Monday, March 30, 2015

Shooting At NSA Headquarters -- News Roundup



Reuters: One dead, two hurt as vehicle tries to ram U.S. spy agency gates

(Reuters) - Two people tried to run their vehicle through the National Security Agency's gates near Washington on Monday before guards at the spy agency fatally shot one of them, said officials, who added there was no evidence of a link to terrorism.

The second occupant of the vehicle was also shot, according to one official, and a police officer was injured.

Both suspects, who were dressed in women's clothes and may be transgender, tried to drive their sport utility vehicle through an entrance at the agency's Fort Meade, Maryland, headquarters, U.S. law enforcement and security officials said.

More News On Today's Shooting At NSA Headquarters

Car that tried to crash NSA gate was stolen from Maryland hotel, police say -- L.A. Times
NSA: Car smashes into police vehicle at Fort Meade; 1 dead -- Washington Post/AP
One dead as police fire on car in incident at US spy HQ -- AFP
NSA Campus Intruders Foiled as Police Shoot, Kill One Individual -- Bloomberg
NSA: Car smashes into police vehicle at Fort Meade; 1 dead -- Washington Times
One shot dead at Fort Meade after trying to enter NSA gate -- CNN
Pair who tried to ram NSA gate may have been partying earlier, under influence of drugs -- FOX News
Hotel Partying Preceded Deadly Shooting at NSA Gate, Sources Say -- ABC News
A Bizarre Shooting at Fort Meade -- The Atlantic
Was Shooting at NSA a Wrong Turn Gone Bad? -- Shane Harris, Daily Beast
FBI: Fatal Shooting Near NSA 'Not Related to Terrorism' -- VOA

Nigeria's National Elections: News Updates March 30, 2015



CNN: Vote-counting underway in Nigeria in close presidential election

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)A few months before Nigeria's national elections, both main candidates embraced and promised a peaceful election. That pledge is now under serious threat.

Protesters fired gunshots and torched a local electoral office in Nigeria's oil-rich Rivers state as they marched to protest national elections held to elect Nigeria's next President.

"There's been so much violence in Rivers state that it's just not tenable," said Lai Mohammed, spokesman for the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress.

The All Progressives Congress says the vote has been rigged, voters intimidated and demanded that the elections held in Rivers state be canceled.

The ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, refutes the accusation, saying the election was "credible and the result reflects the overwhelming wish of the people of Rivers state to support President Goodluck Jonathan."

Nigeria's National Elections: News Updates March 30, 2015

Nigeria's Buhari gains early ground amid vote tally fears -- Reuters
Nerves on edge in Nigeria as vote count begins -- AP
Nigeria awaits results in close presidential election -- Deutsche Welle
Nigerian Candidates Locked in Tight Race -- WSJ
Challenger has an early lead over incumbent in Nigerian presidential election -- AP
Challenger Buhari makes gains in tense Nigerian elections -- AFP
Nigeria's National Elections: News Updates March 30, 2015 -- The Guardian
In Nigeria, an impatient waiting game for election results -- CSM
Post-election violence in Nigeria sparks calls for calm -- CNN
Fears of Meddling Raised in Nigerian Election Vote Count -- ABC News/AP
Now that votes are in, the dangerous part of Nigeria’s election has begun -- Yinka Adegoke, Quartz
What's At Stake In Nigeria's Election -- Chris Wright, Forbes

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



Tom Lister, CNN: Yemen in freefall: How chaos could spiral into all-out regional war

(CNN)Foreign intervention in Yemen's chaos has dramatically raised the stakes in the Arabian Peninsula, threatening to expand what is already a civil war into a conflict pitting Iran against Saudi Arabia and an Arab coalition.

The Saudis launched Operation "Decisive Storm" last Wednesday with dozens of airstrikes in an effort to blunt the advance of Houthi militia and allied army units on the port of Aden -- and to protect the last bastion of Yemen's internationally-recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. There were also strikes in and around the capital, Sanaa, which resumed early Monday.

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

Airstrike on Yemen refugee camp could portend Saudi ground incursion -- Holly Yan, Hakim Almasmari and Ben Brumfield, CNN

Yemen: Who's joining Saudi Arabia's fight against the Houthis? -- Nick Thompson and Inez Torre, CNN

Iran and Saudi Arabia's cold war is making the Middle East even more dangerous -- Zack Beauchamp, VOX

Nuclear deal with Iran may spur proxy wars, says EU official -- Reuters

What's What in Iran Nuclear Deal -- Steve Baragona, VOA

Nuclear Deal Could Drive Foreign Investors to Iran Stocks -- WSJ

Iran nuclear talks: Can China keep negotiations on track? -- Peter Ford, CSM

China’s Middle East Choice -- Jeffrey Payne, War On The Rocks

Chinese Foreign Policy Comes of Age -- Andrew Small, NYT

Let Iraq Die: A Case for Partition -- Michael J. Totten, World Afairs

The Age-Old Sunni-Shia War Is Sucking America In -- Jamie Dettmer, Daily Beast

Why a Sunni Coalition Is Good for U.S. -- Noah Feldman, Bloomberg

Nigeria’s Breaking Point -- Gavin Serkin and Chris Kay, Bloomberg

Greek crisis: The squeeze tightens -- The Economist

German Power and the Ukraine Conflict -- Ulrich Speck, Carnegie

Latin America Gathers to Gripe About U.S. -- Mac Margolis, Bloomberg

Obama’s next earthquake -- Jackson Diehl, Washington Post

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



AFP: Iran talks stretch into the night hours before deadline

Lausanne (AFP) - Marathon talks aimed at curtailing Iran's nuclear programme stretched into the night Monday as negotiators grappled with the remaining "tricky issues" blocking a deal with a deadline just hours away.

"There still remain some difficult issues," Kerry told a CNN reporter in his luxury lakeside hotel in the Swiss town of Lausanne.

"We are working very hard to work those through. We are working late into the night and obviously into tomorrow."

MIDDLE EAST

Iran and six powers entrenched as clock ticks to nuclear deadline. Iran nuclear talks: 'Tricky issues' remain, Kerry says. Iran nuclear talks intensify as key deadline nears. Iran nuclear talks hit hurdle ahead of deadline.

Expected Iranian nuclear deal worse than Israel feared: Netanyahu.

Air strike kills at least 40 at Yemen camp for displaced. Saudi-led forces strike Yemen rebels, blockade ports. ‘Saudi Arabia airstrikes pave way for ground invasion of Yemen’. Airstrikes pound Yemen's capital.

Iran says US drone kills 2 advisers in Iraq; US denies claim.

Syria crisis: Idlib 'captured by Islamist groups'.

Turkey moves to close all gates at border with Syria.

UN Chief Ban in Baghdad for talks.

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert found guilty of corruption.

ASIA

Pakistan to join Saudi coalition against Yemen rebels: senior official.

North Korea claims it arrested 2 South Korean spies.

N.Korea 'poised to deploy long-range missiles'.

Clashes with Taliban halt supply of power in south Afghanistan.

China, Japan, South Korea halt Thai air route expansion on safety concerns.

China won't let North Korea join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as US rings alarm about lack of transparency.

Uzbekistan's leader scores landslide re-election win. Karimov wins Uzbek presidential election with 90,39% of votes.

Malaysia proposes anti-terror laws to curb Islamic militants.

Blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh.

China probes senior power official for graft.

AFRICA

UN: 7,300 civilians killed in Boko Haram insurgency.

Nigeria tensely awaits first results in closely fought election. Nigerians await Presidential election result. Nigeria election: First results expected.

Guinea declares Ebola 'health emergency' in five regions.

Libya tells Arab summit arms embargo must be lifted to fight IS.

Tunis Bardo Museum attack: Thousands join protest march.

South Sudan food crisis leaves people of Ganyiel desperate for a peace deal.

Congo official: DRC will not accept UN ‘neo-colonization’.

Italy deploys ships to monitor Libyan coast.

EUROPE

Germanwings Flight 9525 co-pilot suicidal at one time, prosecutor says. Crash pilot had been treated for suicidal tendencies.

Lufthansa fears second U4 9525 black box may never be found. Alps crash: Lufthansa chief fears recorder too damaged. Germanwings crash co-pilot Andreas Lubitz body parts 'found'.

Prosecutors probe Moldova ex-president's son for corruption.

Azerbaijan starts trial of 6 alleged Islamic State militants.

Andorra on the brink of Europe's next banking crisis.

Greece says not backing down on debt relief goal. Greece and Germany in open hostility over bailout program.

One Ukrainian serviceman killed, three wounded, in clashes with rebels: Kiev military.

Investigators identify mastermind behind Nemtsov murder.

Some 3.5 tons of Afghan heroin worth $1 billion seized in Russia in 2014.

French local elections: Hollande left bruised as Sarkozy and Le Pen triumph.

Breakdown: Czech spectators give up waiting for US Army convoy after 7hr wait.

AMERICAS

Brazil's ex-President Cardoso to defend jailed Venezuelans.

One dead after gate-crashing attempt, gunfire at Fort Meade.

Obama makes first trip to Kenya as President.

Americans see Putin as only slightly more imminent threat than Obama, poll says.

Vote expected late Monday on Canada’s military mission in Iraq, Syria.

Brazil's economy grew 0.1% in 2014.

Chile floods death toll rises to 14 as clean-up begins.

Uruguay will no longer grant asylum to Guantanamo prisoners.

Air Canada plane landed short, hit antennas in Halifax accident.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

British man pleads guilty to trying to set up US terror camp.

US drone strikes in Yemen likely to continue - former CIA officer.

Analysis: How ISIS is different from al-Qaeda.


Feared terror group al-Qaeda discussed strategies to combat CLIMATE CHANGE.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

US Treasury Secretary in China for talks.

Banks to face 'doomsday scenario' of China slowdown and eurozone crash to test financial strength.

Oil prices slip on possible Iran deal, dollar.

Fears of a new global crash as debts and dollar’s value rise.

Iran Rejects Key Demand In Nuclear Talks

Foreign ministers from other world powers joined Secretary of State John Kerry in an effort to reach the outlines of a nuclear accord with Iran by a midnight Tuesday deadline. Credit Pool photo by Brendan Smialowski

New York Times: Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — With a negotiating deadline just two days away, Iranian officials on Sunday backed away from a critical element of a proposed nuclear agreement, saying they are no longer willing to ship their atomic fuel out of the country.

For months, Iran tentatively agreed that it would send a large portion of its stockpile of uranium to Russia, where it would not be accessible for use in any future weapons program. But on Sunday Iran’s deputy foreign minister made a surprise comment to Iranian reporters, ruling out an agreement that involved giving up a stockpile that Iran has spent years and billions of dollars to amass.


More News On The Iranian Nuclear Talks

Iran reportedly makes new push for uranium concessions in nuclear talks -- FOX News
Iran Wants More Nuke Concessions as Talks Hit Critical Stage -- Washington Free Beacon
With Nuclear Talks Running Out of Time, Iran Rejects Key Demand -- NBC News
Iran nuclear talks: 'Tricky issues' remain, Kerry says -- CNN
Iran and six powers entrenched as clock ticks to nuclear deadline -- Reuters
Iran Nuclear Talks Unresolved -- VOA
Iran nuclear negotiations enter final day as deadlock persists -- The Guardian
Two Issues Remain in Push for Iran Deal -- US News and World Report
Iran nuclear crisis: Six key points -- BBC
Iran nuclear deal: What are the remaining sticking points as clock ticks towards deadline -- The Independent
NEWS GUIDE: The gaps as Iran talks hit crunch time -- AP

Pakistan Will Join The Saudi Military Coalition Against Yemen Rebels


Reuters: Pakistan to join Saudi coalition against Yemen rebels - senior official

(Reuters) - Pakistan will send troops to Saudi Arabia to give military support to a coalition of mainly Gulf states fighting Yemeni Houthi rebels, a senior government official said on Monday.

Largely Sunni Muslim Pakistan - a regional ally of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf's main Sunni Muslim power - would join a Saudi-led military coalition conducting air strikes against Shi'ite Houthi forces, the official said.

The air strikes are targeting the rebels' southward advance on the port city of Aden, the last bastion of Saudi-backed president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

WNU Editor: No surprises here. Saudi Arabia has provided billions in aid to Pakistan over the years .... the Paks are not in a position to say no. For Pakistan's minority Shiite population .... I am sure that they are now preparing themselves to launch protests in opposition to these moves.

More News On Pakistan Joining The Saudi Military Coalition Against Yemen Rebels

Pakistan to join Saudi coalition against Houthi: senior official -- Arab News
Pakistan defense team heads for Saudi to discuss support -- Reuters
Pakistan to send troops in Saudi Arabia; Khawaja Asif denies -- Dunya News
Why old ally Pakistan is wary of joining Saudi offensive in Yemen -- France 24
Pakistan's Yemen dilemma: Being neutral is not an option -- Deutsche Welle
How Will Pakistan Respond to the Crisis in Yemen? -- Ankit Panda, The Diplomat

Update: Pakistan’s long history of fighting Saudi Arabia’s wars -- Ishaan Tharoor (Washington Post)

Many Killed In Airstrike On UN Refugee Camp In Yemen



Washington Post: Scores killed in apparent airstrike at U.N. refugee camp in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen — An apparent airstrike killed scores of people at a United Nations refugee camp in northern Yemen on Monday amid escalating air raids by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition that are targeting Shiite insurgents across the war-ravaged country.

As many as 40 people died and some 200 were wounded in an attack on the Mazraq camp in Hajjah province, said Joel Millman, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which runs aid programs at the facility.

It was not immediately clear whether the incident was the result of an airstrike by the coalition of mostly Arab countries that have come together to stop sweeping military advances across Yemen by the insurgents, known as Houthis. There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia.

More News On Today's Air Strike Against Against A UN Refugee Camp In Yemen

Air strike kills at least 40 at Yemen camp for displaced -- Reuters
Forty refugees killed by Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen -- The Telegraph
Yemen crisis: Saudi air strike on refugee camp kills at least 40, report says -- ABC News (Australia)
Airstrikes Hit Yemen Refugee Camp, Says Doctors Without Borders -- WSJ
Assault on Camp for Displaced Yemenis Is Said to Kill at Least 40 -- NYT
Dozens dead after airstrikes on camp for displaced Yemenis -- Mashable

In The Battle For Tikrit 400 Islamic State Fighters Are Holding Back 30,000 Iraqi Troops And Militia Fighters



Ken Hanly , Digital Journal: In Tikrit 400 IS fighters hold back 30,000 Iraqi troops

Tikrit - A force of Islamic State fighters believed to number about 400 according to one general, is holding at bay about 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia.

After the offensive launched without US air support and led by an Iranian general stalled on the outskirts of Tikrit, the Shia militia and the Iranian commander who was heading the offensive have faded into the background. However many militia remain in the surrounding area and even a few checkpoints on the outskirts of Tikrit. For the last three days, the US has been bombing the centre of Tikrit where the Islamic State fighters so far have been able to fend off the Iraqis even though outnumbered by over seventy to one. This standoff does not auger well for any attempt to recapture the larger city of Mosul. The campaign to recapture Tikrit has been going on for almost a month now.

Update: As Iraqi Forces Press Into Tikrit, Hundreds Of ISIS FIghters Remain (NPR)

WNU Editor: No one rally knows for sure how many ISIS fighters are in Tikrit, but what is known is that they have inflicted heavy casualties, and they have stalled the Iraqi offensive to seize the city.

Iraq's Shiite Militias Rejoin The Battle For Tikrit After Receiving Assurances That The U.S. Will Stop Air Strikes

Military vehicles of Iraqi security forces are seen in Tikrit March 28, 2015. Reuters / Thaier Al-Sudani

Washington Post: Shiite militias in Iraq say they have assurances that U.S. will stop strikes

BAGHDAD — Shiite militia leaders claimed Monday to have received reassurances from Iraq’s prime minister that there would be no more U.S.-led airstrikes on Tikrit, opening the way for their fighters’ return to the battlefield.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with leaders of Iraq’s “popular mobilization units” Sunday night to discuss the ground offensive to reclaim Tikrit from Islamic State militants, his spokesman Saad al-Hadithi confirmed. Hadithi, though, said that a final decision on the strikes had not been taken.

Any decision to halt the strikes to allow forces dominated by Shiite militiamen to march into Tikrit is likely to rile Washington, which has been wary of being perceived as aiding the Iranian-backed paramilitary groups on the ground. It would mean that the airstrikes had essentially been used to ease the militiamen’s path into the city, after their initial offensive stalled two weeks ago.

WNU Editor: Apparently there is no final agreement on U.S. air strikes ... so says the Iraqi PM's office. I suspect that what is at play right now is this .... Tikrit: Shia fighters say US is 'trying to steal a victory' from Iranian-backed militias and Iraqi army (IBTimes)

More News On Iraq's Shiite Militias Rejoining The Battle For Tikri

Shiite militias in Iraq rejoin fight to oust Islamic State from Tikrit -- L.A. Times
Shia Militias Relaunch Tikrit Assault on ISIS After U.S. Air Strikes -- Newsweek
Iraq: US-Iran tensions amid offensive to retake Tikrit from ISIL -- Euronews
Photos: The battle to take Tikrit -- Al Jazeera

Does Iran Have A Secret Nuclear Cooperation Agreement With North Korea?

North Korea Deputy Foreign Minister meets with Iran's Ambassador to North Korea
Photo from IRNA

Gorodn G. Chang, Daily Beast: Does Iran Have Secret Nukes in North Korea?

Washington’s nuclear deal with Tehran depends on aggressive inspections inside Iran. But the mullahs may well have a secret program outside their borders.

In October 2012, Iran began stationing personnel at a military base in North Korea, in a mountainous area close to the Chinese border. The Iranians, from the Ministry of Defense and associated firms, reportedly are working on both missiles and nuclear weapons. Ahmed Vahidi, Tehran’s minister of defense at the time, denied sending people to the North, but the unconfirmed dispatches make sense in light of the two states announcing a technical cooperation pact the preceding month.

The P5+1—the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany—appear determined, before their self-imposed March 31 deadline, to ink a deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding its nuclear energy program, which is surely a cover for a wide-ranging weapons effort. The international community wants the preliminary arrangement now under discussion, referred to as a “framework agreement,” to ensure that the country remains at least one year away from being able to produce an atomic device.


WNU Editor: Talk of an Iran - North Korean nuclear connection has been around for a very long time .... Did North Korea Test A Nuclear Warhead For Iran? There is more here. Interestingly .... as these Iranian talks continue, some are now commenting that the U.S. should engage with North Korea on its nuclear program using the Iranian talks as a template. What is my take .... there is no reason to trust Iran .... and there is definitely no reason to trust North Korea ... but it will not surprise me if after Iran the White House will then focus on North Korea.

Poll: Some Americans Say Obama More Of An 'Imminent Threat' Than Putin

U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst) and Russian president Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti/Sergey Guneev)

Reuters: Americans see Putin as only slightly more imminent threat than Obama, poll says

People in the United States feel under threat, both from beyond our borders and within them. In fact, when asked about both U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it was a pretty darn close call — 20 percent saw Putin as an imminent threat compared to 18 percent who said the same about Obama.

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll asked more than 3,000 Americans what they see as some of the biggest threats to themselves and the country. You can slice and dice the information in literally hundreds of different ways here. People were shown a range of potential threats and then asked to rate how dangerous they were with one being no threat and five meaning the threat is imminent.

I think it’s safe to say that a national security expert might not agree with the public’s choices.

WNU Editor: I recall reading the same type of polls and the same type of results when President Bush was President (even in places like Britain) .... and it was also split along political party lines.

More News On Reuters Poll That Found That Some Americans Believe Obama Is More Of An 'Imminent Threat' Than Putin

Republicans see Obama as more imminent threat than Putin: Reuters/Ipsos poll -- Reuters
Poll: Republicans say Obama more of an 'imminent threat' than Putin -- Politico
Republicans Consider Obama Bigger Imminent Threat Than Putin And Assad: Poll -- IBTimes
US Republicans Say Obama Greater Threat to Country Than Putin – Poll -- Sputnik
Clear & president danger: Poll shows Republicans more scared of Obama than Putin -- RT

G20 World Leaders Personal Details Accidentally Leaked



The Guardian: Personal details of world leaders accidentally revealed by G20 organisers

Exclusive: Obama, Putin, Merkel, Cameron, Modi and others kept in the dark after passport numbers and other details were disclosed in Australia’s accidental privacy breach

The personal details of world leaders at the last G20 summit were accidentally disclosed by the Australian immigration department, which did not consider it necessary to inform those world leaders of the privacy breach.

The Guardian can reveal an employee of the agency inadvertently sent the passport numbers, visa details and other personal identifiers of all world leaders attending the summit to the organizers of the Asian Cup football tournament.

WNU Editor: I call this an "ooopppsss moment".

More News On G20 World Leaders Personal Details Being Accidentally Leaked

Australian official 'accidentally' reveals details of Barack Obama and other world leaders -- The Telegraph
G20 world leaders' data emailed to football organisers -- BBC
Autofill error leads to disclosure of world leaders' personal data -- CSM
Australia Accidentally Leaked the Personal Information of All the G20 Leaders -- Vice
Breach of G20 leaders' personal details -- SKY News
Australian immigration dept leaks G20 leaders’ passport info – report -- RT
Personal Information of 31 World Leaders Leaked in Email -- Sputnik
Australian officials embarrassed over presidential privacy bungle -- Sydney Morning Herald
Yes, Obama has a passport and an Australian official accidentally emailed out the number -- Washington Post

World News Briefs -- March 30, 2015



Bloomberg: Iran Deal Unlikely Before March 31 as Russia Leaves Talks

(Bloomberg) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov planned to leave talks on Iran’s nuclear program and only return if an accord is in sight, suggesting that negotiations will continue into the final hours before a March 31 deadline.

Diplomats said obstacles remain after foreign ministers from the six powers jointly met Iranian envoys for the first time in the latest round of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland. Lavrov will return if there’s a “realistic understanding of a deal,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.


MIDDLE EAST

Iran nuclear talks intensify as key deadline nears. Iran nuclear talks hit hurdle ahead of deadline.

Expected Iranian nuclear deal worse than Israel feared: Netanyahu.

‘Saudi Arabia airstrikes pave way for ground invasion of Yemen’. Airstrikes pound Yemen's capital.

Iran says US drone kills 2 advisers in Iraq; US denies claim.

Syria crisis: Idlib 'captured by Islamist groups'.

Turkey moves to close all gates at border with Syria.

UN Chief Ban in Baghdad for talks.

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert found guilty of corruption.

ASIA

Clashes with Taliban halt supply of power in south Afghanistan.

N.Korea 'poised to deploy long-range missiles'.

China won't let North Korea join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as US rings alarm about lack of transparency.

Uzbekistan's leader scores landslide re-election win. Karimov wins Uzbek presidential election with 90,39% of votes.

Malaysia proposes anti-terror laws to curb Islamic militants.

Blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh.

China probes senior power official for graft.

AFRICA

Nigeria tensely awaits first results in closely fought election. Nigerians await Presidential election result. Nigeria election: First results expected.

Guinea declares Ebola 'health emergency' in five regions.

Libya tells Arab summit arms embargo must be lifted to fight IS.

Tunis Bardo Museum attack: Thousands join protest march.

South Sudan food crisis leaves people of Ganyiel desperate for a peace deal.

Congo official: DRC will not accept UN ‘neo-colonization’.

Italy deploys ships to monitor Libyan coast.

EUROPE

Lufthansa fears second U4 9525 black box may never be found. Alps crash: Lufthansa chief fears recorder too damaged. Germanwings crash co-pilot Andreas Lubitz body parts 'found'.

Andorra on the brink of Europe's next banking crisis.

Greece says not backing down on debt relief goal. Greece and Germany in open hostility over bailout program.

One Ukrainian serviceman killed, three wounded, in clashes with rebels: Kiev military.

Investigators identify mastermind behind Nemtsov murder.

Some 3.5 tons of Afghan heroin worth $1 billion seized in Russia in 2014.

French local elections: Hollande left bruised as Sarkozy and Le Pen triumph.

Breakdown: Czech spectators give up waiting for US Army convoy after 7hr wait.

AMERICAS

One dead after gate-crashing attempt, gunfire at Fort Meade.

Obama makes first trip to Kenya as President.

Americans see Putin as only slightly more imminent threat than Obama, poll says.

Vote expected late Monday on Canada’s military mission in Iraq, Syria.

Brazil's economy grew 0.1% in 2014.

Chile floods death toll rises to 14 as clean-up begins.

Uruguay will no longer grant asylum to Guantanamo prisoners.

Air Canada plane landed short, hit antennas in Halifax accident.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

US drone strikes in Yemen likely to continue - former CIA officer.

Analysis: How ISIS is different from al-Qaeda.


Feared terror group al-Qaeda discussed strategies to combat CLIMATE CHANGE.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Banks to face 'doomsday scenario' of China slowdown and eurozone crash to test financial strength.

Oil prices slip on possible Iran deal, dollar.

Fears of a new global crash as debts and dollar’s value rise.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 30, 2015



BBC: Arab League agrees to create joint military force

The heads of Arab League countries meeting in Egypt have agreed to create a joint Arab military force.

The League has been meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh amid a crisis in Yemen and the threat of jihadists who have made major gains in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

However, establishing the make-up and remit of the force could take months, analysts say.

A 10-nation, Saudi-led coalition is currently carrying out air strikes against rebels in Yemen.


Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 30, 2015

Arab League Unveils Joint Military Force Amid Yemen Crisis -- ABC News/AP

Arab League to forge NATO-like military alliance of Sunni powers -- Washington Times

Arab leaders announce joint force to intervene in region’s wars -- Washington Post

The world needs a new Arab army -- The Telegraph editorial

3 Saudi Weapons of War Yemen's Houthis Should Fear -- National Interest

Arab allies wage war in Yemen with U.S. weapons, without U.S. leadership -- Washington Times

Germany to invest in French military satellite program: document -- Reuters

Russia Begins Large-Scale Air Defense Drills in Siberia -- Sputnik

Why Russia's War Games Should Scare Nobody -- Alexander Golts, Moscow Times

Russian forces to practise use of S-300, S-400 against air, missile strikes -- ITAR-TASS

Will India Lease Another Russian Nuclear Submarine? -- Ankit Panda, The Diplomat

Indian warplanes go missing during upgrade in Ukraine – report -- RT

Former chief of Sri Lanka Air Force questioned on controversial MIG aircraft deal -- Colombo Page

Vietnam's Submarines to Counter China? -- Marine Link

China's Nightmare: Vietnam's New Killer Submarines -- National Interest

The Real Reason for China's Massive Military Buildup -- Harry J. Kazianis, National Interest

Take a Sneak Peak at Israel's Secret Submarine Fleet -- Arutz Sheva

From second hand boots to ex-Army tanks: Britain's military surplus for sale -- The Telegraph

Germany to invest in French military satellite program: document -- Reuters

Japan overrules Okinawa governor on US base work stoppage -- BBC

US Cites Growing N. Korea Long-Range Missile Threat -- VOA

U.S. special forces operating recon drones in Lebanon -- Daily Star

US Air National Guard F-15s to Europe to Deter Moscow -- Defense Tech

US Air Force Awards $485Mln Contract for Precision Weapons Guidance Pods -- Sputnik

Military planning to spend billions on new Air Force One -- FOX News

Fully fund the A-10 fleet, say Michigan senators -- The Hill

Pentagon Chief May Ease Military Enlistment Standards -- AP

Pentagon Cracks Down on Top Security Clearances After Snowden -- Sputnik

AP Exclusive: NSA weighed ending phone program before leak -- AP

Grandson of Enola Gay pilot to command B-2 unit -- Air Force Times

Meet the Navy SEAL who was shot 27 times and lived to tell the story -- The Telegraph

Some in Bergdahl's platoon undercut his emerging defense -- CNN

Bergdahl's Defense Questions His Army Enlistment After CG Dismissal -- Military.com

How the White House bungled the Bowe Bergdahl case -- John R. Schindler, L.A. Times

Army issues troops safety instructions following Islamic State kill list threat -- Washington Times

How the FBI director figures out who belongs in the most important jobs -- Washington Post

What happens on a night out with 5,000 American sailors? -- The Telegraph

SUV Rams Gate At NSA headquarters. Shots Fired. Two Injured


Daily Mail: BREAKING NEWS: Shooting reported outside NSA headquarters on Fort Meade after SUV tried to crash through front gates

* Incident happened about 9.30am outside gates of Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County, Maryland
* Fort Meade is home to NSA, as well as the US military's Cyber Command and other sensitive agencies
* At least one government worker was seen being loaded into an ambulance

A shooting has been reported outside the headquarters of the National Security Agency in Maryland after an SUV reportedly tried to crash through the front gates.

The incident, on Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, has resulted in at least one injury, according to live video from the scene.

NSA police are investigating the incident, but have not released any details.

Aerial footage from WRC-TV showed one man being loaded into an ambulance and what appears to be a body being covered by a sheet outside of the gates of the military post.

More News On A Shooting Incident At The Headquarters For The NSA

Two injured in incident at NSA on Fort Meade campus -- Washington Post
LIVE VIDEO: Incident at NSA under investigation -- ABC Baltimore
Police respond to incident at U.S. security agency in Maryland: reports -- Reuters
2 Injured In Shooting At NSA Gate -- CBS Baltimore
Shots fired after SUV rams gates at NSA headquarters -- NYPost/FOX News
BREAKING: Police shoot vehicle ramming the gate at NSA headquarters at Ft. Meade -- Washington Times
Shots fired at NSA headquarters -- BBC
Vehicle rams gate at NSA headquarters, shots fired -- RT
Fort Meade Shooting: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know -- Heavy.com

WNU Editor: This is a news breaking story. We will be updating it later today.

Iran Claims U.S. Drone Strike Killed Two Military Advisers In Iraq

A MQ-1B Predator. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

IBTimes: Iran US Drone Strike: Revolutionary Guard Claims America Killed 2 'Advisers' In Iraq

Iran is claiming the U.S. military killed two members of its Revolutionary Guard force in a drone strike in Iraq, the Associated Press reported. The accusations, which the U.S. denied, came a day before the deadline for the U.S. and four other countries to reach a deal on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The Revolutionary Guard said a U.S. drone strike killed two of its advisers, Ali Yazdani and Hadi Jafari, last week. During that time, the U.S. coalition against the Islamic State group conducted airstrikes in assistance of Iraqi forces in the city of Tikrit, which is held by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. The Guard said Yazdani and Jafari were buried Sunday.

Update #1: Iran says US drone kills 2 advisers in Iraq; US denies claim -- AP
Update #2: US dodges accusation of killing Iranian advisers in Iraq -- RT

WNU Editor: All of this happening with nuclear talks becoming more intense between Iran and the P5 +1 in Switzerland.




The Battle For Tikrit Continue -- News Updates March 30, 2015



Radio Free Europe: Iraqi Ground Forces, U.S. Air Strikes Focus On IS-Held Tikrit

Iraqi security forces continue to battle Islamic State (IS) militants in central Tikrit as the United States and its allies provide air support.

But local officials warn that the battle to retake the Sunni Muslim city and hometown of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein will not be quick.

Mayor Osama al-Tikriti has said it will be too difficult to achieve a rapid advance into the city because the ground is littered with bombs and booby-traps.

Further complicating the ground assault on Tikrit has been the exit from the offensive of most Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia fighters that had been fighting alongside government forces.

More News On The Battle For Tikrit

Booby-traps halt Iraqi forces' advance on Tikrit -- Al Jazeera
Iraqi advance into Tikrit slowed by resistance as U.S. airstrikes continue -- UPI
Baghdad Troops Take Lead in Fight to Take Back Tikrit from ISIL - CENTCOM -- Sputnik
US Jets Strike Iraqi Forces' Positions Instead of ISIL in Tikrit -- Sputnik
Iraqi army weighs cost of U.S.-led strikes in Tikrit as militiamen leave -- Washington Post
As Iraqi Forces Press Into Tikrit, Hundreds Of ISIS FIghters Remain -- NPR
U.S., Iranian-Backed Shiite Militias Share Uneasily in Battle for Iraq’s Tikrit -- WSJ
Shooting Blind Into Tikrit, Iraqi Forces Hope They Hit Something -- IBTimes
'Major sacrifices' required to retake Tikrit: Iraq officer -- Ahram Online/AFP

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on 60 Minutes



CBS 60 Minutes: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on 60 Minutes

Charlie Rose interviews the Syrian dictator as a four-year-old civil war drags on in which his regime has been accused of devastating attacks on civilians

The following is a script from "Bashar al-Assad" which aired on March 29, 2015. Charlie Rose is the correspondent.

Four years ago, the Obama administration declared that Syria's Bashar al-Assad must go. Today, President Assad is still there, but much of the country has gone. Assad's Syrian government has lost control over significant amounts of its territory -- to either ISIS or Syrian rebel groups. Four million Syrian refugees have fled the country. More than 200,000 have died -- most from Syrian military bombing of territory controlled by his opponents.

More News On Syrian President Bashar al-Assad On 60 Minutes

Syria gets Russian arms under deals signed since conflict began: Assad -- Reuters
Syrian president says IS is expanding despite airstrikes -- AP
Bashar al-Assad says US air strikes are not easing jihadist threat -- The Telegraph
Syria's Assad: Islamic State has strengthened despite airstrikes -- CSM
Assad says ISIS has expanded since US air strikes began -- News 24
Assad: Support for Islamic State Has Expanded in Syria Since US-Led Airstrikes -- VOA
Assad 'open' to negotiations with US, says ISIS strengthening despite airstrikes -- FOX News
Syrian president says Islamic State has grown despite US airstrikes -- Deutsche Welle
Assad: Daesh has expanded since US-led airstrikes began -- Al Bawaba
Number of ISIL Militants Rising Amid Coalition Airstrikes, Assad Says -- Sputnik
Damascus Sounds Warning Over U.S.-Led Strikes On Islamic State -- Radio Free Europe
Assad: Turkey Helping IS Fighters Enter Syria -- SKY News

In A Major Defeat For The Assad Government, The Syrian City Of Idlib Has Fallen To Rebel Forces



Al Jazeera: Fall of Idlib: Turning point for rebels in Syria?

Coalition of rebel groups, including al-Qaeda linked Nusra, take key city in biggest blow to Assad forces in two years.

It was not that long ago that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were making rapid gains across Syria.

But the capture of Idlib by a rebel coalition, including the al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front, marks a major defeat for the Syrian government.

The fall of the city may be an indication that Assad's forces are struggling to keep the momentum they gained on the battlefield last year.

More News On The Fall Of The Syrian City Of Idlib To Rebel Forces

Syrian Opposition Says It Has Taken Over Northwest Provincial Capital of Idlib -- WSJ
Syrian rebels take strategic town of Idlib -- Washington Post
Syrian Islamist Rebels Deal Blow to Assad, Capturing Idlib -- Bloomberg
Blow for Assad as Islamist militants take strategically important city of Idlib -- The Guardian
Islamists Take Control of Strategic Syria City from Assad -- The Tower
Syria crisis: Idlib 'captured by Islamist groups' -- BBC
Fresh video emerges of Islamist battle to take Syria's Idlib -- IBTimes
'Army of Conquest' rebel coalition establishes operations base in Idlib -- Al Bawaba
Thousands flee Syrian city Idlib after rebel capture -- The Telegraph
Syrians flee Idlib, fearing government reprisals -- AP
Syrian regime prisoners celebrate their newfound freedom -- 9News
Videos Show Wild Celebration by Syrian Rebels After Takeover of City of Idlib -- Vice News
Syria regime executed 15 prisoners before Idlib fall -- Gulf News/AFP
Can Syria remain whole without Idlib? -- National editorial
How Assad army lost Idlib? -- ARA News

Update: Hat tip to reader Lazlo for the following video that shows the fight for the city of Idlib .... Heavy Clashes As Syrian Rebels Launch Offensive Against Syrian Army In Idlib (YouYube).

Yemen War News Updates -- March 30, 2015



Al Jazeera: Fighting grips Aden as Houthis continue to push south

Clashes continue in Yemen's coastal city, as bombing by Saudi-led coalition targets Houthis' air-defence capabilities.

Fierce fighting has been reported in Yemen's coastal city of Aden as Houthi rebels continued their push south despite a fifth night of Saudi-led airstrikes against the group's positions.

Clashes were reported in the Dar Saad district of Aden on Sunday as fighters loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi battled Houthis trying to push their way to the city's northern gate.

Hadi loyalists told Al Jazeera they had recaptured the airport, which has changed hands several times in recent days, as a gun battle raged in Aden's central Crater district.

Nearly 100 people are reported to have been killed in the violence in Aden in recent days.

Yemen War News Updates -- March 30, 2015

Gulf coalition launches airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen LIVE UPDATES -- RT
Airstrikes shake Yemen's capital as Shiite rebels push south -- AP
Fighting in Aden as Yemen's Houthis make gains -- Reuters
Saudi Arabia claims success in airstrikes on Yemen -- Al Jazeera
Saudi-Led Airstrikes Continue in Yemen's Capital -- VOA
Heavy fighting in Yemen's Aden as Houthis approach from east: militia sources -- Reuters
Deadly air strike hits refugee camp in Yemen -- France 24
Yemen’s Houthis Battle for Aden as Saudi Strikes Hit Rebels -- Bloomberg
Intense Explosions Shake Yemeni Capital, Houthis Fight Back -- Sputnik
Retreat or be bombed, Yemeni rebels told -- The Telegraph
Saudi Airstrikes Cripple Air Force in Yemen -- WSJ
Saudi Arabia Coalition Starts Naval Blockade of Bab El-Mandeb Strait -- Sputnik

Yemen: Foreign boots could hit the ground soon in fight against Houthis -- CNN
Saudi Arabia Could Launch Ground Troops In Yemen; Airstrikes Continue To Hit Sanaa -- IBTimes
Saudi Arabian Diplomat Defends Yemen Strikes as ‘War of Necessity -- VOA
Saudi ambassador: Conflict in Yemen is not a proxy war with Iran -- Washington Post
Amid Yemen chaos, China keeps oil shipments flowing -- Reuters
What is going on in Yemen? -- The Economist
Yemen in freefall: How chaos could spiral into all-out regional war -- CNN

Iran Nuclear Talks Continue -- News Updates March 30, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L), British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (2nd L), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (4th L), German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier (7th L), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (8th L) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang...
Reuters/Brendan Smialowski/Pool

Reuters: Setbacks and progress as Iran, six powers meet to end nuclear impasse

(Reuters) - The foreign ministers of Iran and six world powers met on Monday in a final push for a preliminary nuclear accord less than two days before their deadline as Tehran showed signs of backing away from previous compromise offers.

For days Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China have been holding negotiations to break an impasse in negotiations aimed at stopping Tehran having the capacity to develop a nuclear bomb in exchange for an easing of international sanctions that are crippling its economy.

But officials at the talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne cautioned that attempts to reach a framework accord could yet fall apart.

Update: This tells me that the deal is NOT imminent .... Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Leave Iran Nuclear Talks (WSJ)



Iran Nuclear Talks -- News Updates March 30, 2015

Iran nuclear talks at crunch time -- AP
Iran nuclear talks intensify as key deadline nears -- BBC
Iran nuclear talks continue as deadline looms -- Al Jazeera
Iran talks intensify with last-ditch attempt to reach agreement -- Washington Post
Iran nuclear talks at crucial stage as Tuesday's deadline approaches -- The Telegraph
Iran nuclear talks go down to wire -- USA Today
Iran nuclear negotiations set to escalate ahead of key deadline -- UPI
Unclear if Iran deal can be reached now, three big issues remain: diplomat -- Reuters
Iran talks blocked on three hurdles, diplomat reveals -- Al Arabiya/AFP
Deal in doubt as Iran rules out sending nuclear stocks abroad -- The Telegraph
US Says Shipping Uranium Out of Iran Is Still Part of Possible Nuclear Deal -- NYT
Iran Wants More Nuke Concessions as Talks Hit Critical Stage -- Washington Free Beacon
Iran nuclear talks: brinkmanship in Lausanne as deadline looms -- The Guardian
Germany: Still tough questions to clear up in Iran nuclear talks -- Reuters
‘I’m not paid to be optimistic’ – Lavrov at Iran talks -- RT
Russia optimistic on chances for nuclear deal with Iran in Lausanne -- Reuters
Funny You Should Ask That! Negotiators Crack Up Over Deadline Question -- Sputnik
Israeli PM lashes out as Iran nuclear talks intensify -- AFP
Netanyahu: P5+1 rewarding Iran for aggression, Israel first to be harmed -- Haaretz
Iranian Defector: 'U.S. Negotiating Team Mainly There to Speak on Iran’s Behalf' -- Weekly Standard
Centrifuges and enrichment: Get up to speed on Iran nuclear talks -- Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Almost all the nations trying to keep Iran from a nuclear bomb have lots of nuclear bombs -- Peter Gelling, Global Post

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Editor's Note

I am traveling today. Blogging will return tomorrow morning.

Update Monday, 7:30 EST: Suffering from jet-lag. Blogging will be "slow" today.