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Thursday, February 13, 2020

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

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


China's Hubei Province Reports A Shocking 242 New Coronavirus Deaths And 14,840 New Cases

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 10:13 PM PST



Daily Mail: Coronavirus deaths leap 242 in a single day - the biggest rise ever - as total cases soar past 60,000 after China changes the way it diagnoses sufferers

* Hubei Health Commission announced 242 new recorded deaths in a single day
* Also found 15,000 more people have been infected than previously thought
* It came as the commission began including 'clinically diagnosed' cases
* Newly found figure accounts for more than half of the total fatalities

Coronavirus deaths have leapt 242 in a single day - the biggest rise ever - as the total cases of infection soar past 60,000.

There were 242 deaths on Thursday alone in Hubei province and authorities also found that even more people than they thought were infected.

After changing the way they record the virus, the Hubei Health Commission found there were 15,000 more than they thought. That means the figure shot up from 45,000 to 60,000 in the world in a single day.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These numbers are shocking. And so much for the media narrative earlier on Wednesday that the epidemic was levelling off. Bottom line .... China has lost control of this epidemic, and I cannot help but feel that we are on the verge of a pandemic that the world has not seen in over a century.



More News On China's Hubei Province Reporting 242 New Coronavirus Deaths And 14,840 New Cases

Coronavirus latest updates: Hubei's leader sacked as deaths in China pass 1,300 – live news -- The Guardian
Coronavirus live updates: China's Hubei reports 14,840 new cases, 242 additional deaths -- CNBC
China coronavirus outbreak: All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera
Coronavirus death toll leaps in China's Hubei province, party bosses sacked -- Reuters
Huge spike in China's coronavirus death toll as authorities fear infections were under-counted -- France 24
Coronavirus: Sharp increase in deaths and cases in Hubei -- BBC
China's Hubei province reports 242 new coronavirus deaths and 14,840 new cases -- ABC News Online
Coronavirus infections skyrocket as China refines diagnostic methods -- DW
Coronavirus deaths in China top 1,300 with big jump in cases as country expands diagnosis -- CNN
China officials fired as coronovirus deaths surge past 1,300 -- Al Jazeera
China Reports Huge Jump In New Coronavirus Infections And Deaths; Oil, Stocks Tumble -- Zero Hedge

US Senate Debating To Restrict President Trump's Iran War Powers

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 09:22 PM PST


Daily Mail: Republican senators IGNORE Donald Trump and vote to debate hobbling his war powers against Iran with eight of his party joining Democratic move he slammed as 'showing weakness'

* President Donald Trump pleaded with the Senate not to pass a war powers resolution that would hamper his ability to take military action in Iran
* 'We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness,' Trump wrote on Twitter. 'Don't let it happen!'
* 'If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day,' the president wrote
* A bipartisan group of senators ignored his plea and advanced the measure
* Eight Republicans voted for it in the procedural vote, a sign it will pass when it comes to a final vote, likely on Thursday
* The resolution would require Trump to end all hostilities regarding Iran within 30 days unless he gets explicit approval from Congress

A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday ignored a plea from President Donald Trump and voted to advance a war powers resolution that would hamper his ability to take military action in Iran.

Trump implored lawmakers not to pass the measure at is would 'show weaKness' and let Iran 'have a field day.'

'Don't let it happen!,' the president wrote on Twitter.

The Senate, however, voted to move the resolution forward with a final vote expected on Thursday.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is going to be vetoed by the President. My main concern is that Iran will see this vote as a sign that there is strong opposition within the U.S. to President Trump's Iran policy. I can easily see the mullahs being embolden to continue their policy of confronting the U.S. and their Middle Eastern allies. They may even escalate it.

More News On The US Senate Debating To Restrict President Trump's Iran War Powers

Senate to rein in Trump's war powers after Iran strike -- Politico
Senate poised to pass resolution to curb Trump's war authority on Iran -- ABC News
U.S. Senate advances resolution limiting Trump's ability to wage war -- Reuters
US Senate debates restricting Trump's Iran war powers -- France 24
Senate debates Iran War Powers resolution ahead of expected vote -- CNN
Trump urges Senate to reject effort to reel in his Iran war powers -- The Hill
Senate votes to limit Trump's war powers against Iran -- NYPost
Senate poised to pass bill curbing Trump's war powers with Iran after Soleimani strike, but a veto is likely -- USA Today

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 12, 2020

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 04:07 PM PST


Malcolm S. McNeil, CNBC: Why the world economy will be facing China's coronavirus for a long time

* The coronavirus, now officially designated as Covid-19, is not just a short-term hiccup, and no vaccine can solve longer-term corporate issues it has revealed.
* China invested decades in building cross-border relationships in a deliberate fashion.
* The world's second-largest economy will not be off limits to future investment, but there will be wariness and caution and businesses seeking alternatives.

Everywhere we look we see the headlines and commentators talking about the coronavirus and its impact on tourism, trade and investment between China and the West — and China and the U.S., in particular. However, there are far-reaching effects that have not been contemplated fully beyond the intuitive assessment.

Things move slowly. China has long been known as a country with patience, which in business language translates to longer lead times in the transactional arena, sometimes exhaustive negotiations, and relationships are built over time. Many of these relationships are created in the environment of trade shows, conferences, information exchange platforms, and trade delegations. China has finely tuned this method of cross-border introductions and it is a continuous process.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 12, 2020

Coronavirus cases stabilize — but could go in any direction now -- Joseph Guzman, The Hill

Coronavirus: 'Way too early' to predict end of outbreak, WHO says -- BBC

China's Communist Party faces its biggest crisis since SARS -- Joe McDonald, AP

Coronavirus: why China's economy is likely to make a robust recovery -- Prof Zhang Jun, SCMP

Q&A: How virus is impacting Asia's cruises and passengers -- Dww-Ann Durbin and David Koenig, AP

Virus puts Hong Kong protests on ice. Will they return? -- Eileen Ng, AP

Duterte delivers deathblow to US-Philippine ties -- Richard Javad Heydarian, Asia Times

Did you miss Trump's biggest China win? -- Derek Scissors, AEI

The Most Immediate, Unexpected Threat of Trump's Middle East Peace Plan
-- Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker

Hezbollah 'biggest winner' of Lebanese collapse -- Alison Tahmizian Meuse, Asia Times

Sudan Opens Door for ICC Prosecutions -- Human Rights Watch

America's Hidden Counterterrorism Operations in Africa -- Matthew Petti, National Interest

How the US's CIA and Germany's BND spied on world leaders -- Christopher Nehring, DW

Joe Biden's presidential campaign is plummeting. So who benefits from his spectacular fall? -- James Glenday, ABC News Online

World News Briefs -- February 12, 2020 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 03:50 PM PST

After rapid daily increases, new daily cases of coronavirus in China appear to be 'stabilizing,' the WHO said, as the lowest number of new infections in two weeks was reported

Daily Mail: Coronavirus cases are 'stabilizing' in China but while WHO praises Chinese efforts for 'keeping us all safer' it cautions that the outbreak could be far from over

* On Wednesday, China reported its lowest number of new cases in the past two weeks
* The World Health Organization batted back questions about China's measures during a Wednesday press briefing
* Director General Dr Tedros said the country's swift and aggressive actions are 'keeping us all safer'
* But he also cautioned that the outbreak which has killed more than 1,100 people and sickened more than 45,000 could 'go in any direction'

The number of cases of infection with the new coronavirus in China has stabilized, but the apparent slowdown in the epidemic spread should be viewed with 'extreme caution,' the head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

'This outbreak could still go in any direction,' the WHO's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a briefing in Geneva.

At the end of a two-day meeting on science and innovation into measures to tackle the new viral outbreak, Tedros welcomed the 'positive response of the research community' at short notice 'to come up with concrete plans and commitment to work together.'

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syria's army pushes into Idlib province.

Syrian News Agency: US hits Syria regime military bases in Hasakah.

US Air Force did not bomb Syrian military near Qamishli: source.

Syrian killed in rare clash between US troops, government forces.

Erdogan threatens military escalation in Syria. Erdogan: Turkey will hit Syrian government forces 'anywhere'.

Turkey's options dry up in Syria as Russia backs Assad push.

Newly displaced Syrians face crowded camps and harsh weather.

NATO Iraq training mission could grow under new plan.

NATO agrees to expand Iraq training mission.

Lawyers ask U.S., Britain to arrest UAE officials for war crimes in Yemen.

IMF says Lebanon requests technical help on economy, debt.

ASIA

Trump 'fine' with end of Philippines military pact.

US, Taliban close to 'reduction in violence' agreement.

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

US warns China after military aircraft encroach on Taiwanese airspace.

China says faces 'war' against virus as death toll tops 1,100.

Coronavirus: Xi Jinping sends message on economy and getting back to business.

Indonesia criticises US study concerns over no coronavirus cases.

U.N.: 40 percent of North Koreans need humanitarian aid.

AFRICA

WHO extends emergency status of Ebola in DR Congo.

Guinea protests resume as French far-left leader declares support.

UN to vote on resolution supporting Libya ceasefire.

Libya's eastern-based army denies UN planes to land in Libya. UN barred from flying in and out of Libya.

Nigerian military under scrutiny after latest attacks.

Silencing dissent in Cameroon: Tension between youth and gov't.

S.Sudan's Kiir returns home as diplomats call for urgent compromise.

Burial of Daniel arap Moi recalls complicated legacy of Kenyan leader.

World in Progress: Zimbabwe's drought cripples rural communities.

EUROPE

Britain beyond Brexit, PM Boris Johnson reshapes government.

In wake of impeachment, U.S. senators to visit Ukraine.

Coronavirus: German health minister calls on EU to allocate funds.

Brexit: EU Parliament makes tough demands for talks.

Italy strips immunity from far-right Salvini. Italy Salvini: Senate votes for far-right leader to face trial.

EU accused of climate crisis hypocrisy after backing 32 gas projects.

Facebook purges more accounts linked to Russia in new crackdown.

France opens investigation into Maltese journalist's murder.

Pope Francis rejects proposal for married priests in Amazon region.

AMERICAS

Attorney general Bill Barr will TESTIFY to House Democrats on why he overruled Roger Stone's sentencing and what he is doing with dirt on the Bidens gathered by Rudy Giuliani as Elizabeth Warren demands he is IMPEACHED.

US Senate debates restricting Trump's Iran war powers.

Dems pick up new GOP support to rein in Trump's Iran war powers.

Democrats eye Nevada, South Carolina after Sanders wins in New Hampshire.

Bernie Sanders wins New Hampshire primary ahead of Pete Buttigieg.

House Republicans boycott public Intelligence panel hearing.

Trump congratulates Barr for 'taking charge' of Stone case.

A refugee camp grows on the US-Mexico border.

Venezuela crisis: Juan Guaidó greeted with abuse after return from world tour.

Heavy rain and mudslides kill eight in Bolivia.

Canada: thousands of travelers affected as Indigenous-led rail blockade continues.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

US to seek more help from NATO to counter Islamic State.

Pentagon slashes funding for Islamic State fight.

Indonesia says will not repatriate citizens who fought with ISIL.

Pakistan court sentences accused terrorist Hafiz Saaed.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street sets record closing highs as coronavirus fears subside.

WhatsApp defends encryption as it tops 2 billion users.

Nissan sues Ghosn for damages, risks plunging to loss.

Alphabet's Google puts up fight against EU fine.

Boeing eyes Vietnam plane orders as coronavirus threatens to worsen dry spell.

Turkey Enraged That The U.S. Wants To Give $200 Million To The Syrian-Kurdish Led SDF Next Year

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 03:23 PM PST

A patrol of US military vehicles is seen near the flying yellow flags of the terrorist YPG-dominated SDF and green flags of its constituent YPJ in the town of Tal Tamr in the northeastern Syrian Hasakah province along the border with Turkey on Feb. 8, 2020. (AFP Photo)

Daily Sabah: Pentagon budget proposes whopping $200M funding to YPG/PKK terrorists in Syria

The $740.5 billion Pentagon budget proposed by the U.S. government will continue to provide funding for YPG/PKK terrorists in Syria but it will slash it by a third compared with the previous year, while it includes more funding for nuclear weapons, research and development spending.

The Trump administration's proposal will slash funding for the YPG/PKK-dominated SDF to $200 million from $300 million in 2020.

The SDF is an umbrella organization predominantly led by the terrorist PKK's Syrian wing YPG.

The proposed budget cuts funding for other combat operations abroad, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

American support for the YPG, under the name of the SDF, has long vexed Ankara. Turkey considers the YPG to be the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, which has waged a more than 30-year brutal war against the Turkish state.

Washington views the SDF as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections by Turkey.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This $200 million fund is down from the $300 million that the SDF is receiving this year. What is also annoying the Turks is the U.S decision to end this intelligence operation with Turkey .... Exclusive: U.S. halts secretive drone program with Turkey over Syria incursion (Reuters).

The War In Syria Is A Reality Check For Turkish-Russian Relations

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 02:18 PM PST


Galip Dalay, Middle East Eye: The Idlib debacle is a reality check for Turkish-Russian relations

Turkey is trying to send the message that it will not hand over an easy victory to Russia and the regime.

Within a week, Russia-backed Syrian regime forces killed a total of 13 Turkish soldiers in two deadly attacks in Syria's northwestern Idlib province.

Needless to say these attacks wouldn't have taken place without the approval of the regime's main international backer, Moscow. And this is where Turkey's predicament starts, if not deepens.

These two attacks brought to the fore the contradictions, limits and nature of Turkey and Russia's fast-improving relations in recent years. Despite the casual usage of the word "strategic" by some Turkish officials and pundits in depicting the nature of Moscow-Ankara relations, these bilateral ties are far from being qualified as such.

Read more ....

Update: Russia and Turkey have fallen out in Syria (Financial Times)

WNU Editor: Turkish President Erdogan made a strategic error when he believed that after numerous talks with Russia in the past year, Moscow would accept a Turkish role and influence in Syria. But the Kremlin has made it clear in the past week that this is not going to happen, and are now actively supporting Syrian military efforts to seize this territory. The sad part of this slow-moving disaster was that President Erdogan was warned by many in the West that this is what was going to happen, but he choose to believe otherwise.

Growing Crisis In Northwest Syria As Turkish And Syrian Forces Now Face Each Other

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 02:17 PM PST



CNN: For the first time in 9 years, two nation states are going toe-to-toe in Syria

Syria's curse, as its conflict rumbles slowly towards its first decade, has always been how new forces enter the war just when it seems that exhaustion might slow everyone down.

But over the past week, a starker evolution has occurred, one that's been lost amid fatigue around the seemingly endless violence. Two of the most influential actors there -- Turkey and the Syrian regime -- have stopped fighting purely through proxies, and instead taken to directly attacking each other.

It is a seismic development: Turkish troops being repeatedly killed by Syrian forces, and then Ankara exacting a revenge toll on Bashar al-Assad's men. The expectation has always been that Moscow -- the forceful, long-term backer of Assad but also the fair-weather and awkward new friend of NATO member Turkey -- would step in and negotiate a pause. But they haven't yet, despite repeated phone calls between Ankara and Moscow. And they might not.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Syrian army backed by Russia is not going to stop .... Syria's army pushes into Idlib province (Al Jazeera). Bottom line. Turkey has few options .... Turkey's options dry up in Syria as Russia backs Assad push (DW).

More News On Turkey's Predicament In Syria

Erdogan vies for leverage in Syria's Idlib as Turkish troops reinforce positions -- Al-Monitor
Syrian Attacks Draw Turkey Deeper Into Syrian War -- The New York Times
Erdogan: Turkey will hit Syrian government forces 'anywhere' -- Al Jazeera
Buoyed by U.S., Erdogan Vows to Expel Syrian Army From Idlib - Bloomberg
Syria war: Government will pay 'heavy price' for attacking Turkish troops -- BBC
Crisis Grows in Northwest Syria As Thousands Flee Toward Turkish Border -- Foreign Policy

Deadly Clash Between U.S. Troops And Government Supporters In Northeast Syria Results In One Syrian Killed And One Wounded

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 01:47 PM PST



VOA: US Convoy Attacked by Pro-Government Militia in Northeast Syria

A U.S. military convoy was attacked on Wednesday by pro-Syrian government militia fighters in northeast Syria, local sources and U.S. officials said.

The incident occurred in a village near the northeastern city of Qamishli.

'Self-defense'

The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) terror group said its troops opened fire at a checkpoint manned by Syrian regime forces near Qamishli after they came under small arms fire.


"In self-defense, Coalition troops returned fire. The situation was de-escalated and is under investigation," Col. Myles B. Caggins, a coalition spokesman, said in a statement, adding that "the Coalition patrol returned to base."

Read more ....

More News On Today's Deadly Clash Between U.S. Troops And Government Supporters In Northeast Syria

US troops clash with pro-government group in northeast Syria -- AP
US forces come under fire while on patrol in Syria -- ABC News
Syria war: 'One killed' as US troops clash with government loyalists near Qamishli -- BBC
US-led coalition clashes with Syria regime loyalists -- AFP
US troops return fire after attack at 'pro-Syrian regime' checkpoint; Syria says civilian killed -- FOX News
Syrian killed in rare clash between US troops, government forces -- Al Jazeera
Deadly 'Occupation': Video Shows Moment Syrian Villagers Open Fire On US Patrol -- Zero Hedge

The Afghan Taliban Have Surpassed ISIS As The 'World’s Deadliest' Nonstate Armed Group

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 01:35 PM PST

Taliban militants appear at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan
Reuters / Corbis

Washington Examiner: Ignominious distinction: Taliban surpasses ISIS as 'world's deadliest' nonstate armed group

A new analysis from Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre says the Afghanistan-based Taliban has surpassed the Islamic State to become the world's deadliest nonstate armed group.

The group reported that while terrorist attacks decreased 10% to 14,009 in 2019, the lowest level since 2011, Taliban attacks increased by almost 90%, resulting in a 60% increase in deaths.

The data shows that the Taliban accounted for more deaths than the next nine deadliest groups combined.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  This is what I call sobering news when it comes to the Afghan war.

Report: Presdient Trump Gives 'Conditional' Approval To Afghan Deal If The Taliban Reduce Violence

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 11:56 AM PST



Reuters: U.S., Taliban could sign peace deal in February if insurgents reduce violence: sources

KABUL/DUBAI (Reuters) - A U.S.-Taliban peace deal could be signed this month if the Taliban significantly reduces violence, which could lead to an eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, two Afghan government sources and a Western diplomat said on Wednesday.

The tentative timeline shared by sources came a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said there had been a possible breakthrough in U.S.-Taliban talks in Qatar.

The talks had been deadlocked in part over a U.S. demand that the insurgents agree to sharply reduce violence as part of any American troop withdrawal accord.

Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban's political office in the Qatari capital Doha, said progress has been made, but refused to share further details.

Read more ....

More News On The Current State Of U.S. - Taliban Peace Talks

US, Taliban close to 'reduction in violence' agreement -- AP
US, Taliban peace talks: 'Reduction in violence' proposal on the table, officials say -- FOX News
U.S. ready to sign peace deal if Taliban abide by promise to reduce violence -- NBC
Afghan war: US, Taliban close to 'reduction in violence' deal -- Al Jazeera
US-Taliban breakthrough appears closer as Ghani reports progress -- AFP
U.S. and Taliban negotiators to meet again following Trump approval -- The Washington Post
Trump Gives Conditional Go Ahead on Peace Deal With Taliban, Officials Say -- The New York Times
Trump Gives 'Conditional' Approval to Afghan Deal: NYT -- TOLO News
Afghan president says Pompeo reports progress in US-Taliban talks -- Al Jazeera

Covid-19 Is A Virus That Is Stumping The Experts

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 11:40 AM PST

Understanding the behaviour of the virus will help scientists develop a vaccine. Photo: Xinhua

SCMP: Coronavirus still stumps experts on when human carrier turns infectious

* Identifying how long it takes before carriers start to spread the virus could prove key to curbing the spread of Covid-19
* Researchers are trying to determine whether it can be transmitted before carriers start to show symptoms

Global health experts are divided on whether the coronavirus outbreak has peaked or worse is to come, but a more fundamental problem for front-line hospitals and laboratories is identifying when a person carrying the virus becomes infectious to others.

Scientists say this could be a key to defeating the disease it causes, now officially known as Covid-19. In other words, knowing how it behaves allows for the development of counter strategies.

The ideal countermeasure is a vaccine, but because doctors are dealing with a previously unknown virus, infectious disease experts, including Professor John Nicholls from the University of Hong Kong, said it would take many months to develop and test a drug to fight it.

Read more ....



More News On The Covid-19 Virus

Killer coronavirus is 'the worst enemy you can ever imagine' as viral outbreaks can pose a greater global threat than terrorism, World Health Organisation warns -- Daily Mail
Top CDC official says US should prepare for coronavirus 'to take a foothold' -- CNBC
Why doctors find fighting the coronavirus so challenging -- CBC
WHO says first coronavirus vaccine could be ready in 18 months -- UPI
Timetable For A Vaccine Against The New Coronavirus? Maybe This Fall -- NPR
Deadly coronavirus may have originated in a bat cave 16 YEARS AGO: Scientists say latest disease is a 96% match to a strain discovered in 2004 Chinese study -- Daily Mail
Labs scramble to spot hidden coronavirus infections -- Science Magazine
SARS 2.0! Scientists rename the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 because it is from the same species that killed 800 people in 2002 -- Daily Mail

Covid-19 News Updates -- February 12, 2020

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 11:37 AM PST



CNBC: Top CDC official says US should prepare for coronavirus 'to take a foothold'

* The CDC is preparing for the new coronavirus, which has killed at least 1,115 and sickened more than 45,000 worldwide, to "take a foothold in the U.S."
* "At some point, we are likely to see community spread in the U.S. or in other countries," said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday it is preparing for the new coronavirus, which has killed at least 1,115 and sickened more than 45,000 worldwide, to "take a foothold in the U.S."

"At some point, we are likely to see community spread in the U.S. or in other countries," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on a conference call. "This will trigger a change in our response strategy."

Health officials had confirmed 13 U.S. cases of the virus, now named COVID-19, short for Corona Virus Disease.

Read more ....

Covid-19 News Updates -- February 12, 2020

Fall in new cases raises hope in virus outbreak in China -- AP
Coronavirus: Xi Jinping sends message on economy and getting back to business -- SCMP
China takes major steps to prop up coronavirus-hit economy -- Reuters
How China rounds up coronavirus suspects: Shocking moment one woman desperately screams after being put into a metal box while another family of four are 'dragged away from their home' by officers in hazmat suits -- Daily Mail
Coronavirus: Why many deaths will never appear in official figures -- SCMP
Japan confirms 39 new virus cases, 174 total on cruise ship -- AP
Quarantine officer among latest coronavirus cases on cruise ship held off of Japan became infected after going door-to-door handing out health questionnaires to passengers -- Daily Mail
Passengers celebrate as Westerdam cruise ship is FINALLY allowed to dock in Cambodia after five countries refused entry over coronavirus fears, despite no cases on board -- Daily Mail
Cruise ship barred by 4 governments set to dock in Cambodia -- AP
Airlines suspend China flights due to coronavirus outbreak -- Reuters
'It's like a war': the fight for rice and toilet roll as coronavirus convulses Hong Kong -- The Guardian
China virus threatens to hobble Gulf economies -- AFP
Coronavirus: Singapore bank evacuated after worker falls ill -- BBC
Coronavirus: 'some people may succumb', says Singapore as cases hit 50 -- SCMP
2 Russians flee virus quarantine, in dismay at hospitals -- AP
South Korea releases more 'fully recovered' coronavirus patient -- UPI
Coronavirus: man linked to UK outbreak released from hospital -- The Guardian
Coronavirus: German health minister calls on EU to allocate funds -- DW
Vietnam needs stimulus package to alleviate coronavirus impact, ministry says -- Reuters
China's virus crisis hits global flows of letters, parcels -- AP
Coronavirus has many U.S. firms waiting for products to ship -- AP

World News Briefs -- February 12, 2020

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 03:25 PM PST



Reuters: China's new coronavirus cases drop, world still scared

BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China reported on Wednesday its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in two weeks, bolstering a forecast by Beijing's senior medical adviser for the outbreak in the country to end by April - but fears of further international spread remained.

The 2,015 new confirmed cases took China's total to 44,653. That was the lowest daily rise since Jan. 30 and came a day after epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan said the epidemic should peak in China this month before subsiding.

His comments gave some balm to public fears and to markets, where global stocks surged to record highs on hopes of an end to disruption in the world's second largest economy.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syria's army pushes into Idlib province.

Syrian News Agency: US hits Syria regime military bases in Hasakah.

US Air Force did not bomb Syrian military near Qamishli: source.

Syrian killed in rare clash between US troops, government forces.

Erdogan threatens military escalation in Syria. Erdogan: Turkey will hit Syrian government forces 'anywhere'.

Turkey's options dry up in Syria as Russia backs Assad push.

Newly displaced Syrians face crowded camps and harsh weather.

NATO Iraq training mission could grow under new plan.

Lawyers ask U.S., Britain to arrest UAE officials for war crimes in Yemen.

ASIA

US, Taliban close to 'reduction in violence' agreement.

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

US warns China after military aircraft encroach on Taiwanese airspace.

China says faces 'war' against virus as death toll tops 1,100.

Coronavirus: Xi Jinping sends message on economy and getting back to business.

Indonesia criticises US study concerns over no coronavirus cases.

U.N.: 40 percent of North Koreans need humanitarian aid.

AFRICA

UN to vote on resolution supporting Libya ceasefire.

Libya's eastern-based army denies UN planes to land in Libya. UN barred from flying in and out of Libya.

Nigerian military under scrutiny after latest attacks.

Silencing dissent in Cameroon: Tension between youth and gov't.

S.Sudan's Kiir returns home as diplomats call for urgent compromise.

Burial of Daniel arap Moi recalls complicated legacy of Kenyan leader.

World in Progress: Zimbabwe's drought cripples rural communities.

EUROPE

Coronavirus: German health minister calls on EU to allocate funds.

Brexit: EU Parliament makes tough demands for talks.

Italy strips immunity from far-right Salvini. Italy Salvini: Senate votes for far-right leader to face trial.

EU accused of climate crisis hypocrisy after backing 32 gas projects.

Facebook purges more accounts linked to Russia in new crackdown.

France opens investigation into Maltese journalist's murder.

Pope Francis rejects proposal for married priests in Amazon region.

AMERICAS

Bernie Sanders wins New Hampshire primary ahead of Pete Buttigieg.

House Republicans boycott public Intelligence panel hearing.

Dems pick up new GOP support to rein in Trump's Iran war powers.

Trump congratulates Barr for 'taking charge' of Stone case.

A refugee camp grows on the US-Mexico border.

Venezuela crisis: Juan Guaidó greeted with abuse after return from world tour.

Heavy rain and mudslides kill eight in Bolivia.

Canada: thousands of travelers affected as Indigenous-led rail blockade continues.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

US to seek more help from NATO to counter Islamic State.

Pentagon slashes funding for Islamic State fight.

Indonesia says will not repatriate citizens who fought with ISIL.

Pakistan court sentences accused terrorist Hafiz Saaed.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Nissan sues Ghosn for damages, risks plunging to loss.

Alphabet's Google puts up fight against EU fine.

Boeing eyes Vietnam plane orders as coronavirus threatens to worsen dry spell.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 12, 2020

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 09:46 AM PST


PEW Research: NATO Seen Favorably Across Member States

Many in member countries express reservations about fulfilling Article 5's collective defense obligations

NATO is generally seen in a positive light across publics within the alliance, despite lingering tensions between the leaders of individual member countries. A median of 53% across 16 member countries surveyed have a favorable view of the organization, with only 27% expressing a negative view. But opinions of NATO and related issues vary widely across the countries surveyed, especially regarding the obligations of Article 5 of the 75-year-old treaty, which declares that an attack against one member nation is considered an attack against all members.

Positive ratings of NATO among members range from a high of 82% in Poland to 21% in Turkey, with the United States and Germany in the middle at 52% and 57%, respectively. And in the three nonmember states surveyed, Sweden and Ukraine see the alliance positively (63% and 53%, respectively), but only 16% of Russians say the same.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 12, 2020

Support for NATO plummeting in Europe, lowest in Turkey -- Middle East Monitor

Support for NATO lowest in Turkey, declines in France and US -- Al Jazeera

Support for NATO Falling Among Americans, New Survey Shows -- Newsweek

US military approves 11 coronavirus quarantine camps next to major US airports which can treat 'up to 1,000 people' as the 13th American case is confirmed in California -- Daily Mail

US sends surveillance planes over Taiwan Strait after Chinese war games -- SCMP

As China expands navy, US begins stockpiling ship-killing missiles -- Defense News

The Navy Hopes This New Weapon Will Solve China's Anti-Ship Missile Threat -- National Interest

Navy May Cut Submarines In 2021 Plans While China Pumps Out Warships -- Forbes

US Army looking to buy 40,000 'mixed reality' goggles -- War Is Boring

The Marine Corps Must Get Smaller to Get Better, Commandant Says -- Military.com

Here's Why the Army Is Buying Fewer JLTVs Next Year -- Military.com

Pentagon seeks largest net-centric warfare budget in a decade -- C4ISRNet

Army accelerates push to the cloud -- Defense Systems

Microsoft criticizes Amazon's 'sensationalist and politicized rhetoric' in Pentagon cloud lawsuit -- Seattle Times

Make Data Science Accessible for the Pentagon -- Eric Loeb and Steven E. Moore, War On The Rocks

The 2021 Defense Budget Won't Meet U.S. Strategic Goals. Here's How We Can Adapt. -- Dave Deptula, Forbes

Where Could the US Put Its Post-INF Missiles? -- Defense One

'We are not a banana republic': National security adviser defends Vindman dismissals -- Politico

Esper says it's 'unfortunate' that Philippines ended military agreement with US -- CNN

The Pentagon And Japan Just Exposed A Secretive Chinese Naval Militia -- National Interest

Canadian Military wants Huawei banned from 5G in Canada: Report -- Bloomberg

Berlin to limit sensitive military tenders to German firms -- National Post/Reuters

UK army 'years off' full strength despite recruitment drive -- The Guardian

North Macedonia moves another step closer to NATO membership -- Emerging Europe

Report: South Korea dismisses rumors of GSOMIA termination -- UPI

Mass shooting puts Thai army officers' side deals under scrutiny -- The Chronicle Herald

Russia Develops Cutting-Edge Anti-Hypersonic Missile System - Report -- Sputnik

Israeli Drone Dome System Downs Entire Swarm of UAVs in Newly Released Video -- Sputnik

Europe Is Not Taking President Trump's Threats Over Huawei Seriously

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 06:38 AM PST

Donald Trump and Angela Merkel Reuters

Business Insider: The United States' European allies are no longer taking Trump's 'apoplectic' threats seriously

* Trump's repeated threats to the United States' European allies to fall into line with US policy on Huawei are failing.
* The United Kingdom last month backed a deal with the Chinese telecoms company despite a furious call to prime minister Boris Johnson from the president.
* Now the German government is also preparing to rule out a ban on Huawei.
* Other European leaders are set to follow their lead and defy Trump after the president failed to follow-through on his threats to the UK.

In recent months Trump has issued a series of threats to European allies which were designed to force them into following his administration's ban on the Chinese telecoms company Huawei.

However, the threats, which included a plan to withdraw from the US intelligence-sharing relationship with the United Kingdom, appear to have failed, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreeing a deal with Huawei anyway.

Trump reportedly reacted with rage to Johnson's decision and slammed down the phone on the prime minister in a call last month.

However, far from fearing a similar reaction from Trump, other European countries are now moving to take a very similar position to Johnson.

This week Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats backed a positions paper which ruled out an outright ban on Huawei.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The priority in Europe is to develop commercial and trade relations with China. U.S. concerns on national security over Huawei is not their priority.

Is The U.S. Air Force About To Retire The U-2?

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 06:29 AM PST


Task & Purpose: The Air Force plans on retiring the vaunted U-2 spy plane starting in 2025

After nearly 70 years of service, the U.S. Air Force plans to begin divesting its fleet of U-2 Dragon Lady spy planes starting in fiscal year 2025, budget documents show.

According to the service's fiscal year 2021 budget request of $120.2 million for U-2 procurement, the service "will maintain operational capability up to and through FY25" for the high-altitude plane before divesting in the aircraft beginning that year.

"These investments will address reliability, maintainability, supportability, diminishing manufacturing sources/material shortages (DMS/MS), flight test, safety issues, and integration of capability development activities in support of the broader [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] portfolio," the budget request says. "This continued investment in the platform ends in FY25, where the U-2 will be divested."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Confusion reigns. The Air Force is now saying that the U-2 will not be retired .... Budget Elicits Confusion Over Fate of U-2 (Air Force Magazine).

This Is The U.S. Air Force's Plan To Win A War In The Asia-Pacific

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 06:23 AM PST

Two U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bombers fly over the Pacific Ocean during training in August 2018. The mission was flown in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence operations. (Airman 1st Class Gerald R. Willis/U.S. Air Force)

Defense News: The US Air Force has unconventional plans to win a war in the Asia-Pacific

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. Air Force prepares for the possibility of a future conflict with a near-peer adversary, it has run into a massive logistical problem: In a time where Russia and China are investing in layers of air- and ground-launched missiles that threaten American air bases, how can the Air Force ensure it will be able to get its planes off the ground?

The answer — which the Air Force calls Agile Combat Employment — calls for the service to be able to launch, recover and maintain planes away from its main air bases and instead at unorthodox locations like partner nations' military airfields or civilian airports.

Specifically, the large, geographically dispersed terrain of the Asia-Pacific region generates unique challenges, said Maj. Gen. Brian Killough, deputy commander of Pacific Air Forces. "We've got to respond to that requirement to move everything by either air or ship across the theater" he said in a Jan. 29 interview. "We don't have the very efficient rail lines and highway systems that Europe does to move those things around, so we've got to get lighter and leaner."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Big bases means big targets. It makes sense to look at alternatives, as well as having supplies and equipment already deployed in the field.

Does The U.S. Navy Need 355 Ships?

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 06:14 AM PST

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John Paul Jones at sunset. The Navy is moving to slash five Flight III Arleigh Burkes from their five-year budget plans. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Kyle Merritt)

Thomas Spoehr, National Interest: Why the U.S. Navy Needs At Least 355 Ships

In future years, however, America must make the hard choices to put the Navy on a solid footing towards achieving the force structure our nation needs. We have done it before, after all. And let's not forget the stakes: If the U.S. Navy can no longer ensure a free and open global maritime commons, our nation will be less safe.

It's good news, obviously, that Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he is "fully committed" to getting the U.S. Navy up to 355 ships. That number has been in decline for decades. In 1987, the Navy had 594 ships. Today that number is 294. For those who lack context, 294 ships sounds like a lot. And it is.

But — and here's the bad news — it's insufficient to perform what the National Defense Strategy demands. To understand why the Navy needs at least 355 takes a little explaining.

First, though, let's consider where the Navy's requirement for 355 ships came from. It's the result of the Navy's December 2016 force structure assessment (FSA) of the multiple types of warships it needed to "address the ever-evolving and increasingly complex threats the Navy is required to counter…" It is not, as some have claimed, an unconstrained "wish list." Indeed, the FSA balanced "an acceptable level of warfighting risk to our equipment and personnel against available resources and achieves a force size that can reasonably achieve success."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A 355 ship Navy is not going to happen .... The US Navy wants more ships but can't afford them, admiral says (Defense News).

The US Navy/Marine Corps New Shipbuilding And Force Structure Plan To Be Released In A Few Weeks

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 05:55 AM PST

An F-35B Lightning II approaches the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) as the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) transits alongside on April 18, 2018, following an expeditionary strike as part of Certification Exercise (CERTEX) in the Philippine Sea. (MC1 Daniel Barker/Navy)

Breaking Defense: Massive Fleet Changes Loom As Navy Briefs SecDef Esper

"Congress can't want a bigger and stronger fleet more than the Navy and Marine Corps want a bigger and stronger fleet," Rep. Mike Gallagher, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said today. "There's a lot of confusion about the budget."

CAPITOL HILL: Navy and Marine Corps leaders met with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and his staff Monday to work through the Navy/Marine Corps ambitious new shipbuilding and force structure plan, which is expected to be released in the next few weeks.

The meeting, which included Deputy Secretary David Norquist, Pentagon budget officials, and the top military and civilian leaders, came as Esper weighs the merits of the Navy's plan to reach 355 ships as soon as next decade, a heavy lift that would add more than 50 ships to the current fleet, some of which would include new classes of ships the Navy hasn't decided on yet.

"The Navy and Marine Corps' work is largely done," Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger said at a forum on amphibious ships on Capitol Hill. Berger said he's unsure when the secretary's review will be complete, or when the plan will be formally blessed and released to the public.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: We are already getting a heads-up on what the Navy/Marine Corps wants .... The Navy Wants Money To Get Started On Its Future SSN(X) Attack Submarine (Warzone/The Drive).

Are America's Allies 'Back In The Big Carrier Business'

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 05:47 AM PST


Business Insider: US allies are 'back in the big carrier business,' but the US isn't so sure how many flattops it'll have in the future

* The US, British, and French navies all had carriers at sea in January, including the US and UK's newest flat tops.
* Those new carriers, and one France may acquire in coming years, will be in service for decades, but on the US side, changes may be coming for the role and size of that carrier force.

While the US's new aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, was undergoing testing off the East Coast last month, the Royal Navy's new carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, was landing and launching jets in UK waters for the first time in a decade and the venerable French carrier Charles de Gaulle was setting off on its first deployment since its 18-month-long midlife overhaul ended late last year.

That activity is a sign the French and the British "are now back in the big carrier business," Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander of the Navy's recently reestablished 2nd Fleet, said this month in Washington, DC.

"Having that global carrier force is real beneficial. That helps our operational dilemma quite a bit," Lewis added in response to a question about his command's partnerships with European navies.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The UK's aircraft carriers lack planes and escort ships, and the French carrier Charles de Gaulle is just coming back after a long overdue overhaul.

New Pentagon Map Shows Russian And Chinese Naval Activity Near Major Undersea Cables

Posted: 12 Feb 2020 05:31 AM PST

The map showing Russian and Chinese naval activity, as well as the location of major undersea cables. DoD

Warzone/The Drive: New Pentagon Map Shows Huge Scale Of Worrisome Russian and Chinese Naval Operations

This is our first good look at the kind of activity, especially off the East Coast of the United States, that the US military has been warning about.

The Pentagon has released a map showing areas of increased Russian and Chinese naval activities, as well as the locations of major undersea cables, around the world as part of its most recent budget request for the 2021 Fiscal Year. This is perhaps the most granular detail on these subjects that the U.S. government has provided to date after years of warning about the threats that these patrols, especially by Russian submarines, pose to American national interests. Just last week, we reported that a senior U.S. Navy officer stated that Russian submarine sorties had become such an issue that the service no longer treats the East Coast of the United States as "uncontested" and would no longer view it as a guaranteed "safe haven" in a crisis.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Not sure what they are trying to prove. The undersea cables follow a route that is the shortest distance between the continents. It is only logical that the shipping lines will also follow the same route, including other country's navies. 

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