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Friday, February 7, 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: 06 Feb 2020 10:30 PM PST

Is The Coronavirus Outbreak Putting An End To Chinese President Dreams Of A Chinese Century?

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 10:00 PM PST

Illustration by Edel Rodriguez for TIME

Charlie Campbell, Time: The Coronavirus Outbreak Could Derail Xi Jinping's Dreams of a Chinese Century

It took eight hours for a doctor to see Wu Chen's mother after she arrived at the hospital. Eight days later, she was dead.

The doctor was "99% sure" she had contracted the mysterious pneumonia-like illness sweeping China's central city of Wuhan, Wu says, but he didn't have the testing kit to prove it. And despite the 64-year-old's fever and perilously low oxygen levels, there was no bed for her. Wu tried two more hospitals over the next week, but all were overrun. By Jan. 25, her mother was slumped on the tile floor of an emergency room, gasping for air, drifting in and out of consciousness. "We didn't want to see my mom die on the floor, so we took her home," says Wu, 30. "She passed the next day."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The above is a sobering essay on how China's political system made the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic into the disaster that it is today.

Update: We shall see .... Is the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak threatening Xi's hold to power? (Ted Regencia, Time).

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 09:30 PM PST

President Trump holds up a copy of USA Today's front page showing news of his acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial, as he arrives to address the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Top Photos of the Day (Reuters).

Another Cruise Ship In Japan Is Facing A Coronavirus Lockdown

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 09:00 PM PST

Japanese leader Shinzo Abe said no foreigners on board the Holland America cruise liner MS Westerdam (pictured) would be allowed to disembark in the country

Daily Mail: Is ANOTHER cruise ship set to be quarantined over coronavirus? Japan blocks foreigners from disembarking from Holland America vessel with infected passenger on board

* Japan's PM Shinzo Abe said no foreigners would disembark the MS Westerdam
* One person on the ship, which stopped in Hong Kong, is thought to have virus
* Japan has already held Diamond Princess in quarantine with at least 20 infected

Another cruise ship is facing a coronavirus lockdown after Japan today closed its doors to foreign passengers on a vessel carrying a virus patient.

Japanese leader Shinzo Abe said no foreigners on board the MS Westerdam would be allowed to disembark in the country.

One passenger aboard the Holland America liner, which stopped in Hong Kong and is capable of carrying nearly 3,000 passengers and crew, is believed to have the deadly virus.

Japan is already holding one ship - the Diamond Princess - in quarantine in Yokohama with at least 20 passengers infected.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As it was mentioned yesterday. I would not be surprised if in the coming days all cruises in Asia will be cancelled.

Hero Doctor Who Alerted The World About Coronavirus Dies From Infection In Wuhan

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 08:05 PM PST

Ophthalmologist Li Wenliang shared documents online and carried out interviews via text message from his hospital bed before his death on 6 February. Photograph: Handout

ABC News Online: Coronavirus whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang dies from infection in Wuhan, local hospital says

A Wuhan hospital says a Chinese doctor who blew the whistle on the outbreak of coronavirus only to be reprimanded by police has died from the virus, amid confusion over earlier reports of his death and then resuscitation.

Li Wenliang, 34, was one of eight whistleblowers who tried to warn other medical workers of the outbreak, but was accused of spreading fake information by local police, according to the state-run Global Times newspaper.

Global Times first reported Dr Li's death on Thursday evening, but later published a report from Wuhan Central Hospital that said his heart had stopped beating at 9:30pm (local time) and he was given resuscitation treatment and was in a critical condition.

Read more ....

More News On The Doctor Who Alerted The World About Coronavirus Passing Away From The Disease

Coronavirus kills 'hero' Chinese doctor who sounded alarm as toll passes 630 -- Reuters
Doctor who alerted world about coronavirus dies of it as China's death toll surpasses 630 -- France 24
China: Doctor who raised alarm on coronavirus dies of disease -- DW
Coronavirus kills Chinese whistleblower doctor -- BBC
Doctor who blew whistle over coronavirus has died, hospital says -- The Guardian
Chinese doctor, 34, who sounded the alarm over coronavirus DIES from it -- Daily Mail
Chinese doctor who raised early alarm on coronavirus dies, triggering public mourning -- Reuters
Chinese doctor who sounded alarm about Wuhan coronavirus dies -- Al Jazeera
The whistleblower doctor who fell victim to China's coronavirus -- The Guardian
The Chinese doctor who tried to warn others about coronavirus -- BBC

Wuhan Coronavirus News Updates -- February 6, 2020

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 07:44 PM PST

Daily Mail: Coronavirus has NOT peaked in China despite first drop in new cases since the outbreak that's sickened more than 28,000 began, WHO says

* On Wednesday, there was a slight decline in the number of new coronavirus cases in China
* Yet the World Health Organization says that it's too soon to say whether the outbreak has peaked
* Another nearly 4,000 cases were added to the count in China between Wednesday and Thursday, pushing the tally over 28,000
* As of Thursday, 566 people had died in the outbreak, all but two of whom were in China
* The trajectory of epidemics is notoriously hard to predict, but attempts to do so help disease experts prepare for the worst

It's too soon to say that the coronavirus outbreak has peaked in China, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday - but it acknowledged an encouraging drop in cases in the country where the virus originated.

This marks the first time since the outbreak began in Wuhan in December 2019 that the number of cases in China has declined.

Yet the death toll has surged by 76 since yesterday, with 566 fatalities now reported.

More than 28,000 people are now infected in China, with cases increasing by nearly 4,000 between Wednesday and Thursday.

Read more ....

Wuhan Coronavirus Live News Updates

Coronavirus live updates: cruise ship cases rise to 61 as China mourns whistleblower doctor – latest news -- The Guardian
Coronavirus latest: Too soon to say if virus reaching peak, UN health officials say -- DW
Coronavirus Live Updates: Wuhan Rounds Up the Infected as the Death Toll Climbs Again -- The New York Times
China coronavirus outbreak: All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera
Coronavirus updates: The latest news on the outbreak and the global response -- NBC

Wuhan Coronavirus News Updates -- February 6, 2020

Mainland China reports 73 new coronavirus deaths on February 6, toll rises to 636 -- Reuters
Coronavirus death toll surpasses 560 as world health experts hunt for cure -- France 24
Coronavirus outbreak: Hospitals in China swamped with patients -- Al Jazeera
China's 'grand gestures,' propaganda aim to calm fears about coronavirus -- UPI
Coronavirus China: Police lock up suspected patients in their home, vigilantes beat up sufferer's family and woman fights off cops with a meat cleaver as they quarantine her in shocking videos -- Daily Mail
Coronavirus: Shanghai's deserted streets and metro -- BBC
'Ghost city': Commute through China's deserted capital amid coronavirus -- Reuters
Another 41 on cruise liner off Japan test positive for coronavirus: government -- Reuters
Another 41 on Japan cruise have new coronavirus: minister. -- AFP
Coronavirus: US announces 12th case; patient in Wisconsin had direct contact with infected Wuhan family members -- SCMP
Second child hospitalized with a fever that could be a coronavirus symptom after being evacuated from Wuhan and quarantined in California -- Daily Mail
Coronavirus: Hongkongers in panic buying of rice, toilet paper and essentials as government stays mum on impending quarantine measures -- SCMP
Korean automakers halt output as coronavirus disrupts parts supply -- UPI
Hong Kong residents join massive queues for masks as fears of coronavirus spread -- France 24
Taiwan halts visas for Hong Kong and Macau citizens as coronavirus deaths reach 565 globally -- SCMP
Coronavirus: Third UK patient 'caught coronavirus in Singapore' -- BBC
First British national to contract coronavirus had been in Singapore -- The Guardian
First Canada airlift from Wuhan to land Friday -- AFP
Experts Warn Coronavirus May Be Spreading Undetected in Indonesia, Thailand -- VOA
China faces dilemma as it tries to get back to work amid coronavirus outbreak fears following Lunar New Year -- SCMP
Factbox: Countries evacuating nationals from China coronavirus areas -- Reuters
Timeline: How China's new coronavirus spread -- Al Jazeera

President Trump Confirms The Death Of Qassim al-Raymi, Al Qaeda Leader In Yemen

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 07:25 PM PST

President Donald Trump confirmed that US forces had killed Qassim al-Raymi, the leader of militant group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, in Yemen, on Feb 6, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

Daily Mail: Donald Trump confirms al-Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi has been killed in U.S. operation in Yemen - after his jihadist group claimed responsibility for deadly Florida naval base shooting

* Donald Trump said in a statement on Thursday that the U.S. at his direction conducted a counter-terrorism operation in Yemen that killed Qassim al-Rimi
* Al-Rimi is a founder of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula jihadist group
* The group claimed responsibility for the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida where a Saudi aviation trainee killed three American sailors
* While Trump confirmed reports that al-Rimi was killed, he did not say when the U.S. operation was conducted or offer any details about how it was carried out

President Donald Trump has confirmed that the U.S. killed the leader of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula jihadist group who claimed responsibility for a mass shooting at an American naval base.

Trump said in a statement on Thursday that the U.S. at his direction conducted a counter-terrorism operation in Yemen that killed Qassim al-Rimi.

Al-Rimi is a founder of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The group has long been considered the global network's most dangerous branch for its attempts to carry out attacks on the U.S. mainland.

Read more ....

More News On The Death Of Qassim al-Raymi, Al Qaeda Leader In Yemen

U.S. kills al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula leader in Yemen -Trump -- Reuters
U.S. kills Qassim al-Raymi, leader of al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula -- France 24
Yemen Al-Qaeda leader al-Raymi killed by US strike -- BBC
Trump announces death of al-Qaeda leader in Yemen after US strike -- The Hill
Qassim al-Rimi: US forces killed al-Qaida leader in Yemen, Trump confirms -- The Guardian/AP
Trump confirms killing of AQAP chief in Yemen -- AFP
US has killed leader of jihadist al-Qaeda group in Yemen, Donald Trump confirms -- SCMP/AFP
White House announces death of terror leader Qassim al-Rimi -- CNN
White House confirms Al Qaeda leader in Yemen killed by airstrike -- FOX News
US confirms killing of al-Qaeda Arabian Peninsula leader -- DW
White House confirms death of AQAP leader -- Long War Journal

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 6, 2020

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 06:50 PM PST

SCMP/AP: Coronavirus: how a luxury cruise became 'a floating prison' during virus quarantine

* Passengers on board the luxury liner have become caught up in the global coronavirus crisis
* The vessel that once had 3,711 passengers and crew is now a ghost ship of deserted reception areas, swimming pools and hallways

David Abel's 50th wedding anniversary luxury cruise began with him eating his fill and enjoying the sights of East Asia.

It's ending with him quarantined in his cabin aboard the Diamond Princess for two extra weeks, eating a "lettuce sandwich with some chicken inside" and watching 20 infected people escorted off the ship, heading for hospitals for treatment of a new virus.

Abel is among hundreds of passengers on two cruise ships in Japan and Hong Kong who are caught in the drama and fear about the little-understood, but fast-spreading new type of coronavirus. Tests are still pending on some passengers and crew who have symptoms or had contact with infected people.

"It's not going to be a luxury cruise; it's going to be like a floating prison," Abel said on Facebook from the ship in the port of Yokohama, outside Tokyo.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 6, 2020

The question I get asked the most: How much of what China is reporting on coronavirus is actually true? -- Bill Birtles, ABC News Online

Peak coronavirus? Epidemic forecasts are often wrong but can be useful -- Kate Kelland and Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

Coronavirus spreads fear and racism worldwide -- France 24

U.S.-China Competition in Asia: Who Risks Wins. -- Sam Roggeveen, RCD

China Brought NATO Closer Together -- Jens Ringsmose and Sten Rynning, War On the Rocks

Can We Bomb Afghanistan Into Peace? -- Bonnie Kristian, RCW

Where is the Iranian opposition? -- Shabnam von Hein, RCD

Why Iraq Remains Ripe for a U.S.-Iran Confrontation. -- Omar Lamrani & Emily Hawthorne, RCD

How was a prominent Syrian Salafist allowed to study in France? -- AFP

German far-right political scandal reflects rise of Europe's populists -- Bernd Riegert, DW

Germany AfD: How far right caused political earthquake -- Jenny Hill, BBC

Trump acquitted: What's next for the president, Democrats? -- William Roberts, Al Jazeera

After impeachment acquittal, Teflon Trump appears an unstoppable force -- SCMP/AP

Tech Wars Are Complicated and Hard to Win -- Phillip Orchard, Geopolitical Futures

How a single locust becomes a plague -- BBC

World News Briefs -- February 6, 2020 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 06:43 PM PST

Reuters: WHO says too early to say coronavirus peaking in China

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it was too early to say that China's coronavirus outbreak was peaking, but noted that the country had recorded its first day of a drop in the number of new infections.

The death toll from the virus in mainland China jumped by 73 to 563, with more than 28,000 confirmed infections inside the world's second-largest economy. That number had risen by nearly 4,000 from Wednesday to Thursday.

Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergencies expert, said it was very difficult to make predictions on the course of the disease first reported in the central city of Wuhan in late December, noting: "We are still in the middle of an intense outbreak".

Read more ....


Syria war: Israel 'hits Iran-backed fighters near Damascus'.

Syria regime seizes swathes of key town in Idlib offensive. Syrian army enters rebel-held northwestern Saraqeb town in latest advance: state media.

EU leaders urge Syria fighting factions to stop harming civilians.

Iraq protesters rally in Najaf after deadly clashes with Sadrists.

Israel troops wounded in Jerusalem car-ramming, two Palestinians killed as violence flares. Israeli forces kill 4 Palestinians in a day as tensions heighten.

Israeli-Palestinian violence flares up.

Saudi ship on suspected weapons voyage arrives in France.


Xi says China has achieved 'positive' virus control results.

Coronavirus: China reports 73 deaths and 3,143 new confirmed cases on Thursday.

Coronavirus outbreak: Hospitals in China swamped with patients.

Another 41 on Japan cruise have new coronavirus: minister.

Dozens of Asia trade fairs, conferences postponed amid coronavirus fears.

U.S. citizen kidnapped in east Afghanistan: media reports.

Australia welcomes drought-easing drenching, even as it brings floods.


Eastern Libyan tribesmen to submit conditions to reopen blocked oil terminals: U.N..

'Progress' in talks between Libya rivals: UN envoy.

C.Africa leader urges tough line on peace deal violators.

Jihadist attacks force Mozambique schools to close.

Lesotho first lady freed on bail before murder trial.

Ex-Ivory Coast leader Gbagbo wants unconditional release from ICC.

Morocco border clampdown thwarts Europe-bound migrants.

Zimbabwe gold miners killed after shaft collapses. At least 20 people trapped in Zimbabwe mine collapse.


Italy confirms third coronavirus case, person had been evacuated from China.

No 10 says Johnson's row with Trump over Huawei was 'overblown'.

Spain's PM meets Catalan separatist leader, sets out roadmap for talks.

German MPs taken aback by Johnson's hardline trade rhetoric.

Poland adopts controversial judicial law.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov denounces U.S. 'provocations' in Venezuela.

Migrants in Serbia protest for passage to Hungary and EU.


Trump holds White House 'celebration' for impeachment acquittal. Donald Trump makes veiled attack on Mitt Romney and Nancy Pelosi at prayer breakfast after acquittal.

Iowa caucus: Democratic chairman calls for review of vote totals.

Sanders takes lead in New Hampshire in Monmouth poll.

AP unable to declare winner in Iowa caucuses.

US warns Venezuela of consequences if Guaido harmed.

U.S. condemns detention of Citgo executives in Venezuela; hints at sanctions on Russia.

Brazil's Bolsonaro proposes bill allowing mining on indigenous land.

Brazil: judge dismisses cybercrimes accusations against Glenn Greenwald .

Medellín cartel hit man dies in a Colombian hospital. 'Popeye' claimed 300 kills.

Canada police begin clearing Wet'suwet'en land defender camps.


Trump announces death of al-Qaeda leader in Yemen after US strike.

Maldives: Suspected jihadists held over stabbings.

Syria's Kurds hand over 35 IS-linked orphans to Russia.


Stocks rally, safe-haven currencies drop, on China plan to cut tariffs.

Russia rejects oil output cuts proposed by OPEC: reports.

China to slash punitive tariffs on $75B worth of U.S. goods.

Uber sees path to profit despite $1.1bn loss.

Twitter surges as global user growth revives.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 6, 2020

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 05:18 PM PST

A U.S. Marine with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, assigned to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 19.2, supervises his squad as they provide over watch security at the Baghdad Embassy Compound in Iraq, Jan. 3, 2019. (Sgt. Kyle C. Talbot/Marine Corps)

Neta C. Crawford, Military Times: The Iraq War has cost the US nearly $2 trillion

Even if the U.S. administration decided to leave — or was evicted from — Iraq immediately, the bill of war to the U.S. to date would be an estimated $1.922 trillion in current dollars.

This figure includes not only funding appropriated to the Pentagon explicitly for the war, but spending on Iraq by the State Department, the care of Iraq War veterans and interest on debt incurred to fund 16 years of U.S. military involvement in the country.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 6, 2020

Iraq Considers Deepening Military Ties With Russia -- The New York Times

Not a break, but fissures in US-Iraqi military alliance -- AP

Pentagon to provide military installations near 11 major airports for coronavirus quarantine -- The Hill

Leidos nabs $7.7B deal to provide network support to Navy -- UPI

40 companies net up to $982.1M for Navy's drone vessel program -- UPI

Navy jet damaged in mid-air refueling mishap -- Navy Times

Boeing delivers first modified F/A-18 Super Hornet to Navy -- UPI

Navy's Unmanned Growler Is a Look at War's Future -- Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics

Legacy USAF Fighters, Bombers Are on the Chopping Block -- Lara Seligman, Foreign Policy

MDA taps industry to build interceptor to defend against hypersonic threats -- Defense News

U.S. Missile Defense Woefully Prepared for 21st Century Threats -- RCD

To Defeat Hypersonic Weapons, Pentagon Aims To Build Vast Space Sensor Layer -- Forbes

SOCOM Announces Plans to Buy 75 'Armed Overwatch' Planes -- Air Force Magazine

Morale Is in Trouble at Some Army Bases. Here's What the Service Plans to Do About It --

US Army Seeks Technology That Would Allow Soldiers to See Through Walls -- Sputnik

US Army wants to expand pre-positioned stock in Pacific -- Defense News

Former CIA chief: Not 'right' for Haspel to applaud at State of the Union -- The Hill

First 2020 Minuteman III Test Launches As New START Countdown Begins -- Breaking Defense

Trump's Bid to Go Big on Nuclear Arms Looks Like a Fizzle -- Steven Pifer, Defense One

SecDef Eyeing Moving Billions By Eliminating Offices, Legacy Systems -- Breaking Defense

BREAKING: Report Finds U.S. Defense Industrial Base in Decline -- National Defense

Here's how much money the Pentagon found through internal savings — and where it's going -- Defense News

NATO Eyes Troop Reductions in Afghanistan as U.S. Draws Down -- New York Times

2nd Fleet, NATO Joint Force Command Norfolk Seek Further Integration of Allied Navies -- USNI News

Germany, France plot new steps for trinational fighter jet — but what about Spain? -- Defense News

Japan's next-gen fighter progress responds to China's fifth-gen evolution -- Defence Connect

China in the Levant -- John Toolan Jr., John Bird & Harry Hoshovsky, RCD

Russia's modernized Tu-160M nuclear-capable bomber takes to the skies for the 1st time (VIDEO) -- RT

Israel finds an AI system to help fight in cities -- C5ISRNet

This brutal World War II battle holds lessons for future Pacific fights -- Todd South, Army Times

The F-35 Is Still Being Plagued With Software Problems

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 03:47 PM PST

An F-35A soars over Hill Air Force Base, Utah, during a demonstration practice Jan. 10, 2020. (Senior Airman Alexander Cook/U.S. Air Force)

Defense News: The Pentagon's weapons tester has concerns about the F-35's new software development process

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is banking on agile software development to keep the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter capable of evolving to beat looming threats, but a new report questions the department's ability to keep on top of continual software updates.

In 2018, the F-35 program shifted to an agile software development model, known as DevOps among coders and as Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2) within the program. The goal, according to program leaders, was to push out incremental software improvements and corrections to past deficiencies on a quicker pace rather than implementing a large update once a year or so.

However, Robert Behler, the Pentagon's independent weapons tester, characterizes the current schedule for C2D2 as "high risk" and said the program office is struggling to stay on schedule, he said in an annual report published Jan. 30 by the Operational Test and Evaluation Office.

Read more ....

Update: $1,000,000,000,000 F-35 Stealth Fighter: 873 Software Flaws and 13 'Must-Fix' Issues (National Interest)

WNU Editor: 873 software flaws?!?!?!

Financial Times: President Trump In Heated Argument With Prime Minister Boris Johnson Over Huawei Decision

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 02:50 PM PST

US has a ban on Huawei and had sought to persuade allies to adopt the same approach. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Reuters: Trump 'apoplectic' with UK's Johnson over Huawei decision: FT

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump was "apoplectic" with Boris Johnson during a phone call to discuss the British prime minister's decision to allow Chinese firm Huawei a role in Britain's 5G mobile phone network, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

Citing unnamed officials in London and Washington, the FT said the president was livid during the exchange last week after Johnson's government said Huawei could have a limited role in building Britain's 5G mobile network, despite warnings from the Trump administration.

The paper said one individual who was briefed on the contents of the call on Jan. 28 said Trump was "apoplectic". It cited another who said the call was "very difficult" and Trump's tone had taken aback British officials.

When asked about the FT report, Johnson's office said they had nothing to add to their statement released soon after the leaders' call to discuss the Huawei decision.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The UK government is saying that this is all overblown .... No 10 say fallout between Trump and Johnson 'overblown' (The Guardian)

More News On President Trump And UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Disagreement Over Huawei

Trump 'apoplectic' in phone call with UK's Johnson about Huawei decision: report -- The Hill
Trump 'apoplectic' in call with Boris Johnson over Huawei decision -- Washington Examiner
Trump's furious phone call with Boris revealed: President was 'apoplectic' -- Express

The U.S. Navy Searched For Weeks And Failed In Finding A Russian Sub Off The East Coast

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 02:34 PM PST

The Yasen Class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines (SSGN) represents the most modern and potent Russian submarines are and widely regarded as being similar to the latest Western submarines

Daily Mail: The real hunt for Red October: Major US operation to track deadly Russian subs lasted for weeks off the East Coast but found nothing as US Navy warns the waters are no longer a 'safe haven'

* There is major concern over the rise in the number of increasingly deadly Russian submarines and spy ships patrolling the U.S. East Coast
* Major operation launched last year to track Russia's most deadly subs and ships
* The Project 885 Yasen class guided missile submarine Severodvinsk remained undetected despite mission by U.S. Navy lasting weeks to track it down
* Navy resurrected its 2nd Fleet in 2018 which had been decommissioned in 2011
* In December, Russian intelligence ship Viktor Leonov was a few hundred miles off the coast and operating without its lights or responding to radio calls
* Commander of the United States Second Fleet Vice Admiral Andrew 'Woody' Lewis warns naval crews to be on guard from the moment they leave port

The U.S. Navy has spent weeks trawling the North Atlantic in the hunt for a deadly Russian submarine that was known to have deployed into the waters off the East Coast of the United States.

The Project 885 Yasen class guided missile submarine Severodvinsk is built from the very latest in Russian technology and was thought to be just a few hundred miles away from the North American coastline in the fall of 2019.

Such was the worry of the U.S. military, the search involved a large number of Navy submarines, ships, and maritime patrol aircraft, all of which proved fruitless after the sub remained undetected throughout, according to The Drive.

Read more ....

Update #1: DEADLY GAME Weeks-long 'Red October' style hunt for Russian subs off East Coast FAILED as Navy warns waters no longer 'safe haven' (The SUN)
Update #2: Admiral Warns America's East Coast Is No Longer A "Safe Haven" Thanks To Russian Subs (Warzone/The Drive)

WNU editor: Was the Russian sub really there?

IMF Report: The Financial Wealth Of The Oil-Rich Gulf States Will Be Gone In 15 Years

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 11:18 AM PST

Gulf News: GCC's financial wealth could be depleted by 2034: IMF

Oil exporters need to fine tune fiscal policies in line with oil market realities

Dubai: The GCC countries that account for a fifth of the world's oil production need to urgently adapt their fiscal policies to the reality of lower oil prices in the longer term, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a Staff Report on Thursday.

The report, 'The Future of Oil and Fiscal Sustainability in the GCC Region' noted that oil market is undergoing a fundamental change. New technologies are increasing the supply of oil from old and new sources, while rising concerns over the environment are seeing the world gradually moving away from oil. This spells a significant challenge for oil-exporting countries of GCC who account for a fifth of the world's oil production.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I still believe that oil demand and production will continue to increase in the coming years, but the warning signs that change is coming are there .... Global oil demand to peak around 2040 or 'much sooner,' IMF says (CNBC).

More News On The IMF Report That Is Claiming That The Financial Wealth Of The Oil-Rich Gulf States Will Be Gone In 15 Years

IMF: Oil-rich Gulf Arab states may spend savings in 15 years -- Seattle Times/AP
Gulf's financial wealth could be over in 15 years: IMF -- Reuters
IMF urges acceleration of GCC reforms for post-oil future -- The National
Without reforms, Gulf oil wealth could vanish by 2034: IMF -- AFP

Russia Says No To Proposed OPEC Production Cuts Due To The Cut In Oil Demand From China Caused By The Coronavirus Outbreak

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 11:08 AM PST

CNBC: Russia's reluctance for a production cut exposes possible crack in three-year-old OPEC alliance

* Russia has not so far endorsed a recommendation from a technical committee for OPEC and its allies to deepen production cuts. Oil analysts said it shows a possible lack of harmony in the producers' alliance.
* The technical committee monitoring the market and production for OPEC+ recommended a 600,000 barrel a day additional cut to stabilize the market.
* The impact of the coronavirus on transportation in China and elsewhere has dealt a serious blow to the oil market, which could see demand drop by 1 million to 2 million barrels a day temporarily.

Russia's reluctance to jump on board a bigger OPEC production cut may signal a potential fissure within the oil producer alliance, known as OPEC plus.

Led by Saudi Arabia, other OPEC producers and Russia were considering an emergency meeting to cut production in response to the impact of the coronavirus, but it's not now clear whether that will happen.

A committee advising the producers met for three days in Vienna and on Thursday recommended a 600,000 barrel a day reduction in production to bring relief to the oil market, according to reports. The Joint Technical Committee, made up of representatives of producing countries, is not a decision making entity, and it only makes recommendations to the ministers of OPEC countries and its allies, including Russia.

Read more ....

Update #1: Oil is in a tailspin over the coronavirus and OPEC might not be coming to the rescue (CNN)
Update #2: Factbox: Coronavirus hits demand for oil, energy (Reuters)

WNU Editor: OPEC wants a 600,000 barrel/day production cut, but China has already reported that they are expecting a massive 25% drop in oil demand .... China energy executives braced for 25% fall in domestic oil demand (Financial Times). If this virus spreads and infects other Asian countries in the same manner as it has in China, OPEC is going to be under more pressure for production and price cuts. I also expect a major hit for other commodity demands and prices.

Update #3: I am expecting a 2% - 3% drop in the world's GDP if this crisis continues for the next few months.

This Tuskegee Airman's Great-Grandson Wants To Join Space Force

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 10:21 AM PST

Tuskegee airman Charles McGee, 100, and his great grandson Iain Lanphier react as President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. Great-Grandson of Tuskegee Airman Wants to Join Space Force

He's only 13, but he's already got his eye on joining the nation's newest military branch.

Meet Iain Lanphier, the Scottsdale, Arizona 8th-grader who attended the State of the Union Address Tuesday night as one of President Donald Trump's special guests. Lanphier got a standing ovation in the packed House of Representatives as Trump introduced him.

"Iain has always dreamed of going to space. He was first in his class and among the youngest at an aviation academy," Trump said. "He aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then, he has his eye on the Space Force. As Iain says, 'most people look up at space, I want to look down on the world.'"

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Take it from someone who is outside the US looking in. It is people like this who have made (and will make) America a great place to live in.

Report: Russia Is Using Ukraine To Test Its New Cyber Weapons

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 10:10 AM PST

Forbes: Russia Unleashes New Weapons In Its 'Cyber Attack Testing Ground': Report

"Ukraine is, by and large, a Russian cyber attack testing ground," Vitali Kremez tells me. The head of SentinelLabs has just penned a new report into the actions Russian cyber threat group "Gameredon" is taking against Ukraine, and the wider implications of this. "We assess with high confidence," Kremez says, "that the Russian targeting and approach towards Ukraine is preparatory and will be replicated across other targets related to the Russian government."

Kremez is using his report to call out an escalation in cyber espionage attacks on strategic Ukrainian targets—security, military and government related. The attacks are using newly modified Windows malware, likely to be the "preparatory stage" for a full cyber attack. Malware that is designed to collect and return data, seeking instructions from a remote command and control server. The new report claims this cyber campaign has now hit as many as five thousand "unique" entities in Ukraine.

Read more ....

Update: Russia Unleashes New Weapons In Its 'Cyber Attack Testing Ground': Report (InCyberDefense)

WNU Editor: SentinelLabs report is here .... Pro-Russian CyberSpy Gamaredon Intensifies Ukrainian Security Targeting.

Is Gallup Hinting Of A Republican Landslide In This Year's U.S. Presidential And Congressional Elections?

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 10:04 AM PST

Gallup: Trump Job Approval at Personal Best 49%

* Approval among Republicans hits 94%
* Poll shows highest party polarization on record
* Half of registered voters say Trump deserves to be re-elected

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Donald Trump's job approval rating has risen to 49%, his highest in Gallup polling since he took office in 2017.

The new poll finds 50% of Americans disapproving of Trump, leaving just 1% expressing no opinion. The average percentage not having an opinion on Trump has been 5% throughout his presidency.

Trump's approval rating has risen because of higher ratings among both Republicans and independents. His 94% approval rating among Republicans is up six percentage points from early January and is three points higher than his previous best among his fellow partisans. The 42% approval rating among independents is up five points, and ties three other polls as his best among that group. Democratic approval is 7%, down slightly from 10%.

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WNU Editor: It is too early to say what will happen in November this year. But if trends are any indication, and with a number of black voters now seriously thinking of voting for President Trump (and the coattails that it may bring), if I was a betting man I would put my money on President Trump winning re-election and Republicans retaking control of the House of Representatives. As for the US Senate .... I am still not sure on what will happen there. There are 23 Republican Senate seats in play, and some of them do not look secure (Arizona, Maine, etc.).

FBI Director: Russia Engaging In 'Information Warfare' Ahead Of 2020 Election

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 09:35 AM PST

The Hill: FBI director says foreign disinformation campaigns 'never stopped' after 2016 elections

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that foreign disinformation efforts against the U.S. "never stopped" after Russian actors used them on social media platforms during the 2016 elections.

The FBI chief also told lawmakers during a House Judiciary Committee hearing that malicious foreign influence campaigns are now targeting more than just elections.

"That is in some ways an even more challenging area, not the least because it never stopped. It happened in 2016 and it's been continuing ever since then. It may have an uptick during an election cycle, but it's a 24/7, 365-days-a-year threat," Wray said of disinformation campaigns.

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WNU Editor: The FBI Director provides no evidence for his claims. Should we take his word for it?

More News On FBI Director Wray's Claim That Russia Is Engaging In 'Information Warfare' Ahead Of 2020 Election

FBI Director Warns of Ongoing Russian 'Information Warfare' Ahead of the 2020 Election -- Time/AP
Russia engaging in 'information warfare' ahead of 2020 election, FBI chief warns -- The Guardian
Russian disinformation 'ongoing problem' says FBI chief -- BBC
FBI Chief Says Russia's 'Information Warfare' Against U.S. Has Not Eased -- RFE

President Trump To Make A Public Statement On His Impeachment Acquittal (Live)

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 09:21 AM PST

The Frequency Of U.S. Troops And Russian Contractors Facing Each Other In Syria Has Increased In The Past Few Weeks

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 09:08 AM PST

Military Times: US troops have been squaring off with Russian contractors in Syria raising worries of wider conflict

The top U.S. envoy to Syria told reporters Wednesday that he was worried about the increasing number of incidents of Russian contractors pushing deep into U.S.-backed partner force territory in northeastern Syria.

A number of photos taken in January by Agence France-Presse photographer Delil Souleiman have depicted American Oshkosh M-ATV vehicles interdicting and blocking Russian armored vehicles along strategic roads in northeastern Syria.

James Jeffrey, the U.S. envoy to Syria, said Russians have on a "limited" number of occasions violated deconfliction agreements with U.S. forces by moving deep into Syrian Democratic Force's territory.

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WNU Editor: They are not shooting at each other. But this can get out of hand.

Why Is It Wrong For CIA Director Gina Haspel To Applaud President Trump During The State of the Union Address

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 08:55 AM PST

CIA Director Gina Haspel applauds during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address at the Capitol on Tuesday. NBC News

NBC: CIA's Haspel applauds during Trump's State of the Union speech, surprising some intel officials

In the Obama and Bush administrations, CIA directors did not attend the address. But Trump made the CIA director a Cabinet post, meaning Gina Haspel was invited.

WASHINGTON — When CIA Director Gina Haspel walked into the House chamber Tuesday night to attend President Donald Trump's State of the Union address, some former agency officers took note. When she began standing and clapping during what some considered a highly partisan speech, a few were surprised.

"She's applauding like a trained aquarium seal at every line, just like a member of the House GOP caucus, even on domestic stuff," a former officer said. "Holy crow."

In the mind of this former officer and others interviewed by NBC News, the CIA director should hold herself apart from a president's partisan rhetoric — especially the sentiments of a president who has frequently disparaged the intelligence community.

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Update: 'I never did that': Haspel's clapping for Trump rankles intel veterans (Politico)

WNU Editor: A non-issue in my book. Everyone has opinions and political loyalties, including the CIA Director. But in today's Washington where everything is now a partisan issue, even clapping for President Trump will involve scrutiny and (in this case) negative press.

Will U.S. Senator Sanders Be The Democrat Party's Nominee For President?

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 08:31 AM PST

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters and volunteers at a campaign field office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, February 2, 2020. Mike Segar, Reuters

CNBC: Bernie Sanders raises a staggering $25 million in January to fuel Super Tuesday push

* Bernie Sanders' campaign says it raised $25 million in January, its biggest haul in a single month in the 2020 Democratic campaign.
* It plans to spend $5.5 million toward ads in advance of the critical Super Tuesday slate, which includes the delegate-rich states of California and Texas.
* Sanders is vying for first place in the delayed returns from the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign raked in a whopping $25 million in January alone and will use the haul to bankroll ads and staff across the critical Super Tuesday slate.

The Vermont senator raised more in January than in any other month in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, his campaign said in announcing the haul Thursday. It added that it received 1.3 million donations from roughly 650,000 people.

The flood of cash came just before the start of 2020 primary nominating contests. Iowa held its first-in-the-nation caucuses Monday, followed by contests this month in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

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WNU Editor: Unlike the other candidates, the bulk Senator Sanders' money is coming from small donations. And while Pete Buttigieg has done well in Iowa .... Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are fighting for first place in the protracted Iowa caucus count (Politico), the momentum is still (IMHO) with the Vermont Senator. So what is my prediction on who will be the Democrat nominee for President. Former Vice-President Biden's campaign has problems. If he comes in third or fourth in New Hampshire and Nevada, it will be time for him to pack his bags. Senator Warren is not going to be the candidate that Democrats rally around, but she will be around for as long as possible. I have trouble seeing former Mayor Pete Buttigieg doing well in the next few primaries. Former mayor Bloomberg may have the money, but he is uninspiring on the campaign trial. And while Michael Bloomberg did win in New York City when he ran for mayor, running for the Presidency is a complete different game. Senator Amy Klobuchar lacks money, and money is what candidates at this stage of the race need. Bottom line. Senator Sanders will be the Democrat nominee, unless there is a brokered convention where an "anyone but Sanders" may emerge.

Update: The media are now hyping Pete Buttigieg .... Pete Buttigieg Gaining Quickly in New Hampshire as Bernie Sanders Stalls: Poll (Newsweek).

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo Tells Ukraine That It Has 'Lost' Crimea To Russia Forever

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 07:44 AM PST

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, pictured with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, recently visited Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries. Efrem Lukatsky, AP/TASS

Moscow Times: 'Crimea Is Lost,' Pompeo Reportedly Tells Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has allegedly said that Ukraine has lost Crimea to Russia forever, according to a closed-door meeting participant's account provided to Ukrainian media.

Pompeo reportedly made the remarks Friday at talks with Ukrainian civil society members during his recent visit to Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries. Ukraine's relations with Russia collapsed after Moscow seized the Black Sea peninsula and a war between pro-Russian rebels and Kiev broke out in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

"He said that Crimea is lost," Yelena Trehub, the head of Ukraine's nongovernmental anti-corruption watchdog, told the NV news magazine Tuesday.

"World players are well aware that Crimea is lost," Trehub recounted Pompeo's words to Crimean activist Emina Dzhaparova. "Russia is not a country from which you can take something away."

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WNU Editor: Two-thirds of Crimea (if not more) are ethnically Russian. They have no interest in becoming a part of Ukraine. I know there are some in Kiev who are pushing for a Ukrainian federal system where regions like Crimea would be given a great deal of autonomy and control of heir culture, language, and finances. This will work with the Donbas regions in eastern Ukraine, and will end the current war if implemented as President Zelenskiy had promised during last year's election. But for Crimea, coupled with Moscow's insistence that this Crimea not on the table, IMHO this "solution" to the Crimea issue is not going to happen.

Drone Footage Of China's Seventh Largest City Reveals A 'Ghost City'

Posted: 06 Feb 2020 06:54 AM PST

WNU Editor: What struck me was a picture that I saw a few days ago of Beijing's financial district. On a normal day that place is packed with cars and pedestrians. Picture Times Square but more people and cars. But what I saw in that picture (it was taken in the middle of the day) were just a few police officers and two or three pedestrians. Bottom line. China is on lock-down right now.

Update: Just had a long talk with a good friend of mine in Fujian Province (Fujian is across from Taiwan). He use to be a senior official in China's foreign ministry, and he is retired right now. He is telling me that everyone is afraid right now.