Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Trump Administration Will Not Retire The Aircraft Carrier USS Harry S. Truman

The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman transits the Atlantic Ocean, December 12, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 2nd Class Scott Swofford

Daily Press: USS Harry S. Truman will not be retired ahead of schedule, Pence says

The Trump administration is dropping its pitch to mothball the USS Harry S. Truman at its midlife point.

Vice President Mike Pence made the announcement Tuesday during an all-hands call aboard the Truman at Naval Station Norfolk.

“We are keeping the best carrier in the world in the fight. We are not retiring the Truman,” Pence said, adding: “The USS Harry S. Truman is going to be giving ‘em hell for many more years to come.”

That phrase — “give ’em hell” — is a reference to the carrier’s battle cry. Pence’s announcement, amid weeks of debate over the future of the carrier, was met with cheers from hundreds of sailors. A Pentagon budget proposal called for retiring the Truman halfway through its intended 50-year service life by skipping its midlife refueling, scheduled to begin in 2024. By bypassing that overhaul, the Navy estimated it would save about $3.4 billion, money that it could reinvest elsewhere.

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WNU Editor: The Pentagon still wants to retire the aircraft carrier .... CNO nominee backs Navy plan to scrap USS Truman as White House vows to keep the ship (Stars and Stripes). More here .... We can't stay 'stagnant': Navy chief defends decision to decommission aircraft carrier (Washington Examiner)

More News On The Trump Administration Not Retiring The Aircraft Carrier USS Harry S. Truman

Trump administration reverses course on decision to decommission carrier Truman -- Defense News
Trump drops plan to retire the USS Truman -- The Hill
Pence: No Early Retirement for USS Harry S. Truman -- USNI News
Trump administration reverses course on decision to decommission carrier Truman -- Defense News
Vice President Pence: Trump Will Save Carrier Truman from Early Retirement -- Military.com
Trump administration just sank the Pentagon's controversial plans to mothball an aircraft carrier decades early -- Business Insider
USS Harry S. Truman will not be retired ahead of schedule, Pence says -- Virginia Pilot
Trump Admin Reverses Decision to Retire Aircraft Carrier USS Truman Early -- Sputnik

Where Is The Evidence That Russia Interfered In The 2016 Elections?

Boyd Cathey, Zero Hedge/The Unz Review: Did The Russians Really Interfere In US Elections?

The Mueller Report is now public, and our Mainstream Media have filled the airways with all sorts of commentaries and interpretations. We know that - despite the very best efforts of the dedicated Leftist attorneys on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s staff - there was absolutely no coordination between members of the Trump campaign, or any of his staffers, with Russians. No additional charges have come as a result, other than accusations made earlier of “process crimes” (e.g. failure to report earnings on tax forms, failure to report lobbying work, or not telling investigators what they demanded to hear—“crimes” that practically every politician in Washington has been guilty of at one time or another and would normally not cause much of a stir). None of these involved Russia.

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WNU Editor: The author of the above commentary is not a supporter of the Mueller Counsel, the media that fed the narrative on Russian collusion and election interference, and the political class that supported it. But partisanship aside, Boyd Cathey does make a good point ..... where is the evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections? Aside from the claim that $160,000 was spent on a social media campaign (where apparently much was only spent after the election), and claims that it was Russia that leaked emails to Wikileaks proving that the Democrat Party had fixed the primaries to favour Hillary Clinton (which Wikileaks has denied), I have yet to see any real evidence from the U.S. government on Russian interference in 2016. The U.S. intel community is still saying that they do have evidence that Russia interfered in the election, but due to the secrecy of their intelligence operations they are not at the liberty to disclose it. So should we believe and trust the U.S. intel community when they ask for our trust? You tell me.

U.S. Special Counsel Mueller Disputes Attorney General Barr's Description On Russian Findings

Washington Post: Mueller complained that Barr’s letter did not capture ‘context’ of Trump probe

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III wrote a letter in late March complaining to Attorney General William P. Barr that a four-page memo to Congress describing the principal conclusions of the investigation into President Trump “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work, according to a copy of the letter reviewed Tuesday by The Washington Post.

The letter and a subsequent phone call between the two men reveal the degree to which the longtime colleagues and friends disagreed as they handled the legally and politically fraught task of investigating the president. Democrats in Congress are likely to scrutinize Mueller’s complaints to Barr as they contemplate the prospect of opening impeachment proceedings and mull how hard to press for Mueller himself to testify publicly.

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WNU Editor: This is all moot. The report has been released for all to read, and from what I have read in the Trump-Russia collusion section, it only confirms the Attorney General's memo. As to the obstruction part of the report, Attorney General Barr stated that since Mueller did not make a decision on obstruction, his office analyzed the evidence and they made the decision that there was no obstruction.

As for Special Counsel Mueller's concerns that Attorney General Barr's four-page memo “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” .... IMHO it is too little, and definitely too late. So why the release of Mueller's letter now? A realization that after two years of intense media focus on Trump - Russian collusion to be told at the end there is no evidence to make a case .... we are witnessing a massive let-down and an attempt to shift the focus to try and make the case for obstruction. My prediction. Good luck to those who want to make a case for obstruction when there is no evidence that Trump - Russian collusion occurred, when executive privilege was not exercised, and no one was fired or prevented in doing their job.

More News On U.S. Special Counsel Mueller Disputing Attorney General Barr's Description On Russian Findings

Mueller Objected to Barr’s Description of Russia Investigation’s Findings on Trump -- The New York Times
Mueller criticized attorney general's memo on Russia findings -- The Guardian
Mueller expressed misgivings to Barr about 4-page letter -- CNN
Mueller confronted Barr over characterization of special counsel's report -- CBS

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo: Venezuelan President Maduro Was Prepared To Leave But Was Convinced To Stay By The Kremlin

Reuters: Maduro was ready to leave Venezuela but Russia convinced him to reverse course: Pompeo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was prepared to leave the country on Tuesday morning in the face of a call for an uprising by opposition leader Juan Guaido, but reversed his plan after Russia intervened, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a U.S. television interview on Tuesday.

“They had an airplane on the tarmac. He was ready to leave this morning, as we understand it. Russians indicated he should stay,” Pompeo said in an interview with CNN.

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WNU Editor: The Kremlin has not responded to this claim (so far).

More News On Reports That Venezuelan President Maduro Was Prepared To Leave But Was Convinced To Stay By The Kremlin

Venezuela crisis: Maduro aides agreed he had to go, US says -- BBC
Venezuela: Moscow persuaded Maduro not to step down, US claims -- The Guardian
Hailing Venezuela revolt, US says Maduro was ready to leave -- AFP
Pompeo claims Russia stopped Maduro leaving Venezuela for Cuba -- CNN
US: Russia convinced Maduro to stay in Venezuela -- DW
U.S. envoy says top Venezuelan officials negotiated to help restore order -- Reuters

Commentaries, Analysis, An Editorials -- April 30, 2019

DW: Venezuela: Coup or uprising? It depends on who you support

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido has made a new push to oust President Nicolas Maduro, claiming he has the backing of parts of the army. As protesters face off with security, the world reacts.

The US White House led support for Venezuelan leader Juan Guaido's push for a military uprising against President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday, while Maduro's international backers condemned the push as a coup.

The Trump administration was quick to voice support for Guaido, after leading a mounting pressure campaign since Guaido declared himself interim president in January.

Various officials urged the military to stand by the country's "legitimate institutions," while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter that "democracy cannot be defeated."

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, An Editorials -- April 30, 2019

"Coup" in Caracas? -- Hunter DeRensis, National Interest

What’s Really Going On in Venezuela -- Bloomberg

People power meets an entrenched Maduro regime in Venezuela -- Paula Garcia Tufró, The Hill

In Venezuela, root for the people -- Frida Ghitis, CNN

Guaido vs Maduro: Who is backing whom in Venezuela? -- Reuters

Explainer: Will opposition leader Guaido topple Venezuela's President Maduro? -- Reuters

Former bus driver Nicolás Maduro clings to wheel in Venezuela -- Rory Carroll, The Guardian

Japanese emperor abdicates: what to expect from Naruhito in the new Reiwa era -- Julian Ryall, SCMP

Japan’s emperor bows out -- Todd Crowell, Asia Times

India elections: Why are Kashmiris not voting? -- Sonia Sarkar, DW

America Cannot Save Afghanistan -- Robert Gaines and Scott Horton, National Interest

How the tiny African nation of Djibouti became the linchpin in China’s belt and road plan -- Lee Jeong-ho , SCMP

Bashir is gone, but who will lead, or seize, Sudan's revolution? -- Leela Jacinto, France 24

Libya's rival governments move to financial war with frontline stuck -- Ulf Laessing, Reuters

Did Netanyahu cut deal with Assad? -- Ben Caspit, Al-Monitor

Isis leader’s video an attempt to shore up control, say experts -- Martin Chulov and Dan Sabbagh, The Guardian

Argentina: Another "Cracked" Democracy? -- Luis Tonelli, World Crunch

World News Briefs -- April 30, 2019 (Eveniong Edition)

Reuters: Venezuela's Guaido calls for uprising but military loyal to Maduro for now

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Tuesday made his strongest call yet to the military to help him oust President Nicolas Maduro but there were no concrete signs of defection from the armed forces leadership.

Early on Tuesday, several dozen armed troops accompanying Guaido clashed with soldiers supporting Maduro at a rally in Caracas, and large anti-government protests in the streets turned violent. But by Tuesday afternoon an uneasy peace had returned and there was no indication that the opposition planned to take power through military force.

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Iraq says I.S. remains threat, leader Baghdadi filmed video in 'remote area'.

Attacks on Syria health facilities condemned by UN.

UN envoy says new Syria committee could be agreed soon.

Houthis ask U.N. to sell Yemeni crude and use revenues for imports, salaries.

Iran's president signs bill labeling US troops in Middle East as terrorists.

Israel swears in new parliament after divisive election.

Turkey's AK Party: U.S. move against Muslim Brotherhood would damage democracy in Middle East.

Lebanon president urges 2019 budget deal as veterans protest.


Japan's new Emperor Naruhito succeeds father Akihito.

Kabul on lockdown as assembly discusses peace with the Taliban.

Afghan forces launch attacks to clear warring militants from east Afghanistan.

North Korea diplomat warns U.S. of 'undesirable outcome' following Pompeo remark.

China sentences second Canadian citizen to death ahead of centenary.

China's President marks 100 years since pivotal protests as Tiananmen Square anniversary looms.

Indian army's claim to have found footprints of yeti prompts ridicule.


Russia, Turkey call for ceasefire in Libya: Kremlin.

Sudan protesters defiant as army warns 'no more chaos'.

Sudanese protest group says military 'not serious' about civilian handover.

Clashes over possible Guinea president third term.

Algeria's ruling FLN party elects new leader.

Algeria army chief rebuffs protesters, vows to uphold constitution.

Congo Ebola cases hit record for most reported in single day.

Uganda police clash with pop star Bobi Wine's supporters.

Egypt sentences senior Muslim Brotherhood figure and son to life.

Mozambique cyclone: Humanitarian situation is 'life-threatening'.


TV star Zelenskiy officially named new Ukrainian president.

Game on for EU vote, but real fight comes after.

Anger as Corbyn faces down calls for Labour to back new Brexit vote.

High security planned for France's May Day protests.

Spain's Ciudadanos says it will play responsible role as opposition.

U.S. extradition request for Julian Assange to be heard on Thursday. Julian Assange faces extradition hearing as Berlin stays quiet.

Washington tells Russia: Stop playing games over detained ex-U.S. marine.


Venezuela's Guaido calls for uprising in video with troops. Venezuela's Juan Guaido urges military uprising to topple socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.

Trump administration throws support behind apparent coup in Venezuela.

Trump threatens Cuban embargo over Venezuela aid.

Escalating fight, Trump sues Deutsche Bank, Capital One over Democratic subpoenas.

Dems, Trump pull $2T surprise on infrastructure.

Donald Trump wants asylum seekers to pay application fee.

US accuses China of enabling corruption and undermining national sovereignty in Latin America.

Honduras protests: Buildings burn during clashes over reforms.

Mexico urges US to ratify trade deal after passing labor reform.


FBI thwarts Muslim convert's plot to attack Nazi rally, seen as revenge for Christchurch mosque attacks.

Islamic State 'leader' mentions Australian jihadist and Sri Lanka Easter bombings in first appearance in five years.

Trump working to designate Muslim Brotherhood as 'terror' group.

Manchester Arena bombing extradition 'delayed by Libya clashes'.


US STOCKS-Nasdaq retreats as Alphabet falls but Apple gains after hours.

China and United States focus on progress before fresh round of trade war talks.

Japan's prime minister talks trade with EU leaders.

Apple iPhone sales drop at record pace.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 30, 2019

Reuters: U.S. military says monitoring Venezuela events, no change in mission

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military on Tuesday said it was monitoring developments in Venezuela but suggested no role in the unfolding events, as armed factions opposing and supporting President Nicolas Maduro clashed at a protest outside a Caracas air base.

“We are monitoring the recent developments in Venezuela closely and are in close contact with our interagency partners and senior chain of command. At the present time, U.S. Southern Command’s mission remains unchanged,” said Colonel Armando Hernandez, a spokesman at the U.S. military’s Southern Command, which oversees U.S. forces in Latin America.

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Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 30, 2019

Bolton says 'all options are on the table' in Venezuela as protests intensify -- The Hill

US Air Force conducts airstrikes with F-35 for first time ever -- Defense News

Crashed F-35A fighter jet located, US says -- Nikkei Asian Review

Boeing awarded $5.7B for KC-46 Pegasus combat capability work -- UPI

Lockheed awarded $1.1B contract for F-35 support -- UPI

Boeing's MQ-25 refueling drone moved to air base for flight testing -- UPI

Boeing awarded $127.6M contract for nuclear bomb life extension -- UPI

The Air Force is spinning toward a $4 billion financial disaster -- Defense News

Trump drops plan to retire the USS Truman -- The Hill

Trump administration reverses course on decision to decommission carrier Truman -- Defense News

We can't stay 'stagnant': Navy chief defends decision to decommission aircraft carrier -- Washington Examiner

Mattis ignored orders from Trump, White House on North Korea, Iran: report -- The Hill

Senate confirms top generals for Europe, Africa -- The Hill

New measure would allow troops to sue for military malpractice mistakes -- Military Times

Air Force secretary warns against European military force -- The Hill

Air Force leaders want airmen to hit the books to be ready against China, Russia and others -- Air Force Times

GAO to review if climate change hinders military contractors' response to national security threats -- The Hill

Top admiral nominee: Climate change 'going to be a problem' for Navy -- The Hill

Canadian military has 2,000 personnel dealing with floods but provinces determine priorities -- Ottawa Citizen

Trump Asks Senate to Approve North Macedonia Joining NATO as 30th Member State -- Sputnik

EU extends weapons ban on Myanmar for another year -- UPI

US Defence Giant Blasts Germany’s Refusal to Buy F-35s as ‘Retrograde Step’ -- Sputnik

Boeing, Lockheed contracted for Apache work, Hellfire missiles for Saudi Arabia -- UPI

Russia Ready to Extend New START, But Future of Treaty in Doubt - Antonov -- Sputnik

China’s coastguard ‘can expect military treatment’ in South China Sea -- SCMP/Bloomberg

Beijing ‘tones down’ response after US warships sail through Taiwan Strait -- SCMP

Japan navy officers attend maritime security ceremony in South Korea -- UPI

South Korea to build destroyers that can be fitted with missile interceptors -- UPI

India to Test Fire Air-Launched BrahMos-A Supersonic Cruise Missile Soon -- Sputnik

How Many People Died In The Last Stronghold Of ISIS?

More than 6,500 civilians have fled Baghouz, the Islamic State (IS) group’s final enclave in eastern Syria, since Tuesday. Among them were some 200 IS fighters, according to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia currently facing down the militant group (AFP)

Daily Beast: The Obliteration of Baghouz: How Many People Died in the Last Stronghold of ISIS?

It is clear the U.S.-led coalition vastly underestimated the number of civilians trapped with ISIS in its last Syrian redoubt.

Their images are by now well known: the thousands of women and children who emerged from ISIS’s last stronghold, now housed in the al Hol detention camp in Northwest Syria. According to Kurdish forces, these are the wives and children of foreign fighters, and their future hangs in the balance.

Yet out of the town of al Baghouz from which they staggered—a town which the U.S.-led Coalition effectively destroyed—also came an estimated 60,000 Iraqi and Syrian women and children, survivors of the last battle of a five year air and ground campaign to obliterate the so-called Islamic State as a territorial entity.

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WNU Editor: There will be an investigation and accounting one day, but not today. When the fighting has stopped and Syria is stable and rebuilt, that is probably when a more thorough investigation and report will be made on what happened in the Baghouz.

Is China's Navy Tipping The Balance In The Pacific?

Warships and fighter jets of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy take part in a military display in the South China Sea April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

Reuters: China's vast fleet is tipping the balance in the Pacific

TAIPEI (Reuters) - A generation ago, from mid-1995 into early 1996, China lobbed missiles in the waters around Taiwan as the self-governing island prepared to hold its first fully democratic presidential election. Washington forcefully intervened to support its ally, sending two aircraft carrier battle groups to patrol nearby. The carriers, then as now the spearhead of American power, intimidated Beijing. The vote went ahead. The missiles stopped.

Today, with tension again running high, Washington still backs Taiwan. Chinese President Xi Jinping on January 2 renewed Beijing’s longstanding threat to use force if necessary to restore mainland control over the island. But the United States is now sending much more muted signals of support.

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WNU Editor: They have certainly tipped it in the western Pacific, and they will probably dominate it within a decade.

Japan Has A New Emperor

BBC: Emperor Akihito: Japanese monarch declares historic abdication

Japan's Emperor Akihito has declared his abdication in a historic ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

In his last public address as emperor, Akihito handed over the symbols of power and thanked the public for their support during his 30-year reign.

The 85-year-old was given permission to abdicate after saying he felt unable to fulfil his role because of his age and declining health.

He is the first Japanese monarch to stand down in more than 200 years.

Akihito technically remained emperor until midnight (15:00 GMT on Tuesday).

His eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, formally ascends the throne later on Wednesday. A new era - called Reiwa, meaning order and harmony - will begin in Japan's unique calendar.

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More News On The Abdication Of Japan's Emperor Akihito 

Emperor Akihito abdicates today, closing curtain on 30-year Heisei era -- The Mainichi
Emperor announces abdication as Japan marks end of era -- AP
Japan rings in new era as Naruhito becomes emperor -- AFP
Japan's emperor prays for peace in first abdication in 200 years -- Reuters
Emperor Akihito becomes first Japanese monarch to abdicate in 200 years -- CNN
Emperor Akihito, Japan's 'Surprising Pacifist,' Steps Down After 30 Years -- NPR
A look back at Japanese Emperor Akihito's three-decade reign -- France 24

International Reaction To The Uprising In Venezuela

Newsweek: Russia’s Putin Meets Top Security Officials as U.S. Supports ‘Attempted Coup’ in Venezuela

Russian President Vladimir Putin has convened a meeting of his top national security officials as the U.S. expressed its support for a new push to overthrow the government of Venezuela.

Venezuelan Parliament speaker Juan Guaidó, who declared himself interim president in January with the backing of the U.S. and its allies, escalated the ongoing political crisis facing the country by calling on Tuesday for an uprising by the military, which has so far remained loyal to President Nicolás Maduro.

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More News On The International Reaction To The Uprising In Venezuela

Russia accuses Venezuelan opposition of resorting to violence -- Reuters
Venezuelan opposition aims to escalate violence in the country, says Cuban leader -- TASS
‘We must be vigilant & united’: Bolivia's president emerges in support of Maduro -- RT
It would end in ‘blood loss’: Mexico, Cuba urge end to coup attempt in Venezuela -- RT
Turkey criticizes Venezuelan opposition call for uprising -- Reuters
Brazil's Bolsonaro backs Venezuela uprising, says country 'enslaved by dictator' -- Reuters
U.N. chief urges 'maximum restraint' in Venezuela to avoid violence -- Reuters

U.S. White House Officials Voice Support For The Coup Attempt In Venezuela

The Guardian: US declares support for Venezuela coup attempt

The US has declared its support for Juan Guaidó as he called for the Venezuelan military to join an uprising against the government of Nicolás Maduro.

The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, tweeted a message in support of what he called “the start of Operación Libertad”.

“The US Government fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy. Democracy cannot be defeated,” Pompeo said.

The vice-president, Mike Pence, also went on to Twitter to egg on the protesters:

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U.S. Officials Voice Support For The Coup Attempt In Venezuela

‘We are with you!’ US says of Venezuela opposition uprising -- AP
Trump administration declares support for Venezuela uprising against Maduro: 'We are with you!' -- FOX News
Trump aides back unfolding Venezuela coup attempt -- Politico
U.S. military says monitoring Venezuela events, no change in mission -- Reuters
Bolton calls on Venezuelan military to ‘protect the constitution’ by backing Guaido coup attempt -- RT

Venezuelan President Maduro Says The Army Is Loyal To Him

RT: Venezuela’s Maduro says military commanders have ‘total loyalty’ amid coup attempt

All military commanders of Venezuela are loyal to the government, President Nicolas Maduro assured amid an attempted military coup, declared by US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Maduro, who is considered an ‘usurper’ by his challenger, said that he had spoken to all senior military officers of the country’s armed forces, who assured him of their “total loyalty to the constitution and to the homeland.” He called on his supporters to mobilize in the face of the latest attempt by Guaido to seize power in Caracas.

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WNU Editor: Venezuela's opposition leaders are on the streets rallying support. President Nicolas Maduro is hunkered in his Presidential Palace on the phone protected by Cuban and Russian security contractors. Who is going to succeed?

More News On Venezuelan President Maduro And His Ministers Saying The Army Is Loyal To The Government

Venezuela's Maduro says he has loyalty of military leaders -- Reuters
'They've Shown Total Loyalty': Maduro Says He Has Spoken With Military Leaders -- Sputnik
Venezuela defense minister says 'act of violence partly defeated' -- Reuters
Venezuela's defence minister rejects 'coup attempt' by Guaido -- Al Jazeera
Venezuelan defense minister says army stands with President Maduro, denounces Guaido as traitor -- RT
Venezuela’s armed forces loyal to Maduro, says defense minister -- TASS
Venezuela will be able to resist US-backed coup, says top diplomat -- TASS

Unrest In Caracus -- Photo Gallery

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez raises his fist to the crowd of supporters in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Manaure Quintero/Reuters)

The Guardian: Unrest in Caracas - in pictures

The Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó took to the streets with activist Leopoldo López and a small contingent of heavily armed soldiers early on Tuesday in a call for the military to rise up and oust the socialist leader, Nicolás Maduro. Events started when Guaidó appeared in an early morning video surrounded by heavily armed soldiers backed by armoured vehicles. Guaidó said soldiers who had taken to the streets were protecting Venezuela’s constitution. Information minister Jorge Rodríguez said on Twitter that Maduro’s government was confronting a small ‘coup attempt’ led by military ‘traitors’ backed by rightwing opponents.

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Update #1: PHOTOS: Attempted coup in Venezuela as troops join opposition leaders on the streets (Yahoo News)
Update #2: Venezuela Uprising 2019: Photos of Soldiers, Protesters in Caraca (Bloomberg)

WNU Editor: There are going to be more pictures later on.

Is A Coup Underway In Venezuela?

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, talks to supporters in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

WNU Editor: I have seen my share of uprisings, and this is the real thing. The next 24 hours will be critical on what happens to the Maduro government, and the success (or failure) of this coup attempt. I personally think this coup attempt is happening too soon. The Army leadership is still loyal to the Maduro government, and they are critical if the opposition want to get rid of Maduro. I was also surprised to see opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez on the streets standing beside Juan Guaido. He was in prison, but freed when his supporters stormed the prison to release him this morning. He is enormously popular in Venezuela, and his support for the uprising will rally a lot of people.

Chaos In Venezuela After Venezuela's Juan Guaido Calls For A Military Uprising. Clashes Between Military Units Reported

Daily Mail: Heavy gunfire breaks out and terrified civilians run through clouds of tear gas for cover after Venezuela's Juan Guaido calls for military uprising, sparking clashes with troops loyal to Maduro

* Juan Guaido called for uprising against Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday from the La Carlota airbase in Caracas
* Guaido made the announcement surrounded by troops who then began setting up a defensive perimeter
* Maduro's forces fired tear gas before a heavy exchange of gunfire, with protesters caught in the middle
* US, which backs Guaido, said President was aware while Putin, backing Maduro, was in talks with top officials

Heavy gunfire crackled through the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on Tuesday after opposition leader Juan Guaido called for a military uprising to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido urged protesters and members of the military to join what he called the 'final phase of Operation Liberty' in a video taken at La Carlota airbase in the capital Caracas while surrounded by heavily-armed soldiers.

The troops then set up defensive positions around the base before Maduro's forces arrived and opened fire with teargas followed by live rounds, according to witnesses.

Guaido claimed that Maduro had lost the support of the military, but the President said he had spoken with his officers who had assured him of their 'total loyalty'.

'Nerves of steel!,' Maduro said on Twitter. 'I call for maximum popular mobilization to assure the victory of peace. We will win!'

Read more ....

Venezuela Live Updates

The Latest: Internet restrictions reported in Venezuela -- AP
Venezuela opposition leader claims coup is under way – live news -- The Guardian
Live: Venezuela's opposition leader Guaido claims support of soldiers in Caracas -- France 24
Political turmoil in Venezuela: Live Updates -- Reuters
Venezuela's uprising: Live Updates -- CNN
Venezuela in crisis: All the latest updates -- Al Jazeera

More News On Reports That A Coup Is Underway In Venezuela

Venezuela's Guaidó accused of coup attempt by government -- BBC
Venezuela’s Guaido takes to streets in military uprising -- AP
Venezuela's Guaido urges troops to rise against Maduro, violence breaks out -- Reuters
Venezuela's Guaido calls for uprising in video with troops -- DW
Watch: Firefight reported between Guaido supporters and Maduro supporters -- Jerusalem Post/Reuters
Tear gas fired at Venezuela's Guaido while gathered with men in military uniform: witness -- Reuters
US-backed Guaido calls for Venezuela military uprising in VIDEO of him surrounded by soldiers -- RT
Venezuela: Guaidó supporters flock to military base in new bid to oust Maduro -- The Guardian
Venezuela National Guard vehicle runs over protesters in Caracas: Reuters TV -- Reuters
WATCH tear gas fired on highway near Caracas air base where Guaido appeared in video with soldiers -- RT
Venezuelan opposition barricades streets in Caracas -- TASS
Caracas Metro Partially Closes Amid Coup Attempt in Venezuela -- Sputnik

Editor's Note

Facing a deadline on a project right now. Blogging will return in a few hours.

Tweets for Today

Picture Of The Day

A group of Kuchi boys are stripping pieces of metal from former Soviet tanks, abandoned by the Red Army and later used again by the Mudjaheddin under the command of Ahmad Shah Massoud in their fight for control over the plains of Shomali

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... Powerful images capture the effect years of war has had on Afghanistan's children as they pose with rifles, play with spent shells and clamber over tanks (Daily Mail).

Monday, April 29, 2019

NATO And The U.S. Prepare For Any Russian Aggression Off The Coast Of Norway

Trident Juncture 2018 will take place on land, sea, and in the air over the Baltic and Norwegian seas as well as Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Norwegian armed forces

CBS/60 Minutes: How NATO and the U.S. are preparing for any Russian aggression off the coast of Norway

David Martin reports from north of the Arctic Circle, where, for the first time in decades, the United States has sent a carrier strike group to participate in war games.

NATO, which just marked its 70th anniversary, is widely considered the gold standard of military alliances, binding countries on both sides of the Atlantic in common cause against Russian aggression. But President Trump complains that other members of the alliance don't pay their fair share of what it costs to defend Europe against the intimidation tactics of Vladimir Putin. The president has told aides he doesn't see the point of the alliance and has even mentioned withdrawing from NATO. Despite those misgivings, the U.S. and its NATO allies have been steadily increasing the frequency and size of their military exercises. Last fall, NATO held the largest one yet in Norway, one of the countries President Trump has singled out for failing to spend enough on defense. You might not think of Norway, which has a tiny military, as a vital NATO ally, but we found a country that is on the front lines with Russia and serves as NATO's eyes and ears in the High North.

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WNU Editor: In the event of war Russia will focus their energies on the eastern front, and preparing the use of their nuclear arsenal. Norway will just be an after-thought.

Is Russia Getting The U.S. Message?

The Abraham Lincoln and John C. Stennis carrier strike groups conducted carrier strike force operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. (MC3 Jeremiah Bartelt/U.S. Navy)

Matthew Bodner, Defense News: US rolls ‘100K tons of international diplomacy’ into the Med. Will Russia get the message?

ABOARD THE CARRIER ABRAHAM LINCOLN IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA — A commercial airline pilot has a lot of leeway on landing. Airport runways are long and wide, and the flight crew has time to get things just right before setting the wheels down gently. On an aircraft carrier, this is not the case. One minute you are flying, and the next moment — before your body can work out what it is enduring — you are not.

Defense News experienced a carrier landing firsthand on April 23, hitting the deck of the Abraham Lincoln aboard a U.S. Navy C-2A Greyhound aircraft with U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman and Adm. James Foggo, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe. The purpose of the visit was twofold — to kick off a dual-carrier exercise with sister ship John C. Stennis on April 24, and to deliver a sternly worded message to Russia: Stand down.

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WNU Editor: Is the U.S. getting the message? That this is no longer a uni-polar world with the U.S. at the head. I think some do. But we are creatures of habit, and we will repeat what we think works. And while it may be impressive to send a carrier strike group into the Mediterranean Sea, the old ways of conducting diplomacy by using the military as your hammer will not have the impact that many in Washington are hoping for.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 29, 2019


Karim Sadjadpour, The Atlantic: The High-Stakes Confrontation Between Trump and Khamenei

Neither leader appears to want escalating conflict—yet that’s precisely where things seem to be headed.

President Donald Trump doesn’t want conflict. Ayatollah Khamenei doesn’t want economic collapse. Yet that is where things are headed.

Put yourself in the shoes of Iran’s 80-year-old supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. His regime is beset by nearly 50 percent inflation, a collapsed currency, persistent labor strikes, and an irrepressible women’s-rights movement. Epic floods recently killed more than 75 people and caused nearly $3 billion in damage. A locust plague is threatening 300,000 hectares—$9 billion worth—of farming land. “Things have never been this bad” is a refrain commonly heard from Iran these days.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 29, 2019

Why Russia, Iran seek deeper ties with North Korea -- Lewis Sanders IV, DW

Explainer: What's at stake for Libya's oil as conflict flares? -- Ahmad Ghaddar and Aidan Lewis, Reuters

An Afghan peace on whose terms? -- The Diplomat

The Middle East comes to Sri Lanka -- A.J. Caschetta, The Hill

From 9/11 to Sri Lanka: the terrorists’ deadly message we have failed to grasp -- Jason Burke, The Guardian

A look back at Japanese Emperor Akihito's three-decade reign -- France 24

Jakarta fired up over clash with Vietnam vessels -- Asia Times

Spain's socialist PSOE party mulls next move after victory without majority -- Sam Jones, The Guardian

A Cold War solution for Serbia and Kosovo? -- Nenad Kreizer & Darko Janjevic, DW

The Spies Who Came In From the Continent -- Calder Walton, Foreign Policy

Spanish PM's three options after election win -- France 24

Freedom and democracy are under siege. The West must step up -- Stan Grant, ABC News Online

World News Briefs -- April 29, 2019 (Evening Edition)

DW: Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi appears in new video

For the first time in five years, the leader of IS has appeared on video. He talks about recent incidents, including the fall of Baghouz last month, and praises the Sri Lanka attacks.

The leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, appeared in new video published by the Islamist terror group on Monday.

In the 18-minute clip, a bearded man is seen sitting in casual conversation with three other people, whose faces are blurred.

Read more ....


Syrian refugees risk journey home amid dire situation in Lebanon.

Israel frees two Syrian prisoners after return of soldier's body.

Iraq demands apology after Bahraini FM calls al-Sadr a 'dog'.

Trump, Erdogan discuss working group on Russian S-400 missile system.

Pompeo defends US support for Saudis in Yemen as 'in America's best interest'.

Suspected UAE spy arrested in Turkey commits suicide: state media.

Suspected UAE spy 'kills himself in Turkish prison'.


Indonesia and Vietnam vessels collide in South China Sea, 12 detained.

Ghani opens meeting in Kabul to discuss Taliban peace talks.

Eight nominees submit applications to run for Kazakh President.

East Sri Lanka on edge after Easter bombers linked to region.

Sri Lanka bans face veils after Easter terror attacks.

India elections: Voting under way, reports of clashes.

Indonesia election: More than 270 election staff die counting votes.

Indonesia's planning minister announces capital city move.

Rodrigo Duterte tells Canada to take its garbage back or he will dump it ‘on your beautiful beaches’.


Air raids trap civilians in Libyan capital Tripoli. Airstrikes, roadblocks trap civilians in Libya’s Tripoli.

UN Libya envoy warns against backing strongman Haftar.

Gunmen kill pastor, worshippers in Burkina Faso church.

South Sudan hires U.S. lobbyists to help block war crimes court: contract.

Sudan's army rulers, protesters differ on joint council make-up.

DR Congo opposition leader calls for removal of president.

South Africa marks Freedom Day, apartheid ended 25 years ago.

Tropical Cyclone Kenneth death toll rises to 38 in Mozambique, officials say. Mozambique flooding 'worse than thought': UN agency.


Socialists win Spain election; far-right party to make debut in parliament.

Spain election: Socialists consider next move after elections.

Ukraine's president-elect rejects Russian passport plan.

French police arrest four suspected terrorists over 'extremely violent' plot against security forces ahead of May Day yellow vest protests.

Thousands protest replacement of Czech justice minister.

Russian reserves hit highest level since 2014.

Majority of Russians oppose ‘sovereign internet’ bill – poll.


Trump blasts Biden as he hits 2020 trail.

Secretary of State Pompeo says Russia will still be meddling 'in 2050'.

Pompeo says Maduro's inner circle looking for exit strategy in Venezuela.

US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein quits.

US blasts Guyana for honoring 'terrorist' convicted in JFK bomb plot.

'Completely avoidable' measles outbreak hits 25-year high in US.


US hits Islamic State in northern Somalia.

Guantánamo Bay prison commander fired after investigation.

ISIL fighters' families stage German protest for their return.

Yazidis to accept ISIL rape survivors, but not their children.


US stocks tread water ahead of more earnings, Fed.

U.S. sanctions on Iran, Venezuela set up crunch for heavier oil.

Mnuchin on US-China trade talks: We are getting 'into the final laps'.

Boeing safety system not at fault, says chief executive.

'Avengers' finale shatters records with $1.2 billion debut.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 29, 2019

Reuters: Global military spending at new post-Cold War high, fueled by U.S., China: think-tank

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Global military expenditure reached its highest level last year since the end of the Cold War, fueled by increased spending in the United States and China, the world’s two biggest economies, a leading defense think-tank said on Monday.

In its annual report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said overall global military spending in 2018 hit $1.82 trillion, up 2.6 percent on the previous year.

That is the highest figure since 1988, when such data first became available as the Cold War began winding down.

U.S. military spending rose 4.6 percent last year to reach $649 billion, leaving it still by far the world’s biggest spender. It accounted for 36 percent of total global military expenditure, nearly equal to the following eight biggest-spending countries combined, SIPRI said.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 29, 2019

US and China account for almost half of world's military spending, report says -- CNN

Global Military Expenditures Are Up, Driven By Top 2 Spenders — U.S. And China -- NPR

SIPRI: Global military spending 'highest since Cold War' -- Al Jazeera

Russia drops out of top 5 global military spenders while US and China up the ante -- CNBC

We can't stay 'stagnant': Navy chief defends decision to decommission aircraft carrier -- Washington Examiner

F-35s Only? The U.S. Marines Have a Long Way to Go -- National Interest

There’s a new general in charge of the Army’s efforts to revamp basic training and fitness -- Army Times

Microsoft, Amazon Leading The Way To The Pentagon’s Multi-Cloud Environment -- National Interest

Musk to Pentagon: SpaceX ‘Missed the Mark’ on a Launch Bid -- Bloomberg

Navy Launches Safety Review After 2 Navy Recruits Die at Boot Camp Within 8 Weeks -- Military.com

US Navy warships pass through Taiwan Strait -- DW

Trump, Erdogan discuss working group on Russian S-400 -- Al Jazeera

US, Turkey play chicken over Russia -- The Hill

Blackwater founder Erik Prince's new company has reportedly set up shop in Iraq. His old company was kicked out for murdering civilians. -- Business Insider

Poland acquires AW101 helos for Navy under $430M deal -- Defense News

Germany to train Saudi soldiers despite Yemen war concerns -- DW

Whale with harness could be Russian weapon, say Norwegian experts -- The Guardian

China Has Its Very Own B-52 Like Bomber (With 'Russian DNA') -- National Interest

China’s latest class of warship makes its public debut -- Defense News

Bangladesh Navy receives final two Chinese-made Type C13B corvettes -- Jane's 360

Afghanistan’s Hired Guns -- US News and World Report

Can the Pentagon sell Silicon Valley on AI as ethical war? -- Kelsey D. Atherton, C4ISRNet

This Is How B-2 Bomber Pilots Pull Off 33-Hour Flights

Defense News: Here’s how B-2 bomber pilots pull off gruelling 33-hour flights

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. — Being a B-2 pilot means experiencing the rush of takeoff and the pressure of weapons drops while flying in the nation’s only stealth bomber. But it also involves having to manage nap times with your co-pilot during daylong-plus flights.

“After you do a few [long-duration flights], anything under 20 hours doesn’t seem like a big deal,” said Capt. Chris “Thunder” Beck, a former B-52 pilot who recently graduated from B-2 pilot training school. Beck spoke to journalist and Defense News contributor Jeff Bolton during a visit to Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

Beck has yet to conduct a long-endurance flight in the B-2 Spirit, the stealth bomber produced by Northrop Grumman and introduced to the U.S. Air Force’s inventory in 1997. However, he got used to long missions while flying in the B-52, with one especially extended haul taking him from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, to Japan, and then back.

Read more ....

WNU editor: I have been on a few 15 hour flights .... and they killed me. I can only imagine what a 33-hour flight would do.

Update: On a side note .... How to build the ‘Mr. Potato Bomb’ for the B-2 (Defense News)