Thursday, October 19, 2017

Should President Trump Visit The Demilitarized Zone Along The North Korean Border

President Barack Obama is briefed by Lt. Col. Ed Taylor as he views the DMZ from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas, Republic of Korea, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Washington Post: Trump White House debates presidential visit to demilitarized zone along North Korean border

It has become the ultimate symbol of American resolve against the threat of North Korea: a visit by the U.S. commander in chief to “freedom’s frontier,” the heavily guarded demilitarized zone that has separated the North and South for 64 years.

Wearing bomber-style jackets, surrounded by military officers, peering through binoculars, all but one president since Ronald Reagan have gazed across the barren strip of land at the 38th parallel from an observation post where they’ve been moved to talk tough. In April, Vice President Pence, undertaking the same solemn ritual, said he toured the DMZ so the North Koreans could “see our resolve in my face.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A few weeks ago I said that President Trump should visit the DMZ .... but now I am not sure. When a country threatens to do this .... North Korea threatens 'unimaginable' strike on United States (USA Today) .... normal protocol goes out the window. I still expect President Trump to visit the DMZ, but I will not be surprised if the military and the Secret Service will be on maximum alert when he does visit in the event that the worst case scenario does break-out.

Is Russia Providing Economic Aid To The Taliban?

Moscow has lately accelerated its support in apparent attempt to bolster Taliban against Islamic State. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Express Tribune: Russia supplying free fuel to Taliban in war against NATO forces, reveals report

Russia is supporting the Afghan Taliban against Nato forces through a covert programme of laundered fuel sales, a report has revealed.

“Russian intelligence services are sending fleets of fuel tankers into Afghanistan through the Hairatan border crossing with Uzbekistan,” The Times quoted sources in the militant group and Afghan forces as saying.

“From there, they are delivered free of charge to front companies operating on behalf of the Taliban. The arrangement allows about $2.5 million raised in cash from the sale of the fuel each month to be delivered directly to insurgent paymasters,” the report claimed.

Read more ....

Update: Russia Funding Taliban in War Against NATO Troops (TOLO News)

WNU Editor: There has been a lot of coverage on reports that Russia is supplying weapons to the Taliban .... but the evidence (IMHO) has been inconclusive. As for Russia providing covert economic support to the Taliban .... with the exception of The Times, Pakistani and Afghan news sites, coupled with Russian social media .... this story has been ignored. I personally have doubts that this story is true. There is no support among the Russian public for Moscow to provide any aid to the Taliban .... but if Russia is providing support, the political backlash against Putin would be huge.

The Canadian Province Of Quebec Has Moved To Ban The Burka



Globe and Mail: Quebec bans face covering in public services, raising worries among Muslims

Quebec has adopted a law that will force people to show their faces when taking the bus or borrowing a book from the library, pushing ahead with legislation that is being criticized for targeting Muslim Canadian women.

Bill 62, which the Justice Minister described as a North American first, requires one's face to be uncovered when giving or receiving public services. The law marks the outcome of a contentious, decade-long debate about the place of religious minorities in Quebec.

Details of how the law would apply have yet to be worked out, but critics are concerned it will empower civil servants such as front-line hospital workers to refuse service to a woman in a niqab or burka.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I live in Quebec, and people outside of Quebec do not understand how fiercely nationalistic French Quebecers are. I have seen women use public services and the subway wearing a full burka .... and you can easily sense the hostility among the people when they see this. What is also not healthy is that there are now ghettos in Montreal where Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East have congregated. They are not assimilating, and within these "ghettos" French Quebecers who have lived there for generations feel that they are being squeezed out. There is also a huge political aspect of this story. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau won the election because he garnered the support of many French Quebecers. If he pushes the courts to overturn this law he will be facing a backlash among those who voted for him. So he is faced with a dilemma .... do nothing or lose a good part of his political base. My prediction .... he is hoping that this story will go away with time and that civil liberty groups will pick up the slack and challenge it in the courts.

Russia's Presidential Campagn Has Its First Official Candidate



RT: Daughter of Putin's mentor, Russian It-girl Ksenia Sobchak, announces her presidential bid

Russian jet setter, TV personality, glossy magazine editor and all-around It-girl-turned opposition figure Ksenia Sobchak, 35, has officially announced her decision to run for the presidency in the 2018 election.

Running as an independent, Sobchak generally has a love-hate relationship with the Russian audience. Having been on the country's pop culture scene for many years, she has hosted one of the most popular reality TV shows, is a frequent guest at international VIP celebrity parties, has modeled for Playboy and is now editor-in-chief of L'Officiel Russia.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Her mother is a close personal and political friend of Russian President Putin. She will get about 5% of the vote (maybe less), and she knows it. So why is she doing it? She does want to enter politics, and she wants to be in the next cabinet. This is her way to of having the public see her in different way, show everyone that she is capable of handling the political pressure of a campaign, and to earn the respect of Russia's elites. She is also important because she symbolizes the next generation of Russian politicians. Mid-thirties to early forties. Well educated and comfortable in using the media to their benefit. And having a worldview that is very outward rather than inward.

More News On Ksenia Sobchak

Russia socialite Ksenia Sobchak declares presidential bid -- BBC News
Russian 'It Girl' Ksenia Sobchak announces Kremlin bid -- AFP
Russian TV star Sobchak declares her presidential bid -- ABC News
Playboy model seeks to dislodge (or maybe help) Putin -- Politico
Who Is Ksenia Sobchak? 'Russia's Paris Hilton' Declares Presidential Bid Against Putin -- International Business Times

Tweets For Today





Picture Of The Day

Front row, L to R) The chairman of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress Zhang Dejiang, former Chinese president Hu Jintao, Chinese president Xi Jinping, former president Jiang Zemin and Chinese premier Li Keqiang, at the opening ceremony. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... China's 19th Communist party congress – in pictures (The Guardian).

Should A U.S. President Call A Grieving Family When A Loved One Has Been Killed In Action?


WNU Editor: It is seven years now .... but in 2010 I did a special post commemorating the 10th anniversary of the USS Cole bombing. I was proud of the post .... a recognition of those who lost their lives, and I spent a good deal of time collecting links that gave back ground information on the bombing as well as on what happened after. The picture that I used was the tombstone of one of the fallen .... it was a beautiful tombstone and picture .... a family's tribute to their lost son .... and very fitting for the post. I gave credit to the picture and where it came from .... posted it for 3:00 AM EST .... and went to bed. I woke up that morning, and I do what I do every morning .... I read my email. One of the emails was from someone that I never heard before .... I opened it, and it was from the father of the soldier whose tombstone that I used as my picture. I expected a thank you, but what I got was a father who was beyond livid. Accusing me of profiting from his son's death, disrespecting his family, and a whole bunch of other things that were untrue and in my opinion unhinged. But what could I do .... and more to the point .... what did I do to make him so angry and threatening. I checked the email address .... and found out that yes .... this was a valid email, and that he was the Goldstar father. The more I thought about it, the more upset I was that I made this man upset .... when my intention was never to do anything like that. I have a thick skin .... nothing much gets to me. I have experienced a lot in my life, but I have also learned to keep a open mind, and when I feel that I am wrong .... to correct it. In this case I was more than mortified .... I sent him an email with sincere apologies .... detailing and explaining to him what motivated me to do the post .... and that my intention was to certainly never profit from him or from his son. I lost count on how many times I said I was sorry .... and to make amends I deleted the post, and I publicly apologized on this blog telling everyone on what had happened. He responded later in the day with his own apology .... he told me that I could use the picture .... and that he thought that I was just another con-man trying to take advantage of his son's death. I thanked him for his response, and I told him that as far as I am concerned .... the case was closed. I did not make another post on his son .... nor anyone like it since .... the potential negative energy and blow-back is just not worth it.

Since that time I have tried to understand why this father reacted in the way that he did .... and over the years many family members who have lost loved ones in war (and who are also readers of this blog) have explained to me the sea of emotions that a family goes through when their loved one is killed in action. Anger and rage are the two main emotions that people feel .... and because they cannot strike-out at the enemy who killed their loved one, many attack the one who sent their loved one into harms way. I think for a President this is probably one of the most difficult parts of his job .... and definitely the most draining. To call a family who has lost a loved one .... knowing too well that this family is probably blaming him for why their loved one is dead .... most people would run away. I have read over the years that when President Bush and President Obama called a grieving family .... they were often faced with a family that were beyond anger, blaming them for the lost of their loved one. I guess that explains why both President Bush and President Obama ended up sending letters to grieving families later in their terms instead of calling them .... their advisers must have noticed how draining this experience was for them, and decided to limit their calls. Considering what I went through with a grieving father 10 years after the fact .... I can understand why. As for President Trump .... who if attacked will respond with an attack .... he is probably ill-suited to call a grieving family who is angry at him. And with the political environment in Washington being as toxic as it is .... if you call a grieving widow with someone like Democrat Congresswoman Frederica Wilson beside her whose hatred towards President Trump is well known .... expect fireworks.

On a side note .... in Russia the President (if he chooses) would meet the grieving family in a public setting .... no cameras .... and there will be a lot of people there so that a situation does "not get out of control". Otherwise .... it is just a letter to the family.  There are phone calls .... but that is very rare.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Showdown In Catalonia



Reuters: Spain-Catalonia standoff set to intensify as leaders take hard lines

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s political showdown with Catalonia is set to reach a new level on Thursday when political leaders in Madrid and Barcelona are expected to make good on pledges made to their supporters to stick to their tough positions over the region’s future.

In an unprecedented move since Spain returned to democracy in the late 1970s, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will impose direct rule in Catalonia unless the region’s leader Carles Puigdemont retracts by 10 a.m. (0800 GMT) an ambiguous declaration of independence he made last week.

Puigdemont told members of his Catalan Democratic Party on Wednesday night that not only he would not back down but that he would press ahead with a more formal declaration of independence if Rajoy suspends Catalonia’s political autonomy.

It is not yet clear how and when this declaration would take place and whether it would be endorsed by the regional assembly, though many pro-independence lawmakers have openly said they wanted to hold a vote in the Catalan parliament to make it more solemn.

Read more ....

Update #1: Catalonia: Spain ultimatum looms over independence push (BBC)
Update #2: Catalonia's Carles Puigdemont firm on independence bid as Madrid deadline looms (DW)

WNU Editor: Since the referendum both sides have shown no interest to negotiate or compromise. As a result, the die is now cast .... Spain will impose direct rule on Catalonia tomorrow, and Catalonia will declare independence .... Catalonia to press ahead with independence if Madrid suspends autonomy (Reuters). In my lifetime I have seen the Soviet Union break-up, Yugoslavia a few years later, and to a lesser extent .... Ukraine today. The circumstances are different in Spain, but the unwillingness to negotiate .... and to then use the Guardia Civil to stop the referendum followed by arresting political leaders .... just galvanized support for independence in Catalonia to the levels that we see it today. Bottom line ..... this is not going to end well.

These Are The Men And Women Who Defeated ISIS In Raqqa

Militia fighters resting and preparing to return to the front line in eastern Raqqa. Credit Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

New York Times: ‘Come Out and Surrender’: Inside Raqqa, With the Fighters Who Drove Off ISIS

RAQQA, Syria — From the top-floor sniper position in western Raqqa, members of an American-backed militia scanned the ground for any signs of movement.

“We have hot soup, we have bread: Come out and surrender,” one of the fighters said on a loudspeaker. “The ISIS members and their families who surrendered to us are safe.”

I was one of a handful of journalists who accompanied the militia, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, for about 10 days. Twice I went to the front lines in the city, which has been largely liberated after a four-month battle. I talked to civilians who had endured Islamic State rule for more than four years and survived.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Some of these stories and pictures are gripping.

Will A Pakistan Chicken-Wire Border Fence To Keep Out Militants From Afghanistan Work?

A view of the border fence outside the Kitton outpost on the border with Afghanistan in North Waziristan, Pakistan October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

Reuters: Pakistan, Afghanistan in angry tangle over chicken-wire border fence to keep out militants

Angoor Adda, PAKISTAN (Reuters) - Pakistan is betting that a pair of nine-foot chicken wire fences topped with barbed wire will stop incursions by Islamist militants from Afghanistan, which opposes Islamabad’s plans for a barrier along the disputed frontier.

Pakistan plans to fence up most of the 2,500 km (1,500 mile) frontier despite Kabul’s protests that the barrier would divide families and friends along the Pashtun tribal belt straddling the colonial-era Durand line drawn up by the British in 1893.

Pakistan’s military estimates that it will need about 56 billion rupees ($532 million) for the project, while there are also plans to build 750 border forts and employ high-tech surveillance systems to prevent militants crossing.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If they post guards every 200 or 300 meters to stop those who are trying to cross the border .... it may work. Otherwise .... if this fence is undefended .... the militants will just use wire cutters to get to the other side.

More News On Pakistan's Chicken-Wire Border Fence To Keep Out Militants From Afghanistan

Pakistan says fence on Afghan border will reduce attacks -- Washington Post/AP
Pakistan hails new Afghan border fence to curb militancy -- AFP
Pakistan fortifies border with Afghanistan to reduce cross border attacks -- Pakistan Today

More Details Emerge On The Deaths Of 4 U.S. Special Forces Soldiers In Niger

Daily Mail: US official reveals it 'is likely four Green Berets killed in Niger were ambushed by dozens of ISIS militants in a surprise attack while on 'low risk' patrol with no aerial support'

* US official told CBS News October 4 patrol in Niger was considered low risk, and that's why Green Berets were not being protected from the air
* US and Nigerian soldiers were caught by surprise by 40-50 militants likely affiliated with ISIS in Greater Sahara
S Army Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black; Sgt La David Johnson; Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, and Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson lost their lives in the clash
* Johnson's family on Wednesday clashed with President Donald Trump over what he had allegedly told soldier's widow

Four Green Berets who were killed while on patrol on the Niger-Mali border earlier this month, along with four Nigerian soldiers, were allegedly caught by surprise by some four dozen militants linked to ISIS.

US officials have said US Army Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black; Sgt La David Johnson; Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, and Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson were among a dozen Green Berets traveling in unarmored trucks 120 miles north of Niger's capital of Niamey on October 4 when they were ambushed by 40 to 50 militants 'likely' linked to ISIS in Greater Sahara.

Read more ....

More Details Emerge On The Deaths Of 4 U.S. Special Forces Soldiers In Niger

Green Berets killed in Niger were caught by surprise, U.S. official says -- CBS News
Behind the ISIS group that ambushed US forces in Niger -- ABC News
Private contractor used to evacuate US forces in Niger ambush -- CNN
US has drones and hundreds of troops in Niger. Here's why -- CNN
US special forces deaths in Niger lift veil on shadow war against Islamists in Sahel -- The Guardian
Why US troops are in Niger -- ABC News

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 18, 2017



Anja Manuel, The Atlantic: China Is Quietly Reshaping the World

The staggering scope of the country’s infrastructure initiative—and what it means for the international order

The Pakistani town of Gwadar was until recently filled with the dust-colored cinderblock houses of about 50,000 fishermen. Ringed by cliffs, desert, and the Arabian Sea, it was at the forgotten edge of the earth. Now it’s one centerpiece of China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, and the town has transformed as a result. Gwadar is experiencing a storm of construction: a brand-new container port, new hotels, and 1,800 miles of superhighway and high-speed railway to connect it to China’s landlocked western provinces. China and Pakistan aspire to turn Gwadar into a new Dubai, making it a city that will ultimately house 2 million people.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 18, 2017

China’s Xi sells his vision of new socialism to the world -- Nathan VanderKlippe, Globe and Mail

The Caliphate Is Gone, But the ISIS Franchise Lives On -- Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz

Al-Qaida set to gain as Islamic State disintegrates -- Bassem Mroue and Qassim Abdul-Sahra, AP

Syria war: Raqqa free, devastated and empty: Analysis -- Matt Brown, ABC News Online

Opposing the Nuke Deal is a Sideshow that Distracts from Iran's Expansionism in Syria and Iraq -- Frederic C. Hof, Newsweek

Kurdish Dreams of Independence Delayed Again -- Dexter Filkins, New Yorker

Why Marawi's 300,000-odd refugees don't blame Islamic State for drawn-out conflict: Analysis -- Adam Harvey, ABC News Online

Deadly Overconfidence: Trump Thinks Missile Defenses Work Against North Korea, and That Should Scare You -- Ankit Panda and Vipin Narang, War On The Rocks

What to Do About Turkey? -- Fredrik Wesslau, European Council on Foreign Relations

African rulers' weapon against web-based dissent: the off switch -- Edward McAllister, Reuters

Putin's greatest weakness may be located on US shores -- Anders Aslund, The Hill

Catalonia: what next for the independence movement? -- Sam Jones and Stephen Burgen, The Guardian

After Catalonia, Italy steps up for autonomy votes -- Tim Hedges, The Commentator

Accused of corruption, popularity near zero – why is Temer still Brazil's president? -- Dom Phillips, The Guardian

How Richard Branson Describes His Only Meeting With Donald Trump -- Rebecca Gibian, Real Clear Life

World News Briefs -- October 18, 2017 (Evening Edition)



Reuters: China's Xi lays out vision for 'new era' led by 'still stronger' Communist Party

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday laid out a confident vision for a more prosperous nation and its role in the world, stressing the importance of wiping out corruption and curbing industrial overcapacity, income inequality and pollution.

Opening a critical Communist Party congress, Xi pledged to build a “modern socialist country” for a “new era” that will be proudly Chinese and steadfastly ruled by the party but open to the world.

Although his wide-ranging address made clear there were no plans for political reform, Xi said China’s development had entered a “new era”, using the phrase 36 times in a speech that ran nearly 3-1/2 hours.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

U.S., Russia set for likely U.N. row over Syria toxic gas inquiry.

Turkey says will not submit to 'impositions' from United States in visa crisis.

Iraq takes disputed areas as Kurds 'withdraw to 2014 lines'. Kurdish forces abandon long-held lands to Iraqi army and Shia fighters.

Iraq's military declares mission accomplished in Kirkuk. Iraq's military declares mission accomplished in Kirkuk.

Syria war: UN says it is ready to go into Raqqa.

Turkey Red Crescent alarmed by humanitarian 'drama' in Syria's Idlib.

Iran's Khamenei threatens to 'shred' nuclear deal, blasts 'foul-mouthed' Trump. Khamenei says Iran will 'shred' nuclear deal if U.S. quits it.

Qatar's leader denounces 'unjust siege'.

Israel raids Palestinian media firms for 'incitement' .

ASIA

U.N. says still determining if Myanmar crisis is genocide.

Tillerson chides China while calling for greater ties with India.

EU leaders to call for end to North Korea's weapons program: draft.

North Korea congratulates China ahead of Communist Party congress.

Report: North Korea hiding behind Hong Kong shell companies.

North Korea defector: Hundreds of 'reformers' killed after Jang Song Thaek purge.

'Many people will die' as North Korean sanctions bite, defector says.

US drones target Taliban commander in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Rohingya crisis: Drone footage shows thousands fleeing.

Taliban overruns 2 districts in southern Afghanistan. Taliban kills scores in Afghanistan's Paktia and Ghazni.

AFRICA

UN chief to highlight world's 'forgotten crisis' in C. Africa.

Somalis defy police to protest against deadly truck bombings.

Farmajo blames al-Shabab for Mogadishu blast.

More than 300 people died in the worst terrorist attack ever to hit Somalia, and officials still aren't sure who caused it. Thousands march over ‘Somalia’s 9/11;’ attack details emerge.

UN, US failed to prevent ‘ethnic cleansing’ in South Sudan.

Senior Kenyan electoral official resigns ahead of poll. Kenyan election official flees to U.S. in fear for her life, saying new election will not be fair.

Uganda bans protests over presidential age limit bill.

Panama Papers: Africa's elite are plundering their countries.

Four Britons kidnapped in southern Nigeria: police.

Togo unrest: Opposition protesters demand presidential term limit.

Mugabe's wife sues over $1.35-mn diamond ring: report.

EUROPE

Socialite Ksenia Sobchak announces bid for Russian Presidency.

Talk of ‘no deal’ Brexit rises as divorce negotiations stall.

Catalonia to formally declare independence if Spain suspends regional autonomy: source.

Spanish PM warns Catalan leader to "act sensibly".

Spain warns Catalonia on self-rule as deadline looms. Spain says Catalonia's autonomy at risk as deadline looms.

Turkey-Europe locked in war of words as EU summit opens.

Portugal fires: Minister resigns as government faces challenge. Portuguese minister resigns over 106 wildfire deaths.

Ukraine anti-graft protesters clash with riot police.

Malta: Europe reels from murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Bosnian Serbs pass resolution against NATO membership.

AMERICAS

Gold Star mother says Trump did show DISRESPECT as he spoke to Green Beret's widow - as president insists congresswoman who claimed he said hero 'knew what he signed up for' is FABRICATING his words.

Grassley probes Clinton 'conflicts of interest' amid new questions in Russia uranium deal.

Jeff Sessions on Russia interference: 'I'm not part of a façade'.

Russian troll factory paid US activists to help fund protests during election.

Trump slams NFL for not forcing players to stand for US anthem.

Second US judge orders freeze on Trump travel ban.

Puerto Rico youth stranded with school still out from storm.

California drill preparing 9.3 million for ‘INEVITABLE’ magnitude 7 earthquake tomorrow.

Venezuela opposition refuses swearing in, small protest breaks out.

Canada passes US-style sanctions bill targeting ‘corrupt’ Russian officials.

Quebec lawmakers pass religious neutrality bill banning face coverings. Quebec bans niqab for public services with neutrality law.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

After IS collapse in Raqqa, US faces other extremism threats.

Experts: Islamic State 'death spiral' most dangerous part of fight for U.S. coalition.

MI5 intelligence chief Andrew Parker warns UK faces accelerating terror threat.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Dow closes above 23,000 for first time; IBM soars.

US, Canada and Mexico talks on NAFTA trade stall on trade deficit issues.

'Future city' to be built in Canada by Alphabet company.

Rio Tinto charged with fraud by US authorities.

How Long Will China Support North Korea?

Brook Larmer, New York Times: North Korea Is No Longer the Hermit Kingdom — but How Long Will China Be Its Lifeline?

Down the street from my home in Bangkok, next to a tailor and a nail salon, sits a peculiar outpost of the North Korean state. Inside the Pyongyang Okryu restaurant, five tall, pale waitresses float among the tables in sparkly dresses and carefully cultivated smiles. “Are they really North Korean?” my wide-eyed young son asked, a bit too loudly, on a recent visit. He’d been reading about the country’s isolation and the fusillade of insults and threats exchanged by President Trump and Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader. A waitress overheard him and nodded, but her blank smile — a rictus of nonrevelation — never wavered.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  Five years ago .... there was zero debate in China on limiting their ties and support of North Korea. Today .... thanks to President Trump's pressure on Chinese President Xi and the actions of the North Korean government itself .... that debate is now raging in China. Will China continue to be a "lifeline" to North Korea ... I do not know. But if you follow trends .... do expect a curtailment of Chinese support.

Update: This is why China will not be completely on board with sanctions .... 'Many people will die' as North Korean sanctions bite, defector says (Nikkei Asian Review).

Diplomats From U.S., South Korea, And Japan Meet In Seoul To Discuss North Korea

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam (C) answers reporter's question as US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan (L) and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama listen during a news conference in Seoul. Photo: Reuters/Lee Jin-man

USA Today: Allies meet in Seoul amid North Korea threat

Diplomats from the United States, South Korea and Japan met in Seoul on Wednesday to discuss how to respond to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said that Washington continues to view diplomacy as the primary means for solving the crisis, but added that the allies must be prepared for “any eventuality.”

“Our objective is, throughout that campaign of pressure, to bring North Korea to the negotiating table without preconditions so that we can achieve our objective of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” Sullivan said at a news conference after the meeting.

Read more ....

More News On Diplomats From U.S., South Korea, And Japan Meeting In Seoul To Discuss North Korea

Diplomats from US, S. Korea, Japan discuss N. Korean threat -- Washington Post/AP

S. Korea, US, Japan agree to seek all diplomatic options on North Korea -- UPI
Talks among US, South Korea, Japan center on North Korea -- FOX News
Japan, US, South Korea agree to add pressure on Pyongyang -- Nikkei Asian Review
US, Japan, S. Korea envoys call for all diplomatic options to be exhausted with North Korea -- Asia Times

The U.S. Navy's Newest Attack Submarine Is Its Most Advanced Ever



Kris Osborn, Scout Warrior: Navy Launches Most High-Tech & Stealthy Attack Sub Ever

The Navy is now launching the most technologically advanced attack submarine it has ever developed by christening the USS South Dakota - a Block III Virginia-Class attack.

The Navy is now launching the most technologically advanced attack submarine it has ever developed by christening the USS South Dakota - a Block III Virginia-Class attack submarine engineered with a number of never-before-seen undersea technical innovations.

While service officials say many of the details of this new "acoustic superiority" Navy research and development effort are, naturally, not available for pubic discussion, the USS South Dakota has been a "technology demonstrator to prove out advanced technologies," Naval Sea Systems Command Spokeswoman Colleen O'Rourke told Scout Warrior.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These subs are now worth billions per copy .... so yes .... they better be technology advanced.

Was Saturday's Bomb Attack In Mogadishu That Claimed 300 Lives An Act Of Revenge Against The U.S.?

Civilians evacuate from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia. Feisal Omar/Reuters

The Guardian: Somalia bombing may have been revenge for botched US-led operation

Officials investigating attack that killed more than 300 people believe the bomber may have been motivated by desire for revenge for a raid in August

The man who killed more than 300 people with a truck bomb in the centre of Mogadishu on Saturday was a former soldier in Somalia’s army whose home town was raided by local troops and US special forces two months ago in a controversial operation in which 10 civilians were killed, officials in Somalia have said.

The death toll from the bombing now stands at more than 300, making it one of the most devastating terrorist attacks anywhere in the world for many years. On Tuesday remains of victims were still being brought out of rubble spread over hundreds of square metres.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: More details on this bombing are starting to emerge .... Thousands march over ‘Somalia’s 9/11;’ attack details emerge (AP). Apparently the bomber is now known .... Mogadishu bomber was a former Somalia army soldier (Middle East Monitor), and while Al-Shabaab has remained silent, the President of Somalia is blaming them .... Farmajo blames al-Shabab for Mogadishu blast (Al Jazeera). Bottom line .... a lot is still unknown .... More than 300 people died in the worst terrorist attack ever to hit Somalia, and officials still aren't sure who caused it (Business Insider).

The Chinese Military Will Be In The Spotlight During This Week's Party Congress In Beijing



Global Times: Xi stresses combat capabilities, Party building in military

Xi Jinping on Wednesday pledged to complete the modernization of China's defense and armed forces by 2035 and strive to transform the Chinese military into a world-class military by the middle of this century.

The plan was announced in a report Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, delivered to the 19th CPC National Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The plan states that by 2020, mechanization will be achieved, with IT applications coming a long way and a big improvement in strategic capabilities. The modernization of the national defense and armed forces should be completed by 2035, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Read more ....

More News On China's Military Under The Spotlight During This Week's Party Congress In Beijing

Xi urges stronger Chinese stand against 'grim' challenges -- National Post/AP
China’s military achievements benefit national interests, world order -- Global Times
Shakeup of China’s military on the cards at party congress -- Today ONline
Expect a shakeup of China’s military elite at the 19th Party Congress -- The Conversation
China vows to modernize army and expand military might -- TASS
Expect a shakeup of China's military elite at the 19th Party Congress -- UPI

Some Videos On Chinese President Xi And The Men Who Rule China





Analysis, Reaction, And Commentary On The 19th National Congress Of The Communist Party Of China



Tom Phillips, The Guardian: Xi Jinping tests eyelids – and bladders – with three-and-a-half hour speech

Some call Xi Jinping a Chinese Putin. Others a 21st-century Mao.

On Wednesday morning he was China’s Hugo Chávez, testing his comrades’ eyelids – and their bladders – with a three-and-a-half hour, 65-page sermon in which he outlined his brave new vision for the Communist party, and the world.

“The Chinese dream is a dream about history, the present and the future,” Xi declared towards the end of his unexpectedly long-winded address to the opening of China’s 19th party congress. By the conclusion of this eastern answer to Aló Presidente! more than a few of Xi’s audience appeared to have entered a dreamlike state.

Read more ....

Analysis, Reaction, And Commentary On The 19th National Congress Of The Communist Party Of China

Xi Jinping speech: five things you need to know -- The Guardian
5 things to know about China’s twice-a-decade party congress -- AP
Xi Jinping: A speech that spells power -- John Sudworth BBC
'My god, 3.5 hours': Xi gives marathon speech, China listens -- AFP
What Chinese President Xi Jinping had to say about market reforms -- DW
China's Xi vows open economy, investors want action -- AFP
Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech had something for everyone, but little detail: Analysis -- Matthew Carney, ABC News Online
Fear and Loyalty at China’s 19th Communist Party Congress -- Gordon G. Chang, Cipher Brief
Be in no doubt, Xi Jinping wants to make China great again -- Nick Bisley, The Guardian
Now Hear This—The Clock is Ticking in China: The Decade of Concern Has Begun -- Jim Fanell, Proceedings Magazine
Xi Skips Old Growth Pledge as China Seeks Quality, Not Quantity -- Bloomberg
China's Economic Reforms Get Another Chance -- Stratfor
Coming of age in an era of prosperity: Meet China's 'bubble generation' -- John Ruwitch and Anita Li, Reuters
Long speech, lots of tea: party meeting with Chinese characteristics -- John Ruwitch, Reuters
5 Years Ago, China's Xi Jinping Was Largely Unknown. Now He's Poised To Reshape China -- Julian Gewirtz and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, NPR

The 19th National Congress Of The Communist Party Of China Opens In Beijing -- News Updates October 18, 2017



Reuters: China's Xi lays out vision for 'new era' led by 'still stronger' Communist Party

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday laid out a confident vision for a more prosperous nation and its role in the world, stressing the importance of wiping out corruption and curbing industrial overcapacity, income inequality and pollution.

Opening a critical Communist Party congress, Xi pledged to build a “modern socialist country” for a “new era” that will be proudly Chinese and steadfastly ruled by the party but open to the world.

Although his wide-ranging address made clear there were no plans for political reform, Xi said China’s development had entered a “new era”, using the phrase 36 times in a speech that ran nearly 3-1/2 hours.

“With decades of hard work, socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era,” Xi said.

Read more ....

The 19th National Congress Of The Communist Party Of China Opens In Beijing -- News Updates October 18, 2017

CPC opens 19th National Congress, declaring 'new era' of Chinese socialism -- ECNS
Chinese president Xi lays out vision for 'new era' led by 'still stronger' Communist Party in 3½ HOUR speech as he opens five-yearly national congress -- Daily Mail
Xi urges stronger Chinese stand against ‘grim’ challenges -- AP
Xi Jinping heralds 'new era' of Chinese power at Communist party congress -- The Guardian
China's Xi Jinping opens 19th Communist Party Congress with 'new era' speech -- UPI
China's Xi Jinping opens Communist Party congress set for massive Politburo reshuffle -- DW
Xi Jinping lays out vision for a stronger China, with Communist Party at the center -- Los Angeles Times
China to establish leading group for law-based governance -- Reuters
China's GDP rose to $12.1 trillion in last five years: Xi Jinping -- The Indian Express
Xi says China will continue to open its economy, deepen financial reforms -- Reuters
China will stick to supply side structural reform, overcapacity reduction efforts -- Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping Unveils Country's Development Strategy -- Sputnik
Xi says China will boost efforts to tackle terrorism, extremism -- Reuters
Xi says China has zero tolerance for corruption within the party -- Reuters
China's Xi vows to carry on anti-corruption crusade -- Al Jazeera
China vows to scrap secret interrogations of Communist Party members -- Reuters
Xi says China has prevented Taiwan independence over past five years -- Reuters
China ready to 'defeat' Taiwan independence: Xi -- AFP
China's Xi: any attempt to separate Taiwan from China will be thwarted -- Reuters
'One China' principle must be maintained, China's Xi says -- Reuters
China must cooperate with other nations on climate change: Xi -- Reuters
China's President Xi says will continue years-long war on smog -- Reuters

World News Briefs -- October 18, 2017

Chinese president Xi Jinping arrives for the opening of the 19th national congress of the Communist party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

BBC: Xi Jinping: 'Time for China to take centre stage'

China has entered a "new era" where it should "take centre stage in the world", President Xi Jinping says.

The country's rapid progress under "socialism with Chinese characteristics" shows there is "a new choice for other countries", he told the Communist Party congress.

The closed-door summit determines who rules China and the country's direction for the next term.

Mr Xi has been consolidating power and is expected to remain as party chief.

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MIDDLE EAST

Iraq takes disputed areas as Kurds 'withdraw to 2014 lines'. Kurdish forces abandon long-held lands to Iraqi army and Shia fighters.

Iraq's military declares mission accomplished in Kirkuk. Iraq's military declares mission accomplished in Kirkuk.

Syria war: UN says it is ready to go into Raqqa.

Turkey Red Crescent alarmed by humanitarian 'drama' in Syria's Idlib.

Iran's Khamenei threatens to 'shred' nuclear deal, blasts 'foul-mouthed' Trump.

Qatar's leader denounces 'unjust siege'.

Israel raids Palestinian media firms for 'incitement' .

ASIA

North Korea congratulates China ahead of Communist Party congress.

Report: North Korea hiding behind Hong Kong shell companies.

North Korea defector: Hundreds of 'reformers' killed after Jang Song Thaek purge.

'Many people will die' as North Korean sanctions bite, defector says.

US drones target Taliban commander in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Rohingya crisis: Drone footage shows thousands fleeing.

Taliban overruns 2 districts in southern Afghanistan. Taliban kills scores in Afghanistan's Paktia and Ghazni.

AFRICA

Farmajo blames al-Shabab for Mogadishu blast.

More than 300 people died in the worst terrorist attack ever to hit Somalia, and officials still aren't sure who caused it. Thousands march over ‘Somalia’s 9/11;’ attack details emerge.

UN, US failed to prevent ‘ethnic cleansing’ in South Sudan.

Senior Kenyan electoral official resigns ahead of poll.

Uganda bans protests over presidential age limit bill.

Panama Papers: Africa's elite are plundering their countries.

Four Britons kidnapped in southern Nigeria: police.

Togo unrest: Opposition protesters demand presidential term limit.

Mugabe's wife sues over $1.35-mn diamond ring: report.

EUROPE

Talk of ‘no deal’ Brexit rises as divorce negotiations stall.

Spain warns Catalonia on self-rule as deadline looms. Spain says Catalonia's autonomy at risk as deadline looms.

Turkey-Europe locked in war of words as EU summit opens.

Portugal fires: Minister resigns as government faces challenge. Portuguese minister resigns over 106 wildfire deaths.

Ukraine anti-graft protesters clash with riot police.

Malta: Europe reels from murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Bosnian Serbs pass resolution against NATO membership.

AMERICAS

Russian troll factory paid US activists to help fund protests during election.

Trump slams NFL for not forcing players to stand for US anthem.

Second US judge orders freeze on Trump travel ban.

Puerto Rico youth stranded with school still out from storm.

California drill preparing 9.3 million for ‘INEVITABLE’ magnitude 7 earthquake tomorrow.

Venezuela opposition refuses swearing in, small protest breaks out.

Canada passes US-style sanctions bill targeting ‘corrupt’ Russian officials.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

After IS collapse in Raqqa, US faces other extremism threats.

Experts: Islamic State 'death spiral' most dangerous part of fight for U.S. coalition.

MI5 intelligence chief Andrew Parker warns UK faces accelerating terror threat.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

US, Canada and Mexico talks on NAFTA trade stall on trade deficit issues.

'Future city' to be built in Canada by Alphabet company.

Rio Tinto charged with fraud by US authorities.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 18, 2017

Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces gesture the "V" sign in Raqqa. REUTERS/Rodi Said

Jack Detsch, Al-Monitor: Raqqa win pulls US deeper into Syria conflict

As US-backed forces take victory laps in the Islamic State’s (IS) self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, the Pentagon is considering extending its presence deeper into Syria, a move that could bring US troops into contact with pro-regime forces.

Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the US-led mission fighting the terror group, told reporters that the international coalition is in talks with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commanders about continuing the campaign into IS-held areas along the Euphrates River following today’s victory in Raqqa. He said the more than 600 US troops currently training and assisting the SDF won’t be staying in Syria “indefinitely,” but acknowledged that “there still is fighting that is left to be done.”

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Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 18, 2017

No Clear End Game For U.S. Military In Iraq And Syria -- NPR

Analysis: Down, but not defeated: What is the future of ISIS after Raqqa? -- CBC

Russia receives second batch of Su-34 frontline bombers from Sukhoi -- Air Force Technology

Russia Testing New Silo-Based Ballistic Missile -- Sputnik

Troops in west Russia to get 1,000 modern weapon systems by yearend -- TASS

Russian Defense Ministry tests new missile for Iskander short-range system -- TASS

Is India Starting to Flex Its Military Muscles? -- Foreign Policy

Syrian General Responsible for Deir ez-Zor Defense Killed in Mine Blast - Staff -- Sputnik

Discussing 'red lines': Israel hedges military options in Syria -- The Jerusalem Post

Iran general mocks: No military ​threat by Trump because he ‘realizes our power’ -- Times of Israel

Embraer receives Super Tucano order -- UPI

Turkey arms exports: Should Germany send weapons at all? -- DW

Espionage case begins for Swiss bank spy accused of targeting tax fraud investigators in Frankfurt, Germany -- DW

Armenia Announces Big Military Spending Increase -- Eurasianet.org

Serbia to buy S-300 missile systems, MiG-29 jets from Belarus -- Defense News

NATO Members Train to Nuke a "Fictional" Enemy After Major Russian Drills -- Warzone

U.S. military under fire for resuming chopper flight in Okinawa -- Asahi Shimbun

US Troops Won’t Leave Stricken Somalia Any Time Soon - Pentagon -- Sputnik

Senators demand info on deadly Niger ambush -- The Hill

The Defense Department Is Looking Into Why Four U.S. Soldiers Died in Niger -- Time

Trump touts potential $2.4B Greek fighter jet deal at appearance with PM -- The Hill

Skyraider 2? The Air Force may bring back Vietnam-style combat plane -- Air Force Times

USS Ponce, Last of the Austin-class Amphibious warships, Decommissions -- USNI News

U.S. Senator Probes Pentagon on Russian Source Code Reviews -- US News and World Report/Reuters

Marines test system to 3D-print spare parts in the field -- UPI

Jim Mattis estimates 19 percent of military's worldwide property may be unneeded -- Washington Examiner

Trump touts 'historic' hike in military spending while budget still mired in uncertainty -- Washington Examiner

Senate confirms Trump Pentagon pick; moves defense bill to negotiations -- The Hill

McCain says he is on the rocks with Mattis and McMaster -- Defense News

A Simple Guide To Naming Your Military Operation, According To Winston Churchill -- Task & Purpose

Suit: U.S. Firms’ Bribes Funded Iraq Militia Attacks on Americans -- NBC

Is The U.S. Navy Suffering From A Catastrophic Morale Problem? [Infographic] -- Niall McCarthy, Forbes

How 4 Green Berets Took Down Joseph Kony’s Army With Tailored Messages -- Defense One

The Pentagon is worried about hackers causing a stock market crash -- Business Insider/Wolf Street

Iran's Top Military Chief Vows To Cooperate With Syria Against Israel


The Jerusalem Post: Iran's military chief vows to cooperate with Syria against 'Zionist enemy' Israel

Tehran threatens to confront Israel on behalf of its ally, Damascus.

Iran's military chief warned Israel against violating Syrian airspace and territory on a visit to Damascus on Wednesday, Iranian state media said, a sign of rising tensions with Israel as it voices concern over Iranian influence in Syria.

General Mohammad Baqeri also pledged to increase cooperation with the Syrian military to fight Israel and insurgents in Syria, where Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias including Hezbollah have provided critical military support to Damascus.

Read more ....

Update: Iran military chief warns: We 'will not tolerate' Israeli violations of Syria (The Times of Israel)

WNU Editor: Russia has promised Israel that they will keep Iran away from Israel's border .... Russia agrees to keep Iran, Hezbollah forces away from Israeli border (The Jerusalem Post). More on this Russian - Israeli defense chief meet .... Russian, Israeli leaders discuss Iran nuclear programme, Syria, Iraq (Reuters).