Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Onslaught On Syrian Rebel Controlled Aleppo Continues



Reuters: Syrian government launches Aleppo ground attack

Syrian government forces and their allies attacked the opposition-held sector of Aleppo on several fronts on Tuesday, the biggest ground assault yet in a massive new military campaign that has destroyed a U.S.-backed ceasefire.

The United States says the assault on Aleppo is proof that President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and regional allies have abandoned an international peace process to pursue victory on the battlefield after nearly six years of civil war.

Washington, which agreed a ceasefire with Russia this month that collapsed after a week, says Moscow and Damascus are guilty of "barbarism" and war crimes for targeting civilians, health workers and aid deliveries in air strikes.

Read more ....

More News On The Battle For Aleppo

Aleppo Battle: Syrian Troops Advance on City Center; Hospitals Overwhelmed -- NBC News
Syrian troops launch major ground assault for Aleppo -- Al Jazweera
Syrian Ground Troops Clash With Rebels in Aleppo -- New York Times
Syrian troops launch ground offensive against Aleppo rebels -- The Guardian
After post-cease-fire onslaught, Assad's forces vow to finish job -- CBS
Reports: Syrian Troops Seize Rebel-held Aleppo Neighborhood -- VOA
Syria army retakes Aleppo district as bombs rain down -- AFP
Syrian Army seizes Aleppo’s central district from terrorists – state media -- RT
Thousands are trapped in Aleppo as Syrian troops close in -- VICE
Commander: IRGC supplies intelligence to Russia for airstrikes in Syria -- Long war Journal
Russia's engagement in Syria is escalating -- The National/Arabic News Digest
Moscow Strikes Back At West On Syria -- RFE
Gulf may arm rebels now Syria truce is dead: U.S. officials -- Reuters
Wealthy Gulf states may arm Syrian rebels to ‘get the Russians to back off’ - US officials -- RT
The US has 'no plan B' in Syria to stop Russia operating without accountability, experts warn -- The Independent
Civilian deaths mount as Aleppo siege by Syrian forces advances -- USA Today
Syria conflict: Aleppo evacuation corridors needed, WHO says -- BBC
Q&A: Amnesty Suspects Russian War Crimes In Syria, But Lacks Definitive Proof -- RFE

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 27, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov address reporters at the United Nations Security Council in New York City on September 30, 2015. State Department photo/ Public Domain​

Antoun Issa, National Interest: Why Syria's Cease-Fires Keep Collapsing

Russia and the U.S. are pursuing their own interests, not Syria’s.

The collapse of the latest Syrian cease-fire is no surprise. Indeed, most observers had been pessimistic about the deal holding before it came into effect on September 12. Following the pattern of previous failed attempts to implement a cease-fire, the first week witnessed accusations and counter-accusations of violations from all sides, before eventually falling apart. The Russians and Americans were already accusing the other of failing to respect the deal before the deadly U.S.-led strike on Syrian government forces on September 17—Washington said it was an accident, while the Russians aren’t buying it. By the next Monday morning, Russia’s defense ministry said it was “senseless” for the Syrian government to continue observing the cease-fire, which led to the regime announcing the end of the cease-fire later that day. The attack on the aid convoy that Monday night—U.S. officials accuse Russia of being behind the strike—delivered the death blow to the deal, since aid delivery to rebel-held areas was a U.S. condition of the agreement.

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Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 27, 2016

Syria: Denial as a war strategy -- Sharif Nashashibi, Al Jazeera

Syria: 'Weighing the military options' -- Christoph Hasselbach, DW

Talking to Russia Cannot Save Syria -- Frederic Hof, The Atlantic

One Year On: What Russia Achieved in Syria in 12 Months -- Sputnik

Will next US president shift Washington's Yemen policy? -- Giorgio Cafiero, Al-Monitor

Erdoğan Is Destroying Turkey’s Hopes for Democracy -- Hilton L. Root, Fiscal Times

The Timbuktu destruction trial was groundbreaking -- Stefan Dege, DW

As Libya descends into terrorist chaos, Clinton stands by her war -- Timothy P. carney, Washington Examiner

Could the U.N. Survive a Trump Presidency Intact? -- Richard Gowan, WPR

Why the Bosnian Serb Referendum Really Matters -- Jacob L. Shapiro, Geopolitical Futures

Marine Le Pen’s cash-flow crisis -- Nicholas Vinocur, Politico

Peace at Last: The Deal That Ends Colombia's Long Conflict -- J. Weston Phippen, The Atlantic

Why Colombia's opposition party will vote 'no' to the FARC peace deal -- David Iaconangelo, CSM

Mexico Can’t Stop Lying About a Massacre -- Andrea Noel, Daily Beast

Don’t Breathe, Even Air Is Killing Us Now -- VICE

World News Briefs -- September 27, 2016 (Evening Edition)



NBC: Aleppo Battle: Syrian Troops Advance on City Center; Hospitals Overwhelmed

The battle for the Syrian city of Aleppo appeared to be turning Tuesday after government forces reportedly wrested a central neighborhood away from one of the rebel groups that has been fighting the brutal regime.

Syrian state television reported that regime forces had taken over the Farafra neighborhood, a once thriving area near the city's famed citadel that has been reduced to ruins.

But the battle was far from over, and trapped rebels told NBC News they would fight to the end.

"We will stay here until we die or we win," activist Ali Abo Al-Jod said. "I lost my whole family, I have nothing else to lose. I will not leave. I will stay here until I die ... this is my city."

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syrian army takes rebel neighbourhood in Aleppo, military says. Syrian army, insurgents in fierce clashes in southwest Aleppo.

Aleppo civilians pay the price as bombardment continues.

Syria conflict: Aleppo evacuation corridors needed, WHO says. WHO, Red Cross say urgent to evacuate wounded from east Aleppo.

Merkel skeptical about Syria no-fly zone.

Iran says will continue supporting Syria against terrorism.

Hezbollah sees no political prospects for ending Syria war: al-Akhbar newspaper.

Civilians killed in series of bomb blasts in Baghdad.

No legitimate reason for attacks on Yemen hospitals, says aid group.

Thousands of Saudis sign petition to end male guardianship of women.

Former Israeli president Shimon Peres in grave condition: media.

ASIA

Philippine envoy's China trip on hold till 'proper time'.

U.S., Japan, South Korea consider more steps against North Korea: U.S..

Seychelles president says to resign on Oct 16 - state house.

13 Afghan soldiers killed in Taliban attack, official says. Twelve Afghan soldiers killed in their sleep by fellow troops: official.

India, China reach 'consensus' in first high level talks on combating terror.

Pakistan warns of 'water war' with India if decades-old treaty violated.

India's Modi scraps planned visit to Pakistan for regional summit.

US hits Chinese firm with sanctions over North Korea ties. China denounces US sanctions against firm tied to North Korea.

China investigating North Korea bank’s top executives, South Korean report says.

Singapore accuses Chinese paper of fabricating South China Sea story.

Duterte: After tough talk, damage control prevails.

Taiwan's third typhoon of the month kills at least four, injures hundreds.

Kyrgyz president has recovered, may leave hospital this week: office.

AFRICA

UN disappointed over latest election delay in Somalia.

Libyan leader says rival strongman to have voice in govt. UN Libya envoy warns against descent into chaos.

South Sudan rebels say government troops attack base in north, threaten retaliation.

Confidential UN report details South Sudan threats, violence.

South Sudan urges Sudan, neighbors not to let opponent launch rebellion.

UN calls for independent probe of DR Congo violence.

Ali Bongo sworn in as president of Gabon.

Egypt's president defends the military's economic role.

Mali Islamist jailed for nine years for Timbuktu shrine attacks.

Death toll in migrant shipwreck off Egypt rises to 194.

Halting school meals in Mali could keep thousands of children out of class: U.N..

EUROPE

Bosnian Serb leader defies prosecution summons to Sarajevo.

More attacks foiled on French Riviera since Nice carnage: prosecutor.

UK 'will oppose any idea of EU army' despite impending Brexit.

Days before referendum, Amnesty criticizes Hungary over treatment of migrants.

Swiss parliament votes to ban Muslim women from wearing the Burka in public.

Dresden mosque and congress centre hit by two bomb blasts. Germany boosts security for Muslim centres in Dresden after mosque bombing.

Flight MH17 investigators to pinpoint missile launch in rebel-held Ukraine.

Russia’s war drills come as surprise in Asia.

Azerbaijan vote lengthens Aliyev's time in office, boosts his powers.

AMERICAS

Debate appears likely to topple 36-year ratings record. Trump-Clinton debate seen by record 80.9 million TV viewers - CNN.

Trump says he may hit ‘harder’ in next debate; Clinton tells reporters she had a ‘great, great time’.

Kerry fires back at McCain: I'm not 'delusional'. Kerry defends diplomacy as Russian-backed forces pound Aleppo.

Brazil economy 'poised' for return to growth: US treasury chief.

Colombian government and FARC sign deal to end 52-year conflict. Colombia embarks on path to peace with historic accord.

Colombia Farc leader apologises to victims at peace signing.

EU suspends FARC from terror list, while US prefers more cautious approach.

Panama sends U.S. extradition request for ex-president Martinelli.

US owes blacks reparations over slavery: UN experts.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Senators press FBI director on response to terrorism threat.

Pakistani Taliban, Haqqani Network, and al Qaeda operatives targeted in eastern Afghanistan.

Senate to vote on 9/11 veto override Wednesday.

U.S. Homeland Chief: Homegrown attacks an increasing threat.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

OECD official says EU Apple ruling not precedent for future tax cases.

WTO cuts trade forecast by a third. WTO cuts 2016 world trade growth forecast to 1.7 percent, cites wake-up call.

Saudis, Iran dash hopes for OPEC oil deal in Algeria. Saudis see oil-freeze deal possible in November, not this week.

China debt could wreck the global economy: Leading economist warns country could suffer a calamitous slowdown.

U.S. Presidential Election News Updates -- September 27, 2016



Daily Mail: Majority of snap polls show Trump won debate by a landslide despite CNN's overwhelming victory for Hillary in biggest official survey

* CNN's snap poll gave Clinton the win with 62 per cent to Trump's 27
* But most of the others reported Trump was the winner by a landslide
* The pair engaged in a vigorous back-and-forth at Hofstra University
* Here, we present the results from snap polls conducted after the debate

CNN awarded Hillary Clinton an overwhelming victory in the first presidential debate - but most snap polls show Trump emerged victorious.

Trump and Clinton tangled over the economy, her use of a private mail server and his unwillingness to release his income tax returns on Monday night.

They engaged in a vigorous back-and-forth on the debate stage at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, as polls showed them locked in a tight race.

However, after the debate's end, polls conducted by a number of media websites showed their readers felt the real estate mogul came out on top.

Trump acknowledged the result, tweeting: 'Wow, did great in the debate polls (except for @CNN - which I don't watch). Thank you!'

Read more ....

The U.S. Presidential Debate And Post-Debate News

Presidential election debate: Trump and Clinton clash -- BBC
Trump says he may hit ‘harder’ in next debate; Clinton tells reporters she had a ‘great, great time.’ -- Washington Post
Clinton puts Trump on the defensive in combative debate -- AP
Clinton, Trump Clash On National Security -- Defense News
Policy takes back seat in chippy debate -- Washington Times
Trump loses cool while Clinton stays calm during first presidential debate -- The Guardian
US election 2016: Clinton, Trump clash in first debate -- Al Jazeera
Clinton knocks Trump for bragging about not paying taxes -- Politico
Obama weighs in on the debate -- Politico
Trump vows to hit Clinton harder in next U.S. presidential debate -- Reuters
Trump launches harsh new personal attack after debate -- AFP
2003 clip backs up Trump on Iraq War opposition -- FOX News
In debate, Clinton gets no follow-up questions, Trump gets 6 -- Washington Examiner
Post-debate, Trump team hits moderator Holt for 'some hostile questions' -- Politico
NBC's Lester Holt emerges from debate bruised and partisan -- The Hill
Reaction around the world to first Trump-Clinton debate -- AP
TV Ratings: Clinton-Trump Debate Tops 80-Million Record -- Hollywood Reporter
Trump-Clinton debate gets record ratings -- The Hill

Polls

Presidential debate surprise: Clinton loses ground among some voters in swing state -- McClatchy
Trump: I won every debate poll except CNN -- The Hill
CNN said Hillary won the debate. Why do so many polls seem to say otherwise? -- Mashable
Presidential debate: Hillary Clinton triumphs over Donald Trump in opinion polls after televised clash -- The Independent
No matter how garbage the poll, if it shows that Donald Trump won the debate, he’ll endorse it -- Philip Bump, Washington Post
Donald Trump won the debate … according to useless website polls that mean nothing -- VOX
Polls Paint Different Pictures of Who Won Last Night's Debate -- Michal Addady, Fortune

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials

Analysis: In debate, Clinton was prepared, Trump was Trump -- AP
Presidential Debate Illuminates Voters’ Stark Choice -- Gerald F. Seib, WSJ
US election: Who won the first debate? -- Anthony Zurcher, BBC
Analysts: Clinton comes out on top after first debate against Trump -- Romina Spina, DW
Clinton Proves It Pays to Prepare -- Margaret Carlson, Bloomberg
Clinton Delivers a Beat-Down -- Eugene Robinson, RCP
US presidential debate: Hillary versus Hillary -- Hamid Dabashi, Al Jazeera
The Second Presidential Debate Will Try Something New -- Russell Berman, The Atlantic
Donald Trump won, but he needs to be better on his own best arguments -- Charles Hurt, Washington Times
Why Trump decided not to bring up Monica Lewinsky at debate -- Daniel Halper, New York Post
GOP lawmakers give Trump bad reviews on debate performance -- The Hill
Donald Trump blew it. But will voters take any notice? -- Richard Wolffe, The Guardian
Trump pulled off presidential -- James Robbins, USA Today
How Trump won over a bar full of undecideds and Democrats -- Salena Zito, New York Post

FBI Director Comey Warns Of A 'Terrorist Diaspora' From Syria, Iraq



US News and World Report: Military Success Against ISIS Will Create ‘Terrorist Diaspora’

Top counterterrorism officials say the Islamic State group’s threat doesn’t end with its defeat on the battlefield.

The U.S.-led military strategy to defeat the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria will create a cheaper, nimbler and lethally dangerous version of the terror network in terms of its ability to attack Western targets, top counterterror officials said Tuesday.

"The so-called caliphate will be crushed," FBI Director James Comey told members of Congress Tuesday morning, adding, "Through the fingers of that crush will come hundreds of very dangerous people."

"There will be a terrorist diaspora some time in the next two to five years like we've never seen before."

Read more ....

More News On The FBI Director Warning Of A 'Terrorist Diaspora' from Syria And Iraq

FBI's Comey: Officials Worry About 'Terrorist Diaspora' from Syria, Iraq -- NBC/AP
FBI director warns of 'terrorist diaspora' after Islamic State crushed -- UPI
FBI director: ISIS' loss will create a 'terrorist diaspora' like we've never seen before -- Business Insider
Isis poses 'sustained' threat to US for years to come despite loss of territory -- The Guardian
Comey warns of post-ISIL terrorist 'diaspora' -- Politico
FBI Director, Homeland Chief: Lone Wolf Terrorist Attacks Growing Threat in U.S. -- Washington Free Beacon

WHO Report: 90% Of The World’s Population Breathe Bad Air



New York Times: More Than 9 in 10 People Breathe Bad Air, W.H.O. Study Says

HONG KONG — The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that 92 percent of people breathe what it classifies as unhealthy air, in another sign that atmospheric pollution is a significant threat to global public health.

A new report, the W.H.O.’s most comprehensive analysis so far of outdoor air quality worldwide, also said that about three million deaths a year — mostly from cardiovascular, pulmonary and other noncommunicable diseases — were linked to outdoor air pollution. Nearly two-thirds of those deaths are in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific region, compared with 333,000 in Europe and the Americas, the report said.

“When you look out through the windows in your house or apartment, you don’t see the tiny little particles that are suspended in the air, so the usual perception is that the air is clean,” Rajasekhar Balasubramanian, an air quality expert at the National University of Singapore who was not involved in the study, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

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WNU Editor: This issue is far more important to me than global warming, and it is one of the many reasons why I love living in Canada. The smell of the air in this country is fantastic .... and it does impact your health. When I travel to China or Russia and/or other places .... groan .... the air pollution is the first thing that I always notice. Water .... or should I say .... bad water .... is the second thing. On a side note .... China is the worst offender .... China tops WHO list for deadly outdoor air pollution (The Guardian). This is sad. When I was living in China in the 1980s the country did have a pollution problem .... but the air was breathable and acid rain was non-existent. Today .... the smog. The acid rain. And don't even talk about the water.

More News On The WHO Report Claiming That 90% Of The World’s Population Breathe Bad Air

Vast majority of world – 6.76 billion people – living with excessive air pollution – UN report -- UN News Centre
Polluted air affects 92% of global population, says WHO -- BBC
Pollution crisis as World Health Organization warns over 90% of the world is breathing bad air -- AFP
Air Pollution Exceeds WHO Limits for 92 Percent of World's People -- NBC
WHO: 9 out of 10 people breathing excessive air pollution -- CBS/AP
WHO: Nine of 10 people breathe bad air -- DW
WHO: Entire global population exposed to too much air pollution -- UPI
Health of more than 90% of world’s population affected by air pollution ‘emergency’, WHO says -- The Independent
WHO: 90 percent of world's population breathe dirty air -- Al Jazeera
Air Pollution Behind 1 In 9 Deaths Worldwide, WHO Report Says -- IBTimes

12 Sleeping Afghan Troops Killed In 'Insider' Attack

Afghan National Army soldiers at an outpost outside the northern city of Kunduz, where 12 soldiers were killed by two comrades on Tuesday. PHOTO: NASIR WAKIF/REUTERS

Wall Street Journal: Two Afghan Soldiers Kill 12 Colleagues at Post Outside Kunduz

Attackers defect to Taliban after one of war-torn country’s deadliest insider attacks this year

KABUL—Two Afghan soldiers shot and killed 12 colleagues at a post outside of Kunduz before defecting to the Taliban, the Defense Ministry said, in one of the country’s deadliest insider attacks this year.

Both men fled the scene to join the insurgency, according to a provincial police commander. The militant group, which has been fighting to unseat the Afghan government since being ousted from power about 15 years ago, took responsibility for the attack. The ministry said the attack was under investigation.

The northern city last year fell briefly to the Taliban, being the first to come under militant control since 2001.

Read more ....

More News On 12 Sleeping Afghan Troops Killed In 'Insider' Attack

Twelve Afghan soldiers killed in their sleep by fellow troops: official -- Reuters
Official: 13 Afghan Soldiers Killed in Taliban Attack -- AP
'Insider attack' killed 12 sleeping Afghan troops -- AFP
12 Afghan soldiers in Kunduz killed in apparent insider attack -- Stars and Stripes
Afghan Troops Killed In 'Insider' Attack -- RFE
Suspected Taliban Assailants Kill 13 Afghan Soldiers -- VOA

Colombia And FARC Rebels Formally End Their War With Peace Agreement Signing



New York Times: Colombia Signs Peace Agreement With FARC After 5 Decades of War

In a Caribbean resort city, far from the jungles where guerrilla battles once raged, the Colombian government and the country’s largest rebel group signed a peace agreement on Monday evening.

The ceremony, held in Cartagena, brought an end to a 52-year-old war with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, whose Marxist insurgency marked the last major war in the Americas.

“What we sign today is a declaration from the Colombian people before the world that we are tired or war,” President Juan Manuel Santos said in his prepared remarks, “that we don’t accept violence as the means of defending ideas.”

Read more ....

More News On Colombia And FARC Rebels Formally Ending Their War

Colombia, Rebels Sign Deal to End Half-Century Conflict -- WSJ
Colombia, Marxist rebels sign accord ending 52-year war -- Reuters
Colombia, rebels formally end five-decade-long armed conflict -- USA Today
Colombia’s president, rebels sign deal ending half-century-old conflict -- Washington Post
Colombia peace deal: Historic agreement is signed -- BBC
Colombia and FARC sign historic pact ending 52-year war -- Al Jazeera
Final polls show ‘yes’ leads ahead of Colombia’s peace vote -- City Paper Bogota
'The horrible night has ceased': Colombia peace deal resounds in Farc's heartland -- The Guardian
Colombia’s 50-year war comes to an end, at last -- The Economist

India And Pakistan Are Threatening A 'Water War'

Reuters: Pakistan warns of 'water war' with India if decades-old treaty violated

Pakistan would treat it as "an act of war" if India revoked the Indus Water Treaty regulating river flows between the two nations, Pakistan's top foreign official said on Tuesday.

Tension has been mounting between the nuclear-armed neighbors since at least 18 Indian soldiers in the disputed Kashmir region were killed this month in an attack that New Delhi blames on Pakistan.

India on Tuesday summoned Pakistan's High Commissioner in New Delhi to inform him about two men from Pakistan now in Indian custody who it alleges helped gunmen cross the disputed Kashmir border before the attack. Pakistan denies involvement in the raid and has urged India to conduct a proper investigation.

Read more ....

More News On India And Pakistan Threatening A 'Water War'

Blocking Indus waters will be act of war: Pakistan -- Indian Express
Violation of water treaty risks war, senior Pakistan official warns -- Gulf News
India drops hints of water war after Pakistan's constant denial of role in Uri attack -- Indian Express
India may review water treaty with Pakistan -- Straits Times
India set to wage water war against Pakistan -- The Nation
Indus Waters Treaty: Modi's offensive can wreak unspeakable havoc for Pakistan -- First Post
How India plans to use Indus Water Treaty to turn the heat on Pakistan -- Times of India
Indus Waters Treaty: Pakistan must fear Modi’s water war more than Indian military -- First Post
India simply cannot afford to scrap the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan -- Quartz

U.S. Marines To Replace 'The Few, The Proud' Slogan In New Commercials



Marine Times: Marine Corps may replace 'The Few, The Proud' as its recruiting slogan

The Marine Corps has always been an elite fighting force, but it may have outgrown its current recruiting slogan, “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”

So the Corps is exploring the possibility of using a new tagline with the service’s upcoming advertising campaign, which is slated to launch next year, said Lt. Col. John Caldwell, a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruiting Command.

“’The Few, The Proud’ does a great job distinguishing ourselves from the other branches and making us prestigious to recruits, but it doesn’t say anything about what we do or why we exist,” Caldwell told Marine Corps Times. “We believe the new campaign products require a unique tagline to achieve the effort’s objectives.”

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WNU Editor: 'The Few, The Proud' is a great line. Sighhh .... I guess with time everything changes .... including slogans.

U.S. Senate To Vote Wednesday To Override 9/11 Lawsuit Bill Veto



The Hill: Senate to vote on 9/11 veto override Wednesday

The Senate is moving forward with a pledge by leadership to try to override President Obama's veto of legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) set the vote on overriding the veto, along with two hours of debate, for Wednesday.

The showdown could end with lawmakers nixing the president's veto for the first time in his administration.

Obama followed through on a pledge to veto the bill, known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), on Friday. The White House argues the legislation would undermine "sovereign immunity" and the U.S.-Saudi relationship, as well as open up U.S. citizens to retaliatory measures.

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WNU Editor: The Saudis and their allies are changing their strategy on how to block this legislation .... Saudi lobbyists plot new push against 9/11 bill (Politico).

More News On The U.S. Senate Voting Wednesday To Override 9/11 Lawsuit Bill Veto

Senate to vote Wednesday to override 9/11 lawsuit bill veto -- CNN
Senate to hold override vote Wednesday after Obama veto of 9/11 lawsuit bill -- CBS
U.S. Senate will likely override veto of 9/11 lawsuit bill -- UPI
Congress Expected to Override Obama 9/11 Bill Veto -- ABC News

Update: This could be a heavy financial hit for the Saudis .... If 9/11 plaintiffs prevail, Saudis could face up to $100 billion in damages (Philly.com).

World News Briefs -- September 27, 2016



Reuters: Syrian government launches Aleppo ground attack

Syrian government forces and their allies attacked the opposition-held sector of Aleppo on several fronts on Tuesday, the biggest ground assault yet in a massive new military campaign that has destroyed a U.S.-backed ceasefire.

The United States says the assault on Aleppo is proof that President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and regional allies have abandoned an international peace process to pursue victory on the battlefield after nearly six years of civil war.

Washington, which agreed a ceasefire with Russia this month that collapsed after a week, says Moscow and Damascus are guilty of "barbarism" and war crimes for targeting civilians, health workers and aid deliveries in air strikes.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syrian army takes rebel neighbourhood in Aleppo, military says. Syrian army, insurgents in fierce clashes in southwest Aleppo.

Aleppo civilians pay the price as bombardment continues.

Syria conflict: Aleppo evacuation corridors needed, WHO says. WHO, Red Cross say urgent to evacuate wounded from east Aleppo.

Merkel skeptical about Syria no-fly zone.

Iran says will continue supporting Syria against terrorism.

Hezbollah sees no political prospects for ending Syria war: al-Akhbar newspaper.

Civilians killed in series of bomb blasts in Baghdad.

Thousands of Saudis sign petition to end male guardianship of women.

ASIA

13 Afghan soldiers killed in Taliban attack, official says. Twelve Afghan soldiers killed in their sleep by fellow troops: official.

India, China reach 'consensus' in first high level talks on combating terror.

Pakistan warns of 'water war' with India if decades-old treaty violated.

India's Modi scraps planned visit to Pakistan for regional summit.

US hits Chinese firm with sanctions over North Korea ties. China denounces US sanctions against firm tied to North Korea.

China investigating North Korea bank’s top executives, South Korean report says.

Singapore accuses Chinese paper of fabricating South China Sea story.

Duterte: After tough talk, damage control prevails.

Taiwan's third typhoon of the month kills at least four, injures hundreds.

Kyrgyz president has recovered, may leave hospital this week: office.

AFRICA

South Sudan urges Sudan, neighbors not to let opponent launch rebellion.

UN calls for independent probe of DR Congo violence.

Ali Bongo sworn in as president of Gabon.

Egypt's president defends the military's economic role.

Mali Islamist jailed for nine years for Timbuktu shrine attacks.

Death toll in migrant shipwreck off Egypt rises to 194.

Halting school meals in Mali could keep thousands of children out of class: U.N..

EUROPE

UK 'will oppose any idea of EU army' despite impending Brexit.

Days before referendum, Amnesty criticizes Hungary over treatment of migrants.

Swiss parliament votes to ban Muslim women from wearing the Burka in public.

Dresden mosque and congress centre hit by two bomb blasts.

Flight MH17 investigators to pinpoint missile launch in rebel-held Ukraine.

Russia’s war drills come as surprise in Asia.

Azerbaijan vote lengthens Aliyev's time in office, boosts his powers.

AMERICAS

Trump says he may hit ‘harder’ in next debate; Clinton tells reporters she had a ‘great, great time’.

Kerry fires back at McCain: I'm not 'delusional'. Kerry defends diplomacy as Russian-backed forces pound Aleppo.

Colombian government and FARC sign deal to end 52-year conflict. Colombia embarks on path to peace with historic accord.

Colombia Farc leader apologises to victims at peace signing.

EU suspends FARC from terror list, while US prefers more cautious approach.

Panama sends U.S. extradition request for ex-president Martinelli.

US owes blacks reparations over slavery: UN experts.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Pakistani Taliban, Haqqani Network, and al Qaeda operatives targeted in eastern Afghanistan.

Senate to vote on 9/11 veto override Wednesday.

U.S. Homeland Chief: Homegrown attacks an increasing threat.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

WTO cuts trade forecast by a third. WTO cuts 2016 world trade growth forecast to 1.7 percent, cites wake-up call.

Saudis, Iran dash hopes for OPEC oil deal in Algeria.

China debt could wreck the global economy: Leading economist warns country could suffer a calamitous slowdown.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 27, 2016

Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks to troops at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Sept. 26, 2016. Carter is traveling to North Dakota and New Mexico to highlight the nation's nuclear enterprise, an area of critical importance to the long-term security of the United States. DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley

The Hill: Pentagon chief: Russia, N. Korea most likely to use 'smaller' scale nuke attacks

The most likely use of nuclear weapons today would be "smaller" scale attacks by Russia or North Korea, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday.

"It is a sobering fact that the most likely use of nuclear weapons today is not the massive nuclear exchange of the classic Cold War-type," Carter said during a visit to Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

Rather, he said, attacks would be "the unwise resort to smaller but still unprecedentedly terrible attacks, for example by Russia or North Korea, to try to coerce a conventionally superior opponent to back off or abandon an ally during a crisis."

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 27, 2016

Pentagon chief calls Russia out over 'nuclear saber-rattling' -- AFP

Pentagon chief pledges $108 bln to fix nuclear force -- AP

Carter: Nuclear Triad ‘Bedrock of Our Security’ -- Defense News

Cost of modernizing U.S. nuclear weapons to fall to next president -- Fiscal Times/Reuters

ISIS 'dead set' on using chemical weapons, US military official says -- FOX News

U.S. troops in Iraq brace for more 'mustard' attacks -- Military Times

ISIS Killed A US Soldier? Pentagon Says Islamic State Claim Is False -- IBTimes

Iran unveils new helicopter-carrying catamaran ship -- AP

Iran seized ‘1,000s of valuable docs’ from detained US sailors, Revolutionary Guard general claims -- RT

[Photos] African presidents in military attire -- Africa News

Russian army to get Tornado-S multiple rocket launchers in 2017 -- TASS

Soviet Union Worked on Hypersonic Weapons Decades Ago -- Sputnik

Disorder in the ranks on EU defense plans -- Politico

The Military and Technological Significance of North Korea's Nuclear Test -- The Diplomat

U.S. Navy Conducts Drill Close to North Korea -- Maritime Executive

How the US Navy and South Korea are Countering North Korea's Submarines -- National Interest

Japan boosts ‘logistics’ cooperation with US military amid tensions with China & N. Korea -- RT

US, Japan Finalize New Military Cooperation Amid Tensions With China -- Sputnik

Engine Upgrades for the F-35 Expected in Mid-2020s -- Defense News

The Marine Corps Has a New Ideal Force Size: 190,000 Troops -- Military.com

Army Places Order for More JLTVs -- DoD Buzz

Army Drops Smith & Wesson from Pistol Competition -- Kit Up!

Carter: Afghanistan War Supplemental Request Coming in November -- Defense News

Defense chief: 9/11 bill could have 'devastating' impact on US troops -- The Hill

Clinton, Trump Clash On National Security -- Defense News

Trump: Military officials ‘don’t know what they’re doing’ buying equipment -- Washington Post

1st Infantry Division commander relieved of command three days after being suspended -- Army Times

Air Force Colonel Charged With Rape Found Dead in Home -- Military.com

Official: One-third of calls to VA suicide hotline roll over -- Military Times

Is Artificial Intelligence Gaining the Upper Hand in the US Military? -- Patrick Tucker, Fiscal Times/Defense One

Course Corrections in the Littoral Combat Ship Program -- Steven Wills, USNI News

Congress Needs to Make Army Modernization A Priority -- Mike Turner, National Interest

The White House Has Banned The Pentagon From Talking About 'Competition' With China

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Navy Times: White House tells the Pentagon to quit talking about 'competition' with China

The White House has barred Pentagon leaders from a key talking point when it comes to publicly describing the military challenges posed by China.

In February, Defense Secretary Ash Carter cited the "return to great power of competition" in the Asia-Pacific, "where China is rising."

Similarly, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson characterized China and Russia as rivals in this "great power competition" in his maritime strategy.

But a recent directive from the National Security Council ordered Pentagon leaders to strike out that phrase and find something less inflammatory, according to four officials familiar with the classified document, revealed here for the first time by Navy Times. Obama administration officials and some experts say "great power competition" inaccurately frames the U.S. and China as on a collision course, but other experts warn that China's ship building, man-made islands and expansive claims in the South and East China seas are hostile to U.S. interests. This needlessly muddies leaders' efforts to explain the tough measures needed to contain China's rise, these critics say.

Read more ....

Update:
Report: White House Bars Pentagon From Talking About ‘Competition’ With China (Washington Free Beacon)

WNU Editor: I guess this U.S. admiral has been told to "shut-up" .... U.S. Navy's Top Pacific Admiral Wants To Confront China. White House Says No (September 26, 2016).

EU Defense Ministers Continue Talks On Increasing Military Cooperation



Wall Street Journal: EU Defense Ministers Discuss Deeper Military Cooperation

Initiative to improve security ties aimed at strengthening regional unity

European Union defense ministers on Tuesday discussed proposals for increased military cooperation amid concern by Britain and some Eastern European governments that such collaboration could undermine the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and duplicate the alliance’s work.

The proposals debated by the ministers, who met in the Slovak capital Bratislava, are part of a push by European officials and diplomats to strengthen European ties after Britain’s vote in June to leave the bloc.

Europe is also under pressure from the U.S. to step up its military spending, with the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, again pressing Europe Monday evening to shoulder more of the burden of its own defense.

Read more ....

More News On EU Defense Ministers Continuing Talks On Increasing Military Cooperation

EU Presses Ahead With Military Plans, UK Opposes Any EU Army -- AP
France, Germany to table defence plan at Bratislava ministerial meeting -- EurActiv
France, Germany present defense plan -- CCTV
'No contradiction' between EU defence plan and NATO: Stoltenberg -- 7 News
Showdown Over Franco-German Defense Plans as EU Split on Military Cooperation -- Sputnik
Britain's fear of European army muddles EU defense plan -- Reuters
Britain Still a Thorn in the Side of EU Military Cooperation -- VOA
UK 'will oppose any idea of EU army' despite impending Brexit -- DW
Michael Fallon: UK will oppose plans for EU army -- BBC

China Objects To The U.S. Imposing Sanctions On Chinese Firm Accused Of Assisting North Korea's Nuclear Program

A portrait of Ma Xiaohong, the founder and owner of Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development. Co., as published in a corporate publication. PHOTO: CHUN HAN WONG/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Reuters: China upset as U.S. sanctions firm tied to North Korea nuclear program

China said on Tuesday it was opposed to any country using its own laws to carry out "long arm jurisdiction", after the United States sanctioned a Chinese industrial machinery wholesaler tied to North Korea's nuclear program.

The U.S. Treasury said it was sanctioning Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co and four of its executives, including the firm's founder, Ma Xiaohong, under U.S. regulations targeting proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.

It accused the firm of acting on behalf of North Korea's Korea Kwangson Banking Corp (KKBC), which has been under U.S. and U.N. sanctions for supporting proliferation of such weapons.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This company has deep Chinese political connections, and when the U.S. targets these "connected" firms .... the Chinese always react. I am not aware of the specific details in this case, but I suspect that before the U.S. slapped these sanctions the Chinese were informed privately on what was happening .... and to tell them to stop. The Chinese ignored these warnings .... hence the sanctions.

More News On The U.S. Imposing Sanctions On A Major Chinese Firm Accused Of Assisting North Korea's Nuclear Program

U.S. Indicts Chinese Businesswoman, Trading Company for Helping North Korea Evade Sanctions -- WSJ
Chinese firm charged with plotting to evade US sanctions against North Korea’s nuclear programme -- AP
US hits Chinese firm with sanctions over North Korea ties -- BBC
U.S. charges four Chinese, firm with aiding Pyongyang’s nuclear program -- Washington post
Chinese Company Charged with Facilitating North Korea Money Laundering --VOA
US indicts Chinese executives, firm linked to North Korea nuclear program -- Asian Correspondent
U.S. Targets Chinese Company For Supporting N. Korean Nuclear Program -- NPR

Al Qaeda Linked Commander In Syria Claims The U.S. Is Directly Providing Weapons And Training To Their Forces

Still from Facebook video. © Jürgen Todenhöfer / Facebook

Moon of Alabama: Todenhöfer: Interview With Al-Nusra Commander "The Americans stand on our side"

This interview by Jürgen Todenhöfer was first published in German on September 26 2016 by the Kölner Stadtanzeiger, the major newspaper in the Cologne region. (The interview was copied and translated to English by Bernhard for educational and academic purposes.)

It was the seventh trip by my son Frederic and me to the civil war country Syria. We were there for 13 days. Words can only barely describe the extend of damage and suffering on both sides.

We conducted the interview ten days ago with a commander of the al-Qaida branch "Jabhat al-Nusra". Abu al-Ezz reported quite openly about his financiers Saudi-Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. We were able to exactly research the identity of the man and know practically everything about him.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I could only find one official U.S. response to these claims .... US not arming Nusra, but our allies might – State Dept (RT). Otherwise .... there is zero coverage from the U.S. main stream media on this "mind-blowing claim".

More News On A Commander Of The al-Qaida Branch "Jabhat al-Nusra" Claiming That The U.S. Is Directly Providing Weapons And Training To Their Forces

“The Americans stand on our side” by Jurgen Todenhofer -- Sic Semper Tyrannis
Nusra Front gets missiles directly from US, German Focus magazine claims -- Daily Sabah
‘Americans are on our side’: Al-Nusra commander says US arming jihadists via 3rd countries -- RT
Jabhat Fatah al Sham Field Commander Says US Provides Group With TOW Missiles -- Sputnik
Nusra Front Commander: Americans Are on Our Side -- Big News Network
"America Is On Our Side": Al-Nusra Commander Tells German Press US Is Arming Jihadists -- Zero Hedge

Hat Tip to my many readers who gave me a heads-up on this story.

U.S. Defense Secretary Carter: U.S. Will Rebuild And Sustain Its Nuclear Deterrence


U.S. Department of Defense: Carter: DoD Will Rebuild, Sustain its Nuclear Deterrence Enterprise

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2016 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter kicked off a visit to DoD’s nuclear deterrence enterprise, telling airmen at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, that DoD will invest, innovate and sustain to rebuild that enterprise’s capabilities that remain the bedrock of U.S. defense strategy.

The secretary spoke at a hangar on the flightline of the base. He thanked the airmen at the base, and by extension, thanked the thousands of other technicians who man, maintain, guard and operate the bombers, ICBMs, ballistic missile submarines and the command-and-control systems around the world.

“As you know, everyone has their role to play,” he said, “and while each physical piece is important, it’s really the people who make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Russian media's analysis of the U.S. Secretary's remarks is (as predictable) critical .... NATO is reviewing ‘nuclear playbook’ to deter ‘terrible attacks’ by Russia – Pentagon chief (RT).