Thursday, April 30, 2020

Top Coronavirus Model Predicts 100,000 Americans Dead By The End Of This Summer's First Wave

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Daily Mail: Top coronavirus model predicts 100,000 Americans dead by the end of this summer's first wave - as death toll passes Trump's best case scenario of 60,000 dead

* The MOBS model from the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University predicts that 100,000 Americans will have died from COVID-19 by the end of summer
* It also estimates that there will be about 89,000 deaths by mid-May if stay-at-home orders remain in place
* That death toll would increase to over one million in an unmitigated scenario, according to the projections that are among those used by the CDC to forecast the pandemic
* As of Wednesday, the US death toll is now at 61,000 and there are more than one million infections
* Trump, in recent weeks, had suggested that 60,000 might be the total death count from COVID-19

A top coronavirus model is predicting that 100,000 Americans will have died from COVID-19 by the end of the summer - as the US death toll surpasses President Donald Trump's best case scenario of 60,000 deaths.

The MOBS model from the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University also estimates that there will be about 89,000 deaths by mid-May if stay-at-home orders remain in place.

That death toll would increase to over one million in an unmitigated scenario, according to the projections that are among those used by the CDC to forecast the pandemic.

The director of the institute responsible for the MOBS model, Alessandro Vespignani, is estimating that 100,000 will die by the end of the 'first wave' at the end of summer.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The twitter stream below is a must read. The author examines how many more people than usual have been dying around the world in recent weeks? Answer. Far more than what is being reported.

Anti-Lockdown Protesters Armed With Rifles Storm Michigan's Senate Gallery While Lawmakers Vote Against Extending The State Of Emergency

A militia group with no political affiliation stands in front of the governors office after protesters occupied the state Capitol building.

Daily Mail: Incredible scenes at Michigan Capitol as anti-lockdown protesters armed with rifles storm Senate gallery while lawmakers wearing BULLETPROOF VESTS vote against extending Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's state of emergency

* Demonstrators gathered at Michigan's state Capitol Thursday to protest Gov Gretchen Whitmer's lockdown
* Many people at the protest, including militia group members carrying firearms, stormed the Capitol building
* Men held guns while waiting for state's House of Representatives to vote on Whitmer's state of emergency
* Senators wore bulletproof vests in the House Chamber as protesters shouted from outside: 'Let us in!'
* Ultimately, lawmakers denied the governor's request and passed a resolution authorizing the Speaker of the House to commence legal action, which will challenge the governor's actions during the pandemic
* 'American Patriot Rally' was organized by Michigan United for Liberty, and drew in hundreds of people

Lawmakers were seen wearing bulletproof vests as armed protesters stormed Michigan's Capitol in Lansing just moments before the state's House of Representatives denied Gov Gretchen Whitmer's request to extend her state of emergency.

Photos from inside the Michigan House Chamber showed elected officials wearing bulletproof vests while men holding guns stood above them.

'Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today,' Sen Dayna Polehanki tweeted Thursday afternoon.

In Michigan, guns are permitted inside the state's Capitol as long as they are visible and carried with lawful intent.

Read more ....

WNU editor: I understand why they are frustrated and angry. But this is not right. The U.S. is still a democracy, and Gov Gretchen Whitmer was elected democratically. If you do not agree with her, vote her out in the next election.

More News On Anti-Lockdown Protesters Armed With Rifles Storming Michigan's Senate Gallery

Hundreds protest in Michigan seeking end to governor's emergency powers -- Reuters
Hundreds of protesters, some carrying guns in the state Capitol, demonstrate against Michigan's emergency measures -- NBC
Protesters, some armed, spill into Michigan Capitol building demanding end to stay-at-home order -- ABC News
Protesters Took To The Michigan Capital Thursday Against Governor’s Stay At Home Order -- CBS Detroit

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin Tells Putin He Has The Coronavirus. Goes Into Quarantine For 14 Days

© Sputnik/Dmitry Astakhov/Pool via REUTERS

RT: Russian Prime Minister Mishustin tests positive for coronavirus as national total tops 100,000 cases

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has been diagnosed with Covid-19. The news was announced on Thursday evening, live on national television, during a video link with President Vladimir Putin.

First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov will step in as interim head of government during Mishustin’s recovery.

It appears Mishustin - who replaced Dmitry Medvedev as Prime Minister in January - received the result of his test while at work. Earlier in the day, he headed a governmental session, conducted remotely. His diagnosis makes him the second major world leader known to have contracted the infection - after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has been hands on in handling this pandemic in Russia. Cannot say that I am surprised that he is now infected.

More News On Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin Telling Putin He Has The Coronavirus

Russian PM Mishustin says tested positive for coronavirus -- TASS
Russian Prime Minister Tests Positive for Coronavirus -- Sputnik
Coronavirus: Russian PM Mishustin tests positive for virus -- BBC
Russian prime minister says he tested positive for virus -- AP
Russian PM Mishustin is diagnosed with coronavirus as country reaches grim double milestone of 1,000 Covid-19 deaths and 100,000 cases -- Daily Mail
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin tells Putin he has coronavirus -- Reuters

Unsealed FBI Handwritten Notes And Emails Disclose How FBI And US Justice Department Officials Were Plotting A Perjury Trap Of Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn

SaraCarter: Powell: Unsealed FBI Handwritten Notes And Emails Reveal Agents Plotted Perjury Trap On Flynn

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan unsealed four pages of stunning FBI emails and handwritten notes Wednesday, regarding former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, which allegedly reveal the retired three star general was targeted by senior FBI officials for prosecution, stated Flynn’s defense attorney Sidney Powell. Those notes and emails revealed that the retired three-star general appeared to be set up for a perjury trap by the senior members of the bureau and agents charged with investigating the now-debunked allegations that President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia, said Sidney Powell, the defense lawyer representing Flynn.

Moreover, the Department of Justice released 11 more pages of documents Wednesday afternoon, according to Powell.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Why has it taken this long to release these documents? We have learned in the past few years on the corruption and politicization of the Justice Department that would make what happened with Watergate pale in comparison. But these communications go to a whole different level. We basically have senior Justice Department officials deliberately targeting President-elect Trump officials, and they felt completely comfortable to write handwritten notes and emails detailing their intentions without any worry that they may one day be made public. Talk about having a sense of entitlement and confidence that they are untouchable. These corrupt officials need to be held accountable for the great harm that they have done to the FBI and the Justice Department, and we need to know if their superiors and the White House were aware of this. I am willing to bet that they were.

Update: Not surprised that this is now happening. Much of the main stream media is burying this news, and opponents of President Trump are circling the wagons to justify what these officials did .... Trump says new FBI notes exonerate Michael Flynn, analysts say that's not the case (USA Today). More here .... The ‘Bombshell’ That Wasn’t? Lawyers Say the FBI’s Tactics in Michael Flynn Case Were ‘Routine’ (Law and Crime). I always enjoy watching people try to justify the unjustifiable.

Update #2: He was not the only one .... "Don't Close RAZOR": Flynn FBI Setup Continues To Unravel As Texts Reveal Strzok Went Off The Rails (Zero Hedge).

More News On The Unsealed FBI Handwritten Notes And Emails That Discloses How FBI And US Justice Department Officials Were Plotting A Perjury Trap Of Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn

FBI discussed interviewing Michael Flynn 'to get him to lie' and 'get him fired,' handwritten notes show -- FOX News
Mike Flynn was CLEARED by the FBI of being a Russian asset days before interview when he lied to investigators but case was kept open by FBI lover Peter Strzok, new files reveal -- Daily Mail
FBI closed Flynn case in early 2017, but Peter Strzok ordered it to stay open: Court documents -- Washington Times
GOP lawmakers rush to defend Flynn, attack FBI -- The Hill
"Something Far More Troubling Here" - Trump Rages At Docs Exposing FBI Entrapment Of General Flynn -- Zero Hedge

Libyan Forces Laying Seige To Tripoli Have Agreed To A Ceasefire During Ramadan. Government In Tripoli Has Said No

The Guardian: Eastern Libyan forces have agreed a ceasefire during Ramadan

All military operations across Libya have stopped in response to international appeals.

Eastern Libyan forces laying siege to the country’s capital of Tripoli have agreed on a humanitarian pause in fighting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Ahmed al-Mismari, a spokesman for the forces of military commander Khalifa Hiftar, said at a news conference that they have stopped all military operations across Libya in response to international appeals for a humanitarian truce so authorities could focus on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

The recent round of fighting in war-torn Libya began last April when Hiftar’s forces launched an offensive trying to take Tripoli, clashing with an array of militias loosely allied with the UN-supported, but weak, government in the capital.

Read more ....

Update #1: Libya's renegade commander Khalifa Haftar announces Ramadan truce (Al Jazeera)
Update #2: Haftar’s LNA announces ceasefire in Libya during Ramadan (Middle East Monitor)

WNU Editor: The international recognized government in Tripoli has rejected this ceasefire call .... Tripoli government rejects rebel general's ceasefire offer in Libya (The Guardian).

President Trump Says China Wants Him To Lose His Bid For Re-Election

Reuters: Exclusive: Trump says China wants him to lose his bid for re-election

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid in November.

In an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office, Trump talked tough on China and said he was looking at different options in terms of consequences for Beijing over the virus. “I can do a lot,” he said.

Trump has been heaping blame on China for a global pandemic that has killed at least 60,000 people in the United States according to a Reuters tally, and thrown the U.S. economy into a deep recession, putting in jeopardy his hopes for another four-year term.

Read more ....

Update #1: Coronavirus: Trump says China wants him to lose re-election -- Reuters
Update #2: Trump says China will 'do anything' to have him lose in 2020 -- FOX News

WNU Editor: China has been meddling in the internal affairs of other countries forever .... China Says It Has No Interest in Meddling in U.S. Election (NYT). In regards to President Trump, Beijing definitely see him as an existential threat to their rule and are banking on the Democrats and a President Biden to remove tariffs and restrictions on Chinese imports. They are going to do everything in their power to make sure he is defeated in November. In the meantime China, to the surprise of no one, is denying these claims (see above video).

Persian Gulf Rulers In Peril As Economic Shocks Continue

Saudi Arabia is being blamed for the instability in the oil markets following its move in March to force prices down (AFP)

Middle East Monitor: 'Dangerous crossroads': Gulf rulers in peril as economic shocks continue

Drop in oil prices and hit from coronavirus are exposing unwise policies and raising fears of a plunge into violence

Nearly two months ago, before the global spread of the coronavirus, Riyadh made a bold gambit to slash oil prices.

The Saudis knew it was going to hit their bottom line – their break-even oil price to balance the budget – but they did not foresee such a dramatic slump in demand as the global economy ground to a halt.

Economists described the impact on Middle Eastern economies as a “dual shock”.

Last week, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil, the US benchmark for the commodity, entered negative price territory for the first time in history, economically impacting Gulf oil producers yet again, albeit in a lesser, but third shock.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: All of the Gulf states are facing the same crisis, their financial revenue streams have collapsed .... Saudi Arabia blows through foreign reserves as budget woes mount (Al Jazeera). And with oil producers now producing 30 to 40 million barrels per day that the world does not need, these price and economic shocks are going to continue for a long time. My prediction. Stability in oil prices will only occur when the pandemic is over, and the global economy recovers. At best .... I see this only happening late 2021 or even 2022. Can these Gulf rulers survive until then? We shall see.

President Trump Is Threatening Saudi Arabia To Cut Its Oil Production Or Face Losing U.S. Military Support

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a family photo session with other leaders and attendees at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

Reuters: Special Report: Trump told Saudis: Cut oil supply or lose U.S. military support - sources

WASHINGTON/LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) - As the United States pressed Saudi Arabia to end its oil price war with Russia, President Donald Trump gave Saudi leaders an ultimatum.

In an April 2 phone call, Trump told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that unless the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) started cutting oil production, he would be powerless to stop lawmakers from passing legislation to withdraw U.S. troops from the kingdom, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The threat to upend a 75-year strategic alliance, which has not been previously reported, was central to the U.S. pressure campaign that led to a landmark global deal to slash oil supply as demand collapsed in the coronavirus pandemic - scoring a diplomatic victory for the White House.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If this was brought up a few years ago .... the U.S. cutting its military support to Saudi Arabia .... I would say that it would not happen. But we are living in a different world today, and Saudi Arabia's open "war" against American oil producers has changed this relationship. And while I still do not think the U.S. will cut-off its military support to Saudi Arabia, the fact that Washington is now openly thinking about it is unprecedented.

More News On President Trump Threatening Saudi Arabia To Cut Its Oil Production Or Face Losing U.S. Military Support

Trump Could Use ‘Nuclear Option’ To Make Saudi Arabia Pay For Oil War --
Special Report: Trump Told Saudis: Cut Oil Supply or Lose U.S. Military Support-Sources -- New York Times
Trump may make Saudi Arabia pay for US oil losses -- Middle East Monitor

Even In The Middle Of A Pandemic, U.S. Marines Continue To Train In The Persian Gulf


Warzone/The Drive: U.S. Marines Launch Mock Amphibious And Air Assaults On Saudi Islands In The Persian Gulf

The training exercises come amid a new spike in hostility with Iran, which uses its own nearby islands to stage various naval operations.

U.S. Marine Corps and Navy forces recently conducted mock amphibious and air assaults on a pair of small islands in the Persian Gulf that belong to Saudi Arabia. The exercise came just days after a swarm of small Iranian boats performed dangerously provocative maneuvers around a number of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels during training elsewhere in this same body of water.

The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and the Navy's Bataan Amphibious Ready Group conducted the exercises on Karan and Kurayn Islands between Apr. 20 and 22, 2020. For its present deployment, the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group includes the Wasp class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, the San Antonio class landing platform dock USS New York, and the Harpers Ferry class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill. It is also receiving support from the Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Stout.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Considering how tense the Persian Gulf and the Middle East is right now, pandemic or not the military needs to be on guard.

Tweets For Today

U.S. Secretary Of State Pompeo: We 'Havn't Seen' North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Recently. Famine A Real Risk In North Korea

Image: Secretary Pompeo Participates in an Interview with Fox and Friends - U.S. Department of State - United States government work

NKNews: U.S. “closely” watching North Korea for famine, COVID-19: Pompeo

Secretary of State's comments come amid DPRK claims of no coronavirus cases, UN warnings of food insecurity in the North.

The U.S. is “closely” watching North Korea for signs of a COVID-19 outbreak or a famine, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday in an interview on Fox News.

The comments come amid recent reports of panic buying at some grocery stores in Pyongyang, new Chinese trade data showing a massive drop in food exports to the North, and ongoing worries that North Korea may be suffering in silence from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pyongyang has repeatedly denied having any coronavirus infections within its borders — a claim many experts and officials have said is impossible.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Famine is always a risk in North Korea.

More News On U.S. Secretary Of State Pompeo's Remarks On North Korea

US 'hasn't seen' North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently, Mike Pompeo -- BBC
Pompeo says no sight of North Korea's Kim, real risk of famine in country -- Reuters
‘We haven’t seen him’: Pompeo says no sign of Kim Jong Un -- NYPost
Pompeo says US mission in North Korea 'remains the same' regardless of leadership, amid conflicting reports on Kim Jong Un -- FOX News

Picture Of The Day

Michael Neel, funeral director of All Veterans Funeral and Cremation, wearing full PPE, looks at the U.S. flag on the casket of George Trefren, a 90-year-old Korean War veteran who died of the coronavirus disease in a nursing home, in Denver, Colorado, April 23. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... World races to contain coronavirus pandemic (Reuters).

45 Years Ago The U.S. Evacuated Saigon

American Military News: US Marines release video for 45th anniversary of Saigon evacuation

On April 29, 1975, the U.S. military launched Operation Frequent Wind, where the last U.S. forces were airlifted out of Vietnam.

In recognition of the 45 anniversary, the U.S. Marine Corps posted a video on Wednesday documenting the evacuation mission in the last days of the Vietnam War. The evacuation mission saw the last U.S. personnel and at-risk Vietnamese citizens carried out of South Vietnam amid the fall of Saigon.

The evacuation lasted from April 29 through April 30, 1975, as U.S. Marines formed a security force to protect the evacuation flights, which carried on through the night to evacuate thousands of people. U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force helicopters participated in the aerial evacuations, bringing those evacuees to U.S. Navy ships waiting offshore.

In total, the evacuation operation successfully carried out over 7,000 U.S. personnel, South Vietnamese individuals, and third country nationals.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When I look at the videos of the time. I am always struck by the fear and desperation that was on everyone's face as they tried to break into the US embassy for a desperate flight out of the country.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

UN Labor Agency: Half Of The World's Workers May See Their Livelihood Destroyed Because Of The Pandemic

CNBC: Nearly half the global workforce at risk of losing income due to the coronavirus, warns UN labor agency

* Nearly four-fifths of the total 2 billion people in informal work are at risk of losing income due to the coronavirus.
* The ILO says 305 million full-time jobs are at risk of being lost in the second quarter, up from its previous estimate of 195 million jobs.

Some 1.6 billion people in informal work, which is nearly half the global workforce, have become at risk of losing income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Labor Organisation has estimated.

This represented nearly four-fifths (76%) of the total 2 billion people in informal work and close to half of the entire workforce, of 3.3 billion people, worldwide.

The informal economy refers to jobs which typically have little protection, such as for income in case of sickness or lockdown.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have been waiting for this report for the past few weeks, and their numbers are staggering. And if the pandemic continues, it will only get worse. The political/economic/and social unrest that these job losses will cause, especially in the developing world, can only be imagined. This is what causes wars and revolutions.

More News On The ILO's Report That The Pandemic Could Leave HALF The World’s Workforce Unemployed Or Without Income

Nearly half of global workforce at risk as job losses increase due to COVID-19: UN labour agency -- UN News
Coronavirus: Half world's workers may see livelihood destroyed -- BBC
Half of world’s workers ‘at immediate risk of losing livelihood due to coronavirus’ -- The Guardian
Coronavirus could leave HALF the world’s workforce unemployed or without income, UN agency warns -- Daily Mail
Coronavirus: Nearly half of world’s workers risk losing their livelihoods over COVID-19 lockdowns -- Euronews
Half the world's workers face losing their jobs, says ILO -- Al Jazeera
Nearly half of global workforce risk losing livelihoods in pandemic: ILO -- CGTN

U.S. Air Force Says Nuclear Weapons And Stealth Bombers Remain Ready For War

A U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit over the Pacific Ocean in May 2006. Wikipedia

FOX News/Warrior Maven: Air Force says nuclear weapons and stealth bombers remain ready for war, despite COVID-19

U.S. B-2 stealth bombers and nuclear-armed ICBMs are ready to attack and defend in minutes, should America be suddenly catapulted into a massive, great-power war -- despite the perils, distractions and challenges of COVID-19, senior Air Force officials said.

“Rest assured, we have taken the necessary steps to make sure our bomber and ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] forces are ready to go and can reach any target on the planet at any time,” Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike commander, said in an Air Force statement.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Over 4,000 US military personnel have already been confirmed with Covid-19. It will only be a matter of time before personnel responsible for America's nuclear readiness are also impacted.

US Navy Sends A Second Ship Into Disputed Waters In The South China Sea

USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) transits the Philippine Sea, on March 24, 2020. US Navy Photo

Newsweek: Navy Sends Second Ship Into Disputed Waters After China Claims It Scrambled Jets to Expel U.S. Destroyer

A U.S. Navy sailed a second ship through the South China Seas this week, further challenging Beijing's claim to the disputed waters after the People's Liberation Army (PLA) claimed that it expelled the first ship amid escalating tensions over the disputed region and the global pandemic.

The USS Barry carried out the "freedom of navigation operation" on Tuesday, the Navy said in a statement to Newsweek. Their mission was to maintain the "rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law."

"Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose an unprecedented threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight and the right of innocent passage of all ships," the Navy said.

Read more ....

Update #1: US Navy ship sails through Chinese-claimed waters in South China Sea -- AFP
Update #2: USS Bunker Hill Conducts 2nd South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Operation This Week -- USNI News

WNU Editor: China meanwhile is boasting that it chased the USS Barry out of their territory in the South China Sea’s Paracel Island chain on Tuesday .... China claims it chased off a US Navy ship from contested waters in the South China Sea (War Is Boring).

US Fighter Jets Escort Russian Warplane Flying Close To American Aircraft Carrier In the Pacific

Daily Mail: Dramatic moment US fighter jets escort Russian warplane flying close to American aircraft carrier in the Pacific

* Russian patrol aircraft known as 'Dolphin' was escorted by USAF fighters
* The anti-submarine aircraft flew within 30km of an American aircraft carrier
* Russian aircraft were escorted to a safe distance by the American fighters

This is the moment a pair of US fighter jets accompany a Russian warplane flying close to an American aircraft carrier in the Pacific region.

The incident occurred when a Russian Pacific Fleet anti-submarine aircraft IL-38 flew within 30 kilometres or 18.6 miles of the George Washington aircraft carrier reportedly undetected on April 26.

After the Russian aircraft was detected three US jets, two supersonic F/A-18 Hornet fighters and an F-15 tactical fighter were scrambled to escort it to a safe distance.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The article says the Russian plane was intercepted 30 kilometres from the aircraft carrier and was escorted away. But the above video shows the Russian plane to be near the aircraft carrier. Speaking of being close. Those US jets are very very close to the Russian Ilyushin Il-38.

U.S. Air Force's X-37B Space Plane Is Preparing To Launch In May On Its Sixth Mission

The US Air Force’s mysterious space plane aims to break another record by spending longer than two years in low-Earth orbit. The X-37B is set to take off on May 16 and is not expected to return home until mid-2022 – the previous record was a 780-day mission in 2019 (pictured)

Daily Mail: Secretive Air Force X-37B space plane is launching its sixth mission in May that's expected to break its previous record of 780 days in low orbit

* The X-37B space plane is set to go on its sixth mission on May 16 from Florida
* The craft is expected to again spend more than two years in space after its prior 780-day mission
* The space plane allows the US Air Force to secretly test new technologies

The US Air Force’s mysterious space plane aims to break another record by again spending longer than two years in low-Earth orbit.

The X-37B is set to take off on May 16 and is not expected to return home until mid-2022 – the previous record was a 780-day mission that finished in 2019.

The mission, dubbed OTV-6, is set to take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, riding atop a liquid fueled Atlas V rocket.

This pilotless craft has been performing a range of classified missions for the military group since 2010, allowing the group to test new technologies in space.

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Air Force's X-37B Space Plane Preparing To Launch In May

The X-37B Spaceplane Is Gearing Up for Its Next Mission -- Popular Mechanics
ULA begins stacking rocket for next launch of U.S. military spaceplane -- SpaceFlight Now
The U.S. Air Force's X-37B Space Plane Could Soon Leave Earth for 2 Years -- National Interest

Russia Suspends All Grain Export Until July 1

© Sputnik / Sergey Averin

RFE: Russia Cuts Off Wheat, Other Grain Exports

The Russian Agriculture Ministry announced on April 26 that it was suspending its export of most grains until July 1, seemingly shrugging off warnings from international organizations who are asking countries not to disrupt global food supply chains during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The ministry said the Russian cutoff affected shipments of wheat, corn, rye, barley, and meslin, which is a mixture of wheat and rye.

It made no mention of the crisis from the coronavirus that has infected 185 countries or regions around the world and infected nearly 3 million people since emerging in central China in December 2019.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is evolving into one of my long time fears. Specifically .... we are leaving the ‘can I get food?’ demand side, and transitioning into the ‘we have the food but aren’t sure we want you to have it’ supply side. Vietnam has done it with its rice exports, and now Russia is doing it with its wheat.

More News On Russia Suspending All Grain Export Until July 1

Russia suspends grain export until July 1 -- TASS
Russia limits grain exports to avoid domestic price spikes amid global coronavirus crisis -- RT
Russia Halts Wheat Exports, Deepening Fears of Global Food Shortages -- Time/Bloomberg
Russia halts grain exports to prevent domestic food price spikes -- BNE IntelliNews
Exports of Russian wheat dry up, stoking food security concerns -- Al Jazeera
Do Russian grain export limits threaten global food security? -- RT

Russian President Putin Says The Worst Of The Pandemic Is Yet To Come

RT: Putin prolongs nationwide paid leave and partial lockdown until May 11 as daily Covid-19 infections surge

Russians will have to self-isolate until May 11, President Vladimir Putin has said, as the country braces itself for the peak of the Covid-19 epidemic, which has infected over 95,000 people nationwide.

The move, which Putin announced during a closely watched address, comes as the previous April 30 deadline was set to expire. That date was set on April 2, and involved a combination of partial lockdowns and paid holidays for all Russians working in non-essential roles.

The gradual removal of the coronavirus lockdown measures will begin from May 12, Putin said, giving the government a week to come up with recommendations on how to make it work.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Not going to happen .... Russia might ease coronavirus restrictions in two weeks (WHO).

More News On the Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In Russia

Russia’s coronavirus cases exceed 99,000 -- TASS
Russia coronavirus cases near 100,000 as Putin warns peak ahead -- Al Jazeera
A total of 65 coronavirus patients die in Moscow in past day, overall death toll at 611 -- TASS
Moscow Hospitals Overwhelmed As Russia Hits 100,000 COVID Cases, Surpassing Iran & China -- Zero Hedge
Russian President Vladimir Putin Addresses Nation on COVID-19 Situation - Video -- Sputnik
Coronavirus: Putin admits PPE shortage as lockdown extended -- BBC
Putin Says Russia Facing Difficult Stage of Epidemic, Urges Self-Isolation Extension Until 11 May -- Sputnik
Putin extends Russia's lockdown for two weeks, prepares to ease in mid-May -- Reuters
Russia’s coronavirus outbreak is getting bad. Putin says the worst is yet to come. -- VOX News
Poll Finds Russians' Trust In Putin Dips To Lowest Point In 14 Years -- RFE
Trust in Vladimir Putin Falls to 14-year Low as Russia Government Faces Criticism Over Coronavirus Response: Poll -- Newsweek
Russia Extends Entry Ban for Foreigners Over Pandemic -- AFP
Concern as coronavirus threatens Russia's closed ‘nuclear cities’ -- The Guardian
Four Weeks Into Russia's Economic Quarantine, Confusion Reigns -- Moscow Times

Germany Facing 'Its Worst Recession In History'

Daily Mail: Germany faces 'its worst recession in history'

Germany faces 'its worst recession in history': Country is set to see 6.3% drop in GDP due to coronavirus, government warns

* German GDP is expected to shrink by a record 6.3% as export demand plummets
* This year's forecast drop in GDP is worse than the global financial crisis in 2009
* If government's projection is confirmed, 2020 will mark the biggest contraction since the federal statistics authority began keeping records in 1970
* Germany could have to re-impose tough lockdown measures after the infection rate increased when restrictions were eased

The German economy will suffer the biggest slump in its history this year over the coronavirus crisis, the government warned today, pushing Europe's top economy into a painful recession.

German gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to shrink by a record 6.3 per cent as demand for exports plummets and lockdown restrictions weigh on domestic consumption, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said in Berlin.

A group of leading economists have also Germany will suffer a deep slump in the first half of this year but should rebound relatively quickly from the disruption of the virus outbreak.

Read more ....

Update: Germany faces huge economic slump due to coronavirus pandemic (DW).

WNU Editor: Germany is the economic powerhouse of Europe. It definitely is not the case today .... Coronavirus: 50,000 German retailers could go bust (DW).

Germany May Bring Back Strict Covid-19 Lockdowns As Cases Surge After Easing Restrictions

This chart shows the daily number of deaths in Germany, which rose to 202 today. The peak of 315 deaths in a day was recorded on April 16

Newsweek: As Germany Eases Lockdown Restrictions, Coronavirus Infection Rate Rises

After Germany declared the coronavirus pandemic "under control" and moved to ease lockdown restrictions, the European country's infection rate has now risen.

Earlier this month, Germany's Health Minister Jens Spahn said that the outbreak was "under control" and some stringent social distancing measures have been eased over the past few days. Some shops have been allowed to reopen and some students have returned to school for the first time in weeks. Other large businesses, such as the car manufacturer Volkswagen, have resumed some production.

But data reported late on Monday showed that the infection rate in the country has now risen to 1.0, up from 0.9, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported. The infection rate had been hovering around 0.7 in mid-April. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has previously warmed that an infection rate of 1.1 could overwhelm the country's health care system within months.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Germany was the canary in the coal mine on what would happen if restrictions are eased. We now know the answer. Cases will surge, and apparently they will surge a lot.

Update: There are some who are disputing the numbers .... Germany is not seeing rise in coronavirus cases after lockdown eased, scientist insists (Yahoo News).

More News On Concerns /That Germany May Bring Back Strict Covid-19 Lockdowns

LATEST: German coronavirus spread worsens as lockdown eases -- The Local/AFP
Germany Reports 1,304 More Coronavirus Cases, 202 More Deaths -- US News and World Report/Reuters
Germany Coronavirus Cases Surge As Some Businesses Reopen -- IBTimes
Germans urged to stay home as coronavirus infection rate edges up -- Reuters
Germans urged to stay at home amid fears Covid-19 infection rate is rising again -- The Guardian
WAVE OF FEAR Germany faces having to bring BACK strict coronavirus lockdowns as cases surge just days after easing them -- The SUN

U.S. Army Prepares Its Artillery Arm For Large-Scale Warfare

American HIMARS multiple rocket launchers during a live-fire exercise in Australia, part of the Talisman Saber 2019 wargames.

Breaking Defense: Army Rebuilds Artillery Arm For Large-Scale War

The service’s new AimPoint plan builds very different forces for Europe and the Pacific – but new high-level artillery HQs are central to both.

WASHINGTON: Call it the once and future king of battle. The Army’s artillery branch, neglected over 20 years of hunting guerrillas, is being revived as the long-range striking arm for multi-domain warfare against Russia and China. That will affect everything from what missiles the service buys, to which officers get promoted, to how the service organizes itself for battle – a force structure outlined in a new Army Futures Command study called AimPoint.

The biggest change? Having already created two experimental Multi-Domain Task Forces built around artillery brigades, the Army now plans to build new high-level headquarters called Theater Fires Commands to coordinate long-range missile warfare on a continent-wide scale.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Americans are not the only ones who are modernizing their artillery forces .... Russian Military Modernizing Its Artillery (October 20, 2019).

Germany Had The Largest Defense Budget Increase Among The World's Top 15 States In 2019

DW: SIPRI: Germany significantly increases military spending

More and more money is going toward the world's militaries, with the US and China leading the way. But no other top-spending country has increased its military expenditure year-over-year as much as Germany.

Global military expenditure reached $1.9 trillion (€1.7 trillion) in 2019, the highest annual sum in real terms since 1988. That sum marked an increase of 3.6% over 2018, the largest annual increase since 2010, according to the latest figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

In Germany, spending rose by 10% to $49.3 billion — the largest defense budget increase among the world's top 15 states when it comes to military expenditures.

Read more ....

Update: German Military Spending Up by Double Digits as World Total Hits Highest Level Since Cold War (Sputnik).

WNU Editor: I guess President Trump's threat to remove US military forces from Germany and reposition them in Poland worked, especially when the Polish government signalled that they would approve of such a deployment.

A Video Report On Kim Pyong-il, NorthKorean Leader Kim Jong-un's Uncle Amid Rumors About Kim's Poor Health

WNU editor: Kim Pyong-il was made a North Korean ambassador in his twenties, and was deliberately put to pasture for almost forty years in Europe. Bottom line. He has no power base in North Korea. He has been out of the picture for almost 40 years, and I am willing to bet that he is under some sort of "house arrest" right now in North Korea. So why the speculation that he may succeed North Korean leader Kin Jong-un. I have no answer to that. But what I find interesting about the above video are the few shots of Kim Jung-un's sister Kim Yo-Jong that shows how important she is. In the first one she is with a security official (with the ear-piece) that I have seen a few times before with either her or Kim Jong-un. Because of his age and being slightly overweight I am willing to bet that he is one of the top officers responsible for the family's security. The second one is where she is walking in a hallway. In the background the bodyguard's focus is completely on her.

On The Ground Report From Saint Petersburg In The Middle Of The Pandemic

WNU editor: Russian video-blogger Sergey Baklykov sums it up best .... Never saw Nevsky Prospect (Nevsky Avenue), the main street of Saint Petersburg, Russia like this - half-empty, nothing works except grocery stores and pharmacies. No museums, no churches, no street musicians. It may seem still many people are walking but it's not much at all compared to how usually busy it is.

The above video was made last week, and what I am seeing is 10% - 20% of the usual traffic that I am accustomed to. This morning one of my cousins who lives in Saint Petersburg told me that at 11:00 am local time, these same streets were completely empty of traffic and pedestrians.

Russias Opposition Activists Have Moved Online To Launch Protests Against Putin

Moscow Times/AFP: Russian Opposition Holds Online Protest Against Putin

Russian opposition activists avoided lockdown measures by holding an online protest on Tuesday against President Vladimir Putin's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speakers also criticized Putin's proposed constitutional changes that allow him to extend his stay in office.

But the YouTube feed experienced serious technical problems, making the speeches initially inaudible and the number of viewers was only around four thousand.

The online event was organized by a group called "The No Campaign," led by Ilya Azar, a journalist at independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and a municipal lawmaker.

The online format aimed to recreate the feeling of a street demonstration as Moscow is under a strict lockdown, Azar told AFP.

"In normal times it would be weird to organize a rally online," he said. "This is an attempt to find a new format."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am underwhelmed.

Russian Paratroopers Conduct Exercises 33,000 Feet Over The Arctic

Daily Mail: Russian paratroopers jump from 33,000ft over the Arctic as Putin expands his focus on the strategic region

* Paratroopers jumped from height of 32,808 feet from Ilyushin Il-76 airlifter
* Jump took place over Aleksandra Land, part of archipelago of Franz Josef Land
* The soldiers were wearing 'special parachute systems' and oxygen equipment
* Russian president Vladimir Putin has focused on the Arctic region in recent years

Russian paratroopers wearing oxygen masks and white camouflage jumped 33,000ft out of a plane over the Arctic as part of a war games exercise.

The paratroopers reportedly jumped from a height of 10,000 metres (32,808 feet) from an Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifter.

The soldiers were wearing 'special parachute systems' and oxygen equipment and carried out combat training missions lasting three days after landing.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has placed increasing importance on the Arctic region in recent years, as it is believed to hold up to one quarter of the Earth's undiscovered oil and gas.

Read more ....

Update #1: Russian Commandos Jump From 33,000 Feet Over The Arctic In Unprecedented Exercise (Warzone/The Drive)
Update #2: Paratroopers jump at 10,000 meters over Russian Arctic base (Barents Observer)

WNU Editor: Quoting Russian Deputy Minister of Defense, Lieutenant General Yanus-Bek Yevkurov ....

.... “Today, for the first time in world history, we conducted a group landing of personnel with special parachute systems in Arctic conditions from a height of 10,000 meters using oxygen equipment followed by combat training missions,” said Deputy Minister of Defense, Lieutenant General Yanus-Bek Yevkurov.

He added: “Nobody has done such a thing before us.”

Blue Angels And Thunderbirds Conoduct Flyovers To Honor Coronavirus Responders

NBC: Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flyovers honor coronavirus responders

"An amazing display of gratitude and patriotism from the best pilots on earth," said the head of University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. "Thank you."

The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force's Thunderbirds gave a loud salute Tuesday to health care workers and others on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus with flyovers planned in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The event began at about noon in Newark, New Jersey, and New York City, the Thunderbirds said in a press release. The demonstration squadrons then headed to Trenton, New Jersey, for a 10-minute show that began at 1:45 p.m.

The final stop was in Philadelphia at 2 p.m.

Read more ....

Update #1: Blue Angels and Thunderbirds fly over the skies in salute to frontline workers. See the photos. (USA Today)
Update #2: Blue Angels, Thunderbirds pay tribute to first responders in NYC flyover (Military Times/AP)

WNU Editor: Impressive.

President Trump Says China Should Pay Reparations For Their Mishandling Of The Coronavirus Outbreak

The Guardian: Trump says China could have stopped Covid-19 and suggests US will seek damages

President says US is conducting ‘serious investigations’ into Beijing’s handling of coronavirus.

Donald Trump has renewed his attacks on China, saying his administration was conducting “serious investigations” into Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak and suggesting he would seek damages for the US.

The US president had stopped giving press briefings after his advisers reportedly warned him that his marathon news conferences, including his widely-ridiculed comments about disinfectant as a possible treatment for Covid-19 – were hurting his re-election campaign.

The pause only lasted the weekend however. On Monday morning the White House announced that the day’s briefing was cancelled, only to reverse the decision hours later.

At the briefing Trump launched another forthright attack on China, saying there were “a lot of ways you can hold them accountable” for the pandemic.

Read more ....

Update #1: Trump angers China by warning US may seek damages over virus (France 24)
Update #2: Trump Says 'COVID Reparations' Coming: US Will Bill China At Least $160 Billion (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: China has responded .... China decries 'barefaced lies' over its handling of virus (AFP).

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

China Threatens Australia If They Push For An Investigation On China's Coronavirus Response

IBTimes: China threatens Australia with import ban if inquiry into origin of coronavirus conducted

Last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had pushed for an independent probe into the origin of coronavirus and China's role amid accusations by several countries that Bejing kept the world in dark about the seriousness of the disease.

China has threatened Australia that its pursuit of an independent inquiry into the origin of coronavirus pandemic may trigger a Chinese backlash.

Chinese Ambassawarned that the Australian government's inquiry could spark a Chinese consumer boycott of students and tourists visiting the country, and hit popular agricultural exports like beef and wine. The Chinese Ambassador to Australia also refused to accept the virus originated from Wuhan.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Australia is ignoring China's threats .... Australia Rebuffs China Boycott Threat to Press for International Inquiry Into Pandemic Origins (Newsweek). More here .... China hits back at Australia's push for COVID-19 investigation (ABC News Online).

More News On China Threatening Australia

China threatens economic consequences if Australia launches investigation of Beijing's handling of coronavirus -- The Hill
China threatens economic punishments if Australia investigates Beijing's coronavirus response -- FOX News
Australia Stokes China Tensions With Call for Virus Probe -- Bloomberg
Australia called 'gum stuck to China's shoe' by state media in coronavirus investigation stoush -- The Guardian
China warns of economic hit over COVID inquiry -- SKY News
Chinese burn! Beijing accuses Scott Morrison of blaming China for the coronavirus crisis to deflect public anger away from the bushfire crisis and the Australian response to the outbreak -- Daily Mail
China Threatens Australia Over 'Dangerous' Investigation Into Coronavirus -- Zero Hedge
China Threatens Australia If It Pushes For Investigation Over Coronavirus, Report Says -- Daily Wire
China's 'boycott diplomacy' over calls for coronavirus inquiry could harm Australian exporters -- Darren Lim and Victor Ferguson, ABC News Online

U.S. And South Korea Spy Planes Are Busy Over The Skies Of The Korean Peninsula

Al Bawaba: US is Using 5 Spy Planes to See Whether Kim Jong Un is Dead or Not!

America has scrambled five spy planes to monitor North Korea amid rumours that Kim Jong Un is gravely ill or has died.

Four eavesdropping aircraft will try to intercept messages about the Supreme Leader and his health, while one ground surveillance plane will monitor for unusual troop movements.

South Korea has also deployed a spy aircraft over its northern neighbour, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported, despite Seoul's insistence that Kim is alive and well.

Kim Yeon-chul, South Korea's minister for North Korean affairs, continued to downplay rumours about Kim on Tuesday - saying he had likely disappeared to avoid catching coronavirus and not because he is currently ill.

Read more ....

Update: EYE UN THE SKY US scrambles five spy planes to sweep North Korea in hunt for Kim Jong-un amid reports of his death (The Sun)

WNU Editor: If the U.S. and South Korea really knew what was happening in North Korea, they would not be scrambling all of these spy planes. Something is clearly not right.

Could Kim Jong Un’s Uncle Emerges As The Next North Korean Leader?

There have been reports that Kim Jong-un is unwell, leading to speculation that his sister Kim Yo-jong could one day succeed him.(Reuters)

ABC News Online: Kim Jong-un's sister could be his successor, but there's another family member who might one day rule

The rumour mill is in overdrive as the fate of the head of one of the world's most secretive dynasties remains a mystery.

CNN reported on April 21 that North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un was gravely unwell after surgery.

The report was dismissed by South Korea's presidential palace, which said it had received no information that suggested the 36-year-old was seriously ill.

However, as speculation continues to mount over the health of Kim Jong-un, attention is turning to who is next in line to take over in the event of his death.

"There is no clear succession process in place, and Kim is in very poor condition, so when he does die, things could get quite dangerous and messy," said Malcolm Davis, a senior analyst at Australia's Strategic Policy Institute.

Read more ....

Update: Kim Jong Un’s uncle emerges as possible successor in North Korea (NYPost)

WNU Editor: Not going to happen. He may be Kim Jong-un's uncle, but he has no base of power or support in North Korea. In the meantime everyone is speculating .... What Happened To Kim Jong Un? Top Theories Emerge (Zero Hedge).

Senior Chinese Military Officer Calls For Ramming Attacks On U.S. Ships In The South China Sea

China's Harbin guided-missile destroyer, left, and the Sovremenny-class Ningbo destroyer. AP

Business Insider: Senior Chinese military officer calls for attacks on US ships in the South China Sea

* A Chinese military officer who spoke at a conference in Beijing on Saturday urged the Chinese navy to use force to counter US activities in the South China Sea.
* The People's Liberation Army Air Force senior colonel argued that the Chinese navy should ram US Navy warships that try to conduct freedom-of-navigation operations in "Chinese waters" in the South China Sea, Taiwan News reported.
* Such an aggressive action would certainly constitute an escalation after an incident in September in which a Chinese navy destroyer nearly collided with a US warship in the South China Sea.

The South China Sea is a powder keg, and one Chinese military officer and expert seems interested in lighting the fuse.

Dai Xu, a People's Liberation Army Air Force senior colonel and the president of China's Institute of Marine Safety and Cooperation, suggested at a conference in Beijing on Saturday that the Chinese navy should use force to counter US freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, Taiwan News reported.

Read more ....

Update: Chinese General Says Military Should Use Force Against U.S. Ships in South China Sea -- Newsweek

WNU Editor: This Chinese military official is also advocating the forceful seizure of Taiwan .... Chinese military official: ‘We should be ready to take over Taiwan’ (

China Issues A Warning To The U.S. To Halt Military Operations In The South China Sea

CGTN: Chinese military warns U.S. warship in South China Sea

Chinese military is monitoring a U.S. warship, which entered Chinese territorial waters off the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea without permission, and has warned it to leave, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, a U.S. warship entered the territorial waters off the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea without China's permission. The Southern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army deployed air and navy forces to monitor and verify the ship, and warned it to leave, according to Senior Colonel Li Huamin, a spokesperson of the command.

The U.S. move has severely violated the relevant international law and was a serious infringement of China's sovereignty, said Li.

Read more ....

Update #1: China Says PLA Scrambled Aircraft, Ships to ‘Expel’ U.S. Warship from South China Sea Island Chain -- USNI News
Update #2: Chinese Warns US To Halt Military Operations In South China Sea -- Zero Hedge

WNU Editor:  These are not the only two countries worried on where this is heading .... New South China Sea tensions rattle Manila and Hanoi amid pandemic (Nikei Asian Review)