Sunday, December 11, 2016

Suicide Bomb Attacks Strike Turkey, Yemen, And Somalia

CNN: Istanbul explosions: 29 killed, 166 wounded in twin blasts

Istanbul, Turkey (CNN)Twenty-nine people, mostly police officers, were killed and 166 wounded in Saturday's twin bombings in Istanbul, Turkish Interior Minister S├╝leyman Soylu said in a press conference Sunday.

The explosions, one large blast followed by a smaller one, occurred about 11 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) after a heavily attended football game at Besiktas Vodafone Arena.
According to Soylu, a remote control detonated a car bomb for the explosion. Shortly afterward, a suicide bomber caused a second explosion at Macka Park. The two locations are less than a mile apart.

Read more ....

Washington Post: Suicide bomber in Yemen kills at least 48 soldiers, officials there say

SANAA, Yemen — A suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside a military base in the southern city of Aden on Saturday, killing at least 48 soldiers and injuring dozens more, Yemeni officials said.

It was the latest assault on forces loyal to a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led military campaign to restore Yemen’s exiled government to power.

The assault unfolded shortly after 4 p.m. as soldiers waited at the gate of the Solaban military base to collect their salaries in the port city, witnesses said. They had not been paid since September.

“A suicidal bomber sneaked in among the soldiers who were standing in line and blew himself up,” Mansour Saleh, a local journalist, said in a telephone interview. “This is not the first time this base was attacked.”

Read more ....

Reuters: Car bomb explodes outside Somalia capital Mogadishu's port, three killed: police

A suicide car bomb went off at the entrance of Somalia's biggest port in its capital Mogadishu on Sunday, killing at least three people, police said.

"So far, three civilians have died and seven others were injured," Major Abdikadi Ahmed, a police officer investigating the attack, told Reuters.

"The death toll may rise. There were porters and public vehicles queuing outside the gate when the blast occurred," he added.

Read more ....

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Senior U.S. Defense Official: North Korea Is Close To Having A Nuclear-Armed ICBM

An underwater test-firing of a strategic submarine ballistic missile is seen in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on April 24. | KCNA / FILE PHOTO VIA REUTERS

Defense Tech: North Korea Close to Having Nuclear-Armed ICBM: Official

North Korea now has an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, armed with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, but they have yet to solve the “re-entry problem” that would burn up the warhead as it hits the atmosphere, a senior military official said Thursday.

“It’s the threat that keeps me awake at night,” the senior official said.

North Korea has acquired and developed an ICBM and perfected the miniaturization of the warhead to fit atop the missile, the official said, but “they’re not sure of the re-entry capability” as the missile transitions from space to the atmosphere.

Read more ....

Update: North Korea Now Has an ICBM That Can Reach US Mainland (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: China is the only country that can restrain North Korea .... but for the moment they are not interested in doing so .... China says they remain opposed to unilateral sanctions on North Korea (FOX News).

Picture Of The Day

Howitzer Blast
Paratroopers fire a 105 mm howitzer during live-fire training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Nov. 22, 2016. Air Force photo by Alejandro Pena

Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson is President-Elect Trump's Choice For U.S. Secretary Of State

Washington Post: Trump expected to pick ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name as his secretary of state Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, who has worked extensively around the globe and built relationships with such leaders as Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, three people close to the transition team confirmed Saturday.

Tillerson’s nomination could face intense scrutiny in the Senate, considering his years of work in Russia and the Middle East on behalf of the multinational petroleum company. Already, two leading Republican hawks, Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), have voiced concerns about Tillerson’s serving as the nation’s top diplomat because of his ties to Putin.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller said Saturday that there would be no official announcement about a secretary of state until this coming week “at the earliest.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He is no John Kerry. What is the view from Russia .... some see this (myself included) as a signal to Russian President Putin from President-elect Trump that he wants to do business.

More News On Reports That Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson Will Be Nominated For U.S. Secretary Of State

Trump on Tillerson as secretary of state: "We'll see what happens" -- CBS
Trump expected to tap Exxon's Tillerson to lead State Dept. -- AP
Trump likely to name Exxon CEO secretary of state - source -- Reuters
Rex Tillerson, Exxon Chief, Is Expected to Be Pick for Secretary of State -- NYT
Exxon’s Rex Tillerson Is Top Candidate for Secretary of State -- WSJ
Trump presidency: Exxon's Rex Tillerson for top diplomat? -- BBC
Exxon CEO Tillerson Said to Be Trump Secretary of State Pic -- Bloomberg
Green groups blast Trump's reported pick of Exxon CEO for State -- The Hill
Lawmakers alarmed Exxon chief could empower Putin -- Politico
Who is Rex Tillerson, Exxon chief and Donald Trump's top secretary of state candidate? -- CBS
Trump's Pick for State Is an Accomplished Executive -- AP
Who is Rex Tillerson? Trump is reportedly picking ExxonMobil's CEO for secretary of state -- Business Insider

Saturday, December 10, 2016

These Are The Weapons That China And Taiwan Would Use In A War

National Interest: These are the 9 Killer Weapons China and Taiwan Would Use in a War

After Donald Trump’s now historic call with the President of Taiwan, it seems relations between Beijing and Taipei are now back as one the most important international issues of the day.

And so it should be.

With China and Taiwan seeing a spike in tensions after years of relative calm—with the Asia-Pacific region already swimming in its own sea of troubles thanks to tensions in the South and East China Seas—there is once again the danger of a crisis that could bring Washington and Beijing to blows. And as both nations are armed with nuclear weapons, the stakes could not get any higher.

But what would happen if Taipei and Beijing actually ended up in some sort of conflict? What would be the military systems and strategies used? What weapons in China's arsenal would Taiwan fear the most? What would Beijing fear? And most importantly: who would win?

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If there is no outside interference China would win the war. But the cost of the conflict .... as well as the political and economic fallout .... would be enormous.

Chinese Air Force Conduct Military Exercises Around Taiwan

Reuters: Taiwan says China air force conducts long-range drills

Chinese military aircraft on Saturday flew over waterways near Taiwan as part of long-range exercises, Taiwan said, the first such flights since a telephone call between Taiwan's leader and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump irked China.

China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own and has never renounced the use of force to take back what it deems a wayward province.

Trump's call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Dec. 2 was the first between a U.S. president-elect or president and a Taiwan leader since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition to China from Taiwan in 1979.

China lodged a diplomatic protest over the call and blamed Taiwan for what it called a "petty" move.

But there was no indication the exercise by its military aircraft was a response to the telephone call.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: China had to respond to the phone conversation between Taiwan's Presdient and Presdient-elect Trump. I am just surprised that it took the Chinese 8 days to do so.

More News On The Chinese Air Force Conducting Military Exercises Around Taiwan

China flies nuclear-capable bomber in South China Sea after Trump Taiwan call, US officials say -- FOX News
Chinese aircraft fly around Taiwan -- Taipei Times
Chinese jets in exercise close to Taiwan -- Taiwan News
China air force conducts long-range drills near disputed South China Sea, Taiwan says -- International Business Times

Islamic State Fighters Have Retaken Palmyra

BBC: Islamic State fighters re-enter ancient Palmyra in Syria

Islamic State group fighters have re-entered Palmyra, nine months after losing the ancient Syrian desert city.

Monitoring groups say militants and pro-government forces fought fiercely in the centre of Palmyra.

An activist there told the BBC that the city was now "more or less" in IS hands.

Reports from Palmyra say about 50 Syrian troops were killed and there was an unconfirmed report that the rest were fleeing.

There are concerns for the safety of civilians still in the city.

Read more ....

More News On The Islamic State Retaking Palmyra

ISIS Militants Re-Enter Syria's Historic Palmyra -- AP
ISIS is back in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra -- Washington Post
ISIS Close to Recapturing Palmyra From Syrian Forces -- NYT
ISIS jihadis re-enter the ancient city of Palmyra after being chased out eight months ago -- Daily Mail
Islamic State militants enter Palmyra after heavy fighting: monitor -- Reuters
Syrian army rushes forces to historic Palmyra in Islamic State battle, Aleppo fighting continues -- ABC News Online
ISIS reenters Syrian city of Palmyra -- The Hill
Islamic State retakes parts of Syria’s historic Palmyra -- USA Today
Isis ‘retakes part of Palmyra’ in lightning advance nine months after being driven out of ancient Syrian city -- The Independent
Islamic State militants recapture most of Palmyra -- The Australian
ISIS recapture of Palmyra: A fresh assault on heritage sites? -- CSM

Is 400 Acres Of Private Land On Area 51 Worth $116 Million?

The Drive: Family Says Land Overlooking Area 51 Is Worth $116M—USAF Says $330k

The family with a view overlooking the secretive facility continues to battle with the USAF over just compensation for their seized land.

Last year I shared “The Unlikely Story Of The Family Whose Neighbor Is Area 51,” an amazing saga that spanned more than 130 years. It included the pioneering American spirit, the dawn of the nuclear age and the horrific weapons tests that went along with it, a family’s love for their heritage, and most ominously, the most famous secret installation in the world—the USAF’s sprawling flight test center at Groom Lake—better known as Area 51. When we last left the Sheahan family they were at odds with the USAF, who had just made their “final offer” of $5.2 million for their very unique property. Now, a year later, the land has been seized by the Air Force and a bitter legal battle between the two parties is well underway.

Both the Air Force and Sheahans have obtained appraisals for the family’s roughly 400 acres of land and mining claims situated across the Groom dry lake bed from Area 51. The results of those appraisals could not be any more disparate. The Sheahan’s estimators put the value of the property at between $44 million and $116 million. Meanwhile the USAF has come back with another value that they are now willing to pay the family, that being just $333,300, or roughly six and a half percent of their last offer.

Read more ....

Previous Post: Property Owners Next To Area 51 Lose Title To Their Land (October 21, 2015).

WNU Editor: 400 acres of land in the desert is not worth $116 million .... even if it is on Area 51. The family should have taken the $5.2 million .... because this case is now going to go on for years, and the end result will be far less than what the family had hoped for.

U.S. Allies Are Worried On What Will Be President Trump's Policy Towards Syria

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad walk past damaged buildings in a government held area of Aleppo, Syria December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

Reuters: U.S. allies caution Trump on Syria strategy

Key U.S. allies in Europe are quietly expressing concern over President-elect Donald Trump's approach to Syria, warning that his pledge to work more closely with Russia, Damascus' main backer, will do little to diminish the terrorist threat emanating from Syria.

The diplomatic persuasion campaign has taken on new importance in recent days as the Syrian army, backed by Russia, Iran and Shi'ite militias, appears poised to retake all of Aleppo city in a major defeat for Western-backed rebels.

Moscow and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are expected to cast Aleppo's fall as the end of a revolt against Assad that began in March 2011, although Western analysts predict the civil war, which has killed more than 300,000 people and made more than half of Syrians homeless, will continue, perhaps for years.

Western diplomats, who described discussions with Trump advisers on condition of anonymity, said their message was that a U.S. alliance with Russia, and by extension Assad, to crush groups like Islamic State will backfire.

Read more ....

WNU editor: Those who are warning President-elect Trump on what to do in Syria (and elsewhere in the Middle East) .... are the same people who were in positions of power around when this disaster first started to unfold .... and are still there as the carnage continues unabated. If there was ever a time for "new blood" and a new approach to the Middle East .... it is now.

President Obama Is Rushing To Put Road-Blocks To A Trump Presidency

U.S. President Barack Obama. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

McClatchy News: Obama is rushing to Trump-proof the White House

WASHINGTON : Since Election Day, President Barack Obama has appointed 56 people to boards, commissions and offices in the hopes that they remain in those posts for years to come.

He has reduced the prison sentences of 79 federal inmates. He has handed out the nation’s highest civilian honor to 21 people who he said personally made an impact on his life.

And he has churned out rules, regulations and policies several times a week.

Obama is trying to put the people and policies in place that he wants to outlast his presidency in the final weeks before Donald Trump takes over. And his supporters want more, way more.

Every president tries to push through last-minute policies before their time in office comes to a close. But this year has a more frantic feel as special interest groups push Obama to do more, not just because the president-elect is of a different party but because few people know what he will do.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: President Obama is President until January 20, 2017 .... so he can make any appointments and impose any rules/regulations/policies if he wants. But the election of Donald Trump has resulted in many groups pressing the panic button in the hope that President Obama will accommodate their wishes .... and I will not be surprised if he will try to do just that.

Editor's Note

Blogging will return later this evening.

Gabon's President Has Rejected His Election Defeat

Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh attends the plenary session of the Africa-South America Summit on Margarita Island September 27, 2009. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Files

CNN: Gambia's President Jammeh rejects election defeat

(CNN)Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has declared his "total rejection" of the results of his country's December 1 election and called for his country to vote again -- a week after accepting his defeat.

Jammeh, who has ruled Gambia with an iron grip since seizing power in a 1994 military coup, suffered a shock loss after running for his fifth term in office.

On December 2, Jammeh accepted his defeat and congratulated Adama Barrow on his victory in an address broadcast by Gambian state television. But he now refuses to accept the outcome.

"I announce to you, Gambians, my total rejection of the election results and thereby annulling the elections in its entirety," he said in a televised speech Friday.

Read more ....

More News On Gabon's President Rejecting His Election Defeat

Gambian president rejects election results, demands fresh polls -- France 24
Gambia leader Yahya Jammeh rejects election result -- BBC
Gambian president Yahya Jammeh rejects election result -- The Guardian
Gambian President Rejects Election Outcome -- VOA
The Gambia: troops deployed to streets as president rejects election defeat -- The Guardian
Gambia's president-elect says loser Jammeh cannot reject polls -- Reuters
Gambia President's rejection of poll results "null and void"- African Union -- Reuters
Gambia leader's rejection of defeat 'null and void,' AU says -- AP
Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh's poll rejection condemned -- BBC

U.S. To Deploy 200 More Soldiers To Syria

ABC News: 200 More American Toops Headed to Syria

Two hundred additional American special operations troops are headed to Syria to help Syrian Kurdish and Arabic forces fighting ISIS, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Saturday at a security conference in Bahrain.

The troop increase will bring the total number of U.S. troops in Syria to 500.

A defense official said the additional troops will help train, advise and assist the growing number of Syrian rebel forces preparing to retake and hold Raqqa, ISIS' de facto capital city in Syria.

Carter, who made the announcement at the International Institute for Strategic Studies' Manama Dialogue, said the additional forces will help "to continue organizing, training, equipping, and otherwise enabling capable, motivated, local forces to take the fight to ISIL, and also bringing down to bear the full weight of U.S. forces around the theater of operations like the funnel of a giant tornado."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Did anyone say "mission creep".

More News On The U.S. Deploying 200 More Soldiers To Syria

Adding 200 More Troops to Syria, US Deepens Involvement -- AP
Pentagon expands Syria force ahead of assault on militant capital -- Washington Post
Pentagon chief announces 200 more US troops for Syria -- AFP
U.S. boosts Syria anti-IS forces, urges Gulf military self-reliance -- Reuters
Syria conflict: US to send troops to help seize Raqqa from IS -- BBC
U.S. to Send 200 More Troops to Syria -- WSJ
US to deploy up to 200 more troops to Syria -- CNN
US to send 200 more troops to Syria to bolster Raqqa assault -- The Guardian
U.S. to send 200 more troops to Syria to combat Islamic State -- UPI
Pentagon to nearly double the number of US troops fighting Isis in Syria as battle for Raqqa begins -- The Independent
Defense Secretary: U.S. will deploy 200 more troops to fight ISIL -- USA Today
Carter: US Sending 200 Troops to Syria to Help Capture Raqqa -- VOA
The U.S. is sending another 200 troops to Syria as ISIS fight intensifies around Raqqa -- Military Times

Will Russia Try To Influence The Upcoming French And German Elections?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in Berlin, Germany, October 20, 2016. © Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters

The Guardian: Russian involvement in US vote raises fears for European elections

CIA investigation may have implications for upcoming French and German polls, even raising doubts over integrity of Brexit vote

The CIA’s conclusion that Russia covertly intervened to swing last month’s presidential election in favour of Donald Trump but its actions did not place the overall credibility of the result in doubt will be hard to swallow for some.

The classified CIA investigation, which has not been published, may also have implications for the integrity of Britain’s Brexit referendum last June, and how upcoming elections in France and Germany could be vulnerable to Russian manipulation. The latest revelations are not entirely new. What is fresh is the bald assertion that Moscow was working for Trump.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S., France, and Germany have been influencing elections in other countries for years. And now they are upset that someone may be trying to influence theirs (and a big maybe at that) .... the irony of all of this speaks for itself.

CIA Report: Russia Worked To Help Donald Trump Win The U.S. Presidency

Washington Post: Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A lot of news converage but no smoking gun, and no explanation on why would Russia support a Donald Trump Presidency. But what we do know is that the Wikileaks revelations seriously embarrassed the Democrat party, the media, and the U.S. electoral process. It revealed how the primaries were rigged to favour Hillary Clinton. It revealed extensive media cooperation with the Democrat campaign .... first against Bernie Sanders, and then against Donald Trump. It also showed how Democrat insiders operate .... and how they reward their supporters. In short .... if a reporter had done the same thing against a Republican candidate and his political party what the CIA is accusing Russia and Wikileaks of doing .... he or she will be receiving a Pulitzer Prize for his work right now. As for the Trump transition team .... they are not holding back on their opinion of this report .... Trump breaks with Obama, intel agencies on election hacking (Politico). As to what is my take .... the CIA will need to declassify their report and to release names the and organisations that they believed were responsible for hacking the Democrat servers .... they must also include timelines, the what and when the data was taken, and when was this info given to Wikileaks. Saying that you believe someone did this .... while not providing any evidence to back it up .... does not make it necessarily true. As to this claim .... Russia Hacked Republican Committee but Kept Data, U.S. Concludes (New York Times). The FBI in an earlier report says the opposite .... the Russians were not successful in hacking into the Republcan Party servers. But if the Russians had hacked the Republican Party servers .... and knowing how they think .... they would have also forwarded this info to Wikileaks. So why is this CIA report being leaked now? I do not know, but I do know that this report will be used by some quarters to deligitimze the Trump Presidency. On a side note .... the Washington Post is saying that the Republicans are getting on board to support this CIA assessment. Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain are not the Republican party .... they are just two guys who are Republican Senators who have a long "beef" with President-Elect Trump.

Update: Someone asked me on who do I believe is responsible for leaking this information to Wikileaks. As I had mentioned in a previous post on this matter, when you have a leak like this it is usually done by someone on the inside .... i.e. someone on the inside of the Democrat Party. I also belevie that Julian Assange is telling the truth when he says that the Russians did not leak this info to Wikileaks. Julian Assange and Wikileaks have a reputation of revealing secrets and telling the truth .... and they have not been caught on a lie for the past ten years. I cannot say the same for the CIA.

More News On The CIA Report That Claims That Russia Worked To Help Donald Trump Win The U.S. Presidency

CIA says Russia intervened to help Trump win White House -- Reuters
Reports: CIA Believes Russia Helped Trump Win White House -- VOA
Russia tried to meddle in elections, favored Trump over Clinton -- CBS
CIA concludes 'Russia DID intervene in the elections with the goal of helping Trump win' but transition team dismisses claims saying they come from the 'same people that said Saddam had WMDs' -- Daily Mail
Secret CIA assessment: Russia was attempting to assist Trump -- The Hill
Russia 'intervened to promote Trump' - US intelligence -- BBC
CIA finds Russia interfered to help Donald Trump win US election: reports -- ABC News Online
CIA concludes Russia interfered to help Trump win election, say reports -- The Guardian
The CIA says it has evidence that Russia tried to help Trump win the US election -- Business Insider
Trump Team Dismisses Report Russian Hacking Was to Help Trump Win -- NBC
Analysis: The CIA concluded Russia worked to elect Trump. Republicans now face an impossible choice. -- Chicago Tribune
So the CIA is pretty sure the Russians wanted Trump to win -- Hot Air

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Picture Of The Day

Dr. Hiroya Sugano, center, the caretaker of the Blackened Canteen tradition, a U.S. airman and a member of the Japanese military pour bourbon whiskey into the hallowed waters at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 6, 2016. The whiskey is a peace offering. The vessel is a World War II-era canteen recovered at a crash site where two American bombers collided after a deadly raid on Shizuoka, Japan, June 19, 1945. The aircrews and 2,000 Japanese citizens were killed in the air raid. Sugano is the director general of the Zero Fighter Admirers Club. DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando

WNU Editor: The symbolism behind this picture leaves me speechless.