infected in the country.

Outside mainland China, there have been more than 460 infections reported in nearly 30 places. There have been two deaths, one in the Philippines and the other in Hong Kong.

Here are the areas where 2019-nCoV, the virus's provisional scientific designation, has been confirmed:

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 11, 2020

How dangerous is the new coronavirus? -- Al Jazeera

Has coronavirus shaken China's confidence? -- David P. Goldman, Asia Times

How Xi Jinping's "Controlocracy" Lost Control -- Xiao Qiang, Project Syndicate

On Trump's demand that Japan pay more for security -- Scott Foster, Asia Times

Turkey's options dry up in Syria as Russia backs Assad push -- Tom Allinson and Imane Mellouk, DW

Syria War: Why is Idlib back in the news? -- BBC

And the Oscar Goes to… A Simplified Story of Syria's Civil War -- Robert F. Worth, New York Review Of Books

Yemen: World's biggest humanitarian emergency nears breaking point -- Lyse Doucet, BBC

Delhi election losses: The beginning of the end for PM Modi? -- Murali Krishnan, DW

Why Mali has opted for dialogue with jihadists -- AFP

Sudan ex-leader Omar al-Bashir headed to International Criminal Court? -- DW

Who are those wanted by the ICC over Darfur? -- Al Jazeera

Why Egypt and Ethiopia Can't Agree on How to Manage Water Resources -- Michael Greco, National Interest

Ireland's Nationalists Break Through -- Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic

Are the Democrats Headed for Civil War? -- Kelly Sadler, RealClearPolitics

World News Briefs -- February 11, 2020 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 05:29 PM PST

SCMP: Coronavirus: WHO head warns 'time is of the essence' in limiting disease's global spread

* World Health Organisation also gives the disease a name: Covid-19, for coronavirus disease of 2019
* The virus 'is more powerful in bringing serious consequences than any terrorist attack', WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says

The World Health Organisation warned Tuesday that the opportunity to limit the international spread of the coronavirus outbreak is fading, and that if the disease isn't contained it could wreak global havoc.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general at the World Health Organisation (WHO), said that the virus "is more powerful in bringing serious consequences than any terrorist attack [can accomplish]".

"It's not just the health issue, it's a matter of economic, political and social upheavals."

"I remind and will continue to remind the world to take [the outbreak] really seriously. We are asking countries to be as aggressive as possible," said Tedros. "Time is of the essence."

Read more ....


Turkey says 51 Syrian soldiers killed as rebels hit back in Idlib.

Fighting continues in Idlib as Turkey-Russia talks end inconclusively.

Syria opposition commanders warn of Idlib military escalation.

Iraq cleric Sadr dissolves units accused of deadly protest attacks.

Abbas rejects U.S. peace plan at U.N. Security Council meeting.

Iran taunts the US as huge crowds gather to celebrate 41st anniversary of Islamic Revolution, with mock Donald Trump 'hangings' and 'Death to America' banners. Iran celebrates 1979 overthrow of U.S.-aligned shah.

US accuses Iran of building missiles through satellite bid.

Lebanese govt wins no confidence vote despite protests.


Coronavirus illness given official name Covid-19 as hopes rise that cases could peak soon.

Duterte terminates Philippines troop pact, U.S. calls move 'unfortunate'.

Afghan president says Pompeo reports progress in U.S.-Taliban talks.

More than 2,000 killed in Afghanistan rebuilding mission: Agency.

At least five dead in suicide attack on Kabul military academy.

Watchdog: More than 2,000 people have been killed rebuilding Afghanistan.

Number of Bangladeshis killed by Indian border forces on rise.


UN asked to vote Wednesday in support of Libya ceasefire: diplomats.

Sudan agrees to turn in ex-leader to face charges over Darfur conflict.

Africa's locust 'crisis': UN calls for urgent action. UN warns of 'major shock' as Africa locust outbreak spreads.

Fearing new rebel attacks, thousands flee Ebola-hit DR Congo town.

South Africa takes over as AU chair: What to expect.

Liberian women 'too unfit to join army'.

Egypt says its population passes 100 million.

S.Africa says 'world stood still' 30 years ago as Mandela walked out of jail.

Lisbon freezes bank accounts of Angola's former first daughter.


EU crisis center monitors coronavirus outbreak, offers aid to China.

Sinn Féin begins efforts to form leftwing coalition in Ireland.

Brexit: EU's von der Leyen seeks 'unique' trade deal with UK.

Merkel allies press for swift resolution of succession question.

Despite Turkey's demands, Cyprus refuses to back down.

North Macedonia's parliament ratifies NATO membership.

Northern Ireland police arrest 4 over murdered journalist Lyra McKee.


Polls begin to close in New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary.

Senate Democrats eye vote this week on Trump's Iran war powers.

Fed chief issues stark warning to Congress on deficits.

DOJ lawyers resign en masse over Roger Stone sentencing.

El Salvador parliament denounces president's 'attempted coup'.

Opposition leader Guaido returns to Venezuela.

Venezuela adds civilian militia to armed forces.

'Shut down Canada': anti-pipeline protests spread across country, leading to major train disruptions and port blockades.


Tehran-backed Hezbollah steps in to guide Iraqi militias in Soleimani's wake.

Indonesia locks out legion of former ISIS fighters.

Ex-CIA official warns of Iran, ISIS drones armed with chemical weapons.


S&P 500, Nasdaq eke out new closing highs.

T-Mobile, Sprint near finish line for wireless megadeal. T-Mobile-Sprint merger wins approval from U.S. judge.

Boeing reports no new jet orders in January.

Tech giants face probe into deals going back a decade.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 11, 2020

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 03:52 PM PST

Warzone/The Drive: Air Force Bails On Tri-Service Hypersonic Weapon Project As Army, Navy Ask For More Money

The Air Force will focus on a different hypersonic weapon, using a more complex boost-glide vehicle for its warhead, for its B-52 bombers.

The U.S. Air Force is looking to stop work on an air-launched missile that uses common unpowered hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, which remains under development for the U.S. Army and Navy. Both of those services are pushing ahead with plans to use that vehicle as the warhead on new ground and sea-launched weapons, respectively. The Navy wants to nearly double funding for its portion of the program in the next fiscal year.

The Air Force first announced its desire to end the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon, or HCSW, which is pronounced "hacksaw," on Feb. 10, 2010, as part of the rollout of the Pentagon's proposed budget for the 2021 Fiscal Year. Lockheed Martin won the contract, which had an estimated value of up to $928 million, to develop HCSW in 2018. The Air Force had received more than $571 million, in total, for work on this hypersonic missile in the Fiscal Year 2019 and 2020 budgets. It's important to note that Congress still has to approve the new plan to cancel HCSW.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 11, 2020

The Air Force just killed one of its hypersonic weapons programs -- Defense News

US Air Force Scraps Major Hypersonic Weapon Program Amid Budget Squeeze -- Sputnik

The military is growing, but some services are getting smaller -- Military Times

Lockheed awarded $347.7M contract for 43 F-35s -- UPI

Wanted: About 9,000 US Navy sailors -- Asia Times

US Navy looks to hire thousands more sailors as service finds itself 9,000 sailors short at sea -- Navy Times

Navy's 1st 4 Littoral Combat Ships Head to Retirement as Shipbuilding Budget Drops --

Here's the timeline for the US Navy's next-generation frigate -- Defense News

Navy Plans to Cut Shipbuilding Budget Face Swift Pushback on Capitol Hill --

The US Navy wants more ships but can't afford them, admiral says -- Defense News

U.S. Navy Ponders An Ambitious Fleet Makeover Amid Tight Budget -- NPR

US Army unveils $178bn budget proposal for 2021 -- Army Technology

Army Pours Cash into Long-Range Missile Development, New Infantry Rifles --

Deadly: Check out the Army's New Laser-Guided Excalibur "S" Artillery Round -- National Interest/Warrior Maven

Right-to-repair highlights snafus in the military, too -- Auto-Blog

US Air Force Issues New Guidelines for Beards, Turbans and Hijabs -- and Stripes

US base workers involved in coronavirus quarantine face harassment: report -- The Hill

US Army to study gamers' brains to build AI military robots -- NYPost

The Pentagon wants money for China, but troops are stuck in the Middle East -- Politico

The CIA in the Age of Trump -- Just Security

Overspending on the Pentagon Won't Make Us Safer -- William D. Hartung, DEfense One

How Pentagon Weapons Spending Can Help (Or Hurt) President Trump's Reelection Prospects -- Loren Thompson, Forbes

Trump suggests military should consider additional discipline for Vindman -- The Hill

Trump Says Wants to Create World's Strongest Nuclear Force -- Sputnik

Canadian military off-target in its strategies to recruit more women -- National Post

Spain seen joining Greece, France, Italy on European Patrol Corvette program -- Defense News

Norwegian Intelligence Chief Sees Threat From Russia's New 'Superweapons' -- Sputnik

Iraq says it's discussing deeper military ties with Russia -- Market Watch

India to buy $2.6bn of US military gear ahead of Trump visit -- Al Jazeera

U.S. approves $1.9B deal to sell air defense system to India -- UPI

Thai army chief tearfully apologises for mass shooting by soldier -- CNA

This Military Expert Reveals Why War With China Is a Terrible Idea -- Robert Farley, National Interest

US Military Shifts Strategy From Degrading Militants In West Africa To Containment

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 02:30 PM PST

Nigerien Armed Forces conduct a convoy movement, key leader engagement and ambush exercise during Flintlock 18 in Niger, Africa on April 15, 2018. Flintlock is U.S. Africa Command's premier and largest annual Special Operations Forces exercise. (Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Runser/Army)

Military Times: With limited resources, US military shifts strategy from degrading militants in West Africa to containment

Violence by militant groups in West Africa has spiked 250 percent over the last two years but constrained resources and manpower has pushed the U.S. military to switch strategies from degrading terror groups to containment, according to a recent inspector general report.

Resources for the thinly spread American troops across U.S. Africa Command may be further constrained should the Pentagon decide to curtail the counterterror mission in the region following a defense-wide posture review that is still pending.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters in January that U.S. troops were not withdrawing from AFRICOM entirely, but he suggested the U.S. might pull back on the counterterror mission in Africa to address great power competition, namely Russia and China.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is not America's war. There is also no public support in America to dramatically escalate the US military role in combating these militant groups in West Africa.

Death Toll For American Afghan Aid Workers Nears 300

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 02:00 PM PST

A U.S. Army Soldier stands perimeter watch amid a convoy of MRAP vehicles during a Key Leader Engagement between members of Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah and the Farah Director of Transportation (U.S. Army/Sgt. Maj. Concordio Borja Jr.) Death Toll for American Afghan Aid Workers Nears 300, New Watchdog Report Finds

On April 6, 2013, three U.S. troops were killed by a suicide bomber while running a security patrol for an aid mission to donate books to an Afghan school in northeastern Badakhshan province.

On August 6, 2010, six American medical aid workers were among 10 killed in trying to deliver health care to Afghans in southern Zabul province.

The incidents were cited in a report released Tuesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) on the "The Human Cost of Reconstruction In Afghanistan," which estimated that at least 5,135 casualties have been incurred in humanitarian and reconstruction efforts to build roads, canals and other projects since 2002.

The report said that at least 284 Americans were killed in Afghanistan "while performing reconstruction or stabilization missions" -- 218 U.S. service members and 68 civilians.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Some staggering numbers are revealed in the above report. Bottom line .... 5,135 casualties have been incurred in humanitarian and reconstruction efforts to build roads, canals and other projects since 2002.

Syrian War News Updates -- February 11, 2020

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 01:24 PM PST

Zero Hedge: Dramatic Footage Shows Turkey-Backed Rebels Shooting Down Syrian Helicopter

Well that escalated quickly.

One day after we reported that Turkey had deployed hundreds of tanks, armored personnel carriers and commandos to the last rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib in response to the killing of five Turkish soldiers, resulting in clashes between the Syrian and Turkish armies, on Tuesday morning, the armed conflict between the two nations escalated dramatically after social media showed dramatic footage of Turkey-backed rebels downing a Syrian government helicopter in northwest Syria's Nairab.

Read more ....

Syrian War News Updates -- February 11, 2020

Rebels Shoot Down Syrian Helicopter as Fighting Intensifies -- Haaretz/AP
Turkish-backed rebels resist Syrian government march through Idlib -- Reuters
Turkish Military Pours Into Syria to Block Idlib's Fall -- Bloomberg
Erdogan vows Damascus will pay 'heavy price' for any attack -- Times of Israel/AFP
Syria war: Government will pay 'heavy price' for attacking Turkish troops -- BBC
700,000 displaced by Idlib fighting as Syria-Turkey tensions rise -- The Guardian
Syria displacement is worst since conflict began: U.N. -- Reuters

UN Warns That Eastern Africa Is Heading Towards A Locust ‘Catastrophe’

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 12:44 PM PST

Daily Mail: Africa is heading towards a locust 'catastrophe' if 40-mile-wide swarm grows 500 times BIGGER within next four months as feared, UN warns

* Rainfall expected in the coming weeks will trigger plant growth, providing food for the locusts in the area
* They were reported crossing over the Karamoja border region into Uganda's northeastern area yesterday
* Swarm is considered the worst outbreak to hit Kenya for 70 years and Somalia for 25 years according to UN
* Horde of 360 billion insects is laying waste to farmland across the Horn of Africa and Kenya
* Next generation of locusts is expected to swarm in April after hatching in February, exacerbating the crisis

Africa is heading towards a locust 'catastrophe' if the 40-mile-wide swarm grows 500 times bigger within the next four months as feared, the UN has warned.

The 360 billion locusts are expected to rapidly expand in numbers in the coming weeks, when forecast rainfall triggers plant growth, before their numbers peak in June.

The desert locusts have already decimated vital crops in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, and damaged farmland in Djibouti and Eritrea before they flew into Uganda and Tanzania this weekend.

One of the swarms - which can number up to 80 million individuals per square kilometre - was also spotted flying 50km from the border with South Sudan, and is expected to reach the country 'any day'.

Read more ....

More News On Eastern Africa's Locust Invasion

Africa locust invasion spreading, may become 'most devastating plague' in living memory, UN warns -- FOX News
UN warns of potential 'catastrophe' for Africa if locust outbreak not contained -- CBC/AP
'Catastrophe': Huge locust swarm triggers dire warning amid biggest outbreak for decades in East Africa -- The Independent
Food fears grow as swarms of locusts reach Uganda and Tanzania -- The Guardian
Act now to prevent Desert Locust catastrophe in Horn of Africa: UN agencies -- UN News
Locusts swarm into northern Uganda as Oxfam looks toward a $5m humanitarian response across region -- Relief Web

African Healthcare Officials Admit They Are Not Prepared For The Coronavirus

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 12:24 PM PST

Zero Hedge: "We're Definitely Not Prepared" - African Healthcare Officials Fear Virus Spread

While the African continent continues to battle plagues of locust and food shortages, an even bigger worry is looming on the horizon, that some of the Chinese workers have carried the virus to Ethiopia or the African countries they work in, and will those countries be able to contain it while they can, while the numbers are small?

The virus that has spread through much of China has yet to be confirmed in Africa, but global health authorities are increasingly worried about the threat to the continent where an estimated 1 million Chinese now live, as some health workers on the ground warn they are not ready to handle an outbreak.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: WHO is issuing its warnings .... Coronavirus may spread to Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, 10 African countries, WHO warns (Nigerian Tribune).

More News On African Healthcare Officials Admitting That They Are Not Prepared For The Coronavirus

'We're definitely not prepared': Africa braces for new virus -- AP
The Brief – What if Coronavirus reaches Africa? -- Euractiv
More African countries are getting coronavirus testing labs but are on edge as the threat looms -- Quartz
Chinese Ambassador Allays Africa Coronavirus Fears -- VOA
With Plenty Of Trade With China, African Countries Fear Coronavirus Spreading -- NPR

U.S. Air Force's New Budget Signals Major Cuts To B-1s, A-10s, And Global Hawk Drones

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 12:09 PM PST

Boeing B-1B Lancers shown at the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Training Center Jan. 17, 2019, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. (U.S. Air Force/Greg L. Davis)

Defense News: Air Force makes reductions to B-1s, A-10s, Global Hawk drones and more in FY21 budget request

WASHINGTON — For the past several months, Air Force leaders have hyped the fiscal year 2021 budget as a pivotal one, where the service would be forced to make near-term and possibly contentious sacrifices to its existing posture in order to ramp up investments in technologies needed to counter Russia and China.

But the budget request the Air Force released on Feb. 10 seems a compromise between the service's more radical force planning organizations in the Pentagon and the combatant commanders around the world, who fought back against making major cuts that could greatly impact readiness.

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Air Force's New Budget Signalling Major Cuts To B-1s, A-10s, And Global Hawk Drones

Here Are The Pentagon's "Tough Choice" Cuts To Airpower As Part Of Its 2021 Budget -- Warzone/The Drive
Air Force to Send More than 100 Planes to Boneyard as it Invests in Future Fighters --
Bye-Bye to BRRRRT: Air Force Wants to Retire 44 A-10 Warthogs --
Budget Cuts 28 Legacy Tankers Despite KC-46 Delays -- Air Force Magazine
Rip B-1 Bomber: The Air Force Wants a Shiny New B-21 Instead -- National Interest
The U.S. Air Force's Latest Budget Is Shrouded In Secrecy -- Forbes
Department of Air Force releases $169bn budget proposal for 2021 -- Air Force Technology

Pentagon Budget Reveals What The New Air Force One Paint Job Will Look Like

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 10:54 AM PST

A rendering of the Air Force One in the Pentagon's latest budget request. Department of Defense

The light-blue color scheme was introduced in the 1960s. Department of Defense

Newsweek: Pentagon Reveals Trump's Air Force One New Paint Job Will Be Red, White and Dark Blue

Part of the defense budget proposed by President Donald Trump Monday would include replacing Air Force One with a brand new Boeing 747-8. Procuring the new aircraft under the VC-25B Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program would cost approximately $800.9 million.

With the proposed modernization of the aircraft comes a new paint scheme for Air Force One, replacing the design that has been in place the Kennedy administration in 1962. President John F. Kennedy himself help come up with the design of the plane in cooperation with industrial designer Raymond Loewy.

Trump's redesigned Air Force One would feature a red, white and blue color scheme as opposed to the current light blue and white. Some have observed a marked resemblance between the proposed new paint job for Air Force One and the planes used in Trump Shuttle, an airline owned by Trump from 1989 until 1992.

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More News On What The New Air Force One Paint Job Will Look Like

New Air Force One paint job revealed in Pentagon budget proposal -- FOX News
Pentagon budget shows what new Air Force One paint job will look like -- The Hill
The Pentagon revealed the new paint scheme for Air Force One, and people say it looks like Trump's private jet -- Business Insider

U.S. Space Force Asks For $15B In 2021 Budget Request

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 10:39 AM PST

The Hill: Pentagon requests $15.4B for Space Force

The Pentagon is proposing a $15.4 billion fiscal 2021 budget for the Space Force, the newly minted sixth branch of the military.

The money, largely transferred from existing Air Force programs, would include $2.5 billion for operations and maintenance, $10.3 billion for research and development, $2.4 billion for procurement and $77 million from a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.

"Legally establishing the U.S. Space Force does not guarantee the United States preeminence in the space domain — the nation must commit sufficient and appropriate resources to properly accomplish its assigned responsibilities," said the Pentagon's budget overview, released Monday. "These investments will provide for freedom of operations in space, strengthen the mission assurance of capabilities to support U.S. and allied forces in all domains, as well as protecting these forces against potential adversaries' space-enabled capabilities."

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More News On U.S. Space Force Asking For $15B In 2021 Budget Request

Space Force asks for $15B in its first budget request -- Defense News
Trump seeks $15.4 billion for U.S. Space Force in 2021 budget -- Space News
Space Force gets $15.4 billion in 2021 budget request --

CIA And German Intelligence Secretly Owned The World's Top Encryption Supplier That Permitted Them To Read The Communications Of Allies And Adversaries For Decades

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 10:39 AM PST

Washington Post: 'The intelligence coup of the century': For decades, the CIA read the encrypted communications of allies and adversaries

For more than half a century, governments all over the world trusted a single company to keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and diplomats secret.

The company, Crypto AG, got its first break with a contract to build code-making machines for U.S. troops during World War II. Flush with cash, it became a dominant maker of encryption devices for decades, navigating waves of technology from mechanical gears to electronic circuits and, finally, silicon chips and software.

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The Swiss firm made millions of dollars selling equipment to more than 120 countries well into the 21st century. Its clients included Iran, military juntas in Latin America, nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, and even the Vatican.

But what none of its customers ever knew was that Crypto AG was secretly owned by the CIA in a highly classified partnership with West German intelligence. These spy agencies rigged the company's devices so they could easily break the codes that countries used to send encrypted messages.

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WNU Editor: For years this company provided encryption tools to scores of governments who believed it would keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and diplomats secret. But in reality it was owned by the CIA and German intelligence who could read these communications when they wanted to, and did so for decades. This is a major security breach, even though it mostly happened during the Cold War and ending in 2018.

More News On The CIA And German Intelligence Secretly Owning The World's Top Encryption Supplier

CIA used encryption company to spy on other countries for decades: report -- The Hill
Swiss investigate report that tech firm helped CIA crack other countries' top-secret messages -- Straits Times/Reuters
US, German spies plundered global secrets via Swiss encryption firm: Report -- CNA/AFP
CIA Spied Using Sabotaged Encryption Equipment It Sold to Foreign Governments Since the 1970s -- Gizmodo
CIA secretly owned world's top encryption supplier, read enemy and ally messages for decades -- Boing Boing
CIA Secretly Owned World's Top Maker of Encryption Devices - Reports -- Sputnik

US Space Force General: A Second Russian Satellite Is Now Shadowing A U.S. Spy Satellite

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 09:42 AM PST

FILE: Gen. John "Jay" Raymond, the commander of Air Force Space Command and the Joint Force Space Component Command. (Clayton Wear/Air Force)

Time: Exclusive: Strange Russian Spacecraft Shadowing U.S. Spy Satellite, General Says

A pair of Russian satellites are tailing a multibillion-dollar U.S. spy satellite hundreds of miles above the Earth's surface, a top U.S. military commander tells TIME, underscoring a growing threat to America's dominance in space-based espionage and a potentially costly new chapter in Washington's decades-long competition with Moscow.

Gen. John "Jay" Raymond, commander of the newly minted U.S. Space Force, says the Russian spacecraft began maneuvering toward the American satellite shortly after being launched into orbit in November, at times creeping within 100 miles of it. "We view this behavior as unusual and disturbing," Raymond says. "It has the potential to create a dangerous situation in space." Raymond says the U.S. government has expressed concern to Moscow through diplomatic channels.

The confrontation marks the first time the U.S. military has publicly identified a direct threat to a specific American satellite by an adversary. The incident parallels Russia's terrestrial encounters with the U.S. and its allies, including close calls between soldiers, fighter jets and warships around the world. Observers worry that space is now offering a new theater for unintentional escalation of hostilities between the long-time adversaries.

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More News On A Second Russian Satellite Now Shadowing A U.S. Spy Satellite

Head of Space Force slams Russia for trailing US spy satellite with TWO spacecraft - saying the 'irresponsible' maneuver could create a 'dangerous situation' -- Daily Mail
2 Russian spacecraft are trailing a US spy satellite and could create a 'dangerous situation in space' -- Business Insider
Space Force says Russian satellites are following American satellite -- CNN
Russian spacecraft tailing US spy satellite, top Space Force official says -- The Hill
Russian spacecraft following US spy satellite in 'disturbing' manner, Space Force general says -- CNBC
Russian satellites tailing advanced US spy satellite, report says -- FOX News
2 Russian satellites are stalking a US spysat in orbit. The Space Force is watching. --
Russian Satellites Stalking U.S. Satellite – Space Force Chief -- Moscow Times

New National Counterintelligence Strategy Outlines Biggest Threats To The US

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 09:20 AM PST

Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center William Evanina speaks during the Reuters Cybersecurity Summit in Washington, Oct. 31, 2017.

Daily Mail: Hacktivists and anti-secrecy groups like Anonymous and WikiLeaks 'pose as big a threat to the US as traditional espionage from ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah', government report reveals

  * The National Counterintelligence Strategy outlines biggest threats to the US
  * Previous editions of the report singled out Russia, China, Iran and North Korea
  * This year's report lists ideologically motivated entities such as hacktivists
  * Also includes Cuba, Hezbollah, ISIS and Al-Qaeda in its list of threats

The US government has stated in a new report that hacktivism is a threat to national security as significant as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.

The National Counterintelligence Strategy singled out anti-secrecy organisations —such as WikiLeaks — independent hackers and Islamic extremists as specific threats.

Previous editions of the report focused on Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, along with transnational crime groups, as the central spying threats to the United States.

The new strategy report also adds Cuba to its list of groups able to undertake intelligence operations against the country.

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WNU Editor: The report is here .... National Counterintelligence - Strategyof the United States of America, 2020-2022.

More News On The New National Counterintelligence Strategy That Outlines The Biggest Threats To The US

New federal strategy prioritizes defending US against foreign threats to elections, critical systems -- The Hill
Counterintelligence chief warns of threat to democracy from foreign hackers, spies -- NBC
Hostile Spies Target U.S. With Cyber, Encryption, Big Data, Report Finds -- The Wall Street Journal
High-Tech Spy Games Have US Revamping Its Strategy -- VOA
U.S. intelligence community identifies broadening array of espionage threats in new strategy -- Yahoo News
US Counterintelligence Centre Reveals New Strategy, Points to Array of Threats -- Sputnik

Tweets For Today

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 08:00 AM PST

Editor's Note

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 06:43 AM PST

Darn! Stuck in meetings this morning. Blogging will return in the next hour or two.

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