Monday, October 23, 2017

Is Assassinating North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un A Bad (Or Good) Idea?

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects Galido outpost and Jangjedo defending force in this undated photo [KCNA/Reuters]

Alexander Gillespie, Al Jazeera: Assassinating Kim Jong-un could go so wrong

The idea of assassinating a public figure or a high profile enemy, so as to remove a problem, has a dangerously simplistic logic to it. It is believed that once a leader is eliminated, his or her followers, and problems that they cause, will also dissolve. But history abounds with examples of political assassinations that went really wrong.

Yet in the 21st century, the practice of assassination appears to be more popular than ever, with recent examples coming from North Korea with the deaths of Jang Song Thaek (uncle to Kim Jong-un) and Kim Jong-nam (the half-brother of the North Korean leader).

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Leaders have been assassinated throughout history .... Kim Jong-un would not be the first .... nor last.

Russian President Putin Talks About The White Race Being Under 'Attack'

WNU Editor: Russian President Putin has talked about White Christian cultural values and the need to preserve it before .... it is one of the many reasons why he is popular in Russia. It is just that it is rare to see him talk about it in such a public international forum.

Cartoon Roundup

Russia Accuses The U.S.-Led Coalition Of Bombing The Syrian City Of Raqqa "Off The Face Of The Earth"

Raqqa: US coalition 'wiped city off Earth', Russia says

Russia has accused the US-led coalition of bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa "off the face of the earth" during the fight against so-called Islamic State.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) took Raqqa last week and on Sunday said they had taken Syria's largest oilfield.

Pictures suggest much of Raqqa is in ruins, and Moscow compared it to the Allied destruction of the German city of Dresden in World War Two.

The US-led coalition says it tried to minimise risks to civilians.

Russia has itself been accused of committing war crimes for its bombardment of Aleppo last year.

UN war crimes investigators said last week that there had been a "staggering loss of civilian life" in Raqqa.

Syrian activists say between 1,130 and 1,873 civilians were killed and that many of the civilian casualties were the result of the intense US-led air strikes that helped the SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, advance.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The devastation is total .... Raqqa in ruins: Mile after mile of devastated streets and bombed out tower blocks - the aerial images that show how ISIS 'caliphate capital' has been reduced to rubble (Daily Mail).

More News On Russia Accusing The U.S. Coalition Of Bombing The Syrian City Of Raqqa "Off The Face Of The Earth"

Russia likens US coalition bombing of Raqa to WWII Dresden -- AFP
Raqqa: Russia accuses US-led coalition of 'barbaric' bombing of IS Syria stronghold -- ABC News Online
Russia: US-backed forces devastated Raqqa -- DW
Raqqa bombing was 'barbaric' - Russia -- Euronews
Russia: US-led coalition wiped Raqqa 'off the face of the earth' with bombing campaign -- The Hill
US and coalition bomb Syrian Raqqa, like Dresden was bombed in 1945 - Defense Ministry -- TASS
‘Leveled like Dresden’: Raqqa aid haste hints at cover up of ‘barbaric destruction’ – Moscow -- RT

Tweets For Today

Video Of The Day -- Here Are 10 Secrets About The Pentagon That You Didn't Know Did You Know?

Picture Of The Day

Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin attends the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo gallery .... Photos of the week (Reuters).

U.S. Senators Are Demanding Answers On The U.S. Presence In Niger After Learning That There Are 1,000 Soldiers Deployed There

A combination photo of U.S. Army Special Forces Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson (L to R), U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Bryan Black, U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Dustin Wright and U.S. Special Forces Sgt. La David Johnson killed in Niger, West Africa, Oct. 4, 2017

Reuters: U.S. senators seek answers on U.S. presence in Niger after ambush

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. senators said on Sunday the White House has not been forthcoming with details about the military’s presence in Niger after the deaths of four soldiers there earlier this month and they want more answers on U.S. operations in the west African country.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said in separate interviews that they support Republican Senator John McCain’s effort to get answers from the Pentagon on the ambush and more broadly on the U.S. fight against ISIS in Niger.

Graham and Schumer said they had been unaware of the large U.S. presence in the country and said Congress needs more information on what could become a long and open-ended involvement.

“I didn’t know there was 1,000 troops in Niger,” Graham said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “This is an endless war without boundaries and no limitation on time and geography,” he added. “You’ve got to tell us more and he [McCain] is right to say that.”

Read more ....

Update: Key US Senators Call for More Information on Niger Attack (VOA).

WNU Editor: The U.S. senators are freaking-out because of this .... Senators Stunned to Discover We Have 1,000 Troops in Niger (Daily Beast).

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Italy's Northern Regions Of Lombardy And Veneto Have Voted Overwhelmingly For More Autonomy

DW: Lombardy, Veneto - Italy's two richest regions - vote for greater autonomy

Voters in Lombardy and Veneto have overwhelmingly supported non-binding referendums seeking greater autonomy. Italy's wealthy north has long called for greater control over finances and security.

Voters in Italy's wealthy northern regions, Lombardy and Veneto, on Sunday overwhelmingly backed non-binding referendums seeking more autonomy from Rome as Italians became the latest nation to ride the wave of self-determination sweeping Western politics.

Although the vote is non-binding, the strong support gives the regions' leaders a political mandate to seek a greater say in the distribution of their own tax revenue – a long-standing gripe between prosperous northern Italy and the country's less wealthy south.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The vote was not even close .... Over 98% of Italy's Veneto Residents Vote in Favor of Autonomy Status (Sputnik), and Over 95% of Italian Lombardy Voters in Favor of Greater Autonomy (Sputnik).

More News On Italy's Northern Regions Of Lombardy And Veneto Voting Overwhelmingly For More Autonomy

Italy's 2 richest regions claim victory in autonomy votes -- AP
Italian regions vote in favor of autonomy in shadow of Catalonia crisis -- Reuters
Italy referendums: Lombardy and Veneto 'back greater autonomy' -- BBC
Autonomy wave hits Italy, as two richest regions claim overwhelming victories in self-determination referendums -- South China Morning Post
Lombardy and Veneto seek greater autonomy -- Al Jazeera

Report: The Entire German Submarine Fleet Is Now Out Of Action

German Submarine. Wikipedia

WNU Editor: According to the AP, the entire German submarine fleet is now out of action .... Germany's entire submarine fleet is now out of action (AP). The German defense minister in an understatement has said the following .... "this is obviously not a good situation." More here .... Beached: Germany's Entire Submarine Fleet Out of Action (Sputnik).

U.S. Air Force Preparing To Put Its Nuclear Bombers Back On 24-Hour Alert For The First Time Since The Cold War

A 2014 photo of a B-52H Stratofortress based at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. U.S. Air Force / Senior Airman Christine Griffiths

Defens One: EXCLUSIVE: US Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers Back on 24-Hour Alert

If the order comes, the B-52s will return to a ready-to-fly posture not seen since the Cold War.

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. — The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.

That means the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of this base’s 11,000-foot runway — dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings — could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment’s notice.

“This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared,” Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said in an interview during his six-day tour of Barksdale and other U.S. Air Force bases that support the nuclear mission. “I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward.”

Read more ....

Update #1: Air Force preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready-to-fly alert: report (Washington Times)
Update #2: US To Put Nuclear Bombers On 24 Hour Alert: First Time In 26 Years (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor:  Another sign on how much the global situation .... from North Korea to the turmoil in the Middle East to tensions with Russia .... has changed in the past year.

Gold Star Families Have Had To Wait 2 Months To Receive A Condolence Letter From President Trump

The Hill: Gold Star families receive condolence letters from Trump months after sons' deaths: report

At least three families of service members killed months ago said that they have now received rush-delivered condolence letters from President Trump.

The families told The Atlantic that they are now receiving letters from Trump after he faced criticism for not calling the families of fallen service members, after claiming he had done so. Many of the letters, according to The Atlantic, were sent next-day by UPS.

Timothy Eckels’ son was killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker on Aug. 21, but Eckels said he didn’t receive a letter from Trump until Oct. 20 — two days into the controversy over Trump contacting the families of fallen soldiers.

“Honestly, I feel the letter is reactionary to the media storm brewing over how these things have been handled,” Eckels told The Atlantic.

Read more ....

Update: Donald Trump Is Rush-Shipping Condolences to Military Families (The Atlantic)

WNU Editor: I can understand why the President  may not be able to call all the families of loved ones who died in the service of their country .... but sending a letter that is personally signed by the President is not a big deal if casualties are low .... and casualties have been low (so far) during President Trump's Presidency. Another surprising thing about this story is that you would think that Chief of Staff John Kelly would be on top of this case .... being a Gold Star father himself. But he was not.

Former President Jimmy Carter Unleashed

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter in their home in Plains, Ga. Credit Dustin Chambers for The New York Times

Daily Wire: Jimmy Carter Unleashed: Russians Didn't Alter Election, Obama Didn't Deliver, We Didn't Vote For Hillary

At 93, Jimmy Carter is cutting loose.

The former president sat down with The New York Times recently and chatted about all kinds of subjects. The Times decided to play up the fact that Carter — one of the worst presidents in U.S. history — would love to go over to North Korea as an envoy.

But the Times is steadily proving how out of touch it is, and how it no longer seems to actually "get" what real news is.

Here are some major highlights from the interview:

Read more ....

Update: Jimmy Carter interview: Five memorable lines (CNN)

WNU Editor: A few surprises here. Correction .... a lot of surprises here. If you are a New York Times subscriber read it here .... Jimmy Carter Lusts for a Trump Posting (Maureen Dowd, New York Times). I not .... get the abbreviated versions above in the Daily Wire and CNN.

Niger's Problem With Militants Has Been Growing For A Long Time

War-Zone/The Drive: The U.S. Military's Incident In Niger Has Been a Long Time Coming

A "light footprint," limited resources, and political complexities put American troops in Africa at increased risk.

The revelation that a private contractor took part in the efforts to rescue American service members who came under attack in Niger, which The War Zone first reported, has prompted renewed scrutiny of the U.S. military’s preparedness in the region and even viral conspiracy theories about the incident. In reality, already underscored by the infamous Benghazi incident, it highlights a long-standing set of issues and it’s a wonder such things haven’t occurred more often.

At the core of the present debate is why American soldiers in Niger had to rely primarily on air support from French forces in the area, as well as contract aircrews stationed in the country’s capital Niamey, after they came under attack from militants near the border with Mali on Oct. 4, 2017. How this all contributed to U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson ending up missing for two days afterwards before local forces found him dead remains unclear. That the combined force of U.S. and Nigerien troops reportedly rode in unarmored vehicles and had only personal weapons when they encountered more than 50 enemy fighters in trucks with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades has only served to add apparent insult to injury, though.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This blog has been covering Niger and its militancy problem for a long time ....

Niger Has Become A Key U.S. Counter-Terrorism Partner In Africa (April 24, 2016)
Jihadists Blamed For Military Assault On A Refugee Camp In Niger That Kills 22 Soldiers (October 7, 2016)
The Growing Importance Of Niger In U.S. Anti-Terrorism Operations (April 16, 2013)
Is The Conflict In Mali Now Shifting To Niger? (April 13, 2013)
Niger Is The Latest Country To Join The U.S. War On Terror (March 26, 2013)
Islamist Militants Make Inroads In Niger (August 18, 2012).

So when President Obama deployed U.S. forces to Niger a few years ago to assist in counter-terrorism operations  .... did he make a mistake to keep a "small footprint". Upon reflection .... my answer is no. The threat was there but it was low-key, and the U.S. presence was kept at a minimum to respect what governments like Niger wanted. But here is an easy prediction. After what happened 2 weeks ago in Niger, the U.S. military presence and the support that it can get is going to change significantly in the coming weeks .... starting with the positioning of far more lethal assets in the field.

President Trump Credits Social Media And Twitter For Winning The White House

Reuters: Trump defends tweets as key to White House victory

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump defended his regular use of social media, especially Twitter, and said he may not have won the White House without it.

In an interview airing on Sunday on “Fox Business Network,” Trump says he can bypass what he labels unfair media coverage by speaking directly.

“Tweeting is like a typewriter -- when I put it out, you put it immediately on your show,” he said, according to a transcript released by the network. “I doubt I would be here if weren’t for social media, to be honest with you.”

Trump called his social media accounts on Facebook Inc (FB.O), Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Instagram “a tremendous platform.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: President Franklin Roosevelt used radio in his fireside chats. President Kennedy was sensitive to the reach and power of television. President Trump has embraced social media, and with 41 million followers he can easily reach those who support him (and those who do not) almost immediately.

The Kim Family Have Consolidated Their Control Of North Korea

On Friday North Korea’s state-controlled media outlet KCNA transmitted footage of Kim Yo Jung touring new construction in progress at a tree nursery along with her brother Kim Jong Un. File Photo by KCNA/Yonhap

South China Morning Post: With sister’s promotion, Kim Jong-un consolidates family’s control over North Korea

Adam Cathcart writes that Kim Yo-jong can no longer be ignored by North Koreans who must shield the Kim family from plots and internal discontent.

When looking at North Korea, sometimes it is useful to tune out the Americans altogether and look at who is governing the country internally, and how they are doing it. As the instrument that built and continues to amplify the overarching personality cult of the Kims, the Korean Workers’ Party remains an important vehicle both for controlling and understanding North Korea. On October 7, the party’s Central Committee voted to elevate Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of Kim Jong-un, to the rank of alternate to the Politburo. It is a further reminder of the unique family dynamic that continues to shape the nominally socialist regime and increasingly marketised society.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: She is probably her brother's closest adviser.

If North Korea Goes Ahead With Its Threat To Do An Above-Ground Nuclear Test, This Is How It Would Go Down

Alex Lockie, Aol/Business Insider: North Korea has been threatening an aboveground nuclear detonation — here's how it could go down

* North Korea has threatened to detonate a nuclear device aboveground.
* Such a test could turn China, and the world, against it.
* The US may even strike to prevent it, but North Korea may do it anyway.

North Korea recently repeated its threat to test a nuclear device aboveground, in what would be its most dangerous and provocative move ever, unleashing a massive explosion and hale of radiation that could turn the world decisively against it.

After President Donald Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if provoked, Pyongyang responded by saying it may test "an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb," which experts interpreted as possibly meaning a detonation of a nuclear-armed missile above the Pacific.

But regardless of what Trump says, North Korea has reasons to test aboveground.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If North Korea wants to freak out the world .... specifically it's neighbors (China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia) .... it would be to detonate an above-ground hydrogen bomb. I can easily see the reaction right now. The leaders would be beyond upset and angry, but the public in all of these countries would be beyond livid. Complete and total sanctions by every neighboring country would be the immediate action. A naval blockade would be next. And expect the biggest arms buildup on the borders of North Korea in a manner that has not been seen for generations.

More Details Emerge On South Korea's 'Frankenmissile'

Straits Times: South Korean army reveals plan to develop 'Frankenmissile' targeting North Korea

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - South Korea's military plans to develop a "Frankenmissile" to counter North Korea's escalating missile and nuclear capabilities in a bid to overwhelm the North during the initial phase of the war.

In its report for an annual parliamentary audit by the National Assembly's Defence Committee, the army said they would develop the "Hyunmoo IV" surface-to-surface missile, powerful enough to destroy North Korea's underground military facilities and command centre.

Combined with indigenous tactical surface-to-surface missiles and Hyunmoo-class intermediate-range ballistic missiles, the advanced pre-emptive strike capability would inflict "unbearable cost" on the North by neutralising its nuclear and missile sites, as well as long-range artillery units, the army said.

Read more ....

Previous Post: A Look At South Korea's 'Frankenmissile' (September 12, 2017)

Update #1: South Korea's New 'Frankenmissile' Would Take Out North Korea's Kim Jong Un and His Nuclear Weapons (Newsweek)
Update #2: South Korea developing 'Frankenmissile' to combat North Korean nuclear threat (International Business Times)

WNU Editor: The South Koreans are going to need a lot more than a few "Frankenmissiles" to stop North Korea.

U.S.-Backed Forces Have Seized Syria's Largest Oil Fields From The Islamic State

A road sign welcomes people to the town of Deir al-Zor in Syria September 20, 2017. Picture taken September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

FOX News: Syria's largest oil field seized from ISIS by US-backed forces

Syria's largest oil field was seized from the Islamic State terror group on Sunday by the U.S.-led coalition, dealing another blow to the extremist group after the loss of its de-facto capital last week.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forced, with air support from the U.S.-led coalition, said it captured the Al-Omar field in a "swift and wide military operation," adding that some militants have taken cover in oil company houses nearby, where clashes are underway.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That U.S.-Backed Forces Have Seized Syria's Largest Oil Fields From The Islamic State

U.S.-backed militias seize key oil field in east Syria: SDF -- Reuters
U.S.-allied force captures Syria's largest oil field from ISIS -- CBS/AP
US-backed forces seize major Syria oilfield -- AFP
US-backed SDF captures Syria's largest oil field from 'Islamic State' -- DW
US-backed forces claim capturing 1 of Syria's largest oil fields -- Xinhua
Syrian Democratic Forces Recapture Oil Field in Deir ez-Zor Province -- Sputnik

Photo Of Lady Gaga With Five Former U.S. Presidents In One Photo

The Hill: Photo of Lady Gaga and five former presidents goes viral

A photo of pop music star Lady Gaga and all five living former presidents went viral on social media this weekend as the group united to raise money for disaster relief.

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama gathered for a benefit concert at the One America Appeal fundraiser.

The five leaders joined together to raise money for victims of the recent hurricanes that have devastated the U.S.

The joint effort has raised $31 million so far for disaster relief, the campaign announced hours before the concert.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Lady Gaga for President. :)

Celebrations In Raqqa By Women Who Feel Liberated That They No Longer Have To Wear The Burqa

WNU Editor: The above video is quite a sight to see .... and it has been repeated many times when a region has been liberated from ISIS .... celebrations by women that the burka and all that it symbolizes is no more. In Canada where I live .... the opposite .... protests against those who want to ban the burka and all that it symbolizes when it comes to using public services .... Montreal protesters don surgical masks, scarves over new face-covering law (CBC). Two different places .... two different reactions .... and all happening at the same time. As to what is my take .... this issue is not a priority in my life, probably because I grew up in the Soviet Union where many girls and women have worn (and are still wearing) head-scarfs like this one. I have also given these scarfs as gifts (which can also be used as a neck scarf). Bottom line .... from my experience it has always been a personal choice, influenced by culture, and worn by women not because they are forced to do so, but because they want to. But what I find interesting about the debate in Canada is that the burka and niqab has long been associated with groups like the Taliban and the Islamic State to subjugate women. For these women, it was never a choice .... it was an obligation. And for those who have escaped that type of treatment (two of my friends are women who left Iran 25 years ago) .... I have found these women to be the most vociferous opponents on permitting this type of clothing in public. As one put it to me rather bluntly on Friday when I asked her about the debate that was happening in Canada .... she sees the burka/niqab in the same way that Blacks see people dress up as the Klan .... symbols of oppression and hate, and definitely not as a religious issue. But that is not how the debate is being framed in Canada .... which is unfortunate .... the women who have lived in that type of society do need to be heard, but for the moment their voices are being ignored.

WNU Editor: 2 minutes after posting this story, a reader of this blog (and a well know female reporter to boot) just emailed me on how do you put on a Russian scarf. Paula, the answer is here .... How To Style Russian Scarves. :)

Bowe Bergdahl Complains That The U.S. Army Has Treated Him Worse Than The Taliban

Daily Mail: Bowe Bergdahl whines that the US treated him WORSE than the Taliban as he faces a life sentence for desertion

* Bowe Bergdahl complains about his treatment by US in new interview
* He deserted his post in Afghanistan in 2009 for reasons that are unclear
* Was held captive by the Taliban for five years until his release in 2014
* Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion charges in military court Monday morning
* He did not strike a deal with prosecutors on sentencing and faces up to life

Bowe Bergdahl has whined that the US treated him worse than his Taliban captors in a newly released interview, as he faces up to life in prison for desertion.

'At least the Taliban were honest enough to say, "I’m the guy who’s gonna cut your throat",' the 31-year-old Army sergeant told the The Sunday Times of London in an interview released on Sunday.

'Here, it could be the guy I pass in the corridor who’s going to sign the paper that sends me away for life,' the Army deserter griped in the interview, which was recorded last year and is his first video interview since returning to the US.

'We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs.'

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is hard to tell from videos and press reports on what is the current state of mind of Bowe Bergdahl. But the impression that I am getting is that he does not truly understand the consequences of what he did. He deliberately put a lot of lives risk .... and soldiers were probably lost and/or injured looking for him. But there is little if any genuine reaction from him  .... it is like a distant memory for him. A normal person would show enormous remorse for what happened .... and that person would be repeating it everyday and to everyone. But not in the case of Bowe Bergdahl .... very little remorse .... but a lot of complaints (in his opinion) on being treated unfairly and without justice. Here is an easy prediction .... when the judge makes the determination on what his sentence should be, he will be taking this lack of remorse into consideration.

More News On Bowe Bergdahl

Dramatic Sentencing Hearing Expected in Bergdahl Case -- Bloomberg
Deserter Bergdahl says Taliban more 'honest' than US Army -- Fox News
Bowe Bergdahl Says Returning to US Was as Tough as Captivity -- NBC
Bowe Bergdahl: US treated me worse than the Taliban -- NYPost

Former U.S. President Carter Wants To Be President Trump's Envoy To North Korea

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says he would go to North Korea on Trump's behalf. REUTERS / Neil Hall

Business Insider/Reuters: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says he would travel to North Korea on a diplomatic mission

* Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said he would be willing to travel to North Korea on a diplomatic mission.
* "I told him that I was available if they ever need me," Carter allegedly told National Security Adviser Lt.-Gen. H. R. McMaster.
* In the mid-1990s, Carter travelled to Pyongyang and struck a deal with Kim Il Sung, grandfather of the current leader.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said he would be willing to travel to North Korea on behalf of the Trump administration to help diffuse rising tensions, The New York Times reported on its website on Sunday.

"I would go, yes," Carter, 93, told the Times when he was asked in an interview at his ranch house in Plains, Georgia whether it was time for another diplomatic mission and whether he would do so for President Trump.

Carter, a Democrat who was president from 1977 to 1981, said he had spoken to Trump's National Security Adviser Lt.-Gen. H. R. McMaster, who is a friend, but so far has gotten a negative response.

"I told him that I was available if they ever need me,” the Times quoted Carter as saying.

Read more ....

Update #1: Jimmy Carter Lusts for a Trump Posting (New York Times)
Update #2: Jimmy Carter willing to be Trump's envoy to North Korea (Washington Examiner)

WNU Editor: As I had commented on this post, not a good idea .... Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Wants To Go To North Korea And Meet Kim Jong-un (October 9, 2017).

WHO Has Cancelled The Appointment Of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe As A Goodwill Ambassador

BBC: WHO cancels Robert Mugabe goodwill ambassador role

The World Health Organization has revoked the appointment of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador following a widespread outcry.

"I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns," WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

He had previously praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health.

But critics pointed out that Zimbabwe's healthcare system had collapsed under Mr Mugabe's 30-year rule.

Staff often go without pay, medicines are in short supply, and Mr Mugabe, who has outlived the average life expectancy in his country by three decades, travels abroad for medical treatment.

Read more ....

Update #1: Mugabe removed as WHO goodwill ambassador after outcry: statement (Reuters)
Update #2: WHO Removes Mugabe as 'Good-Will Ambassador' (New York Times)

WNU Editor: Robert Mugabe is the poster child for what a racist, uncaring, greedy, and incompetent but murderous leader looks like. The next step should be the resignation of the idiot within WHO who wanted Robert Mugabe to be its goodwill ambassador.

Exit Polls: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Has Secured A Massive Win In Parliamentary Elections

DW: Japan's Shinzo Abe wins resounding election victory

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has secured a commanding victory in early parliamentary elections held on Sunday. Abe called for the early vote to reinforce his mandate amid a growing security crisis with North Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition was on track to win by a wide margin on Sunday's, according to media exit polls.

A survey by Japan’s TBS television showed Abe's Liberal Democratic Party-led (LDP) coalition was set to win 311 seats, meaning it would hold its two-thirds "super majority" in the 465-member lower house. Other broadcasters, however, predicted that the coalition would fall just short of the super majority mark.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is a huge win for him. The final results will be announced tomorrow.

More News On Japan's Parliamentary Elections

Japan exit polls show Abe to win fresh majority in election -- Nikkei Asian Review
Exit polls show win for Japanese PM Abe’s ruling coalition -- AP
Abe sweeps to resounding victory in Japan vote -- AFP
Japan PM Abe's ruling bloc on track for big win in election: TV exit polls -- Reuters
Shinzo Abe secures strong mandate in Japan's general election -- The Guardian
Abe May Retain Supermajority in Japan Vote, Exit Poll Says -- Bloomberg
Abe: Nationalist blueblood at home, shrewd diplomat abroad -- AFP
Japan: Is a new sun rising for Japan's Shinzo Abe? -- Martin Fritz, DW

Is The Spanish Government Pushing People In Catalonia To The Pro-Independece Movement?

James Glenday, ABC News Online: Catalonia: Will the Spanish Government's tactics drive people to the pro-independence movement?

Among the hundreds of thousands of protesters who have been flocking to the streets of Barcelona, there are many who claim to have recently converted to the cause of Catalan independence.

"Each step the Spanish Government is doing it turns more people to independence," says Elena Jimenez from Omnium Cultura, one of Catalonia's big pro-independence cultural organisations.

"That's why we don't really understand the Spanish Government's tactics.

"It's almost like they don't understand us here at all."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Spanish government should have taken the Canadian example on how to handle an independence movement .... I should know because I now live here. The french province of Quebec has had two referendums on independence. The first one was in 1980 with a very clear-cut question .... the No side won by 59.5%. The second referendum was in 1995 on an ambiguous question led by an energized leadership pushing for independence .... the No side won by only 50.5%. The fall-out from that close call reverberated throughout Canada for at least a decade, and the net result has been two things .... (from Wikipedia) the federal government, after unilaterally recognizing Quebec as a distinct society and amending the federal constitutional veto procedure, referred the issue to the Supreme Court of Canada, which stated that the unilateral secession contemplated in the referendum was illegal. And the second requirement is that in any future referendum .... all sides must agree on a clear-cut question. But this was not enough to kill the separatist movement in Quebec, what has killed it .... and former Canadian Prime Minister Harper has not been given the proper credit for this .... is that the former PM ruled in a very unique way that tempered and neutered the rational for the independence movement. And what was that style .... is style of ruling was to have the central government dictate policy directions and objectives, but he permitted the provinces on how to implement these policies while giving them the monies and resources to do it. The current Prime Minister .... Justin Trudeau .... is now doing the opposite. He is dictating policies, and he is also telling the provinces that they must implement it his way. Not surprising .... in the past year separatist sentiments in Quebec are now rising.

For the Spanish government .... they have clearly embarked on using a policy of using a sledgehammer to crush Catalonian independence. There is no room for compromise, accommodation, or even discussion. And for the Catalonian leadership .... jail if they refuse .... One Can Now Make The Claim That Spain Keeps Political Prisoners (October 17, 2017). I have asked my political friends in Quebec and in the Canadian federal government on what would have happened if the Canadian government employed the same tactics and policies that the Spanish government is now doing in Catalonia. Without exception .... all of my friends in Quebec and Canada (federalist and separatist) are saying that Quebec would be independent today.

President Trump Says After The Recapture Of Raqqa The 'End Of ISIS Caliphate Is In Sight'

Reuters: Trump: Raqqa fall 'critical breakthrough', end of Islamic State in sight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday hailed the defeat of Islamic State fighters in their self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa as “a critical breakthrough” in a worldwide campaign against the militants.

On Friday, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) formally announced Raqqa’s liberation from Islamic State after four months of battles and said the city would be part of a decentralized federal Syria.

“Together, our forces have liberated the entire city from ISIS control,” Trump said in a statement.

“The defeat of ISIS in Raqqa represents a critical breakthrough in our worldwide campaign to defeat ISIS and its wicked ideology. With the liberation of ISIS’s capital and the vast majority of its territory, the end of the ISIS caliphate is in sight.”

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WNU Editor: I agree. Until Saturday the White House was eerily quiet on the liberation of the Islamic State's capital .... Trump White House oddly quiet after major victory over ISIS in Syria (Washington Examiner). I also agree with this post .... Raqqa is free as ISIS loses steam, but hold off on the victory dance (The Hill)

More News On President Trump's Remarks That After The Recapture Of Raqqa The 'End Of ISIS Caliphate Is In Sight' 

Trump: End of ISIS caliphate 'in sight' with Raqqa victory -- Politico
Trump hails liberation of Raqqa as 'critical breakthrough' in anti-ISIS campaign -- The Hill
Trump: 'End of the ISIS caliphate is in sight' -- CNN
Donald Trump says 'end of Isis caliphate is in sight' after de-facto capital of Raqqa recaptured -- The Independent
Trump Claims 'End of Daesh Caliphate in Sight' After Raqqa Liberation -- Sputnik
Defeating ISIS isn't enough: Trump urgently needs a new Syria policy -- Fox News

U.S. Air Force May Recall 1,000 Retired Pilots To Address 'Acute Shortages'

USA Today: Air Force could recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to address serious shortage

WASHINGTON — President Trump signed an executive order Friday allowing the Air Force to recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to active duty to address a shortage in combat fliers, the White House and Pentagon announced.

By law, only 25 retired officers can be brought back to serve in any one branch. Trump's order removes those caps by expanding a state of national emergency declared by President George W. Bush after 9/11, signaling what could be a significant escalation in the 16-year-old global war on terror.

"We anticipate that the Secretary of Defense will delegate the authority to the Secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years," Navy Cdr. Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

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More News On Reports That The U.S. Air Force May Recall 1,000 Retired Pilots To Address 'Acute Shortages'

Air Force may recall up to 1,000 retired military pilots to address 'acute shortage' -- ABC News
Trump signs order allowing Air Force to bring 1000 retired pilots back to active duty to help tackle shortage -- Daily Mail
Air Force could recall up to 1,000 retired pilots after Trump order -- FOX News
Trump order could recall 1000 retired pilots to active duty: report -- The Hill
The Air Force now has the power to recall up to 1000 retired pilots to address its personnel crisis -- Business Insider
Air Force Can Recall Up To 1000 Retired Pilots Under New Executive Order -- Task & Purpose

When It Comes To Selling Weapons It Is All About Marketing

Orin Julie modeling a handgun designed for women. (Courtesy of Say Talent)

Times of Israel: A female Israeli combat soldier proudly models for weapons companies

At home, some see Orin Julie as a symbol of female empowerment; US fans think she and the guns are 'sexy'; on Instagram, she's been called a 'baby killer'.

JTA — When it comes to women posing with firearms, the United States is fully loaded. Lithe models can be found showing off weapons at gun shows, in rifle magazines and on dedicated social media pages.

Orin Julie may look like just another “gun bunny,” as such models are sometimes called, but she is the industry’s secret weapon. She is a former Israeli combat soldier who is trained to discharge the weapons she poses with.

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WNU Editor: She knows how to handle these weapons .... and she is definitely photogenic. Her Instagram account is here.

Israeli Woman Soldier Uses Martial Arts Skills To Fight Off An Ultra-Orthodox Mob

Daily Mail: Female Israeli soldier uses martial arts to fight off crowd of ultra-Orthodox demonstrators as they call her a 'wh***'

* Female soldier fights off a crowd of Jewish ultra-Orthodox anti-draft protesters
* Comes after two yeshiva students arrested after military service disagreement
* Footage shows Nomi Golan fending off the baying crowd with karate kicks
* The clip has sparked a major discussion in Israel in mainstream media channels

A fearless female soldier put her martial arts training to good use when she fought off dozens of Jewish ultra-Orthodox anti-draft protesters during a rally in Jerusalem.

Off-duty soldier Nomi Golan fended off a baying crowd of protesters, demonstrating against the arrest of two yeshiva students who refused to show up to the military recruitment office.

Using a series of expert karate kicks and chops, Golan held back the violent rabble who were preventing a car from driving up a street.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: She has no fear.

Video Of The Day

WNU Editor: From the DOD .... Just like human warriors, military working dogs need care on and off the battlefield. The Military Working Dog Hospital at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland is the Defense Department’s premier facility for veterinary care.

Words Of Wisdom From William Defoe

William Defoe (Wikipedia)

The Guardian: Willem Dafoe: ‘I’ve thought about murder many times’

The actor, 62, on actors’ fear, being happy in nature, the false freedom of technology and being mistaken for Mick Jagger

Nobody ever talks about how most actors are full of fear, because the target is always moving. If you’re smart you keep on playing the same, doing the same shtick. If you really put yourself out there… It’s always risky.

Some people think I’m quite odd looking. Some think I’m handsome. Some people think I’m ugly. What can I say?

I was born in 1955, in Appleton, Wisconsin – primarily a paper mill town. I grew up with Eisenhower. It was a Republican kind of area. It wasn’t a bad upbringing. People were hardworking and good, but I always had the sense there was a bigger world out there that I would feel more comfortable in. I knew, even as a child.

I’m happiest when I’m in nature. I mean, deeply in nature. It allows you to forget and join the bigger picture. My favourite landscape is jungle down to water. My dream is to wear flipflops, boxer shorts and a vest all day.

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WNU Editor: I have always enjoyed his films. It is good to see that he is still active.

Tweets For Today

This New Weapon Will Destroy Russia's New Tanks

Charlie Gao, National Interest: NATO Is Building a 'Silver Bullet' to Destroy Russia's New Tanks

The technology sounds like a lethal Rube Goldberg machine: an electrical circuit generates high voltage pulses, that ignites a plasma cartridge that then triggers explosives to propel projectiles at extreme velocity. But this technology, referred to as an Electro-Thermal Chemical (ETC) gun, might be NATO’s silver bullet when it comes to penetrating the next generation of advanced Russian tanks. ETC guns could also be employed in a naval role to allow more accurate and longer ranged naval fires than possible with conventional munitions, at far lower costs than the railgun. The roots of ETC guns are based in Cold War studies for methods to counter the ever-increasing levels of protection that were expected to be found on future Soviet tanks. According to threat reports at the time, the protection levels of Soviet tanks that were expected to be fielded in the mid 1990s would outclass all fielded anti-tank projectiles.

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WNU Editor: This tech has been around for a long time .... and from what I am reading, it has the potential to be very effective. It will also be more mobile than a rail-gun.

Picture Of The Day

The forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) joins Republic of Korea Navy ships for an exercise with the aircraft Carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Stethem is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia Pacific region. (Specialist 2nd Class Jeremy Graham/Navy)

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Frontline Photos: Oct. 20, 2017 (Military Times).

Is The Iranian Government Cracking Down On The The Power And Influence Of The Iranian Revolutionary Guards?

New York Times: Iran Saps Strength of Revolutionary Guards With Arrests and Cutbacks

TEHRAN — From its nine-story headquarters in an upscale neighborhood of Tehran, a giant construction company directs its operations across Iran, building mosques, airports, oil and gas installations, hospitals, and skyscrapers.

Armed guards stand watch at the doors, and small posters on its exterior walls honor Iranians who have died in the current wars in Syria and Iraq.

But this is not just any company. Khatam-al Anbiya, whose name means “seal of the prophet,” is the most important economic arm of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. It employs nearly 1.5 million people, including subcontractors, and is led by a military commander.

Yet the company’s outward signs of strength belie the powerful currents of change that are eroding its business. A crackdown is being led by Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, who ran for office promising to unleash economic growth by completing a nuclear deal and freeing the country from international sanctions.

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WNU Editor: I can only hope that this New York Times report is accurate. But Iran's Evolutionary Guards have a lot of supporters, and they have a lot of influence throughout the country. Curtailing its power and influence is not going to be easy.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Catalonia's Leaders Reject Spain's Plan To Impose Direct Rule On The Region

Daily Mail: 'The worst attack since Franco': Catalan leader slams Spain's PM after he sacks regional government to crush 'rebellion' as 450,000 take to streets to demand independence amid fears of new civil war

* Catalan protesters took to streets of Barcelona today as Mariano Rajoy announced plans to impose direct rule
* Spanish Prime Minister wants to sack autonomous region's government and call election within six months
* Also wants central government ministers to assume powers of Catalan officials to thwart independence bid
* Catalan president Carles Puigdemont branded the central government's plans an 'attack on democracy'
* And its parliament speaker Carme Forcadell accused the central authorities in Madrid of carrying out a coup

Nearly half a million protesters poured onto the streets of Barcelona today as Spain's Prime Minister outlined plans to impose direct rule over Catalonia and remove its leaders.

Mariano Rajoy wants to sack the region's government and call an election within six months in a bid to thwart a break away by the autonomous region.

But his strong stance, which includes a threat to arrest the region's president if he declares independence, led to Catalan President Carles Puigdemont accusing the Spanish leader of the worst attack on the region 'since Franco'.

Read more ....

More News On The Spain - Catalonia Crisis

Catalonia's leaders fight off direct rule from Madrid -- Reuters
Catalonia independence: Puigdemont 'will not accept' Rajoy plan -- BBC
Spain Staging a ‘Coup’ in Catalonia, Parliament Official Says -- NBC/AP/Reuters
Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemont: Removing powers 'worst attack since Franco dictatorship' -- Sky News
Catalan leader: Madrid's steps toward direct rule are 'worst attacks' since Franco's dictatorship -- RT
Hundreds of thousands join pro-Catalan independence rally -- FRANCE 24
Spain Says It Will Remove Catalonia's Leaders -- Voice of America
Spain's Prime Minister is sacking Catalonia's president and holding new regional elections, in an unprecedented move -- Business Insider
Spain Moves to Fire Catalonia's Leadership, Strip Region's Autonomy -- New York Magazine
How Madrid Plans to Oust Separatists and Run Catalonia -- Bloomberg
Catalan separatists prepare for war of attrition against Madrid -- The Guardian
Factbox - How will Spain's central government take control of Catalonia? -- Reuters

The Cost Of The Super Secret B-21 Program Will Still Remain A Secret

A rendering of the B-21 Raider, the Air Force's newest bomber, built by Northrop Grumman. (U.S. Air Force)

Defense One: B-21 cost info to stay secret despite new Air Force leadership

AASHINGTON — Don’t hold your breath waiting for the contract value of the B-21 Raider to be revealed. While the U.S. Air Force’s top general reviews the bomber program every few months to see whether new details can be released, it will be “some time” before the service divulges more cost information, the Air Force undersecretary said Oct. 12.

Out of the Air Force’s top three acquisition priorities, the B-21 Raider is its most secretive, with only a few details disclosed to the public, such as the estimated price per aircraft and a list of the major contractors.

The service has taken a hard line against releasing the value of the development contract awarded to Northrop Grumman in 2015, with officials saying that doing so would give adversaries information that would allow them to extrapolate on the bomber’s design.

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Update: US Air Force Official Flips Position, Opposes Disclosing B-21 Raider Costs (Sputnik).

WNU Editor: Everyone knows that the B-21 program is happening .... so why the secrecy on its costs? All that I can say is that the U.S. Air Force has a lousy history when it comes to procurement .... and they have certainly not won anyone's trust when it comes to cost. But for the moment .... the Pentagon, White House,  and the Congress are one on this program, and there will be no release on what this program has cost right now.

Russian President Putin Fears A 'Srebrenica-like' Massacre In Ukraine

Newsweek: Vladimir Putin Says He Fears 'Srebrenica-like' Massacre in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended the decision to keep his country’s porous border with war stricken regions of Ukraine open, saying the move was aimed at avoiding a Srebrenica-like massacre.

The conflict in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions began after weeks of mass protests against pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in the capital Kiev. Russia continues to deny that the insurgents, who have held Ukraine’s army at bay near the Russian border for three years, are commanded or sponsored by the Russian military.

According to Putin, Moscow’s decision not to close the border with the rebel-occupied areas was based on humanitarian concerns and compared the situation to one of the biggest acts of ethnic cleansing in Europe since World War II.

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WNU Editor: Russian President Putin has only started to voice these concerns recently .... and he has cause to be concerned. The conflict in Ukraine has been ongoing now for almost 3 and a half years .... and there is no resolution in sight. If what I am being told by my family and friends in Ukraine is half true .... bitterness and frustration in the eastern half of the country is deep and pervasive ... especially in the regions where Russian-Ukrainians are dominant and there is a huge Ukrainian military presence. But it is not the civilian population that I am worried about, the big fear that I have always had with this conflict is the state of morale in the Ukraine army. This is a conscript army where many are not happy to be where they are today, even with a pay raise .... Poroshenko: Servicemen in war zone to get Hr 1,000-3,000 in bonuses in October (Kyiv Post). I have also heard that of these soldiers are growing increasingly frustrated that they are in a quagmire that shows no sign of a resolution .... and what makes it even worse is that there is a great deal of resentment directed at them from the local Russian Ukrainian population. In this toxic environment anything is possible, and all that it will take is one stupid incident where Ukrainian soldiers are killed, and they take their revenge on a local town. A My-Lai type massacre would be a political earthquake in the Russian dominated regions of Ukraine and throughout Europe, but the biggest impact will be in Russia itself. Russian President Putin will not be able to stop the outcry for a direct military intervention .... even if he knows that this would only explode into a major war that may result in the biggest migration of people in Europe since the Yugoslav civil wars. So yes .... Putin has reason to be worried. As for  Ukrainian President Poroshenko, he had a window when he was elected to find a compromise, but he chose a military solution that failed. And now .... his focus is to frame the conflict on his terms and conditions, but the problem with this approach is that it avoids the reason why this war started in the first place .... Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko aims to redefine eastern conflict (DW).

Why The Lack Of Coverage From The U.S. Media On The Liberation Of Raqqa From The Islamic State?

Joe Concha, The Hill: We are finally beating ISIS, but media won't give Trump credit

ISIS — and particularly its expanding caliphate — used to be a major news story in this country. Defeating the terror army that largely stretched across Syria and Iraq was a major campaign topic in 2016.

So one would think, after the ISIS de facto capital of Raqqa was liberated from the terror group by U.S-backed Syrian and Kurdish forces on Tuesday, that the story would dominate news coverage.

But it didn't. Not even close.

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WNU Editor: I have mentioned it before .... but one of my pet peeves with the U.S. main stream news media is not the stories that they cover, but what they choose to not recover. The capture of the Islamic State's capital is a big story .... something that this blog covered extensively .... and still is. But when it came to finding links and videos on this story .... especially in the past 2 months ....  the majority either came Europe, the Middle East, or the wire services. The U.S. media was simply notr there. Is it because the U.S. media does not want to give credit to President Trump .... I do not know. But for someone like myself who always sources from the U.S. news and the international news media for this blog .... this lack of coverage has been surprising.

How North Korea Could Start A War Between China The The U.S.

National Interest: How North Korea Could Start the Unthinkable: War Between America and China

War on the Korean Peninsula is almost too horrible to contemplate.

Nuclear-armed adversaries, fighting in densely populated urban terrain, could cause humanitarian disaster on a scale that the world has never seen. But the scenario might grow even worse. The last time that the United States fought North Korea, the People’s Republic of China intervened with destructive effect. The war lasted for three years, with heavy casualties on both sides. While both China and the United States have worked hard to prevent a recurrence of this catastrophe, the two great powers remain at odds over the fate of North Korea, a disagreement that might yet lead to war.

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WNU Editor: Here is another take on how a U.S. - China war may break-out .... Is China marching towards the worst world war in history? MAX HASTINGS examines how the new superpower became emboldened AND embittered - and how its leaders' desire for global domination may lead to a conflict with America (Daily Mail). As to what is my take on all of these scenarios .... I do not see it happening. There may be a lot of differences between the U.S. and China .... even over North Korea. But is it enough to cause a war .... we are far from that right now.

The Aircraft Carrier USS Ronald Reagan Is In South Korean Waters

The Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stethem steam alongside ships from the Republic of Korea Navy in the waters east of the Korean Peninsula on October 18, 2017. Picture taken on October 18, 2017. Courtesy Kenneth Abbate/U.S. Navy

Daily Mail: U.S. carrier USS Ronald Reagan patrols off Korean peninsula in warning to Pyongyang as tensions with North Korea continue to rise

* The nuclear powered aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan has been patrolling of the east Korean peninsula, warning North Korea of military action
* The Reagan's presence comes ahead of Trump's first official visit to Asia
* North Korea has slammed the warship gathering as a 'rehearsal for war'
* The ship entered port in South Korea today in a regular visit to the country

The USS Ronald Reagan, a 100,000-ton nuclear powered aircraft carrier, is patrolling in waters east of the Korean peninsula, in a show of sea and air power designed to warn off North Korea from any military action.

The carrier sailed into the port of Busan in southern South Korea on Saturday in a regular visit to the country as tensions stemming from North Korea‘s missile and nuclear provocations simmer.

The U.S. Navy's biggest warship in Asia, with a crew of 5,000 sailors, sailed around 100 miles launching almost 90 F-18 Super Hornet sorties from its deck, in sight of South Korean islands.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russia is warning that North Korea has the capability to hit these U.S. aircraft carriers .... North Korea 'Has the Missile Technology to Destroy US Carriers Near Its Shores' (Sputnik).

More News On The USS Ronald Reagan In South Korean Waters

USS Ronald Reagan Enters South Korean Port as North Korea Tensions Simmer -- Epoch Times/Reuters
USS Ronald Reagan visits S. Korean port after weeklong joint naval drills -- Stars and Stripes
US commanders stress ‘ironclad’ commitment to defend SKorea -- Washington Post/AP

US Military's Biggest Warship in Asia Patrols Near North Korea As Warning to Kim Jong Un -- Yahoo News UK