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Saturday, February 8, 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: 07 Feb 2020 10:50 PM PST











Picture Of The Day

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 10:13 PM PST

A Tor anti-aircraft missile system during the tactical exercises of the Southern Military District in the Rostov region. © Sputnik / Sergey Pivovarov

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures: 1-7 February (Sputnik).

Russian Media Is Hinting That The U.S. Is Responsble For The Coronavirus Outbreak

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 10:08 PM PST

Channel One's Kirill Kleymyonov suggested that the theory of a US role in the outbreak could not be dismissed out of hand

BBC: Coronavirus: Russian media hint at US conspiracy

The coronavirus outbreak in China has provided fertile ground for conspiracy theories and misinformation on the web everywhere, but in Russia they are being spread on primetime news programmes.

Russian TV is also unique in having a consistent overall thrust: that shadowy Western elites and especially the US are somehow ultimately to blame.

One of main national TV networks, Channel One, has even launched a regular slot devoted to coronavirus conspiracy theories on its main evening news programme, Vremya ("Time").

The style of the reporting is ambiguous, appearing to debunk the theories while leaving viewers with the impression that they contain a kernel of truth.

One of the wilder ideas aired by Vremya recently is that the presence of the word "corona", which means crown in both Latin and Russian, in the word coronavirus hints that Donald Trump is somehow involved.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russian media is not the only ones who are spreading these rumours. I have been hearing these same rumours from friends, some websites that I trust, and social media.

Islamic State Militants Are Escalating Attacks In Mozambique

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 09:52 PM PST

The UN says armed groups have stepped up attacks in the Cabo Delgado district of Mozambique [Al Jazeera]

DW: Mozambicans flee in fear of beheadings in extremist north

A militia affiliated with the "Islamic State" militant group has reportedly targeted homes, schools and health clinics, the UN said. The region is home to billion-dollar liquified natural gas projects.

A surge of extremism has torn through northern Mozambique, forcing residents to flee, the UN said on Friday. Officials confirmed that attacks by an Islamic insurgency have increased, with eyewitnesses saying that mass kidnappings have taken place and villages have been burned to the ground.

Seven people are said to have been beheaded earlier this week, AP reported. Homes, schools and health clinics have all been targeted by the rebels, who have been operating in the Cabo Delgado province.

More than 156,000 people are said to have been affected by the insurgency, Cabo Delgado's provincial government said this week.

Read more ....

More News On Islamic State Militants Escalating Their Attacks In Mozambique

Fresh violence in northern Mozambique forces thousands to flee -- UNHCR
Fighters step up attacks in Mozambique gas region, beheadings reported: U.N. -- Reuters
Beheadings, kidnappings amid surge in Mozambique attacks: UN -- Al Jazeera
Foreign Oil Firms Concerned About Rise of Violence in Northern Mozambique -- VOA

Azerbaijan Is The Poster Child On How A Nation Can Squander Its Oil Wealth

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 09:44 PM PST

Vanand Meliksetian, OilPrice.com: The Oil Nation That Squandered Its Wealth

Some of the world's first ever commercial oil wells were operational near Baku in 19th century Imperial Russia in today's Azerbaijan. The oil abundance produced some of the wealth that Alfred Nobel later put towards the creation of the famous Nobel Prizes for the sciences. Also, the enigmatic Calouste "Mr. Five Percent" Gulbenkian began his career in Baku.

After more than 150 years of extensive oil production activities, the new-found country's energy-wealth hasn't been depleted yet. Shortly after the Cold War the independent Republic of Azerbaijan struck a deal with western super-majors for what was dubbed "the deal of the century". The country's existing oil fields and future discoveries were supposed to lessen Europe's dependence on Russian energy. Although Azerbaijan has failed to meet these expectations, the nation of 9 million souls has earned a tremendous amount of money over the past decades. The effectiveness of the positive cashflow, however, on health care, education and income per capita is questionable as the level of development is fairly similar to its neighbors who lack major energy deposits.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: All good things come to an end. In the case of Azerbaijan, it will probably happen sooner rather than later.

Has Venezuelan President Maduro Embraced Capitalism?

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 09:38 PM PST


Patricia Laya and Alex Vasquez, Bloomberg: Maduro Embraces Capitalism and Venezuelan Emigres Are Returning

Carlos Viloria came home to Venezuela last month.

A 35-year-old lawyer, he'd had enough of 15-hour days and abusive bosses as a restaurant worker in Argentina for a year and a half, one of more than 5 million Venezuelans who've left over the past five years hoping to escape one of the world's worst humanitarian catastrophes.

His return is also emblematic. "I'm going to find a job that pays in dollars," he said.

After leading his country's economy over a cliff, President Nicolas Maduro has brought it a certain measure of stability. By allowing dollars to flow freely and private enterprise to flourish in recent months, he seems to have breathed new life into his regime. He remains widely despised but emigration has begun to slow, people are returning and the government is enacting laws to tax dollar transactions and allow companies to issue debt in foreign currencies.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As my one contact in Caracus has told me repeatedly over the past two years .... never trust what Maduro and his government are promising are promising.

Tonight's Movie Is 'Seven Days in May'

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 05:01 PM PST



WNU Editor: A great film with Kurt Douglas staring. For more on this movie go here .... Seven Days in May (Wikipedia).

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 7, 2020

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 04:00 PM PST



Doug Stanglin, USA Today: Death of doctor who warned about coronavirus triggers national backlash over China's censorship

The death of a Chinese whistleblower doctor who was punished for trying to warn about the coronavirus has triggered a national backlash over freedom of speech and censorship that has overwhelmed official online attempts to contain the expressions of anger.

The swell of indignation that washed across Chinese social media platforms began with conflicting reports over the death of Li Wenliang, 34, an ophthalmologist in Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 7, 2020

China's Communist Party faces recriminations over virus -- Ken Moritsuga and Mari Yamaguchi, AP

Death of coronavirus doctor Li Wenliang becomes catalyst for 'freedom of speech' demands in China -- Josephine Ma and Jun Mai, SCMP

From dead, to alive, to dead again: How China handled virus doctor's death -- AFP

Is the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak threatening Xi's hold on power? -- Ted Regencia, Al Jazeera

Coronavirus brings China's surveillance state out of the shadows -- Yingzhi Yang and Julie Zhu, Reuters

Coronavirus: Are African countries ready? -- Anne Soy BBC

Coronavirus: Your travel rights explained -- Simon Gompertz, BBC

What is behind the talk of Sudan-Israel normalisation? -- Sultan Barakat, Al Jazeera

Why the African Union must not ignore Cameroon -- Felix Agbor Nkongho and Rebecca Tinsley, DW

Irish election: A United Ireland, a Disunited Kingdom? -- Gavan Reilly, DW

Trump's acquittal confronts Dems with election year choices -- Alan Fram and Andrew Taylor, AP

Sanctions Are Not an Alternative to War: Economic warfare hurts innocent people in Iran and beyond. -- Keyvan Shafiei, American Prospect

As U.S. Space Force gets off the ground, officials face questions -- Sandra Erwin, Space News

Can Warfighters Remain the Masters of AI? -- H. Schramm & J. Kline, War on the Rocks

Is the world growing softer or just becoming wiser? -- David Howell, Japan Times

World News Briefs -- February 7, 2020 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 03:27 PM PST



Reuters: Cruise line bans China citizens; Outrage as doctor who sounded alarm over virus dies

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The coronavirus death of a Chinese doctor who had been reprimanded for sounding an early warning about the disease triggered anger at the government on Friday, while a major cruise line took the extraordinary step of banning citizens of China regardless of when they were last there.

The death of Li Wenliang, 34, came as President Xi Jinping reassured the United States and the World Health Organization (WHO) of transparency and maximum effort to combat the virus.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Passenger plane makes emergency landing to avoid coming under Syrian fire: Russia.

Syrian army enters key town in Idlib after clashes with opposition fighters.

Turkey sends troops to border to repel Syrian gov't forces.

Inquiry strikes blow to Russian denials of Syria chemical attack.

Syria war: UN warning of 'humanitarian catastrophe'.

'Hopeful again': Iraqi protesters hail Ayatollah Sistani's speech.

Nearly 550 killed in Iraq protest violence: commission.

Israel deploys more troops day after Palestinians killed.

Canadian lawyers file lawsuit against Iran over victims of downed Ukrainian plane.

ASIA

China's Hubei province reports 81 new deaths from coronavirus on Feb. 7.

Doctor's death unleashes mourning, fury at Chinese officials.

Coronavirus latest: More than 30,000 infected in China.

New coronavirus infected 40 staff in single Wuhan hospital: study.

China hits back at international travel bans as concerns grow coronavirus could damage economy.

Coronavirus: panic buying shows no sign of ending in Hong Kong as shoppers urge government to try to restore public's confidence. Coronavirus: Hong Kong imposes quarantine rules on mainland Chinese.

Coronavirus: Dozens more catch virus on quarantined cruise ship.

Vietnam to quarantine 950 people returning from China at military camps.

Singapore lifts virus alert to SARS level, sparking panic buying.

Afghanistan drug addiction on the rise as conflict continues.

Former South Korea spy chief jailed for political meddling.

India arrests top Kashmiri leaders under controversial law.

AFRICA

French soldiers kill more than 30 fighters in Mali operations.

Turkey deploys extremists to Libya, local militias say.

Beheadings, kidnappings amid surge in Mozambique attacks: UN.

Five C.African militia chiefs given life terms over war crimes.

Malawi elections: Concerns over delayed presidential poll. Malawi electoral commission seeks to suspend annulment of vote.

Sudanese army supports Al-Burhan's normalisation approach to Israel.

Armed ecoguards funded by WWF 'beat up Congo tribespeople'.

Botswana auctions off permits to hunt elephants.

EUROPE

Ireland's two-party system shaken by Sinn Fein surge.

Russia, Belarus to continue oil talks after fruitless summit.

New coronavirus cases in UK, Germany and Italy take Europe's total to 31.

Germany plans new flight for citizens still in Wuhan.

Coronavirus: Russian media hint at US conspiracy.

Belarus leader in Russia for 'moment of truth' with Putin.

Macron unveils nuclear doctrine, warns EU 'cannot remain spectators' in arms race. France's Macron calls on Europe to push international nuclear arms control.

German AfD-backed leader to stay on temporarily.

Spain abandoning the poor despite economic recovery, says UN envoy.

Shrinking country: Serbia struggles with population decline.

AMERICAS

In another Trump win, court tosses Democrats' suit over his businesses.

Sanders leads Buttigieg in New Hampshire, days before primary, latest NBC News-Marist poll says.

White House dismisses idea of U.S. buying Nokia, Ericsson to challenge Huawei.

Impeachment witness Vindman fired, escorted out of White House after Trump acquittal.

Trump discusses coronavirus with China's Xi.

Trump says Congress should 'expunge' his impeachment.

Iowa caucuses results are in but chaos and confusion reign as no clear winner emerges.

Plan to probe Bidens sparks GOP divisions.

Coronavirus: first Canadian evacuees from Wuhan arrive in Canada.

Russia foreign minister slams U.S. sanctions during visit to Venezuela.

Mexican president to hold raffle over predecessor's plane.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

French soldiers kill more than 30 Islamist militants in Mali - army.

Egyptian Army vows to 'uproot terrorism' in Sinai.

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

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Indexes drop from record highs, but tally strong weekly gains.

Economic impact of virus widens as Ericsson exits trade show.

Coronavirus: Xi Jinping reassured Donald Trump trade deal goal will be met, says White House adviser Larry Kudlow.

Ericsson pulls out of world's biggest mobile event amid coronavirus outbreak.

Credit Suisse CEO resigns after spying scandal.

World's most expensive whiskies go up for sale.

White House Wants To Know The Origins Of The Coronivarus, And Was It Bioengineered

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 03:02 PM PST

Medical staff members walking towards a military plane, which evacuated citizens of Russia and ex-Soviet countries from China's Wuhan province, at the Roshchino International Airport outside Tyumen, Russia, February 5. Yuri Shestak/Vsluh.ru/via REUTERS

ABC News: White House asks scientists to investigate origins of coronavirus

The coronavirus has killed hundreds of people in China.

The White House on Thursday asked U.S. scientists and medical researchers to investigate the scientific origins of the novel coronavirus, as misinformation about the outbreak spreads online.

The director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in a letter to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, requested that scientific experts "rapidly" look into the origins of the virus in order to address both the current spread and "to inform future outbreak preparation and better understand animal/human and environmental transmission aspects of coronaviruses."

The national academies consist of private, nonprofit institutions charged with providing scientific support to the federal government.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A lot of interesting speculation here .... White House Asks Scientists To Investigate Whether 2019-nCoV Was Bio-Engineered (Zero Hedge)

Belarusian President Lukashenka And Russian President Putin Meet For Tense Talks Over Integration And Oil Supplies

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 02:17 PM PST

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko take a break during an exhibition match in Sochi, Russia, on Friday. (Reuters)

RFE: Lukashenka, Putin Meet For Tense Talks Over Integration, Oil Supplies

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for talks expected to focus on Belarus's recent overtures to the United States and Russia's increasing economic pressure on Minsk.

A day ahead of their February 7 meeting outside the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Lukashenka complained at a cabinet meeting about Russian supplies of crude oil, an import that for years has played a major role in the Belarusian economy.

Putin's deputy chief of staff Dmitry Kozak said late in the day that oil could be supplied to Belarus only at market prices. But he said a deal had been reached to supply natural gas for this year at the same price as in 2019 -- $127 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Lukashenka and Putin also agreed that talks on integration would continue, according to Kozak.

Read more ....

More News On Belarusian President Lukashenka And Russian President Putin Meeting For Tense Talks Over Integration And Oil Supplies

Belarus Leader in Russia for 'Moment of Truth' With Putin -- The New York Times
Russia, Belarus to continue oil talks after fruitless summit -- Reuters
Putin hosts Belarus leader for further economic talks -- NBC/AP
Breaking the ice! Vladimir Putin enjoys a game of hockey with Belarus's president -- Daily Mail
Vladimir Putin enjoys a drink during hockey match with Belarus' president -- FOX News

Why Rumors That CIA Operative Michael D’Andrea Was Killed In A U.S. Plane Crashed Last Month In Afghanistan Continue?

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 02:05 PM PST

Was mysterious CIA operative, Michael D'Andrea — also known as Dark Prince and Ayatollah Mike — aboard this USAF spy plane when it crashed in Afghanistan? And was it shot down? Credit: The Russophile.org.

Asia Times: CIA mystery: Did Iran kill 'Ayatollah Mike?'

Nobody is talking after Michael D'Andrea, the CIA's top Iran Mission Center chief, is allegedly killed in plane crash

A USAF Bombardier E11A intelligence gathering jet was cruising over Afghanistan on a secret mission, transporting two crewmen and allegedly, a mysterious chain-smoking CIA operative, Michael D'Andrea — also known as Dark Prince and Ayatollah Mike — when something bad happened over a remote, mountainous region.

Media reports on Iranian State television showed a crumpled, burning wreck — clearly there were no survivors. It also claimed that D'Andrea, chief of the CIA's special Iran task force, which goes by the name Iran Mission Center, was one of the casualties.

According to a special report by Philip Giraldi in the American Herald Tribune, forty-eight hours after the crash the Pentagon released a statement confirming that the two crewmen were Lt. Col. Paul K. Voss, 46, of Yigo, Guam; and Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf, 30, of Hudson, New Hampshire. The CIA and the White House, refused further comment.

Read more ....

Update: A U.S. Plane Crashed in Afghanistan. Why So Many Believed a CIA Chief Was On It. (Time)

WNU Editor: The fact that the US government and the CIA are saying nothing is only fuelling the rumour mill.

Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman Fired And Escorted Out Of The White House For Testifying Against President Trump

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 02:06 PM PST

Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman

Daily Mail: Donald begins his impeachment revenge: Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman FIRED and escorted out of the White House for testifying against the president, as Trump prepares to make his enemies pay

* Trump fired Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman from White House
* Vindman was escorted out of building Friday afternoon
* 'I'm not happy with him. Am I supposed to be happy with him?,' Trump said
* Vindman was first White House official on July 25 call to testify in the House's impeachment inquiry into the president
* He said he believed Trump acted 'improper' on call with President Zelensky
* Vindman will be told as soon as Friday he is being reassigned
* He joined the National Security Council in July 2018
* Trump has indicated he will retaliate now that he's been acquitted
* Senator Mitt Romney is expected to be another Trump target
* Republican senators, who are allies of Trump, are investigating Hunter Biden

President Donald Trump fired Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman from the White House on Friday after the war hero testified against him in the House impeachment inquiry.

Vindman was escorted out of the building this afternoon and told his services were no longer needed.

'Today, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was escorted out of the White House where he has dutifully served his country and his President,' his attorney David Pressman said in a statement. 'He does so having spoken publicly once, and only pursuant to a subpoena from the United States Congress.'

He indicated Vindman was fired for his testimony to the House.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: You serve at the pleasure of the President, so this should surprise no one. But for me the big story is not that Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman was removed from the White House today. To me the big story is .... why was he not removed months ago? No past administration would have ever tolerated having someone like him around.

Update: His twin brother Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, a National Security Council attorney, was also fired and walked off the White House grounds alongside him.

More News On Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman Being Fired And Escorted Out Of The White House

Aide who testified against Trump escorted out of White House -- AP
Military aide who testified against Trump in impeachment removed from White House: lawyer -- Reuters
Key impeachment witness Vindman fired from White House job -- CNN
Impeachment witness Vindman fired, escorted out of White House after Trump acquittal -- FOX News
Trump's 'revenge' — Impeachment witness Alexander Vindman escorted from White House, lawyer says -- CNBC
'I'm not happy with him': Impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was escorted from the White House on Friday -- Business Insider

U.S. House Speaker Pelosi Accuses President Trump Of Looking 'Sedated' At The State Of The Union

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 01:18 PM PST



The Hill: Pelosi accuses Trump of looking 'sedated' at State of the Union

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused President Trump of appearing "a little bit sedated" during his State of the Union address earlier this week when she extended her hand to shake.

"It was also an act of kindness, because he looked to me like he was a little bit sedated," Pelosi said at her weekly press conference Thursday morning. "He looked that way last year, too. But that was that. He didn't want to shake hands? That meant nothing to me."

Read more ....

Update #1: Trump appeared 'sedated' at State of the Union, Pelosi says (SFGate)
Update #2: Pelosi: Trump Looked Like He Was "A Little Sedated" At State Of The Union, He Looked That Way Last Year (RealClearPolitics)
Update #3: Pelosi accuses Trump of looking 'sedated' at State of the Union (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: Someone in her inner circle has got to tell her to stop. These accusations will only guarantee the election of President Trump this November.

Cruise Ships That Are Not Under Quarantine Are Being Denied By Ports In Asia

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 12:25 PM PST

Photo: The Westerdam cruise ship took on new passengers from Hong Kong. (Supplied: Holland America)

ABC News Online: Stricken cruise ship passengers 'abandoned at sea' after being denied entry to Japan

A cruise line is reportedly requesting help from the US Navy after a ship with 1,455 passengers, including a couple from Adelaide, has been denied entry to Japan after days sailing "around in circles" in the South China Sea.

After being denied a scheduled stop in Philippines earlier this week, due to fears passengers may be carrying the coronavirus, the ship was making its way slowly to Japan.

Adelaide businessman David Holst said he and his wife, Judy, felt "homeless, unwanted and unloved" after the captain of the Westerdam announced they had been denied port again.

He said a scheduled stop in South Korea in five days' time had disappeared from their itinerary as well.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: No government wants to take a chance. As I mentioned yesterday. Expect all cruises in Asia to be cancelled in the coming days, and cruises worldwide to be cancelled in the next week or two.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer Wants The Bundeswehr To Be Ready For A Sudden Military Buildup

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 12:15 PM PST

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer

The Trumpet: Germany Prepares for a Sudden Military Buildup

A new Bundeswehr initiative signals a transfer of power in procurement to Army leaders.

At this year's Bundeswehr conference, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said she wanted the Germany military to be better prepared to swing into action. While prior defense ministers announced similar turning points, the new initiative breaks with former traditions and incorporates ideas from Army leaders, Germany's n-tv.de noted on February 3. She wants to change the way the Army buys weapons, so it can arm more quickly.

In his current annual military report, military commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels criticized the Army, saying it has "[t]oo little materiel, too little staff, too much bureaucracy."

Kramp-Karrenbauer is tired of hearing repeated criticism from within and outside the Army portraying the troops as unfit for battle. She is promising sudden and noticeable change. She declared 2020 to be a turning point for the Army. "We have to deliver results in a shorter period of time and increase operational readiness this year," she said (Trumpet translation throughout).

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have to see it to believe it.

Russia Says Syria Almost Downed Civilian Plane While Repelling Israeli Attack

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 11:45 AM PST

Shutterstock

Business Insider: A Syrian plane carrying 172 passengers was almost shot down when Syrian forces accidentally fired a missile at it

* Syrian troops nearly shot down an airliner attempting to land in Damascus in the confusing aftermath of Israeli airstrikes early Thursday morning.
* A plane operated by Syrian airline Cham Wings was flying from Iraq to the Syrian capital Thursday when it was forced to divert a Russian military airbase near Latakia, around 215 miles from Damascus.
* Syrian anti-aircraft missiles had been fired at the plane, with forces on high alert after Israeli airstrikes in Syria on Thursday.
* The plane, which was carrying 172 passengers, according to The Guardian, landed safely and no one was hurt.

Syrian troops nearly shot down an airliner attempting to land in Damascus in the confusing aftermath of Israeli airstrikes early Thursday morning.

Russian officials Friday confirmed a Cham Wings Airbus A320 flying from Najaf, Iraq to Damascus diverted its path to land at a Russian military airbase near Latakia, Syria to avoid anti-aircraft missiles fired by Syria's air defenses.

Air defenses were on high alert after Israeli fighter jets on Thursday fired missiles into Damascus.

The plane, which was carrying 172 passengers, according to The Guardian, landed safely and no one was hurt.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Apparently the Israelis were targeting Iranian fighters .... Israel strikes Iran-backed fighters in Syria, killing more than 20, monitoring group says (FOX News).

More News On Russia Saying Syria Almost Downed A Civilian Plane While Repelling Israeli Attack

Israeli airstrikes in Syria 'force passenger jet into emergency landing' -- The Guardian
Russia accuses Israel of endangering civilian flight -- Arab News/Reuters
Syria almost downed civilian plane while repelling Israeli attack, Russia says -- Times of Israel
Passenger Plane Was Nearly Shot Down in Syria, Russia Says -- The New York Times
Russia says plane 'almost hit' by anti-aircraft fire in Syria -- BBC
Passenger plane narrowly escaped Israeli attack on Syria: Russia -- Al Jazeera
WATCH aftermath of Israeli strikes on Damascus that endangered civilian jet with 172 passengers on board -- RT

World News Briefs -- February 7, 2020

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 03:07 PM PST





The Guardian: Wuhan facing 'wartime conditions' as China tries to contain coronavirus

With businesses around the world suffering, Beijing steps up efforts in fight against the outbreak

Increasingly desperate officials in the quarantined centre of the coronavirus outbreak have tightened controls on an already frightened population, likening the growing crisis to "wartime conditions".

Authorities in Wuhan city have started going door to door checking temperatures, rounding up suspected coronavirus patients for forcible quarantine in stadiums and exhibition centres that are serving as warehouses for the sick, the New York Times reported.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syrian army enters key town in Idlib after clashes with opposition fighters.

Turkey sends troops to border to repel Syrian gov't forces.

Inquiry strikes blow to Russian denials of Syria chemical attack.

Syria war: UN warning of 'humanitarian catastrophe'.

'Hopeful again': Iraqi protesters hail Ayatollah Sistani's speech.

Nearly 550 killed in Iraq protest violence: commission.

Israel deploys more troops day after Palestinians killed.

ASIA

Coronavirus latest: More than 30,000 infected in China.

New coronavirus infected 40 staff in single Wuhan hospital: study.

China hits back at international travel bans as concerns grow coronavirus could damage economy.

Coronavirus: panic buying shows no sign of ending in Hong Kong as shoppers urge government to try to restore public's confidence. Coronavirus: Hong Kong imposes quarantine rules on mainland Chinese.

Coronavirus: Dozens more catch virus on quarantined cruise ship.

Vietnam to quarantine 950 people returning from China at military camps.

Afghanistan drug addiction on the rise as conflict continues.

Former South Korea spy chief jailed for political meddling.

AFRICA

Turkey deploys extremists to Libya, local militias say.

Beheadings, kidnappings amid surge in Mozambique attacks: UN.

Five C.African militia chiefs given life terms over war crimes.

Malawi elections: Concerns over delayed presidential poll. Malawi electoral commission seeks to suspend annulment of vote.

Sudanese army supports Al-Burhan's normalisation approach to Israel.

Armed ecoguards funded by WWF 'beat up Congo tribespeople'.

Botswana auctions off permits to hunt elephants.

EUROPE

New coronavirus cases in UK, Germany and Italy take Europe's total to 31.

Germany plans new flight for citizens still in Wuhan.

Coronavirus: Russian media hint at US conspiracy.

Belarus leader in Russia for 'moment of truth' with Putin.

Macron unveils nuclear doctrine, warns EU 'cannot remain spectators' in arms race. France's Macron calls on Europe to push international nuclear arms control.

German AfD-backed leader to stay on temporarily.

Spain abandoning the poor despite economic recovery, says UN envoy.

AMERICAS

Trump discusses coronavirus with China's Xi.

Trump says Congress should 'expunge' his impeachment.

Iowa caucuses results are in but chaos and confusion reign as no clear winner emerges.

Plan to probe Bidens sparks GOP divisions.

Coronavirus: first Canadian evacuees from Wuhan arrive in Canada.

Russia foreign minister slams U.S. sanctions during visit to Venezuela.

Mexican president to hold raffle over predecessor's plane.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

French soldiers kill more than 30 Islamist militants in Mali - army.

Egyptian Army vows to 'uproot terrorism' in Sinai.

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

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Coronavirus: Xi Jinping reassured Donald Trump trade deal goal will be met, says White House adviser Larry Kudlow.

Ericsson pulls out of world's biggest mobile event amid coronavirus outbreak.

Credit Suisse CEO resigns after spying scandal.

World's most expensive whiskies go up for sale.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 7, 2020

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 10:41 AM PST

Members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army at Hankou railway station in Wuhan, Hubei Province receive emergency medical supplies from Shenyang, Liaoning Province and Heze, Shandong Province, January 26. The world's largest army has begun to mobilize in response to the coronavirus outbreak that has infected thousands and killed dozens. Fan Xianhai/Chinese People's Liberation Army

Defense One: As Coronavirus Spreads, China's Military Is Largely MIA

The PLA's anemic participation is odd given its past performance, planning, and pronouncements.

As the 2019 novel coronavirus spread into a full-fledged epidemic, China's government took an extraordinary series of responses, effectively quarantining some 50 million people in the Wuhan area. But even as the government (somewhat belatedly) sprung into action, its limited mobilization of Chinese military assets and personnel has been notable — both because militaries traditionally play significant roles in battling pandemics and Beijing has in recent years been at pains to trumpet its burgeoning military capability.

At a moment when hospitals across China are posting cries for supplies on social media, the anemic response by the People's Liberation Army calls into question some of its most lauded capabilities: powerful logistics and mass military-civil contingency response mobilization.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 7, 2020

China Deploys Military to Deliver Medical Supplies to Hubei Province Amid Coronavirus Outbreak -- Sputnik

Pentagon sets aside a 6th military base for quarantining people fleeing the coronavirus outbreak in China -- Business Insider

US Air Force special operators went to Alaska to practice refueling F-22s in extreme cold weather for the first time -- Business Insider

U.S. Army make progress toward next-generation protective gear -- Defence Blog

Army Restarts Disputed $45 Billion Armored Vehicle Competition -- Bloomberg

After fixes to hydraulics, Army gears up for second stab at test of new assault bridge -- Army Times

New officer job assignment system will fight nepotism, Army leaders say -- Army Times

The Army is now letting soldiers choose their assignments, and leaders say it's going smoothly -- Task & Purpose

Pentagon's Lethality Task Force Is 'Dead' if Army Put in Charge, Top Adviser Says -- Military.com

The US Navy is learning how to operate in the Arctic, and more ships may not be the answer -- Business Insider

DoD report affirms Space Force's commitment to minimal budget and bureaucracy -- UPI

Patrick AFB in Florida will be first facility renamed under Space Force -- UPI

Is Army Richest Service? Navy? Air Force? AEI's Eaglen Peels Back Budget Onion -- Breaking Defense

Meet the former Navy SEAL who trains dogs for the military and police -- FOX News

One of the most highly-decorated retired US Army generals likened Republicans and Democrats to a 'Trump cult' and a 'clown car' -- Business Insider

Former Trump Navy secretary endorses Bloomberg White House bid -- The Hill

Trump preparing to oust national security official who testified against him in impeachment hearing: report -- The Hill

Is the US military pushing its 'super troops' too hard? -- Jamie McIntyre, Washington Examiner

US Awards $420Mln in Aviation Contracts to Support AFRICOM -- Sputnik

France's Macron calls on Europe to push international nuclear arms control -- DW

Germany Prepares for a Sudden Military Buildup -- The Trumpet

'Serious and Unusual': Two Armoured Vehicles Hijacked From Swedish Military -- Sputnik

Mexico in talks with Russia to buy new batch of military helicopters: foreign minister -- Reuters

Did China's Army Just Copy Russia's BMPT-72 Terminator Tank? -- National Interest

Egypt ranks 9th in military strength among 138 states: Global Firepower -- Egypt Today

ANALYSIS - Iran's real military capacity in context -- Anadolu Agency

Saudi Arabia Armed Forces launches first military wing for women -- Army Technology

S.Korea says inter-Korean military hotlines in normal operation -- Xinhua

Japan Intercepts Chinese Military Aircraft 523 Times in 9 Months -- The Diplomat

Australia launches inquiry into military veteran suicides -- BBC

The U.S. Army Wants Technology That Can Help Soldiers 'See' Through Walls

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 06:47 AM PST

The US Army wants its soldiers to be able to 'see' through walls using a system that can sense objects and humans to help avoid IEDs and enemy combatants (stock image)

NextGov: The Army Wants Technology that Can See Through Walls—and Identify People on the Other Side

This sounds like science fiction—but for soldiers, it could soon be a reality.

People can't see through walls but the Army wants to pioneer next-level technology that will help soldiers do exactly that—with the added bonus of instantaneously offering advanced, penetrating insights that go far beyond what meets the eye.

According to a recent request for information, the Army is accepting white papers to identify commercially available technologies that could help spur its development of a "sense through the wall system." In the Army's ideal world, that system would distinguish for soldiers exactly what—and precisely who—is on the other side of the solid structures before them.

Read more ....

Update: US Army is developing technology that can 'see' through walls (Daily Mail)

WNU Editor: This would be perfect for urban combat, which is probably why the US Army wants it.

U.S. Army Creates A Fabric That Can Destroy Nerve Agents

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 06:38 AM PST

Sgt. Logan Hall, a U.S. Army Reserve soldier with the 200th Military Police Command, inspects the seal of a protective mask during formation during a field training exercise at Fort Meade, Md., Jan. 13, 2019. (Master Sgt. Michel Sauret/Army Reserve)

Army Times: Army's new fabric works to destroy nerve agents

Nerve agents are some of deadliest substances on the planet. From Sarin gas, which turns the human nervous system against itself, to mustard gas, which burns on contact and disrupts respiratory function, these often unseen chemicals are ones the Army sees as not only worth protecting against, but working to destroy.

A new fabric, generated by Omar Farha's lab at Northwestern University with cooperation from the U.S. Army, is intended to do just that.

"With the correct chemistry, we can render toxic gases nontoxic," Farha, associate professor of chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, said in a release. "The action takes place at the nanolevel."

Read more ....

Update: US Army creates a fabric that neutralises nerve gases and makes them useless by 'pulling water from the air and rendering them non-toxic' (Daily Mail)

WNU Editor: I see this as an acknowledgement that even though chemical warfare is banned, some countries will disregard it. Best to be prepared for it than not.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship With Quarantined Passengers Docks In New Jersey

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 06:14 AM PST


Daily Mail: Royal Caribbean cruise ship docks in New Jersey and 'at least a dozen Chinese passengers' are taken for coronavirus testing by medics NOT wearing any masks or protective clothing

* Royal Caribbean cruise ship with 12 quarantined passengers docked in New York Harbor at 6am on Friday
* Suspected coronavirus cases were rushed off the ship by medics at the port in Bayonne, New Jersey
* At least three sick passengers were wheeled away on stretchers and other Chinese nationals were screened
* There are 12 confirmed coronavirus patients in the US but none so far in New York or New Jersey

Sick passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship containing 'isolated' Chinese nationals will be tested for coronavirus after it docked in Bayonne, New Jersey, this morning.

At least a dozen Chinese tourists were kept in isolation, while some passengers are said to be suffering from pulmonary issues, reports the New York Post.

Early this morning, medical staff were seen disembarking several passengers on stretchers. It's not clear yet where they will be treated.

Coronavirus symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: 27 passengers are being screened. 4 have been taken to hospital. This could be nothing. Or it could be a big thing.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Withv Quarantined Passengers Docks In New Jersey

Coronavirus screening for 27 Royal Caribbean cruise passengers in N.J., 4 taken to hospitals -- NBC News
Coronavirus concern: Ship with 12 quarantined passengers arrives in Bayonne, NJ -- ABC News Channel 7
4 Chinese Travelers on NJ Cruise Ship Head to Newark Hospital Out of Caution: Officials -- NBC
Cruise ship bound for New Jersey carrying passengers who will be tested for coronavirus -- NYPost
'A contaminated prison': Scared, angry passengers are trapped on three cruise ships amid coronavirus outbreak -- FOX News

Guangzhou City Now Under Quarantine. 400 Hundred Million Chinese Are Now Under Coronavirus Lock-down

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 06:22 AM PST

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Zero Hedge: A Stunning 400 Million People Are On Lockdown In China As Guangzhou Joins Quarantine

Guangzhou, the capital of China's southwestern Guangdong Province and the country's fifth largest city with nearly 15 million residents, has just joined the ranks of cities imposing a mandatory lockdown on all citizens, effectively trapping residents inside their homes, with only limited permission to venture into the outside world to buy essential supplies.

The decision means 3 provinces, 60 cities and 400 million people are now facing China's most-strict level of lockdown as Beijing struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak as the virus has already spread to more than 2 dozen countries.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Two good points in the above article. (a) Why put 400 million of its citizens under lock-down when only 638 have died. (Hint: The numbers are far far far worse). (2) The reported infection rate is about the same number per day .... i.e. 3,000 new cases per day. What this number probably really represents are the cases that they only test. In short .... China does now have the facilities to do mass testing for the coronavirus.

FBI Director Wray: China Is Biggest Espionage Threat US Faces

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 05:29 AM PST



The Guardian/Reuters: China theft of technology is biggest law enforcement threat to US, FBI says

* Christopher Wray says China using 'any means necessary'
* Chinese theft of US trade secrets costing '$300bn-$600bn a year'

The FBI on Thursday identified China as the biggest law enforcement threat to the United States, and its director said Beijing was seeking to steal American technology by "any means necessary".

The FBI director, Christopher Wray, told a conference the bureau currently had about 1,000 investigations open into Chinese technology theft across its 56 regional offices.

The agency's counterintelligence chief, John Brown, said the bureau arrested 24 people in 2019 in China-related cases and had already arrested 19 people in 2020.

Read more ....

More News On FBI Director Wray Saying China Is The Biggest Espionage Threat The US Is Facing

Confronting the China Threat -- FBI
FBI says about 1,000 investigations open into attempted tech theft by China -- Reuters
China is biggest espionage threat US faces, says FBI chief -- The Independent
'Existential threat': US warns of Chinese espionage capabilities -- Washington Examiner
FBI, DOJ Say China Is America's Greatest Threat -- Zero Hedge

To Counter Huawei's Dominance In 5G Technology U.S. Attorney General Barr Says U.S. And Allies Should Invest In Nokia And Ericsson

Posted: 07 Feb 2020 05:07 AM PST



Reuters: U.S., allies should consider Nokia, Ericsson investments to counter Huawei: Barr

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday stressed the threat posed by Huawei Technologies and said the United States and its allies should consider investing in Finland's Nokia and Sweden's Ericsson to counter the Chinese company's dominance in next generation 5G telecoms technology.

Barr said there had been some proposals that concerns about Huawei "could be met by the United States aligning itself with Nokia and/or Ericsson, through American ownership of a controlling stake, either directly or through a consortium of private American and allied companies.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is not going to be easy for Nokia and Ericsson to compete with Huawei .... Can Nokia, Ericsson compete with Huawei? (Asia Times). More here .... Exclusive: Fearing Huawei curbs, Deutsche Telekom tells Nokia to shape up (Reuters).

More News On U.S. Attorney General Barr's Remarks On Huawei

US Attorney General William Barr blasts 'China's playbook' and Huawei's dominance of 5G, suggests alliance with Nokia and Ericsson -- SCMP
Barr warns against Chinese 'dominance' in wireless networks -- AP
China's Dominance of 5G Networks Puts U.S. Economic Future at Stake, Barr Warns -- The New York Times
US should buy control of Nokia, Ericsson to fight Huawei: attorney general -- AFP
Barr delivers ominous warning, says China wants to own the world -- FOX News
'Time is very short': Barr says national security depends on beating China and Huawei on 5G -- Washington Examiner
US official has aggressive plan to fight Huawei -- Asia Times
Nokia, Ericsson Shares Rise After U.S. Floats Investment Idea to Counter Huawei -- The Wall Street Journal