Wednesday, June 28, 2017

NATO Members Boosting Defense Spending

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a news conference ahead of a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 28, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Washington Post: NATO allies boost defense spending in the wake of Trump criticism

BRUSSELS — NATO allies of the United States plan to boost their defense spending by 4.3 percent this year, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, a response in part to intense pressure from President Trump that the nations invest more in their militaries.

Trump has repeatedly castigated NATO allies for their dependence on the U.S. military for their defense, and has at times called into question the basic U.S. security guarantees that have underpinned European stability since World War II.

The increase is “a clear demonstration that our alliance stands united in the face of any possible aggression,” Stoltenberg told reporters at the NATO headquarters, a day ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers. “We have really shifted gears. The trend is up, and we intend to keep it up.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I guess one can say that this is the Trump effect at work (with a little bit of help from Russia).

More News On NATO Members Boosting Defense Spending

Europe's NATO members, Canada to raise defense spending in 2017 -- Reuters
NATO allies - excluding the US - will increase defence spending by 4.3% in victory for Donald Trump after he warned member states 'must finally contribute their fair share' -- Daily Mail
NATO chief: US allies to spend $12 billion more this year -- ABC News/AP
NATO set for defense spending increases as Trump seeks even more -- Stars and Stripes
Europe & Canada to increase defense spending by $12bn following Trump pressure – NATO chief -- RT

China's Navy Launches A New Class Of Destroyer

Chinese Navy's new destroyer, a 10,000-tonne domestically designed and produced vessel, is launched at Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) in east China's Shanghai Municipality, June 28, 2017. The destroyer is the first of China's new generation of destroyers. It is equipped with new air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons. The vessel marks a milestone in improving the nation's Navy armament system and building a strong and modern Navy. (Xinhua/Wang Donghai)

Xinhuanet: China launches new destroyer

SHANGHAI, June 28 (Xinhua) -- The Navy's new destroyer, a 10,000-tonne domestically designed and produced vessel, was launched Wednesday at Jiangnan Shipyard (Group), Shanghai.

The destroyer is the first of China's new generation of destroyers. It is equipped with new air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons.

The vessel marks a milestone in improving the nation's Navy armament system and building a strong and modern Navy.

According to the plan, tests will be carried on the vessel, including equipment operation, berthing and sailing.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There are a lot of details on this new Chinese destroyer here .... Asia's biggest, most advanced warship finally launches as China strengthens naval presence (South China Morning Post)

More News On The Chinese Navy Launching A New Class Of Destroyer

China launches new class of naval destroyer -- Reuters
China's navy launches latest-generation destroyer -- FOX News/AP
China launches new class of naval destroyer -- NYDaily News
Indian Navy Outgunned As China Launches Its Biggest Destroyer -- NDTV
Chinese Navy's New Destroyer Shows Expanding Military Power, Indigenously Built -- International Business Times
South China Sea: Chinese Military Unveils First of 18 'New Generation' Warships -- Newsweek
China launches Asia's biggest post-WWII warship -- Popular Science
China destroyers ‘match’ US counterparts -- Global Times

US Congress Allocates More Money To Keep 3 Squadrons Of A-10s Flying.

Col. Mark Anderson (Tail No. 188), 188th Fighter Wing commander; Maj. Doug Davis (Tail No. 639), 188th Detachment 1 commander; Col. Brian Burger (Tail No. 613), 188th Operations Group commander; and Capt. Wade Hendrickson (Tail No. 638) conduct a training mission Dec. 30, 2013, over Razorback Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Bruch)

Defense News: House lawmakers authorize $103M for A-10 wings to save 3 squadrons from retiring

WASHINGTON — The House Armed Services Committee has taken its first steps toward preserving three A-10 Warthog squadrons that, without funding for new wings, could begin retiring as early as the mid-2020s.

The HASC chairman’s mark of the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, released Monday, adds $103 million for an A-10 “unfunded requirement.” In its FY18 unfunded priorities list, the U.S. Air Force included an equivalent amount of cash, which if appropriated would be used to restart production of A-10 wings and manufacture four wing sets.

As of now, the Air Force plans on retaining its A-10s through at least the next five years. Past then, some parts of the fleet will need modifications to keep flying.

Read more ....

Update: More money proposed to keep A-10s flying (KGUN).

WNU Editor: $103 million is a pittance in the Pentagon's budget .... but it keeps 3 squadrons of A-10s flying. This was a no-brainer.

Mossad Wants to Invest In High Tech Start-Ups

The Mossad stand at Cybertech 2017 (Courtesy: Gilad Kavalerchik)

Reuters: Israel's Mossad sets up fund to acquire new spy techniques

Israel's Mossad intelligence agency has set up an investment fund to help development of new cloak-and-dagger know-how and is offering grants of up to 2 million shekels (about $570,000) per project to bring in new ideas.

A government statement on Tuesday said Mossad was seeking technologies in various fields, including robotics, miniaturization and encryption as well as new automated methods of gleaning information from documents and new ways of carrying out operations more stealthily.

A statement by the new fund, called Libertad, said it would be willing to give grants of up to 2 million shekels per project in exchange for non-exclusive rights to the technology.

Developers would retain the rights to their product and could sell it on, it said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I find it interesting that the developers would retain the rights to their product and could sell it on to other customers.

More News On Mossad Wanting to Invest In High Tech Start-Ups

Mossad launches fund to invest in firms developing spy tech -- Washington Post/AP
Israeli spy agency creates fund to invest in tech firms -- AFP
Eyeing new spy tech, Mossad says it will pump money into startups -- Times of Israel
Israel's Mossad is looking for a few good startups -- Jerusalem Post
Mossad Launching Investment Firm to Benefit from Israel’s High-Tech Prowess -- The Tower
Israeli spy agency Mossad targets cutting-edge tech, sets up innovation fund -- FOX News

Hat tip Fred for this link.

Was US Billionaire George Soros Involved In Efforts To Overthrow The President Of Equatorial Guinea

US billionaire George Soros, seen here in 2011, was allegedly involved in efforts to overthrow the president of Equatorial Guinea, a former British mercenary has told a Paris court

BBC: George Soros 'plotted to oust Equatorial Guinea's leader'

Former British mercenary Simon Mann, who led a failed coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea in 2004, has accused US billionaire George Soros of plotting to overthrow the country's government.

He said he had warned President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Africa's longest serving leader, of the alleged plan in 2011.

But he said he did not have any proof, and Mr Soros has not yet commented.

Simon Mann made the remarks as he was testifying on behalf of Mr Obiang's son at a high-profile trial in Paris.

Teodorin Obiang Nguema is accused of using public money to fund his jetset lifestyle in France.

Read more ....

Update #1: 'Soros wanted to topple E.Guinea leader,' UK mercenary tells Paris court (AFP)
Update #2: George Soros Accused of Trying to Oust Equatorial Guinea’s Government (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: This allegation is going to go nowhere.

There Are 14 'Choke-Points' That Can Threaten The World's Food Supply

Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic: Vulnerable 'Chokepoints' Threaten Global Food Security, Experts Warn

Chatham House analysts say climate change could affect 14 key transportation routes.

More than a dozen supply chains and trade routes that facilitate global food trade are vulnerable to unforeseen crises or climate change, according to a new report.

Analysts at Chatham House, the U.K.-based think tank, released a report Tuesday identifying 14 critical junctures, or “chokepoints,” through which large volumes of global food trade pass that could be vulnerable to major disruption if they are not properly maintained—an issue that could adversely affect global food supply and prices. The report found that the weak and aging infrastructure of these chokepoints are not equipped to cope with natural disasters, which could occur with more frequency as the planet warms.

Read more ....

More News On The 14 'Choke-Points' That Can Threaten The World's Food Supply

World food security risks growing, Chatham House says -- BBC
At food trading 'chokepoints', climate change could disrupt supplies - report -- Reuters
Vulnerable ‘chokepoints’ threaten global food supply, warns report -- The Guardian
Trade chokepoints risk food price surge -- Financial Times
World food supplies at risk as climate change threatens international trade, warn experts -- The Independent
GCC exposed to food security risks from maritime choke points -- The National

President Trump And French President Macron Agree To A Joint Response In The Event Of A Chemical Attack In Syria

US President Donald Trump (R) talks with French President Emmanuel Macron as they attend the G7 Summit May 26, 2017 in Italy (AFP Photo/STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN)

AFP: Macron, Trump vow 'joint response' if chemical attack in Syria

Paris (AFP) - US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron agreed during a telephone call Tuesday on the need for a "joint response" in the event of another chemical attack in Syria, the French presidency said.

Their call came a day after Washington said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be preparing another chemical weapons attack and warned that his regime would pay a "heavy price" if it went ahead with such an assault.

A Pentagon spokesman said US intelligence had noticed suspect activity at the launch site of the regime's apparent chemical strike in April.

Days after that strike on a rebel-held town, the United States launched a cruise missile strike on the airfield in retaliation -- the first direct US attack on the Syrian regime.

Read more ....

Update #1: Trump, Macron discuss need to collaborate in event of Syria chemical weapons attack (CBS)
Update #2: Will Trump and Macron actually work together well on Syria? (Daniel DePetris, Washington Examiner)

WNU Editor: For some reason these two remind me of the "Odd Couple".

Update #3: This is a nice gesture .... Macron invites Trump to Bastille Day to honor US WWI troops (AP).

Tweet For Today

The Qatar Crisis -- News Updates June 28, 2017

Reuters: Saudi, Qatar ministers spar over Arab nations' demands

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday that there would be no negotiations over demands by the kingdom and other Arab states for Qatar to stop supporting terrorism.

Doha retorted that the allegations against it and demands were baseless and unacceptable. Qatar has previously also said the demands were aimed at curbing its sovereignty.

Asked by reporters on a visit to Washington if the demands were non-negotiable, Saudi's Jubeir said: "Yes."

"We made our point, we took our steps and it's up to the Qataris to amend their behavior and once they do things will be worked out but if they don't they will remain isolated," Jubeir said.

Read more ....

The Qatar Crisis -- News Updates June 27, 2017

Qatar must change its behaviour or remain isolated, Saudi FM says -- The National
Demands on Qatar not negotiable, says Al-Jubeir -- Saudi Gazette
Saudi Arabia: Qatar demand list is non-negotiable -- Al Jazeera
Qatari foreign minister says Arab demands 'unacceptable' -- Reuters
Qatar accuses neighbours of terrorism hypocrisy as isolation continues -- SKY News
Tillerson Meets Qatari FM on Persian Gulf Crisis -- VOA
Iran’s policy is to strengthen ties with Qatar, Rouhani says -- Tehran Times

Picture Of The Day

An Iraqi Army helicopter launches decoy flares over western Mosul. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

WNU Editor: The above picture is from a photo gallery at this link .... Iraqi forces seize more ground in Mosul from Islamic State, PM sees victory soon (Reuters)

A Rogue Faction Of The Venezuelan Police Has Attacked The Supreme Court By Dropping Grenades From A Helicopter

New York Times: Police in Helicopter Attack Venezuela’s Top Court, Dropping Grenades

A rogue faction of the Venezuelan police attacked the country’s Supreme Court in Caracas on Tuesday, dropping grenades from a helicopter, Venezuelan government officials said. It was a rare uprising by government personnel in a country that has been on edge from mass protests and economic crises.

A video shot from a window and posted on Twitter shows a helicopter swooping in a circle around a building as explosions are heard.

Another video posted on social media on Tuesday showed a uniformed man identified as Oscar Pérez, flanked by masked, heavily armed men dressed in uniforms, taking responsibility for the operation. The speaker said he represented a coalition of military, police and civilian personnel who opposed what he called “this transitional, criminal government.”

Read more ....

More News On Tonight's Attack By A Helicopter On Venezuela's Supreme Court

Helicopter used for protest flight against Maduro, heightening Venezuela tensions -- Washington Post
Helicopter attacks Venezuela's pro-Maduro Supreme Court -- Reuters
Maduro says helicopter fired on Venezuela’s Supreme Court -- AP
Venezuela crisis: Helicopter 'attacks' Supreme Court -- BBC
Venezuela Supreme Court attacked with grenade thrown from police helicopter in 'terrorist' act -- The Independent
Maduro: Helicopter threw grenades at Venezuela's Supreme Court -- DW
Venezuela's Supreme Court attacked by police helicopter, President Nicolas Maduro says -- ABC News Online
Venezuela's supreme court attacked with grenade from police helicopter -- The Guardian

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Trump Campaign Adviser Carter Page Was Questioned By The FBI In March Over Russian Collusion

Washington Post: FBI has questioned Trump campaign adviser Carter Page at length in Russia probe

FBI agents have repeatedly questioned former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page about his contacts with Russians and his interactions with the Trump campaign, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Over a series of five meetings in March, totaling about 10 hours of questioning, Page repeatedly denied wrongdoing when asked about allegations that he may have acted as a kind of ­go-between for Russia and the Trump campaign, according to a person familiar with Page’s account.

The interviews with the FBI are the most extensive known questioning of a potential suspect in the probe of possible Russian connections to associates of President Trump. The questioning of Page came more than a month before the Russian investigation was put under the direction of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The questioning was done before FBI Director Comey was fired .... but it is only now that this information is coming out. And as for Carter Page .... over the past three months he definitely did not sound like a man who was worried about the FBI .... even pushing to give his testimony to Congress and being rebuffed by them .... When Will Former Trump Campaign Adviser Carter Page Be Allowed To Testify? (June 21, 2017). I could be wrong .... but my gut is telling me that there is nothing here .... that this story has been blown out of proportion to serve a political and media purpose.

More News On Trump Campaign Adviser Carter Page Being Questioned By The FBI

Carter Page questioned by FBI in probe of Russian election meddling -- ABC News
FBI questioned Carter Page in Russia investigation -- CBS
Ex-Trump adviser says FBI interviewed him about Russia investigation -- The Guardian
Carter Page questioned in FBI Russia investigation: report -- The Hill
The FBI appears to be taking cues from the explosive Russia dossier that Trump called 'phony' -- Business Insider

Not A Good Week For CNN And The Main Stream Media

Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept: CNN Journalists Resign: Latest Example of Media Recklessness on the Russia Threat

THREE PROMINENT CNN journalists resigned Monday night after the network was forced to retract and apologize for a story linking Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci to a Russian investment fund under congressional investigation. That article — like so much Russia reporting from the U.S. media — was based on a single anonymous source, and now, the network cannot vouch for the accuracy of its central claims.

In announcing the resignation of the three journalists — Thomas Frank, who wrote the story (not the same Thomas Frank who wrote “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”); Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Eric Lichtblau, recently hired away from the New York Times; and Lex Haris, head of a new investigative unit — CNN said that “standard editorial processes were not followed when the article was published.” The resignations follow CNN’s Friday night retraction of the story, in which it apologized to Scaramucci:

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The first video is Sarah Huckabee Sanders answering a question on CNN .... an epic rant that is entertaining. The second video is from Project Veritas that has gotten everyone's attention. I am personally not really impressed by the Veritas video. The CNN producer who was filmed is CNN's health producer (not political) .... and he was just stating his own opinion. As for the future of CNN .... they will survive .... and they will have a viewership that will watch their channel .... but they have lost their journalistic reputation. On a side note .... it looks like the next target will be the New York Times .... Sarah Palin sues NY Times for tying political ad to mass shooting (NYPost).

Update: The Trump - Russian collusion story is definitely dying. Last week's Washington Post story that outlined President Obama's response to Russian attempts to influence the US Presidential election .... An Inside Look At How The Obama Administration Handled Attempts By Russia To Influence The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election (June 23, 2017) .... has produced an unintended consequence .... it has diverted attention away from President Trump to President Obama, and how President Obama was paralysed and ineffective in stopping the Russians. A definite no-no in today's main stream news media's need to cover President Trump all the time.

More News On CNN And Their Coverage Of The News

CNN shrugs off Veritas video as Trump lashes out at network -- USA Today
White House urges viewing of anti-CNN video 'whether it's accurate or not' -- The Guardian
CNN's Russia Story Debacle Came At The Wordt Possible Time For The Network -- Washington Post
Retracted CNN story a boon for president at war with media -- AP
Trump renews attack on ‘Fake News CNN’ after retraction -- Washington Post
New O’Keefe video shows CNN producer calling Russia coverage ‘mostly bull----’ -- The Hill
CNN Won’t Discipline Producer Caught in O’Keefe’s Latest Sting -- Heat Street
CNN faced $100M lawsuit over botched Russia story -- NYPost
Piers Morgan: Greed, Laziness & Trump Hatred Have Cost CNN Dearly -- FOX News

Venezuelan President Maduro Warns Of War If His Government Is Overthrown

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) speaks during a gathering in support of him and his proposal for the National Constituent Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela June 27, 2017. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

Reuters: Venezuela's Maduro warns of war if 'revolution' toppled

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro warned on Tuesday that he and supporters would take up arms if his socialist government was violently overthrown by opponents who have been on the streets protesting for three months.

"I'm telling the world, and I hope the world listens after 90 days of protest, destruction and death," Maduro said in reference to anti-government unrest that has led to at least 75 deaths in the OPEC nation since April.

"If Venezuela was plunged into chaos and violence and the Bolivarian Revolution destroyed, we would go to combat. We would never give up, and what couldn't be done with votes, we would do with weapons, we would liberate the fatherland with weapons."

Read more ....

Update: Venezuela president says supporters will take up arms if government falls -- Guardian

WNU Editor: It looks like Venezuelan President Maduor is nervous about his army .... Venezuela’s Maduro Demands Army Loyalty amid New Arrests to Prevent Opposition “Coup” (PanamPost). As for the unrest .... it continues .... Dozens of stores looted, government offices burned in Venezuela (Globe and Mail/AP).

U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen: No New Financial Crisis In 'Our Lifetimes'

Reuters: Fed's Yellen expects no new financial crisis in 'our lifetimes'

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that she does not believe that there will be another financial crisis for at least as long as she lives, thanks largely to reforms of the banking system since the 2007-09 crash.

"Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis?" Yellen said at a question-and-answer event in London.

"You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we're much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don't believe it will be," she said.

Yellen said it would "not be a good thing" if reforms of the financial services industry since the crisis were unwound, and urged those who had helped manage the fallout at the time to be vocal in preventing such a dilution.

Read more ....

Update: Yellen: Banks 'very much stronger'; another financial crisis not likely 'in our lifetime' (CNBC)

WNU Editor: Not surprising .... others have a different point of view .... Great recession fears as bankers warn next global crash could arrive 'with a vengeance' (Caroline Mortimer, The Independent)

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- June 27, 2017

Stratfor: Stratfor Worldview’s 2017 Third-Quarter Forecast

Based on the principle that transformative world events are not random, but are in fact predictable, Stratfor develops decade, annual and quarterly forecasts. These forecast are built upon Stratfor’s geopolitical methodology, our framework for identifying and forecasting the fundamental trends shaping the international system. Below are the global trends highlighted in Stratfor’s forecast for the third-quarter of 2017. The complete forecast is available at Stratfor Worldview.

The U.S. Exits Stage Left?

When world leaders gather in Germany for the approaching G-20 summit, they will no doubt make a slew of assertions — some alarmist, others justified — about a U.S. retreat from the global stage. Talk of leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping stepping in to fill the void and uphold global governance on major issues such as free trade, climate change and security can be expected. But there is an underlying reality to that narrative that should be kept in mind.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- June 27, 2017

Sitrep Raqqa: The Geopolitics of Eastern Syria -- Joseph V. Micallef,

The Islamic State's New Realities -- Giorgio Cafiero & Daniel Wagner, The Atlantic Council

As ISIS Falls, Border Battles Loom -- Fritz Lodge, Cipher Brief

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: How Much Can One Strongman Change a Country? -- Shami Hadid, The Atlantic

Gaza on the Brink -- Benedetta Berti, Foreign Affairs

Will China and America Roll Back North Korea's Nuclear Program? -- Stephan Haggard, National Interest

Sending North Korea a Message -- Seth Cropsey, RCD

Whither Japanese Democracy -- Daniel Hurst, Asia Times

Obama Choked on Russia Long Before the 2016 Election -- Eli Lake, Bloomberg

Don’t Believe the Hype About European Defense -- Luis Simon, War on the Rocks

On Migration, Europe Is Admitting the Truth to Itself -- Michael Brendan Dougherty, NRO

Venezuela Scrapes the Bottom of Oil Barrel Diplomacy -- Mac Margolis, Bloomberg

America and the Geopolitics of Upheaval -- Hal Brands & Eric Edelman, National Interest

Vulnerable 'Chokepoints' Threaten Global Food Security, Experts Warn -- Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic

Google Is Fighting a Losing Battle With the EU -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- June 27, 2017 (Evening Edition)

Reuters: Ransomware virus hits computer servers across the globe

A ransomware attack hit computers across the world on Tuesday, taking out servers at Russia's biggest oil company, disrupting operations at Ukrainian banks, and shutting down computers at multinational shipping and advertising firms.

Cyber security experts said those behind the attack appeared to have exploited the same type of hacking tool used in the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands of computers in May before a British researcher created a kill-switch.

"It's like WannaCry all over again," said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer with Helsinki-based cyber security firm F-Secure.

Read more ....


Iraq army: ISIL will fall in Mosul 'in a few days'.

Syria's Assad visits Russian airbase.

UN envoy optimistic over Syria talks in July.

U.S. says it saw preparations for possible Syria chemical attack.

US warns Syria over 'potential' plan for chemical attack. Syria: Assad preparing chemical weapons attack, US claims.

Syria denies US allegations of coming chemical attack.

US airstrike on Syrian 'IS' prison kills dozens of civilians, claim activist groups. Syria war: Air strike on IS prison in Mayadin 'kills dozens'. 57 dead in US-led strikes on IS Syria prison: monitor.

US wants to steer clear of Syrian civil war: Mattis.

Saudi demolition of historic Shiite homes stokes violence.

Saudi Arabia says no negotiations over Qatar demands.

Qatari foreign minister to meet Tillerson in Washington.

Yemen cholera outbreak shows signs of slowing: UN.

Israel strikes Hamas bases in Gaza after rocket: officials. Israel bombs Gaza after rocket fire.

At least 13 killed in violence in southeast Turkey.


U.S. worries Russia could step up North Korea support to fill China void.

US lists China among worst human trafficking offenders.

China 'asks India to withdraw troops' from Nathu La pass. China protests alleged Indian border incursion.

At least 10 injured in clashes in India-held Kashmir on Eid.

Hostages in Philippines siege forced to fight, loot, become sex slaves: army. Militants used water route to beat Philippine offensive: army.

Mongolia: Battulga to face Enkhbold in first presidential runoff.

North Korea a top priority for Sino-US ties, says new US ambassador to China.

South Korean President Moon to embark on 'emotional' four-day visit to U.S..

U.S. to name China one of worst countries for human trafficking.

Indonesia is blowing illegal fishing boats out of the water.

Pirates rob Thai oil tanker of 1.5 million litres of diesel in Malaysian waters.


Egyptian warplanes hit arms convoy from Libya: army.

Bomb blast kills eight on Kenya-Somalia border.

Libya, Sudan, Somalia hard hit as US top court partially lifts Trump's travel ban.

IS loses ground in Sinai, searches for other foothold in Egypt.

Explosion heard from ship off the coast of Somalia, official says.

Niger migrants: 52 die during desert crossing.

Somali refugees regret returning home from Kenya.

South Africa government blamed as millions live in shacks.

'Soros wanted to topple E.Guinea leader,' UK mercenary tells Paris court.


Scotland's Sturgeon postpones second independence vote until after Brexit.

Italy's Berlusconi dusts himself down in final bid for power.

Germany and France to lead post-Brexit EU in further integration.

Cyprus talks are best, but not last, chance to end dispute: U.N..

Ukrainian military intelligence officer killed by car bomb in Kiev.

Russia denies Sergey Kislyak is leaving US even as plans are made for send-off.

French parliament opens in test for Macron's many novice lawmakers.

Dutch government partially liable in 300 Srebrenica deaths. Court: Dutch partially liable for Srebrenica deaths.

With a year to go, Russia’s World Cup faces challenges.


Facing defections, Senate GOP leaders delay health care vote.

House votes overwhelmingly to back NATO mutual defense pact.

House bill threatens Russia with nuclear treaty suspension.

US President Donald Trump, PM Narendra Modi praise India-US relations.

Judge suspends all Iraqi deportations in US for 2 week.

Canada's Trudeau say US timber duties will cost 'thousands' of jobs.

Brazil's President Michel Temer charged with corruption. Corruption charge increases pressure on Brazil’s president.

Brazil’s President says corruption charge is ‘fiction’.

British Columbia's NDP introduces motion to topple provincial government.

Reporter's body found in Mexico, marking seventh journalist murder this year.

Colombia takes big step to peace as rebels lay down guns. Colombia's FARC disarmament confirmed by United Nations.


Taliban promotes 4 previously unidentified training camps in Afghanistan.

AQIS emphasizes allegiance to Ayman al Zawahiri, Taliban in new ‘code of conduct’.

Pakistan rejects U.S. sanctions against Kashmir militant.


Wall St. falters as Senate delays health vote.

Fed's Yellen expects no new financial crisis in 'our lifetimes'.

Facebook hits two billion user mark.

New cyberattack causes mass disruption globally.

EU slaps Google with record fine. Google fined record €2.4bn by EU over search engine results.

Google will stop scanning content of personal emails.

World food security risks growing, Chatham House says.

No Progress Form China On North Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump (3rdL) holds a bilateral meeting with China's President Xi Jinping (2ndR) at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 7, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Ralph Jennings, Forbes: China And The U.S. Are Cooling Their Cooperation To Curb North Korea

Give the world’s two superpowers credit for effort but don’t expect a whole lot more. Since the presidents of China and the United States met for their first time in April, they’ve spoken the language of cooperation to hobble North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs spearheaded by the enigmatic leader Kim Jong-un. To appease China, which doesn't want the Kim regime to collapse and leave a power vacuum on its border, a senior U.S. admiral had said the United States wants to bring North Korea not to its “knees,” just its “senses.” China reportedly planned to cut the flow of petroleum to North Korea in a sanction-like gesture likely to win favor with Washington.

But Trump shows signs of wanting more out of his cooperation with China, especially now as everyone’s asking whether 22-year-old American student Otto Warmbier was intentionally hurt in North Korea before his release -- and death a week later. North Korea had detained him for a year on suspicion of stealing a propaganda poster. “(Trump) commented personally…that he continues to be very troubled by what happened to Otto Warmbier and would like to see China do more,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told a briefing Friday.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Both countries are not on the same page when it comes to North Korea. North Korea may be a top priority for the U.S. .... New U.S. ambassador to China says North Korea a top priority (Reuters) .... but China's priority is the removal of THAAD .... China asked U.S. officials to remove THAAD from South Korea (UPI). My prediction .... When Trump and Xi met at Mar-a-Lago in April, China asked for and got a 100 day grace period over North Korea .... Report: Chinese President Xi Asked For A '100-Day Grace Period' On North Korea (May 22, 2017). We are now coming up on that 100 days .... and nothing has changed. My prediction .... we saw a glimpse of where the U.S. is going on China today .... U.S. Brands China as Among Worst Human Trafficking Offenders (US News and World Report/Reuters). But it is going to be on this issue that will raise the "hackles" in China .... Trump growing frustrated with China, weighs trade steps: officials (Reuters).

Update: The U.S. is also eyeing on what Russia may do when it comes to North Korea .... U.S. worries Russia could step up North Korea support to fill China void (Reuters).

NATO's Top Military Officer: Russia's Military Threat Is Growing On All Fronts

General Petr Pavel

Politico: NATO’s senior military officer: Russia threat growing on all fronts

General Petr Pavel said Russia’s increasing military presence was clear, even if its intentions were not.

NATO’s senior military officer said the alliance was confronting efforts by Russia to increase its military capabilities on virtually every level and allies were on guard to prevent any repeat of the Kremlin’s military intervention in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Speaking at a POLITICO Brussels Playbook breakfast Monday, General Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, said that while Russia’s intentions were not necessarily clear, its growing military prowess was undeniable.

“We in uniform, we define the threat based on two major elements. One is the capability, the other is the intent,” Pavel told POLITICO’s Ryan Heath. “When it comes to capability there is no doubt that Russia is developing their capabilities both in conventional and nuclear components. When it comes to exercises, their ability to deploy troops for long distance and to use them effectively quite far away from their own territory, there are no doubts.”

Read more ....

Update: 'Growing Russian Threat' Used as a Way to Keep NATO in Shape (Sputnik).

WNU Editor: His (General Pavel)focus is on what is happening in the Baltic region .... NATO says more Russian buzzing of Baltic airspace a risk for deadly mistakes (DW).

Poll: Image Of The United States Has Collapsed Under Trump

Reuters: Image of the United States has plunged under Trump, survey shows

The image of the United States has deteriorated sharply across the globe under President Donald Trump and an overwhelming majority of people in other countries have no confidence in his ability to lead, a survey from the Pew Research Center showed.

Five months into Trump's presidency, the survey spanning 37 nations showed U.S. favorability ratings in the rest of the world slumping to 49 percent from 64 percent at the end of Barack Obama's eight years in the White House.

But the falls were far steeper in some of America's closest allies, including U.S. neighbors Mexico and Canada, and European partners like Germany and Spain.

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WNU Editor: The PEW Research poll is here .... U.S. Image Suffers as Publics Around World Question Trump’s Leadership (PEW Research Global). What's my take on this poll .... when President Reagan was in the White House, his poll numbers were also in the toilet in Western Europe. That did not change anything .... and fortunately IMHO.

More News On The Latest PEW Poll On The Image Of The United States In The Eyes Of The World

People the world over have lost confidence in America to 'do the right thing' since Trump took office – except in Russia and Israel -- Daily Mail
Trump causes 'major' shift in global view of US: Pew -- BBC
Poll: US favorability in world falls under Trump -- The Hill
Poll: Little Global Confidence in President Trump on Foreign Affairs -- NBC/AP
The White House’s international credibility collapses in Trump era -- MSNBC
Study: U.S. image plummets under Trump, but hey, Russia likes us -- USA Today
Global view of US worsens under Trump, Pew says -- CNN
Three-quarters of world has little or no confidence in Trump, Pew study finds -- The Guardian
Most of the World Has Little Confidence in Donald Trump, Poll Finds -- TIME
United States' global image suffering under Donald Trump's presidency: survey -- DW

Chief Of The Ukrainian Military Intelligence's Special Forces Assassinated In Kiev

RFE: Colonel In Ukrainian Military Intelligence Killed In Kyiv Car Bombing

A colonel in Ukraine’s armed forces has been killed in a car bombing in Kyiv that authorities are investigating as a "terrorist attack."

A Defense Ministry statement on the June 27 explosion identified the victim of the blast as Colonel Maksim Shapoval.

Police said law enforcement officers received a message at 8:16 a.m. in Kyiv saying a Mercedes had exploded at a crossroads in the Solomyansky district, killing a man inside the car and wounding a passerby.

CCTV pictures that captured the moment the car bomb exploded show a flash of fire followed by a large plume of smoke rising up from a tree-lined street in the capital. Several cars nearby stopped, but none appeared affected by the blast, which left the car Shapoval was in mangled and charred.

"The national police, rescuers, as well as explosives and forensic experts are working at the scene," the Defense Ministry said. "The event has been qualified as a terrorist act."

It gave no further details.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He just came back from fighting Russian-Ukrainian rebels in eastern Ukraine .... and while he was there a string of assassinations of separatist leaders in Ukraine’s east have occurred. I could be wrong, but this smells like blow-back to me.

More News On Chief Of The Ukrainian Military Intelligence's Special Forces Assassinated In Kiev

Kiev car bomb kills colonel in Ukrainian military intelligence -- Reuters
Ukrainian military intelligence officer killed by car bomb in Kiev -- The Guardian
Ukraine intelligence head killed in Kyiv bomb attack -- DW
Car bomb kills senior Ukrainian intelligence officer in Kiev -- ABC News/AP
Kiev car bomb kills colonel in Ukrainian military intelligence in first major attack in a year -- ABC News Online
Assassinated: Moment Ukrainian military intelligence colonel was killed in Kiev car bomb in Kiev -- Daily Mail
Ukraine intelligence officer killed by car bomb in Kiev -- BBC
Kiev car explosion kills Ukraine's senior military spy -- Al Jazeera
Colonel for Ukraine's Military Intelligence Killed in Kiev Blast - MoD -- Sputnik

Massive Global Cyberattack Demanding Ramsonware Is Currently Causing Chaos Among Major Government And Corporate Computer Networks

A message demanding money is seen on a monitor of a payment terminal at a branch of Ukraine's state-owned bank Oschadbank after Ukrainian institutions were hit by a wave of cyber attacks earlier in the day, in Kiev, Ukraine, June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Washington Post: Massive cyberattack hits Europe with widespread ransom demands

MOSCOW — A new wave of powerful cyberattacks hit Europe on Tuesday in a possible reprise of a widespread ransomware assault in May that affected 150 countries, as Ukraine reported ransom demands targeting the government and key infrastructure, and the Danish Maersk conglomerate said many of its systems were down.

Reports of attacks spread quickly on Tuesday afternoon. The Russian oil giant Rosneft and a subsidiary, Bashneft, were also hit, as was the British advertising and marketing multinational WPP. Norway’s National Security Authority said an “international company” there was affected, and Martijn Pols, a spokesman for the Port of Rotterdam, said one shipping company, APM Terminals, was targeted.

The virus even hit systems monitoring radiation at the site of the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant, where computers running Windows were temporarily knocked offline. By late Tuesday morning, reports of cyberattacks had spread as far as India and the United States.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This started in Ukraine, and is now spreading globally .... The cyber attack that knocked out Ukraine this morning is now going global (Quartz). I follow these things closely, and today's attack is big.

Update: Ukraine has been crippled by this attack .... Ukraine cyber attack: Chaos as national bank, state power provider and airport hit by hackers (The Independent).

More News On Today's Massive Global Cyberattack Demanding Ramsonware

Global ransomware attack causes chaos -- BBC
Ransomware virus hits computer servers across Europe -- Reuters
'Unprecedented' Cyberattack Spreads Across Ukraine, Russia, and Europe -- The Epoch Times
Another Massive Ransomware Outbreak Is Going Global Fast -- Forbes
New ransomware outbreak reported all over world -- The Hill
New cyberattack causes mass disruption in Europe -- AP
NSA-linked tools help power second global ransomware outbreak -- Politico
Russian, Ukrainian Companies Attacked by Petya Ransomware - Group-IB -- Sputnik
A new ransomware attack is infecting airlines, banks, and utilities across Europe -- The Verge
A Scary New Ransomware Outbreak Uses WannaCry's Old Tricks -- WIRED
What is Petya? Ransomware suspected to behind huge worldwide cyberattack -- International Business Times

China - India Border Dispute Intensifying On The Frontier Between Sikkim State And Tibet

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Reuters: China accuses Indian border guards of crossing into its territory

China has accused Indian border guards of crossing into its territory from the state of Sikkim on India's northeastern border with Tibet, the Chinese foreign and defence ministries have said, complicating an already difficult relationship.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman with China's foreign ministry, said Indian guards "obstructed normal activities" by Chinese forces on the border and called on India to withdraw immediately, according to a ministry statement late on Monday.

He urged India to respect China's territorial integrity and the border treaties signed by the two countries, and said China had already suspended official pilgrimages at the Nathu La Pass, which lies on the frontier between Sikkim state and Tibet.

A spokesman for the Indian Army declined to comment but said the army would issue a statement on Tuesday. India's defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more ....

More News On The Growing China - India Border Dispute On The Frontier Between Sikkim State And Tibet

China urges India to withdraw border guards crossing the boundary -- Xinhuanet
China protests alleged Indian border incursion -- AFP
China 'asks India to withdraw troops' from Nathu La pass -- BBC
Face-off between Chinese, Indian troops in Sikkim after PLA 'transgression' -- Times of India
Chinese Troops Transgress Sikkim Border, Destroy Bunkers: Report -- NDTV
India Stops China’s Road Construction, Braces for Lengthy Face-off -- Sputnik

Syrian Observers: U.S. Led-Coalition Airstrike Kills Scores of Prisoners At An ISIS Prison In Eastern Syria

A US-led coalition air strike in Deir Ezzor province, eastern Syria, hit a prison - killing 42 inmates and 15 terrorist guards, according to observation groups

CBS: Activists: U.S.-led coalition strike kills dozens of ISIS prisoners

BEIRUT -- An independent group that monitors the war in Syria said Tuesday that a likely U.S.-led coalition airstrike on an ISIS-run jail in the country's east had killed at least 57 people, many of them believed to be civilian prisoners held by the terrorist group.

According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which relies on a network of activists inside Syria for its information and generally proves accurate, "warplanes, most likely belonging to the U.S. coaltion," destroyed an ISIS compound in Deir Ezzor province early Tuesday morning.

The U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition, which has been accused repeatedly this year of causing civilian casualties as it targets the terror group's rapidly shrinking territory in both Syria and Iraq, acknowledged an operation in the al-Mayadeen suburb of Deir Ezzor city on Tuesday, but said in a statement quoted by the Reuters news agency that it had been "meticulously planned" to reduce the risk of civilian casualties.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That A U.S. Led-Coalition Airstrike Killed Scores of Prisoners At An ISIS Prison In Eastern Syria

US-led coalition bombs an ISIS prison in Syria killing 42 'civilian' prisoners and 15 jihadists, activists say -- Daily Mail
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says dozens killed in U.S.-led airstrike on ISIS prison -- CBC/Reuters
US-led strikes on Islamic State-held prison 'kills 57 people' including civilians -- The Telegraph
57 killed in US-led air strikes on ISIS prison in eastern Syria -- Zee News/AFP
War in Syria: US Coalition Strikes ISIS Jail and Kills Dozens of Prisoners -- Newsweek
Airstrike on ISIS-run jail in eastern Syria kills 42, activists say -- FOX News

Islamic State Fighters Are Given 'Passports' To Paradise

Photo: Copies of the passports were discovered by Syrian Defence Forces in newly liberated neighbourhoods of Raqqa

Daily Mail: ISIS fighters are given 'passports to paradise' in a desperate bid to convince them they will be rewarded with virgins in the afterlife

* Copies of the passports were discovered by Syrian Defence Forces in Raqqa
* ISIS handed out documents reading 'passports to heaven' to motivate fighters
* Fighters believe they will be rewarded with paradise if they die protecting ISIS
* Front of passport says 'No God but Allah, Muhammed is the Messenger of God'

ISIS militants have been issuing 'passports to heaven' to encourage members to carry out suicide attacks and keep control of its self-declared capital, Raqqa.

Copies of the passports were discovered by Syrian Defence Forces in newly liberated neighbourhoods of the northern Syrian city, and photos of the documents were posted to social media.

Brainwashed extremists believe that they will be rewarded with virgins in paradise if they die protecting the Islamic State.

Read more ....

Update: PASSPORTS TO HELL ISIS fanatics given twisted ‘passports to paradise’ to brainwash them into believing they’ll be rewarded with harem of virgins if they die for terror group (The SUN)

WNU Editor: I find it interesting that these passports are in both Arabic and English. It makes you wonder on how many ISIS fighters can speak English.

Secret Video Shows ISIS Slowly Losing Control Of It's 'Capital' Raqqa

CNN: Raqqa: Secret video shows ISIS losing chokehold on its 'capital'

(CNN)At first, the video shows a seemingly normal urban life -- men and women shopping in the streets, with steady traffic passing by them.

A closer look shows this is a city under threat -- tarpaulins along streets hide the movements of fighters from surveillance drones and sandbags outside buildings might offer some protection from a blast from the sky or the ground.

For this is not any normal city -- this is Raqqa, the heart of ISIS's attempt to build its own state or caliphate. And it is crumbling.

Just the fact that activists filmed the secret footage now obtained exclusively by CNN is perhaps the most telling sign that the self-proclaimed capital of a reign of terror is coming to an end.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is going to take time .... but it looks like the end game for the Islamic State in Raqaa is in sight.

Islamic State Has Perfected Using Drones Rigged With Explosives To Attack Advancing Forces In Raqqa

France 24: Exclusive: IS group's armoured drones attack from the skies in battle for Raqqa

The Islamic State (IS) group is using drones rigged with munitions in the battle for the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, a FRANCE 24 team inside the jihadist group’s highly dangerous self-proclaimed capital discovers.

While entering Raqqa from the eastern side, past dusty, desolate neighbourhoods, a nearby explosion briefly rocks the armored vehicle carrying a FRANCE 24 team and fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters battling the IS group in the heart of its de facto capital is facing a new, technologically advanced threat from the skies.

“A drone has targeted our vehicle. The bomb fell 50 metres away,” a female Kurdish fighter in the vehicle explains.

Read more ....

Update: ISIS Using Drones Rigged With Munitions To Attack Advancing Forces In Raqqa (Newsweek)

WNU Editor: I cannot help but feel that one day this know-how will be used in a terror attack against a soft target in the West (i.e. a concert, a sporting event, a political rally, etc.).

Battle For The Syrian City Of Raqqa -- News Updates June 27, 2017

Washington Post: Mattis: After Raqqa, the Syrian battlefield will only get more complicated

MUNICH, Germany — As the fight against the Islamic State moves beyond its de facto capital in Raqqa, the Pentagon is readying itself for an increasingly complex battlefield in northern Syria, where U.S.-backed forces, pro-Syrian government troops and Russian jets will likely all be fighting near one another.

Speaking to reporters on his way to Germany on Monday to meet with European allies, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis spoke broadly about the U.S. military’s future operations against the Islamic State in the Euphrates River Valley, adding that it will take “more precision” to stave off any incidents between the disparate forces operating there.

“You have to play this thing very carefully,” Mattis said. “The closer we get, the more complex it gets.”

Mattis also acknowledged that the U.S. would continue to supply Kurdish forces in the north with weapons despite objections by U.S. ally Turkey. “When they don’t need them anymore we’ll replace them with what they do need,” he said.

Read more ....

Battle For The Syrian City Of Raqqa -- News Updates June 27, 2017

US wants to steer clear of Syrian civil war: Mattis -- AFP
U.S. eyes arms for YPG fighters in Syria even after Raqqa's fall -- Reuters
Mattis says US may provide more weapons to YPG even after Raqqa's fall -- NRT
Inside Raqqa, ISIS militants' fast-shrinking terror capital -- CBS
US-backed SDF forces advance in Raqqa -- Al Jazeera
SDF make inroads into Raqqa -- Euronews
US-backed forces seize new district from IS in Raqqa -- AP
‘Significant resistance’ from IS in Raqqa as SDF advances -- Kurdistan 24
A quarter of Raqqa has been seized from ISIS -- Al Arabiya/AFP
ISIS Using Drones Rigged With Munitions To Attack Advancing Forces In Raqqa -- Newsweek
ISIS fighters are given 'passports to paradise' in a desperate bid to convince them they will be rewarded with virgins in the afterlife -- Daily Mail
ISIS wives escaping Raqqa regret joining group 'that deviated from Islam' -- Al-Arabiya

Islamic State Will Regroup After It Has Lost Its Urban Strongholds

Members of the Iraqi Army are photographed with an Islamic State flag, claimed after fighting with Islamic State militants in western Mosul, Iraq, June 26, 2017.

VOA: Islamic State Tries to Regroup as Mosul Losses Mount

WASHINGTON — With U.S.-backed Iraqi forces close to ending the Islamic State group's grip on Mosul, security forces in neighboring Iraqi provinces are increasingly concerned about extremists moving into their areas.

Kirkuk, Diyala and Salahuddin provinces have recently witnessed a surge in IS activities, and local security forces fear possible terror attacks by IS militants fleeing Mosul.

“IS terrorists have raised their black flags in many villages and plains across the provincial borders,” said Lieutenant Colonel Faruq Ahmed, head of the security department in Tuz Khurmatu, 200 kilometers from Mosul. “Some of those areas have not had many IS fighters since 2014.”

Read more ....

Update #1: After Mosul is liberated, where will ISIL go? (Faisal Al Yafai, The National).
Update #2: What happens after the Islamic State is defeated in Iraq and Syria? (Washington Post editorial)

WNU Editor: The war against the Islamic State is going to take a long time to run its course .... the loss of Mosul, Raqqa, and other cities is definitely not going to be the end of this group.

Update #3: Even If ISIS Goes Down Soon, It Probably Won’t Stay Down Long (Brian Stewart, The Federalist)