Saturday, July 31, 2021

U.S. Seizes Tanker Used To Evade North Korean Sanctions

This undated handout image obtained July 30, 2021, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice, shows oil tanker M/T Courageous docked in an undisclosed location.  

Reuters: U.S. says seizes tanker used to evade North Korea sanctions 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department (DoJ) on Friday announced the seizure of a 2,734-ton tanker it said was owned and operated by a Singaporean national and used to make shipments of petroleum products to North Korea in violation of international sanctions.

A DoJ statement said the M/T Courageous was seized by Cambodian authorities in March 2020 in accordance with a U.S. warrant, having been used to transfer oil products to North Korean vessels and to make direct shipments to the North Korean port of Nampo. 

"Criminal charges of conspiracy to evade economic sanctions on the DPRK and money laundering conspiracy are pending against the alleged owner and operator of the Courageous, Kwek Kee Seng, a Singaporean national who remains at large," it said, using the acronym of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Read more .... 

More News On The U.S. Seizing A Tanker Used To Evade North Korean Sanctions  

US Seizes Tanker Used to Deliver Oil to North Korea -- VOA/AFP  

US seizes Singaporean tanker for evading North Korea sanctions -- Nikkei Asia  

US seizes tanker shipping oil to North Korea in violation of sanctions -- Washington Examiner  

US seizes tanker used to evade North Korea sanctions -- Al Jazeera  

US Court Ordered to Confiscate Tanker That Was Illegally Supplying North Korea With Oil -- Sputnik

US B-52 Bombers Back Into Action Over Afghanistan

U.S. Air Force photo  

Arab News: US brings B-52 bombers back into action as Taliban sweep across Afghanistan 

* Washington’s strategy to deploy the heavily armed planes a ‘worrying sign’ 

KABUL: A US B-52 bomber has pounded Taliban positions in Afghanistan’s western Herat province after the group gained ground near the area amid intense clashes with government forces, officials and lawmakers said on Saturday. 

The strike took place on the outskirts of Herat city on Friday, with flights to and from the area suspended after increased violence near its airport. 

“Unfortunately, all flights to Herat have been canceled due to the fighting and the information we have received suggest that a B-52 was used in the fighting yesterday (Friday) in Herat,” provincial lawmaker Habib Ur Rahman Pedram told Arab News.

No further details were given, such as the number of casualties or the scale of the attack.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This is definitely a worrying indication on how bad the situation in Afghanistan has become.

Battle For Control In Afghanistan Worsens. Three Major Cities Now Under Seige


 BBC: Afghanistan: Fighting rages as Taliban besiege three key cities 

Fighting is raging around three major cities in southern and western Afghanistan as Taliban militants seek to seize them from government forces. 

Taliban fighters have entered parts of Herat, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar. 

They have made rapid gains in rural areas since it was announced almost all foreign troops would go by September. 

But the fate of these key cities could be crucial amid fears of a humanitarian crisis and how long government forces will be able to hold out. 

The fundamentalist Islamist militia is already thought to have captured up to half of all Afghanistan's territory, including lucrative border crossings with Iran and Pakistan.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: The Taliban are now claiming that they have seized the city of Herat. 

More News On the Afghan War  

Fighting rages for key Afghan cities as Taliban blamed for attack on UN -- National Interest  

Afghanistan’s Herat under pressure amid ongoing Taliban assault -- Al Jazeera  

Key Afghan City in Danger of Falling to the Taliban -- NYT  

Taliban and Afghan forces clash again outside Herat city -- AFP  

Herat residents fear Taliban in their homes and workplaces as it masses outside city -- The Guardian 

Fighting rages in three Afghan cities as Taliban launches sustained assault -- The Independent  

Taliban fighters enter provincial capital, clash with Afghan forces -- Jerusalem Post/Reuters

Who Is Not Taking The Vaccine In The U.S.?

A KFF survey found young people, rural residents and black adults are among the groups most likely to refuse a vaccine, along with registered Republicans 

Daily Mail: Pelosi and White House blame Republicans for fueling spread of COVID but fewer than half of young people and 36% of black people have had shots while 92% of older Americans are jabbed 

* Nancy Pelosi has attempted to blame the spread of COVID-19 on unvaccinated Republicans 

* However, data that shows many key Democrat groups are also not signing up to be immunized 

* Young people aged 18-24 - who are reliable Democrat voting bloc - are among the most hesitant groups; almost a quarter say they'll never have the shot 

* Meanwhile, more than half of black and Hispanic Americans have not had a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine 

* One survey revealed that one-third of black Americans would not have the shot even if it was determined safe by scientists 

Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden's digs at Republicans for refusing to get vaccinated have been cast into doubt after figures showed key Democrat demographics are among the main groups who aren't being jabbed. 

Figures from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) show key Democrat voting blocks - including blacks, Hispanics and people of all races between ages 18 and 24 - are also hesitant to have the shot. 

Earlier this week, Nancy Pelosi attempted to blame Republican leaders for failing to encourage their constituents to get vaccinated, but failed to mention why her own party hadn't been pushing millions of reluctant Democrat voters to also get the shots.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This is not the message that the media is spreading.

President Biden Directs Pentagon To Plan For Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines Biden directs Pentagon to plan for mandatory COVID-19 vaccines 

President Joe Biden on Thursday said he was taking the first step toward making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for members of the military . 

“Since many vaccinations are required for active-duty military today, I’m asking the Defense Department to look into how and when they will add COVID-19 to the list of vaccinations our armed forces must get,” Biden said in an address from the White House. 

Service members already are required to get as many as 17 vaccines, depending on where they are based around the world. 

They include inoculations against measles, mumps, diphtheria, hepatitis, smallpox and the flu.  

Read more .... 

More News On President Biden Directing The Pentagon To Plan For Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines  

Pentagon, reacting to Biden order, working on plan for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations -- Military Times  

Pentagon says it will start talks on making COVID-19 vaccine mandatory -- The Hill  

Pentagon grappling with new vaccine orders; timing uncertain -- AP 

Biden directs Pentagon to figure out ‘how and when’ to require COVID vaccine for the military -- Washington Examiner 

Pentagon calls COVID-19 a threat to national security, weighs making vaccinations a requirement -- FOX News

President Biden Says Americans Should Expect More COVID Restrictions


CNN: Biden says US will 'in all probability' see more guidelines and restrictions amid rising Covid cases 

(CNN)President Joe Biden said Friday the US will, "in all probability," see more guidelines and restrictions amid rising coronavirus cases and the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. 

"And by the way, we had a good day yesterday," Biden told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for Camp David, referring to what he said were encouraging numbers of people who got vaccinated Thursday. 

Pressed Friday on whether the US is headed for more lockdowns amid rising cases, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, "The way we see this is that we have the tools in our tool belt to fight this, this, this variant," adding, "we are not going to head towards a lockdown."  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: It looks like a national vaccine mandate has been shot down .... Chaos in the White House over COVID messaging: Biden advisor Jeff Zients insists they are NOT exploring national vaccine mandates 'at all' - after president said it is 'still a question' (Daily Mail). 

More News On President Biden Saying Americans Should Expect More COVID Restrictions  

Biden says Americans should expect more COVID restrictions -- FOX News  

Biden predicts more COVID restrictions as CDC head causes vax mandate confusion -- NYPost  

Biden says US to see new Covid restrictions 'in all probability' -- France 24  

Countdown To The Next Lockdown: Biden Says "In All Probability" US Will See More Restrictions -- Zero Hedge

America’s ‘Great Retreat’ Is Accelerating

Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island clear out of the way of a Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II in preparation for takeoff from the flight deck of the ship. Photo: US Marine Corps / Patrick Crosley  

Stephen Bryen, Asia Times: America’s ‘Great Retreat’ is well underway 

The US is rapidly lowering its military profile and backing away from commitments to allies in the Middle East and Asia 

Why would the US Department of Justice drop five cases against Chinese researchers including Dr Juan Tang, a cancer researcher who allegedly lied on her visa application after photos of her were found wearing a Chinese military uniform? 

Part of the answer is that Tang’s case was dropped to facilitate Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s high-level visit this week to China, where she was treated hostilely by her Chinese hosts. 

The five cases are just part of a bigger picture which can best be termed as “The Great Retreat.” In many areas, the US is lowering its profile and backing away from its commitments. 

For example, the US has pulled its only aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, from the Pacific ostensibly to cover the retreat from Afghanistan. But whether the Ronald Reagan carrier will return to Japan in the future isn’t altogether clear. 

 Read more ....  

WNU Editor: U.S. foreign policy is being dictated by its problems at home. It is a country that is politically divided coupled with racial tensions not seen in years. Massive deficits and liability obligations. Inflation and a major part of the workforce unemployed. Homelessness on the rise. An infrastructure that is crumbling even after multiple promises and disbursements over the years to repair it. A border crisis being ignored by Washington. Its reserve currency status being challenged. Bottom line. There is no longer any stomach among the U.S. electorate to save the world when real problems exist at home.

Is Iran And Saudi Arabia On The Verge Of Announcing A Rapprochement?

Iran and Saudi Arabia could be on the verge of a rapprochement. Photo: Facebook  

Asia Times: Iran, Saudi Arabia on the edge of rapprochement 

Backchannel talks that began in April are now an open secret and poised to produce a symbolic breakthrough in the coming days 

Iran and Saudi Arabia are inching towards a rapprochement that, if achieved, would profoundly shift the region’s dynamics, diplomacy and stability. Officials from both sides have recently hailed backchannel talks held first in Iraq and now in Oman as “constructive.” 

In May, Iraqi President Barham Salih confirmed his country had been hosting quiet talks between the two often bitter rivals. The talks, which started in April, have recently been attended by high-profile delegates, including Saudi chief of General Intelligence Directorate Khalid al-Humaidan and Iranian Deputy Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Iravani.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: There are still many differences between the two regional powers. The war in Yemen. Iran's nuclear ambitions. The Syrian war. Just to name a few.

Russian Money Is Keeping Belarus Afloat

Belarus' leader Alexander Lukashenko (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin enjoy a close relationship 

 DW: How Russian money keeps Belarus afloat 

Moscow does not financially support any other country as generously as it does Belarus. DW spoke with economic experts to learn about this lopsided relationship, and the strain it places on the Russian budget. 

Russia has supported its western neighbor Belarus for decades — long before the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Minsk and President Alexander Lukashenko. Earlier this summer, Moscow loaned its ally $500 million (€423 million) — six months prior, it had issued Lukashenko's regime a similar sum. 

Looking on from the outside, such figures appear to be a largish run-of-the-mill loan that one country grants another and for which interest is collected. But the situation with Belarus and Russia is different. According to observers: interest is mounting and debts carry on growing year in and year out, yet Minsk continues to receive new loans from Moscow. 

Russia has been subsidizing its neighbor for years. Between 2005 and 2015, Moscow pumped $106 billion into the Belarus economy, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The IMF report that Russia has subsidized Belarus to the tune of $106 billion between 2005 and 2015 is probably correct. And that support has even grown even more since 2015. 

But that is the history of the Kremlin when it comes to giving support to other countries. 

$6 billion a year to Cuba when the Soviet Union existed, and money that has since been written off.

$40 to $50 billion a year to Ukraine before that relationship imploded in 2014 (and is one of the reasons why the Ukraine economy is still floundering). 

Venezuela owes Russia approximately $60 billion for arms purchases and other aid. 

And then there is Russian support of the Assad regime in Syria. God only knows how much money that disaster is costing.  

Update: This would be a catastrophe .... Belarus leader ready to invite Russian troops ‘if necessary’ (AP). More here .... Belarus leader would 'not hesitate' to invite Russian troops if needed (Reuters).

Poll Says That A Majority Of Russians Want To See The Name Of Volgograd Changed Back To Stalingrad

© Unsplash / Dmitry Ant  

RT: Back to Stalingrad? Disputed poll claims TWO THIRDS of Russians want Volgograd to return to name used during legendary WW2 battle  

A majority of Russians support restoring the name of the country’s twelfth-largest city back to ‘Stalingrad,’ 60 years after it was renamed Volgograd in the Soviet program of de-Stalinization, a controversial poll has revealed. 

The survey, commissioned by the center-left political party ‘A Fair Russia’ and made public on Thursday, revealed that 68% of Russians are in favor of returning to the title it bore from 1925 to 1961, with just 28% wanting to keep the current name.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This is what happens when the young in Russia are not educated on how much of a homicidal maniac Stalin really was. Those who lived during the Stalin era and their children who were taught by their parents on how much of a vicious tyrant Stalin was are overwhelmingly against changing this name. Those who are 40 or younger want the city's name to be changed. I definitely see this generational split that among my own family in Russia.

Why Do Nuclear Bombs Form Mushroom Clouds?


Live Science: Why do nuclear bombs form mushroom clouds?  

What forms this iconic shape? 

When a bomb goes off, energy is shot out indiscriminately in all directions. So, instead of an expanding ball of fire, why do nuclear explosions result in mushroom clouds? 

Although the outburst of energy does initially form a sphere of hot air, that's only the beginning of the story, according to Katie Lundquist, a researcher of computational engineering at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Because hot air rises, the larger bulk of the sphere in the middle column — where the core of an apple would be — experiences more buoyancy than the edges do.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This is one of those things that I hope I never see or experience in my lifetime.

Tweets Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

A demonstrator yells in front of burning tires outside the Public Ministry building during a protest to demand the resignation of Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei and Attorney General Maria Porras, in Guatemala City, Guatemala. REUTERS/Sandra Sebastian  

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Top Photos of the Day (Reuters).

Aide Hands President Biden Note During Governors Meeting: 'Something On Your Chin'

President Biden was prompted to wipe a yellow mark from his face during a Zoom meeting with state governors on Friday after a staffer handed him a note saying: 'Sir, there is something on your chin'

Daily Mail: 'Sir, there is something on your chin': Moment Biden wipes his face after staffer spotted a yellow mark and handed him a note during Zoom meeting with governors 

* Biden was handed a note during a Zoom meeting with western governors Friday 

* An aide passed him a card saying: 'Sir, there is something on your chin' 

* The president inadvertently held up the note to the camera 

* Biden then subtly wiped his face and continued looking through his cards 

* He told the governors: 'The threat of western wildfires this year is as severe as it's ever been' 

President Biden was prompted to wipe a yellow mark from his face during a Zoom meeting with western governors on Friday after a staffer handed him a note saying: 'Sir, there is something on your chin'. 

Biden was speaking about the responses to raging wildfires throughout the country when an aide passed him a card. It alerted the president there had been something on his face for roughly the first 10 minutes of his virtual meeting.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: 'Sir, there is something on your chin': Biden bailed out by staffer for apparent crumb on face (Washington Examiner)  

Update #2: Aide hands Biden note during governors meeting: 'Something on your chin' (FOX News)  

WNU Editor: What's freaky/gross is that he eats what was on his chin.

U.S. Sailor Charged With Arson in Bonhomme Richard Fire Claims Innocence, Lawyer Says


FOX News: Navy sailor accused of setting fire to billion-dollar warship denies allegations: lawyer 

Lt. Col. Gary S. Barthel is representing the unnamed sailor 

The sailor charged by the U.S. Navy in connection to a fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard warship in 2020 has "absolutely" denied any allegation of wrongdoing in the matter, his attorney told Fox News. 

The unidentified sailor, a member of the ship's crew at the time, has been accused of starting the July 12, 2020 blaze. 

The charges are based on evidence collected during an investigation, Navy spokesperson Cmdr. Sean Robertson, said in a statement. 

Lt. Col. Gary S. Barthel, with the Military Law Center, is representing the sailor and he told Fox News he has not seen any evidence against his client. 

"It’s been an obviously difficult time for my client," Barthel said, stressing that his client is "presumed innocent." 

The sailor was just charged Thursday, meaning Barthel is still early in the process of planning a defense.  

Read more ....  

Update: Sailor Charged with Arson in Bonhomme Richard Fire Claims Innocence, Lawyer Says (  

WNU Editor: The name of the sailor who has been charged is still unknown.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Says Afghanistan To Become ‘Pariah State’ If Taliban Seizes Power

India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar welcomes Blinken at Hyderabad House in New Delhi [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters] 

Al Jazeera: Afghanistan to become ‘pariah state’ if Taliban seizes power: US 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken makes the statement on his India trip as a Taliban delegation visits China. 

Afghanistan would become a “pariah state” if the Taliban takes control by force, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says, as a top-level delegation from the armed group visits China to assure officials of their international obligations. 

“An Afghanistan that does not respect the rights of its people, an Afghanistan that commits atrocities against its own people would become a pariah state,” Blinken told reporters in India on Wednesday during his first official visit. 

In China, the Taliban’s leadership assured Beijing the group will not allow Afghanistan to be used as a base for plotting against another country. 

A delegation including co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is in China for talks as the group continues a sweeping offensive across Afghanistan, including areas along their shared border.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I am not sure about Afghanistan becoming a pariah state should the Taliban take control. Pakistan will support such a government. A Taliban delegation is in China right now laying the groundwork for talks. And even Moscow is becoming engaged with the Taliban. And then there are the Gulf states who have a long relationship with the Taliban.

Afghanistan War News Updates -- July 31, 2021

Al Jazeera: UN compound attacked as battle for Afghanistan’s Herat rages 

Afghan guard killed in attack amid intense fighting between gov’t forces and Taliban on western city’s outskirts. 

An Afghan security guard was killed on Friday when a United Nations compound came under attack in Herat, officials said, as fighting raged between government forces and the Taliban on the outskirts of the city in western Afghanistan. 

Violence has surged across the country since early May when the Taliban launched a sweeping offensive as the US-led foreign forces began a final withdrawal which is now almost complete.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I have trouble believing this .... Over 24,000 Taliban killed, wounded in 4 months: Afghan Ministry (Times of India). More details here .... Taliban conduct 22 thousand attacks against ANDSF in four months (Khaama Press).  

Update: Expecct more revenge killings from the Taliban .... Taliban Admit to Killing Afghan Comic Beaten in Video (VOA). More here .... Afghanistan: Mounting Taliban Revenge Killings (Human Rights Watch). 

Afghanistan War News Updates -- July 31, 2021  

Taliban advances on Herat City -- Long War Journal  

UN compound attacked in Herat city, western Afghanistan -- The Guardian/Reuters  

UN compound in Herat, Afghanistan attacked by ‘anti-government elements’ -- CNBC  

UN compound in Afghanistan attacked, at least one guard killed -- FOX News  

UN compound attacked in western Afghanistan, at least one guard killed -- Jerusalem Post/Reuters  

Dozens of Afghan troops killed in insider attacks during U.S. military withdrawal, watchdog says -- Washington Post  

As U.S. Withdraws, Civilian Casualties In Afghanistan Reach A Record High -- NPR/AP  

‘We walked 18 hours, no food’: Taliban advance triggers exodus of Afghans -- The Guardian  

Mapping the advance of the Taliban in Afghanistan -- BBC

Is The U.S. Withdrawal From Afghanistan Turning Into A Disaster?

Afghans line up at the passport office in Kabul as the completion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces approaches.Photograph by Rahmat Gul / AP 

Politico: ‘Complete disaster’: Inside the Biden team’s chaotic bid to evacuate Afghan interpreters 

The Biden administration has expedited the process for a number of applicants who are in the final stages, but thousands are left waiting for answers. 

President Joe Biden had just announced plans to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan in April when, during a classified briefing with top national security officials on Capitol Hill, one lawmaker stood up and asked a pointed question. 

What was the Biden administration’s plan to evacuate the thousands of Afghan nationals who aided the U.S. war effort, and expedite their visas? Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin didn’t have an answer. 

“We’ll get back to you on that,” Austin said, according to two people in the room and a defense official familiar with the interaction.  

Read more .... 

Update: The Uncomfortable Truth of Biden’s Rapid Afghanistan Withdrawal (Jane Fergusen, New Yorker). 

WNU Editor: My gut is telling me that we have not seen the worse yet in Afghanistan.

Update #2: The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction does not mince words on the entire US effort in Afghanistan .... Watchdog warns that U.S. withdrawal could plunge Afghan government into 'existential' crisis and condemns American 'OVEROPTIMISM' that trumpeted meaningless targets instead of building security in $145 BILLION mission (Daily Mail).

Friday, July 30, 2021

First Group Of Afghan Interpreters Who Aided The U.S. Finally Arrive In The U.S.


Daily Mail: First group of Afghan interpreters who fought with American troops FINALLY arrive in the US with their families after huge delays in their visa processing and constant threats from the Taliban 

* The first planeload of Afghans and their families landed at Dulles airport in Virginia 

* Flight included 57 children and 15 babies 

* President Biden called it an 'important milestone' for those who served 'shoulder-to-shoulder' with allies in America's longest war 

* They faced potential reprisals amid Taliban gains 

The first group of Afghan translators who worked alongside American troops finally landed in the U.S. on Friday morning with their families after some waited years to have their visas approved. 

A dozen buses filled with 200 men, women and children arrived at Fort Lee in Virginia after landing at Washington Dulles Airport as part of the State Department's Operation Allied Refuge to get interpreters to safety. 

The U.S. started the evacuation flights to speed up the process of giving the translators visas and help them escape constant threats from the Taliban for working alongside American forces.  

Read more .... 

More News On the First Group Of Afghan Interpreters Who Aided The U.S. Arriving In The U.S.  

First group of Afghan interpreters who fought with American troops FINALLY arrive in the US with their families after huge delays in their visa processing and constant threats from the Taliban -- Daily Mail  

First evacuated Afghans arrive in U.S. as Taliban surges in wake of military withdrawal -- NBC  

First flight of Afghans who risked lives to help American troops arrive in US -- CNN 

1st Afghan interpreters to arrive in US as Blinken fails to reach deal in Kuwait -- ABC News  

Evacuated Afghan Interpreters in Final Processing at US Army Base -- VOA 

US begins evacuation of Afghan interpreters, others who risk retribution from Taliban -- France 24

China Facing New Covid-19 Coronavirus Outbreak That Is The Worst Since Wuhan


BBC: Nanjing: New virus outbreak worst since Wuhan, say Chinese state media 

A Covid outbreak first discovered in the Chinese city of Nanjing has spread to five provinces and Beijing, with state media calling it the most extensive contagion after Wuhan. 

Almost 200 people have been infected since the virus was first detected at the city's busy airport on 20 July. 

All flights from Nanjing airport will be suspended until 11 August, according to local media. 

Officials also began city-wide testing amid criticism for their "failure". 

All 9.3 million of the city's residents - including those visiting - will be tested, said state-controlled Xinhua news.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: China has already tracked where this outbreak came from .... Nanjing COVID-19 outbreak source detected: cleaning staff get infected in cabin of flight CA910 from Russia (Global Times). 

More News On China Facing A New Covid-19 Coronavirus Outbreak  

China on 'high alert' as delta variant of Covid-19 spreads to 5 provinces -- CNBC 

An Outbreak Of The Coronavirus Delta Variant Has Spread To 15 Chinese Cities -- NPR 

City of Nanjing isolated as China fights worst Covid outbreak in months -- The Guardian  

Beijing reports first Covid case in 179 days as alarm grows over Nanjing Delta cluster -- CNN  

Recent COVID outbreak in China's Nanjing linked to flight from Russia - official -- Reuters  

VIDEO: Chinese health system snaps into action as Nanjing records cases of Delta -- ABC News Australia

Peru's New President Appoints A Marxist As His Prime Minister


The Guardian: Peru: new president appoints Marxist as prime minister 

Appointment of Guido Bellido ends hopes of a moderate government and is likely to spook jittery investors 

A day after being sworn in as Peru’s president, Pedro Castillo has appointed a far-left lawmaker and member of his Marxist party, Guido Bellido, as prime minister, ending expectations of a moderate government. 

Beginning nearly three hours late, Castillo swore in an incomplete cabinet on Thursday night that included several figures from the far left and only two women. He did not appoint a finance minister, and Pedro Francke, the favourite for the post, was seen leaving the venue minutes before the ceremony began.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction. This new government is not going to be a moderate one. 

More News On Peru's New President Appointing A Marxist As His Prime Minister  

Peru's new Marxist PM says 'don't worry' as chances of radical policy shift rise -- Reuters  

Peru's Castillo chooses leftist party colleague as PM -- CNA/AFP  

Peru's Castillo names Marxist party member as PM, likely scaring investors -- Reuters  

Peruvian Markets Extend Tumble With No Finance Minister in Sight -- Bloomberg

President Duterte Restores Philippines’s Key Military Agreement With US

Duterte's office said the Philippine president and Austin 'had an open and frank discussion of the status and future direction' of the Philippines-US ties [Robinson Ninal/Malacanang Handout Photo via Reuters] 


The Hill: Duterte restores pact allowing US war exercises 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte recommitted his country to a key military agreement with the U.S. during a visit by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin after repeatedly threatening to terminate the pact. 

Austin, along with Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, announced the restoration of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) during a joint press briefing from Manila on Friday. 

Austin thanked Duterte for the renewal, adding, “A strong, resilient US-Philippines alliance will remain vital to the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific," according to CNN. 

Read more .... 

More News On President Duterte Restoring Philippines’s Key Military Agreement With The US  

Philippine leader retains pact allowing US war exercises -- AP 

Philippines renews key military agreement with the United States -- CNN  

The Philippine President Says Long-Standing Security Pact With The U.S. Can Continue -- NPR  

Philippine President fully restores key U.S. troop pact -- NBC  

Duterte restores Philippines’s key military agreement with US -- Al Jazeera

Iran Blamed For Launching Suicide Drone Against Israeli Operated Tanker Off The Coast Of Oman

Israeli-operated tanker Mercer Street was attacked north east of the island of Masirah, near the coast of Oman, late on Thursday night  

Daily Mail: British crew member is among two dead as Israeli-operated oil tanker linked to billionaire is attacked by drone off of Oman amid heightened tensions with Iran 

* Israeli-operated oil tanker Mercer Street has been attacked off coast of Oman 

* Ship was hit late Thursday night just northeast of the island of Masirah 

* Two crew members - one British and one Romanian - died during the assault 

* Comes amid shadow-war between Israel and Iran that has seen ships frequently targeted around the Arabian Peninsula in the last three years 

A Briton is among two crew members killed when an oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire was attacked off the coast of Oman. 

The M/T Mercer Street, a Japanese-owned ship managed by a company owned by billionaire Eyal Ofer, was targeted late Thursday near the island of Masirah in the Arabian Sea - with an Israeli official saying the vessel was hit by a drone. 

Zodiac Maritime, the company which operates the ship, said two crew members were killed during an attack by 'unknown assailants' including one British national and one Romanian. 

Read more .... 

More News On Iran Being Blamed For Launching A Suicide Drone Against An Israeli Operated Tanker Off The Coast Of Oman 

Fatal Attack On Tanker Off Oman Blamed On Suicide Drone: Report -- Warzone/The Drive  

2 crewmen slain in strike on Israeli-operated ship; Jerusalem blames Iran -- Times of Israel  

Ship tied to Israeli billionaire attacked off Oman, 2 killed -- FOX News/AP  

UK and Romanian crew killed in attack on tanker linked to Israeli billionaire off coast of Oman -- CNN   

Briton among two crew killed in attack on Israeli-linked tanker off Oman -- The Guardian  

Two crewmen killed in attack on Israeli-managed tanker off Oman -- Middle East Eye  

Mercer Street: Two Europeans killed in incident on board oil tanker off Oman coast -- Euronews  

Two sailors killed in attack on Israeli-operated ship off coast of Oman -- RT

World Races To Contain Delta Variant

AFP: World races to contain Delta variant, US steps up anti-virus plan 

Governments around the world on Thursday raced to head off a surge in coronavirus cases driven by the Delta variant, with US President Joe Biden offering new incentives to vaccine holdouts and Israel authorizing booster shots. 

The World Health Organization warned the highly transmissible strain of the virus, first detected in India, could unleash a "fourth wave" of cases in its Eastern Mediterranean zone -- an area stretching from Morocco to Pakistan. 

Those countries are especially at risk because vaccination rates are low -- only 5.5 percent of the region's population has been fully vaccinated. So in nations where vaccines are more available, public officials are sounding the alarm.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Here is the tally .... Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top 196.6 million and more than 4 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally (Marketwatch).

New Zealand Is Rated The Best Place To Survive A Global Societal Collapse

Daily Mail: America fails to make it into the top five places most likely to survive the end of the world because its giant borders make it vulnerable to mass migration, study finds 

* The US just missed the top 5, in part because it's close to 'external' megacities 

* Such cities are vulnerable to displacement and could cause a migrant crisis 

* It ranked high on its amount of fertile land and manufacturing capabilities 

* New Zealand took the top spot, thanks to its temperate climate and isolation 

* Other countries in the top 5 include Iceland, Australia, Ireland and the UK 

In a worst-case scenario fueled by climate change - a total global collapse - the U.S. isn't among the Top 5 countries well-positioned to survive, according to a new study. 

That's because its giant land borders make it vulnerable to migration from people who would be trying to escape climate disasters in their own countries: Think streams of people pouring over the southern border from Mexico or the northern border from Canada, for instance. 

Still, the U.S. would have fallen somewhere just out of the Top 5, the researchers at Anglia Ruskin University in the U.K. told  

Read more ....  

Update #1: New Zealand rated best place to survive global societal collapse (The Guardian)  

Update #2: UK and Ireland among five nations most likely to survive a collapse of global civilisation, study suggests (SKY News)  

WNU Editor: I would stay in northern Quebec, or in the Urals of Russia.

Iceland's Top Epidemiologist Says Covid-19 Restrictions May Be Required For The Next "Five, Ten Or Fifteen Years"

Summit News: Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist Suggests COVID-19 Restrictions Could Last For Up to 15 Years 

 It never ends. 

 Iceland’s chief epidemiologist has suggested that some COVID-19 lockdown restrictions may remain in place for as long as fifteen years. 

Yes, really. Þórólfur Guðnason, a doctor who serves as the Chief Epidemiologist of the Icelandic Directorate of Health, was quizzed by journalist Esther Hallsdóttir how long the rules should continue. 

Guðnason was, “Asked if there is no clear way out of the epidemic, now that measures are being proposed despite vaccinations, and whether we could be on the verge of restrictions over the next five, ten or fifteen years.” 

His response was in the affirmative.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The control freaks are showing their true colours.

President Biden Mandates All Federal Workers Must Be Vaccinated Or Be Faced With Weekly Testing. Tells Pentagon To 'Look Into' Making Shots Mandatory

Daily Mail: Biden mulls federal vaccine mandate, warns of vaccine passports to travel abroad, tells states to offer $100 bribes and orders military to 'look into' making shots mandatory to end the 'American tragedy' of COVID 

* President Joe Biden is launching a tough new approach on the COVID pandemic 

* He will require federal government's 2 million workers to show proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing 

* Wants the military to add COVID to other vaccines mandated for forces 

* Called for 'incentives and mandates' 

* Will reimburse businesses who provide leave for shots 

* White House is embracing new face mask guidelines from CDC 

* Biden also showing his frustration with those who refuse to get vaccinated

* Delta variant causing COVID cases to spike around the country 

* Some critics say Biden should not have been so quick to lift face mask rules 

President Joe Biden announced a series of new measures Thursday meant to boost vaccination rates in the federal workforce and around the country – as the Delta variant hospitalizes covid patients and threatens the nation's recovery. 

'You want to know how we put this virus behind us? I’ll tell you how: We get more people vaccinated,' Biden said in remarks at the White House Thursday. 

He called for Americans to get their shots, for those who got a first dose to follow up, and for people to follow evolving government mask guidance.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: President Biden does not respond well to questions reminding him that what he said at yesterday's announcement contradicts what he said a few months ago .... Biden snaps at Fox News reporter Peter Doocy following vaccination announcement (NYPost). Former President Trump was criticized last year for poor messaging on the pandemic, but this is worse.  

Update: No kidding .... The White House seems to be playing catch-up on coronavirus messaging (NBC). 

More News On President Biden Mandating All Federal Workers Must Be Vaccinated Or Be Faced With Weekly Testing  

Biden says federal workers must be vaccinated or undergo regular testing, masks and social distancing -- FOX News  

Biden announces measures to incentivize Covid-19 vaccinations, including a requirement for federal employees -- CNN 

Biden Mandates All Federal Workers Must Be Vaccinated... Except Postal Workers -- Zero Hedge 

Biden mandates vaccinations for federal employees, contractors; encourages $100 payments for Americans -- Yahoo News

Biden push to vaccinate feds forces uncomfortable questions -- AP

Leaked CDC Document Warns COVID Delta Variant Just As Contagious As Chickenpox


CNN: CDC document warns Delta variant appears to spread as easily as chickenpox and cause more severe infection 

Washington (CNN)The Delta coronavirus variant surging across the United States appears to cause more severe illness and spread as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal document from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The document -- a slide presentation -- outlines unpublished data that shows fully vaccinated people might spread the Delta variant at the same rate as unvaccinated people. 

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky confirmed the authenticity of the document, which was first reported by The Washington Post. 

"I think people need to understand that we're not crying wolf here. This is serious," she told CNN. 

"It's one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chickenpox, this -- they're all up there."  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: Nothing but fear on the cable news networks .... Dr. Scott Gottlieb estimates up to 1 million Americans infected with Covid daily as delta spreads (CNBC). 

More News On A Leaked CDC Document Warning COVID Delta Variant Just As Contagious As Chickenpox  

‘The war has changed’: Internal CDC document urges new messaging, warns delta infections likely more severe -- MSN/Washington Post  

CDC document paints more dire picture of threat posed by Delta variant -- L.A. Times 

"The War Has Changed" - Leaked CDC Report Claims Delta Spreads As Easily As "Chickenpox" -- Zero Hedge 

CDC mask decision followed stunning findings from Cape Cod beach outbreak -- ABC News

A-10s To Conduct Drills Landing And Flying-Off U.S. Highways


Warzone/The Drive: A-10 Warthogs Are About To Operate From A U.S. Highway For The First Time  

We have seen USAF highway exercises in Europe and the Pacific, and now they are coming closer to home. 

For the first time in recent history, the U.S. Air Force is going to take its aircraft out onto highways in the United States for an exercise. Four A-10C Warthog attack aircraft and a pair of C-146A Wolfhound special operations transports are due to take part in the road-landing drill, which is a part of the wider Exercise Northern Strike. As well as being a unique event in the United States, the upcoming highway deployment reflects the ever-increasing importance of dispersed operations for the U.S. military, including as part of the Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment (ACE) initiative. 

The highway exercise will take place on August 5 and is being run by the Michigan Air National Guard. With the help of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). A stretch of the Michigan State Highway M-32 near Alpena will be closed off for five hours, as the A-10s and C-146s touch down there.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: In a peer-to-peer conflict the airports are going to be bombed. You are going to have to use the highway network as an airport alternative.

Hunter Biden Responds To Critics Of His Paintings

WNU Editor: LOL.

On one side this is tragic and more proof on how corrupt the system is as someone is trying to cash in on his access to the US President. On the other side this is hilarious that people are actually willing to go along with it.

Sadly .... I can only find this stuff on Russian media or the Daily Mail. Much of the US and Canadian media are totally ignoring Hunter Biden unlike the treatment they have given to the Trump brothers.

Tweets Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

Flight Line

 Air Force F-22 Raptors and a C-130J Hercules taxi on the runway before taking off during Pacific Iron at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, July 22, 2021. The exercise is designed to project forces into the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

China's Massive Taiwan Invasion Drills Are Spooking Everyone China’s emergency naval exercise over Taiwan revealed 

An offended Beijing has retaliated over ‘malicious’ moves made by the US but it turns out they were totally confused. 

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) held exercises in all major Chinese sea areas over the past week in moves that displayed the PLA’s determination and preparedness,” Chinese state-controlled media proclaimed. 

At the heart of the storm was Taiwan. 

Beijing believes it is getting above itself. It has accepted at least two US military flights carrying supplies and diplomatic envoys. 

It has also dared to open a diplomatic office in Lithuania under the name of “Taiwan”. Beijing blames Washington for both sets of “malicious” activities.  

Read more ....  

Update: WW3 fears as China stages massive ‘Taiwan invasion’ drills and boasts it would defeat US and UK in any conflict (The SUN)  

WNU Editor: China is definitely sending a message .... Is China sending warnings to Taiwan and Britain with latest military drills? (SCMP).

Russian And Chinese Troops To Hold Joint Military Drills In Northern China

Chinese team takes part in the tank biathlon's singles during the International Army Games 2020 in a suburb of Moscow, Russia, Aug. 30, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

TASS: Russian, Chinese troops to hold joint drills in China’s north in August 

Both Russia and China will send over 10,000 troops to participate in the joint maneuvers that will also involve aircraft and artillery 

BEIJING, July 29. /TASS/. The Russian and Chinese troops will hold joint drills in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northern China in the first half of August, Spokesman for China’s Defense Ministry Wu Qian announced on Thursday. 

"Based on the consensus reached between China and Russia, the Russian Armed Forces will take part in the drills West/Interaction-2021 that will run in China at the beginning and in the middle of August," the spokesman said. 

The drills will run on the premises of the army training base in the town of Qingtongxia, the spokesman specified.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Chinese state media see these drills as a commitment to security in Central Asia .... Russia to join military drill in China, ‘displays mutual trust, eyes Central Asian security’ (Global Times).

The Biden Administration Has No Plans To Pull U.S. Troops Out Of Syria

Politico: Troops to stay put in Syria even as Biden seeks to end America’s ‘forever wars’ 

Roughly 900 U.S. troops, including a number of Green Berets, will remain in Syria to continue supporting and advising the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting the Islamic State. 

The Biden administration is pulling all American troops out of Afghanistan and formally transitioning to an advisory role in Iraq. 

But the U.S. military operation in Syria has seen no changes — and officials expect hundreds of troops to remain in the country for the foreseeable future. 

Roughly 900 U.S. troops, including a number of Green Berets, will remain in Syria to continue supporting and advising the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting the Islamic State — the same role they have played since the American-led intervention in 2014, according to a senior Biden administration official. 

Read more ....  

Update #1: Biden Administration Plans To Keep Troops In Syria Indefinitely (Zero Hedge) 

Update #2: Biden Administration Has No Plans to Pull Troops Out of Syria (  

WNU Editor: It looks like the mission in Syria will continue .... Will Winding Down the US Combat Mission in Iraq Affect Anti-IS Efforts in Syria? (VOA).

Former US Military Aide Who Carried 'Nuclear Football' Says There Is A Problem In The Security Chain To Launch Nuclear Missiles

The nuclear football, also known as the president's emergency satchel, contains codes for unleashing a nuclear strike. It is always carried by rotating presidential military aide that follows the president where ever he goes 

Daily Mail: EXCLUSIVE: Former military aide who carried 'nuclear football' for George HW Bush reveals a gaping hole in the security chain that could enable a 'marauder to obtain the access card and pose as the president' 

* The Pentagon last week announced there would be a review of procedures for the nuclear football after Capitol rioters got within 100ft of Mike Pence on January 6 

* Retired military officer John Stufflebeem says the president's 'nuclear football' is far more vulnerable to compromise than Americans realize 

* 'The way it has been designed, it could be if a marauder obtained the card and used it to pose as the president or vice president,' he told 

* The briefcase, which contains codes for unleashing a nuclear strike, follows the president where ever he goes and a backup one travels with the vice president 

* But Stuffelbeem said the current security protocols do not take into account the prospect of the 'football carrier' getting separated from the president 

* 'Can the military aide be separated from the president or vice president? We know that is possible,' he said, citing Ronald Reagan's assassination attempt

* He also revealed the system does not depend on voice recognition, meaning anyone who gains access to the codes could verbally authorize a strike 

The president's so-called 'nuclear football' and its codes for unleashing a nuclear strike are far more vulnerable to compromise by foreign foes, terrorists, or extortionists than Americans realize, John Stufflebeem, a former military aide who carried the briefcase, has revealed. 

The retired Navy vice admiral, who was the military aide to President George H. W. Bush and later oversaw the top secret program himself, says that he has long been concerned about the lack of a fail-safe mechanisms to guard against a hostile takeover of the system for launching a nuclear attack. 

Read more ....  

Update: Ex-aide who carried ‘nuclear football’ for Bush reveals HUGE security flaw that could allow access to apocalyptic device (The SUN)  

WNU Editor: There is a review currently underway .... Pentagon Inspector General Exploring A Better Way To Secure The ‘Nuclear Football’ (July 20, 2021).