Monday, June 26, 2017

Report: Former S. Korean President Park Plotted To Kill North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un © KCNA / Reuters

Asahi Shimbun: Source: Park signed off on plot to oust, even kill, Kim Jong Un

SEOUL--As South Korean president, Park Geun-hye approved a covert plan to oust North Korean leader Kim Jong Un--including assassination--and to cover Seoul’s tracks, a source said.

The plan was floated when the conservative Park was growing increasingly frustrated and taking a more confrontational stance against the northern neighbor, according to the source knowledgeable about policy toward North Korea during Park’s administration.

A land mine explosion near the demilitarized zone in August 2015 injured two South Korean soldiers and heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula. But marathon talks between officials of the two sides avoided a full-blown military confrontation.

Read more ....

Update #1Former S. Korean President Park plotted to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – report (RT)
Update #2: Ex-South Korean President Park Reportedly Had Plot to Bring Down Kim Jong-un (Sputnik)

WNU Editor
: The new South Korean President Moon Jae-in pledged during the election campaign to promote dialogue with North Korea. I doubt that he is going to adopt a plan to oust Kim.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- June 26, 2017


Denis Dragovic & Richard Iron, National Interest: It's Time to Break Up Syria

Some believe that the destruction of ISIS is the only thing standing between peace and eternal crisis. It isn’t.

THE ELIMINATION of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria has become an unhealthy obsession for Western nations, most of which operate under the assumption that the destruction of ISIS is the only thing standing between peace and eternal crisis. It isn’t. Focusing on ISIS’s defeat is a nonstrategy that has been seen before, one familiar to anyone involved in the invasion and rebuilding of Iraq, where a U.S.-led coalition removed Saddam Hussein without a coherent plan for the day after. Our combined experiences in Iraq as senior military and humanitarian leaders prompt us to call for careful consideration of what comes next—before today’s actions lead us down an even more treacherous path.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- June 26, 2017

Wars in Syria and Iraq: How will they end? -- Harlan Ullman & Arnaud de Borchgrave, UPI

As Syrian war winds down, the region heats up -- Japan editorial

After Mosul is liberated, where will ISIL go? -- Faisal Al Yafai, The National

Will the situation on the Golan suck Israel into the Syrian Civil War? -- Ben Lynfield, The Jerusalem Post

Trump’s Fly-by-Night Mideast ‘Policy’ Embraces the Saudi’s New Crown Prince -- Patrick Smith, Fiscal Times

Should the US pull its nuclear weapons out of Turkey? -- Jamie McIntyre, Washington Examiner

What’s standing in the way of improving China, US ties? -- Kristin Huang, South China Morning Post

Bloodied and broken: Rising toll of Philippines' war with ISIS -- Euan McKirdy and Ivan Watson, CNN

Q&A How militants linked to Islamic State took hold of a city in the Philippines -- Melissa Etehad, L.A. Times

Trump should go easy on North Korea over Warmbier death -- Dan DePetris, Reuters

Crowded Waters in Southeast Asia -- Phillip Orchard, RCW/Geopoltiical Futures

Tillerson’s Russia Strategy May Look Too Much Like Obama’s -- Vladimir Frolov, Moscow Times

A sinking feeling in Puerto Rico -- Cal Thomas, Washington Times

Ottawa in the spotlight: as Canada turns 150, has its capital finally come of age? -- Colin Horgan, The Guardian

Conflict Minerals: The Dark Side of the Digital Age Electronics Boom -- Levi Maxey, Cipher Brief

World News Briefs -- June 26, 2017 (Evening Edition)



Reuters: In victory for Trump, U.S. Supreme Court revives his travel ban

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to President Donald Trump by reviving parts of his travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees and agreeing to decide its legality later this year in a major test of presidential powers.

The justices narrowed the scope of lower court rulings that had completely blocked his March 6 executive order that Trump had said was needed to prevent terrorism in the United States, allowing his temporary ban to go into effect for people with no strong ties such as family or business to the United States.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Bahrain accuses Qatar of 'military escalation'.

Mosul battle to end in days as troops advance in Old City: Iraqi general.

Two thirds of Mosul Old City retaken from IS: commander.

Battle for Mosul: Iraq forces repel IS counter-attack. Iraq forces combing west Mosul after surprise IS attack.

US-backed force has seized a quarter of Raqa from IS: monitor.

US urges Qatar and Saudi-led group to 'lower rhetoric'. Qatar demands difficult to meet, says US.

Erdogan says Saudi-led ultimatum on Qatar 'against international law'.

Turkey to US: Providing arms to YPG violation of NATO rules.

Israel on alert after 2 days of cross-border fire with Syria.

Israel freezes plan for mixed-sex prayer site at Western Wall.

Drug use in Iran ‘more than doubled’ in last 6yrs, 3.5% of population now regular users.

ASIA

No decisive winner in Mongolia presidential vote: election committee. Mongolia votes for new president in divisive election. Mongolia economy, graft in spotlight as voters elect president.

Myanmar, Thailand incinerate illicit drugs worth $800 million.

U.S. to list China among worst human trafficking offenders: sources.

Clashes hit Indian Kashmir on Eid festival. Two militants killed after gun battle at Kashmir school.

US sanctions Kashmir militant leader.

Eid truce in war-torn Philippines city of Marawi ends.

Not negotiable: North Korea sticks to its guns on nuclear weapons.

Anger grows in Pakistan town after three attacks in six months.

Pakistan deploys force of 15,000 to protect Chinese nationals.

China willing to open its pockets, but not borders, to Middle East refugees.

Hong Kong activists stage China protests ahead of Xi visit.

Official results confirm Cambodian opposition gains.

Great Barrier Reef a $42 billion asset 'too big to fail': study.

China releases Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo after terminal cancer diagnosis.

AFRICA

Nine dead as 7 suicide bombers hit NE Nigeria.

Boko Haram clashes kill 8 Chad soldiers.

Irish naval ship rescues 712 people near Libya: defense forces.

EU effort to halt migrants founders in Libya's chaos.

US intensifies efforts in Somalia to counter Al-Shabaab resurgence.

South Sudan censors newspapers, hampers press in civil war.

Congo president's daughter charged with corruption in France.

Tanzania vows to arrest those 'protecting' gay interests.

UN denounces DR Congo tribunal's decision in Kasai trial.

UN: Half of world's population growth is likely to occur in Africa.

EUROPE

Germany sees 'very difficult' situation in eastern Ukraine.

Differing with U.S., Macron stands by Minsk accords to resolve Ukraine crisis.

Stalin tops Putin in Russian poll of greatest historical figures.

May reaches deal with DUP to back Tories through Brexit. UK PM May strikes $1.3 billion deal to get Northern Irish DUP support for her government.

Back to Switzerland for Cyprus peace deal talks.

Germany bars Erdogan’s bodyguards charged in US brawl from Hamburg G20 summit – report.

Italy's center-right dominates local elections.

Albania’s Socialists on track for win in low-turnout election.

Italy readies 17 billion euro package to save two failing banks.

Garbage crisis hits Greek capital over job freeze.

AMERICAS

US Supreme Court reinstates much of Trump’s travel ban, will hear case in fall.

Trump, Modi seek rapport despite friction on trade, immigration.

Trump eager for big meeting with Putin; some advisers wary.

Trump, and 2 Democrats, criticize Obama's response to Russia hacking.

Trump breaks White House Eid dinner tradition.

Government websites in Ohio, Maryland hacked with pro-IS messages. Ohio sites hacked with IS message.

13 still missing after tourist boat sinks in Colombia. Colombia: 9 dead after ferry with 170 people aboard sinks at popular sightseeing spot.

Asylum seekers in Canada who fled Trump now trapped in legal limbo.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Swede held by Al-Qaeda in Mali since 2011 freed.

China ‘holding itself back’ by shying away from global terrorism fight.

Europeans learn to live with and adapt to terror attacks.

Bali bombing: Riduan 'Hambali' Isomuddin's links to terrorist networks and attacks.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Facebook to produce own TV series, games.

Google faces a record 'two billion euro' fine from the EU as Brussels decides if the tech giant gave its own online shopping services top priority in search results. Google could be a day away from at least $1 billion EU antitrust fine.

Angela Merkel and Donald Trump head for clash at G20 summit.

Takata, Japan's airbag giant, files for bankruptcy protection.

Harry Potter: How JK Rowling's story became a multi-billion-dollar entertainment franchise.

Battle For The Iraqi City of Mosul -- News Updates June 26, 2017



Reuters: Mosul battle to end in days as troops advance in Old City: Iraqi general

The battle to take full control of Mosul from Islamic State will be over in a few days and an attempted fight-back by the militants failed, an Iraqi general told Reuters on Monday.

"Only a small part remains in the city, specifically the Old City," said Lieutenant General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi, commander of the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) elite units in Mosul.

"From a military perspective, Daesh (Islamic State) is finished," Assadi said. "It lost its fighting spirit and its balance, we are making calls to them to surrender or die."

The area now under Islamic State control in Mosul, once the militant group's de facto capital in Iraq, is less than 2 sq kms, the Iraqi military said.

Read more ....

Battle For The Iraqi City of Mosul -- News Updates June 26, 2017

'Couple of hundred' ISIS fighters left in Mosul -- CNN
Over 50,000 civilians trapped in final battle for Mosul -- The Australian/The Times
Iraqi military says it has captured Mosul neighbourhood from Islamic State -- Reuters
Iraqi Forces Squeeze IS Into Final Streets As Mosul Residents Celebrate Eid -- RFE
ISIS commanders are killed when one of the group's suicide bombers blows himself up at a meeting, following the group's collapse in Mosul -- Daily Mail
Mosul: Wave of Isis suicide bomb attacks fail to stop Iraqi army’s final assault onto the Old City -- The Independent
Iraqi forces take over IS’s central hospital in Mosul -- Iraqi News
Iraq forces comb west Mosul after IS counter-attacks -- AFP
IS fighters launch counterattacks in west Mosul neighborhood -- ABC News
ISIL fighters launch counterattacks in west Mosul -- Al Jazeera
ISIS counterattacks in western Mosul cause chaos in once-liberated areas -- RUDAW
Islamic State 'fighting for their lives' not directing terror attacks on the west, global coalition says -- Sydney Morning Herald
Major General: Battle for Mosul is 'toughest since WWII' (Audio) -- BBC
Buried in Old Mosul -- Heather Murdock, VOA

Can A War In The Middle East Between Russia And The United States Be Averted?

A photo from the Russian Defense Ministry website showing Russian bombers dropping their payloads on targets in Syria. Russian Defense Ministry Press Service

Emile Simpson, Business Insider/Foreign Policy: How the US and Russia can avoid getting sucked into a war

In the last month, for the first time since the civil war in Syria began in 2011, the United States has directly attacked Syrian government forces or proxies — not just once, but at least four times. The urgent question now is less about Syria than Russia. In response to the latest of these incidents, in which a US fighter plane shot down a Syrian jet, Moscow has threatened to target any US-led coalition aircraft flying over Syria. That would mark a massive escalation, and potentially the first direct great-power conflict in recent memory.

Can a war in the Middle East between Russia and the United States be averted? The answer is yes — but only if Washington clears up the massive confusion its own lack of strategy has caused.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As I had explained in this post .... This Is Why Russia Will Not Engage In An Air War Against The U.S. Over The Skies Of Syria (June 24, 2017) .... there is going to be no war between the U.S. and Russia. As to what will Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran do .... now that is a different story.

Pundits Worry That President Trump Will Drag The U.S. Into A Major Middle Eastern War



James Bovard, USA Today: Donald Trump is reckless on Syria. It's his most dangerous foreign policy folly.

Trump said Obama's 'horrendous leadership' on Syria could start World War III. He's made things even worse.

Last year on the campaign trail, crowds roared when Donald Trump denounced his opponent as "trigger-happy" Hillary. But President Trump is rapidly incarnating the vice he condemned. Nowhere is this more evident than in Syria, where Trump’s recklessness risks dragging America into a major war.

U.S. policy toward Syria has been a tangle of absurdities since 2012. President Obama promised 16 times that he would never put U.S. "boots on the ground" in the four-sided Syrian civil war. He quietly abandoned that pledge and, starting in 2014, launched more more than 5,000 airstrikes that dropped more than 15,000 bombs on terrorist groups in Syria.

Read more ....

Commentaries On Concerns That President Trump Will Drag The U.S. Into A Major Middle Eastern War

The U.S. Enters a New Phase in Syria -- Faysal Itani, The Atlantic
Trump Is Tripping Over Iran and Russia's Red Lines in Syria -- Jonathan Spyer, Foreign Policy
Critics Say US Is 'Sleepwalking' Into Wider Role in Syria -- Helene Cooper, New York Times
US risks being dragged into regional war with Iran in Syria -- Barbara Starr, CNN
The Iran-US Drone War in Syria Could Quickly Spin Out of Control -- Juan Cole, The Nation
Is the Middle East on the brink of another war? -- Charis Chang, NEWS.com.au
Are We in a Syrian Missile Crisis? -- Carl Skutsch, Rolling Stone
What Is the United States Doing in Syria These Days? -- Jen Kirby, NYMag
What's Trump's Syria Plan Once ISIS Is Defeated? -- Frederic C. Hof, Newsweek
The geopolitics behind race for eastern Syria -- Mona Alami, Al-Monitor
Al-Monitor
Powers compete for position in post-ISIS Syria -- Charles Krauthammer, Philly.com

Israel Warns Syria And Iran Over Involvement In Recent Golan Exchange



Al Jazeera: Fighting intensifies in Syrian Golan Heights

At least 12 people reportedly killed as Assad's forces and opposition fighters clash in Quneitra amid Israeli strikes.

Fighting between government forces and opposition fighters has intensified in the Quneitra province in Syria's south, situated in the roughly 30 percent of the Golan Heights under Syrian control.

More than a dozen people were killed, including both pro-government forces and opposition fighters, in the latest uptick in fighting in the countryside of al-Baath city and near the town of Khan Arnab, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Sunday.

Read more ....

More News On Israel Warning Syria And Iran Over Involvement In Recent Golan Exchange

Projectiles fired from Syria land in Israel for third time in three days -- i24NEWS
IDF says stray fire from Syria hits UN position in Golan Heights -- The Times of Israel
Syria warns Israel of 'dangerous repercussions for aggressive action' -- Ynetnews
Netanyahu warns Iran over Syria involvement after Golan exchange -- The Jerusalem Post
Grave warning from Israeli PM after Syria attack on UN border post -- The Times
‘Israeli attacks on Syrian forces embolden terrorists to draw more fire’ -- RT
Israel’s Recent Response to Syrian Mortars Deemed ‘Old Policy’ -- Adam Abrams The Algemeiner/JNS.org

The Battle For The Philippine City Of Marawi Between The Army And Islamic State Militants -- News Updates June 26, 2017



DW: Philippines resume 'offensive operations' against militants

Philippine authorities have vowed to end the Islamist uprising in Marawi City "at the soonest time possible." Human rights groups have warned that martial law could pave the way for serious abuses by the armed forces.

Philippine armed forces on Monday relaunched a military intervention against so-called "Islamic State" (IS)-allied militants in the southern city of Marawi following a brief "humanitarian pause" to mark the Islamic holiday Eid al-Fitr.

"Our offensive operations have resumed and will continue so we can liberate Marawi City at the soonest time possible," said army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera. "We are focused and committed, and we will accomplish our mission."

Read more ....

The Battle For The Philippine City Of Marawi Between The Army And Islamic State Militants -- News Updates June 26, 2017

Philippines VP visits refugees fleeing fighting, Duterte unseen in days -- Reuters
AFP on operations vs Maute: We are winning -- PhilStar
Fighting resumes in Marawi after Eid ceasefire -- Al Jazeera
Philippine envoys talk with Islamist militant leader during brief truce -- Reuters
Fleeing ISIS in the Philippines: 'I will never go back to Marawi' -- CNN
'Terrorist matriarch' emerges as kingpin behind Islamic State assault on Philippines city -- The Telegraph
Philippines: IS funded siege through Malaysian militant -- AP
Australian Spy Planes to Help Tackle Islamist Threat in Philippines -- VOA
Bloodied and broken: Rising toll of Philippines' war with ISIS -- Euan McKirdy and Ivan Watson, CNN

2 Marines Badly Burned In Flash Fire While Conducting Maintenance On An F/A-18 Hornet





USNI News: Updated: 2 Marines Severely Burned In Ground Flash Fire at MCAS Miramar

Two Marines are being treated for severe burns after an explosion occurred while conducting maintenance on an F/A-18 Hornet at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.

A ground flash fire occurred at about 10:18 p.m. Sunday, while Marines from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112 (VMFA-112), a reserve unit out of Fort Worth, Texas, were performing routine maintenance on their jets.

The two injured Marines are being treated at the University of California-San Diego Regional Burn Center, and the incident is under investigation.

Read more ....

More News On 2 Marines Being Badly Burned In A Flash Fire While Conducting Maintenance On An F/A-18 Hornet At Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.

Two maintainers severely burned when F/A-18 catches fire -- Marine Times
Fire at air station injures 2 Marines working on aircraft -- FOX News/AP
Marines working on jet seriously injured in explosion -- San Diego Union-Tribune
2 Marines badly burned in ground flash fire on U.S. base -- CBS
2 Marines Burned In MCAS Miramar Fire -- Patch

Germany Tells Turkish President Erdogan To Not Bring His Bodyguards To The G20 Summit Who Have Been Charged For Instigating A Brawl In Washington Earlier This Year

Nine were hurt and two arrests made amid ugly scenes outside of the residence of the Turkish ambassador in the US capital in May when Erdogan's suited security agents clashed with demonstrators

DW: Germany tells Erdogan's bodyguards to stay away from Hamburg G20

German officials are preparing for violence at the G20 but not all of it may come from protesters. The Turkish president's bodyguards are renowned for clashing with activists.

The German Foreign Ministry warned Turkish bodyguards involved in violent scuffles in Washington last month not to attend the G20 summit in July, German media reported on Sunday.

Those warnings were then repeated to Bundestag members in closed-door meetings, respected national daily Die Welt reported.

The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) said earlier that foreign powers did not hold sovereign powers, saying "foreign colleagues only have the right to self-defense," the paper reported.

Read more ....

More News On Germany Telling Turkish President Erdogan To Not Bring The Bodyguards To The G20 Summit Who Have Been Charged For Instigating A Brawl In Washington Earlier This Year

Germany to Turkey's President Erdogan: Your bodyguards not welcome at G20 -- USA Today/DW
Germany warns Turkish president's bodyguards not to attend G20 over fears they will assault protesters like they did in Washington last month -- Daily Mail
Germany warns Erdogan security involved in scuffles to stay away from G20 -- NRT
Germany bars Erdogan’s bodyguards charged in US brawl from Hamburg G20 summit – report -- RT
German Authorities Say Erdogan's Guards Prosecuted in US Should Not Come to G20 -- Sputnik

President Trump 'Doubles Down' On President Obama Not Doing Anything About Russian Election Interference





The Hill: Trump: Obama didn't 'choke,' he 'colluded or obstructed'

President Trump on Monday said President Obama took no action against Russia for its actions in the 2016 election because he expected Hillary Clinton to win.

Trump concluded that Obama had not "choked" in taking no action against Russia, as a senior administration official told The Washington Post. Instead, Trump said Obama had "colluded" or "obstructed."

"The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win.....and did not want to 'rock the boat,' " Trump tweeted. "He didn't 'choke,' he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is a Trump story that is annoying the press who want to cover something else .... You’re not crazy: Trump just blamed Obama for the Russian attack that Trump says didn’t happen (Salon).

More News On President Trump 'Doubling Down' On President Obama Not Doing Anything About Russian Election Interference

Trump Says Obama Colluded and Obstructed Over Russia To Help Hillary Clinton -- Newsweek
'The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING': Trump says his predecessor knew Russia was election-meddling but never acted because he thought Hillary would win -- Daily Mail
Donald Trump says Barack Obama 'colluded' by not pursuing Russia's election hacking -- The Independent
Trump: Obama 'colluded or obstructed' during election -- Washington Examiner

President Trump Wants A 'Big Meeting' With Russian President Putin

A combination of file photos showing Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, January 15, 2016 and U.S. President Donald Trump posing for a photo in New York City, U.S., May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Ivan Sekretarev/Pool/Lucas Jackson/File Photos

The Hill: Trump pressing for big meeting with Putin: report

President Trump is reportedly pressing for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 summit next month in Germany.

But according to The Associated Press, some of Trump's advisers, including officials in the State Department and on the National Security Council, are not so keen on the idea and are encouraging more restraint.

A current and a former administration official told the news service that Trump wants media access and the normal protocol associated with such meetings.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Conflicting reports from Russia .... No definite arrangements in place for Putin-Trump meeting: Kremlin (Reuters). More here .... Kremlin: No arrangements for Putin, Trump meeting (The Hill). But from TASS .... Kremlin spokesman says Putin and Trump will meet in Hamburg (TASS).

What's my take .... both sides want this meeting .... President Putin has been pushing for it since the beginning of the year, and this blog predicted at the time that they will be meeting at the G20 .... When Will A Putin - Trump Meeting Take Place? (January 9, 2017). As to what will be the outcome from such a "big meeting .... nothing much .... it will be their first face-to-face meeting, and they will be laying the ground work for a more formal summit in the future.

More News On President Trump Wanting A 'Big Meeting' With Russian President Putin

Trump eager for big meeting with Putin; some advisers wary -- AP
Trump wants full bilateral meeting with Putin at G-20 summit -- Washington Examiner
Trump's enthusiasm for Russia and Putin is dividing his White House, frustrating friends and foes alike -- The Week

Container Ship Captain: U.S. Warship Stayed On Deadly Collision Course Despite Warning

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, damaged by colliding with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, is seen at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 18, 2017. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

Reuters: Exclusive: U.S. warship stayed on deadly collision course despite warning - container ship captain

A U.S. warship struck by a container vessel in Japanese waters failed to respond to warning signals or take evasive action before a collision that killed seven of its crew, according to a report of the incident by the Philippine cargo ship's captain.

Multiple U.S. and Japanese investigations are under way into how the guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald and the much larger ACX Crystal container ship collided in clear weather south of Tokyo Bay in the early hours of June 17.

In the first detailed account from one of those directly involved, the cargo ship's captain said the ACX Crystal had signaled with flashing lights after the Fitzgerald "suddenly" steamed on to a course to cross its path.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is too early to make any conclusions. The U.S. Navy and the Japanese have just started their investigation .... and I am sure that we are going to get the answers on how this accident happened soon enough.

World News Briefs -- June 26, 2017



Daily Mail: Theresa May's DUP deal is FINALLY sealed in Downing Street as Ian Paisley party agrees to prop her up in power - in return for £1bn for Northern Ireland

* Prime Minister and DUP chief have finally agreed a deal in Downing Street
* Parties have been wrangling for more than a fortnight over details of agreement
* Mrs May forced to seek support from Northern Ireland party by election debacle
* Tories drop plans to scrap triple lock on pensions and curb winter fuel payments
* Package of extra funding for Northern Ireland worth extra £1bn over two years

Theresa May breathed a sigh of relief today as she finally sealed an agreement with the DUP to prop her up in power.

After more than two weeks of intense wrangling and with just days to go until crucial vote on the Queen's Speech, the Tories and the Northern Ireland party put the stamp on a deal that shores up the PM's majority in the Commons.

The arrangement dramatically boosts Mrs May's chances of clinging on as PM after the disastrous election that stripped her of her overall Commons majority.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Mosul battle to end in days as troops advance in Old City: Iraqi general.

Two thirds of Mosul Old City retaken from IS: commander.

Battle for Mosul: Iraq forces repel IS counter-attack. Iraq forces combing west Mosul after surprise IS attack.

US-backed force has seized a quarter of Raqa from IS: monitor.

US urges Qatar and Saudi-led group to 'lower rhetoric'. Qatar demands difficult to meet, says US.

Erdogan says Saudi-led ultimatum on Qatar 'against international law'.

Turkey to US: Providing arms to YPG violation of NATO rules.

Israel on alert after 2 days of cross-border fire with Syria.

Israel freezes plan for mixed-sex prayer site at Western Wall.

Drug use in Iran ‘more than doubled’ in last 6yrs, 3.5% of population now regular users.

ASIA

Eid truce in war-torn Philippines city of Marawi ends.

Mongolia votes for new president in divisive election. Mongolia economy, graft in spotlight as voters elect president.

Not negotiable: North Korea sticks to its guns on nuclear weapons.

Two militants killed after gun battle at Kashmir school.

Anger grows in Pakistan town after three attacks in six months.

Pakistan deploys force of 15,000 to protect Chinese nationals.

China willing to open its pockets, but not borders, to Middle East refugees.

Hong Kong activists stage China protests ahead of Xi visit.

Official results confirm Cambodian opposition gains.

Great Barrier Reef a $42 billion asset 'too big to fail': study.

China releases Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo after terminal cancer diagnosis.

AFRICA

Irish naval ship rescues 712 people near Libya: defense forces.

EU effort to halt migrants founders in Libya's chaos.

US intensifies efforts in Somalia to counter Al-Shabaab resurgence.

South Sudan censors newspapers, hampers press in civil war.

Congo president's daughter charged with corruption in France.

Tanzania vows to arrest those 'protecting' gay interests.

UN: Half of world's population growth is likely to occur in Africa.

EUROPE

May reaches deal with DUP to back Tories through Brexit. UK PM May strikes $1.3 billion deal to get Northern Irish DUP support for her government.

Back to Switzerland for Cyprus peace deal talks.

Germany bars Erdogan’s bodyguards charged in US brawl from Hamburg G20 summit – report.

Italy's center-right dominates local elections.

Albania’s Socialists on track for win in low-turnout election.

Italy readies 17 billion euro package to save two failing banks.

Garbage crisis hits Greek capital over job freeze.

AMERICAS

Trump, Modi seek rapport despite friction on trade, immigration.

Trump eager for big meeting with Putin; some advisers wary.

Trump, and 2 Democrats, criticize Obama's response to Russia hacking.

Trump breaks White House Eid dinner tradition.

Government websites in Ohio, Maryland hacked with pro-IS messages. Ohio sites hacked with IS message.

Colombia: 9 dead after ferry with 170 people aboard sinks at popular sightseeing spot.

Asylum seekers in Canada who fled Trump now trapped in legal limbo.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

China ‘holding itself back’ by shying away from global terrorism fight.

Europeans learn to live with and adapt to terror attacks.

Bali bombing: Riduan 'Hambali' Isomuddin's links to terrorist networks and attacks.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Angela Merkel and Donald Trump head for clash at G20 summit.

Takata, Japan's airbag giant, files for bankruptcy protection.

Harry Potter: How JK Rowling's story became a multi-billion-dollar entertainment franchise.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- June 26, 2017

Wikipedia

Washington Times: Pentagon welcomes greater freedom under Trump but is wary of blame

Pentagon officials are welcoming the greater autonomy and decision-making authority under President Trump, after what they say were years of Obama administration micromanaging.

Within the hallways and offices of the Pentagon, top military brass and national security leaders have lauded the actions taken by the Trump administration, saying privately that the Defense Department now has an opportunity to take the fight to America’s enemies after being freed from the White House’s heavy yoke under President Obama.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- June 26, 2017

Missile Threats Are Surging Worldwide, U.S. Defense Study Finds -- Bloomberg

Arctic outpost becomes hotbed of Russian military activity -- News.com.au

Secret Russian satellite launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome -- Space Flight Now

Russian arms exporter raked in $24 bln for selling 50 warships since 2000 -- TASS

A Russian Military Helicopter Reportedly Buzzed An American Diplomatic Car In Alleged Election Payback -- FoxTrot Alpha

PLA carrier sets off for drills and a port call in Hong Kong -- South China Morning Post

Oman receives first Eurofighter Typhoon -- UPI

Exclusive: Iran operating drones in Balochistan since March -- Daily Pakistan

'Our population doesn't look like all white guys': Canada's military tries to rebrand as ultra-inclusive -- National Post

Analyst: North Korea's biochem weapons being built in hidden facilities - UPI

How U.S., South Korean Special Ops Would Join Forces in a New Korean War -- Cipher Brief

F-16s Built in India? Thinking Through the Strategic Impact -- Danny Lam, RCS/Second Line of Defense

US Aircraft Carrier to Dock in Israeli Port of Haifa in July -- Algemeiner

EU nations to boost joint military equipment acquisition -- Defense News/AP

How NATO is getting serious about Russia -- Macleans

Sweden eyes major overhaul of air defense systems citing potential Russian threat -- RT

Uneasy Times In Europe As Continent Mulls Next Fighter -- Breaking Defense

Would Russia Attack & Invade the Baltics? Could US F-35s and Special Ops Forces Stop a Russian Invasion? -- Scout Warrior

No, hackers can’t ‘take control of Trident’ -- UK Defense Journal

Army Weapons Developers Assess How Future Enemies Will Attack Forward Operating Bases -- Scout Warrior

Marines Prepare to Do ‘Impossible’ With Ship-Launched Combat Drone -- DoD Buzz

Hypoxia Threatens Navy and Air Force Pilots, and the Threat Is Growing -- Popular Mechanics

Electronic Warfare ‘Growing’; Joint Airborne EW Study Underway -- Breaking Defense

Raytheon completes testing of USAF's Small Diameter Bomb II -- Air Force Technology

Air Force’s F-16 ‘Wild Weasels’ Hunt Missile Sites, Destroy Them -- Defense Tech

Navy Increases Design Support for its New Fleet of Nuclear-Armed "Columbia-Class" Submarines -- Scout Warrior

Pentagon Dusts Off Retired Warships as US Navy -- Sputnik

2 US aircraft carriers may get America's answer to China's 'carrier killer' missile -- Business Insider

The U.S. Navy Has a New Way to Protect Its Aircraft Carriers from Enemy Missiles -- National Interest

US Lawmakers Push for Bigger Navy, But Where’s the Money? -- Sandra Erwin, RCD

Hypersonic Weapon Defense Will Be Hard and Expensive -- Popular Mechanics

US House panel takes up $658B defense spending bill -- Defense News

House lawmakers want space-based missile defense strategy -- Defense News

Pentagon weighs possible delay in new transgender recruits -- Reuters

Prior to Snowden, NSA Had No Clue How Many Were Approved to Download Top Secret Info -- Washington Free Beacon

Why America’s Mighty Military Doesn't Always Dominate the Battlefield -- Dave Majumdar, National post

Russia Has Given Up On Building New Aircraft Carriers

Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. Wikimedia Commons/Mil.ru

Michael Peck, National Interest: Is Russia Giving Up on Aircraft Carriers?

Russia created a splash two years ago when it announced plans for a hundred-thousand-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that would rival America’s giant new Ford-class carriers.

Western and Russian defense experts quickly pooh-poohed the idea as unrealistic, an expensive $17 billion fantasy for a navy that has trouble enough operating Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov.

The experts appear to be right. Russia’s five-year defense plan for 2020–25 calls for completely upgrading the nuclear forces, developing new fighters and bombers, and procuring new warships.

But these won’t be big warships like carriers. “The 2025 program will again prioritize the construction of new nuclear submarines and small (no larger than frigate-type) surface combatants,” according to Defense News.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If the Russian ministry's budget requests mean anything .... the answer is yes .... Russia is not going to be building a new aircraft carrier in the foreseeable future. This is in sharp contrast to U.S. plans .... US may build one aircraft carrier every three years and no new Russian carriers (Next Big Future)

The U.S. Navy's Next Super Carrier (USS John Kennedy) Is 50 Percent Complete



Kris Osborn, National Interest: America's Next Super Aircraft Carrier Is 50 Percent Complete

HII ship developers have been employing a newer construction strategy for the Kennedy, involving a handful of techniques intended to lower costs and call upon lessons learned from the building of the first Ford-class carrier.

The 2nd US Navy Ford-Class high-tech aircraft carrier has grown 70-feet longer and is now 50-percent structurally complete with the addition of the lower stern, Huntington Ingalls Industries announced.​

“We are halfway through lifting the units onto the ship, and many of the units are larger and nearly all are more complete than the CVN 78 (USS Ford) lifts were. This is one of many lessons learned from the construction of the lead ship that are helping to reduce construction costs and improve efficiencies on Kennedy,” Mike Shawcross, Newport News’ vice president, John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) and Enterprise (CVN 80) aircraft carrier construction, said in a written statement.

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Navy's Next Super Carrier (USS John Kennedy) Being 50 Percent Structurally Complete

Add Another Building Block to the John F. Kennedy Carrier -- Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)/Military.com
Superlift takes CVN 79 to 50 percent completion -- Marine Log
Aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy is now 50 percent structurally complete -- WTKR.com
Massive stern attached to John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier at Newport News shipyard -- Virginia Pilot

The British Navy's Newest Aircraft Carrier Is About To Set Sail For The First Time



The Guardian: HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier takes to the seas

The £3.5bn cost of the vessel is so high that doubts have been raised over whether the Royal Navy can afford enough fighters for it

Captain Jerry Kyd seems remarkably relaxed given he is scheduled on Monday to take to sea for the first time one of the biggest and most expensive defence projects in British history, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

To reach open sea, he will have to conduct two complicated manoeuvres, firstly to take it from the Rosyth dockyard basin where the carrier was built and then under the three Forth bridges. The calculations are fine but the prospect of miscalculation does not appear to scare him.

As well as all the electronic devices available to him, he will make a gesture towards tradition, conducting a final check with an instrument used by mariners since at least the 18th century, a sextant, before heading under the bridges.

Read more ....

Update: Royal Navy's largest ever warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, to set sail (SKY News)

WNU Editor: The Russians are going to be watching .... Russia is set to start huge spying mission on Navy's newest aircraft carrier the moment £3billion ship sets sail for the first time (Daily Mail).

Who Will Benefit From A Saudi Arabia - Iran War?

An Iranian military fighter plane flies past an oil tanker during naval manoeuvres in the Gulf and Sea of Oman April 5, 2006. REUTERS/Fars News/File Photo

Panos Mourdoukoutas, Forbes: The Coming War Between Saudi Arabia And Iran Will Make American Frackers Very Rich

Saudi Arabia and Iran are moving closer to a direct military confrontation that has the potential to disrupt Middle East oil supplies and push crude oil prices back towards the $60, even $100, level.

That’s a dream scenario for American frackers who will have to pump oil as fast as they can to make up any supply shortfall to America’s allies.

For several years, Saudi Arabia and Iran have been trying to resolve their religious and political differences by fighting proxy wars that had little impact on oil prices. For a simple reason: they didn't want to cause any disruptions in the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. Besides, Washington has been the de facto guarantor of the free flow of oil from the Gulf to its Asian and European allies.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The ones who would benefit .... Russia. Venezuela, Nigeria, Libya, Canada's oil industry, industries in renewal industries, and yes .... American frackers. The ones who would lose .... well .... everyone else.

OPEC Looks Bewildered As Oil Prices Continue To Decline

Julian Lee, Bloomberg: OPEC Looks Totally Bewildered by the Oil Market

It may be too soon to write OPEC's obituary, but the oil producer club appears in urgent need of late-life care. It shows little understanding of where it is, how it got there or where it's going. While it still manages to collect new members here and there, its core group looks more fragile than at any point in nearly 30 years.

The historic output agreements, put together so painstakingly last year, are failing. Nearly 12 months of shuttle diplomacy culminated in two deals that would see 22 countries cut production by nearly 1.8 million barrels a day. Implementation has been better than for any previous output cut, with compliance put at 106 percent in May. A resounding success? Hardly.

We're now in the final month of those deals and oil prices are lower than when they were agreed. Not only have producers sacrificed volume, but they earn less for each barrel they do produce.

Read more ....

Update: The Oil Glut Camouflages Some Vicious Black Swans (Liam Denning, Bloomberg)

WNU Editor: As to the future .... this is not going to help OPEC .... Trump to Call for U.S. ‘Dominance’ in Global Energy Production (Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg), nor the development of other fossil resources .... Not All Fossil Fuels Are Going Extinct (Nathaniel Bullard, Bloomberg). But the real threat to OPEC is this .... One chart proves low oil can't stop the US shale oil surge (Geopolitical Futures, Mauldin Economics).

Russian Ambassador To The U.S. Sergey Kislyak Is Being Recalled Back To Moscow

Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and President Donald Trump at the White House last week. Photo Credit: @RusEmbUSA

Buzz Feed: Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak Is Going Home To Russia

After nearly ten years at the nexus of US-Russia relations, Washington’s most radioactive diplomat is headed home

Ending one the most turbulent tenures of a Washington-based ambassador in recent memory, the Kremlin has decided to recall its ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak, three individuals familiar with the decision tell BuzzFeed News.

The decision to bring Kislyak back to Russia rather than appoint him to a senior position at the United Nations in New York, as several outlets previously reported, comes amid investigations by the FBI and Congress into the 66-year-old diplomat’s contacts with President Donald Trump’s top aides during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“He could use some time away,” said a US-based diplomat.

Read more ....

Update #1: Russia is recalling ambassador at center of Trump campaign controversy: report (The Hill)
Update #2: Russia Said To Recall Ambassador At Center of Trump Controversy: Report (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: His recall to Moscow was announced months ago .... in fact his replacement has already been chosen .... Russia's Next U.S. Ambassador Will Be Anatoly Antonov (May 27, 2017). What is not known is on appointment to a UN agency in New York City .... it looks like he may not get it.

What Will Putin Do Next?

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow media conference, June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Peter Apps, Reuters: The dangers of putting Putin under pressure

How will Vladimir Putin respond to the growing challenges against him? The Russian president, who turns 65 in October, might presently look unassailable - but maintaining that grip will get harder every year.

Compared to British Prime Minister Theresa May or U.S. President Donald Trump, the Russian president faces scant internal opposition. Recent anti-corruption protests, however, provided him a reminder that no leader can remain in power forever.

Putin will almost certainly win the March presidential elections. His poll ratings remain high, and Russians have little appetite for the chaos that his fall might bring.

But that doesn’t mean there are no rivals waiting for him to stumble.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Unlike the last election .... no one is saying that Putin is going to retire before next year's Russian Presidential elections. But this will be Russian President Putin's last election .... Vladimir Putin: I don’t want to rule Russia for life (The Guardian). After that .... Peter Apps is right .... who will succeed Putin in 2024 is where the real battle will be.

Tweet For Today

Russia's MiG-35 Is Getting Ready For Combat

(Photo courtesy MiG)

Defense Tech: MiG-35, Russia’s New 4th-Gen Light Fighter, Readies for Combat

SALON DU BOURGET, France — The next addition to Russia’s roster of fighter jets that bridge fourth- and fifth-generation technology may join units as soon as 2019, officials with the MiG Corporation told Military.com here at the Paris Air Show.

The MiG-35, designed to replace MiG-29s rounding out their fourth decade in service, was absent from Paris but will be featured at the MAKS international airshow near Moscow in July as engineers finalize testing on the aircraft, said Anastasia Kravchenko, public relations director for MiG. Still to be determined is whether the fighter will be featured in a static display or aerial demo, she said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There are some problems though .... Russia's MiG-35 Has a Big Secret (And This Time NATO Will Be Very Pleased) (Dave Mujumdar, National Interest)

More News On Russia's MiG-35

Russia anticipates final flight tests for MiG-35 this year -- Defense News
PARIS: MiG-35 flight testing proceeds apace -- Flight Global
MiG Has Big Hopes for MiG-35 Fighter -- Aviation Week
Russia's fighter jet makers 'not afraid' of U.S. competition in India -- Reuters
MiG pushing for exports of the MiG-35 fighter -- UPI
Russia may start exporting advanced MiG-35 fighter jet in couple of years -- TASS

Picture Of The Day

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this story .... 7 Badass Photos Of Marines Shelling The Crap Out Of ISIS In Syria (Task & Purpose)

Upgrading The B-2

People without security clearances aren’t going to learn what the winning design for the Long Range Strike Bomber looks like anytime soon, but the Northrop Grumman B-2 bomber probably bears some resemblance. The lack of a fuselage or tail makes it much harder to track with radar; unfortunately, its stealth coatings and other “low-observable” features are a nightmare to maintain. (Wikipedia)

Kris Osborn, National Interest: We Now Know What It's Like To Go To War in a B-2 Stealth Bomber

As a stealth bomber engineered during the height of the Cold War, the B-2 was designed to elude Soviet air defenses and strike enemy targets – without an enemy ever knowing the aircraft was even there. This stealthy technological ability is referred to by industry experts as being able to evade air defenses using both high-frequency “engagement” radar, which can target planes, and lower frequency “surveillance” radar which can let enemies know an aircraft is in the vicinity.

The B-2 is described as a platform which can operate undetected over enemy territory and, in effect, “knock down the door” by destroying enemy radar and air defenses so that other aircraft can fly through a radar “corridor” and attack.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: They plan to keep this bomber flying until 2050 .... but I am willing to bet that like the B-52 .... this plane is going to be around for a long time.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Yemen Facing A Massive Cholera Outbreak





VOA: UN: Cholera Cases in Yemen Could Top 300,000 by End of August

GENEVA — The U.N. Children's Fund warns cholera cases and deaths in war-torn Yemen continue to mount and could reach 300,000 by the end of August. UNICEF puts the current number of suspected cases at nearly 200,000, including more than 1,200 deaths — with a quarter of those being children.

UNICEF says containing the cholera outbreak in Yemen is extremely difficult. It says the health system is near total collapse, water and sanitation systems are in disrepair and the people who are meant to care for patients, collect the garbage and maintain vital systems have not been paid for six months.

The UNICEF representative in Yemen, Meritxell Relano, says despite the obstacles, aid agencies are making progress in reducing cholera cases and deaths in some parts of the country.

Read more ....

More News On Yemen's Massive Cholera Outbreak

WHO: More than 1,300 now dead in Yemen's cholera epidemic -- UPI
Cholera cases in Yemen now more 200,000 -- CBC/Reuters
Yemen faces world's worst cholera outbreak - UN -- BBC
Yemen faces world's worst cholera outbreak, UN warns -- Al Arabiya
Saudi Arabia donates to end Yemen cholera outbreak it helped start -- VICE News
Yemen's Cholera Outbreak Is Only Getting Worse -- Newsy
The horrors of Yemen's spiralling cholera crisis -- Johannes Bruwer, International Committee of the Red Cross/BBC