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Saturday, February 15, 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: 14 Feb 2020 10:30 PM PST

U.S. Special Operations Command Is Shifting Its Focus From Combatting Terrorism To Facing countries Like Russia And China

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 10:00 PM PST

Military Times: After decades focused on terrorism, special operations is broadening its horizons

With clear marching orders from the Defense Department to turn focus to competitors like China and Russia, the U.S. special operations community is at an inflection point. Kicking down doors in Afghanistan and Iraq will give way to more missions like training partners in Europe and Asia, and U.S. Special Operations Command could see a shift in its funding and oversight.

But that re-focus should not mean that special operations forces will take a back seat to traditional air, land and sea power, according to a report released Wednesday, as competitors are already using proxy forces and misinformation campaigns, both of which are right in the SOF wheelhouse.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is a huge shift. The Russian and Chinese military are not the Taliban, ISIS, etc..

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 09:35 PM PST

A Syrian rebel fighter remotely-fires a rocket from a truck-mounted launcher at a position in the countryside of Idlib towards regime forces positions in the southern countryside of Syria's Aleppo province on February 10, 2020. © AFP 2019 / Omar Haj Kadour

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures: 8 -14 February (Sputnik).

From Russia With Love: Soldier Uses Tanks To Propose To His Girlfriend

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 09:31 PM PST

WNU Editor: It is Valentine's Day.

U.S. Offering Iraq A Partial Pullback Of Military Forces

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 09:29 PM PST

US military forces in Iraq on 19 October 2016 [File photo]

Middle East Eye: EXCLUSIVE: US military offers Iraq a partial pullback

United States prepared 'in principle' to withdraw from some areas, though Anbar province's Ain al-Assad base is a 'red line'.

The US military has offered senior Iraqi security officials plans for a partial pullback of troops from Iraq in response to January's parliamentary vote calling for foreign forces to leave the country, Middle East Eye can reveal.

A meeting between the two sides, held in great secrecy last week, heard that Washington was prepared "in principle" to discuss withdrawal.

A representative of the US military told the Iraqis present that the United States was prepared to leave positions in or near Shia-majority areas, such as Balad Air Base, which is located 80km north of Baghdad and houses US trainers and contractors.

Washington, the Iraqis were told, could even consider reducing its presence in Baghdad.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If this report is true, the U.S. will abandon in or near Shia-majority areas.

The U.S. And Iran Are Now Involved In A Tit-For-Tat Confrontation

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 07:00 PM PST

Iranian soldiers march during the Army Day parade in Tehran on April 17, 2015. (File photo: AFP)

Jack Detsch, Al-Monitor: Pentagon tit-for-tat with Iran goes on

The Pentagon announced that a rocket struck an Iraqi base housing American troops today and that US forces had intercepted a Yemen-bound dhow carrying Iranian-designed weapons days earlier, extending the ongoing military tit-for-tat with pro-Iranian forces.

A defense official told Al-Monitor that the K1 base in the oil-rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk was hit by a Katyusha rocket at 8:45 p.m. local time today, causing no injuries.

The Iraqi media also reported today that troops found the launch pad and 11 rockets near the base, but had not tracked down the perpetrators. A rocket attack from Iranian-backed forces killed a US contractor at the base Dec. 27, sparking a cycle of violence that culminated in Iran's Jan. 8 ballistic missile attack on Al-Assad airbase.

Read more ....

WNU editor: This could easily get out of hand.

Iran Accuses The U.S. For Last Week's Massive Cyber Attack

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 06:00 PM PST

TEHRAN, Feb. 14 (MNA) – Head of Iran's Passive Defense Organization Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali blamed the US for having a hand in the recent cyberattack on the infrastructures of Iran's e-government.

MEHR News Agency: US behind recent major cyberattack on Iran: Jalali

According to Jalali, the recent cyberattack on the country's infrastructure has been a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), in which the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network is disrupted by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic.

"The attack was carried out by the US to assess the feasibility of future ones," he said, "But it was deterred."

"Designating the exact source and time of the attack is a time-consuming procedure but Iran's Telecommunication Infrastructure company is working on the issue," he added.

Read more ....

More News On Iran Accusing The U.S. For Last Week's Massive Cyber Attack

Iran says U.S. behind large-scale infrastructure cyberattack -- UPI
Iran Foils Major Cyber Attack from US: Official -- Tasnim News Agency
Large-scale cyberattack on Iran probably originated from U.S., official says -- Tehran Times
Last Week's Cyberattack Against Iran Originated in the US – Iranian Civil Defence Chief -- Sputnik

Tonight's Movie Is 'Paratroop Command'

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 05:00 PM PST

From Wikipedia: Paratroop Command is a 1959 war film directed by William Witney, starring Richard Bakalyan, Ken Lynch and Jack Hogan. Quentin Tarantino, an admirer of Witney's work, considers this film to be among his four best.

Global Defense Spending Conitnues To Increase

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 04:00 PM PST

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

IISS: Global defence spending: the United States widens the gap

In 2019, the United States remained by far the world's largest defence spender, widening the gap between it and the second largest spender, China. US investments in weapons procurement and R&D alone were larger than China's total defence budget. The United States' defence investments in weapons procurement and R&D were also worth around four times as much as European states' combined.

IISS data shows that in 2019 the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and India retained their positions as the world's top defence spenders. Indeed, the only movement in the top 15 saw Italy and Australia swap places, with Italy taking the 12th position and Australia the 13th (Figure 1).

Read more ....

More News On Global Defense Spending

Biggest jump in world defence spending in 10 years: Study -- CNA/AFP
US, China lead global increase in defense spending -- DW
Global defence spending is on the rise in an unstable world -- BBC
Global Annual Military Spending Sees Biggest Hike in 10 Years Amid US-China Arms Race -- Sputnik

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 14, 2020

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 03:00 PM PST

Charles Riley and Julia Horowitz, CNN Business: The coronavirus is already hurting the world economy. Here's why it could get really scary

Nearly two decades have passed since a coronavirus known as SARS emerged in China, killing hundreds of people and sparking panic that sent a chill through the global economy. The virus now rampaging across China could be much more damaging.

China has become an indispensable part of global business since the 2003 SARS outbreak. It's grown into the world's factory, churning out products such as the iPhone and driving demand for commodities like oil and copper. The country also boasts hundreds of millions of wealthy consumers who spend big on luxury products, tourism and cars. China's economy accounted for roughly 4% of world GDP in 2003; it now makes up 16% of global output.

SARS sickened 8,098 people and killed 774 before it was contained. The new coronavirus, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has already killed more than 900 people and infected over 40,000 across at least 25 countries and territories. Chinese officials have locked down Wuhan and several other cities, but the virus continues to spread.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 14, 2020

Coronavirus: The search for 'patient zero' in global spread -- France 24

Analysis: Are coronavirus figures from China credible? -- Al Jazeera

ANALYSIS - Coronavirus: New 'Black Swan' of global economy? -- Nurullah Gur, Anadolu Agency

The Coronavirus May Mark The End Of Russia-OPEC Cooperation -- Fares Kilzie,

Factbox: Events affected by coronavirus epidemic -- Reuters

Has the "Great Decoupling" Gone Viral? -- Kevin Rudd, Project Syndicate

The Guardian view on Idlib: nowhere left to run -- Guardian editorial

Avoiding a nuclear arms race in the Middle East -- Gen. Kevin Chilton (ret.) and Harry Hoshovsky, Defense News

Mass firings in Turkey: 'We have been given a social death sentence' -- Tunca Ögreten, DW

PLO's Abbas Emerges As Incredible Shrinking Man -- Benny Avni, New York Sun

China and India's maritime rivalry has a new flashpoint: the Andaman Sea -- Yogesh Joshi, SCMP

While US worries about China, Europe stays focused on Russia -- Robert Burns, The Associated Press

The US Should Accept Russia's Proposed Moratorium on Post-INF Missiles -- Luke Griffith, Defense One

Brazil's most powerful gang is going international — here's how First Capital Command rose to power -- Angela Olaya and Héctor Silva, Business Insider/InSight Crime

One of the richest men in the world is paying the biggest meme pages to make him seem cool -- James Purtill, ABC News Online

How a Stock Bubble Could Unwind America's National Security -- Sam J. Tangredi, Defense One

World News Briefs -- Febraury 14, 2020

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 02:17 PM PST

Beijing trains were almost empty on the first day 'back to work' for China after the extended Lunar New Year holiday. (ABC: Steve Wang)

ABC News Online: Coronavirus COVID-19 sees 500 million people in China under lockdown

Around 500 million people in China are currently affected by policies put in place restricting movement, to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus.

That's more than the entire population of the United States and is equivalent to roughly 6.5 per cent of the world's population.

As of Friday, at least 48 cities and four provinces in China have issued official notices for lockdown policies, with measures ranging from "closed-off management", where residents of a community have to be registered before they are allowed in or out, to restrictions that shut down highways, railways and public transport systems.

Read more ....


IRGC trained militias suffer losses in northwest Syria.

Syrian military helicopter downed as Idlib fighting intensifies.

Israeli attack on Damascus kills 7 fighters: monitor.

'Maybe it was the Belgians': Netanyahu claims ignorance after reports of missiles fired over Damascus.

Yemen's Houthis down a tornado warplane belonging to 'enemy forces': Al Masirah TV.

Yemen's Houthis step back on threats to tax aid.

Hundreds of Iraqi women challenge al-Sadr's call for segregation.

Iran says U.S. behind large-scale infrastructure cyberattack.

Defiant, Lebanon's Hariri says deal with Aoun is 'history' .


US and Taliban reach truce deal, US official says, paving way for peace talks.

Munich Security Conference: Afghan peace deal 'closer than ever'.

Donald Trump sees 'good chance' for Afghanistan withdrawal deal with Taliban this month.

China's coronavirus death toll surpasses 1,400, but new fatalities half that of previous day.

More than 1,700 health workers infected by coronavirus in China.

Coronavirus: Beijing orders 14-day quarantine for returnees.

Xi Jinping calls for overhaul of China's health crisis response system.

WHO coronavirus team to arrive in China this weekend.

Cruise from hell finally disembarks in Cambodia amid coronavirus fears.

Coronavirus: economic impact of Covid-19 already worse than Sars, says Singapore PM.


Africa confirms first case of coronavirus.

Fresh clashes in Libya despite UN ceasefire call.

Attack kills 21 in central Mali ethnic flashpoint. Several killed in central Mali village attack, local officials say.

Algerians mark a year of protests with fresh demonstrations.

Locust swarm: UN warns of food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Somalia.

Zambia deploys troops to quell gas attacks by criminal gangs.

No breakthrough yet on Nile dam talks, Ethiopia says.

Ethiopia parliamentary election: Poll announced for August 29.

Pirates attack German container ship off West African coast.

Wave of violence leaves journalists in Somalia 'under siege', says Amnesty.


EU health ministers hold coronavirus meeting — As it happened.

Ukraine's Zelenskyy urged by Putin to stick to peace plan.

Top Russian, US diplomats hold brief meeting in Munich, says source.

Boris Johnson has canceled his planned trip to the White House after Trump slammed the phone down on him in a moment of 'apoplectic' fury.

German economy barely grows at end of 2019.

Fears grow that CDU crisis in Germany could spread across EU.

Paris mayoral candidate quits race amid sex video scandal.


White House does not have 'high confidence' in China's coronavirus information, official says.

The CDC is preparing for coronavirus 'to take a foothold in the US'.

Coronavirus: US will test people with flu symptoms, in significant expansion of government response.

Amid coronavirus fears, a second wave of flu hits US kids.

Trump maintains he can intervene in cases after Barr urges him to curb tweeting.

Justice Department opens inquiry into FBI interview at heart of Flynn's guilty plea.

DOJ won't charge former FBI Deputy Director McCabe.

Venezuela's Maduro says arrest of Juan Guaido 'will come'.

Honduras violence: Gunmen storm court building to free MS-13 leader.


Taliban fighters train at Mullah Mansoor 'Military Camp'.

Trump administration outlines legal justification for Soleimani strike.

Benin attack stirs worries of jihadist menace.

UK father and son plead 'not guilty' to terrorism after supporting Anti-Daesh volunteer.


S&P 500, Nasdaq gain on Nvidia, White House stock incentive report.

Global tourism to take a US$80 billion hit and a year to shake off the effects of coronavirus outbreak.

No need to panic about coronavirus impact on oil markets, US energy secretary says.

Next two weeks will be critical for China in coronavirus outbreak, IMF chief says.

US accuses Huawei of stealing trade secrets and helping Iran spy on protesters in latest indictment.

Huawei denounces new US allegations of intellectual property theft and North Korea dealings as 'political persecution'.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 14, 2020

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 01:00 PM PST

The Hill: US military preparing for potential coronavirus pandemic: report (Update)

The U.S. military is reportedly advancing plans to make ready for a potential pandemic of the coronavirus.

Last month, Defense Secretary Mark Esper gave the order to initiate pandemic plans that include quarantining service members who have traveled to China since Feb. 2. The Military Times reported Thursday that troops around Asia have begun enforcing the directive at their own discretion on members who have traveled to China during the dates specified.

Navy and Marine Corps messages reportedly sent out this week say the plans follow the Department of Defense Global Campaign blueprint for Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Diseases 3551-13, the Pentagon's plan for combating the spread of the flu and previously unknown diseases.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 14, 2020

The US Navy is planning to get serious about a next-generation large surface combatant -- Defense News

What it's like to learn how to drive a Stryker armored vehicle from the Army's master drivers -- Business Insider

America's Elite Special Operators Want A Huge Mock Enemy Bunker Complex To Train In -- Warzone/The Drive

Here's What Special Operators Want From Their New Light Attack Plane -- Defense One

Top Marine General Wants a New Class of 'Light' Amphibious Warship --

The Marine Corps is moving all its special operators to North Carolina -- Business Insider/

Navy lays keel for future USNS Cherokee Nation -- UPI

'Mixed Reality' Goggles Will Give U.S. Army Soldiers Super Vision -- Popular Mechanics

US Needs Plan to 'Fight and Win' in Nuke-Contaminated Environment in War With Russia – Pentagon -- Sputnik

Are heavy ground combat units better than light forces and airstrikes? -- Todd South, Army Times

Our Industrial Base Can't Meet Our Defense Needs. Here's How We Can Fix That. -- Klon Kitchen, RCD

Space Force wants ideas 'in good taste' on what it should call its members -- NYPost

US Space Force Gets 1st Senior Enlisted Adviser --

National Guard leaders press case for a Space National Guard -- Space News

Pentagon seeks to cut F-35s, other equipment to pay for Trump's border wall -- Defense News

CIA Programmers Describe Spy Agency Subculture of Nerf Guns, Office Drama -- The Wall Street Journal

US service member killed in non-combat incident in Africa -- The Hill

Mild traumatic head injuries can lead to a lifetime of health issues for soldiers -- Vishal Bansal, The Hill

US Indo-Pacific Command leader hopes Philippine security pact can still be saved -- AP

Russia alarmed by U.S. Air Force visit to Norwegian island -- Reuters

Russia's Tactical Missiles Corporation Working on New Ammunition for Okhotnik Drone -- Sputnik

Russian fighter jets scrambled on interception missions twice in last week -- TASS

Russia Keeps Advancing in Africa -- Stephen Blank, Eurasia Daily Monitor

China's National Day show of military muscle risks backfiring -- Cary Huang, SCMP

China's Y-20 Airlifters Make Crisis Debut Bringing Medics And Cargo To Virus Plagued Wuhan -- Warzone/The Drive

F-35 gets thumbs up from Singapore's air chief -- Defense News

IDF Launches Cutting-Edge 'Momentum' War Plan to Enhance 'Lethality, Scope, Accuracy' -- Sputnik

Changes at the MoD: Who survived Britain's government reshuffle? -- Defense News

Global Annual Military Spending Sees Biggest Hike in 10 Years Amid US-China Arms Race -- Sputnik

First Case Of The Coronavirus Has Been Confirmed In Africa

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 12:00 PM PST

Egypt's Health Ministry announced, Friday first Coronavirus infection for a 'foreigner' inside the country. Photo via Facebook

Daily Mail: Coronavirus spreads to Egypt as country confirms a 'foreigner' is now infected with the disease in Africa's first case

* Egypt confirmed first case of coronavirus, making it the 28th country to do so
* No details have been given of the patient, other than the fact the are a 'foreigner'
* The individual has been placed in quarantine, according to the health ministry

The killer coronavirus has now spread to Egypt, with authorities saying a 'foreigner' is infected.

The health ministry said in a statement that it had immediately informed the World Health Organization and had taken all necessary preventative measures.

It did not give the nationality of the affected person or any other details.

The individual has been placed in quarantine.

Egypt is believed to be the 28th country to record a case of the killer virus and it is the first in Africa.

Experts and African leaders have expressed concern that should the virus spread to the continent, it could wreak havoc among less developed countries with fewer health resources.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I shudder when I think what this virus can do to the undeveloped countries in Africa, and the warzones and refugee camps in the Middle East.

More News On The First Case Of The Coronavirus Being Confirmed In Africa

Egypt Confirms First Coronavirus Case, Says Affected Person Is Foreigner -- NDTV/Reuters
Egypt announces first Coronavirus infection -- Egypt Today
Egypt reports first coronavirus case -- Gulf News
COVID-19 coronavirus spreads to Africa as Egypt confirms first case -- Euronews

Countries Prepare For The Economic Effects Of The Coronavirus

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 11:36 AM PST

Al Jazeera: Asian governments brace for economic effects of coronavirus

Japan warns of a slump in growth, Singapore could see a recession and Malaysia will announce a stimulus package.

Policymakers in Japan on Friday braced for a sharp contraction in October-December growth and warned of a drop in output and consumption due to the coronavirus outbreak, as Asian economies sounded the alarm over darkening economic outlooks.

Singapore's economy could enter recession due to the blow from the coronavirus outbreak, its prime minister said on Friday, while neighbouring Malaysia said it would announce a stimulus package to mitigate the negative effects of the virus outbreak.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:
The economic impact from the coronavirus is not only isolated to Asia .... Will the coronavirus outbreak derail the global economy? (The Guardian). For some countries (like Iran) the economic impact from the coronavirus outbreak could be devastating .... Coronavirus Outbreak Slams Iran's Embattled Economy (WSJ).

Update: I agree with this analysis .... 'Everyone is guessing' about coronavirus economic impacts, say experts (Reuters).

CDC Director Says Be Prepared For Coronavirus To Become Widespread In America

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 11:35 AM PST

CNN: CDC director: Novel coronavirus 'is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year'

As an outbreak of a novel coronavirus has swept through Hubei province, China, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been preparing for its worst case scenario -- a widespread outbreak of illnesses in the United States.

"Right now we're in an aggressive containment mode," CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in an interview on Thursday.

"We don't know a lot about this virus," he said. "This virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission."

As of Thursday, there have been 15 cases of the novel coronavirus confirmed in seven states: eight in California; two in Illinois; and one in Arizona, Washington, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Texas.

Read more ....

Update #1: CDC director says coronavirus could stay in US through this year and beyond: CNN (The Hill)
Update #2: 'It's Coming': CDC Director Warns Coronavirus To Become Widespread Throughout United States, 'Probably Beyond 2020' (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: The CDC Director is basically admitting that the coronavirus will be widespread in the US. He is not alone. Other experts are now sounding the alarm that a pandemic is becoming a very real possibility .... Coronavirus 'could infect 60% of global population if unchecked' (The Guardian). On the flip side, other expert are saying that it is still too early to predict where this outbreak may eventually end .... Could the new coronavirus really kill 50 million people worldwide? (New Scientist).

1,700 Frontline Medics Have Been Infected With The Coronavirus In China

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 11:35 AM PST

Medical workers in protective suits work inside an isolated section at a community health service center in Wuhan, China February 8. China Daily via REUTERS ATTENTION

CNN: Over 1,700 frontline medics infected with coronavirus in China, presenting new crisis for the government

Ning Zhu, a nurse in Wuhan, the central Chinese city at the heart of a deadly coronavirus outbreak, is restless.

Instead of helping on the frontlines, she has been under self-quarantine at home for weeks, after a chest scan on January 26 revealed that she had a suspected case of the novel Coronavirus.

Zhu was told to wait for a nucleic acid test that would provide the final verdict, but it never came.

"Right now, it's really a problem. Our hospital already has more than 100 people who are quarantined at home," she told CNN over the phone. An additional 30 medical workers have been confirmed to have the virus, she said.

"If the tests are fine, we can go back to work. I actually don't have any symptoms, there's just a slight problem with my CT scan, it seems there's a bit of infection," she said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: WHO now wants answers .... WHO Turns On China, Demands To Know How Nearly 2,000 Doctors Were Infected With COVID-19 (Zero Hedge). As to what is my take. I find it astounding that China has still not permitted WHO and/or CDC medical personnel to go to the epicentre of this epidemic.

Winners And Losers From The Pentagon Budget Proposal

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 09:09 AM PST

Leidos' Sea Hunter autonomous ship. Image source: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams.

Motley Fool: 4 Winners and 2 Losers From the Pentagon Budget Proposal

The Defense Department outlines clear priorities in its fiscal 2021 funding request.

The U.S. budget-negotiation season kicked off Feb. 10 when the White House submitted to Congress a $740 billion national security budget request. The document laid out a potential roadmap for defense spending over the next five years, offering some good news and bad news for various defense contractors.

It's important for investors to view the request as the opening salvo in a negotiation and not a final spending plan. Congress has the power of the purse, and lawmakers can and will cut and add to procurements over a long, drawn-out process.

This budget carries even more uncertainty than usual, as it's an election year. And lawmakers are sure to seize on the proposed cuts to nondefense discretionary spending at a time when defense spending is set to hold steady.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This former admiral believes the Pentagon should invest more in special forces, unmanned systems, and soft power .... What the Trump Defense Budget Gets Wrong About the Future of War (Admiral Stavridis (Ret.), Time).

UN Warns Of Famine Caused By Locusts Swarms In Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania And Somalia

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 08:58 AM PST

Newsweek: Locust Swarms as Big as Cities are Causing a Crisis in Africa as Experts Warn They Could Get 400 Times Bigger

Parts of Africa are currently facing the worst locust swarms in more than a generation, with swarms the size of cities sweeping across countries including Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. The largest swarm recorded so far has been 37 miles long and 25 miles wide.

Earlier this week, the United Nations issued a statement saying it is the most severe infestation Kenya has seen in 70 years.

Desert locusts are one of the oldest and most destructive pests on the planet, traveling up to 93 miles and eating the equivalent of their own weight in fresh food every day.

These insects can form incredibly dense swarms, each containing between 40 to 80 million individual locusts per square kilometer, or 0.4 square miles. A 40 million insect swarm can consume the same amount as 35,000 people, consuming almost all the green vegetation they pass.

Read more ....

More News On UN Warnings Of Famine In Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania And Somalia

Locusts threaten to rob millions in already-vulnerable East Africa of food -- CBS/AP
Locust swarm: UN warns of famine in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Somalia -- BBC
Huge swarm of locusts causes devastation in east Africa – as Jamal Osman reports from Kenya -- Channel 4 News
UN warns of humanitarian disaster if locust swarms aren't stopped -- Euronews

U.S. Military Downgrades Its Military Efforts Against Militants In The Sahel Region Of Africa

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 07:23 AM PST

A US Army instructor demonstrates a weapon to Malian soldiers on April 12, 2018 during an anti-terrorism exercise at the Kamboinse - General Bila Zagre military camp near Ouagadougo, Burkina Faso. © Issouf Sanogo / AFP

France 24: US mulls troop cuts in Africa as strategy switches to 'containing' extremists

The United States announced Wednesday an initial plan for adjusting its military presence in Africa.The adjustment comes as a new US government report says that the US military has switched from trying to degrade Islamic extremist groups in West Africa's sprawling Sahel region to merely trying to contain them.

The first change will see part of one infantry unit, around 800 troops, replaced with a similar number of military trainers and advisors to support local forces in "spotlight African countries," Defense Department officials said.

"The message I'm relaying to my (African) partners is we are not walking away," US Army Africa commander Major General Roger Cloutier told reporters.

"We are still engaged."

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Military Downgrading Its Military Efforts Against Militants In The Sahel Region Of Africa

U.S. military downgrades strategy against Islamic extremists in Africa's Sahel region -- SFGate/AP
U.S. shifts AFRICOM strategy as troops are 'overmatched' by militants -- UPI
US military downgrades efforts against militants in Sahel -- TRT World
US switches strategy in Sahel stoking pullout fears -- RFI

17 Years And $22billion Later, The U.S. Army Still Does Not Have A Prototype To Replace The Bradley Fighting Vehicle

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 06:30 AM PST

The Army's Next-Generation Combat Vehicle program looks to replace the Bradley and other vehicles with a suite of vehicles, both manned and unmanned. (Cpl. Alisha Grezlik/U.S. Army)

NBC: The Army decided to replace Bradley Fighting Vehicles 17 years and $22b ago. They still don't have a prototype.

This convoluted road to nowhere stems from the Pentagon shifting the goal posts, having unrealistic expectations and refusing to accept what industry offers.

Last Friday, the U.S. Army kicked off a competition to design a successor for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, a 33-ton tank-like workhorse used to carry troops into battle and provide fire support with its rapid-fire cannon and anti-tank missiles.

While it's sadly typical for the military to feature cost overruns and flawed requirements, what makes the procurement process for the Bradley so outstanding is that it's been riddled with financial waste and poor stewardship before the project has even started.

The Army has been promising a replacement for its thousands of Bradleys since 2003. Already upwards of $22.9 billion is calculated to have been blown on calls for and rejections of previous submissions. The competition announced last week is the fourth, and there are few signs that whatever doomed earlier rounds has been overcome now; the third one was axed mere weeks ago.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Another Pentagon program that illustrates what happens when everything goes wrong.

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 06:23 AM PST

USS Gerald R. Ford conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman, February 8, 2020. US Navy/MCS 2nd Class Ruben Reed

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ruben Reed, Business Insider/US Navy: How the Navy pumps 1.3 million gallons of fuel into an aircraft carrier without ever pulling into port

* This month, for the first time in two years, the Navy's new aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, received fuel during a replenishment at sea.
* Replenishment at sea is one of the most dangerous operations sailors can perform, and its what keeps the carrier operating without having to return to port.

ATLANTIC OCEAN — USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) conducted a successful replenishment-at-sea (RAS) February 8 marking the ship's first time receiving fuel from a replenishment ship in more than 24 months.

Ford successfully received more than 1.3 million gallons of fuel, and exercised a solid cargo station, transferring 22 pallets for training from the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195), in less than three hours.

The RAS started off with Ford pulling alongside Grumman. A few moments later, a line was shot from Ford to Grumman to establish communications and connect to the fuel lines. Once completed, the fuel lines were pulled to Ford to begin the fueling process.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Transferring 1.3 million gallons of fuel and 22 pallets of supply in less than 3 hours. Now that is fast.

U.S. Hits Huawei With Multiple New Charges

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 06:17 AM PST

SCMP: US hits Huawei with new charges of racketeering, doing business in North Korea; accuses Meng Wanzhou of false representation

* Chinese telecoms giant is accused of involvement in a number of projects in North Korea since at least 2008
* Huawei and four of its subsidiaries are accused of stealing intellectual property from six US companies

The United States added to its series of charges against China's Huawei Technologies on Thursday, accusing the Chinese telecoms giant of stealing intellectual property from six US companies and covering up its involvement in projects in North Korea.

Racketeering, obstruction of justice and money laundering have been added to the criminal case, unsealed in January last year, accusing Huawei of financial fraud.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These are very serious charges. The US is also signalling to other companies and countries that doing business with Huawei will have legal and criminal consequences.

More News On The U.S. Hitting Huawei With Multiple New Charges

U.S. accuses Huawei of stealing trade secrets, assisting Iran -- Reuters
Huawei: US issues new charges of racketeering and theft -- BBC
Huawei hit with fresh charges of sabotage and intellectual property theft from US tech firms -- France 24
U.S. says Chinese telecom giant Huawei did business with Iran, North Korea -- NBC
US government files racketeering charges against Huawei and its CFO, accusing the Chinese telecom giant of conspiring to steal trade secrets from 6 tech companies -- Business Insider
Huawei, Meng face new US charges of trade theft -- Asia Times

Israeli Firm Rafael Successfully Tests Anti-Drone Laser-Defense System

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 05:50 AM PST

Daily Mail: Star Wars-like laser beam blasts drones out of the sky in footage demonstrating Israel's new defence system

* The Drone Dome C-UAS system can detect and shoot down unmanned aircraft
* Video published by manufacturers Rafael shows drones being downed by lasers
* The Israeli manufacturers hailed the system a '100 per cent success' after tests

This footage shows an Israeli drone defense system shooting a series of moving targets out of the sky with a Star Wars-like laser beam.

Manufacturers of the Drone Dome C-UAS hailed the system a '100 per cent success' after it brought down drones that were zig-zagging sharply during tests.

The so-called Counter Unmanned Aircraft System can detect hostile drones from more than two miles away and fire a destructive laser beam 'within seconds'.

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More News On Israeli Firm Rafael Successfully Testing An Anti-Drone Laser-Defense System

Israeli laser defense system successfully intercepts multiple drone targets -- Times of Israel
RAFAEL's Drone Dome intercepts multiple maneuvering targets with LASER technology -- Arutz Sheva
Watch Israel's wild new laser weapon shoot drones out of sky -- NYPost
A new anti-drone system shows promising results -- Asia Times
'Drone dome': Israel unveils LASER weapon blasting UAVs out of the sky (VIDEO) -- RT

Seventy-Five Years Ago The German City Of Dresden Was Firebombed

Posted: 14 Feb 2020 05:38 AM PST

Daily Mail: Into the inferno: Families boiled alive as they hid in water tanks and fleeing survivors trapped in molten tarmac... 75 years on, the most horrifically vivid account you'll ever read of the Allied bombing of Dresden – by a British PoW who saw it all

* During the final months of WWII, Allied forces bombed German city of Dresden
* British rifleman Victor Gregg was one of hundreds of men being held as a PoW
* On the 75th anniversary of the bombing, this is his eyewitness account

During the final months of World War II, from February 13 to 15, 1945, Allied forces bombed the ancient, cathedral city of Dresden, in eastern Germany.

The bombing was controversial because Dresden's contribution to the war effort was minimal compared with other German cities — though it was a key transport junction and used by German forces to defend the country against Soviet forces approaching from the east.

Before the huge air raid, it had not suffered a major Allied attack. By February 15, however, it was a smouldering ruin — 2,400 tons of high explosives and 1,500 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped on the city. An unknown number of civilians, somewhere between 35,000 and 135,000, were dead.

British rifleman Victor Gregg was one of hundreds of men being held as a PoW in the city by the Germans. On the 75th anniversary of the start of the bombing, this is his eyewitness account of the devastation he left behind.

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More News On Remembering The Fire-Bombing Of The German City Of Dresden Seventy-Five Years Ago

Commemorating the legacy of the WWII bombing of Dresden -- DW
Germany marks 75th anniversary of Dresden bombing as far-right seeks to downplay Nazi crimes -- France 24
German president calls for country to stand up to extremism, nationalism on 75th anniversary of Dresden bombing -- FOX News
Dresden marks 75th anniversary of city's destruction -- Al Jazeera
Bombing of Dresden: A survivor looks back 75 years later -- DW
Dresden: The World War Two bombing 75 years on -- Toby Luckhurst, BBC News

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