Thursday, August 24, 2017

What Are Sound Weapons

Ship's Serviceman 1st Class Scott D. Amberger aims a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) at an incoming small craft off the starboard bridge wing of amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) during a small boat attack drill. 27 January 2006


James Hamblin, The Atlantic: What Are Sound Weapons?

Attacks on Americans in Cuba are calling attention to how inaudible sound waves can alter moods and perceptions.

Earlier this month the U.S. State Department disclosed that several Havana-based diplomats have experienced “incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms.” Secretary Rex Tillerson said the incidents began last fall, calling them “health attacks.”

They were not the good kind of health attacks. Symptoms have included severe hearing loss, headaches, and problems with balance—forcing some diplomats to return to the United States. “We hold the Cuban authorities responsible for finding out who is carrying out these health attacks,” Tillerson said.

His remarks came after a search for the cause of the symptoms—also reported among Canadian diplomats living in Cuban housing—led some U.S. officials to conclude that the weapon is inaudible sonic waves.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Apparently the effects are serious .... U.S. And Canadian Diplomats In Cuba Suffered Serious Brain And Nerve Damage (August 23, 2017).

Tweets For Today




The Death of Stalin (Official Movie Trailer)


WNU Editor: I am looking forward to its release.

Picture Of The Day

A sniper of the Syrian Democratic Forces aims his weapon during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in the old city of Raqqa, Syria. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

WNU Editor: The above picture comes from this photo gallery .... Battle for Raqqa (Reuters).

Is North Korea's Economy Booming?

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reacts as he inspects a test-fire of strategic submarine-launched ballistic missile with Ri Pyong-chol (right). Photo: KCNA via Reuters

Asia Times: What sanctions? North Korea economy grows at fastest pace in 17 years

North Korean GDP grew 3.9% in 2016, according to the central bank of South Korea

North Korea’s economy grew at its fastest pace in 17 years in 2016, South Korea’s central bank said on Friday, despite the isolated country facing international sanctions aimed at curbing its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Gross domestic product (GDP) in North Korea last year rose 3.9% from the previous year when the economy contracted due to a drought and low commodity prices, the Bank of Korea said.

The expansion, driven by mining and energy, marked the biggest rise since a 6.1 percent gain in 1999.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The North Korean economy may be booming, but then I read these stories .... North Korea soldiers go without food after drought hits crops (UPI).

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

North Korea Releases Photos On New Missile Design



CNN: New North Korea photos reveal hidden details of missile program

(CNN)Newly released photos appear to reveal unexpected advances in North Korea's missile program, experts say, including a previously unseen type of projectile.

On Wednesday, North Korean state media KCNA announced leader Kim Jong Un had visited the country's Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Sciences.

"He instructed the institute to produce more solid-fuel rocket engines and rocket warhead tips by further expanding engine production process," the statement said.
But it was the photos of the inspection released by state media which missile analysts seized upon immediately.

"This is the North Koreans showing us, or at least portraying, that their solid-fuel missile program is improving at a steady rate," David Schmerler, research associate at the Monterey Institute of International Studies' James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told CNN.

Read more .....

More News On North Korea Releasing Photos On A New Missile Design

North Korea photos suggest new solid-fuel missile designs -- AP
North Korea discloses diagrams of new missiles Pukguksong-3, Hwasong-13 -- UPI
North Korea releases photo appearing to show new missile designs -- Aol.com
North Korean media reveals missile plans as Kim orders more ICBM production -- The Asian Age

Western Europe Accounted For 1% Of Terror Victims In 2016

People gather around an impromptu memorial a day after a van crashed into pedestrians at Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain August 18, 2017. Sergio Perez, Reuters

AFP: W. Europe had less than 1% of terror victims in 2016: study

Western Europe accounted for less than one percent of the 34,676 people killed in terror attacks in 2016 and only two percent of attacks, according to a new report.

The Middle East and North Africa bore the brunt of last year's extremist violence, according to figures from the Global Terrorism Database maintained by the University of Maryland.

The report offers a different perspective after carnage in France, Britain and other European countries including Spain, where police are probing a terror cell behind attacks last week.

Western Europe suffered two percent of the attacks in 2016 -- 269 out of a total of 13,488 -- and fewer than one percent of victims: 238 out of 34,676 (0.7 percent).

In contrast, terror attacks killed 19,121 people in north Africa and the Middle East -- 55 percent of the total.

Read more ....

WNU editor: The Global Terrorism Database website is here .... Global Terrorism Database. Their study is here.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov: No Cold War Between Russia And The U.S..

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. YouTube

WNU Editor: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov remarks were reported by AP .... Russian official says US and Russia aren’t in new Cold War (AP). His remarks contradict what Russian Prime Minister Medvedev said last year .... Russian Prime Minister Medvedev: 'Russia And NATO Are Now In A New Cold War' (February 13, 2016) .... but from my point of view Sergei Ryabkov is right. I grew up during the Cold War .... and we are certainly no where near the tensions that existed during that time.

Angolans Are Electing A new President In 38 Years



Reuters: Polls close for Angolans electing first new leader in 38 years

LUANDA (Reuters) - Angolans voted in a parliamentary election on Wednesday expected to usher in the ruling party's defense minister as the first new leader for 38 years.

Joao Lourenco, who has pledged to boost growth and fight corruption, would inherit an economy mired in recession as gaping inequality, soaring inflation and high unemployment squeeze poor Angolans who have benefited little from a decades-long oil boom.

Polls closed at 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) but in some remote areas where voting started late, polling station were allowed to stay open a little longer.

An unofficial result is expected by Friday. But there may be no formal announcement for two weeks as ballot boxes wend their way along pot-holed roads and dirt tracks in a country of 28 million spread across an area twice the size of France.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The results will be known on Friday at the earliest.

More News On Today's Angolan Presidential Elections

Polls Close in Angolan Election That Ends Dos Santos's Rule -- Bloomberg
Angola votes for 1st new president in nearly 4 decades -- ABC News/AP
Angolans choose new leader to replace Jose Eduardo dos Santos -- BBC News
Angolans Will Elect a New President, But Reform Seen Unlikely -- VOA
He outlasted Reagan, Castro and Gorbachev. Now Angola's 74-year-old leader is stepping down. -- Washington Post
Trump Staying the Course with Angola -- Council on Foreign Relations

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- August 23, 2017



Pepe Escobar, Asia Times: Korea, Afghanistan and the Never Ending War trap

While the US-backed 'Hunger Games' in South Korea plow on, a 'new strategy' for Afghanistan is really all about business. But China is already there

There are more parallels between an unfinished 1950s war in Northeast Asia and an ongoing 16-year-old war in the crossroads between Central and South Asia than meet the eye. Let’s start with North Korea.

Once again the US/South Korea Hunger Games plow on. It didn’t have to be this way.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- August 23, 2017

Trump's Afghan Strategy Is Different, and Braver, Than Obama's -- Meghan L. O’Sullivan, Bloomberg

Trump Goes from Afghanistan War Skeptic to True Believer -- Christopher A. Preble, National Interest

Why Are We Losing in Afghanistan? -- Daniel Byman, Lawfare

As Trump Announces Afghanistan Strategy, Here’s What the War Has Cost -- Yuval Rosenberg, Fiscal Times

Talks Reassure Israel That U.S. Wants Iran Out of Syria -- Eli Lake, Bloomberg

Understanding Kim Jong Un’s nuclear game plan -- Peter Apps, Reuters

US sanctions China, Russia companies for helping North Korea -- David Brunnstrom and Doina Chiacu, Asia Times

How Kim Jong-un Saved the World from North Korea -- Sergey Radchenko & Campbell Craig, National Interest

North Korea: Bad History -- Leon V. Sigal, 38 North

The Dark Side of China's Tech Boom -- Eugene Chow, The Diplomat

The Achilles Heel of Putin’s Regime -- Anders Åslund, Project Syndicate

Catalonia’s Fight for Independence Turns Nasty -- Mark Nayler, The Spectator

The New Nuclear Danger -- Joschka Fischer, Project Syndicate

Can Anything Stop Rural Decline? Small towns across Japan are on the verge of collapse. Whether they can do so gracefully has consequences for societies around the globe. -- Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

As global hostilities rise, Trump is no help -- Peter Apps, Reuters

World News Briefs -- August 23, 2017 (Evening Edition)



Reuters: Iraqi forces make gains in Islamic State stronghold of Tal Afar

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi forces made fresh gains on Wednesday in an offensive to dislodge Islamic State from the city of Tal Afar, a militant stronghold in the northwest of the country, the military said.

On the fourth day of the offensive, Iraqi units seized two neighborhoods on the western outskirts of the city, al-Kifah north and south, according to statements from the Iraqi joint operations command.

On Tuesday, army and counter-terrorism units broke into Tal Afar from the east and south.

The city is the latest objective in the U.S.-backed war on Islamic State, following the recapture of Mosul after a nine-month campaign that left much of the city in ruins.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Iran, Saudi Arabia to exchange diplomatic visits: Iranian foreign minister.

Yemen's rebel alliance unravels in Sanaa.

Iraqi forces make gains against ISIL in Tal Afar push. Iraqi troops reached the first urban areas of Tal Afar, one of ISIS' last pieces of Iraqi territory.

Iran extends reach with fight for land link to Mediterranean.

Netanyahu calls strengthening Iran’s positions in Syria 'a threat to the entire world'. Netanyahu denounces Iran 'threat' in Putin talks.

Deadly airstrikes near Sanaa, Yemen's rebel-held capital. Air raid in Yemen kills at least 35 people.

U.S. asks if Iran military sites to be checked under nuclear deal. UN atomic chief briefs US's Haley on Iran deal.

Kushner in Middle East for peace talks.

Saudi teen arrested for dancing to ‘Macarena’ in the street.

ASIA

'Humanitarian catastrophe' in Philippines: Aid groups.

Study: 50M at risk of arsenic poisoning in Pakistan.

Thousands of Rohingya flee Myanmar for Bangladesh.

Taliban suicide bomber kills civilians in Helmand. Taliban retakes district in northern Afghanistan.

After Trump's Afghan policy statement, China reaffirms support to Pakistan.

North Korean leader secretly visited border area — media.

Two North Korean shipments to Syria intercepted in six months, UN told.

'Too many soldiers to feed': North Koreans fear more sanctions as drought threatens famine.

Tillerson renews offer to talk with N. Korea.

Comments on Japan’s wartime past by South Korea’s President Moon rattle Tokyo: observers.

Marawi trying to get back on its feet even as fighting goes on.

Beijing warns US ahead of Taiwan defence minister’s visit.

Typhoon batters Hong Kong and south China, three dead in Macau.

AFRICA

Polls close for Angolans electing first new leader in 38 years.

IS claims beheading of 11 at Libya checkpoint.

Libya ex-premier freed after nine-day kidnapping.

Ailing Nigeria president cancels cabinet meeting.

UNICEF: Boko Haram has used 83 children as 'human bombs' in 2017.

Suicide bomber kills 4 in northern Cameroon.

UN aid chief issues bleak warning on Central African Republic.

Egypt’s leader, US envoy meet after cut in American aid.

Egypt criticises US decision to withhold military aid.

‘We would rather die than stay there’: the refugees crossing from Morocco to Spain.

EUROPE

Pick your kingmaker: small parties loom large in Norway's election.

Russia warns against new sanctions on North Korea.

Prague agrees to hand Vietnamese 'kidnapper' to Germany.

Ukraine: European and Russian leaders agree new ceasefire deal.

Merkel challenger advocates removal of US nuclear weapons.

Germany's rapid deportations of Salafist suspects ruled lawful.

Spain attack suspects did not come to France just for shopping: prosecutor.

Cologne secures cathedral in light of Sagrada Familia terror plot.

French President Emmanuel Macron lobbying against labor dumping.

Kim Wall: Police confirm headless torso found in Copenhagen waterway belonged to journalist.

Prominent Russian director put under house arrest in fraud case.

AMERICAS

Brazil's Lula says party may field someone else in 2018.

McConnell says he and Trump are united on ‘shared goals’.

The Latest: Trump says US will ‘probably’ end NAFTA.

Trump threatens government shutdown over border wall funding.

Hillary Clinton says ‘my skin crawled’ during debate with Trump.

Polls shows majority of Americans think Confederate statues should remain.

Venezuelan leader asks Russia, Vatican to help fend off U.S. 'military threat'.

Venezuela’s rebel prosecutor heads to Brazil as Maduro seeks her arrest. Venezuela ex-prosecutor says she has evidence of Maduro corruption.

Charlottesville: United Nations warns US over 'alarming' racism.

Players hold breath as $700M Powerball jackpot drawing nears.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

W. Europe had less than 1% of terror victims in 2016: study.

Trump takes hard line on Pakistan for supporting terrorist groups.

U.S. may sanction Pakistani officials with ties to terrorists, Trump official says.

Spain terror cell was planning Sagrada Família attack, suspect tells court.

ISIS in Indonesia trying to recruit Malaysians.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street falls as Trump threatens government shutdown.

Warming Arctic spurs battles for riches, shipping routes.

European Union to investigate $66B Bayer-Monsanto deal.

Google, Wal-Mart join forces in voice-shopping market.

U.S. Considering More Sanctions Against Venezuela



Bloomberg: U.S. Weighs New Venezuela Sanctions That May Hit Bonds

* Measures would seek disrupt Maduro’s financing channels
* Trump administration targets Venezuelans to increase pressure

The U.S. is preparing another round of sanctions to punish the government of Venezuela, and one potential tool under review would squeeze trading in the country’s debt, according to two people familiar with the deliberations.

The next steps in a campaign to pressure President Nicolas Maduro are still being debated within the Trump administration and no decisions have been made, one of the people said. U.S. President Donald Trump is traveling outside of Washington and discussion is still going on at the State and Treasury departments.

One measure under consideration would block trades of Venezuelan-held dollar-denominated notes sold by the government and Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state-run oil company, according to another person. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because the actions are still under deliberation.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is all PR. International banking institutions are already limiting what bonds can be traded by Venezuela, and the state oil company and the Venezuelan government are already under U.S. sanctions.

More News On Reports That The U.S. May Impose More Sanctions Against Venezuela

Venezuela bond prices fall on U.S. trading ban report -- Reuters
Venezuelan bonds drop on US trading ban report -- Financial Times
Washington Will Impose Greater Sanctions On Venezuela -- Forbes
U.S. Mulls More Sanctions On Venezuela -- NPR

Ukraine Government Rejects Claims That They Supplied Rocket Engines To North Korea



RFE: Ukraine Rejects Claims It Supplied Rocket Engines To North Korea

Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council has rejected reports that Kyiv supplied missile technology to North Korea, saying that such claims amounted to Russian disinformation.

The council on August 22 published the results of its investigation into the alleged sale of missile technology, including the RD-250 rocket engine, from Ukrainian state-owned plant Pivdenmash to North Korea.

Oleksandr Turchynov, the council's chief, reported the results of the investigation to President Petro Poroshenko on August 22, the council said in a post on its website.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These U.S. experts are sceptical of these Ukrainian denials .... The secret to North Korea’s ICBM success (Atomic Bulletin Of Scientists).

More News On Ukraine Rejecting Claims That They Supplied Rocket Engines To North Korea

Ukraine Says Its Rocket Engines Not Behind North Korea's Missile Success -- Daily Signal
Ukraine sees itself victim of Russian 'provocation' in North Korea missile row -- EURACTIV
Ukraine bats away claims it supplied rocket engines to North Korea -- Kyiv Post
Kiev Finds No Evidence of Ukraine's Involvement in N Korean Missile Program -- Sputnik
Ukraine Calls for Probe Into Alleged Missile Engine Supply to N Korea -- Sputnik
Ukrainian government investigation concludes no engine transfers to North Korea -- Space News

European And Russian Leaders Agree To A New Ceasefire Deal in Ukraine


DW: Ukraine: European and Russian leaders agree new ceasefire deal

Germany and Russia have announced their support for a proposed new ceasefire deal in east Ukraine. The announcement follows a four-way phone call with the French and Ukrainian presidents.

A fresh ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region is expected to be announced on Wednesday, according to Berlin and Moscow.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesperson, Steffen Seibert, revealed that Merkel took part in a four-way telephone conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko late on Tuesday, where the four leaders agreed to back a proposed truce deal in time for the beginning of the school year.

Read more ....

Update #1: Ukraine, Russia Agree To New Cease-Fire At Start Of School Year (RFE)
Update #2: Kremlin says support for ceasefire in Ukraine 'decisive' (Euronews)

WNU Editor: Over the past 3 years I will admit that I have lost count on how many ceasefires have been called. Absent a political settlement .... something that both the Ukraine government and the rebels in the east are refusing to do .... this conflict will just keep on churning.

U.S. And Canadian Diplomats In Cuba Suffered Serious Brain And Nerve Damage





CBS: Some U.S. diplomats in Cuba diagnosed with serious health conditions, medical records show

According to medical records reviewed exclusively by CBS News, a U.S. doctor who evaluated American and Canadian diplomats working in Havana diagnosed them with conditions as serious as mild traumatic brain injury, and with likely damage to the central nervous system.

The diplomats complained about symptoms ranging from hearing loss and nausea to headaches and balance disorders after the State Department said "incidents" began affecting them beginning in late 2016. A source familiar with these incidents says officials are investigating whether the diplomats were targets of a type of sonic attack directed at their homes, which were provided by the Cuban government. The source says reports of more attacks affecting U.S. embassy workers on the island continue.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is incredibly serious ... and beyond stupid for the Cuban government. These actions .... if they continue .... will force both Canada and the U.S. to either close their embassies or severely limit operations, and in turn a quid-pro-quo in closing or severely limiting Cuba's diplomatic operations in both countries. So much for the hundreds of millions that Cuba makes each year on Canadians travelling to Cuba on vacation alone .... good luck on getting visas.

More News On U.S. And Canadian Diplomats In Cuba Suffering Serious Brain And Nerve Damage

Diplomats in Cuba suffered brain injuries, nerve damage: report -- Globe and Mail/Reuters
US diplomats in Cuba suffered traumatic brain injury and nerve damage in 'covert sonic attack' on their homes -- Daily Mail
US and Canadian diplomats suffering from brain damage after suspected 'sonic device' incident in Cuba -- The Telegraph
Diplomats in Cuba suffered traumatic brain injuries, records show -- The Hill

Yemen War News Updates --August 23, 2017





Al Jazeera: Air raid in Yemen kills at least 35 people

Bombs hit close to Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa, leaving dozens dead and injured, local media reports.

An air attack on a hotel near the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, has killed at least 35 people, according to a local medic.

Physician Ali al-Rakmi who was helping at the site of Wednesday's strike in Arhab town's Qaa al-Qaidhi district, said there were more than 100 people inside at the time of the attack, all farmers who work in growing qat - a plant widely used for a stimulant effect.

At least 35 bodies were retrieved so far, he said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here are more signs that the country is further splitting apart .... Yemen's rebel alliance unravels in Sanaa (AFP).

Yemen War News Updates --August 23, 2017

Civilian Casualty Count in Saudi-Led Coalition Airstrikes in Yemen Totals 71 -- Sputnik International
Saudi-led airstrikes hit Yemen hotel, killing at least 41 -- ABC News/AP
Deadly airstrikes near Sanaa, Yemen's rebel-held capital -- Deutsche Welle
Dozens killed in airstrike on Yemeni hotel -- The Guardian
Air Strikes Near Houthi Checkpoint Kill at Least 35 in Yemen -- Reuters
Saudi-led airstrikes kill up to 41 people, including 30 civilians in Yemen (PHOTOS, VIDEO) -- RT
Yemen's Houthis declare 'emergency state' in Sanaa -- The National
Houthi militias accuse Yemen’s ousted president Saleh of treason -- Al Arabiya
Houthis 'declare war' on ally Ali Abdullah Saleh amid signs of divorce -- The New Arab
How the Houthi-Saleh dispute could turn Yemen's war on its head -- Middle East Eye
Yemen blames Iran for war, says it can't be part of solution -- Washington Post
US commander visits Yemen border for firsthand look at war -- ABC News/AP
UN accuses two sides in Yemen war of international law violations -- Al Jazeera
Witnessing Yemen's desperate suffering -- BBC
Seven million in Yemen face threat of famine -- Al Jazeera
Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen 'a strategic failure' -- Al Jazeera

U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis Holds Talks With Turkish President Erdogan

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Aug. 23, 2017.

VOA: US Defense Chief Meets Turkish President

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara Wednesday following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Nurettin Canikli.

Mattis flew into Turkey for a one-day visit after making a stop in Iraq to survey progress in the fight there against the Islamic State group.

Erdogan reportedly expressed his unease to Mattis over U.S. support for the Kurdish militant group YPG.

Turkey is upset with the U.S. support of Syrian Kurds who have been aiding in the fight against IS jihadists in northern Syria. Ankara views the YPG - the Kurdish People's Protection Units - as a terrorist organization linked to Turkish-Kurdish separatists inside Turkey, known as the PKK. Turkey has made clear it does not support the U.S. sending arms to the YPG.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Holding Talks With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan Conveys Turkey's Unease Over U.S. Support for Kurdish Militants -- US News and World Report/Reuters
Erdogan tells visiting US defence chief 'uneasy' over arming Kurds -- AFP
Ankara conveys concerns over YPG to Mattis -- Daily Sabah

Russian President Putin And Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Meet In Sochi For Talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Sochi, Russia August 23, 2017. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS

Reuters: Netanyahu to Putin: Israel may act to curb Iran's clout in Syria

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that Israel was prepared to act unilaterally to prevent an expanded Iranian military presence in Syria as Moscow works to end the civil war there.

Russia intervened on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2015, joining a de facto alliance with Iranian forces, Lebanese Hezbollah and other Shi'ite Muslim militias helping Damascus beat back Islamic State and other Sunni Muslim insurgent groups.

Israel worries that an eventual Assad victory could leave Iran with a permanent garrison in Syria, extending a threat already posed from neighboring Lebanon by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Talks Between Russian President Putin And Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

Israeli premier airs concerns to Russia about Iran expansion -- ABC News/AP
Netanyahu denounces Iran 'threat' in Putin talks -- AFP
Netanyahu to Putin: Iran's Role in Syria is a 'Threat' -- VOA
Netanyahu tells Putin growing Iranian influence 'unacceptable' -- The Times of Israel
Netanyahu to Putin: Iran want to take over Syria -- Ynetnews
Israel's Mossad Submits Report Detailing Iran's 'Growing Influence in Syria' -- Asharq Al-awsat
Netanyahu meets Putin to share secret intel on Iran threat -- The Times of Israel
Israeli PM Netanyahu Claims Iran's Actions in Syria Pose Global Threat -- Sputnik
Israel Wants Seat at Table as Powers Seek End to Syria War -- Bloomberg

President Hillary Clinton Calls President Trump A ‘Creep,’ Says Her ‘Skin Crawled’ During Debate



Washington Post: Hillary Clinton calls Donald Trump a ‘creep,’ says her ‘skin crawled’ during debate

Hillary Clinton said her “skin crawled” as Donald Trump loomed behind her at a presidential debate in St. Louis, and added that she wished she could have pressed pause and asked America, “Well, what would you do?”

The words, Clinton’s most detailed public comments about what happened during one of the campaign’s more memorable moments, are included in her new book, “What Happened,” which she called an attempt to “pull back the curtain” on her losing bid for the presidency.

Some of the moments during the campaign, she said, “baffled” her. Others seemingly repulsed her: In recounting the October incident, she referred to Trump as a “creep.”

The book comes out Sept. 12, but audio excerpts, read by Clinton, were played Wednesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Read more ....

Update #1: Clinton says her ‘skin crawled’ from Trump’s looming behavior at debate (Politico)
Update #2: Clinton book reveals what she was really thinking at Trump debate: 'Back up, you creep' (FOX News)

WNU Editor: You just know that President Trump will respond. The question is when. The next minute? Hour? Tonight? Definitely by tomorrow.

World News Briefs -- August 23, 2017



Reuters: North Korea presses rocket program, but amid signs of drama easing

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered more solid-fuel rocket engines, state media reported on Wednesday, as he pursues nuclear and missile programs amid a standoff with Washington, but there were signs of tension easing.

The report carried by the KCNA news agency lacked the traditionally robust threats against the United States after weeks of unbridled acrimony, and U.S. President Donald Trump expressed optimism about a possible improvement in relations.

"I respect the fact that he is starting to respect us," Trump said of Kim at a raucous campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona.

"And maybe - probably not, but maybe - something positive can come about," he said.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Iraqi forces make gains against ISIL in Tal Afar push. Iraqi troops reached the first urban areas of Tal Afar, one of ISIS' last pieces of Iraqi territory.

Iran extends reach with fight for land link to Mediterranean.

Netanyahu calls strengthening Iran’s positions in Syria 'a threat to the entire world'. Netanyahu denounces Iran 'threat' in Putin talks.

Deadly airstrikes near Sanaa, Yemen's rebel-held capital. Air raid in Yemen kills at least 35 people.

U.S. asks if Iran military sites to be checked under nuclear deal.

Kushner in Middle East for peace talks.

Saudi teen arrested for dancing to ‘Macarena’ in the street.

ASIA

Taliban suicide bomber kills civilians in Helmand. Taliban retakes district in northern Afghanistan.

After Trump's Afghan policy statement, China reaffirms support to Pakistan.

North Korean leader secretly visited border area — media.

Two North Korean shipments to Syria intercepted in six months, UN told.

'Too many soldiers to feed': North Koreans fear more sanctions as drought threatens famine.

Tillerson renews offer to talk with N. Korea.

Comments on Japan’s wartime past by South Korea’s President Moon rattle Tokyo: observers.

Marawi trying to get back on its feet even as fighting goes on.

Beijing warns US ahead of Taiwan defence minister’s visit.

AFRICA

Ailing Nigeria president cancels cabinet meeting.

UNICEF: Boko Haram has used 83 children as 'human bombs' in 2017.

Suicide bomber kills 4 in northern Cameroon.

UN aid chief issues bleak warning on Central African Republic.

Egypt criticises US decision to withhold military aid.

Jose Eduardo dos Santos era ends as polls open in Angola.

‘We would rather die than stay there’: the refugees crossing from Morocco to Spain.

EUROPE

Ukraine: European and Russian leaders agree new ceasefire deal.

Merkel challenger advocates removal of US nuclear weapons.

Germany's rapid deportations of Salafist suspects ruled lawful.

Cologne secures cathedral in light of Sagrada Familia terror plot.

French President Emmanuel Macron lobbying against labor dumping.

Kim Wall: Police confirm headless torso found in Copenhagen waterway belonged to journalist.

Prominent Russian director put under house arrest in fraud case.

AMERICAS

The Latest: Trump says US will ‘probably’ end NAFTA.

Trump threatens government shutdown over border wall funding.

Hillary Clinton says ‘my skin crawled’ during debate with Trump.

Polls shows majority of Americans think Confederate statues should remain.

Venezuelan leader asks Russia, Vatican to help fend off U.S. 'military threat'.

Venezuela’s rebel prosecutor heads to Brazil as Maduro seeks her arrest.

Charlottesville: United Nations warns US over 'alarming' racism.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Trump takes hard line on Pakistan for supporting terrorist groups.

U.S. may sanction Pakistani officials with ties to terrorists, Trump official says.

Spain terror cell was planning Sagrada Família attack, suspect tells court.

ISIS in Indonesia trying to recruit Malaysians.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Warming Arctic spurs battles for riches, shipping routes.

European Union to investigate $66B Bayer-Monsanto deal.

Google, Wal-Mart join forces in voice-shopping market.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- August 23, 2017



The Hill: US maintains 12,000 troops in Afghanistan: report

The Pentagon has more than 12,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday – about 3,500 more than the agency acknowledges publicly.

The Pentagon publicly acknowledges some 8,500 troops as being deployed in Afghanistan. But according to the Wall Street Journal, another 3,500 are there on temporary assignment or some other status.

The Pentagon has typically only disclosed those troops on longer deployments, but omits those who move in and out of the country on a temporary basis.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- August 23, 2017

Thousands More US Troops Are in Afghanistan Than Pentagon Says: Officials -- NBC

Pentagon chief: No decision on troop levels for Afghanistan -- The Hill

Mattis: DoD to account for actual number of forces in Afghanistan before asking for more -- Military Times

Here's how much the war in Afghanistan has cost -- Yuval Rosenberg, The Fiscal Times

Intelligence: Afghan Troops Get A Done Of Their Own -- Strategy Page

New North Korea photos reveal hidden details of missile program -- CNN

Pyongyang missile footage is a dagger to Xi's throat -- Nikkei Asian Review

US military chief in Pacific: Testing our forces would be 'foolhardy' -- CNN

Leveraging US Military Power in South China Sea -- The Diplomat

Drones Will Help Protect Guam From North Korean Missiles -- Defense One

Latest Russian Military Hardware on Display at Army-2017 Forum -- Sputnik

Russia’s ‘soldier of future’ combat gear proves its worth in Syria -- TASS

Russia to decide on conceptual design of future soldier’s combat gear by year-end -- TASS

Young Chinese ‘too fat and frustrated to join the army’ -- The Times

China’s NORINCO reveals new armoured vehicles, active protection system -- Jane's 360

Philippines Aims to Purchase Copters, Armored Vehicles From Russia -- Sputnik

Japan's Defense Ministry to ask for record ¥5.2 trillion budget amid North Korea concerns -- Japan Times

Hundreds of British Army training places are going unfilled with not a single course for new recruits reaching capacity in the past two years -- Daily Mail

Air Defense: Iran Clones The S-300 -- Strategy Page

Israeli Army Experiments With Ground Force Drones -- Haaretz

Mattis Reaffirms US Support for Jordan in Meeting with King Abdullah -- Al Bawaba

The Army Is Getting Deadlier Stryker Armored Vehicles to Protect Europe From Russia -- Popular Mechanics

These Vehicles Are What Make the U.S. Army a Deadly Fighting Force -- National Interest

US Army Close to Decision on Shielding Abrams Tanks with Israeli Tech -- Defense Tech

White House issues statement on USS John McCain collision -- Business Insider

At-sea disasters came during ‘the most basic of operations,’ Pacific Fleet CO says -- Navy Times

US Pacific Fleet boss set to sack three-star fleet commander after a rash of accidents -- Defense News

US Navy collisions pose growing threat to Chinese maritime activities, experts warn -- SCMP

U.S. Navy admiral: USS John S. McCain, oil tanker collision may have been intentional -- Washington Times

After Marine Training Death, Corps Debuts Safer Mine Clearance System -- DoD Buzz

Another MQ-1 Predator Drone Crashes in the Middle East -- Defense Tech

Marine Crash Inquiry Continues But No Answers Expected Soon -- Military.com/AP

Trump Could Go to War With 75 Percent of Top Pentagon Posts Empty -- Newsweek

Pentagon Struggling to Take Advantage of Artificial Intelligence -- National Defense

North Korean Leader Orders More ICBMs And 'Warhead Tips'



NK News: Kim Jong Un orders scientists to produce more ICBM engines, warhead tips

In tour of Chemical Material Institute, leader says researchers should “further expand” facilities.

Kim Jong Un ordered the production of “more” solid-fuel engines and warhead tips for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) during a recent visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Wednesday.

“He instructed the institute to produce more solid-fuel rocket engines and rocket warhead tips,” KCNA said in a Korean language dispatch.

Kim ordered the scientists to “further expand” production capacities for developing rocket warhead tips and engine outlets.

The institute produces chemical materials “used in a variety of modern arms equipment, including heat protection materials and materials for warhead and engine outlets of Hwasong-line rockets,” KCNA said.

Read more ....

More News On North Korea's Leader Ordering More ICBMs And 'Warhead Tips'

North Korea Hints It Is Developing More Advanced Ballistic Missiles -- New York Times
North Korea presses rocket program, but amid signs of drama easing -- Reuters
North Korea's Kim Jong Un Orders More Warheads Rewarding Rocket Scientists with Special Bonus -- Newsweek
North Korean media reveals missile plans as Kim orders more ICBM production -- The Asian Age
North Korea reveals missile plans as Kim orders production boost -- The Rappler
North Korea's Kim Reportedly Orders More ICBM Parts Amid Tensions With US -- Sputnik International
North Korea photos reveal new solid fuel missiles -- NZHerald
New North Korea photos reveal hidden details of missile program -- CNN

Pakistan Hits Back At President Trump's Claims That They Are Not Doing Enough To Battle Islamist Militants



Reuters: Pakistan says U.S. must not make it a 'scapegoat' for Afghan failures

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan rejected on Wednesday U.S. criticism of its efforts to fight terrorism saying it should not be used as a scapegoat for the failure of the U.S. military to win the war in Afghanistan.

U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his policy for Afghanistan on Monday, committing to an open-ended conflict there and singling out Pakistan for harboring Afghan Taliban insurgents and other militants.

U.S. officials later warned that aid to Pakistan might be cut and Washington might downgrade nuclear-armed Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally to pressure it to do more to help bring about an end to America's longest-running war.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif added his voice to a chorus of indignation in Pakistan over the U.S. criticism, reiterating Pakistan's denial that it harbors militants.

Read more ....

Previous Post: President Trump Points A Finger At Pakistan For Not Putting Pressure On Islamist Militants (August 22, 2017).

WNU Editor: What has rattled Pakistan is this .... Trump’s Request for India’s Help in Afghanistan Rattles Pakistan (NYT). The friend of my enemy is my enemy .... this is how Pakistan is going to view this U.S. request for India's assistance in Afghanistan. Here is an easy prediction .... U.S. - Pakistan relations are going to get worse, and I will not be surprised if Pakistan's support for these militant groups is increased. But what is really going to get Pakistan riled up is if this happens .... US May Sanction Pakistani Officials Over Ties to ‘Terrorists’ (TOLO News). As to what is my point of view .... there is a lot of truth in this commentary .... U.S. Calls Pakistan on its Double-Game (Bennett Seftel, Cipher Brief).

U.S. - Egyptian Relations Deteriorating?



Reuters: Egypt cancels Kushner meeting with minister after denial of aid

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt called off a scheduled meeting between its foreign minister and top U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday after the United States decided to withhold millions of dollars in aid.

But President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi would meet the U.S. delegation led by Kushner later in the day as scheduled, Sisi's office said.

Two U.S. sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday that Washington had decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million in aid and to delay a further $195 million because of its failure to make progress on respecting human rights and democratic norms.

"Egypt sees this measure as reflecting poor judgment of the strategic relationship that ties the two countries over long decades and as adopting a view that lacks an accurate understanding of the importance of supporting Egypt's stability," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Read more ....

Update: Egypt semi-snubs visiting Kushner as U.S. slashes aid (CBS/AP)

WNU Editor: The Egyptian President will still meet the U.S. delegation at the end of the day .... but this is still not a good sign, and it is clear that the Egyptian government is not happy with the U.S.. As for what is the purpose of this U.S. delegation in the Middle East .... apparently it is all about the peace process .... Kushner In Middle East To Try To Jump-start Stalled Peace Process (Bloomberg), a peace process that is already being panned by some .... Palestinian leader says White House peace efforts ‘in chaos’ (Times of Israel).

White House - Republican Congress Feud Escalates



New York Times: McConnell, in Private, Doubts if Trump Can Save Presidency

The relationship between President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.

What was once an uneasy governing alliance has curdled into a feud of mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility, complicated by the position of Mr. McConnell’s wife, Elaine L. Chao, in Mr. Trump’s cabinet, according to more than a dozen people briefed on their imperiled partnership. Angry phone calls and private badmouthing have devolved into open conflict, with the president threatening to oppose Republican senators who cross him, and Mr. McConnell mobilizing to their defense.

The rupture between Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell comes at a highly perilous moment for Republicans, who face a number of urgent deadlines when they return to Washington next month. Congress must approve new spending measures and raise the statutory limit on government borrowing within weeks of reconvening, and Republicans are hoping to push through an elaborate rewrite of the federal tax code. There is scant room for legislative error on any front.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This story is actually old (it was reported a few weeks ago), but it is now being posted with more details in a number of websites at the same time .... hmmm .... sounds like a coordinated campaign from US Senate Majority Leader McConnell's office. As for McConnell's view that President Trump may not survive his Presidency .... the one who should be concerned is McConnell, his base of support has deserted him (but they are still with Trump) .... Yeesh: McConnell’s Approval In Kentucky Down To 18% (Hot Air). But he is not the only Republican politician who is in trouble .... Republicans lost faith in Congress faster than in Trump (Axios). Here is an easy prediction .... this White House - Congress feud is going to get worse, and the promises that Congressional Republicans have made over the years are not going to be fulfilled by the leadership.

Top U.S. Admiral Of Navy's 7th Fleet Fired After Second Deadly Mishap In Pacific





USNI News: U.S. 7th Fleet Head Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin to be Removed from Command Early Following McCain Collision

The head of the U.S. Pacific Fleet is traveling to Japan to remove the commander of U.S. 7th Fleet from his position just days after the second deadly crash involving a U.S. warship this year, a U.S. official told USNI News late Tuesday.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, current commander of 7th Fleet, was slated to retire within the next month, but the move from Navy leaders is intended to expedite the transition to Aucoin’s replacement, Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer. Sawyer was announced to lead U.S. 7th Fleet in May.

PACFLT commander Adm. Scott Swift is traveling to Japan from Singapore to formally relieve Aucoin from the position.

Read more ....

More News On The Firing Of The The Top Commander Of  The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet

US Navy Relieves Admiral of Command After Collisions -- Wall Street Journal
Navy relieves admiral in charge of 7th Fleet in wake of deadly disasters at sea -- Washington Post
Commander of Naval Fleet to Be Relieved of Duty Following Collisions -- New York Times
Head of Navy's 7th Fleet to be relieved of duty after second deadly mishap in Pacific -- FOX News
U.S. Navy to relieve admiral of command after collisions: WSJ -- Reuters
US Navy 7th Fleet commander dismissed, Navy says -- CNN
U.S. Navy to remove commander of 7th Fleet amid latest accidents -- CBS
Commander of 7th Fleet relieved of duty as US Navy weighs impact of two crippled destroyers in Asia -- South China Morning Post

President Trump Is In A Cemetery According To The Latest North Korean Propaganda Film



FOX News: North Korea’s latest propaganda puts Trump in cemetery

President Trump is pictured looking out over a Guam graveyard cluttered with crosses in a photoshopped image from the newest propaganda film -- and grim warning -- from North Korea.

The regime followed the video with a statement posted through its KCNA news agency, saying Trump "spouted rubbish" and frequently tweeted about "weird articles of his ego-driven thoughts" and attacking South Korea's "puppy-like" Defense Minister Song Young-moo for "pinning hope on that mad guy."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: According to US Sec. of State Tillerson, this is North Korean restraint .... Rex Tillerson praises North Korea for 'restraint' while its state-run media mocks President Trump's Twitter habits (NYDaily News).

Israel Issues A Warning To Both Russia And The U.S. That They Can Wreck Any Syrian Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters

Bloomberg: Israel Wants Russia and U.S. to Know It Can Wreck Syria Deal

* Israel wants deal to exclude an Iranian presence in Syria
* Military strike an option if concerns ignored, Israelis say

Israel’s concern that Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah are working to entrench themselves militarily in Syria will dominate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s talks Wednesday with President Vladimir Putin in Russia.

A recent truce deal the two powers brokered for southwest Syria makes no mention of ending Iran’s presence, and that’s got Israel rattled.

Netanyahu, on the eve of his visit, said he will speak to Putin about “Iran’s accelerated attempt to establish a military presence in Syria.” He added that Iranian aggression “has not lessened in the wake of the nuclear agreement” and poses a problem not only for Israel but for the entire Middle East.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Israelis are saying this because they are worried on what Iran is doing in Syria .... Netanyahu, Putin to meet over Iranian involvement in Syria (YNet News).

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