Monday, December 11, 2017

The Top 100 Arms-Producing And Military Services Companies

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Forbes: The World's Biggest Arms Companies [Infographic]

Sales of arms and military services across the world totaled $374.8 billion last year, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri). That's 1.9 percent higher than 2015 and the first year of growth after five years of decline. American companies had a $217.2 billion slice of the global arms market in 2016, driven by large export orders as well as several major acquisitions.

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Update: The SIPRI Top 100 arms-producing and military services companies, 2016 (SIPRI)

WNU Editor: No surprises here.

Global Arms Sales Up For The First Time Since 2010

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DW: SIPRI: Weapons sales up again worldwide

Arms sales are increasing around the world. The current report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that the main beneficiaries are armaments groups in the US and Western Europe.

Munitions, tanks, drones: The global trade in arms and military services increased again in 2016, for the first time in five years. It was up 1.9 percent on the previous year — and 38 percent compared to 2002. These new figures are from the latest report on the international arms industry by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). It says that in 2016 the world's 100 biggest armaments groups sold $374.8 billion (€317.7 billion) of weapons and weapons systems.

Read more ....

More News On Global Arms Sales Being Up For The First Time Since 2010

Global arms industry: First rise in arms sales since 2010, says SIPRI -- SIPRI
Study: Global weapons sales rise for first time since 2010 -- UPI
Global arms sales increase for first time since 2010 -- The Independent
Global arms sales rise for first time in five years -- Euronews
Arms Sales Rise for First Time Since 2010, Group Says -- Bloomberg
Global Arms Sales Increase After 5 Years of Decline -- Al-Bawaba
North Korean threat, F-35 demand spur rise in global arms sales, report says -- Stars and Stripes
Analyst on Report of Russian Arms Sales: Moscow Sets the Trend -- Sputnik
US military operations overseas lead resurgence of global arms sales -- RT

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorals -- December 11, 2017



Amie Ferris-Rotman, Haaretz: Putin’s Surprise Withdrawal From Syria Is Part of His Master Election Plan

Days after announcing his plan to seek reelection next March, the Russian president tells his countrymen their sons are coming home from an unpopular and costly war

What better way to jump-start an election campaign than to end an unpopular and costly war?

Just days after announcing his bid to seek reelection next year, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday made a surprise visit to Syria, where he ordered the withdrawal of most Russian troops from the country. “You are coming home with a victory the motherland is waiting for you, my friends,” Putin told military personnel, before embracing Syrian President Bashar Assad at the Khmeimim air base.
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-1.828377

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorals -- December 11, 2017

Why Syria Could Become the Black Hole of the Middle East -- Daniel R. DePetris, National Interest

Whirlwind Putin Tour Highlights Moscow's New Reach in Mideast -- New York Times

Moscow’s leverage in Syria is strong, but limited -- Maxim A. Suchkov, Al-Monitor

The pundits were wrong about Assad and the Islamic State. As usual, they're not willing to admit it -- Max Abrahms and John Glaser, L.A. Times

A look at Egypt-Russia relations as Putin visits Cairo -- AP

Congress Has Chosen the Wrong Strategy to Deal with Russia -- Nicolai N. Petro, National Interest

What Putin Really Wants -- Julia Ioffe, The Atlantic

How Jerusalem issue plays into Iranian, Turkish (and Russian) hands -- M.K. Bhadrakumar, Asia Times

Why the ‘Arab street’ didn’t just explode -- Ralph Peters

When the 'Arab Street' Comes to Sweden -- Noah Feldman, Bloomberg

Does Europe Really Need Fiscal and Political Union? -- Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate

'EU must recognize historic opportunity to solve Kosovo issue' -- Adelheid Feilcke, DW

Corsica's nationalists dream bigger after election win -- Paul Ortoli, Reuters

Maduro’s dirty electoral tricks -- Benigno Alarc√≥n, CapX

Trump’s courage and cunning confound his opponents -- David P. Goldman, Asia Times

Why is America Addicted to Foreign Interventions? -- Monica Duffy Toft, National Interest

World News Briefs -- December 11, 2017 (Evening Edition)



L.A. Times: Putin pays surprise visit to Syria, where Assad tells him: 'Thanks a million'

In July 2015, the defeat of Syrian President Bashar Assad appeared imminent.

His troops, overstretched and exhausted, had lost too many men, and a string of humiliating losses meant the government controlled only a quarter of the country.

Two months later, Russian warplanes streaked through Syria's skies, hurling bombs at Assad's adversaries and starting a reversal of fortune that, more than two years later, has forced most of those enemies to accede that he will remain.

That was the backdrop to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s surprise visit to a Syrian air base on Monday, where he met with Assad and declared that Moscow would begin a drawdown of troops following what the Kremlin said was the defeat of Islamic State.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Russia has started military withdrawal from Syria: RIA cites minister.

Putin announces Syria withdrawal, says ISIS destroyed. Putin, in Syria, says mission accomplished, orders partial Russian pull-out. Syria: Russia's Vladimir Putin orders partial withdrawal of troops.

Assad thanks Putin for helping hand in defeating terrorists.

Syrian army and Iranian-backed militias push towards Idlib province.

American diplomat: US looks to counter Iran in post-war Iraq.

Fifth day of protests in Middle East over Trump's Jerusalem move.

Turkish air strikes kill 29 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq: army.

Erdogan: Israel is a terrorist state. Erdogan: US is 'partner in bloodshed' with Jerusalem move.

Donald Trump's Jerusalem move ends US role in peace process, Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi says.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu urges EU to follow US recognition of Jerusalem as capital.

Saudis lift decades-long ban on movie theaters. Saudi Arabia to allow cinemas to reopen from early 2018.

More than 8 million Yemenis 'a step away from famine': U.N..

UN does not confirm Iran link to Yemen missiles: report.

ASIA

China, Taiwan spar over Chinese diplomat's invasion threat.

China's graft watchdog warns officials over 'concealed' extravagance.

Major bridge between China, North Korea closes for repairs.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte requests martial law extension.

AP: Rohingya methodically raped by Myanmar’s armed forces.

Exclusive: Myanmar to delay law that would have allowed more foreign investment.

China accuses Australian media of racism and paranoia.

Nepal's Communist parties poised for election landslide.

AFRICA

Six Nigerian soldiers killed in Boko Haram ambushes.

Car bomb kills journalist in Somali capital.

EU warns DR Congo of election funding risk over 'harassment'.

Putin, Egypt's Sisi discuss restart of flights, sign nuclear deal.

Putin visits Egypt in sign of closer ties.

Cairo, Moscow sign contract for Egypt's first nuclear plant.

UN promises justice in Congo against peacekeeper attacks.

UN peacekeepers honour 14 troops killed in DR Congo.

AU warns of threat by returning IS fighters. 6,000 IS jihadists could return to Africa, AU warns.

UN seeks urgent resettlement of 1,300 refugees stranded in Libya.

Tanzanian President Magufuli pardons child rapists.

EUROPE

Merkel, Social Democrats seek clarity on coalition talks.

Morawiecki sworn in as Polish PM amid dispute with EU.

PM May hails new optimism in Brexit talks after deal.

Twenty-five EU states sign PESCO defense pact.

Europe tells Netanyahu it rejects Trump's Jerusalem move.

Catalan protesters clash with police over 'plunder' of religious artefacts.

Corsican nationalists celebrate election victory, call for greater autonomy.

Ukrainian judge frees Saakashvili from detention.

Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency faces strong resistance.

Bulgaria discovers it has enough bitcoins to pay off fifth of its debt.

Group: Refugees abused by border forces in Balkans.

Snow in Europe triggers transport chaos.

AMERICAS

Canada provinces to get biggest cut of cannabis tax haul.

Two-thirds of Mexicans reject amnesty for gang members: poll.

Venezuela opposition banned from running in 2018 election. Venezuela: President Nicolas Maduro blocks opposition parties from presidential poll. Venezuela’s socialists romp to victory in mayoral elections.

Venezuelan migrants pose humanitarian problem in Brazil.

Honduras: President keeps lead in disputed vote after recount.

Focus on Flynn, Trump timeline suggests obstruction is on Mueller’s mind.

Pipe bomb strapped to man explodes in NYC subway, injuring 4.

Bias allegations in Robert Mueller's probe offer Trump allies a new counterargument.

At 230000 acres, Thomas fire is now the fifth-largest wildfire in modern California history. California wildfires now larger than New York City and Boston combined. New evacuations as huge Southern California fire flares up.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Hezbollah's Nasrallah says group to focus on Israel.

New York Port Authority attack: Man held after Manhattan blast.

Al Qaeda seeks to incite violence after US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Number of Salafists in Germany reaches record high.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street ends higher with help from tech, energy.

Bitcoin price surges as futures trading begins, despite bubble warnings – business live.

5 top EU economies warn US about tax plans.

Global stocks could make history this month by refusing to fall.

Venezuelan Government To Ban Opposition Parties From Participating In Next Year's Presidential Election





Daily Mail/AFP: That’s one way to secure a victory: Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro bans leading opposition parties from running in next year's presidential election

* Venezuela's President ban opposition parties from 2018 presidential election
* Nicolas Maduro said they were barred as they boycotted local elections
* Said as they didn't take part in local poll, they could not take part in presidential

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has banned leading opposition parties from taking part in next year's presidential election after they boycotted this weekend's mayoral polls across the country.

Maduro made the announcement after casting his own vote in the local elections on Sunday, in a move set to further consolidate his grip on power.

Maduro's ban includes the groups of key figures who have led street protests against his rule such as Henrique Capriles, Leopoldo Lopez and others.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Venezuela is now in a very dark place .... it is going to get even darker in 2018.

More News On The Venezuelan Government Moving To Ban Opposition Parties From Participating In Next Year's Presidential Election

Maduro bans opposition from 2018 election -- Euronews
Venezuela's Maduro Has Disqualified His Opposition From the Next Presidential Election -- Time
Venezuela's Maduro: Some opposition parties to be barred from presidential vote -- CNN
Venezuela’s Maduro threatens to ban rivals from future elections -- The Guardian
Venezuela's socialists romp to victory in mayoral elections -- Fox News
Venezuela's Maduro says government wins 90 percent of mayorships -- Reuters
Venezuela's Ruling Socialists Sweep Mayoral Races Amid Opposition Boycott -- NPR

China And Japan Agee To Establish A Maritime Hotline


DW: Maritime hotline hints at warming Tokyo-Beijing ties

A deal to set up a long-sought hotline between China and Japan was welcomed as a step forward, but as China prepares to mark 80 years since the Nanjing Massacre, analysts warn that tensions will not disappear overnight.

Tokyo and Beijing have agreed to introduce a hotline system to prevent accidental clashes in the East China Sea from escalating into more serious confrontations, the latest indication that the two governments are looking to forge a less confrontational relationship.

Critics warn, however, the underlying hostility that has dogged bilateral relations for decades will not evaporate overnight. And those often fraught links will once again be tested this week when China marks the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre.

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WNU Editor: It is going to take more than a telephone hotline to lessen tensions between the two countries. In fact .... they are agreeing to this hotline because tensions are increasing.

These Are Afghanistan's Best Troops

Members of the Crisis Response Unit, also known as the 222, get a reconditioning training at the Special Police Training Center in Camp Lion, Afghanistan. Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times

L.A. Times: These are Afghanistan's best troops. The U.S. is backing a plan to create many more of them

His knees swaying and his smooth face shadowed by an oversized helmet, Amir Khan Mohammad Naim did not look like an elite law enforcement officer.

But when a call went out in his rural hometown for recruits to join Afghanistan’s police commandos, the 21-year-old farmer’s son from the quiet province of Daykundi did not hesitate.

“My duty is to secure Afghanistan, meter by meter,” Naim said recently between drills at a police training center north of Kabul, where NATO advisors are overseeing part of a major transformation in Afghan security forces.

While conventional Afghan soldiers and police struggle to hold their ground against insurgents, the country’s special forces have been a rare success story, routinely responding first to attacks and leading the majority of offensive operations. Now the U.S.-led coalition is backing a plan to nearly double the size of the elite units in an effort to take back territory from the militants.

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WNU Editor: This was the U.S. strategy deployed against the Islamic State in Iraq (i.e. training Iraqi special forces and elite Iraqi army units that targeted enemy strongholds) .... and is now being deployed in Afghanistan. But Afghanistan is going to need more than just a few thousand elite soldiers to beat back the Taliban and the Islamic State.

Pentagon Foresees At Least Two More Years Of Combat In Somalia

UN Infographic civilian deaths in Yemen

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette logo/New York Times: Officials say the Pentagon foresees at least two more years of combat in Somalia

WASHINGTON — Amid its escalating campaign of drone strikes in Somalia, the Pentagon has presented the White House with an operational plan that envisions at least two more years of combat against Islamist militants there, according to U.S. officials familiar with internal deliberations.

The proposed plan for Somalia would be the first under new rules quietly signed by President Donald Trump in October for counterterrorism operations outside conventional war zones. The U.S. military has carried out about 30 airstrikes in Somalia this year, twice as many as in 2016. Nearly all have come since June, including a Nov. 21 bombing that killed over 100 suspected militants at an al-Shabab training camp.

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Update: US plans to fight in Somalia for two more years (Middle East Monitor)

WNU Editor: Two more years?!?!?! They have been fighting and killing each other in Somalia for decades. They are not going to end in two years.

Growing Fears That North Korea Has A Biological Warfare Program

KCNA/via Reuters

Chicago Tribune/Washington Post: Microbes by the ton: Officials see weapons threat as North Korea gains biotech expertise

Five months before North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006, U.S. intelligence officials sent a report to Congress warning that secret work also was underway on a biological weapon. The communist regime, which had long ago acquired the pathogens that cause smallpox and anthrax, had assembled teams of scientists but seemed to be lacking in certain technical skills, the report said.

"Pyongyang's resources presently include a rudimentary biotechnology infrastructure," the report by the director of national intelligence explained.

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More News On Growing Fears That North Korea Has A Biological Warfare Program

North Korea could be preparing for biological weapons program -- The Hill
North Korea pushing for biological weapons factories, analysts say -- FOX News
North Korea May Also Be Developing Submarine Missiles and Biological Weapons -- NYMag
North Korean threat intensifies as it grows its bioweapons program -- Axios

U.S., South Korea and Japan Have Started A Two-Day Missile-Tracking Exercise



Newsweek: U.S. Warships Get Ready for Kim Jong Un's Missiles in First Trilateral Drills since ICBM Launch

The U.S., South Korea and Japan have begun a two-day missile-tracking exercise in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan in their first trilateral anti-missile drills since North Korea test-launched its most powerful rocket to date on November 29.

South Korean military said the exercise involves the three countries’ Aegis destroyer warships: the Americans' guided-missile destroyers USS Stethem and USS Decatur, South Korea's Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong Aegis destroyer and Japan's Chokai Aegis ship.

South Korea and Japan will be practicing in their respective waters, each with a U.S. ship, South Korean media reported. The three countries are engaging in a computer-simulated detection and tracking of an incoming missile from North Korea, with the purpose of sharing and analyzing the data.

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WNU Editor: The Chinese are not happy with these drills .... US, S. Korea, Japan start missile-tracking drill, irking China (AFP). Neither are the Russians .... Russian military chief criticizes U.S., Japan and South Korea drills (Reuters). More Russian reaction is here .... Russian official: US exercise with S. Korea, Japan will only ‘heighten hysteria’ (The Hill).

More News On The U.S., South Korea and Japan Starting A Two-Day Missile-Tracking Exercise

US, Japan and South Korea host joint missile tracking drills -- DW
North Korean Submarine Missile Threat Prompts US-Led Military Drills -- NYT
South Korea, U.S., Japan launch anti-missile drill -- UPI
Japan, U.S. and South Korea kick off two-day missile tracking drill -- Japan Times/Reuters/JIJI
Japan, S Korea, US to Hold Joint War Games to Practice Detecting Missiles -- Sputnik
Japan, US and South Korea hold joint military drills amid tensions on Korean Peninsula -- TASS
Russian military chief criticizes U.S., Japan and South Korea drills -- Reuters

After Visiting Syria Russian President Putin Arrives In Cairo For Talks With Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi



Ahram Online: Egypt's Sisi welcomes Russia's Putin as he arrives in Cairo for second official visit

The two leaders are due to sign an agreement to start work on the Dabaa nuclear power plant; discuss various regional issues including Palestine, Syria and Libya, as well as resumption of Russian flights to Egypt.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah received Russian President Vladimir Putin at Cairo International Airport on Monday afternoon at the start of Putin's second official visit to Egypt.

Putin is set to hold talks with El-Sisi on a number of issues, including the construction of the Dabaa nuclear plant, the resumption of Russian flights to Egypt, the US decision to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and various regional crises, including Libya and Syria, the presidency told the official news agency MENA.

Putin's first official visit to the country took place in February 2015.

Read more ....

More News On  Russian President Vladimir Putin Arriving In Cairo For Talks With Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Putin arrives on working visit to Egypt -- TASS
Russian, Egyptian Presidents Discuss Bilateral Ties, Middle East Situation -- RFE
Putin visits Egypt in sign of closer ties -- AP
Putin, Egypt's Sisi discuss restart of flights, sign nuclear deal -- Reuters
Sisi and Putin attend ceremony of inking agreement to officially launch Egypt's first-ever nuclear power plant -- Ahram Online
Russia signs deal to build Egypt's first nuclear power plant -- RT
Putin and Sisi Finalize $30 Billion Nuclear Plant Deal -- Bloomberg

Putin Orders Partial Withdrawal of Russian Troops From Syria



RT: Putin orders withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria during surprise visit to Khmeimim Airbase

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria. He gave the command during a surprise visit to Khmeimim Airbase in Syria’s Latakia province on Monday morning.

A “significant part” of the Russian military contingent in Syria should return to Russia, Putin announced, addressing Russian military personnel at Khmeimim. The order to withdraw followed the defeat of “the most battle-hardened grouping of international terrorists” by the Russian and Syrian militaries in the space of two years.

Read more ....



WNU Editor: These announcements have been done before, but this is the first time that Putin is officially announcing it himself, and in Syria to boot. And as to how many troops will be withdrawn .... no specifics on that.

More News On Russian President Putin Ordering A Partial Withdrawal of Russian Troops From Syria

Putin orders Russian forces pullout from Syria -- TASS
Putin Orders Withdrawal of Russian Troops From Syria (PHOTOS, VIDEOS) -- Sputnik
Putin declares victory on visit to air base in Syria -- AP
Putin declares victory in Syria: Russian president orders a partial pullout of forces from the country after helping dictator Assad 'defeat terrorists' and keep his hold on power -- AFP/Daily Mail
Putin, in Syria, says mission accomplished, orders partial Russian pull-out -- Reuters
In Syria, Putin orders partial Russia troop withdrawal -- AFP
Russia's Putin visits Syria airbase and orders start of pullout -- BBC
Syria: Russia's Vladimir Putin orders partial withdrawal of troops -- DW
In surprise visit to Syria, Putin orders reduction of Russian troops -- Los Angeles Times
Russian President Vladimir Putin orders forces to start pulling out of Syria -- ABC News Online
Putin Declares Victory at Syria Base on Triumphant Mideast Tour -- Bloomberg
Putin orders beginning of withdrawal from Syria -- Al Jazeera
Putin, meeting Assad in Syria, orders partial withdrawal of Russian troops -- The Times of Israel
We Now Have Evidence Russia Seems Pleased with Its Military in Syria -- The National Interest
Moscow-based think tank director: Russia’s unexpected military victory in Syria -- Ruslan Pukhov, Defense News

World News Briefs -- December 11, 2017

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini brief the media at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Reuters: EU tells Netanyahu it rejects Trump's Jerusalem move

Trump’s announcement triggered days of protests across the Muslim world and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in which scores of Palestinians were wounded and several killed. By Monday morning, violence appeared to have subsided.

Netanyahu, who has been angered by the EU’s search for closer business ties with Iran, said Europeans should emulate Trump’s move and press the Palestinians to do so too.

“It’s time that the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state and also recognize the fact that it has a capital. It’s called Jerusalem,” he said.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syria: Russia's Vladimir Putin orders partial withdrawal of troops.


Assad thanks Putin for helping hand in defeating terrorists.

Syrian army and Iranian-backed militias push towards Idlib province.

American diplomat: US looks to counter Iran in post-war Iraq.

Fifth day of protests in Middle East over Trump's Jerusalem move.

Erdogan: Israel is a terrorist state. Erdogan: US is 'partner in bloodshed' with Jerusalem move.

Donald Trump's Jerusalem move ends US role in peace process, Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi says.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu urges EU to follow US recognition of Jerusalem as capital.

Saudis lift decades-long ban on movie theaters. Saudi Arabia to allow cinemas to reopen from early 2018.

ASIA

China, Taiwan spar over Chinese diplomat's invasion threat.

China's graft watchdog warns officials over 'concealed' extravagance.

Major bridge between China, North Korea closes for repairs.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte requests martial law extension.

AP: Rohingya methodically raped by Myanmar’s armed forces.

Exclusive: Myanmar to delay law that would have allowed more foreign investment.

China accuses Australian media of racism and paranoia.

Nepal's Communist parties poised for election landslide.

AFRICA

Putin visits Egypt in sign of closer ties.

Cairo, Moscow sign contract for Egypt's first nuclear plant.

UN promises justice in Congo against peacekeeper attacks.

UN peacekeepers honour 14 troops killed in DR Congo.

AU warns of threat by returning IS fighters. 6,000 IS jihadists could return to Africa, AU warns.

UN seeks urgent resettlement of 1,300 refugees stranded in Libya.

Tanzanian President Magufuli pardons child rapists.

EUROPE

Twenty-five EU states sign PESCO defense pact.

Europe tells Netanyahu it rejects Trump's Jerusalem move.

Catalan protesters clash with police over 'plunder' of religious artefacts.

Corsican nationalists celebrate election victory, call for greater autonomy.

Thousands in Ukraine demand Saakashvili's release.

Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency faces strong resistance.

Bulgaria discovers it has enough bitcoins to pay off fifth of its debt.

Group: Refugees abused by border forces in Balkans.

Snow in Europe triggers transport chaos.

AMERICAS

Venezuela opposition banned from running in 2018 election. Venezuela: President Nicolas Maduro blocks opposition parties from presidential poll. Venezuela’s socialists romp to victory in mayoral elections.

Venezuelan migrants pose humanitarian problem in Brazil.

Honduras: President keeps lead in disputed vote after recount.

Focus on Flynn, Trump timeline suggests obstruction is on Mueller’s mind.

Pipe bomb strapped to man explodes in NYC subway, injuring 4.

Bias allegations in Robert Mueller's probe offer Trump allies a new counterargument.

At 230000 acres, Thomas fire is now the fifth-largest wildfire in modern California history. California wildfires now larger than New York City and Boston combined. New evacuations as huge Southern California fire flares up.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

New York Port Authority attack: Man held after Manhattan blast.

Al Qaeda seeks to incite violence after US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Number of Salafists in Germany reaches record high.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Bitcoin price surges as futures trading begins, despite bubble warnings – business live.

5 top EU economies warn US about tax plans.

Global stocks could make history this month by refusing to fall.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- December 11, 2017



CNBC: Global arms sales rise for first time since 2010, study says

* International sales of arms and military services grew again in 2016 after five years of consecutive decline.
* The world's 100 largest armaments firms posted total sales of $374.8 billion in 2016, 1.9 percent higher than in 2015.
* The data came from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

International sales of arms and military services grew again in 2016 after five years of consecutive decline, according to new data by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The world's 100 largest armaments firms posted total sales of $374.8 billion in 2016, 1.9 percent higher than in 2015, the research institute said Monday. SIPRI said that a noticeable trend was a rise in sales for U.S. arms producers and the number of U.S. military services companies ranked in the SIPRI top 100.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- December 11, 2017

Global arms sales rise for first time in five years -- Euronews

US military operations overseas lead resurgence of global arms sales -- RT

World Arms Sales Up for First Time in Five Years in 2016 - Study -- Sputnik

Japan's Defense Ministry seeks extra ¥730 million in 2018 to install Aegis Ashore missile batteries -- Japan Times

North Korea May Also Be Developing Submarine Missiles and Biological Weapons -- NYMag

Russian Military Chief Criticizes U.S., Japan and South Korea Drills -- US News and World Report/Reuters

Russian Spending Cuts Limit Military Procurement -- Aviation Week

Russia’s Su-57 Stealth Fighter Is Destined to Fail -- National Interest

Russia to showcase advanced S-400 air defense missile system at arms exhibition in Kuwait -- TASS

Russia Has a Tank with the Strangest of Features: It Can Swim -- National Interest

China Allegedly Sends Cutting-Edge Jet to Eye US-S Korea Joint Air Drill -- Sputnik

China Is Spying on the West Using LinkedIn, Intelligence Agency Claims -- Newsweek

China Denies Using LinkedIn to Recruit German Informants -- NYT

Qatar signs $8b deal to buy 24 Typhoon fighters from UK -- Gulf Times/AFP

EU to unveil military pact projects -- Politico.eu

EU Members Formally Agree To Launch Defense Cooperation Structure -- RFE

These are Afghanistan's best troops. The U.S. is backing a plan to create many more of them -- L.A. Times

Inside The Botched Raid That Left Four US Soldiers Dead In Niger -- Buzz Feed

Behind Closed Doors, US Military Said Sgt. La David Johnson Survived Initial Ambush in Niger -- The Intercept

2nd Zumwalt-Class Destroyer Suffers Failure During Sea Trials -- AP

US Navy secretary: The path to restoring naval readiness -- Defense News

Army Develops Plans For the Future of its M4 Rifle -- Scout Warrior

The Pentagon’s new tech focus: micro-electronics, hypersonics, and cyber -- Fifth Domain

How US Army Cyber Command plans to increase employee morale -- Fifth Domain

Air Force shoots down possibility of enlisted combat pilots -- Air Force Times

One U-2 squadron wants to be the Silicon Valley of the Air Force -- Defense News

Pentagon comptroller: Using the audit to drive change -- Defense News

New in 2018: ‘Fast drying’ and ‘lightweight’ tropical uniform and boots -- Marine Times

Soldiers to test new jungle boots, hot weather uniforms this spring -- Army Times

Military Seeks to Learn Lessons of 2017 Hurricane Season -- US Department of Defense

Former Military Leaders Want to Expand and Improve Child Care — to Increase Future Recruitment -- The Intercept

What Should Trump's National Security Strategy Look Like? -- James Jay Carafano, National Interest

Pipe Bomb Explodes At The Port Authority Bus Terminal In Midtown Manhattan. Suspect In Custody



Daily Mail: BREAKING NEWS - 'Possible pipe bomb explodes' at New York's Port Authority: Suspect 'wearing wires' is taken into custody after blast near Times Square prompts evacuation of major Manhattan transport hub

* An explosion was felt Monday morning in the Subway station underneath the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan
* Police have taken one man into custody, who was reportedly carrying a pipe bomb
* Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the suspect is a Bangladeshi man in his 20s
* CNN reports that the bomb detonated prematurely, injuring the suspect
* It's unclear if anyone else was injured in the blast besides the suspect
* The incident happened just days after President Trump sparked demonstrations across the world by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital city
* One of the largest demonstrations took place in Muslim-majority Bangladesh

There are reports of a terror attack in New York City, after an explosion was felt Monday morning in a Subway station near Times Square.

Commuters said they felt a blast in the Subway tunnels underneath the Port Authority Bus Terminal around 7:30am. The bus terminal is a major transit hub for people commuting to and from New Jersey by bus, and is located just a block from Times Square.

Police have taken one man into custody, who was carrying a pipe bomb with a battery back, a source told the New York Post. He was injured when the bomb malfunctioned, but is alive and in stable condition, according to the FDNY.

The NYPD said that so far, it appears that just the suspect was injured.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like the suspect's bomb went off prematurely. A picture of the suspect can be seen here.

More News On Today's Pipe Bomb Explosion At The Port Authority Bus Terminal In Midtown Manhattan

Explosion at Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City - live updates -- CBS News
Official: Man had explosive device strapped on before blast -- AP
New York Today: An Explosion in Times Square -- New York Times
Explosion rocks New York commuter hub, one suspect in custody -- Reuters
Suicide bomber strikes Port Authority -- NYPost
Pipe bomb explodes in subway passage near Port Authority Bus Terminal, one suspect in custody -- New York Daily News
Port Authority explosion: Injured suspect in custody -- Fox News
New York explosion: 1 in custody after blast at Port Authority bus station -- CNN
NYPD makes arrest in explosion near Times Square -- USA Today

A Look At How The Potato Helped To End The Continuous Wars Of Europe

A new study says the introduction of potatoes and the resultant increase in productivity "dramatically reduced conflict" both within and between states for some two centuries

AFP: Potatoes for peace: how the humble tuber stopped conflict in Europe

The humble potato -- drought-resistant, able to thrive in diverse soils, and enjoyed fried, steamed or baked -- brought centuries of relative calm and prosperity to Europe after its introduction in the 16th century, a new study says.

The crop, discovered in Latin America in the 1400s before eventually sweeping through Europe, greatly boosted productivity, helping lower land costs while improving nutrition and raising wages, from peasants up to the ruling classes, according to the study for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The blessings that flowed from this agricultural revolution helped ease the economic and societal pressures that can lead to costly and disastrous conflicts, says the report.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I was not aware that the potato came from the Americas. One of my favorite Russian dishes. Fried potatoes with bacon, mushrooms and onions. Brings peace to my stomach all the time. :)

The Pentagon Needs More Futurists To Better Predict Future Conflicts



Mathew Cox, Defense Tech/Military.com: General: Army Needs More Futurists to Better Predict Conflict

Army officials, analysts and authors met Wednesday to try to improve the U.S. military's poor track record of predicting future conflict.

Maj. Gen. William Hix, director of strategy, plans and policy for the office of the U.S. Army's Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7, said, "Prediction is fraught with danger," at the Atlantic Council's U.S. Army Futures Forum.

Throughout history, there have been many "sad examples" of the tendency of people to optimistically embrace the idea of decisive opening strikes and quick finishes for war, Hix said.

"Most often, those predictions have been hugely wrong and, in some cases, resulted in catastrophe," he said.

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WNU Editor: This is what I try to do in this blog .... notice and post events and trends that may lead to future conflicts. Some of it is easy to predict .... some of it is not.

This Is The Story Behind The Famous Photograph Of An F-4 Flying Inverted Near A Soviet Tu-95 Bear Bomber


The Aviationist: “We Did Barrel Rolls Around Tu-95s At The Request Of The Soviets”: F-4 WSO Explains The Story Of The Phantom Upside Down Near Bear

Here are some memories from the Weapon Systems Officer who shot the famous photograph of the F-4 flying inverted near a Soviet Tu-95 Bear bomber.

Last week we have published a blurry shot of a U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom flying inverted during an intercept mission on a Russian Tu-95 Bear. The photograph went viral and reached Robert M. Sihler, the author of the shot, who was so kind to provide some interesting details about the image that brought to mind one of the most famous scenes in Top Gun movie.

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WNU Editor: Even the Russians are acknowledging this event .... Cold War fun: Pilot reveals Soviet bomber crews asked US jets to barrel-roll & took pics (PHOTO) (RT).