Thursday, February 28, 2019

U.S. Offers $1 Million Reward For Osama Bin Laden's Son Hamza


RFE: U.S. Offers Up To $1 Million Reward For Information On Bin Laden Son Hamza

WASHINGTON -- The United States has offered a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the “identification or location” of the son of Osama bin Laden, the deceased leader of the Al-Qaeda terror organization.

"Hamza bin Laden is the son of deceased former AQ leader Osama bin Laden and is emerging as a leader in the AQ franchise," a State Department statement said on February 28.

“He has released audio and video messages on the Internet calling on his followers to launch attacks against the United States and its Western allies, and he has threatened attacks against the United States in revenge for the May 2011 killing of his father by U.S. service members,” the statement added.

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Offering A $1 Million Reward For Osama Bin Laden's Son Hamza

US offers a $1 million reward for Osama Bin Laden's son Hamza: Pentagon ramps up the hunt for the 'crown prince of jihad' because he is emerging as the new leader of Al-Qaeda and has threatened attacks on America to avenge his father's death -- Daily Mail
Bin Laden: US offers reward for Osama's son Hamza -- BBC
US offers $1M for information leading to Usama bin Laden's son -- FOX News
US offers reward to find Osama bin Laden's son -- Channel News Asia/AFP
US Offers $1 Million Reward for Hamza bin Laden, Osama's Son -- Sputnik

New Pentagon Plan Proposes A U.S. Military Exit From Afghanistan Over The Next Three To Five Years

New York Times: Under Peace Plan, U.S. Military Would Exit Afghanistan Within Five Years

WASHINGTON — All American troops would withdraw from Afghanistan over the next three to five years under a new Pentagon plan being offered in peace negotiations that could lead to a government in Kabul that shares power with the Taliban.

The rest of the international force in Afghanistan would leave at the same time, after having mixed success in stabilizing the country since 2001. The plan is being discussed with European allies and was devised, in part, to appeal to President Trump, who has long expressed skepticism of enduring American roles in wars overseas.

The plan calls for cutting by half, in coming months, the 14,000 American troops currently in Afghanistan. It would task the 8,600 European and other international troops with training the Afghan military — a focus of the NATO mission for more than a decade — and largely shift American operations to counterterrorism strikes.

Read more ....

More News On The Pentagon Plan And The Current State Of U.S. - Taliban Talks

New Pentagon plan calls for troops to leave Afghanistan within five years: report -- The Hill
The US may reportedly wash its hands of Afghanistan in the next 5 years -- Task And Purpose
US envoy says US-Taliban talks to resume Saturday -- Arab News/AP
Taliban announces 2-day break in talks with the U.S. representatives in Qatar -- Khaama Press
Qatar Talks Called Off For Two Days; Will Resume Saturday -- TOLO News

President Trump: US-Backed Forces Reclaimed 100% Of ISIS Territory In Syria

Maximum extent of ISIL's territorial control in Syria and Iraq in late 2015. (Wikipedia)

CNN: Trump surprises allies, claims US-backed forces reclaimed 100% of ISIS territory in Syria

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump declared Thursday that US backed forces have retaken 100% of the territory once claimed by ISIS in Syria, an announcement that surprised US officials and regional allies leading the fight who told CNN the battle isn't over.

"We just took over you know you kept hearing it was 90%, 92%, the caliphate in Syria, now it's 100%, we just took over 100% caliphate, that means the area of the land we're just have 100% so that's good," Trump said while addressing US troops at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska on his return trip from Hanoi.

But an official with the Syrian Democratic Forces told CNN's Ben Wedeman the fighting is ongoing and that they were "surprised by this statement" from Trump.

The official also noted that more than a thousand civilians have left the last ISIS enclave within the last few hours.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: At it's peak in 2014 ISIS controlled over 100,000 square kilometres of territory in Syria and Iraq (Wikipedia). They now control less than 1 square kilometre. So yes. To the purists out there, President Trump should have said 99.99% of ISIS territory in Syria has been taken. But everyone knows that once the last building has been taken, the thousands of surviving ISIS fighters will still be causing mayhem in this part of the world for a long time.

More News On President Trumps Claim That US-Backed Forces Reclaimed 100% Of ISIS Territory In Syria

Trump wrongly says Islamic State holds no land in Syria -- AP
Trump says all Islamic State territory retaken, contradicting allied commander -- Reuters
Trump claims U.S. has eliminated ISIS from '100 per cent' of their territory and Lindsey Graham says caliphate is 'destroyed' – but allied forces in Syria say it's not true and the Pentagon won't talk about it -- Daily Mail
It's Official, Trump Tells Troops: ISIS Caliphate 100 Percent Defeated in Syria -- Military.com
Trump claims '100 percent' of ISIS caliphate defeated in Syria -- ABC News
Trump declares 100% of the ISIS caliphate has been liberated, but forces on the ground say it's not over yet -- Business Insider
Trump just declared ISIS’s caliphate 100% defeated. But ISIS still remains. -- VOX

Syrian Democratic Forces Vow To Defeat ISIS In Syria Within A Week



Reuters: U.S.-backed Syrian force to declare victory over Islamic State in a week

EIR AL-ZOR, Syria (Reuters) - The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will announce final victory over Islamic State in one week, SDF commander-in-chief Mazloum Kobani said in a video released by the SDF media center on Thursday.

“We will announce the complete victory over Daesh (Islamic State) in a week,” Kobani told a group of SDF fighters who were freed from Islamic State’s last enclave near the Iraqi border.

It was not immediately clear when the video was filmed. The SDF announced on Thursday it had freed 24 of its fighters from the jihadist group.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The end is never pretty .... Life inside the chaos left by the Islamic State group's fall (BBC).

More News On Syrian Democratic Forces Vowing To Defeat ISIS In Syria Within A Week

IS holdout in Syria retaken in a week: commander -- AFP
'We'll announce the complete victory over ISIS in a week': Syrian forces say Islamic State are days from obliteration as mass grave filled with terror group's victims is uncovered -- Daily Mail/Reuters

Syrian Democratic Forces vow to defeat ISIL in Syria in a week -- Al Jazeera

Syria force poised for final assault on IS -- AFP

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 28, 2019

Indian soldiers stand next to the wreckage of an Indian Air Force helicopter after it crashed in Budgam district in Kashmir February 27, 2019 [Danish Ismail/Reuters]

Holly Robertson, ABC News Online: India and Pakistan seem on the brink of war (again) — but could it go nuclear?

The conflict between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir has escalated dramatically in the last 24 hours — and the rivals are both armed with nuclear weapons.

On Wednesday Pakistan's military shot down two Indian warplanes and captured an Indian pilot, raising tensions to a level not seen for decades.

The attack came just hours after Pakistan accused India of firing mortar shells into its side of divided Kashmir, killing six people.

The two countries have a long and complicated history, one that is not always easy to grapple with.

Here's what you need to know about the situation.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 28, 2019

Kashmir conflict explained: what took Pakistan and India to brink of war? -- Kunal Purohit, SCMP

India, Pakistan, and the remote but real threat of nuclear war -- Michael Kugelman, DW

Is war coming to South Asia? -- Happymon Jacob, Al Jazeera

AP Explains: Pakistan-based militant group sparks tensions -- Kathy Gannon, AP

Q&A: What’s at stake as India-Pakistan tensions rise? -- Kathy Gannon, AP

Terror attack political bonanza for Modi -- Bhim Bhurtel, Asia Times

Netanyahu goes it alone -- Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor

Why did Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif resign? And what happens next? -- Maysam Behravesh, Al Jazeera

Will Washington's Syria Policy Fail? -- Seth J. Frantzman, National Interest

Trump Kim talks: What to make of the Hanoi summit collapse? -- BBC

The Art of the Walk? Summit collapse and Trump’s diplomacy -- Jonathan Lemire and Matthew Lee, AP

What Khaled Al-Meshri Thinks About the Future of Libya -- Matthew Reisener, National Interest

US-Russian cyber war just getting started -- Konstantin Eggert, DW

Trump or Europe: Who Is Right? -- Ivan Eland, RCW

From Venezuela to NOPEC, trying times for OPEC -- Jonathan Gorvett, Asia Times

World News Briefs -- February 28, 2019 (Evening Edition)

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump talk in the garden of the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Reuters: North Korean leader Kim and Trump to continue talks to resolve problems discussed at Hanoi: KCNA

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump decided to continue productive talks to resolve problems discussed at their Hanoi summit, in order to bring about the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and groundbreaking progress in the North Korea-U.S. relationship, state media KCNA said on Friday.

The two leaders had a constructive and sincere exchange of views on practical issues to open a new age in improving North Korea-U.S. relations, KCNA said.

The two leaders saw that efforts and proactive measures taken by both sides to ease tension, propel peace and bring about complete denuclearization on the Korean peninsula has been gravely meaningful in encouraging trust between them and fundamentally changing the distrust and inimical relationship that had continued between the two countries for decades, KCNA said.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be indicted on bribe and fraud charges.

Gaza protest deaths: Israel may have committed war crimes - UN.

IS holdout in Syria retaken in a week: commander.

How thousands are leaving IS's last Syria holdout.

Damascus calls on Syrians to leave camp near Jordan border.

Iran power struggle continues as Zarif keeps top diplomatic post.

U.S., Saudi Arabia and UK back 'global coalition' for Jordan.

U.S. lawmakers press for oversight of any Saudi nuclear deal.

ASIA

North Korea disputes Trump’s account of talks breakdown.

South Korea says failure to reach nuclear deal ‘unfortunate’.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un cut short their nuclear summit after failing to reach deal.

N Korean FM says Pyongyang seeks partial not complete sanctions relief - Reports.

Trump: I 'trust' Kim's promise he won't resume nuclear, missile tests.

Trump-Kim summit 2019: Xi could be ‘more helpful’, says US president.

India-Pakistan conflict: Pakistan PM Imran Khan leader calls for talks after Indian Air Force pilot captured.

Pakistan pledges to release captive Indian fighter pilot.

India-Pakistan tensions force airlines to cancel and reroute flights.

India's economy slows ahead of national election.

AFRICA

Huge blast rocks Somali capital, killing at least five: police.

South Sudan peace deal breaking up, church warns.

President Buhari's win challenged by Nigeria's opposition.

29 killed as ethnic violence grips NW Nigeria.

Libya rivals agree to hold polls: UN.

Sudan police fire tear gas as protesters defy ban.

Comoros opposition in joint call for fair vote.

Mozambique sues Credit Suisse in debt scandal.

Egypt train crash: Investigators say driver to blame.

EUROPE

Activist lawyer takes big lead in polls ahead of Slovak presidential vote.

Kremlin says U.S. cyberattacks on Russia are 'the reality we live in'.

Russia's Putin hopes for quick settlement of India-Pakistan crisis: Kremlin.

Britain's Labour Party leader backs Brexit referendum.

EU angers UK with support for Spain's Gibraltar airport claims.

Russia's TurkStream 2 pipeline in Bulgaria sparks EU energy worries.

Sweden arrests suspected Russian spy in Stockholm.

Moscow court orders US investor Calvey to stay in detention.

Nazi-era mass grave discovered on building site in Belarus.

AMERICAS

Trump warns he could abandon China trade deal as advisers tout progress.

SNC-Lavalin: Trudeau denies wrongdoing in corruption case.

U.S. economic growth slows moderately in fourth quarter.

Former Trump lawyer back in Congress for third day of testimony. Trump's ex-lawyer Cohen to return before U.S. Congress on March 6.

Venezuela’s Guaido plans to go home despite safety concerns. Venezuela's Guaido vows to return to Caracas despite threat of prison.

Venezuela's Guaido to meet Brazil's president in anti-Maduro push.

Venezuelan politician accuses Maduro's regime of sneaking 8 tons of gold worth more than $300 MILLION from country's central bank to sell it on the international market.

Venezuelans cross into Colombia despite border closure.

Nicaragua resumes talks over political crisis after long delay. Nicaragua talks on crisis begin, dozens of prisoners freed.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Trump surprises allies, claims US-backed forces reclaimed 100% of ISIS territory in Syria.

Trump wrongly says Islamic State holds no land in Syria.

Mass grave with dozens of decapitated bodies found in last ISIS enclave: 'They were slaughtered'.

Germany investigates why deported 9/11 terrorist was given prison wages.

Defence sums up in Brussels Jewish museum terror trial.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

U.S. stocks edge downward as Wall Street takes a pause.

Tesla launches long-awaited standard Model 3 starting at $35,000.

US defeats China at WTO in vast grain-subsidy case, after accusing Beijing of US$100 billion price propping.

‘Painful’ enforcement ahead for China if trade war deal is reached with US insisting on unilateral terms.

Huawei units plead not guilty to U.S. trade secret theft.

Pentagon Wants To Retire The Aircraft Carrier USS Truman Early, Shrinking The Carrier Fleet To 10

U.S. Navy

Breaking Defense: Pentagon To Retire USS Truman Early, Shrinking Carrier Fleet To 10

The move could save more than $30 billion over 25 years to invest in high-tech weapons -- but Congress is sure to explode in outrage.

UPDATED with additional comment WASHINGTON: Amidst rising anxiety over whether the US Navy’s thousand-foot-long flagships could evade Chinese missiles in a future war, the Pentagon has decided to cut the aircraft carrier fleet from 11 today to 10.

By retiring the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Truman at least two decades early, rather than refueling its nuclear reactor core in 2024 as planned, the military would save tens of billions on overhaul and operations costs that it could invest in other priorities. But the proposal, part of the 2020-2024 budget plan due out mid-March, is sure to inspire outrage on Capitol Hill.

“I can’t imagine this will go over well at all,” one Hill staffer told me. We’re pressing congressional leaders for official responses, but the Pentagon decision seems to have blindsided them entirely. Navy officials have declined to comment on the forthcoming budget.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This early aircraft carrier retirement is not going to happen .... House Seapower chairman: Early aircraft carrier decom is a non-starter (Defense News)

More News On Reports That The Pentagon Wants To Retire The Aircraft Carrier USS Truman Early

The Pentagon wants to retire an aircraft carrier decades early, but a key lawmaker says it's not going to happen -- Business Insider
Navy to retire USS Truman aircraft carrier 25 years earlier than expected -- NewsRep
US Navy Retiring USS Truman Aircraft Carrier 25 Years Ahead of Schedule – Report -- Sputnik
The U.S. Navy's Worst Nightmare: An Aircraft Carrier Shortage? -- National Interest

North Korean Foreign Minister Holds Surprise Press Conference To Blame President Trump For The Collapse Of Nuclear Talks





Daily Mail: Kim's revenge: Embarrassment for Trump as North Korean foreign minister holds surprise press conference to blame the president for the collapse of Vietnam nuclear summit because HE asked for too much

* Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un abruptly ended their summit in Hanoi early without signing a deal
* He said the issue was Kim's insistence that all sanctions get lifted in return for only giving up some nukes
* Trump continued to tout his 'warm' relationship with Kim, but added 'you have to be willing to walk away'
* North Korean officials made a rare appearance on Thursday after President Trump departed Vietnam to publicly dispute aspects of his claims about the breakdown in talks
* Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said the country asked for 'partial sanctions' relief, primarily in the areas harming North Korean citizens and affecting their livelihoods
* In return, Pyongyang offered to 'permanently' close its plutonium and uranium facilities in the Yongbyon region in the presence of U.S. inspectors
* Ri told reporters an opportunity to make a better agreement may not present itself: 'Our principle stand will remain variably and our proposal will never be changed'
* The United States repeatedly claimed after the summit that negotiations would pick back up immediately

North Korean officials made a rare appearance on Thursday after President Trump departed Vietnam to publicly dispute aspects of his claims about the breakdown in talks.

Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said the country asked for 'partial sanctions' relief, primarily in the areas harming North Korean citizens and affecting their livelihoods. In return, Pyongyang offered to 'permanently' close its plutonium and uranium facilities in the Yongbyon region in the presence of U.S. inspectors.

He said North Korea asked the U.S. to lift sanctions corresponding with five United Nations resolutions adopted between 2016 and 2017. Ri claimed that his proposal was the 'biggest' offer North Korea could make based on the 'current level of confidence' between the country and the United States.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: North Korea never calls for a press conference, albeit this one was more to deliver a statement. There is more at play here than what we know. On a side note. Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho's deputy Choe Son-hui clearly looked pale and ill on what had just happened.

More News On the North Korean Foreign Minister Holding A Surprise Press Conference To Blame President Trump For The Collapse Of Nuclear Talks

N Korea: We won't move on talks with Trump -- BBC
Trump-Kim summit 2019: North Korea stages late-night press conference to deny US president’s claims about why summit ended -- SCMP
North Korea asked for only a partial lifting of sanctions at summit with Trump, its foreign minister said -- CNN
North Korea offered proposal but U.S. asked for more at summit: foreign minister -- Reuters
North Korea offered realistic proposal but United States asked for more: foreign minister -- Reuters

U.N. Report: Israel Security Forces May Have Committed War Crimes During Gaza Protests



ABC News Online: Israel security forces may have committed war crimes, should face justice for Gaza killings: UN

United Nations investigators said on Thursday Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in killing 189 Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 at weekly protests in Gaza last year.

The independent panel said it had confidential information about those it believes to be responsible for the killings, including snipers and commanders.

"The Israeli security forces killed and maimed Palestinian demonstrators who did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to others when they were shot, nor were they directly participating in hostilities," it said in its report.

Israel rejected the report as a "theatre of the absurd".

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Israel has rejected this UN report .... Israel rejects UN report on Gaza border fence deaths (DW)

More News On The U.N. Report Accusing Israel Security Forces Of Committing War Crimes During Gaza Protests

Gaza protest deaths: Israel may have committed war crimes - UN -- BBC
UN says Israel's killings at Gaza protests may amount to war crimes -- The Guardian
U.N. report accuses Israel of firing on unarmed civilians in Gaza -- UPI
Israel should face justice for unlawful Gaza protest killings: U.N. -- Reuters
UN: Possible Israel crimes against humanity in Gaza -- Al Jazeera

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu To Be Indicted On Corruption Charges





The Guardian: Netanyahu to be indicted on corruption charges, Israeli attorney general says

Decision could severely damage Israeli PM’s chances in next April’s general election.

Israel’s attorney general intends to indict the country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in three corruption cases, the Justice Ministry has said.

The decision comes just six weeks before the Israeli general election, and the announcement could severely damage Netanyahu’s chances in a tight race.

Avichai Mandelblit’s long-awaited announcement signals his intent to prosecute the prime minister with criminal wrongdoing in all the cases against him, in which he has been accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Israeli PM Netanyahu is calling this indictment a witch-hunt .... Netanyahu dismissed corruption allegations as baseless 'witch-hunt' (Reuters).

More News On Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu To Be Indicted On Corruption Charges

Israel's attorney general intends to indict Netanyahu on bribery and corruption charges - in a move his party declare 'political persecution' -- Daily Mail
Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel PM faces corruption charges -- BBC
Israeli attorney-general plans to charge Netanyahu in corruption cases -- Reuters
Israeli attorney general to charge Benjamin Netanyahu for corruption -- DW
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to be indicted on bribery charges -- UPI
Israel's Netanyahu to be indicted for 'bribery, fraud' -- Al Jazeera
Israel attorney general announces intention to indict Netanyahu -- AFP
The allegations against Israeli PM Netanyahu -- AFP
Explainer: Netanyahu's corruption cases - What happens next? -- Maayan Lubell, Reuters

Senegalese President Macky Sall Has Won Re-Election With 58% Of The Vote



Al Jazeera: Electoral commission: Senegal's Macky Sall wins second term

The 57-year-old incumbent received 58.27 percent of Sunday's vote, which observers say had no major irregularities.

Senegalese President Macky Sall has won re-election without the need for a second round of voting, the country's electoral commission announced on Thursday.

Following the announcement, Idrissa Seck, the opposition candidate and runner-up in the race, said he will not appeal the election results.

Seck had previously said that his camp's results showed Sall not winning enough votes for re-election in the first round.

Read more ....

More News On Senegalese President Macky Sall Winning Re-Election

Senegal president Macky Sall wins re-election with 58%: official -- Africa News
Senegal president wins re-election on back of economic boom, opposition unhappy -- Reuters
Senegal election: President Macky Sall wins second term -- BBC
Senegal President Macky Sall wins re-election -- DW
Senegal's Macky Sall: 'Social liberal' of warrior descent -- AFP
Senegal: Model of African stability -- AFP

Pakistan Is Using U.S. Weapons Against India


RT: India shows wreckage of US-made MISSILE used by Pakistan to hit its jet (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

The Indian Air force (IAF) has shown off the wreckage of a US-made missile, which it says “conclusively proves” Pakistani jets attacked Indian military bases. Pakistan had previously denied sending its warplanes.

IAF Air Vice Marshall RGK Kapoor told reporters, at a press conference on Thursday, that an Indian MiG-21 Bison shot down a Pakistani Air Force (PAF) F-16 one day earlier. The F-16 was one of several that attacked Indian military bases, Kapoor said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: American F-16s. American missiles. The U.S. gave this military aid to Pakistan to combat the Taliban and other extremists on the Afghan-Pak border waging war against the Afghan government. And critics were complaining that this military aid would only be used against India. It looks like the critics were right.

Pakistan Appeals To China For Help In Easing Its Tensions With India

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing today. Photo: Govt of Pakistan Twitter

SCMP: Pakistan appeals to China for help easing conflict with India

* Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi makes late night call to Chinese counterpart Wang Yi as tensions mount in South Asia
* Wang appeals to both sides to ‘exercise restraint’ to prevent tensions escalating

Pakistan has approached China to mediate in its conflict with India, saying it hopes Beijing can play a constructive role in easing the tensions.

The request was made late Wednesday night in a phone call from Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, according to a statement published on the Chinese foreign ministry’s website on Thursday.

Qureshi told Wang about the latest developments in the conflict and expressed his hope that Beijing would continue to play a role in helping to resolve it, the statement said.

Wang was quoted as saying he hoped “both Pakistan and India would exercise restraint to prevent an expansion of the situation”, reiterating comments he had made the previous day.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: China's influence over India is very limited, and Pakistan knows that. What Pakistan wants is China's diplomatic support and (maybe) some military assistance. But here is an easy prediction. China is not going to get involved.

India - Pakistan Crisis -- News Updates February 28, 2019





DW: Pakistan to release captured Indian pilot 'as a peace gesture'

Pakistan's Imran Khan said the pilot would be released Friday. India welcomed the announcement, but its military said it would remain in a "heightened state of readiness to respond to any provocation from Pakistan."

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that his country would release a captured Indian pilot "as a peace gesture."

Speaking to Pakistani lawmakers in parliament, Khan said the pilot, identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, would be released on Friday. Khan also said that he tried to reach out to his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to de-escalate tensions between the two countries.

"Pakistan wants peace, but it should not be treated as our weakness," Khan said. "The region will prosper if there is peace and stability. It is good for both sides."

Khan's comments came after Modi said that "India's enemies are conspiring to create instability in the country through terror attacks."

Read more ....

India - Pakistan Crisis -- News Updates February 28, 2019

India-Pakistan border crisis: Live updates -- CNN
India-Pakistan tensions: All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera
Pakistan pledges to release captive Indian fighter pilot -- AP
Pakistan says it will return captured Indian pilot, as U.S. urges de-escalation -- Reuters
Pakistan ready to free India pilot if leads to 'de-escalation' -- AFP
Pakistan to release Indian pilot captured in Kashmir attacks -- The Guardian
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan pledges to free Indian pilot from downed warplane as a peace gesture -- ABC News Online
Captured Indian pilot at centre of Kashmir crisis to be released -- Al Jazeera
Pakistan says it will free Indian pilot, but warns India not to "take this any further" -- CBS
Abhinandan: Villagers recount dramatic capture of pilot -- BBC
Imran Khan ready to talk peace with India's Modi: Pakistan FM -- Al Jazeera
Captured Indian pilot will be released by Islamabad on Friday 'as a peace gesture' - but Pakistani mobs and New Delhi politicians demand MORE military action -- Daily Mail
India says 'happy' Pakistan is releasing downed pilot -- Reuters
Trump hopeful India-Pakistan crisis will be resolved -- AFP
India and Pakistan walk conflict tightrope: analysts -- AFP
How people are trying to end the India-Pakistan crisis one tweet at a time -- Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN
India-Pakistan crisis: What we know so far -- Al Jazeera

World News Briefs -- February 28, 2019



Daily Mail: 'This wasn’t the right time to sign something': Trump says North Korea 'wasn't ready' for a real nuclear agreement

* Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un abruptly ended their summit in Hanoi early without signing a deal
* He said the issue was Kim's insistence that all sanctions get lifted in return for only giving up some nukes
* Trump continued to tout his 'warm' relationship with Kim, but added 'you have to be willing to walk away'
* Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added that progress had been made 'but we didn't get all the way'
* Planned lunch never happened
* Kim's state news agency KCNA said on Thursday: 'Sincere and in-depth views were exchanged to bring about a comprehensive and groundbreaking outcome'
* The talks came just hours after Michael Cohen's bombshell testimony to Congress which damned his ex-boss as a racist and a liar

President Donald Trump defended his decision to walk away from his North Korean nuclear summit without a deal in an interview Fox News host Sean Hannity from Vietnam that will air on Thursday evening in the United States.

Trump said he wasn't 'satisfied' with the outcome and he suspects that Kim Jong-un 'wasn't satisfied,' either.

'We’re working towards something, but we didn’t sign anything today, it didn’t quite work out,' he told Hannity on Thursday afternoon local time. 'Good relationship, but I decided this wasn’t the right time to sign something so we’ll see what happens over a period of time.'

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be indicted on bribe and fraud charges.

Gaza protest deaths: Israel may have committed war crimes - UN.

IS holdout in Syria retaken in a week: commander.

How thousands are leaving IS's last Syria holdout.

Damascus calls on Syrians to leave camp near Jordan border.

Iran power struggle continues as Zarif keeps top diplomatic post.

U.S., Saudi Arabia and UK back 'global coalition' for Jordan.

ASIA

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un cut short their nuclear summit after failing to reach deal.

N Korean FM says Pyongyang seeks partial not complete sanctions relief - Reports.

Trump: I 'trust' Kim's promise he won't resume nuclear, missile tests.

Trump-Kim summit 2019: Xi could be ‘more helpful’, says US president.

India-Pakistan tensions force airlines to cancel and reroute flights.

India's economy slows ahead of national election.

AFRICA

Huge blast rocks Somali capital, killing at least five: police.


South Sudan peace deal breaking up, church warns.

President Buhari's win challenged by Nigeria's opposition.

29 killed as ethnic violence grips NW Nigeria.

Libya rivals agree to hold polls: UN.

Sudan police fire tear gas as protesters defy ban.

Comoros opposition in joint call for fair vote.

Mozambique sues Credit Suisse in debt scandal.

Egypt train crash: Investigators say driver to blame.

EUROPE

Russia's Putin hopes for quick settlement of India-Pakistan crisis: Kremlin.

Britain's Labour Party leader backs Brexit referendum.

EU angers UK with support for Spain's Gibraltar airport claims.

Russia's TurkStream 2 pipeline in Bulgaria sparks EU energy worries.

Sweden arrests suspected Russian spy in Stockholm.

Moscow court orders US investor Calvey to stay in detention.

Nazi-era mass grave discovered on building site in Belarus.

AMERICAS

SNC-Lavalin: Trudeau denies wrongdoing in corruption case.

U.S. economic growth slows moderately in fourth quarter.

Former Trump lawyer back in Congress for third day of testimony.

Venezuela's Guaido to meet Brazil's president in anti-Maduro push.

Venezuelan politician accuses Maduro's regime of sneaking 8 tons of gold worth more than $300 MILLION from country's central bank to sell it on the international market.

Venezuelans cross into Colombia despite border closure.

Nicaragua resumes talks over political crisis after long delay.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Mass grave with dozens of decapitated bodies found in last ISIS enclave: 'They were slaughtered'.

Germany investigates why deported 9/11 terrorist was given prison wages.

Defence sums up in Brussels Jewish museum terror trial.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

US defeats China at WTO in vast grain-subsidy case, after accusing Beijing of US$100 billion price propping.

‘Painful’ enforcement ahead for China if trade war deal is reached with US insisting on unilateral terms.

Huawei units plead not guilty to U.S. trade secret theft.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 28, 2019



BBC: Yongbyon: The heart of North Korea's nuclear programme

After the US-North Korea summit talks in Hanoi ended abruptly, President Donald Trump said his stumbling block with Kim Jong-un was over one key point: What North Korea would get in exchange for disabling its Yongbyon nuclear facility.

Yongbyon is the site that produces material that could be used in North Korea's nuclear weapons.

Long ahead of the Hanoi talks, rumours have swirled that Pyongyang could offer to shut Yongbyon, or parts of it, in exchange for sanctions relief.

Melissa Hanham, defence expert at One Earth Future, explains the notorious site which is the heart of North Korea's nuclear programme.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 28, 2019

Yongbyon: The North Korean nuclear complex at the centre of Trump-Kim deal-breaker -- AFP

The Daunting Challenge of Shutting Down North Korea's Nuclear Complex -- Time

India vs Pakistan: Military strength and arsenal -- Al Jazeera

Pentagon urges Pakistan and India to de-escalate tensions -- The Hill

U.S. Army Says It Needs New Weapons to 'Fight and Win Against the Russians and Chinese' -- Newsweek

U.S. Army orders tactical vehicles from Oshkosh Defense -- UPI

Navy Promised Changes After Deadly Accidents, but Many Within Remain Skeptical -- Mother Jones

Navy to commission USS Charleston on Saturday -- UPI

Lockheed Martin to Conduct Maiden Flights of New Sikorsky Combat Rescue Copters -- Sputnik

U.S.-Made Sneakers Become Standard Issue For The Military -- KUT

The military wants to build lethal tanks with AI -- ZDNet

Navy builds new massive undersea attack drones -- FOX News/Warrior Maven

US Air Force laying groundwork for future military use of commercial megaconstellations -- Space News

Russia's military shows off hardware seized in Syria -- Reuters

Russian News Outlet Says It Was Hit by U.S. Military Cyberattack -- Bloomberg

Parts of Yellow Sea Blocked as China’s New Aircraft Carriers Drill Together -- Sputnik

China denies speculation of military presence in Afghanistan -- Washington Post

China’s new veterans’ law to be reviewed at National People’s Congress next week -- SCMP

Trump’s Space Force Isn’t the Only Military Space Program: Here’s What China and Russia Are Up To -- FoxTrot Alpha

Turkey's Largest Naval Drills Start in All Seas Surrounding Country -- Sputnik

New Swiss defense chief orders second opinion on huge air-defense revamp -- Defense News

UK Defence Secretary announces five-year plan for key military sites -- Gov.uk

France to Send Updated Charles de Gaulle Carrier to Indian Ocean Next Month -- Sputnik

Conference call confusion: Is the joint French, British fighter program ‘terminated’? -- Defense News

Canadian military making slow progress against sexual misconduct, says report -- CBC

Boeing unveils fighter jet-sized drone designed for Australia -- UPI

By Walking Away From The Hanoi Summit President Trump Is Sending A Message To Chinese President Xi

U.S. President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Edmund DeMarche, Fox News: At Hanoi summit, China’s Xi saw a president willing to walk away: Gordon Chang

President Trump may have hit a roadblock when North Korea's Kim Jong Un refused to meet his demands at Thursday's Hanoi summit, but Trump’s decision to walk away could serve to rattle China’s Xi Jinping.

Gordon Chang, an expert on the region and author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” argued that what on the surface looked like a diplomatic stalemate could in fact be a diplomatic coup for Trump when it comes to North Korea's neighbor.

“I think this is a moment of reassessment for China,” Chang said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Darn!!!! I was about to write a post saying the same thing, but Gordon Chang beat me to it. The above analysis is spot on. President Trump is sending a very clear message to Chinese President Xi that by walking away from the nuclear talks he is also willing to walk away from current trade talks if China continues to not wanting to compromise on their trade policies. I am also willing to bet that the U.S. is going to ratchet the pressure on North Korea by ratcheting up the pressure on their chief ally China via through trade to do something about it. Bottom line .... I do not need to contact my friends in China to know what is happening. I know enough to know that right now there is a huge reassessment in Beijing on what to do next when it comes to President Trump.

Update: Yup .... Trump-Kim summit 2019: Xi could be ‘more helpful’, says US president (SCMP).

Commentaries And Analysis On The Failed U.S. - North Korea Nuclear Summit

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump talk in the garden of the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 28, 2019. Photo by Leah Millis/Reuters

Hao Gui, DW: Trump-Kim summit — predictably disappointing outcome

The Kim-Trump meeting in Vietnam came to an end without concrete results. The confidence-building process between North Korea and the US must soon be followed by multilateral talks with other stakeholders, says Hao Gui.

Much excitement, no progress — a predictable outcome. It was already clear in advance that the outcome of the Hollywood-style meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would not live up to its political symbolic meaning.

The fact that the two opponents met for talks at all was mainly for domestic political reasons on both sides. Kim wants to prove to his followers that he can force the "capitalist arch-enemy" to have direct talks at eye level. His risky escalation strategy has helped the young politician to appease hardliners in the party and army and to expand his power.

Read more ....

Commentaries And Analysis On The Failed U.S. - North Korea Nuclear Summit

No deal, no problem at Trump-Kim summit: analysts -- AFP
North Korea summit ends with no deal but Trump's move sent a message that matters – What will Kim do now? -- James Jay Carafano, Fox News
How far off is a deal? 4 takeaways from the Trump-Kim summit -- PBS News Hour
The art of no deal: how Trump and Kim misread each other -- Julian Borger, The Guardian
Inside the dying moments of the Trump-Kim summit at a Hanoi hotel -- Reuters
Analysis: Even without a deal, Kim makes gains at summit -- Adam Schreck and Eric Talmadge, AP
Trump's Hanoi Hail Mary failed to score -- Stephen Collinson, CNN
The lunch that never was: Trump’s North Korea summit falters -- Deb Riechmann and Jill Colvin, AP
What Trump’s personal relationship with Kim Jong Un means for U.S. policy -- PBS News Hour

A Closer Look At North Korean Leader's Sister Kim Yo Jong

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, U.S. President Donald Trump, Kim Yong Chol, Vice Chairman of the North Korean Workers' Party Committee, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talk while Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un looks on

Daily Mail: Kim keeps his trusted sister close as she's seen watching from the sidelines while the North Korean leader and Trump greet each other at the historic nuclear summit in Vietnam

* Kim Yo Jong was seen standing close by as the two leaders greeted each other
* Experts say Kim Yo Jong functions as her brother's chief of staff, managing his engagements, offering trusted advice and acting as a gatekeeper
* She has already been seen holding a large crystal ashtray as her brother smoked
* As a favorite daughter she received key government positions
* Kim and Trump resumed their summit in Hanoi on Thursday morning local time
* Trump has once again asserted that he was in 'no rush' to make an agreement

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un kept his trusted sister close by Thursday as he met with President Donald Trump for their historic nuclear summit in Vietnam.

Kim Yo Jong was seen standing close by, watching on from the sidelines as the two world leaders greeted each other in Hanoi.

Kim and Trump resumed their summit on Thursday morning local time – as the U.S. president predicted a 'fantastic success' but the North Korean dictator said it was 'too early' to say they would reach a deal.

Experts say Kim Yo Jong functions as her brother's chief of staff, managing his engagements, offering trusted advice and acting as a gatekeeper.

Read more ....

Update: Smoke signals - Kim Jong Un's sister rushed off her feet on Vietnam trip (Reuters)

WNU Editor: As I have mentioned before, Kim Yo Jong is always her brother's shadow. She is also (in my book) the second most powerful person in North Korea. If you want to meet Kim Jong-un, you will have to go through her. She is also always on the sidelines looking at everyone. I am willing to bet that after every meeting where she is there .... and she is always there for the important meetings .... she tells her brother later on how the people in the room were reacting to his remarks and comments.

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Answers A Question From A Foreign Journalist For The First Time



Al Jazeera: In a summit first, Kim responds to foreign journalists' questions

North Korean leader takes questions from foreign reporters during his summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi.

Some 3,000 journalists from 40 countries descended this week in Vietnam's Hanoi to cover the second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

On Thursday, at the start of the second day of high-stakes talks on denuclearisation, one of them shouted at the North Korean leader.

"Chairman Kim, are you confident?" David Nakamura, of the Washington Post, asked as the two men sat down before a one-on-one session.

What followed was almost certainly unprecedented.

"It is too early to tell. I would not make a prediction," Kim said, after leaning back slightly to hear his interpreter's whispers. "But my instinct is that good results will come out," he added in his typically gravelly voice, in what was believed to be his first ever response to a foreign journalist.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Not to be outdone. President Trump took a question from a Russian news agency .... Trump dares take question from RUSSIAN media, world stops turning (RT).

South Korea Reacts To The Breakdown In Nuclear Talks Between The U.S. And North Korea

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un looks towards President Donald Trump at the Metropole hotel in Hanoi, February 28. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Reuters: South Korea says no deal between Trump, Kim regrettable but progress made

HANOI (Reuters) - South Korea said it regretted that no deal was reached at a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday but the two sides had made meaningful progress.

Trump said he had walked away from a nuclear deal at his second meeting with Kim, in Vietnam, because Kim had made unacceptable demands on lifting biting U.S.-led sanctions.

South Korea’s presidential office, known as the Blue House, said in a statement Trump and Kim made “more meaningful progress than ever”, and Trump’s willingness to continue dialogue would brighten prospects for another meeting.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: My South Korean contacts and friends are telling me that the onus is now on South Korea to continue the dialogue with North Korea, and to continue the process of talks and de-escalating tensions. I agree, and I expect the Chinese will also become more engaged to find common ground to continue the goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

U.S. - North Korea Nuclear Talks Collapse



Daily Mail: NO DEAL! Vietnam summit ends abruptly as Kim REFUSES Trump’s denuclearization demands, leaders fail to agree on lifting North Korean sanctions and abandon lunch and cancel signing ceremony

* Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un abruptly ended their summit in Hanoi early without signing a deal
* He said the issue was Kim's insistence that all sanctions get lifted in return for only giving up some nukes
* Trump continued to tout his 'warm' relationship with Kim, but added 'you have to be willing to walk away'
* Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added that progress had been made 'but we didn't get all the way'
* Planned lunch never happened
* Kim's state news agency KCNA said on Thursday: 'Sincere and in-depth views were exchanged to bring about a comprehensive and groundbreaking outcome'
* The talks came just hours after Michael Cohen's bombshell testimony to Congress which damned his ex-boss as a racist and a liar

Donald Trump's talks with Kim Jong-un ended abruptly on Thursday as the president said he was forced to walk away after the North Korean dictator demanded that all sanctions be lifted in return for giving up only some of his nukes.

Trump said the final snag that caused the sudden breakdown was over sanctions – and Kim's push to have all of them lifted in exchange for a concession Trump and his secretary of state could not live with.

'Sometimes you have to walk away,' Trump told reporters at a press conference in Hanoi that was abruptly moved up after a breakdown in talks.

The president expressed his hope that the two leaders would meet again, but acknowledged: 'It might be soon, it might not be for a long time. I can’t tell you.'

Read more ....

WNU Editor: No one said this was going to be easy. Expect a flurry of action from diplomats in the next few months .... Burden back on diplomats as Trump and Kim fail to reach North Korea deal (Reuters). I also expect China and South Korea will be stepping in.

U.S. - North Korea Nuclear Talks Collapse

The Latest: Pompeo says talks with North Korea will resume -- AP
Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam: All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera
No deal: Trump, Kim summit collapses over sanctions impasse -- AP
'Sometimes you have to walk': Trump scraps North Korea summit deal -- Reuters
Trump’s Talks With Kim Jong-un Collapse Over North Korean Sanctions -- The New York Times
No agreement reached at Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam -- DW
Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un cut short their nuclear summit after failing to reach deal -- ABC News Online
Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi collapses after negotiations fail -- The Guardian
Trump, Kim leave Vietnam summit without agreement -- Al Jazeera
'Progress' but no deal: Mixed scorecard for Trump & Kim's Hanoi summit -- RT
Pompeo says more U.S-North Korea meetings possible, but no plans -- Reuters
We asked Kim ‘to do more’ but he wasn’t prepared to – Pompeo -- RT
Japan's Abe backs Trump after Kim summit ends with no deal -- AFP
China says N. Korean nuclear issue can't be solved 'overnight' -- AFP
'I told you so!': No deal summit no surprise to N. Korean defectors -- AFP
Trump-Kim meeting: The big moments from the dramatic summit in Vietnam -- Bill Birtles, ABC News Online

Former Canadian Minister of Justice/Attorney-General Accuses Prime Minister Trudeau Of Political Interference In A Criminal Case Concerning The Engineering Giant SNC-Lavelin





CBC News: Wilson-Raybould says she faced pressure, 'veiled threats' on SNC-Lavalin; Scheer calls on PM to resign

Conservative leader says powerful politicans should not try to overrule court proceedings

Jody Wilson-Raybould says she faced intense political pressure and veiled threats related to the SNC-Lavalin affair, and was warned directly by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the negative consequences if the company faced prosecution.

It was a day of high political drama, as the former justice minister and attorney general accused top Liberal government officials of inappropriate, excessive political interference in an independent criminal prosecution, and the opposition parties called for Trudeau's resignation and a public inquiry into the scandal.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: First things first. For those who may not know, I live in Canada and I have been watching this story very closely. And yesterday was quite a day. I watched two individuals giving testimony to elected officials .... former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in the morning and former Canadian Minister of Justice/Attorney-General Jody Wilson-Raybould later in the afternoon. It took me about 15 minutes of listening to Michael Cohen to realize he was not (and is not) a credible witness. As for former Canadian Minister of Justice/Attorney-General Jody Wilson-Raybould's testimony, she was the exact opposite. She was forthright, meticulous, factual, backed by evidence and witnesses. She outlined how the Prime Minister and his aides put pressure on her to alter a criminal investigation, with the Prime Minister himself being blunt to her that the Justice Department "must find another solution" because it would impact his political prospects in the province of Quebec. She refused, and (she believes) was the reason on why she was fired as Attorney General. The reaction that I have heard from those who I trust when it comes to Canadian politics is one of shock. We basically learned yesterday that there is a two tier system of justice for this government, and friends of the Prime Minister will be protected. My prediction. The impact of her testimony on Prime Minister Trudeau and his government are going to be severe and consequential when Canadians go to the polls later this year. And even though the government and the Prime Minister are now making the case this morning that they were only trying to protect jobs, in my opinion they are not being persuasive. My prediction. A criminal investigation on what has happened is now warranted. And as for Prime Minister Trudeau's prospects for this year's election, they are in deep trouble. The Liberal base that Prime Minister Trudeau needs to go to the polls are going to stay home.



More News On Former Canadian Minister of Justice/Attorney-General Jody Wilson-Raybould's Testimony

Read the full text of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s statement to the House of Commons justice committee -- National Post
Wilson-Raybould claims political interference in SNC-Lavalin affair -- iPolitics
Wilson-Raybould says she was pushed, got veiled threats on SNC-Lavalin -- Times Colonists/Canadian Press
Key moments from Jody Wilson-Raybould's SNC-Lavalin testimony -- CBC

Prime Minister Trudeau's Reaction

'I and my staff always acted appropriately' regarding SNC-Lavalin: Trudeau -- Ottawa Citizen
Canada's Trudeau disputes ex-minister's charge she was pressured on SNC-Lavalin -- Reuters
Trudeau ‘definitely not in agreement’ after Wilson-Raybould details pressure, ‘veiled threats’ in SNC-Lavalin affair -- Global News
Trudeau doesn’t address calls for resignation, says Canadians will choose in general election -- Global News

Commentaries And Analysis On This Scandal

Today sounded and felt like a death knell for the Liberal government -- Christie Blatchford, National Post
Trudeau has lost the moral mandate to govern -- The Globe and Mail
Trudeau now finds himself up to his neck in the SNC-Lavalin scandal -- Chantal H├ębert, Toronto Star
PM needs to be criminally investigated -- Brian Lilley, Toronto Sun
ANALYSIS: The Trudeau brand takes a hit after Jody Wilson-Raybould testimony -- David Aiken, Global News
Wilson-Raybould's convincing testimony may cost Trudeau his job -- John Ivison, National Post
The moral catastrophe of Justin Trudeau -- Paul Wells, Macleans
SNC-Lavalin affair weighs down Trudeau government in polls -- CBC
SNC-Lavalin: What happened and when -- Hamilton Spectator