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Saturday, February 29, 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: 28 Feb 2020 10:22 PM PST















Picture Of The Day

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 10:14 PM PST

People in Tehran wear medical masks amid a coronavirus outbreak in the country. © Sputnik / Anton Bystrov

WNU Editor: The above picture is form this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures: 22 - 28 February (Sputnik).

Foreign Diplomats To Be Evacuated From North Korea

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 10:10 PM PST



CNN: Foreign diplomats to be evacuated from North Korea as country steps up efforts to prevent virus outbreak

A plan is in the works to evacuate quarantined foreign diplomats from North Korea, a source inside the country has revealed, as concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus grow.

North Korea has not confirmed a single case of the virus inside its borders, but global health experts have warned the country is highly susceptible to an outbreak given its close proximity to China and limited medical capabilities. Every other country in East Asia has confirmed numerous cases.

The German Embassy, French Cooperation Office, and Swiss Development Cooperation will close operations in the capital Pyongyang completely, said the source, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, given the extreme sensitivity of the current situation.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: All diplomats in North Korea are now under some form of quarantine, and from what I understand North Korea has imposed measures that has essentially shut down the entire country. In such an environment a diplomat cannot function. It is time to go home until this outbreak ends.

North Korea Is 'Sitting' On Trillions Of Dollars.

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 09:58 PM PST

Kim Jong-Un

Patricia Schouker, National Interest: Wanna Know Why Kim Jong-Un Is Smiling? He's 'Sitting' on Trillions of Dollars.

North Korea has a lot of wealth--just below the surface.

Key point: South Korea estimates the value of the mineral resources of its North Korean neighbor at $2,800 billion. In comparison, the GDP of South Korea was about 1,530,75 trillion in 2017.

When looking at contemporary geopolitics, often energy and related resource questions are key in the struggle for influence amongst world powers, as energy can drive or amplify underlying tensions. Today, the attractiveness of traditional oil exploration loses ground with the emergence of new energies and technologies, often produced by "Rare Earths" and the elements they contain.

Read more ....

WNU editor: North Korea may have all of this mineral wealth, but it does not have the infrastructure, legal system, political stability, or business culture to pull it off.

According to The CDC Here's What To Expect In The US As The Coronavirus Spreads

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 09:33 PM PST

Coronavirus quarantine US

Business Insider: The CDC outlined an ominous hypothetical scenario about what could happen in the US as the coronavirus spreads. Here's what to expect.

* The US now has 60 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and it's highly likely there will be more.
* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined a hypothetical scenario of what could happen in the US as the coronavirus spreads.
* It predicts more cases, person-to-person spreading, and an "overwhelmed" and "overloaded healthcare system."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided information about how the novel coronavirus could affect the US.

Globally, the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, has infected 82,000 people and killed 2,800 people, mostly in China.

On Tuesday, US health officials told the country to prepare for the coronavirus. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a press briefing, "It's not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here is another scenario on what to expect if the coronavirus spreads throughout the US .... How Daily Life Could Change If Coronavirus Spreads Within The US (CBS Sacremento).

This Is How U.S. Markets Will Function If The Coronavirus Outbreak Arrives In New York City

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 10:15 PM PST



Reuters: Explainer: How U.S. markets will function if coronavirus breaks out in NYC

NEW YORK (Reuters) - If an outbreak of coronavirus hits New York, it could cause more sharp selling of stocks, but markets would likely continue to function even if the floor of the New York Stock Exchange had to close.

No case has been confirmed in the state, but dozens of people were being checked in the New York City area on Wednesday.

U.S. stock exchanges said they have contingency plans.

Here is how the markets would work if there were disruptions or panic selling of stocks.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It has definitely been a bad week .... Stock markets suffer worst week since financial crisis (AFP).

Covid-19 Medical News -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 04:00 PM PST



Daily Mail: Coronavirus 'could be 1,000 times more infectious than SARS, scientists warn as they discover it plagues the body the same way as HIV and Ebola

* Coronavirus binds to human body cells similar to aggressive infectious diseases
* Makes it '100 to 1,000 times' more efficient at infecting than SARS, study found
* Coronavirus has already struck down 82,000 victims and killed almost 3,000

The coronavirus could be up to 1,000 times more infectious than SARS because it plagues the body in the same way as HIV and Ebola, scientists warn.

Experts initially presumed the spread of COVID-19 would follow the same trajectory as the SARS outbreak in 2002/3, because the viruses are almost identical genetically.

But they have discovered the way it binds to cells in the human body is akin to far more aggressive diseases like HIV and Ebola.

This makes it '100 to 1,000 times' more efficient at infecting people than SARS, according to researchers from Nankai University in Tianjin, northern China.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Medical News -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Coronavirus map: how Covid-19 is spreading across the world -- The Guardian
Timeline: How the new coronavirus spread -- Al Jazeera
Coronavirus: Scientists in the US race to find a vaccine -- Al Jazeera
Israeli scientists say they are just WEEKS away from developing a vaccine which will beat coronavirus -- Daily Mail
Explainer: Coronavirus reappears in discharged patients, raising questions in containment fight -- Reuters
Yes, it is worse than the flu: busting the coronavirus myths -- The Guardian
Staying at home, no doctor visits, waiting to take out the garbage and getting family to leave food on your doorstep: What self-isolating for 14-day coronavirus quarantine involves -- Daily Mail
What is coronavirus and what are the symptoms? -- James Gallagher, BBC
Coronavirus: All you need to know about symptoms and risks -- Al Jazeera
What is coronavirus and what should I do if I have symptoms? -- The Guardian
What happens if you catch the new coronavirus? -- Al Jazeera
How long is the coronavirus incubation period? -- DW

Covid-19 Outbreak In The Middle East -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 03:45 PM PST



Arab News: Middle East implements measures to combat deadly coronavirus

* Bahrain has announced three new coronavirus cases
* Lebanon banned entry to people arriving from Iran and countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak

DUBAI: Coronavirus has been widely spreading in the Middle East during the past week with Iran recording the highest number of infections and deaths in the region.

Countries in the Middle East are currently taking extraordinary steps to prevent the growing coronavirus outbreak.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Outbreak In The Middle East -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Coronavirus: Iran outbreak raises fears of mass Middle East contagion as pilgrims and workers move across borders -- SCMP
Iran reports 8 new coronavirus deaths, raising toll to 34 -- AFP
At least 210 people have died from coronavirus in Iran: BBC Persian -- Reuters
Iran health ministry spokesman rejects BBC Persian report of 210 deaths from coronavirus -- Reuters
Iran sees 'difficult week' ahead as corona death toll rises to 34 -- Reuters
Coronavirus: Iran cancels Friday prayers to limit spread of outbreak -- BBC
All schools in Iran to close for three days over coronavirus concerns: health minister -- Reuters
Iraq confronts coronavirus amid infrastructure concerns -- France 24
Coronavirus outbreak: UAE Tour cancelled due to two "suspected" cases -- BBC
Bahrain reports two new cases of coronavirus, one a Saudi national -- Reuters
Qatar evacuates citizens from Iran over coronavirus fears -- Al Jazeera
'No fear': Pilgrims in Saudi defy coronavirus risks -- AFP

Covid-19 Outbreak In Asia -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 03:40 PM PST



Time: A Silent Epidemic? Experts Fear the Coronavirus Is Spreading Undetected in Southeast Asia

As coronavirus cases continue to soar globally, in at least one region a steady façade of optimism persists. Southeast Asia's foreign ministers have joined hands with China and declared their intention to "stay strong!"

Yet their hastily called meeting in secretive, socialist Laos last week suggests not so much resiliency as the need to shore up mutual support. Health experts are widely skeptical of the numbers reported by China's neighbors, and believe the deadly infection is spreading undetected throughout much of Southeast Asia.

With infection clusters increasingly sprouting outside the mainland, where the virus originated, many fear these pockets—rooted out or not—are sustaining the outbreak and pushing the world toward a global pandemic.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Outbreak In Asia -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Coronavirus: 571 new cases in South Korea take total to 2,337; BTS cancels Seoul concert -- SCMP/Reuters
South Korea coronavirus cases top 2,300 as authorities ramp up testing -- UPI
New coronavirus cases in mainland China fall to lowest since January -- Reuters
Beijing ramps up crowd control measures on virus fears -- AFP
Virus slows China's major projects in Asia -- AFP
'No one cares': Locked-in Wuhan residents adapt to find food -- AFP
Coronavirus: China, Japan, South Korea supply chains under threat from 'second wave' of disruptions -- SCMP
Coronavirus: state of emergency declared on Japan's Hokkaido -- SCMP
Coronavirus threat to Olympics: Organisers will announce next week if torch relay has to be scaled back amid fears Tokyo 2020 could be CANCELLED -- Daily Mail
Exclusive: Tokyo has no 'Plan B' for Games despite coronavirus -- Reuters
Coronavirus: Are Japan's school closures a political move to save the Olympics? -- DW
China and Japan's coronavirus cooperation helps offset sea dispute -- Reuters
Coronavirus in Pakistan: Mask-buying panic leading to shortages -- Al Jazeera

Covid-19 Outbreak In Nigeria -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 03:35 PM PST



Reuters: Nigeria's first coronavirus case came on flight via Istanbul, went to Ogun state: Lagos health commission

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria's first confirmed coronovirus case entered the country on a Turkish Airlines flight that traveled via Istanbul, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health told a news conference on Friday.

The man, who traveled from Milan, Italy, and landed on the evening of Feb. 24, spent the night in a hotel near the airport, and continued to his place of work in neighboring Ogun state, Commissioner Akin Abayomi said.

He was treated on the evening of Feb. 26 at his company's medical facility before health practitioners there called government biosecurity officers, who transferred him on Feb. 27 to a containment facility in Yaba, Lagos.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Outbreak In Nigeria -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Coronavirus: Nigeria confirms first case in sub-Saharan Africa -- BBC
Nigeria confirms first coronavirus case in Sub-Saharan Africa -- France 24
Nigeria braces as coronavirus arrives in megacity Lagos -- AFP
Italian with coronavirus in Nigeria was not isolated for almost 48 hours -- Reuters
Coronavirus: Kenya court suspends all flights from China -- BBC
Vulnerable continent: Africa and the coronavirus -- AFP
Coronavirus: How Africa has been preparing for outbreak -- DW
Coronavirus: Are African countries ready? -- Anne Soy, BBC News

Covid-19 Outbreak In Europe -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 03:32 PM PST



The Guardian: Europe's epidemic: how coronavirus radiated out from Italy

In week in which Covid-19 jumped fence into Europe, serious questions emerge over continent's preparedness

A Spanish football journalist. A pair of young tourists visiting Innsbruck. The parent of a pupil from a primary school in Derbyshire. A young man from Croatia. A businessman and passenger on a train between Frankfurt and Saarbrücken.

All are confirmed or suspected cases of the new coronavirus – Covid-19. What links them is that they contracted the disease while visiting northern Italy.

In a week in which the rapidly spreading global epidemic jumped the fence into Europe, serious questions have emerged over the continent's preparedness to deal with the disease, as health officials have delayed or struggled to trace initial sources of infection.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Outbreak In Europe -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Italy's coronavirus death toll rises to 21 as 821 cases confirmed -- The Local
Coronavirus outbreak: Death toll rises to 17 in northern Italy -- Al Jazeera
Coronavirus may have been in Italy for weeks before it was detected -- The Guardian
UK coronavirus cases rise to 19 as fears of global crisis grow -- The Guardian
Ireland preparing 'properly' for France amid coronavirus worries -- France 24
UK's Johnson says coronavirus top priority, as first Briton dies -- Reuters
Coronavirus: British man on quarantined cruise ship near Tokyo has died -- France 24
Second case of coronavirus confirmed in Netherlands: health authorities -- Reuters
Azerbaijan reports first case of coronavirus - Ifax -- Reuters
Italian region warns of hospital chaos if coronavirus spreads -- Reuters
As coronavirus slams Italy, paralysis and anxiety spread -- Reuters
Coronavirus: Quarantined inside Italy's red zone -- BBC
Romania says confirms two more cases of coronavirus -- Reuters
Belarus announces first case of coronavirus: TASS -- Reuters
Almost 60 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Germany - Health Ministry -- Reuters
Swiss government bans all events over 1,000 people -- AP
Russia to deport 88 foreigners for violating coronavirus quarantine -- Reuters
EU health ministers to hold extraordinary virus talks next week -- Reuters
European sports and music events at risk over coronavirus -- Al Jazeera
Coronavirus fears wipe £200bn off UK firms' value -- BBC

Covid-19 Outbreak In The U.S. -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 03:26 PM PST



Daily Mail: Health official warns lawmakers of wider coronavirus outbreak, Amazon tells its employees to defer all non-essential travel and it's revealed the U.S. doesn't have enough testing resources as 62 Americans have now tested positive for the disease

* Health officials on Friday warned lawmakers there will be a wider coronavirus outbreak and that the U.S. doesn't have enough testing resources to cope
* Dr Anthony Fauci revealed the details in a closed-door briefing in the U.S. House of Representatives
* Fauci is one of only four medical experts on the White House's newly formed coronavirus taskforce headed by Vice President Mike Pence
* It comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced two new cases of coronavirus in the U.S., bringing the total to 62
* The new patients are American citizens repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was docked in Japan for two weeks
* Health officials have been scrambling to deal with the prospect of a widening coronavirus outbreak within the United States
* Trump's administration is facing mounting criticism over its response and handling of the outbreak

Health officials have warned lawmakers there will be a wider coronavirus outbreak and says the U.S. doesn't have enough testing resources to cope as the number of infected Americans jumps to 62.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed in a closed-door briefing in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday that there would be many more coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to a source.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Outbreak In The U.S. -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Just one American with coronavirus still in hospital: Vice President Pence -- Reuters
U.S. lawmakers warned of wider coronavirus outbreak; White House urges calm -- Reuters
Pence bolsters coronavirus team following criticism -- The Hill
Republicans storm out of coronavirus briefing after Democrat rips Trump's response -- Politico
Congress eyes $6 billion to $8 billion to combat coronavirus -- The Hill
700 people have been asked to self-isolate across NY state and one person is being tested for coronavirus in New York City, health officials reveal -- Daily Mail
California bracing for spread of coronavirus -- AFP
'Simply Inadequate.' California Governor Says State Only Has 200 Coronavirus Testing Kits -- Time
Up to ONE HUNDRED health workers were exposed to the 'unknown origin' coronavirus patient who took four DAYS to diagnose - as it's revealed she came into contact with three students who are now in self-quarantine -- Daily Mail
Panic buying strips store shelves as people stockpile amid coronavirus outbreak with one woman turning her basement into a 'supermarket' and a man buying a YEAR'S supply of food which includes 192 tins of SPAM -- Daily Mail

Covid-19 Outbreak Live Updates And Today's Report From The World Health Organization -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 02:50 PM PST



Daily Mail: 'The world is not ready': Odds of a pandemic have doubled to 40 percent as WHO raises global coronavirus threat level to 'very high' and warns at-risk people who are over 65 or sick to avoid crowds

* The World Health Organization said Friday that the threat of the coronavirus's impact and spread is now 'very high' worldwide
* It's the group's highest risk level and comes as the virus spreads to more than 50 countries worldwide, sickening more than 83,000 people
* So far, nearly 2,900 people have died and several countries reported their first cases this week
* WHO officials said that there is a worldwide strain on protective gear and masks supplies
* Strategy has shifted form containment to mitigation in some countries
* Officials said that health systems around the world are 'not ready' to handle the outbreak
* They stopped short of labeling coronavirus a pandemic but said if it was flu, it would be considered at pandemic levels
* People anywhere with underlying conditions or who are over 65 are at risk of the virus, and might consider avoiding crowds, officials said
* A Moody's Analytics report estimated that the odds of a coronavirus pandemic have now doubled to 40%

The risk of coronavirus is now 'very high' worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Friday.

Even 'quite sophisticated countries...are having quite a bit of trouble' containing its spread, said Dr Mike Ryan, who heads up the WHO's emergency response efforts said during the press briefing.

Of the world's 195 countries, at least 53 have reported cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, which has now sickened more than 83,000 people worldwide and killed nearly 2,900 globally.

The international agency hasn't quite given up on containing the virus, but is deeply concerned by the rapid spread of infections in places like Italy, in spite of its well-developed health system.

Read more ....

LIVE UPDATES

Coronavirus: Which countries have confirmed cases? -- Al Jazeera
Live: Live WHO issues 'highest alert' over coronavirus -- BBC
Factbox: Latest on coronavirus spreading in China and beyond -- Reuters
Coronavirus update: Latest news on COVID-19 after Australia activates emergency plan -- ABC News Online
Coronavirus: man from Diamond Princess cruise first Briton to die from illness – latest updates -- The Guardian
Coronavirus outbreak 'getting bigger': All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera

Live Updates And Today's Report From The World Health Organization -- News Updates February 28, 2020

WHO raises global risk of coronavirus from 'high' to 'very high' -- Reuters
'The world is not ready': Odds of a pandemic have doubled to 40 percent as WHO raises global coronavirus threat level to 'very high' and warns at-risk people who are over 65 or sick to avoid crowds -- Daily Mail
WHO upgrades global risk of coronavirus spread to maximum level -- France 24
Coronavirus outbreak 'getting bigger', says WHO, warning of spread worldwide -- Reuters
WHO raises coronavirus threat assessment to its highest level: 'Wake up. Get ready. This virus may be on its way' -- CNBC
WHO raises global virus risk to maximum level -- AFP
Coronavirus updates: WHO upgrades global virus spread risk to 'very high' -- DW
WHO: global community not ready to take same measures as China to contain coronavirus -- Reuters
More countries infected with COVID-19 as WHO warns it has 'pandemic potential' -- UPI
Nations increasingly fearful of coronavirus pandemic and resulting global recession -- France 24
Financial pain deepens as nearly 60 countries report virus -- AP
Fears of pandemic stoked as more countries confirm COVID-19 cases -- UPI
U.N. chief says window for containment of coronavirus narrowing -- Reuters

Hindu - Muslim Violence In New Dehli -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 02:42 PM PST





The Tribune: Four more deaths recorded at GTB Hospital, Delhi violence toll 42 now

148 FIRs registered, 630 people either arrested or detained

The death toll in the Delhi's communal violence has gone up to 42 now with four more fatalities being recorded at the city's GTB Hospital on Friday, officials said.

The situation has showed some signs of returning to normalcy and clouds of smoke cleared to reveal the extent of the damage from the worst riots in the city in over three decades.

As people gingerly stepped out for work and opened shops and other establishments in northeast Delhi, anxiety escalated outside the Guru Teg Bahadur(GTB) hospital where people waited outside the mortuary to receive the bodies of their loved ones.

Police and paramilitary personnel also maintained a strict vigil in view of Friday prayers at mosques.

Read more ....

Hindu - Muslim Violence In New Dehli -- News Updates February 28, 2020

Indian police detain hundreds after Hindu-Muslim clashes in New Delhi -- Reuters
Delhi's Muslims pray under armed guard after week of riots -- The Guardian
Indian Muslims fear for the their lives after sectarian riots grip New Dehli -- ADW
In Delhi, two tales of one deadly riot -- AFP

President Trump: U.S. And The Taliban Will Sign A Historic Agreement Saturday That Would See U.S. Troops Start To Withdraw

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 01:41 PM PST





ABC News: US to sign historic deal with Taliban, Trump announces, beginning end of US war in Afghanistan and withdrawal of American troops

After a week-long deal to reduce violence across Afghanistan, the U.S. and the Taliban are set to sign a historic agreement Saturday that would see U.S. troops start to withdraw, according to a statement issued Friday afternoon by President Donald Trump.

"Soon, at my direction, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will witness the signing of an agreement with representatives of the Taliban, while Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will issue a joint declaration with the government of Afghanistan. If the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan live up to these commitments, we will have a powerful path forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home," Trump said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am surprised that the Western press is not covering this story as much as they should.

More News On Reports That The U.S. And Taliban Will Be Signing An Agreement That Would See U.S. Troops Start To Withdraw

Trump announces the US and Taliban will soon sign a peace deal -- VOX
US, Taliban set to sign deal to end war in Afghanistan -- Al Jazeera
Trump says Pompeo will witness signing of deal with Taliban -- Stars and Stripes
Trump Sends Pompeo to Qatar With U.S.-Taliban Peace Deal at Hand -- Bloomberg
Pompeo: 'significant reduction' in Afghanistan violence -- Reuters
Afghan officials discuss prisoner swap with Taliban ahead of U.S. troop withdrawal agreement -- Reuters
Afghan officials to meet Taliban ahead of U.S. troop withdrawal agreement -- Reuters
Afghans view US-Taliban deal with well-earned skepticism -- AP
Republican lawmakers express concerns about anticipated US-Taliban deal -- CNN
The envoy and the fighter: the duo behind the US-Taliban deal -- AFP
US-Taliban deal — a victory for Islamists? -- DW

Presdient Trump Says It's Time For The U.S. To Pass The War Against ISIS To Russia, Iran, Iraq And Syria

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 01:19 PM PST


Newsweek: Donald Trump Says It's Time U.S. Passes War on ISIS to Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria, Focuses on Oil Instead

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that it is time for the United States to pass the fight against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) on to Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria, and to instead focus on maintaining control of oil resources in the region.

Speaking at a press conference in the Indian capital of New Delhi, Trump said that "nobody's done more than I've done" to battle ISIS in the Middle East, "but at the same time, Russia should do it, Iran should do it, Iraq should do it, Syria should do it." He focused on the Islamic Republic in particular, saying "Iran hates ISIS and they should do it."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. has tens of thousands of soldiers in the Middle East fighting against groups like ISIS (see number of US soldiers in the Middle East from the above image). These battles have been ongoing for years, and the U.S. has played a significant role in defeating them and/or containing them. But in the end it is the people in the region who must solve these conflicts. In short. The U.S. cannot stay there for ever, and maybe now is the time to rethink this commitment.

Erdogan, Trump Discuss Situation In Syria

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 01:02 PM PST

Illustrative file image of a prior call between the two leaders, via Turkey's Hurriyet Daily.

RFE: In Call With Erdogan, Trump 'Reaffirms' Support For Turkey In Syria's Idlib

President Donald Trump has "reaffirmed" U.S. support for Turkey in a phone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan while urging President Bashar al-Assad's regime, Russia, and Iran to halt their offensive in Syria's northwestern Idlib Province -- the last rebel-held area in northwestern Syria -- the White House said on February 28.

The two talked after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed the previous day in an air strike by Russian-backed Syrian regime forces, triggering a deadly response by Ankara.

Trump "reaffirmed his support for Turkey's efforts to de-escalate the situation in northwest Syria and avoid a humanitarian catastrophe," the White House said, without giving specifics about the support.

Read more ....

Update #1: Trump condemns attack on Turkish troops in discussion with Erdoğan -- The Hill
Update #2: Turkey says Erdogan, Trump discuss situation in Syria's Idlib -- Reuters

WNU Editor:Turkish President Erdogan is looking for support from President Trump, specifically this .... NATO convenes urgent session as Turkey calls for no-fly zone over northern Syria after airstrikes kill 33 Turkish troops (Washington Examiner). Here is an easy prediction. The U.S. will not want to get directly involved, especially since it would mean chasing away heavily armed Russian fighter jets.

Update #3: Both sides do not want to escalate the situation .... Top Russian and U.S. generals discuss Syria amid tensions: Ifax (Reuters).

NATO Condemns Syria Airstrikes That Killed 33 Turkish Troops But Will Not Get Involved

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 12:22 PM PST



NPR: NATO Meets After Turkey Says Russian-Backed Force Killed 33 Troops In Syria

NATO is condemning "indiscriminate air strikes by the Syrian regime and Russia," Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, after 33 Turkish soldiers died in an attack near Idlib on Thursday. The bombing caused Turkey to request an urgent NATO security meeting that was held Friday.

The NATO meeting was held in solidarity with Turkey, which says the troops were killed in an area where Russian-backed Syrian forces are fighting anti-regime militants. Russia denies playing a role in the strike, which came after weeks of heightened violence in Idlib province.

"I call on them to stop their offensive, to respect international law and to back U.N. efforts for a peaceful solution," Stoltenberg said. "This dangerous situation must be de-escalated."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: NATO countries have zero interest to get involved in this mess.

More News On NATO Condemning Syrian Airstrikes That Killed 33 Turkish Troops

NATO offers Turkey solidarity but no pledges after Syria troop losses -- France 24
NATO condemns Syria airstrikes that killed Turkish troops in Idlib -- DW
NATO calls on Russia, Syria to halt Idlib offensive -- Reuters
NATO convenes urgent session as Turkey calls for no-fly zone over northern Syria after airstrikes kill 33 Turkish troops -- Washington Examiner
Even NATO is unwilling to touch Turkey's Idlib mess with a ten-foot pole -- RT

33 Turkish Troops Killed In Syrian Airstrike (Update)

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 01:43 PM PST





RFI: 33 Turkish troops killed in Syrian airstrike, NATO to hold emergency talks

Turkey has raised the death toll from a Syrian government airstrike on its forces in northwestern Syria the previous night to 33 Turkish troops, the highest number of Turkish soldiers killed in a single day since Ankara first intervened in the Syrian conflict in 2016.

The deaths, which came in an attack late Thursday, mark a serious escalation in the direct conflict between Turkish and Russia-backed Syrian forces that has been waged since early February. The earlier reported death toll was 29 troops.

Ambassadors from NATO countries are holding emergency talks this Friday at the request of Turkey, who is a member of the alliance.

Turkey is a main backer of the Syrian opposition while Russia has been giving military support to the Syrian government offensive in Idlib that has displaced about 950,000 people and left hundreds of civilians dead.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russia is saying that these Turkish soldiers were mixing with militants .... Turkish troops shelled by Syrian forces were among militants — Russian top brass (TASS).

Update: I give this a 50-50 possibility .... Russia's Putin, Turkey's Erdogan could meet next week: RIA cites Kremlin (Reuters).

Update #2: This is not going to be effective .... Turkey blocks social media access for 16 hours after Syria airstrike (Euronews).

More News On 33 Turkish Troops Killed In A Syrian Airstrike (Update)

Syrian airstrikes kill dozens of Turkish troops in Idlib — live updates -- DW
Turkey-Syria tensions escalate after troops killed: Live updates -- Al Jazeera
Syria war: Alarm after 33 Turkish soldiers killed in attack in Idlib -- BBC
Dozens of Turkish soldiers killed in air strike in Syria's Idlib -- DW
Dozens of Turkish soldiers killed in strike in Idlib in Syria -- The Guardian
33 Turkish soldiers killed in Syrian air raid in Idlib -- Al Jazeera
Turkey hits 'all known' Syrian govt positions after soldiers killed in Idlib -- France 24
Turkish aircraft, artillery hit over 200 Syrian army targets in Idlib -- TASS
Turkish reprisals kill over 30 Syria troops: monitor -- AFP
Turkey says it demanded immediate ceasefire in Syria's Idlib from Russia -- Reuters
Russia and Turkey's next moves will define the Syrian war's end -- The Guardian
Options narrowing for Erdogan after Idlib strikes -- AFP
Turkey-Russia tensions soar after deadly Syria strike -- AFP
Could Russia go to war with Turkey in Syria? -- AFP

World News Briefs -- February 28, 2020

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 11:17 AM PST



Reuters: WHO raises global risk of coronavirus from 'high' to 'very high'

GENEVA/BEIJING (Reuters) - The rapid spread of the coronavirus increased fears of a pandemic on Friday, with six countries reporting their first cases and the World Health Organization (WHO) raising its global spread and impact risk alert to "very high".

World shares fell again, winding up their worst week since the 2008 global financial crisis and bringing the global wipeout to $6 trillion.

Hopes that the epidemic that started in China late last year would be over in months, and that economic activity would quickly return to normal, have been shattered.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said his organization was not underestimating the risk.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Trump, in call with Erdogan, backs Turkey and urges end to violence in Syria's Idlib.

Turkey says will not stop refugees from reaching Europe after troops killed in Syria. Syria war: Turkey lets refugees exit towards Europe.

Iran sees 'difficult week' ahead as corona death toll rises to 34.

Iran health ministry spokesman rejects BBC Persian report of 210 deaths from coronavirus.

U.S. offer to help Iran in dealing with coronavirus 'ridiculous': Iran foreign ministry spokesman.

The rampant corruption spurring Lebanon protests.

Israel election: Gantz fights to reverse recent dip in polls.


ASIA

Pompeo: 'significant reduction' in Afghanistan violence.

Pompeo warns Iran not to be 'spoiler' in Afghanistan.

Indian police detain hundreds after Hindu-Muslim clashes in New Delhi.

Indian Muslims fear for their lives after sectarian riots grip New Delhi.

China gets back to work — sort of — as number of new COVID-19 cases wanes.

Hong Kong hoteliers say market's a 'disaster' as 90 per cent of rooms stay vacant amid viral outbreak.

Turmoil reshapes Malaysian politics with Mahathir role in doubt.


Scott Morrison, Jacinda Ardern clash over policy to deport convicted New Zealand nationals.

AFRICA

Coronavirus: Nigeria confirms first case in sub-Saharan Africa.

DR Congo: Rebels pushed from last stronghold in Beni, army says.

Promising political stability, new Tunisian government takes office.

Cameroon's ruling party retains absolute majority after contentious election.

At least one wounded as rockets hit Libya capital, airport. Bombardment intensifies in Tripoli, patients evacuated.

UN agency says 35 migrants rescued off Libyan coast.

Guinea to vote on new constitution after months of unrest.

Running out of time: East Africa faces new locust threat.

Zimbabwe's president appeals for help to end country's 'financial isolation'.

Sandstorms hit parts of West Africa.

EUROPE

Greece and Bulgaria crack down on Turkish borders as refugees arrive.

Greece steps up effort to protect borders amid Turkey's claims on Syrian refugees.

Post-Brexit talks: France warns UK against 'artificial deadlines'.

Liberal democracy at stake in Slovakia's parliamentary vote.

Montenegro's president accuses Serbia and Russia of undermining independence.

Major fire hits Paris's Gare de Lyon station: Arsonists start blaze then clash with firefighters during protest against concert by singer who supports DR Congo's president.

Pope Francis takes sick at Vatican for second straight day.

AMERICAS

U.S. lawmakers warned of wider coronavirus outbreak; White House urges calm.

'Market has gone too far' on virus news: Trump economic advisor.

White House: 'Media stoking virus fears to take down Trump'.

US Democrats grill Pompeo over Iran, coronavirus.

Congress eyes $6 billion to $8 billion to combat coronavirus.

Obama absent from Democratic White House race but looming large.

Mexico confirms first cases of coronavirus. Mexico confirms first 2 cases of coronavirus.

Coronavirus in Latin America: Health officials on alert.

Guatemala's new anti-graft tsar sets sights on government 'ghost jobs'.


TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Clashes break out in Somalia, slowing fight against al Qaeda-linked insurgents.

Donald Trump says it's time U.S. passes war on ISIS to Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria, focuses on oil instead.

How ISIS operates in Iraq's disputed territories.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Coronavirus: Shares face worst week since global financial crisis.

Ex-Fed Gov Warsh sees coordinated global central bank action soon in response to coronavirus.

Coronavirus: China will 'definitely' meet US trade deal agricultural demands, but may invoke force majeure.

AI ethics backed by Pope and tech giants in new plan.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 28, 2020

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 06:11 AM PST


Politico: U.S. clamps down on troop travel in the Middle East due to coronavirus

According to a Feb. 27 memo obtained by POLITICO, all leave and liberty travel with the Central Command theater is banned until further notice.

The U.S. is suspending certain types of travel for military and civilian Department of Defense personnel to and within the Middle East due to concerns over the coronavirus, according to an order issued Thursday.

All leave and liberty travel with the Central Command theater is banned until further notice, according to the memo obtained by POLITICO. For example, personnel assigned to a unit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, cannot travel to the United Arab Emirates or Jeddah for the weekend.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 28, 2020

Coronavirus Fears Halt US Military Exercises -- Foreign Policy

U.S., South Korea Cancel Military Exercises Amid Coronavirus Spike -- US News and World Report

Coronavirus is here to ruin all hope for beards in the military -- Military Times

The US Navy orders ships in the Pacific to stay at sea at least 14 days between port calls over coronavirus concerns -- Business Insider

Pacific Fleet: Chinese destroyer's laser targeted US plane -- Navy Times

Chinese warship fired laser at American surveillance plane, U.S. Navy says -- CBS/AP

Navy arms destroyers with new laser weapons -- FOX News

SECNAV Modly: Navy Needs Additional $120 Billion To Build 355-Ship Fleet By 2030 -- USNI News

More Marine Corps Personnel Cuts Are Coming, Commandant Says -- Military.com

Army Restores Money for Infantry Squad Vehicle in Fiscal 2021 Budget -- Military.com

Will unmanned ground vehicles replace tanks? -- Army-Technology

US Department of Defense to Begin Testing 5G Tech Prototypes -- Sputnik

Raytheon awarded $90.4M for JMEWS warheads for Tomahawk missiles -- UPI

Big-Motor Bombers. The U.S. Air Force Has Mulled B-52 Re-Engining Since the 1950s -- National Interest

Pentagon Sees a $9 Billion Surge in Nuclear Spending by 2025 -- Bloomberg

Pentagon Pushes For Construction of Nuclear Warhead That Has Not Been Designed -- Sputnik

Space Force official: Transfers of military personnel to Space Force are strictly voluntary -- Space News

Abrupt End to MQ-9 Production Surprises General Atomics -- Air Force Magazine

US Air Force: The history of the military branch -- FOX News

Trump upends controversial surveillance fight -- The Hill

Bipartisan senators say Pentagon's effort to improve military housing falls short -- The Hill

Majority of troops in survey support transgender service members in ranks -- The Hill

US professor Anming Hu charged with hiding China ties from Nasa -- SCMP/AFP

Fear reigns in Africa's Sahel region amid US military drawdown plan -- DW

Philippines, U.S. Seek New Military Deal After Duterte Exit -- Bloomberg

Door not shut for saving US-Philippines defence pact – envoy says -- SCMP/Reuters

Lockheed Martin nabs $1.1B to provide GMLRS to Romania, South Korea -- UPI

Setback for US? Sri Lanka Shuns Million Dollar American Agreement Over National Security Concerns -- Sputnik

Russian military chief voices concern about NATO activities -- Military Times/AP

Tests of Newest Russian Hypersonic Weapons Continue in the Northern Fleet - Defence Minister Shoigu -- Sputnik

Russia's Northern Fleet continues tests of hypersonic weapons -- TASS

Coronavirus cluster at 'work unit' believed to be China's cybersecurity agency in Beijing -- SCMP

China's Navy Will Be the World's Largest in 2035 -- US Naval Institute

Why India's closer ties to US need not harm relations with China -- SCMP

Yes Turkey Is Trying to Build Its Own "F-35" Like Stealth Fighter -- National Interest

US Navy Orders All Ships That Have Visited Nations In The Pacific Region To Self-Quarantine For Coronavirus For 14 Days

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 04:30 AM PST

The U.S. 7th Fleet flagship Blue Ridge arrives in Laem Chabang, Thailand, for a regularly scheduled port visit on Feb. 23. A Wednesday order from U.S. Pacific Fleet means Navy vessels like the Blue Ridge must spend at least 14 days at sea after a port visit like that so crews can be monitored for symptoms of a deadly strain of the coronavirus. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Aron Montano/Navy)

Navy Times: Pacific Fleet orders at least 14-day underways for ships visiting nations in 7th Fleet AOR as coronavirus spreads

U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. John C. "Lung" Aquilino has directed all vessels visiting nations in the 7th Fleet area of operations "to remain at sea for at least 14 days before pulling into another port in order to monitor sailors for any symptoms" of COVID-19, a new and deadly strain of the coronavirus.

Aquilino's unclassified Wednesday order is part of a larger Navy effort to control the spread of a disease that emerged in China's Wuhan City last year and now has been detected in 37 locations internationally, including cases in the United States.

Read more ....

Update #1: Coronavirus Concerns Prompt PACFLEET to Impose 14-Day Gap Between Port Visits (USNI News)
Update #2: BREAKING: Navy Orders All Ships That Have Visited Nations In Pacific Region To Self-Quarantine For Coronavirus (Daily Wire)

WNU Editor: Best to be safe.

Chinese Warship Fired A Military Laser At A US Navy P-8 Surveillance Aircraft Last Week

Posted: 28 Feb 2020 04:00 AM PST


CNN: US says Chinese warship fired military laser at US aircraft

The US Navy said Thursday that a Chinese military warship fired a military grade laser at US Navy P-8 surveillance aircraft last week while it was flying over the Pacific Ocean, an action that the US Navy called "unsafe and unprofessional."

The People's Republic of China "navy destroyer's actions were unsafe and unprofessional," US Pacific Fleet said in a statement Thursday.

"Weapons-grade lasers could potentially cause serious harm to aircrew and mariners, as well as ship and aircraft systems," the statement added.

Military-grade laser beams, occasionally known as "dazzlers," omit a powerful beam of light that can travel great distances and be used to illuminate aircraft cockpits, temporarily blinding pilots.

Defense officials told CNN that a formal diplomatic protests known as a démarche is expected to be issued.

Read more ....

More News On A Chinese Warship Firing A Military Laser At A US Navy P-8 Surveillance Aircraft

US says Chinese ship fired laser at American aircraft -- AP
US accuses China of using laser against Navy patrol plane -- The Hill
Chinese Destroyer Lases U.S. Navy P-8A Plane Operating Near Guam -- USNI News
Chinese destroyer aims laser at US Navy plane in 'unsafe' manner, military says -- FOX News
A Chinese destroyer fired a weapons-grade laser at a US surveillance aircraft, US Navy says -- Business Insider
US Pacific Fleet: US Navy P-8A Poseidon 'Lased' by Chinese Destroyer -- Sputnik

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