Monday, January 22, 2018

Many South Koreans Oppose Using The Olympics To Open Ties With North Korea

NPR: In South Korea, A Backlash Against Olympics Cooperation With The North

Efforts to make a show of North Korean and South Korean unity at the next Olympics are drawing a backlash in South Korea. In Seoul, protesters Monday set fire to the North Korean flag and a photo of Kim Jong Un. The South Korean president's approval rating has dropped in recent days as well.

"We oppose, we oppose, we oppose," shouted demonstrators at Seoul Station, the rail and subway station in the center of the capital. They showed up to confront a North Korean advance team that had arrived to scout out Olympic venues.

The Olympics cooperation between the North and South came about just this month. Athletes from the two Koreas will march under one unified flag and will form a joint North-South women's hockey team.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: South Korean President Moon Jae is personally very popular in South Korea .... but his policy of using the Olympics to influence the North Koreans to enter into talks with the U.S. on their nuclear arsenal is not being warmly embraced by many South Koreans. I know that among my many South Korean friends .... they are not comfortable with this approach. And among the older generation .... doubly so.

More News On The South Korean Backlash On Using The Olympics To Cooperate With North Korea

S. Koreans burn Kim's photo as N. Korean band leader passes -- ABC News/AP
South Koreans slam North Korea participation, unification flag at Winter Olympics -- FOX News
South Korea's president drops in polls as few support plan to include North Koreans on Olympic team -- Business Insider
South Korean protesters burn images of Kim Jong-un in Seoul -- International Business Times
South Koreans Burn Kim Jong-un Photo, Protest Visit of N Korean Delegation -- Sputnik

Afghan And Coalition Forces Preparing To Escalate The War Against The Taliban

Long War Journal: Afghan and Coalition forces prepare for 2018 offensive against the Taliban

Afghan forces plan to be on the offensive in the coming year, according to a Resolute Support press release. The NATO mission said it intends to leverage the winter months to disrupt Taliban sources of revenue and enhance air power in preparation for the insurgents’ spring offensive with help from the Afghan forces.

However, significant challenges await Resolute Support, the Afghan government and auxiliary security forces. That’s because Resolute Support mischaracterized 2017 as a success for Afghan forces and is overly optimistic about the Afghan military’s ability to take the fight to the Taliban.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A sure sign that this escalation is going to happen is this latest announcement from the Pentagon .... Up to 1000 more US troops could be headed to Afghanistan this spring (Washington Post). More here .... US military considering additional 1,000 troops for Afghanistan: report (The Hill). The U.K. are also getting involved .... SAS-style crack force is deployed to Afghanistan: 'Hand-picked, battle-hardened' British Army platoon flies out to train Afghan security forces (Daily Mail). On a side note, Pakistan is now blaming the U.S. for failing to woo the Taliban .... Pakistan says US, Afghanistan failed to woo Taliban (Pakistan Today)

Update: So true .... Afghanistan situation worsens (The Australian editorial). This is also true .... Afghanistan in the doldrums (Saad Marwat, The Nation)

The Pakistani Doctor Who Helped The CIA Find Osama bin Laden Is Still In Jail

Dr. Shakil Afridi

New York Daily News: Doctor who helped find Osama bin Laden still in jail

The physician who worked with the CIA to track down Osama bin Laden has yet to receive a good prognosis.

Shakil Afridi has been in prison since 2011 on charges of treason, but not in relation to his work with the U.S. government. Rather, officials claim he had worked with militants – a suggestion even the Taliban find hard to believe.

During the hunt for the founder of al-Qaeda, the Pakistani doctor worked with the CIA to operate a fake hepatitis vaccine program in Abbottabad that was actually searching for DNA samples belonging to members of bin Laden's family, thus confirming their location in the city.

Read more ....

Update #1: Doctor who aided hunt for bin Laden languishes, forgotten (AP)
Update #2: He Helped Find bin Laden, Now Languishes in Jail (Newser)

WNU Editor: Kudos to the AP for giving this story the attention it deserves. I have mentioned it before .... but as long as Pakistan keeps this hero in jail, I know in my heart that Pakistani will never be serious in combating the extremists that are in its country. But the day that Shakil Afridi is released .... that will be the day that I know that Pakistan has turned around and is now serious in defeating these groups.

U.S. Senate Votes To End The U.S. Government Shutdown

A rainy, gray sky tops the U.S. Capitol dome on the first day of the new session of Congress in Washington, U.S. January 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Politico: Senate votes to end shutdown

Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell announce a deal to re-open the government after a three-day standoff.

In a dramatic turnaround, Senate Democrats voted to re-open the government on Monday after receiving a commitment from Republicans to hold a vote on immigration legislation — paving the way to end the three-day shutdown.

The Senate voted 81-18 to move forward on a bill to fund the government through Feb. 8 after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreed to end the shutdown and continue to negotiate on immigration and spending matters. Without a broader deal, the Senate would take up legislation to protect hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who are losing legal protections, as long as the government remains open.

Read more ....

Update #1: Senate moves to end government shutdown as Democrats drop opposition (USA Today)
Update #2: Senate advances measure to end government shutdown (NBC)

WNU Editor: The U.S. Senate Democrats got nothing to end this shut-down. So why the shutdown in the first place? I mentioned it yesterday .... but it made no sense to me for the Democrats to close down the government and punish American citizens so that they can cater to certain progressive groups who want immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally to be given citizenship status. My guess is that many Democrats realized yesterday and this morning that the support they had expected for this stand did not materialize .... in fact opposition was growing .... hence the cave-in this afternoon. For the progressives who cheered this stand on Friday and this weekend .... and now this .... they must be pissed.

Catalonia's Former Leader Carles Puigdemont Travels To Denmark Triggering A Response From Spain For His Arrest

BBC: Catalonia crisis: Puigdemont's Denmark visit draws anger from Spain

Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont has travelled to Denmark, triggering a failed attempt by Spain's prosecutor to have him arrested.

Mr Puigdemont's trip to Copenhagen is thought to be the first time he has left Belgium for about 80 days.

He fled there in October, after a failed independence bid was ruled illegal by the Spanish authorities.

Despite the controversy, the speaker of the Catalan parliament nominated him to head the regional government on Monday.

Mr Puigdemont is wanted in Spain accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. The charges carry a potential prison sentence of up to 30 years.

Read more ....

More News On Catalonia's Former Leader Carles Puigdemont Travelling To Denmark

Ex-Catalan leader makes trip after Spain judge nixes arrest -- AP
Puigdemont Lands in Denmark as Spanish Prosecutors Seek Arrest -- Bloomberg
Carles Puigdemont: Fugitive Catalan ex-leader called to form government -- DW
Catalan crisis rekindled as parliament proposes Puigdemont as leader -- Reuters
Ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont vows to form government from abroad -- France 24
Catalonia crisis: Puigdemont's Denmark visit a 'provocation' -- BBC

U.K. Army Chief Wants More Funding To Counter Russia

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

BBC: Army chief to call for investment to keep up with Russia

Britain's armed forces risk falling behind Russia without more investment, the head of the Army will say.

General Sir Nick Carter will say the Army's ability to respond to threats "will be eroded if we don't keep up with our adversaries".

The speech - approved by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson - comes amid speculation of potential defence cuts.

The warning comes after Russia practised simulated attacks across northern Europe.

In the speech, which will take place at the Royal United Services Institute on Monday, Gen Carter will highlight Russia's new cyber warfare capabilities.

Read more ....

More News On The U.K. Army Chief Wanting More Funding To Counter Russia

Keeping up with the Russians - head of UK army wants more money -- Reuters
UK army chief Nick Carter calls for cash to counter Russia 'threats' -- Deutsche Welle
UK army chief calls for extra funding amid Russian threat -- CNN
Defence cuts leave Britain vulnerable to an attack from Putin: Head of the Army warns of dangers of UK failing to 'keep up' with Russia's military strength -- Daily Mail
Russia Military Will Overtake UK Unless It Spends More Money on Defense: Army Chief -- Newsweek
Theresa May must give the British army more money to compete with Russia, military chief warns -- Business Insider
Does the UK really need to increase its defence spending? -- The Guardian
Britain’s top Army general begs for more cash so he can fight… guess who -- RT

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov: 'Western ‘Russophobia’ Worse Than During Cold War

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

RFE: Lavrov Says Western ‘Russophobia’ Worse Than During Cold War

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the level of what he described as "Russophobia" in Western countries is higher than it was at the peak of the Cold War.

"This Russophobia is unprecedented. We never saw this during the Cold War," Lavrov told Russian daily Kommersant in an interview published on January 21.

"Back then, there were some rules, some decorum...Now, all decorum has been cast aside," he said.

He also warned that Russia had its "red lines" that other countries should not cross.

Read more ....

More News On Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's Remarks

Sergey Lavrov: West’s ‘Russiaphobia’ worse than in Cold War but don’t cross Moscow’s ‘red lines’ -- Japan Times/AFP
Lavrov: The Rusophobia of the West Today is Unprecedented -- Novinite
Russian top diplomat calls on West to respect Russia’s red lines in foreign policy -- TASS
Trump forced into making anti-Russian decisions, Lavrov says -- TASS
Russia's Lavrov says 'unilateral actions' by U.S. in Syria made Turkey furious: report -- Reuters

Turkish Military Operations Against Syrian Kurds Continues

Reuters: Turkey says campaign against U.S.-backed Kurdish force in Syria will be swift

HASSA, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkey shelled targets in northern Syria on Monday and said it would swiftly crush the U.S.-backed Kurdish YPG fighters who control the Afrin region, amid growing international concern over its three-day-old military operation.

Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies began their push to clear YPG fighters from the northwestern enclave on Saturday, opening a new front in Syria’s civil war despite calls for restraint from United States.

France has called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Monday to discuss the fighting in Afrin and other parts of Syria.

The YPG’s Afrin spokesman, Birusk Hasaka, said there were clashes between Kurdish and Turkey-backed forces on the third day of the operation. He said Turkish shelling had hit civilian areas in Afrin’s northeast.

Read more ....

More News On Turkey's Invasion Of Syria

Turkish troops face fierce battles in Syrian Kurdish enclave. -- AP
Turkey in new assault on Kurdish militia on Syria -- AFP
Syria offensive: Turkish troops 'capture villages' in Afrin -- BBC
Second Turkish border town hit by 'missile fired from inside Syria' as clashes between the two countries escalate after Erdogan's forces attacked US-backed Kurdish militia -- Daily Mail
Syria: Turkish ground troops enter Afrin enclave -- BBC
Tension rises as Turkey sends troops to YPG stronghold -- Al Jazeera
U.S.-backed SDF says may send reinforcements to Syria's Afrin -- Reuters
Turkey "soon" will finalize operation in Syria's Afrin - Erdogan -- TASS
Turkey's Olive Branch operation in Syria to have four stages - Turkish PM -- TASS
Turkey's Erdogan says has deal with Russia, will not step back from Afrin operation -- Reuters
Kremlin says in touch with Ankara over north Syria operation -- Reuters
Assad describes Turkey’s operation in Afrin as support to terrorism in Syria - SANA -- TASS
Assad slams Turkey’s Syria offensive as ‘support for terrorism’ -- SCMP
Turkey gave US heads-up on Syria operation: Mattis -- AFP
Mattis says Turkey warned Pentagon before attacking US-backed Kurds -- RT
US tells Turkey to show 'restraint' with Syria Kurds -- DW
Iran Calls on Turkey to Immediately End Olive Branch Operation -- Sputnik
Turkey's operation in Syria's Afrin: The key players -- Al Jazeera

World News Briefs -- January 22, 2018

BBC: Afghan Intercontinental Hotel attack: Death toll in Kabul reaches 22

At least 22 people have now been reported killed in a siege by gunmen at Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel, the health ministry says.

The attack ended more then 12 hours after gunmen in army uniforms entered the hotel around 21:00 local time (16:30 GMT) on Saturday.

The Taliban said their fighters were behind the attack.

Sources told national news channel, Tolo News, that the death toll could be as high as 43.

Read more ....


Turkish troops face fierce battles in Syrian Kurdish enclave.

Turkey stifles anti-Syria operation protests after Erdogan warning.

Iraq's Islamists dump religion for upcoming elections.

Iran says warplanes warned off two western vessels during drill.

UAE-backed group vows to 'overthrow' Yemen's government.

Yemen's children face 'worst diphtheria outbreak'.

Gazans call for strike over collapsing economy.

Abbas to ask EU to recognise Palestinian state: minister.

Pence arrives in Israel on visit overshadowed by Trump's Jerusalem declaration.


Taliban attack on Afghan hotel ends after 13 hours, 18 dead. Kabul hotel attack toll at least 22: officials. Taliban militants 'searched for foreigners' in Kabul hotel attack.

China says US forcing it to strengthen presence in South China Sea.

Boom goes bust in Chinese border city as UN sanctions on North Korea bite.

Rohingya leader shot dead as repatriation tensions flare.

UN official: Rohingya camps at risk of deterioration.

Thailand: Three killed in Yala market bombing.

China: Oil slick from Iranian tanker triples in size.

Philippine news site Rappler head Maria Ressa meets investigators over 'suspicious' complaint.

Tokyo holds its first military attack evacuation drill since WWII as tensions rise over North Korea's nuclear programme.


US wants Africa to shun North Korea.

DRC: Protesters killed in anti-Kabila protests.

Amid 'dramatic deterioration' in DR Congo, UN and partners launch $1.68 billion aid appeal.

Ethiopia to ease tensions with Egypt over Nile dam.

Kenya: Explosive kills 4 more children grazing livestock.

Sudan's press freedom: Concern about confiscations.

EU open to send Zimbabwe vote monitors, wants credible polls.


‘Of course Putin gets nervous, he is human’ – Press Secretary Peskov.

‘Collapse’ but ‘favorable contact’: Kremlin spokesman talks US relations.

Carles Puigdemont: Fugitive Catalan ex-leader called to form government.

Spain urges ex-Catalan leader's arrest if heads to Denmark. Spain renews arrest bid as Catalonia's Puigdemont travels to Denmark.

Merkel readies for intense German coalition talks after tight SPD vote.

France, Germany to mark Elysee Treaty with resolution to step up cooperation.

Macron admits France would vote to LEAVE EU if country held referendum.

Teens roam streets with rifles as crime swamps Sweden.


US shutdown: Government services closed as working week begins.

Senator says FBI lost crucial texts tied to Clinton probe.

2 IEDs explode at Florida mall, police say.

Four months after Maria, military veterans still on a mission in Puerto Rico.

With 25,339 murders in 2017, Mexico suffers record homicide tally.

Mexico senator quits party to join leftist presidential frontrunner.

Colombian negotiator returning to Ecuador for talks with ELN rebels.

Deadly violence over disputed Honduras election result.

US arrests ex-Guatemalan presidential candidate Manuel Baldizon for graft charge.

Pope ends Latin American trip with warning about political corruption.

Flu outbreak: 100 people a week dying in US as virus continues to spread.


Delhi Police say they've captured most-wanted terrorist known as 'India's Bin Laden'

Tunisia kills senior Al-Qaeda member.

Mattis: US national security focus no longer terrorism.

Malaysian arrests 'IS-linked militants planning attacks'.


Oxfam: Richest one percent banked 82 percent of wealth created in 2017. 'World's richest 1% get 82% of the wealth', says Oxfam.

Contrite Facebook executives seek to ward off more European rules.

Exclusive: U.S. sanctions curb Microsoft sales to hundreds of Russian firms.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 22, 2018

Chinese official prepares the flags for the China-USA bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Reuters: China's top paper says U.S. forcing China to accelerate South China Sea deployments

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s top newspaper, decrying Washington as a trouble-maker, said on Monday U.S. moves in the South China Sea like last week’s freedom of navigation operation will only cause China to strengthen its deployments in the disputed waterway.

China’s foreign ministry said the USS Hopper, a destroyer, came within 12 nautical miles of Huangyan island, which is better known as the Scarborough Shoal and is subject to a rival claim by the Philippines, a historic ally of the United States.

It was the latest U.S. naval operation challenging extensive Chinese claims in the South China Sea and came even as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 22, 2018

China threatens military buildup in South China Sea after US Navy warship's passage: paper -- FOX News

China Accuses U.S. Warship of Trespassing, Says It Will Take 'Necessary Measures' to Ensure Sovereignty -- Newsweek

‘China pursuing missile defenses; Indian nukes are main worry’ -- Asia Times

China’s new missiles likely to threaten all of Taiwan -- Asia Times

Third carrier may use electromagnetic launch catapults -- Asia Times

Chinese Navy Gets New Electronic Warfare Aircraft: Report -- NDTV

How to Stop China from Someday Invading Taiwan? Submarines. -- National Interest

Canadian Navy dropping 'draconian' policy on warship Wi-Fi, admiral says -- CBC

India to buy guns worth $553 mn for border troops -- Defense Talk/AFP

Jakarta inches closer to Su-35 order -- Flight Global

Brazil advances submarine construction -- Jane's 360

Britain No Match For Russia’s Military, U.K. Army Chief Says -- RFE

'We need more funds to cope with Russian threat': Head of the Armywarns Britain must 'keep up' with Putin's military strength or risk not being able to respond -- Daily Mail

Germany Could Arm Europe with Some Truly Super Submarines -- National Interest

Do Russia and China Stand Any Chance Against the Navy's New Aircraft Carrier? -- Nikolas K. Gvosdev, National Interest

The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Will Soon Be Armed with Hellfire Missiles -- National Interest

Mattis heads to Asia to draw a contrast with assertive China -- AFP

B-52Hs Deploy to Pacific for Continuous Bomber Presence Mission -- Defense Media Network

After Collisions, Lawmaker Presses Navy to Specialize Surface Forces -- Defense Tech/

Ecuador is fighting crime using Chinese surveillance technology -- SCMP

UK Teen Posed as CIA Chief, Got Hands on US Intelligence in Afghanistan, Iran -- Sputnik

US military considering additional 1,000 troops for Afghanistan: report -- The Hill

The Marine Corps Wants to Make Cyber More Like Special Ops -- Defense Tech/

The Army wants to ensure its command posts aren’t an easy target -- C4ISRNet

How homicide charges for two skippers will shake up the entire Navy -- Geoff Ziezulewicz and Mark D. Faram, Navy TImes

Democratic senator calls Trump 'Cadet Bone Spurs' during fiery speech on the shutdown's impact on the military -- Business Insider

Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America -- US Department Of Defense

The Defense department made a last-minute change to allow overseas troops to watch the NFL playoffs during the government shutdown -- Business Insider

The Next New Military Specialty Should Be Software Developers -- Jim Perkins, War On The Rocks

Khe Sanh veterans recall Vietnam battle's start 50 years ago Sunday -- FOX News

A Look At The Types Of Machine Guns That The U.S. Military Uses

United States Army personnel, including the son of John Moses Browning, fire an M1917 heavy machine gun. (U.S. Army photo)

We Are The Mighty: How to tell what type of machine gun you're looking at

For over a century, machine guns have had a major effect on ground combat. Their efficacy against infantry prompted the invention of the tank in World War I, for instance. They’ve changed the way wars are fought and have played a huge role in forging history.

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that not all machine guns are the same, and getting the nomenclature right is important. While this isn’t as hotly contested as the debate between “magazine” and “clip”, it can get touchy. We’re talking about some cool machine guns here, we want to make sure we’re using the right terms as we imagine letting loose on a range with them.

There are several types of machine guns. Let’s take a look:

Read more ....

WNU Editor: You can add a new one to the list .... The Marines Are Fielding a New Assault Rifle (Popular Mechanics).

The Soviet Union Never Recovered 4 'Nuclear Torpedoes' From A Submarine That Sunk In The Bay Of Biscay In 1970

Image from Wikipedia

Robert Farley, National Interest: Russia Never Recovered 4 'Nuclear Torpedoes' from a Dead Submarine

In early spring 1970, K-8 participated in the Okean 70 naval wargame, an exercise intended to display the reach of the Soviet Navy, as well as to work out problems associated with operations distant from Soviet bases. This exercise was enormous; the largest the Soviet Navy had ever undertaken, and really the biggest naval operation that the Russians had attempted since the ill-fated transfer of the Baltic Fleet to the Pacific in the Russo-Japanese War. Ships from the Northern, Baltic, Black Sea, and Pacific fleets participated, roughly two hundred in all. The Soviet Northern Fleet deployed sixty surface ships and forty submarines in support of the operation. As per normal procedure, K-8 was carrying four torpedoes armed with nuclear warheads.

The Bay of Biscay is one of the world’s great submarine graveyards. In late World War II, British and American aircraft sank nearly seventy German U-boats in the Bay, which joined a handful of Allied and German subs sunk in the region during World War I. On April 12, 1970, a Soviet submarine found the same resting place. Unlike the others, however, K-8 was propelled by two nuclear reactors, and carried four torpedoes tipped by nuclear warheads.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  Four nuclear warheads just sitting there .... 15,000 feet under the sea .... if they are still there.

Fire Spotted At Russia's Vladivostok Submarine Naval Base

Warzone/The Drive: Fire At Russia's Vladivostok Submarine Base Sure Doesn't Look Like An "Exercise"

Lighting your own sub on fire, or setting a fire right next to one, seems like a pretty stupid, if not unbelievable way to execute a drill.

Videos began emerging overnight of what appeared to be a sizable fire on the frigid water at Russia's submarine base in Vladivostok. Three separate angles show thick black smoke rising from a blaze burning among docked Kilo class diesel-electric attack submarines. Shortly after the videos appeared, Russian media said the fire was part of a "damage control exercise" according to the Russian Navy.

Russia's semi-official news outlet TASS quoted the Russian Navy as stating:

"Exercises to extinguish a fire on the pier using imitation were conducted on the territory of the connection of the Pacific Fleet submarines among the personnel... The personnel coped with the [fire] excellent."

It's very hard to imagine that such a training event would include lighting one of your own submarines on fire, or at least igniting a fire right next to a cluster of submarines sitting vulnerable tied up to a pier.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russian media is calling this an exercise. I am calling it a real fire.

Does India Need A Third Aircraft Carrier?

Robert Beckhusen, National Interest: India's Aircraft Carriers Might Just Be the Ultimate Paper Tiger

The Indian Navy has put out a proposal for its third aircraft carrier, tentatively titled the Vishal due to enter service in the latter 2020s. The 65,000-ton Vishal will be significantly larger than India’s sole current carrier, the Vikramaditya known formerly as the ex-Soviet Admiral Gorshkov, and the incoming second one, the domestically-built Vikrantwhich is expected to enter service later in 2018.

To see why Vishal is a big deal for the Indian Navy, one needs only to look at her proposed air wing — some 57 fighters, more than Vikramaditya — 24 MiG-29Ks — and Vikrant‘s wing of around 30 MiG-29Ks. While below the 75+ aircraft aboard a U.S. Navy Gerald R. Ford-class supercarrier, Vishal will be a proper full-size carrier and India’s first, as the preceding two are really small-deck carriers and limited in several significant ways.

Read more ....

Update #1: Aircraft carrier Vikrant to be commissioned by 2020: Official (Economic Times/PTI)
Update #2: Navy confident of commissioning aircraft carrier Vikrant in two years (The Hindu)

WNU Editor: There is an arms race underway in Asia right now. China's building a third aircraft carrier .... China's Third Aircraft Carrier Will Be A Massive Leap Forward (January 21, 2018) .... so why not India.

The Pentagon Teams Up With Silicon Valley To Revolutionize The Battlefield

FOX News: US military teams up with Silicon Valley to revolutionize the battlefield

The U.S. military is partnering with Silicon Valley to step up its game on the battlefield.

The Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUX), which is part of the Department of Defense, is connecting the U.S. military with companies developing leading-edge technology that would help it carry out missions quicker and cheaper.

"It's all about decision making faster than the enemy,” Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian told Fox News.

As the commander of the air war in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, Harrigian knows that on today’s complex battlefields, winning often comes down to timing and efficiency.

“We can't do what we need to do every day without software that's the leading edge,” he said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It all comes down to software.

Chinese Tech Companies Facing U.S. Security Concerns

Photo from Reuters

The Hill: Security fears spark crackdown on Chinese tech

The federal government is taking steps to reduce the presence of some Chinese technology firms in American markets.

Earlier this month, AT&T scrapped a deal with Chinese phone maker Huawei, reportedly as a result of pressure from anonymous U.S. lawmakers who cited national security concerns. Reuters reported this week that lawmakers are now pressing AT&T to sever all of its commercial ties with Huawei.

And the White House blocked two acquisitions of American companies by Chinese firms in recent months, also citing “national security concerns.”

Lawmakers reportedly are pushing to keep Chinese telecommunications firm China Mobile out of the U.S. for similar reasons.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When the U.S. government banned Russian software giant Kaspersky Labs last year, I said this was the first (among many) where tech companies from overseas will find themselves banned in the U.S. .... Kaspersky Lab Reports Growth Despite U.S. Government Ban (RFE). For Chinese phone maker Huawei .... they are learning that lesson right now.

RAND Study: The Russian Way Of Warfare

Scott Boston & Dara Massicot, RAND Corporation: The Russian Way of Warfare

Russia has recently carried out substantial reforms to its military forces, increasing capability in several key areas. Russia's military has improved to the extent that it is now a reliable instrument of national power that can be used in a limited context to achieve vital national interests. Russian strategists, concerned about the capability of an advanced military adversary to carry out a large-scale conventional aerospace campaign against the Russian heartland, focus on preserving Russian influence in buffer states along its borders and on reinforcing a series of defensive bulwarks. Russian operations will show a high degree of coordination across a wide range of military units, using deception and simultaneity to achieve objectives quickly and minimize periods of vulnerability to an adversary's most dangerous capabilities. Russian tactics will continue to heavily emphasize gaining and maintaining fire superiority over an adversary; leveraging improved ISR capabilities and a wide range of fires platforms; and using speed, surprise, and integrated combined arms in maneuver forces to disrupt and overwhelm enemies once encountered.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The bottom line from this report .... Russia does not have the means to launch a protracted conventional war against the West.

Tweets For Today

Who's Going To Davos

Zero Hedge: Who's Going To Davos

This year’s edition of the World Economic Forum begins on Tuesday in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos.

According to the organizers, some 3,000 visitors will attend this year's meeting.

As our infographic shows most of them come from the United States.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The World Economic Forum begins on Tuesday, and if President Trump does show up, he will steal the show.

Picture Of The Day

Drills with the participation of military engineers from the assault battalion and obstacle clearing. © Photo: Evgeny Kel / Russian Defense Ministry

WNU Editor: The above picture comes from this photo-gallery .... Red-Blooded Photos of Engineer Troops Day in Russia (Sputnik)

Jamaica Issues State of Emergency Due To Rising Gun Violence

FOX News: Tourists in Jamaica warned to stay in resorts after shootings lead to state of emergency

British and Canadian tourists were warned to stay inside their Montego Bay resorts in Jamaica after a spate of violence led officials there to deploy soldiers and declare a state of emergency.

The British government on Thursday advised its citizens visiting the tropical island that they should “limit movements” outside of resorts and exercise caution if traveling at night.

Police have said they will take a zero tolerance approach to crime in the parish of St. James, where Montego Bay is located, and nearby communities that have seen an increase in killings that officials blame on gangs and lottery scams.

On Jan. 19 Canada advised citizens visiting Jamaica to “exercise a high degree of caution” while traveling in the country.

Read more ....

Update #1: British tourists warned to 'stay in resorts' in Jamaica security emergency (BBC)
Update #2: Britons in Jamaica's Montego Bay urged to stay in resorts (The Guardian/Agencies)
Update #3: Jamaica travel: Everything you need to know about state of emergency -- The Independent

WNU Editor: A couple that we know went to a Montego Bay resort for a week after Christmas. They told me when they came back that you can gunfire at night in the distance.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Mexico's Murder Rate Is Out Of Control

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

The Guardian: Drug violence blamed for Mexico's record 29,168 murders in 2017

Homicide rate surpasses that from peak year of country’s drug war in 2011, official figures show.

Mexico recorded more than 29,000 murders in 2017, the highest annual tally in decades, government figures have shown.

The country has struggled with years of violence as the state has battled drug cartels that have increasingly splintered into smaller, more bloodthirsty gangs.

The record 29,168 murders in 2017 is higher than the homicide rate at peak of Mexico’s drug war in 2011, when there were 27,213.

The interior ministry reported the figures on Sunday, which are the highest since comparable records began in 1997.

Read more ....

Update #1: Mexico posts highest homicide rate in decades (AP)
Update #2: With 25,339 murders in 2017, Mexico suffers record homicide tally (Reuters)

WNU Editor: So much for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's election campaign pledge in 2012 that he was going to cut the murder rate.

In Venezuela You Must Loot Or Die From Hunger

The Guardian: 'We loot or we die of hunger': food shortages fuel unrest in Venezuela

As the country’s economic problems mount, towns and cities have been hit by an outbreak of looting and violence

Amid desperate food shortages Venezuelans are picking up new survival skills.

On the night of 9 January, for example, a hungry mob took just 30 minutes to pick clean a grocery store in the eastern city of Puerto Ordaz. By the time owner Luis Felipe Anatael arrived at the bodega he’d opened five months earlier, the looters had hauled away everything from cold cuts to ketchup to the cash registers.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As bad as it is now, the anger and hatred that will be focused on the Venezuelan government when this is all over will be worse, and it will last for generations.

More News On The Crisis In Venezuela

Venezuela's economic collapse, by the numbers -- Axios
You can't get $1 out of the bank in Venezuela. I tried. -- CNN
Venezuelan Hyperinflation Explodes, Soaring Over 440000 Percent -- Bloomberg
Venezuela is trying to float its own cryptocurrency to save a sinking economy—but investors aren't believing the 'petro' hype -- CNBC
Venezuela's woes may give way to future Opec headache -- The National
Why Venezuela Suffers -- Wall Street Journal

Was The 'Fix In' For The Clinton Email Probe?

The exterior of the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington, DC, U.S. on July 14, 2009. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo Reuters

FOX News: Newly released texts between ex-Mueller team members suggest they knew outcome of Clinton email probe in advance

The Justice Department has given various congressional committees nearly 400 pages of additional text messages between two FBI officials who were removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

One of the newly discovered messages, lawmakers said, appeared to indicate that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page knew that charges would not be filed against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as a result of the investigation into her email server -- before Clinton was interviewed by the bureau.

Strzok and Page were pulled off the probe last summer after it emerged that some of their messages to each other included anti-Trump content. Strzok, an FBI counterintelligence agent, was reassigned to the Bureau's human resources division after the discovery of the exchanges with Page, with whom he was having an affair.

Read more ....

Update #1: Senator: FBI missing months of texts between officials involved in Trump, Clinton probes (Politico)
Update #2: Was Lynch coordinating with Comey in the Clinton investigation? (Sharyl Attkisson, The Hill)

WNU Editor: As of this moment these text messages have not been publicly released .... they are being quoted by lawmakers. But the disturbing part of this entire report is not the possibility that the fix was in for the probe on how Hillary Clinton used her email server, but that critical text messages were not saved during a critical moment during the Trump transition .... FBI did not save officials’ texts during key period in Trump probe, senator says (Washington Post). More here .... More texts turned over from FBI agent taken off Mueller team (CBS/AP), and here .... FBI ‘Failed To Preserve’ Five Months Of Text Messages Between Anti-Trump FBI Agents (Daily Caller). The FBI has already given a technical explanation on why these texts were lost .... but still .... the optics look horrible. Correction .... this sticks to high-heaven.

UNICEF: 250,000 Children In War-Torn South Sudan Are "At Risk Of Imminent Death"

Al Jazeera: War-hit children in S Sudan 'at risk of imminent death'

More than 250,000 children in war-torn South Sudan are "at risk of imminent death" because of severe malnutrition, a United Nations official has said.

Henrietta H Fore, executive director of the UN children's agency (UNICEF), issued the stark warning on Friday after a two-day visit to some of the areas most affected by the country's civil war, now in its fifth year.

"It's serious here in South Sudan," she told Al Jazeera from South Sudan's capital, Juba.

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WNU Editor: This makes the crisis worse .... 28 aid workers killed in South Sudan last year, a new high (ABC News/AP)

More News On UNICEF's Report That 250,000 Children In War-Torn South Sudan Are "At Risk Of Imminent Death"

250,000 South Sudanese children could die by July -- Axios
UN warns of "lost generation" in South Sudan's grinding conflict -- Africa News/Reuters
South Sudan Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 01. 18 January 2018 (Relief Web)
Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore following two-day visit to conflict-ravaged South Sudan -- Relief Web
Farmers Risk Whippings as War Decimates South Sudan Breadbasket -- Bloomberg

United Nations Seeks $3 Billion To Aid 13.1 Million People In Yemen

Relief Web: US$ 2.96 billion needed to provide life-saving assistance to 13.1 million people in Yemen in 2018

Sana’a, 21 January 2018 - The United Nations and humanitarian partners today launched the 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP)which seeks US$2.96 billion to provide lifesaving assistance to 13.1 million people this year. This is the largest consolidated humanitarian appeal for Yemen ever launched.

Three years of escalated conflict have turned Yemen into the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time. Three quarters of the population – 22.2 million people – need humanitarian assistance, including 11.3 million people in acute need who urgently require assistance to survive.

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Update #1: UN appeals for $3B in aid to war-battered Yemen (FOX News/AP)
Update #2: UN appeals for $3 billion to save Yemen (The New Arab)

WNU Editor: This is as bad as it gets .... Humanitarian Response Plan Snapshot January-December 2018.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 21, 2018

Simon Tisdall, The Guardian: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's risky gamble could quickly turn sour

Turkish president defies Russia, the US and Bashar al-Assad with assault on Kurds in Syria

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Kurdish vendetta has taken a dramatic new twist with the cross-border ground assault on the Afrin enclave in north-west Syria.

Defying Russia, the US, and Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Turkey’s headstrong president is betting on a decisive victory over Syrian Kurd forces. But his risky gamble could quickly turn sour.

The initial incursion by Turkish troops and their Free Syrian Army (FSA) allies on Sunday, preceded by days of airstrikes and artillery shelling, appeared tentative and limited in scope. The Syrian Kurd People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, said to number 10,000 fighters in Afrin, is not giving an inch. They are dug in and they are defending the Rojava – the fabled Kurdish homeland.

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Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 21, 2018

Is America's Alliance with Turkey Worth It? -- Ted Galen Carpenter, National Interest

Turkey’s State of Emergency: Could the Kurdish issue be the one that ultimately shakes Erdoğan’s seemingly unbreakable grip on power? -- Maurice Glasman, The Nation

Palestine's Outdated Leadership Threatens Its Future -- Mohammed Ayoob, National Interest

Destroying the Iran Deal While Claiming to Save It -- Philip Gordon and Robert Malley, The Atlantic

Iran's wealth gap: tens of millions struggle to get by -- Zein Basravi, Al Jazeera

Iran's Latest Revolution Won't Fade Away -- Geneive Abdo and Abdallah Hendawy, Bloomberg

The next supreme leader could transform Iran -- Saeid Golkar, Al Jazeera

Why is Jerusalem so central to Pence's Middle East visit? -- Reuters

On the Politics behind Tunisia’s Protests -- Issandr El Amrani and Michael Ayari, Cairo Review

Anger that drove the Arab spring is flaring again -- Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian

Big News From China: Its Implosion Didn't Happen -- Daniel Moss, Bloomberg

Matteo Renzi fights to save Italy (and himself) -- Giada Zampano, Politico

U.S. rising as world's 'undisputed' energy leader, global chief tells senators -- John Siciliano, Washington Examiner

The World Has Never Seen an Oil Spill Like This -- Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic

What to do when liberals are the censors? -- John Lloyd, Reuters

A year of real change -- President Donald Trump

Iran To Stage Massive Military Drills Tomorrow

Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari

Tasnim News Agency: Iranian Army to Stage Massive Military Drills Tomorrow

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Iranian Army’s forces plan to hold a large-scale joint war game in Makran coasts and the Sea of Oman in southeastern Iran on Monday, the deputy chief of the Army for coordination announced.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday morning, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the military drills code-named “Muhammad Rasulullah-5 (Muhammad, the Messenger of God)”, would cover a vast area, including all of the Makran coasts and the Sea of Oman.

He further emphasized that all of the forces of the Army, including the Navy, the Ground Force, and the Air Force as well as air defense unit would participate in the war game.

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Update #1: Iran to conduct war games near southern coast (AMN Al-Masdar News)
Update #2: Army to hold drills in southern Makran region (Mehr News Agency)

WNU Editor: This is what I call the Iranians sending a message to everyone in the region.

China Mocks The U.S. Government Shutdown

The U.S. Capitol is seen through traffic during rush hour in Washington Jan. 19, 2018. The U.S. government was shutting down as the Senate failed to pass a stopgap spending bill on Friday. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

Reuters: Chinese state media: US government shutdown exposes 'chronic flaws'

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's official news agency said in a commentary on Sunday that the shutdown of the U.S. government exposed "chronic flaws" in the U.S. political system.

Funding for federal agencies ran out at midnight on Friday in Washington after lawmakers failed to agree on a stopgap funding bill.

"What's so ironic is that it came on the first anniversary of Donald Trump's presidency on Saturday, a slap in the face for the leadership in Washington," China's Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary by Xinhua writer Liu Chang.

The commentary said that the Trump administration had "backtracked" on policies supported by his predecessor, Barack Obama, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and U.S. participation in the Paris climate agreement.

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WNU Editor: The Chinese are not the only ones who are mocking and/or are "scratching their heads" on why there is a U.S. government shutdown. Every news outlet in the world is following this story, and almost all of them are acknowledging that this shutdown is primarily over the immigration status of those who entered the country illegally. But this is where it gets interesting .... the comments that are being posted are coming from a lot of people who do not understand why the U.S. government should be shut down over people who are not even American citizens. As an immigrant myself (albeit I am in Canada) .... I also do not understand .... especially when I know that there are numerous avenues for people to get a proper and legal status to live, work, and obtain a U.S. citizenship if they try.

Xinhua writer Liu Chang's commentary is here .... Gov't shutdown exposes chronic flaw in U.S. political system (Liu Chang, Xinhua)

Is China Preparing To Lay The Groundwork To Claim The East Coast Of The Philippines?

George Amurao, Asia Times: China eyes Philippines’ strategic eastern shores

Manila's allowance for a Chinese state-funded think tank to conduct 'scientific' research at Benham Rise has raised concerns of ulterior motives.

After consolidating control over Philippine-claimed features in the South China Sea, China is now casting its gaze on the island nation’s eastern waters opening onto the Pacific Ocean.

Last week, Filipino Congressman Gary Alejano revealed in a privilege speech that the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) had approved a Chinese state-funded think tank’s request to conduct a scientific survey of the Benham Rise, a seismically active 13 million hectare underwater plateau.

As part of the agreement, China’s Institute of Oceanology of Chinese Academy of Sciences (IO-CAS) will work with a team from the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute. Largely undeveloped, the marine feature is believed to be rich in natural gas, heavy metals, fisheries and other resources.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Using the playbook on the eastern shores of the Philippines as they have did on the western shores in the South China Sea .... who is to stop China if they should decide to build an artificial island(s) in these waters, and when completed then make their territorial claims. It may sound far-fetch .... but this is exactly what happened when China started to explore and construct artificial islands in the South China Sea .... most were not concerned until China completed their island construction, built their defenses, and then lay claim to the the entire region. But it does not even stop there .... need I remind everyone that the Chinese believe they also have a claim to the Arctic .... China Lays Claim To The Arctic (March 9, 2010)

Turkish Armored Division Advances Into Syria's Afrin Region

CNN: Turkish military enters Syrian city after days of airstrikes

Turkey launched a ground operation across the border into northern Syria on Sunday, in a move likely to raise tensions with the United States.

Turkish officials said the troops entered the Afrin region a day after Turkish jets pounded targets there in an attempt to drive US-allied Kurdish militia from the area.

"Operation Olive Branch is ongoing as planned and the ground operation has started," the Turkish armed forces said in a statement.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: According to Turkish government sources, this is the objective .... Turkey will create 30 km-deep 'safe zone' in Syria's Afrin: HaberTurk citing PM (Reuters).

More News On Turkey's Invasion Of Syria's Afrin Region

Turkish forces push into Syria, Kurdish militia says attacks repulsed -- Reuters
Turkish troops enter Syria in bid to oust Kurdish militia -- AFP
Turkish troops attack Kurdish enclave in northern Syria -- AP
Turkish forces push into Syria, clash with Kurdish militia -- Reuters
Turkey starts ground incursion into Kurdish-controlled Afrin in Syria -- The Guardian
Turkish Troops Attack Kurds in Syria as US Warnings Ignored -- Bloomberg
Turkey's ground forces enter Syria's Kurdish-held Afrin: State media -- DW
Syria: Turkish ground troops enter Afrin enclave -- BBC News
Turkey's troops cross over into Syria's Afrin -- Al Jazeera
Turkish armored division advances into Syria's Afrin -- RT
Turkish army says has hit 153 targets so far in northern Syrian operation -- Reuters
FSA commander says 25,000 Syrian rebels back Turkish force in Syria -- Reuters
'We will tear them down': Turkey launches attack on US-backed Kurds in northern Syria -- ABC News Online
Erdogan accuses allies of sending ‘thousands of planeloads' and 'truckloads of arms' to Kurds -- RT
Erdogan Vows to Eliminate PKK, YPG, PYD, Urges US to Refrain From Provocations -- Sputnik
Operation Olive Branch: What Happened in Syria Today? -- Sputnik