Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Diplomats From U.S., South Korea, And Japan Meet In Seoul To Discuss North Korea

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam (C) answers reporter's question as US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan (L) and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama listen during a news conference in Seoul. Photo: Reuters/Lee Jin-man

USA Today: Allies meet in Seoul amid North Korea threat

Diplomats from the United States, South Korea and Japan met in Seoul on Wednesday to discuss how to respond to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said that Washington continues to view diplomacy as the primary means for solving the crisis, but added that the allies must be prepared for “any eventuality.”

“Our objective is, throughout that campaign of pressure, to bring North Korea to the negotiating table without preconditions so that we can achieve our objective of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” Sullivan said at a news conference after the meeting.

Read more ....

More News On Diplomats From U.S., South Korea, And Japan Meeting In Seoul To Discuss North Korea

Diplomats from US, S. Korea, Japan discuss N. Korean threat -- Washington Post/AP

S. Korea, US, Japan agree to seek all diplomatic options on North Korea -- UPI
Talks among US, South Korea, Japan center on North Korea -- FOX News
Japan, US, South Korea agree to add pressure on Pyongyang -- Nikkei Asian Review
US, Japan, S. Korea envoys call for all diplomatic options to be exhausted with North Korea -- Asia Times

The U.S. Navy's Newest Attack Submarine Is Its Most Advanced Ever



Kris Osborn, Scout Warrior: Navy Launches Most High-Tech & Stealthy Attack Sub Ever

The Navy is now launching the most technologically advanced attack submarine it has ever developed by christening the USS South Dakota - a Block III Virginia-Class attack.

The Navy is now launching the most technologically advanced attack submarine it has ever developed by christening the USS South Dakota - a Block III Virginia-Class attack submarine engineered with a number of never-before-seen undersea technical innovations.

While service officials say many of the details of this new "acoustic superiority" Navy research and development effort are, naturally, not available for pubic discussion, the USS South Dakota has been a "technology demonstrator to prove out advanced technologies," Naval Sea Systems Command Spokeswoman Colleen O'Rourke told Scout Warrior.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These subs are now worth billions per copy .... so yes .... they better be technology advanced.

Was Saturday's Bomb Attack In Mogadishu That Claimed 300 Lives An Act Of Revenge Against The U.S.?

Civilians evacuate from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia. Feisal Omar/Reuters

The Guardian: Somalia bombing may have been revenge for botched US-led operation

Officials investigating attack that killed more than 300 people believe the bomber may have been motivated by desire for revenge for a raid in August

The man who killed more than 300 people with a truck bomb in the centre of Mogadishu on Saturday was a former soldier in Somalia’s army whose home town was raided by local troops and US special forces two months ago in a controversial operation in which 10 civilians were killed, officials in Somalia have said.

The death toll from the bombing now stands at more than 300, making it one of the most devastating terrorist attacks anywhere in the world for many years. On Tuesday remains of victims were still being brought out of rubble spread over hundreds of square metres.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: More details on this bombing are starting to emerge .... Thousands march over ‘Somalia’s 9/11;’ attack details emerge (AP). Apparently the bomber is now known .... Mogadishu bomber was a former Somalia army soldier (Middle East Monitor), and while Al-Shabaab has remained silent, the President of Somalia is blaming them .... Farmajo blames al-Shabab for Mogadishu blast (Al Jazeera). Bottom line .... a lot is still unknown .... More than 300 people died in the worst terrorist attack ever to hit Somalia, and officials still aren't sure who caused it (Business Insider).

The Chinese Military Will Be In The Spotlight During This Week's Party Congress In Beijing



Global Times: Xi stresses combat capabilities, Party building in military

Xi Jinping on Wednesday pledged to complete the modernization of China's defense and armed forces by 2035 and strive to transform the Chinese military into a world-class military by the middle of this century.

The plan was announced in a report Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, delivered to the 19th CPC National Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The plan states that by 2020, mechanization will be achieved, with IT applications coming a long way and a big improvement in strategic capabilities. The modernization of the national defense and armed forces should be completed by 2035, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Read more ....

More News On China's Military Under The Spotlight During This Week's Party Congress In Beijing

Xi urges stronger Chinese stand against 'grim' challenges -- National Post/AP
China’s military achievements benefit national interests, world order -- Global Times
Shakeup of China’s military on the cards at party congress -- Today ONline
Expect a shakeup of China’s military elite at the 19th Party Congress -- The Conversation
China vows to modernize army and expand military might -- TASS
Expect a shakeup of China's military elite at the 19th Party Congress -- UPI

Some Videos On Chinese President Xi And The Men Who Rule China





Analysis, Reaction, And Commentary On The 19th National Congress Of The Communist Party Of China



Tom Phillips, The Guardian: Xi Jinping tests eyelids – and bladders – with three-and-a-half hour speech

Some call Xi Jinping a Chinese Putin. Others a 21st-century Mao.

On Wednesday morning he was China’s Hugo Chávez, testing his comrades’ eyelids – and their bladders – with a three-and-a-half hour, 65-page sermon in which he outlined his brave new vision for the Communist party, and the world.

“The Chinese dream is a dream about history, the present and the future,” Xi declared towards the end of his unexpectedly long-winded address to the opening of China’s 19th party congress. By the conclusion of this eastern answer to Aló Presidente! more than a few of Xi’s audience appeared to have entered a dreamlike state.

Read more ....

Analysis, Reaction, And Commentary On The 19th National Congress Of The Communist Party Of China

Xi Jinping speech: five things you need to know -- The Guardian
5 things to know about China’s twice-a-decade party congress -- AP
Xi Jinping: A speech that spells power -- John Sudworth BBC
'My god, 3.5 hours': Xi gives marathon speech, China listens -- AFP
What Chinese President Xi Jinping had to say about market reforms -- DW
China's Xi vows open economy, investors want action -- AFP
Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech had something for everyone, but little detail: Analysis -- Matthew Carney, ABC News Online
Fear and Loyalty at China’s 19th Communist Party Congress -- Gordon G. Chang, Cipher Brief
Be in no doubt, Xi Jinping wants to make China great again -- Nick Bisley, The Guardian
Now Hear This—The Clock is Ticking in China: The Decade of Concern Has Begun -- Jim Fanell, Proceedings Magazine
Xi Skips Old Growth Pledge as China Seeks Quality, Not Quantity -- Bloomberg
China's Economic Reforms Get Another Chance -- Stratfor
Coming of age in an era of prosperity: Meet China's 'bubble generation' -- John Ruwitch and Anita Li, Reuters
Long speech, lots of tea: party meeting with Chinese characteristics -- John Ruwitch, Reuters
5 Years Ago, China's Xi Jinping Was Largely Unknown. Now He's Poised To Reshape China -- Julian Gewirtz and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, NPR

The 19th National Congress Of The Communist Party Of China Opens In Beijing -- News Updates October 18, 2017



Reuters: China's Xi lays out vision for 'new era' led by 'still stronger' Communist Party

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday laid out a confident vision for a more prosperous nation and its role in the world, stressing the importance of wiping out corruption and curbing industrial overcapacity, income inequality and pollution.

Opening a critical Communist Party congress, Xi pledged to build a “modern socialist country” for a “new era” that will be proudly Chinese and steadfastly ruled by the party but open to the world.

Although his wide-ranging address made clear there were no plans for political reform, Xi said China’s development had entered a “new era”, using the phrase 36 times in a speech that ran nearly 3-1/2 hours.

“With decades of hard work, socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era,” Xi said.

Read more ....

The 19th National Congress Of The Communist Party Of China Opens In Beijing -- News Updates October 18, 2017

CPC opens 19th National Congress, declaring 'new era' of Chinese socialism -- ECNS
Chinese president Xi lays out vision for 'new era' led by 'still stronger' Communist Party in 3½ HOUR speech as he opens five-yearly national congress -- Daily Mail
Xi urges stronger Chinese stand against ‘grim’ challenges -- AP
Xi Jinping heralds 'new era' of Chinese power at Communist party congress -- The Guardian
China's Xi Jinping opens 19th Communist Party Congress with 'new era' speech -- UPI
China's Xi Jinping opens Communist Party congress set for massive Politburo reshuffle -- DW
Xi Jinping lays out vision for a stronger China, with Communist Party at the center -- Los Angeles Times
China to establish leading group for law-based governance -- Reuters
China's GDP rose to $12.1 trillion in last five years: Xi Jinping -- The Indian Express
Xi says China will continue to open its economy, deepen financial reforms -- Reuters
China will stick to supply side structural reform, overcapacity reduction efforts -- Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping Unveils Country's Development Strategy -- Sputnik
Xi says China will boost efforts to tackle terrorism, extremism -- Reuters
Xi says China has zero tolerance for corruption within the party -- Reuters
China's Xi vows to carry on anti-corruption crusade -- Al Jazeera
China vows to scrap secret interrogations of Communist Party members -- Reuters
Xi says China has prevented Taiwan independence over past five years -- Reuters
China ready to 'defeat' Taiwan independence: Xi -- AFP
China's Xi: any attempt to separate Taiwan from China will be thwarted -- Reuters
'One China' principle must be maintained, China's Xi says -- Reuters
China must cooperate with other nations on climate change: Xi -- Reuters
China's President Xi says will continue years-long war on smog -- Reuters

World News Briefs -- October 18, 2017

Chinese president Xi Jinping arrives for the opening of the 19th national congress of the Communist party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

BBC: Xi Jinping: 'Time for China to take centre stage'

China has entered a "new era" where it should "take centre stage in the world", President Xi Jinping says.

The country's rapid progress under "socialism with Chinese characteristics" shows there is "a new choice for other countries", he told the Communist Party congress.

The closed-door summit determines who rules China and the country's direction for the next term.

Mr Xi has been consolidating power and is expected to remain as party chief.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Iraq takes disputed areas as Kurds 'withdraw to 2014 lines'. Kurdish forces abandon long-held lands to Iraqi army and Shia fighters.

Iraq's military declares mission accomplished in Kirkuk. Iraq's military declares mission accomplished in Kirkuk.

Syria war: UN says it is ready to go into Raqqa.

Turkey Red Crescent alarmed by humanitarian 'drama' in Syria's Idlib.

Iran's Khamenei threatens to 'shred' nuclear deal, blasts 'foul-mouthed' Trump.

Qatar's leader denounces 'unjust siege'.

Israel raids Palestinian media firms for 'incitement' .

ASIA

North Korea congratulates China ahead of Communist Party congress.

Report: North Korea hiding behind Hong Kong shell companies.

North Korea defector: Hundreds of 'reformers' killed after Jang Song Thaek purge.

'Many people will die' as North Korean sanctions bite, defector says.

US drones target Taliban commander in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Rohingya crisis: Drone footage shows thousands fleeing.

Taliban overruns 2 districts in southern Afghanistan. Taliban kills scores in Afghanistan's Paktia and Ghazni.

AFRICA

Farmajo blames al-Shabab for Mogadishu blast.

More than 300 people died in the worst terrorist attack ever to hit Somalia, and officials still aren't sure who caused it. Thousands march over ‘Somalia’s 9/11;’ attack details emerge.

UN, US failed to prevent ‘ethnic cleansing’ in South Sudan.

Senior Kenyan electoral official resigns ahead of poll.

Uganda bans protests over presidential age limit bill.

Panama Papers: Africa's elite are plundering their countries.

Four Britons kidnapped in southern Nigeria: police.

Togo unrest: Opposition protesters demand presidential term limit.

Mugabe's wife sues over $1.35-mn diamond ring: report.

EUROPE

Talk of ‘no deal’ Brexit rises as divorce negotiations stall.

Spain warns Catalonia on self-rule as deadline looms. Spain says Catalonia's autonomy at risk as deadline looms.

Turkey-Europe locked in war of words as EU summit opens.

Portugal fires: Minister resigns as government faces challenge. Portuguese minister resigns over 106 wildfire deaths.

Ukraine anti-graft protesters clash with riot police.

Malta: Europe reels from murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Bosnian Serbs pass resolution against NATO membership.

AMERICAS

Russian troll factory paid US activists to help fund protests during election.

Trump slams NFL for not forcing players to stand for US anthem.

Second US judge orders freeze on Trump travel ban.

Puerto Rico youth stranded with school still out from storm.

California drill preparing 9.3 million for ‘INEVITABLE’ magnitude 7 earthquake tomorrow.

Venezuela opposition refuses swearing in, small protest breaks out.

Canada passes US-style sanctions bill targeting ‘corrupt’ Russian officials.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

After IS collapse in Raqqa, US faces other extremism threats.

Experts: Islamic State 'death spiral' most dangerous part of fight for U.S. coalition.

MI5 intelligence chief Andrew Parker warns UK faces accelerating terror threat.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

US, Canada and Mexico talks on NAFTA trade stall on trade deficit issues.

'Future city' to be built in Canada by Alphabet company.

Rio Tinto charged with fraud by US authorities.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 18, 2017

Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces gesture the "V" sign in Raqqa. REUTERS/Rodi Said

Jack Detsch, Al-Monitor: Raqqa win pulls US deeper into Syria conflict

As US-backed forces take victory laps in the Islamic State’s (IS) self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, the Pentagon is considering extending its presence deeper into Syria, a move that could bring US troops into contact with pro-regime forces.

Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the US-led mission fighting the terror group, told reporters that the international coalition is in talks with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commanders about continuing the campaign into IS-held areas along the Euphrates River following today’s victory in Raqqa. He said the more than 600 US troops currently training and assisting the SDF won’t be staying in Syria “indefinitely,” but acknowledged that “there still is fighting that is left to be done.”

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 18, 2017

No Clear End Game For U.S. Military In Iraq And Syria -- NPR

Analysis: Down, but not defeated: What is the future of ISIS after Raqqa? -- CBC

Russia receives second batch of Su-34 frontline bombers from Sukhoi -- Air Force Technology

Russia Testing New Silo-Based Ballistic Missile -- Sputnik

Troops in west Russia to get 1,000 modern weapon systems by yearend -- TASS

Russian Defense Ministry tests new missile for Iskander short-range system -- TASS

Is India Starting to Flex Its Military Muscles? -- Foreign Policy

Syrian General Responsible for Deir ez-Zor Defense Killed in Mine Blast - Staff -- Sputnik

Discussing 'red lines': Israel hedges military options in Syria -- The Jerusalem Post

Iran general mocks: No military ​threat by Trump because he ‘realizes our power’ -- Times of Israel

Embraer receives Super Tucano order -- UPI

Turkey arms exports: Should Germany send weapons at all? -- DW

Espionage case begins for Swiss bank spy accused of targeting tax fraud investigators in Frankfurt, Germany -- DW

Armenia Announces Big Military Spending Increase -- Eurasianet.org

Serbia to buy S-300 missile systems, MiG-29 jets from Belarus -- Defense News

NATO Members Train to Nuke a "Fictional" Enemy After Major Russian Drills -- Warzone

U.S. military under fire for resuming chopper flight in Okinawa -- Asahi Shimbun

US Troops Won’t Leave Stricken Somalia Any Time Soon - Pentagon -- Sputnik

Senators demand info on deadly Niger ambush -- The Hill

The Defense Department Is Looking Into Why Four U.S. Soldiers Died in Niger -- Time

Trump touts potential $2.4B Greek fighter jet deal at appearance with PM -- The Hill

Skyraider 2? The Air Force may bring back Vietnam-style combat plane -- Air Force Times

USS Ponce, Last of the Austin-class Amphibious warships, Decommissions -- USNI News

U.S. Senator Probes Pentagon on Russian Source Code Reviews -- US News and World Report/Reuters

Marines test system to 3D-print spare parts in the field -- UPI

Jim Mattis estimates 19 percent of military's worldwide property may be unneeded -- Washington Examiner

Trump touts 'historic' hike in military spending while budget still mired in uncertainty -- Washington Examiner

Senate confirms Trump Pentagon pick; moves defense bill to negotiations -- The Hill

McCain says he is on the rocks with Mattis and McMaster -- Defense News

A Simple Guide To Naming Your Military Operation, According To Winston Churchill -- Task & Purpose

Suit: U.S. Firms’ Bribes Funded Iraq Militia Attacks on Americans -- NBC

Is The U.S. Navy Suffering From A Catastrophic Morale Problem? [Infographic] -- Niall McCarthy, Forbes

How 4 Green Berets Took Down Joseph Kony’s Army With Tailored Messages -- Defense One

The Pentagon is worried about hackers causing a stock market crash -- Business Insider/Wolf Street

Iran's Top Military Chief Vows To Cooperate With Syria Against Israel


The Jerusalem Post: Iran's military chief vows to cooperate with Syria against 'Zionist enemy' Israel

Tehran threatens to confront Israel on behalf of its ally, Damascus.

Iran's military chief warned Israel against violating Syrian airspace and territory on a visit to Damascus on Wednesday, Iranian state media said, a sign of rising tensions with Israel as it voices concern over Iranian influence in Syria.

General Mohammad Baqeri also pledged to increase cooperation with the Syrian military to fight Israel and insurgents in Syria, where Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias including Hezbollah have provided critical military support to Damascus.

Read more ....

Update: Iran military chief warns: We 'will not tolerate' Israeli violations of Syria (The Times of Israel)

WNU Editor: Russia has promised Israel that they will keep Iran away from Israel's border .... Russia agrees to keep Iran, Hezbollah forces away from Israeli border (The Jerusalem Post). More on this Russian - Israeli defense chief meet .... Russian, Israeli leaders discuss Iran nuclear programme, Syria, Iraq (Reuters).

Israelis Speculate That One Their F-35s Was Damaged By A Syrian Strike



The War Zone/The Drive: The F-35 Rumor Mill Is Spinning After Israeli Counter Strike On Syrian SAM Site

A belated report about a bird strike on an F-35I has resulted in theories of an Israeli coverup being parroted around social media.

A day after Israel's counter attack on a Syrian SA-5 surface-to-air missile site we are learning more about the incident, and unfortunately, some questionable outlets and commentators are spreading rumors that imply one of Israel's F-35Is was the aircraft targeted by Syrian missiliers, and that the aircraft was damaged in the attack.

It appears that the first sortie put "more than one" aircraft “within the effective range” of the Syrian SA-5 missile that fired at the flight according to an Israeli Defense Forces spokesman. The engagement supposedly occurred at around 9AM local time. It remains unclear the exact mix of Israeli aircraft that were in the air at that time. Some reports state it was a flight of F-16s, others tell us it was a composite flight including an F-15C executing photo reconnaissance duties while operating closer to the border than its escorts. As mentioned in our first article on the incident, the F-15C is known to carry large tactical reconnaissance pods for the IAF.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The F-35s are still a long way from being operational.

Another Populist Anti-Establshment Anti-Immigrant Candidate Is On The Verge Of Winning The Election In The Czech Republic

Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis addresses a parliamentary session in Prague, Czech Republic, May 10, 2017. REUTERS/David W Cerny

New York Times: In Czech Election, a New Threat to European Unity

PRAGUE — He’s a media-wise billionaire used to getting his own way, and promising to run the government like a business. He wants immigrants to stay away. And although his political positions are tricky to pin down, they are tinged with populist and muscular rhetoric.

Andrej Babis, 63, who built an agribusiness and media empire in the ruins of the Soviet collapse, is the front-runner to become the Czech Republic’s new prime minister, running as the leader of a movement he created a few years ago for that very purpose.

“He is like Trump, really,” said Jiri Pehe, a political analyst and director of New York University in Prague. “You can watch him and see how he suffers in Parliament, forced to listen to other people.”

Read more ....

Update #1: Prague poised to turn away from Brussels (Politico)
Update #2: Controversial oligarch Andrej Babiš could be about to win the Czech election (The Conversation).

WNU Editor: Until recently he was the country's finance minister, so he is well known by the public. Andrej Babis' anti-EU stance is also resonating with many .... especially his opposition to joining the Euro. The election will be held on October 20-21, and according to opinion polls, half of the electorate are still undecided.

President Trump Says Congresswoman 'Totally Fabricated' Story That He Told A Soldier's Widow 'He Knew What He Signed Up For'


CNN: Trump: Dem congresswoman 'totally fabricated' his remarks to widow of fallen soldier

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump denied Wednesday that he told the widow of a US serviceman killed in an ambush in Niger that "he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt."

"Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!" he tweeted. He did not immediately provide proof to back the claim. CNN has reached out to the White House.

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, made the stunning claim Tuesday night, saying she was present when the call took place. Sgt. La David Johnson was among the four US soldiers killed by enemy fire in an October 4 ambush in Niger.

Read more ....

Update #1: Trump told widow of fallen soldier 'he knew what he signed up for,' says congresswoman (ABC News)
Update #2: War of words: Trump denies telling Special Forces soldier's widow in speakerphone call to family that her husband 'knew what he signed up for' – as congresswoman who heard it says president 'has a brain disorder' and didn't even know slain man's name (Daily Mail)

WNU Editor: Even though Democrat Congresswoman Frederica Wilson is a virulent anti-Trump supporter who has been calling for his impeachment since the beginning .... this story is not going to die. I suspect that this conversation was also recorded .... probably by both the White House and by those who were in the car where this conversation was made. Should it be made public .... a private conversation on such a topic .... definitely not. But in today's politicized world .... who knows.

Top U.S. Air Force Space Command General: Space Is The Final Frontier For A Military Buildup

Photo via Flickr

Bloomberg: U.S. Air Force Space Chief Sees Final Frontier as Battleground

* Space is a ‘war-fighting domain,’ four-star general says
* U.S. personnel make 400,000 observations a day tracking debris

Space, once seen as the benign final frontier, has evolved into a crowded potential battleground that the U.S. must defend as conflicts extend beyond Earth, according to the Air Force’s top military space official.

While officials once aspired to treat space as a peaceful refuge from the strife on Earth, it’s now “congested, contested and competitive”-- and “all three of those trends are trending upward,” General John W. “Jay” Raymond, the head of the Air Force Space Command, said in an interview Monday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York.

From jamming and cyber attacks to “kinetic destruction,” there’s a “full range of threats” to U.S. early warning, Global Positioning System and communications satellites, Raymond said. Those threats come from economic and military rivals like China and Russia and include the increasing accumulation of debris orbiting the planet.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Space has been experiencing a military build-up since Sputnik flew around the globe 60 years ago .... and here is an easy prediction .... it is only going to continue.

The CIA Still Wants To Keep The JFK Assassination Documents Sealed


Philip Shenon and Larry J. Sabato, Politico: The JFK Document Dump Could Be a Fiasco

Later this month, the National Archives is set to release thousands of documents about John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It’s likely to fuel conspiracy theorists for years.

The federal government’s long campaign to try to choke off rampant conspiracy theories about the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy is threatening to end this month in massive confusion, if not chaos.

Within the next two weeks, the National Archives is legally obligated to release the last of thousands of secret documents from government files about the assassination, most of them from the CIA, FBI and the Justice Department.

And there is every indication that the massive document dump—especially if any of it is blocked by President Donald Trump, the only person empowered under the law to stop the release of the files—will simply help fuel a new generation of conspiracy theories.

Read more ....

Update: CIA Urges Trump To Delay Release Of 3,000 Never-Before-Seen Documents On JFK Assassination

WNU Editor: Everyone who was in a position of power and authority during the Kennedy assassination are now dead. Release the documents.

The War Of Words Intensifies Between President Trump And U.S. Senator John McCain



CNN: Trump warns McCain: 'Be careful because at some point I fight back'

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump, hours after Sen. John McCain delivered a speech that repudiated the President, warned the Arizona Republican to "be careful" because at some point he will "fight back."

McCain, while accepting the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia on Monday night, warned the United States against turning toward "half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems."

The speech was a repudiation of Trump, who the Arizona Republican has long feuded with, and the worldview that catapulted him to office.

Trump told Chris Plante of "The Chris Plante Show" on Tuesday that he heard the criticism and warned McCain to be careful.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Senator McCain's speech that started this war of words is here. What's my take .... there is no love between these two men.

Tweets For Today




Do Russians See Themselves As Exceptional?


Gregory Carleton, The Conversation: Why Russia thinks it’s exceptional

Destiny calls upon Russia once more to face the West – or so Russians might believe.

America is not alone in projecting itself as an exceptional power and indispensable force for good in the world. Russia makes the same claim. That sentiment is built upon centuries of defeating invaders, as I explore in “Russia: The Story of War.” And it plays a key role in how Russia sees itself in its increasingly tense relationship with NATO and the West.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Many Russians see themselves and Russia as exceptional. Many do not. As to what is my take .... it bugs me that Russia can be better .... correction .... much better.

Picture Of The Day

Syrian Democratic Forces fighters ride atop military vehicles as they celebrate victory in Raqqa. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

WNU Editor:The above picture is from this impressive photo-gallery .... Islamic State's capital Raqqa falls (Reuters).

An Ackward Moment Between President Trump And Greek President Tsipras


CNN: Once-critical Greek PM praises Trump over 'common values'

Washington (CNN)When President Donald Trump sat for talks Tuesday with his left-wing Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras, he faced a man who last year warned his own citizens that Trump represented an "evil" raft of ideas with no place in western democracy.

Now that Trump is President, Tsipras finds himself among the club of world leaders hoping to paper over their election-year criticisms of the billionaire businessman, who is known to carry a grudge and remember even the smallest slight.

Speaking in the Rose Garden after their meeting, Tsipras downplayed his election-year remarks, insisting he's ready now to partner with Trump.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: From commenting last year that he hoped he "would not face this evil" (i.e. Trump) .... to praising him today over "common values" .... you just cannot make this up. But in all fairness to Greek Prime Minister Tsipras .... he came to power because the establishment in Greece utterly destroyed the country's finances .... and it has been an incredibly difficult job for him ever since. AS to today's meeting, what I find interesting about the two men is that they have a lot in common. Both are anti-establishment figures with a populist message, and both are despised and hated by the elites in their country.

Update: I like Zero Hedge's take on this Trump-Tsipras meeting today .... Trump Meets Tsipras, "Evil" Awkwardness Follows (Zero Hedge).

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Will The U.S. Always Defend Its Asian Allies?

U.S. President Donald Trump meets South Korea's President Moon Jae-In and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Brian Padden, VOA: Doubts Growing US Will Always Defend Asian Allies

SEOUL — In South Korea and Japan there is increasing support for the deployment of nuclear weapons to defend against the growing North Korean threat, and due to public concern that the U.S. may no longer be counted on to aid allies with extended nuclear deterrence.

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency estimates North Korea may have as many as 60 nuclear weapons, and that it might have successfully miniaturized nuclear warheads to fit on its arsenal of 1,000 missiles.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: South Vietnam was once a U.S. ally.

Does President Trump Deserve Credit For ISIS 'Giving Up'?


CNN: Trump takes credit for ISIS 'giving up'

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump took credit for the fact that ISIS is in retreat during an interview Tuesday, claiming that ISIS wasn't on the run before because "you didn't have Trump as your president."

The comment comes as US-backed forces fighting ISIS in Raqqa said "major military operations" in the city have ended and that the jihadists have lost control of their self-declared capital.

American officials have not yet formally announced that the fight is won, but the development marks a significant moment for the war on ISIS.

"I totally changed rules of engagement. I totally changed our military, I totally changed the attitudes of the military and they have done a fantastic job," Trump said on "The Chris Plante Show." "ISIS is now giving up, they are giving up, there are raising their hands, they are walking off. Nobody has ever seen that before."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Islamic State may soon be defeated on the battlefield, but it's ideology and the real threat that it can deliver lives on. And as to who deserves credit for defeating the ISIS caliphate as we know it .... in my book many people deserve credit for the pending defeat of the Islamic State .... President Trump included. After-all .... if this campaigned was still bogged down in Mosul, President Trump would be getting all the criticism and blame. But credit aside .... this war is far from over. The next step is winning the peace, and considering how close the Iraqi government and the Kurds almost came to blows this weekend .... I have no reason to be confident that a solution will be found, even with President Trump's involvement.

The interview between Chris Plante and President Trump can be seen here (link is here).

Oil Headed To $10? If The Answer Is Yes What Will Be The Geopolitical Fall-Out?


Market Watch: Oil headed to $10? China may be in the driver’s seat

So another week begins, and many investors may be wondering how many records will be broken now — at least those that have nothing to do with Mother Nature.

That synchronized global uptrend is looking pretty intact, with almost every major world equity index at or near record highs. Asia has kept that going, and the Dow looks set for a fresh high this morning. Note that it’s been an incredible 236 days since the S&P 500 has had a decline of at least 3%.

This so-called “euphoriameter” says it all:

Read more ....

WNU Editor: China is spending the money to bust their oil dependence. And if they do succeed in developing viable alternative energy sources .... the benefits will be worldwide .... but with one exception. For all the countries who have grown dependent on oil exports for revenues .... Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc. .... it is going to hurt.

This Wealth Management Group Believes There Is A 20% Chance Of War With North Korea

Switzerland's national flag flies under the logo of Swiss bank UBS in Zurich, Switzerland April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Bloomberg: UBS Wealth Stands Pat on 20% Chance of North Korea War

* Kelvin Tay says company is sticking to China, Indonesia bets
* If war does break out, Malaysia stocks may outperform, he says

UBS Group AG’s wealth management unit got its in-house risk analysts to help gauge the threat of war on the Korean peninsula, mapped out the impact on its investments, and then decided to do nothing.

Even as North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations said a nuclear war “may break out any moment,” the money manager dismissed it as “saber rattling, drum beating.”

“It’s just two dogs barking at each other,” said Kelvin Tay, regional chief investment officer at UBS Wealth Management in Singapore, referring to the escalating rhetoric between North Korea’s leader and U.S. President Donald Trump. “Do you seriously think Kim Jong Un is going to fire a missile” at one of his enemies?

Read more ....

WNU Editor: UBS Wealth Management oversees 2.2 trillion Swiss francs ($2.2 trillion). In short .... they are in the business of protecting and making money for their clients. I also read their stuff (i.e. UBS Group and others) all the time .... that is why I know that the above Bloomberg article is correct .... that when it comes to assessing the risks in potential wars, large financial institutions like UBS Group have no clue on what they are doing. C'mon .... how did they reach their 20% figure. What scale, data, and measurement did they use to assess such a risk? For an institution that handles trillions .... they seem to be whistling in the dark when it comes to assessing how potential wars may impact their clients. And that is the ugly truth .... no one can accurately assess what is the risk of war with a country like North Korea. That includes trillion dollar financial institutions, the Pentagon/White House, the defense and intelligence ministries in China, Japan, South Korea, etc.. No one really knows. As to what is my prediction for war with North Korea .... what makes me unique is that (to me) such scenarios are either 0% or 100% .... and in this case it is at 0%.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 17, 2017



ABC News Online: Kirkuk: Why the battle over the Iraqi city matters

They may be allies in the war against the Islamic State (IS) group, but yesterday Iraqi government forces and Kurdish fighters turned their weapons towards one another.

The clash began when Iraqi forces entered Kirkuk, a city in the north of Iraq that sits about halfway between Mosul and the country's capital Baghdad.

Kurdish forces held a controversial referendum on independence three weeks ago and tried to claim the city as their own, but the Iraqi Government has other plans.

Here's why both sides want Kirkuk, what happened during the clash, and what it could all mean for the fight against IS.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 17, 2017

Kirkuk redux was a bloodless offensive. Here’s why -- Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

Iraq's reconquest of Kirkuk checks Kurdish secession -- Tallha Abdulrazaqby, Al Jazeera

A Kurdish State Is Inevitable -- Mohammad Amjad Hossain, Jerusalem Post

Syrian endgame is nigh as rival factions look to cut deals -- Sami Moubayed, Asia Times

Fighting Islamic State -- Lisa Beyer, Bloomberg

Islamic State is not beaten and will return -- Shiraz Maher, New Statesman

Can Anyone End the Palestinian Civil War? -- Grant Rumley and Neri Zilber, Foreign Policy

Trump Will Have A Hard Time Getting Congress To Rewrite The Iran Deal For Him -- Michael Wilner, Five Thirty Eight

China Isn't Fixing Its Flaws -- Leland Miller and Derek Scissors, Bloomberg

Afghanistan talks without Taliban: What can they achieve? -- Shamil Shams & Masood Saifullah, DW

North Korea Is Playing a Longer Game Than the U.S. -- Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg

Japan ruling bloc headed for election win despite distaste for Abe -- Linda Seig, Asia Times

Saakashvili on why he's challenging Poroshenko's leadership of Ukraine -- DW

How money will divide Europe after Brexit -- Paul Wallace, Reuters

The Method to Trump’s ‘Madness’ -- Victor Davis Hanson, American Greatness

World News Briefs -- October 17, 2017 (Evening Edition)



Reuters: Kurds abandon territory in the face of Iraq government advance

BAGHDAD/KIRKUK (Reuters) - The Baghdad government recaptured territory from Kurds across the breadth of northern Iraq on Tuesday, making startlingly rapid gains in a sudden campaign that has shifted the balance of power in the country almost overnight.

In the second day of a lightning government advance to take back towns and countryside from forces of the Kurdish autonomous region, Kurdish troops known as Peshmerga pulled out of the long disputed Khanaqin area near the Iranian border.

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MIDDLE EAST

Israel: No peace talks with Palestinian government reliant on Hamas.

Raqqa recaptured from Islamic State, US-backed forces announce.

All eyes are on Hezbollah in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor.

Baghdad: Iraqi forces in full control of Kirkuk. Kirkuk: Iraqi forces seize largest oilfields near city.

After Kirkuk, Kurdish forces pull out of more areas in Iraq.

Netanyahu says Israel won't tolerate Iran presence in Syria.

South Yemen separatists not in rush for vote.

12 Turkish police officers wounded in bombing.

ASIA

Suspected U.S. drone strikes kill 31 on Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier.

U.N. urges Bangladesh to move Rohingya refugees stranded at border.

Taliban attacks kill at least 69 across Afghanistan.

Over 60 percent of Afghan girls not in school, says report.

U.S. official says not ruling out eventual direct talks with North Korea.

North Korean official says diplomacy is off the table until it builds a missile that can hit the east coast of the US.

S, Japan agree to maximize diplomatic pressure on N. Korea.

US diplomat: We must be ‘prepared for the worst’ if diplomacy fails with North Korea.

U.S. Democrat Jack Reed: South Koreans 'confused, shaken' by Trump handling of North.

Philippine military pushes to defeat last Marawi fighters. Duterte: Marawi 'liberated' from ISIL-linked fighters.

China expected to work with Europe to preserve Iran nuclear deal after Trump threat.

Anger as Chinese media claim harassment is just a western problem.

AFRICA

Central African Republic children starve as aid workers flee fighting.

Chaotic response to Somali bombing cost lives, medics say.

Fighting in Libyan capital closes airport.

Death toll tops 300 from Mogadishu blast.

Mogadishu bombing: al-Shabaab behind deadly blast, officials say.

Boko Haram raids military base in Nigeria’s northeast, seizes weapons, ammunition.

'Shocking' abuse of migrants in Libya smuggling hub - UN.

US military plane lands in Somalia with aid after bombing.

DR Congo controversially elected to UN Human Rights Council.

Cairo 'most dangerous' megacity for women - survey.

EUROPE

Catalonia refuses to renounce independence, separatist protesters rally.

Foreign experts to help Malta investigate reporter's killing.

Spain High Court jails Catalan separatist leaders pending investigation. Spanish judge jails two Catalan independence leaders.

Protests erupt as Catalan separatist leaders jailed. Catalonia: Protests after Spain detains separatists.

Turkey spies betraying asylum seekers in German immigration offices.

US society ‘based on leaks,’ but proof of Russian election meddling never emerged – Lavrov.

Russia pressures Serbia on status of controversial base.

Malta journalist death: Caruana Galizia's son hits out.

Holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck, 88, given six-month jail sentence.

AMERICAS

Trade talks with Canada and Mexico dissolve in harsh words.

Judge blocks Trump's latest travel ban order.

US Senators reach bipartisan deal on Obamacare backed by Trump.

Venezuela's Maduro defends disputed vote, opposition divided.

California wildfire death toll hits 41 as survivors face long road to recovery.

Trump says he'll declare the US opioid crisis a national emergency 'next week'.

Trump’s claim about predecessors, fallen troops disputed.

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow.

Venezuela's opposition refuses to accept elections results.

US says Venezuela vote 'neither free nor fair'. Venezuela elections neither 'free nor fair', says US.

Sonic attack on US diplomats? Cubans don't believe it.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

British spy chief says Islamist militants can execute deadly attack plans in just days.

Pentagon: Dozens of ISIS fighters killed in Yemen strikes.

Supreme Court won't take case of alleged USS Cole mastermind.

ISIL capitalises on Peshmerga retreat in northern Iraq.

Alleged IS female recruiter arrested in Spain with FBI help.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Dow tops 23,000 for first time as stock market rally gains speed.

Iran aircraft deals hang by thread as Trump targets Tehran.

US tech giants may find their future shaped by Europe.

Airbus takes majority stake in Bombardier airliner program.

Investigation Launched Into Deadly Niger Ambush That Killed 4 U.S. Special Forces Personnel



CNN: US launches investigation into deadly Niger ambush and confusion that followed

(CNN)The Defense Department is conducting an initial review of the mission in Niger and the ambush by 50 ISIS-affiliated fighters that left four US soldiers dead and two wounded.

Multiple US officials have described to CNN a scene of confusion on the ground during the unexpected firefight. The investigation will be an effort "to get all the facts correct," an administration official familiar with the review told CNN.

The review will aim to determine precisely what happened -- something that is still not clear nearly two weeks after the incident occurred, according to the official.

The comprehensive investigation of the timeline has been ordered by US Africa Command and includes all the military branches and elements of US intelligence agencies that were involved in the mission. Team members who were on the ground are being interviewed about what happened as well as preparations for the mission.

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WNU Editor: To conduct an investigation was probably decided upon a few days after the ambush, and it explains why President Trump has remained silent on this incident even though it happened 2 weeks ago .... The deadly ambush Donald Trump hasn’t yet acknowledged (MSNBC). My gut is telling me that there is far more to this story than what thy are telling us.

Update: This Democrat Senator instincts have been proven right. He made his remarks before today's announcement that an investigation has being ordered on the ambush that killed 4 U.S. special forces personnel in Niger.... Dem senator: Trump hasn't been forthcoming enough about attack on US soldiers in Niger (The Hill).

Is This The Real Russian Collusion Story?

The Hill: FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

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WNU Editor: I do not know if there is any more to this story than what is being reported .... but it just screams for a more thorough investigation from the Justice Department, and definitely more attention from the press. Will the Justice Department go forward .... I do not know. But I do know that with the exception of a few news sites and conservative blogs, the press has once again made the decision to avoid a story because it goes against their narrative on what they believe the real Russian collusion story is. I have said this more than once .... my beef with the U.S. main stream media is not on the stories that they cover, but on the stories that they choose not to cover. This is just one more example of what I am talking about.

More News On Reports That The FBI Decided To Keep Under Wraps Reports Of Russian Bribery, Kickbacks, Extortion And Money Laundering On A Russian-U.S. Nuclear Deal

FBI Kept Russian Bribery Plot Under Wraps Before Obama Administration Approved Nuclear Deal With Moscow -- Newsweek
FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before controversial nuclear deal -- NYPost
Report: Russians used bribes, sought to pad Clinton charity amid Obama-era push to expand US nuclear footprint -- FOX News