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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

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

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


How Did Russia Win The Hypersomic Missile Race Against The U.S.?

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 11:00 PM PST


Washington Examiner: How Russia got hypersonic missiles before the US

Department of Defense officials sought to answer this week the question of how the United States fell behind in hypersonic weapon development and what it is now doing to catch up with Russia and China.

"That's one we get a lot, really," Mike White, assistant director for hypersonics at the Pentagon, said at a Monday press briefing, responding to a question from the Washington Examiner as to how Russia already has tested weapons and the U.S. is still in the experimental phase of hypersonic missile development.

"In past decades, we've been world leaders in hypersonics technology, but we have consistently made the decision to not transition that to weapon applications and build weapons systems out of hypersonic technologies that we were working on in the laboratory," he said.

But the Russians and Chinese have.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like the Pentagon and the politicians who oversee them were asleep at the wheel.

Tweets For Today

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 10:30 PM PST













President Trump Installs Loyalist In Top Intelligence Post On The National Security Council

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 10:00 PM PST

REUTERS/Chris Helgren. Reuters


Politico: Trump loyalist installed in top intelligence post on National Security Council

Michael Ellis, a deputy to White House lawyer John Eisenberg, started in the role on Monday.

A White House lawyer and former counsel to the House Intelligence Committee under Devin Nunes has been named senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council, the latest instance of President Donald Trump elevating a trusted loyalist to control the intelligence community.

Michael Ellis, a deputy to White House lawyer John Eisenberg, started in the role on Monday, according to a senior administration official and a former national security official. Ellis left the counsel's office, so he won't be dual-hatted with his new job.

The office of the director for intelligence serves as the day-to-day connective tissue between the intelligence community and the White House. Sensitive information coming in from the intelligence agencies will go to that office, especially if it is in hard copy form. The office also coordinates covert action activities between the White House and the intelligence community, and it's where the NSC server is housed that stores the most sensitive classified information.

Read more ....

Update #1: Trump installs loyalist in key White House intelligence post (CNN)
Update #2: White House lawyer cited in Vindman testimony named National Security Council intelligence chief (Washington Examiner)

WNU Editor: Considering the history between President Trump and the intelligence community, it should surprise no one that he wants people who are loyal to him in these top posts.

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 09:30 PM PST

A sports stadium converted into a makeshift hospital to treat coronavirus patients in Wuhan, March 1. China Daily via REUTERS

WNU Editor: The above picture is form this photo-gallery .... Inside Wuhan, epicenter of China's coronavirus outbreak (Reuters).

US Willing To Provide Turkey With Military Aid In Its Fight Against Syria

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 09:00 PM PST

Turkish defense minister meets US envoy for talks on Idlib

Newsweek: U.S. Willing to Supply Turkey With Military Aid In Its Fight Against Syria, White House Says

The White House is willing to offer some military assistance to Turkey to assist an insurgency against neighboring Syria, which has received support from Russia and Iran, a senior U.S. diplomat said Tuesday.

James Jeffrey, who serves as both the State Department's special representative for Syria and the presidential envoy to the fight against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) told reporters in Turkey's southern border province of Hatay that the Turkish forces "mainly use our equipment, we want to make sure the equipment is ready when they need to use it," according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency.

"We're willing to provide—for example, the President [Donald Trump] mentioned this—ammunition," he said, Reuters reported.

Both outlets also cited David Satterfield, Washington's ambassador to Ankara, as saying that the Trump administration was also studying a Turkish request to send Patriot surface-to-air missile systems.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He has a point .... The US shouldn't support Turkey's reckless moves in Syria (Willis Krumholz, Defense Priorities).

More News On The US Willing To Provide Turkey With Military Aid In Its Fight Against Syria

US willing to provide Turkey ammunition for Idlib, US special envoy says -- Daily Sabah
U.S. Willing to Give Turkey Ammunition for Fight in Syria's Idlib -- Haaretz/Reuters
US Will Provide Turkey Ammunition For Idlib, Says Top Envoy -- Zero Hedge

Ethiopia Calls US View "Totally Unacceptable" On Nile Dam Negotiations

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 08:12 PM PST


BBC: Nile Dam: Ethiopia calls US view "totally unacceptable"

Ethiopia has said the US position on the controversial Nile River mega-dam project is "totally unacceptable".

The US is negotiating between Ethiopia and Egypt in the ongoing dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that some fear could lead to war.

Ethiopia accused the US of overstepping its role as a neutral observer after the US said the dam should not be completed without an agreement.

But its foreign minister said Ethiopia would continue to attend the talks.

Upon completion, the dam will be Africa's biggest hydroelectric power plant and provide Ethiopia and some neighbours with huge amounts of electricity and energy security.

The country wants to start filling the dam in June, but countries downstream are concerned about the impact on their water supply.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Egypt is signalling to Ethiopia that they will not accept the current situation .... Egypt's El Sisi holds military meeting amid tensions with Ethiopia (The National).

More News On The Ethiopian - Egypt Conflict Over The Nile Dam

Ethiopia says US 'undiplomatic' over Nile Dam project -- RTE
Trump tells Sisi U.S. to pursue efforts for deal over Ethiopia dam: Egypt presidency -- Reuters
Trump Calls Egyptian Leader to Discuss Nile Dam -- VOA

UN Nuclear Watchdog: Iran's Nuclear Stockpile Is Now Five Times Over The Nuclear Deal Limit

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 07:43 PM PST



Daily Mail: Iran's uranium stocks are FIVE TIMES the limit agreed under 2015 deal, UN's nuclear watchdog warns

* The IAEA said Iran's stockpile had more than doubled to 2,250lbs since February
* 2015 deal with world powers allows only a much smaller stockpile of 461lbs
* The UN nuclear watchdog also demanded 'clarifications' over an undeclared site

Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium is five times larger than the limit agreed under its 2015 deal with world powers, the UN's nuclear watchdog warned today.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran's stockpile had more than doubled from 821lbs (372kg) in November to 2,250lbs (1,021kg) on February 19.

The faltering pact allows Iran only a much smaller stockpile of 461lbs (203kg) but Tehran has been taking a series of steps away from the deal in the last two years.

Enriched uranium can be used to make nuclear weapons, although Iran has always denied that it intends to do so.

Read more ....

More News On The IAEA's Report That Iran's Nuclear Stockpile Is Now Five Times Over The Nuclear Deal Limit

UN agency: Iran nearly triples stockpile of enriched uranium -- AP
Iran Crosses a Key Threshold: It Again Has Sufficient Fuel for a Bomb -- The New York Times
U.N. nuclear watchdog admonishes Iran for denying access to two sites -- Reuters
U.N.'s nuclear chief to Iran: Cooperate or face new crisis -- Reuters
UN nuclear watchdog says Iran's enriched uranium stockpile is over five times higher than 2015 deal limit -- RT
Iran takes nuclear threat to the next level -- Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

In Her First Public Statement, Kim Jong Un's Sister Condemns South Korea Over Live-Fire Exercises

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 07:03 PM PST



The Guardian: Kim Jong-un sister condemns 'frightened dog' South Korea in first public statement

Kim Yo-jong likens South Korea to 'frightened dog barking' after Seoul protested against Pyongyang's live-fire military frill

The sister of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, has condemned South Korea as a "frightened dog barking" after Seoul protested against a live-fire military exercise by the North.

Kim Yo-jong's comments – her first known official statement – came after Seoul's security ministers expressed "strong concern" over Pyongyang's firing of two short-range ballistic missiles on Monday – its first weapons test for more than three months.

In the statement published by state media on Tuesday, Kim Yo-jong said the North was entitled to carry out military drills and dismissed the South's condemnation as a "truly senseless act".

"Such incoherent assertion and actions … only magnify our distrust, hatred and scorn for the South side as a whole," she added.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The publication of this political statement highlights her central role in the regime, and puts to bed any doubts on what is her position in the government. As far as I am concern, she is the second most powerful person in the Korean government, and is completely loyal to her brother. On a side note, she also does this .... Kim Yo Jong orders production of new works of literature (Daily NK).

More News On Kim Yo-jong's Condemnation Of South Korea Over Live-Fire Exercises

Kim Jong Un's sister makes first public statement, slams South Korea over live-fire exercises -- FOX News/AP
Kim Jong Un's Sister Defends North Korea's Missile Drill in First Public Address, Says 'It Was Not Aimed to Threaten Anybody' -- Newsweek
Kim's Sister Slams South Korea in 1st-Ever Statement -- The New York Times
Kim Jong Un's sister defends NK artillery drills -- NHK

Covid-19 Outbreak -- News Updates March 3, 2020

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 06:30 PM PST



CNBC: WHO says coronavirus death rate is 3.4% globally, higher than previously thought

* World health officials say the case fatality rate for COVID-19 is 3.4% globally, higher than previous estimates of about 2%.
* "Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing at the agency's headquarters in Geneva.

World health officials said Tuesday the case fatality rate for COVID-19 is 3.4% globally, higher than previous estimates of about 2%.

"Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing at the agency's headquarters in Geneva. In comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected, he said.

The World Health Organization had said last week that the mortality rate of COVID-19 can differ, ranging from 0.7% to up to 4%, depending on the quality of the health-care system where it's treated. Early in the outbreak, scientists had concluded the death rate was around 2.3%.

Read more ....

Covid-19 Outbreak -- News Updates March 3, 2020

Virus crisis ebbs in China, spreads fear across the West -- AP
WHO warns of global shortage of medical equipment to fight coronavirus -- Reuters
Coronavirus more deadly than flu but containable: WHO's Tedros -- Reuters
Factbox: Latest on the spread of coronavirus around the world -- Reuters

Covid-19 Outbreak In The U.S. -- News Updates March 3, 2020

Tensions rise as U.S. death toll from coronavirus reaches 9 -- AP
Coronavirus claims NINE lives in just Washington state as it's revealed two deaths happened DAYS earlier than previously known amid fears hospital staff are now infected -- Daily Mail
Coronavirus-quarantined nursing home residents "held hostage in a petri dish," relative says -- CBS
Vacation fears for millions of Americans as TSA warns of coronavirus travel restrictions to MORE countries in addition to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea -- Daily Mail

Covid-19 Outbreak In Europe -- News Updates March 3, 2020

France reports fourth coronavirus death, Macron says crisis could last months -- Reuters
Italy may set up new quarantine zone as coronavirus death toll jumps -- Reuters
Italy's large elderly population bearing brunt of coronavirus -- The Guardian
Coronavirus: 12 more test positive in UK bringing total to 51 -- The Guardian
UK warns fifth of workforce could be off sick from coronavirus at its peak; army prepared -- CNBC
Ireland confirms second case of coronavirus -- Reuters
Coronavirus: Scotland facing 'serious situation' -- BBC

Covid-19 Outbreak In Asia -- News Updates March 3, 2020

Korea sees record day-on-day Covid-19 spike -- Asia Times
South Korea declares 'war' on COVID-19 as cases near 5,200 -- UPI
Coronavirus situation in North Korea remains unclear, could be specially deadly, expert says -- FOX News
Is North Korea hiding a coronavirus outbreak? -- DW
Coronavirus outbreak slows in China amid global spread -- UPI
China predicts coronavirus victory as new cases hit six-week low -- NYPost
Coronavirus: Indonesia scrambles to find first patients' close contacts as Widodo urges calm -- SCMP
Japan reports one new coronavirus infection, total reaches 1,000 cases: media -- Reuters
Japan Olympic Minister: Games could be held any time in 2020 -- AP

Covid-19 Outbreak In Iran -- News Updates March 3, 2020

Iran virus deaths now 77 as emergency services chief infected -- AFP
Iran to mobilise army against coronavirus as death toll tops 75 -- France 24
Coronavirus Spreads In Iran, Piling More Problems On The Sanctions-Hit Country -- NPR
Coronavirus: Iran temporarily frees 54,000 prisoners to combat spread -- BBC

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 3, 3030 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 05:50 PM PST



Jeff McCausland, NBC: U.S. signs a peace deal with the Taliban, but is the war in Afghanistan really ending?

There is little doubt that the American people are tired of the war in Afghanistan. But leaving at this point has its own set of challenges.

On Saturday, American peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar signed an agreement in Doha, Qatar, that may result in an American military withdrawal from war-torn Afghanistan. This is, hopefully, good news. American troops have been fighting in Afghanistan for nearly as long as direct U.S. involvement in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined. It is stunning to think that the United States is now sending Marines and GI's to Afghanistan who were not born on Sept. 11, 2001.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 3, 3030 (Evening Edition)

U.S., Taliban Sign Peace Deal for Afghanistan -- Luke Coffey, Heritage Foundation

What Now After the U.S.-Taliban Deal -- Kamran Bokhari, Center for Global Policy

Erdogan and Putin: The end of the affair -- David Hearst, Middle East Monitor

Turkey launches Operation Spring Shield against Syrian forces -- Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor

Erdoğan is reaping what he sowed: Turkey is on the brink of disaster in Syria -- Simon Tisdall, The Guardian

New Refugee Crisis Could Break The EU And Erdogan Knows It -- Bloomberg

An absolute disaster': Iran struggles as coronavirus spreads -- Patrick Wintour, The Guardian

The impact of spreading virus on businesses and economy -- AP

No Masking It: Coronavirus Has Infected China's Economy -- Milton Ezrati, National Interest

China suppressed Covid-19 with AI and big data -- David P. Goldman, Asia Times

Four lessons the Spanish flu can teach us about coronavirus -- Hannah Devlin, The Guardian

Is North Korea hiding a coronavirus outbreak? -- Julian Ryall, DW

Coronavirus Could Shake Up South Korea's Big April Elections -- Mitchell Blatt, National Interest

Gulf economies prepare for 'peak oil' -- Joseph Dana, Asia Times

Why hasn't AI changed the world yet? -- Sooraj Shah, BBC

World News Briefs -- March 3, 3030 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 05:16 PM PST



NBC: Coronavirus fears empty streets in some of the world's busiest cities

An eerie quiet has settled upon normally teeming streets and squares as many residents opt to stay home.

The coronavirus epidemic has had a ripple effect on some of the world's busiest cities, with fears of the highly contagious virus emptying cafes, public squares and streets in China, South Korea, Japan and Italy, among other countries.

The streets of Seoul, the South Korean capital, stood nearly empty this week. Those who do venture out wear masks. The normally busy subways have few passengers and riders make sure to sit far away from one another. Many residents are relying on grocery and restaurant delivery apps.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Relief operations in Syria's Idlib overwhelmed: U.N. official.

U.S. willing to give Turkey ammunition for Syria's Idlib.

Turkey, Russia face off in Syria as fighting escalates, plane shot down.

Turkey shoots down 3rd Syrian fighter jet in 3 days. Turkey shoots down third plane as Syrian forces retake town.

Erdogan demands Syrian army withdrawal, says its losses just beginning.

Iran's emergency services chief becomes country's highest ranking official to be infected with coronavirus, which has now affected eight per cent of regime's parliament.

Iran's enriched uranium stocks 5 times over nuke deal limit: IAEA.

U.N.'s nuclear chief to Iran: Cooperate or face new crisis.

US lawmakers seek to force intelligence release on Khashoggi death.

Netanyahu leading in Israeli election exit polls.

Israel election: Netanyahu begins coalition talks.

ASIA

Trump says he spoke to a Taliban leader, had 'good talk'.

Taliban attack Afghan army bases, throwing peace talks into doubt.

Coronavirus: Singapore extends entry ban to cover Italy, Iran and all South Korea.

Coronavirus: China orders travellers quarantined amid outbreak.

Coronavirus situation in North Korea remains unclear, could be specially deadly, expert says.

N. Korean leader Kim's sister condemns South over drill comments.

Pakistan calls on Kabul to abide by Taliban prisoner swap deal.

Afghanistan's ambassador to US says her nation is warily hopeful they will finally live in peace.

Pakistan wants former PM Nawaz Sharif returned from Britain.

AFRICA

Algeria confirms three new coronavirus cases.

Guinea-Bissau Supreme Court accuses army of occupying courts.

Lesotho politics: Prime minister under pressure to resign.

Libya shifts flights from Tripoli to Misrata amid heavier bombing.

Libya civil war: Tribal loyalties tested as violence continues.

Libya conflict: 'Stressed' Ghassan Salame resigns as UN envoy.

Nile Dam: Ethiopia calls US view "totally unacceptable".

Ethiopia detains 13 Canadians accused of improperly practising medicine.

South Africa slips into 2nd recession in two years.

Somalia agrees offshore oil exploration roadmap with Shell/Exxon: minister.

Last Ebola patient in Congo leaves treatment centre.

EUROPE

Exclusive: EU fumes at Turk migration 'blackmail', mulls more money for Ankara.

Kremlin critic Navalny says bank accounts frozen.

Ukraine Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk resigns for second time.

EU offers Greece migration support amid mounting refugee crisis.

EU chief says Greece is Europe's shield in migrant crisis.

Russia rejects UN war crime accusations.

Swiss army strife: Country confines ALL of its soldiers to their military bases after one tested positive for coronavirus.

Vatican says pope only has a cold, symptoms not related 'to other pathologies'.

12 European nations urge EU for quicker climate goals.

UK universities strike: More than a million students miss class.

AMERICAS

Chile capital rocked by violent anti-government rallies.

Resurgent Biden starts Super Tuesday with big Virginia win.

Millions of US primary voters head to polls as 'Super Tuesday' gets under way.

Coronavirus: US in emergency rate cut as coronavirus spreads. Fed cuts interest rates by half a percentage point amid coronavirus fears.

Trump criticizes Fed rate cut as insufficient: 'More easing and cutting!'.

Sun Princess cruise ship met by violent protests upon docking at Réunion island amid coronavirus concerns.

At least 22 dead in US state of Tennessee following tornadoes.

Southwest Valley Constructors receives $175.4M for border wall in Texas.

Colombia coca crop: Trump tells Duque to resume spraying.

Haiti's president picks new prime minister to tackle socio-political crisis.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Egypt sentences 37 to death including top ISIL leader.

How ISIS operates in Iraq's disputed territories.

A coordinated Jihadist campaign menaces the Sahel.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Dow closes down nearly 800 points as stocks fall sharply despite emergency interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve - the first since 2008 - to 'offset coronavirus impact'. Dow sinks 2.9% after rate cut fails to stem market's dread.

OECD lowers global growth forecast by 0.5% over coronavirus, lowest since 2008 crisis.

Coronavirus: G7 finance ministers 'ready to tackle economic hit'.

OPEC to try to stem oil price plunge amid coronavirus slowdown.

Twitter tells ALL 5,000 employees around the world to work from home to avoid spread of coronavirus and makes it mandatory for those in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.

Super Tuesday Primary Elections Results (Live Coverage)

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 03:57 PM PST









Daily Mail: Joe Biden gets a final poll bounce as 14 states vote for Super Tuesday: Former VP cuts into Bernie Sanders' lead in California after dramatic three-day turnaround and endorsements from THREE former rivals

* Democratic presidential hopefuls will face their biggest challenge yet as voters from 14 states and American Samoa head to the polls as part of 'Super Tuesday'
* About a third of all the Democratic National Convention delegates are up for grabs with the biggest prizes being California and Texas
* Super Tuesday comes directly after a major reshuffling of the race with moderate Democrats flocking to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden
* After losing three states in a row, Biden won big in South Carolina, getting a boost from the important African-American Democratic voting bloc
* Since the results came in, both Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar got out of the race and endorsed Biden in Dallas, Texas Monday night
* President Trump has inserted himself saying the Democrats orchestrated a 'coup' against Sanders, pointing to Biden's new wave of party support
* The Tuesday races will also finally show the impact of the hundreds of millions of dollars Michael Bloomberg has spent on his White House ambitions
* Elizabeth Warren turned her attention away from Bloomberg and instead warned 'nominating a fellow Washington insider will not meet this moment'
* Tulsi Gabbard, a House member from Hawaii, also remains in the race, and pitched to voters in American Samoa that she should be their pick

The final surveys taken before voters headed to the polls in 14 states and American Samoa on 'Super Tuesday' showed a big bounce for Joe Biden.

Biden, according to FiveThirtyEight.com, now has a better chance than Bernie Sanders of winning seven states, including Texas, where Biden campaigned Monday night and received a trio of endorsements from former rivals.

The final Data for Progress poll from California also showed Biden cutting into Sanders' commanding lead. In the new survey, Sanders leads the ex-veep by 7 points. In previous California polls he was besting Biden by as many as 21 points.

'Super Tuesday' matters because about a third of the delegates available to win the Democratic nomination - 1,357 in total - are up for grabs.

And since the last time voters went to the polls, the Democratic race has drastically changed.

Read more ....

Update #1: Super Tuesday's Sanders-Biden fight to shape Democratic race -- AP
Update #2: Resurgent Biden makes push to deny Super Tuesday breakthrough for Sanders -- Reuters

WNU Editor: It is amazing on how much the U.S. main stream media shifted the tone of their coverage in the past few days. They are clearly not open to a Senator Sanders win, and they have thrown everything that they have to make former Vice President Biden "look good". But I am not sure if it is enough. They networks have exit poll results, but they are not disclosing the numbers on who is getting the most support .... Early exit polls show Super Tuesday voters made up their minds late (CNN). This tells me that the numbers favour Senator Sanders, because if it was favouring former Vice President Biden, we would be knowing these numbers right now. In addition. Most Democrat voters have already cast their ballot in early voting, so this "Biden surge" will not reflect that. Bottom line. This should be a good night for Senator Sanders. Either way we are going to find out for sure in the next few hours.

The state-by-state results can be followed from the following:

Super Tuesday primary results (Politico)
Live state-by-state results from Super Tuesday (The Hill)
Results: 2020 Primaries & Caucuses (FOX News)

China’s Economy Will Shrink For The First Time Since The Cultural Revolution In 1976

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 02:08 PM PST



SCMP: Coronavirus: will China's economy shrink for the first time since the Cultural Revolution in 1976?

* Plunges in official and private sector purchasing managers' indices amid the coronavirus outbreak prompted sharp revisions of economic forecasts
* Analysts expect China to enact additional fiscal and monetary stimulus but stop short of massive support enacted after the global financial crisis in 2008

The odds are rising that China will report a sharp deceleration in growth – or even a contraction in the first quarter as a result of the impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

The outbreak has paralysed the country's manufacturing and service sectors, putting Beijing in the difficult position of either forgoing its economic growth goal for 2020 or returning to its old playbook of massive debt-fuelled economic stimulus to support growth.

The larger-than-expected deterioration in the official and private sector purchasing managers' indices for both the manufacturing and services sectors to all-time lows in February – the first available economic indicators showing the extent of the economic damage done by the epidemic – has prompted economists to slash their Chinese growth forecasts.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: All of my friends and contacts in China are telling me the same thing. With few exceptions everything is shut down. But everyone is also telling me that they are eager to go back to work, and to resume business. I guess it all comes down to how long will the impact of the coronavirus outbreak continue in China. If infections rise and people continue to die, people are not going to be eager to go back to work. But if the rate of infection continues to fall in the coming weeks I can easily see most businesses opening, and people going back to work by April/May. If that becomes the case, this quarter (and probably the next one) will show a significant GDP decline. But I have confidence that with time everything will roar back to where it was before the outbreak. The big problem for China will then be on restoring the supply chains that existed before the outbreak, and to respect its trade deal with the US. That is not going to be an easy task.

Crew Of Gunship 'Spooky 41' Are All Awarded Medals For Actions In Afghanistan

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 01:47 PM PST

Fourteen Air Commandos with the 4th Special Operations Squadron were presented two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 12 Air Medals by Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, at Hurlburt Field, Florida

Daily Mail: Crew of gunship 'Spooky 41' are all awarded medals after raining fire on ISIS militants for NINE hours to allow rescue of 15 wounded soldiers in Afghanistan battle likened to Iwo Jima

* Aircrew of the AC-130U gunship 'Spooky 41' with Hurlburt Field's 4th Special Operations Squadron were honored at the military facility in Fort Walton Beach
* The 14-man crew received two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 12 Air Medals for for providing nine hours of fire support
* Crew helped U.S. and coalition forces during April 2019 mission in Afghanistan
* While allied forces battled ISIS on the ground, the crew of Spooky 41 helped to ensure the safe evacuation by helicopter of 15 injured ground personnel
* DFCs are awarded for 'Heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight'

The crew of a U.S. gunship have been awarded bravery medals at a ceremony in Florida after they rained fire down on Islamic State militants for hours, as allied soldiers on the ground were whisked to safety.

Forces on the ground came under heavy fire from ISIS militants in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan on April 3, 2019, in a ferocious fight which one Major on the ground likened to infamous WW2 battle Iwo Jima.

They called for backup from 'Spooky 41' - a AC-13OU gunship, and the Hercules-variant plane arrived within minutes to provide covering fire and ensure medical helicopters could safely evacuate the injured.

The crew were up in the air for nine hours and managed to suppress enemy fire during the evacuation of 15 wounded soldiers.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is the first time I am reading a story on the entire crew aboard a gunship being awarded medals.

President Trump Speaks To Chief Taliban Negotiator Mullah Baradar Akhund On Tuesday

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 01:42 PM PST



Reuters: Chief Taliban negotiator holds call with President Trump

KABUL (Reuters) - The Taliban's chief negotiator Mullah Baradar Akhund held a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump a few days after the two sides signed a troop withdrawal agreement in Doha, the Taliban's spokesman said on Tuesday.

"The President of the United States Trump @realDonaldTrump held a phone conversation with the Political Deputy of the Islamic Emirate, the respected Mullah Baradar Akhund. Details later," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter, adding in an emailed statement the call lasted more than 30 minutes.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It was a 35 minute phone call. We still do not know the details on what was agreed upon by the Taliban and the U.S. .... Secret documents on Trump Afghanistan peace deal shared with Congress (Politico). In the meantime the war continues .... Taliban attack Afghan army bases, throwing peace talks into doubt (AFP).

More News On President Trump Talking To Taliban Leaders

Trump says he spoke to Taliban leader, had 'good talk' -- AP
Trump speaks to Taliban leader as prisoner feud threatens Afghan peace plan -- Reuters
Trump speaks with Taliban leader, likely first call between US president and insurgent group since 9/11 -- The Hill
Trump speaks with senior Taliban leader by phone, in a first between a U.S. president and insurgent force since Afghan war began -- Washington Post
Trump Speaks With a Taliban Leader -- The New York Times
Trump says he had 'good talk' with Taliban leader -- FOX News
Trump confirms 'very good talk' with Taliban leaders -- Politico
Trump said he had 'very good talk' with Taliban leader amid criticism of Afghanistan peace deal -- USA Today
Trump and Taliban speak by phone as violence resumes in Afghanistan -- CNN
'Good talk': Trump says he spoke to Taliban leader after accord -- Al Jazeera

World News Briefs -- March 3, 3030

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 04:09 PM PST



Daily Mail: US pledges ammunition and equipment to help Turkish troops in Syria after Erdogan's forces shot down another of Assad's jets

* America has pledged to give Turkey ammunition and equipment to fight in Syria
* Also mulling request for air defences after Turkey bought Russian S-400 system
* Comes after Turkish jet shot down another of Assad's warplanes on Tuesday
* Turkey and the Syrian government have been involved in escalating clashes as Ankara tries to stop an attack on Idlib amid fears it will trigger a refugee crisis

America has pledged to give Turkey ammunition and equipment in order to help in the fight against Syrian government forces in Idlib.

James Jeffrey, US envoy to Turkey, said Tuesday that Ankara will also receive humanitarian aid and intelligence briefings because it is a NATO ally.

David Satterfield, Washington's ambassador in Turkey, added that the US is also reviewing a Turkish request for air defences after the country controversially opted to buy Russian S-400 systems instead of American-made weapons.

It comes amid escalating clashes between Turkish forces and Assad's men in Idlib, where a Syrian government plane was shot down on Tuesday.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Turkey shoots down 3rd Syrian fighter jet in 3 days. Turkey shoots down third plane as Syrian forces retake town.

Erdogan demands Syrian army withdrawal, says its losses just beginning.

Iran's emergency services chief becomes country's highest ranking official to be infected with coronavirus, which has now affected eight per cent of regime's parliament.

Iran's enriched uranium stocks 5 times over nuke deal limit: IAEA.

US lawmakers seek to force intelligence release on Khashoggi death.

Netanyahu leading in Israeli election exit polls.

Israel election: Netanyahu begins coalition talks.

ASIA

Taliban attack Afghan army bases, throwing peace talks into doubt.

Coronavirus: Singapore extends entry ban to cover Italy, Iran and all South Korea.

Coronavirus: China orders travellers quarantined amid outbreak.

Coronavirus situation in North Korea remains unclear, could be specially deadly, expert says.

N. Korean leader Kim's sister condemns South over drill comments.

Pakistan calls on Kabul to abide by Taliban prisoner swap deal.

Afghanistan's ambassador to US says her nation is warily hopeful they will finally live in peace.

Pakistan wants former PM Nawaz Sharif returned from Britain.

AFRICA

Lesotho politics: Prime minister under pressure to resign.

Libya civil war: Tribal loyalties tested as violence continues.

Libya conflict: 'Stressed' Ghassan Salame resigns as UN envoy.

Nile Dam: Ethiopia calls US view "totally unacceptable".

Ethiopia detains 13 Canadians accused of improperly practising medicine.

South Africa slips into 2nd recession in two years.

Somalia agrees offshore oil exploration roadmap with Shell/Exxon: minister.

Last Ebola patient in Congo leaves treatment centre.

EUROPE

EU offers Greece migration support amid mounting refugee crisis.

EU chief says Greece is Europe's shield in migrant crisis.

Russia rejects UN war crime accusations.

Swiss army strife: Country confines ALL of its soldiers to their military bases after one tested positive for coronavirus.

Vatican says pope only has a cold, symptoms not related 'to other pathologies'.

12 European nations urge EU for quicker climate goals.

UK universities strike: More than a million students miss class.

AMERICAS

Millions of US primary voters head to polls as 'Super Tuesday' gets under way.

Coronavirus: US in emergency rate cut as coronavirus spreads. Fed cuts interest rates by half a percentage point amid coronavirus fears.

Trump criticizes Fed rate cut as insufficient: 'More easing and cutting!'.

Sun Princess cruise ship met by violent protests upon docking at Réunion island amid coronavirus concerns.

At least 22 dead in US state of Tennessee following tornadoes.

Southwest Valley Constructors receives $175.4M for border wall in Texas.

Colombia coca crop: Trump tells Duque to resume spraying.

Haiti's president picks new prime minister to tackle socio-political crisis.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Egypt sentences 37 to death including top ISIL leader.

How ISIS operates in Iraq's disputed territories.

A coordinated Jihadist campaign menaces the Sahel.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

OECD lowers global growth forecast by 0.5% over coronavirus, lowest since 2008 crisis.

Coronavirus: G7 finance ministers 'ready to tackle economic hit'.

OPEC to try to stem oil price plunge amid coronavirus slowdown.

Twitter tells ALL 5,000 employees around the world to work from home to avoid spread of coronavirus and makes it mandatory for those in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 3, 2020

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 10:34 AM PST

FILE PHOTO: A F-16 fighter jet takes off during a military drill at Zhi-Hang Air Base in Taitung, Taiwan January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Reuters: 'Provocative' China pressures Taiwan with fighters, fake news amid virus outbreak

TAIPEI (Reuters) - China is pressuring Taiwan with "provocative" air force maneuvers near the island and spreading fake news to sow discord during the coronavirus outbreak, security sources and government officials in Taiwan say.

The epidemic has strained already poor ties between Taipei and Beijing, with Taiwan especially angry at China's efforts to block its participation at the World Health Organization (WHO).

The two governments have also argued about the fate of about 1,000 Taiwanese stranded in Wuhan, the outbreak's center, and China has made no obvious moves to respond to offers of help to fight the virus from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 3, 2020

China's military's readiness high during virus battle -- ECN

Chinese military puts joint drills on hold to fight coronavirus battle -- SCMP

Meet the major general on China's coronavirus scientific front line -- SCMP

China's Military Advancements in the 2010s: Naval and Strike -- The Diplomat

Why China's Growing Military Might in Tibet Should Worry India -- The Diplomat

US May Cancel More Joint Military Exercises to Contain Coronavirus Threat -- Military.com

Closures at US bases in Italy continue as coronavirus spreads -- Stars and Stripes

Pentagon chief warned overseas commanders not to surprise White House on coronavirus measures: report -- The Hill

CNO sounds off 'with all due respect' about how the US Navy trains and deploys crews -- Navy Times

Marines wanted to know if a Navy satellite could withstand jamming -- C4ISRNet

Boeing's future attack recon helicopter has no name but 3 rotor systems -- Defense News

Hypersonic Missiles: Plethora Of Boost-Glide & Cruise -- Breaking Defense

Pentagon launches hypersonic industrial base study -- Defense News

Boeing shares footage from the maiden flight of CMV-22B -- Defence Blog

5G technology will be a key part of the US Space Force mission, officials say -- CNBC

White House withdraws nomination for Pentagon budget chief who questioned Ukraine aid hold -- The Hill

Trump nominates first African American Air Force chief -- The Hill

Prosecutors describe ex-CIA engineer charged in massive leak as 'angry and vindictive' -- FOX News

Defense Intelligence Agency Bans Some Domestic Travel, Sources Say -- The Daily Beast

USS Ross departs Bulgaria in NATO mission to Black Sea -- UPI

U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flies near North Korea -- UPI

Pentagon says US will not retaliate for Turkey in Syria -- Al-Monitor

Violence in Afghanistan will probably continue despite deal, U.S. military leaders say -- Washington Post

How Did Sweden's Gripen Earn The Title Of World's Best, But Least Known, Fighter Jet? -- Charlie Gao, National Interest

Putin boasts about new Russian weapons, calls them defensive -- Defense News/AP

Russian Police May Soon Get Heavy Duty Armoured Vehicle Which Can Withstand Bomb Blasts -- Sputnik

Japan to transfer military shipbuilding technology to Vietnam -- VN Express

Even Amid Virus Scare, North Korea Continues Weapons Tests -- VOA

Kim watches North Korea military drill alongside masked officers -- Al Jazeera

The U.S. Army Wants a Better Tank

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 09:23 AM PST

M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank

FOX News/Warrior Maven: Army research lab now building future tanks

You could call it a contradiction in terms, or even a paradoxical blending of opposites — the Army is now building a lightweight, highly lethal future armored tank that is easy to maneuver while being able to withstand dangerous enemy attacks and offering protection equal to or better than a 70-ton Abrams tank.

This goal lies at the center of the Army's Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV), a family of new combat platforms now being developed by the service for future warfare. Its key goals are expeditionary, lightweight, fast, using artificial intelligence, potentially unmanned, extremely lethal and perpetually upgradeable. The effort involves building new infantry carriers, tanks and robotic vehicles networked together as part of an integrated tactical maneuver strategy.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  The US Army wants its future tank to be expeditionary, lightweight, fast, using artificial intelligence, potentially unmanned, extremely lethal and perpetually upgradeable. Wow. Talk about a wish list that may in the end result in a tank that will cost tens of millions of dollars per copy.

The U.S. Air Force Is Committed To The B-52 And B-21

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 09:15 AM PST

The B-52 with all its ammunition. Tech Sgt. Robert Horstman/US Air Force

Steve Balestrieri, Business Insider/SOFREP: The Air Force has committed to its bombers of the future: the B-52 and the B-21

* The Air Force has decided on its bombers of the future: the new B-21 Raiders and the venerable B-52 Stratofortress.
* The service plans to move away from the relatively new B-1 and B-2 bombers, keeping the B-52, which is older than the pilots who fly it, and acquiring the B-21, the maiden flight of which is slated for October.

The Air Force's future is both moving forward and tied to the past. The bombers of the future have already been decided: They are the B-21 Raider, which is currently under development, and the venerable B-52 Stratofortress, a holdover from the Cold War, the airframes of which are older than the pilots flying them.

The plan is already in place, Lt. Gen. David Nahom, deputy chief of staff for Plans and Programs, told members of Congress on Thursday. The funding request is part of the Air Force's plan to modernize its bomber fleet and prepare for the changing needs of national security, mainly conflict with near-peer adversaries.

LTG Nahom said that the Air Force's shift to preparing for a conflict with a near-peer nation, such as China or Russia, is the driving force behind having a two-bomber fleet.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:The B-52 has been flying since 1952. It looks like it is going to be flying for another 30 years.

How Will Covid-19 End? Here Is How 3 Other Infectious Outbreaks Ended

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 08:22 AM PST



Madeline Holcombe, CNN: Not sure what the future holds for the coronavirus? Here is how 3 other infectious outbreaks ended

It has been more than a month since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. Since the outbreak began, there have been more than 90,000 cases of the virus worldwide and more than 3,100 deaths from it.

As officials work to stop the virus's spread, it is hard not to wonder what will happen next. When and how will this end? Here's a look back at what happened during other infectious outbreaks.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: We have learned the following about coronavirus Covid-19. It is highly infectious. You can be infected and passing the disease while showing no signs that you are sick. The 14-day quarantine period may be too short. Some patients came down with it after three weeks. People with a health/medication condition are susceptible to this disease. The impact for some patients with the coronavirus has been severe requiring extensive hospitalization. For others it has been mild with a fever and a feeling of having the flu. The disease can re-emerge in previous patients who were infected with Covid-19 and later cleared of it. Children seem to have some immunity to it. As to how will this outbreak end? Everyone is hoping that it will burn out by May or June. I hope they are right. My big worry right now is for later this year and the possibility that this disease may re-emerge in the fall? The 1918 Spanish flu came in three waves. The first wave was in the spring of 1918. Some died but it then went dormant during the summer. It re-emerged as a second wave in the fall of 1918, and it ravaged the world until the spring of 1919 killing millions. The third wave occurred in the fall of 1919 and it was mild. It had finally burned itself out.

China Is Using Uighurs As 'Forced 'Labour' To Work In Factories For Foreign Brands

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 07:57 AM PST



ABC News Online: Apple, Nike and other major companies implicated in Muslim forced labour in China

Dozens of popular companies including Apple, Nike, Adidas, Uniqlo and Skechers have suppliers linked to forced labour in China involving Muslim minorities, according to a new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

Drawing upon open-source Chinese language documentation, satellite imagery, media reporting and academic research, the report entitled Uyghurs for Sale identifies some 83 well-known consumer brands linked to factories where Muslim minorities are thought to be working in forced labour conditions across China.

It reports that 80,000 Uyghur workers were transferred out of Xinjiang between 2017 and 2019, claiming that people are being effectively "bought" and "sold" by local governments and commercial brokers.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is nothing new. I have been reading reports of Chinese forced labour AND child labour for years. I even witnessed this in a quarry in Fujian province in 1988. These major brands are also aware on who is making their products, but they have choose to ignore it. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report is here .... Uyghurs for sale (Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)).

More News On China Using Uighurs As 'Forced 'Labour' To Work In Factories For Foreign Brands

China Uighurs 'moved into factory forced labour' for foreign brands -- BBC
China transferred detained Uighurs to factories used by global brands – report -- The Guardian
Top brands 'using forced Uighur labor' in China: report -- DW
Apple benefits from forced Uighur labor at its iPhone supplier factories in China, according to an explosive new report -- Business Insider
Forced Labor? - China Pushes 1000s Of Uyghur Muslims To Work In Factories -- Zero Hedge

Why Coronavirus In China And America May Differ

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 07:30 AM PST


American Interest: A masterful post explains why coronavirus in China and America may differ

In San Francisco in the 1970s and 1980s, it was routine to see men from China spit in the streets, blow their noses in their fingers and then wipe their hands on anything nearby, and generally violate American hygienic norms. Outside the tourist zones, Chinatown's restaurants and grocery stores also suggested resistance to American hygiene.

The Chinese who came to America to escape communism were amazing people and model immigrants. They worked hard and were so family-focused and education-oriented that, usually within one generation, they made the leap from Chinatown squalor to lovely suburbs. However, unlike the Japanese, the Chinese did not bring with them a culture of cleanliness.

When it comes to epidemic diseases, these cultural norms matter — and political systems may matter even more.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is definitely a must read post on how differences in culture can impact the transmission of the Covid-19 virus .... Birth Of A Virus… (Regie's Blog). Speaking personally as someone who lived in China for a number of years in the 1980s and who has travelled back and forth a number of times since then, Chinese hygiene and cleanliness (or lack of) was (and still is) an issue with me. They only thing that I can say is that it has gotten better since the 1980s. On a side note. That is why I know this disease is going to ravage places like India/Pakistan, the Middle East,  and Africa in the coming months. The lack of sanitation is a natural breeding ground for diseases like Covid-19.

Canadians React To Their Government's Covid-19 Response

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 08:24 AM PST


Zero Hedge: "They're Flying It In!" - Canadians Furious At Trudeau As Government Refuses To Stop Travelers From Iran

Furious Canadians slammed the government for failing to cancel flights from Iran, presently the country with the worst outbreak outside China, and other policies that suggest a dangerously blithe response from the government, perhaps as a consequence of PM Trudeau's commitment to 'woke' policies (many have slammed travel bans as racist).

One critic even accused Ottawa of "flying in" the virus by refusing to cancel flights. Though, to be fair, while President Trump has cracked down on China and Iran, his reaction to Italy and South Korea has been slightly more mild (though the State Department has issued travel advisories targeting SK and Italy.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I learned only this past Sunday that in two major Montreal hospitals the satff have received zero guidelines on what to do if a coronavirus outbreak spreads in this city. Followed that up with some checking around yesterday, and found out that there has been very little direction from the Federal government with the exception of a daily news conference from health officials who are monitoring the spread of this disease.

Update: The Canadian government has finally issued some guidelines .... Canada tells travelers from Iran to isolate over coronavirus (Reuters). Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau's popularity is down, but not necessarily because of his governments reaction to the coronavirus outbreak .... Media darling Trudeau sees popularity plummet among Canadians (Just The News).

Update #2: There are currently 27 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Canada.

23 Iranian MPs And The Head Of Iran's Emergency Medical Service Have Tested Positive For The Coronavirus

Posted: 03 Mar 2020 06:06 AM PST



Middle East Eye: Iran coronavirus: 23 MPs, senior health official test positive for illness

Iran's parliament has suspended sessions as the Islamic Republic records 77 deaths from the virus

At least 23 Iranian MPs and the head of Iran's emergency medical service have reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus, in the latest spike in cases in the Islamic Republic.

According to BBC Persian, the 23 lawmakers, out of the 290-member chamber, may have been infected due to their contact with their constituents across the country, which has reported the highest number of cases outside China, where the virus originated in December.

The head of Iran's emergency medical services, Pir-Hossein Kolivand, has also been infected with virus, the ILNA news agency reported.

Kolivand's "health is good and there is no need for concern", the office said in a statement.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The probable reason why many Iranian government representatives are sick is because they probably met their Chinese equivalents in the past few months. It then makes me wonder on how many Chinese officials have gotten sick with Covid-19. Not surprising, the Chinese are not reporting on who is sick with their government.

More News On 23 Iranian MPs And The Head Of Iran's Emergency Medical Service Testing Positive For The Coronavirus

MP warns of coronavirus spread through Iranian parliament members -- Trend News Agency
23 Iran MPs & Head Of Emergency Medical Services Confirmed For Coronavirus -- Zero Hedge
Iran reports 2,336 cases of the new coronavirus, at least 77 dead; MPs hit hard -- FOX News/AP

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