Tuesday, January 22, 2019

This Map Shows Where The U.S. Military Is Combatting Terrorism

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Smithsonian: This Map Shows Where in the World the U.S. Military Is Combatting Terrorism

The infographic reveals for the first time that the U.S. is now operating in 40 percent of the world’s nations

Less than a month after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, U.S. troops—with support from British, Canadian, French, German and Australian forces—invaded Afghanistan to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban. More than 17 years later, the Global War on Terrorism initiated by President George W. Bush is truly global, with Americans actively engaged in countering terrorism in 80 nations on six continents.

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Update #1: America at War: Infographic Reveals How the U.S. Military Is Operating in 40% of the World’s Nations (Open Culture)
Update #2: Smithsonian Map Shows US Military Operating In Over 40% Of World's Countries (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: According to the above map. U.S. forces are currently engaged in combat in 14 countries.

German Chancellor Merkel Boasts That Germany And France Have Taken The First Steps Towards 'A European Army'



Daily Mail: Merkel boasts Germany and France have taken the first steps towards 'a European ARMY' after signing friendship treaty with Macron

* Franco-German friendship pact signed in western German city of Aachen today
* Angela Merkel said it was a step towards creation of a future joint European army
* The German Chancellor also warned against rising nationalism across Europe

Angela Merkel has hailed a new Franco-German friendship treaty as being a step towards the creation of a future joint European army.

The German Chancellor said the pact, inked in the ancient western German city of Aachen today, aims to build a 'common military culture' between the two countries.

In a speech during the ceremony, Merkel insisted the treaty 'contributes to the creation of a European army'.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: EU leaders like German Chancellor Merkel have always wanted an EU army independent from a U.S.-led NATO. Today's signing is (they hope) one step closer to accomplishing it. The problem is that they do not have the money to do it, and in the context of how unpopular they have become in their own countries, makes today's exercise even more comical.

More News On Today's German - French Signing Of The Treaty of Aachen

France and Germany Sign Deal That ‘Contributes’ to ‘European Army’ to Defend Against China, Russia and U.S. -- Newsweek
Merkel and Macron sign Treaty of Aachen to revive EU -- DW
France, Germany try to 'show the way forward' for embattled EU project -- Reuters
France and Germany pledge to defend each other in new treaty -- RT
France and Germany provoke populist anger over 'friendship pact' -- The Guardian
What's in the Franco-German Treaty of Aachen? -- Jane Mcintosh, DW

Pentagon: U.S. Military Service Member Killed In Afghanistan

U.S. Marines and Navy SEALs conduct a debrief during a joint visit, board, search, and seizure exercise as part of composite training unit exercise COMPTUEX in the Atlantic Ocean, July 20, 2015. US Department of Defense

CNN: US service member Killed in Afghanistan

A US service member was killed in combat in Afghanistan Tuesday.

The US military would not provide additional details, saying "the incident is under investigation."

"In accordance with US Department of Defense policy, the name of the service member killed in action is being withheld until 24 hours after notification of next of kin is complete," a statement from the Pentagon said.

This is the second US service member killed in action in Afghanistan in 2019.

Army Sgt. Cameron Meddock died last week at a medical facility in Germany after being wounded by small arms fire on January 13 during a combat operation in Badghis Province, Afghanistan.

Read more ....

Update #1: U.S. military service member killed in Afghanistan: statement -- Reuters
Update #2: US servicemember is killed during engagement with enemy in Afghanistan -- Stars and Stripes

WNU Editor: This is the second US service member killed in action in Afghanistan in 2019.

Oxfam Report: World's Top 26 Billionaires Own As Much As Poorest 50 Percent



Daily Mail: The world's richest 26 billionaires now have as much money as the poorest 3.8bn people on the planet, figures show

* Oxfam report claims the 26 richest people in the world control £1.1trillion
* Report says 26 people have as much wealth as 3.6billion poorest combined
* The charity was criticised for alleged flaws in its report and for pushing a hard-Left agenda that goes beyond its remit as a fundraising body

Just 26 billionaires now own as much wealth as the poorest 3.8billion people – half the world's population – combined, according to Oxfam.

A new report by the charity says the 26 richest men and women in the world control a combined £1.1trillion – equal to everything owned by the bottom 50 per cent of all people.

But Oxfam was criticised for alleged flaws in its report and for pushing a hard-Left agenda that goes beyond its remit as a fundraising body.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Oxfam report is here .... Public Good Or Private Wealth? (Oxfam)

More News On Oxfam's Latest Report On Wealth

Oxfam says world wealth gap widening, advocates fairer taxes -- AP
The top 26 billionaires own $1.4 trillion — as much as 3.8 billion other people -- CNN
Report: World's 26 richest own as much as poorest 50 percent -- France 24
Oxfam releases global inequality report amid ongoing controversy -- DW
The World's 26 Richest People Have As Much Wealth as the Poorest 50 Percent of Humanity, Report Says -- Newsweek
World's rich grew by $2.5B a day in 2018 as poor's wealth dropped, Oxfam claims -- UPI
Oxfam: World's richest 26 own same wealth as poorest half -- Al Jazeera
Who are the world's richest people? The 26 individuals including Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg who have as much wealth as the poorest 3.8billion -- Daily Mail

World News Briefs -- January 22, 2019



FOX News: Taliban attack on military base kills at least 65, Afghan officials say

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghanistan is reeling from a Taliban assault on a military base in the country's east the previous day that killed at least 65 people and wounded dozens more, most of them military personnel, according to security sources.

The attack began when a suicide bomber drove a Humvee into the main building of the NDS, the Afghan intelligence agency, in eastern Maidan Wardak province and detonated his load. The building then collapsed from the explosion, which likely contributed to the high casualty numbers. Officials say there were about 150 military personnel and others at the base at the time. The base that was is located on the outskirts of Maidan Shar, the provincial capital, about 25 miles from Kabul.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Thousands flee Hodeidah as talks to salvage ceasefire fail.

US demands security guarantee for Kurdish YPG from Turkey.

12 Iranian soldiers killed in Israeli strike on Syria, watchdog says.

Assad blocks access to Damascus for EU envoys: diplomats.

Russia says Israel behind thwarted attack targeting airport in Damascus.

Israel says it struck Hamas posts in Gaza after shots fired.

Turkey planning international investigation into Khashoggi case: minister.

ASIA

Taliban militants kill dozens at Afghan intelligence base.

Huge attack shows Taliban strength at outset of talks.

North Korea: secret missile HQ uncovered as nuclear summit nears.

USFJ plans video edit to clarify that it doesn’t recognize North Korea as a nuclear state.


Former diplomats urge China's President Xi Jinping to 'immediately release' detained Canadians.

China’s plans to dominate hi-tech sector hit a stumbling block as US trade war takes its toll.

Russia says any deal to end land row with Japan needs public support.

AFRICA

Dozens of armed fighters killed in Egypt's Northern Sinai.

Hundreds of protesters close off main road in north Khartoum.

Sudan targets demonstrators, journalists as protests continue.

Sudan: 'Shadow army' in deadly crackdown on protests.

Zimbabwe president says 'heads will roll' after protest crackdown.

Zimbabwe protests: 'Systematic torture of protesters'.

Zimbabwe price tags double within a week.

Two migrants die, 500 rescued off Libyan coast.

Kenya attack: 'Selfless six' mourned in Nairobi after siege.

EUROPE

No Brexit deal means hard Irish border, EU says.

In Versailles, Macron vows to reform to avoid king's fate.

14 crew pronounced dead as Kerch Strait rescue mission called off.

Putin hosting Abe for talks to break 70-year island deadlock.

Paul Whelan, accused U.S. spy, had classified docs on him, lawyer says. Russian court refuses bail for accused American Paul Whelan.

Leaked tapes allege Russian oligarch planned arrest of escort claiming she had dirt on Trump.

Ukrainian former premier Yulia Tymoshenko launches bid for presidency.

AMERICAS

Trump tells spokeswoman 'not to bother' with press briefings.

Venezuela captures troops rebelling in Caracas.

Pence urges Venezuelans to back opposition leader ahead of anti-government protests.

US faces key test as global support for Venezuela opposition leader grows.

Jair Bolsonaro says Brazil is open for business.

Mexico sets new murder record with more than 33,000 killed in 2018.

Death toll in Mexico gasoline pipeline blast climbs to 94: officials.

Trump to put 'game changer' pressure on Cuba, says Mario Diaz-Balart.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Indonesia backtracks on unconditional release of cleric linked to Bali bombing.

Egypt says dozens of militants killed in Sinai peninsula.

Taliban promotes training camp for ‘Commando Mujahidin’.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

IMF downgrades 2019 economic growth forecast on U.S.-China concerns.

EU fines Mastercard more than half a billion euros.

Record private jet flights into Davos as leaders arrive for climate talk.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 22, 2019

YouTube

SCMP: Chinese army now makes up less than half of PLA’s strength as military aims to transform itself into modern fighting force

* State news agency says PLA has been cutting back on ground forces as part of ‘transformational change’ to military
* Number of officers and non-combatants also falls as part of ambitious restructuring of world’s largest armed forces

The Chinese military has significantly boosted its navy, air force and new strategic units and downsized its land-based army as part of a strategic shift designed to transform the People’s Liberation Army into a comprehensive modern force, Xinhua reported.

In a feature report on Sunday highlighting the “transformational changes” made by the PLA, China’s official news agency said: “This new data is unprecedented in the history of the PLA – the army now accounts for less than 50 per cent of the total number of PLA troops; almost half of our non-combatant units have been made redundant, and the number of officers in the PLA has been reduced by 30 per cent.”

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 22, 2019

China’s military overhaul likely to raise neighbours’ concerns over improved offensive capabilities -- SCMP

China's hypersonic weapons can sink U.S. aircraft carriers, state media says -- UPI

Trump's missile defense plan faces reality check -- The Hill

Bell receives $439M contract from Navy for 25 AH-1Z Viper helicopters -- UPI

BAE contracted for services on video intelligence analysis -- UPI

U.S. destroyer Donald Cook arrives in Black Sea region for NATO drills -- UPI

The Navy's Zumwalt-Class 'Stealth' Destroyer Has One Big Problem -- National Interest

Navy Studying Hyper Velocity Projectile, Other Ammo for Zumwalt Guns -- USNI News

The Navy's Newest Fleet Is Bulking Up For 'Leaner, Agile' Operations To Counter Russia In The Atlantic And Arctic -- Task & Purpose/Business Insider

Why the Navy backed off railguns (and China should too) -- We Are the Mighty

The U.S. Navy's Ultimate Weapon: "Mother Ship" Strikes? -- National Interest

What does Lockheed Martin’s version of a future frigate look like? -- Defense News

The U.S. Army May Cut Nearly Half Of Its Already Underappreciated Naval Fleet -- Warzone/The Drive

7 surprising facts you probably don't know about the US Army -- We Are The Mighty

The Army Wants Israel's Iron Dome Missile System To Swat Down Cruise Missiles -- Warzone/The Drive

Supreme Court allows transgender military ban to be enforced -- The Hill

U.S. made $1B 'final offer' to South Korea on troop costs -- UPI

No, The Pentagon Did NOT Waste $28 Billion -- Mackenzie Eaglen and Rick Berger, Breaking Defense

Army’s long-awaited Iraq war study finds Iran was the only winner in a conflict that holds many lessons for future wars -- Army Times

Has the Government Legalized Secret Defense Spending? -- Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Tony Mendez, The CIA Spy Who Inspired 'Argo,' Dies At 79 -- Fortune

Report to Congress on Russian Compliance with INF Treaty -- USNI News

Russia confirms new missile, disputes treaty breach -- The Hill

North Korea condemns Japan for military talks with Britain, France -- UPI

Dispute escalates between South Korea and Japan over radar claims -- UPI

British soldier sues Army over Q fever chronic fatigue -- BBC

Russian Military Detects Launch of Israeli Missile Drone Over Mediterranean -- Sputnik

Israel Successfully Tests Arrow 3 Air Defence System (PHOTO) -- Sputnik

Helmet saves Israeli soldier hit by Palestinian sniper at Gaza border -- Jerusalem Post

Signs of fraying in military support for Venezuela president -- AP

Russian Supersonic Strike Bomber Tu-22M3 Crash-Lands In The Murmansk Region

A Tu-22 supersonic strategic bomber © Wikipedia

Sputnik: Russian Tu-22M3 Bomber Crashes During Landing in Murmansk Region - Russian MoD

Two crew members of a Tu-22M3 have died and two more were injured during a hard landing in Russia's Murmansk region, the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement.

"On 22 January, the Tu-22M3, after completing a scheduled training flight in the Murmansk region, made a hard landing when it encountered heavy snow… According to a report, two pilots were taken to a medical facility, where they’re receiving the necessary assistance. Two crew members were killed", the ministry said in a statement.

The doctors estimate the surviving pilots to be in grave condition, according to a source.

The Tu-22M3 is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau and designed to destroy naval and ground targets at a distance of up to 2,200 km from home-based airfields with guided missiles and bombs.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Russian Supersonic Strike Bomber Tu-22M3 Crash

Supersonic strike bomber Tu-22M3 crash-lands in Russia’s northwest -- RT
Supersonic maritime strike bomber crashlands in Murmansk Region, says source -- TASS
Supersonic bomber crashes in Russia's northwest -- CNN
Russian heavy bomber crash-lands in Arctic, killing 3 -- AP
Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bomber crashes in Murmansk region -- Defense Blog
A Russian supersonic heavy bomber crashed in the Arctic, killing most of the crew -- Business Insider

Can The UAE Face-Up To Iran

Michael Rubin, National Interest: The UAE Will Triumph Over Iran in the Next Middle Eastern War

As Iranian bluster again increases, it could very well be Abu Dhabi that teaches Tehran a permanent lesson.

The eleventh annual Council on Foreign Relations’ “Preventive Priorities Survey” once again stated the obvious : “Conflict between the United States and Iran as well as between the United States and China constitute two of the greatest threats to peace in 2019.” Certainly, Washington and Tehran appear on a collision course. The risk is not that the United States will pre-emptively launch an attack on Iran—as much as the Trump administration seeks to isolate and pressure Iran, that simply is not on the table—but rather than the United States and Iran might stumble into conflict.

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WNU Editor: Apparently the UAE is in a position that they can.

The U.S. Marines Want Missiles To Sink Ships

A Marine HIMARS missile launcher fires from the deck of the USS Anchorage during the Dawn Blitz 2017 exercises.

Breaking Defense: Marines Want Missiles To Sink Ships From Shores, And They Want Them Fast

“The Army is looking at this too but probably on a different timeline -- the Marine Corps wants to get after this pretty quickly.”

WASHINGTON The Marine Corps has kicked off a rapid development program to begin firing long-range anti-ship missiles from shore-based ground vehicles in an effort to add more punch to the Navy’s growing anti-ship capabilities, which are aimed squarely at Chinese and Russian advances.

Dubbed the Navy-Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System — that’s NEMSIS to you — the program has completed its design phase. For the missile itself, Marines are looking at

* Lockheed Martin’s new Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), with stealthy features to penetrate enemy missile defenses, a 1,000-pound warhead, and a range disclosed only as “over 200 miles”;
* Raytheon’s Naval Strike Missile (NSM) already chosen as an upgrade for Navy Littoral Combat Ships, with a 264-lb warhead and a 115-mile range;
* and Boeing’s venerable Harpoon, whose variants have a 500-lb warhead and ranges between 70 and 150 miles.

Read more ....

Update: The U.S. Marines Want the Ability to Sink Ships (Popular Mechanics).

WNU Editor: I guess the Marines do not feel confident that the US Navy will be around to repel any enemy naval attack on the shores where the U.S. Marines may find themselves dug in.

A Cure For PTSD?

A data visualization showing different regions of brain in terms of electrical activity, gathered via EEG. Newport Brain Treatment Lab

Defense One: Zap: How Electric Therapy Is Curing Navy SEALs of PTSD … And Could Remake Brain Science

Hundreds of vets have tried out an experimental new treatment that could change how the world addresses mental disorders.

Tony didn’t know what to expect when he walked into the Brain Treatment Center in San Diego, California, last spring. The former Navy SEAL only knew that he needed help. His service in Iraq and Afghanistan was taking a heavy toll on his mental and physical wellbeing. He had trouble concentrating, remembering, and was given to explosive bursts of anger. “If somebody cut me off driving, I was ready to kill ’em at the drop of a hat,” he said. And after he got into a fistfight on the side of a California road, his son looking on from the car, he decided he was willing to try anything — even an experimental therapy that created an electromagnetic field around his brain.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This could be revolutionary.

Hat tip Rod for this link.

Is The World Going To End In 12 Years?


Gabrienews: Ocasio-Cortez on Millennials: ‘We’re Like the World Is Going to End in 12 Years if We Don’t Address Climate Change’

‘At some point these chronic realities do reach a breaking point’.

The world is going to end in 12 years unless the government takes action, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Monday at a Martin Luther King forum in New York City.

Here’s an excerpt from her interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates:

“And I think the part of it that is generational is that millennials and people, in Gen Z, and all these folks that come after us are looking up and we’re like, the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change. You’re biggest issue, your biggest issue is how are going to pay for it? — and like this is the war, this is our World War II. And I think for younger people looking at this are more like, how are we saying let’s take it easy when 3,000 Americans died last year, how are we saying let’s take it easy when the end person died from our cruel and unjust criminal justice system?

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WNU Editor:
The amount of positive attention that the main stream media has focused on this new Congresswomen is incredible. As to global warming and the destruction of the earth, I have been hearing this for decades .... U.N. Predicts Disaster if Global Warming Not Checked (June 29, 1989. AP).

American Diplomats Are Delivering On Foreign Policy


Washington Examiner: Richard Grenell, Trump’s top ambassador, ‘delivers again,’ blocking Iran

A top Trump ambassador is winning kudos for his part in convincing Germany to ban Iranian airline Mahan Air amid allegations it ran weapons to Syria.

Officials said that Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany, played a key role and scored his latest victory since landing last May when he warned, “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.”

“Since arriving in Berlin, Ambassador Grenell has literally hit the ground running delivering on the president’s priorities,” said a key ally and senior Senate Republican aide.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Iranians have made it easy for American diplomats to push for sanctions on Iran .... In shift, EU sanctions Iran over planned Europe attacks (Reuters). But you still need diplomats on the ground to make these things happen. This follows yesterday's report on the U.S. and North Korea maintaining back-channels for over a decade .... U.S. And North Korean Spies Have Held Secret Talks For A Decade (January 21, 2019). The intelligence community may maintain the contacts and lines of communications, but it is always the diplomats who need to deliver.

The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures On The Trump/Russia Story


The Intercept: Beyond BuzzFeed: The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump/Russia Story

Buzzfeed was once notorious for traffic-generating “listicles”, but has since become an impressive outlet for deep investigative journalism under editor-in-chief Ben Smith. That outlet was prominently in the news this week thanks to its “bombshell” story about President Trump and Michael Cohen: a story that, like so many others of its kind, blew up in its face, this time when the typically mute Robert Mueller’s office took the extremely rare step to label its key claims “inaccurate.”

But in homage to BuzzFeed’s past viral glory, following are the top ten worst media failures in two-plus-years of Trump/Russia reporting. They are listed in reverse order, as measured by the magnitude of the embarrassment, the hysteria they generated on social media and cable news, the level of journalistic recklessness that produced them, and the amount of damage and danger they caused. This list was extremely difficult to compile in part because news outlets (particularly CNN and MSNBC) often delete from the internet the video segments of their most embarrassing moments. Even more challenging was the fact that the number of worthy nominees is so large that highly meritorious entrees had to be excluded, but are acknowledged at the end with (dis)honorable mention status.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I need a bigger blog. Ten more additional "Dishonorable Mentions" at the bottom of this report are also a must read. Another way to look at the media is the following (and one that is becoming way too common):

Tweets For Today






Russian Poll: Trust In Russian President Putin Falls To 13-Year Low

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (not pictured) in Belgrade, Serbia, January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Reuters: Trust in Russia's Putin falls to 13-year low: state pollster

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Public trust in President Vladimir Putin has fallen to its lowest level in 13 years, according to a Russian state pollster, a setback for the Kremlin which works hard to burnish Putin’s image as a wise father-of-the-nation-style leader.

The poll, by the Public Opinion Research Centre, found that trust in Putin had fallen to 33.4 percent, its lowest level since 2006.

The results do not pose an immediate problem for Putin who won a landslide election victory and a new six-year mandate in March last year, but could embolden would-be successors to begin what is likely to be a long game of jostling for position.

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WNU Editor: This poll will change nothing. He is the President of Russia for the next five years, poll or no poll.

Picture Of The Day

A total lunar eclipse that is called a 'Super Blood Wolf Moon' is seen from Encinitas, California, January 20. REUTERS/Mike Blake

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Super blood wolf moon (Reuters).

Is The U.S. About To Dump Pakistan As An Ally?

NATO trucks crossing Pakistan’s border

Andrew Korybko, Oriental Review: Is America About To Officially Dump Pakistan As An “Ally”?

Republican Congressman Andy Biggs just put forth House Resolution 73 seeking to remove Pakistan’s designation as a “major non-NATO ally”, which would eliminate its privileged military cooperation with the US that’s already been put under strain over the past year since Trump decided to suspend various sorts of aid to the country and decried it for supposedly not doing enough to fight terrorism. Biggs wants to make any reclassification of Pakistan as a “major non-NATO ally” contingent on the President proving to Congress that the country is fighting the so-called “Haqqani Network” that’s bedeviled the US for years, suggesting that this initiative might have something to do with once again scapegoating Pakistan for the latest setback to the incipient US-Taliban peace process.

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WNU Editor: This Congressional resolution is not going to pass.

Monday, January 21, 2019

U.S. Expected To Produce Far More Oil In 2019 Than What International Analysts Originally Forecasted

FILE PHOTO: An oil pump is seen operating in the Permian Basin near Midland Thomson Reuters

The Tennessee Star: US Oil Boom Is Defying Expectations, Experts Say

The United States is expected to churn out far more oil in 2019 than what international analysts originally forecasted.

The International Energy Agency, a Paris-based organization that helps coordinate energy policies for industrial countries, released its latest oil market report Friday, noting exceptional numbers for the U.S. fossil fuel industry.

The agency reported U.S. oil production is expected to rise by 1.3 million barrels a day in 2019. While this number is lower than the record-smashing 2.1 million increase producers enjoyed in 2018, it’s more than double what the IEA initially expected to see in 2019.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The continuous growth of U.S. oil production continues astounds me.