Sunday, February 25, 2018

Are 'Low-Yield' Nukes A Very High Threat?

U.S. officials examine a M-388 Davy Crockett nuclear weapon. It used one of the smallest nuclear warheads ever developed by the United States. Wikipedia

James Stavridis, Bloomberg: 'Low-Yield' Nukes Are a Very High Threat

Forces from a century ago are back in play. But the stakes are much higher.

In his brilliant book tracing the origins of the First World War, “The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914,” Christopher Clark says, “The protagonists were sleepwalkers, watchful but unseeing, haunted by dreams, yet blind to the reality of the horror they were about to bring into the world.”

As the prestigious Munich Security Conference wrapped up over President’s Day weekend, the pervading feeling of many longtime observers is that we are again sleepwalking toward a conflict nobody wants or needs -- this time with nuclear weapons. The hallways of this conference were jammed as usual, resembling a policy-wonk mosh pit. The conversations on the platform ranged from Senator Lindsey Graham’s suggestion of a European version of Guantanamo Bay to take in the hundreds of Syrian jihadists, to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s question to the Iranian Foreign Minister as he waved around a piece of an Iranian drone: “Do you recognize this?”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The "Davy Crockett" (nuclear device) is an example on how small these weapons can become.

Could North Korea Easily Launch A Nuclear Attack Against Tokyo?

Reuters

Kyle Mizokami, National Interest: North Korea Could Easily Nuke Tokyo (the Largest Urban Area on the Planet)

Tokyo has a population of 13.491 million, making it by far the largest city in Japan and home to more than 10 percent of the nation’s population. The greater Tokyo area, home to thirty-seven million, is the largest urban area on the planet. It is also squarely in the cross-hairs of North Korea’s nuclear weapons. In the event of nuclear attack, Tokyo could experience enormous destruction the likes of which it hasn’t experienced since World War II.

Tokyo became the capital of modern Japan in the late nineteenth century, during the Meiji Restoration, part of a broad effort to modernize the country and raise the Japan’s government, science, technology and military to Western levels. Unfortunately, imperialism was one of those imported values, and the country ruled the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945. The occupation and guerrilla war conducted by Korean partisans established a deep antagonism against Japan that persists to this day. The North Korean leadership claims legitimacy in part from the partisan activities conducted by founding members of the state. Japan’s later alliance with the United States and South Korea only exacerbated bad feelings against the country in Pyongyang.

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WNU Editor: The above article makes the assumption that North Korea has the capability of fitting a 20 kiloton nuclear device on a medium range missile. And yes .... if North Korea could fit such a nuclear device on a medium range missile, the impact would be enormous if a strike is launched on Tokyo.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 25, 2018

Reuters

Harry J. Kazianis, National Interest: The North Korea Crisis Is Back

While it might have arrived at the very end of a bellicose speech to his conservative base, President Trump at CPAC today revealed the obvious: Enjoy the Olympic truce while you have it. The North Korea crisis is back—and we could very well be on the brink of war in less than two months’ time.

In calling for new and sweeping sanctions, Trump made the right call. A country that imprisons and tortures many of its citizens in a vast Gulag system and threatens to inflict a nuclear inferno on America cannot be ignored or wished away. It must be confronted. And confrontation is exactly the course Trump is adopting. Despite the North’s mendacious propaganda campaign to remake its image through countless photo ops, cheerleader squads and failed attempts at Olympic glory that the western media feasted upon, the Trump administration is showing that it will not be fooled or back down to Pyongyang and its quest for a nuclear weapon that can hit the American homeland.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 25, 2018

North Korea’s Nukes -- Sam Kim and Kanga Kong, Bloomberg

Syria's return to bombing-as-usual is down to Russia -- Simon Tisdall, The Guardian

Eastern Ghouta: the guilty parties have a terrible account to settle -- Hussein Ibish, The National

Al-Qaeda could stand to gain from changing Syrian situation -- Anton Mardasov, Al-Monitor

Iran Wants to Join the World Order It Undermines -- Eli Lake, Bloomberg

Rakhine bombings spread Myanmar’s ethnic conflict -- David Scott Mathieson, Asia times

The Real China Challenge: Imperial Overstretch -- Gordon G. Chang, National Interest

Behind the glitz and glamor of President Xi’s ‘dream city’ -- Gordon Watts, Asia Times

Driven by India into China’s arms, is Nepal the new Sri Lanka? -- Debasish Roy Chowdhury, SCMP

India's Rivalry With China -- Brendan Thomas-Noone, RCD/The Interpreter

India’s dilemma in the Maldives: is it time to deal with Chinese influence? -- Mohan Guruswamy, SCMP

Merkel’s list of failures is only getting longer -- Marian L. Tupy, CAPX

Trans-Europe Express – One year on, more of the same in Romania -- Bogdan Neagu, EURACTIV

In a blow to Trump, Europe seeks gas supplies from Iran -- Emanuele Scimia, Asia Times

The Blockchain Won't Save Venezuela -- Matt Levine, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- February 25, 2018


Daily Mail: It really was the Peace Games! 'North Korea is ready to hold talks with US' as athletes from both countries march together and one of Kim Jong-un's key aides sits inches from Ivanka Trump at spectacular Winter Olympics closing ceremony

* Bronze medal winning Billy Morgan was the TeamGB flag bearer at the Olympics closing ceremony today
* The 28-year-old led out our 59 athletes out at end of the Britain's most successful ever Winter Games
* Closing ceremony, entitled 'The Next Wave', highlighted the Olympic spirit and present a message of peace
* Ivanka Trump and a North Korean spy chief blamed for deadly attacks on the host nation shared a box today
* Ivanka and Kim did not appear to interact when South Korean President Moon Jae-in shook hands today
* But it emerged North Korea was ready to hold talks with the US in what would be a significant development

Ivanka Trump sat within inches of a key Kim Jong-un aide at the spectacular Winter Olympics closing ceremony today as it emerged North Korea was ready to hold talks with the United States.

The First Daughter was seated near Pyongyang General Kim Yong Chol as the pair were both guests of honour of South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.

Kim is accused of masterminding the sinking of the South Koran war ship Cheonan that killed 46 sailors and the artillery bombardment of a South Korean island that killed four people.

And it has now been claimed North Korea is ready to open dialogue with the United States.

The Blue House, South Korea's presidential office, reported the news during the games' closing ceremony. It did not immediately have further details.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syrian regime bombs eastern Ghouta despite humanitarian truce: Monitor. Syria: fresh fighting in eastern Ghouta despite UN-ordered ceasefire.

Turkey says UN Syria ceasefire won't affect Afrin offensive.

Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim arrested in Prague on Turkey's request.

At least 14 killed in attack on Yemen counter-terrorism base, Islamic State claims responsibility.

Deadly air attacks pound Houthi-held Hodayda.

Israeli navy kills Palestinian after boat breaches sailing limit, military says.

Christian leaders shut Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre church. Jerusalem: Christianity's 'holiest site' closed in protest.

Iran's new avant-garde mosque angers religious hardliners.

Detectives will interrogate Banjamin Netanyahu in two corruption cases this week.

US to open new embassy in Jerusalem in May.

ASIA

North Korea ‘very willing’ to hold talks with US. North Korea open to talks with United States, South Korea says.

North Korea calls new US economic sanctions 'act of war'.

Trump warns of military action with North Korea if sanctions don't work.

Defector: Desperate North Korea sees South as last lifeline.

China-North Korea trade falls to near four-year low in January as sanctions bite.

China to scrap presidential term limits, clearing way for Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely. Xi Jinping to cement his power with plan to scrap two-term limit.

China scare spreads to New Zealand.

Rohingya exodus still growing, six months into crisis.

Cambodia ruling party wins 'a lot of seats' in contentious vote.

Papua New Guinea to host APEC, biggest event in its history.

Large 7.5-magnitude earthquake hits Papua New Guinea.

AFRICA

Jihadist group claim Mali attack that killed two French soldiers.

Somalia al-Shabab: Deadly double car bombing near presidential palace. Somalia blasts death toll at 45, AMISOM explains clash with gov't troops.

DR Congo police fire on church-led, anti-Kabila demonstrators. DR Congo: At least one dead in latest anti-Kabila protests.

More than 100 schoolgirls missing after Boko Haram attack in Nigeria.

Scores on trial over failed Burkina coup.

Libya's NOC declares force majeure on 70,000 bpd El Feel oilfield.

Libya’s most trusted Gaddafi aide escapes assassination in South Africa.

Egypt freezes assets of leading government critic.

EUROPE

Putin, Merkel, Macron discuss Syria situation over phone - Kremlin.

Angela Merkel names CDU members of possible German cabinet.

CIA files 'reveal US spies kept tabs on Jeremy Corbyn's links to Soviet-backed El Salvadorian trade union which supported violent Marxist guerrillas'.

Latvian bank linked to N. Korea money laundering ordered closed.

Polish government freezes controversial Holocaust law.

Russians commemorate anniversary of slain politician Boris Nemtsov's death.

International Red Cross says 21 staff members paid for sexual services.

Triumphant Russian hockey team defies ban, sings national anthem after Olympic win (VIDEO). IOC: No Russian flag at Winter Olympics closing march.

AMERICAS

Trump-Russia: Democrats defend Russia inquiry in memo.

US governors fear for election security amid Russian cyberattacks.

'I have given amazing leadership': Broward County Sheriff refuses to resign amid criticism his officers didn't act on 911 calls made about the school shooter and makes bizarre comparison to OJ Simpson. 'It was as bad as you can imagine, times ten': Emotional cops reveal how they ran towards rampaging school shooter while four 'coward' sheriff deputies stayed outside and refused to go in.

Congress has ideas on gun violence, but no consensus.

Mexican hosts open 'difficult' new round of NAFTA talks.

Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto postpones his visit to the White House after Trump 'loses his temper' during a testy 50-minute phone call.

Fresh row over mysterious sickness affecting US diplomats in Cuba.

Colombia extradites 'Pablo Escobar of Ecuador' to US.

Julian Assange: Ecuador says latest talks on release failed.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Iraq sentences 16 Turkish women to death over IS ties.

ISIL claims deadly suicide car bombings in Yemen's Aden.

2 attacks thwarted & 3 mosques closed in terrorism crackdown – French interior minister.

‘Precursor to 9/11’: Trade center bomb echoes after 25 years.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

'Black Panther' again slays North American box office.

Microsoft fights US in high court to protect global business.

Berlin 'aware' of Geely buying stake in Mercedes maker.

Samsung Galaxy S9 focuses on the camera.

Warren Buffett: 'What counts are brains and capital'. Trump tax reform gives Buffett $29bn boost.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 25, 2018

Two German Bundeswehr soldiers, assigned to the 701st Pioneer Battalion defend their position during a German-led platoon attack mission with a U.S. Army Sapper squad in support, August 23, 2010, Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany. Wikimedia

CNN: Fear of Russian aggression driving US military sales to Europeans

Washington (CNN)Concerns about Russian aggression is driving billions of dollars in US arms sales to European nations. The weapons deliveries are also part of the Trump administration's wider efforts to confront Russia in the region.

The Trump administration announced Wednesday that the State Department had approved a potential sale of the Patriot missile system, including some 100 missiles, to Sweden.

The system's missiles are capable of intercepting short- and medium-range ballistic missiles as well as drones.

US and European officials have expressed concern that Russia has recently deployed new missiles to its European exclave Kaliningrad, which sits on the Baltic coast between Poland and Lithuania.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 25, 2018

Europe Still Doesn't Take Its Own Defense Seriously -- Doug Bandow, National Interst

‘Reticent’ general Wei Fenghe could be China’s new defence minister, sources say -- SCMP

India's Army looking at larger talent pool, younger officers for crucial tasks: Official -- Economic Times

India Upends Its Single-Engine Fighter Competition and Will Also Consider Twin-Engine Jets -- The Drive

India Test-Fires Nuclear-Capable Ship-Launched Ballistic Missile -- The Diplomat

Russian Engineers Finish Work on Laser Capable of Shooting Down Enemy Satellites -- Sputnik

Mission Possible: Here's What Those Russian Su-57 Jets May Be Doing in Syria -- Sputnik

Russia’s new military buggy, Chaborz-6, rolled out in Chechnya’s Grozny -- TASS

Russia Marks Red Army's Centenary -- RFE

Canada names suppliers approved to bid in future fighter competition -- Defense News

France-Egypt Plane Deal Blocked by US, Fearing Spread of Missile Tech - Official -- Sputnik

Saab rolls out first GlobalEye AEW&C aircraft -- Jane's 360

Raytheon, Lockheed to sell Javelins to multiple foreign customers -- UPI

Problems with Army’s future air-to-ground missile fixed ahead of production decision -- Defense News

US Army seeks new missile to counter drones, rockets and more -- Defense News

Mattis Wants Ground Combat Units to Be More Lethal in the Close Fight -- Military.com

Could Israel's 'Tank Shield' Make the U.S. Army's M1 Abrams Even More Deadly? -- National Interest

Amid beret backlash, the Army’s SFAB soldiers focus on training, deployment -- Army Times

AFSOC Commander Calls Reports of AC-130J Problems Overblown -- Military.com

USAF's New Ground Tracking Radar Plan Desperately Needs Stealthy Flying Sensor Trucks -- The Drive

Freezing Navy EA-18G Crew In Ice Filled Cockpit Navigated Home Using Their Smart Watches -- The Drive

Sunsetting the MQ-1 Predator: A history of innovation -- US Air Force

Air Force Chief Wright: Innovation crucial to win the next war -- Air Force Times

US Navy's newest ship, the future USNS Burlington, christened at Mobile shipyard -- al.com

Marine Raiders don’t want any M27s -- Marine Times

Trump says military parade would be great for country's spirit -- CNN

Trump: 'The generals would love' to have a military parade -- The Hill

Trump Says He Plans Capital Military Parade If Cost Reasonable -- Bloomberg

Marine General Chastised for Meddling in Hazing Case -- Military.com/The San Diego Union-Tribune

Navy lawyers want change of venue in ‘Fat Leonard’ case -- Navy Times

Good News, Troops: The Pizza MREs Are Back -- Popular Mechanics

This new blood test can detect traumatic brain injury in troops -- Military Times

Epidemic of cryptojacking can be traced to escaped NSA superweapon -- Boing Boing

What Does America Get for Its Military Aid? -- Bilal Y. Saab, National Interest

South Africa To Sever Diplomatic Ties With Israel


Middle East Monitor: South Africa to cut diplomatic ties with Israel

South Africa has been a staunch ally of the Palestinian struggle and regularly spoken out against the atrocities committed by the Israeli government

The South African government is intending to cut diplomatic ties with Israel in protest of its treatment of the Palestinian people, the country’s Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor announced yesterday.

Pandor informed parliamentarians of the government’s resolution during a ten-hour joint debate on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) that he delivered last week.

“The majority party has agreed, that government must cut diplomatic ties with Israel, given the absence of genuine initiatives by Israel to secure lasting peace and a viable two-state solution that includes full freedom and democracy for the Palestinian people,” she said.

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WNU Editor: This announcement will only make official what South African has been practicing for years when it comes to Israel. Unfortunately .... the only ones who have been hurt are the South Africans themselves .... How dirty politics and attacking Israel worsened South Africa’s dangerous water-shortage crisis (Financial Post).

Turkey's Syrian Military Offensive Is Facing The Bitter Realities On What It Is Like To Fight A War In Syria



Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor: Turkey's march on Manbij stalled by wall of reality

Turkey’s Syria adventure is heading into deeper uncertainty, facing obscure American and Russian moves and the bitter realities of the field. The idea was to finish the operation against the Kurds in Afrin quickly and march on to Manbij. Then, Turkey's military planned to cross to the eastern side of the Euphrates River and deliver major blows to the main body of the Kurdish "democratic autonomy" in areas like Ras al-Ain and Tell Abyad, where Kurds do not have ethnic majorities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is determined to put an end to the de facto Kurdish autonomous body in Syria. However, Syria upped the ante this week by agreeing to send its supporting militias to back the Kurds in Afrin.

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WNU Editor: An excellent analysis on how messed-up the Syrian war is with its multiple and changing alliances, and how it is impacting Turkey as it enters into this conflict.

The U.S. Air Force Is Rushing To Build And Fly A Sixth-Generation Fighter Jet ASAP

© Flickr/ Times Asi

Gillian Rich, Investors Business Daily: Why Air Force Is Rushing To Fly A Sixth-Generation Fighter Jet

Lockheed Martin's (LMT) F-35, a so-called fifth-generation fighter, hasn't hit full rate production yet, but the Air Force is already accelerating the development of a sixth generation fighter as China ramps up its military.

The service is investing nearly $10 billion in the platform over the next five years, $2.7 billion more than previously planned, for the Next Generation Air Dominance system, which will likely include a fighter to replace current fifth generation platforms like the F-35 and Lockheed's F-22.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters at a conference in Orlando Thursday that the system will have a "renewed emphasis" on electronic warfare, according to Aviation Week.

Read more ....

Update: Pentagon Wants $500 Million to Research Sixth-Gen Warplane ‘Family of Systems’ (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: The U.S. Air Force has committed to spend $10 billion over the next five years to develop this fighter .... $3 billion more than what was originally planned.

Chinese Communist Party To Scrap Presidential Term Limits Thereby Clearing The Way For Xi Jinping To Rule Indefinitely





BBC: China proposes to let Xi Jinping extend presidency beyond 2023

China's governing Communist Party has proposed removing a clause in the constitution which limits presidencies to two five-year terms.

The move would allow the current President Xi Jinping to remain as leader after he is due to step down.

There had been widespread speculation that Mr Xi would seek to extend his presidency beyond 2023.

Party congress last year saw him cement his status as the most powerful leader since the late Mao Zedong.

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WNU Editor: All that I can say is that there are a lot of people in China who are not happy with this move, and see this as a way to extend his rule from 2020 to 2035.

More News On Reports That The Chinese Communist Party Is Scraping Presidential Term Limits Thereby Clearing The Way For Xi Jinping To Rule Indefinitely

China paves way for Xi Jinping to extend rule beyond 2 terms -- AP
China sets stage for Xi to stay in office indefinitely -- Reuters
Xi Jinping to cement his power with plan to scrap two-term limit -- The Guardian
Xi poised to extend power as China set to lift term limits -- AFP
China's Xi Follows Putin in Laying Ground to Rule for Decades -- Bloomberg
China Proposes Dropping Term Limits for President Xi -- VOA
China's Communist Party mulls end to two-term limit for president -- DW
China's Communist Party sets stage for Xi to remain in power -- UPI
China to scrap presidential term limits, clearing way for Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely -- ABC News Online
China is moving quickly to allow Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely -- Quartz
Why China's proposal was long expected -- BBC

Could President Trump Get a Nobel Peace Prize If He Solves The North Korean Nuclear Crisis Peacefully?



Irvin Studdin, South China Morning Post: It’s no joke: the North Korean nuclear crisis could get Trump the Nobel Peace Prize

The US president’s unpredictability has pushed the peninsula to the brink of nuclear war, but it’s that same caprice that could save us all from Armageddon.

The presidency of Donald Trump has made the dividing line between nuclear war and a Nobel Peace Prize increasingly thin. The very same extreme caprice and disregard for precedent that have amplified the military pressure and posturing on the Korean peninsula over the past year can quickly transform the logic of the endgame to one of spectacular peace and reconciliation.

To be clear, if the thinking in Washington today no longer excludes the idea of pre-emptive and, by likely implication, nuclear war with North Korea, then the prospect of near-term escalation in the domestic crisis surrounding the White House could soon yield to a “consolidation action” – in military form – by Trump that launches Asia and the world into a massive war.

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WNU Editor: Not going to happen. Even if President Trump solves the North Korean crisis peacefully .... and a few other conflicts around the world .... tThe Nobel committee in Oslo is so far to the left and completely opposite to everything that President Trump believes in .... that they would prefer to commit seppuku than bestowing him the Nobel Peace Prize.

What Are The Consequences Of A 'Bloody Nose' Attack On North Korea?



Michael O'Hanlon and James Kirchick, The Hill: 'Bloody nose' attack in Korea would have lasting consequences

Is President Trump really considering a preventive military action of some kind after the Olympic season is over in Korea?

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has just denied that possibility, telling a bipartisan group of senators last week that the administration has no plans to carry out a so-called "bloody nose" attack against North Korea to constrain its nuclear weapons or long-range missile programs.

But the idea has been circulating too long to be put to rest quite that easily, and President Trump has just kept it alive at the CPAC conference on Friday in Washington by stating that if sanctions against North Korea fail, we may have to consider “Phase 2.”

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WNU Editor: Tensions on the Korean peninsula are now so high right now that any attack .... from any side .... will probably quickly precipitate into a shooting war. But I do believe in the reports that there is no desire from within the White House to actually go through with such an attack .... at least for now.

South Korea: North Korea Willing To Enter Into Talks With The U.S.



The Guardian: North Korea willing to start direct talks with US, says South Korea

Announcement comes as controversial North Korean general mobbed on visit to Winter Olympics.

North Korea is willing to start direct talks with the US, with the move coming as a high-level delegation from Pyongyang, headed by a controversial general, arrived for the Winter Olympics closing ceremony.

Pyongyang also said the relationship between the two Koreas and US-North Korean ties should advance in tandem, according to South Korea’s presidential Blue House. The announcement on Sunday comes after president Moon Jae-in met the head of the North Korean delegation, Kim Yong-chol, vice-chairman of the ruling Workers’ party’s central committee.

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WNU Editor: The South Koreans are saying that the North wants to enter into talks, but the North Koreans are saying something else .... N. Korea slams latest US sanctions as 'act of war' (AFP). What's my take. The South Korean administration of Moon Jae-in has been pushing for these talks since his election win last year .... but this approach runs counter to the U.S. and Japanese policy of forcing the North Koreans to make the initial concession that they will disband their nuclear and missile programs before these talks can even begin. The fact that the North Koreans have publicly stated that they will not even put this on the table .... makes IMHO any talks pointless. So why the push from the South Koreans. I think it is because South Korean President Moon Jae-in believes that the process of just having these talks will be more than enough to provide the necessary momentum that will lead to discussions on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. I personally think this approach is a mistake. The North Korean government is a Stalinist structured regime, and its leadership has never wavered from their primary goal of unifying the peninsula under their rule .... and by force if necessary. I have always had the position that it is only when this commitment to regime change is renounced by the North Koreans via through a peace treaty to end the war (both countries are still at a state of war).... even before talks can begin on their nuclear arsenal .... that I can see such talks bearing fruit. But to have these talks now .... it will fracture the current policy of isolating North Korea. and it will give the excuse to the Chinese and the Russians that they should alleviate the timeline for implementing sanctions on the North Koreans as agreed to at the UN a few months ago.

More News On South Korean Reports That North Korea Is Willing To Enter Into Talks With The U.S.

North Korea says open to talks with United States: South Korea's presidential office -- Reuters
North Korea willing to hold talks with US, says South Korea -- BBC
North Korean envoy, in South, opens door to US talks -- AP
Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US -- AP
Chief N. Korean delegate says N. Korea willing to hold talks with U.S. -- Yonhap
North Korea open to talks with United States, South Korea says -- ABC News Online
North Korea condemns sanctions, but seen open to talks with U.S. -- Reuters
North Korean Envoy Says Country Is Willing to Open Talks With the U.S. -- Time
North Korea slams US for sanctions & ‘clouds of war’ but says it is open for talks -- RT
North Korea willing to hold talks with US, ex-spy chief says -- FOX News

Turkey Claims U.N. Syrian Ceasefire Resolution Does Not Apply To Them And Their Military Offensive In Afrin

Last month Turkey launched a military operation against a Kurdish militia it deems a terror organisation in the western enclave of Afrin in northern Syria

Hurriyet Daily News: Turkey welcomes UN call for Syria truce, says Afrin operation will continue

Turkey welcomed on Feb. 25 a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding a 30-day truce across Syria to allow aid access and medical evacuation, while adding that the cease-fire would not affect the ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria’s Afrin district.

“We welcome the resolution adopted by the U.N. Security Council today in response to the worsening humanitarian situation all across Syria, in particular in Eastern Ghouta, that demands the cessation of hostilities without delay,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Why am I not surprised that Turkey is making this claim.

More News On Turkey Claiming that Yesterday's U.N. Syrian Ceasefire Resolution Does Not Apply To Them

Turkey says UN Syria ceasefire won't affect Afrin offensive -- AFP
Turkey says U.N. resolution on Syria ceasefire won't impact Afrin offensive -- Reuters
UN cease-fire in Syria not to affect Turkey's Afrin op. -- Anadolu Agency
UNSC Resolution on Syria Doesn't Apply to Turkish Operation in Afrin - Ankara -- Sputnik

Syrian General Responsible For The Current Fighting Near Damascus Is Surrounded By Russian Soldiers (Video)

It is not known if the video was taken before the eastern Ghouta air strikes, or after. (Screen grab)

Al Arabiya: VIDEO: Syrian army brigadier speaks to troops flanked by Russian soldiers

A video surfaced showing Brigadier Suheil al-Hassan, known as the Tiger, speaking to Syrian regime troops in Damascus while being guarded by Russian soldiers.

The Russian soldiers were standing around al-Hassan dressed in military uniforms, carrying firearms with their hands on the trigger, appearing on high alert.

Al-Hassan was also surrounded by members of the Syrian army who were also on guard.

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WNU Editor: I for one would not be surprised if the Syrian political and military leadership have a contingent of Russian bodyguards always protecting them.

The U.N.'s Syrian Ceasefire Is Being Ignored As The Bombings Continue



Reuters: Iran says Damascus suburbs assault to continue after U.N. ceasefire call

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iran said pro-Damascus forces would press ahead with attacks on an insurgent enclave near the Syrian capital, as ground fighting raged on there after a U.N. resolution demanding a 30-day truce across the country.

Rebels said they clashed with pro-government forces on Sunday, as rescuers and residents said warplanes struck some towns in the eastern Ghouta pocket.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said air strikes and artillery killed nine people and injured 31 in the eastern suburbs. The UK-based monitoring group said Sunday’s bombing was less intense than attacks over the past week.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian military.

Iranian General Mohammad Baqeri, whose government backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said Tehran and Damascus would respect the U.N. resolution.

But the Iranian military chief of staff also said the truce did not cover parts of the Damascus suburbs “held by the terrorists”, the Tasnim news agency said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: According to Russian President Putin .... the Kremlin will respect the ceasefire BUT will continue to launch anti-terror operations .... Putin to Macron, Merkel: Syrian Truce Doesn't Apply to Anti-Terror Ops (Sputnik). Translation .... the bombings will not stop.

Update: This is going to go nowhere .... Germany, France urge Russia to pressure Syria government on eastern Ghouta (Reuters).

More News On The U.N.'s Syrian Ceasefire Being Ignored As The Bombings Continue

Syria war: Air strikes resume hours after UN approves ceasefire -- BBC News
Syrian regime bombs eastern Ghouta despite humanitarian truce: Monitor -- DW
Strikes, clashes hit Syria's Ghouta despite ceasefire call -- AFP
Syrian forces begin new offensive in Eastern Ghouta -- Al Jazeera
Heavy clashes on edges of Syria's Ghouta despite ceasefire: Monitor -- Arab News/AFP
Airstrikes on Syria's Ghouta enclave continue despite UN ceasefire deal -- The Telegraph
Airstrikes pound Eastern Ghouta after ceasefire, doctor says -- CNN
Syrian forces begin new offensive in Eastern Ghouta -- Aljazeera

The U.S. Navy Wants The Colombia-Class Submarine To Be Manufactured And Deployed Earlier Than Planned

The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Alabama, one of the boats the Navy plans to replace with the Columbia-class. USN

Warrior Maven: Navy Accelerates New Nuclear Armed Columbia-Class Submarine

The Navy 2019 budget request increases funding for the service's new nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine by $2 billion over this year's amount in what appears to be a clear effort to further accelerate technology development and early production. The request, which marks a substantial move on the part of the Navy and DoD, asks for $3.7 billion in 2019, up from $1.9 billion in 2018. The new budget effort is quite significant, given that there has been a chorus of concern in recent years that there would not be enough money to fund development of the new submarines, without devastating the Navy shipbuilding budget.

The Columbia-class plus-up is a key element of a cross-the-board Navy budget increase; overall, the Navy 2019 request jumps $14 billion over this year, climbing to to $194 billion.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These new subs are not cheap .... The U.S. Navy New Missile Sub Will Now Cost $7.2 Billion (November 12, 2017).

Senior Royal Navy Commander Admits To Crashing £1bn Nuclear Submarine During Gibraltar Training Exercise Because He 'Took The Eye Of The Ball'

Commander Justin Codd, 45, pleaded guilty to causing damage to submarine HMS Ambush (above, Commander Codd pictured in 2003)

Daily Mail: I saw no ship! How Royal Navy commander crashed a £1.1billion submarine when he ‘took his eye off the ball'

Commander Justin Codd, 45, pleaded guilty to damaging nuclear submarine
He was sentenced to forfeiting a year of seniority at Portsmouth Naval Base
In 2016 he accidentally crashed the vessel while he was busy teaching students

A Royal Navy officer in charge of teaching future commanders how to operate submarines worth £1.1billion took his eye off the ball and caused a crash costing £2.1million.

Commander Justin Codd, 45, pleaded guilty to causing damage to submarine HMS Ambush.

He was sentenced to forfeiting a year of seniority at Portsmouth Naval Base.

The Astute-class machine was taken out of service for three months to undergo repairs costing £2.1million.

Read more ....

More News On A Senior Royal Navy Commander Admitting To Crashing A £1bn Nuclear Submarine During Gibraltar Training Exercise Because He 'Took The Eye Of The Ball'

Nuclear submarine commander 'took eye off ball' before collision -- The Guardian
Senior Royal Navy commander pleads guilty to crashing £1bn nuclear submarine on Gibraltar training exercise -- The Telegraph
Submarine commander who 'took eye off the ball' sentenced over vessel collision -- Belfast Telegraph
Royal Navy officer 'took his eye off the periscope' after he put £2.1m dent in submarine -- International Business Times
Nuclear submarine commander who 'took eye off the ball' sentenced over collision -- RT

Every Passenger Who Boards Air Force One Is Expected To Pay For Food — Even If They Don't Eat

The best meals in the sky
The elaborate meals served aboard Air Force One are prepared inside a special kitchen at Joint Base Andrews. Each entree is vacuum sealed and frozen on the ground; the cooking process is completed on stoves, ovens and microwaves in the plane’s galley kitchen.
The president can order just about any meal he’d like. The only catch: Because there’s no fryer on the plane, the fries served up by Air Force One tend to be a bit soggy. Credit: Pete Souza/The White House

Business Insider: After a surprise bill, a former Trump administration official discovered every passenger who boards Air Force One is expected to pay for food — even if they don't eat

* Political officials who fly on Air Force One have to pay for their own food — even if they don't eat anything.
* Former Trump administration official Omarosa Manigault recently revealed this fact on an episode of "Celebrity Big Brother."
* Manigault once received a $23 bill after a flight.

"There's no free ride in the government."

So says former Trump administration official Omarosa Manigault. On an episode of "Celebrity Big Brother," Manigault revealed what it was like to fly Air Force One.

"You pay for the food," she told co-stars Ross Mathews, Marissa Jaret Winokur, and James Maslow on Wednesday's episode of the CBS show.

Manigault went on: "I got a bill and it was, like, $23 dollars and I was like, 'I didn't even eat anything.' So I called the military aide and was like, 'Why am I getting a bill?' and he's like, 'Well, if you even consume the snacks, you get a flat fee.'"

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Update: Omarosa tells Big Brother housemates she was given a BILL for $23 the first time she flew on Air Force One - while rival Ross Matthews says everything that comes out of her mouth is 'fake news' (Daily Mail)

WNU Editor: If I should ever find myself on Air Force One ....I am going to treat the kitchen as a buffet. :)