Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pentagon Downplays Reports That The F-35 Cannot Win In A Dogfight

Look out, Maverick. Oh, sorry, you can't turn your head. Ars Technica

ABC News: Military: Don’t Worry If F-35, Most Expensive Fighter Jet Ever, Can’t Dogfight Well

The makers of one of the most expensive weapons programs in history went on the defensive today, saying a recent report on the F-35 fighter jet’s failures in old-school dogfighting against a decades-old, much cheaper legacy fighter “does not tell the whole story.”

The report in question, posted on the national security news website War Is Boring, was based on an internal five-page brief in which an F-35 test pilot wrote a scathing criticism of the next-generation jet’s abilities in a January dogfight with an F-16, one of the planes the F-35 is designed to replace. Essentially, the pilot reportedly wrote, the F-35 was no match for the F-16 in close-up, high maneuvering fighting -- whether the F-35 was trying to get the F-16 in its sights or trying to evade the F-16’s mock weapons.

Update #1: F-35 project team says bad dogfight report “does not tell whole story” -- Ars Technica
Update #2: Pentagon says damning report of F-35 troubles ‘doesn’t tell the entire story’ -- Washington Post

Previous Post: Apparently The F-35 Cannot Win In A Dogfight (Update)

WNU Editor: One way for the Pentagon to discount this report is to have another "dogfight exercise" and to invite independent experts to see and assess it. But for some reason my gut is telling me that such an exercise is not going to be conducted right now or in the foreseeable future .... and that is telling in itself.

Apparently The F-35 Cannot Win In A Dogfight (Update)

US Air Force

Ars Technica: Report: In test dogfight, F-35 gets waxed by F-16

F-35 pilot found his aircraft "substantially inferior" in close battle.

A test pilot report obtained by defense journalist David Axe of War is Boring detailed the performance of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in a mock air battle against a two-seat F-16D in January. The F-16D—based on a design developed 40 years ago and from a production run in the mid-1990s—bested the F-35 in close-range combat maneuvers.

In the report, which Axe had obtained but did not publish in full, the F-35 pilot reported that his aircraft was in a "clean" configuration for the test, carrying nothing under its wings or in its internal weapons bays. The F-16, on the other hand, was flying with under-wing external fuel drop-tanks, which in theory would have put the aircraft at an aerodynamic disadvantage.

More News On The F-35 Not Being Able To Win In A Dogfight Against An F-16 During A War-Game Test

Test Pilot Admits the F-35 Can’t Dogfight -- War Is Boring
Trillion Dollar Cost Doesn't Help F-35 Stealth Jet In Dogfight Against F-16 Fighting Falcon Over California -- IBTimes
Test Pilot: The F-35 Can't Dogfight Worth a Damn -- Popular Mechanics
The US defence force has discovered its F-35 program is a trillion dollar blunder --
Pentagon’s F-35 stealth jet can’t win dogfight – report -- RT
F-35 Lightning stealth fighter comes up short In dogfight against ageing F-16 Fighting Falcon -- IBTimes
F-35 Loses Dogfight to Fighter Jet From the 1980s -- The Diplomat
America’s 5th-Generation, $1 Trillion, Cutting-Edge Fighter Is ‘About As Maneuverable As An F-16′ -- Daily Caller
F35 loses to 1970's era F16 carrying weights in a dogfight -- Next Big Future

Dissension Within The Islamic State Leadership?

Isis has executeed a top commander for plotting a coup against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi(Reuters)

NOW: ISIS executes top Mosul official for "coup attempt"

Abu Usman al-Hassan—one of the group’s commanders and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s representative in the city—was accused of conspiring against ISIS.

BEIRUT – Reports have emerged that ISIS has executed one of its top administrative officials in Iraq’s second city of Mosul for planning a coup against the extremist group.

The Iraq Press news outlet first reported the incident on Monday, saying that ISIS had executed Abu Usman al-Hassan—one of the group’s commanders and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s representative in the city—on charges of conspiracy, prompting a number of Syrian and Arab fighters to withdraw towards Raqqa in protest of the execution.

“ISIS executed the commander inside Mosul after severe disagreements between him and a number of other commanders,” an eyewitness told the outlet.

“He was accused of conspiring against the ‘caliphate state’.”

Update #1: Isis executes top commander for plotting coup against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi -- IBTimes
Update #2: ISIS executes one of its OWN top officials in Mosul after rumours circulated that he was planning a coup -- Daily Mail

WNU Editor: If true ... .this is good news. But that is the problem with getting any news from within the Islamic State .... we are never sure if it is true or not.

Hillary Clinton Emails From 2009 Released By The U.S. State Department

Daily Mail: Email bombshells from Hillary's secret account show she didn't know when cabinet meetings were held, was dumbfounded by a fax machine and emailed aides to fetch her iced tea

* State Department published a massive tranche of Hillary Clinton's emails Tuesday night from her days as secretary of state
* Judge ordered the release in response to a Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit
* Tuesday's revelation covers barely 3,000 of the 55,000 pages that must go online by the end of the year; 9:00 p.m. release suggested State Department tried to bury it
* Funny moments (Clinton can't work a fax machine) vied with imperious messages (telling aides to fetch her iced tea) and confusing references to someone on her calendar named 'Santa'

Hillary Clinton's emails have been a subject of partisan finger-pointing and hand-wringing since the revelation in April that she had used a private home-brew server to store her messages during the four years she was secretary of state.

On Tuesday the State Department released the first in a series of document-dumps comprising about 3,000 of the 55,000 pages Clinton turned over to State late last year.

WNU Editor: The emails can be seen here .... Here Are the 3,000 Pages of Hillary Clinton’s Emails Just Released by the State Department (National Journal). I have gone through some of it, and she does not look good at all .... in fact .... you have to wonder if she knew what she was doing when she was running the US State Department. And these are the emails that they want us to see .... I can only imagine what was in the emails that were destroyed. But even with all of this news .... people are still giving her gobs and gobs of money .... Hillary Clinton Raises $45 Million for Nominating Fight (NYT). On a side note .... kudos to the Daily Mail for not sugar-coating this story and to report it as is .... when I look at how the main stream media is covering this story (New York Times/AP/Reuters/Politico, etc.) .... you just have to wonder on how deep will they go to protect the Clinton brand.

More News On What U.S. Sec. of State Clinton's Emails Reveal

State Department Releases 3,000 Pages of Hillary Clinton's E-Mails -- Bloomberg
Clinton struggled to fit in with Obama's White House, emails show -- Reuters
New Hillary Clinton emails show expansive role of Sidney Blumenthal -- Politico
Hillary Clinton Emails: Domestic Politics, Image-Tending -- WSJ
Clinton can’t use a fax machine (and other lessons from State Dept. email dump) -- FOX News
Blumenthal gave diplomatic advice to Hillary Clinton as early as 2009, emails show -- FOX News
Proof: Despite Denials, White House Aides Knew about Hillary’s Private E-Mail Account -- NRO
CNN's Paul Begala asked the State Department for talking points on Hillary Clinton -- The Week
5 Strangely Interesting Things We Learned From Hillary Clinton's Emails -- People

U.S., Cuba Announce Embassy Openings

Washington Post: U.S., Cuba plan to reopen embassies

President Obama on Wednesday announced that Cuba and the United States will establish diplomatic ties for the first time in more than 50 years, a breakthrough step in the process of normalizing relations between the two estranged countries.

“This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people and begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas,” Obama said during remarks in the White House Rose Garden.

“Nobody expects Cuba to be transformed overnight but I believe that American engagement through our embassy, our businesses and most of all through our people is the best way to advance our interests in support for democracy and human rights,” he said.

WNU Editor: What's may take .... I would have waited until after the Castros have gone .... but for president Obama .... this is all about his legacy, and he has 18 months left in his term.

More News On The U.S. And Cuba Announcing The Opening Of Their Embassies

U.S. Formally Resumes Diplomatic Ties With Cuba -- WSJ
Obama formally opens U.S. diplomatic ties with Cuba -- Reuters
Obama announces opening of US Embassy in Cuba -- FOX News
Obama announces reestablishment of U.S.-Cuba diplomatic ties -- CNN
Obama, Cuba announce embassy openings -- USA Today
Obama on U.S. Embassy in Cuba: 'This Is What Change Looks Like' -- NBC
President Obama: 'New Chapter' Begins as US, Cuba Will Open Embassies -- ABC News
2016 Republicans Denounce U.S.-Cuba Embassy Opening -- WSJ

Israel's Shin Bet Chief: Hamas Readying For Next War With Israel

Yoram Cohen, chief of the Shin Bet general security services, attends a Foreign Affairs and Defense committee meeting in the Israeli parliament. November 18, 2014. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Times of Israel: Shin Bet chief: Hamas gearing up for next round with Israel

Terror group has little interest in war but could wage significant campaign, Yoram Cohen tells Knesset committee

Since last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has made great efforts to rebuild its military capacities in preparation for the next round of violence with Israel, according to the head of Israel’s internal secret service.

At a briefing before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen said Hamas has been working to reestablish its offensive tunnels, develop and produce new rockets, and increase training for its naval and ground forces. Hamas has also been trying to acquire funding from Iran, he added, in light of the economic hardships brought on by the 50-day conflict.

More News On Israel's Shin Bet Chief Claiming That Hamas Is Readying For Another War With Israel

Shin Bet Head Warns Hamas is Ready for Another War -- Jewish Voice
Hamas Readying for Next War With Israel, Shin Bet Chief Says -- Algemeiner
Hamas Chief Says Armed Wing 'Stronger' than Ever -- Arutz Sheva
Shin Bet chief: Hamas preparing for war but has lost Gaza support -- Palestinian News Network

Islamic State Threatens To Overthrow Hamas In The Gaza Strip

ISIL fighters condemned Hamas for its dealings with Hezbollah, Iran and "secularist" groups [YouTube]

Al Jazeera: ISIL warns Hamas in video message

Fighters condemn Palestinian group for crackdown on ISIL supporters, and failure to implement its brand of Islamic law.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group has threatened the Palestinian armed group Hamas, vowing to end the faction's rule in the territory.

In a 16-minute long video shared by social media accounts sympathetic to ISIL on Wednesday, fighters based in Syria's Aleppo province condemned Hamas for its crackdown on Salafist groups in the Gaza Strip, and its failure to implement a rigid enough interpretation of Islamic law.

More News On The Islamic State Threatening To Overthrow Hamas In The Gaza Strip

Islamic State threatens to topple Hamas in Gaza Strip in video statement -- The Guardian
ISIS Allies Target Hamas and Energize Gaza Extremists -- NYT
New Isis video threatens to overthrow Hamas in Gaza because group is not extreme enough -- The Independent
ISIS Supporters Throw Down Gauntlet to Hamas in Gaza -- NBC
ISIS Threat In Gaza: Islamic State Group Threatens To Oust Hamas, Accuses It Of Being Insufficiently Pious -- IBTimes
Islamic State threatens to ‘uproot’ Israel, topple Hamas -- Times of Israel
Islamic State sends warning to Hamas and Fatah -- Times of Israel
ISIS threatens Hamas – but move could bring Israel & Palestine closer to fight common enemy -- RT

Islamic State Launches Multiple Attacks In Egypt's North Sinai. 70 Soldiers Reported Kill

Reuters: Islamic State attack in Egypt's North Sinai kills 70

Islamic State insurgents attacked several military checkpoints in Egypt's North Sinai on Wednesday in a co-ordinated assault in which at least 70 combatants and civilians were killed -- one of the biggest militant attacks in Egypt's modern history.

The action marked a significant escalation in violence in the Sinai Peninsula, located between Israel, the Gaza Strip and the Suez Canal.

It also raised questions about the government's ability to contain an insurgency that has already killed hundreds of police and soldiers.

Islamic State's Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The army said five checkpoints were hit by about 70 militants and the fighting raged for more than eight hours.

One security source put the number of militants at about 300, armed with heavy weapons and anti-aircraft weaponry.

More News On Today's Multiple Attacks By The Islamic State In North Sinai

LIVE UPDATES: Dozens killed in largest attack by IS against Egypt's army in North Sinai -- Ahram Online
Egyptian Militants Linked to ISIS Launch Attack in Northern Sinai -- NYT
Militants attack Egyptian army checkpoints in Sinai, kill 50 -- AP
Egypt's Sinai rocked by wave of deadly attacks -- BBC
ISIS-affiliated militants launch wave of assaults in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula -- Washington Post
50 soldiers killed in ISIS attack on Egyptian Army's Sinai checkpoints -- FOX News
Report: Sinai attacks kill 20 Egyptian soldiers; ISIS claims responsibility -- CNN
Deadly attacks target soldiers in Sinai -- Deutsche Welle
'50 killed' in attacks on Egyptian checkpoints in Sinai, ISIS claims responsibility -- RT
Deadly attacks hit Egypt's Sinai -- Al Jazeera
Attacks on Egyptian checkpoints signal escalation in Isis capabilities -- The Guardian

Live Updates On The Greek Debt Crisis

Live Updates On The Greek Debt Crisis

Live reporting on the Greek crisis -- BBC
Live: Greek Debt Crisis 2015 -- Reuters
LIVE: Tsipras calls for ‘no’ vote in bailout referendum -- France 24
The Latest: Banner against austerity in Athens taken down -- AP
Latest on the Greek Debt Crisis: Tsipras Budges on Deal -- New York Times
Greece debt crisis: Alexis Tsipras insists Sunday referendum still on – live -- The Guardian
Greek Crisis Live: Tsipras to go ahead with referendum as creditors pressure him to capitulate on bailout -- The Telegraph
Greece debt crisis live: Angela Merkel refuses to negotiate new bailout deal until after referendum -- The Independent
Debt crisis: Will Greece exit euro? LIVE UPDATES -- RT
Live Updates On Greece's Debt Crisis -- Huffington Post

How Greece Went Bust

Reuters: Special Report: How Greece went bust

It was a small room with a plain wooden table a few feet wide. The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sat on one side, along with a translator and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. On the other sat President Francois Hollande of France; around were a handful of officials.

In this modest Brussels setting last Friday morning, key players in the great Greek debt drama tried to avert a meltdown that could threaten the future of the euro and even the European Union (EU). Merkel and Hollande made a final offer of billions of euros in aid for bankrupt Greece – if Tsipras would sign up to economic reforms demanded by his country's creditors.

WNU Editor: A good summary on the past two weeks on the Greek debt crisis.

Bank Of England Issues Warning That Greece Now "Threatens To Trigger A Market Selloff That Could Ripple Through The Global Economy"

Wall Street Journal: Bank of England Warns Greece Threatens Financial Stability

Greece’s debt crisis could trigger a financial market selloff that could ripple through the global economy, the U.K.’s central bank warns

LONDON—The Bank of England said Wednesday the outlook for financial stability in the U.K. has deteriorated in recent days as the crisis in Greece intensifies, underscoring how the Mediterranean nation’s debt troubles are reverberating outside the eurozone.

Presenting the BOE’s twice-yearly Financial Stability Report, the central bank’s governor Mark Carney said the risks associated with Greece and its failure so far to reach a deal with its international creditors have grown acute, and threaten to trigger a selloff in financial markets that could ripple through to the wider global economy.

More News On The Bank Of England Issuing A Warning That Greece May Impact The Global Economy

BOE Sees Acute Greek Risks, Finance Stability Threatened -- Bloomberg
Greek crisis means Britain's economic outlook has 'worsened' says Bank of England as Osborne 'prepares for the worst' -- Daily Mail
Bank of England warns of risks to UK over Greek crisis -- Financial Times
Greek debt crisis a threat to UK financial system – Bank of England -- RT
Greece poses risk to UK financial system, says Bank of England -- The Guardian
Bank Of England Warns Greece "Threatens To Trigger Market Selloff That Could Ripple Through The Global Economy" -- Zero Hedge

WNU Editor: I guess Bank of England governor Mark Carney does not agree with President Obama's claim yesterday that the crisis in Greece will not significantly impact the U.S. economy .... Obama: Greece crisis no 'major shock' to US economy (The Guardian). Who to believe .... England's top banker whose job is to protect Britain's currency .... or a politician in the White House? I have never met President Obama, but I have met Mark Carney when he was Governor of the Bank of Canada .... my money is on the banker telling the truth.

Greek Banks Partially Opened Today. Besieged By Thousands Of Pensioners Clamoring For Cash

Zero Hedge: "Heartbreaking" Scene Unfolds At Greek Banks As Pensioners Clamor For Cash

1,000 Greek bank branches chanced a stampede in order to open their doors to the country's retirees on Wednesday.

The scene was somewhat chaotic as pensioners formed long lines and the country’s elderly attempted to squeeze through the doors in order to access pension payments.

As Bloomberg reports, payouts were rationed and disbursals were limited according to last name. Here’s more:

It’s a day of fresh indignities for the people of Greece.

About a third of the nation’s depleted banks cracked open their doors after being closed for three days. But all they did was ration pension payments, hours after the country became the first advanced economy to miss a payment to the International Monetary Fund and its bailout program expired.

On the third day of capital controls, a few dozen pensioners lined up by 7 a.m. at a central Athens branch of the National Bank of Greece, an hour before opening time. They were to receive a maximum of 120 euros ($133), compared with the average monthly payment of about 600 euros. Many left with nothing after the manager said only those with last names starting with the letters A through K would get paid.

“Not only will I have to queue for hours at the bank in the hope of getting 120 euros, but I’ll have a two-hour round trip,” said Dimitris Danaos, 77, a retired local government worker who was making the bus journey from his home outside the Greek capital to the suburb of Glyfada.

WNU Editor: I saw the same thing happen in Russia when many Russian banks failed in the economic collapse of the 1990s. Desperate pensioners by the hundreds lining up in front of banks that had no money to give out .... sighhh ..... those are memories that I will never forget. Flash forward to today .... and seeing the same thing happening in Greece right now .... and knowing too well that it is going to get worse .... this is not going to end well.

Update: This photo gallery from the Daily Mail says it all .... Show us the money! Pensioners push each other out of the way to collect their cash as Greece finally caves in to creditors' demands... and immediately asks for a hand-out as well (Daily Mail).

Is Greece About To 'Cave In' To The Demands Of The EU And Its Creditors?

New York Times: Tsipras Signals Greece May Accept Bailout Terms

ATHENS — The Greek government has indicated to its creditors that it is willing to accept many of the terms of a bailout package that it had earlier rejected, if they are part of a broader deal to address the country’s funding needs for the next two years, officials said on Wednesday.

The development raised the prospect of progress in resolving a financial crisis that has sent shudders through global markets and deeply strained European unity.

In a letter sent on Tuesday to the creditors — the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other eurozone countries — Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Greece was “prepared to accept” a deal set out publicly over the weekend by the creditors, with small modifications to some of the central points of contention on issues like pension cuts and tax increases. Mr. Tsipras linked Greece’s acceptance of the terms to a new package of bailout aid that would need to be negotiated.

WNU Editor: On the one hand the Greek government is making it known that they are about to accept the original EU demands for debt relief .... and now they are saying the opposite .... Tsipras Will Not Back Down On Referendum: Media Report (Zero Hedge). When conducting international diplomacy you need the other side to see you as someone who is trustful, honest, patient, and reliable .... these are (from my own experience) your assets and tools to use in order to get the other side to agree with your position .... or at a minimal .... some part of it. To say that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his government has squandered completely all of these "assets" is an understatement .... in my eyes he is someone who is not trustful, honest, patient .... and definitely not reliable .... and for Greece .... this is not going to end well.

More News On The Greek Debt Crisis

Greece appears to cave to demands, but Europe skeptical -- AP
Greece offers conditional okay to bailout, Germany sceptical -- Reuters
Greece debt crisis: Tsipras in new bailout 'concessions' -- BBC
Greece does about-face on bailout -- CNN
Greece eases snub of bailout demands but deal prospects remain unclear -- Washington Post
Euro zone officials doubt acceptance of new Greek proposal: sources -- Reuters

Today Is Canada Day

WNU Editor: For those who may not know .... I live in Canada and today is Canada Day .... our national holiday. I did the mistake last night of attending a fantastic party that involved eating, drinking, and talking till the early hours of the morning. So to say that I am suffering from a hangover this morning is an understatement .... so yes .... my head is really hurting right now .... and blogging will be light for the next few hours. Military And Intelligence News Briefs And World News Briefs will be posted at 17:00 EST and 18:00 EST later today. Sighhh .... I now need a cup of coffee.

The Debate On Women In Combat Continues

Politico: The Military Has a Man Problem

Stop whining about women in combat. It’s the guys who need to change—and fast.

Army Specialist Laura Naylor, a Wisconsin native, spent a year in Baghdad with the 32nd Military Police Company in 2003 and 2004. During that time, she—like all of the more than quarter-million women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan—was officially banned from ground combat. That technicality didn’t slow down Naylor when an IED hit her convoy and it began to take fire from a nearby building. “We had to search this house nearby, thinking they were the ones doing the shooting, and I was the lead person the whole way. I had a flashlight in one hand, a pistol in the other, and I’d kick the door open with my foot, look both ways, give the all clear, go to the next room, do the same thing,” she recounted to me a few years later. “We were interchangeable with the infantry.”

WNU Editor: In my book this debate is over .... it is now accepted that women will serve in combat ... the question that remains to be answered is .... in what capacity and in what units (i.e. will they eventually be able to serve in special forces units).

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Growing Russia - China Alliance

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin attended the opening ceremony of the "Year of Chinese Tourism in Russia" at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow, March 22, 2013. Reuters

IBTimes: China-Russia To Boost Military Technical Training Cooperation But Should Not Be Seen As A Coalition

China has plans to build stronger military ties through developing armed forces-technical training cooperation with Russia to boost geopolitical relations. Beijing insists that cooperation between the world’s second- and third-most powerful militaries should not be considered a threat to any third party.

“China hopes to develop an all-around and broad cooperation with Russia, including in military-technical cooperation, to gradually strengthen practical cooperation of the two states [as well as strengthen] friendly exchanges between the peoples of our countries,” Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui told RIA Novosti, Russia’s state-owned news agency, in an interview.

WNU Editor
: Talk about a Russia - China coalition has been around for decades .... so this speculation is nothing new. But it is true that both countries are now cooperating economically, and that diplomatic/political relations are now at levels that I have never seen (with the exception of when I was stationed there in the 1980s).


A Russian Military Base In Ukraine?

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Daily Beast: Drones Find Russian Base Inside Ukraine

Aerial footage finds smoking-gun evidence of Russian army involvement in the conflict. More war is inevitable.

Dnipro-1, one of Ukraine’s many pro-government volunteer regiments, today released a video compiling drone footage of a Russian military camp just south of the village of Sontsevo in the Donetsk region.

Two drone flights were made over the same area, two weeks apart. Over that time, the camp grew from a small collection of tents and engineering vehicles into a fully-fledged forward operating base (FOB), complete with tanks, communications equipment, personnel quarters and even new roads.

Update #1: Gotcha? Russian military base reportedly found in Ukraine, detailed in drone video -- Washington Post
Update #2: A Russian military base has been spotted in eastern Ukraine -- Business Insider

WNU Editor: This video is from a pro-Ukrainian militia .... so yes .... I am cautious and and skeptical on what they are reporting. And what do I see on the video .... tanks, military equipment, soldiers .... all filmed from thousands of feet in the air. Are they Russian-separatists? Russian soldiers? Even maybe a Ukrainian base filmed by accident (or not). I do not know the answer ... but for what it is worth the video is above (with an interesting sound track).

Ukraine News Updates -- June 30, 2015

The Guardian: Ukraine ceasefire: 'There is shooting all the time'

Skirmishes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels continue despite a truce signed in February, giving little cause for hope of an end to the conflict

“This doesn’t smell like peace to me,” said the Monk, sighing heavily in his makeshift control centre, a former chandelier shop in the basement of a block of flats, near the remains of what not long ago was Donetsk international airport.

“There is shooting all the time,” he said. A 47-year-old former police officer from Donetsk whose real name is Oleg Gorlenko, he was given his nom de guerre, he said, because he never cheated on his wife. He has been fighting the Ukrainian army for more than a year and does not believe in the current ceasefire.

“Often it’s hard to tell who is shooting at whom. Nobody knows what anyone else is doing. But it definitely isn’t a ceasefire.”

WNU Editor: Everyone that I know in Ukraine is telling me the same thing .... the front-lines are dangerous, but so are many other regions that are kilometers away from the front lines. From what I can tell .... the entire eastern part of Ukraine is a dangerous place for Ukrainian soldiers, a fact that even the Ukrainian news web sites are now finally acknowledging .... Kurakhove, a Ukrainian-controlled city 10 kilometers from the war front, is on edge with residents divided (Kyiv Post).

Ukraine News Updates -- June 30, 2015

UN: 6,500 people killed in Russia-Ukraine war over last year -- Ukraine Today
Ukraine Has 75,000 Troops In East Ukraine, Says Luhansk People's Republic Leader -- IBTimes
Foreign specialists operate Ukrainian army’s drones — LPR reconnaissance -- ITAR-TASS
Information war high priority for both sides in Ukraine conflict -- Canadian Press
Ukrainian officers graduate from defence academy ready to go to frontline in east Ukraine -- Ukraine Today
Hackers Leak Ukraine Military Documents Revealing Plan to Increase Spending On Armed Forces -- IBTimes
Meet the foul-mouthed governor fighting to hold Ukraine's war-torn east together -- Global Post
Ukraine, creditors still wrangling over debt restructuing deal -- Ukraine Today
IMF urges Ukraine, creditors to reach agreement -- Reuters
Ukraine's 'history laws' purge it of communist symbols but divide the population -- The Telegraph

Russia - Ukraine Gas Talks Have Collapsed

Reuters / Gleb Garanich

Voice of America: Talks Collapse; Ukraine Halts Purchases of Russian Gas

Ukraine suspended its purchases of Russian natural gas after European Union-mediated price talks collapsed Tuesday.

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said he was "surprised" that Ukraine was demanding a much deeper discount than what he was offering. He said the price the Ukrainians wanted was out of line with current market conditions, and that the decision to stop buying Russian gas was political.

Ukraine said the price cut Russia was offering was not low enough. But it said it would fulfill its contract to send Russian gas to the EU through pipelines running across Ukrainian territory.

WNU Editor
: Winter is only 6 months away.

More News On Russian - Ukrainian Gas Talks Collapsing

Ukraine Halts Russian Gas Purchases as Talks on Winter Deal Fail -- Bloomberg
Ukraine suspends Russian gas purchases -- BBC
Ukraine to stop buying Russian gas after talks on new deal fail -- RT
Russia fails to reach deal on future gas supplies to Ukraine amid price differences -- AP
Ukraine suspends Russian gas purchases in new price dispute -- Deutsche Welle
Russia, Ukraine gas supply talks break down over pricing -- Reuters
Russia says Ukraine decision to stop buying Russian gas is political -- Reuters
EU aims to head off Ukraine-Russia gas war -- Politico

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- June 30, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sits across from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other advisers, Vienna, Austria, June 27, 2015 (State Department photo).

Ricard Gowan, WPR: Iran Talks, Greece Crisis Open Make-or-Break Week for West

Welcome to what could turn out to be the most important, and potentially the most destructive, week in international diplomacy since the end of the Cold War.

In the next seven days, we are meant to reach three major turning points in global affairs. On Tuesday, major powers are meant to conclude an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program. On the same day, Greece is supposed to make a 1.6 billion euro payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but may fail to do so. And on Sunday, Greek voters will vote in a referendum on the latest bailout package offered by its creditors in the eurozone and the IMF. The Greek government says it wants them to reject the deal, arguing that the terms are too austere, especially over pensions.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- June 30, 2015

The real reason Greek PM Alexis Tsipras wants a referendum on debt deal -- Marco Vicenzino, Reuters

Crunch Time for Greece -- David Patrikarakos, Daily Beast

What Is the European Union, Exactly? -- Kathy Gilsinan, The Atlantic

Post-election Erdogan cannot regain power he lost -- Cengiz Çandar, Al-Monitor

She’s a Beautiful, Passionate Voice for Ukraine, But That’s Not Enough -- Anna Nemtsova, Daily Beast

China crosses Obama’s cyber ‘red line’ -- Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post

How Russia, China, and IS Have Made the US Popular Again -- Rob Spalding and Adam Lowther, The Diplomat

Brazilian leader's US visit: how Obama patched up ties after spying scandal -- Howard LaFranchi CSM

Puerto Rico's finances: Another fine debt crisis -- The Economist

Puerto Rico Could Really Use a Bankruptcy -- Matt Levine, Bloomberg

Cuba-U.S. Reboot -- Bill Faries and Ezra Fieser, Bloomberg

CIA Lags in Recruiting Diverse Workforce, Reports Finds -- Maya Rhodan, Time

World News Briefs -- June 30, 2015 (Evening Edition)

Reuters: Greece Defaults To The IMF

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday confirmed Greece had not made its 1.5 billion euro ($1.7 billion) loan repayment to the Fund, making it the first advanced economy to ever be in arrears to the Fund.

The missed payment, the largest in the Fund's history, is equivalent to a default, in that both imply a breach of Athens' obligations. IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said Greece can now only receive further IMF funding once the arrears are cleared.


U.S., Iran presidents issue warnings as nuclear talks extended.

Obama says US could 'walk away' from Iran nuclear talks, as deadline extended.

Iran nuclear talks deadline extended to July 7. Negotiators at Iran nuclear talks give themselves another week. Iran, powers give themselves to July 7 to strike deal.

Iran and powers set to miss deadline as nuclear deal remains elusive.

Islamic State captures district in Syrian border town: monitor.

Israel says Syria's Assad may be left with rump state.

Turkey says any Syria measures not act of war but to preserve border security. Turkey vows retaliation, but rejects Syria intervention.

Yemen fighting allows 1,200 prisoners to flee.

Saudi military denies Scud strike after Yemeni rebels claim missile launch.

Millions of children face disease, malnutrition in war-torn Yemen: U.N..

Kuwait says in 'state of war' with militants, warns of other cells.


Hong Kong expects large pro-democracy rally as it marks 1997 handover.

Taiwan youth to China: Treat us like a country.

South Korea navy fires warning shots at boat from North.

Over 100 dead in Indonesia after military plane crashes in residential area.

China says some South China Sea land reclamation projects completed.

Large explosion hits Afghanistan's capital Kabul. Suicide bomber attacks NATO convoy near U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

China announces climate target for Paris deal.

Man sets himself alight on Japan bullet train, second passenger dies.

Myanmar students in peaceful march to protest political role of military.


Nigeria's Buhari puts oil sector under the scanner.

French soldiers accused of sexual abuse of minors in Africa.

Burundi counts votes as thousands flee political crisis.

Ebola returns to Liberia after nation declared free of virus.

Schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram 'brainwashed to fight for group'.

Thousands of children rescued from dangerous work in Tanzania gold mines.

UN: South Sudan army raped girls and burned them alive.

In an emergency meeting, Arab League calls attack on Egypt's top prosecutor 'criminal'.

Source: Tunisia hotel attacker in contact with militants in Libya. Tunisia beach killer trained with museum gunmen.


Greece's bailout expires, country defaults on IMF payment.

Greece asks for new bailout — its third — at 11th hour.

Ukraine ceasefire: 'There is shooting all the time'.

Denmark tells Germany it will impose border controls.

Britain's losses in Tunisia attack climb to 21.

Concern on continent as heatwave set to drive temperatures beyond 40C.

Kremlin critic Khodorkovsky named as murder suspect in Russia.


US, Cuba to announce opening of embassies on Wednesday. U.S.-Cuba deal to restore ties to be unveiled on Wednesday.

US senator on visit to Venezuela amid diplomatic detente.

Republican Christie announces 2016 White House bid, vows 'I mean what I say'.

Obama signs 2 trade bills into law.

Puerto Rico governor calls for bankruptcy; adviser says island 'insolvent'. Puerto Rico governor says US territory 'can't pay $72bn debt'.

Russian diplomats blast latest Canadian sanctions as 'sad déjà-vu'.

Brazilian president's visit to US will not include apology from Obama for spying.

Putin offered to support Venezuela in case of war with Colombia, book claims.

California passes mandatory vaccination bill.

Pope 'plans to chew coca leaves during Bolivia visit'.

Nearly one in three Americans owns a gun.


Islamic State 'beheads women for sorcery' in Syria. Islamic State beheads female civilians for first time in Syria: monitor.

In Yemen chaos, Islamic State grows to rival al Qaeda.

Ex-CIA insider: July 4 terror alert is "nothing routine".


Wall St. ends up on Greek hopes ahead of debt deadline.

"Huge uncertainties" over Greece, dollar will delay Fed rate hikes: Kotok.

Apple conspired to fix e-book prices: U.S. appeals court.

Uber makes big push to win over Chinese consumers.

The FBI Has Sets Up 56 Centers To Monitor Fourth Of July Terror Threats

The FBI is setting up command centers at each of its 56 field offices across the country ahead of the July 4th weekend over fears of a possible ISIS-inspired terrorist attack. This graph shows all the field offices except for the ones in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico

IBTimes: Isis threat in US: FBI setting up command centres to monitor 4th of July weekend terror threats

Following a warning bulletin from several US agencies about potential terrorist threats around the 4 July weekend, the FBI is establishing command centres to monitor possible terrorist activities.

The bulletin, released on 27 June, stated there was no known active plots, but instead served as a general warning.

Following a warning bulletin from several US agencies about potential terrorist threats around the 4 July weekend, the FBI is establishing command centres to monitor possible terrorist activities.

The bulletin, released on 27 June, stated there was no known active plots, but instead served as a general warning.

Update: The sick ambitions of a caliphate bent on carnage: Chilling map predicts where ISIS will strike the West with 'lone wolf attacks' - as FBI sets up 56 centers to monitor Fourth of July terror threat -- Daily Mail

WNU Editor: Someone is expecting trouble. This former top CIA official is saying that this is not normal .... Ex-CIA insider: July 4 terror alert is "nothing routine" (CBS).