Saturday, April 25, 2015

Time-Lapse Video Of The Aircraft Carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt Passing Through The Suez Canal



Hat Tip: Naval Open Source INTelligence

Friday, April 24, 2015

Islamic State Bans Nike Because It Sounds Like ‘Sex’ In Arabic

Screenshot from youtube.com video

RT: No ‘swooshing’: ISIS reportedly bans Nike because it sounds like ‘sex’ in Arabic

Unverified reports suggests that the Islamic State has banned Nike apparel because the brand’s name sounds like the term for sexual intercourse in Arabic. Militants have reportedly been ordered to get rid of smutty-sounding sportswear.

The Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) headquarters in Raqqa issued what claims to be a leaflet warning jihadists against using any Nike products. The punishments for both seller and buyer of Nike goods range from a small fine to imprisonment or whipping.

WNU Editor: You gotta be kidding me. Must be an Adidas plot.

The City Of Kandahar Has Dramically Changed In The Past 2 Decades

Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post: The last time I saw Kandahar, it was a remote Taliban bastion. How that’s changed.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – What a difference two decades make.

When I last visited this southern Afghan city – the cradle of the Taliban insurgency - I flew in on a plane chartered by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The airstrip was tiny, as was the airport. The city was a backwater, with no more than a few hundred thousand people, if that. It was the summer of 1996, and brutally hot.

And oh yes, the Taliban controlled the city – and much of Afghanistan.

When I landed again in Kandahar earlier this month, I flew in on a commercial airline that touched down on a large airstrip rivaling any in the West. The airport, with its curved arches and manicured gardens, had become an international one. As they walked out of the airport, visitors were greeted by ostriches in an enclosure – yes, you read that correctly – that had been donated by a wealthy businessman. The city had greatly expanded, its population up nearly ten-fold.


WNU Editor: We are always getting doom and gloom reports from Afghanistan .... so here is a positive one.

Why Ramsons Should Not Be Paid To Terrorists



Wall Street Journal: Payment Didn’t Secure U.S. Captive’s Freedom

Warren Weinstein’s Pakistani captors got ‘private’ ransom payment of $250,000 in 2012

ISLAMABAD—The captors of U.S. aid worker Warren Weinstein received $250,000 in 2012 on what turned out to be a false promise that he would be freed, according to a Pakistani intermediary who negotiated directly with al Qaeda for his release.

President Barack Obama said Thursday Mr. Weinstein, who was kidnapped in 2011 from the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, was accidently killed by a U.S. drone strike in January. The strike took place in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

The Pakistani intermediary said $250,000 was handed over to the kidnappers in June 2012, following negotiations over Mr. Weinstein’s release. 

WNU Editor: The family was "played" .... and once the money was delivered the captors tried to "play them again".

Tonight's Movie Is 'A Bridge Too Far'

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 24, 2015



James Holmes, Real Clear Defense: A Baptism By Fire - Gallipoli at 100 Years

Today marks the centennial of the Allied landings at Gallipoli, the narrow peninsula that constitutes the north shore of the Dardanelles. French and British leaders meant the expedition to reopen the Dardanelles and Bosporus, the narrow waterways connecting the Mediterranean and Black seas. It’s a time of remembrance for all of the former warring states.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 24, 2015

Gallipoli, the famous battle explained -- BBC

Saudis' New Yemen War Looks Like the Old One -- Eli Lake & Josh Rogin, Bloomberg

No End Near to Yemen Conflict, Analysts Say -- Heather Murdock, VOA

Yemen conflict: What's going on? What happens next? -- Jethro Mullen, CNN

The catastrophe in Yemen -- NYT editorial

How the Kurds Could Shape Turkey's Political Future -- Asli Aydintasbas, Real Clear World

Remembering the Armenians -- Geoffrey Robertson, Al Jazeera

Why Israel does not recognize the Armenian genocide -- Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post

What refusal to say 'Armenian genocide' says about Obama -- Linda Feldmann, CSM

Don't Let China Swallow Taiwan -- J. Michael Cole, National Interest

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan -- William Ide, VOA

Kazakhstan: Nuclear Weapons Free for 20 Years -- Erlan Idrissov, The Diplomat

Europe’s boat people -- The Economist

Ukraine's President Takes on Its Richest Man -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

Reality Check: Drones Aren't Magic -- Noah Feldman, Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s Solution to Global Oil Glut: Pump Even More Crude -- Grant Smith, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- April 24, 2015 (Evening Edition)

Members of the Southern Resistance Committees man a tank during clashes with Houthi fighters in Yemen's southern city of Aden April 23, 2015.Reuters/Stringer

Reuters: More fighting, air strikes in Yemen, civilian death toll exceeds 550

Fighting between Yemen's warring factions raged in southern and central parts of the country and air strikes hit Houthi militia forces in Aden on Friday, but there were no fresh moves toward dialogue.

Saudi Arabia says it is winding down its month-old bombing operation against the Iran-allied Houthis and forces loyal to Yemen's former president. But Riyadh pounded targets with at least 20 airstrikes across Yemen on Thursday and 10 more on Friday.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran summons Saudi diplomat over plane interception in Yemen.

Ex-Yemeni president tells Shiite allies to withdraw.

US sees tensions lessen over Iranian ships near Yemen.

Iran ships 'turn back' from Yemen as fighting rages.

Air strikes pound Houthi positions in Yemen. More fighting, air strikes in Yemen, civilian death toll exceeds 550.

'Over 115' children killed in Yemen war.

‘We don’t need missiles’: Houthis threaten to attack Saudi Arabia if bombing continues.

U.S.-led coalition targets Islamic State with 15 air strikes: statement.

Iraqi general, 3 officers killed in Islamic State ambush.

Iraq forces recapture a bridge in Ramadi from Islamic State.

Angelina Jolie appeals for action on behalf of Syrian refugees.

Hizbollah 'drone airstrip' discovered in Lebanon.

Iran says nuclear talks making gradual headway.

Falling prices, rising threats cool interest in Kurdish oil.

Biden: Obama committed to Israel's security.

ASIA

Pakistan expresses shock over deaths of US, Italian hostage.

Pakistan uses hostage killings to underline risk of US drone strikes.

Taliban launch failed rocket attack on US base as spring offensive starts with extremists claiming over 100 attacks in just five hours in Afghanistan. Taliban launch spring offensive with rocket attack on U.S. base.

Philippine military says Chinese ship took aggressive action. Chinese warship warns PHL patrol plane in disputed sea.

Afghan president orders inquiry into unreleased U.N. police report.

Kazakhstan votes for continuity while keeping eye on Ukraine.

Tears and anger in Bangladesh two years after Rana Plaza disaster.

Wartime sex slave urges Japanese PM to apologise during US trip.

AFRICA

Mobile phone ownership skyrocketing in sub-Saharan Africa.

Immigrants flee South African violence.

Nigerian military enter ‘final stages’ of Boko Haram offensive.

Fighting in South Sudan's Upper Nile drags into third day.

South Sudan security forces surround house of opposition figure.

Ten militants, two soldiers killed in Tunisia clashes: official.

Somalia seeks to drive militants from southern valley bases: PM.

DR Congo unrest: UN workers kidnapped.

Fired up by king, Zulu nationalism confronts modern South Africa.

EUROPE

Italy issues warrants for suspected al Qaeda-linked group. Italy terror cell that plotted to bomb Vatican smashed, prosecutors say.

Despite tensions, US, Russia vow cooperation in the Arctic.

Poland to block ‘Night Wolves’ Russian motorcycle group at border.

Armenia marks centennial of killing of 1.5 million.

Chechen leader says no notification from federal forces on last weekends mop-up.

Alexis Tsipras seeks interim deal for Greece in talks with Angela Merkel. Euro zone warns Greece no cash till full reform deal.

At least 14 migrants killed in Macedonia train horror.

Britain may send Forces to 'smash' Libya's smuggling gangs.

After rescue, a long, agonizing wait for migrants in Italy.

Swiss reign supreme in world happiness ranks.

AMERICAS

Colombia's FARC rebels say peace deal cannot be rushed.

All-clear sounded at Statue of Liberty after bomb scare.

Obama: 'We all bleed when we lose an American life'.

Obama confronts 'cruel' reality of his drone war.

Cuba moves closer to exit U.S. terror list.

Venezuela carries out $1 bln gold swap with Citibank -media.

Foreigners who came to Brazil in boom times flee the bust.

Russia and Argentina agree framework energy deals.

Calbuco volcano blankets towns in Chile with ash.

Omar Khadr granted bail, but Canadian government to appeal.

Where does the US fall on the World Happiness Report?

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Several U.S. probes likely of drone strikes that killed hostages.

Italian police hunting Osama Bin Laden's former bodyguards and 16 other Pakistani extremists reveal Al Qaeda militants plotted terror attack on the Vatican.

Iranian media claims ISIL uses Israeli arms.

A chilling account of the power of Islamic State.

Killing of U.S. al Qaeda media frontman seen as big blow for militants.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Comcast abandons $45bn Time Warner Cable deal.

Apple Watch goes on sale in low-key launch at select boutiques.

$1bn payout plan for concussed NFL players.

Afghanistan's Taliban Claim To Have Launch 100 Attacks On The First Day Of The Fighting Season



Al Jazeera: Taliban launches spring offensive in Afghanistan with attack on US base

Taliban insurgents shot rockets at a U.S. base outside Kabul and targeted Afghan government buildings in a provincial capital Friday, as they launched their spring offensive in a year that has already seen fierce fighting.

There were no casualties in either rocket attack, officials said.

This year's fighting season is expected to be intense after NATO forces ended their 13-year combat mission in December. A NATO-led coalition continues to train and support Afghanistan's security forces in the country.

The Taliban claimed in an emailed statement to have launched 108 attacks across the country Friday and to have "killed and wounded many Americans" at Bagram air base outside Kabul, the capital. According the NATO-led coalition, one rocket landed inside the sprawling base but caused no injuries.

More News On The War In Afghanistan

Taliban launch failed rocket attack on US base as spring offensive starts with extremists claiming over 100 attacks in just five hours in Afghanistan. -- Daily Mail
Taliban launch spring offensive with rocket attack on U.S. base. -- Reuters
Taliban Attack Afghan Checkpoint, Killing 9 Guards -- AP
Taliban Are Said to Target Hazaras to Try to Match ISIS' Brutality -- NYT
New Taliban threats challenge Obama narrative on Afghanistan progress -- FOX News
Pentagon Doesn’t Know What Happened to $1.3 Billion in Afghanistan -- Fiscal Times
Afghanistan's elite fleeing to Europe -- Deutsche Welle

Nigeria's Boko Haram Now Call Themselves The ‘Islamic State in West Africa’

Legion of death: Taken somewhere in the forests of north eastern Nigeria, the images show the Boko Haram jihadis casually posing with assault rifles. Daily Mail

News24: Boko Haram changes name to ‘Islamic State in West Africa’

Abuja - Terrorist group Boko Haram has changed its name to ‘Islamic State in West Africa.’ following its affiliation with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Pulse reports.

Boko Haram pledged its allegiance to fellow terrorist group, Islamic State (ISIS) in March 2015.

ISIS accepted the pledge and encouraged members to extend operations to West Africa.

The group is said to have released new photos of its members and announced its new name.

Over the last six years, Boko Haram have killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds in a battle to establish an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria.

WNU Editor: As Boko Haram strengthens it's ties with the Islamic State .... Africa blog: Islamic State strengthens ties with Boko Haram (BBC) .... even appearing in pictures and videos .... Boko Haram Islamists pose with guns and rocket launchers in first images since the crumbling group became Islamic State's 'West Africa Province' (Daily Mail) .... they are losing the war against the Nigerian army and its African allies .... Boko Haram In Nigeria Runs Out Of Weapons, Ammunition As Nigerian Army Advances On Sambisa Forest (IBTimes).

How Many Civilians Have Died In The West's Air Campaign Against The Islamic State?



Richard Hall, The Week/Global Post: Just how many civilians have died in the West's campaign against ISIS?

The United States is fighting another war in the Middle East. Thousands of soldiers are on the ground, planes are in the air, and shiploads of weapons are being sent to local allies.

The U.S.-led coalition of 21 countries — formed in August to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State, in the words of U.S. President Barack Obama — has so far carried out some 3,200 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. Those strikes have also targeted Jabhat al-Nusra, Al Qaeda's official branch in Syria.

The Obama administration has authorized more than 3,000 American military personnel to train and advise Iraq's security forces as they try to recapture territory from the militant group. Hundreds more soldiers from Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, among others, are at work in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, training the Kurdish fighters known as the peshmerga.

WNU Editor: No one knows the exact number .... but everyone does know that when the battle for the city of Mosul begins, civilian casualties are going to be sky-high.

The U.S. War Against The Islamic State In Iraq And Syria Is Producing Mixed Results

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Secretary Ash Carter conduct a news conference April 16 at the Pentagon. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Clydell Kinchen, DoD News

Voice of America: Mixed Progress Reported in Fight Against Islamic State

A senior official in President Barack Obama’s administration says that while the U.S.-led coalition has made some progress in the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, a “very, very long road” lies ahead.

The official commented in a Thursday background briefing, which followed talks this month with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

As the Iraqi prime minister met with Obama and other officials in Washington, the jihadist group stepped up attacks near Ramadi in Iraq's western Anbar province. The city is near an air base used by U.S. and coalition forces to train Iraqi troops.

The senior administration official described the effort to defeat Islamic State, also known as ISIL, as a “multiyear campaign.”

WNU Editor: Doubts on the U.S. mission against the Islamic State in iraq and Syria continues to grow .... Happy Talk Won’t Defeat Islamic State (Max Boot, WSJ), as well as rising worries that mission creep is occurring .... Second A-10 unit deployed in ISIS fight (The Hill). As to putting U.S. boots on the ground in the war zone .... the U.S. is looking at other alternatives before adopting that policy .... US Mulls Training Iraqis To Call In Airstrikes (Defense News/AFP). Meanwhile .... the war continues .... US-led coalition targets Islamic State with 15 air strikes - statement (Reuters).

Yemen War News Updates -- April 24, 2015



VOA: UN: Civilian Casualties Mount in Yemen

The United Nations says civilian casualties have mounted since the start of the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Shi'ite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The U.N. said on Friday the civilian death toll since the bombing started late last month is estimated at 551. The U.N. children's agency, UNICEF, says at least 115 children were among the dead.

The airstrikes continued on Friday, three days after Saudi Arabia declared an end to the bombing campaign.

Yemen War News Updates -- April 24, 2015

More fighting, air strikes in Yemen, civilian death toll exceeds 550 -- Reuters
Saudi-led Coalition Keeps Up Yemen Strikes -- AFP
Yemeni rebels press offensive despite Saudi-led airstrikes -- CBS/AP
Saudi-led coalition launches air strikes throughout Yemen - residents -- Reuters
Saudi-led airstrikes target Yemen rebels advancing on port of Aden -- L.A. Times
115 children killed since start of Saudi-led Yemen offensive -- AP
Hundreds of children killed, injured in 'devastating' Yemen conflict: U.N. -- Reuters
Saudi fighter jets continue to pound more areas across Yemen -- Press TV (Iran)
Air-strike fallout near Yemen's capital -- Al Jazeera
Saudis Ignore US, Ignore Iran, Continue Pulverizing Yemen -- Daily Caller
Yemen factions divided over peace talk terms -- Reuters
Saudi Warplanes Block Iran Aid Flight’s Landing in Yemen -- Al Manar
Fighting Prompts an Exodus From Yemen, Often on Boats -- NYT
Yemeni refugees fleeing Saudi air strikes find peace but little else in Somaliland -- The Guardian
Life under siege in Yemen: 'Bullets and shrapnel came into the house' -- The Guardian
Yemen conflict: What's going on? What happens next? -- Jethro Mullen, CNN

Iranian Warships Turn Away From Yemen (Updated)



CNN: Iranian ships turn away from Yemen

Washington (CNN)A convoy of Iranian ships headed toward Yemen is now moving away from the war-torn country, days after the U.S. deployed warships to the Yemeni coast, according to two U.S. defense officials.

One of those American ships, the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, has also been redirected away from Yemen to the Persian Gulf.

The Iranian ships turned away from Yemen on Thursday and on Friday continued to move northward, back in the direction of Iran.

Multiple U.S. officials had told CNN that the American ships had been deployed to the region to dissuade the nine-ship Iranian convoy, which included armed ships, from docking in Yemen, where Iran has been supporting and arming the Houthi rebellion.

One of the defense officials who told CNN of the Iranian convoy's movements called the turnaround a "promising sign."

WNU Editor: Iran is now trying to send planes with aid to Yemen .... but these flights are being "blocked" .... Tehran calls in Saudi envoy over aid plane interception (Press TV).

More News On Iranian Warships Turning Away From Yemen

Iran ships ‘turn back’ from Yemen as fighting rages -- Gulf News/AFP
Iranian ships moving away from Yemen -U.S. official -- Reuters
U.S. official: Iranian cargo ships reverse course -- Pilot Online
Iran's Arabian Sea Ship Convoy Heads Home Before Meeting U.S. Navy And Allies -- IBTimes
Iranian flotilla turn back from Yemen: US officials -- The National
Iranian ships turn back from Yemen -- Middle East Online
US Ships Still Monitoring Iranian Flotilla -- Defense News
Iranian convoy off Yemen consists of small cargo vessels, warships -- USA Today

U.S. Drone Strikes Are Decimating Al Qaeda's Leadership

The site of a drone attack in 2008 that killed at least six people in a Pakistani tribal region regarded as a safe haven for al Qaeda and Taliban militants. Credit Haji Mujtaba/Reuters.

New York Times: Drone Strikes on Al Qaeda Said to Take Toll on Leadership

LONDON — Revelations of new high-level losses among Al Qaeda’s top leadership in Pakistan’s tribal belt have underscored how years of American drone strikes have diminished and dispersed the militant group’s upper ranks and forced them to cede prominence and influence to more aggressive offshoots in Yemen and Somalia.

While the C.I.A. drone strike that killed two Western hostages has led to intense criticism of the drone program and potentially a reassessment of it, the American successes over the years in targeting and killing senior Qaeda operatives in their home base has left the militant group’s leadership diminished and facing difficult choices, counterterrorism officials and analysts say.

That process of attrition has been accelerated by the emergence of the Islamic State, whose arresting brutality and superior propaganda have sucked up funding and recruits. In the tribal belt, a Pakistani military drive that started last summer has forced Qaeda commanders into ever more remote areas like the Shawal Valley, where two of them were killed alongside the American hostage Warren Weinstein and an Italian, Giovanni Lo Porto, on Jan. 15.

WNU Editor: I am sure that U.S. drone strikes are killing Al Qaeda's top leadership .... but at a terribly high cost in civilian casualties .... and because of that .... it is a guarantee that blow-back against the U.S. will happen one day.

Al Qaeda Plot To Bomb The Vatican Uncovered




* Ongoing terror raids have largely focused on the Italian island of Sardinia
* Jihadis are suspected of plotting attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan
* Two of them are thought to have previously worked for late Al Qaeda leader
* Investigators have also linked terror cell to planned attack on the Vatican
* Suicide bomber arrived in Rome in 2010 but mysteriously left shortly after

Islamic extremists suspected of killing more than 100 people by bombing a Pakistani market also planned an attack against the Vatican in 2010 that was never carried out, Italian prosecutors say.

Wiretaps collected as part of investigation into an Islamic terror network operating in Italy gave 'signals of some preparation for a possible attack' in the Vatican City, Mauro Mura revealed.

More News On Reports That An Al Qaeda Plot Targeting The Vatican Has Been Uncovered

Suspected Al-Qaeda militants arrested in Italy for Vatican plot -- Reuters
Al-Qaeda cell planned suicide attack on Vatican -- USA Today
Italy Targets Al Qaeda-Inspired Network Plotting Attacks On Vatican, US Forces In Afghanistan -- IBTimes
Italian police round up terror suspects in failed Vatican plot, deadly Pakistan attack -- FOX News
Italy terror sweep: Alleged Al Qaeda cell said to have targeted Vatican -- CSM
Italy Targets Terrorists in Sweeping Police Raids -- VOA
Italian authorities say suspects planned Vatican attack -- Al Jazeera
Bin Laden-linked terror cell planned Vatican attack – prosecutor -- RT
Bin Laden Aides Plotted Attack on Vatican from Old U.S. Navy Base -- Daily Beast

World News Briefs -- April 24, 2015



USA Today: Armenia marks centennial of massacre of 1.5M

YEREVAN, ARMENIA – One hundred years after up to 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by Turks in the Ottoman Empire, a sunny, mountainous, landlocked republic struggles with the past to define its future.

Armenians commemorated 100 years since the atrocities this week with concerts, marches, and demands that other countries join 24 states in recognizing the killings as genocide, the term used to define the events by most historians.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran ships 'turn back' from Yemen as fighting rages.

Air strikes pound Houthi positions in Yemen. More fighting, air strikes in Yemen, civilian death toll exceeds 550.

'Over 115' children killed in Yemen war.

‘We don’t need missiles’: Houthis threaten to attack Saudi Arabia if bombing continues.

U.S.-led coalition targets Islamic State with 15 air strikes: statement.

Iraq forces recapture a bridge in Ramadi from Islamic State.

Hizbollah 'drone airstrip' discovered in Lebanon.

Iran says nuclear talks making gradual headway.

Biden: Obama committed to Israel's security.

ASIA

Pakistan expresses shock over deaths of US, Italian hostage.

Pakistan uses hostage killings to underline risk of US drone strikes.

Taliban launch failed rocket attack on US base as spring offensive starts with extremists claiming over 100 attacks in just five hours in Afghanistan. Taliban launch spring offensive with rocket attack on U.S. base.

Philippine military says Chinese ship took aggressive action. Chinese warship warns PHL patrol plane in disputed sea.

Afghan president orders inquiry into unreleased U.N. police report.

Kazakhstan votes for continuity while keeping eye on Ukraine.

Tears and anger in Bangladesh two years after Rana Plaza disaster.

Wartime sex slave urges Japanese PM to apologise during US trip.

AFRICA

Nigerian military enter ‘final stages’ of Boko Haram offensive.

Fighting in South Sudan's Upper Nile drags into third day.

South Sudan security forces surround house of opposition figure.

Ten militants, two soldiers killed in Tunisia clashes: official.

Somalia seeks to drive militants from southern valley bases: PM.

DR Congo unrest: UN workers kidnapped.

Fired up by king, Zulu nationalism confronts modern South Africa.

EUROPE

Armenia marks centennial of killing of 1.5 million.

Chechen leader says no notification from federal forces on last weekends mop-up.

Alexis Tsipras seeks interim deal for Greece in talks with Angela Merkel. Euro zone warns Greece no cash till full reform deal.

Italy terror cell that plotted to bomb Vatican smashed, prosecutors say.

At least 14 migrants killed in Macedonia train horror.

Britain may send Forces to 'smash' Libya's smuggling gangs.

After rescue, a long, agonizing wait for migrants in Italy.

Swiss reign supreme in world happiness ranks.

AMERICAS

Obama confronts 'cruel' reality of his drone war.

Cuba moves closer to exit U.S. terror list.

Venezuela carries out $1 bln gold swap with Citibank -media.

Foreigners who came to Brazil in boom times flee the bust.

Russia and Argentina agree framework energy deals.

Calbuco volcano blankets towns in Chile with ash.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Italian police hunting Osama Bin Laden's former bodyguards and 16 other Pakistani extremists reveal Al Qaeda militants plotted terror attack on the Vatican.

Iranian media claims ISIL uses Israeli arms.

A chilling account of the power of Islamic State.

Killing of U.S. al Qaeda media frontman seen as big blow for militants.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Comcast abandons $45bn Time Warner Cable deal.

Apple Watch goes on sale in low-key launch at select boutiques.

$1bn payout plan for concussed NFL players.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 24, 2015



Bloomberg: Drone-Strike Rules Under Review After Hostages Mistakenly Killed

President Obama says U.S. was unaware of the presence of the two hostages when a compound was targeted in January.

By the time missiles slammed into an al-Qaeda hideout in Pakistan, the site had been under surveillance by U.S. drones and satellites for hundreds of hours.

Confidence that the compound was a meeting place for senior al-Qaeda officials was based on intelligence that turned out to be tragically incomplete, as President Barack Obama publicly acknowledged on Thursday. The U.S. was unaware of the presence of two hostages, American aid worker Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian national, when the compound was hit by a drone strike in January.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 24, 2015

Obama administration review of deadly drone strike likely to focus on intelligence holes -- FOX News

Hostages’ deaths raise wider questions about drone strikes’ civilian toll -- Washington Post

Military experts fear Saudi Arabia’s strategy in Yemen is failing -- FOX News

With the latest anti-Assad offensive, Syria's civil war is reaching a tipping point -- NOW Lebanon

Hizbollah 'drone airstrip' discovered in Lebanon -- The Telegraph

Pentagon dismisses Moscow claim of U.S. troops in Ukraine combat zone -- Reuters

US plans globally integrated military operations — Russia’s intelligence -- ITAR-TASS

US ‘Masterminds’ All Present-Day Military Conflicts – Russian General Staff -- Sputnik

France’s return of €1.5-bln prepayment for Mistrals acceptable to Russia — source -- ITAR-TASS

Moscow Values Hollande's Offer to Return Money for Mistral Deal -- Sputnik

Russia to Strengthen Military Contingent in Baltic Region -- Sputnik

Russia Conducts Simulated Launches of Iskander-M Missiles -- Sputnik

'For the past decade, Russia has been re-arming on a grand scale' -- The Telegraph

Russia to carry on with modern weapons supplies to Cuba — Defense Minister Shoigu -- ITAR-TASS

India and France Begin 10-Day Naval Exercise Christened 'Varuna' -- NDTV

Norway Announces Army Modernization, Creation of Northern Air Defense -- Sputnik

From second hand boots to ex-Army tanks: Britain's military surplus for sale -- The Telegraph

Abe's message to the US: Japan is no free-rider on defense, so be there for us -- Reuters

US to Deliver F-35 Fighter Jets to Israel in 2016 -- Sputnik

Pentagon can’t account for $1 billion in Afghan reconstruction aid -- McClatchy News

House Markup Includes Bomber Oversight -- Defense News

Pentagon Announces New Strategy for Cyberwarfare -- NYT

New Pentagon Strategy Warns of Cyberwar Capabilities -- AP

Russians hacked Pentagon network, Carter says -- CNN

Love, not war: Pentagon courts Silicon Valley -- CNN

Why the Pentagon is wooing Silicon Valley (and the valley is playing hard to get) -- Christian Davenport, Washington Post

GOP bill would grant immigrants citizenship for military service -- The Hill

Eight Women Complete Week One of Army Ranger School -- Military.com

Ex-CIA Chief David Petraeus Gets Probation and Fine for Sharing Military Secrets -- Time/AP

Don’t constrain military-driven innovation -- Michael Breen, The Hill

Want to shoot machine guns with the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden? That’ll be $50,000, please. -- Washington Post

Defense contractors are feeling the squeeze of weak US defense spending -- Reuters

Families stream to battlefields for 100th year of Gallipoli -- AP

Remembering The Armenian Genocide 100 Years Later



Voice of America: Leaders Attend Memorial for Victims of Armenia Massacre

Armenian President Serge Sarkisian thanked world leaders who attended a memorial service for the victims of a mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks 100 years ago.

Speaking under cloudy skies at the site of Armenia's permanent memorial to the victims slaughtered during World War One, Sarkisian said the presence of such leaders as the presidents of France, Russia, Serbia and the Greek-ruled part of Cyprus confirm their commitment to human values by saying nothing is forgotten.

More News On Today's Observance Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Armenian Genocide

Armenia marks centennial of killing of 1.5 million -- AP
Armenia marks centenary of mass killings by Ottoman Turks -- BBC
Armenians mark 100 years since genocide -- France 24
World leaders mark 100 years since Armenian genocide -- The Telegraph
Armenians around the world mark the 1915 genocide with marches -- FOX News/AP
Armenia marks 100 years since massacre of 1.5 million by Ottoman Turks -- UPI
As Armenia marks 1915 killing, Berlin calls it genocide -- Reuters
Armenia Honors Its Dead as Germany Defies Turkey on Genocide -- Bloomberg
Armenia Marks Centenary of Mass Killings During Ottoman Empire -- WSJ
Armenians mark centenary of mass killing -- Al Jazeera
'Remember and Demand': Centenary of 1915 Armenian Genocide -- Sputnik
Armenia, Turkey still at odds a century after 1915 massacre -- RT
The Armenian genocide was... genocide -- Ralph Peters, FOX News
Armenian genocide survivor's vivid memories of the day the soldiers came -- The Guardian
Armenian massacres: What happened during the genocide and why does Turkey deny it? -- The Telegraph
Why Turkey won't say the G-word when it comes to the Armenians -- Christina Asquith and Audrey Pence< CNN

Remembering Gallipoli 100 Years Later



Daily Mail: Prince Charles joins his son Harry and world leaders to mark the 100th anniversary of the disastrous Gallipoli landings which claimed 140,000 lives during World War One

* Two days of ceremonies planned on Gallipoli peninsula to honour victims of British-led invasion on April 25, 1915
* Attended by leaders of World War I allies including Australia PM, New Zealand Premier, Prince Charles and Harry
* Fallen from both the Ottoman and Allied sides lie close together in separate cemeteries on western edge of Turkey
* Around 58,000 Allied troops and 87,000 Turks died during botched attempt to knock Ottoman Empire out of the war

Prince Charles and his son Harry today joined world leaders to mark the centenary of the catastrophic Gallipoli landings which claimed 140,000 lives during World War One.

The royals met descendants of fallen soldiers on the Royal Navy's flagship HMS Bulwark in Turkey's Dardanelles straits, the same crucial waters the Allies hoped to control 100 years ago.

Instead tens of thousands lost their lives on both sides in a nine-month battle between the German-backed Ottoman forces and Allies including Australian, British and New Zealand troops trying to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war.

Today, soldiers from both the Ottoman and Allied sides lie close together in separate cemeteries on the Gallipoli peninsula on the western edge of Turkey in what has long been seen as a powerful symbol of reconciliation between former enemies.

More News On Today's Ceremonies Honoring Gallipoli

Former foes honor Gallipoli's fallen on 100th anniversary -- Reuters
Gallipoli centenary: Prince Charles meets veterans' relatives -- BBC
Turkey, world leaders mark Gallipoli battle centenary -- France 24/AFP
Prince Charles honours Gallipoli fallen -- The Telegraph
Anzac Day 2015: Australian officials, tourists arrive on Gallipoli peninsula for dawn service -- ABC News (Australia)
Anzac 100: Heavy security as thousands prepare for Gallipoli centennial ceremony -- Sydney Morning Herald
Navy officer's letters from Gallipoli reveal extraordinary story of bloodshed and defeat -- The Telegraph
Remembering Gallipoli: honouring the bravery amid the bloody slaughter -- The Guardian
Gallipoli then and now: Anzac battle sites in 1915 and 2015 -- IBTimes

U.S. Air Force A-10 Quickly Returns To Service After 'Catastrophic' Engine Failure In Iraq

Airmen from the 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron work in an abandoned aircraft shelter at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq to repair an A-10C Thunderbolt II that suffered catastrophic engine failure. A maintenance response team from the 332nd EMXG repaired the jet and got it back in the air less than five days after the jet suffered catastrophic engine failure and had to divert there. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jared Marquis/released)

The Hill: A-10 suffers 'catastrophic' engine failure in Iraq

An A-10 deployed in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) suffered a "non-combat" engine failure and had to divert to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq, according to an Air Force report.

The jet’s number-one engine suffered catastrophic damage during a routine refueling mission, and the pilot was able to safely land the aircraft at the air base in central Iraq, said the report Wednesday.

However, "the aircraft was in a location that was not fully secure and we needed it repaired and flown out of there as quickly as possible," according to the commander of the 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron commander Col. Michael Stohler. The report did not specify when the engine failure occured.

Update: 332nd EMXS Airmen return A-10 to air after catastophic engine failure in Iraq -- US Air Forces Central Command

WNU Editor: It makes you wonder on what if it was an F-35 that suffered the same fate .... could the same sequence of events occurred to get the plane back in the air? My gut is telling me that the answer is no.

Update #2: The U.S. Air Force deploys more A-10s to Iraq .... Air Force Can’t Seem To Stop Using The A-10, 12 More Deployed To Fight ISIS (Daily Caller).

There Is No Certainty On Who Is Being Killed By U.S. Drone Strikes

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, April 23, 2015.

Spencer Ackerman, Sabrina Siddiqui and Paul Lewis, The Guardian: White House admits: we didn't know who drone strike was aiming to kill

Broad target of ‘al-Qaida compounds’ suggests 2013 policy change by Obama – requiring ‘near certainty’ that suspect is present – has not been implemented

The targets of the deadly drone strikes that killed two hostages and two suspected American members of al-Qaida were “al-Qaida compounds” rather than specific terrorist suspects, the White House disclosed on Thursday.

The lack of specificity suggests that despite a much-publicized 2013 policy change by Barack Obama restricting drone killings by, among other things, requiring “near certainty that the terrorist target is present”, the US continues to launch lethal operations without the necessity of knowing who specifically it seeks to kill, a practice that has come to be known as a “signature strike”.

WNU Editor: This report is what gave the CIA a heads-up that something went wrong .... Two extra bodies on drone cam were first sign that strike had gone terribly wrong: CIA officials tell of shocking realization that they might have killed innocent hostages (Daily Mail).

More News On The Reality That U.S. Drone Strikes Kills Innocent People

Drone Strikes Reveal Uncomfortable Truth: U.S. Is Often Unsure About Who Will Die -- Scott Shane, NYT
The United States Does Not Know Who It's Killing -- Micah Zenko, Foreign Policy
The grim reality of US drone strikes is becoming clear -- Warren Strobel and Mark Hosenball, Reuters
Warren Weinstein and the Long Drone War -- Steve Coll, New Yorker
Botched U.S. Strike Highlights Risks of Obama’s Drone War -- Elias Groll and Yochi Dreazen, Foreign Policy
Washington yawns at an American atrocity: Why the latest drone fiasco won’t change anything -- Jim Nevel, Salon
Was It Legal For US To Kill American Al Qaeda Leaders? (Video) -- ABC News
Drones Kill Innocent People All the Time: But now the White House can’t deny it -- Robert Beckhusen and Matthew Gault, War Is Boring

The U.S. Joins The World's Race To Build More Submarine

Image Credit: U.S. Navy

Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat: How Many Attack Submarines Does the United States Need?

The U.S. Navy may face a critical shortfall in Virginia-class boats in the next decade.

The U.S. Navy is looking into the possibility of building three instead of two new nuclear-powered Virginia-class attack submarines (SSN-774) per year, military.com reports. The reason is simple: with older Los-Angeles-class fast-attack submarines (built between 1972 and 1996) retiring at a faster pace than Virginia subs are added, the U.S. Navy will face a shortfall in the number of active vessels in the near future.

This projected deficit is not news and was already predicted by analysts as far back as 1995, given the U.S. Navy’s current requirement of deploying an average of 10 nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) on a day-to-day basis.


WNU Editor: Every major maritime power in the world is boosting their submarine fleets .... the U.S. is just following the trend.