Friday, April 30, 2021

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In India -- News Updates April 30, 2021

Daily Mail: Bodies of 22 coronavirus victims are stuffed into an overloaded ambulance in India - as experts raise the terrifying prospect of 30,000 deaths a day with warning that real infections are TEN TIMES higher than official count 

 * Police snatched the phones out of people's hands as they tried to photograph the ambulance in city of Beed 

* It is seen sagging under the weight of 22 corpses piled on top of each other before heading to crematorium 

 * Another 386,452 infections and 3,498 deaths were recorded on Friday - but medics have warned the true figures could be up to ten times higher - meaning there are 3 million infections and 30,000 deaths every day 

* The country of 1.4 billion is in the eye of the world's Covid storm, with funeral pyres burning around the clock in Delhi and Mumbai and hospitals under armed guard to protect oxygen supplies 

 * Despite emergency gear arriving from Britain and the United States, including a USAF cargo jet with 400 oxygen cylinders on Friday, there remains an acute shortage of oxygen, medicines and beds across India 

* Black market is flourishing to profit from desperation of those seeking oxygen and anti-virals for loved ones 

India's spiraling coronavirus crisis was today laid bare as images circulated on social media of the bodies of 22 coronavirus stuffed into an overloaded ambulance to be taken to the crematorium. 

Another 386,452 infections and 3,498 deaths were officially recorded on Friday - but medics have warned the true figures could be ten times greater, putting daily infections at 3 million. 

At that rate the country could see more than 30,000 deaths from coronavirus a day within a few weeks, but the country's poor record keeping means the true toll may never be known. 

An ambulance overburdened with Covid victims in Maharashtra state is the latest grim evidence of the carnage unfolding throughout the country of 1.4 billion as the virus rips through the population.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Here is a good analysis on the disaster that is unfolding in India .... India ravaged by record-breaking COVID-19 surge as doctors warn of 'impossibly bad' situation (ABC News Australia). 

Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic In India -- News Updates April 30, 2021 

India posts new Covid record as global cases hit 150 million -- AFP

India COVID cases cross 18 million, gravediggers work round the clock -- Reuters  

Overwhelmed India running short of COVID-19 vaccines -- Reuters  

Indian states out of COVID vaccines as daily cases near 400,000 -- Al Jazeera 

India ravaged by record-breaking COVID-19 surge as doctors warn of 'impossibly bad' situation -- ABC News

'Apocalyptic' second wave of COVID-19 in India leaves families hunting for oxygen -- USA Today

India Covid: Delhi running out of space for cremations -- BBC  

Grief and anger as Covid victims overwhelm Delhi’s crematoriums -- The Guardian  

India COVID crisis: Aid arrives amid record case surge -- DW  

Australians Returning From India Could Face 5 Years in Jail -- Bloomberg  

India's Covid-19 crisis is a problem for the world -- CNN

India's Neighbors Are Now On Alert For The 'Double Mutant' COVID Variant


DW: India's neighbors on alert for 'double mutant' COVID variant 

Countries in South Asia are watching out for a potentially more infectious coronavirus variant crossing the border from India. COVID-19 case numbers are currently rising in several countries. 

As India's second coronavirus wave surges across the country, neighbors such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan are also reporting a recent increase in new cases.

This has prompted authorities in these countries to close borders and restrict travel. 

However, some of these borders are porous, with many people crossing back and forth every day. Scientists are examining whether a new "double mutant" coronavirus variant is driving India's current outbreak.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: It is safe to say that India's 'double mutant' Covid variant can now be found worldwide. See below. 

More News On India's "Double Mutant' COVID Variant  

France detects three cases of ‘Indian’ variant of Covid-19 -- France 24  

Rapid spread of India Covid variant in UK is ‘worrying’, say scientists -- The Guardian 

Indian variant in Europe: Where is it and should we be concerned? -- Al Jazeera  

India ‘Double Mutant’ COVID Variant Driving Catastrophic Surge Also Found In U.S., Bay Area -- CBS  

Ontario detects 36 cases of COVID-19 variant first identified in India all within 'last few days' -- CBC  

Explainer: What we know about the Indian variant as coronavirus sweeps South Asia -- Reuters  

What we know about India COVID variant as virus sweeps South Asia -- Al Jazeera

Tonight's Movie Is 'The Internecine Project '


From YouTube: Set in London in the early 1970s, it tells the story of former secret agent Robert Elliot who is being promoted to a government advisor. To eliminate any ties to his past, Elliot devises and carries out a clever plan in which his four former associates will unwittingly kill each other on the same night.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 30, 2021


Rebecca Morelle, BBC: Why India's Covid crisis matters to the whole world 

The harrowing scenes from India have shocked the world, as the country struggles with soaring cases of Covid. But the outbreak isn't just a crisis for India - it's a crisis for everyone. 

"The virus doesn't respect borders, or nationalities, or age, or sex or religion," says Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization's chief scientist. 

"And what's playing out in India now unfortunately has been played out in other countries."  

Read more .... 

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 30, 2021 

How continental Europe is emerging from Covid lockdown -- Jon Henley, The Guardian  

Why Mohammed bin Salman Suddenly Wants to Talk to Iran -- Trita Parsi, Foreign Policy  

Biden’s $90 Billion Bailout to Tehran -- L. Graham & M. Ortagus, Foreign Policy 

US talks with Iran on nuclear deal are bound to sink -- Lenny Ben-David, Jerusalem Post  

Iran leaked tape scandal claims its first victim -- Al-Monitor  

Iraq’s Security Sector Faces Serious Challenges -- Amin Saikal, RealClearDefense  

Australia's Taiwanese community rally behind WHO push, a move that has as much to do with politics as public health -- Joyce Cheng, ABC News (Australia)  

The obscene, unpardonable death of democratic reform in Hong Kong -- Terry Glavin, National Post 

Five things to know about Somalia's political crisis -- AFP  

A royal massacre: 20 years ago, a lovesick Nepalese prince murdered his family -- Rebecca Armitage and Lucia Stein, ABC News (Australia)  

NATO tees up negotiations on artificial intelligence in weapons -- Sebastian Sprenger, C4ISRNet  

Biden’s ‘stratagem’ is no grand strategy for a superpower -- Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera  

EXPLAINER: What remains as US ends Afghan ‘forever war’ -- Kathy Gannon, AP  

Candid reflections on Afghanistan from those whose lives were changed forever by the war -- Howard Altman, Military Times

World News Briefs -- April 30, 2021 (Night Edition)


Daily Mail: US is FINALLY set to order travel restrictions for India where medics claim 30,000 are dying a DAY from three new deadly Covid variants in raging new epidemic: 14 direct flights a day coming to America 

* The US government is finally set to enforce travel restrictions from India but the ban, which only applies to non-US citizens, won't come into effect until Tuesday 

* It comes days after the State Department issued a Level 4 travel advisory, which is the highest alert of its kind, urging all Americans to leave India if they can because of the current COVID-19 outbreak there 

* Until now, there was no word on whether the US government would issue any travel restrictions despite there still being bans in place on the UK, South Africa , Brazil and a number of European countries 

* India is currently experiencing a catastrophic second wave that is, in part, fueled by a deadly Indian variant known as B.1.617 

* The Indian variant has already been detected in the US with reports of cases in California and Tennessee 

* President Biden added South Africa to the restricted list in January after a COVID-19 variant started spreading there rapidly was detected in the US

 * Following the travel advisory, passengers were spotted arriving on direct flights from India in New York, Washington DC and Chicago 

* Passengers told of how the majority of their flights were full and how they struggled to even get tickets 

 * Meanwhile, the TSA announced on Friday that it was extending mask wearing on planes and in airports through September this year 

The US government is finally set to enforce travel restrictions from India where medics say 30,000 people are dying every single day, bodies are piling up in the streets and three different types of its homegrown variant are ravaging the country. 

The ban, which only applies to non-US citizens, won't come into effect until next Tuesday. 

The announcement comes two days after the State Department issued a Level 4 travel advisory, which is the highest alert of its kind, urging all Americans to leave India if they can because of the current COVID-19 outbreak there.  

Read more .... 


Indirect talks on Iran nuclear deal in 'unclear place' -U.S. national security adviser. 

Amid uncertainty, Iran and US showing ‘willingness’ in deal talks. 

Iran has funded Syrian militia groups, regime for years to the tune of billions

UN ‘disturbed’ by Bahrain forces’ violent breakup of jail sit-in. 

Saudi ban on Lebanese produce a strong warning about lawlessness. 

US envoy meets Saudi crown prince in fresh Yemen peace push. 

Medics work to identify the 45 killed in Israeli stampede

Israel crush: Netanyahu promises inquiry as first victims are buried. 


India posts new Covid record as global cases hit 150 million. 

India's neighbors on alert for 'double mutant' COVID variant. 

Afghanistan: Taliban tied to major surge of attacks ahead of U.S. pullout. 

Car bomb kills 30 in eastern Afghanistan's Logar province, high school students among the casualties. 

Kyrgyzstan says 31 killed in clashes at Tajikistan border. 

Myanmar risks coming to standstill as violence worsens -U.N. envoy. 

UN fails to agree on Myanmar statement, diplomats blame China, Russia

China 'confident' in ability to block Taiwan independence, Beijing says. 

PLA will leave no room for Taiwan secessionist activities: spokesperson. 

Duterte ‘reluctant’ to confront China over South China Sea row. 

U.N.: Nearly half in Myanmar live in poverty due to coup violence, COVID-19. 


Chad army says killed 'several hundred' rebels. 

UN: Nearly 30,000 fled attacks in Mozambique’s Palma since March. 

DR Congo police break up protest in troubled east

Somalia: Chaos over term extension as Farmaajo blames opponents, foreign interest. 

Egypt: Ethiopia refuses mediation to solve Renaissance Dam crisis. 

Nigeria's Buhari under fire over surging violence. 

Nigeria welcomes Germany's decision to return looted Benin Bronzes. 

Algerians protest arrests of pro-democracy marchers. 


Covid threat for Europe 'remains present,' WHO says despite falling infections 

Europe's recession deepened in the first quarter but the recovery is underway

Eurozone suffers double-dip recession as pandemic impact continues

Russia imposes entry ban on 8 EU officials. 

U.S. Embassy in Moscow cuts visa services and warns Americans with expired visa to leave before June 15 deadline in further deterioration in relations with Russia. 

Blinken to show support on Ukraine trip after Russian troop movements. 

More than half of French people support generals’ warning that France is 'DISINTEGRATING,' hurtling toward civil war, poll shows . 

Thousands hit Liverpool rave in trial reopening from lockdown. 

EU aims to cut foreign reliance on chips, pharma materials -document. 


US hits 100 million fully vaccinated milestone. 

Biden administration expected to restrict travel from India starting Tuesday. 

Biden-Putin summit in works for summer, says Sullivan. 

US investigates more 'Havana syndrome' attacks: senators. 

US extends face-mask requirement on planes until September. 

Brazil calls on countries to share spare vaccines. 

Mexico looks for U.S. help as AstraZeneca admits Latin American vaccine delay

Canada's economy grew at a 6.5% pace to start 2021, slightly faster than U.S. did. 

Colombia’s ex-FARC leaders admit kidnapping and other crimes. 


Al Qaeda promises 'war on all fronts' against America as Biden pulls out of Afghanistan. 

Guantánamo detainee takes on CIA ‘black sites’ in UN human rights case. 

The operation that took out Osama Bin Laden. 


Stocks pull below record but still end best month this year. 

Exxon tops earnings estimates as oil prices, chemicals drive rebound. 

Bitcoin rises 6.54% to $57,098.08. 

EU charges Apple with breach of competition law.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 30, 2021

The Liaoning aircraft carrier is accompanied by frigates and submarines on April 12, 2018, conducting exercises in the South China Sea. (Li Gang/Xinhua)  

The Hill: China: US military activity increasing under Biden administration 

China's defense ministry on Thursday accused the U.S. of increasing military action specifically targeting Beijing, including surveillance activity and other movements through Chinese-claimed airspace and waters. 

The Associated Press reported that a spokesperson for China's defense forces accused the Biden administration of ramping up aerial activities in Chinese-claimed airspace by 40 percent, while naval activity had increased by 20 percent in Chinese-claimed waters.  

Read more .... 

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 30, 2021  

China says US increasing military activity directed at it -- AP  

JF-17 fighter jet gets J-20’s combat missile: reports -- Global Times  

US, China Clash Near Taiwan As Chinese Warships Warn Away ‘Stalker’ US Guided-Missile Destroyer — Reports -- EurAsian Times  

UPDATE: PLA warns away ‘accident-risking’ US destroyer stalking Liaoning carrier group -- Global Times  

China ‘occupies, militarises’ area the size of Mediterranean in the South China Sea -- Sky News  

Deputy defense secretary stresses diplomacy in dealing with China -- UPI  

Pentagon: Conflict With China Not Inevitable, But Both Countries Need to Avoid 'Needless Escalation' -- Sputnik  

The Navy’s saddest fast-attack sub will finally get the tender loving maintenance it needs -- Navy Times 

 Navy Unveils Surprise Plan For Littoral Combat Ships -- Breaking Defense  

GAO report: Navy overpays for littoral combat ship maintenance -- UPI  

New Video Teases Sig Sauer Prototypes for Army's Next Gen-Weapons Effort --  

Army Briefs Industry On Future Air & Ground Standards -- Breaking Defense  

As Tank Battalions Shut Down, Dozens of Marines Are Joining the Army --  

F-15EX To Fly In Indo-PACOM’s Northern Edge -- Breaking Defense  

Software, Missiles, Testing At Top For Budget, Says DepSecDef Hicks -- Breaking Defense 

Intel community surveillance declined in 2020 -- The Hill  

Watchdog expresses concern over using US Navy interceptor for homeland missile defense -- Defense News  

Army report confirms Vanessa Guillén was sexually harassed before her death -- The Hill  

Army Disciplines 13 Leaders, Confirms Murdered Soldier Vanessa Guillen Was Sexually Harassed --  

Vermont becomes first state to allow women to enlist for combat in its National Guard -- The Hill  

Biden cancels military-funded border wall projects -- The Hill  

As counterterror missions fade, special operations finds time to fix its own problems -- Military Times  

CENTCOM chief cites drones, radicalization as foremost Middle East issues -- UPI  

U.S. Coast Guard vessel trains with Turkish ship in Black Sea -- UPI  

Top US military intelligence official says Russian military poses an ‘existential threat’ to the US -- CNN  

Russia, Turkey Hold Joint Patrol Training in Syria, Reconciliation Center Says -- Sputnik  

European propulsion partners agree framework for engine on Next Generation Fighter -- Flight Global  

India, Australia cleared to buy $4.3B in US military gear -- Defense News

Is Africa The Next Covid-19 Hot-Spot?


Reuters: India's COVID-19 emergency is wake-up call to Africa -AU health chief 

NAIROBI (Reuters) -The raging state of the COVID-19 pandemic is India is a wake-up call for Africa that its governments and citizens must not let their guards down, the African Union's disease control agency warned on Thursday. 

African nations generally do not have sufficient numbers of health care workers, hospital beds, oxygen supplies, and the continent of 1.3 billion would be even more overwhelmed than India if cases surged in a similar way, said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"We are watching with total disbelief...What is happening in India cannot be ignored by our continent," he told reporters. 

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The people that I trust when it comes to Covid-19 are telling me that the next hot-spot after India will be Nigeria. 

More News On Concerns That Africa The May Become The Next Covid-19 Hot-Spot  

Alarm grows in Africa as it watches India's COVID-19 crisis -- AP  

India-Like Covid Virus Crisis May Yet Unfold in Africa, CDC Says -- Bloomberg  

An India-like deadly Covid wave will have worse consequences in Africa, top health body warns -- The Print 

India’s COVID crisis is wake-up call for Africa: AU health chief -- Al Jazeera

Wake-up call’: Africa CDC warns continent risks similar Covid crisis to India -- RT 

'Act now': Africa medics warn of India-like Covid surge -- RFI  

Africa faces COVID-19 resurgence, WHO warns -- The Guardian

Heavy Fighting Reported On The Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan Border


BBC: Deadly fighting on Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border kills at least 31 

At least 31 people have been killed, scores injured and 10,000 evacuated after a water dispute led to some of the worst clashes in years on a disputed Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border. 

Clashes started on Wednesday when people from both sides hurled stones at each other after surveillance cameras were installed at a water facility. 

A truce and troop pull-back were agreed but some shooting appeared to continue. 

The casualty figures were from the Kyrgyz side with Tajik numbers unclear. 

Kyrgyzstan's health minister Aliza Soltonbekova said in a televised briefing that 31 people had been killed and more than 150 wounded since the violence began on Thursday.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The death toll is now 41 .... At least 41 dead in Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border clashes (Daily Sabah/AFP).  

Update: I am not optimistic that this will hold .... Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan sign ceasefire agreement after violent border clashes that injured scores and killed at least 30 people (RT). More here .... Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan ceasefire holding after day of intense fighting (The Guardian) 

More News On Heavy Fighting Being Reported On The Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan Border

31 killed in heavy clashes at Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border -- Arab News/AFP  

Kyrgyzstan says 31 killed in clashes at Tajikistan border -- Al Jazeera  

Kyrgyzstan evacuates thousands after Tajikistan clashes -- DW  

Kyrgyzstan reports 13 deaths in territorial clashes with Tajikistan -- Euronews/AFP  

Press review: What sparked the Tajik-Kyrgyz conflict and China beating India in S. Asia -- TASS

Former US Senator Harry Reid Says UFOs Buzzing US Warships Are Russian, Not Alien


Daily Mail: 'There's no question it's Vlad': Former Senator Harry Reid says UFOs buzzing US warships are Russian, not alien and tells Biden to set up taskforce to counter the threat 

* Former Senate majority leader Harry Reid pointed the finger at Russia over unidentified flying objects spotted by US warships 

* The UFOs were seen in images and footage leaked from a Pentagon investigation 

 * Reid has called on for a permanent UFO program to be established following the sightings 

A former senator has blamed UFOs filmed buzzing US warships on Vladimir Putin, saying there was 'no question' that Russia was involved. 

Former Senate majority leader Harry Reid called for the US to establish a UFO program, after the Pentagon confirmed evidence of unidentified flying objects over Navy warships off of California in 2019. 

In an interview with, Reid, who has pushed before for a UFO program, discussed the potential origin of the mysterious flying objects, which the interviewer suggested may be Chinese.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: 'Russia is Involved in This': Ex-Senator Harry Reid Hints at Possible Origins of UFOs (Spuntik)  

Update #2: Vladimir Putin 'behind' pyramid UFOs that swarmed US Navy ship, ex-senator claims (Daily Star).  

WNU Editor: Of course he provides zero evidence to back his claim. Harry Reid's interview is here .... Permanent UFO program is needed according to former Senator Harry Reid (Mystery Wire).  

Update #3: Unfortunately he provides no evidence .... Pentagon whistleblower warns of UFO intelligence failure on ‘level of 9/11’ (NYPost).

President Biden Coughs Through Georgia Drive-In Rally


THE SUN: JOE Biden heckled by protester before coughing and spluttering through car-crash drive-in rally in Georgia 

PRESIDENT Joe Biden was heckled by protesters before suffering a brief coughing fit during a drive-in rally in Georgia on Thursday. 

Biden was joined by newly elected Sens Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff at the rally, which he attended after paying a visit to former President Jimmy Carter. Protesters at the rally briefly interrupted Biden's speech, which was given to mark his 100th day in office, to demand that the president "abolish ICE." 

Biden briefly engaged with the protesters who were calling for the dismantling of both Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and private detention centers. Protesters chanted, "end detentions now" and "communities not cages," according to ABC. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: What a train-wreck of a rally. Its like watching a Monty Python skit. What was also uncomfortable to watch were his eyes. They were almost closed throughout his speech. My gut tells me that he is not going to finish his term. Time to get ready for President Harris.

You can watch the entire rally below. 

President Biden Will Not Rule Out Ordering The U.S. Military To Get Vaccinated


US News and World Report/Reuters: Biden Won't Rule Out Requiring U.S. Service Members to Get COVID-19 Vaccine -NBC Interview 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden said he has not ruled out requiring U.S. service members to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to an NBC interview broadcast on Friday. 

"I'm not saying I won't," Biden said when asked if he would require the men and women in the U.S. armed services to get vaccinated. "I think you're going to see more and more of them getting it. And I think it's going to be a tough call as to whether or not they should be required to get it in the military, because you're in such close proximity with other military personnel," Biden said in the interview, conducted on Thursday.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: If US military personnel are ordered to take the vaccine, I can easily see such orders spreading to other government organizations. Case in point. A huge percentage of US health workers do not want to get vaccinated, should they also be ordered to get the vaccination .... Should health-care workers be required to get coronavirus shots? Companies grapple with mandates (Washington Post). 

More News On President Biden Saying He Will Not Rule Out Ordering The U.S. Military To Get Vaccinated  

Biden may order mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for U.S. troops -- The Hill  

Biden says it's 'tough call' to mandate COVID-19 vaccine for military -- FOX News  

‘A tough call’: Biden considering mandatory Covid vaccines for U.S. troops -- Politico

President Biden Says US Withdrawal From Afghanistan Shows ‘American Leadership’

President Joe Biden, center, speaks to a joint session of Congress on April 28 at the U.S. Capitol as Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (watch. (Doug Mills/via AP Pool)  

Military Times: Biden says US withdrawal from Afghanistan shows ‘American leadership’ 

Removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan won’t endanger national security but will demonstrate “American leadership” by halting the cycle of endless armed conflict, President Joe Biden argued in his address to Congress on Wednesday night. 

In his first formal speech to lawmakers since becoming president nearly 100 days ago, Biden focused largely on his domestic spending and economic plans, including measures to raise the national minimum wage, make college classes more affordable and expand job training programs.

But the commander in chief also devoted a sizable section of the national address to his recent decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, nearly 20 years after fighting began there.  

Read more ....  

Update: Biden touts Afghan withdrawal: 'American leadership means ending the forever war' (The Hill) 

WNU Editor: Maybe President Biden sees the withdrawal/retreat from Afghanistan as a symbol of American leadership. But Afghanistan's neighbors see it differently .... US’ Afghanistan withdrawal decision sends shudders through South Asia (SCMP).

Afghan General Says His Forces Are Prepare To Take On The Taliban Without U.S. Help Because There's "No Other Option"

U.S.-trained Afghan soldiers seen during a military exercise. CBS News  

CBS: Afghan forces prepare to take on the Taliban without U.S. help, because there's "no other option." 

Kabul — In his first address before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday evening, President Biden underlined his plan to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan after nearly 20 years — America's longest war. 

The final pullout begins in May, and with the Taliban expected to ramp up violence, CBS News' Charlie D'Agata met some of the U.S.-trained Afghan forces who will soon face the insurgents on their own, ready or not. 

The Taliban has been gaining ground in Afghanistan for months. Traveling by road in the country has never been more dangerous, so D'Agata and his crew were flown by helicopter to a military base where Afghan soldiers have been training and putting on a show of force. 

The elite Afghan troops have been staging military exercises, with weapons and training provided by their U.S. military allies.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: More here on what is happening in Afghanistan .... Inside Afghanistan as U.S. prepares to withdraw its troops (CBS News). 

As to what is my take on what is happening. The Afghan Army is on course to collapse because of this .... Afghan casualties and attrition are outpacing recruitment and retention (Military Times).

‘Insider Attacks’ On Afghan Forces Increased By 82% In The First Quarter Of 2021

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint near the a US military base in Bagram, some 50 kilometers north of Kabul, on April 29, 2021.  

VOA: ‘Insider Attacks’ on Afghan Forces Increased by 82%, US Agency Reports  

A new quarterly U.S. report has documented a staggering 82% increase in “insider attacks” on Afghan government security forces in the first quarter of 2021, resulting in 115 personnel killed and 39 wounded. 

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reported Thursday to the U.S. Congress that overall Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) casualties also were substantially higher than during the same period last year. 

SIGAR is not allowed to include full ANDSF casualty data because U.S. forces in Afghanistan keep it classified at the request of the Afghan government.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: These insider attacks are only going to increase as the war escalates. 

More News On The Increase In ‘Insider Attacks’ On Afghan Forces  

Deadly Attacks Surge as U.S. Troops Prepare to Leave Afghanistan -- Bloomberg 

Surge in insider attacks in Afghan army as Americans prepare to go: US govt -- AFP  

Insider attacks in Afghan security forces spike as US withdraws -- Stars and Stripes  

Insider attacks against Afghan army surged this year: Report -- Al Jazeera

The Taliban Are Currently Controlling And Contesting Much Of Afghanistan

Michal Šenk, National Interest: Whether America Stays or Goes, the Taliban Will Control Afghanistan 

Given the Taliban’s incessant rise, debating America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is increasingly irrelevant and harmful. 

When the Trump administration announced in 2020 that it would begin a full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, many were quick to conclude that after almost two decades the United States was, in effect, conceding defeat in its longest war, capitulating to an insurgent group. A number of indicators certainly pointed in that direction. Signing the agreement with the Taliban served not only as a sober admission that, despite years of fighting, the Taliban remained undefeated. More importantly, as the United States bound the Afghan government to negotiate with the group, Washington effectively acknowledged that, in one way or another, the insurgent group was non-excludable from shaping the country’s future. To realize that the path towards stability leads through sharing power with an enemy may be an enlightened thing to do, but the human and financial costs of the twenty-year campaign hardly make it a cause for celebration in either Washington or Kabul.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Here is an AP report that illustrates the control and influence the Taliban now have in Afghanistan .... Mapping the Afghan war, while murky, points to Taliban gains (AP).

U.S. Senators Threaten To Cut Off Foreign Aid To Afghanistan If Taliban Take Power

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), speaks during a defense hearing on Capitol Hill on March 25. She is criticizing President Biden's plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in September. Andrew Harnik/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS 

Roll Call: U.S. foreign aid will be cut off if Taliban take power, senators say 

Lawmakers in charge of the money say they'll cut it off if the group rolls back progress on human rights in Afghanistan

Senior Senate authorizers and appropriators on Tuesday warned that they would oppose continued foreign aid to Afghanistan if the Taliban retake control and roll back human rights advances in the country. 

Following President Joe Biden’s announcement earlier this month that all American troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, lawmakers are grappling with what that will mean not only for U.S. counterterrorism operations but also for the future status of Afghan women and minorities as well as the billions of dollars in annual foreign assistance that taxpayers provide to the country.  

Read more ....  

Update: As U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, lawmakers fear dark future for women (Reuters) 

WNU Editor: The Taliban do not care about these threats.

U.S. And NATO Forces Leave Afghanistan As The Fighting Escalates


VOA: US, NATO Troops Leaving Afghanistan as Fighting Escalates 

WASHINGTON - Troops and equipment are leaving Afghanistan, days ahead of the official start of the U.S. withdrawal, the White House said Thursday, marking the beginning of the end of America’s longest war. 

“A drawdown is under way,” White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One, as President Joe Biden headed to Georgia Thursday for a rally. 

“It will be deliberate and conducted in a safe and responsible manner that ensures the protection of our forces,” she said. “Potential adversaries, should they attack us, our withdrawal, we will defend ourselves, our partners, with all the tools at our disposal.” 

Also Thursday, a NATO official confirmed to VOA that some of the 7,000 troops sent to Afghanistan as part of the multinational Operation Resolute Support had also left the country.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The Taliban have all but assured that this is going to happen in the coming months .... Pentagon preparing for Taliban attacks during US withdrawal from Afghanistan (Military Times/AP). More here .... Taliban chief warns of 'unfortunate consequences' in threat to US amid withdrawal delay (Rxpress).  

Update: He is not the only one who is voicing this .... U.S. Military Official Says Afghanistan Could See Military Collapse, Civil War After Troops Leave (Newsweek). More here .... Blinken says US pullout from Afghanistan could lead to civil war, Taliban takeover (NYPost), and here .... Top US general: hard to predict Afghan fate after pullout (Raw Story).  

Update #2: There are some optimists .... Afghan General Says Army Will Survive U.S. Troop Withdrawal (NPR). 

More News On U.S. And NATO Forces Leaving Afghanistan 

U.S. begins Afghanistan withdrawal, deploys military assets to protect troops -- CNBC  

Nato begins troop withdrawal from Afghanistan -- The National  

US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan has begun -- CNN NATO Says Afghanistan Withdrawal Has Begun -- NDTV  

German military wraps up training mission in Afghanistan ahead of withdrawal -- Reuters

Al Qaeda Vows To 'Wage War On All Fronts' Against The US

New York City. September 11, 2001  

Daily Mail: Al Qaeda vows to 'wage war on all fronts' against the US ahead of 10-year anniversary of Osama Bin Laden's death 

* Al Qaeda has been in retreat since Osama Bin Laden's assassination in May, 2011 

 * Operatives claim the group is preparing to make a comeback and strike the US 

* Joe Biden has pledged to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by September Al Qaeda has vowed to 'wage war on all fronts' against the US unless they retreat from the entire Islamic world. 

Speaking ahead of the tenth anniversary since Osama Bin Laden's death, two operatives said the terrorist network is planning a comeback as President Joe Biden prepares to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan by September 11.

The Islamist group, now headed by the Egyptian jihadist Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been seen as a diminishing force by the West since Bin Laden's assassination by US special forces on May 1, 2011, with the focus since turning to ISIS.  

Read more ....  

Update: Al Qaeda promises 'war on all fronts' against America as Biden pulls out of Afghanistan (CNN)  

WNU Editor: I have been hearing this same narrative for years .... Al-Qaeda 'shadow of former self' decade after Bin Laden death (France 24).

Worldwide Number of COVID-19 Cases Surpasses 150 Million

DW: Coronavirus digest: Global cases pass 150 million 

India has registered a record daily rise in coronavirus cases and the death toll in Brazil has hit 400,000. Germany, meanwhile, has detected its first cases of the Indian variant.

DW has the latest. Worldwide COVID-19 cases have exceeded 150 million, with the US, India and Brazil reporting the highest number of infections, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University. 

The US on Friday reported a total of 32,288,689 cases with 575,193 deaths, India logged 18,376,524 cases with 204,832 deaths, and Brazil reported 14,590,678 infections with 401,186 deaths. 

India's jump in coronavirus cases has prompted the army to open up its hospitals due to a nationwide shortage of beds, medicines and oxygen.  

Read more .... 

 More News On Worldwide Number of COVID-19 Cases Surpassing 150 Million  

Worldwide COVID-19 cases pass 150 million -- MedicalXpress  

Worldwide Number of COVID-19 Cases Surpasses 150 Million, Johns Hopkins University Says -- Sputnik  

India posts Covid daily record as global cases hit 150 million -- France 24  

Covid-19 live updates: India sets another grim record as global cases top 150 million -- Washington Post  

Global COVID cases top 150 million; U.S. death toll surpasses 575,000 -- AJC

Tweets Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

Sixty women began training in January, but seven dropped out because of injury. The remaining 53 went on to become Marines. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters  

WNU Editor: The above picture came from this photo-gallery .... First female west coast Marines graduate at Camp Pendleton – in pictures (The Guardian).

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Says Russia-West Relations Are Worse Than During The Cold War+

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during a joint news conference with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard following their talks in Moscow, Russia, on April 28, 2021. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)  

TASS: Lavrov: Russia-West relations are worse than in Cold War era 

Russia's top diplomat voiced the hope people in the West were aware of how precarious this situation was 

MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. Relations between Moscow and the West are worse than in the Cold War era, because before there were certain communication channels between the parties concerned and no obsession with Russophobia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the BBC in an interview. An extract from the interview was published on Monday.  

Read more .... 

Update #1: Russian minister: U.S.-Russia ties worse than during Cold War (AP)  

Update #2: Top Russia diplomat: At least during the Cold War, there was 'mutual respect' with US (The Hill)  

WNU Editor: I disagree with the Russian Foreign Minister that current relations are worse than the Cold War. But it is bad, and it is getting worse.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 29, 2021


John McLaughlin, Ozy: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Reality of Afghanistan  

The Taliban are strong and well-armed. The elected government is weak, corruption is rife, and government security forces are struggling. What could go wrong? 

President’s Joe Biden’s decision to bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 has provoked enormous controversy across the political spectrum. 

Opinion divides between those outraged by what they see as a potentially disastrous “cut and run” decision and those who insist that keeping troops there would just prolong an unwinnable war that has already consumed 20 years and many lives. 

Critics and supporters are about equally divided, and each side can make a good case, so let’s peel back the arguments to see what’s underneath. 

Read more .... 

 Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 29, 2021  

Afghanistan: How Six Good Reasons Can Still Lead to a Bad Decision -- Tim Willasey-Wilsey, Cipher Brief  

Candid reflections on Afghanistan from those whose lives were changed forever by the war -- Howard Altman, Military Times  

I Commanded a NATO Brigade in Afghanistan. Now Is Not the Time to Leave. -- James L. Creighton, National Interest

India’s COVID Tsunami -- Shashi Tharoor, Project Syndicate  

India's COVID 'inferno': Why is the second surge happening now? -- Beatrice Christofaro, DW  

Philippines headed towards India-like Covid crisis -- Jason Castaneda, Asia Times  

Who should America give its surplus vaccines to? -- Andrew Salman, Asia Times  

Is latest Ethiopian proposal on Nile dam talks a play for time? -- Ahmed Gomaa, Al-Monitor  

Is Somalia on the brink of a new conflict? -- Al Jazeera  

It Is Time to Change Approach to North Korea -- Daniel R. DePetris, RCW  

Washington is avoiding the tough questions on Taiwan and China -- Foreign Affairs  

Biden’s $90 billion bailout to Tehran -- Foreign Policy  

Displaced Conflict: Russia’s Qualified Success in Combatting Insurgency -- Mark Youngman and Cerwyn Moore, Russia Matters  

Glenn Greenwald Says US-Russia Relationship ‘Clearly at Low Point,’ Names Two Reasons Why -- Sputnik 

 Armed Gangs and Warlords Are Taking Over Venezuela -- Frida Ghitis Thursday, WPR

World News Briefs -- April 29, 2021 (Night Edition)


Times of Israel: 40 people crushed to death, dozens hurt at mass Lag B’Omer event in Mt. Meron 

More than 65 injured, many in critical condition as ambulances, helicopters evacuate victims from largest gathering held in Israel since COVID outbreak; IDF sends rescue team 

At least 40 people were crushed to death and more than 65 people hurt, including many in critical condition, in a stampede after midnight Thursday at a mass gathering to celebrate the Lag B’Omer holiday at Mount Meron, medics said. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the incident “a terrible disaster.”  

Read more .... 


Iran's Zarif backs Yemen ceasefire in talks with Houthi leader. 

Iran welcomes Saudi change of tone, sees 'new chapter'. 

Millions at risk from Covid surge in Syria amid test and oxygen shortages. 

Blinken meets Israel spy chief about Iran concerns: Report. 

Turkey’s central bank hikes inflation forecast to 12.2 percent

Turkey set for three-week lockdown amid rising Covid-19 cases. 

Palestinian President Abbas postpones first elections since 2006 as Hamas denounces ‘coup’. 

Israel: Dozens dead in stampede at Lag B'Omer religious gathering. 


Coronavirus digest: India sees record deaths amid vaccine woes

India's COVID-19 cases surge to 18 million while government praises turnout for 'festival of democracy'

Shortages, confusion in India's vaccination drive. 

India Covid crisis: US tells citizens to leave the country. 

Six civilians are dead as Kyrgyz and Tajik security forces clash at border in water dispute. 

Kyrgyzstan says ceasefire agreed with Tajikistan after clashes. 

NATO says Afghanistan withdrawal has begun

Germany's Heiko Maas pledges Afghanistan continued support. 

Kim Jong Un absent from North Korea's Youth League Congress.  

China challenges claims of declining population as census release postponed. 

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Competitors to be tested daily for Covid-19. 


Fresh fighting between Chad rebels, government forces. 

Gunmen kill 18 in Burkina Faso attack, force many to flee. 

DR Congo's Tshisekedi vows 'radical measures' against eastern militias. 

Sexual violence pervasive in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions. 

UN warns of famine in drought-ravaged southern Madagascar. 

Kenya to close 2 refugee camps next year. 

Mauritanian ex-president lashes out over corruption probe. 

Zulu Queen Mantfombi Dlamini dies a month after becoming regent. 


Secretary of State to visit Ukraine next week amid tensions with Russia. 

Russian minister: U.S.-Russia ties worse than during Cold War. 

Covid: France aims to reopen except nightclubs by July

Covid-19: French vaccine appointments go unclaimed, reviving debate on who should qualify. 

Cyprus: UN-mediated talks fail to bridge gap between Turkish, Greek Cypriots

French soldiers to face military court over letter warning of ‘civil war’. 

Russia's Alexey Navalny "just a horrible skeleton" in 1st court appearance since prison hunger strike


 Dr Fauci predicts a 'significant drop' in Covid cases from current average of 52K a day as US nears 40% of adults being fully vaccinated - but daily shots dip to 2.6M on average after 18 days of declines. 

New York City aims to 'fully reopen' on July 1. 

White House investigating ‘unexplained health incidents’ similar to Havana syndrome. 

Brazil passes 400,000 COVID-19 fatalities with death toll to remain high for months. 

Brazil becomes second country to pass 400,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Ecuador jail violence: Gunfight leaves five dead. 

Eight Venezuelan soldiers killed in clashes on Colombian border. 

Colombians take to the streets to oppose tax reform. 

Lady Gaga: Five arrested in dognapping case


Guantanamo detainee Abu Zubaydah to file complaint with UN agency. 

U.S. Justice Department considers law to address domestic terrorism, official says. 

Taliban’s deputy leader stresses importance of judges in the Islamic emirate. 


 Stocks end higher, pushing S&P 500 to another record high. 

Amazon quarterly profit triples as online sales boom. 

Moderna ramps up COVID-19 vaccine production, eyes 3B doses in 2022

Spending on cloud computing hits $42 bn worldwide: tracker.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 29, 2021

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley speaks during a virtual McCain Institute event on April 28, 2021. Screenshot photo.  

Air Force Magazine: Milley: Afghanistan’s Future After U.S. Withdrawal Difficult to Predict 

The military’s top uniformed officer said April 28 it’s difficult to predict what will play out in Afghanistan as Afghan forces prepare to take sole responsibility for the country’s security following the U.S. withdrawal. 

 “It’s not a foregone conclusion that there’ll be an automatic fall of Kabul, so to speak,” said Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a virtual McCain Institute event. “I think that we, the United States, are going to continue to support diplomatic efforts to come to a negotiated outcome between the insurgents and the regime, and that would be best for the people of Afghanistan and best for our region. 

Read more .... 

 Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 29, 2021  

US troops begin leaving Afghanistan -- The Hill  

Biden touts Afghan withdrawal: 'American leadership means ending the forever war' -- The Hill  

Biden to Xi: US Will Maintain Strong Military Presence in Indo-Pacific -- Sputnik  

Biden budget delay blows up Hill defense schedule -- Defense News  

Biden budget delay pushes back annual defense policy bill -- The Hill  

Army Eyes Autonomous Robotic Arm to Rapidly Resupply its Futuristic Long-Range Howitzer --  

The Air Force Is Testing Ways to Use the MQ-9 Drone in Island-Hopping Missions --  

About 60% US Special Forces Focus on Great Power Competition, Commanding General Says -- Sputnik 

Fort Drum Commander Fired over Alleged Misconduct --  

Gunfight at Syrian checkpoint leads to charges against sergeant first class -- Army Times  

Senate Moves Toward Major Shift in Military Law After Years of Failure to Combat Sexual Assault --  

Despite littoral combat ship’s myriad issues, the CNO is ‘bullish’ on their future -- Navy Times  

USS Port Royal returns to Pearl Harbor after deployment -- UPI  

Marines Fire Anti-Ship Missile from Back of Unmanned Truck to Hit Target at Sea --  

Successful test of land-based Naval Strike Missile announced by Raytheon -- UPI  

Watchdog expresses concern over using US Navy interceptor for homeland missile defense -- Defense News  

Navy at ‘unacceptable risk’ from missiles, Pentagon tester warns -- Bloomberg  

US Army-led NATO military exercises launched in Albania -- Army Times/AP  

U.S., Britain, France, Australia wrap mine countermeasure exercise -- UPI  

Top Biden officials plan Mideast trip over Iran, F-35 concerns -- Bloomberg  

F-15E Strike Eagle Smart-Bomb Transports Are Hauling Munitions Around The Middle East -- Warzone/The Drive  

China says US increasing military activity directed at it -- AP  

China launches core module of space station on Long March 5-B rocket -- The Hill  

Australia Will Invest Millions to Upgrade Military Sites Where US Marines Train --  

Watch: France Tests New Version of M51 Ballistic Missile, But Atypical Trajectory Questions Remain -- Sputnik  

Forthcoming French Atlantic Ocean Missile Test Suspected as Hypersonic Weapon Debut - Report -- Sputnik 

 State Department approves $1.94B in military sales to Australia -- UPI  

Israeli Security Agency Claims Hackers Planning Massive Attacks to Mark Iran's Quds Day - Report -- Sputnik

Blinken, US Security Aides Meet With Israel Spy Chief to Discuss Iran - Reports -- Sputnik