Friday, July 31, 2020

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 31, 2020

China is on course for a powerful future, according to a new US report. Photo: Reuters

Kinling Lo, SCMP: US must prepare for an ever more powerful China, think tank says

* Rand Corporation considers how successful the ruling Communist Party is likely to be in achieving the goals it has set for the next 30 years
* ‘Preparing for a triumphant or ascending China seems most prudent for the United States,’ it says

The United States should prepare for an “ascendant” Communist-led China, according to a report released by Rand Corporation, a US government-funded think tank.

The compilers of “China’s Grand Strategy: Trends, Trajectories and Long-Term Competition” examined how successful the Chinese Communist Party was likely to be in achieving the goals it has set for the country by 2050.

In doing so it considered four possible futures in which China is either “triumphant”, meaning it has achieved all of its goals, “ascendant”, having achieved some but not all of its goals, “stagnant”, meaning it has failed in its ambitions, and “imploding”, meaning the regime itself is under threat.

The report, which was compiled for the US military and published last week, concluded that “ascendant” and “stagnant” were the most likely outcomes.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 31, 2020

New Zealand's relationship with China is at a tipping point -- Anne-Marie Brady, The Guardian

Only sanctions will make China stop and think -- Nathan Law. DW

China Is What Orwell Feared -- Ross Andersen, The Atlantic

Why Huawei Lost Its Quest for World Domination -- Karthik Ramanna, American Interest

China’s Model for Africa Is Failing -- Thierry Pairault, The Diplomat

Iran's Deepening Isolation On The World Stage -- Ahmad Ra'fat, World Crunch

Iraq after Saddam Hussein: Two powers competing for influence -- Alison Sargent, France 24

Lebanon as We Know It Is Dying -- Steven Cook, Foreign Policy

Egypt's military gambit in Libya risks backfiring -- Jonathan Fenton-Harvey, New Arab

In Zimbabwe, no one can breathe -- Panashe Chigumadzi, African Argments

Massive protests in Russia's far east rattle Kremlin -- France 24

Lukashenko is playing games to keep his grip on power -- Konstantin Eggert, DW

How can we apply lessons from the Spanish flu’s second wave to Covid-19? -- Tom Wheeldon, France 24

What Australia can learn from other countries using internal border closures to prevent the spread of coronavirus -- Max Walden, ABC News Online

World News Briefs -- July 31, 2020 (Evening Edition)

Reuters: WHO reports record daily increase in global coronavirus cases, up over 292,000

The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Friday, with the total rising by 292,527.

The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa, according to a daily report. Deaths rose by 6,812. The four countries have dominated global headlines with large outbreaks.

The previous WHO record for new cases was 284,196 on July 24. Deaths rose by 9,753 on July 24, the second largest one-day increase ever. Deaths have been averaging 5,200 a day in July, up from an average of 4,600 a day in June.

Nearly 40 countries have reported record single-day increases in coronavirus infections over the last week, around double the number that did so the previous week, according to a Reuters tally showing a pick-up in the pandemic in every region of the world.

Read more ....


Iraq prime minister calls early elections for June 2021.

U.S. imposes sweeping sanctions targeting Assad regime.

Iran's Khamenei accuses US of trying to stoke protests. Iran's Khamenei says sanctions failed, no talks with Trump.

Iran won't stop ballistic missile & nuclear programs despite US pressure – Supreme Leader.

Ukraine, Iran conclude first-round talks on plane downing damages.

Coronavirus cases surge in occupied West Bank.

Saudi King Salman leaves hospital after gall bladder surgery.

Jordan 'rotten meat': Child dies and 800 poisoned near Amman.


Afghan cease-fire begins, Taliban prisoners freed ahead of possible talks.

Exclusive: U.S. proposes house arrest for 'most dreaded' Taliban prisoners, to end stalemate.

Afghanistan: At least 17 killed in Eid car blast.

Coronavirus pushing millions of Afghans into poverty: SIGAR.

Protesters killed at Pakistan-Afghanistan border: officials.

Australia backs India over deadly border clashes with China.

Hong Kong 'seeking arrest' of fleeing activists.

Hong Kong delays legislative elections for a year over COVID-19.

China’s economy continued strong recovery from coronavirus shock in July, but challenges remain.

China uses Hong Kong security law against US and UK-based activists.

US sanctions Chinese officials, paramilitary agency over Uighur abuses.

India coronavirus deaths pass Italy's as floods hamper battle.

Duterte asks Filipinos to ‘endure’ coronavirus curbs until December, pins hopes on China vaccine.

Japan court recognizes more victims of Hiroshima atomic bombing.


Scores of anti-government protesters arrested in Zimbabwe.

Buhari admits Nigeria's security situation is 'very disturbing'.

Soldier in eastern DRC shoots and kills at least 12 civilians.

Nile dam row: Egypt fumes as Ethiopia celebrates.

Pompeo says ending Sudan terror listing a 'good thing'.

Libya prisoner amnesty: 41 teenagers freed on Eid holiday.

French soldier dies in Chad accident.

Namibia to close schools, limit public gatherings as COVID-19 cases surge.


Eurozone suffers deepest contraction on record. Eurozone GDP drops 12.1% in record pandemic plunge. Eurozone economies declined by record 12.1% in 2nd quarter.

French economy sees record drop in wake of coronavirus lockdowns.

Tens of thousands rally in Belarus despite pre-election crackdown.

Belarus TV shows arrest of 'Russian mercenaries'.

Russia says alleged mercenaries are 'in no way connected' with Belarus.

Kremlin demands release of Russians held in Belarus.

Poland: US to deploy at least 1,000 troops on eastern border.

Germany suspends Hong Kong extradition agreement amid national security law furore.

Underage girl forced to have sex with Prince Andrew, US court document claims.


Fitch downgrades US outlook to negative from stable.

US House approves $1.3 trillion spending package for 2021.

Three people charged in US for alleged roles in massive Twitter hack.

Mexico eclipses Britain with third highest coronavirus death toll.

Mexican president Amlo says he will wear mask 'when there is no corruption'.

Violent protests in Paraguay against fresh lockdown.

Recovered from virus, Bolsonaro says nothing to fear.

Brazilian first lady Michelle Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19.

Mexico Supreme Court rejects state's bid to decriminalise abortion.


Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's death sentence overturned by appeals court.

British ISIS 'Beatles' who have admitted their involvement in the captivity of US aid worker Kayla Mueller 'will be spared the death penalty so they can be brought to the US and face trial'.

Jihadi bride Shamima Begum's return to Britain is put on HOLD after Government wins right to fight case at the Supreme Court.

Yazidi children still haunted by Islamic State, Amnesty International says.

Terrorist who threatened to blow up NYC buildings and follows 'Blind Shiekh' Abdel Rahman is released after 30 year sentence - but Feds fear he will strike again after he vowed to stop taking his medication.


Nasdaq surges on megacap earnings but U.S. fiscal uncertainty nags.

Economies slump as coronavirus cases reach 17 million globally.

US oil giants report big losses, prepare for longer downturn.

BREAKING: Trump announces he will BAN TikTok in the U.S..

Apple confirms new iPhones won’t arrive in September.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 31, 2020

An Indian Army convoy moves along a highway leading to Ladakh. Photo: Reuters

SCMP/Bloomberg: India moving 35,000 more troops to disputed China border in Himalayas amid heightened tensions

* Both countries have rushed thousands of soldiers, artillery guns and tanks to the region since deadly clashes last month
* ‘Additional troops rushed by either side will not move back, unless there is a rapprochement at the highest political level,’ analyst said

India is positioning an additional 35,000 troops along its disputed Himalayan border with China as the possibility of an early resolution to the deadly tensions between the two neighbours fades.

The move would change the status quo along the contested 3,488km Line of Actual Control and stretch the nation’s already tight military budget, senior Indian officials said, asking not to be identified citing rules on speaking to the media.

Twenty Indian soldiers and unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in an ugly skirmish on June 15 and since then, both sides have rushed thousands of soldiers, artillery guns and tanks to the region. With India-China border agreements not holding, the situation required additional troops, the officials said.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 31, 2020

Indian Army Has Option To Seize Critical Chinese Positions If India-China Border Talks Fail – Military Experts -- Eurasian Times

5 French fighter jets delivered to India in military upgrade -- ABC News/AP

India receives first Dassault Rafale fighter planes -- UPI

Not just Rafales: The blockbuster acquisitions that are driving India’s military modernisation -- Times Now Times

Emergency procurement tells the sad reality of India’s defence purchases. Rafale’s late too -- The Print

US Strategic Command now analyzes daily deterrence risks for all combatant commands -- Defense News

JUST IN: Chinese Nuclear Advancements Stoke Pentagon Fears of New 'Peer' Threat -- National Defense

U.S. Navy's Blue Angels get their first F/A-18E Super Hornet -- UPI

Marine Corps moves deactivated tanks, heavy equipment by rail -- UPI

One US Marine is dead and 8 are missing after an amphibious assault vehicle accident off Southern California -- Business Insider

BAE Systems’ $15 Billion Army Vehicle Program Hit by Covid Delay -- Bloomberg

Virginia Military Institute will not remove Confederate monuments, names -- The Hill

Democrats demand Esper explicitly ban Confederate flag and allow Pride, Native Nations flags -- The Hill

Republicans are wary of approving Trump's defense nominee who falsely called Obama a 'Muslim' -- Business Insider

Senate abruptly cancels confirmation hearing for top Pentagon official -- UPI

Family of slain Texas soldier meets with Trump, pushes for change near Capitol -- Military Times/AP

Pentagon alters training material that refers to protesters, journalists as 'adversaries' -- The Hill

Pentagon aims to continue supporting telework -- UPI

Africa Command ordered to plan headquarters move as part of Trump's Germany withdrawal -- The Hill

Trump’s military shuffle in Europe will take time and be costly -- Reuters

Israel, US Sign Document on Joint Air Defence Military Cooperation -- Sputnik

Can The UK Afford To Develop Its Tempest Optionally-Manned Stealth Fighter? -- Forbes

US-China relations: PLA bombers carry out ‘attack exercise’ in South China Sea -- SCMP

China adds turbo generators to warships to power high-energy weapons, state media says -- SCMP

America’s F-22 stealth fighter may be limited in Asia-Pacific conditions, China’s J-20 designer says -- SCMP

Report: North Korea tested anti-ship cruise missile in July -- UPI

Exclusive: As Japan weighs missile-defence options, Raytheon lobbies for Lockheed's $300 million radar deal -- Reuters

Tehran Does Not Believe Blast on Natanz Nuclear Plant Caused by Missile, Drone Attack -- Sputnik

War of Words Between Iran and Saudi Arabia Won't Evolve Into Military Confrontation, Experts Say -- Sputnik

US Navy Mocks Iran In Saying They Are 'Experts' At Building Ships To Be 'Targets'

The US Navy mocked Iran for being 'experts' at building a target ship in an Instagram post that showed a bogus American aircraft carrier with a bullseye on it

Daily Mail: US Navy mocks Iran in meme by claiming they are 'experts' at building ships to be 'targets' after they carried out a missile attack on dummy American aircraft carrier

* The US Navy called out Iran for being 'experts' at building a target ship in a social media post that showed a bogus American aircraft carrier with a bullseye
* The Instagram post Wednesday comes after Iran built the replica vessel and had its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard fire a missile at it
* The military exercise in the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday was staged amid rising tensions between Iran and Washington
* The exercise was televised on state run television and condemned by the Navy as 'irresponsible and reckless'

The US Navy mocked Iran for being 'experts' at building a target ship in an Instagram post that showed a bogus American aircraft carrier with a bullseye on it.

The Navy proclaimed in a meme, 'IRAN BUILDS TARGET SHIP', revealing an overhead view of the fake vessel sitting at a port, unprotected and vulnerable with a bullseye, and adds across the bottom of the image, 'THEY'RE EXPERTS AT THAT'.

The post comes after Iran built the replica of a Nimitz-class carrier and had its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard fire a missile at it in the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday amid tensions between Iran and Washington.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Never underestimate Iran.

Russia's Fighter-Maker Sukhoi Is Gearing Up To Build The Su-57


Forbes: In Russia’s Far East, A Stealth Fighter Factory Spins Up

It’s one thing to design a warplane. And other thing to build it. That’s a truism Russian fighter-maker Sukohi is learning—or relearning—as it tries to fill the Kremlin’s order for 76 Su-57 stealth fighters.

Sukhoi builds the twin-engine Su-57 at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft plant in the Russian Far East. The factory previously built the non-stealthy Su-35—and learned some hard lessons.

Now, several years after building the Su-35, managers at Komsomolsk-on-Amur are setting up Su-57 production in the plant’s Shop 45.

Read more

WNU Editor: It's not easy to build fifth-generation fighter jet aircraft as the Americans learned, and are still learning, with their F-35.

1 US Marine Dead And 8 Missing After Amphibious Vehicle Accident During Training Off California Coast

Daily Mail: One Marine dead and 8 missing after amphibious assault vehicle accident off the coast of southern California

* One Marine has died, 8 others missing after amphibious assault vehicle accident
* The incident happened off the coast of Southern California on Thursday
* Vehicle took on water at 5.45pm while 15 Marines and one sailor were inside
* Search and rescue efforts underway with support from Navy and Coast Guard
* One Marine was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla where he died
* Other two injured were hospitalized - one in critical condition and one stable

One U.S. Marine has died, two were injured and eight others were missing after a 'tragic incident' involving an amphibious assault vehicle off the coast of Southern California on Thursday, the U.S. Marine Corps said.

Search and rescue efforts were underway with support from the Navy and Coast Guard, the First Marine Expeditionary Force said in a tweet.

The I Marine Expeditionary Force said in a tweet: '1 Marine has died, 8 service members remain missing and 2 were injured after an AAV [Assault Amphibious Vehicle] mishap July 30 off the coast of Southern California.

Read more ....

More News On US Marine Accident That Killed One And 8 Missing

1 Marine dead, 8 missing from AAV accident off southern California coast -- Marine Times
Marine Dead, 8 Missing Following AAV Incident Off California -- USNI News
1 Marine dead, 8 others missing after amphibious vehicle sinks off California coast -- Task & Purpose
One Marine dead, 8 missing after training 'mishap' off California coast -- NBC
Marine Corps 'mishap' off California coast leaves at least 1 dead, 8 missing: military -- FOX News
1 Marine dead and 8 others missing after amphibious vehicle accident off California coast -- CNN

Court Documents On Ghislaine Maxwell And Jeffrey Epstein Were Publicly Released On Thursday

Reuters: Ghislaine Maxwell documents are released, including Jeffrey Epstein emails

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Documents about dealings between Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein were publicly released on Thursday by a U.S. court, where the British socialite faces criminal charges she aided the late financier’s sexual abuse of girls.

Among the materials released were email correspondence between the pair in early 2015, including an email in which Epstein told Maxwell she had “done nothing wrong.”

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska had ordered the documents’ release by Thursday, saying the public’s right to see them outweighed Maxwell’s interests in keeping them under seal.

However, two depositions remain under seal after Maxwell filed an emergency motion with the federal appeals court in Manhattan earlier on Thursday to keep them from becoming public.

That court has yet to rule, and the depositions will remain sealed until at least Monday.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The court documents can be viewed here. The first thing I noticed. A lot of names have been redacted.The second thing that I have noticed is that the FBI did not take the complaints and accusations from these young victims seriously. This is a black eye to both former FBI Directors Mueller and Comey.

More News On Documents Detailing Ghislaine Maxwell's Ties To Jeffrey Epstein Released

Newly unsealed documents describe Ghislaine Maxwell's abuse of one of Epstein's alleged victims -- CNN
Ghislaine Maxwell trained underage girls as sex slaves, documents allege -- The Guardian
Documents detailing Ghislaine Maxwell's ties to Jeffrey Epstein released -- DW
Judge bans lawyers from identifying Epstein abuse victims -- AP
Bill Clinton stayed on Jeffrey Epstein's 'orgy island' with the billionaire, Ghislaine Maxwell and 'two young girls' - and the pedophile said the ex-president 'owes me favors' unsealed documents claim -- Daily Mail
PRES CLAIMS Bill Clinton flew to Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘orgy island’ with ‘two young girls’, bombshell Ghislaine Maxwell docs claim -- The SUN
Prince Andrew 'put pressure on the US government to give Jeffrey Epstein a plea deal' which saw the pedophile jailed for only 18 months in 2008, unsealed documents claim -- Daily Mail
'You have done nothing wrong and I'd urge you to start acting like it': Newly unsealed court documents reveal Ghislaine Maxwell emailed Jeffrey Epstein five years after she claimed they last spoke -- Daily Mail
Court docs detail Maxwell’s ‘constant’ orgies with young girls on Epstein’s island -- NYPost
Ghislaine Maxwell undressed Virginia Roberts and told her to lick Jeffrey Epstein's nipples during first meeting when she was 15 and had 'continuous' orgies with young girls, newly-unsealed court documents claim -- Daily Mail

US Navy's First Black Female Tactical Jet Pilot Gets Her 'Wings Of Gold' Today

Photo: Swegle, who broke through the glass ceiling earlier this month when she completed her training at naval flight school, is to receive her wings during a ceremony on Friday

Daily Mail: First black female fighter pilot in 110 years of naval aviation to receive her 'Wings of Gold'

* Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle, the first black female US Naval officer to become a tactical jet pilot, will receive now her 'Wings of Gold'
* Swegle, who completed her training at naval flight school earlier this month, is to receive the coveted insignia during a ceremony on Friday
* She is the first Black women to accomplishment the feat in the nearly 110 years after naval aviation began
* Officials said she is assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron 21 in Kingsville, Texas
* Several public figures, including Sen. Kamala Harris and legendary tennis player Billie Jean King congratulated Swegle on Twitter

The first black female US Naval officer to become a tactical jet pilot since naval aviation began more than a century ago is set to receive the coveted 'Wings of Gold' insignia.

Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle, who broke through the glass ceiling earlier this month when she completed her training at naval flight school, is to receive her wings during a ceremony on Friday.

'I am really honored that I get to wear the wings and get to fly planes and call myself a pilot,' said Swegle in a Navy video released ahead of a ceremony that was posted on YouTube.

'I don't think the goal in my life is to necessarily be the first at anything. That was never something that I set out to do, it was just something I was interested in and I found out later,' she said.

Read more ....

Update #1: U.S. Navy's first Black female fighter pilot will receive her wings (CBS)
Update #2: Madeline Swegle becomes US Navy’s first black female fighter pilot (NYPost)

WNU Editor: She is living her dream.

NATO Navies Now Conducting Exercises To Hunt For Russian Submarines

Royal Navy frigate HMS Kent with Allied warships, including USS Roosevelt, left, at the end of Dynamic Mongoose, July 9, 2020. British Royal Navy/LPhot Dan Rosenbaum

Business Insider: In the North Atlantic, NATO navies are practicing to take on a wave of Russian submarines

* In July, NATO navies conducted exercise Dynamic Mongoose, testing the abilities of their ships, subs, and aircraft to hunt enemy submarines.
* The US and its allies are increasingly focused on anti-submarine warfare, but countering all the subs a country like Russia or China could field in a war would still present a challenge.

NATO navies converged in the North Sea in late June for this year's Dynamic Mongoose anti-submarine-warfare exercise, reflecting a growing focus on countering enemy submarines amid "great-power competition" with Russia and China.

During the exercise, US Navy destroyer USS Roosevelt and four other surface ships took turns hunting and being hunted by Navy fast-attack sub USS Indiana and four other subs in the waters off Iceland.

"It was fantastic because we would have such a small, confined area that it forced interaction between the submarine and the surface ships," Cmdr. Ryan Kendall, commanding officer of the Roosevelt, said in an interview.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here is the Russian submarine fleet that NATO will need to face .... Here Are All the Submarines of the Russian Navy in One Infographic (Popular Mechanics).

Tweets For Today

Picture Of The Day

Indo-Pacific Power
The U.S. Navy’s Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group participates in trilateral exercises with Japanese and Australian units in the Philippine Sea, June 21, 2020.

WNU Editor: The above picture came form this photo-gallery .... U.S. Department of DEfense Photo-Gallery.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Says Charity That Paid His Family Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars Received No Preferential Treatment

Daily Mail: Trudeau says he didn't offer WE Charity preferential treatment in winning government contract for pandemic relief for students, even though the organization has paid $300K to his family to speak at events

* Trudeau said he should have recused himself from the decision made by the Cabinet to award the contract
* WE Charity was chosen to administer the program - aimed at helping students struggling during the pandemic
* It was brought under scrutiny when it was revealed that Trudeau's family had been paid $300K to speak at WE events
* 'We Charity received no preferential treatment, not from me, not from anyone else,' said Trudeau
* Testimony by a Canadian prime minister before a parliamentary committee last happened in 2006

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he did not intervene to make sure a charity his family did paid work for would win a government contract.

Trudeau has apologized and said again that he should have recused himself from a Cabinet decision to award a contract to administer money to students having trouble finding work due to the pandemic.

The prime minister made a rare parliamentary committee appearance to make his statement.

The almost billion-dollar program came under scrutiny after it was revealed that WE Charity, an organization Trudeau's family has worked for, was chosen to administer it.

Trudeau's wife, brother and mother have been paid a combined $300,000 Canadian (US$221,000) for speaking at a number of WE events.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: My 94 year old mom summed it up perfectly when she saw him on the news at supper time this evening. Her remark was .... "He looks terrible". She is right. He should not have testified. This is Prime Minister Trudeau's third ethics investigation in five years, and he was not impressive in answering some key questions today. He basically blamed others for this mess, while trying to position himself as the one who raised questions and doubts on the awarding of this massive government contract to a firm that has helped his family.

More News On Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Testimony On The WE Charity Scandal

Trudeau says he 'pushed back' on WE contract due to family ties — but didn't recuse himself -- CBC
PM says he did 'nothing' to influence WE deal; top aide aware of perceived conflict -- CTV News
Trudeau says he didn’t know WE Charity might get grant until matter came to cabinet -- Global News
Trudeau tells MPs that WE Charity received 'no preferential treatment' from his office -- National Post
Trudeau denies 'preferential treatment' in ethics scandal -- BBC
BREAKING: Trudeau testifies for 90 minutes in Finance Committee without providing any answers on WE scandal -- Post Millenial
Trudeau appears to have used WE language when announcing student deal -- Brian Lilley, Toronto Sun
Whether Trudeau's testimony worked or not, the winds of change are blowing for Liberals -- John Ivison, National Post
Trudeau throws public service under the bus -- Toronto Sun
A timeline of the controversy around WE, the Liberals and a student program -- National Post/Canadian Press
The WE Charity controversy explained -- CBC News

Thursday, July 30, 2020

U.S. Secretary Of State Pompeo Defends The Administration During Thursday's U.S. Senate Hearing

ABC News: Senate hearing puts Mike Pompeo's defense of President Trump in sharp contrast

The top U.S. diplomat battled Democrats on Russia, Trump's tweets and more.

The longest-serving member of President Donald Trump's national security cabinet, Mike Pompeo is also his fiercest defender -- a tactic that has helped keep him in power within the administration for nearly four years now, even as that loyalty sometimes leaves him alone on the battlefield.

Pompeo played that role again on Thursday as the Secretary of State danced around a defense of Trump's tweet about moving Election Day this November because "Universal Mail-In Voting" threatens to make it "the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history," the president claimed.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Secretary Of State Pompeo's U.S. Senate Hearing

Pompeo says threats to US in Afghanistan raised with Russia -- AP
Pompeo insists China 'tide is turning' at contentious U.S. Senate hearing -- Reuters
Mike Pompeo unloads on China, Russia during Senate testimony -- ABC News Online
Pompeo clashes with lawmakers over troop withdrawal in Germany and watchdog firing -- Washington Post
Pompeo covers for Trump claims ranging from Russian bounties to German troop withdrawal -- CNN
Pompeo says US warned Russia about threats to Americans -- The Hill
Pompeo slams U.S. tech firms for downplaying Chinese cyberthreat to lawmakers -- CNBC
Democrats and Republicans take aim at Pompeo over US troop withdrawal from Germany -- The Guardian
Pompeo Says U.S. Will 'Do Everything' To Stop Nord Stream 2 Project -- RFE

After Subduing Hong Kong China Is Now Focused On Taiwan

The Republic of China Armed Forces’ annual Han Kuang military exercise in Taichung, Taiwan, on July 16. Photographer: I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg

Bloomberg: China’s Xi Sets His Sights on Taiwan After Subduing Hong Kong

The leader wants to continue on the path of Mao and Deng by bringing more territory under Beijing’s control.

Ever since Mao Zedong triumphed in 1949, prompting his Nationalist enemies to flee to Taiwan, Communist Party leaders have bolstered their legitimacy to rule by taming rebellious corners of China’s vast periphery.

The quest to capture lost territory prompted Mao’s army to subdue Tibet, where cadres co-opted Buddhist monasteries and eventually built a railway that ensured well-supplied garrisons of troops across the Himalayan plateau. He also reclaimed Xinjiang in the far west, a Muslim desert region the size of Iran where Silk Road traders once crossed paths with Uighurs—who have now been reduced to about 30% of the population of their own homeland after millions of China’s dominant Han ethnicity moved in. After Mao’s death, Deng Xiaoping further helped restore China’s glory following the so-called century of humiliation when he negotiated the return of two cities lost to colonial powers. The U.K. handed over Hong Kong in 1997, and Portugal followed two years later with Macao.

Xi Jinping has consolidated control in all of these places since taking power in 2012 and bolstered Beijing’s hold on disputed reefs in the South China Sea. Most notably, he set up a vast police state in Xinjiang that sent Muslims en masse to reeducation camps, and just in July he imposed a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong aimed at stamping out dissent in a city that many in the West once hoped would spur China to embrace democracy.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Truth be told. China has always had its sights on Taiwan.

Is China's Three Gorges Dam Near Collapse?

China's state-run Global Times quoted a local official that said the structure is "safe and in good condition."

The SUN: WAVE OF DEATH New China cover-up fears with world’s largest dam ‘on brink of collapse risking tidal wave that could wipe out cities’

CHINA is facing new cover-up claims amid fears the world’s biggest dam is about to collapse causing a tidal wave which could wipe out entire cities.

Sections of the vast Three Gorges Dam in the central Hubei Province are reported to have moved under enormous pressure sparked by torrential rains.

And concerns were mourning last night that the giant structure could collapse - sending a devastating 250 foot tidal wave surging hundreds of miles.

The 570-foot dam holds back a staggering 39 billion cubic metre reservoir of water so huge that it has a measurable effect on the rotation of the earth.

It is five times the size of America’s famous Hoover Dam and generates eleven times as much electricity, vital to millions of Chinese homes and businesses.

Read more ....

Update: "Rumors Of Structural Faults ​​​​​​​" - China's Three Gorges Dam Could Be Nearing collapse (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: All my friends in China told me it was a bad monsoon season. There was wide spread flooding, and many dams were under pressure. And while the Chinese government is saying that there was nothing to worry about.... Three Gorges Dam weathers the flood challenge (Asia Times), the pictures that were globally posted showing the floodgates open for the Three Gorges Dam were shocking.

Chinese Long-Range Bombers Conduct Drills Over The South China Sea

Sputnik: Chinese Bombers Take to Skies Above South China Sea for ‘High Intensity Training’ - Video

The spike in tensions in the strategic waterway comes amid a broader, multi-front rift in China-US ties on issues ranging from Hong Kong and Taiwan to trade, technology transfer and ideological questions.

Xian H-6G and Xian H-6J strategic bombers have staged drills in the South China Sea, with the exercises including nighttime operations, long-range sorties and simulated attack on sea targets, China’s Defence Ministry announced on Thursday.

The drills, described by Defence Ministry spokesperson Col. Ren Guoqiang as “high-intensity training,” were characterized as routine operations aimed at improving naval aviation’s combat readiness. Ren did not specify the drills’ precise location or time.

Read more ....

Update #1: Chinese long-range bombers join drills over South China Sea (Stars and Stripes)
Update #2: Chinese new bombers conducted high-intensity training in South China Sea (Defence Blog)

WNU Editor: These exercises have given China to showcase its newest bomber .... PLA Navy’s new bomber debuts in South China Sea drills (Global Times).

Russian Su-27 Jet Intercepts U.S. Spy Planes Over The Black Sea

RT: Call of the Black Sea: Russian jet intercepts US spy planes for FOURTH TIME in just over a week (VIDEO)

With summer heating up, it appears as though the US Air Force finds Russia’s Black Sea particularly inviting, as the Russian military has intercepted American jets there for the fourth time in just over one week.

The US Air Force seemingly could not decide who should be next to enjoy the scenic splendors of the Black Sea shoreline, deciding to send two of its surveillance planes to watch over the area at the same time on Thursday.

The jets were promptly intercepted, however, by a Russian Su-27 fighter jet, which was scrambled to escort the “aerial targets” approaching the nation’s border.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is the fourth Russian intercept of a US spy plane over the black Sea in the past week.

More News On A Russian Su-27 Jet Intercepting U.S. Spy Planes Over The Black Sea

Russian Su-27 jet scrambles to intercept two US planes over Black Sea -- TASS
Russian jet fighter buzzes two U.S. spy planes over Black Sea -- Reuters
Fighter Jet Scrambled to Intercept US Spy Planes Flying Near Russia's Black Sea Borders -- Sputnik
Up close footage of Russian Su-27 intercepting 2 US military aircraft -- AMN

Another U.S. Aircraft Carrier Has Been Struck With The Covid-19 Coronavirus

Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush have tested positive for COVID-19. The ship is shown here in 2013. (Navy)

Navy Times: ‘A small number’ of carrier George HW Bush sailors test positive for COVID-19

Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush have tested positive for COVID-19 this summer, but Navy officials are declining to say how many have contracted the novel coronavirus or when the infections were detected.

“A small number of Sailors have been diagnosed with COVID this summer,” Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, a spokeswoman for Naval Air Force Atlantic, said in an email to Navy Times. “USS George H.W. Bush is not in a deployment status, and similar to other commands in the U.S. Navy with a small number of cases, there has been no impact to readiness.”

The crew members who tested positive “remain in isolation at their private residences in Virginia and receive daily medical supportive care until they have recovered,” Cragg said.

Bush entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in February 2019 and is in the midst of a 28-month maintenance availability.

Read more ....

Update: Sailors from the USS George H.W. Bush have COVID-19. The Navy won't say how many (Task & Purpose)

WNU Editor: Here is a post on how Covid-19 is impacting the Pentagon .... Pandemic Is Changing the Military, From Boot Camp to Office Work (Bloomberg)

Former President Obama Unleashes On President Trump. Says He Has A 'Nativist, Racist And Sexist' Agenda. Also Brought Up Past Sex Assault Allegations Against Trump

Barack Obama has brought up sex assault allegations against Donald Trump, slammed the president's 'nativist, racist and sexist' agenda and told George Clooney the November 2020 election keeps him up at night during a series of fundraisers for Joe Biden

Daily Mail: REVEALED: Obama has raised sex assault allegations against Trump and slammed his 'nativist, racist and sexist' agenda during virtual fundraisers for Biden that have included George Clooney

* Obama has appeared in virtual Biden fundraisers over the last two months
* He has shared his fears of voter suppression and slammed the administration
* In his scathing series of attacks, he didn't mention the president by name
* Obama has mentioned Trump's 'assault's on women' and his 'racist' agenda
* In a chat with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, he loosely referenced Nazi Germany
* He has raised more than $24million for his former VP with 100 days to the vote
* Obama has praised Biden and even pushed back at donors with criticism

Barack Obama has brought up sex assault allegations against Donald Trump, slammed the president's 'nativist, racist and sexist' agenda and told George Clooney the November 2020 election keeps him up at night during a series of fundraisers for Joe Biden.

Over the last two months, the former president has been dialing into virtual chats for Democrat donors, who pay up to $250,000 a ticket, in a bid to help his former VP win the White House.

On Tuesday, he told Clooney that fears of voter suppression and an effort by Trump to question the legitimacy of the election is stopping him from sleeping.

During similar events over the last few weeks, that have raised $24million, Obama also mentioned accusations of Trump ‘assaulting women’, according to the New York Times.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He also made a loose reference to Nazi Germany. Hmmmm .... the polls, media pundits, and many Democrats (plus some Republicans) are saying that Biden is going to win by a landslide in November. Maybe so. But former President Obama clearly believes (and fears) that President Trump is going to be re-elected.

More News On Former President Obama Blasting President Trump.

Obama (Privately) Slams Trump -- New York Times
Obama Unleashes on Trump Privately as He Raises $24 Million for Biden -- Axios
Obama calls out Trump's 'nativist, racist, sexist' rhetoric at donor events: report -- The Hill
Obama Rails at ‘Nativist, Racist, Sexist’ Trump, Warns ‘Echo Chamber’ Will Turn Out GOP Voters -- Sputnik

Enjoy This New Walkaround Tour Of The U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II

The Aviationist: F-35 Demo Pilot Capt. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe introduces you to the Lightning II stealth aircraft.

U.S. Air Force Captain Kristin “Beo” Wolfe, the F-35A Demo Team Pilot for the 2020 and 2021 air demonstration season, does not need any introduction: she is the first female F-35A Demo pilot and only the second USAF F-35A Demo Team Pilot in history. As such, she was aboard the F-35 that, on May 29, 2020, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, flew the first-ever Lightning II demonstration that was broadcast live around the world on social media.

As you may understand, she’s one of the most qualified F-35 pilot around to guide you through a walkaround tour of the U.S. Air Force 5th generation stealth jet.

Here are some details worth a comment that I’ve noticed in the footage, filmed once again by our friend Erik Johnston.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: She definitely knows her stuff.

Foriegn Suppliers And Banks Are Not Interested In Accepting Iranian Money

A salesman counts money in Tajrish Bazaar, Tehran","caption":"FILE PHOTO: A salesman counts money in Tajrish Bazaar, Tehran, Iran August 1, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Reuters: Iran struggles to buy food in a world wary of touching its money

LONDON/SAO PAULO/SEOUL (Reuters) - Iran, creaking under the impact of U.S. sanctions, a collapse in oil sales and a severe COVID-19 epidemic, is scrambling to buy food and medicine to avoid a supply crunch. But it’s a struggle.

Despite such supplies being exempt from sanctions, banks and governments are reluctant to transfer or take Iranian money because they fear unwittingly breaching the complex U.S. restrictions, according to five trade and finance sources.

An approved trade channel launched by the Swiss government, and backed by Washington - the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Agreement (SHTA) - went live in February after over a year of work to facilitate such Iranian purchases from Swiss companies.

Yet Iran’s central bank (CBI) has been unable to transfer the billions of dollars worth of oil export cash it had built up between 2016 and 2018 to bank accounts working with the SHTA, the five sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Iran's economy is going to get hit again .... Headache for OPEC as oil market structure signals return of glut (Reuters).

China Wants High-Energy Weapons On Its Warships

It is not known which Chinese warships have the new generators installed, but state media suggested they could be used on the Type 055 destroyer. Photo: Reuters

SCMP: China adds turbo generators to warships to power high-energy weapons, state media says

* Its developer says the 20-megawatt units went into service ‘recently’ but does not specify which ships now have them installed
* They will quadruple power-generating capacity on the vessels, making full electric propulsion possible

China has equipped its warships with advanced generators to power high-energy weapons like lasers and rail guns, according to state media.

Work on the 20-megawatt turbo generators was finished in 2018, and they went into service “recently”, according to their developer, the 704 research institute of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation.

Announcing the move on its WeChat account, the institute did not say which ships now had the generators installed, but it is believed they will be used to power the navy’s most advanced destroyers, such as the Type 055 guided-missile destroyer.

They will quadruple the power-generating capacity on the warships, making full electric propulsion possible. The generators will also be used for electromagnetic rail guns that can fire high-speed projectiles and laser weapons.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese have big plans for their Navy .... The Chinese Navy's Destroyer Fleet Will Double by 2025. Then What? (The Diplomat).

Will President Trump Drop Out Of This Year's Presidential Election?

Image: U.S. President Donald Trump sits behind his desk as he announces a bilateral trade agreement with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

John Harris, Politico: Why Trump Might Quit

There is logic behind saying to hell with reelection.

The purpose of the nationally televised Oval Office address was to announce new peace initiatives in Vietnam, but Lyndon B. Johnson saved the most startling news until the end of his speech on March 31, 1968. With his country badly divided over a grinding war, he didn’t believe as president he “should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes.” He was dropping out of the presidential campaign.

Now there was a president who knew how to shake up the plot.

Among Donald Trump’s problems in his long, hot and mostly housebound summer is that he has lost his once unparalleled gift for changing the story. He still can stir outrage, but even among his supporters he no longer has much capacity to surprise. “Every hero,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson a century before the president was born, “becomes a bore at last.”

But here is a way Trump could demonstrate that an old master still knows how to tear up the script and leave the audience gasping. It is late but not too late to pull an LBJ.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Talk about wishful thinking. What is more revealing in the above post are the reasons why the author believes President Trump may "quit". Bottom line. John Harris has no idea on who President Trump is or what has motivated him to run for the Presidency in the first place.

US Space Force Provides Details On Russia's Testing Of Deadly Anti-Satellite Weapons

Space News: Space Force on alert: Behind Russia's mysterious testing of deadly anti-satellite weapons in orbit

The U.S Space Force has cautioned that Moscow has conducted two orbit anti-satellite weapon tests in recent months

Space Wars: it might soon leave the realm of science fiction and become a reality.

Last week, the head of the U.S.'s newest military branch, the Space Force, cautioned publicly for the first time that Moscow had undertaken at least two concerning anti-satellite weapon tests in recent months, in a potential bid to develop on-orbit efficiency that could dangerously hinder the U.S.'s heavy dependency on space-based systems.

"On July 15, Russia injected a new object into orbit from Cosmos 2543," the U.S. Space Force said in a statement. "Russia released this object in proximity to another Russian satellite, (which was) inconsistent with the system's stated mission as an inspector satellite."

While Russia's Defense Ministry dismissed the allegation, it is not the first time the Pentagon has said such an incident occurred.

Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond, commander of U.S. Space Command and U.S. Space Force chief of space operations, further highlighted that the Russian satellite system used to conduct this on-orbit weapons test is the same one they "raised concerns about earlier this year when Russia maneuvered near a U.S. government satellite."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The debate in the US on what Space Force should be responsible for has begun ..... America Can Protect Its Satellites Without Kinetic Space Weapons (War On The Rocks).

Will The U.S. Election Be Delayed?

Daily Mail: Donald Trump suggests DELAYING the US election over claims of mail votes fraud - minutes after devastating figures show economy shrank by a third

* President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested delaying the November election until 'people can properly, securely and safely vote'
* His pronouncement came after news U.S. economy had its worst quarter ever
* U.S. economy shrank by 33% in April-June quarter
* '2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???,' Trump tweeted
* Trump does not have power to delay election, that takes an act of Congress

President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested delaying the November election until 'people can properly, securely and safely vote.'

But Trump does not have the power to delay the election. That would take an act of Congress, which is highly unlikely to happen.

Trump's pronouncement, however, came right after news the U.S. economy shrank by 33 per cent in the April-June quarter.

That number marks the worst quarterly plunge ever and comes as the coronavirus pandemic has shut down businesses, thrown tens of millions out of work and sent unemployment to 14.7 per cent. Trump has banked his re-election chances on a strong U.S. economy. Voters give him high marks on his economic policy but have dinged him for his handling of the coronavirus and race relations.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The media is saying that President Trump wants to delay the election. But if anyone bothers to read his tweet (see above), he is not saying that. He is raising awareness to the many problems of mail-in voting, and if this is the path that should be decided upon, the priority must be to make sure that such a process is secure before it happens (which he then follows with a number of question marks). Everyone knows that the election will not be delayed. The concern is on how the election will be held .... ballot harvesting, mail-in ballots, etc.. As to what is my opinion on mail-in voting. I have already talked about how disastrous the idea of mail-in voting is by pointing out recent cases .... Will Mail-In Voting Turn U.S. Election Day Into Election Week? (May 29, 2020).

More News On The Possibility That The US Election May Be Delayed

Trump floats November election delay, but it won’t happen -- AP
Wall St. slips as Trump raises possibility of delaying elections -- Reuters
Donald Trump suggests delay to 2020 US presidential election -- BBC
Trump floats unprecedented idea of delaying election, which he cannot do -- Yahoo News

U.S. Economy Shrank By 33% In The Second Quarter Of This Year

Daily Mail: America's economy shrank by a record-breaking 33% in last three months in biggest slump EVER as coronavirus takes unprecedented toll - and ANOTHER 1.4 million applied for unemployment in last week

* Devastating economic figures are released by Commerce Department showing economy contracted by a third in April, May and June - shattering 1958 record of 10% contraction
* Donald Trump did not react to record-setting economic calamity - but instead tweeted that the election should be delayed
* Analysts say devastating figures suggest the V-shaped recovery Trump promised is now in doubt
* Business investment and residential housing also suffered sharp declines last quarter, with investment spending sinking 27% and residential housing plunging 38.7%.
* Second set of figures showed new unemployment claims of 1.4 million in last week - second week in a row they have gone up
* 17 million are now collecting unemployment checks - but $600-a-week boost runs out on Friday with Republicans and White House still to plan replacement
* Economic carnage was caused by collapse in consumer demand because of lockdowns
* Business investment and residential housing also suffered sharp declines last quarter
* Government spending, diminished by a loss of tax revenue that forced layoffs, also fell

The U.S. economy shrank at a dizzying 33% annual rate in the April-June quarter - by far the worst quarterly plunge ever - as coronavirus shut down businesses, throwing tens of millions out of work and sending unemployment surging to 14.7%, the government said Thursday.

The Commerce Department's estimate of the second-quarter decline in the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services, marked the sharpest such drop on records dating to 1947.

The previous worst quarterly contraction, a 10% drop, occurred in 1958 during the Eisenhower administration.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I expected worse.

More News On The U.S. Economy Shrinking By 33% In The Second Quarter Of This Year

US economy shrank at record-breaking 33% rate last quarter -- AP
COVID-19 sinks U.S. economy in second quarter; labor market struggling -- Reuters
GDP shrinks record 32.9 percent in second quarter amid virus lockdowns -- The Hill
Second-quarter GDP plunged by worst-ever 32.9% amid virus-induced shutdown -- CNBC
US economy suffers worst quarter since the second world war as GDP shrinks by 32.9% -- The Guardian