Thursday, April 26, 2018

U.S. Senate Has Confirmed CIA Director Mike Pompeo To Be The Next U.S. Secretary of State



The Hill: U.S. Senate confirms Pompeo to be new secretary of State

The Senate confirmed CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be secretary of State on Thursday, overcoming steep opposition to his nomination.

Senators voted 57-42, well over the simple majority needed for approval by the chamber.

Pompeo’s confirmation was a virtual lock after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) reversed his position and said he would support Trump’s pick.

The announcement came amid an intense pressure campaign by the White House and spared Pompeo the dubious distinction of being the first secretary of State nominee since at least 1925 to fail to win over the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“After calling continuously for weeks for Director Pompeo to support President Trump’s belief that the Iraq war was a mistake, and that it is time to leave Afghanistan, today I received confirmation that Director Pompeo agrees with President Trump,” Rand said explaining his decision.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The vote was 57 - 42.

More News On The U.S. Senate Confirming CIA Director Mike Pompeo To Be The Next U.S. Secretary of State

The Latest: Pompeo ‘humbled’ to serve as secretary of state -- AP
Pompeo sworn in as secretary of state, dashes off to Europe -- AP
Pompeo becomes U.S. secretary of state as North Korea, Middle East issues await -- Reuters
Senate approves Pompeo as US secretary of state -- AFP
Pompeo off to quick start as Trump's new top diplomat -- Politico
Senate approves Mike Pompeo to lead Trump's State Department -- USA Today
Mike Pompeo confirmed as secretary of state; Senate OKs Germany ambassador -- FOX News
Senate Confirms Pompeo as Trump’s Secretary of State -- Bloomberg

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 26, 2018

A meeting room for the upcoming inter-Korean summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas. Photo: AFP/The Blue House

Andrew Salmon, Asia Times: On summit sidelines, China, Japan and Russia mull Korean chessboard

Global eyes are on the inter-Korean and upcoming North Korea-US summit. But other regional players also have stakes in the strategic peninsula

The eyes of the world will be fixed on the Korean demilitarized zone on Friday when when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un crosses the border in the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom for a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

With the Kim-Moon summit preceding an upcoming Kim-Donald Trump summit – location as yet unknown – in May or early June, there are hopeful expectations for a possible strategic gearshift on the flashpoint peninsula: Nearly 3,000 reporters will cover Friday’s summit.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 26, 2018

3 Big Questions for the Two North Korea Summits -- Eric Gomez, National Interest

Kim Jong Un’s New Strategic Line -- Robert Carlin, 38 North

Where Should the Kim-Trump Summit Take Place? -- Doug Bandow, National Interest

India China: Why is Modi meeting Xi now? -- BBC

Malaysia’s election a de facto vote on China -- Nile Bowie, Asia Times

Turkey’s snap elections set to escalate tensions with Europe -- Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor

The ISIS triangle which allows militants to disappear calls for a joint operation between Iraq, Syria and the US -- Hassan Hassan, The National

The Macron-Trump Summit and the Dandruff Factor -- Adam Gopnik, New Yorker

Is Europe Behind Macron? -- Judy Dempsey, Carnegie Europe

Why Hasn’t Putin Intervened in Armenia Yet? -- Vladimir Putin and Serzh Sargsyan, Moscow Times

Opioids of the Masses: Stopping an American Epidemic From Going Global -- Keith Humphreys, Jonathan P. Caulkins, and Vanda Felbab-Brown, Foreign Affairs

Armenians’ peaceful revolt could reverberate -- Dirk Mattheisen, The Hill

Armenia's "Velvet Revolution" keeps peace with Russia - for now -- Joshua Kucera, Eurasianet

President AMLO? Leftist Populism Smells Triumph In Mexico -- Luis Rubio, America Economia/Worldcrunch

Yes, It Is a New Cold War. What Is To Be Done? -- Raymond Smith, War On The Rocks

World News Briefs -- April 26, 2018 (Evening Edition)



Reuters: South, North Korea to hold historic first summit in decade at DMZ

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to cross his country’s heavily militarised border with South Korea on Friday for the first intra-Korea summit in more than a decade, as the old foes seek to end their decades-long conflict and ease tensions over the North’s nuclear weapons programme.

The summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in will set the stage for Kim to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in late May or early June, in what will be an unprecedented first encounter between sitting leaders of the two countries.

Just months ago, Trump and Kim were trading threats and insults as North Korea’s rapid advances in pursuit of nuclear-armed missiles capable of hitting the United States raised fears of a fresh conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

French special forces sent to reinforce US-led operations in Syria: Mattis.

US-led anti-IS coalition admits 28 more civilian deaths.

Israeli envoy says Iran has recruited 80,000 Shiite fighters in Syria.

Israel defence minister vows to strike any Iran 'military foothold' in Syria.

Chemical inspectors reach second site of Douma 'gas attack'.

10m Syrians at risk of forfeiting homes under new property law.

Macron sees Trump dropping Iran nuclear deal.

Iran's Khamenei urges Muslim nations to unite against U.S.: state TV.

Israel defence minister vows to strike any Iran 'military foothold' in Syria.

Iraqi PM takes election campaign to Kurdish capital.

Turkey faces 'new refugee wave' after nearly 30,000 Afghans arrive.

Turkish court sentences 14 journalists on terror charges.

HRW: Saudi Arabia executed 24 people for drug crimes this year.

Iran blocks video and images on Telegram messaging app.

ASIA

Hope for US trade visit to China: A delay in harmful tariffs.

Parents sue North Korea over death of detainee Otto Warmbier.

India-China summit expected to ease tensions over border.

China sends bombers around Taiwan in new show of force.

Korean leaders seek to control optics at historic summit.

Geologists find North Korea's nuclear site unusable after collapse.

Experts doubt N. Korea nuke test site collapse claims.

Pakistani court disqualifies foreign minister in new blow to ruling party.

Philippines expresses 'great displeasure' as abuse row with Kuwait deepens.

AFRICA

Ivory Coast to send 450 peacekeepers to C. Africa.

Cameroon forces retreat after attacks by separatists.

East Libya commander Haftar returning after treatment in Paris.

W.Africa faces security threat from herders-farmers violence: UN.

Rwandans shocked by discovery of genocide-era mass graves.

Ten aid workers go missing in South Sudan: U.N. official.

Tanzanian anti-government protests flop as Magufuli calls for peace.

Zimbabwe's fight with UK 'is over'.

EUROPE

Armenia to pick new PM next week as tide turns in protest leader's favor.

Tense Russia ties, Afghan peace hopes top NATO agenda.

Germany, France sign documents on joint weapons developments.

European Central Bank still confident despite slower growth.

US needs EU 'concessions' to extend steel, aluminum tariff exemptions: Trump aide.

Germany expects US metals tariffs to come into force May 1.

British Interior minister refuses to quit over immigrants' treatment.

Anger erupts in Spain over lesser sexual assault sentences.

Prince William to be Prince Harry's best man in wedding to Meghan Markle.

AMERICAS

Bill Cosby convicted of drugging and molesting a woman.

Senate approves Pompeo as US secretary of state.

US jobless claims lowest since 1969.

Migrant 'caravan' at U.S.-Mexico border prepares for mass crossing. US warns migrant 'caravan' against trying to enter.

Trump says Cohen represented him in Stormy Daniels deal.

Trump environment chief grilled by Congress amid ethics scandals.

'No decision' yet on Iran deal: Mattis.

Ronny Jackson withdraws from consideration for VA chief.

GOP advances proposal to change Senate rules.

Brazil debates da Silva jailing impact on presidential race.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Mattis expects 're-energized' effort against Islamic State in Syria.

Isis trying to foment a wave of migration to Europe, says UN official.

Exclusive: Inside an Afghan prison holding detained ISIL fighters.

US, coalition forces double airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria.


Qatari man held for 13 years over links to al-Qaida: I was tortured on US soil .

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street gains on strong earnings, tech resurgence.

Oil rises as concern heats up over Iran sanctions, Venezuelan output.

Chip wars - China closing in on second $19 billion semiconductor fund: sources.

Facebook to clearly label political advertising in Britain.

Exclusive Interview: President Trump on Fox & Friends



WNU Editor:
The full tanscript is here .... President Trump talks North Korea, Iran, Comey, Cohen, Dr. Ronny Jackson and Kanye West in 'Fox & Friends' interview (FOX News).

WNU Editor: The press is focusing on this part of President Trump's interview this morning .... Trump says he stayed overnight in Moscow during 2013 trip (The Hill). More here .... Trump Confirms He Stayed Overnight in Moscow During Infamous Miss Universe Pageant, Denies Telling Comey Otherwise (Newsweek), and here .... In long rant on 'Fox & Friends,' Trump acknowledges staying overnight in Moscow — alluding to the most salacious allegation in the Steele dossier (Business Insider). This is not news. President Trump's former bodyguard Keith Schiller himself (under oath) admitted that President Trump stayed in Moscow overnight last year .... and that nothing happened .... President Trump's Bodyguard Told Congressional Investigators He Rejected An Offer To Send Five Women To Trump In Moscow In 2013 (November 9, 2017). In fact .... the only one who has been pushing the narrative that President Trump did not stay in Moscow during this time is former FBI Director Comey himself in his memos, a claim that President Trump refuted (again) this morning.

Ukraine Marks The 32nd Anniversary Of The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster



RFE: Ukraine, Belarus Mark 32nd Anniversary Of Chernobyl Disaster

Ukraine is marking the 32nd anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on April 26 with a memorial service and a series of events in remembrance of the world's worst-ever civilian nuclear accident.

In neighboring Belarus, an opposition-organized event will also be held to commemorate the disaster.

In Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, hundreds of people marched at midnight to the Memorial Hill of Chernobyl Heroes where they laid flowers and lit candles. At 1 a.m. on April 26, an Orthodox service and a prayer to commemorate Chernobyl victims were performed at the site.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I was in China when this disaster broke out. I still shudder when I think about it. This is why I am skeptical when I hear advocates talk about nuclear energy as a clean solution to our current debate on finding alternative sources to carbon .... because I know it is not.

More News On Ukraine Marking The 32nd Anniversary Of The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

Ukraine says Chernobyl remains an 'open wound' 32 years on -- AFP
Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster 32 Years Ago: What You Need to Know -- Sputnik
When Will Chernobyl Be Livable? Facts on the Anniversary of the Soviet Nuclear Disaster -- Elana Glowatz, Newsweek
The True Cost of the Chernobyl Disaster Has Been Greater Than It Seems -- Time
19 stunning photos show what the radioactive area inside the Chernobyl nuclear plant looks like 32 years after the explosion -- Business Insider

Top Ukraine Gas Official Warns Of Conflict If Russia's Gazprom Stops Using Ukraine As A Gas Transit To Europe



112.UA: Conflict with Russia possible due to stop of gas transit via Ukraine, - Naftogaz sales manager

This could also have geopolitical consequences for the entire world, Yuriy Vitrenko says.

There's a danger that the shutdown of gas transit via the Ukrainian territory will increase the risk of a large-scale conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Yuriy Vitrenko, the sales manager of Naftogaz Ukraine company said this to 112 Ukraine TV channel in an interview.

'We are now making sure that European politicians are aware of this issue as well; they should realize not only the economic consequences of this for Ukraine but also geopolitical consequences for the entire world', he said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russian media is playing up on this Ukraine threat .... Kiev threatens Russia with ‘full-scale conflict’ if gas transit to Europe through Ukraine stops (RT). More here .... End of gas transit via Ukraine to have ‘geopolitical consequences’ — Naftogaz (TASS).What's my take .... this is just talk from one Ukraine official. But his concerns are justified .... Russia has made it very clear that they will not ship gas via through Ukraine by 2019. The loss in revenue .... and not being able to obtain gas at a reasonable rate .... is now at risk for the Ukraine government..

BREAKING NEWS: American Icon Bill Cosby Found Guilty Of Sexual Assault





New York Times: Bill Cosby Found Guilty of Sexual Assault After Years of Accusations

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — A jury found Bill Cosby guilty Thursday of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home near here 14 years ago, capping the downfall of one of the world’s best-known entertainers, and offering a measure of satisfaction to the dozens of women who for years have accused him of similar assaults against them.

On the second day of its deliberations at the Montgomery County Courthouse in this town northwest of Philadelphia, the jury returned to convict Mr. Cosby of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, at the time a Temple University employee he had mentored.

The three counts — penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant — are felonies, each punishable by up to 10 years in state prison, though the sentences could be served concurrently.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:
I have always enjoyed his work. Maybe some closure for the vicitims .... and a definite fall of an American icon.

Armenia News Updates -- April 26, 2018



Reuters: Armenia to pick new PM next week as tide turns in protest leader's favor

YEREVAN (Reuters) - Armenia will get a new prime minister next week after nearly two weeks of street protests, with opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, who has led the demonstrations, shaping up as the favorite.

The demonstrations, driven by public anger over perceived political cronyism and corruption, looked to have peaked on Monday when Serzh Sarksyan quit as prime minister.

But demonstrators have made clear they view the whole system tainted by his drive to shift power to the premier from the president. They want a sweeping political reconfiguration before ending their protests, which continued on Thursday.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Armenian government officials are travelling to Moscow to get their input .... Armenian foreign minister meets Russian counterpart for talks: Russia (Reuters). More here .... Armenia’s major cities gripped by opposition rallies (TASS). But Putin has made (so far) his position on Armenia very clear .... Putin to acting Armenian PM: Solve your political crisis via legal means - agencies (Reuters).

Armenia News Updates -- April 26, 2018

Armenian parliament backs holding vote on new PM next week -- AP
Armenia's Parliament To Vote For New Prime Minister On May 1 -- RFE
Armenia’s parliament sets date for prime minister vote -- DW
Protesters return to Armenia's streets after talks cancelled -- Al Jazeera
Armenia’s Ruling Party to Mull Replacing Leader, Open For Talks With Opposition -- Sputnik
Armenian MPs to elect new prime minister -- Politico.eu
Nikol Pashinyan shapes up as Armenia's next PM -- Al Jazeera
Russia to Steer Clear of Armenian Crisis, Opposition Leader Says -- Moscow Times
Armenia's 'Velvet Revolution' Prompts Comparisons With Ukraine, Georgia -- Henry Ridgwell, VOA
Armenia protests: What happens next? -- Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Does North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Brings His Own Toilet On Trips In Case His Enemies Steal His Excrement?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a cosmetics factory in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on October 28, 2017. KCNA/via Reuters

Newsweek: Kim Jong Un Brings His Own Toilet On Trips In Case His Enemies Steal His Excrement, Koreans Say

With less than 24 hours to go before the first meeting between North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, officials of the two countries are working to ensure any and all of the leaders' needs are taken care of.

In Kim's case, one specific concern is where the autocrat will be able to relieve himself of the tension surrounding such historical moments. Despite the myth of his ancestors' god-like origins, Kim too is human and needs a restroom—and while some may pack a few toiletries ahead of a trip, Kim has a whole private toilet that travels everywhere he goes, a North Korean defector told The Washington Post.

Read more ....

Update: Kim Jong-un will bring his own toilet with him to the Koreas summit (Quartz)

WNU editor: On a side note, this is an interesting article .... Understanding Kim: Inside the U.S. effort to profile the secretive North Korean leader (Reuters).

Who Does North Korea's Leader Kim Jong-un Trust The Most?

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Reuters

BBC: North and South Korea summit: The people Kim trusts the most

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un will be bringing an elite group of confidantes and advisers along with him when he crosses into South Korea.

The South say it has never hosted such a senior delegation from Pyongyang. This is the third inter-Korean summit, but this time it is also a prelude to a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. No sitting US president has ever met a North Korean leader.

So who does Kim trust the most as he heads into uncharted diplomatic waters?

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Who do I think he confides to .... number one will be his sister. Number two would be Ri Su-yong .... who has been close to the family for decades. Not on the list .... but should be .... are the intelligence officers responsible for his security detail.

Commentaries And Analysis On Tomorrow's Historic DMZ Summit


Virginia Harrison, BBC: Korean talks: What will come from Kim-Moon meeting?

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet on Friday in an act of diplomacy not seen for more than a decade.

This rare dialogue comes after months of improving relations between the two countries and will pave the way to proposed talks between the United States and North Korea.

Denuclearisation and peace on the peninsula will top the agenda. While analysts are sceptical Pyongyang will agree to give up its nuclear weapons, the summit carries promise for both Koreas. Each side has other problems - like sanctions and separated families - they're likely to bring to the negotiating table.

Read more ....

Commentaries And Analysis On Tomorrow's Historic DMZ Summit

Rival Koreas’ leaders face high stakes at historic summit -- Foster Klug, AP
Kim Jong Un walks south to meet his rival: Can they deal? -- Foster Klug, AP
What To Expect From Friday's Summit Between North And South Korea -- NPR
Inter-Korean Summit to Set Agenda to Remove Nukes -- Brian Padden, VOA
Rival Koreas' leaders face high stakes at historic summit -- The Guardian/Canada Press
Kim Jong-un will use nuclear weapons to push for more from West, ex-South Korean negotiator says -- Lee Jeong-ho and Minnie Chan, SCMP
From brink of war to hopes of peace: Kim Jong Un heads south for summit -- Ben Westcott and Joshua Berlinger, CNN
Could the Korean talks help resolve decades of conflict? -- James Bays, Al Jazeera
Venue for Koreas summit a symbol of division -- Hyung-Jin Kim, AP
Korea talks: What does China have to gain or lose from a potentially reunified Korean Peninsula? -- Michael Walsh, ABC News Online
Kim, Moon summit is only the third between divided Koreas -- AP
In South Korea, young and old have very different views on the possibility of peace with the North -- Matthew Carney, ABC News Online
A look at 2 leaders in the inter-Korean summit talks -- AP
North and South Korea: how different are they? -- Caroline Schmitt, DW
Armistice and axe murders - Korea's DMZ summit site full of diplomatic, military history -- Hyonhee Shin, Reuters

North And South Korea Prepare For Historic DMZ Summit On Friday



BBC: Kim Jong-un to meet Moon Jae-in at Korean border for summit

Kim Jong-un is set to become the first North Korean leader to cross into South Korean territory since the end of the Korean War in 1953, as final details are put in place for the summit.

South Korea said President Moon Jae-in would personally meet Mr Kim at the border at 09:30 (00:30 GMT) on Friday.

The historic summit will focus on the North's recent indications it could be willing to give up its nuclear weapons.

Talks are also proposed between Mr Kim and US President Trump by early June.

Mr Kim is set to cross the military demarcation line - a clearly defined marker of the official land border between the territories. He will, however, remain within the Demilitarised Zone.

Read more ....

More News On Tomorrow's Historic DMZ Summit

South, North Korea to hold historic first summit in decade at DMZ -- Reuters
Korean leaders seek to control optics at historic summit -- AP
Kim Jong-un will meet President Moon on the border between South and North Korea tomorrow in the first summit between the two sides in more than a decade -- Daily Mail
South, North Korea leaders gear up for historic DMZ summit on Friday -- TASS
Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in set for historic meeting -- Al Jazeera
South Korea Has Planned Kim Jong Un's Visit To A Crazy Level Of Detail -- Huffington Post
Seoul expects Korea summit to produce signed agreement -- UPI
Cautious optimism ahead of Korea summit -- Philip Andrew Churm, Euronews
Fortified border village of Panmunjom prepares for Korean summit -- UPI
South, North Korea could set up joint office after summit -- UPI
South Korea to hit pause on Friday to soak in historic summit -- Reuters

World News Briefs -- April 26, 2018

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had testified before that Iran was in compliance and it was in U.S. national security interest to remain in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which Trump has criticized as one of the worst deals in history. Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner

VOA: Mattis: No Decision Yet on US Withdrawal From Iran Deal

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says there has been no decision made on any U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement but Washington is working with its European allies to see if there are ways to improve the pact.

"The decision has not been made whether we can repair it enough to stay in it, or if the president is going to decide to withdraw from it," Mattis told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Chemical inspectors reach second site of Douma 'gas attack'.

10m Syrians at risk of forfeiting homes under new property law.

Macron sees Trump dropping Iran nuclear deal.

Iran's Khamenei urges Muslim nations to unite against U.S.: state TV.

Israel defence minister vows to strike any Iran 'military foothold' in Syria.

Iraqi PM takes election campaign to Kurdish capital.

Turkey faces 'new refugee wave' after nearly 30,000 Afghans arrive.

Turkish court sentences 14 journalists on terror charges.

HRW: Saudi Arabia executed 24 people for drug crimes this year.

Iran blocks video and images on Telegram messaging app.

ASIA

India-China summit expected to ease tensions over border.

China sends bombers around Taiwan in new show of force.

Korean leaders seek to control optics at historic summit.

Geologists find North Korea's nuclear site unusable after collapse.

Experts doubt N. Korea nuke test site collapse claims.

Pakistani court disqualifies foreign minister in new blow to ruling party.

Philippines expresses 'great displeasure' as abuse row with Kuwait deepens.

AFRICA

Cameroon forces retreat after attacks by separatists.

East Libya commander Haftar returning after treatment in Paris.

W.Africa faces security threat from herders-farmers violence: UN.

Rwandans shocked by discovery of genocide-era mass graves.

Ten aid workers go missing in South Sudan: U.N. official.

Tanzanian anti-government protests flop as Magufuli calls for peace.

Zimbabwe's fight with UK 'is over'.

EUROPE

Armenia to pick new PM next week as tide turns in protest leader's favor.

Tense Russia ties, Afghan peace hopes top NATO agenda.

Germany, France sign documents on joint weapons developments.

European Central Bank still confident despite slower growth.

Germany expects US metals tariffs to come into force May 1.

British Interior minister refuses to quit over immigrants' treatment.

Anger erupts in Spain over lesser sexual assault sentences.

Prince William to be Prince Harry's best man in wedding to Meghan Markle.

AMERICAS

Migrant 'caravan' at U.S.-Mexico border prepares for mass crossing. US warns migrant 'caravan' against trying to enter.

Trump says Cohen represented him in Stormy Daniels deal.

Trump environment chief grilled by Congress amid ethics scandals.

'No decision' yet on Iran deal: Mattis.

Ronny Jackson withdraws from consideration for VA chief.

GOP advances proposal to change Senate rules.

Brazil debates da Silva jailing impact on presidential race.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Isis trying to foment a wave of migration to Europe, says UN official.

Exclusive: Inside an Afghan prison holding detained ISIL fighters.

US, coalition forces double airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria.


Qatari man held for 13 years over links to al-Qaida: I was tortured on US soil .

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Oil rises as concern heats up over Iran sanctions, Venezuelan output.

Chip wars - China closing in on second $19 billion semiconductor fund: sources.

Facebook to clearly label political advertising in Britain.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 26, 2018

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

FOX News: John Bolton says National Security Council staff changes are coming, and some employees aren't happy

National security adviser John Bolton has informed National Security Council employees that staff changes are imminent, including an influx of new people and a reorganization, a Trump administration source told Fox News on Wednesday.

In a memo sent by Bolton on Wednesday morning, he informed staffers that the changes could include combining higher-level director positions.

The source said that while some at the National Security Council (NSC) welcome Bolton's changes, the news will upset many White House staffers who are overworked and overwhelmed as a result of the administration's mercurial foreign policy. The source added that it is possible that skilled NSC staffers will leave their posts as a result of the changes, making it hard to attract other potential staffers.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 26, 2018

China's first homegrown aircraft carrier is a sign of the country's military aspirations -- CNBC

Report: China developing 'invisibility cloak' for non-stealth jets -- UPI

China Puts 'Guam Killer' Missile Into Service Amid Ongoing Drills Near Taiwan -- Sputnik

Russia, China to hold joint naval drills in Yellow Sea -- TASS

Russian Navy to get improved Borei-class nuclear submarine in 2019 -- TASS

Tupolev-22M3M long-range bomber to make first flight in August -- TASS

Russia claims it has a US Tomahawk cruise missile and will use it to improve its own weapons -- CNBC

Pentagon Says 'No Verifiable Proof' Russia Got Hold of Tomahawk Missiles -- Sputnik

Turkey awards multibillion-dollar contract for indigenous Altay tank -- Defense News

Turkey Shrugs Off US Attempts to Link S-400 Deal With Russia to F-35 Supplies -- Sputnik

Airbus, Dassault to develop new European fighter jet -- Defense News/AP

No stealth? No problem ― Eurofighter makes its pitch against F-35 in Berlin -- Defense News

Modernizing NATO’s Nuclear Capabilities Must Outweigh Industrial Base Considerations -- RCD

U.S.-Thai Anti-Submarine Exercise Kicks Off -- The Diplomat

Pentagon Aims to Reverse Loss of US Military Advantage to Russia - Mattis -- Sputnik

House subpanel recommends buying three more ships than Navy requested -- The Hill

Lawmakers planning hearings over deadly Niger attack -- The Hill

Marine Corps Arms Osprey - Tests Guns, Rockets & Missiles -- Warrior Maven

Boeing confirms SuperHornet production could extend well into the next decade -- Jane's 360

Lockheed’s $31 Billion Helicopter Slipping Behind Schedule, Pentagon Says -- Bloomberg

Lockheed Martin wins F-35 software sustainment contract -- UPI

House lawmakers move to stop Air Force from canceling JSTARS recap -- Defense News

First fire of 2018: US Air Force tests Minuteman III ICBM in California (VIDEO) -- RT

Raytheon to provide AMRAAM missiles for foreign military sales -- UPI

These two drones are leaders in accident rates. How is the US Army responding? -- Defense News

The Pentagon Is Making a Ray Gun to Stop Truck Attacks -- Defense One

House subpanel pushes for space reforms after Trump calls for 'space force' -- The Hill

'Space Force' Study to Be Ready by August: DoD Official -- DoD Buzz

House subcommittee tackles military pilots' oxygen issues in defense bill -- The Hill

Defense industry needs 5 percent annual budget growth to stay healthy, says new AIA report -- Defense News

Military sex assault reports jump 10 percent -- Military Times/AP

Sex assault reports in military up 10 percent: report -- The Hill

Ronny Jackson withdraws nomination for VA secretary
-- UPI

House Armed Services Committee wants 2.6 percent military pay raise, more troops -- The Hill

Iran’s Navy Commander Threatens To Sink U.S. Ships



Times of Israel: Iran’s navy commander threatens to sink US ships

Admiral Ali Fadavi says Americans will land in a 'catastrophic situation,' amid escalating rhetoric over endangered nuclear deal.

A top Iranian general has threatened to sink the United States Navy’s ships, warning that the US would find itself in a “catastrophic situation” amid an ongoing war of words between the countries over the possibility President Donald Trump’s could exit a landmark nuclear deal.

“The actual information that the Americans have about us is much less than what they think they have. When will they figure this out? When it is too late,” the Revolutionary Guard Corps’s navy commander, Admiral Ali Fadavim, told Iranian television on Saturday.

Read more ....

Update: Iranian Naval Commander Threatens To Sink US Ships, Create "Catastrophic Situation" If Trump Kills Deal (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: Iran’s supreme leader is now calling on Muslim nations to unite against the United States .... Iran's Khamenei urges Muslim nations to unite against U.S.: state TV (Reuters).

B-52s Practice Attacking China

Posts by Aircraft Spots about the path of two US B-52 bombers. Photo: Twitter

Asia Times: US B-52 bombers fly close to Guangdong coast

Rarely had US strategic bombers been seen above waters so close to the Chinese shore.

A pair of US B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers reportedly flew within 250 kilometers of Guangdong’s coastline in southern China on Tuesday afternoon, according to Taiwan media and Aircraft Spots, a Twitter group that tracks aircraft movement and the deployment of the US Air Force.

The two long-range bombers, bearing registration numbers 57-1454 and 60-0360 with call signs HERO01 and HERO02, were spotted above the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines and were believed to have come from the US outpost of Guam.

The bombers flew westward into the northern portion of the South China Sea and circled for about an hour above the Pratas Islands controlled by Taiwan, about 340 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong, before following another zigzag path back to the Kadena Air Base in the US territory, as shown in flight tracks posted by Aircraft Spots. It is also believed that the two bombers conducted air-to-air refueling near Okinawa.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese are not intimidated .... China's Air Force holds training flights around rival Taiwan (ABC News/AP). More here .... China warns of more action after military drills near Taiwan (Reuters|.

The Pentagon Has Classified A Study That Outlines The Challenges That The F-35 Faces In The Pacific

An F-35 undergoes transonic testing, producing shockwaves. The Pentagon stopped delivery of new aircraft last year when it found corrosion at the point where carbon fibre panels joined the aluminium airframe. Picture: US DoDSource:Supplied

Bloomberg: Pentagon Classifies Study of F-35 Jet’s Challenges in Pacific

  * Lessons learned not being shared well with other services: GAO
  * Jet seen as bolstering U.S. forces in case of Korea conflict

The Pentagon classified an assessment of the major challenges the Marine Corps encountered in deploying the U.S.’s first F-35 jets to the Pacific, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

An unclassified version of the study released on Wednesday suggests the problems with the Lockheed Martin Corp. fighter -- which would bolster U.S. capabilities in case of a conflict with North Korea -- could be significant, touching on both critical software and supply chain issues.

“While the Marine Corps recognizes the advanced warfighting capabilities the F-35 will bring to the Pacific, it is facing challenges operating in the area,” according to the unclassified version. “In particular, it is uncertain how long the F-35 can effectively operate” if its software-intensive maintenance diagnostic system -- critical for keeping the jets flying -- “becomes disconnected from the aircraft,” according to the report.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Aussies are not amused that this report is now classified .... F-35 troubles: Pentagon refuses to accept new aircraft as its makes problem report ‘Top Secret’ (News.com.au).

The unclassified version of the report is here .... Document: Pentagon Not Sharing Operational Lessons from F-35 Deployment (USNI News)

More Bad News On The F-35 Program

F-35 deployment to Japan hit with sustainment problems - Flight Global
GAO: Bad Communication on F-35 Problems Threatens Future Deployments -- DoD Buzz
The Air Force, Navy and Marines Won't Share Key F-35 Data with Each Other -- National Interest
Document: Pentagon Not Sharing Operational Lessons from F-35 Deployment -- USNI News

The F-35 Is Still Losing Dogfights 'Sometimes'

© US Air Force, Airman 1st Class Isaac Johnson

Business Insider: F-35s in Japan are still losing dogfights to F-15s sometimes — here's why

* F-35s dogfighting against Cold War-era F-15 fighter jets still sometimes lose, according to a new report.
* The F-35 has been plagued by reports that it can't dogfight for years, but experts say that's not really the purpose of the new jet.
* Instead, F-35s stealth features mean they'll do most of their fighting unseen, and that something has gone wrong if they forfeit their stealth advantage by fighting up close.
* But as F-35 software, tactics, and pilots develop, the jet may soon start to beat older planes designed specifically to kill anything that flies.

The most expensive weapons system in history, the US's F-35 Lightning II, is still sometimes losing to the 1970s F-15 in dogfights during training scenarios in Japan.

US Air Force F-15 pilot Capt. Brock McGehee, when asked by Defense News if the F-35s at Kadena Air Force base in Japan still sometimes lost to the Cold War-era fighters, said "I mean, sometimes."

The F-35 has long been plagued by reports of that it can't dogfight as well as older, much cheaper jets, despite being in development for nearly two decades and claiming to revolutionize air combat.

Read more ....

Update #1: How is the F-35 improving its dogfighting skills in Japan? (Defense News)
Update #2: F-35 Still Loses Dogfights Against Cold War-Era F-15s in Exercises (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: The argument that is being used is that "dogfighting" is now dead. Enemy aircraft will be destroyed by missiles long before they can encounter each other face to face. Ok .... but that is making one massive assuption that the enemy will be playing that type of game.