Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Poll: Most Americas Believe Traditional Media Are Publishing Fake News Reports

Politico: Poll: 6 in 10 Americans think traditional news outlets report fake news

A majority of Americans believe traditional media outlets publish fake news reports, and Republicans are more likely to believe that fake news is being pushed to advance an agenda, according to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.

The poll, which was conducted by phone during the first week of March, found that 80 percent of respondents believed online news sources reported fake news either regularly or occasionally. Fifty-four percent of respondents, including a majority of Republicans, independents and Democrats, said that fake news reports online were published on purpose in order to advance a specific agenda.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As WNU commentator Andrew Jackson likes to always put it .... "Fake News!!!!" :)

Where Is President Obama?

Yes, this is a real photo, but it’s not on Tetiaroa. Barack Obama smiles as he looks out at Turtle Beach on a visit to Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Atoll, U.S., September 1, 2016. JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS

Hufington Post: Obama Is Holed Up Writing His Book On The South Pacific Island Of Tetiaroa

Marlon Brando used to own it.

After a brief layover in Hawaii, former President Barack Obama is hanging out on a South Pacific island for a month to write his White House memoir, according to the Washington Post.

The island, called Tetiaroa, is an atoll located in a group of French Polynesian islands. Its closest neighbor is Tahiti, which is roughly 30 miles away. Not only is it super private and exclusive, it’s also gorgeous:

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am willing to bet that he is sleeping in everyday. As for the Secret Service agents who are guarding him .... they are working in paradise, and they must be the most envied in the Secret Service right now.

Russia-Gate News Updates -- March 29, 2017



Reuters: Russia probe should focus on Trump financial ties: senator

A U.S. Senate investigation into Russia's meddling during the U.S. election should include a thorough review of any financial ties between Russia and President Donald Trump and his associates, Democratic senator Ron Wyden said Wednesday.

In a formal written request made to the leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, Wyden said financial relationships between Trump, a real estate developer with properties around the world, and Russia are deserving of scrutiny because of resistance by Trump and some in his orbit have not been forthcoming about their finances.

"Efforts to understand these relationships and to separate fact from speculation have been hampered by the opacity of the finances of President Trump and his associates," Wyden, who also sits on the intelligence panel, wrote to Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Mark Warner.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This story is being conveniently ignored by many in the main stream media .... Former Obama official discloses rush to get intelligence on Trump team (FOX News).

Russia-Gate News Updates -- March 29, 2017

Two Russia probes churn on as House panel's investigation stalls -- USA Today
Sen. McCain Says Select Committee Must Be Formed to Probe Trump & Russia -- Fox News
Republicans rally around Nunes as Russia firestorm spreads -- Politico
Nunes tries to blame Democrats for troubled Russia probe -- Politico
NUNES: 'We're going to do an investigation with or without' cooperation from the Democrats -- Business Insider
Nunes Uproar Sidelines House Intel Panel, Puts Eye on Senate -- Caitlin Huey-Burns, RCP
How Obama's White House weaponized media against Trump -- Michael Doran, The Hill
Did the Trump Administration Really Try to Block Sally Yates From Testifying on Russia? -- Leon Neyfakh, Slate
These are the key names that keep coming up in the Trump-Russia investigation -- Business Insider
Who's who in Trump-Russia saga -- Zachary Cohen, CNN

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 29, 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May in the cabinet, sitting below a painting of Britain's first Prime Minister Robert Walpole, signs the official letter to European Council President Donald Tusk invoking Article 50 and the United Kingdom's intention to leave the EU on March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Christopher Furlong/Pool

Peter Apps, Reuters: For Britain, the real work on Brexit starts now

On March 29 British Prime Minister Theresa May will begin Britain’s exit from the European Union by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

It will start a two-year process of departure – and for now, we know little about what that will look like. When its members signed the Treaty in December 2007, no one could imagine circumstances in which a nation would leave.

On one extreme, Britain could crash out of the EU without any deals on trade, migration or other substantive issues. Or it could agree to a “hard Brexit”, regaining the right to limit EU migration within its borders, but losing access to the single market.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 29, 2017

The divorce bill: What happens if Brexit's conscious uncoupling turns sour? -- Brigid Andersen and Barbara Miller, ABC News Online

Brexit Doesn't Have to Be a Disaster -- Clive Crook, Bloomberg

Staring Into Brexit's Abyss -- Linda Kinstler, The Atlantic

Article 50: What will be negotiated -- Al Jazeera

What happens now that Britain has triggered Article 50? -- The Economist

The Ukrainian Argument for Scottish Independence -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

The Real Threat to Israel: Hezbollah and Iran -- Moshe Arens, Haaretz

The battle for Raqqa explained -- Mariya Petkova, Al Jazeera

Arab Summit: 'Arabs lost confidence in their leaders' -- Zena Tahhan, Al Jazeera

Egypt’s Strongman Heads to Washington, Where He Can Expect a Warm Welcome -- Frederick Deknatel, WPR

Trump's North Korea Policy: Is It Different from Obama's? -- Jenny Lee, VOA

Can Park's potential leftist successor mend ties with North Korea? -- Julian Ryall, DW

How to Make a Deal With North Korea -- John Delurym, NYT

A year on, regal Suu Kyi struggles to move Myanmar on from conflict -- Simon Lewis and Antoni Slodkowski, Reuters

What a World Led By China Might Look Like -- Uri Friedland, The Atlantic

Is Russia America's Enemy? -- Brandon Valeriano, RCW

World News Briefs -- March 29, 2017 (Evening Edition)



BBC: 'No turning back' on Brexit as Article 50 triggered

Britain's departure from the EU is "an historic moment from which there can be no turning back", Theresa May has said.

She was speaking after Britain's EU ambassador formally triggered the two year exit process by handing a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk.

A sombre-looking Mr Tusk said it was not a "happy day" for him or the EU.

The European Parliament warned security cooperation was not on the table as it fired its opening salvo in what are expected to be tough negotiations.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Iraqi forces battle toward landmark Mosul mosque.

Engineers repair Syria's Tabqa dam spillways after shelling.

Syrian opposition, Russia discuss reinforcing ceasefire.

Raqqa residents trapped by militants ahead of assault.

Syria conflict: 'Deal reached' for four besieged towns.

Iranian president notes Tehran, Moscow enter new stage of cooperation.

Bahrain sentences 2 people to death on terror charges.

Jordan FM says Arab summit ends with 'message of peace'.

Arab leaders reaffirm support for Palestinian state amid unease over U.S. stance.

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas meets Trump envoy at Arab summit.

Turkish court orders Booking.com to be blocked.

ASIA

Australia holds emergency meet with China after extradition treaty failure.

Mobs attack Africans in India after a local boy went missing.

Sri Lanka signals arrests over high-profile killings.

Cambodia's government increases pressure on opposition.

North Korea's nuclear test site active.

China coal imports from North Korea surge in February.

Japan's ruling party wants capability to attack enemy bases.

China, Japan island fight reignites with population push.

‘We are not safe here’: Afghan interpreters left behind by US troops cry for help (EXCLUSIVE).

Philippines, China to hold direct talks on sea row.

Duterte to US: Why didn't you send armada vs China islands?

Amnesty International calls for Fiji Times sedition charges to be dropped.

Australia begins 'war zone' cleanup after Cyclone Debbie. Cyclone Debbie: Experts fear damage to Great Barrier Reef.


AFRICA

Uganda hails surrender of senior LRA commander.

Over 60,000 S.Sudanese enter Sudan in three months: UN.

U.S. envoy says U.N. aiding 'corrupt' Congo government.

DR Congo protests turn violent after power-sharing talks collapse.

UN: Malaria outbreak kills over 4,000 in Burundi this year.

Calls for UN, Congo to investigate deaths of Swede, American.

Pilot killed in Libya fighter jet crash.

146 migrants feared missing after boat capsizes in Med: UN.

Egyptian president to visit Trump next week.

Somalia faces major cholera outbreak.

EUROPE

U.N. rights experts call on Russia to release protesters.

Poland shuts consulates in Ukraine after grenade attack.

Troubled Ukrainian anti-corruption drive hits software obstacle. Ukraine central bank offices searched in corruption probe.

Dozens rescued off Cyprus coast.

European parliament aims for general deal on future ties with Britain in two years.

'No turning back' on Brexit as Article 50 triggered.

Scottish Parliament votes to back bid for new independence referendum.

NATO, Russia ambassadors to meet to resolve differences.

US ambassador: Tillerson counting on meeting Putin soon.

Kosovo Albanians block roads to prevent Serb rally.

France's former Socialist PM Manuel Valls backs Macron in election.

Germany nabs Taliban fighter accused of killing U.S. soldiers.

London Stock Exchange-Deutsche Boerse deal blocked by EU.

AMERICAS

Trump faces skeptical Democrats as he eyes bipartisan deals.

Congress may stiff Trump on wall funding.


Shots fired near Capitol, suspect in custody: Police.

Russia probe should focus on Trump financial ties: senator.

Hillary Clinton criticises Trump in one of her first public speeches since US election defeat.

Lead US senators upbeat Congress will avoid shutdown, CR, but DoD taking no chances.

Brazil police hold top Rio lawmaker, seek court members in probe.

Venezuela's government hopes for international sanctions.

Second day of Mexican prison riot leaves two dead. Mexico prison riot leaves two inmates dead in Monterrey.

California is the top state with most UFO sightings, say UFO experts.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Terrorism risk from small domestic drones concerning: Official.

Four suspected al Qaeda members killed in Yemen drone strike: residents.

London attack a 'wake-up' call for tech firms to put house in order: police.

North Caucasian group highlights training in Syria.

In the fight against ISIS, Predators and Reapers prove close-air support bona-fides.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Bangladesh Bank heist was 'state-sponsored': U.S. official.

'Pink Star' diamond set to fetch record price in Hong Kong.

Toshiba's Westinghouse files for US bankruptcy.

Samsung aims to start 'new era' with Galaxy S8.

The Battle For The Iraqi City Of Mosul -- News Updates March 29, 2017



Reuters: Iraqi forces battle toward landmark Mosul mosque

Iraqi special forces and police fought Islamic State militants to edge closer to the al-Nuri mosque in western Mosul on Wednesday, tightening their control around the landmark site in the battle to recapture Iraq's second city.

The close-quarters fighting is focused on the Old City surrounding the mosque, where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a caliphate nearly three years ago across territory controlled by the group in both Iraq and Syria.

Thousands of residents have fled from IS-held areas inside Mosul, the militants' biggest remaining stronghold in Iraq. But tens of thousands more are still trapped inside homes, caught in the fighting, shelling and air strikes as Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition advance in the west.

Read more ....

The Battle For The Iraqi City Of Mosul -- News Updates March 29, 2017

Over 280 Iraqi security forces members killed in west Mosul: U.S. general -- Reuters
Nine Iraqi soldiers killed storming western Mosul district -- Iraqi News
Mosul battle: Iraqi forces edge closer to key mosque -- BBC
Battle for Mosul: Soldiers facing most brutal street fighting since WWII to defeat ISIS -- Express
Mosul civilian death toll rises as residents face threat on two fronts -- ABC News Online
US opens formal investigation into civilian deaths in Mosul -- AP
Probe into Mosul blast moves to formal investigation: U.S. general -- Reuters
US military opens investigation into Mosul airstrike -- ABC News
Inside Mosul, a huge blast, then screams, dust and horror -- Reuters
Iraqi government 'made a mistake' by attacking Mosul before capturing Isis sanctuaries -- The Independent

Russian And American Troops Are Within 'Hand-Grenade Range' Of Each Other In Syria

Recently US and Russian forces 'have converged literally within hand-grenade range of one another'. Pictured above, Russian soldiers gather as rebel fighters and their families evacuate the besieged Waer district in the central Syrian city of Homs, after an agreement reached between rebels and Syria's army

Daily Mail: Russian and American troops are within 'hand-grenade range' of each other in Syria as they overlap while fighting ISIS, warn US commanders

* Russian and US troops are working with Kurdish YPG fighters to combat ISIS
* A defense expert warns that 'escalation is bound to happen' between troops
* US Central Command said, however, that military commanders are working together to avoid accidental casualties and inadvertently striking one another
* Russia wants an 'alliance' with the US and to be 'recognized as an equal partner'
* During the first two weeks of March, the troops worked together to stop the Turkish army from entering Manbij, a town in the Aleppo region of Syria

Russian troops are within 'hand-grenade range' of American forces in parts of Syria, sparking fears of escalated tension in the region.

The two nations are working together with Kurdish YPG fighters in the country to combat ISIS in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

Though the countries' commanders are in contact, the Pentagon stopped military-to-military cooperation following Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

Recently the forces 'have converged literally within hand-grenade range of one another', warned Army Lt. Gen. Steven Townsend, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.

Read more ....

Update #1:
Russians Are Fighting Near Americans on Same Side of Syria’s Battlefield (NBC)
Update #2: Russians reportedly in ‘hand-grenade range’ of friendly US troops in Syria (New York Post)

WNU Editor: I thought we were all (cough cough) friends and allies in the war against the Islamic State?

Syria War News Updates -- March 29, 2017



Daily Mail: The city of human shields: 300,000 civilians trapped in ISIS 'capital' Raqqa forced to dress as militants and dig trenches so enemies cannot pick them apart from terrorists

* Landmines and checkpoints around the northern Syrian city prevent escape
* US-backed forces are bearing down on Raqqa, the capital of ISIS's caliphate
* Spies are living among the population, and two people have been executed for alleged collusion with outsiders
* Civilians are made to dress as ISIS militants so they cannot be distinguished

ISIS is using 300,000 civilians as human shields as enemy forces bear down on its capital in northern Syria.

Men living in Raqqa are being forced to wear the baggy pants and long shirts worn by the terror group, making it difficult to pick them apart from militants.

And landmines and checkpoints have been laid out around the city to prevent people from escaping.

Read more ....

Syria War News Updates -- March 29, 2017

IS holds terrified civilians as human shields in Syrian city -- AP
ISIS leaders’ families escape Raqqa -- Al Arabiya
US-Led Coalition Destroyed Four Bridges, Interrupting Transportation in Raqqa -- Sputnik
Syria fighters take control of IS-held airbase near Raqqa -- BBC
British volunteers preparing for 'bloodbath' fighting Isis in Raqqa as offensive on Syrian stronghold looms -- The Independent
British anti-Isis fighters 'trolling' terrorists as they advance on Syrian stronghold of Raqqa -- The Independent
US service member dies in Syria of natural causes -- AP
An American service member has died in Syria -- Military Times
Syrian army captures Islamic State village near Aleppo -- Reuters
Bus bombing kills five in Syria's Homs: SANA -- Reuters
Syria deal to evacuate Shi'ites and Sunnis from towns: source, Observatory -- Reuters
US-backed Forces to Resume Anti-IS Operations at Syrian Dam -- VOA
Syrian experts visit critical dam spillway near main IS base -- AP
Engineers set to to enter IS-held parts of Syria dam -- AFP
Engineers repair Syria's Tabqa dam spillways after shelling -- Reuters
Spillways functioning normally at Syrian dam: SDF media official -- Reuters
Monitoring groups say US behind deadly air strike on Syrian dam -- Financial Times
Russia criticizes US-led coalition over bombing of Syria dam -- AP
U.S. envoy to U.N.: Syria's Assad 'hindrance to moving forward' -- Reuters
Syrian opposition, Russia discuss reinforcing ceasefire -- Reuters
Russia's Lavrov: still possible to renew cooperation with U.S. in Syria -- Reuters

Myanmar Military Chief Defends Crackdown Against Rohingya In The Western Rakhine State

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (R), commander-in-chief of Myanmar's armed forces, participates in an Armed Forces Day ceremony in Naypyidaw, March 27, 2017. RFA

Sydney Morning Herald: Myanmar chief labels Rohingya Muslim intruders, warns against UN investigation

Myanmar's military chief has warned against United Nations intervention in his country, declaring more than one million Rohingya Muslims in western Rakhine state as "Bengali" interlopers, despite them having lived there for generations.

Min Aung Hlaing​ also signalled his armed forces will shun a fact-finding mission into atrocities on Rohingya, following a motion co-sponsored by Australia at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last Friday, saying it would threaten Myanmar's sovereignty.

Read more ....

More News On Myanmar's Military Chief Defending His Crackdown Against The Rohingya In Rakhine State

Myanmar Military Chief Defends Crackdown Against Rohingya in Rakhine State -- Radio Free Asia
Myanmar army chief defies UN calls, defends crackdown on Rohingya -- Press TV
U.N. Rights Council to Investigate Reports of Atrocities in Myanmar -- New York Times
UN to probe alleged crimes against Rohingya in Myanmar -- Al Jazeera
Myanmar Rohingya militants call for peacekeeping troops -- AFP

Satellite Images Show North Korea Preparing For A Nuclear Test



Japan Times: Satellite imagery shows North Korea may be in final stages of preparing for nuclear test

Satellite imagery of North Korea’s main nuclear test site “strongly suggests” that preparations for the country’s sixth atomic test are entering the final stages, a leading U.S. website that monitors the isolated nation said Tuesday.

The 38 North website, a project of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said imagery taken Saturday of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site shows the continued presence of three to four vehicles and trailers at the entrance to an underground test tunnel.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That North Korea Is Preparing Another Nuclear Test

North Korea's nuclear test site active. -- 38 North
North Korea could be in final stages of nuclear test preparations: Report -- CNBC/Reuters
Satellite images may show North Korea readying for nuke test -- AP
N. Korea could be in final preparations for nuclear test: report -- AFP
North Korea Preparing For New Nuclear Tests in April According to Experts -- Gizmodo
Satellite images show North Korea may be planning nuclear test -- Market Watch

North Korea Continues To Break Sanctions

The value of China's coal imports from North Korea surged nearly 40 percent in February 2017

Reuters: Exclusive: Malaysia inspects North Korean coal ship for possible U.N. sanctions breach

Malaysia briefly prevented a North Korean ship carrying coal from entering its port in Penang because of a suspected breach of United Nations sanctions, a port worker and Malaysian maritime officials told Reuters on Wednesday

The KUM YA, was carrying 6,300 metric tonnes of anthracite coal, according to a worker at Penang Port who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. It was later allowed to dock, where an inspection team accompanied by an armed escort boarded the ship.

A December 2016 U.N. Security Council resolution placed a cap on exports of North Korean coal, and urged member states to apply extra scrutiny on North Korean ships.

Production of coal in North Korea is state-controlled and its exports are a key source of hard currency for the isolated country's banned nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Read more ....

Update: North Korea coal, air route, raise questions about sanctions (UPI)

WNU Editor: What does not help are reports like this .... China coal imports from North Korea surge in February (AFP). More here (video) .... China opposes new U.S. legislation that tightens sanctions on N. Korea (Arirang).

Power-Sharing Talks Have Collapsed In DR Congo

Opposition supporters in Kinshasa, DRC, chant slogans during a march to press Congolese President Joseph Kabila to step down (CNS)

BBC: DR Congo protests turn violent after power-sharing talks collapse

Police have fired tear gas and bullets to disperse opposition protesters in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital, Kinshasa.

The protests erupted when negotiations aimed at securing the departure of President Joseph Kabila after 17 years in power collapsed.
Religious leaders mediating the talks said politicians were acting selfishly.

The outline for a power-sharing deal in the country was agreed last year but the details have proved tricky.

Bishops who had mediated between the government and the opposition called off the talks because, they said, politicians had failed to agree on issues such as the choice of a transitional prime minister.

Read more ....

Update #1: Police and protesters clash in DR Congo after mediation talks collapse (TRT)
Update #2: DRC tense as police clash with anti-Kabila protesters (Al Jazeera)

WNU Editor: This is going to end badly.

Shots Fired On Capital Hill Grounds In Washington. Suspect in Custody





FOX News: Driver rams into Capitol Police cruisers as car chase ends in Hill scare

A police car chase ended Wednesday morning with the suspect driving into Capitol Police cruisers and other vehicles near Capitol Hill before being arrested, in the latest security scare in the nation's capital.

The chase of the female suspect appeared to be a traffic stop gone bad.

A police official briefing reporters said the investigation is in “preliminary stages” but there appears to be “no nexus to terrorism.”

“This incident appears to be criminal in nature,” the official said, adding that the standoff started as a “traffic stop.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: After last weeks terror attack in London .... everyone is nervous.

More News On Today's Incident On The Capital Hill Grounds In Washington

Woman in custody after 'criminal' incident near Capitol; police say 'no nexus to terrorism' -- ABC News
Driver attempts to ram police cruiser on Capitol Hill grounds, officials say; shots fired -- Washington Post
Woman strikes Capitol Police cruiser, taken into custody -- AP
Police open fire after driver strikes patrol car near U.S. Capitol -- Reuters
Shots fired near Capitol after driver crashes into police car -- The Hill
Police: Shots Fired Near Capitol Hill After Driver Hit Cop Car -- NBC
Shots Fired After Woman Rams Police Cruiser Near Capitol -- CBS DC

World News Briefs -- March 29, 2017



Reuters: 'No turning back': PM May triggers 'historic' Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May formally began Britain's divorce from the European Union on Wednesday, saying there was "no turning back" from a decision pitching her country into the unknown and triggering years of fraught negotiations.

Nine months after Britons voted to leave, May notified EU Council President Donald Tusk in a letter that Britain was quitting the bloc it joined in 1973.

"The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union," May later told parliament in London. "This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back."

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Iraqi forces battle toward landmark Mosul mosque.

Raqqa residents trapped by militants ahead of assault.

Syria conflict: 'Deal reached' for four besieged towns.

Iranian president notes Tehran, Moscow enter new stage of cooperation.

Bahrain sentences 2 people to death on terror charges.

Arab leaders reaffirm support for Palestinian state amid unease over U.S. stance.

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas meets Trump envoy at Arab summit.

ASIA

North Korea's nuclear test site active.

China coal imports from North Korea surge in February.

Japan's ruling party wants capability to attack enemy bases.

China, Japan island fight reignites with population push.

‘We are not safe here’: Afghan interpreters left behind by US troops cry for help (EXCLUSIVE).

Philippines, China to hold direct talks on sea row.

Duterte to US: Why didn't you send armada vs China islands?

Amnesty International calls for Fiji Times sedition charges to be dropped.

Australia begins 'war zone' cleanup after Cyclone Debbie. Cyclone Debbie: Experts fear damage to Great Barrier Reef.


AFRICA

DR Congo protests turn violent after power-sharing talks collapse.

UN: Malaria outbreak kills over 4,000 in Burundi this year.

Calls for UN, Congo to investigate deaths of Swede, American.

Pilot killed in Libya fighter jet crash.

146 migrants feared missing after boat capsizes in Med: UN.

Egyptian president to visit Trump next week.

Somalia faces major cholera outbreak.

EUROPE

'No turning back' on Brexit as Article 50 triggered.

Scottish Parliament votes to back bid for new independence referendum.

NATO, Russia ambassadors to meet to resolve differences.

US ambassador: Tillerson counting on meeting Putin soon.

Kosovo Albanians block roads to prevent Serb rally.

France's former Socialist PM Manuel Valls backs Macron in election.

Germany nabs Taliban fighter accused of killing U.S. soldiers.

London Stock Exchange-Deutsche Boerse deal blocked by EU.

AMERICAS

Shots fired near Capitol, suspect in custody: Police.

Russia probe should focus on Trump financial ties: senator.

Hillary Clinton criticises Trump in one of her first public speeches since US election defeat.

Lead US senators upbeat Congress will avoid shutdown, CR, but DoD taking no chances.

Venezuela's government hopes for international sanctions.

Second day of Mexican prison riot leaves two dead. Mexico prison riot leaves two inmates dead in Monterrey.

California is the top state with most UFO sightings, say UFO experts.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

London attack a 'wake-up' call for tech firms to put house in order: police.

North Caucasian group highlights training in Syria.

In the fight against ISIS, Predators and Reapers prove close-air support bona-fides.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

'Pink Star' diamond set to fetch record price in Hong Kong.

Toshiba's Westinghouse files for US bankruptcy.

Samsung aims to start 'new era' with Galaxy S8.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 29, 2017



Washington Post: Amid reports of increased civilian deaths, military says no changes to air rules

The U.S. military is not considering immediate changes to procedures governing airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, officials said on Monday, as the Pentagon defends the conduct of its air campaign against the Islamic State following a spike in reported civilian deaths.

Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command (Centcom), “is not looking into changing the way we operate, other than to say our processes are good and we want to make sure we live by those processes,” said Col. John Thomas, a spokesman for the command.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Thomas said that Centcom, which oversees the campaigns in Iraq and Syria, sought to use existing military guidelines “to discriminate appropriately civilian targets from military targets.”

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 29, 2017

U.S. denies loosening rules for avoiding civilian casualties in Mosul fight against ISIS -- CBS/AP

GOP lawmakers defend Trump military rules of engagement -- The Hill

Why the Spike in Civilian Casualties of US Military Action? -- Oona Hathaway, Newsweek

White House looks at stepping up military role in Yemen -- CNN

Trump: US troops 'fighting like never before' in Iraq -- CNN

Report: China's Man-Made S. China Sea Islands Nearly Complete -- AP

China has every right to deploy military assets on Spratly Islands – Beijing -- RT

US sees a resurgent Russian military expanding into Afghanistan, Libya -- CNN

Putin beefs up number of troops in military to nearly 2 mln -- TASS

Some 20 Topol-M, Yars mobile ICBM systems take part in massive Central Russian drills -- TASS

Is Russia Building a Nuclear-Powered Supercarrier? -- Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat

Satellite images may show North Korea readying for nuke test -- AP

Israel Upgrades Its Warships to Brace for Hezbollah Rockets -- Sputnik

U.K., France join forces for new anti-ship weapon -- UPI

Reforms planned for Germany's military after sex abuse scandal -- DW

German military carrying out structural reforms after sexual abuse scandal -- Reuters

German government finds eight alternatives to Incirlik military base in Turkey -- DW

Norway Inks Deal to Buy P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Planes From US -- Sputnik

Top US general in Europe says he hasn't briefed Trump on Russia -- The Hill

In Leadership Push, Navy Nixes Most Computer-Based General Training -- Military.com

Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman complete MAPS test -- UPI

Navy, Marines fighter jet shortfall may top 100 aircraft -- Washington Examiner

Will The Air Force B-21 Bring New, Next-Generation Stealth Technology? -- Scout Warrior

F-22 Pilots Welcome End of Old Missile on New Fighter -- Defense Tech

Trump names new head of F-35 program -- The Hill

Trump’s Favorite Fighter Jet Keeps Starving Pilots of Oxygen -- Bloomberg

US 'Walking on the Razor's Edge' by Building Global Missile Defense Shield -- Sputnik

Get Ready, Russia and China: The U.S. Military Has Big Plans to Sink the World's Navies -- Kris Osborn, National Interest

Are social media and the military incompatible? -- Chad Storlie, Washington Examiner

This Is How Russian Hackers Will Attack the US Next -- Nicole Softness, Defense One

Donald Trump, Palantir, and the crazy battle to clean up a multibillion-dollar Military procurement swamp -- Steven Brill, Fortune

China Has A Plan To Crush The U.S. Space Program

Photo taken on June 3, 2013 shows the assembly of the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft and the Long March-2F carrier rocket at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu Province. The assembly was transported to the launch site on Monday morning, which marks the manned Shenzhou-10 mission entering the final phase of its preparation. The spacecraft, which will be launched in mid-June from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, will carry three astronauts and dock with Tiangong-1, target orbiter and space module. Source:China.org.cn

Clay Dillow, CNBC: China's secret plan to crush SpaceX and the US space program

China's breakneck economic expansion may be flagging, but the country's ambitions in space show no signs of slowing down. Alongside ongoing efforts to rival NASA by placing robotic landers, and eventually astronauts, on the moon and Mars, China's government is increasingly looking to its burgeoning space sector to rival U.S. companies like Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX, which is targeting March 30 for the latest launch of its Falcon 9 rocket.

Though Chinese space authorities have publicly announced the country's ambitions to forge itself into a major space power by the early 2030s, President Xi Jinping's government is also considering ways to direct spending that will push Chinese tech companies toward breakthroughs in downstream technologies like robotics, aerospace, artificial intelligence, big data analytics and other 21st-century technologies.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A space program is a very expensive endeavour ,,,, and I am sure that the Chinese are going to spend it. But will it "crush" SpaceX and the US space program .... we shall see.

Philippine President Duterte Asks The U.S. Ambassador On Why Did America Not Deploy An Armada Of Warships To Stop China Constructing Man-Made Islands

President Duterte meets with United States Ambassador Sung Kim at Presidential Guest House in Panacan, Davao City back in January. Malacanang Photo

ABS-CBN: Duterte: US should've sent fleet to halt China structures in disputed isles

MANILA - If the United States really wanted to avoid trouble in disputed territories in the South China Sea, it should have sent a fleet to stop China from building structures there, President Rodrigo Duterte said.

In a conversation with US Ambassador Sung Kim earlier this week, Duterte said he was surprised that America did not utilize its navy’s 7th Fleet, which is headquartered in Japan and patrols the Pacific Ocean, to stop Chinese construction activities once they were spotted by reconnaissance units.

“Sabi ko, I am surprised Mr. Ambassador, because had America really wanted to avoid trouble early on…why did you not send the armada of the 7th fleet?…and say to their face, ‘You cannot build manmade structures sa high seas,’” Duterte said in a speech in Mindoro on Wednesday.

Read more ....

Update #1: Duterte to US: Why didn't you send armada vs China islands? (AP)
Update #2: Duterte to US envoy: Why didn’t you send ships to stop China reclamation? (Inquirer.net)

WNU Editor: So he wants the U.S. to fight his battles .... while insulting U.S. leaders. That is not how you do things.

Brexit Now Official: Prime Minister May Has Triggered U.K.'s Exit From The EU





BBC: 'No turning back' on Brexit as Article 50 triggered

Britain's departure from the European Union is an "historic moment from which there can be no turning back", Theresa May has told MPs.

The prime minister said it was a "unique opportunity" to "shape a brighter future" for the UK.

She was speaking after Britain's EU ambassador formally triggered the two year count down to the UK's exit by handing over a letter in Brussels.

It follows June's referendum which resulted in a vote to leave the EU.

Read more ....

More News On Brexit Officially Beginning As Brussels Receives Formal Notification Letter

Brexit: Article 50 has been triggered: Live Updates -- BBC
Brexit: Theresa May wants 'deep and special' partnership with EU as UK triggers article 50 - Politics live -- The Guardian
Read Theresa May's full statement on Brexit and triggering Article 50 -- The Independent
Brexit begins! History is made with Article 50 divorce letter warning Brussels that punishing the UK would be a 'costly mistake' as PM hails 'great turning point' for Britain -- Daily Mail
British PM May fires starting gun on Brexit -- Reuters
It's over: Britain files for divorce from the European Union -- AP
In historic break, Britain gives formal notice it is leaving the European Union -- Washington Post
Making ‘Brexit’ Official, U.K. Wades Into a Thorny Thicket -- NYT
British PM Theresa May signs Brexit letter to begin divorce from EU -- DW
Brexit begins: UK triggers Article 50 to begin EU divorce -- CNN
Brexit Gets Real: Prime Minister May Has Triggered U.K.'s Exit From EU -- NPR
EU divorce letter in full: Theresa May vows to put 'UK citizens first' as she warns Brussels to do a trade deal or 'lose full cooperation on terrorism and security' -- Daily Mail
'This is not a happy day': Tusk responds to Britain's Article 50 letter saying it is a test of 'damage control' vowing to defend the interests of the remaining 27 states -- Daily Mail
First EU response to article 50 takes tough line on transitional deal -- The Guardian
'We miss you already': European press bid 'farewell' to Britain on Brexit Day but warn that 'divorce hurts' -- Daily Mail
Britain's May Goes Into Brexit Talks With Ambitions High -- US News and World Report
Brexit: The UK's letter triggering Article 50 -- BBC
Eight key points you need to know about the Brexit negotiations -- Dan Roberts, The Guardian
42 Questions About Brexit That Need Answering -- TIME
Brexit triggered: 5 huge obstacles to an amicable divorce -- Alanna Petroff and Ivana Kottasova, CNN
Brexit: Article 50 has been triggered - what now? -- BBC