Tuesday, November 13, 2018

President Trump Doubles-Down On Criticisms Of French President Macron's Call For An EU Army To Protect Europe From The U.S. And Other Countries

FOX News: Trump slams Macron for low approval ratings, French surrender to the Nazis

President Trump on Tuesday ripped into French President Emmanuel Macron in a series of tweets -- hitting him on everything from his low approval ratings, to the French surrender to the Nazis in World War II, and suggesting U.S. wine is on par with French product.

Trump was tweeting after a visit to France over the weekend, where he marked the anniversary of the end of World War I. But the trip was marred after Macron said last week that Europe should build its own army, telling French radio: “We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Some Europeans are also not buying this idea of an EU Army .... Merkel heckled over European army comments (RTE).

More News On President Trump Doubling-Down On Criticisms Of French President Macron's Call For An EU Army

Trump goes on the attack against Macron -- Politico
Trump suggests France would have been defeated without US -- AP
Trump lashes Macron as Europe moves on defense without US -- AFP
Trump rips Macron for suggesting creation of 'true European army' -- The Hill
Trump Mocks France for War Losses as Macron Bromance Sours -- Bloomberg
Trump jabs Macron: You'd be speaking German if it wasn't for US -- Washington Examiner

German Chancellor Merkel Now Calling For An EU Army

Angela Merkel called for the creation of a European army and Security Council during a speech to ministers in Strasbourg on Tuesday

Daily Mail: Merkel calls for creation of a 'real, true' European army in rebuke to Trump after he mocked France, saying they were 'learning German in Paris' in WWII until the US saved them

* The German Chancellor called for EU army in speech to ministers in Strasbourg
* Her remark drew widespread applause but some boos from the lawmakers
* Comes after Emmanuel Macron put forward the same idea on French television
* Also comes after President Trump joked that the French 'were learning German before the US came along' and called on leaders to pay their way in NATO

Angela Merkel called for the creation of a 'real, true' European army during a speech to EU ministers on Tuesday in a rebuke to President Trump.

The German Chancellor also called for a European Security Council that would be responsible for coordinating defence policy across the continent.

Merkel spoke out after French President Emmanuel Macron floated the same idea last week, and hours after Donald Trump lambasted him for it on Twitter.

Trump joked that Parisians 'were starting to learn German before the U.S. came along' in the Second World War and told EU leaders to pay their fair share to NATO.

Read more ....

More News On German Chancellor Merkel Now Calling For An EU Army

Merkel joins Macron in calling for EU army to complement NATO -- Politico
Germany's Angela Merkel calls for a European Union military -- Straits Times/Reuters
Germany’s Merkel calls for creation of an EU army -- Washington Post
WARMONGERING EU: Fury as Angela Merkel celebrates true European ARMY -- Express
Angela Merkel calls for a “real European army” -- Quartz

Turkish Presdient Erdogan: Khashoggi Recordings 'Appalling', Shocked Saudi Intelligence

Reuters: Turkey's Erdogan says Khashoggi recordings 'appalling', shocked Saudi intelligence

President Tayyip Erdogan said recordings related to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, which Turkey has shared with Western allies, are “appalling” and shocked a Saudi intelligence officer who listened to them, Turkish media reported on Tuesday.

Khashoggi, a critic of de facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2 in a hit which Erdogan says was ordered at the “highest levels” of the Saudi government.

Six weeks after Khashoggi’s death, Turkey is trying to keep up pressure on Prince Mohammed and has released a stream of evidence that undermined Riyadh’s early denials of involvement.

Prine Mohammed won support on Tuesday from U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said he did not think recordings of the killing shared by Turkey implicated the young crown prince.

Read more ....

Update #1: 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdoğan -- The Guardian
Update #2: Erdogan: Audio recording of Khashoggi killing is a 'true disaster' -- CNN

WNU Editor: There is growing blow-back against President Erdogan's remarks on the Khashoggi murder .... Khashoggi recordings being used as 'political game,' French foreign minister says (ABC News). As to what is my take .... Erdogan in Turkey, Salman in Saudi Arabia .... the "coffee pot is calling the tea kettle that it is black".

How Deadly Was World War I?

Zero Hedge: How Deadly Was World War I?

Veterans Day in the United States was created to commemorate the veterans of World War I. This year Veterans Day also marks 100 years since the end of the war to end all wars.

As Statista's Sarah Feldman notes, World War I became known as the war to end all wars due to how deadly it was to those who went into combat. The advent of mustard gas and chlorine gas along with trench warfare, made the casualties rate much higher than previous conflicts.

Casualties are defined here as soldiers who were killed, wounded and captured or reported missing during combat.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The term "meat-grinder" best describes the casualty rate for this war. No wonder the Germans capitulated when fresh U.S troops entered the conflict.

Editor's Note

Stick in meetings this morning. Blogging will return this afternoon.

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

A firefighter battles the Woolsey Fire in Malibu, November 9. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... California burning (Reuters)

Rust Is A Costly Problem For The Pentagon

NextGov: Rust Costs the Pentagon $21 Billion Per Year

The Defense Department isn't doing a good job determining how much to spend to prevent damage from nature's basic chemical reactions.

Rust costs the Pentagon more money annually than many of its most expensive weapons systems—up to $21 billion per year, according to a Defense Department-commissioned audit released in March.

The report indicates the corrosion of metals that make up modern weapons systems like fighter jets, ships, ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons can sometimes approach one-third of the total operations and maintenance costs of those systems.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: $21 billion per year?!?!?!?

Monday, November 12, 2018

Does Europe Need Its Own Army?

WNU Editor: If European leaders are so eager to have a military force that is independent of NATO .... what is then the purpose of NATO? French President Macron remarks that the EU needs an independent military to protect itself from Russia, China, AND the U.S. only makes President Trump's case that a rethink is needed on what should hen be the future of NATO .... Trump torches allies, threatens NATO pullout after tense WWI memorial trip to Paris (Business Insider)

Afghan Taliban Issue Their Conditions For 'Peace Tallks' Through Russia

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai (R), head of the Taliban’s political council in Qatar, during talks in Russia. November 9, 2018. © Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

Sputnik: Taliban Will Only Talk to Kabul if Timeline Exists For US Troops' Exit - Moscow

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Taliban* movement stated it was ready to talk with Afghanistan's government only after agreeing with the United States on a schedule for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, Russian Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said.

"They said that they would be ready to talk with the Afghan government only after reaching an agreement with the Americans on the schedule for withdrawing all foreign troops from Afghanistan. As a confidence-building measure, the Taliban have preliminarily demanded the release of all political prisoners and the cancellation of anti-Taliban sanctions imposed on them back in 1997," Kabulov said at a press conference.

The Taliban are ready to take part in the next meeting on Afghanistan in Moscow, Kabulov noted.

Read more ....

Update #1: Envoy: Russia plays Afghanistan broker due to US 'failure' -- FOX News/AP
Update #2: Russia announces Taliban’s demands for US -- Washington Examiner

WNU Editor: The Taliban conditions .... especially the withdrawal of coalition forces before talks are to begin .... is a non-starter.

Israel And Hamas At The Brink Of War

Jerusalem Post: From the city of peace to a country on the brink of war

The premier and his staff headed home in the dead of night, under a shower of rain that dimmed the lights of his convoy.

The guns of a possible Israel-Gaza war were fired less than 12 hours after church bells rang out throughout Paris at 11 a.m. on Sunday to commemorate the moment when the guns of World War I became silent exactly a century ago.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had come to Paris to celebrate the 100th anniversary of that peace, cut his trip short after an IDF military operation gone awry rekindled violence with Hamas.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When you have hundreds of missiles hitting Israel within 24 hours .... in my book that is a state of war.

Update: It looks like Israel is preparing for a ground offensive .... IDF sends tanks to Gaza border, bracing for potential full-fledged ground offensive – reports (RT).

More News On Israel And Hamas At The Brink Of War

The Latest: UN, Egypt working to end Gaza fighting -- AP
IDF readies for heavier Gaza conflict as massive missile barrage persists -- Times of Israel
Israel, Hamas trade heavy fire after deadly incursion -- AP
Israel-Gaza border ignites after botched incursion; four dead -- Reuters
Israel-Gaza violence erupts after covert op killings -- BBC
Israeli air raids kill three Palestinians as Gaza tensions rise -- Al Jazeera
Gaza rocket hits bus, Israel launches airstrikes on Palestinian enclave -- NBC
Intense fighting erupts on Israel-Gaza border after botched raid -- ABC News Online
Gaza-Israel tensions flare after night of violence threatening ceasefire hopes -- DW
Israeli air strike destroys Hamas TV building in Gaza: AFP -- AFP

Numerous Videos Posted On Twitter On Today's Israel-Gaza Rocket Exchange

Zero Hedge: Massive Fireball Lights Up Gaza Sky As Israel Destroys Hamas TV Station

Hours after an Israeli bus was struck by Hamas mortar fire from Gaza, resulting in injuries, which was accompanied by a sustained exchange of fire involving 100 rockets and Iron Dome defense response fire, Israeli jets have bombed the studios of Hamas's television station in the Gaza Strip.

According to Reuters the huge airstrike was preceded by "warning" phone calls non-exploding missile "taps" from the Israeli military for locals to evacuate the the building housing Al-Aqsa Television — the official broadcast station operated by Hamas. News of casualties was not immediately forthcoming, but the strike produced a massive fireball captured through local video and eyewitness reports.

Read more ....

WNU editor: So much for the truce that both sides agreed to recently.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 12, 2018

Col. Wesley Hallman (ret.), Defense News: How China won the global war on terror

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, America awoke the undisputed superpower, commanding advantages across all dimensions of national power.

America boasted unprecedented diplomatic and military strength. Our companies dominated the U.S.-developed internet, spreading soft power at light speed. Our economy was 32 percent of global gross domestic product, the federal budget generated surpluses and the national debt was less than $6 trillion. A true “near peer” was laughable.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 12, 2018

What Does Iran Really Think of China? -- Mahmoud Pargoo, The Diplomat

Why a strategic port in Iran was exempted from sanctions -- Kambaiz Rafi, Asia Times

Over 40 years of diplomatic drama, a rising China opens up to, and transforms, the world -- Cary Huang, SCMP

Bangladesh moves towards a 'managed' election -- Shafquat Rabbee, Al Jazeera

Why is India 'Hinduizing' cities' Muslim names? -- Murali Krishnan, DW

Identity politics looms over Indonesia’s presidential election -- Deasy Simandjuntak, East Asia Forum

Asia’s $4.3 trillion stock rout is 20 years coming -- William Pesek, Asia Times

Hundreds of Thousands March to Celebrate Polish Independence -- Jan Cienski, Politico EU

Time to face facts on Ukraine's dead ceasefire deal -- Ariana Gic and Roman Sohn, EU Observer

Is the EU kowtowing to the Kremlin on Magnitsky sanctions? -- Teri Schultz, DW

The World Has Come Full Circle—And Taken a Turn For The Worse -- Nicholas Dungan, Atlantic Council

Donald Trump's European tour shows familiar failures symbolised by bone-crushing handshake -- Conor Duffy, ABC News Online

A Determined Man: World War I, Hitler, and the Unlikely March to World War II -- John Mueller, Commentary

Today's Armies Are Still Fighting World War I -- James Stavridis, Bloomberg View

World War I Relived Day by Day -- Patrick Chovanec, New York Review Of Books

World News Briefs -- November 12, 2018 (Evening Edition)

A cloud of black smoke rises during an Israeli air strike in Gaza in which seven people died, November 12, 2018

Daily Mail: 'This is our response': Teenager is critically hurt as Hamas fires 80 rockets and mortars into Israel after Israeli special forces killed group's commander

: WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Israel reported launches of rockets and mortars from Gaza after an undercover raid sparked fighting that killed 7 Palestinians
: Thousands of mourners chanted 'revenge' as funerals took place in Gaza Strip
: Just days ago, the two sides were set to allow cash and fuel into blockaded Gaza

A 19-year-old man has been critically wounded in an explosion after a mortar attack from Gaza struck a bus in Israel.

Air raid sirens sounded throughout southern Israel and black smoke could be seen billowing into the air this afternoon from the area of the mortar strike.

Rockets were launched from Gaza toward Israel, one day after an Israeli undercover military raid in Gaza sparked fighting that left seven Palestinians and an Israeli officer dead.

Read more ....


Israeli air strikes target Gaza Strip after rocket fire. Israel, Hamas trade heavy fire after deadly incursion.

Airstrikes, gunfire kill Hamas commander, 4 others in Gaza.

8 killed in Israeli undercover operation in Gaza.

Street battles rage in Yemen's Hodeidah, civilians caught in crossfire.

Trump, Erdogan discussed Khashoggi.

Turkey, France spar over Khashoggi killing.

Pompeo reaffirms to Saudi crown prince US will hold Khashoggi’s killers ‘accountable’.

Iran and trading partners will find ways to skirt sanctions, analysts say.

Saudis discussed killing enemies a year before Khashoggi: NYT.

Jordan flash floods: Eleven killed and tourists evacuated from Petra.


Afghan leader tells US audience that Taliban not winning war.

Kabul: Suicide bomber targets protesters demanding security.

100,000 police deployed as volatile Indian state votes.

China calls for open world economy but work remains on landmark trade pact.

outh Korea-U.S. military drills violate agreements: North Korea media.

Sri Lanka parties petition court against parliament dissolution.

Foreign troops pour into Papua New Guinea for APEC summit.

Philippine editor accuses Duterte of 'weaponising' rule of law.

China delays end to ban on use of rhino horn and tiger bones.


Kenya arrests 2,000 in public transport safety crackdown.

175 dead, over 10,000 affected by Nigeria cholera outbreak.

DR Congo opposition party rejects deal on unity candidate.

DRC opposition picks Martin Fayulu as presidential candidate.

Pompeo to tap new envoy for troubled Central African Region.

Libyan players in Italy for fresh bid to solve crisis.

Uncertainty over Libya's Haftar attending Palermo conference.

Ivory Coast civil war survivors demand justice.

Cameroon school kidnap: Final four hostages freed in Bamenda.

China touts ‘martyrs’ killed working on Zambia infrastructure projects as symbol of friendship.

DR Congo Ebola outbreak 'worst' in country's history.


Training kids to kill at Ukrainian nationalist camp.

Macron reportedly asked Putin not to privately meet Trump during World War I commemorations — but they talked anyway.

Macron, Merkel join international chorus condemning separatist vote in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine rebel regions vote in polls slammed by Kiev and the West.

UK all but gives up on November Brexit summit.

Russia suspected of jamming GPS signal in Finland.

Germany's CSU chief Horst Seehofer to step down as party leader.

Cyprus opens first new border crossings in years.

Polish officials march with nationalists on Independence Day.

Interpol can’t investigate Chinese president’s disappearance, because its own rules don’t allow it, boss says.


Migrant caravan moves on western Mexico city of Guadalajara.

Democrats go on offense in Florida demanding Republican Gov. Rick Scott recuse himself from recount in election he says he won – AND sue to include 875,000 mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day.

Death toll rises in California wildfire, matching deadliest.

Trump: I told world leaders that ‘ridiculously unfair’ trade, military funding situations can’t continue.

Trump claims 'honest vote' not possible in Florida as counties rush to recount. Mid-term elections 2018: Recounts descend into rancour.

Democratic hit list: At least 85 Trump investigation targets.

Border apprehensions for October hit highest number in Trump presidency.

Trudeau acknowledges Canada has listened to Khashoggi tapes.

Colombia's Duque calls for iaction against Venezuelan 'dictatorship'.

Five held over murder of Mexico politician's daughter.

El Chapo trial: The accused drug lord's history looming large in New York court.


Pakistan frees 2 Taliban members as US envoy visits region.

US, Iraqi forces kill dozens of Islamic State fighters.

Russia’s FSB chief warns IS, Al-Qaeda could merge.

Facebook says it’s gotten a lot better at removing material about ISIS, al-Qaeda and similar groups.


Tech giants slide, pulling US stock market sharply lower.

Tobacco shares hit on US menthol ban fear.

Saudi Arabia to cut oil exports by 500,000 bpd in December.

Alibaba hits record of over $1 billion in sales in 85 seconds.

Cathay Pacific cyberattack far worse than thought after airline admits facing intense hack for more than three months.

North Korea Says U.S.-South Korea Military Drills Violate Agreements

South Korean marines are pictured in action during a regular drill on Yeonpyeong Island, Nov. 1, 2018.

The Independent: North Korea says US-South Korea military drills violate agreement to work towards peace

‘It is an anachronistic military move to openly hold war drills aimed at others’

North Korean state media have accused the US and South Korea of violating a recent agreement to work towards peace by carrying out small-scale military drills.

In the latest blow to progress in denuclearisation talks between Washington and Pyongyang, the Rodong Sinmun said the exercises were in breach of a joint statement, signed on 19 September by both North and South Korea, to halt all “hostile acts”.

Donald Trump had declared the suspension of all joint military drills with South Korea following his warm summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June. It was seen as a major coup for North Korea, which sees the exercises as a threat.

Read more ....

Update: N. Korea Media: S. Korea-US Military Drills Violate Agreements (VOA/Reuters)

WNU Editor: At least there is some positive news .... North and South Korea start to tear down 22 front-line guard posts as they withdraw troops and weapons from towers along the border (Daily Mail).

Report: North Korea Is Keeping 13 Undeclared Missile Bases Operational

CNBC/Reuters: North Korea keeps undeclared missile bases up and running: US think tank

* A U.S. think tank said on Monday it had identified at least 13 of an estimated 20 undeclared missile operating bases inside North Korea.
* It underscored the challenge for American negotiators hoping to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
* North Korea has said it has closed its Punggye-ri nuclear testing site and the Sohae missile engine test facility.
* It also raised the possibility of shuttering more sites and allowing international inspections if Washington took “corresponding measures,” of which there has so far been no sign.

A U.S. think tank said on Monday it had identified at least 13 of an estimated 20 undeclared missile operating bases inside North Korea, underscoring the challenge for American negotiators hoping to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

In reports released by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, researcher Joseph Bermudez said maintenance and minor infrastructure improvements have been observed at some of the sites, despite the ongoing negotiations.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That North Korea Is Keeping 13 Undeclared Missile Bases Operational

North Korea has at least 13 undeclared missile bases, study says -- NZHerald
North Korea Keeping Up Work on Missile Sites, Report Says -- The Wall Street Journal
In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception -- The New York Times
U.S. think tank identifies 13 undeclared missile bases in North Korea -- The Hill
North Korea possibly hiding missile operating bases despite denuclearization pledge, think tank says -- FOX News
Satellite images show North Korea expanding 16 ballistic missile sites -- Axios
North Korea is operating at least 13 secret missile bases, report reveals -- VICE News

Afghan Taliban Are Claiming That They Have Shot Down A U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper Drone

Taliban propagandists circulated pictures of what appears to be a downed extended range MQ-9 Reaper drone, which likely suffered a mishap in late October. (Screenshot)

U.S. Air Force Times: Taliban posts photos of MQ-9 Reaper they claim to have shot down; US says it simply crashed

An unmanned aircraft suffered a malfunction and crashed in Afghanistan in late October, U.S. military officials say. It then wound up in Taliban propaganda photos, where militants claimed they shot down the drone.

Several pictures surfaced on Taliban channels over the past week, allegedly showing the wreckage of an armed U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone with large trucks in the background. The serial number is legible on the aircraft wreckage, and what appears to be AGM-114 Hellfire missiles are laid out in a row beside the debris.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone are hard to spot and they fly very high. It would be very difficult for the Taliban to shoot one down (so we hope).

Navy F-18 Warplane Down In 2nd Crash From U.S. Aircraft Carrier Ronald Reagan Within A Month

FOX News: USS Ronald Reagan fighter jet crashes in carrier’s second aviation incident in less than a month

A U.S. fighter pilot and weapons system officer were rescued Monday after their F/A 18 fighter jet crashed in the Philippine Sea following its takeoff from the USS Ronald Reagan, the Navy says -- marking the third incident landing the USS Ronald Reagan in the news during the last month.

The crash – which the Navy says was caused by some kind of mechanical issue that forced both aviators to eject – comes less than a month after a U.S. MH-60 Seahawk helicopter slammed into the decks of the USS Ronald Reagan shortly after takeoff. Crew on-board the aircraft carrier also have been accused in recent weeks of using, possessing and distributing the hallucinogenic drug LSD.

Read more ....

More News On Today's US Navy F-18 Crash In The Philippine Sea

Navy crew ejects from jet experiencing ‘mechanical issue’ over Philippine Sea -- Stars and Stripes
Navy Warplane Down in 2nd Crash From US Carrier in Month -- VOA/AP
U.S. navy aircraft crashes in Philippine Sea, both pilots rescued -- Reuters
Super Hornet Crashes in the Philippine Sea, Both Aviators Safely Recovered -- USNI News
U.S. Navy Carrier Suffers Second Aircraft Crash in Weeks -- The New York Times
US fighter jet crashes into sea off Japan -- BBC
F/A-18 Navy Jet Crash Latest: Everything to Know About Philippine Sea Incident -- Newsweek
A US fighter jet crashed into the Philippine Sea -- Quartz
Fighter jet off USS Ronald Reagan crashes in Philippine Sea -- RT