Sunday, June 26, 2016

Senior Iraqi Commander Claims To Have Completely Liberated Fallujah



Reuters: Iraqi commander declares defeat of Islamic State in Falluja

Iraqi forces recaptured the last district held by Islamic State militants in the city of Falluja on Sunday and the general commanding the operation declared the battle complete after nearly five weeks of fighting.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi claimed victory in Falluja more than a week ago, but clashes continued inside the city west of Baghdad, including in its central Golan district.

The assault is part of a wider offensive by Iraqi forces against Islamic State which seized swathes of territory in the country in 2014. A U.S.-led coalition has been supporting the offensive, mostly in the form of air strikes.

Read more ....

More News On The Liberation Of Fallujah

Iraqi commander: Fallujah 'fully liberated' from IS -- AP
Iraqi army declares Fallujah 'fully liberated' from Islamic State -- The Telegraph
Iraqi Official: Fallujah 'Fully Liberated' -- VOA
Fallujah declared 'fully liberated' from Isis by senior Iraqi army commander -- The Independent
Iraqi forces say Fallujah 'fully liberated' -- DW
Fallujah ‘fully liberated, battle over’ - commander of anti-ISIS op in Iraq -- RT
Iraqi army claims liberation of Fallujah from ISIL -- Al Jazeera
‘The battle for Fallujah is over,’ announces military rep -- RUDAW

Tweet For Today

Who Killed The Military Commander Of Hezbollah?

Mustafa Badreddine. Reuters

Shane Harris, Daily Beast: Who Really Killed a Playboy Terrorist?

One of the world’s most wanted terrorists met a fiery death last month. The mystery over who killed him is now an international guessing game—with the prime suspects in Washington.
Plenty of people wanted Mustafa Badreddine dead.

There were the Saudis, who blamed him for terror attacks in the kingdom and against its allies abroad.

The Israelis had already once tried to assassinate Badreddine, the military commander of Hezbollah and one of the most important and powerful figures in the organization.

Even Badreddine’s own Hezbollah brethren were said to have their knives out, feuding with the storied militant over where the group should devote its resources: Towards attacks against its longstanding enemy, Israel, or on the battlefields of Syria, where Badreddine had been commanding around 6,000 men in an all-out effort to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Some Hezbollah figures had also chastised Badreddine as an easily distracted womanizer who had developed a taste for the high-life, dining in fine restaurants and tooling around Lebanon in a Mercedes.

Read more ....

WNU editor: Hezbollah is still trying to recover from this assassination .... Hezbollah reorganizing after the death of Badreddine (Ya Liban).

Picture Of The Day

Moscow residents listen to the June 22 government radio announcement on the treacherous invasion of Nazi Germany. "Our case is just. The enemy shall be defeated. Victory will be ours," Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov ended his speech to the Soviet people announcing the news of the war at 12:15 p.m. (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: I forgot that it was 75 years ago that Germany invaded the Soviet Union. This was always a special day for my father. He was in Kiev on the first day of the war, 19 years old and in university. He witnessed the German aerial bombing of Kiev, and after that he ran to his hometown south of Kiev to his parents where he then heard Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov announce that the Soviet Union Was at war. For more photos on the start of the Great Patriotic War, go here.

More U.S. Troops To Iraq?

American trainers take a break as they train Iraqi soldiers on approaching and clearing buildings north of Baghdad, on January 7, 2015 ©Ahmad Al-Rubaye (AFP/File)

CNN: Hundreds of new U.S. troops to Iraq a 'possibility'

(CNN)The Obama administration is "not ruling out the possibility" of sending hundreds of additional troops to Iraq this fall to help train, advise and assist Iraqi forces as they get ready for a potential assault on Mosul, according to a senior U.S. official.

And while officials won't publicly confirm it, there have been several meetings to begin to determine if more troops are needed for the upcoming battle for Iraq's second-largest city and what those troops might do to affect the battle.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, by all accounts has not yet asked for more troops, several U.S. officials told CNN.

"He engaged with dialogue up through his chain of command where he thinks there might be an area where we might require an increase in capability, and I use that word 'capability' because it can be a rash of forms," said British Army Maj. Gen. Doug Chalmers, deputy commander for strategy in the U.S.-led coalition, in a news briefing for Pentagon reporters.

Read more ....

Update #1: Obama’s generals want more U.S. troops in Iraq (Josh Rogin, Washington Post)
Update #2: US military leaders discuss extra troops in Iraq: official (AFP)

WNU Editor: This has been nothing more but mission creep for the past two years.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Is Grexit Next?



BBC: Nervous Greeks worry Brexit may lead to Grexit

In many respects Greece has more reason than the UK to be angry with the European Union, and to want to leave.

Its people and government are embittered by the imposition of harsh austerity measures by the EU and IMF.

Those bailout conditions have brought years of deep recession and high unemployment, but have done little to reduce Greece's huge debt burden.

And as a frontline country in the migrant crisis, Greece feels let down by Brussels and EU member states, in its struggle to cope with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants over the past 18 months.

The anger shows in a pan-European survey published by the Pew Research Center earlier this month, in which Greeks top the table in their response to many of the questions asked.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If it was not for the fact that Greece is completely dependent on the EU for debt servicing and assistance .... they would be voting out of the EU right now. But Greece is broke and it is dependent on the EU for assistance .... hence do not expect a Grexit initiative anytime soon.

More News On Greece And Its membership In The EU

Brexit: Referendum results met with stunned surprise in Greece -- The National
Tsipras blames Brexit on austerity, deficiencies in EU leadership -- Reuters
A year after Grexit scare, Greece faces Brexit fallout -- DW
Is Grexit Next After Brexit? Greek Stock Market Leads Europe In Losses After British Referendum -- IBTimes
Grexit Fears Back on the Table After Brexit -- Greek Reporter

EU Leaders Tell Britain To Expedite Its Exit From The EU (Updated)



New York Times: European Leaders Tell a Dazed Britain to Get Going on ‘Brexit’

LONDON — With British politics in turmoil, there were already clear indications on Saturday of a tense and bickering divorce from the European Union.

Britons woke up to a diminished currency and much confusion about the consequences of their vote on Thursday to quit the European Union, including who would be their next prime minister. The leaders of the campaign to exit the bloc, or “Brexit,” continued to disagree over what kind of relationship they wanted with Europe, and thousands of Britons started signing a petition asking for a second referendum.

Meeting in Berlin, European leaders told Britain to hurry up and begin the formal process of exiting the union, while Prime Minister David Cameron said that process could wait until his replacement was chosen in October and leaders of the “Leave” campaign suggested it could come even later, after a new round of talks with Brussels.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Britain is the second largest economy in the EU .... its abrupt departure without a proper procedure will devastate the British economy .... and the economy of the EU. Not surprising .... German Chancellor Angela Merkel is telling everyone to back-off .... Merkel signals sober separation from EU 'partner' Britain (Reuters). This German reaction also tells me that there are deep divisions within the EU itself on how to approach Britain .... EU Reaction to Brexit Suggests Divisions (WSJ).

More News On EU Leaders Telling Britain To Expedite Its Exit From The EU

U.K. Must Leave EU as Soon as Possible, EU Foreign Ministers Say -- Bloomberg
EU Leaders Want Britain Out 'As Soon As Possible' -- VOA
EU politicians are shutting down the Brexiteers' plan to leave the bloc when they think is best -- Reuters
EU governments pile pressure on UK to leave as soon as possible -- The Guardian
European ministers tell Britain to trigger Article 50 and choose new PM ‘within days’ -- Express

Has Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini Died?

Ayatollah Khamenei has no appointed heir. Caren Firouz/Reuters

WNU Editor: I have been reading persistent reports on social media and Middle Eastern news websites (the comment thread) that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini has died. None of the International wire services are carrying it ... and Iranian media .... Press TV, Fars News Agency, Tasnim News Agency are still quiet. Is this report is true? I will have to say no. If Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini was dead .... this news would be on Iranian TV within the hour (if not sooner). But .... these reports are still making the rounds.

Hezbollah Vows To Send More Fighters to Syria



Voice of America: Lebanon's Hezbollah Vows to Send More Fighters to Syria

The leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah movement said Friday that the group would send more fighters to Syria to support the Damascus government.

Hassan Nasrallah declared in a speech that he was sending reinforcements to Aleppo province, where he said the "greatest" battle of the civil war was taking place.

"We will increase our presence in Aleppo," Nasrallah said. "Retreat is not permissible."

In a rare admission of casualties, Nasrallah also said 26 Hezbollah fighters who had arrived in Aleppo earlier were killed this month.

Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops. Last month, a top militant commander, Mustafa Badreddine, was killed in an explosion in Syria.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah also admitted the following in Saturday's speech .... Hezbollah leader confirms all financial support coming from Iran (RUDAW)

More News On Hezbollah Vowing To Send More Fighters to Syria

Hezbollah to send more fighters to Syria's Aleppo -- Reuters
Hezbollah vows to send more fighters to Syria’s Aleppo -- AP
Fight for Aleppo ‘Greatest Battle’ in Syria: Hezbollah Chief -- AFP
S. Nasrallah: Hezbollah Will Reinforce Troops in Aleppo to Achieve Major Victory -- Al-Manar

U.S. Begins Air Strikes Against The Taliban Under New Rules Of Engagement


Voice of America: Taliban Vows Retaliation as US Resumes Afghan Airstrikes

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Afghanistan's Taliban said Saturday that it would strongly retaliate for the resumption of U.S. airstrikes against the insurgent group, and it rejected assertions that bombing operations ever paused.

The U.S. military began anti-Taliban air raids in the last week, but it has declined to provide details.

The move came just days after President Barack Obama expanded the authorities under which U.S. troops in Afghanistan can attack insurgents; attacks can now proceed as long as they help the Afghan offensive succeed.

Read more ....

More News On Expanded U.S. Air Strikes Against The Taliban

U.S. strikes Afghan Taliban targets, in debut of broader role -- Reuters
US launches first airstrikes against Afghan Taliban -- FOX News/AP
US Hits Afghan Taliban With First Strikes Under New Authorities -- VOA
Pentagon confirms airstrikes in Afghanistan under new guidelines -- UPI
U.S. Renews Strategic Air Strikes Against Afghan Taliban -- RFE
Pentagon acknowledges new airstrikes in Afghanistan -- USA Today
First US raids target Afghan Taliban since Obama order -- Al Jazeera

Is This The Reason Why British Prime Minister Cameron Decided To Quit Politics?

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron attends an Armed Forces Day National Event (AFDNE) at Cleethorpes in Britain June 25, 2016. Owen Cooban/MOD Crown Copyright/Handout via REUTERS

Daily Mail: 'Why should I do the hard s***?' Cameron 'told aides he'd rather quit now than spend six months working on Brexit only to hand over to rival'

* David Cameron made his resignation speech on Friday morning after vote
* New leader could face immediate challenge of keeping Scotland in the UK
* Boris Johnson has now put himself in a good position to be his successor
* But senior Tories are scrambling to stop the ex-Mayor seizing the crown
* Campaign sources blamed No 10 for being reluctant to attack Boris

David Cameron asked his aides 'why should I do the hard s***' as he prepared his resignation, it emerged today as a shocked Britain reflected on the shock Brexit vote.

The departing Prime Minister reportedly told members of his inner circle that he would rather hand over control sooner than spend time negotiating Britain's tricky exit from the EU.

As he got ready to resign early yesterday morning, Mr Cameron then thanked his aides, many of whom have been by his side throughout his 11 years as Conservative leader and six at No 10.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: After creating this mess .... he has now decided to wash his hands of the whole thing and walk away. This is not my definition of a leader .... and it is now easy to understand why his campaign to keep Britain in the EU .... which should have been an easy one .... failed.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials On Brexit -- June 25, 2016



Al Jazeera/Inside Story: What's the future of the UK in the wake of Brexit?

A majority of British voters have opted to leave the European Union.

The United Kingdom has decided to become the first major economy to leave the 28-member state of the European Union.

It is the culmination of four months of bitter campaigning that has exposed deep rifts in British society.

But it is also the result of years of scepticism about the EU in the UK, where Brussels and EU officials are often perceived as unaccountable political elite, who have too much power over the lives of British people.

That is a statement disputed by those who campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU. But this vote was as much about emotion and disillusionment with the status quo, as it was about Britain's future in the EU.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials On Brexit -- June 25, 2016

Is Britain ready for Brexit? -- Ross Hawkins, BBC
Post Brexit, Britain still torn between nationalism and global leadership -- Harold Evans, Reuters
Brexit: A Very British Revolution -- Fraser Evans, WSJ
Now that Britain wants out, EU must figure out how to do it -- AP
How Europe should respond to Brexit -- Rosa Balfour, CNN
Brexit: What is Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and how will it affect Britain? -- Evening Standard
After Brexit vote, what Britain must do next -- Peter Apps, Reuters
Brexit - the chaos that will be felt around the world -- John lloyd, Reuters
Nexit, Frexit or Italeave? British vote fires up EU's 'Outers' -- Dominic Evans and Marion Dunai, Reuters
Brexit: 'EU can no longer cope with its crises' -- Interview: Volker Wagener, DW
How David Cameron could have avoided an EU Leave vote -- Henry Mance and Jim Pickard, Financial Times
Humbled by his arrogance: A highly able leader who rescued the economy, Cameron was ultimately ruined by a lack of conviction, poor judgement and a weakness for Etonian cronies -- Max Hastings, Daily Mail
Complacency and premature celebrations in the Number 10 bunker turned to panic - then tears -- Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
Get Ready for the Age of Boris -- Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph
Brexit: Boris Johnson launches pitch to be the Prime Minister that leads Britain out of Europe -- Oliver Wright, The Independent
Britain’s Democratic Failure -- Kenneth Rogoff, Project Syndicate
Fear and Loathing in Britain: Brexit Is an Act of Deliberate Self-Mutilation -- Christoph Scheuermann, Spiegel Online
EU rhetoric has been counter-productive -- Independent editorial
Britain and the EU: A tragic split -- The Economist
The Day the British People Defied Their Jailers -- Tim Stanley, Telegraph
The English have placed a bomb under the Irish peace process -- Fintan O'Toole, The Guardian
Arab perspectives on Brexit -- Al Jazeera
Brexit: These countries could be next now that Britain has left the EU -- Sydney Morning Herald
Brexit a 'Wake-up Call' and 'End of a World' for Global Leaders -- ABC News
News Analysis: Reforms urgently needed for EU post-Brexit -- Shuai Rong, Zhao Xiaona, Liang Linlin, New China
Anti-establishment tsunami sweeps Europe -- Ray Sanchez and Amanda Wills, CNN
Behind the support for Brexit and Trump: Economic resentment -- AP
Google search spike suggests people don't know why they Brexited -- Rich McCormick, Verge

The Impact Of Brexit On NATO And National Security



Christopher C. Chivvis: The Future of Transatlantic Security

Britain has voted to leave the European Union – what does that mean for transatlantic defense and security?

The United Kingdom's vote to leave the E.U. is a severe blow to the E.U.'s long-standing interest in building a common foreign and defense policy and could pose questions for NATO. Yet the impact of "Brexit" on practical cooperation – both between the U.K. and Europe and the U.K. and the United States – should be more limited, at least in the near term.

Brexit has no direct effect on NATO, but news of the referendum undoubtedly buoyed spirits in the Kremlin today, where leaders will view it as confirmation that Europe is weak and disunited. This could encourage a more aggressive Russian stance against NATO in the future.

Read more ....

More News On The Impact Of Brexit On NATO And National Security

NATO Secretary General’s statement on the outcome of the British referendum on the EU -- NATO
NATO chief says post-Brexit alliance 'more important than ever' -- The Hill
NATO Says UK To Stay 'Strong' Ally Despite Brexit -- AFP
France fears Brexit consequences for EU defense capability -- Reuters
'We've NOT withdrawn from the world': Michael Fallon insists Britain is committed to Nato and will keep helping Europe stand up to Russia with RAF jets and UK soldiers -- Daily Mail
In Defense, United Technologies Most At Risk From Brexit: Citi -- Barrons
For Defense Firms, Brexit Could Be Europe’s Sequester -- Defense one
Obama and NATO Respond to Britain’s Decision to Leave EU -- Epoch Times
How To Keep Britain’s Global Power Post-Brexit -- Colin Clark, Breaking Defense
What ‘Brexit’ Means for National Security -- Paul D. Shinkman, US News and World Report
'Brexit' Could Trigger Defense Cuts, Report Claims -- Andrew Chuter, Defense News
Post-Brexit Defense Policy -- Kori Schake, Foreign Policy
How Brexit Challenges U.S. Security -- Dov S. Zakheim, National Interest
Brexit Could Be a Blow for US National Security and Global Privacy -- Timothy Edgar, Lawfare
After the Brexit, What's Next for Defense? -- Andrew Chuter, Defense news

Brexit News Updates -- June 25, 2016



Daily Mail: 'It's not going to be an amicable divorce - it wasn't exactly a tight love affair anyway:' EU leaders tell Britain to 'urgently' trigger formal process to leave Brussels (after a VERY continental breakfast)

* Top officials from EU's founding fathers stage emergency summit in Berlin
* EU chief Jean Claude Juncker warns that Britain's exit won't be 'amicable'
* European leaders want talks to start 'immediately' to ensure swift separation
* Newspapers across Europe reacted with shock at EU referendum result
* French newspaper Liberation front page simply read: 'Good luck' alongside the famous photo of Boris Johnson stuck on a zip wire
* French government wants Cameron replaced with new PM within days

Furious European leaders today told Britain it must 'urgently' trigger the formal process of leaving the EU today, despite David Cameron insisting the Government will wait until October.

As they scrambled to save the EU project at an emergency meeting in Berlin, the foreign ministers from the six founding member states increased the pressure on the UK Government to enter talks over the complex process of separation immediately.

They also discussed plans to combat the contagion of Britain's historic Brexit vote spreading across Europe over fears that Britain's departure threatens the future of the EU altogether.

Read more ....

Brexit News Updates -- June 25, 2016

EU Referendum/Brexit: Live -- BBC
The Latest: Danish PM urges EU to pay attention to skeptics -- AP

World adjusts to Brexit vote after initial shock -- DW
Anti-Brexit protests break out on London streets after petition for a SECOND EU referendum hits 1.5million names in a day -- Daily Mail
Britain, EU at odds over timing of divorce talks -- AP
Germany, France press Britain for quick EU divorce -- Reuters
Brexit referendum: EU ministers press UK for quick exit -- BBC
EU Ministers Call On Britain To Quickly Start Exit Process -- RFE
Let’s get this over with: Founding EU members want quick divorce from UK -- RT
Brexit: EU push for UK to leave 'as soon as possible' -- Al Jazeera
Founding EU members talk Brexit in Berlin -- DW
Merkel says 'no need to be nasty' in leaving talks -- BBC
Merkel calls Brexit 'a watershed for Europe' -- DW
Merkel calls for sober EU divorce talks with 'partner' Britain -- Reuters
Global Markets Lose $2 Trillion As 'Brexit' Raises Economic Fears -- RFE
Brexit strips world’s 400 richest people of $127bn - Bloomberg -- RT
Carney Pledges $345 Billion to Fund First Line of Brexit Defense -- Bloomberg
British brace for economic repercussions of EU exit decision -- AP
Rating agency Moody's CUTS British credit outlook to 'negative' as European finance ministers say Brexit will limit British banks' access to EU markets -- Daily Mail
EU referendum: Moody's cut UK's credit outlook to 'negative' -- BBC
'This was a huge surprise' - Europe's reaction to the EU referendum result -- BBC
European Commission says after Brexit vote: Scotland part of UK -- Reuters
Sturgeon pledges to 'protect' Scottish EU interests -- BBC
Scotland seeks to remain in EU, ready for new independence vote -- Reuters
Irish unity vote for later, not now: foreign minister -- Reuters
Sinn Fein calls for Irish unity poll as Brexit fallout begins -- Reuters
Slovakian far right party launches petition for referendum on EU membership -- Reuters
A year after Grexit scare, Greece faces Brexit fallout -- DW
Erdogan threatens to hold EU bid referendum unless Turkey gets visa-free travel -- RT
Russia Revels In Brexit Vote -- RFE
Brexit: Spain calls for joint control of Gibraltar -- BBC
Brexit: Right-wing leaders across Europe rejoice -- DW

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 25, 2016



Henry Porter, Vanity Fair: How Britain Was Broken

And what that means for America.

The shocking result of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union was something many had dreaded during the course of the 10-week referendum campaign, which ended abruptly in the early hours of Friday morning. The Brexit campaign, led by two conservative ministers, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, managed to overturn every expectation, while rejecting pleas to remain in the E.U. from everyone from President Obama to the International Monetary Fund. Internationally renowned Britons, from Stephen Hawking to Patrick Stewart, pleaded to stay the course. So did J.K. Rowling, Richard Branson, and even David Beckham. But as the results came in—with Leave triumphing over Remain by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent—a period of bereavement began for many. There was so much to come to terms with.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 25, 2016

With Brexit, Vladimir Putin is rid of his strongest EU opponent -- Steve LeVine, Quartz

Russia's Unhelpful Game In Syria -- James Miller, RFE

Why Turkey and Israel Are Back on Speaking Terms -- Seth J. Frantzman, National Interest

Is the Iranian-Saudi "Cold War" Heating Up? How to Reduce the Temperature -- Sultan Barakat, Lawfare

Displacement, terrorism and FGM in Somalia -- Caroline Schmitt, DW

How UN peacekeepers failed South Sudan -- Matt Wells, CNN

Why an Egyptian court is challenging Sisi on islands handover -- Sarah El Shalakany, Al-Monitor

China Is Not Trying to ‘Rule the Waves’ -- Liu Xiaoming, Huffington Post

Indonesia Refuses to Bow to China in the South China Sea -- Gary Sands, National Interest

Don't blink over North Korea -- James 'Spider' Marks, CNN

Strategic Reversal in Afghanistan -- RAND

Three Things to Know About Spain’s Upcoming Elections -- Amanda Calvo, Time

As FARC signs cease-fire, will Colombia's cocaine trade decrease? -- CSM

Sex, lies and paternity claims: Bolivia's president reels amid tumultuous scandal -- Dan Collyns, The Guardian

How the Red Cross Killed Non-Lethal Weapons -- Gary Anderson, WSJ

World News Briefs -- June 25, 2016



Reuters: Germany, France press Britain for quick EU divorce

Germany and France led demands on Saturday for Britain to negotiate a quick divorce from the European Union, with Paris warning that populism will otherwise take hold after the vote to leave the bloc sent shockwaves around the world.

The European Central Bank added to the pressure by saying Britain's financial industry, which employs 2.2 million people, would lose the right to serve clients in the EU unless the country signed up to its single market - anathema to "leave" campaigners who are set to lead the next government in London.

Britain's decision to leave the EU, the world's largest trading bloc, is the biggest blow since World War Two to the European project of forging greater unity.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syria conflict: Russian air strikes target Aleppo rebels. Syrian or Russian air strikes kill dozens in eastern Syria: monitoring group.

Syria: Kurdish-led forces edge into ISIL-held Manbij.

Hezbollah to send more fighters to Syria's Aleppo.

Turkey boosts military powers in fight against Kurdish militants.

Turkish parliament grants immunity to military for anti-Kurdish campaigns.

Erdogan meets Hamas leader amid reports of Israel deal.

Iranian troops clash with Kurdish separatists near borders with Turkey, Iraq.

Low expectations for Kerry-Netanyahu meeting in Rome.

ASIA

U.S. renews strategic air strikes against Afghan Taliban. First US raids target Afghan Taliban since Obama order.

Eight Indian police officials dead, 20 injured in Kashmir militant attack.

China cuts communication channel with Taiwan. China cuts official contact with Taiwan over new president.

Religious tensions in Myanmar village after mosque destroyed.

North Korea nuclear, missile programs meant to hold US 'hostage'.

North Korea rejects UN rebuke, warns tensions 'uncontrollable'.

India blames China for stalled nuclear group entry.

Malaysia Airlines flight 370: possible wreckage found on Tanzanian island.

AFRICA

Somali Islamist militants attack hotel in Mogadishu. Big blast rocks Mogadishu hotel. Attack on hotel in Somali capital kills at least seven: police.

Libyan government forces repel IS counterattack in Sirte. Car bomb near Benghazi hospital kills 5 in eastern Libya.

Cameroon says Boko Haram group kills four civilians in attack.

South Sudan: UN food relief agency warns of worsening food, nutrition status.

Congo's President promises democratic vote despite tensions.

Congo arrests politician accused of leading militia that raped children.

After Islamist attacks, Tunisia's tourism struggles.

South African court refuses Zuma appeal request in arms case.

EUROPE

Britain, EU at odds over timing of divorce talks. Brexit referendum: EU ministers press UK for quick exit. EU governments pile pressure on UK to leave as soon as possible.

From Edinburgh to Gibraltar, Brexit vote sparks new claims.

EU referendum: Europe's press gripped by Brexit drama.

EU referendum petition signed by more than 1.5m.

After Brexit vote, Scotland and N. Ireland reconsider ties to Britain.

Johannesson set to win Iceland's presidential election. Iceland historian Johannesson tipped to be voted president.

Fed up with politics, Spanish voters expected to skip election.

Belgium detains 2 in new anti-terror raids.

Pope says 'never again' to tragedies like Armenian genocide.

AMERICAS

Obama accuses Trump, GOP of spreading hate.

Trump hopes for boost from Brexit vote.

Bernie Sanders says he'll vote for Clinton (still no endorsement, though).

Venezuela: Petition for Maduro recall vote 'validated'. Venezuela opposition says petition to oust Maduro is validated.

Venezuela dialogue could open way for international help: U.S. diplomat.

Colombia Farc: Celebrations after ceasefire ends five decades of war.

Three Mexican federal police gunned down in market.

At least 26 dead in West Virginia flooding. West Virginia deadly floods: Hundreds rescued, 23 dead.

Catholic priests in Montreal banned from being alone with children.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Exclusive: Google, Facebook quietly move toward automatic blocking of extremist videos.

ISIS announces Asia pivot in propaganda video targeting Malaysia, Philippines. Islamic State officially creates province in the Philippines.

Al Qaeda: Orlando shooter should have targeted whites.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Global markets lose $2 trillion as 'Brexit' raises economic fears.

Brexit strips world’s 400 richest people of $127bn - Bloomberg.

Lagarde says IMF will work to dampen volatility after Brexit.

Oil prices plunge 5% as Britain votes to leave EU.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- June 25, 2016



Lucian Kim, VICE: Cold War 2.0: The US military is beefing up its presence in the former Soviet Bloc


After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, most Eastern European countries strove to join NATO as a way of safeguarding their newly won independence. Yet even as the US-led alliance grew, the Pentagon slashed its forces in Europe in the belief that the continent would settle future conflicts via political bargains or lawsuits, not weapons. Russia's invasion of Ukraine changed everything.

With little fanfare, the United States has quietly begun expanding its military footprint in a region that during the Cold War was deep inside the Soviet-controlled Warsaw Pact. Operation Atlantic Resolve is an expansive program designed to go beyond mere reassurance of new NATO allies and to provide a credible deterrent against Russia. Next year the Pentagon plans to spend $3.4 billion in Europe on joint exercises, prepositioning equipment, and upgrading local infrastructure. An American armored brigade is due to begin rotating through Eastern Europe in February.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- June 25, 2016

Former U.S. Defense Officials Warn Of Russian Response To NATO Summit -- RFE

NATO military chief: National forces are key -- AP

Vladimir Putin’s new Cold War: Spooked NATO on the offensive -- Brendan Nicholson, The Australian

Funding for Russian defense industry program to amount to $26.2 billion -- TASS

Russia successfully tests newest Buk-M3 air defense missile system — manufacturer -- TASS

Alfa: Russia's Cold War Submarine Wonder Weapon That NATO Feared -- National Interest

Russia launches new engine production for military helicopters -- UPI

Russia, China Agree to Jointly Build Heavy Helicopter, Long-Range Plane -- Sputnik

Image shows new variant of China's Type 093 attack submarine -- IHS Jane's 360

How Hybrid Warfare Could Change Asia -- Nilanthan Niruthan, Diplomat

India to Buy 145 M777 Howitzers From US - Defense Ministry -- Sputnik

Corker Blasts Germany as 'Laggards' on NATO Spending -- Defense News

No July 4 fireworks at U.S. bases in Japan after Okinawa rape -- AP

Why the US Army Could Care Less about the A-10 Warthog -- National Interest

US Navy Gearing Up for World’s Largest Exercise Off Southern California -- Times of San Diego

Exclusive: USAF Weighing Replacement F-35 Ejection Seat -- Defense News

US Navy to Test Powerful 150-Kilowatt Laser -- National Defense

US Navy keeps electromagnetic cannon in its sights -- AFP

Navy to Demo Swarming Drones at Sea in July -- Military.com

US Army to begin testing autonomous vehicle tech on Michigan roads -- Digital Trends

Behold the Pentagon’s Amazing, Nuclear-Powered ATM -- Mother Jones

Navy fires 2nd officer in Iran captured ship incident -- CNN

Report Says General 'Hampered' Air Force Academy Football Probe -- The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)/Military.com

Pentagon to End Transgender Ban for Military in July -- ABC News

How Drinking In The Military Gets Harder The Older You Get -- Adam Linehan, Task & Purpose

RIP 'Fog of War': The US Army's High-Tech Master Plan to Kill the Enemy -- National Interest

Ballistic Missile Defense: What’s in a Word? -- Defense News editorial

What Is the US Military Trying to Hide About Its Missions in Africa? -- Nick Turse, The Nation

The Generals Take on Obama -- James Boot, Commentary

Al Shabaab Launches Suicide Attack In Somali Capital



VOA: Police: Explosion, Gunfire at Mogadishu Hotel

A massive explosion followed by the sounds of gunfire occurred outside a Mogadishu hotel near the city's airport on Saturday, Somali police and witnesses said.

Freelance journalists in Mogadishu tweeted that the Hotel Nasa Hablod was under attack, with The Associated Press saying gunmen were fighting inside the hotel.

"There is heavy fire going on inside the hotel, it started after the massive explosion, but we cannot know what is going on," Abdihafid Mudey, who lives near the hotel, told the French news agency AFP.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately known, but AP reported it was a car bomb.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Attack By Al-Shabaab in Somalia's Capital

Huge Explosion at Hotel in Somali Capital; Gunmen Inside -- AP
'Massive explosion' hits Mogadishu hotel -- AFP
Gunmen storm hotel in Mogadishu, Somali official says -- CNN
Attack on hotel in Somali capital kills at least seven: police -- Reuters
Big blast rocks Mogadishu hotel -- BBC
Blasts and gunfire hit a Hotel in Somalia's Mogadishu -- Al Jazeera