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Thursday, March 14, 2019

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

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


Tweets For Today

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 10:00 PM PDT






Picture Of The Day

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 09:30 PM PDT

People gather to collect water released through a sewage drain that feeds into the Guaire River, which carries most of the city's wastewater, in Caracas, March 11, 2019. After five days without electricity to pump water, Venezuelans from working-class neighborhoods to upscale apartment towers are complaining of increasingly infrequent showers, unwashed dishes, and stinking toilets. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Desperate Venezuelans search for water (Reuters).

Are War Simulations Showing The U.S. Being Defeated By China And Russia Correct?

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 09:39 PM PDT

© REUTERS/ Kim Kyung-Hoon

Stephen Bryen, Asia Times: Did RAND get it right in its war game exercise?

Simulations suggest the United States would lose to both Russia and China

The RAND Corporation with Pentagon support has carried out a war game simulation in which the United States loses to both Russia and China. The US and NATO are unable to stop an attack in the Balkans by the Russians, and the United States and its allies are unable to prevent the takeover of Taiwan by China.

These are the claims made by RAND. But is RAND right?

The RAND war game effort was led by David Ochmanek, a senior international and defense researcher at the RAND Corporation. From 2009 until 2014 he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Development.

Read more ....

Previous Post: U.S. Keeps Losing Simulated Wars With Russia And China (March 8, 2019)

WNU Editor: Stephen Bryen's scenario that he illustrates in the above Asia Times post is not going to happen. Nor will the RAND Study.

Update #2: Yup .... Wargames as Sales Tool? Touchy Business. (CDR Salamander, US Naval Institute Blog)

This Is Why The Pentagon Wanted To Retire The U.S. Aircraft Carrier USS Truman Decades Early

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 07:00 PM PDT



Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense: Why DoD Cut A Carrier in 2020 Budget: Survivable Robots & Missiles Vs. China

An inside source explains the logic behind the 2020 budget's most controversial call.

WASHINGTON: Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan made the hard call to retire the USS Truman decades early — cutting the Navy's carrier fleet by nine percent — to free up funding for new weapons more likely to survive a war with China, a senior defense official told Breaking Defense.

Shanahan took office telling staff his focus is "China, China, China." Beijing's growing arsenal of precision-guided missiles seems increasingly able to find and cripple a thousand-foot-long flattop — unless the US carrier stays out of China's range, in which case the fighter aircraft it carries can't reach their targets. (Fighters can be refueled in mid-air, but the tanker aircraft required are big, slow, and vulnerable, so they can't get close to China, either).

Read more ....

Previous Post: Were Reports Of The U.S. Navy Retiring The Aircraft Carrier USS Truman Just A Ploy To Get More Money? (March 3, 2019).

WNU Editor: I can understand the Pentagon's reasoning for retiring the USS Truman 25 years earlier .... saving money to buy other weapons. But Congress is not going to agree.

Is China's Military Buildup Slowing Down?

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 06:00 PM PDT

China's People's Liberation Army told to learn from Japan's 1894 victory

Richard A. Bitzinger, Asia Times: China's rapid military buildup is slowing down

It's defense budget season for the world's major powers. This week, US President Donald Trump presented his request for military spending for fiscal year 2020, an unprecedented US$750 billion, including a whopping $174 billion slush fund known as the "overseas contingency operations" account (see my last column, Trump's slush-fund defense budget).

Now China has released its budget for military expenditures for 2019, and it, too, will reach an all-time high of 1.19 trillion yuan ($177.6 billion). This is a 7.5% rise over China's 2018 defense budget of 1.107 trillion yuan.

At issue is not the fact that Chinese military expenditures are going up, but by how much. Chinese defense spending has increased every year since the mid-1990s, but lately the annual rise has been slowing.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is too early to say that this is a trend.

U.S. B-52s Fly Again Near The Disputed Islands In The South China Sea

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 05:00 PM PDT


CNN: US flies bombers near contested South China Sea islands

Two US B-52 bombers flew near contested islands in the South China Sea on Wednesday, according to US Pacific Air Forces, which oversees air operations in the region.

"Two B-52H Stratofortress bombers took off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and conducted routine training in the vicinity of the South China Sea March 13, 2019 (HST), before returning to base," a spokesperson for Pacific Air Forces said in a statement provided to CNN.

"US aircraft regularly operate in the South China Sea in support of allies, partners, and a free and open Indo-Pacific," the statement added.

It's the second time this month that US has carried out a bomber flight in the area. The earlier flight was the first involving a nuclear-capable B-52 over the South China Sea since November.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is the second B-52 flyby in the South China Sea in the past week .... U.S. B-52 Fly Near The Disputed Islands In The South China Sea (March 5, 2019).

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 13, 2019

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 04:13 PM PDT

US, Taliban and Qatar officials seen during a meeting in Doha, Qatar [Qatari Foreign Ministry/Handout via Reuters]

Ahmed Rashid, Al Jazeera: Is an Afghan peace deal finally within grasp?

The path to peace is still long and tedious, but today Afghans have more reason to be hopeful than ever before.

After 16 days of talks in the Qatari capital Doha, US and Taliban negotiators have wrapped up their longest round of negotiations on March 12, signalling concrete progress towards a peace deal to end the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 13, 2019

Q&A: After marathon Afghan talks, is peace at hand? -- Kathy Gannon, AP

We're now heading for a no-deal Brexit – but not just yet -- Robert Peston, The Spectator

EU pros and cons of delaying Brexit beyond March 29 -- Gabriela Baczynska, Reuters

The Hanoi Summit – We Asked 79 Experts What Happens Next in U.S.-North Korea Relation -- Harry J. Kazianis and John Dale Grover, National Interest

New Zealand's Government divided ahead of pivotal report on Chinese political interference -- Robert Burton-Bradley, ABC News Online

In the Gulf, China plays to win but US has upper hand -- Michael B. Greenwald, The Hill

Iran's Supreme leader paves way for hardline protégé -- Mahmoud Pargoo, Asia Times

Is Algeria on the cusp of freedom, or does Bouteflika have one last play? -- Jason Burke, The Guardian

Algeria's army takes page from Egyptian playbook -- Alison Tahmizian Meuse, Asia Times

Egypt to supply Sudan with electricity -- Rasha Mahmoud, Al-Monitor

Can there be a peaceful exit from the Venezuelan crisis? -- George Ciccariello-Maher, Al Jazeera

UN issues dire warning on the deadly effects of pollution -- DW

World News Briefs -- March 13, 2019 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 03:46 PM PDT



Reuters: Brexit set for delay after May wounded by rejection of 'no-deal'

LONDON (Reuters) - The British parliament on Wednesday rejected leaving the European Union without a deal, further weakening Prime Minister Theresa May and paving the way for a vote that could delay Brexit until at least the end of June.

After a day of high drama, MPs defied the government by voting 321 to 278 in favour of a motion that ruled out a potentially disorderly "no-deal" Brexit under any circumstances.

It went further than the government's position of keeping the threat of a "no-deal" Brexit on the negotiating table — a stance many in her party said was essential to push Brussels to make further concessions to the deal they have rejected.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Russian and Syrian air strikes intensify on last rebel bastion.

U.S. sees Turkish offensive in Syria as unnecessary: U.S. official.

Syria: SDF militia predicts ISIL's last fight to end imminently.

As IS fight nears end, violence flares on other Syrian front.

Eight years on, Assad clings on but beleaguered.

UN Security Council in talks on saving Yemen truce deal.

US Senate to vote on Saudi-Yemen war resolution.

Erdogan and Netanyahu trade 'tyrant', 'dictator' insults.

Iran warns of firm response if Israel acts against oil shipments.

Israeli authorities to reopen Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Saudi women activists on trial after a year in detention.

Washington no longer refers to Golan as 'Israel-occupied'.

ASIA

Trump says he is in no rush to complete China trade deal.

U.S. and India commit to building six nuclear power plants.

U.S. envoy: United States, Taliban reach draft agreement in peace talks.

Longest US-Taliban peace talks see 'progress,' but agreement on withdrawal timeline still a sticking point.

Disputed claims as US air raids kills 11 in Afghanistan's Ghazni.

'Pure fabrications': China on Uighur internment camp conditions.

Beijing hits back at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's 'irresponsible' South China Sea energy claims.

China's 'payday loans' attacked by Arthur B Culvahouse Jr, new US diplomat to Australia.

South Korean singer quits as K-pop sex scandal widens.

AFRICA


Algeria: Opposition meets, key govt figures appeal for calm.

Guinea-Bissau's ruling party wins parliamentary vote.

US conducts airstrike in Somalia after troops come under attack.

Ethiopian Airlines pilot 'reported flight control problems before crash'.

Algerian teachers, students protest against Bouteflika.

Algeria's government ready for dialogue with opposition -Deputy PM.

Nigeria building collapses 'with schoolchildren feared killed'.

Protest-hit Sudan unveils new cabinet to 'solve' economic crisis.

South Sudan peace deal doomed if disputes not settled: think-tank.

EUROPE

Russia mocks US collusion probe ahead of Mueller's report.

UK lawmakers vote against no-deal Brexit, now aim for delay.

UK lawmakers to vote on two proposed changes to government's 'no deal' Brexit motion.

Brexit vote: European Union closes ranks in response.

New new START a nonstarter: Russian Ambassador.

Spain investigates possible CIA links to embassy break-in.

IMF: Greece among best performers in eurozone.

Comedian Zelenskiy extends Ukraine presidential poll lead.

Georgia detains two for trying to sell radioactive uranium: statement.

AMERICAS

Venezuelan government targets Guaido as some power returns.

Manafort sentenced to 7 years, faces fresh New York charges.

Trump sees 'very good chance' of trade deal with China.

GOP senators introduce bill to rein in president's emergency powers.

Trump says he appreciates Pelosi's impeachment comments, but did 'nothing wrong'.

China offers help to Venezuela to restore power amid nationwide blackout.

Mexico lashes out as US extends policy of returning asylum-seekers.

Paraguay may use army to control prisons plagued by Brazilian gangs.

Brazil shooting: at least nine killed at elementary school, police say.

California death penalty: Governor Gavin Newsom to halt executions.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

China delays UN bid to blacklist JeM leader as terrorist.

Philippine troops attack IS-linked militant hideout amid hunt for long-wanted Singaporean Muhamad Ali Abdul Rahiman.

Israel declassifies intel on "Secret Hezbollah Group" in Syrian Golan Heights.

Islamic State women defiant in face of lost caliphate.

Georgia woman arrested for allegedly helping ISIS build 'kill lists' of US service members.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Health, tech companies lead US stocks to 3rd straight gain.

Facebook, Instagram suffer outages.

US grounds Boeing 737 MAX amid growing safety concerns.

Boeing and US under pressure to ground 737 Max as further bans brought in.

Spotify goes to war with Apple: Music streamer lodges EU complaint over 'unfair music competition'.

Gmail, Google Drive experience outages worldwide.

Russia and OPEC: convenience but no marriage.

Spanish Media: Two Members With Links To The CIA Broke Into The North Korean Embassy In Madrid

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 02:55 PM PDT

A Spanish National Police car is seen outside the North Korean embassy in Madrid, Spain on February 28 following the raid

Daily Mail/AFP: CIA 'linked' to North Korea embassy break-in: Two members of gang that entered building in Madrid, tied up staff and stole computers, 'are connected to US intelligence agency'

* Two people 'with links to the CIA' identified in connection with Madrid break-in
* Last month ten men allegedly broke into the North Korean embassy in Madrid
* They drew fake handguns as they tied up diplomatic staff and robbed dossiers
* The raid took place just five days before the Trump-Kim nuclear summit in Hanoi

Two people identified in connection with a break-in at the North Korean embassy in Madrid have links to the US intelligence agency CIA, Spanish media claims.

The mysterious incident took place on February 22 just five days before the start of a nuclear summit between North Korea and the United States attended, among others, by Pyongyang's former ambassador to Spain Kim Hyok Chol.

Ten suspects allegedly broke into the embassy with fake handguns drawn, tying up diplomatic staff and stealing computers, the El Pais daily said.

'At least two of the ten assailants... have been identified and have ties with US secret services,' the paper said, citing sources from the police and Spain's intelligence agency, the National Intelligence Centre (CNI).

Read more ....

More News On Spanish Media Reports That Two Members With Links To The CIA Broke Into The North Korean Embassy In Madrid In February

CIA implicated in attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid -- El Pais
Spain investigates possible CIA links to embassy break-in -- The Guardian
Madrid's N Korea embassy assailants linked to CIA: report -- Business Standard/AFP
CIA 'implicated' in attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid -- The Independent
Spanish police link suspects in North Korea Embassy attack to CIA: report -- Politico.eu
2 suspects in North Korea embassy attack in Madrid have CIA 'connections:' reports -- FOX News
What happened at North Korea's embassy in Spain? -- BBC

U.S. Lawmakers Vote To Investigate Russian Putin's Wealth, And To Condemn The Kremlin For The Murder Of Opposition Leader Boris Nemtsov

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 01:29 PM PDT

Russian President Vladimir Putin. © Alexey NikolskyTASS

Washington Examiner: House votes to investigate Vladimir Putin's 'ill-gotten wealth'

The House on Tuesday passed legislation that would require the Trump administration to investigate Russian President Vladimir Putin's wealth.

In a voice vote, lawmakers approved the Vladimir Putin Transparency Act, a bipartisan bill that accuses Putin of undermining democratic reforms in Russia.

"It is the sense of Congress that the United States should do more to expose the corruption of Vladimir Putin, whose ill-gotten wealth is perhaps the most powerful global symbol of his dishonesty and his persistent efforts to undermine the rule of law and democracy in the Russian Federation," the bill said.

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Congress Passing Measures Targeting Russian President Putin And The Russian Government

House passes series of measures hitting Russia, Putin -- The Hill
'It's up to Congress to assert leadership': House bills target Putin -- Australia The Age/AP
House to vote on series of bills targeting Putin -- Politico
US House Passes Anti-Russian Bills In Bid to Ramp Up Pressure Against Moscow -- Sputnik
U.S. Lawmakers Overwhelmingly Condemn Kremlin For Nemtsov Killing -- RFE

U.S. Forces Destroy Roadside Afghan Army Base In 'Self-Defense' Airstrikes

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 12:49 PM PDT

An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron takes off from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Benjamin Gonsier)

CNN: US forces kill five Afghan soldiers in 'self-defense' airstrikes

US forces launched two "self-defense" airstrikes near an Afghan National Army check point in the Uruzgan province on Wednesday, according to a coalition spokesman.

The Afghan government issued a statement saying that five Afghan soldiers were killed and 10 were wounded in the strikes -- numbers the coalition is also accepting, an official told CNN.

US and coalition officials told CNN that the strikes were launched Wednesday morning local time after a US-Afghan convoy came under fire from friendly forces positioned near the check point. No US forces were killed during the incident.

"The US launched a precision airstrike near an Afghan National Army check point on Wednesday after Afghan and US forces came under fire and requested air support," according to Lt. Ubon Mendie, a spokesman for the US forces based in Afghanistan.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Forces Launching Airstrikes In Self Defense Against Afghan Soldiers

Afghans Report Firefight Involving US Troops -- Military.com/AP
Friendly fire between Afghan, American forces leaves five dead -- Stars and Stripes
US airstrikes wipe out Afghan Army base, say officials -- Indian Express/New York Times

U.S. Republican Senators Want To Rein In President Trump's Emergency Powers

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 01:30 PM PDT

The U.S. Capitol Building is pictured in Washington, February 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

The Hill: GOP senators introduce bill to rein in president's emergency powers

More than a dozen Republican senators introduced legislation on Tuesday that would make it easier for Congress to terminate future national emergency declarations, days before the chamber will vote on President Trump's.

The legislation, spearheaded by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), would require that Congress pass a resolution extending an emergency declaration after 30 days for it to continue; otherwise the declaration would be terminated.

"If Congress is troubled by recent emergency declarations made pursuant to the National Emergencies Act, they only have themselves to blame. Congress gave these legislative powers away in 1976 and it is far past time that we as an institution took them back. If we don't want our president acting like a king we need to start taking back the legislative powers that allow him to do so," Lee said in a statement.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:
The Democrats in Congress have said that they will not bring up the U.S. Republican bill to curb President Trump's emergency powers to a vote .... Pelosi: House won't take up bill to overhaul national emergencies (The Hill). On a side note, Republicans are looking for a way to maintain President Trump's emergency at the border .... Senate Republicans push plan to maintain national emergency at border (Reuters).

Ukrainian Comic Volodymyr Zelenskiy Continues To Lead In Presidential Polls

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 09:05 AM PDT

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukrainian comic actor and candidate in the upcoming presidential election, takes part in a production process of Servant of the People series in Kiev, Ukraine March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Reuters: Comedian Zelenskiy extends Ukraine presidential poll lead

KIEV (Reuters) - Comic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy has extended his lead in Ukraine's presidential election race, according to an opinion poll published on Wednesday.

But support for the 41-year-old, a political novice, remains far below the level need to secure outright victory in the March 31 ballot, and most voters still do not expect him to become president, the SOCIS survey showed.

The poll by the Kiev-based research body showed Zelenskiy on 20.7 percent of votes, with incumbent Petro Poroshenko second on 13.2 percent and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko third on 11 percent.

A total of 39 candidates have registered for the election. If no candidate wins 50 percent, the top two will face each other in a run-off on April 21.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: My friends and family in Ukraine continue to tell me that he is going to first round of elections, and most likely the second round in April. I see him winning the first round .... but the second round is not going to be easy. Ukrainian elections are incredibly corrupt, and it is usually the best funded campaigner who wins. If history is any indication .... incumbent Petro Poroshenko will win the Presidency on the second ballot.

Update: Ukrainian comic and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy outlines his policies (bne)

Battle For The Last ISIS Stronghold In Syria -- News Updates March 13, 2019

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 08:46 AM PDT



Daily Mail/AFP: 3,000 ISIS members surrender as US-backed Syrian forces continue to assault the terror group's last holdout

* Syrian Democratic Forces have helped thousands of women and children to flee
* Shelling on Baghouz, eastern Syria, resumed Sunday as no one else tried to leave
* SDF say they have evacuated some 3,000 capitulating jihadists in recent days

Around 3,000 ISIS fanatics have surrendered from the group's last holdout in Syria as air raids and shelling resumed after a brief lull today.

A ragged tent encampment in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz is all that remains of a once-sprawling ISIS 'caliphate' declared in 2014 across large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has been trying to crush holdout ISIS fighters for weeks but the mass outpouring of men, women and children from the riverside hamlet has bogged down its advance.

Read more ....

Battle For The Last ISIS Stronghold In Syria -- News Updates March 13, 2019

Thousands surrender as IS group nears defeat in Syria -- France 24
Thousands of ISIS troops surrender amid attack on final stronghold in Syria -- CNN
IS fighters blitzed into surrender as defeat looms in Syria -- AFP
US-backed Syrian forces push on as IS militants fight back -- AP
Islamic State counter-attacks out of final Syria enclave fall short -U.S.-backed SDF -- Reuters
Syria: SDF militia predicts ISIL's last fight to end imminently -- Al Jazeera
Syria: 3,000 'Islamic State' members surrender to US-backed forces -- DW

U.K. Brexit News Updates -- March 13, 2019

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 08:43 AM PDT



Daily Mail: May bows out as Remainers and Brexiteers fight for the future of Brexit: PM stays mute after losing her voice and lets Gove do the talking as MPs debate whether to stop Britain leaving the EU with No Deal

* MPs will hold more Brexit votes tonight after Theresa May said they must decide whether to accept No Deal
* But Mrs May pulled out of presenting her own motion and handed the job to Environment Secretary Gove
* The Prime Minister will vote against No Deal happening on March 29 but say it must remain on the table
* Tory MPs have a free vote on May's plan and a rival amendment aimed at uniting the Conservative Party
* EU Brexit negotiator has already rejected the alternative plan known as the Malthouse Compromise
* May is ordering her MPs to vote against a cross party plan to rule out a No Deal Brexit in all circumstances

Theresa May saved her voice and pulled out of opening the debate ahead of today's No Deal vote as Eurosceptics and Remainers went into battle over Brexit in the Commons.

The Prime Minister asked her Environment Secretary Michael Gove to step in - but Mrs May sat behind him throughout as he backed her motion that Britain should not leave the EU on March 29 without a deal - but keep No Deal on the table if talks still falter after a likely Article 50 extension.

Speaker John Bercow has selected two amendments to Theresa May's motion - one by Tory Dame Caroline Spelman rejecting a No Deal Brexit at any time and under any circumstances and the other in the name of former Tory minister Damian Green to delay Brexit day from March 29 to May 22 to give time for preparations to leave without a deal.

Read more ....

U.K. Brexit News Updates -- March 13, 2019

Brexit: Hammond hints PM should back softer exit, saying MPs should 'map out consensus' – Politics live -- The Guardian
The Latest: EU moves on Brexit contingency plans -- AP
Brexit: Theresa May says she understands 'the voice of the country' -- BBC
UK PM May says she will vote against a 'no-deal' Brexit -- Reuters
Theresa May: Hoarse, twice defeated, won't give up on Brexit -- AP
UK lawmakers to vote on two proposed changes to government's 'no deal' Brexit motion -- Reuters
Britain heads into Brexit unknown as parliament votes on no-deal exit -- Reuters
UK lawmakers seek to stop no-deal Brexit as EU warnings grow -- AP
After rejecting May, British lawmakers vote on blocking 'no deal' EU exit -- UPI
Brexit vote: European Union closes ranks in response -- DW
UK unveils new tariff regime in event of 'no-deal' Brexit -- AP

World News Briefs -- March 13, 2019

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 02:56 PM PDT



DW: Syria: 3,000 'Islamic State' members surrender to US-backed forces

The extremists once controlled large parts of Syria and Iraq, but now thousands of them have handed themselves in. Kurdish-led units are reportedly preparing a final assault on the last "Islamic State" holdout.

Some 3,000 members of the "Islamic State" (IS) have left the group's last holdout in Syria to surrender to Kurdish-led forces.

"[The] number of Daesh (IS) members [who have] surrendered to us since yesterday evening has risen to 3,000," Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Mustefa Bali said Tuesday.

The SDF temporarily halted airstrikes and shelling on IS-controlled Baghouz in eastern Syria on Tuesday to allow people to leave the village to hand themselves over.

SDF forces, which are backed by a US-led coalition, have been bombarding Baghouz since Sunday.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syria: SDF militia predicts ISIL's last fight to end imminently.

As IS fight nears end, violence flares on other Syrian front.

Eight years on, Assad clings on but beleaguered.

UN Security Council in talks on saving Yemen truce deal.

US Senate to vote on Saudi-Yemen war resolution.

Erdogan and Netanyahu trade 'tyrant', 'dictator' insults.

Iran warns of firm response if Israel acts against oil shipments.

Israeli authorities to reopen Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Saudi women activists on trial after a year in detention.

ASIA

U.S. envoy: United States, Taliban reach draft agreement in peace talks.

Longest US-Taliban peace talks see 'progress,' but agreement on withdrawal timeline still a sticking point.

Disputed claims as US air raids kills 11 in Afghanistan's Ghazni.

'Pure fabrications': China on Uighur internment camp conditions.

Beijing hits back at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's 'irresponsible' South China Sea energy claims.

China's 'payday loans' attacked by Arthur B Culvahouse Jr, new US diplomat to Australia.

South Korean singer quits as K-pop sex scandal widens.

AFRICA

US conducts airstrike in Somalia after troops come under attack.

Ethiopian Airlines pilot 'reported flight control problems before crash'.

Algerian teachers, students protest against Bouteflika.

Algeria's government ready for dialogue with opposition -Deputy PM.

Nigeria building collapses 'with schoolchildren feared killed'.

Protest-hit Sudan unveils new cabinet to 'solve' economic crisis.

South Sudan peace deal doomed if disputes not settled: think-tank.

EUROPE

UK lawmakers to vote on two proposed changes to government's 'no deal' Brexit motion.

Brexit vote: European Union closes ranks in response.

New new START a nonstarter: Russian Ambassador.

Spain investigates possible CIA links to embassy break-in.

IMF: Greece among best performers in eurozone.

Comedian Zelenskiy extends Ukraine presidential poll lead.

Georgia detains two for trying to sell radioactive uranium: statement.

AMERICAS

GOP senators introduce bill to rein in president's emergency powers.

Trump says he appreciates Pelosi's impeachment comments, but did 'nothing wrong'.

China offers help to Venezuela to restore power amid nationwide blackout.

Mexico lashes out as US extends policy of returning asylum-seekers.

Paraguay may use army to control prisons plagued by Brazilian gangs.

Brazil shooting: at least nine killed at elementary school, police say.

California death penalty: Governor Gavin Newsom to halt executions.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Philippine troops attack IS-linked militant hideout amid hunt for long-wanted Singaporean Muhamad Ali Abdul Rahiman.

Israel declassifies intel on "Secret Hezbollah Group" in Syrian Golan Heights.

Islamic State women defiant in face of lost caliphate.

Georgia woman arrested for allegedly helping ISIS build 'kill lists' of US service members.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Boeing and US under pressure to ground 737 Max as further bans brought in.

Spotify goes to war with Apple: Music streamer lodges EU complaint over 'unfair music competition'.

Gmail, Google Drive experience outages worldwide.

Russia and OPEC: convenience but no marriage.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 13, 2019

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 07:57 AM PDT

A crane moves the lower stern into place on the USS John F. Kennedy at Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia, making the aircraft carrier 50% structurally complete, June 22, 2017. US Navy

Reuters: Trump's $750 billion defense budget spends more on warships but cuts orders of fighter jets and tankers

* President Donald Trump's $750 billion defense budget is the largest ever submitted in dollar terms.
* The proposal budget directs more money toward ships for the Navy and less on aircraft — particularly on Boeing's newly arrived KC-46 tanker.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - US President Donald Trump's $750 billion defense budget includes more money to build ships, fulfilling a campaign promise to strengthen the Navy, but also cuts the number of Boeing KC-46 tanker jets, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The defense spending request to Congress is the largest ever in dollar terms, but not after being adjusted for inflation, and is meant to counter the growing strength of the Chinese and Russian militaries.

The Navy saw an increase of 5%, or $9.9 billion, in top-line funding to kick off a quicker pace of ship construction, including aircraft carriers made by Huntington Ingalls Industries, and Virginia and Columbia class nuclear submarines made by Huntington and General Dynamics.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 13, 2019

Here's the breakdown of the Pentagon's budget request -- Defense News

Troop pay raise, border wall, and wartime funding: Here's your 2020 Pentagon budget -- Task & Purpose

Pentagon details $718B budget request -- The Hill

White House Proposes Huge Increase in War Funding -- Military.com

Pentagon pushes back on accusations of $165B 'budgetary gimmick' -- The Hill

First New Frigate, Unmanned Surface Ships in 2020 Navy Budget Request -- Military.com

Infantry Wins Big in Marine Corps Budget Request -- Military.com

Here's how much money the Defense Department wants for its trio of new space organizations -- Defense News

Despite push for future tech, munitions remain major wedge in budget -- Defense News

The US is set to start building once-banned cruise missiles for the first time since the Cold War -- Business Insider

Air Force resumes KC-46 deliveries after Boeing changes inspections -- UPI

Air Force's Predator, Reaper drones pass 4 million flight hours -- UPI

Marine officer: Let troops drop acid before they analyze intel -- Task & Purpose

Pentagon sets limits on transgender troops -- Reuters

Soldier to receive posthumous Medal of Honor for tackling a suicide bomber in Iraq -- Task & Purpose

The Possibility Of A Cyber Pearl Harbor Remains Real, Says Former CIA Director -- Jeff Erickson, Forbes

Inside the Room Where Tech Actually Vies for Military Jobs -- Wired

US, UK, Japan to Kick Off Submarine Hunting Drills in Western Pacific -- Sputnik

Plan to charge allies for US troop presence carries risks for Americans in North Africa -- Al-Monitor

Russia says it's going to arm a submarine with 6 nuclear 'doomsday' devices -- Business Insider

Intelligence report: Russia preparing to meddle in EU vote -- UPI

Ethiopia, France sign military, navy deal, turn 'new page' in ties -- Reuters

Germany's military still isn't happy with its combat readiness, and it's keeping an annual report secret for the first time because of it -- Reuters

UK military turns to universities to research psychological warfare -- The Guardian

Italy to Pay $440 Million for US F-35 But Plans to Revise Contract - Reports -- Sputnik

Italy Air Force chief attacks F-35 'uncertainty' in Rome -- Defense News

Israel's Tiny Navy Can Take on Anyone (Thanks to Nuclear Weapons) -- National Interest/War Is Boring

Iran to rethink strategy in wake of 'suspicious nuclear projects' in the region – top official -- RT

International weapons exports (Video) -- DW

U.S. Launches Air Strikes In Somalia After Troops Come Under Attack

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 07:24 AM PDT


CNN: US conducts airstrike in Somalia after troops come under attack

The US military conducted an airstrike in Somalia on Monday after a Somali-led force and its accompanying US military advisers were attacked by Al-Shabaab militants.

The strike killed eight Al-Shabaab fighters, US Africa Command, which oversees US military operations on the continent, said Tuesday.
"US service members were present during the ground operation in an advisory capacity. All US service members are accounted for and are unharmed," the statement added.

The US has approximately 500 troops in Somalia, primarily in advisory roles.

At least 244 fighters from the al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab have been killed in 25 airstrikes so far in 2019, according to figures released by US Africa Command.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This conflict is definitely intensifying and is not receiving the media attention that it deserves .... US air strikes kill hundreds in Somalia as conflict escalates (Irish Times/New York Times).

U.S. Navy Contractors Are 'Under Cyber Siege' By Chinese Hackers

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 07:15 AM PDT



Business Insider: The US Navy and its partners are 'under cyber siege' from Chinese hackers and are hemorrhaging national security secrets

* An internal review found that the US Navy and its industry partners are "under cyber siege" from Chinese, Russian, and Iranian hackers, among others, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
* Chinese hackers, accused of stealing boatloads of sensitive data on US military projects over the years, are reportedly considered the primary threat.
* The review paints a dire picture, one that comes despite neither the Navy nor the Pentagon knowing the full extent of the damage.

An internal US Navy review concluded that the service and its various industry partners are "under cyber siege" from Chinese hackers who are building Beijing's military capabilities while eroding the US's advantage, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Chinese hackers have repeatedly hit the Navy, defense contractors, and even universities that partner with the service.

"We are under siege," a senior Navy official told The Journal. "People think it's much like a deadly virus — if we don't do anything, we could die."

Read more ....

Update: 'Under Siege': US Navy Reportedly Admits Its Cybersecurity in 'Dire' Situation (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: So much for Chinese President Xi's promise that China would not do this .... U.S., allies slam China for brazen cyberattacks as Trump administration indicts hackers (Politico).

Could America Run Out Of Missiles In A War Against Russia And China?

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 07:05 AM PDT

YouTube

David Axe, National Interest: Imagine This: In a War with Russia or China, America Could Run out of 'Ammo'

But not for long: Missiles are everywhere in the U.S. Defense Department's budget proposal for 2020. The emphasis on long-range, guided munitions should please critics of Pentagon's war-planning. Experts have warned that in combat with a high-tech foe, U.S. forces quickly would run out of ammo.

Missiles are everywhere in the U.S. Defense Department's budget proposal for 2020 .

The emphasis on long-range, guided munitions should please critics of Pentagon's war-planning. Experts have warned that in combat with a high-tech foe, U.S. forces quickly would run out of ammo.

"The [fiscal year] 2020 budget funds preferred munitions at the maximum production rate," the office of acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan stated.

Read more ....

Update: Despite push for future tech, munitions remain major wedge in budget (Defense News)

WNU Editor: Even with this buildup, I can easily see the U.S. going through their missile stockpile very quickly in any major peer-to-peer conflict.

Fighter Jets Will Always Set Off A Police Radar

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 06:38 AM PDT



Business Insider: An F-16 fighter jet made a California highway patrolman's radar go bonkers with a high-speed flyby

* Video taken by Officer Chris Bol of the California Highway Patrol shows an F-16 Fighting Falcon blasting past his patrol car on an empty highway.
* These low-altitude flybys occur regularly in this particular area and are often picked up on radar.
* Bol's radar went in and out, apparently reading 250 mph at one point, the California Highway Patrol station in the California desert suburb of Bishop told Business Insider.

A California patrolman's radar apparently flipped out on an empty stretch of highway over the weekend, which was odd because there wasn't another car in sight. But then an F-16 Fighting Falcon came flying low and fast past his location.

A video taken by Officer Chris Bol and shared by the California Highway Patrol station in the California desert suburb of Bishop shows the F-16 making a pass — not the first, as the officer filming has his camera ready to catch the fighter flying by his Ford Explorer.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Those low flybys are always a sight to see.

This Is Why Venezuela Is In The Middle Of A Nationwide Blackout

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 06:32 AM PDT

Power lines seen during a blackout in the Catia neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Rodrigo Linares, Business Insider/Caracas Chronicles: 11 reasons Venezuela is mired in a nationwide blackout — and why the problem may not be fixed any time soon

* Venezuela is currently dealing with nationwide blackouts that have lasted for days.
* The embattled government of President Nicolas Maduro has blamed the outages on sabotage.
* But power cuts have become common as Venezuela's electrical industry loses investment and know-how.

How did this blackout begin? What started the event?

There is no official information. The regime only says this is an act of sabotage, and that US Senator Marco Rubio and the Venezuelan opposition are to blame for it.

From people inside the electric industry, we know that an overheat alarm was triggered between the San Geronimo B and Malena substations, which are like nodes. San Geronimo B is just South of Valle de La Pascua (Guarico state, central plains); Malena is a bit in the middle of nowhere, between Bolivar's Trocal 19 and the Orinoco River.

From San Geronimo B substation, comes the electric load to power all the TVs, light bulbs, blenders, etc. At Malena substation end the cables that come directly from the turning water wheels of the Guri dam. If you follow the lines from Guri, the country's main dam South of Ciudad Guayana, they go North from Guri to Malena and San Geronimo, and from there it splits into several lines going to the central region and then to the rest of the country (East and West).

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A cyber attack is not the reason why Venezuela's power grid failed. And to make sure that another major blackout does not happen again, invest the monies and resources to maintain and upgrade the system. But if history is any indication, the current government under Maduro is not going to do it. In the meantime the incredible suffering in Venezuela continues .... The heartbreaking footage that lays bare the depth of Venezuela's crisis: Mother carries body of her emaciated 22lb daughter to a morgue after the 19-year-old died when doctors couldn't treat her because the blackout forced hospitals to shut (Daily Mail).

Is This The Future Of Warfare?

Posted: 13 Mar 2019 06:08 AM PDT



Popular Mechanics: This Crazy Ad for an Israeli Future Tank Is Something Else

This is the most convincing video yet on how buzzword technologies could actually become useful for 21st century armor troopers.

This hype video is a rare blend of funny and fascinating. And it might just show us the future of armored warfare.

Behold Israeli defense contractor Rafael's new promo for the company's Advanced Suite for Armored Fighting Vehicles. The clip is a vision of how automation, sensors, new self-defense technologies, and giant screens could revolutionize the way soldiers fight from armored vehicles.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: IMHO this is the future of warfare.