Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Is Donald Trump Helping Russia Consolidate Control Of Ukraine?

Russian President Putin. TASS

Anna Nemtsova, Politico: Trump Is Already Helping Putin Consolidate Control of Ukraine

The GOP candidate's pro-Russia comments have become must-see TV in both countries—and they’re demoralizing the Ukrainians.

MOSCOW—In living rooms and kitchens across Russia and Ukraine, the U.S. presidential election is as riveting to TV viewers as “Game of Thrones” is to their American counterparts. Every time Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump speak of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Crimea, Russian hackers or the Donbas (the disputed region of eastern Ukraine)—and it’s rebroadcast here, which it usually is—people in both countries sit up as if some crazy American reality show has just come on. Almost every day, television channels in both countries highlight America’s new scandals and intrigues involving Trump’s connections with post-Soviet oligarchs, or leaked DNC emails, or the endless hurling of insults and the constant debate over America’s supposedly disappearing greatness.

But the main reason the U.S. election has become must-see TV is not because it’s a great reality show, or because Putin and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine come up as issues in the campaign as often as Mexican immigrants, ISIS and Benghazi. It's because the political rhetoric across the Atlantic is actually starting to change facts on the ground in Russia and Ukraine. In both countries, coverage of the political chaos in the United States—the north star of politics for both anti-American and pro-American figures in this part of the world—is stirring public discontent and doubt about the future in Ukraine, and a sense of confidence, even arrogance, in Russia.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I usually respect what Anna Nemtsova writes when it comes to Russia and Ukrainian issues .... but she is wrong on this one. Ukrainians are not depressed because of what is happening in the U.S. .... they are depressed because of what is happening in their own country, and by the hands of their own leaders. And as for the Russian point of view .... yes .... there is an interest in the U.S. election, but the series "Games of Thrones" is far more interesting to most Russians than the Trump-Clinton match. And as for Donald Trump helping Russia consolidate control of Ukraine .... please .... Donald Trump has no influence or means to dictate what U.S. foreign policy should be .... the man who has that power is President Obama .... and he is the one that Anna Nemtsova should be directing her ire at.

Oxford University Study: Donald Trump More Psychopathic Than Hitler

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump © Eric Thayer / Reuters

The Independent: How much of a psychopath is Donald Trump? Worse than Hitler, apparently

Saddam Hussein tops the list ahead of Henry VIII and Idi Amin

Donald Trump has more psychopathic traits than Adolf Hitler, according to a a new study.

Using a standard psychometric tool, Dr Kevin Dutton of Oxford University ranked both presidential candidates and a series of historical world figures.

Trump scored 171, achieving two more points than Adolf Hitler, after experts gave their suggestions on how each individual would have scored against a series of questions.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: According to the same study .... and this little tidbit of information tells me a lot on what is the mindset of the authors of this report .... is the revelation (according to this study) that Jesus is more psychotic than Hillary Clinton (the score for Jesus is 157, Hillary Clinton's score is 152).

More News On An Oxford University Study That Claims That Donald Trump Is More Psychopathic Than Hitler

Donald Trump outscores Hitler on psychopathic traits test, claims University of Oxford researcher -- The Telegraph
Donald Trump has more psychopathic traits than Adolf Hitler, while Hillary Clinton shows 'machiavellian egocentricity': Scientists conclude BOTH presidential candidates may be psychopaths – but claim that could be a good thing -- Daily Mail
Trump is more of a psychopath than Hitler, other U.S. presidential contenders, researcher finds -- New York Daily News
Trump more psychopathic than Hitler, Oxford study finds -- RT
Presidential candidates may be psychopaths – but that could be a good thing -- Phys.org

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- August 23, 2016

Su-24 bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria. © Dmitriy Vinogradov / Sputnik

Howard LaFranchi, CSM: One year on, Russia's war in Syria is hardly the predicted 'quagmire'

US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan got bogged down by ambitious goals. In Syria, Russia has kept it simple and is gaining in influence in the region because of it.

WASHINGTON — When Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his forces to the rescue of Syria's Bashar al-Assad a year ago, President Obama predicted that the Russians would end up trapped in a “quagmire.”

Today, Russia hardly appears to be bogged down and instead has reestablished itself as a power in the Middle East.

Russian bombers and special forces have solidified President Assad's hold on Syria, making it possible for him to retake parts of the country once considered irretrievably lost to opposition forces, including moderate rebels armed by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- August 23, 2016

Russia’s Illusion of Influence in the Middle East -- Kamran Bokhari, Geopolitical Futures

Why ‘Cash for Prisoners’ May End Up Being Least of U.S. Concerns Over Payment to Iran -- Aaron David Miller, WSJ

Why peace is prevailing, for now, in south Lebanon -- Nicholas Blanford, CSM

Is Biden's Visit a Last Chance for Turkey and America? -- Kemal Kirisci, National Interest

The US and NATO Need Turkey -- Halil I. Danismaz, Time

Japan, China, South Korea aim for common ground -- Jonathan Miller, DW

U.S.-China Perception Gap in the South China Sea -- David J. Firestein, The Diplomat

North Korea: A Realistic Path to Regime Change -- Robert E. Kelly, The Interpreter

The Foundations of Pacific Stability -- Eric K. Fanning, Project Syndicate

India Plays the Balochistan Card - With China -- David Brewster, The Interpreter

Everything you need to know to understand the Niger Delta Avengers and their quest for secession -- Adetula David, Ventures Africa

Sisi faces the uncertain promise of Suez -- Geoffrey Aronson, Al Jazeera

Pro-EU camp humiliated again as UK economy surges -- The Commentator

Italexit Would Make Brexit Look Like a Picnic -- Desmond Lachman, Economics21

Don't Censor Terrorists' Names -- Noah Feldman, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- August 23, 2016 (Evening Edition)


DW: Merkel, Hollande and Putin talk Ukraine clashes

The leaders of France and Germany urged Russian President Putin to help calm the tensions in Ukraine, during in a joint phone call. The three are set to discuss the latest spike in violence at a G20 summit in China.

France's Francois Hollande warned against "an escalation of violence" in Ukraine, his office said on Tuesday, after a phone call between Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.

Hollande urged all sides to stick to the Minsk peace deal, and stressed that "there was no alternative to a peaceful solution" his officials said.

Both him and the German leader Merkel urged Putin to do what he could to calm the situation down, a Berlin spokesman told reporters.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syrian forces, Kurdish YPG 'agree to Hasaka ceasefire'.

Syria Kurds win battle with government, Turkey mobilizes against them. Syrian Kurdish, government forces agree Hasaka ceasefire.

UN urges 48-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Aleppo. Syria war: Aleppo's civilians face humanitarian crisis.

IS conflict: UN warns of 'huge impact' of Mosul assault.

IS struggles to retain grip as it loses ground in Iraq.

Turkish military returns fire in Syria after shells hit border town: NTV. Turkish military strikes ISIL in northern Syria.

Turkey: 2 killed in attack on military bomb disposal team.

U.S. Vice President Biden likely to face pressure during Turkey visit.

US confirms Gulen extradition request, but says no link with Turkey coup.

Yemen crisis: Oxfam critical of UK-Saudi arms deals.

Mass protests in West Bank city after Palestinian detainee dies.

ASIA

Japan at UN urges N.Korea to refrain from provocations.

Pentagon chief: Casualties show Afghanistan still a 'dangerous place'.

Afghans push India for more arms, despite Pakistan's wary eye.

Indian troops fire at Kashmir protesters; 14 injured.

Philippines police chief: 1,900 killed in anti-drug war.

Philippines' Duterte says talks with China on sea dispute 'within the year'. Philippines expects talks with China on sea feud this year.

Myanmar says UN chief to attend ethnic peace talks.

Pakistan's largest city set to be run by imprisoned mayor.

Thai military court accepts case against 'Facebook Eight'.

AFRICA

WHO to hold emergency meeting to advise on yellow fever.

As Kerry lands in Nigeria, air force says top Boko Haram fighters killed.

Nigerian military: Air raid fatally wounds Boko Haram leader. Boko Haram: 'Senior fighters killed' in Nigeria raid.

South Sudan ex-rebel leader escaped to Sudan, officials claim. Sudan says it has South Sudan's former rebel leader who fled.

Kerry tells South Sudan leaders to stick to peace deal or face sanctions.

Sudan, South Sudan agree to extend oil deal.

Congo opposition strikes to call for Kabila to step down.

Zambia regulator suspends three private broadcasters.

Olympics protest runner fails to return to Ethiopia.

EUROPE

Kremlin says Putin, Merkel, Hollande to meet to discuss Ukraine on Sept 4-5 at G20.

Rio Paralympics 2016: Russia banned after losing appeal.

Biden tells Baltic states: Don't take Trump seriously.

Eastern NATO ally says Clinton trumps Trump on security.

Germany, France, Italy say Europe must move forward after Brexit vote.

Paris tourism chiefs demand rescue plan as attacks scare off visitors.

Report: More migrants die in Mediterranean as risks increase.

Greece says at least 41,000 asylum seekers on its territory.

Child killed in grenade attack in Sweden.

Europeans turn to weapons in growing numbers after attacks.

AMERICAS

U.S. CBO says budget deficit to reach $590 billion for fiscal 2016.

Obama promises support to Louisiana after floods. Obama to visit flood-damaged Louisiana in show of support.

Clinton faces late summer scandal wave.

FBI investigating whether Virginia stabbings were ISIS-inspired.

Large rise in number of kids entering US from Central America.

Peru investigates 'police death squad' after killings.

Venezuela public workers face sack over referendum.

Ramen noodles 'are most valuable US prison commodity', study suggests.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

'Jihadist hub' Molenbeek lures tourists across Brussels canal.

Abu Zubaydah appears at Gitmo hearing to review detention.

The Pentagon takes aim at bomb-carrying consumer drones.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Exclusive: China's richest man set to seal two billion-dollar U.S. film deals.

Liberal, moderate or conservative? See how Facebook labels you.

Goldman Sachs thinks the recovery in oil prices is ‘fragile’.

34kg pearl found in Philippines 'is world's biggest'.

U.S. Election News Updates -- August 23, 2016



Politico: Clinton faces late summer scandal wave

Controversies surround the Clinton Foundation and her email server will likely dog Clinton all the way through the election — and potentially beyond.

The scandals swirling around Hillary Clinton kicked up a notch on Monday, with the release of more emails showing the sway Clinton Foundation donors held at the State Department and an order by a federal judge that could result in a dump of thousands more emails before the election.

Clinton managed to coast through the conventions and the resulting weeks, gaining momentum in the polls as Donald Trump suffered through numerous self-inflicted controversies.

Read more ....

The Democrat Campaign

The Latest: Clinton says she would help small businesses -- AP
Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with her at State -- AP
Clinton Campaign Manager Suggests Trump Is a 'Puppet' for the Kremlin -- ABC News
Clinton campaign: Trump's new team isn't changing Trump -- Yahoo News
Clinton asks Romney’s allies for cash to stop Trump -- Politico
‘We reject his overtures’: Black, Hispanic Democrats slam Donald Trump’s minority outreach -- Washington Times
Emails reveal how foundation donors got access to Clinton and her close aides at State Dept. -- Washington Post
Email scandal continues to bedevil Clinton's campaign -- DW
Judge orders State Department to review 14,900 Clinton emails -- Reuters
Clinton says U.S. presidential election an 'alternative reality' -- Reuters
Clinton takes anti-Trump Olympics strategy into NFL season -- Politico

The Republican Campaign

Trump knocks Obama's Louisiana trip: 'Too little, too late' -- Politico
Trump courts minority voters -- The Hill
Trump: I Want GOP to Be 'Home of the African-American Voter' -- NBC news
‘Shut it down’: Trump takes aim at Clinton Foundation as new emails released -- Yahoo News
Trump: Unethical DOJ needs independent prosecutor to probe Clinton -- The Hill
Trump finds Republican rallying cry in Clinton Foundation attacks -- Reuters
Trump Floats Obama-Like Deportation Plan, and Fans Don’t Mind -- Bloomberg
Trump Stops In Fort Worth Ahead Of Austin Rally -- CBS
Donald Trump Jacked Up His Campaign's Trump Tower Rent Once Somebody Else Was Paying It -- Huffington Post

General Election Coverage

Obama says he doesn’t ‘worry too much about politics’ as November election looms -- Yahoo News
Hillary Clinton outspending Donald Trump 17-to-1 on TV ads -- UPI
Money Race Accelerates For Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump -- NPR
Hillary Clinton’s Cash Lead Over Donald Trump Grew in July -- WSJ
Differences aside, Supreme Court unites Trump, Senate GOP -- AP
Priebus boasts of Trump's 'good turnaround' -- Politico
Leaked Docs: Soros Aims to Enlarge Electorate by 10 Million Voters by 2018 -- Washington Free Beacon
Green Party nominee Jill Stein: Clinton emails reveal security risks, ‘special deals’ for donors -- Washington Post

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials

Trump-Clinton race redraws battle for Electoral College -- Niall Stanage, The Hill
Think the Clinton-Trump Race Will Be a Landslide? Hold Your Horses -- New York Times
Hillary Clinton’s historic free pass on the airwaves -- Shane Goldmacher, Politico
A big slush fund for the Clinton Foundation -- David Keene, The Washington Times
Why Clinton can’t shake her private email scandal -- Andrea Peterson, Washington Post
Can Israel swing the election Donald Trump's way? -- Ian Lee, CNN
Is Donald Trump Reversing His Stance on Immigration? -- Priscilla Alvarez, The Atlantic
The Nine Lives of Donald J. Trump -- Victor Davis Hanson, NRO
Trump is a vanity project run amok: Column -- Paul Brandus, USA Today
Challenge for GOP senators: Surviving a possible Trump loss -- AP
Trump gets more serious about battleground states -- Nick Gass, Politico
Predicting Turnout in an Unpredictable Race -- Charlie Cook, National Journal

U.S. Marines Now Using SuperCobra Helicopter Gunships To Drive Out The Islamic State From The Libyan City Of Sirte

A U.S. Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 367, Marine Aircraft Group 24, supports a beach assault during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak/U.S. Navy)

Washington Post: Marine gunships enter the fight against the Islamic State in Libya

After nearly a month of airstrikes against the Islamic State fighters dug in around the Libyan city of Sirte, U.S. helicopter gunships have been dispatched to help root out the extremist group from some of the denser parts of the city.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing operations, said Marine AH-1W SuperCobra helicopters participated in strikes against the Islamic State over the weekend. According to a U.S. Africa Command release, U.S. forces conducted nine strikes from Friday to Sunday, targeting Islamic State fighting positions and vehicles.

Read more ....

More News On the U.S. Military Using  SuperCobra Helicopter Gunships To Drive Out The Islamic State From The Libyan City Of Sirte

Cobra attack helicopters enter Libya to pound ISIS, U.S. confirms -- Washington Times
Marine SuperCobra Helicopters Join ISIS Fight Over Libya -- Military.com
U.S. Marines use Cobra attack helicopters to strike ISIS in Libya -- WUSA
The US Marines are dropping the hammer on ISIS in Libya -- Business Insider

South Sudan's Former Rebel Leader Has Fled To Sudan For 'Medical Treatment'

South Sudan's opposition leader Riek Machar speaks during a briefing ahead of his return to South Sudan as vice president, in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa April 9, 2016 (Photo: Reuters)

AFP: S.Sudan ex-VP Machar in Khartoum for 'medical treatment'

South Sudan's former rebel leader Riek Machar has arrived in Khartoum for "medical treatment," the Sudanese government said Tuesday, after he escaped to the Democratic Republic of Congo following deadly clashes last month.
Machar was replaced by Taban Deng Gai as South Sudan's first vice president after hundreds died in Juba last month in clashes between Machar's forces and government troops.

"Sudan has received Riek Machar on humanitarian grounds and so he can have medical treatment," Sudanese government spokesman Ahmed Bilal said in a statement.

He did not specify when Machar arrived in Khartoum, but said that he was in need of "immediate medical treatment".

"He is now stable. He will continue to stay in the country until he decides when to leave," Bilal said, without providing further details on the treatment.

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WNU Editor: I suspect that this South Sudan rebel leader actually fled for his life (not for some medical treatment) .... South Sudan Rebel Leader Flees After Assassination Attempt (Breitbart). Here is an indication on how bloody the South Sudan civil war has become .... South Sudan Clashes Leave 290 Dead as U.S. Urges Regional Action (Bloomberg).

More News On The Crisis In South Sudan

Sudan Says It Has South Sudan's Former Rebel Leader Who Fled -- AP
South Sudan opposition leader in Khartoum for treatment, Sudan says -- Reuters
South Sudan's Riek Machar in Khartoum for medical care -- Al Jazeera
Over 100 soldiers killed in South Sudan’s Jonglei state -- Sudan Tribune
Ex-Dutch General to Lead Probe Into South Sudan Attacks -- AP
Kerry warns South Sudan that aid won’t continue if its leaders don’t seek peace -- Washingtion Post
John Kerry Tells South Sudan Leaders: 'Take Bull By Horns' or Face Sanctions -- Newsweek
Kerry Urges Deployment of 'Protection Force' in South Sudan -- VOA

Pentagon is Focusing On Terror Groups Who Are Weaponizing Consumer Drones

Picture of a drone. Photo: DPA.

Bloomberg: The Pentagon Takes Aim at Bomb-Carrying Consumer Drones

Terrorist groups are turning a popular hobby item into a deadly strategic challenge.

They’re cheap, they’re light, and they can carry a small bomb: The commercial drone is essentially a new terror gadget for organizations such as Hezbollah, Islamic State, or anyone else looking to wreak havoc on a budget.

“That’s the same quad copter you can get on Groupon or go down to Sam’s Club and buy for $400,” U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller said last week at a Washington forum on future warfare. The elusive nature of small drones is one reason the federal government has designated the District of Columbia a “national defense airspace” and prohibited drone flights there. A recent spate of drone-related incidents, including one last year in which a drone crashed on the White House lawn, probably didn’t help, either.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The genie is already out of the bottle.

The Islamic State Is Taking Advantage Of U.S. Rules Of Engagement

US Special Troops Battalion (Reuters / Peter Andrews)

Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times: Islamic State exploits U.S. rules of engagement, Obama’s aversion to civilian deaths

Even in losing, the Islamic State group has shown it conducts a “lessons learned” exercise so it won’t repeat battlefield mistakes.

Whether it can forestall what the Obama administration predicts is an inevitable defeat in Syria and Iraq is doubtful. But the fighters’ attention to U.S. rules of engagement has paid dividends at times.

Learning lessons in war is a major intellectual exercise by the U.S. military and other advanced armed forces. The Army operates the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Although the Islamic State does not operate at that level of sophistication, its leaders do make changes on the run.

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WNU Editor: No kidding.

Iran Criticises Russia For Making It Public That They Are Using An Iranian Airbase To Bomb Syria. Revokes Russia’s Use Of Air Base

A still image, taken from video footage and released by Russia's Defense Ministry shows a Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber based at Iran's Hamadan Air Base dropping bombs in the Syrian province of Deir al-Zour. (Russian Defense Ministry via Reuters TV

Al Bawaba: Iran criticizes Russia over revelation of secret use of military bases

Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan on Monday criticized Russia for "not having kept its promise" when Russia made public that it was using an Iranian airbase for bombing raids in Syria.

The operations were strategically necessary, but Iran and Russia had agreed not to make them public, Dehghan said in comments carried by Iranian state news agency ISNA.

He emphasized that Iran had allowed Russia to use the airbase only for refueling as part of collaboration against terrorists in Syria, and not allocated it as a "classical military base."

Iran's Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that the country would "temporarily suspend" Russian warplanes from using the Nojeh airbase in Iran's western Hamadan province. Russian warplanes used the airbase last week to launch several strikes into Syria.

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WNU Editor: The Iranian government is not pleased with this revelation. But considering how difficult (if not impossible) to keep such an arrangement secret .... what did the Iranians really expect.

More News On Iran Criticising Russia For Making It Public That They Are Using An Iranian Airbase To Bomb Syria

Iran Revokes Russia’s Use of Air Base, Saying Moscow ‘Betrayed Trust’ -- New York Times
Iran says Russian use of air base for Syria raids ‘over’ -- TRT World
Iran hints Russia's publicity on airbase use for Syria war led to ban -- DPA
Iran parliament pushes back on military for Russian base use -- AP
Russia accused by Iran of 'showing off' over Isis bombing -- The Independent
Iran mildly criticizes Russia for revealing its use of Hamadan airbase -- RUDAW
Iran ends Russian use of air base because of unwanted publicity -- Washington Post
Russian planes left Iranian air base Aug 18 — Iran's Security Council -- TASS
Iranian Foreign Ministry: Russian use of air base has ended -- Al-Monitor
Shifting sands in air base drama between Tehran and Moscow -- Long War Journal

Venezuelan President Maduro Orders His Ministries To Fire All Public Workers Witrhin 48 hours Who Signed The Petition Calling For His Recall

President Maduro gave ministries 48 hours to sack senior workers who had signed the petition. BBC

VOA: Venezuela President Orders Public Worker Firings Over Referendum Call

CARACAS — President Nicolas Maduro has set a 48-hour deadline for ministers to dismiss some public workers who requested a recall referendum against him, a Socialist Party spokesman said Monday.

Hundreds of public workers have already said they were dismissed for signing a petition for a referendum against the unpopular president, according to testimony seen by Reuters, human rights groups and local media.

"Today, by order of the party president Nicolas Maduro, five ministries ... cannot have people that are against the Revolution and the president in management positions in ministries, public institutions, local government and municipalities," said Jorge Rodriguez, the leader of the Socialist Party in Venezuela.

"They have a deadline of 48 hours," said Rodriguez.

Read more ....

More News On Venezuelan President Maduro Ordering His Ministries To Fire All Public Workers Who Signed The Petition Calling For His Recall

Venezuelan government managers to lose jobs over recall -- AP
Venezuela president orders public worker sackings over referendum call -- Reuters
Venezuela to sack officials who backed Maduro recall -- AFP
Venezuela public workers face sack over referendum -- BBC

US Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

Afghan security personnel prepare for combat during a battle with Taliban militants in Helmand province on August 10, 2016 ©Noor Mohammad (AFP/File)

USA Today: U.S. servicemember killed in Afghan fighting, Pentagon says

WASHINGTON — An American service member was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan, the first combat casualty there since January, the military announced.

The attack on a patrol with a roadside bomb occurred in Helmand province where Taliban forces have been gaining ground against Afghan government security forces. The U.S.-led NATO coalition bolstering Afghan troops have scrambled in recent days to keep them from losing Helmand province, the restive area home to many Taliban members.

Another U.S. service member and six Afghan troops were also wounded in the attack.

About 100 U.S. troops were sent there Monday to train and advise Afghan forces who were struggling to control the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: More U.S. soldiers are being sent into the fight .... Over a hundred US troops sent to Lashkar Gah to battle Taliban (The Guardian).

More News On Reports Of A U.S. Serviceman Being Killed In Afghanistan

US service member killed in Afghanistan -- BBC
US soldier killed in anti-Taliban operation in Afghanistan -- AFP
US Soldier Killed in Southern Afghanistan -- AP
US Service Member Killed by Roadside Bomb in Afghanistan -- Military.com
Roadside bomb kills U.S. soldier in Afghanistan, coalition says -- Reuters
IED kills U.S. service member in Helmand province, Afghanistan -- UPI

World News Briefs -- August 23, 2016



Reuters: With Biden visit, U.S. seeks balance with truculent Turkey

When U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Turkey in January, he struck a difficult balance between showing support for a NATO ally faced with multiple security threats while criticizing its record on free speech and dissent.

Now, with relations between Washington and Ankara going through one of their testiest periods in recent memory, he may find it even tougher to get those dual messages across when he visits on Wednesday.

Biden will be the most senior U.S. official to visit Turkey since the failed July 15 coup, when a group of rogue soldiers tried to overthrow the government and killed at least 240 people.

Turkey says the failed putsch was orchestrated by the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania for 17 years. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has called on the United States to extradite Gulen.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

IS conflict: UN warns of 'huge impact' of Mosul assault.

IS struggles to retain grip as it loses ground in Iraq.

UN urges 48-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Aleppo.

Syria Kurds win battle with government, Turkey mobilizes against them. Syrian Kurdish, government forces agree Hasaka ceasefire.

Turkish military returns fire in Syria after shells hit border town: NTV. Turkish military strikes ISIL in northern Syria.

Turkey: 2 killed in attack on military bomb disposal team.

U.S. Vice President Biden likely to face pressure during Turkey visit.

Yemen crisis: Oxfam critical of UK-Saudi arms deals.

Mass protests in West Bank city after Palestinian detainee dies.

ASIA

Afghans push India for more arms, despite Pakistan's wary eye.

Indian troops fire at Kashmir protesters; 14 injured.

Philippines police chief: 1,900 killed in anti-drug war.

Philippines' Duterte says talks with China on sea dispute 'within the year'. Philippines expects talks with China on sea feud this year.

Myanmar says UN chief to attend ethnic peace talks.

Pakistan's largest city set to be run by imprisoned mayor.

Thai military court accepts case against 'Facebook Eight'.

AFRICA

As Kerry lands in Nigeria, air force says top Boko Haram fighters killed.

Nigerian military: Air raid fatally wounds Boko Haram leader. Boko Haram: 'Senior fighters killed' in Nigeria raid.

South Sudan ex-rebel leader escaped to Sudan, officials claim. Sudan says it has South Sudan's former rebel leader who fled.

Kerry tells South Sudan leaders to stick to peace deal or face sanctions.

Sudan, South Sudan agree to extend oil deal.

Congo opposition strikes to call for Kabila to step down.

Zambia regulator suspends three private broadcasters.

EUROPE

Kremlin says Putin, Merkel, Hollande to meet to discuss Ukraine on Sept 4-5 at G20.

Rio Paralympics 2016: Russia banned after losing appeal.

Biden tells Baltic states: Don't take Trump seriously.

Eastern NATO ally says Clinton trumps Trump on security.

Germany, France, Italy say Europe must move forward after Brexit vote.

Paris tourism chiefs demand rescue plan as attacks scare off visitors.

Report: More migrants die in Mediterranean as risks increase.

Greece says at least 41,000 asylum seekers on its territory.

Child killed in grenade attack in Sweden.

Europeans turn to weapons in growing numbers after attacks.

AMERICAS

Obama to visit flood-damaged Louisiana in show of support.

Clinton faces late summer scandal wave.

FBI investigating whether Virginia stabbings were ISIS-inspired.

Large rise in number of kids entering US from Central America.

Peru investigates 'police death squad' after killings.

Venezuela public workers face sack over referendum.

Ramen noodles 'are most valuable US prison commodity', study suggests.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

'Jihadist hub' Molenbeek lures tourists across Brussels canal.

Abu Zubaydah appears at Gitmo hearing to review detention.

The Pentagon takes aim at bomb-carrying consumer drones.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Liberal, moderate or conservative? See how Facebook labels you.

Goldman Sachs thinks the recovery in oil prices is ‘fragile’.

34kg pearl found in Philippines 'is world's biggest'.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- August 23, 2016

Reuters / Ammar Awad / Reuters

Military.com: US Refuses to Establish Syrian No-Fly Zone Despite Airspace Warnings

It's not a no-fly zone, but Syrian and Russian aircraft venturing near areas where U.S. troops are on the ground risk getting shot down, the Pentagon's press secretary said Monday.

"We always have the right to defend our forces," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said at a news conference in reference to an incident last Thursday in which Syrian Su-24s bombed near a U.S. Special Forces team on the ground. "We, again, would advise them to steer clear in areas where we are operating."

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- August 23, 2016

Pentagon warns Assad: 'Steer clear' of US forces in Syria -- The Hill

Top U.S. commander skeptical of military cooperation with Russia in Syria -- AP

Pentagon: No Done Deal with Russia on Syria -- Defense News

Pentagon Has No 'Plan B' If Russian-American Talks on Syria in Geneva Fail -- Sputnik

Special Operations: Syrian Secrets -- Strategy Page

100 US Troops Deployed after Taliban's 'Tactical Victories' in Afghanistan -- VOA

American Killed in Afghanistan as U.S. Continues Taliban War -- US News and World Report

US State Department ‘Sells’ $60 Million in Guns to Afghanistan -- Sputnik

U.S. Marines use Cobra attack helicopters to strike ISIS in Libya -- Military Times

Russia's 'US Missile Defense-Killing' Hypersonic Rockets Arriving Soon -- Sputnik

Warplanes: Syria Gets Better Su-24s -- Strategy Page

Sukhoi Su-34 plane nicknamed ‘Duckling:’ Russian Aerospace Force’s best bomber -- TASS

Turkey cuts length of military officers' service: defense ministry -- Reuters

Germany mulls bringing back compulsory national service -- DW

Britain's New Spy Planes Are Practically Spacecraft - James Simpson, War Is Boring

Argentine Air Force Looks Near and Far in Replacement of Military Planes -- Sputnik

Lithuania splurges on its largest ever military purchase, amid heighened Russia fears -- DW

US Approves $124Mln Sale of Special Operations Boats to Qatar -- Sputnik

US, South Korea Begin Annual Military Drill Despite Threats From Pyongyang -- VOA

US to Move Mobile Land Artillery Weapons to South China Sea -- Scout Warrior

Navy Air Boss: Fighter Readiness Not in Crisis -- Military.com

Air Force beefs up Guam fleet with bombers -- FOX News

F-35 Sets Weapons Test Mission Record with New Software -- DoD Buzz

Looks like the Pentagon turned on the F-35 money tap again -- Business Insider

Lockheed Martin's F-35: Finally Ready for War? -- Rich Smith, Motley Fool

New Images Offer Sneak Peak of Boeing, Northrop T-X Designs -- Defense News

USN on the Prowl for Longer-Range Torpedo - Robert Beckhusen, War Is Boring

What Lurks Beneath: US Navy to Test New Submersible Drones -- Sputnik

Secret Anti-Drone Laser Under Development By Pentagon -- iTech Post

The U.S. Air Force’s next launch contract up for bid? An experimental satellite -- Space News

Boeing's New Defense Strategy Scores a Big Win at Pentagon -- Motley Fool

US nuclear policy remains dangerously stuck in the past -- Diana Ohlbaum, The Hill

Knocking Petraeus, Ham Argues Readiness Woes Are ‘No Myth’ -- DoD Buzz

The Pentagon’s Costly One-Stop-Shopping Approach to Waging War -- Eric Pianin, Fiscal Times

Germany Considering Bringing Back Compulsory Military Conscription

© Thomas Peter / Reuters

DW: Germany mulls bringing back compulsory national service

Berlin has said it's considering changing its position on conscription. The country is mulling new strategies to deal with possible security threats.

Germany's interior ministry is considering taking steps toward bringing back conscription, including compulsory service to support the militar, which was suspended five years ago. This is according to a report by German news agency dpa, which had access to a confidential copy of a government draft proposal.

The proposal, which is set to be voted on in Berlin on Wednesday, comes as the government seeks to push forward a new concept for civilian defense, titled "Support of the Armed Forces."

Germany has been mulling new security strategies in light of recent terror attacks, as well as tensions over Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. The new proposals are meant in part to prepare the country for the possibility of NATO actions to defend its borders.

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More News On Germany Now Considering Proposals To Bring Back Compulsory Military Conscription

Germany considers return of conscription for civil defence -- BBC
Germany considers plan to bring back conscription -- The Telegraph
Germany mulls military conscription as part of civil defence plan -- Europe Online Magazine
German Citizens May Help Defend Borders Under New Civil Defense Strategy -- Sputnik
Germany may reintroduce conscription if defense of NATO borders needed – reports -- RT

The U.S. Air Force Is The Smallest In Terms Of Manpower Since Its Formation In 1947

Sputnik: Help Needed: US Air Force at Smallest Level Since WWII

The US Air Force is seeing its lowest numbers since the World War II era. It’s also the smallest in terms of manpower that the USAF been since 1947, when it first became an independent and separate branch of US military service.

The US Air Force (USAF) currently has some 54 fighter squadrons. During Operation Desert Shield in 1990 there were 188. There are a little over 317,000 active duty airmen today, a considerable decrease from 511,000 in 1990. There are also 4,000 fewer maintenance service people and 3,000 fewer aircraft. These deficits have become more glaring as America’s military campaigns abroad intensify.

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WNU Editor: This is a big story. But what I find note worthy about this report is not the story that the U.S. Air Force is shrinking .... but that it is Russian media that is reporting it .... not the U.S. main stream media.

The US Air Force Wants To 'Plasma Bomb The Skies'

The US Air Force has granted contracts to three research teams, with hopes that CubeSats could carry massive amounts of ionized gas to the ionosphere to create radio-reflecting plasma. An artist's impression of a CubeSat is pictured above

Geek: US Air Force wants to plasma bomb the skies to improve radio reception

The US Air Force is working on a plan to plasma bomb the sky. No, they have not been co-opted by a super villain bent on world domination. This plan has legitimate, perhaps even noble goals. If the USAF can pull it off. Radio signals will be able to travel farther through the atmosphere.

Radio operators have long known that radio signals travel better at night. They can travel hundreds of miles further to be picked up by equipment that would never hear a peep during the day. Now we understand the mechanism that makes this possible. It’s all down to charged particles (i.e. plasma) in the ionosphere, a layer of the atmosphere that starts about 30 miles up. You’re probably most familiar with the ionosphere from auroras like the northern lights.

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Update: The US Air Force reveals radical plan to 'bomb the sky' to improve radio reception (Daily Mail)

WNU Editor: I am a radio person .... but I am dubious on the merits of this tech.

North Korea Lays New Landmines In The DMZ

A North Korean flag is seen on top of a tower near the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating North Korea from South Korea, about 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul, September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Reuters: North Korea lays new landmines near border truce village: report

North Korea has laid landmines in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas, the South's Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday, as tension rose on the divided peninsula after the start of annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

North Korea, which conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and a string of rocket tests since then, regards the joint exercises as akin to war and has threatened to launch a military strike in retaliation.

North Korea had laid the mines near the DMZ "truce village" of Panmunjom, which is controlled by both of the Koreas and the U.S. military.

"North Korean's military was seen laying several landmines last week on the North's side of the Bridge of No Return," Yonhap quoted an unidentified South Korean government source as saying.

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Update: UN: North Korea Plants Mines Near Korean Border Village (AP)

WNU Editor: The DMZ is probably the most mined region in the world .... and they are laying more?!?!?!