Tag Archives: India

March 24, 2017

Jihadi terror manuals on how to use a car as a ‘tool of war’ for mass murder can be found in just two minutes on Google and Twitter

  • Fanatics are urged to use cars before going on stabbing rampage in the guides
  • Video revealed after Khalid Masood killed three in car then stabbed a policeman
  • Manuals told jihadists in West to learn from Palestinian terrorists who use cars 
  • News comes as Boris Johnson accused social media sites of inciting terrorism 

Guides to mounting a car terror attack were available on Google and Twitter last night.

The vile manuals were online despite widespread warnings that UK jihadists use them for training.

Fanatics are urged to deploy large vehicles as ‘tools of war’ before going on a stabbing rampage – the template for Wednesday’s atrocity in Westminster. Boris Johnson accused social media websites of inciting terrorism.

The vile manuals were online despite widespread warnings that UK jihadists use them for training

And Google’s YouTube video platform was found to be raking in money from conspiracy theories saying the London outrage was a hoax.

As the maniac behind the attack was unmasked as 52-year-old Khalid Masood:

  •  The security services faced questions because he was known to police and MI5;
  •  Home Secretary Amber Rudd denied failures but admitted: ‘One got through’;
  •  It emerged MPs had raised concerns about the Commons gates Masood waltzed through;
  •  Officials revealed that he was shot dead by a ministerial bodyguard, rather than by armed police;
  •  Islamic State claimed Masood was its ‘soldier’;
  •  Officers made eight arrests around the country;
  •  The death toll rose to five when a 75-year-old man died in hospital last night.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4344338/Jihadi-terror-manuals-use-car-tool-war.html#ixzz4cF84mUUX

EXC: MPs railed against use of armed police at Parliamentary gates because they created a bad ‘atmosphere’ and said anti-terror barriers were ‘UGLY’

  • Interviews with MPs and staff from 2014 reveal resistance to boosting security
  • They complained that security barriers surrounding parliament were ‘ugly’ 
  • Also griped about armed police at main entrances creating bad ‘atmosphere’ 
MPs complained in 2014 that armed police being deployed at the Parliamentary gates because they created a bad 'atmosphere'

MPs complained in 2014 that armed police being deployed at the Parliamentary gates because they created a bad ‘atmosphere’

MPs railed against the armed police being deployed at the Parliamentary gates because they created a bad ‘atmosphere’.

There were also a slew of complaints that security barriers to prevent terrorists ramming cars into the building were ‘ugly’.

The complaints, in response to a survey by the House authorities in 2014, lay bare the extent of resistance among politicians to modernising security on the estate before the bloody terror attack this week.

Armed officers are not currently stationed round the clock at the Carriage Gates, the main entrance that looks out on to Parliament Square.

Khalid Masood marauded through the access point on Wednesday, stabbing Pc Keith Palmer to death. He was shot by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s personal guards after making it around 20 yards on to the estate.

Lib Dem MP Tom Brake, a member of the ruling Commons Commission, suggested today that officers manning the gates should always be armed or accompanied more closely by armed colleagues.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4346698/EXC-MPs-complained-armed-police-Parliament-gates.html#ixzz4cIGBINEv

Iran’s Spymaster Claims Pro-Regime Agents Operating in D.C., London, Canada

Claims pro-Iran ‘lobby’ pushing Tehran’s agenda in D.C.
March 23, 2017 3:28 pm

Iran maintains a network of spies and lobbyists who clandestinely push the Islamic regime’s agenda in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, according to the head of Iran’s ministry of intelligence, who touted the pro-Iran network’s ability to spread its ideology to the West.

Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s intelligence minister, in recent remarks independently translated by the Washington Free Beacon, bragged about the Islamic Republic’s ability to operate an unnamed “lobby group” in D.C. that helps to push the regime’s hardline agenda.

Alavi disclosed that Iranians with dual citizenship in the United States, Canada, and England, remain devoted to the “Islamic revolution” and are working to promote this agenda in their adopted homelands.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/irans-spymaster-claims-pro-regime-agents-operating-d-c-london-canada/

2 more ‘significant’ arrests made in investigation into London attack

Authorities said two officers are listed in critical condition. Reuters reported on Friday that the attacker’s birth name was Arian Russell.

According to police, Masood was born in Kent, U.K., and they believe he was most recently living in the West Midlands, which includes the city of Birmingham.

Masood was known to authorities and had a range of previous convictions for assaults, including grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons and public order offenses.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the rampage, saying Masood was “an Islamic State soldier” who “carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of the coalition.”

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/03/24/2-more-significant-arrests-made-in-investigation-into-london-attack.html

#DarkSeaSkies: CIA’s tool to hack MacBook Air in under 29 seconds exposed

Amidst WikiLeaks’ revelations about the CIA’s capabilities to hack into Apple products is DarkSeaSkies – a tool used to monitor and control MacBook Air that’s physically installed by a CIA agent or asset in “less than 29 seconds.”

DarkSeaSkies is a tool that runs in the background of a MacBook Air to allow the CIA command and control laptops. It is delivered via “supply chain intercept or a gift to the target.”

It’s loaded onto a MacBook via booting through a thumb drive. The CIA’s user document explains: “It is assumed that an operator or asset has one-time physical access to the target system and can boot the target system to an external flash drive.”

A 2009 “user requirements” document on DarkSeaSkies explains it was created to allow the CIA to access a MacBook Air.

The CIA’s COG [Computer Operations Group] had a “time-sensitive operational need” to install the Nightskies tool onto a MacBook Air, as the CIA had an “opportunity to gift a MacBook Air to a target that will be implanted with this tool.” It’s unknown who this target was.

https://www.rt.com/viral/382095-darkseaskies-cia-mackbook-darkmatter/

Swiss open probe into spying in Switzerland’s Turkish community

Switzerland has opened a criminal probe into possible spying involving Switzerland’s Turkish community, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

“The Office of the Attorney General has been made aware of concrete suspicion that political espionage has likely been conducted involving the Turkish community in Switzerland,” the agency said in a statement, giving no details about the probe launched on March 16.

The Swiss foreign minister told his Turkish counterpart on Thursday that Switzerland would “rigorously investigate” any illegal spying by Ankara on expatriate Turks before an April 16 referendum that could expand Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-turkey-espionage-idUSKBN16V1GD?il=0

In Venezuela’s Toxic Brew, Failed Narco-State Meets Iran-Backed Terrorism

In Venezuela’s Toxic Brew, Failed Narco-State Meets Iran-Backed Terrorism

As if the political and economic chaos wracking Venezuela wasn’t worrying enough, a couple of recent stories underscore the potential national security threat brewing there. First, last month’s designation of Venezuela’s vice president, Tareck El Aissami, as a drug kingpin by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Second, a CNN investigative report revealing that Venezuela’s embassy in Iraq was allegedly selling Venezuelan passports and identity documents to Middle Eastern nationals — raising the disturbing prospect that Caracas is facilitating the entry of Islamist militants to Latin America. Indeed, the CNN report echoed revelations from 2013 that the Venezuelan embassy in Syria was issuing passports to terrorists under the direction of Ghazi Atef Nassereddine, a Treasury-sanctioned, FBI-wanted Venezuelan diplomat who happens to be a key Hezbollah operative. Put all this together and what do you get? A rabidly anti-American failed state that appears to be incubating the convergence of narco-trafficking and jihadism in America’s own backyard.

Venezuela’s links to the drug trade are deep and well documented. Collusion with the cartels reaches the highest levels of the state. Two nephews of President Nicolás Maduro were arrested in Haiti and convicted on drug trafficking charges by a federal jury in Manhattan last November. General Néstor Luis Reverol Torres — Venezuela’s current minister of interior and justice, and former head of its national anti-narcotics agency — was indicted in the United States last August on cocaine trafficking charges, along with a former captain in Venezuela’s National Guard. The list of officials implicated in narco-trafficking also includes a former minister of interior and justice, two senior intelligence officers who later became governors, and now Vice President El Aissami

In Venezuela’s Toxic Brew, Failed Narco-State Meets Iran-Backed Terrorism

Venezuela expresses ‘desire’ to reestablish relations with Israel

8 years after Caracas expelled Israeli envoy, chief rabbi says he pitched a ‘period of courtship,’ consular relations before full ties

[Editor’s Note: Venezuela since Hugo Chavez and including Maduro has been anti semitic and anti-Israel in the extreme.  There are only 20,000 or fewer Jews in Venezuela, and many are leaving because of pressure from the regime. This initiative appears to indicate the extreme desperation of the current government.]

Venezuela’s foreign minister expressed to his country’s chief rabbi “the desire to establish full relations with the State of Israel” eight years after the South American nation expelled its Israeli ambassador.

“We suggested to start with a period of courtship, which means a beginning through consular relations, so that later it will become a marriage, which would be Israel’s own embassy again in Venezuela, as we have always had here,” Venezuela’s Sephardic chief rabbi, Isaac Cohen, told AJN News.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez spoke of the country’s commitment to re-establish ties during a meeting last Friday with several Jewish leaders, including Cohen and Elias Farache, president of the Confederation of Israelite Associations of Venezuela, the umbrella Jewish organization.

Cohen said that he has been in touch with the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

“I am an Orthodox and Zionist rabbi, and for me it is Jewish pride to have the flag of the State of Israel hoisted here in Venezuela, as in any country where there is a Jewish community. That gives us peace and tranquility, it’s fundamental,” the rabbi said.

Last month, President Nicolas Maduro welcomed a Jewish delegation including Cohen and Farache at the governmental palace to strengthen cooperation that over the years has faced roadblocks.

“A good day of dialogue for peace. Boosting the co-existence and the dialog of civilizations, of religions to consolidate our nation,” the far-leftist leader tweeted after the meeting.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/venezuela-expresses-desire-to-reestablish-relations-with-israel/

 

Imam calling for Jews to be killed in sermon at Montreal mosque draws police complaint

Larger Muslim community wants apology from mosque and wonders why controversial imam was invited to preach

By Brennan Neill, Stephen Smith, CBC News

The controversial imam is Jordanian cleric Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr who was the invited guest of a Saint-Michel mosque.

The controversial imam is Jordanian cleric Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr who was the invited guest of a Saint-Michel mosque. (YouTube)

A Montreal mosque is facing a police complaint and rebukes from the larger Muslim community after a video of an imam delivering a sermon in which he asks for Jews to be killed surfaced online.

The sermon took place at the Dar Al-Arqam Mosque in the city’s Saint-Michel neighbourhood on Dec. 23, 2016.

The video was posted to the mosque’s YouTube channel three days later. The imam in the video is Jordanian cleric Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr — he was reportedly an invited guest of the mosque.

In the video, the imam recites in Arabic the verse: “O Muslim, O servant of Allah, O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

CBC independently verified the speech and its translation.

The controversial verse comes from a religious text known as a hadith, which interprets the words and actions by the Prophet Muhammad.

The hadith in question deals with end times and tells how stones and trees will ask Muslims to come and kill Jews hiding behind them.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/imam-sermon-montreal-mosque-1.4037397

 

China’s ZTE Pleads Guilty to Illegally Shipping U.S. Technology to Iran.

Mar 22, 2017

Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE on Wednesday pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court in Texas for illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran.

The guilty plea was part of an agreement the company reached earlier this month with U.S. authorities that also called for nearly $900 million in fines and other penalties.

The company admitted to three charges: conspiring to export American-made items to Iran without a license from the U.S. government, obstructing justice, and making a material false statement.

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A five-year investigation had found ZTE (ZTCOY, +1.86%) conspired to evade U.S. embargoes by buying U.S. components, incorporating them into ZTE equipment and illegally shipping them to Iran.

ZTE, which devised elaborate schemes to hide the illegal activity, agreed to the guilty plea after the U.S. Commerce Department took actions that threatened to cut off the gear maker’s global supply chain.

http://fortune.com/2017/03/22/zte-guilty-shipping-us-technology-iran/

Russia, India in Talks on Creating New Models of BrahMos Missiles – Putin’s Aide

Russia and India are in talks on creating new models of missiles at the BrahMos Aerospace joint enterprise, Russian Presidential Aide for Military-Technical Cooperation Vladimir Kozhin said Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — India has set a target of $2 billion defense exports, a six-fold increase from current exports, by 2019. In order to give impetus to exports, the Narendra Modi government has allowed government-owned defense companies to earmark 10 per cent of their production for exports. “The biggest challenge in boosting defense exports from India is the limited range of exportable products, limited overseas markets and predominance of defense manufacturers who have been in the business far longer than India,” Cowshish added.

“Today, Indian partners propose to develop, deepen this cooperation, make new models of the missile, these talks are underway,” Kozhin said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television channel.

A hypersonic version of the BrahMos cruise missile, capable of flying at up to 5,000 kilometers per hour, is expected to be created by 2020.

https://sputniknews.com/military/201703231051898499-russia-india-brahmos/

France’s Marine Le Pen urges end to Russia sanctions

France’s far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has called for the lifting of EU sanctions on Russia, during a visit to Moscow.

The National Front (FN) leader called for closer French-Russian ties at a meeting in Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma.

She told its speaker sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea were counterproductive, Interfax reported.

Ms Le Pen has also met President Vladimir Putin.

He reportedly told her that Russia had no intention of interfering in the election, but had the right to meet any French politicians it wanted.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39375969

Terror suspect ‘drives car full of liquid gas, knives and rifles at high speed’ into Antwerp shopping crowds

Terrified pedestrians had to jump out of the way as the car entered the pedestrianised street just a day after the London terror attack

A suspected terrorist has been arrested in Belgium after he allegedly tried to drive a car into shoppers on a pedestrianised street – less than 24 hours after the attack in London.

The vehicle was reportedly full of liquid gas, knives and rifles.

Terrified pedestrians had to jump out of the way as the car entered the De Meir shopping street in Antwerp at high speed on Thursday morning.

The suspected driver, who was wearing camouflage, was later arrested by police, local media reported.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/antwerp-belgium-car-attack-london-10083953

U.S. Senate to vote on Montenegro’s NATO membership

The U.S. Senate will vote next week on the ratification of Montenegro as the newest member of the NATO alliance, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday, after the Trump administration urged lawmakers to take up the long-delayed matter.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had written to the leaders of the Senate to say Montenegro’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was “strongly in the interests of the United States.”

All 28 of NATO’s members must ratify Montenegro’s accession before it can formally join the alliance. The vote in the U.S. Senate was held up for months when at least two Republican senators, Rand Paul and Mike Lee, blocked a quick vote.

The Senate’s Republican leadership had not scheduled a more time-consuming roll call vote until Thursday. McConnell announced in the Senate that there would be a procedural vote on Monday evening, which should clear the way for a final ratification vote later in the week.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nato-montenegro-idUSKBN16U33K

Moldovan PM Pavel Filip : NATO liaison office will open in Chisinau this July

1703241027561490270672original_8.jpg

Moldovan PM Pavel Filip said on Thursday at the end of the joint Romania – Moldova government meeting in Piatra Neamt that a NATO liaison office will open in Chisinau this July. Premier Pavel Filip also reaffirmed support for the participation of the Moldovan army in NATO joint exercises carried out outside country borders. 

“I said that the Republic of Moldova is a parliamentary country and the important decisions are taken by the government and Parliament. At the same time, we have the institution of the President who is also the commander-in-chief. We were faced with a less pleasant situation when the national army was unable to participate in the military exercises organized in Romania, under the NATO aegis. You are perfectly aware of President Igor Dodon’s stance and his love towards NATO. We managed to sign an agreement with NATO and a NATO liaison office will open in Chisinau in July. Back then we had discussions with the President of the country and explained to him that most of the national forces’ plan of activities related to training and exercises – that is about 80 percent – will take place outside the territory of the Republic of Moldova with the support of our NATO partners. The further refuse to participate in these exercises would mean the weakening of the national army, and it makes no logic when a commander-in-chief is complacent with the weakening of the National Forces. I believe this was the first and last time when this confusion occurred and that in the future the National Army of Moldova will participate in all applications. Even more than that, we should thank for this support with the training and exercises the Moldovan army participates in,” said Prime Minister Pavel Filip. 

http://actmedia.eu/daily/moldovan-pm-pavel-filip-nato-liaison-office-will-open-in-chisinau-this-july/68714

Pentagon worried about Chinese investment in US startups: report

The Pentagon is worried about new American technology firms turning to Chinese companies for investment on potential military applications, The New York Times reported.

Chinese firms are sending money to U.S. startups, include rocket engine manufacturers, companies that design sensors for autonomous naval ships and printers that make flexible screens that could be used in fighter jets. Many of the Chinese firms making the investments are owned by state-owned companies or have connections to Chinese officials, according to the Times.

Department of Defense (DOD) officials worry about the investments because they have found that China is encouraging companies with close government ties to invest in U.S. startups specializing in technology that could advance China’s military and its economy, according to a new DOD special report.

The Pentagon sent the report — commissioned before President Trump took office — to senior administration officials this week.

Details on the size of the deals are not available, as startups and their investors are not required to disclose them.

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/325519-pentagon-worried-about-chinese-investment-in-us-startups-report

Cyber war: Defense firms face battle to guard secrets

Thousands of defense contractors face a Pentagon directive to boost cyber security defenses by the end of the year, but many will likely won’t have all the safeguards in place, a cyber expert says.

“We don’t anticipate many companies being close to being compliant by the end of the year,” said Timothy Birt, Riverside Research information technology security administrator in Beavercreek.

Hackers target secret data on weapon systems, classified research on leap-ahead technology and personal information on top scientists and others with critical jobs.

“The interest in that personal data is to actually use it against employees of clear defense contractors to blackmail them or just coerce them into giving up information that they may not otherwise want to do,” Birt said.

 

Some of the prizes adversaries have pilfered via cyber espionage have loomed large: Congressional leaders have pointed out the close resemblance between the Chinese J-31 and the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the target of a cyber hack.

The Defense Science Board detailed other weapon systems cyber spies have stolen designs and data on span the F/A-18 fighter jet; the V-22 vertical take-off and landing aircraft; the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship and the Black Hawk helicopter, The Washington Post has reported.

“Cyber attacks have become the preferred method of conducting espionage, because virtually every U.S. secret is on a network somewhere.,” said Loren B. Thompson, senior defense analyst and a defense industry consultant with the Virginia-headquartered Lexington Institute. “If enemies can gain access to those networks, they can avoid the difficulty of planting agents in organizations — a drawn out and dangerous process.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/cyber-war-defense-firms-face-battle-guard-secrets/q5nqjUomGdjXeI5JQV1ceL/

 

 

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March 17, 2017

Laptop holding Trump Tower floor plans, Hillary Clinton email investigation info stolen from Secret Service agent

A laptop computer containing floor plans for Trump Tower, information about the Hillary Clinton email investigation and other national security information was stolen from a Secret Service agent’s vehicle in Brooklyn, police sources told the Daily News.Authorities have been frantically searching for the laptop since it was stolen Thursday morning.

Some items stolen along with the laptop — including coins and a black bag with the Secret Service insignia on it — were later recovered.

But the laptop, along with other documents described as “sensitive,” were still being sought.

The thief stepped out of a car, possibly an Uber, on a street in Bath Beach and stole the laptop from the agent’s vehicle, which was parked in the driveway of her home.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/laptop-trump-tower-floor-plans-stolen-secret-service-article-1.3001078

 

31 Somali refugees killed in helicopter attack off Yemen coast

[Editor’s Note: The number has grown higher with some 42 dead, 80 survivors rescued. The boat was filled with women and children.]

Boat carrying refugees was travelling to Sudan when it was hit by airstrike from Apache helicopter, coastguard says

While the identity of the helicopter was not immediately clear, Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition in the war in Yemen, has US-built Apache A-64 Longbow attack helicopters.

The kingdom’s Al-Madinah class frigates, one of which was damaged in an attack by a Houthi militia in January, is also capable of carrying a single helicopter. Other naval forces operating in the area are also equipped with helicopters, including the US military.

The International Organization for Migration’s spokesman, Joel Millman, told a UN news briefing in Geneva that he was unable to confirm news reports indicating that an Apache helicopter strike was responsible for the attack.

He said: “Our confirmation is that there are dozens of deaths and many dozens of survivors brought to hospitals.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/17/somali-refugees-killed-helicopter-attack-off-yemen-coast

Israeli fighter jets fired upon during Syria mission in clash with pro-Assad forces

Israeli fighter jets targeting sites inside Syria came under anti-aircraft missile fire but returned unharmed, says military

Two Israeli Air Force F-16I jet fighters
Two Israeli Air Force F-16I jet fighters. Photograph: Jim Hollander/EPA

Israeli and pro-Assad forces have had their most serious clash since the beginning of the civil war in Syria after Israeli military jets on an operation over Syria were targeted by anti-aircraft missiles.

Israeli said none of the aircraft was hit, but one of the missiles was intercepted north of Jerusalem by an Israeli missile defence system.

The first indications of the exchange of fire came in the middle of the night with air raid sirens in the Israeli-occupied Jordan valley and reports of an explosion, which was later confirmed as the sound of one of the missiles being brought down by Israeli air defences.

In its own account of the incident the Syrian army said that four Israeli jets had entered Syrian airspace, and that one had been shot down and a second hit, a claim denied in the Israeli military statement.

Lebanese media and websites affiliated with Hezbollah, said the strike had killed Badie Hamya, a veteran of the Shia militant group, who was described as a “mujahedin leader”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/17/israeli-fighter-jets-fired-upon-missiles-syria-mission-assad

IAF ‘Arrow’ battery intercepts Syrian missile, in first reported use of the system

Syria fires three anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli jets; one knocked down by defense system, reportedly over Jordan; other two land in Israel, cause no damage

Israel shot down an incoming Syrian anti-aircraft missile with the Arrow defense battery early Friday morning, military officials said, in the first reported use of the advanced system.
At approximately 2:30 a.m., Israeli “aircrafts targeted several targets in Syria,” the Israel Defense Forces said, prompting a Syrian attempt to down the Israeli jets.

According to Arab media, the target of the IAF strikes was a Hezbollah weapons convoy.

“Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and IDF aerial defense systems intercepted one of the missiles,” the army said in a statement.

The anti-aircraft missiles were fired from eastern Syria by Bashar Assad’s military, traveling over Jordan and toward the Jerusalem area. They were apparently SA-5 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).

The Arrow is primarily designed to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere, intercepting the weapons and their conventional, nuclear, biological or chemical warheads close to their launch sites.

Surface-to-air missiles are designed to detonate at high altitudes to bring down aircraft or other missiles, and so do not pose much of a threat to people on the ground other than the possibility of being directly hit by falling shrapnel or the remains of the missile.

Therefore, it was not immediately clear why the IDF used the Arrow against a SAM, possibly indicating a misidentification of the type of weapon being fired from Syria.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/iaf-arrow-battery-intercepts-syrian-missile-in-first-reported-use-of-the-system/

UN chief’s spokesman: He ‘cannot accept’ officials publishing reports without consultation

Head of UN body resigns as her group’s anti-Israel report is withdrawn

Rima Khalaf cites pressure to remove document accusing Jewish state of apartheid; Israeli envoy says her departure was ‘long overdue’

The head of a Lebanon-based United Nations agency that promotes development in Arab countries resigned Friday, after the body she led was ordered by the UN secretary-general to remove from its website a controversial report that charged Israel has established an “apartheid regime” guilty of “racial domination” over the Palestinians.

Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian who served as executive secretary of the Beirut-based Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), announced her resignation at a hastily arranged press conference in the Lebanese capital.

She said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s insistence that the document be removed from the agency’s website led her to quit.

“The secretary general asked me yesterday morning to withdraw (the report). I asked him to rethink his decision, he insisted, so I submitted my resignation from the UN,” Khalaf said.

Turkish daily depicts Merkel as ‘Frau Hitler’ on front page

Turkey furious over refusal in Germany, the Netherlands to allow rallies in support of expansion of President Erdogan’s powers

A Turkish pro-government newspaper depicts Chancellor Angela Merkel on its front page in Nazi uniform with a Hitler-style mustache on March 17, 2017

A Turkish pro-government newspaper depicts Chancellor Angela Merkel on its front page in Nazi uniform with a Hitler-style mustache on March 17, 2017

ANKARA, Turkey — A Turkish pro-government newspaper on Friday depicted Chancellor Angela Merkel on its front page in Nazi uniform with a Hitler-style mustache, labeling the German leader “Mrs. Hitler” amid a bitter war of words between Ankara and Berlin.

Right-wing tabloid-style daily Gunes (“Sun”) printed the picture along with the words in German: “#Frau Hitler” and called her an “ugly aunt.”

The mocked-up image took up most of the front page of the daily, with a Nazi swastika on Merkel’s “uniform” and another swastika next to her head while she is shown holding a gun.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/turkish-daily-depicts-merkel-as-frau-hitler-on-front-page/

Sirens Blare As Japan, Fearing North Korea, Holds First Missile Drill

OGA:  Sirens blared and loudspeakers broadcast warnings in Japan’s first civilian missile evacuation drill on Friday, conducted in a fishing town by officials wary about the threat of North Korean missiles.

The exercise comes more than a week after North Korea launched four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan’s northwest coast, with one rocket landing about 200 km (124 miles)from the town of Oga.

Friday’s drill played out a scenario in which North Korea had fired a ballistic missile on the Japanese islands.

“The missile is seen to have landed within a 20-km (12-mile) boundary west of the Oga peninsula,” a speaker blared during the evacuation. “The government is currently examining the damage.”

Residents of the largely rural peninsula jutting into the ocean about 450 km (280 miles) north of the capital, Tokyo, made their way to a designated evacuation centre equipped with emergency kits and protective gear.

http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/sirens-blare-as-japan-fearing-north-korea-holds-first-missile-drill-1670596

Russian spy ship steers clear of U.S. waters while passing near Kings Bay, Mayport

Government officials insist a Russian spy ship steered clear of U.S. waters Wednesday as it moved north in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida’s Mayport Naval Station and Georgia’s Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, according to the Department of Defense.

“The ship has not entered U.S. territorial waters,” said Maj. Jamie Davis, a spokesman for the Department of Defense. “We respect freedom of navigation exercised by all nations beyond the territorial sea of a coastal state consistent with international law.”

Davis said the Vishnya-class intelligence ship Viktor Leonov was about 20 miles south of Kings Bay on Wednesday. He said the same ship was spotted off the coast of Connecticut last month, and it has travelled up the Atlantic Coast before in 2014 and 2015.

http://jacksonville.com/news/military/2017-03-16/russian-spy-ship-steers-clear-us-waters-while-passing-near-kings-bay

Delegation of French MPs visit Russia, wanting stronger ties

A delegation of French MPs starts the second day of its two-day visit to Russia on Friday. They are from the ‘French-Russian Dialogue association’ — a group of French MPs who are friendly to Russia and who have visited the country several times over the past few years. They have also visited Crimea in the past and several of them have stated that Russia had the right to annex Crimea in 2014.

This group of MPs is known for thinking that the West is too harsh on Russia, and that France could benefit from restoring ties. Many of them feel that France has common interests with Russia – notably in the fight against Islamic terrorism.

“Russia is not an enemy in Europe; it should be a partner,” says Jacques Myard, a politician in France’s right-wing party Les Republicans, who is not part of the current delegation, but is widely considered to be relatively pro-Russian.

Myard acknowledges that “we have differences with Russia”, he highlights that “in combatting the Islamic State, we have good relations with Russia”, because “you cannot avoid that we have a common enemy”.

http://en.rfi.fr/europe/20170316-delegation-french-mps-visit-russia-wanting-stronger-ties

It’s time for the US to quit enabling Iran in Syria

If the Trump administration is serious about taking on Iran in the Middle East it must transform its strategy in Syria for fighting the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS).  Our current strategy will only continue to strengthen Tehran’s grip on the region.

The US needs a new approach that gives it the independence and leverage it needs to begin pushing back successfully.

It won’t be easy. The strategy the administration inherited from President  Obama sees Iran as a partner in the fight.  The U.S. has therefore done nothing to contain the dramatic and alarming Iranian expansion of military power in Syria.

Yet the expansion was avoidable.

Tehran had used Syria as a base for Lebanese Hezbollah, HAMAS, and its own subversive activities for decades at no cost.  The 2011 uprising against Syrian President Bashar al Assad was a blow to its position.  Therefore Iran rushed to support Assad, sending in special Qods Force operatives, then advisors from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

As the revolt against Assad deepened, Tehran added thousands of fighters from Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraq’s Shi’a militias. Conventional combat forces of the IRGC joined in when a Russian air campaign in support of Assad started in late 2015.

Today, Iran commands tens of thousands more fighters in Syria than it did before the Arab Spring uprising.  It has established its own military headquarters and embedded troops and advisors so deeply in the Assad regime that it cannot survive without them.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/16/its-time-for-us-to-quit-enabling-iran-in-syria.html

Iran, Pakistan to hold joint naval drills in east of Hormuz Strait

The Pakistani flotilla comprising Navy ships Tippu Sultan and PNS Jurrat and a chopper on Wednesday left the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas for the east of the Hormuz Strait where the drills will be held, Tasnim quoted Commander of Iran’s First Naval Zone Admiral Hossein Azad as saying.

He added that Iranian Navy’s Jamaran Destroyer besides a missile-launching frigate and a helicopter will join the Pakistani fleet.

The commander noted that some 800 personnel of the Iranian and Pakistani navies will participate in the drills.

The Pakistani flotilla berthed at Bandar Abbas on Sunday and was officially received by the Iranian Navy’s officers, Tasnim reported.

Speaking at the welcoming ceremony, Admiral Azad said the visit was in line with efforts to boost security cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad.

https://www.geo.tv/latest/134531-Iran-Pakistan-to-hold-joint-naval-drills-in-east-of-Hormuz-Strait

U.S. Denies Striking Syrian Mosque After Dozens Reported Killed

Image: Rescuers who were trapped under the debris

The organization said it didn’t know who launched the attack.

Some human rights activists and monitors alleged that the United States hit the mosque. But a senior U.S. military official told NBC News that while there was a mosque about 50 feet from the U.S. target, the United States has photographic evidence that the mosque was not hit and was still standing.

The official wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the mosque may have been struck or blown up later by someone else.

Al-Jinnah is located in one of the main rebel-held parts of Syria, the northwest that includes Idlib province and the western parts of Aleppo province, and its population has been swollen by refugees, U.N. agencies have said.

Rebels in northwest Syria fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad also include groups supported by Turkey, the United States and Gulf monarchies.

The conflicting reports come one day after at least 25 people were killed in a suicide bombing at the main court complex in Syria’s capital, Damascus, on the sixth anniversary of the start of the uprising against Assad.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/u-s-denies-striking-syrian-mosque-after-dozens-reported-killed-n734696

Iraq, U.S. offer differing accounts of progress in Mosul

March 16, 2017 (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Alex Manne/Army)

MOSUL, Iraq — Iraqi and U.S. commanders offered conflicting accounts Thursday of progress in western Mosul, where U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have been battling the Islamic State group for nearly a month as they try to retake the remainder of the city.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, the American commander of coalition ground forces in Iraq, said the troops had recaptured “a little over a third” of neighborhoods west of the Tigris River, while Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, an Iraqi military spokesman, said they had retaken up to 60 percent, with fighting still underway. Iraq declared eastern Mosul “fully liberated” in January.

Iraqi officials have overstated gains in the past, declaring areas liberated from ISIS militants only to see the resumption of fighting or militant attacks. The extremists have targeted eastern Mosul with bombings and other attacks on several occasions in recent weeks.

Front-line commanders meanwhile said progress has been slow over the past week, with troops advancing just a few hundred meters (yards) in the face of ISIS car bomb attacks.

Turkey is about to take another step toward dictatorship

  March 16 at 4:11 PM

Seyla Benhabib is a professor of political science and philosophy at Yale University.

On April 16, Turkish voters — some 58 million of them — will take part in a constitutional referendum proposed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Though the referendum will have all the appearances of democratic legitimacy, the reality could not be more different. At issue is a sweeping program of constitutional changes that, if passed, will establish a new form of autocracy with Erdogan at its top. Parliament gave its approval to the referendum this year, albeit by the narrowest of majorities, with only nine more votes than were needed for the required two-thirds majority. That result came only after a long and intensive campaign of government-sponsored intimidation. (The leaders of one of the main opposition parties, which appeals to a mainly Kurdish constituency, are still in jail.)

Now Turkish voters find themselves confronting an even broader system of state-orchestrated pressure and coercion as they prepare to go to the polls. If the referendum passes, the effect will be to transform a multiparty, parliamentary democracy into an authoritarian presidential regime in the model of Kazakhstan or Russia. It is no exaggeration to say that the vigorous if flawed parliamentary Turkish republic founded in 1923 by Kemal Ataturk — one that long granted me and millions of other citizens wide-ranging rights and freedoms — will be no more.

If the referendum passes, the office of prime minister will be abolished. The number of representatives in a newly powerless National Assembly will increase from 550 to 600 (a cynical bit of democratic window-dressing). In a stark break with the republican principles of the past, which dictated that the head of state should remain politically neutral, the president will be permitted to retain direct ties to a political party — in Erdogan’s case, the ruling Justice and Development Party, which first brought him to power in 2003. The referendum plan will give the president the power to appoint and remove ministers and exert even greater control over the judiciary than he does now.

NUCLEAR TURKEY? Imam close to Erdogan calls for weapons NOW amid tensions with EU

TURKEY should ignore rules set by ‘the West’ and build its own NUCLEAR WEAPONS – an Imam close to president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has advised – as the fallout between Brussels and Ankara deepens.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been told he should invest in nuclear weapons
The worrying advice has been called weeks ahead of a Turkish referendum aimed at giving more power to President Erdogan – and in the midst of a keeping fallout between Ankara and EU leaders.Hayrettin Karaman, the Turkish AK Party’s go-to religious leader, attacked ‘the West’ in a letter which insisted Erdogan should immediately invest in weapons of mass destruction.In the online post the imam accused Christian countries in the West of egotism and racism – stating the bad attitude towards Turkey has been “accelerated”.

President Erdogan is in the midst of a deep fall out with European nations including Germany and the Netherlands after both countries banned rallies and kicked out his ministers who had sworn to campaign for his referendum.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/780240/TURKEY-Imam-Erdogan-nuclear-weapons-NOW-EU-tension-Germany-Netherlands

Bulgaria accuses Turkey of election meddling, recalls ambassador

Sofia hauled in Turkey’s envoy after he openly backed the new pro-Turkish Dost party, which is running in the Bulgarian election on March 26. 

Bulgaria on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations, days after accusing Ankara of meddling in upcoming snap elections.

The foreign ministry did not provide any further details around the move, a traditional sign of diplomatic anger.

Last week, Sofia hauled in Turkey’s envoy after he openly backed the new pro-Turkish Dost party, which is running in the Bulgarian election on March 26, in a campaign video.

It also slammed Ankara for encouraging the 60,000 or so Bulgarian citizens living in Turkey to vote for Dost, calling the move “direct interference in Bulgarian domestic affairs”.

For its part, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has accused Bulgaria of hindering ethic Turkish Bulgarians from voting, according to the Anadolu Agency.

Last year, changes to the Bulgarian Election Code imposed restrictions on voting rules. Critics argue that the reforms will deny millions of citizens abroad the right to vote.

Bulgaria has limited the number of ballot boxes in Turkey for this year’s election to 35, a move Turkey sees as limiting the political rights of minorities in the country.

Full tech transfer could derail Indo-Russian fifth-gen fighter program

March 16, 2017 (Photo Credit: Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI — The Indo-Russian fifth-generation fighter aircraft under joint development and production by the two countries has taken a hit, with Russia showing reluctance to fully transfer the aircraft technology, particularly stealth capabilities, despite repeated reminders, according to a top Indian Air Force official.
After the preliminary agreement on the particulars of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) program in 2010, and with both sides having paid $295 million each, the final agreement that enables India to release more than $4 billion, is pending.
The Air Force has worked out its requirements for the FGFA, but the crucial “work sharing and technology sharing draft has yet to be finalized,” the IAF official said.
“The project is likely to get delayed further unless the issue of transfer of technology is finalized,” offered Daljit Singh, a defense analyst and retired Indian Air Force air marshal. India should insist on technology transfer in specified fields, he added, as “full technology transfer may not be feasible.”

Russia’s United Shipbuilding, Goa Shipyard In Pact To Build Frigates

Our Bureau

India’s Union defence ministry has officially approved Goa Shipyard Limted’s (GSL) partnership with Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corp to develop two guided-missile stealth frigates for the Indian Navy.

“The Naval HQ has written to the Russian authorities seeking technical and cost details for building guided-missile stealth frigates. Thereafter, GSL will start discussions. The private sector may have the capacity, but it is yet to prove its capability,” an official was quoted as saying by Times of India today.

The defence ministry was forced to turn to GSL and the two private sector shipyards as the major public sector shipyards were tied up executing current orders.

Russian delegations have already visited the Vasco-based shipyard and cleared its facilities for construction of the frigates, which will be equipped with sensors and weapons, including the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.

During a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the 2016 Brics Summit, the two countries signed a deal to purchase four guided-missile stealth frigates from Russia.

Under the agreement, two of the frigates will come from Russia, while the other two will be constructed in India, official said.

http://www.defenseworld.net/news/18743/Russia_s_United_Shipbuilding__Goa_Shipyard_In_Pact_To_Build_Frigates#.WMvW4JArJD8

Germany’s Merkel to make rare Russia visit for Putin talks

Germany’s Angela Merkel will visit Moscow for talks on May 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, for the first bilateral visit since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014.

There is no immediate prospect that Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis will be lifted, but Merkel’s visit sends a signal that Germany, the European Union’s foremost power, is willing to engage with the Kremlin.

The agenda of Merkel’s visit has yet to be made public, but talks are likely to focus on Ukraine, EU sanctions, trade ties and German concerns that Russia may try to meddle in a parliamentary election in September.

Germany is also president of the G20 group of leading nations this year and Merkel will need to meet with key members ahead of an upcoming summit.

“Give my best wishes to the federal chancellor,” Putin told Horst Seehofer, Bavaria’s prime minister, who was in Moscow for talks on Thursday. “We are waiting for her to visit on May 2.” Seehofer confirmed Merkel was planning to visit that day.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-germany-visit-idUSKBN16N24S

Here’s what the Pentagon plans to do with its ‘historic’ budget increase

US President Donald Trump’s budget proposal is in, and it calls for a “historic” $54 billion increase in defense spending, and an additional $30 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations spending this year.

“This is a hard power budget, it is not a soft power budget,” Mick Mulvaney told reporters at a Wednesday briefing. “And that was done intentionally. That’s what our allies can expect. That’s what our adversaries can expect.”

So what does Trump want to spend the additional $84 billion on?

The Army wants $8.3 billion, which includes $871 million for increasing readiness, $1.3 billion for “enhanced and more realistic training,” $2.8 billion to restore and modernize equipment in aviation, armor, drones, and air and missile defense systems, and another $1.2 billion for US combat commanders to fight ISIS.

Additionally, more than $2 billion will go to addressing shortfalls, infrastructure readiness, and ammunition.

http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-defense-budget-2017-3

SWIFT Messaging System Cuts Off Remaining North Korean Banks

They are “no longer compliant with SWIFT’s membership criteria.”

SWIFT, the inter-bank messaging network which is the backbone of international finance, said it planned to cut off the remaining North Korean banks still connected to its system, as concerns about the country’s nuclear program and missile tests grow.

SWIFT said the four remaining banks on the network would be disconnected for failing to meet its operating criteria.

The bank-owned co-operative declined to specify what the banks’ shortcomings were or if it had received representations from any governments.

Experts said the decision to cut off banks which were not subject to European Union sanctions was unusual and a possible sign of diplomatic pressure on SWIFT.

Belgium-based SWIFT has previously refused to cut off Burmese, Russian or Syrian banks which were subject to sanctions by other countries, such as the United States, citing a policy of remaining politically neutral.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/swift-bank-north-korea_us_58caf2d7e4b0ec9d29da2859

Japan launches new spy satellite to keep eye on North Korea

Japan launched a new spy satellite Friday, the country’s space agency said, as the region grows increasingly uneasy over North Korea’s quickening missile and nuclear programs.

The Radar 5 unit was carried into space on Japan’s mainstay H-IIA rocket from a launch site in the country’s southwest.

It is meant to replace an existing satellite that is approaching the end of its mission.

Japan began putting spy satellites into orbit in 2003 after North Korea fired a midrange ballistic missile over the Japanese mainland and into the Western Pacific in 1998.

The threat has steadily accelerated and just last week Pyongyang fired four ballistic missiles, with three landing in waters provocatively close to Japan.

Tokyo currently maintains three optical satellites for daytime surveillance and three radar satellites for nighttime monitoring. Two of those are backups.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/17/national/japan-launches-new-spy-satellite-keep-eye-north-korea/#.WMvaP5ArJD8

 

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March 8, 2017

ISIS fanatics dressed as DOCTORS in white lab coats storm military hospital in Afghanistan shooting dead four patients and staff as dramatic siege breaks out

  • Three gunmen stormed the Sardar Daud Khan hospital in Kabl, Afghanistan
  • They gained entry to after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a rear entrance
  • Terrorists surged into the hospital dressed as doctors and armed with AK-47s
  • Four militants now dead after police shot dead three gunmen who opened fire 

Terrorists dressed as doctors in white lab coats stormed a military hospital in Afghanistan shooting dead four patients and staff and injuring dozens more.

ISIS have claimed responsibility for the attack on Sardar Daud Khan hospital in Kabul and one of the gunmen appeared to wave the terror group’s flag out of the window before he and his fellow assailants were shot dead.

Hospital administrators said three gunmen wearing white lab coats ran riot in the hospital after a suicide bomber on foot blew himself up at the backdoor entrance, sparking chaos inside the 400-bed facility.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4292378/Blast-gunfire-hit-Kabul-military-hospital-officials.html#ixzz4ajcUN8MY

At least 30 killed in attack on Kabul military hospital

At least 30 people have been killed in an attack on a hospital. 02:25

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN)Attackers dressed in medical uniforms stormed a military hospital in the heart of the Afghan capital of Kabul on Wednesday, killing more than 30 people and wounding at least 50, said Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

A suicide bomber set off an explosion at the south gate to the Sardar Mohammed Daud Khan hospital before three gunmen entered the building and made their way to the second and third floors, said Sediq Sediqqi, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman.
The gunmen killed and wounded doctors and hospital employees and injured Afghan soldiers, according to an Afghan Defense Ministry statement.
Afghan security forces and police mounted a six-hour siege at the hospital, which is the biggest and best-equipped facility in the country. They killed the attackers around 3:30 p.m. local time (6 a.m. Wednesday ET).
The facility, known locally as the “400 bed” hospital, is located only a few hundred meters from the US embassy and the diplomatic quarter of Kabul. Other recent attacks in Kabul have targeted important public buildings, such as the Afghan Supreme Court and national parliament.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un lights fire across Asia, raising dilemma for Trump

The stakes for Donald Trump are potentially higher than Obama, given North Korea’s progress in developing an intercontinental missile capable of hitting the US with a nuclear warhead

This picture was released by North Korea’s KCNA on 7 March, 2017 showing the launch of four ballistic missiles by the Korean People’s Army during a military drill at an undisclosed location in North Korea. Photo: AFP/

This picture was released by North Korea’s KCNA on 7 March, 2017 showing the launch of four ballistic missiles by the Korean People’s Army during a military drill at an undisclosed location in North Korea.

 

Hong Kong: Murder in Malaysia. Protests in China. And missiles flying toward Japan. All can be traced back to North Korea and show how Kim Jong Un is managing to stir up tensions in the region while trying to provoke a reaction from US President Donald Trump.

The question for Trump, Xi Jinping and other leaders is how to respond, given sanctions, cajoling and military pressure have all failed to rein Kim in. While Trump initially signalled he’d be open to talks, more recently he’s indicated he could follow Barack Obama’s lead in insisting North Korea abandon its nuclear programme before negotiations can occur.

The stakes for Trump are potentially higher than Obama, given Pyongyang’s progress in developing an intercontinental missile capable of hitting the US with a nuclear warhead. The recent events are probably Kim’s way—after a hiatus in his provocations—to try and force Trump to the table with concessions, analysts said.

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/FxjnuBMLgKGWtE2In1fuSP/North-Koreas-Kim-Jong-Un-lights-fire-across-Asia-raising-d.html

 

Islamic State leader Baghdadi abandons Mosul fight to field commanders, U.S. and Iraqi sources say

By Isabel Coles, John Walcott and Maher Chmaytelli | MOSUL, IRAQ/WASHINGTON

U.S. and Iraqi officials believe the leader of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has left operational commanders behind with diehard followers to fight the battle of Mosul, and is now hiding out in the desert, focusing mainly on his own survival.

It is impossible to confirm the whereabouts of the Islamic State “caliph”, who declared himself the ruler of all Muslims from Mosul’s Great Mosque after his forces swept through northern Iraq in 2014.

But U.S. and Iraqi intelligence sources say an absence of official communication from the group’s leadership and the loss of territory in Mosul suggest he has abandoned the city, by far the largest population center his group has ever held.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-baghdadi-idUSKBN16F1DF

 

Kim Jong-Un is preparing for ANOTHER missile test as China warns North and South Korea are like ‘two trains accelerating towards a head-on collision’

  • China has stepped into the escalating tensions between the US and North Korea
  • Superpower suggested North Korea could suspend nuclear and missile activities
  • US and South Korea could then halt joint military drills, Chinese minister said
  • In the past week, North Korea has fired off four ballistic missiles in what it called a training exercise for a strike on US bases in Japan

Kim Jong-Un is preparing for another missile test despite moves by China to diffuse growing tensions between North and South Korea.

Beijing wants North Korea to suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for a halt in joint military drills conducted by the US and South Korea.

Minister Wang Yi said that escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula were like ‘two accelerating trains, coming toward each other with neither side willing to give way.’

Wang asked: ‘Are the two sides really ready for a head-on collision?’

But despite the warning, Kim has lined up yet another test of a new medium-range missile.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4292664/Kim-Jong-prepares-missile-test-tensions-rise.html#ixzz4ajcv5Rds

North Korea Could Soon Launch Attack on Hawaii

Experts call for immediate upgrade in state’s missile defenses

BY:
March 8, 2017 5:00 am

North Korea could soon have the capacity to launch an attack on Hawaii that would devastate America’s Pacific military bases, accelerating the need for the United States to upgrade missile defenses in the area.

The United States today relies on ground-based ballistic missile interceptors deployed in California and Alaska to protect Hawaii, but these defenses would do little to guard U.S. territory in the Pacific against a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which officials believe is nearing completion.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency in February test fired a new SM-3 Block IIA missile from Hawaii that successfully intercepted an incoming ballistic missile, but the Pentagon does not maintain a permanent missile defense installation or detection capabilities on the Hawaiian Islands.

The Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii hosts an experimental, land-based ballistic missile defense system called Aegis Ashore. The facility served as a prototype for the U.S. missile defense facility in Romania, which was declared operational last year, and another in Poland that will be completed in 2018.

Ariel Cohen, director of the Center for Energy, Natural Resources, and Geopolitics at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, told the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday that the Defense Department needs to immediately upgrade the Aegis Ashore facility in Hawaii from experimental to operational to guard against North Korean aggression.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/north-korea-soon-launch-attack-hawaii/

U.S., Russia Counter Erdogan in Syria as Kurds Get Shield

  • Buffer zones set up to prevent assault on Kurdish-held town
  • Putin to meet Erdogan, Netanyahu this week as battle spreads
The U.S. and Russia have found themselves teaming up for the first time in the war in Syria — against a country both call an ally: Turkey.

The U.S. and Russia moved this week to block a threatened drive by Turkey to seize Manbij, a town in northern Syria about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Turkish border. A U.S. deployment and a Russian-brokered deal with Syrian forces created buffer zones that headed off any Turkish campaign against the Kurdish forces who hold the town — seen by Washington as key allies against Islamic State and by Turkey as terrorists.

As the outside powers fighting in Syria step up the fight to crush Islamic State, the battle is laying bare their often-conflicting loyalties. With all sides pushing into terrorist-held territory, the potential for clashes between the players is rising.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is a central player thanks to his military campaign, but he must keep allies like Syria and Iran on his side even as tries to cooperate with the U.S. and Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan comes to Moscow on Thursday with his defense minister for talks with Putin.

“This is a unique circumstance when the U.S. and Russia have found themselves thrown together against Turkey because of the Kurds, who are directly sponsored by Washington and get Russian support too,” said Alexander Shumilin, head of the Middle East Conflict Center at the Institute for U.S. and Canada Studies, a government-run research group in Moscow.

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-03-08/u-s-russia-counter-erdogan-in-syria-as-fight-scrambles-allies

To security establishment, WikiLeaks’ CIA dump is part of US-Russia battle

WikiLeaks says documents about CIA’s computer hacking tools came from US, but many perceive group as pro-Russia following role in 2016 election 

in Washington

The latest WikiLeaks document dump about the CIA’s computer hacking toolshighlights the intelligence agency’s penetration of everyday consumer electronics, heightening profound fears about privacy aroused in 2013 by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In the Washington security establishment, however, the leaks are being viewed more as the latest battle in a struggle between US and Russian intelligence services being played out in the US political arena – a fight in which WikiLeaks is widely seen as sitting firmly in Moscow’s corner.

The latest leaks land amid an ongoing and very public feud between the US president and the country’s intelligence agencies over Kremlin efforts to influence the election in Donald Trump’s favour. In recent months, the president has repeatedly denigrated US intelligence agencies – going as far as comparing them to the Nazi regime – while openly cheering on WikiLeaks activities. He has also alleged, so far without any evidence, that the Obama administration spied on himand his election campaign.

The apparent CIA hacking tools published by WikiLeaks feed directly into that struggle. Some Trump supporters have claimed that the apparent Russian hacking attacks could be a “false-flag” operation, hinting it was carried out by the new president’s domestic foes, and the “Vault 7” documents published on Tuesday give them potential ammunition.

The WikiLeaks press release highlights the CIA’s “Umbrage” group, said to collect a library of hacking tools used by intelligence agencies of foreign countries, “including the Russian Federation”, allowing them to conduct false flag operations.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/mar/07/wikileaks-cia-documents-us-russia-conflict

Did The US Military Just Invade Syria?

Several days ago, a convoy of U.S. troops was spotted crossing the border into Syria from Iraqi Kurdistan. The convoy, comprised mostly of hulking Stryker armored fighting vehicles, was en route to the Syrian village of Manbij, which was recently liberated from ISIS. It’s the most overt U.S. military action on the ground in Syria to date. In fact, each vehicle in the convoy was outfitted with a large American flag. The soldiers were meant to be seen. It didn’t take long for photos to surface on the internet, and the Department of Defense was prepared with an explanation.

According to Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, the soldiers were deployed to Syria to keep peace among the myriad militias and other forces who have temporarily set aside longstanding feuds to focus on repelling ISIS from Manbij. “It’s a visible reminder, for anybody who’s looking to start a fight, that the only fight that should be going on right now is with ISIS,” Davis told the Associated Press.

Until now, the American mission in Syria has been limited to training, advising, and equipping local forces, and the occasional clandestine raid. But the troops who just arrived in Syria do not specialize in standing up or bolstering indigenous armies (a mission set known as Foreign Internal Defense, which is exclusive to certain units under the military’s Special Operations Command). They’re not Green Berets, or Navy SEALs, or MARSOC Raiders. They are members of the U.S. military’s premier raid force — the 75th Ranger Regiment.

http://taskandpurpose.com/us-military-just-invade-syria/

Trump Admin Blasted for Continuing Obama Admin Effort to Sell Iran Planes

Leading Republican calls for moratorium, questions admin priorities

BY:

The Trump administration is under increasing criticism from Republican lawmakers for continuing Obama-era policies to provide material support to the Iranian regime, including airplanes, which many have warned could be used to illegally ferry weapons across the Middle East on behalf of the Islamic Republic’s war effort, according to lawmakers and veteran congressional insiders who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

The Trump administration’s Treasury Department informed the Free Beacon on Monday that it would continue to grant licenses to companies such as Boeing so that they can pursue multi-billion dollar deals with Iran.

This policy, started by the Obama administration as part of the nuclear deal with Iran, is opposed by many on Capitol Hill and runs counter to campaign trail promises by President Donald Trump to end such agreements.

Iran announced in February that it had found a “foreign company” to finance the country’s purchase of at least 77 new planes from Boeing and Airbus.

The Treasury Department would not provide the Free Beacon with the name of this foreign entity, despite multiple requests, stating only that licenses making these sales legal “will be issued the same as any other specific license,” according to a Treasury Department official. The sales are set to be approved per guidelines set forth in the Iran nuclear agreement.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/trump-admin-blasted-continuing-obama-admin-effort-sell-iran-planes/

Palestinian gun dealers ordering parts off the internet, army says

In an illegal weapons crackdown, IDF seizes hundreds of firearm components, arrests 9 suspects in Nablus

Hundreds of gun parts seized by the IDF as part of a raid in the Balata refugee camp, outside Nablus, on March 8, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

Since the beginning of last year, the Israel Defense Forces has been focused on thwarting the manufacture and sale of guns in the West Bank, with the hope of preventing such weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists and criminals.

The army has raided dozens of alleged gunsmithing workshops and seized hundreds of weapons in the past 15 months. But in the overnight raid, the army set its sights on a new aspect of the gun trade: online markets.

The army found that Palestinians had been using websites to purchase firearm components, an intelligence officer in the army’s West Bank Division told reporters on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinian-gun-dealers-ordering-parts-off-the-internet-army-says/

Germany warns Turkey over Nazi jibes amid referendum rowComparisons with Nazi Germany are “lines that should not be crossed”, the German foreign minister has warned his Turkish counterpart as they met to try to defuse a bitter row.

But Sigmar Gabriel also emphasised his wish to return to “friendly relations”.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Germany of “Nazi practices” because of the cancellation of rallies involving Turkish ministers.

He is seeking new constitutional powers in a 16 April referendum.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu repeated the Nazi comparison on a visit to Hamburg aimed at drumming up support among some of the 1.4m Turkish voters who live in Germany.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the Nazi jibe as “unacceptable” and Mr Gabriel echoed her sentiment after a breakfast meeting in Berlin with Mr Cavusoglu.

“The Turkish side said it wanted to be treated equally with respect but I believe both sides have a responsibility and there are lines that must not be crossed and any comparison with Nazi Germany is one of them,” Mr Gabriel said.

But Mr Gabriel was also keen to stress the “success” of the two nations’ ties, and stressed his intention to avoid lasting damage to them.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39203624

Turkey gets additional drones to fight ISIS, Kurds

ANKARA — Kale-Baykar, a privately owned Turkish venture specialized in drones, has delivered a batch of six armed drones to the Turkish military.
The Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement that the Bayraktar TB-2 unmanned aerial vehicles, indigenously developed by Kale-Bayraktar, would be stationed at an air base in Elazig in eastern Turkey. Two of the drones are armed, the statement said.
Turkey last year successfully tested the Bayraktar, which hit a target at the Konya fire test field in central Anatolia from a distance of eight kilometers. The Bayraktar uses the MAM-L and MAM-C, two mini smart munitions developed and produced by the state-controlled missile maker Roketsan. Roketsan’s mini systems weigh 22.5 kilograms including a 10-kilogram warhead.
Turkey’s local industry also is developing BSI-101, a SIGINT system, for the Bayraktar in order to end Turkey’s dependence on U.S.-made SIGINT systems for drones.
The Bayraktar can fly at a maximum altitude of 24,000 feet. Its communications range is 150 kilometers. The aircraft can carry up to 55 kilograms of payload.
Turkey plans to extensively use a fleet of various drones in its anti-insurgency fight against Kurdish militants in the country’s eastern and southeastern regions as well as in neighboring northern Iraq and northern Syria.

Alleged Iranian spy set to be tried in Germany

BERLIN (AP) ” A 31-year-old Pakistani man is going on trial in Berlin on allegations he spied for Iran on Israeli and Jewish institutions in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Syed Mustufa H., whose full name was not giving for privacy reasons, is due in court Wednesday on espionage charges.

H., who came to Germany in 2012 to go to university, is accused of having collected information on a professor at a university in Paris, the former president of the German-Israel Society and others in Western European countries.

Prosecutors say he then passed the information to a contact person with the Iranian intelligence agency. He’s alleged to have received at least 2,052 euros ($2,170) for his spying activities.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11814673

German bank blacklist of Yemeni nationals widens

The decision by German banks to cancel the accounts of 100 Yemeni nationals now has wider implications, DW can reveal. The entire state of Yemen has been blacklisted by Commerzbank.

Commerzbank (picture-alliance/dpa/B. Roessler)

Last month, Deutsche Welle reported that several German credit institutes, including Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, have been terminating the bank accounts of close to 100 Yemeni students, businesspeople and diplomats in Germany without giving any reason.

But now, based on a letter from Commerzbank, obtained by DW, it is now clear that this wave of cancellations isn’t just targeting individuals from the Middle Eastern country, but the state of Yemen itself.

Commerzbank-Schreiben an den jemenitischen Botschafter in Deutschland NEU (Jemenitische Botschaft Berlin)

The letter, dated February 17 and addressed to Yemen’s ambassador Yahia Mohammed Abdullah Al-Shaibi, reads: “Due to changes in business policy we will no longer support or transact business with Yemen.” When approached by DW for a response, Commerzbank replied it was not going to further comment on the issue.

The latest revelation is a major setback for the estimated 2,000 Yemeni nationals living in Germany, as they attempt to find new banking facilities in their host country.

http://www.dw.com/en/german-bank-blacklist-of-yemeni-nationals-widens/a-37839413

New revelation hits France’s scandal-plagued Fillon

PARIS – Scandal-plagued French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon was hit by a new revelation on Tuesday, this time over an interest-free, undeclared loan he received from a billionaire friend.
The conservative candidate “did not deem it necessary” to report the 50,000 euros (R685745.80) loan he received from Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere in 2013 to a state transparency watchdog, the Canard Enchaine weekly said in its edition to appear Wednesday.

“The ‘oversight’ may be costly for the presidential candidate,” said the investigative and satirical newspaper, which also made the allegations in January about the fake jobs scandal that has threatened to derail Fillon’s candidacy.

Le Canard Enchaine reported that Fillon’s lawyer Antonin Levy had confirmed the loan had been repaid in full, but did not say when.

https://www.enca.com/world/new-revelation-hits-frances-scandal-plagued-fillon

Britain beefs up defenses in the Falkland Islands

LONDON – Britain has awarded £153 million (US $187 million) worth of contracts to equip the Falkland Islands with a new ground-based air-defense system known as Sky Sabre, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed. 
A clutch of deals agreed around the turn of the year but only now becoming public includes award of a contract by the British to an Israeli company to supply a key battlefield command-and-control network to defend the South Atlantic island from potential Argentinian aggression.

The main contract award, which the MoD valued at £78 million (US $95 million), was signed Jan. 9 with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, to develop a battle management, command, control, communications, computers  and intelligence (BMC4I) network.

Missile builder MBDA and surveillance radar supplier Saab have also been awarded contracts to integrate other, already ordered, ground-based air-defense system elements into the BMC4I.

Trump to Pick Former UN Spokesman Grenell for NATO Post, Official Says

  • Grenell will be among highest-ranking openly gay officials
  • Former Fox commentator was a Trump loyalist from early on

President Donald Trump will nominate Richard Grenell to be his ambassador to NATO, according to a White House official, a selection that would make the longtime loyalist and former U.S. spokesman at the United Nations the highest-ranking openly gay person to serve in the administration.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Grenell, 50, declined to comment. The White House official asked not to be identified because the position hasn’t been formally announced.

A spokesman under John Bolton and three other Republican-administration ambassadors at the UN from 2001 through 2008, Grenell has been a Fox News contributor for four years and a Trump supporter since the start of the campaign.

The founder of Capitol Media Partners, he frequently tangles with journalists on his Twitter feed, accusing reporters of being unfair to Trump and Republicans. His name had circulated as a candidate for Trump’s ambassador to the UN, though the job ultimately went to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-08/trump-said-to-pick-former-un-spokesman-grenell-for-nato-post

NATO, Russia reach rare consensus on issues of airspace security in Baltic Sea

HELSINKI, March 7 (Xinhua) — Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said here on Tuesday that NATO and Russia had reached a consensus on some issues of airspace security in the Baltic Sea region.

At a press conference held after a meeting with visiting Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid on Tuesday, Niinisto said that NATO and Russia shared the same opinions on some issues at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s airspace security meeting in Helsinki at the beginning of March.

“I think it is very remarkable that NATO and Russia were in agreement with this. We haven’t seen it for years. Even though they are minor things, if we can enhance airspace security in the Baltic Sea area, it will hopefully be the start of finding out bigger (issues) to agree on also,” said Niinisto.

Kaljulaid also emphasized the importance of the small steps made by NATO and Russia, saying the development of airspace security was a good example of that.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-03/08/c_136110321.htm

In first, missile launched from unmanned Israeli ship

Rafael defense contractor lauds achievement as proof of remote-controlled boats’ potential for naval security

An unmanned Israel Navy ship test fires missile off the coast of Ashkelon on March 7, 2017. (IDF spokesperson)

An unmanned Israel Navy ship test fires missile off the coast of Ashkelon on March 7, 2017. (IDF spokesperson)

For the first time, a missile has been fired from a remote-controlled, unmanned ship during an exercise, the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems contractor announced Tuesday.

The missiles were fired by a new version of Rafael’s “Protector” series of unmanned ships, which had only previously been capable of small arms fire.

The unmanned ship fired Spike missiles, a Rafael-made guided missile. They reportedly struck all of the simulated targets successfully during the tests.

The tests were carried out off the coast of Askhelon by the Navy’s 916th Squadron, which operates off the Gaza coast.

The Israel Defense Forces currently has a small fleet of “Protector” ships, which are used to complement its manned patrol boats around Israel’s coastal waters.

This version of the “Protector” model is referred to by the Israel Navy as the “Sea Knight.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-first-missile-launched-from-unmanned-israeli-ship/

“Serbia to get Russian MiGs on NATO aggression anniversary”

Russian President Vladimir Putin should sign a degree on the delivery of six MiG-29s to Serbia during his meeting in Moscow with Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic.

SOURCE: VECERNJE NOVOSTI /

Belgrade-based Vecernje Novosti is reporting this, and adding that there is a great chance that the warplanes will officially join the Serbian Armed Forces “symbolically” on March 24 – the 18th anniversary of the start of NATO’s aggression against Serbia.

The MiGs will land at the military airport in Batajnica at the end of the month. The handover ceremony will be attended by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the newspaper writes, and adds that “the details of the arrival of the MiGs” are not published officially for the time being.

According to the article, two possibilities are under consideration.

“The option of the MiGs flying directly from Russia to Serbia is being considered. That has not been quite confirmed yet, because it would also have a delicate political note. One of the ideas is to, in this case, have the planes salute Serbia by flying vertically across its entire territory. The other option is to deliver the aircraft aboard Russian transport planes, most likely Ilyushins,” an unnamed source from top military circles has been quoted as saying.

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2017&mm=03&dd=08&nav_id=100707

Kosovo moves to create national army despite Serb opposition

by Reuters
* Kosovo says new army would help cement peace

* Serbia warns of regional instability

* Serb deputies to boycott Kosovo parliament session

By Fatos Bytyci

PRISTINA, March 8 (Reuters) – Kosovo signalled on Wednesday plans to turn its security force into a national army, a move strongly opposed by its ethnic Serb minority and by Belgrade which said it would cause instability in the region.

Nearly two decades after the Kosovo war, relations between Belgrade and Pristina remain strained and Serbia continues to regard Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, as a renegade province.

The Kosovo government ordered the creation of a national army three years ago but Serbian deputies said they would block the required changes to the constitution.

On Wednesday parliament indicated it would bypass that opposition by preparing amendments to an existing law that would allow the Kosovo Security Forces (KSF) to buy heavy weapons, effectively turning it into an army.

A vote is expected in the coming days. Serb deputies, who number just 11 in the 120-strong chamber but whose support would be needed to change the constitution, said they would boycott the session.

“This is a decision in the interests of our country for completely peaceful purposes … to have good relations with all our neighbours but also to protect our country,” the speaker of parliament, Kadri Veseli, said during a visit to a KSF barracks.

http://news.trust.org/item/20170308122417-el9l6

The Pentagon got caught trying to hide embarrassing cost overruns on Navy ships

(PACIFIC OCEAN (April 23, 2014) 


If the data you need to release to the public is potentially embarrassing, there’s always classification review to the rescue.

The US Government Accountability Office deleted details of cost overruns on two of the Navy’s littoral combat ships from a report on shipbuilding contracts, at the request of the Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review.

The review referred to the financial tidbit on the USS Milwaukee and the USS Jackson as “sensitive but unclassified” in a footnote, according to Anthony Capaccio of Bloomberg News, who first reported the news.

“The department failed to consider the public interest in knowing that cost targets were being exceeded, and by how much,” Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, told Bloomberg. “Instead, it looks like DoD is trying to keep unfavorable facts out of the public eye. In the long-run, that’s not a smart move.”

The Navy’s push to field littoral combat ships has come under sharp criticism from defense experts and members of Congress. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, for example, last year called out the $12.4 billion for the Navy’s requested 26 littoral combat ships as “an unfortunate and classic example” of the problems of defense acquisition, according to AP.

That’s not to mention the problems with the ships themselves, which have been plagued with mechanical issues. In 2016, four LCS’s experienced engineering difficulties, forcing the Navy to halt all further operations of the ships.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pentagon-got-caught-trying-hide-221424491.html

Report casts doubt about Pentagon adding third missile defense site

This after a recent New York Times article indicated that the two exiting sites–located in Alaska and California–have a poor rate of success.

Furthermore, the report stated that more recently the military has concentrated on using other forms of cyber defense.

However, north country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik continues to push for Drum to get a missile interceptor. Stefanik’s office telling 7 News that adding a site to the east coast would increase “reliability.”

Two other locations are up for consideration along with Fort Drum, but it’s not yet known whether the Pentagon will ever actually green light the costly project.

http://www.informnny.com/news/local-news/report-casts-doubt-about-pentagon-adding-third-missile-defense-site/667891739

As North Korea missile threat grows, Japan lawmakers argue for first strike options

By Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo | TOKYO

Rattled by North Korean military advances, influential Japanese lawmakers are pushing harder for Japan to develop the ability to strike preemptively at the missile facilities of its nuclear-armed neighbor.

Japan has so far avoided taking the controversial and costly step of acquiring bombers or weapons such as cruise missiles with enough range to strike other countries, relying instead on its U.S. ally to take the fight to its enemies.

But the growing threat posed by Pyongyang, including Monday’s simultaneous launch of four rockets, is adding weight to an argument that aiming for the archer rather than his arrows is a more effective defense.

 “If bombers attacked us or warships bombarded us, we would fire back. Striking a country lobbing missiles at us is no different,” said Itsunori Onodera, a former defense minister who heads a ruling Liberal Democratic Party committee looking at how Japan can defend against the North Korean missile threat. “Technology has advanced and the nature of conflict has changed.”

For decades, Japan has been stretching the limits of its post-war, pacifist constitution. Successive governments have said Tokyo has the right to attack enemy bases overseas when the enemy’s intention to attack Japan is evident, the threat is imminent and there are no other defense options.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-japan-idUSKBN16F0YE

Study Finds India Is Asia’s Most Corrupt Country, While Japan Comes In Last

One of the main objective of the current Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been to make India corruption free. But it seems the country still has a long way to go. A recent survey by Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption global civil society organization, states that India has the highest bribery rate among the 16 Asia Pacific countries surveyed. Nearly seven in 10 people who accessed public services in India had paid a bribe. In contrast, Japan has the lowest bribery rate, with 0.2% respondents paying a bribe.

Approximately 900 million — or over one in four — people across 16 countries in Asia Pacific, including some of its biggest economies like India and China, are estimated to have paid a bribe to access public services. For its report titled “People and Corruption: Asia Pacific”, TI spoke to nearly 22,000 people in these countries about their recent experiences with corruption.

One of the main objective of the current Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been to make India corruption free. But it seems the country still has a long way to go. A recent survey by Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption global civil society organization, states that India has the highest bribery rate among the 16 Asia Pacific countries surveyed. Nearly seven in 10 people who accessed public services in India had paid a bribe. In contrast, Japan has the lowest bribery rate, with 0.2% respondents paying a bribe.

Approximately 900 million — or over one in four — people across 16 countries in Asia Pacific, including some of its biggest economies like India and China, are estimated to have paid a bribe to access public services. For its report titled “People and Corruption: Asia Pacific”, TI spoke to nearly 22,000 people in these countries about their recent experiences with corruption.

 

Even massive economic players like China aren’t that far behind India. The biggest economy in the region has a lot to do in terms of fighting corruption. Nearly three quarters of the people surveyed in the country said corruption has increased over the past three years, suggesting people don’t see much work happening against corruption.

People in the survey were also asked to rate their government in terms of how it was performing in fighting public sector corruption. More than half the people living in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia felt that their government was doing a good job in fighting corruption. In contrast people in South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia didn’t think highly of their government in its fight against corruption.

Services people pay for

Across the region, nearly two in five said that they thought most or all police officers were corrupt. Unsurprisingly, just under a third of people in the region who had come into contact with a police officer in the past 12 months had paid a bribe. While citizens of Pakistan were the most likely of any country to be asked for bribes in law and order institutions (around seven in 10), for India the police bribery rate is 54% and for China a low 12%.

India had the highest bribery rates of all the countries surveyed for access to public schools (58%) and healthcare (59%), suggesting serious corruption risks when people try to access these basic services. In comparison these numbers for Pakistan and China for public schools are 9% and 29% respectively. In terms of healthcare, the rate for China is 18% and for Pakistan 11%.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/suparnagoswami/2017/03/08/study-finds-india-is-asias-most-corrupt-country-while-japan-comes-in-last/#52468ccf1201

 

Air Force Orders Rheinmetall Ammo for F-35 Fleet


Rheinmetall
has received a $6.5 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to produce four lots of ammunition for the service branch’s fleet of Lockheed Martin-built F-35 aircraft.

The company said Monday it will begin to deliver Frangible Armor Piercing rounds to the Air Force in December 2017.

Rheinmetall will manufacture the ammunition at a company facility in Switzerland and expects its joint venture with Day and Zimmermann‘s munitions business to assemble ammunition in the U.S. under future follow-on contracts.

The FAP round was originally developed for NATO air forces as part of an effort to boost the F-35’s lethal capacity in comparison with modern infantry fighting vehicles.

Dusseldorf, Germany-based Rheinmetall provides mobility and threat-appropriate security technology platforms to military customers.

http://blog.executivebiz.com/2017/03/air-force-orders-rheinmetall-ammo-for-f-35-fleet/?utm_source=ExecutiveBiz+Daily+RSS+Feed&utm_campaign=26ce0ab718-Mailchimp_ExecutiveBiz_RSS_10_23_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_378117c9e8-26ce0ab718-81843969

Stolen Apple IDs can hold your iPhone hostage

“The problem is, Apple IDs are used with too many services,” Xiao said as he showed a slide listing 20 different Apple services accessible with an Apple ID, including the App Store, Apple Music, the Apple Online Store, iCloud, Find My iPhone, iMessage and the Mac App Store. “Every feature can be abused to make a profit.”

He explained that Apple IDs can be exploited to squeeze money out of almost any aspect of the Apple ecosystem, from deceiving users with spam Apple Messages, to locking users out of their devices and demanding ransom, to artificially pumping up the user ratings of dodgy apps so that they rank in the Top 10 on the App Store.

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/02/14/stolen-apple-ids-can-hold-your-iphone-hostage.html

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March 2, 2017

French police raid presidential candidate Francois Fillon’s Paris home over claims he paid his wife for non-existant job with taxpayers’ money

  • Fillon raided by police as he prepared to make campaign speech 450 miles away
  • He faces prison over a fake jobs scandal involving his British-born wife Penelope
  • The couple have been summoned before a judge where they face being indicted
  • Charges include embezzlement, which is punishable by up to ten years in prison

The Paris home of French presidential candidate Francois Fillon was raided by police today – as he prepared to make a campaign speech 450 miles away.

Mr Fillon faces prison over a burgeoning fake jobs scandal involving his British-born wife Penelope.

The couple, both 62, have been summoned before a judge where they face being indicted for a range of charges including embezzlement, which is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Judicial police working to the examining magistrates today entered Mr Fillon’s Paris flat and ‘gathered evidence’ connected to the case, according to an investigating source.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4276148/Police-raid-presidential-candidate-Francois-Fillon-s-home.html

Sweden to reintroduce conscription amid rising Baltic tensions

Draft will cover men and women born in 1999 or later, though only small minority will be selected to serve

Thursday 2 March 2017 Last modified on Thursday 2 March 2017

Sweden is to reintroduce conscription due to difficulties filling the ranks on a voluntary basis at a time of increased security concerns, the defence minister has said.

Sweden ended compulsory military service in 2010 but military activity in the Baltic region has increased after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, prompting Sweden to strengthen its military preparedness.

The draft will cover men and women born in 1999 or later, though only a small minority will be selected to serve.

The defence minister said the move was in response to a deteriorating security environment in Europe.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/02/sweden-reintroduce-conscription-amid-rising-baltic-tensions

US forces conduct more than 20 airstrikes on al Qaeda in Yemen

The U.S. military battered al Qaeda’s Yemen branch with more than 20 airstrikes overnight Thursday in the first known military operation in the country since a controversial raid that left one Navy SEAL dead.

“U.S. forces conducted a series of precision strikes in Yemen against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, in the early morning of March 2 (Yemen time),” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement Thursday. “More than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, al Bayda and Shabwah.”

The strikes were done in partnership with the Yemeni government, Davis added.

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/322025-us-forces-conduct-more-than-20-airstrikes-on-al-qaeda-in-yemen

New American Spy Satellite Launches on Classified Mission

A new American satellite soared into Earth orbit today (March 1), kicking off a reconnaissance mission that’s shrouded in secrecy.

The NROL-79 satellite launched into space atop a two-stage United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket at 12:49 p.m. EST (1749 GMT) today, rising off a pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

NROL-79 will be operated by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which oversees the United States’ fleet of spy satellites. It’s unclear what NROL-79 will be doing, or where it will be orbiting; details about the spacecraft and its mission are classified.

http://www.space.com/35874-american-spy-satellite-nrol-79-launch-success.html

 

Brussels chief’s vision for a Euro army: Juncker tells how he envisages member states ‘pooling’ resources and buying equipment together

  • EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker proposed defence cooperation after Brexit
  • Comes days after German military merged with Czech Republic and Romania
  • A recent UK report warned such plans for an ‘EU army’ are a threat to Nato

Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday outlined his vision for stronger military co-operation between EU nations – in what will be interpreted as a push towards an ‘EU army’.

In a blueprint on how the bloc will operate after Brexit, he envisaged a European defence union in which member states will ‘pool’ military resources and even buy equipment together.

The European Commission President said in one such scenario, defence cooperation would be ‘deepened’ and more money would be poured into EU missions abroad.

Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday outlined his vision for stronger military co-operation between EU nations – in what will be interpreted as a push towards an ‘EU army’

Joint procurement was put forward as one idea, with more integrated capabilities between member states.

His white paper came just days after the German military merged one of its divisions with Czech and Romanian brigades.

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4273544/Brussels-chief-s-vision-Euro-army.html#ixzz4aAlXnzPK

Iran reportedly poised for weapons shopping spree after UN ban is lifted

Iran is poised to go on a major military shopping spree in 2020, after a United Nations ban prohibiting the country from purchasing sophisticated weapons is lifted.

Bloomberg, citing a report from the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, reported that Iran will be shopping for surface warships, submarines and anti-ship missiles.

Tehran will be able to make purchases “that have been inaccessible since sanctions were imposed,” the report said.’

The lifting of the ban was part of the landmark nuclear agreement Tehran reached with the U.S. and world powers in July 2015. The new report could influence Congress to place new sanctions Iran for its state-sponsored terrorism efforts and its ballistic-missile tests.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/03/02/iran-reportedly-poised-for-weapons-shopping-spree-after-un-ban-is-lifted.html

Iranian film hails demise of US Navy in imagined Gulf battle

Director of animated ‘Battle of the Persian Gulf II,’ 4 years in the making, warns Washington of ‘a rain of hot lead’ in response to any attack

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — In a climactic battle at sea, an Iranian commander orders his forces to open fire on a much larger US fleet, obliterating it with a barrage of rockets, some of which tear American flags from their masts.

The scenario unfolds in “Battle of the Persian Gulf II,” a new Iranian animated film more than four years in the making that imagines a devastating response to an American attack on the country’s nuclear program.

It might have seemed out of date this time last year, when a nuclear accord reached with world powers had lifted sanctions and raised hopes for a broader rapprochement between Iran and the West.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/iranian-film-hails-demise-of-us-navy-in-imagined-gulf-battle/

Navy CO Fired After Ship Runs Aground in Japan

The skipper of the guided-missile cruiser Antietam has been removed from his post, a month after the ship ran aground in Tokyo Bay.

Capt. Joseph Carrigan was released by Task Force 70 Commander Rear Adm. Charles Williams due to loss of confidence in Carrigan’s ability to command, U.S. Pacific Fleet announced Wednesday in a release.

While investigations into the damage sustained by the ship and how to repair it are ongoing, a command investigation examining leadership actions at the time of the incident revealed grounds to remove Carrigan, a PACFLEET spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Matt Knight, told Military.com.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/03/01/navy-co-fired-ship-runs-aground-japan.html

Russian sale of fighter jets to UAE highlights shift toward Kremlin amid U.S. hesitancy

In late February, Russian media reported that the country signed an agreement to sell a number of Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates and help the Gulf state develop a next-generation fighter that could enter service in seven or eight years.

News of the deal between the Kremlin and the UAE came amid murmurs that Moscow is close to capping off a similar deal to send 10 Flanker-E jets to Indonesia and that Russia is slated to send a second batch of the same warplanes to China.

These deals — and similar ones across the globe – highlight the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s growing use of the Eurasian nation’s defense industry as a diplomatic tool on the world stage and one that appears bent on currying favor among countries with longstanding ties to the United States.

Donald Trump ‘considering military force against North Korea over its nuclear weapons threat’

US officials have reportedly discussed options to tackle North Korea in the wake of fresh provocations including the launch of a ballistic missile

The White House is considering using military force to counter North Korea’s nuclear threat, according to an internal review.

US officials are believed to have discussed the option along with regime change to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

President Trump’s security advisor K.T. McFarland reportedly held a meeting two weeks ago in the wake of fresh provocations from North Korea.

There, security officials are understood to have discussed the possibility of a plan “outside the mainstream”.

Among the options reportedly debated was the US to recognise North Korea as a nuclear state and the possibility of a military conflict, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The revelation has apparently sparked fresh fears of conflict.

The President described North Korea as the country’s “greatest immediate threat”, a senior aide said on Tuesday.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/donald-trump-considering-military-force-9947674

Russia’s Big ‘Guns’ are Firing a Very Different Type of ‘Bullet’ These Days

March 1, 2017

Under the Russian concept, the UAV would be launched via a 300mm rocket shot from a Smerch Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) at ranges of roughly 90 kilometers. Once the rocket is over the target area, the drone is released at a height of 500m. The aircraft has an endurance of 20 minutes and can survey area of approximately 25 square kilometers.

“Technologically, at our own expense, we have already carried out such work,” Nikolai Makarovets, general designer for NPO-Splav told the TASS news agency. “We do not hide the hope that we will have customers in the near future.”

Researcher Sam Bendett at CNA Corporation, who specializes in Russian military affairs, said that the new system—which TASS did not name in its report—is inline with current Russian unmanned systems development.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/russias-big-guns-are-firing-very-different-type-bullet-these-19641

Cement multinational: deals made with armed groups in Syria

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February 25, 2017

Iraqi Kurdish TV reporter killed in Mosul

Shifa Gardi dies after roadside bomb explodes on road in west Mosul; cameraman is injured

“Prominent Rudaw war reporter and journalist Shifa Gardi has been killed in Mosul as she covered clashes,” Rudaw said on social media.
reporter

“Journalism remains male-dominated — Shifa Gardi broke those perceptions and stereotypes — we pay tribute to her courageous journalism,” the channel said.

Rudaw editors told AFP that the 30-year-old reporter, who was born a refugee in Iran, was killed by an explosive device on a road in west Mosul and said that the cameraman working with her was wounded.

https://twitter.com/RudawEnglish/status/835485344384573440/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

 

 

New National Security Advisor doesn’t believe in “radical Islamic terrorism”?

President Trump’s new National Security Advisor doesn’t believe it is “helpful” to say the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”

President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser has told his staff that Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting their religion, rejecting a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers and signaling a potentially more moderate approach to the Islamic world.

The adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, told the staff of the National Security Council on Thursday, in his first “all hands” staff meeting, that the label “radical Islamic terrorism” was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic,” according to people who were in the meeting.

Wrong. The tens of thousands of people fighting in the “Islamic State” and Al Qaida and Boko Haram and Hamas and Hizbullah are radical Muslims. To pretend that they are not Muslims is to deny who the enemy is, and to give comfort to Muslim governments like Pakistan and Iraq and Afghanistan who are on the fence about confronting radical Islamists in their own rank.

In his language, General McMaster is closer to the positions of former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Both took pains to separate acts of terrorism from Islamic teaching, in part because they argued that the United States needed the help of Muslim allies to hunt down terrorists.

So we are now back to the Obama-era policy of refusing to say who the enemy is?

I don’t blame General McMaster for his Obama-style views.

I blame Donald Trump. He and his staff did a terrible job of vetting for this position, especially since an eminently qualified candidate, John Bolton, was available. McMaster’s view of the fight against radical Islam should have been the very first question that Trump asked him. Now it looks like Trump didn’t ask the question at all. …

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/02/new_national_security_advisor_doesnt_believe_in_radical_islamic_terrorism.html#ixzz4Zi9fuCjZ

Pentagon ditches onerous rules of engagement, gives Mosul troops quicker firepower access

– The Washington Times – Friday, February 24, 2017

Iraqi forces and U.S. coalition troops are no longer burdened by strict rules of engagement, which some say have turned firepower requests into bureaucratic nightmares.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. James Browning, commander of 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, recently spoke with reporters about a Dec. 26 directive that streamlined the process of delivering aid. The order, attributed to U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, was confirmed on Thursday by Air Force Col. John Dorrian, the U.S.-led coalition’s spokesman.

“It changed the relationship [between forces],” Lt. Col. Browning told The Associated Press about increased flexibility on the battlefield. “It gives me a better understanding of how I can bring to bear the limited capabilities I have.”

The new rules, which were supplemented with more directives weeks ago, allow U.S. personnel to better assist — physically and logistically — the Iraqi army’s 9th Division. Advisers are increasingly embedded with Iraqis and they can avoid cumbersome requests through a joint command center.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/24/pentagon-ditches-onerous-rules-of-engagement-in-ir/

Iran requests 950 tons of uranium from Kazakhstan

Tehran says it needs the material to help develop its civil reactor program

The request has been made to the body that oversees the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in 2015.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, told the ISNA news agency that the purchase was supposed to happen “within three years.”

“650 tons will enter the country in two consignments and 300 tons will enter Iran in the third year,” he said.

Salehi said the final shipment of concentrate, known as yellow cake, would be turned into uranium hexafluoride gas and sold back to Kazakhstan — its first international sale of the compound which is used in the uranium enrichment process.

Under the nuclear deal, many of Iran’s centrifuges were mothballed but it has the right to enrich uranium to a level of 3.5 percent and sell it abroad.

Nuclear weapons require uranium enriched to 80% or more.

Salehi said Iran has already received around 382 tons of yellow cake, primarily from Russia, since the nuclear deal came into force in January last year.

Under the deal, Iran is allowed to run around 5,000 “IR-1” centrifuges and has been testing more advanced models that can produce greater quantities of enriched uranium — all under the strict supervision of the UN atomic agency.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-requests-950-tons-of-uranium-from-kazakhstan/

Why Iran’s favorite weapon is the cyber attack

In a piece written for The Cipher Brief, Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute details Iran’s weapon of choice for imposing its will on domestic and foreign threats alike — cyber attacks.

Eisenstadt, as well as experts contacted by Business Insider, say that Iran has a weak conventional military that couldn’t possibly hope to push around stronger countries. For that reason, cyber attacks represent the perfect weapon.

Cyber attacks are cheap, ambiguous, hard to pin on any one actor, and almost completely without precedent when it comes to gauging a military response.

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-iran-favorite-weapon-cyber-attack-2017-2

Unofficial US-North Korea talks dropped after State Dept denies visa to top official – report

The first talks planned between Washington and Pyongyang in years have reportedly been canceled, as the US State Department denied entry to a high-level North Korean diplomat, with the North’s recent missile tests and Kim Jong Nam’s murder also possible factors.

The low-key talks between former US officials and Choe Son Hui, the director-general of the American affairs bureau in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, were set to take place between March 1 and 2 in New York, but Choe was denied a visa, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The rationale behind scuttling the meeting was not immediately clear, but the report said Pyongyang’s latest ballistic missile test and the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, may have played a role.

https://www.rt.com/news/378584-us-north-korea-contacts-cancelled/

Top US commander for Mideast said to make secret Syria trip

Syrian Democratic Forces say General Joseph Votel met with group leaders for first time under Trump, ‘discussed increase in support’

QAMISHLI, Syria — The top US military commander for the Middle East made a secret trip to northern Syria Friday to meet a US-backed alliance fighting the Islamic State group, the alliance’s spokesman said.

General Joseph Votel, who heads US Central Command (Centcom), met with leaders from the Syrian Democratic Forces in the first such trip under the new US administration.

SDF spokesman Talal Sello told AFP that Votel “discussed the increase of coordination and support (to the SDF) in the era of Donald Trump”.

“There were promises of heavy weapons in future stages,” Sello said.

In an online statement, Sello said Votel had met with several SDF commanders.

“The results were positive. We discussed the developments in the Euphrates Rage campaign and shared military matters,” Sello said.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/top-us-commander-for-mideast-said-to-make-secret-syria-trip/

Is Iran Preparing For War In The Middle East? Russia To Send $1B In Weapons To Tehran

White House Says Further Punishment Of Iran Possible After New Sanctions  

Russia was set to send Iran about $1 billion worth of missile defense systems, Russian news agency Tass reported Monday. The deal was the result of a contract Iran signed with Russian defense manufacturer Rostec Corporation in 2007, but it was put on hold by Russia in 2010. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently ended the delay and paved the way for the contractual obligation for the S-300 air defense systems to be met in full starting this past November.

“The S-300 cost about one billion dollars,” Rostec Corporation CEO Sergey Chemezov said. “We were through with the supplies of S-300. No plans for anything are on the agenda.”

http://www.ibtimes.com/iran-preparing-war-middle-east-russia-send-1b-weapons-tehran-2494993

 

 

Lockheed Martin Wins Contract to Support Aegis Ashore System in Poland

Lockheed Martin has been awarded additional funding to provide equipment and technical support for Aegis Ashore test and operational systems in Poland.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Lockheed Martin has been awarded additional funding to provide equipment and technical support for Aegis Ashore test and operational systems in Poland as part of a $2.5 billion contract, the Department of Defense said in a press release.

“Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Moorestown, New Jersey, has been awarded a $10,396,703 modification to a previously awarded contract to provide equipment and technical support for Aegis Ashore test and operational systems in Poland,” the release explained on Thursday.  “The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $2,476,786,132 from $2,466,389,429.”

Other services to be provided include combat systems engineering study support for increased capabilities, the release added.

Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the creation of the ballistic missile defense system in Europe, approved in 2010 during a NATO summit in Lisbon. A group of European countries, including Poland, Romania, Spain and Turkey, agreed to deploy elements of the system on their territories.

Work will be performed in the US state of New Jersey, with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2018.

https://sputniknews.com/military/201702241050999070-lockheed-contract-aegis-ashore-support/

 

Attack on Syrian security forces kills at least 40

Militants attacked two Syrian security offices in the western city of Homs on Saturday with guns and suicide bombers, killing at least 42 people including a senior officer, a war monitor said.

The attackers killed the head of military security and 29 others at one of its headquarters in the city and 12 more people at a branch of state security in attacks that began early in the morning, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Syrian state television reported that clashes had rocked the districts of al-Ghouta and al-Mohata, where the two targets were located, before three suicide bombers detonated their explosives at each place.

It said that the attacks had killed 32 people including General Hassan Daaboul, the head of the military security branch.

http://nypost.com/2017/02/25/attack-on-syrian-security-forces-kills-at-least-40/

Yemenis’ bank accounts canceled in Germany

It’s hard to imagine life without a bank account. In Germany, it’s a universal right. But many Yemenis living here have now had their accounts terminated – even that of the Ambassador. The banks are on the defensive.

For many Yemeni students and business people in Germany, the year 2017 began with a nasty surprise. For some time now Deutsche Bank and a series of other credit institutes have been canceling the current accounts of dozens of these individuals, without giving any reason. Yemeni diplomats, all of them Commerzbank customers, have also been affected by the wave of cancellations.

“All Yemeni diplomats received the same termination letter from the Commerzbank in mid-October,” Yahia Mohammed Abdullah Al-Shaibi, the Republic of Yemen’s Ambassador to Germany, told DW.

Except for the accounts belonging to the Ambassador himself and the Embassy, which expired on March 15, all accounts were terminated by Commerzbank on December 15.

According to Al-Shaibi, Yemeni representations in other European countries and diplomats representing other countries in Germany are not affected.

http://www.dw.com/en/yemenis-bank-accounts-canceled-in-germany/a-37708148

Germany mulls a real, but unrealistic, pledge on defense spending

Years after it pledged to spend billions more on defense, new pressure from the US is forcing the German government to consider whether it can actually meet its goal.

Pressure from the US to spend more on defense has split Germany’s governing coalition.

The pledge is real. But is it realistic?

Nearly three years after it promised to meet a NATO guideline calling for billions more toward the nation’s defense funding over the coming decade, the German government is sending mixed signals over whether the goal is feasible—or even necessary.

Opposition came this week not just from the foreign minister, whose coalition-member Social Democrats (SPD) will challenge German chancellor Angela Merkel in fall elections. It came from Merkel’s own party, whose parliamentary budget expert called the idea “unreasonable.”

The debate reflects how a symbol of transatlantic cooperation—an expectation that member states spend two percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense—has turned into a political tool on both sides of the Atlantic, and one that says little about military capabilities.

“Because it’s a very handy metric, it can be politicized easily,” Jan Techau of the American Academy in Berlin told DW.

http://www.dw.com/en/germany-mulls-a-real-but-unrealistic-pledge-on-defense-spending/a-37709485

France’s deradicalization centers seen as a ‘total fiasco’

A bipartisan report in the French Senate minced no words in describing this country’s efforts to “deradicalize” former and future terrorists.The French government’s attempt — including the controversial opening of a deradicalization center in the middle of the countryside — was a “total fiasco,” in the words of Philippe Bas, a senator from the center-right Republicans party.

Among the most damning elements in the report was a firm condemnation of the planned network of 12 deradicalization centers, perhaps the most widely publicized — and criticized — element of the government’s push to combat homegrown extremism.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/frances-deradicalization-centers-are-a-total-fiasco-lawmakers-say/2017/02/24/218a8072-fa97-11e6-aa1e-5f735ee31334_story.html?utm_term=.f187a94caa3a

NSA snoops told: Get your checkbooks and pens ready for a cyber-weapon shopping spree

US Cyber Command boss lays out plans for next decade

Mike Rogers

Spymaster … Mike Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Commander of the US Cyber Command and Chief of the Central Security Service

NSA and US Cyber Command boss Mike Rogers has revealed the future direction of his two agencies – and for the private sector, this masterplan can be summarized in one word.

Kerching!

Speaking at the West 2017 Navy conference on Friday, Rogers said he is mulling buying up more infosec tools from corporations to attack and infiltrate computer networks. At the moment the online offensive wing of the US military develops most of its own cyber-weaponry, he claimed, and he figures the private sector has plenty to offer.

“In the application of kinetic functionality – weapons – we go to the private sector and say, ‘Build this thing we call a [joint directed-attack munition], a [Tomahawk land-attack munition].’ Fill in the blank,” he said.

“On the offensive side, to date, we have done almost all of our weapons development internally. And part of me goes – five to ten years from now is that a long-term sustainable model? Does that enable you to access fully the capabilities resident in the private sector? I’m still trying to work my way through that, intellectually.”

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/25/us_government_to_spend_more_on_online_weapons/

Nuke capable stealth bombers get deadly upgrades to take on North Korea and ISIS

A FLEET of deadly stealth bombers has been fitted with new weapons for attack missions against ISIS and North Korea

By Nicole Stinson / Published 25th February 2017

The US Air Force’s B-2 Spirit “stealth bombers” have been upgraded with high-tech flight-management-control processors and enemy targeting systems as engineers prepare to fit the aircraft with nuclear arsenal.

The upgrades come as Donald Trump vowed to be “top of the pack” for nuclear weapons as tensions continue to rise with North Korea.

Two B-2 stealth bombers were sent to blitz an ISIS terrorist camp last month – killing 100 jihadis.

The fleet of 20 B-2 bombers will be fitted with B-61 Mod 11 weapons – a nuclear bomb designed to penetrate enemy hideouts.

Maj Kent Mickelson, who has served as a B-2 piolot, said: “This is a GBU-28 (bunker-buster weapon) on steroids. It will go in and take out deeply buried targets.

He added: “It [the B-2] is a dream to fly. It is so smooth.”The B-2 bomber has been sent on missions to Korea peninsula and Iraq

“It is really an awesome bombing platform and it is just a marvel of technology.”Described as a “digital aircraft” it also features a Synthetic Aperture Radar for creating photo-like images of enemy targets from an altitude of up to 50,000 feet.

The stealth bomber can carry up to 40,000lb of weapons – including nukes.

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/591424/North-Korea-Kim-Jong-un-US-upgrade-nuclear-weapons-stealth-bomber-aircraft-fight-ISIS

Indian Air Force rejects British Advanced Hawk aircraft

February 23, 2017 (Photo Credit: BAE Systems)

NEW DELHI — The Indian Air Force says it will not make an acquisition request for the British Advanced Hawk trainer aircraft.

The decision comes after the Ministry of Defence asked the service not request the aircraft following allegations that British company Rolls-Royce bribed officials of India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited between 2005 and 2009 to secure orders for engines to power the British Hawk 132 advanced jet trainers meant for the Indian Air Force.

“We will not make any formal request for the Advanced Hawk to HAL, and the program will be officially shelved. This is because the MoD does not want [to] give additional orders for engines to tainted Rolls-Royce for the Advanced Hawk program,” a senior IAF official said. “IAF has no intentions to place any order for the Advanced Hawk trainers.”

Israeli, Indian defense cos to expand cooperation

11 Israeli companies will participate in the Aero India 2017 exhibition opening Tuesday.

Israeli defense companies taking part in the Aero India 2017 aeronautics exhibition opening tomorrow in Bangalore, India plan to expand their business in the Indian market, while extending their cooperation with local cyber companies. The plan involves joint development, mainly in cyber defense, which the Ministry of Defense International Defense Cooperation Authority (SIBAT) has marked as one of the sectors for development over the coming year, with increased worldwide marketing in addition to systems for Israel’s defense.The Ministry of Defense and the defense companies are aiming a major proportion of their efforts in the cyber industry at the Indian market, in view of the warm relations prevailing between the two countries, accompanied by huge arms deals and partnerships in the development of innovative defense systems.

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-israeli-indian-defense-cos-to-expand-cyber-cooperation-1001176874

A still image from a CCTV footage appears to show a man purported to be Kim Jong-nam walking into the lobby at KLIA2 on February 13, 2017. — Reuters picA still image from a CCTV footage appears to show a man purported to be Kim Jong-nam walking into the lobby at KLIA2 on February 13, 2017. —

KUALA LUMPUR, — Police seized an undisclosed number of chemicals from a condominium in Jalan Klang Lama on Wednesday, according to an agency source after it was revealed that the VX nerve agent was used to kill Kim Jong-nam.

According to The Star newspaper, police also arrested a Malaysian man during the raid over suspicions that he may be involved in the alleged assassination of the half-brother to North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

Police also recovered chemistry equipment and protective gear from the condominium.

“Police are not ruling out the possibility that the Malaysian man might have expertise in chemistry,” a source was quoted as saying.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/kim-jong-nam-killing-chemicals-found-in-kl-condo#sthash.Wi9ONmiz.dpuf

 

Japanese Think Tank Argues for Moving Marines Off

TOKYO — The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit could leave Okinawa without sacrificing its value as a security provider in the Asia-Pacific, a Japanese think tank said following a study of alternatives to building a new runway opposed by the island’s governor.

It’s a point of view speakers from the New Diplomacy Initiative, a Tokyo-based think tank, conceded wasn’t likely to sway the security establishment, during a press conference Friday.

However, the academics, journalists and a former government defense official argued that plans to build a new runway for Marine aircraft are so unpopular on Okinawa that they risk straining the broader U.S.-Japan security agreement.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/02/25/japanese-think-tank-argues-moving-marines-okinawa.html

Sea of Japan the next target for Chinese military

Confusion on Korean Peninsula fuels tension over sea

TETSURO KOSAKA, Nikkei senior staff writer

 

TOKYO — A growing Chinese military presence in the Sea of Japan is becoming an issue that Tokyo cannot overlook.

On Jan. 5, three Chinese naval vessels sailed through the Tsugaru Strait between Japan’s main island and the northernmost island of Hokkaido into the Sea of Japan. Four days later, a Chinese air force fleet entered the sea by flying over the waters between the southern Japanese island of Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula.

According to the Joint Staff of the Japanese Defense Ministry, the fleet consisted of six bombers, which are capable of carrying cruise missiles, an early warning aircraft and an intelligence-gathering plane. With an additional fighter jet as an escort and a refueling aircraft, the fleet could have been ready to bomb ground targets.

http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Sea-of-Japan-the-next-target-for-Chinese-military

Pentagon Provided Intel for Iraqi Airstrikes in Syria

The United States has been notified in advance of the planned Iraqi airstrikes in Syria and has provided intelligence to guide them, US Department of Defense spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in a briefing on Friday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the launch of airstrikes on Daesh in Syria. According to him, the operation was linked to recent Baghdad attacks.

“We were aware; we supported it as well with information,” Davis said when asked if the United States provided intelligence information to the Iraqi military.

The Iraqi strikes in Syrian Deir Ez-Zor province has been fully coordinated with the Syrian government, Al-Watan reported, citing a source, close to the Syrian Foreign Ministry earlier in the day.

The attack on terrorist positions in Syria’s Al Bukamal city near the border with Iraq has been carried out as a part of the operation to liberate Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, which has been under Daesh’s control since June 2014. On Sunday, Abadi announced the start of the operations to free the western part of Mosul.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201702241051023005-pentagon-iraq-airstrikes-syria/

 

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February 23, 2017

Kim Jong Un’s half brother was killed by a NERVE AGENT: Malaysian police say ‘North Korean assassins’ used deadly banned chemical weapon – but how they avoided being killed themselves is a mystery

  • Two women assassinated Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13
  • Malaysian police say Kim Jong Un’s half brother had nerve agent on his face
  • Not known how the women applied the agent without becoming ill themselves
  • VX nerve agent is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by United Nations
  • Suspected attackers, Indonesian woman and Vietnamese woman, are in custody

A statement Friday from the inspector general of police said a preliminary analysis from the Chemistry Department of Malaysia identified the agent as ‘VX nerve agent’.

Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of leader Kim Jong Un, died February 13 shortly after two women put a substance on his face while he was checking in for a flight.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4252244/North-Korea-calls-Malaysian-investigation-holes.html

IDF jet downs Hamas drone off the Gaza coast

Army says the UAV never entered Israeli airspace, vows not to allow violations of sovereignty

A Hamas drone paraded at a celebration marking the 27th anniversary of the founding of the terror group in 2014. (YouTube/RuptlyTV)

A Hamas drone paraded at a celebration marking the 27th anniversary of the founding of the terror group in 2014. (YouTube/RuptlyTV)

An Israeli Air Force fighter jet shot down a Hamas drone flying from the Gaza Strip toward the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday afternoon, the army said.

The unmanned aerial vehicle never flew into or over Israeli territory, the army noted.

The drone crashed into the water off the coast of Gaza.

“The IDF will not allow any violation of [Israel’s] airspace and will operate with determination against any attempt to do so,” the IDF said in a statement.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-jet-downs-hamas-drone-off-the-gaza-coast/

 

Putin congratulates Estonia on national day

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated his Estonian counterpart Kersti Kaljulaid on Estonia’s Independence Day, the Russian Embassy in Tallinn wrote on Facebook Thursday.

“[Putin] expressed confidence that development of Russian-Estonian relations in the spirit of good neighborliness and mutual respect is consistent with the core interests” of the people of the two countries,” the embassy said.

The Russian president wished his counterpart and all residents of Estonia happiness, well-being and all the best, the embassy said quoting from Putin’s congratulatory message.

http://www.baltictimes.com/putin_congratulates_estonia_on_national_day/

 

Lithuanian nationalists celebrate Holocaust-era quisling, Pepe the Frog near execution site

(JTA) — Lithuanian ultranationalists marched near execution sites of Jews with banners celebrating a pro-Nazi collaborationist who called for ethnic cleansing and a symbol popular with members of the U.S. “alt-right” movement.

Approximately 170 people attended Thursday’s annual march in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city that is also known as Kovno, the website Defending History reported.

The main banner featured a picture of the collaborationist Kazys Skirpa modified to resemble Pepe the Frog, a cartoon figure that was used by hate groups in the United States during the 2016 presidential elections, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The banner also included a quote attributed to the Pepe-like portrait of Skirpa, an envoy of the pro-Nazi movement in Lithuania to Berlin, that read “Lithuania will contribute to new and better European order.”

Skirpa, who has a street named for him in Kaunas, “elevated anti-Semitism to a political level” that “could have encouraged a portion of Lithuania’s residents to get involved in the Holocaust,” the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania asserted in 2015. But Skirpa “proposed to solve ‘the Jewish problem’ not by genocide but by the method of expulsion from Lithuania,” the center said.

The procession passed near the Lietovus Garage, where in 1941 locals butchered dozens of Jews. Thousands more were killed in an around Kaunas by local collaborators of the Nazis and by German soldiers in the following months.

http://www.jta.org/2017/02/17/news-opinion/world/lithuanian-nationalists-celebrate-holocaust-era-collaborator-pepe-the-frog-near-execution-site

 

Illegal fundraiser for the Clintons made secret tape because he feared being ASSASSINATED over what he knew – and used it to reveal Democrats’ bid to silence him

  • DailyMail.com has obtained a video in which convicted illegal Clinton fundraisers Johnny Chung gave secret testimony while in fear of his life
  • The Chinese-American was convicted of funneling money to Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election bid in a breach of campaign finance law known as ‘Chinagate’
  • Now new book revealed how he spilled details of his activities in a video he made because he thought a squad of assassins would come after him  
  • He made the video with a friend after his FBI protection detail was suddenly removed – which Chung said on the tape shocked even his judge 
  • Chung feared meeting same fate as Ron Brown, Clinton commerce secretary, who died in plane crash, friend who made the tape reveals
  • Video is revealed in new book about the Chinagate scandal 

A Chinese-American businessman at the center of a Clinton campaign finance scandal secretly filmed a tell-all video as an ‘insurance policy’ – because he feared being murdered.

In footage provided exclusively to DailyMail.com, Johnny Chung spills details on how he illegally funneled money from Chinese officials to Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election bid.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4251046/Illegal-Clinton-fundraiser-tape-fearing-life.html#ixzz4ZZglVQpF

Did Hitler have a NUCLEAR BOMB? Declassified US documents suggest the Nazis successfully tested a nuke before the end of World War Two

  • Files unearthed in the US show how far Nazis got in bid to make an atomic bomb
  • A documented test may have taken place of a rudimentary warhead in 1944
  • Missile expert says he observed a mushroom cloud in the sky during a test flight
  • German test pilot Hans Zinsser said he saw the cloud south of city of Lübeck

Documents unearthed in an American archive suggest that Nazi Germany may have tested an operational nuclear bomb before the end of the Second World War.

Recently declassified file APO 696 from the National Archives in Washington is a detailed survey of how far Third Reich scientists got in the development of an atomic bomb – something Hitler craved.

In the file, obtained by the popular daily newspaper Bild, the task of the academics who prepared the paper between 1944 and 1947 was the ‘investigations, research, developments and practical use of the German atomic bomb

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4252164/Files-suggest-Nazis-tested-NUCLEAR-BOMB-WW2-ended.html#ixzz4ZVbvIbT8

Hackers can steal your information simply by analyzing the LED lights on your computer

  • Attacker must plant malware on computer via a USB drive or SD card
  • Drone flies outside window with computer and analyzes the blinking LED lights
  • Lights create a Morse code-like pattern that can be translated into data
  • Experts suggests a method that disconnects sensitive computers from the web 

A new hack has been discovered that gathers sensitive information from a desktop computer’s tiny blinking LED lights.

Researchers have successfully extracted a computer’s secrets using a data-stealing drone that is capable of recording the Morse code-like patterns of LED indicators.

However, the team has also devised a strategy to combat the hack – a security measure that takes sensitive computer systems off the internet.

A new hack has been discovered that gathers sensitive information from a desktop computer’s tiny blinking LED lights. A hacker would first have to plant malware on the system via USB or SD card in order for the drone to pick up the information

COMPUTER HACK

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University have uncovered a new way to hack computers.

First, malware needs to be planted on the system via USB or SD card.

Then a drone flies outside and records the Morse code-like patterns of LED indicators.

Hackers can translate the code into the sensitive data.

Experts found they could move data as fast as 4,000 bits per second, or close to a megabyte every half hour.

The hack and solution were discovered by a team at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Beersheba, Israel, which explained that the hack is more complex than just flying a drone to catch the blinking light.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4250910/Hackers-steal-data-LED-lights-computer.html#ixzz4ZVdlgoIu

European Counter-Terror Official:
IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Are Not Terror Groups

Leading counter-terror voice faces criticism after advocating against designating groups

BY:

A leading European counter-terrorism official is facing criticism after claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, are not terrorist groups.

Peter Neumann, an Austrian counter-terrorism official charged with working to combat violent extremism under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) attracted criticism this week after stating that both the Brotherhood and IRGC are not terrorist groups and should not be formally designated as such.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/european-counter-terror-official-irgc-muslim-brotherhood-not-terror-groups/

NATO Promises Increase in Tempo of Air, Naval Patrols on Black Sea

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/82521

Poland ousts 90 percent of top brass in defence overhaul

Warsaw (AFP) – About 90 percent of Poland’s top military brass have been replaced in an overhaul launched by the rightwing government, the defence ministry said Wednesday.

Several leading generals had already resigned over the past year as Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz pushes to consolidate the government’s control of the armed forces.

Macierewicz has also said he wants to stamp out all traces of the communist era, by blocking promotions of servicemen who joined before the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, especially those who attended military schools in the Soviet Union.

The defence ministry did not say how many generals had left the army, which now stands at 106,000 soldiers, up from 96,000 in 2015.

Opposition parties have criticised the departures of key four-star commanders in the army’s general staff, at a time of heightened tension with Russia.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/poland-ousts-90-percent-top-brass-defence-overhaul-213213219.html

SpaceX Dragon Delivers NASA Cargo to Space Station After 24-Hour Delay

A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship filled with more than 2 tons of NASA supplies has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) after a one-day delay due to a navigation software glitch.

The Dragon space capsule was captured today (Feb. 23) by the station’s robotic arm at 5:44 a.m. EST (0944 GMT) by astronauts Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency.

http://www.space.com/35807-spacex-dragon-delivers-nasa-cargo-late.html

Iraqi forces retake runway at Mosul International Airport

Iraqi federal police forces – backed by U.S. air support – entered Mosul International Airport and took control of the runway from the Islamic State, an official said Thursday.

Thursday’s advance is part of a major assault that started five days ago to drive ISIS militants from the western half of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.

Two police officers said the airport buildings were under fire from Iraqi forces. They would not provide more information but said the U.S.-led coalition is with the advancing forces.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/02/23/iraqi-forces-retake-runway-at-mosul-international-airport.html

McCain makes secret trip to Syria as US debates new plans to fight Islamic State

Sen. John McCain made a secret trip to northern Syria to visit U.S. military officials and Kurdish fighters and to discuss the campaign for defeating the Islamic State, his office said Wednesday.

McCain, R-Ariz., made the visit to the war-torn country as U.S.-coalition forces prepare for a major battled to oust militants from ISIS’ de facto capital of Raqqa. A statement from the senator’s office did not give the dates of his travel, saying only that he made the visit last week.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/23/mccain-makes-secret-trip-to-syria-as-us-debates-new-plans-to-fight-islamic-state.html

Mercedes-Benz to Open Russia Factory

Daimler Benz will open its first factory in Russia in the first new investment by a major western automaker since sanctions were imposed on the former Soviet country three years ago.

The company will invest more than 250 million euros ($260 million) in the 20,000-unit capacity factory to build SUVs and the E-class sedan, Automotive News Europe Reports.

The factory will be Daimler’s first to produce passenger vehicles in Russia and will be located about 40 km northwest of Moscow, with the first cars due to leave the assembly line in 2019.

“Russia is of strategic importance for Mercedes-Benz and an attractive growth market,” Markus Schaefer, Mercedes’ production chief, said in a statement. “By establishing a local production we not only achieve greater proximity to our Russian customers but also strengthen the international competitiveness of Mercedes-Benz cars,” he said.

The new plant will be a full assembly plant. More than 1,000 jobs will be created at the site and further jobs at local service providers and suppliers, Daimler said.

https://financialtribune.com/articles/economy-auto/60178/mercedes-benz-to-open-russia-factory

New anti-Islamic State plan could change U.S. strategy in Syria

February 22 at 6:13 PM
[Editor’s Note: If this is a trial balloon, walking away from the Kurds could prove suicidal in more ways than one.   It is not clear if this is a real story or one that is speculative since the U.S. officials are not identified and could well be trouble makers.]
President Trump’s developing plan to defeat the Islamic State may lead to significant alterations in the Syria strategy that Trump inherited from Barack Obama, including a reduction or elimination of both long-standing U.S. support for moderate opposition forces fighting against the Syrian government and the use of Syrian Kurdish fighters as the main U.S. proxy force against the militants, according to U.S. officials.

A memorandum signed late last month by Trump ordered the Pentagon and other national security agencies to draft a new proposal by late February. Trump has made clear in public statements both before and since his inauguration that he is eager to increase U.S. firepower against the militants, and willing to add more troops beyond about 500 U.S. Special Operations troops currently on the ground in Syria.

In addition to calling for “new coalition partners,” possibly to include operational coordination with Russia, Trump also ordered recommendations to change any existing military rules of engagement that are more stringent than what is required by international law

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/new-anti-islamic-state-plan-could-change-us-strategy-in-syria/2017/02/22/268e153c-f84b-11e6-be05-1a3817ac21a5_story.html?utm_term=.a1b3fc3588fd

Austria tries asylum seeker over Syria murders

An asylum seeker charged by Austrian authorities with 20 murders in Syria has had his case adjourned until the end of March.

The 27-year-old man, who was arrested in western Austria in June, faces the charge of “murder in the context of terrorism”.

He is accused of shooting unarmed or wounded soldiers following a battle in Homs, Syria.

His lawyers have said that he was severely traumatised at the time.

The man – who has not been named – denies the charges. According to Der Standard, he is a stateless Palestinian who grew up in a refugee camp in Homs.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39050806

More US Troops in Syria, Iraq Possible Under Mattis Plan

U.S. troop increases in Syria and Iraq could be part of the plan for speeding up the campaign against ISIS that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will present to the White House next week, military officials said Wednesday.

Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, told reporters traveling with him in the Mideast, “It could be that we take on a larger burden ourselves” in supporting a combined Syrian Arab and Syrian Kurdish force closing on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria. “That’s an option.”

It was less clear whether Mattis would consider a U.S. troop increase in Iraq.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/02/22/more-us-troops-syria-iraq-possible-mattis-plan.html

Iran allowed to export surplus gas to Europe

By Nigar Abbasova

The Iranian Parliament has allowed the country’s oil ministry to export surplus gas to Europe and neighboring countries in the next fiscal year, which will start March 2017.

The approval is a part of the next fiscal year’s budget bill which is being discussed at the parliament, IRNA reported.

Under the bill, the Iranian oil ministry should take steps to export gas to the EU and neighboring countries-which are not buying oil from Iran- using the private sector potential, if the gas output surpasses 1,000 million cubic meters per day.

Iran’s gross gas output currently stands at 820 million cubic meters per day, while the country’s commercial gas output reaches 700 million cubic meters per day.

http://www.azernews.az/region/109326.html

 

 

Israel Wraps Up Tests to Improve Iron Dome Anti-missile System
For the first time, the system now has been making use of American-made components.

Gili Cohen

Israel successfully tests Magic Wand anti-missile system

Analysis ISIS seeks new balance of deterrence with Israel

Israel’s Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that it recently completed a series of tests to improve the capabilities of Israel’s Iron Dome missile interception system.

For the first time, the system has now made use of American-made components in the course of the missile interception tests, the ministry’s statement said. This is made possible by a production agreement signed with the United States, allowing Israel to manufacture Iron Dome components in the United States with the involvement of the Massachusetts–based defense contractor Raytheon.

As of 2015, about 55 percent of Iron Dome’s components have been produced in the United States.

http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.773275

PM Modi clears air defence missile deal with Israel for Rs 17,000 crore

The Army will induct over five regiments of the MR-SAM missile which will have around 40 firing units and over 200 missiles of the system.

Ajit Kumar Dubey | Posted by Ashna Kumar
New Delhi, February 23, 2017 | UPDATED 05:13 IST
MR-SAM air defence system

Giving a strong push to India-Israel defence ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday cleared a mega deal for the Army worth Rs 17,000 crore to acquire the Medium Range Surface to Air Defence Missile (MR-SAM) system from Israel to protect India’s airspace from enemy aircraft and drones.

“In a meeting of the cabinet committee on security headed by the Prime Minister, the proposal for procuring the MR-SAM air defence system for the Army was approved and these would be deployed by the Army,” senior government sources told Mail Today.

The air-defence system developed jointly by the DRDO and Israeli Aircraft Industry can shoot down enemy aircraft, drones, surveillance aircraft and AWACS planes at the strike range between 50 km to 70 km in the sky and will help the country in filling gaps in air defence, the sources informed.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pm-modi-air-defence-missile-deal-with-israel-indian-army-drdo/1/889451.html

France, UK fund Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missile update

23 February 2017
MBDA has been awarded a GBP146 million contract to update France and the UK’s Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missiles. Source: MBDA

France and the United Kingdom have signed a GBP146 million (USD182 million) contract with MBDA to update their Storm Shadow/SCALP EG long-range air-launched cruise missiles, it was announced on 22 February.

Under the deal MBDA will refurbish the country’s remaining stocks of the missile, which has been in service since 2003, in order to “sustain the missile until its planned out of service date in 2032”, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

According to the MoD, “The regeneration will consist of a midlife refurbishment of current missile parts such as the turbo-jet engine, an upgrade of the navigational system, and a like-for-like replacement of items such as the cabling, seals, and gaskets.”

The first refurbished Storm Shadows are due to be delivered to the Royal Air Force (RAF) at the end of 2018, and the first SCALP EGs to the French Air Force in 2020, according to the French MoD.

http://www.janes.com/article/68123/france-uk-fund-storm-shadow-scalp-cruise-missile-update

China denies increasing troops on North Korean border

FEB 23, 2017 – 10:53

BEIJING (Reuters) – China denied on Thursday that it had increased its troop presence on the border with North Korea after the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia.

Reports routinely circulate at times of heightened tension on the Korean peninsula of China sending troops to the border, which China always denies.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/china-denies-increasing-troops-on-north-korean-border/42982308

‘3rd Fleet Forward’ One of Several Tools to Deter North Korean Aggression

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Navy forces are preparing for a conflict on the Korean Peninsula – the most likely “fight tonight” scenario they face – by shifting U.S. 3rd Fleet forces as well as the most advanced platforms into the Western Pacific.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, said North Korea is the only country in his area of operations which is not seeing an improved relationship with the United States, and “if there’s a fight tonight, it’s probably going to happen on the Korean Peninsula.”

Aucoin, speaking at the WEST 2017 conference, said that “we hope that North Korea abides by the United Nations Security Council resolution to stop development of nuclear weapons, but I’m not holding my breath on that regard.” He then described a three-pronged approach for naval forces dealing with that North Korean threat: “technology, our partnerships, and training.”

https://news.usni.org/2017/02/22/3rd-fleet-forward-one-of-several-tools-to-deter-north-korean-aggression

Pentagon starts preparing for split of acquisition job

23 February 2017

Key Points

  • Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis began the process of splitting the Pentagon’s top acquisition job in two in a memo distributed across the agency on 21 February.
  • The memo is the first step towards complying with congressional instructions to divide the responsibilities of what had been the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics into two positions.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis began the process of splitting the Pentagon’s top acquisition job in two in a memo distributed across the agency on 21 February. The memo is the first step towards complying with congressional instructions to divide the responsibilities of what had been the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics into two positions.

http://www.janes.com/article/68122/pentagon-starts-preparing-for-split-of-acquisition-job

Pentagon mulling split of NSA, Cyber Command

The Pentagon is beginning to assess whether it’s time to split up the leadership of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command.

Right now, the two organizations share a leader — Adm. Mike Rogers, who is director of the NSA and also the commander of the cyber unit.

But lawmakers have debated ending that “dual hat” arrangement as the United States moves into a new era of expanded cyber warfare.

Given the NSA’s focus on intelligence collection, many on Capitol Hill and in the national security community think it no longer makes sense to have the agency joined with the leadership of military operations in cyberspace.

http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/320736-pentagon-mulling-split-of-nsa-cyber-command

 

 

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February 22, 2017

Marine Le Pen’s bodyguard and chief of staff are arrested over claims they were paid for fake jobs at the EU Parliament

  • Thierry Legier and Catherine Griset were taken into police custody today
  • The suspects, including National Front candidate Le Pen, face imminent charges
  • Ms Le Pen’s lawyers have branded the arrests a ‘conspiracy’
  • The European Anti-Fraud Office says it has compelling evidence of fake payments 

Two senior aides to Marine Le Pen were today taken into police custody as the fraud enquiry that could see the far-right French presidential candidate jailed for up to 10 years deepened.

Thierry Legier, who is Ms Le Pen’s bodyguard, and Catherine Griset, her chief of staff, were escorted to the judicial police station in Nanterre, the Paris suburb, in the late morning.

A raid was also carried out at the home of Mr Legier, Ms Le Pen’s 51-year-old bodyguard who is nicknamed ‘The Gorilla’.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4249970/Marine-Le-Pen-s-bodyguard-chief-staff-arrested.html

Kim Jong-nam’s body targeted in morgue break-in, say police

Malaysian authorities seek to question senior North Korean diplomat and man connected with Air Koryo, while dismissing claims that assassins were duped

Kim Jong-nam, left, and Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-nam, left, and Kim Jong-un Photograph: Shizuo Kambayashi, Wong Maye-E/AP

Malaysian police investigating the murder of Kim Jong-nam say attempts were made to break into the morgue where his body is being held and have demanded to question a senior North Korean diplomat.

The announcements by police chief Khalid Abu Bakar throw further suspicion on Pyongyang over the apparent assassination of the exiled half-brother of the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.

Khalid said another man wanted for questioning and identified as Kim Uk-il was linked to North Korea’s state airline, Air Koryo. Both he and the high-level embassy official, named as Hyon Kwang-song, 44, remained in Malaysia, Khalid said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/22/kim-jong-nams-body-targeted-in-morgue-break-in

North Korean suspects in Kim Jong-nam murder ‘hiding’ in Pyongyang’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur

Hyon Kwang-song, left, and Kim Uk-il
Hyon Kwang Song, left, and Kim Uk Il

Two North Koreans suspects in the murder of Kim Jong-nam are believed to be “hiding” inside Pyongyang’s embassy in Malaysia, security sources have told the Telegraph.

Tensions between the two countries are high following the killing of the half-brother of Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s “Supreme Leader”, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last Monday.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/22/exclusive-north-korean-suspects-kim-jong-nam-murder-hiding-pyongyangs/

Possible mole in security detail of Dutch frontrunner Wilders

A Dutch secret service agent who was part of the team responsible for protecting Geert Wilders, the frontrunner in next month’s election, has been suspended on suspicion of leaking details to a criminal organization, the secret service said on Wednesday.

Wilders, who campaigns on an anti-Islam platform that includes closing mosques and banning immigration from Muslim countries that has led to the protection, condemned the alleged breach, saying he cannot function without adequate security.

Dutch newspapers De Telegraaf and NRC Handelsblad and the country’s national broadcaster NOS identified the suspect as an experienced officer in his mid-30s, using his first name and last initial.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-netherlands-election-wilders-idUSKBN1611LB

Iran Renews Destructive Cyber Attacks on Saudi Arabia

Tehran strategy seeks takeover of oil-rich U.S. ally

After a four-year hiatus, Iran recently resumed destructive cyber attacks against Saudi Arabia in what U.S. officials say is part of a long-term strategy by Tehran to take over the oil-rich kingdom and regional U.S. ally.

Late last month, the Saudi government warned in a notice to telecommunications companies that an Iranian-origin malicious software called Shamoon had resurfaced in cyber attacks against some 15 Saudi organizations, including government networks.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/iran-renews-destructive-cyber-attacks-saudi-arabia/

Planes, tanks, ships: Russian military gets massive upgrade

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military received a sweeping array of new weapons last year, including 41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the wide-ranging military modernization will continue this year, the defense minister said Wednesday.

Minister Sergei Shoigu told lawmakers the air force will receive 170 new aircraft, the army will receive 905 tanks and other armored vehicles while the navy will receive 17 new ships this year.

Amid tensions with the West, the Kremlin has continued to spend big on new weapons despite Russia’s economic downturn.

Also this year, three regiments of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces will receive new intercontinental ballistic missiles, Shoigu said. Each regiment has up to 10 launchers.

The rising number of new weapons has raised demands for new personnel. Shoigu said the military currently needs 1,300 more pilots and will recruit them by 2018.

http://www.bigstory.ap.org/article/8b7532462dd0495d9f756c9ae7d2ff3c/russian-military-continues-massive-upgrade

 

Christian father is shot dead and his son is burned alive in Egyptian ISIS hotbed days after the group vowed Christians were its ‘favourite prey’

  • The father, in his 60s, was found with multiple gunshot wounds in North Sinai
  • His son, who was a Coptic Christian like his dad, was burned alive on Wednesday
  • The area of North Sinai has become a stronghold for Islamic State in Egypt
  • Their bodies were discovered at dawn behind a school in the city of  El-Arish

The two Coptic Christians were found murdered Wednesday in Egypt’s North Sinai, a stronghold of the terror group.

They said the son was found having apparently been burnt alive while the father, a man in his 60s, had shot multiple times.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4250292/Christian-father-burned-alive-son-shot-dead.html

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4250292/Christian-father-burned-alive-son-shot-dead.html#ixzz4ZRgb6diK
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GOP Lawmaker Urges Trump to Buy New Icebreakers Amid Russian Buildup in Arctic

Russia set to debut the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, the only U.S. ship capable of breaking through Antarctica’s thick ice / AP

BY:

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) urged President Donald Trump on Tuesday to pursue funding for the U.S. Coast Guard to purchase new ice-capable vessels to counter Russia’s military buildup in the Arctic.

Hunter, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, warned in a letter to Trump that Russia is set to debut the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker, Arktika, while the United States struggles to maintain its two 1970s-era icebreakers.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/gop-lawmaker-urges-trump-buy-new-icebreakers-amid-russian-buildup-arctic/

Report: China nearly finished building South China Sea structures to house missiles

May 21, 2015: Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft.  (U.S. Navy)

China is reportedly nearing completion of more than 20 buildings on its artificial islands in the South China Sea that are capable of housing long-range surface-to-air missiles.

The concrete structures have retractable roofs and at about 66 feet long and 33 feet tall. They are located on three islands: Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross.

Fox News reported exclusively in December that the U.S. intelligence community was monitoring whether surface-to-air missiles would be shipped to the reefs to protect China’s three airstrips.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/02/22/report-china-nearly-finished-building-south-china-sea-structures-to-house-missiles.html

Military plane cost hits Airbus profits

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus reported a drop in 2016 profits, mainly because of a charge on the A400M military plane.

Its net income fell by 63% to 995m euros (£838m), although revenue went up 3% to 66.5bn euros (£56bn).

The results are the first since Airbus started simplifying the company by mixing its European business with the parent company, previously called EADS.

Chief executive Tom Enders said: “We’ve delivered on the commitments we gave a year ago.”

He added: “We achieved our guidance and objectives, with one exception, the A400M, where we had to take another significant charge totalling 2.2bn euros (£1.85bn) in 2016.

The A400M has suffered a number for setbacks over the years.

Earlier this month, one A400M broke down on the ground while carrying German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39049318

Ildar Dadin: Russian activist jail term quashed

Russia’s Supreme Court has ordered the release of opposition activist Ildar Dadin, who was the first person to be convicted under new laws on protests.

The court said the criminal case against him should be dismissed and he had a “right to rehabilitation”, Russian media report.

Mr Dadin, jailed in December 2015, has been serving two-and-a-half years for a series of protests.

Last November he said he was tortured in prison in north-west Russia.

The authorities denied the claims, but transferred him to another prison.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39050949

 

Montenegro Coup Suspect ‘Was Russian Spy in Poland’

A Russian suspected by Montenegro of masterminding the recent alleged coup attempt was a military officer who was expelled from Poland amid an espionage scandal in 2014, a Polish diplomat told BIRN.

Natalia Zaba, Dusica Tomovic

 

Edvard Shirokov, currently on the Interpol’s red notice, based on a warrant issued by Montenegrin authorities. Photo: Interpol.

The Polish ambassador to Podgorica, Irena Tatarzynska, told BIRN that Russian military officer Eduard Shishmakov, one of the leading suspects in the alleged coup plot in Montenegro, was thrown out of Poland due to a spying accusation.

Tatarzynska said Shishmakov was a deputy military attache at Russia’s embassy in Warsaw, but was declared persona non grata in Poland in June 2014, along with three other Russian citizens, because it was believed that they were involved in spying.

“For us [in Poland] it was a really unpleasant case, a deputy military attache was declared persona non grata. But for the Polish state, this case is over,” Tatarzynska said.

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/montenegro-coup-suspect-was-russian-spy-in-poland–02-21-2017#sthash.MsKQ4wGH.dpuf

Israeli warplane attacks Syrian Army in west Damascus

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:45 A.M.) – Minutes ago, an Israeli warplane conducted an airstrike over the western countryside of Damascus, targeting the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions in the Qalamoun Mountains near the Lebanese border.

A Syrian Army source told Al-Masdar this morning that the Israeli warplane had crossed into Syria after flying over Lebanon’s ‘Arsal Barrens, where both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) are headquartered in the eastern Beqa’a Governorate.

The Syrian Army source added that the specific location of the attack was in the Al-Quteifah area of the Qalamoun Mountains.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-israeli-warplane-attacks-syrian-army-west-damascus/

With US support, Saudi Arabia ready to send special forces to Syria

In cooperation with the United States, Saudi Arabia is “ready to send ground troops” to Syria to fight against Daesh, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir announced on Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with Sueddeutsche Zeitung German newspaper on Tuesday, Al-Jubeir said: “The Kingdom and other Gulf countries said it was ready to allocate forces to fight on the US side.”

He noted that discussions with the US forces are underway to “find out what the plan is and what you need to implement it.” He explained that the plan would be announced “soon”.

The foreign minister affirmed that the liberated territories from Daesh, must be handed over to the Syrian opposition. “The basic idea is to free the region from the IG [Daesh] and not to allow their controlled Hezbollah, Iran or the Syrian regime,” he said.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170221-with-us-support-saudi-arabia-ready-to-send-special-forces-to-syria/

Turkey Defense Talks With Russia on S400 Missiles Have Progressed, Minister Says

ANKARA (Reuters) – Talks between Turkey and Russia for Ankara to procure S400 missiles for a domestic air defense system have “progressed significantly”, Turkey’s Defence Minister Fikri Isik, said on Wednesday.

Isik also said that Turkey’s preference was to originally buy a NATO system but that wasn’t possible. He was speaking in an interview with broadcaster NTV.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Humeyra Pamuk)

http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-02-22/turkey-defense-talks-with-russia-on-s400-missiles-have-progressed-minister-says

 

Greek FM: Turkey close to crossing Greece’s red lines

Turkey came very close to crossing Greece’s red lines in the Aegean last week, when a Turkish coast guard vessel fired shots in Greek territorial waters east of the islet of Farmakonisi, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias told Skai Television’s “Istories” program Tuesday night. In a wide-ranging interview with Kathimerini’s executive editor, Alexis Papachelas, Kotzias spoke also about Greece’s determination to protect its sovereign interests, the Cyprus issue, the case of the eight Turkish servicemen whom the Supreme Court refused to extradite to Turkey, and NATO’s operations in the Aegean.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/216392/article/ekathimerini/news/greek-fm-turkey-close-to-crossing-greeces-red-lines

India may forego offset package for S-400

22 February 2017 MIKHAIL NEKRASOV
An offset package could delay deliveries by up to two years.
S-400 Triumf is Russia’s long-range anti-aircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. Source: Mikhail Voskresenskiy/RIA Novosti
India’s Defence Ministry may forego the offset clause to speed up deliveries of the S-400 Russian air defence system, The Economic Times reported on Feb. 21.

The offset clause mandates foreign companies to invest at least 30 per cent of the contract value in the Indian aerospace and defence sectors.

Viktor Kladov, director of international cooperation at Rostec holding, told the paper that the purchase of the S-400 is a strategic project and delivery should not be delayed by offset packages.

According to Kladov, the offset package may delay delivery by up to two years. A deal with no offset package is the best choice, he added.

http://in.rbth.com/economics/defence/2017/02/22/india-may-forego-offset-package-for-s-400_707448

Germany to expand Bundeswehr to almost 200,000 troops

Germany’s Defense Ministry has announced it will increase the number of professional soldiers by around 10 percent. It comes amid increasing pressure for Germany to reach its NATO-mandated defense spending target.

Since the end of the Cold War, Germany had been reducing its military scope and manpower. Recent years, however, have marked a major shift in its defense policy, as it pledged once again to expand the Bundeswehr.

“The Bundeswehr is under demand like never before,” Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (a Christian Democrat) said on Tuesday, as she announced plans to increase the number of Germany’s professional soldiers from 178,000 to 198,000 by the year 2024. “In light of these increasing responsibilities, the Bundeswehr must be allowed to grow accordingly.”

As part of its enlargement plans, the Bundeswehr will also expand its non-combat civilian employees to over 61,000 in response to the growing threat of cyber and hacking attacks.

http://www.dw.com/en/germany-to-expand-bundeswehr-to-almost-200000-troops/a-37655018

Industrial control systems top threat to UK cyber security

Most organisations understand cyber security readiness, but lack response and resilience capabilities – especially regarding industrial control systems in the UK, says RSA cyber defence expert Azeem Aleem

Vulnerabilities in industrial control systems commonly used by suppliers of critical national infrastructure are potentially the biggest threats to UK cyber security, according to a cyber defence expert.http://www.computerweekly.com/news/450413471/Industrial-controls-systems-top-threat-to-UK-cyber-security

 

Alexandria visits Sasebo during Indo-Asia-Pacific deployment

by: Chief Yeoman (Submarine) Ben P. Warren | .
USS Alexandria Public Affairs

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) — Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Alexandria (SSN 757) arrived at Fleet Activities Sasebo for a visit as part of its Indo-Asia-Pacific deployment, Feb. 19.

The visit strengthens the already positive alliance between the U.S. and Japan through the crews’ interaction with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. It also demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s commitment to regional stability and maritime security in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

http://japan.stripes.com/news/alexandria-visits-sasebo-during-indo-asia-pacific-deployment#sthash.nHclSyCd.dpuf

China gives Lotte ‘severe’ warning on THAAD

3:39 am, February 22, 2017

Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) — South Korea’s Lotte Group will face severe consequences if it allows the South Korean government to deploy a U.S. anti-missile system on land that now forms part of a golf course it owns, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency has warned.

The comments come soon after Lotte said this month that Chinese authorities had halted work at a multi-billion-dollar real estate project following a fire inspection, amid South Korea’s worries that Beijing is retaliating for its plans to host the system.

China has repeatedly expressed opposition to South Korea’s planned deployment later this year of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system, which Seoul and Washington say is needed to defend against North Korea.

China worries the system’s powerful radar can penetrate its territory.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003534761

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February 15, 2017

Trump promises Israel that Iran will never get bomb

Washington (AFP) – President Donald Trump hailed the United States’ “unbreakable” bond with Israel on Wednesday and promised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran would never be permitted to build a nuclear weapon.

Trump’s vow was designed to address Israeli concerns over the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, which Netanyahu has warned expires too soon to permanently remove the threat.

“With this visit the United States, again, reaffirms our unbreakable bond with our cherished ally, Israel,” Trump said.

“The security challenges faced by Israel are enormous, including the threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which I’ve talked a lot about,” he said.

“One of the worst deals I’ve ever seen is the Iran deal. My administration has already imposed new sanctions on Iran, and I will do more to prevent Iran from ever developing — I mean ever — a nuclear weapon.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-promises-israel-iran-never-bomb-175254468.html

Mike Flynn’s Security Clearance Pulled, Pending a Review

U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency suspends former national security adviser’s access to classified information

Feb. 15, 2017 5:43 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has suspended former White House national security adviser Mike Flynn’s access to classified information pending a review, according to a spokesman for the agency, which was once headed by Mr. Flynn.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/mike-flynns-security-clearance-pulled-pending-a-review-1487198589

 

Trump’s choice for national security adviser had early exposure to Iran

By Yeganeh Torbati and Idrees Ali

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As a teenager in the early 1970s retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Robert S. Harward played football and basketball, was popular with classmates and, like many American high school students, was known for partying.

But Harward, to whom President Donald Trump has offered the post of U.S. national security adviser, to succeed Michael Flynn, spent his teenage years not in his native Rhode Island, but in pre-revolutionary Iran, where his father, a Navy captain, advised the Iranian military.

During his teenage years, Harward lived in an Iranian neighborhood, attended school with Iranian-American students and played sports against Iranian teams. Those experiences gave him an unusual familiarity with Iran’s culture and people in the years before the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the pro-American Shah.

“During very formative years of his life, he was exposed to everything that was Iran,” said Joseph Condrill, who knew Harward, known by his classmates as Bobby, when they were students at the Tehran American School. “Iran was one of our homes, and we got to know the Iranian people very well, in a very intimate way.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trumps-choice-national-security-adviser-had-early-exposure-175814852.html

Kim Jong-nam death: Malaysian police arrest female suspect

Police say woman carrying Vietnamese passport detained in connection to death of North Korean leader’s half-brother

Malaysian authorities have detained a woman holding a Vietnamese passport in connection with the death of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

CCTV pictures taken from Malaysia airport showing one of the two women.

CCTV pictures taken from Malaysia airport showing one of the two women. Photograph: YTN

The Malaysia inspector general said a 28-year-old woman, Doan Thi Huong, had been positively identified from CCTV footage and was alone at the time of her arrest.

No other details were immediately available. Malaysian police were not available for comment.

Earlier on Wednesday, South Korea’s spy agency said two women believed to be North Korean operatives had poisoned the 45-year-old exile in a shopping concourse at Kuala Lumpur international airport.

Kim, who had not yet passed through security, was preparing to take a late-morning flight on Monday from the Malaysian capital to his home in Macau when he was allegedly attacked, according to South Korean MPs briefed by security services.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/15/kim-jong-nam-malaysian-police-arrest-female-suspect-over-death

North Korea tries to BLOCK autopsy of Kim Jong-Un’s assassinated half-brother as a female Pyongyang spy posing as a Vietnamese woman is arrested over the poisoning

  • Kim Jong-nam died on way to hospital after being poisoned in Kuala Lumpur 
  • The 45-year-old was killed by two female assassins, reports in Malaysia claim
  • US sources said a fountain pen may have been used to spray the deadly poison
  • It is understood he feared for his life having fallen out of favour in his homeland
  • CCTV footage shows a suspect wearing a shirt with a LOL slogan on the front
  • A woman with a Vietnamese passport has since been arrested over the death

North Korea has tried to block an autopsy of Kim Jong-Un‘s assassinated half-brother after ordering Malaysia to hand over his body, it emerged today.

Kim Jong-Nam was reportedly killed by two female Pyongyang operatives who grabbed him from behind and poisoned him at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday.

Stooges from Kim Jong-Un’s North Korean embassy were seen in a car with blacked-out windows outside the city morgue where his body was taken – and waited there so long they eventually ordered a KFC meal, it has been claimed.

Officials including North Korea’s ambassador, Kang Chol, spent hours failing to convince Malaysian authorities to hand over the body and their demands to stop the autopsy being performed were also ignored.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4225822/Kim-Jong-s-playboy-half-brother-poisoned-assassins.html#ixzz4YmdPY500 Pentagon might propose sending ground troops to Syria

  • The idea would significantly alter US military operations in Syria
  • Trump would need to approve the decision

Washington (CNN)The Defense Department might propose that the US send conventional ground combat forces into northern Syria for the first time to speed up the fight against ISIS, CNN has learned.

“It’s possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time,” one defense official told CNN.

But the official emphasized that any decision is ultimately up to President Donald Trump, who has ordered his defense secretary to come up with a proposal to combat ISIS before the end of the month.

The move would significantly alter US military operations in Syria if approved and could put troops on the ground within weeks.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/15/politics/pentagon-considering-recommending-combat-troops-in-syria/

At least five killed and dozens wounded in Saudi-led airstrike on Yemen funeral

According to Houthi insurgents and medical officials five bodies were recovered from the scene, mostly women, and that the toll was likely to rise

Yemenis walk through a market in the old city of Sanaa on 11 February 2017.
Yemenis walk through a market in the old city of Sanaa on 11 February 2017. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

Five women were killed and dozens of people were wounded in a Saudi-led airstrike on a funeral near Yemen’s rebel-held capital, according to Houthi insurgents and medical officials.

A second airstrike hit first aid workers who had responded to the strike on Arhab, some 40 km (25 miles) from Sanaa, according to the head of the Houthis’ media office, Abdel-Rahman al-Ahnomi.

Medical officials said five bodies were recovered from the scene, mostly women, and that the toll was likely to rise. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

Abdullah Sherif, a volunteer first responder, said he helped pull the bodies of four women from the rubble and that rescuers were still looking for survivors. He said there was only one airstrike, not two. Conflicting accounts are common in the aftermath of attacks.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/15/yemen-funeral-saudi-led-airstrike-houthi-insurgents

Syrian Kurdish groups expect U.S. support, will fight any Turkish advance

By Ellen Francis | BEIRUT
Syrian Kurdish militias and their allies expect continued U.S. support for their war against Islamic State in northern Syria and will fight Turkish forces if they advance towards Raqqa, a Kurdish leader said.

Top Kurdish politician Ilham Ahmed spoke to Reuters from northeast Syria after returning from Washington where she pressed the new United States administration for political and military support.

She co-chairs the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance that includes the Kurdish YPG militia and has emerged as the main Syrian partner of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State.

“In order to eliminate Daesh, there will definitely be military aid,” she said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State. Some U.S. officials also believed support could be increased, Ahmed said, describing her meetings as positive.

The SDF, dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia, has seized vast territory along the Syria-Turkey border. It also includes Arab and other groups in the north.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-kurds-idUSKBN15U24R

 

Any Syria Settlement Meetings Excluding Kurds Doomed to Fail – Turkish HDP Party

© AP Photo/ Lefteris Pitarakis
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21:42 15.02.2017(updated 21:44 15.02.2017) Get short URL
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Any negotiations on the Syrian crisis settlement without the involvement and participation of the Kurds are doomed to failure and will not give any progress, Turkish parliament member from the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Osman Baydemir told Sputnik on Wednesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier on Wednesday, the co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Asya Abdullah said that the Syrian Kurds were ready to take part in the conference on Syria in Geneva, but had not received an invitation to the event so far.

“Unfortunately, the meetings in Astana and Geneva are incomplete. Everyone should clearly understand that without the participation of the Kurds in all negotiations on Syria, the talks are doomed to failure and will not be successful. Unfortunately, Turkey plays a big role [in Syria settlement] and does not allow the Kurds to sit at the negotiating table,” Baydemir said.

Baydemir, who earlier in the day represented Turkish Kurdistan at the pan-Kurdish event, titled “The struggle for influence in the Middle East: the current state and possible outcomes,” hosted by Russia’s Federal National-Cultural Kurdish Autonomy, called on Russia to ensure Kurds’ participation in all Syria peace negotiations.

The representatives of the Syrian Kurds are not participating in second round of Astana talks on Syria crisis settlement between the Syrian government and the armed opposition which started earlier on Wednesday and is expected to last through Thursday.

Donald Trump lashes out at spy agencies ‘illegally’ leaking, after it is revealed his campaign ‘had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence’

Members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, it has been reported, as pressure grows on the president to explain his relationship with Moscow.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies discovered the alleged communications in phone records and intercepted calls around the same time they uncovered evidence that Russia was trying to interfere with the US election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, current and former American officials told The New York Times.

The officials said there was no evidence the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to disrupt the election, the newspaper reported.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/14/donald-trump-knew-michael-flynn-misled-officials-russia-calls/

Iran growing network to train foreign terrorists, dissident group says

– The Washington Times – 

Iran’s hard-line Islamic regime has escalated its overseas terrorist operations, establishing a network of over a dozen internal training camps for foreign fighters, the regime’s largest resistance group said at a press conference on Tuesday in Washington.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran issued its intelligence report specifying the camps’ locations and the countries represented.

The council’s largest member is the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK). It boasts an extensive spy network inside the mullah-run government, including the all-powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its special forces wing, the Quds force, and has a track record of exposing clandestine parts of the Iranian national security apparatus.

The Quds force played a significant role in the Iraq War by training Iraqi Shiites on how to make bombs that killed scores of American troops. The Quds force is now directing thousands of Iraqi Shiite militia members in Iraq, some of whom have gone to Syria to fight for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/14/iran-growing-network-to-train-foreign-terrorists-d/

Russia: ‘We’re not returning our territory’ Crimea to Ukraine

Story highlights

  • Russia’s declaration comes ahead of first meeting between top diplomats
  • Statement follows reports of Trump campaign advisers’ constant contact with Russia

(CNN)Russia’s Foreign Ministry has indicated that it intends to keep Crimea and not return it to Ukraine because it considers it to be part of Russia.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters Wednesday during a weekly news conference: “We’re not returning our territory. Crimea is part of the Russian Federation.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that Trump had been taking a tough line with Russia and that he expected Moscow to withdraw from the region, which it occupied following a “full-scale invasion” in 2014.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/15/europe/russia-foreign-ministry-crimea-ukraine/

PUTIN’S WARNING: Russia shows off menacing amphibious vehicle after NATO deploys troops

THE KREMLIN has shown off Russia’s ability to stage amphibious beach landings as an apparent warning shot at the West amid a huge Nato military deployment.

’s forces posted a video online showing two menacing tanks storming a breach, believed to be in Ukraine, in a show of strength, at a time of heightened tensions on Russia’s border with Europe.The video, released by the Russian defence ministry, shows the high-tech tanks descending on the beach from a vessel more than 100 metres from the shore during the training exercise carried out by troops from the Baltic Fleet.

The tanks can be seen driving into the water before emerging onto dry land just moments later.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/767396/Vladimir-Putin-Russia-amphibious-vehicle-video-NATO-Baltic-deployment

Russia is Working on a New Stealth Fighter

Russia’s RSK-MiG is working on a new lightweight fifth-generation stealth fighter to replace the Mikoyan MiG-29 and MiG-35 Fulcrum series fighters.

Called the Liogkiy Mnogofunktsionalniy Frontovoi Samolyet (LMFS)—or Light Multi-Function Frontal Aircraft in English—United Aircraft Corporation is developing the new aircraft out of its own funds, reports aviation journalist Piotr Butowski in the French-language trade journal Air & Cosmos.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/russia-working-new-stealth-fighter-19434

Jordan to Take Active Part in All Technical, Plenary Meetings on Syria in Astana

According to a source in the Jordanian delegation, Jordan will be actively participating in all technical and plenary meetings at Astana talks on Syria.

ASTANA (Sputnik) – Jordan will be actively participating in all technical and plenary meetings at Astana talks on Syria, a source in the Jordanian delegation told Sputnik.

“Jordan will take an active part in all technical and plenary meetings in Astana,” the source said.

https://sputniknews.com/world/201702151050694496-jordan-astana-syria/

German Army Continues to Swallow Its Neighbors

Czech Republic and Romania are sending major chunks of their armies to the Bundeswehr.

Czech and Romanian brigade will be integrated into divisions of the German army. The agreement is to be signed at a meeting of NATO defense ministers tomorrow. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), which broke the story on February 2, wrote, “The Bundeswehr is developing into the leading NATO army in Europe.”

The agreement is the most dramatic of a series of arrangements Germany is negotiating to deepen its cooperation with other countries. The EU Observer summarized the FAZ’s report, noting, “The longer-term strategy would turn the Bundeswehr into the leading NATO army in Europe, with small countries integrating their military forces into the German command structures.”

https://www.thetrumpet.com/article/14586.2.0.0/world/military/german-army-continues-to-swallow-its-neighbors

 

First Daesh Tank Attack in Iraq May Indicate Existence of ‘Vile Criminal Racket’

Commenting on the recent reports of the first documented Daesh tank attack against the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Russian defense analyst Vladimir Bogatyrev suggested that the heavy weaponry may not be mere war trophies, and that the jihadists could be acquiring the war machines through some sort of “disgusting criminal racket.”

On Monday, the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) reported that the Daesh militants used tanks in their attack against them in northern Iraqi Sinjar mountains near the border with Syria.

“The attack, which targeted militia’s units in Ain Talaui, Ain al-Hasan, Ash sharai, was launched by 200 members of Daesh, 50 of whom has been eliminated. During the attack, Daesh used tanks which have become the first [documented] case of use of such weaponry by Daesh terrorists,” the militia told Al-Manar broadcaster

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201702151050693204-daesh-iraq-tank-attack/

Iran Defeats U.S. Navy In Defiant Animated Film

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

DUBAI (Reuters) – A full-length animated film depicting an armed confrontation between Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the U.S. navy is soon to open in Iranian cinemas, amid rising tensions over President Donald Trump’s hardening rhetoric against Tehran.

The director of the “Battle of Persian Gulf II”, Farhad Azima, said that it was a remarkable coincidence that the release of the film – four years in the making – coincided with a “warmongering” president sitting in the White House.

“I hope that the film shows Trump how American soldiers will face a humiliating defeat if they attack Iran,” Azima told Reuters in a telephone interview from the city of Mashhad in eastern Iran.

http://www.oann.com/iran-defeats-u-s-navy-in-defiant-animated-film/

Germany investigates imams over alleged spying for Turkey: report

Members of Islamic association Ditib have sent intelligence to Turkey’s state institution for religious affairs, according to German media.

Authorities have searched the homes of members of the Turkish Islamic association Ditib in connection with an investigation into imams who are accused of spying on suspected Fethullah Gülen supporters in Germany.

According to a Spiegel Online report published Wednesday, members of Cologne-based Ditib spied on religious community members and German teachers on behalf of Diyanet, Turkey’s directorate for religious affairs.

More than 900 mosques fall under the auspices of the Islamic association, which is controlled by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

http://www.politico.eu/article/germany-investigates-imams-over-alleged-spying-for-turkey-report/

MERKEL SAVAGED: Italy’s fury over refusal to honour Amri cops over ‘political correctness’

MAJOR crimes committed by migrants are constantly being “covered up” by the German government – yet the country will not honour officers who risked their own lives to kill a terrorist, an Italian newspaper has furiously claimed.

Rapes, murders and terror plots have been kept from the general public for weeks, or played down in press statements from Angela Merkel’s office, a political commentator has claimed.When the Freiburg teenager was raped and thrown in the river Dreisam by an Afghan by an asylum seeker – it took weeks for the media to be informed.

Meanwhile, a terror attack planned for the Christmas market in the city of Ludwigshafen in early December was stopped when a 12-year-old Iraqi boy was arrested – but again the media was not told.

Now Italians are furious that Germany has decided against awarding any honours to Cristian Movio and Luca Scatà who bravely shot dead terrorist Anis Amri.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/767339/Angela-Merkel-Italy-fury-Germany-refusal-Anis-Amri-cops

EU Army: Germany Leads new Air Force with France, Defence Initiatives with Four EU Member StatesTHIERRY MONASSE/AFP/Getty Images

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/02/15/eu-army-germany-joint-air-force-france-submarines-norway/

Japan protests Russia giving names to isles in territory dispute

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Japan has lodged a protest with Russia for naming three uninhabited islets in the disputed Northern Territories mainly after Soviet-era politicians and military commanders.

“It is a highly regrettable decision because it does not concur with our nation’s position,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on Feb. 14.

The Russian government in 2010 started to name uninhabited isles in the Kurile island chain northeast of Hokkaido between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean, but progress has been slow.

The southern part of the chain forms Japan’s Northern Territories–the Habomai islets and the islands of Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu–which were seized by Soviet forces at the end of World War II. Japan has since been demanding that Moscow return the islands.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702150046.html

Poison is just one tool for North Korea’s highly trained spies, defectors say

LINDSAY MURDOCH

 

Kim Jong Nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has been killed in Malaysia, according to South Korean government sources. Julian Satterthwaite reports.

Poison pens and torch guns are part of the arsenal of North Korea’s spies who receive special privileges in the secretive nation where 28 million people are suffering in poverty, defectors say.

“We were taught to be ready to die for the Kim regime and if caught, to make sure we were not taken alive,” said Kim Dong–shik, a defector who was trained as a spy and infiltrated South Korea before he was shot in Seoul.

Suspicion surrounding the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged 46 year-old half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport on Monday, has fallen on the country’s huge spy network.

 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/89441567/Poison-is-just-one-tool-for-North-Koreas-highly-trained-spies-defectors-say

Lift off! India successfully launches 104 satellites from a single rocket – almost TRIPLE the previous record set by Russia

  • The rocket carried a big satellite for Earth observation and 103 ‘nano satellites’
  • Russia held the previous record after launching 39 satellites at once in 2014
  • On board were 88 satellites belonging to a tech start-up hoping to capture an image of the entire Earth every day 

In a new world record, India’s space agency successfully launched 104 satellites from a single rocket this morning.

The rocket blasted off from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota said India’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Its famously frugal space agency is looking to gain power and prestige in the commercial space race.

It latest achievement surpasses Russia, the previous record holders, who launched 39 satellites in a single mission in June 2014.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4226900/India-launches-104-satellites-single-rocket.html#ixzz4YmfKU7xX

THAAD may be deployed in Taiwan: HK media

Hong Kong magazine published article by former Taiwanese naval officer saying THAAD may be deployed in Taiwan

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As South Korea’s defense ministry strives to complete the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system by the end of this year, Hong Kong media reports that the US military also plans to sell the system to Taiwan to jointly establish an East Asian “mini-NATO” anti-missile network with Japan and South Korea.

The Hong Kong-based magazine Asia Week (亞洲週刊) published excerpts of an article written by former Taiwanese naval commander Lu Li-shih (呂禮詩) titled, “U.S. Military Rumored to be Planning to Deploy THAAD System in Taiwan,” asserting that in order to counter the ballistic missiles positioned in southern China aimed at Guam, Taiwan would be an ideal location to set up a THAAD system to intercept the Chinese missiles while still in the boost phase in the airspace over Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, and Nantou counties.

THAAD is an anti-ballistic missile system designed to shoot down short and medium range missiles by firing projectiles to intercept and destroy the incoming missiles with kinetic energy, thus minimizing the risk of the enemy warhead exploding.

http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3095284

Pentagon hackers-for-hire take just 4 hours to find critical vulnerability in sensitive system

 

The Pentagon’s cybersecurity swat team has hosted highly-publicized challenges to find flaws in department and military branch websites, but it also recently orchestrated a more secret, complex project.

The Defense Digital Service wanted to hire outside researchers to root out vulnerabilities in systems carrying sensitive department data — but without worrying about compromising the data, or getting the researchers in trouble. And in January, a group vetted by the company Synack descended on copies of two sensitive department systems to look for ways to break them.

The researchers found their first critical vulnerability in four hours, said Synack co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Mark Kuhr in an interview with FedScoop. Verifying it was accurate and valid, they turned it over to the government within the first 24 hours.

https://www.fedscoop.com/pentagon-hackers-hire-take-just-4-hours-find-critical-vulnerability-sensitive-system/

Bill orders Pentagon to fix knowledge gap in National Guard, reserve cyber capabilities

 

When it comes to defending the country from cyber attacks, Defense officials have made abundantly clear that they plan to leverage the military’s National Guard and reserve components as much as possible, including, most recently, by tasking the Army Guard and Reserve to build 21 cyber teams on top of the 133 U.S. Cyber Command had planned as part of its Cyber Mission Force.

But those cyber protection teams make up only a slice of the cyber capabilities scattered across 54 states and territories that could theoretically be called upon as first responders in the event a major cyber incident happened somewhere on U.S. soil. The trouble is, DoD has no central database that tracks exactly what those capabilities are, and there are no immediate plans to build one.

That would change under legislation that’s just been introduced by four senators who argue the lack of such a database is a major gap in the department’s readiness to support civil authorities, especially considering the breadth and depth of cyber expertise already resident in the Guard and reserve, where many service members are IT and cyber professionals in their civilian careers.

http://federalnewsradio.com/dod-reporters-notebook-jared-serbu/2017/02/bill-orders-pentagon-fix-knowledge-gap-national-guard-reserve-cyber-capabilities/

 

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February 12, 2017

Hamburg Airport evacuated ‘after pepper spray leaked into the air conditioning system’ leaving 68 injured

  • Fifty people being treated for breathing problems, coughing and burning eyes
  • It’s understood toxic chemicals were spread through the air conditioning system
  • Emergency services were called to the scene to reports of a ‘nasty odour’ 
  • All flights are grounded with the fire brigade having taken over the terminal

Hamburg Airport is on lockdown after the entire building was evacuated as pepper spray leaked into the air conditioning system.

German officials said 68 people were coughing, suffering breathing problems and burning eyes after the incident and nine were taken to hospital.

It is thought a canister of the substance used to control riots was set off in a bin near the security check-in desks.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4216828/Hamburg-airport-lockdown-building-evacuated.html

 

North Korea test-fires ballistic missile

The missile, which sources said landed in the Sea of Japan, was fired as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited President Trump in the United States.
“North Korea’s most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable. North Korea must fully comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” Abe told a news conference at Palm Beach, Florida.

French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon and his British-born wife Penelope will be indicted for fraud this week

  • 62-year-olds under investigation for range of charges including embezzlement
  • Mrs Fillon has been fighting to prove she was parliamentary attaché for decades
  • Indictment of the couple could prove fatal to politician’s presidential campaign

French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon and his British-born wife Penelope will be indicted for fraud this week and could be sent for criminal trial immediately.

The 62-year-olds are currently under investigation for a range of charges including embezzlement after helping themselves to hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of taxpayers’ cash by setting up a series of allegedly fake jobs.

Mrs Fillon, a solicitor’s daughter from Wales, has been ‘fighting tooth and nail’ to prove she was secretly a high-powered parliamentary attaché and literary consultant for decades.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4216634/Francois-Fillon-wife-Penelope-indicted-fraud.html#ixzz4YTWDc5gC

U.S. Army: 95% of Brigade Combat Teams Unprepared to Fight Immediately

WASHINGTON — Only three of the 58 U.S. Army Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) are capable of immediately joining the fight in the event of a major conflict, Gen. Daniel Allyn, vice chief of staff of the Army, told lawmakers.

According to the general, about one-third of the 58 BCTs in the Army, the largest U.S. military branch, are deemed ready, but “only three” of those “could be called upon to fight tonight in the event of a crisis.”

The rest would require about 30 days to prepare. That means only about five percent of brigade combat teams are ready to engage in immediate combat in the event of a major conflict.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/02/07/us-army-95-percent-brigade-combat-teams-unable-fight-immediately/

 

How the Royal Navy is all at sea over an appeal to ancient mariners to crew its new £6.2 billion aircraft carriers

  • £6.2 billion aircraft carriers could be crewed by mariners aged 60 and above
  • Naval chiefs are to appeal to ex-sailors to apply to key posts due to manpower crisis
  • In 2015 a recruitment drive aimed to bring in 4,000 additional personnel but only a few hundred new sailors were hired

Britain’s two new £6.2 billion aircraft carriers have been heralded as the beginning of an exciting era in naval warfare – but due to a manpower crisis, they will be crewed by some of the saltiest sea dogs of modern times.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that this week the Ministry of Defence will begin a recruitment drive begging ex-sailors who have retired or been made redundant to come back to man the ships.

Normally, only sailors aged up to 59 are considered for duty. But a shortage of personnel has led naval chiefs to appeal to mariners aged 60 and above to apply for key posts.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4216096/Manpower-crisis-sees-6-2-billion-ships-lacking-sailors.html#ixzz4YTXQJSQo

German firm refuses key component for US grenade launcher over 1868 international law

German firm refuses key component for US grenade launcher over 1868 international law
A German arms producer has refused to deliver key components for a new US grenade launcher, citing an 1868 convention prohibiting grenades being fired straight at a person. The German company is now facing penalties.

Mass production of the US, state-of-the-art, shoulder-fired grenade launcher XM25 has stalled since German company Heckler & Koch (H&K) has refused to deliver a key detail, fearing the weapon would hit people directly in violation of the 19th century international treaty, DPA reported.

Heckler & Koch is referring to 1868 St Petersburg international law convention that says grenades can’t be fired directly at a person. According to the document, grenades may be thrown at a building or near a person, but not straight at them.

https://www.rt.com/news/377084-germany-usa-grenade-launcher/

Get Ready, Russia: Britain Is Sending Warships to the Black Sea

Is Britain girding for a fight in Russia’s backyard? For the first time since the Cold War, Britain is sending a warship to the Black Sea on a military mission.

This time, the goal is to send a message to Russia: don’t invade Ukraine. The question is whether Russia will—or even should—bother to take the warning seriously.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/get-ready-russia-britain-sending-warships-the-black-sea-19397

The Army’s More Lethal M1A2 SEP v4 Abrams Tank Variant Will Start Testing in the 2020s

KRIS OSBORN

Tuesday at 10:00 AM

The Army is now engineering a far-superior M1A2 SEP v4 Abrams tank variant for the 2020s and beyond –designed to be more lethal, faster, lighter weight, better protected, equipped with new sensors and armed with upgraded, more effective weapons.

The Army is now engineering a far-superior M1A2 SEP v4 Abrams tank variant for the 2020s and beyond –designed to be more lethal, faster, lighter weight, better protected, equipped with new sensors and armed with upgraded, more effective weapons, service officials said.

Advanced networking technology with next-generation sights, sensors, targeting systems and digital networking technology — are all key elements of an ongoing upgrade to position the platform to successfully engage in combat against rapidly emerging threats, such as the prospect of confronting a Russian T-14 Armata or Chinese 3rd generation Type 99 tank.

The SEP v4 variant, slated to being testing in 2021, will include new laser rangefinder technology, color cameras, integrated on-board networks, new slip-rings, advanced meteorological sensors, ammunition data links, laser warning receivers and a far more lethal, multi-purpose 120mm tank round, Maj. Gen. David Bassett, Program Executive Officer, Ground Combat Systems, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

http://www.scout.com/military/warrior/story/1728632-new-army-m1a2-sepv4-abrams-tank-for-2020s

China Tells India To Stay Off Its Indian Ocean ‘Colony,’ Sri Lanka

I cover global markets, business and investment strategy

After claiming South China Sea to be its own sea, telling America to stay off its islands, China is reaching for the Indian Ocean, telling India to stay off its own colony, Sri Lanka.

That’s something investors in Southeast Asian markets should keep a wary eye on, as it opens yet another front between the two Asian giants, raising the geopolitical risk of investing in the region.

Markets, for the time being, seem to be ignoring these risks.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2017/02/11/china-tells-india-to-stay-off-its-indian-ocean-colony-sri-lanka/#7a4ff4875f3a

India’s own interceptor missile soars high

An indigenously developed interceptor missile on Saturday successfully destroyed an incoming ballistic missile in a direct hit, demonstrating the capability of India’s Ballistic Missile Shield (BMD), which is under development.

“At 07.45 hrs today, India successfully conducted a test wherein an incoming ballistic missile target was intercepted by an exo-atmospheric interceptor missile off the Bay of Bengal,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement. As part of the test, a target missile mimicking an enemy ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km was launched from an Indian Navy ship stationed in the Bay of Bengal and the missile travelled towards the coast, reaching a very high altitude, officials said. It was engaged and destroyed at a height of over 50 km.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/India%E2%80%99s-own-interceptor-missile-soars-high/article17290456.ece

Sweden’s Saab offers high-tech jet production to India

Swedish defence giant Saab has offered to build a state-of-the-art fighter jet factory in India should it seal a lucrative deal to supply hundreds of military jets to New Delhi.
Saab and its US competitor Lockheed Martin have emerged as the frontrunners to supply around 250 single-engine combat planes to India’s air force which wants to revamp its Soviet-era military hardware.
The Saab proposal would see “the world’s most modern” military aircraft factory roll out the Gripen E fighter not just for India but the global market.

Russia steps up cyber-attacks on Britain

Inside GCHQ: security chiefs are expecting a ‘category 1’ incident, the most seriousREX FEATURES

Britain is being hit by 60 significant cyber-attacks a month, including attempts by Russian state-sponsored hackers to steal defence and foreign policy secrets from government departments, the new cyber-security chief has revealed.

In his first key interview, Ciaran Martin, head of GCHQ’s new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), warned there had been a “step change” in Russia’s online aggression against the West as well as more attacks on “soft targets” such as local councils and charities to steal personal data, and universities to steal research secrets. The Queen will open the new cyber-centre on Tuesday.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/russia-steps-up-cyber-attacks-on-uk-rl262pnlb

‘Get out of France’: Paris police tear gassing refugees and stealing blankets in freezing conditions, report reveals

Exclusive: ‘Alarming’ research shows almost two thirds of migrants ‘violently’ forced to move

Refugees sleeping on the streets in freezing conditions in Paris are having their blankets and sleeping bags stolen by police while being “violently” forced to move on, a report has found.

Research exclusively published by The Independent shows that men, women and children are being beaten and tear gassed by officers in the French capital, despite government pledges to shelter vulnerable people.

Eritrean families said they were told to “get out of France” as police tore away children’s blankets, leaving them without protection as the bitter temperatures plummeted to -7C

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/refugee-crisis-paris-migrants-france-police-sleeping-bags-blankets-violence-refugee-rights-data-a7575376.html

German defense minister during U.S visit calls American demands about NATO ‘fair’

BERLIN — Germany’s defense minister agrees with America’s call for European NATO members to shoulder more of the burden in the alliance.

Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Friday that the Trump administration’s call — which echoes long-standing U.S. policy — is “a fair demand.” Von der Leyen met with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Washington to discuss military cooperation between the two countries.

http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/german-defense-minister-calls-american-nato-demands-fair-during-us-visit

Mattis heading to Europe while mulling changes in Afghanistan, anti-Islamic State fight

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis meets with Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s defense minister, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Feb. 10, 2017.

JETTE CARR/U.S. AIR FORCE

By DAN LAMOTHE | The Washington Post

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will depart Tuesday on his first trip to Europe as Pentagon chief, meeting with defense ministers from numerous countries as Washington mulls deploying thousands more troops to Afghanistan and altering its strategy to more aggressively counter the Islamic State.

The trip will include stops in Brussels to meet with European counterparts and in Germany to participate in the Munich Security Conference, a gathering of hundreds of ministers, heads of state and academics focused on bolstering global security. In Brussels, Mattis also will host a separate meeting of senior officials in the coalition fighting the Islamic State, as the Pentagon works to provide a new plan to President Donald Trump within weeks

https://www.stripes.com/news/europe/mattis-heading-to-europe-while-mulling-changes-in-afghanistan-anti-islamic-state-fight-1.453582

US beefing up Red Sea presence

Washington — Responding to a growing number of dangerous incidents in waters around Yemen, the US Navy is expanding its presence in the Red Sea, especially around the Bab el Mandeb strait at the southern entrance to the waterway.

The destroyer Cole was tasked on Feb. 3 with patrolling in the region, days after a suicide boat attack by Yemeni Houthi rebels on the Saudi frigate Al Madinah off the port of Al Hudaydah killed two sailors on the warship. Two other suicide boats in the attack were driven off by gunfire.

Now, Pentagon sources say two more destroyers are likely to be stationed in the Red Sea, patrolling opposite ends of the 1,400-mile long body of water. A US assault ship also is staying in the region, carrying attack aircraft and Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/us-beefing-up-red-sea-presence

Turkey-backed rebels push into Syrian IS group stronghold of al-Bab

Saleh Abo Ghaloun, AFP |
Turkey-backed-opposition fighters regroup as they advance on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of al-Bab in a bid to enter the city and retake control of it from the Islamic State (IS) group on February 9, 2017.

Video by Adam PLETTS

Latest update : 2017-02-12

Turkish troops and Syrian rebels on Saturday entered the strategic northern Syrian town of al-Bab, held by the Islamic State (IS) group, a local monitor said, as government forces also moved closer to the jihadist bastion.

Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency quoted military sources as saying one Turkish soldier was killed and another wounded in clashes with IS group militants in al-Bab.

http://www.france24.com/en/20170211-turkish-troops-syrian-rebels-push-stronghold-al-bab-group

Tensions flare between Greece, Turkey over Cyprus

By Eric DuVall
Feb. 11 (UPI) — Tensions flared between Greece and Turkey over the divided island of Cyprus after Greek officials accused the Turkish military of violating its air space and the Greek-controlled Cypriot Parliament passed a law the island’s Turks deemed offensive.

The twin military and political clashes come a month after United Nations-backed reunification negotiations failed to resolve the decades-long conflict.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/02/11/Tensions-flare-between-Greece-Turkey-over-Cyprus/7771486852069/

Swedish, Danish citizens arrested on terror accusations in Turkey: reports

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February 6, 2017

Donald Trump will NOT get to speak in Parliament after Commons Speaker John Bercow blocks ‘racist and sexist’ US President (but he didn’t have a problem when the President of CHINA was here)

[Editor’s Note: This is not only as flat out insult to President Trump but it is an insult to the American people.  It will not be forgotten.]

  • Speaker said he is ‘strongly opposed’ to the President speaking in Westminster
  • Bercow is one of three powerful ‘key holders’ to the historic Westminster Hall 
  • As an invited guest on a state visit Trump might have expected to make a speech
  • Bercow allowed leaders of China, Kuwait and Qatar speak to MPs and peers 

Donald Trump was branded ‘racist and sexist’ as Commons Speaker John Bercow revealed the US President will be barred from making a speech at Westminster Hall on his state visit.

In an extraordinary broadside from the Speaker’s chair, he said Mr Trump’s controversial ban on migrants from seven majority Muslim countries had left him ‘even more strongly opposed’ to a speech than he had been.

But Mr Bercow previously had no objections to leaders of controversial regimes

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4196814/Donald-Trump-faces-BANNED-speaking-Parliament.html

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4196814/Donald-Trump-faces-BANNED-speaking-Parliament.html#ixzz4Xwpg2wUZ
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

China sails warships near islands Mattis vowed to defend for Japan

 

Report: Trump’s national security adviser will recommend Trump make a big move against Russia

Flynn has longstanding ties to Russia — most notably, he was paid to attend a gala event for Russia Today, a Russian propaganda outlet. On that occasion, he dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

http://www.businessinsider.com/flynn-montenegro-trump-nato-russia-2017-2

 

Trump Admin Urged to Counter Iran With New Middle East Missile System

Recommendation comes with new sanctions on Iran

BY:
February 3, 2017 4:30 pm

A member of the House Armed Services Committee is urging the Trump administration to build a new ballistic missile defense system in the Middle East to counter Iranian aggression and defend U.S. allies, according to communications to the White House obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) disclosed to White House officials on Friday that plans already exist to build a missile defense system in the heart of the Middle East, providing cover against Iranian provocations in the region.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/trump-admin-urged-counter-iran-new-missile-system/

ISIS offering potential recruits protection, payments & free passage to Europe – think tank

Islamic State provides free passage to Europe to refugees willing to join the terrorist group, offering potential recruits up to $1,000 while actively infiltrating migrant communities in countries of destination, a British anti-extremism think tank warns.

A latest report by the leading British counter-extremism think tank Quilliam also says that underage asylum seekers are at increasing risk of being radicalized by Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) preachers infiltrating refugee camps and local migrant communities.

“Groups such as Islamic State and Boko Haram recruit using financial incentives within refugee camps and work with smugglers and traffickers to facilitate the journey to asylum,” Quilliam’s report said. According to the think tank, IS is clearly aware of the value of migrant routes in the Eastern Mediterranean as it offers free passage and “a degree of security” to those willing to join IS.

In other instances, IS offers recruits up to $1,000, with the sum being a remarkable financial incentive for some refugees struggling to fund their journeys across the Mediterranean.

https://www.rt.com/news/376438-isis-recruitment-refugees-europe/

Iran: Uranium shipment will give us 60% more than pre-deal

Size of stockpile significant should Tehran keep it in storage until terms of agreement expire

Iran’s nuclear chief said it would have 60 percent more stockpiled uranium than it did prior to its landmark 2015 agreement with world powers after a shipment expected later this week.

Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency on Sunday as saying that Iran would receive a final batch of 149 tons of natural uranium by Tuesday, in addition to 210 tons already delivered since early 2016.

The huge shipment of natural uranium from Russia was to compensate it for exporting tons of reactor coolant, diplomats said earlier this month, in a move approved by the outgoing US administration and other governments seeking to keep Tehran committed to a landmark nuclear pact.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-uranium-shipment-will-give-us-60-more-than-pre-deal/

Trump agrees to meet NATO leaders in Europe in May

By Steve Holland | WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.

President Donald Trump agreed to meet alliance leaders in Europe in May in a phone call on Sunday with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that also touched on the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, the White House said.

Trump was elected on a pledge to push NATO members to increase their funding to the western alliance to ease the financial burden on the United States.

This proposal has drawn opposition from both his fellow Republicans as well as Democrats and the idea has worried European allies who fear Russian President Vladimir Putin might take advantage.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-nato-idUSKBN15L04L

The Only Way to Beat Russia in a War Over the Baltics

It was more than eight years ago when a tank force from the Georgian army’s 42nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion fought its way overnight through Tskhinvali, South Ossetia.

The tanks were in trouble. They were moving too fast, outrunning their infantry support and taking losses to South Ossetian irregulars scattered throughout the city. Only hours into a war which would last five days, they had to keep moving before Russian reinforcements could arrive to bolster the pro-Russian, breakway Georgian province.

Later in the day, the tanks arrived at a crossroads near the command center of a local detachment of Russian peacekeepers. And that’s when the full force of the Russian 19th Motor Rifle Division—rushed to reinforce Tskhinvali—slammed into the battalion.

The Russians quickly destroyed four of the Georgian tanks—not with tanks of their own, but with anti-tank guided missiles launched from lighter armored vehicles. Demoralized, the surviving Georgian armor retreated.

Fast forward to today, and the armed forces of the Baltic states are studying what happened during that battle, in the event they might one day find themselves in the same situation as Georgia. …

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-only-way-beat-russia-war-over-the-baltics-19336

 

Israel Targets Hamas Sites After Gaza Rocket Attack

Israel’s military fired on Hamas installations in Gaza after a rocket launched from the territory exploded inside Israel on Monday, with no reports of casualties on either side.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, has largely adhered to a cease-fire that ended a 50-day war with Israel in 2014, but other militant groups occasionally fire rockets or mortar rounds over the frontier. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all incoming fire.

Sirens wailed in parts of southern Israel warning of incoming rockets early Monday. The military said one exploded in an open field. Soon after the attack, it said a tank fired at a Hamas position near the frontier.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/israel-retaliates-rocket-fire-gaza-45295405

Louvre attack suspect refuses to talk during police grilling

Nathalie ALONSO, Sofia BOUDERBALA

Paris (AFP) – The suspected Louvre Museum attacker refused to talk to French police during two rounds of questioning, a judicial source said.

The man, believed to be an Egyptian national, was shot in the stomach and seriously wounded after lunging at soldiers with two machetes on Friday.

The attack was the latest in a string of assaults in France and thrust the issue of security back into the headlines three months ahead of the presidential election.

Investigators questioned him twice at his hospital bed where he is receiving treatment after his condition improved but he “still refuses to speak”, the judicial source said.

The suspect has been held at a Paris hospital since the attack near the museum on Friday morning.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/suspect-louvre-attack-quizzed-first-time-003446282.html

Finland & Sweden mull joining UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force

Finland and Sweden are contemplating joining an elite UK-led military group capable of mobilizing tens of thousands of soldiers to respond to a variety of threats anywhere in the world. Both Nordic non-NATO states received invitations over the weekend.

The 10,000-strong British-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), which began formation in December of 2012, is designed to operate alone or jointly in support of NATO, European Union, or United Nations missions anywhere in the world.

The force will incorporate air and naval units, as well as ground troops, and will be led by British commanders, with other participating nations contributing a range of specialist troops and units.

A letter of intent signed with partners from Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Norway aims to develop JEF to become fully operational before 2018, but the force can already be used if needed.

https://www.rt.com/news/376418-finland-sweden-uk-force/

Turkey transfers state assets to sovereign wealth fund

ISTANBUL: The Turkish government has ordered the transfer of tens of billions of dollars worth of state assets to a sovereign wealth fund, in a huge shake-up of its holdings aimed at financing ambitious infrastructure projects.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/184393-Turkey-transfers-state-assets-sovereign-wealth-fund

Japan resumes work on controversial US base on Okinawa

The Japanese government resumed on Monday work on building a controversial US airbase on Okinawa island, sparking angry protests and scuffles with police.

The Japanese and US governments want the Futenma airbase located in a crowded city on the island moved to a sparsely populated area in the north for safety reasons. But many Okinawans want it off the island altogether.

Okinawa governor Takeshi Onaga had tried to block efforts to reclaim land for the new offshore facility and he and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe filed rival lawsuits to try to settle the issue.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/japan-resumes-work-on-controversial-us-base-on-okinawa/story-G3nRKAK1wheJUdXz4LggiJ.html

China tests ballistic missile that can target India, Japan

Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China’s newly formed Rocket Force has tested an advanced ballistic missile with a range of more than 1,000 km that can hit targets across the neighbourhood, including in India, Japan and Taiwan.

A video released by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) showed its Rocket Force personnel testing the DF-16 medium-range ballistic missile at an unknown location.

State media reports didn’t say when the drill was held but the video was released within a day of James Mattis, US President Donald Trump’s new defence secretary, visiting Tokyo.

On Monday, Japan said Chinese coast guard vessels sailed inside its territorial waters around the disputed Diaoyu islands (Senkaku in Japanese) in the East China Sea, soon after Mattis said the US would defend Tokyo’s control over them.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/china-tests-ballistic-missile-that-can-target-india-japan/story-q97PlwDdphJJGCiLVu9Q7O.html

 

 

 Japan Will Build Coal Power Plants

Japanese companies are planning to develop about 45 additional coal power plants in the next decade, as the country gradually ramps up its nuclear power generation following the Fukushima disaster in 2011, the US Energy Information Administration said Thursday.

“The country is installing new, clean coal plant technologies, such as ultra-supercritical units or integrated gasification combined-cycle technology, to meet environmental targets and to replace some of the decades-old coal power plants,” EIA said, Platts reported.

While no significant coal-fired capacity is expected to come online before 2020, the 45 new coal power plants are expected to add more than 20 GW of capacity in the next decade, it said.

https://financialtribune.com/articles/energy/58982/japan-will-build-coal-power-plants

Urgent arms deals of Rs 20,000 crore inked to keep forces ready

| TNN

  • India has inked a flurry of emergency deals for ammunition
  • Over the last two to three months, deals worth around Rs 20,000 crore have been inked
  • The aim is to guarantee the armed forces can undertake at least 10 days of “intense fighting” without worrying
NEW DELHI: India is finally taking steps to make its armed forces fighting fit. The country has inked a flurry of emergency deals for ammunition and spares worth around Rs 20,000 crore over the last two to three months to ensure its fighters and tanks, infantry and warships, are all ready to go to battle at short notice.

Defence ministry sources said the aim was to guarantee the armed forces can undertake at least 10 days of “intense fighting” without worrying about ammunition, spares and other reserves. The pace for concluding the new contracts, primarily with Russia, Israel and France, was set in motion after the terror attack in Uri on September 18.

US Heavy Vehicles Arrive in Estonia as Part of Atlantic Resolve

A new company with four M1A2 Abrams tanks and 15 Bradley fighting vehicles will replace the company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s 503rd Infantry Regiment, which arrived in Estonia in September 2016.

TALLINN (Sputnik) – US heavy vehicles of the infantry company of the 68th Armored Regiment’s 1st Battalion arrived on Monday in Estonia as part of the Atlantic Resolve operation, the Estonian Defense Forces said in a statement.

“The infantry company’s heavy equipment with tanks and armored fighting vehicles arrived at Estonia’s Tapa station … The company’s personnel arrived last Friday,” the statement said.

The company with four M1A2 Abrams tanks and 15 Bradley fighting vehicles will replace the company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s 503rd Infantry Regiment that arrived in Estonia in September 2016.

https://sputniknews.com/military/201702061050391896-us-army-vehicles-estonia/

Egyptian army kills 14 militants in central Sinai raid: spokesman

Egyptian soldiers killed 14 militants and arrested ten others in a raid in central Sinai, the military said on Monday.

The operation over the past five days destroyed three car bombs and 10 other explosive devices and seized weapons, communication devices and military clothing, the army spokesman added.

An Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula has gained pace since the military toppled President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement, in 2013 following mass protests against him.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-insurgency-sinai-idUSKBN15L154

The Russian Air Force won’t rush with its first stealth fighter jet

February 6, 2017 NIKOLAI LITOVKIN, RBTH
The Russian Defense Ministry said it won’t hurry with the purchase of the expensive T-50 stealth fighter, and in the meantime the Air Force will rely on the Su-35S jet fighters.uTube
The 5th-generation T-50 (PAK FA) jet fighters will be delivered to the Russian Air Force after 2018, said Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov.

“Most likely this will be part of the next State Armament Program for the 2018-2025,” said Borisov, adding that the fighter still needs to be perfected and the military will not rush to buy the new expensive planes. For now their functions will be performed by the 4++ generation Su-35S fighters.

“We bought a small number of the T-50s, and we’re watching how they perform in tests,” said Borisov. “We’re looking for defects and will make the necessary improvements so that it will eventually be the best fighter plane possible.”

http://rbth.com/defence/2017/02/06/the-russian-air-force-wont-rush-with-its-first-stealth-fighter-jet_696481

 

 

Missile yemenita colpisce Riyadh

“Un successo” il test: avrebbe centrato una base militare a poca distanza dalla capitale saudita. Non hi al momento notizia di vittime

Un missile Borkan come quell oche sarebbe stato lanciato dallo Yemen verso Riyadh (Fonte YemenPress)

Un missile superficie-superficie lanciato dall’esercito yemenita ha colpito la capitale saudita, Riyadh. Il missile è stato lanciato nella serata di domenica, e le fonti hanno descritto il test come “un successo”. Secondo le prime indiscrezioni, dovrebbe trattarsi di uno Scud Russo, noto come “Borkan”, che avrebbe colpito la base militare di Mazahimiyah, circa 50 km a ovest di Riyadh.

Al momento non si sa se ci sono vittime; sui social media, c’è chi descrive il suono dell’esplosione come un terremoto o lo schianto di un meteorite.

http://www.lastampa.it/2017/02/05/esteri/missile-yemenita-colpisce-riyadh-AQX0ruy1n0eRaKFNfsqF1M/pagina.html

Japan’s troubled ‘space junk’ mission fails

Tokyo (AFP) – An experimental Japanese mission to clear ‘space junk’ or rubbish from the Earth’s orbit has ended in failure, officials said Monday, in an embarassment for Tokyo.

Over 100 million pieces of garbage are thought to be whizzing around the planet, including cast-off equipment from old satellites and bits of rocket, which experts say could pose risks for future space exploration.

Scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) were trying to test an electrodynamic ‘tether’ — created with the help of a fishing net company — to slow down the orbiting rubbish and bring it into a lower orbit.

The hope was that the clutter — built up after more than five decades of human space exploration — would eventually enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up harmlessly before it had a chance to crash into the planet.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/japans-troubled-space-junk-mission-fails-061945200.html

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