March 14, 2017

Defense Secretary Mattis withdraws Patterson as choice for undersecretary for policy

March 14 at 12:03 PM
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has withdrawn retired senior diplomat Anne W. Patterson as his choice for undersecretary for policy after the White House indicated unwillingness to fight what it said would be a battle for Senate confirmation.

U.S. officials said that two members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), were strongly opposed to Patterson’s nomination because she served as U.S. ambassador to Egypt from 2011 to 2013, a time when the Obama administration supported an elected government with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood that was ultimately overthrown by the Egyptian military.

The withdrawal leaves Mattis with a still-empty bench of Trump-appointed senior officials, a situation that stretches across the administration as Cabinet secretaries have not chosen, or the White House has not approved, nominees. Although Obama administration holdovers remain in a few jobs, after eight weeks in office, President Trump has not nominated a single high official under Cabinet rank in the Defense or State departments.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/defense-secretary-mattis-withdraws-patterson-as-choice-for-undersecretary-for-policy/2017/03/14/dd5ec8bc-08b6-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?utm_term=.929cafa25eba

 

Russian special forces sent to back renegade Libyan general – reports

Deployment just over border in Egypt may be in support of Khalifa Haftar and aimed at gaining leverage over Libya’s eventual ruler

in Moscow and Reuters

Russia appears to have deployed special forces to an airbase in western Egypt near the border with Libya in recent days, according to US, Egyptian and diplomatic sources, in a move that adds to US concerns about Moscow’s deepening role in Libya.

The US and diplomatic officials said any such Russian involvement might be part of an attempt to support the Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar, who suffered a setback with an attack on 3 March by the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) on oil ports controlled by his forces.

The US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the US had observed what appeared to be Russian special operations forces and drones at Sidi Barrani, about 60 miles (100km) from the Egypt-Libya border.

Egyptian security sources offered more detail, describing a 22-member Russian special forces unit, but declined to discuss its mission. They added that Russiaalso used another Egyptian base farther east in Marsa Matrouh in early February.

 

Obama White House Blocked Needed U.S. Arms Sale to Taiwan

Trump set to sell more arms

The Obama administration blocked a $1 billion arms sale to Taiwan in December that was needed to improve the island’s defenses despite approval from the State Department and Pentagon, according to Trump administration officials.

The scuttling of the arms package was a set back for U.S. and Taiwanese efforts to bolster defenses against a growing array of Chinese missiles and other advanced weaponry deployed across the 100-mile Taiwan Strait.

The action coincided with a controversial pre-inaugural phone call Dec. 2 between then-President-elect Trump and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen.

It could not be learned if the arms package, which was ready to be announced publicly in December was derailed by the Obama administration because of the phone call.

The new Trump administration is now preparing to provide more and better defensive arms to Taiwan, said administration officials familiar with internal discussions of the arms sale.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/obama-white-house-blocked-needed-u-s-arms-sale-taiwan/

Dutch PM to Turkey: Sanctions talk ‘bizarre,’ Netherlands has more reasons to be ‘very angry’

“I continue to find it bizarre that in Turkey they’re talking about sanctions when you see that we have reasons to be very angry about what happened this weekend,” Rutte told RTL Late Night on Monday.

He noted that Ankara’s move to freeze diplomatic contacts with the Netherlands was “not too bad” but inappropriate.

Over the weekend the Dutch government denied a landing permit to Turkey’s foreign minister, who was due to deliver a speech — in support of April’s referendum to expand presidential powers in Turkey — to Turks living in the Netherlands. Later, another Turkish minister was prevented from not only giving a speech, but also entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam, where she was to address a crowd of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supporters.

In response, Turkey severed diplomatic ties with the Netherlands, banning the Dutch ambassador from entering Turkey, halting diplomatic flights and suspending high-level government meetings. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the sanctions would apply until the Netherlands takes steps “to redress” the actions that Ankara views as a grave insult. Angered by the treatment of Turkish officials, President Erdogan over the weekend also compared the actions of the Netherlands and Germany – which also recently prevented Turkish ministers from addressing rallies – to those of Nazis. On Monday, Erdogan said Turkey will challenge the Netherlands in the European Court of Human Rights.

https://www.rt.com/news/380665-dutch-say-turky-talk-bizarre/

Russian AF Trainees To Fly Diesel-engined Yak-152 Propeller Aircraft

Our Bureau
07:20 AM, March 14, 2017
240 views

Deputy Defence Minister of the Russian Federation Yuri Borisov
A +

The Russian Air Force trainees will fly Yak-152 propeller aircraft once the tests on the aircraft are complete, Deputy Defence Minister of the Russian Federation Yuri Borisov said during his visit to Irkutsk Aviation Plant – subsidiary of Irkut Corporation.

Yuri Borisov viewed the production progress of Su-30SM multirole fighters and Yak-130 combat trainers, as well as manufacturing process of a new Yak-152 primary trainer aircraft.

“Under the long-term contracts with Irkut Corporation the Ministry of Defence will receive 17 Su-30SM and 10 Yak-130 aircraft this year,” Yury Borisov said.

Yuri attended the test flight of the new Yak-152 aircraft. “The impressions from the flight are most favourable,” said Yury Borisov. He also mentioned that after the tests are completed, the Defence Ministry will sign a contract on this primary training aircraft for cadet flight schools.

“In general we are satisfied with the fulfilment of the state defense order and with the quality of the enterprise’s products,” noted Deputy Defence Minister, summing up the visit to the plant of Irkut Corporation.

http://www.defenseworld.net/news/18701/Russian_AF_Trainees_To_Fly_Diesel_engined_Yak_152_Propeller_Aircraft#.WMhc-5ArJD8

Palestinian tried to cause gas blast near crowded Jerusalem pub — police

East Jerusalem resident allegedly opened gas tanks, damaged piping and threw lit cigarette into the fumes

A Palestinian man has been arrested on suspicion of trying to cause an explosion in central Jerusalem by tampering with gas tanks and piping and then throwing a lit cigarette into the fumes.
A gag order was lifted Monday after a preliminary indictment was served on the man — an East Jerusalem resident in his 30s — accusing him of willful damage to property, attempted arson and attempted destruction of property with explosive material.

Defector: North Korea’s next nuclear test could lead to collapse

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author March 14 (UPI) — The senior North Korea diplomat who defected to the South from Pyongyang’s Embassy in London said Kim Jong Un‘s nuclear ambitions could bring about state collapse.

Thae Yong-ho, who recently compared Kim to the Roman emperor Nero, said North Korea is headed down a dangerous path as it seeks recognition as a nuclear weapons state like “India or Pakistan,” Voice of America reported Tuesday.

“The Kim Jong Un regime will never give up nuclear weapons,” Thae said.

The high-profile defector added North Korea could “fall apart” if the regime decides to conduct a major nuclear test at its Punggye-ri nuclear site, where Pyongyang conducts tests of weapons of mass destruction.

Recent satellite images show tunnel digging continues at the site, which lies below the 800-meter Mount Mantap.

According to 38 North, the activity indicates North Korea may be prepared to conduct additional underground nuclear tests.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/03/14/Defector-North-Koreas-next-nuclear-test-could-lead-to-collapse/6641489489192/

U.S. carrier joins South Korea drills, North Korea warns of ‘merciless’ strikes

By Hongji Kim and Sang-gyu Lim | ABOARD THE USS CARL VINSON

As the USS Carl Vinson plowed through seas off South Korea on Tuesday, rival North Korea warned the United States of “merciless” attacks if the carrier infringes on its sovereignty or dignity during U.S.-South Korean drills.

F-18 fighter jets took off from the flight deck of the nuclear-powered carrier in a dramatic display of U.S. firepower amid rising tension with the North, which has alarmed its neighbors with two nuclear tests and a series of missile launches since last year.

“While this is a routine deployment for the Carl Vinson strike group, really the centerpiece for us … is this exercise we’re doing with the ROK navy called ‘Foal Eagle’,” Rear Admiral James W. Kilby, commander of the Carrier Strike Group 1, told reporters, referring to South Korea as the Republic of Korea.

North Korea said the arrival of the U.S. strike group in the seas off the east of the Korean peninsula was part of a “reckless scheme” to attack it.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-usa-aircraft-carrier-north-idUSKBN16L0BD

Toshiba pushes sale of nuclear unit Westinghouse as crisis deepens

By Makiko Yamazaki and Taiga Uranaka | TOKYO

Toshiba Corp (6502.T) is ‘actively considering’ a sale and other strategic options for U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse, the group said on Tuesday, as it expanded a probe into problems there that caused it to miss an earnings deadline for a second time.

The Japanese conglomerate said it believed it could find buyers for a majority stake in Westinghouse despite the potential for future losses as the unit had a stable fuel and services business.

But Chief Executive Satoshi Tsunakawa sidestepped questions about a potential Chapter 11 filing for Westinghouse, saying only there were various options. Sources have said bankruptcy lawyers have been hired as an exploratory step.

A sale would represent the latest in a series of drastic steps as Toshiba grapples with a multibillion dollar financial maelstrom stemming from Westinghouse’s ill-fated purchase of a U.S. nuclear power plant construction company in 2015.

It has already put up most or even all of its prized memory chip business for sale to cope with an upcoming $6.3 billion writedown for the nuclear business and to create a buffer for potential losses down the road.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-toshiba-accounting-idUSKBN16L02X

Facebook tells developers to not use data for surveillance

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: