Saturday, October 19, 2019

Kim Yo Jong Is North Korea's Most Powerful Woman

Kim Yo Jong riding a horse alongside her brother during a strange, but likely symbolic, photoshoot. KCNA via Reuters

Business Insider: Meet North Korea's most powerful woman, Kim Yo Jong: Kim Jong Un's 30-ish sister who made a meaningful cameo in his bizarre horseback-riding photoshoot

* Kim Jong Un's younger sister and right-hand woman, Kim Yo Jong, is a mysterious figure whose life has piqued international curiosity.
* The 30-something woman was seen in her brother's bizarre photoshoot riding a white horse on a historically meaningful mountain.
* She has rapidly become North Korea's most powerful woman, frequently seen side by side with her brother, and plays a key role in his administration.
* Some had speculated in April that she fell out of her brother's favor, but her appearance in the strange photoshoot suggests she may be back in his good graces.

As North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has sought to raise his international standing, a figure seen by his side almost constantly during his meetings with world leaders is none other than his younger sister Kim Yo Jong.

During the two summits between the US and North Korea, Kim Yo Jong was front and center during the historic show of diplomacy between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

She also traveled to South Korea during the 2018 Winter Olympics, becoming the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the south since the Korean War in the 1950s.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: She has been on WNU's radar since 2015 .... The Growing Role Of Kim Jong Un's Sister In North Korea (June 4, 2015). And I am glad to say that the commentary that was written then is so on the ball today.

Protests Over The Economy And Corruption Rage In Lebanon

The Guardian/Reuters: Violence flares in Lebanon as protesters tell their leaders to go

Dozens wounded or held as warnings over economy spark biggest protests in decade

Security forces fired teargas and chased down protesters in Beirut on Friday after tens of thousands of people across Lebanon marched to demand the demise of a political elite they accuse of looting the economy to the point of collapse.

Riot police in vehicles and on foot rounded up protesters, according to Reuters. They fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters, dispersing demonstrators in Beirut’s commercial district. Dozens of people were wounded and detained.

Read more ....

More News On The Unrest In Lebanon

Protests over economy, corruption target Lebanon's elite -- DW
Lebanon scraps WhatsApp tax as protests rage -- BBC
Amid protests, Lebanon's Hariri sets deadline to resolve crisis -- Al Jazeera
Lebanon's Nasrallah backs government amid raging protests -- Al Jazeera
Lebanon protesters: 'We can make a change' -- BBC
Lebanon protests: Five things you need to know -- Al Jazeera

Chile Declares State Of Emergency After Days Of Violent Protests In The Country's Capital

CNN: Chile's president declares state of emergency after riots over metro fare hike

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera declared a state of emergency in a televised address to the nation on Friday after days of violent protests in the country's capital.

Hundreds have taken to the streets of Santiago and surrounding cities in recent days to protest against the rising cost of public transport, vandalizing metro stations and even setting an electrical company building on fire.

"The objective of this state of emergency is very simple, but very profound," Piñera said, "it's to ensure public order, bring peace to Santiago and protect public and private property."

Piñera condemned this week's violence and looting, saying that because of currency exchange fluctuations, it was necessary to raise the price of public transport. But he added that he sympathized with those who were bearing the cost of the rises.

Read more ....

More News On Chile Declaring A State Of Emergency

Chile President Pinera declares emergency as capital rocked by riots -- Reuters
Chile protests: state of emergency declared in Santiago as violence escalates -- The Guardian
Chile Declares State of Emergency Amid Looting and Arson in Capital -- The New York Times
Chile's president declares state of emergency after riots over metro fare -- France 24
Chile capital hit by violent protests over metro fare hikes; state of emergency declared -- FOX News/AP
Subway service in Chile’s capital suspended as protest grows -- AP
Chile declares state of emergency amid student riots -- DW
Chile protests: Unrest in Santiago over metro fare increase -- BBC

The Mexican Government And Its Army Were Defeated This Week By The Sinaloa Cartel

Cartel gunmen are seen during clashes with federal forces in Culiacan on Oct. 17. Jesus Bustamante—Reuters

Time: How The Sinaloa Cartel Bested The Mexican Army

In Mexico’s big cities, drug cartel gunmen normally act like phantoms. They hide in safe houses or amid communities, suddenly striking with an assassination or a gunfight, and then disappearing again. Residents know they are there and are scared, but most the time, they can’t see them.

But on Thursday in the Sinaloan city of Culiacan, the cartel gunmen were everywhere. They openly drove in trucks with mounted machine guns, blockaded streets flashing their Kalashnikovs and burned trucks unleashing plumes of smoke like it was a scene in Syria. They took control of the strategic points in the metro area, shut down the airport, roads, and government buildings and exchanged fire with security forces for hours, leaving at least eight people dead. In contrast, everyone else had to act like ghosts, hiding behind locked doors, not daring to step outside.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The murder rate is now at an all-time high in Mexico, and the drug cartels showed this week who is in control in this part of Mexico. If this continues, and it will, support for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's policy of appeasement and accommodation towards the cartels is going to disintegrate.

Update: Cartel "Narco Tanks," Heavy Weapons On Full Display During Battle Over El Chapo's Son (Warzone/The Drive)

The U.S. Navy Should Use Its Retired Carriers For Target Practice And Testing Anti-Missile Defense Systems

National Interest: The Navy Should Use Its Retired Carriers for Target Practice

This way, the Pentagon can test better anti-missile systems under more realistic conditions.

The U.S. Navy should convert USS Nimitz, the fleet’s oldest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, into a test ship once the flattop decommissions in the mid-2020s.

That’s the recommendation of Navy lieutenant Douglas Cantwell, who served aboard the 1,092-feet-long carrier.

His advice has precedent. The Navy recently formed an experimental “Surface Development Squadron” for Zumwalt-class stealth destroyers, Littoral Combat Ships and drone vessels.

“The Navy needs a platform dedicated to accomplishing for air warfare what the USS Zumwalt and the Surface Development Squadron aim to do for surface warfare,” Cantwell wrote in Proceedings, the professional journal of the U.S. Naval Institute.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This idea makes a lot of sense to me.

USS Zumwalt Is Running Six Years Late

Popular Mechanics: The USS Zumwalt Won't Be Battle-Ready Until 2021

The first stealth destroyer of its kind is running six years late.

* The new stealth destroyer USS Zumwalt is six years late.
* The ship won't be ready to perform any missions until September 2021.
* The ship costs $7.6 billion, or more than half as much as an aircraft carrier, and its two Advanced Gun Systems lack ammunition.

The USS Zumwalt, the world’s first stealth warship, won’t be ready for any sort of action until the second half of 2021. The six hundred foot long destroyer is six years late and has racked up a total price tag of $7.8 billion dollars. The ship’s two heavy guns, designed to provide long range gunfire support, are still sidelined by a lack of affordable ammunition.

The USS Zumwalt was laid down in 2011 at Bath Iron Works in Maine and commissioned into the U.S. Navy in 2016. The 16,000-ton, 600-foot-long destroyer is designed to have the radar signature of a small fishing boat and is armed with 80 vertical launch missile silos and two 30-millimeter automatic cannons.

Read more ....

Update #1: The Navy's new $7.8 billion stealth destroyer is now delayed for a sixth year, surprising no one (Task & Purpose)
Update #2: The U.S. navy’s 'new' $7.8 billion USS Zumwalt destroyer is running six years late (National Interest)

WNU Editor: The USS Zumwalt program is not the only Navy program that has problems .... Failure to launch: U.S. Navy has a ship building problem and no real solutions (War Is Boring).

What Happens When a U.S. Navy Attack Submarine Crashes Into A 'Mountain'

National Interest: This Is What Happens When a U.S. Navy Attack Submarine Crashes Into a 'Mountain'

Well, an 'underwater mountain', that is.

Key point: A submarine vs and undersea mountain. What could go wrong?

In 2005, a U.S. Navy attack submarine collided head-on with an undersea mountain at more than thirty miles an hour. Despite the damage the ship sustained and the crew’s injuries, the USS San Francisco managed to limp to her home port of Guam on her own power. The incident was a testament to the design of the submarine and the training and professionalism of her crew.

USS San Francisco is a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine. Submarine builder Newport News Shipyard began construction on her in 1977, and she was commissioned on April 24, 1981. The submarine joined the U.S. Pacific Fleet and served there throughout her career.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is amazing that this sub was not lost with its crew.

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

Protesters clash with Spanish policemen outside El Prat airport in Barcelona on October 14, 2019 as thousands of angry protesters took to the streets after Spain's Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to between nine and 13 years in jail for sedition over the failed 2017 independence bid. As the news broke, demonstrators turned out en masse, blocking streets in Barcelona and elsewhere as police braced for what activists said would be a mass response of civil disobedience. © AFP 2019 / Lluis Gene

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures: 12-18 October (Sputnik).

China Plots To Block U.S. Military From Key Ports


Washington Examiner: ‘No safe harbors’: China plots to block US military from key ports, Pentagon warns

China aims to thwart the U.S. military from using strategically significant ports around the world, U.S. officials and analysts said yesterday. China hopes to do this by investing aggressively in overseas infrastructure projects, the experts said.

“Their single aspiration is to elevate their own status and capacity on a global scale,” said Chad Sbragia, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, during a Thursday House Transportation subcommittee hearing. “What it does mean is that they will have the global military where the U.S. essentially may have no safe harbors.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: We see this Chinese strategy at play in the Solomon Islands .... A Chinese Military Base In The Solomon Islands? (October 17, 2019).

Friday, October 18, 2019

Canadians Go To The Polls On Monday -- News Roundup October 18, 2019

Reuters: Canada's Trudeau says fighting for every vote, concedes rival could win

WHITBY, Ontario (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, trying to retain power after scandals dimmed his image, on Friday said he was fighting for every vote in an election next week and conceded his main rival could win.

Polls show Trudeau’s Liberals are locked in a tie with the opposition Conservatives ahead of the vote on Monday and will not capture enough seats for a majority. That would leave them in a weakened position, reliant on smaller parties to govern.

Trudeau has spent much of the campaign in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, which accounts for 108 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons. The Liberals hold 76 of those seats and need to retain them to stand a chance of winning.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has one thing going for him in this election .... an opponent (Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer) who has not only alienated his own base on a number of issues, but has been a catastrophe in appealing to French speaking voters in Quebec (the province that I live in). Andrew Scheer's performance at the first French debate just made me cringe. Instead of using the playbook that a number of provincial conservative parties have used in the past two years to win power in a number of elections (including in Quebec), he has chosen to do the opposite. It is also very telling to me that two of my closest friends who are staunch Conservative supporters are not even going to bother to vote on Monday. They are staying home. But everything is not rosy for Prime Minister Trudeau. He has also alienated his base. I live in a riding that has been dominated by the Liberals for decades. But this is the first election where I have not seen one Liberal sign displayed at a home. The impression that I have is that Liberal supporters are too embarrassed on showing who they support. The big surprise in this election has been the rise of the French nationalist party (Bloc Quebecois) in Quebec. They are going to do very well. My prediction for Monday. The polls are saying that the two main parties are neck-and-neck. But for the past two years polls in Canada have been consistent in underestimating Conservative strength by about 5 points in a number of provincial elections. But I do not think that this going to happen here. We are heading into a minority government on Monday, and the Liberals are well positioned to stay in power by forming an alliance with the NDP (our Socialist party).

More News On Canada's Election

Trudeau could lose power in Canada’s election Monday -- AP
Tension mounts in Canada as election nears -- AFP
With a close election looming, here are three likely scenarios — and how they would play out -- National Post
Trudeau Approval Hits New Low as Canadians Prepare to Vote -- Gallup
Factbox: Canada's political party positions ahead of October 21 election -- Reuters

Russia's Growing Influence In Africa Oil, Military And Nuclear Tech: Russia’s Influence In Africa

Virtually all great powers have set their eyes on Africa as the continent’s global importance grows. Its population is set to double by 2050 and its economy is expected to expand significantly alongside its energy consumption. It is these projections that have driven Russia to invest heavily in strong relations in the region for when the continent’s explosive growth takes off. The Kremlin’s goal is to emulate China’s success in fostering economic, diplomatic, and military links with Africa. To become an important partner, Moscow is organizing the first-ever Russia-Africa summit on 23-24 October.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russia's involvement in Africa is only going to be helped by the following .... nuclear know-how, arms, and an oil industry that knows what it is doing. Something that many African states are going to be more than happy to partner with.

Reuters/Ipsos Poll: Biden Expands Edge In U.S. Democratic Nomination Race

2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden, speaking in 2015 when he was vice-president, will need to come up with a reality-based strategy to tackle China © Reuters

Reuters: Biden expands edge in U.S. Democratic nomination race: Reuters/Ipsos poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Vice President Joe Biden expanded his lead over more than a dozen other candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination this month as Congress looked into allegations that U.S. President Donald Trump tried to pressure a foreign leader to investigate him, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.

The Oct. 17-18 opinion poll found that 21% of Democrats and independents said they would vote for Biden in statewide nominating contests that begin next year, up 3 percentage points from a similar poll that was conducted at the end of September.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I still do not expect him to be the nominee.

Tonight's Movie Is 'Away All Boats' (1956)

From YouTube: The story of USS 'Belinda', a U.S. naval ship, and its crew during the battle of the Pacific 1943-1945, as it prepares for action and landing troops on enemy beachheads.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 18, 2019

Hilal Köylü and Daniel Bellut, DW: Northern Syria: How stable is the ceasefire?

Washington and Ankara have agreed to a ceasefire in northern Syria, but the deal leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Experts say these will present hurdles on the way to establishing a safe zone.

US Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to a five-day ceasefire in northern Syria when they met in Ankara on Thursday, which went into effect at 10:00 p.m. local time that evening. The deal was preceded by a massive Turkish military operation. Now, Syrian Kurds from the People's Protection Units (YPG) are to withdraw from the so-called safe zone that is to be established along the Syrian-Turkish border. The Turkish president envisions a zone that will stretch 32 kilometers (20 miles) inland along the 444-kilometer-long border.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 18, 2019

Exclusive: Surprise Syria truce hinged on Turkey's deadline demand - top official -- Orhan Coskun and Humeyra Pamuk, Reuters

Syria Cease-Fire May Not Be a Win for Turkey -- Bloomberg

Cease-Fire Chaos: The Kurds, Turkey, and Trump Administration are Touting Different Strategies -- Matthew Petti, National Interest

Trump’s Response to the Crisis in Northern Syria: A Case of Principled Realism in Action? -- Jim Cook, National Interest

General discontent: how the president's military men turned on Trump -- Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

Protests over economy, corruption target Lebanon's elite -- DW

Qatar ramps up its defenses -- Sajad Abedi, Asia Times

Chinese mainlanders living in Hong Kong feel stuck between a rock and a hard place -- Wen Liu, NBC

The new Brexit deal: Will it pass? -- DW

Boris Johnson may be celebrating his victory in Brussels, but the Brexit rollercoaster rides on -- Samantha Hawley, The Guardian

Catalan protesters: 'We want to make a point' -- Mercedes Iniguez, DW

Why Barcelona Is Burning -- The Wall Street Journal

Most valuable brands: Apple, Google, Amazon -- Lee Shin-hyung, Asia Times

World News Briefs -- October 18, 2019 (Evening Edition)

A Catalan demonstrator walks by a fire during Catalonia's general strike in Barcelona, Spain, October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Reuters: Barcelona rocked by violence on fifth day of separatist protests

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters battled police in the heart of Barcelona on Friday, setting up fiery barricades and hurling rocks at security forces on the fifth day of unrest following the jailing of Catalan separatist leaders.

The violence followed a largely peaceful demonstration which drew more than half a million people onto the streets of the Catalan capital to denounce the lengthy jail terms that have sent a shockwave through Spanish politics.

As night fell, masked youths blocked a broad boulevard close to the city’s police headquarters, setting fire to large garbage bins and throwing a hail of stones, cans and bottles toward massed lines of security forces in full riot gear.

Read more ....


Fighting continues on Syria-Turkey border amid war crimes allegations.

UN investigates alleged use of white phosphorus in Syria.

Turkey plans presence across northeast Syria, Erdogan says.

Pompeo meets Netanyahu in Israel amid concerns about Syria, Iran.

Lebanon: WhatsApp tax sparks mass protests. Lebanon scraps WhatsApp tax as protests rage.

Amid protests, Lebanon's Hariri sets deadline to resolve crisis.


Hong Kong protesters vow to hit the streets in major 'illegal' march.

Pence to deliver China policy speech next Thursday: White House official.

Bombing at Afghanistan mosque kills at least 60. Explosion at Afghan mosque kills dozens.

UN: Afghan insurgents responsible for most 2019 casualties.

Moon Jae-in's encounter with Japan envoy raises hopes of improved ties.

Pakistan avoids FATF 'black list,' gets stern warning.

China bankrolls Solomon Islands stadium ahead of Pacific summit.

China's economy marks slowest growth on record.

'Free to kill': Duterte tells newly appointed police chief.

New Zealand to test 'armed response teams' after Christchurch attacks.


WHO says Ebola in DR Congo still qualifies as global emergency.

Sudan peace talks resume after deadlock.

Partial Mozambique election results show big win for ruling party.

Violent protests against Madagascar's 'new city'.

Victims of Libya air raids fear returning home.

Guinea prosecutor seeks jail terms for opposition leaders.

Bobi Wine calls Museveni 'enemy of Uganda'.

Deadly flooding causing problems across Africa.

Stony silence from Eritrea as Ethiopia basks in Nobel glow.

Kenyan port of Mombasa becomes world's new drug trafficking hub.


UK MPs set for crucial vote on Johnson's revised Brexit deal.

EU urges Turkey to end Syria military operation after ceasefire announcement.

Brexit: Johnson in race to win support for deal. Boris Johnson returns to London to sell lawmakers new Brexit deal.

Catalonia holds general strike as protesters descend on Barcelona.

Catalan president seeks independence vote by 2021.

Wanted ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont surrenders to Belgian authorities.

EU leaders leave Balkan states hanging on accession talks. EU blocks Albania and North Macedonia membership bids.


Hillary Clinton suggests Tulsi Gabbard is Russia's Democrat.

Backlash over Mexico's botched attempt to arrest 'El Chapo's' son.

'Failure:' Mexico admits bungled arrest of kingpin's son amid mayhem.

White House aide's words on Ukraine upend impeachment strategy, rattle allies.

Trudeau could lose power in Canada’s election Monday.

Venezuela joins U.N. Human Rights Council despite strong opposition.

Brother of Honduras president found guilty in vast drug conspiracy case.

Argentineans mark day of loyalty to former leader Juan Peron.

Surge of Mexican migrants is new challenge for Trump border crackdown.

Mexico deports 311 Indian migrants to New Delhi.


Brother of Afghan Taliban leader killed in Pakistan mosque blast.

'ISIS will be back.’ Lawmakers voice Syria fears to Pentagon chiefs.

Belgium to evacuate Isis suspects from Syria detention camps.

After Turkey attacks Syria, detained IS women await 'deliverance'.


Boeing, J&J, dismal China data drag Wall Street lower.

U.S. moves ahead with tariffs on European Union goods.

NBA facing 'substantial' losses over China dispute.

Samsung says fix coming for security-flawed Galaxy phones.

U.S. Doomsday Plane Designed To Survive A Nuclear War Severely Damaged By A Bird Strike

The U.S. Navy E-6B Mercury plane is designed to withstand a nuclear attack, but couldn't handle a bird strike

Daily Mail: US doomsday plane designed to survive a nuclear war suffers $2MILLION damage and is temporarily grounded by a BIRD-STRIKE

* The $141million 'doomsday' plane was landing at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland when a bird was sucked into one of its four engines
* No one was injured in the incident on October 2, but the damage amounted to at least $2million
* The engine was replaced and the aircraft was back in service
* On average, there are up to 3,000 wildlife collisions with military planes yearly

The Navy's E-6B Mercury - designed to survive a nuclear war as a flying communications and command post- has been grounded after it hit a bird during landing.

The $141million 'doomsday' plane was landing at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland when a bird was sucked into one of its four engines on October 2.

No one was injured in the incident but the damage amounted to at least $2million, while Tim Boulay, a spokesman for Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, confirmed that one of the engines had to be replaced.

The Naval Safety Center labelled the incident as 'class A' mishap, which means it involved death, permanent disability, or aircraft destruction worth $2million or more

Read more ....

More News On A U.S. Doomsday Plane Severely Damaged By A Bird Strike

Bird strike grounds Navy ‘doomsday’ aircraft -- Navy Times
A Navy 'Doomsday' plane was severely damaged by a single bird strike -- Task & Purpose/
Birds cause millions in damage to Navy 'doomsday' plane -- Washington Examiner
Navy ‘Doomsday’ plane built to withstand nuclear attack grounded after striking single bird -- Daily News
Who Needs Missiles, Anyway? Bird Takes Down US Navy 'Doomsday' Aircraft -- Sputnik

U.S. Air Force Will Stop Using Floppy Disks To Operate Its Nuclear Weapons System

C4ISRNet: The US nuclear forces’ Dr. Strangelove-era messaging system finally got rid of its floppy disks

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. — In 2014, “60 Minutes” made famous the 8-inch floppy disks used by one antiquated Air Force computer system that, in a crisis, could receive an order from the president to launch nuclear missiles from silos across the United States.

But no more. At long last, that system, the Strategic Automated Command and Control System or SACCS, has dumped the floppy disk, moving to a “highly-secure solid state digital storage solution” this past June, said Lt. Col. Jason Rossi, commander of the Air Force’s 595th Strategic Communications Squadron.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Oh God! 8-inch Floppy disks is so 1980s.

More News On The U.S. Air Force Phasing Out The Use OfFloppy Disks To Operate Its Nuclear Weapons System

Military has phased out the use of floppy disks to coordinate nuclear launches -- Washington Times
Air Force finally retires 8-inch floppies from missile launch control system -- Ars Technica
U.S. Military Will Stop Using Floppy Disks to Operate Its Nuclear Weapons System -- Gizmodo
US military will no longer use floppy disks to coordinate nuke launches -- Endgadget
U.S. military to stop using floppy disks to operate nuclear weapons systems -- Global News