Friday, July 25, 2014

World News Briefs -- July 25, 2014 (Evening Edition)



Kerry Vows to Press On After Israel Rejects Gaza Cease-Fire Proposal -- Voice of America

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry vowed to press on for a truce after Israel rejected a proposal for a cease-fire between Israel's military and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli public television said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet is seeking modifications before any agreement to end hostilities.

Kerry said late Friday that efforts will continue towards an agreement . He proposed a plan that would begin with a week-long cease-fire starting Sunday to stop two weeks of intense fighting that has sent the death toll soaring among Palestinian civilians.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

WHO calls for humanitarian corridor to transport Gaza's wounded.

Sources: One-week Mideast cease-fire in works.

Gaza death toll rises amid diplomatic push.

Over 100 Palestinians killed in past 24 hours in Gaza.

Fresh West Bank clashes as Israel girds for 'day of rage'. West Bank Palestinians die in fresh clashes. Gaza violence spreads to West Bank with six Palestinians reportedly killed.

Egyptian militants say Israeli drone kills three fighter in Sinai.

Syria conflict: Isis 'overruns' Raqqa military base.

Iraq still using barrel bombs, human rights group says.

Russia delivering weapons to Iraq.

US Democrat senator threatens to block arms sales to Iraq.

U.S. State official: Iraq plan sound, but 'a race against time'.

Iraq's top cleric sends subtle message to Maliki - step aside.

Post reporter, other journalists appear to have been detained in Iran.

ASIA

Afghan conflict: 15 killed in 'Taliban attack' on buses. Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road.

Wary Pakistan puts military in charge of capital's security.

U.S. could do more to intercept militants, Pakistan says.

China probes more than 25,000 people for graft in first half of year.

Thailand's restive south hit by deadly bomb.

Impossible to determine cause of South Korea ferry businessman's death: agency.

AFRICA

Al-Shabab commanders killed near Mogadishu.

France sends military to guard Air Algerie wreck; black box found.

Air Algerie AH5017: 'No survivors' from crash in Mali.

Air Algérie AH5017 crash brings week's airliner death toll to 450.

Nigeria beefs up security ahead of Ramadan feast.

Boko Haram consolidates power in northeastern Nigeria.

West Africa Ebola death toll reaches 660: WHO.

South Sudanese propose moving capital.

EUROPE

Ukraine and Russia claim border crossfire.

Pentagon says Russia firing artillery directly into Ukraine from within its borders.

Armed Australian police to deploy to MH17 crash site.

EU reaches preliminary deal on Russia economic sanctions.

London's Russian billionaires are "at risk" of sanctions, David Cameron warns.

Russia raises rates in move seen as arming for sanctions.

Ukraine faces bitter election in midst of conflict with Russia.

Speculation grows over potential visit by Pope Francis to U.S..

Poland says may appeal European court ruling on CIA jail.

AMERICAS

Obama will take executive action on immigration after summer, adviser says.

US fighter jets escort plane back to Toronto.

Central American leaders convening at White House.

Central American leaders blame U.S. for border crisis.

White House bemoans lawmakers' delay on U.S. border crisis funds.

U.S. Poll: One-third say impeach Obama.

Argentina is now very close to default.

Venezuelan conspiracy theories a threat to critics.

Drought drains critical US water supply.

Crime-ridden U.S. cities differ on ways to fight gun violence.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Underwear bomber plot failed because he 'wore same pants for 2 weeks'.

Pentagon official: Syrian terrorism ‘probably the number one threat’ to U.S..

Obama administration knew Islamic State was growing but did little to counter it.

Administration official: ISIL 'no longer a terrorist group,' now a 'full-blown army'.

Counter-Terrorism: The most wanted terrorist few have heard of.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

IMF reports cuts growth forecast.

Amazon reports $126m quarterly loss.

Greenspan says bubbles can’t be stopped without ‘crunch’.

Facebook gain makes Zuckerberg wealthier than Google guys.

A Look At Israel's Military

Israeli APCs drive near the Israeli border with Gaza as the come out of the Gaza Strip July 25, 2014. A flurry of long-range rocket launches on Friday set off sirens around Israel's commercial capital of Tel Aviv, where witnesses reported several interceptions by the Iron Dome air defence system. REUTERS/Nir Elias

The History of Israel’s Powerful Military -- Time

Since 1948, the Israel Defense Forces has been the country's only line of defense. The men and women who make up the IDF are some of the most well-trained combatants in the world. Here's a look at Israel’s highly effective and sometimes controversial military

The men and women who make up the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are some of the most highly trained in the world. By land, air, and sea, the IDF’s major objective is to protect the state of Israel.

The IDF was founded in May 1948 by Israel’s then Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion. A conscript force, it helped Israel win the 1948 Arab-Israeli war known there as the “War of Independence.”

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My Comment: A so-so video .... check it at the link.

Israel Rejects Gaza Ceasefire Plan

Palestinians walk past a fire following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza City July 24, 2014. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Israel Rejects Ceasefire Plan, Source Says As Death Toll Nears 850 -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Israel rejected on Friday international proposals for a ceasefire in its fight against Islamist militants in Gaza, but is discussing changes to the truce plan with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a government source said.

Mediators hope that a truce could come into force ahead of a Muslim festival that starts early next week, but they have struggled to resolve seemingly irreconcilable demands from Israel and Hamas-led fighters, locked in conflict since July 8.

Hamas, which wants an end to an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza before agreeing to halt hostilities, has yet to respond to the ceasefire proposition, which has not been made public.

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My Comment: A ceasefire is the last thing that both sides want right now.

Top U.S. General: We Are Dusting Off Decades-Old 'Readiness' Plans For Russia



US Military Dusts Off Decades-Old 'Readiness' Plans for Russia -- ABC News

As American officials fire of diplomatic salvos at Russia in response to that nation’s purported actual artillery salvos into Ukraine, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said recently that among other actions, the U.S. military is dusting off decades-old plans, just in case.

“We’re looking inside our own readiness models to look at things that we haven’t had to look at for 20 years, frankly, about basing and lines of communication and sea lanes,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, America’s top military officer, said at the Aspen Security Forum Thursday evening. “What the military does when faced with these crises is – our job is preparedness, deterrence and readiness.”

In addition to its own plans, Dempsey said the U.S. military is having “conversations with our NATO allies about increasing their capability and readiness” and that there’s a “very active” ongoing process and debate about how best to provide support to Ukraine.

“I wouldn't misinterpret my presence here today sitting with you… We’re not sitting still,” Dempsey said.

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More News On The Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey Commenting That Decades-Old 'Readiness' Plans For Russia Are Now Being Reexamined

Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’ -- Washington Times
Gen. Dempsey: We’re Pulling Out Our Cold War Military Plans Over Ukraine -- Multipress News
US pulling out its Cold War-era plans over Ukraine conflict, top commander admits -- RT
Gen. Martin Dempsey: US, NATO Build Up Readiness amid Russian Military Actions in Ukraine -- ExecutiveGov

Using Explosives ISIS Destroys Jonah's Tomb In Mosul, Iraq



Officials: ISIS Blows Up Jonah's Tomb In Iraq -- CNN

(CNN) -- If you blink during the video, you might miss the moment Jonah's tomb in Mosul, Iraq, explodes.

The first few frames show the revered shrine towering over its landscape. There's a sudden burst of dust, fire and smoke.

Then, nothing.

CNN could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the video, which was posted to YouTube.

The holy site is thought to be the burial place of the prophet Jonah, who was swallowed by a whale or fish in both the Islamic and Judeo-Christian traditions.

Militants belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, planted explosives around the tomb and detonated the explosion remotely Thursday, civil defense officials there told CNN.

The tomb was inside a Sunni mosque called the Mosque of the Prophet Younis.

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More News On ISIS Destroying Jonah's Tomb In Mosul

ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same -- Washington Times
After leveling Iraq’s Tomb of Jonah, the Islamic State could destroy ‘anything in the Bible’ -- Washington Post
Isis militants blow up Jonah's tomb -- The Guardian
Iraq jihadists blow up 'Jonah's tomb' in Mosul: official -- AFP
Islamist Militants Raze Ancient Shrine in Mosul -- Time
Video shows ‘Jonah’s tomb’ in Mosul being blown up -- Al Arabiya
Islamic State destroys Jonah’s Tomb in Mosul -- Times of Israel
ISIS Blows Up Muslim Shrine With Biblical Prophet Jonah's Tomb 'to Dust' Because it Had Become a Place of Apostasy -- Christina Post

My Comment: Any reference in the Bible to a historical site is no longer safe from these fanatics. Welcome to the new Middle East.

Calls Grow To Impound Russian Billionaires' Luxury Super Yachts To Punish Putin

Billion-pound palace: Roman Abramovich's Eclipse, pictured, is worth as much as £1billion. Super-rich Russians such as Abramovich could be caught up in rounds of sanctions directed against Russia

Yacht's The Way To Send The Oligarchs A Message: Calls Grow To Impound Russian Billionaires' Luxury Boats In Protest At Shooting Down Of MH17 -- Daily Mail

* Billionaires with links to Putin's Russia flaunt wealth with huge superyachts
* Russian regime currently in international firing line over MH17 jet attack
* Flight, with 298 on board, was shot out of the sky last week
* Western powers are considering sanctions of Russia's centres of power
* Foreign policy experts suggest 'symbolic' sanctions against super-wealthy could influence Putin

The luxury superyachts of billionaire oligarchs could be seized as part of a squeeze on Vladimir Putin's Russia as international outrage builds over the attack on passenger jet MH17.

Foreign policy experts raised the prospect of levying sanctions on the super-rich allies of the Russian president as a way of punishing the country over its links to attack on the passenger jet.

Dozens of wealthy businessmen with links to Putin's government are based outside the country, as are their prized yachts, some of which are worth as much as £1billion.

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My Comment:  Conducting such seizures will make the news .... but I doubt that it will have an impact on Russian foreign policy .... and I am sure that it will be deemed illegal in any international court.

Investigators Are Still Not At The Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 Crash Site In Ukraine

Locations where debris was spotted by Times reporters or could be seen in satellite imagery. Source: Satellite images from DigitalGlobe, Google and NASA/USGS Landsat

Ukraine Disaster In Search Of An Investigation -- Sabrina Tavernise and Thomas Erdbrink, NYT

GRABOVO, Ukraine — The rescue workers have left, and their tents are gone. The peppermint-striped plastic cordon flutters uselessly in the breeze. Farmers are harvesting wheat in a field where bodies had lain.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was blown out of the sky one week ago on Thursday, deepening tensions between Russia and the West and thrusting at least 10 countries whose citizens were on board into the middle of a war between Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian rebels, who Western intelligence officials suspect shot the plane down.

Yet for all of the diplomatic frenzy that has followed the disaster, there is no sign of an investigation here.

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My Comment: Sadly .... there is going to be no real investigation until after the Ukraine civil war is over .... and when that happens is anyone's guess.

Ukraine Civil War News Updates -- July 25, 2014



Ukraine And Russia Claim Border Crossfire -- Al Jazeera

Army claims it was attacked by rebels, while Russia accuses Ukraine of firing mortar shells into its territory.

The Ukrainian army has claimed that its soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the country's restive east.

In a statement on Friday, the headquarters of the government's military operation in the east listed at least seven locations where rebels attacked Ukrainian troops.

Read more ....

Ukraine Civil War News Updates -- July 25, 2014

Russia says up to 40 shells hit Russian territory on Friday -- Reuters
Russia says Ukraine shelled across the border with intent to kill law enforcement officers -- Reuters
Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon -- Washington Times
Pentagon Says Russia Firing Artillery Directly Into Ukraine From Within Its Borders -- Forbes
Ukraine used phosphorous incendiaries, cluster bombs against cities – Russian military -- RT
Human Rights Watch: Ukrainian forces are rocketing civilians -- Washington Post
HRW blames Kiev army for indiscriminately killing civilians with missiles -- RT
Use of Grad Rockets in Ukraine May Constitute War Crime – Human Rights Watch -- RIA Novosti
Donetsk fighters battle with Ukrainian army for city approaches -- ITAR-TASS
Ukraine crisis: Civilians on 'dead' city of Donetsk -- BBC
Deadly 'hail' falls over eastern Ukraine -- Deutsche Welle
Obama Orders Pentagon Advisers To Ukraine To Fend Off Putin-Backed Rebels -- Washington Times
Obama administration sending military advisers to Ukraine within weeks -- RT
Americans against U.S. military involvement in Ukraine -- Washington Post
Russian woman joins rebel movement in Ukraine -- CNN
Ukraine’s parliament adjourns without accepting premier’s resignation -- Washington Post
Ukraine's parliament rejects government’s bill on gas transportation system reform -- ITAR-TASS
Ukraine votes to keep Western companies out of gas industry -- RT
Ukraine gas deadlock poses latent threat to EU -- Financial Times

U.S. Poll: A Look At American Opinions On The Israel-Hamas War


Americans' Reaction to Middle East Situation Similar to Past -- The Gallop

Divided on whether Israel's actions against Hamas justified

PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans are divided in their views of whether Israel's actions against the Palestinian group Hamas is "mostly justified" or "mostly unjustified," but they widely view Hamas' actions as mostly unjustified. Those results are similar to what Gallup measured 12 years ago during another period of heightened Israeli-Palestinian violence, and they are consistent with Americans' generally more positive views of the Israelis than of the Palestinians.

Read more ....

Update: Poll: What Americans think about the Israel-Gaza crisis -- VOX

My Comment:  No surprises here.

Palestinians And Israelis Prepare For More Violence On The West Bank



Fresh West Bank Clashes As Israel Girds For 'Day Of Rage' -- CNN

Gaza City (CNN) -- Angry clashes erupted Friday in the West Bank, as Palestinian leaders called for a "day of rage" in response to the fatal shelling of a United Nations school.

At least four Palestinians have been killed in outbreaks of violence in several parts of the West Bank, according to medical sources.

The call for a massive follow-up to what were already some of the largest West Bank protests in years comes a

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More News On The Escalating Violence On The West Bank

Israeli undercover police in running street battles with Palestinian 'Day of Rage' protesters during Friday prayers in Jerusalem -- Daily Mail
West Bank Protests Grow as Israel, Hamas Fighting in Gaza Rages -- WSJ
Five Palestinians killed in West Bank violence: medics -- Reuters
Report: Five Palestinians killed in West Bank violence -- Jerusalem Post
Clashes Spread to West Bank: 5 Protesters Die in ‘Day of Rage’ -- NYT
5 killed in West Bank protests against Israel -- USA Today
West Bank Palestinians die in fresh clashes -- Al Jazeera
'Day of Rage' Protests Erupt in Jerusalem and the West Bank -- NBC

Israel - Hamas War News Updates -- July 25, 2014

Israeli soldiers walk next to their APCs after coming back into Israel from the Gaza Strip July 25, 2014. A flurry of long-range rocket launches on Friday set off sirens around Israel's commercial capital of Tel Aviv, where witnesses reported several interceptions by the Iron Dome air defence system. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Crunch Time For Gaza Truce Talks As Death Toll Passes 800 -- Reuters

(Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed regional leaders to nail down a Gaza ceasefire on Friday as the civilian death toll soared, and further violence loomed between Israelis and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

With Israel and Hamas-led Islamist fighters setting seemingly irreconcilable terms for a truce that mediators hope will begin by a Muslim festival next week, Kerry worked the phones from Egypt, while aides made clear his patience was waning.

The urgency was spurred on Thursday by the killing of 15 people as they sheltered at a U.N.-run school in the northern Gaza Strip, which local officials blamed on Israeli shelling.

Read more ....

Israel - Hamas War News Updates -- July 25, 2014

Gaza crisis: Deadly force used on West Bank protesters as barrage of Gaza continues - live -- The Guardian
Israel launches ground incursion in Gaza Strip LIVE UPDATES -- RT
LIVE UPDATES: 2 soldiers killed in Gaza -- Haaretz
Gaza Live Blog -- Al Jazeera

Palestinian death toll hits 822 as US presses for ceasefire -- Irish Times
Over 100 Palestinians Killed in Past 24 Hours in Gaza -- RIA Novosti
Israel pounds Gaza with airstrikes after overnight protests in the West Bank; Palestinian leaders call for ‘day of rage’ -- AP
Report: Hamas Morale Collapsing, Terrorists Flee IDF -- Breitbart
Gaza officials accuse Israel of war crimes at International Criminal Court -- AP
Israel says missing soldier definitely dead, body not found -- Reuters
IDF determines Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, previously considered missing, is dead -- Haaretz
Iranians tell Palestinians to fight against Israel: state TV -- Reuters
Iran Gives Gaza Palestinians Huge Show of Support -- VOA
Egypt sides with Israel in conflict with Hamas -- USA Today
Kerry, Ban Working on Gaza Cease-fire Proposals -- VOA
Kerry works toward cease-fire as deadly clashes escalate in Gaza -- FOX News
Kerry presents Gaza cease-fire proposal to Israel and proxies for Hamas -- Washington Post
Official: Israel Cabinet to discuss cease-fire -- Bloomberg
Short truce between Israel, Hamas could begin this weekend as parties look for long-term peace -- AP
Gaza faces daunting reconstruction when elusive truce struck -- Reuters
Gaza: Hamas seeks to emerge stronger -- Yolande Knell, BBC
Israel rallies behind army in Gaza war -- Reuters
Why Israelis are rallying behind latest Gaza campaign -- Gil Hoffman, BBC
Israel’s Iron Dome is more like an iron sieve -- David Axe, Reuters

World News Briefs -- July 25, 2014



Gaza Conflict Deaths Pass 800 As Kerry Pushes Ceasefire -- BBC

Efforts to secure a ceasefire between Israel and the militant Hamas movement are intensifying as the number of deaths in the 18-day conflict rises.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has been in Cairo meeting Egypt's foreign minister and the UN secretary general.

Four Palestinians were killed in the West Bank, while one Israeli soldier was killed in northern Gaza.

Activists called for a "day of rage" over the deaths of 800 Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has lost 36 people.

Most of the Palestinian deaths have been civilians, while 34 of Israel's dead have been soldiers. One Thai worker was also killed by rocket fire in Israel.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Sources: One-week Mideast cease-fire in works.

Gaza death toll rises amid diplomatic push.

Over 100 Palestinians killed in past 24 hours in Gaza.

Fresh West Bank clashes as Israel girds for 'day of rage'. West Bank Palestinians die in fresh clashes. Gaza violence spreads to West Bank with six Palestinians reportedly killed.

Egyptian militants say Israeli drone kills three fighter in Sinai.

Syria conflict: Isis 'overruns' Raqqa military base.

Iraq still using barrel bombs, human rights group says.

Russia delivering weapons to Iraq.

US Democrat senator threatens to block arms sales to Iraq.

U.S. State official: Iraq plan sound, but 'a race against time'.

Iraq's top cleric sends subtle message to Maliki - step aside.

Post reporter, other journalists appear to have been detained in Iran.

ASIA

Afghan conflict: 15 killed in 'Taliban attack' on buses. Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road.

Wary Pakistan puts military in charge of capital's security.

U.S. could do more to intercept militants, Pakistan says.

China probes more than 25,000 people for graft in first half of year.

Thailand's restive south hit by deadly bomb.

Impossible to determine cause of South Korea ferry businessman's death: agency.

AFRICA

France sends military to guard Air Algerie wreck; black box found.

Air Algerie AH5017: 'No survivors' from crash in Mali.

Air Algérie AH5017 crash brings week's airliner death toll to 450.

Nigeria beefs up security ahead of Ramadan feast.

Boko Haram consolidates power in northeastern Nigeria.

West Africa Ebola death toll reaches 660: WHO.

South Sudanese propose moving capital.

EUROPE

Ukraine and Russia claim border crossfire.

Pentagon says Russia firing artillery directly into Ukraine from within its borders.

Armed Australian police to deploy to MH17 crash site.

EU reaches preliminary deal on Russia economic sanctions.

Russia raises rates in move seen as arming for sanctions.

Ukraine faces bitter election in midst of conflict with Russia.

Poland says may appeal European court ruling on CIA jail.

AMERICAS

Central American leaders convening at White House.

Central American leaders blame U.S. for border crisis.

White House bemoans lawmakers' delay on U.S. border crisis funds.

U.S. Poll: One-third say impeach Obama.

Argentina is now very close to default.

Venezuelan conspiracy theories a threat to critics.

Drought drains critical US water supply.

Crime-ridden U.S. cities differ on ways to fight gun violence.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Pentagon official: Syrian terrorism ‘probably the number one threat’ to U.S..

Obama administration knew Islamic State was growing but did little to counter it.

Administration official: ISIL 'no longer a terrorist group,' now a 'full-blown army'.

Counter-Terrorism: The most wanted terrorist few have heard of.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Amazon reports $126m quarterly loss.

Greenspan says bubbles can’t be stopped without ‘crunch’.

Facebook gain makes Zuckerberg wealthier than Google guys.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 25, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

Obama Orders Pentagon Advisers To Ukraine To Fend Off Putin-Backed Rebels -- Washington Times

U.S. to help Kiev bolster military as pressure mounts on Vladimir Putin

A team of Pentagon officials is heading to Ukraine to help the country rebuild its fractured military, a mission that lawmakers and analysts expect will result in recommendations for greater military assistance in the country’s fight against pro-Russia separatists amid international outrage over the downing of a commercial airplane.

Within the next few weeks, a group of Defense Department representatives who specialize in strategy and policy will head to Kiev to evaluate specific programs that the United States may want to help bolster, said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 25, 2014

Obama administration sending military advisers to Ukraine within weeks -- RT

Americans against U.S. military involvement in Ukraine -- Washington Post

Ukraine May Soon Become NATO Military Partner – Ex-SBU Foreign Intelligence Chief -- RIA Novosti

NATO Considers Reinforcing Military Base in Poland -- RIA Novosti

Naval Ships From US, India and Japan To Start War Games -- Defense News/AFP

Russia delivering weapons to Iraq -- Al Arabiya

US Democrat senator threatens to block arms sales to Iraq -- The Hill

Israel: The Hamas Plan For Winning This War -- Strategy Page

The Best Air-to-Air Missile in the World Is in Sweden -- Thomas Newdick, War Is Boring

How An Su-25 Can Shoot Down A Faster, Higher-Flying Aircraft -- Aviation Week

Japan needs to close 'bargain' F-35 deal soon: report -- Want China Times

China’s Military Diplomacy Heats Up -- Zacharey Keck, The Diplomat

Over half of China military airfields threatened by high-rises -- Reuters

China air rage as military manoeuvres force flight cancellations -- Financial Times

China's aircraft carrier puts naval ambitions on show -- ZeeNews

Attrition: North Korean Air Force Develops Dementia -- Strategy Page

US, Russia bicker over US antimissile plans for South Korea -- RT

U.S. dismisses Russia's concerns about deployment of missile defense system to S. Korea -- Arirang news

Russia's best warplanes to be shown at Aviamix air show -- ITAR Tass

Borei-Class Submarines Enter Service Ahead of Russian Navy Day -- RIA Novosti

Spy for a spy: Germany to monitor US, UK agents -- RT

Venezuela to Buy Russian, Chinese Weaponry - Leader -- RIA Novosti

Meet UAV's Little Brother: The Unmanned Military Convoy -- Fast Company

US military’s ‘air optical fiber’ increases the power of laser weapons, networks, science -- Extreme Tech

Plant DNA: The New Tool to Thwart Military Counterfeiters -- Popular Mechanics

The CIA Fears the Internet of Things -- Patrick Tucker, Defense One

George Patton's Summer of 1944 -- Victor Davis Hanson, Real Clear Politics

A vote for Scotland's independence could reverberate through NATO -- Leo Michel, L.A. Times

How Will This War End? -- Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik, U.S. Army retired, Army Magazine

A Third Of U.S. Iraq, Afghanistan Vets Have Considered Suicide

Survey: A Third Of Iraq, Afghanistan Vets Have Considered Suicide (+video) -- Anna Mulrine, CSM

Some 2,000 combat vets surveyed by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America reported 'the crisis with suicide' as their number one concern.

Nearly half of all veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan know at least one fellow US troop who has attempted suicide, and 40 percent know someone who has died by suicide, warns a survey released Thursday by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

The largest nongovernmental survey of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans found that much has improved in America’s care of its veterans, says Tom Tarantino, IAVA’s policy director. Yet there are plenty of challenges that remain – and notable gaps in data nationwide. For example, “We still don’t know how many veterans are alive in this country,” notes Mr. Tarantino, a former US Army captain.

The IAVA survey offers a window into the priorities of the veterans of America’s most recent wars. The survey exclusively sought out combat veterans, who were required to provide proof of their deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan – or both – in order to take the survey.

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Update #1: Suicide's toll: Survey says half of vets know someone who has tried it -- Stars and Stripes
Update #2: Post-9/11 vets fight suicide, mental health issues -- AZ Central

WNU Editor: The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) survey is here.

U.S. Justice Department: Al Qaeda Preparing To Lauch Cyber Warfare Against The U.S.

Al Qaeda Targeting U.S. Infrastructure for Digital 9/11 -- Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon

Terrorists, nation states, criminal groups have capability of causing significant damage

ASPEN, Colo.—Al Qaeda, nation states, and criminals are preparing for major cyber attacks against U.S. infrastructure that could be comparable to the devastating September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, a senior Justice Department official said on Thursday.

“We’re in a pre-9/11 moment, in some respects, with cyber,” said John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security in the Justice Department.

Carlin also said during remarks at a security conference that China’s government dared the Obama administration to provide court-level evidence of Chinese military hacking against the United States.

The dare resulted in the May 1 indictment of five members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) hacking group known as Unit 63198, he said.

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My Comment: This report on Al Qaeda planning cyber warfare against the U.S. is coming from the U.S. Justice Department .... so much for the White House line from two years back that Al Qaeda was on the run.

Top U.S. General Compares Putin To Stalin



U.S. Military Chief Compares Putin’s Ukraine Move to Stalin’s Invasion of Poland -- Josh Rogin, Daily Beast

Today the U.S. government claimed the Russian military is firing artillery into Ukraine and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said it reminds him of Russia’s invasion of Poland in 1939.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s new use of Russian military force inside Ukraine harkens back to 1939 when Joseph Stalin led a Russian invasion of Poland, and Dempsey predicted Putin was far from finished.

Dempsey was speaking to the Aspen Security Forum and responding to the news that the U.S. government is accusing the Russian military of firing artillery from Russian territory into eastern Ukraine in support of separatists there. The latest development represents a dangerous escalation of the crisis on the part of Putin and the Russia-Ukraine crisis is now a global problem, he said.

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Update: Dempsey: Russian Attacks Change Europe’s Security Landscape -- US Department of Defense

My Comment: More signs that tensions are raising.

The Truth Of Who Murdered Former KGB Officer Alexander Litvinenko May Soon Be Revealed

Photo: Alexander Litvinenko at University College Hospital. Wikipedia

Brits Investigate Assassination of the Spy Who Warned Us About Putin -- Nico Hines, Daily Beast

Eight years ago, the Kremlin likely murdered a former KGB officer living in London with radioactive poison. The U.K. was too cozy with Russia to go after his killers—until now.

LONDON — Vladimir Putin thought he’d got away with murder. At least that was the conclusion of diplomats and security officials for eight years as Britain ignored demands for an inquiry into the assassination of a former KGB officer in Central London.

Alexander Litvinenko had angered the Kremlin with repeated claims that Putin was running a thuggish and brutal regime. He sought refuge in Britain and was granted asylum, but local police were powerless to prevent his assassination. He was struck down inside an upmarket London hotel by a rare radioactive poison that had been slipped in to his pot of tea.

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My Comment: This is one those cases that has always baffled me. It is easy to point the finger at Putin and blame him for Alexander Litvinenko's death .... but Alexander Litvinenko has not been the only defector to speak out against Putin .... he is actually just one of many, and not as vocal as some others. But someone did kill him, and all indications is that it was a Russian hit squad that was responsible for it. This British investigation and inquirer is a good start .... and I know that it is going to be followed very closely by many in Moscow .... both inside and outside of Putin's office.

A Look At How The CIA 'Stole' A Soviet Satellite

Photo: Luna-3 satellite. Art via Wikipedia

How The CIA Stole A Soviet Satellite -- Michael Peck, War Is Boring

U.S. spies ‘borrowed’ a moon craft from unsuspecting Russians

In a scheme worthy of Mission Impossible, CIA agents hijacked a Soviet spacecraft and probed its secrets.

When did this happen? That’s classified, as is the country where the caper occurred. In the declassified article on the subject in Studies in Intelligence, a CIA journal, much of the text has been blacked out by the agency’s censors.

But the article, released by the National Security Archive watchdog group, is full of tantalizing clues. Not to mention, it’s a great spy yarn.

The theft occurred when the Soviets sent one of their Lunik—also known as Luna—satellites for an exhibition tour of several nations in the early days of the Space Race. The CIA naturally was interested in the Luna probes, of which more than 40 attempted to orbit or land on the moon between 1958 and 1974.

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My Comment: I would bet that once the CIA discovered who was manufacturing these components in the old Soviet Union .... those manufacturers ended up getting "unwanted visitors" in the night.