Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Picture Of The Day

Zimbabweans celebrate in Harare. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo gallery .... Zimbabwe celebrates (Reuters)

Power Struggle In Rebel Held Ukraine

FILE PHOTO: Igor Plotnitsky (R), leader of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic, salutes during the Victory Day military parade in the rebel-held city of Luhansk, Ukraine May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko/File Photo

Reuters: Ukraine rebel leader accuses sacked ally of staging revolt

MOSCOW/KIEV (Reuters) - Armed men in masks blocked off the center of Ukraine’s rebel-controlled city of Luhansk on Tuesday in what the rebel leader said was a revolt by supporters of a sacked regional police chief.

In fighting that broke out in 2014, Russian-backed rebels threw off rule by a new pro-Western leadership in Kiev and set up two self-proclaimed separatist statelets in eastern Ukraine, one centered on Luhansk and another around the city of Donetsk.

Those separatist regions are aided by Moscow but not recognized by any state, and they have been dogged by outbreaks of internal tensions that have on occasion turned violent.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which monitors the implementation of a much-violated ceasefire agreement with Ukraine, said on Tuesday it had observed military-style vehicles and armed men in central Luhansk.

Read more ....

More News On Reports Of A Power Struggle In Rebel Held Ukraine

Power struggle shakes breakaway republic in eastern Ukraine as armed men seize Luhansk -- The Telegraph
Masked, Gun-Toting Troops Hit Streets Of Ukraine's Separatist-Held Luhansk -- Radio Free Europe
Ukraine rebel leader accuses sacked ally of staging revolt -- Euronews
Rebel infighting sparks fears in east Ukraine -- Digital Journal
Lugansk: interior minister announces exposure of plot in the republic -- Eurasia Daily

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Russian Authorities Have Confirmed Reports Of High Levels of The Isotope Ruthenium-106 In The Urals



ABC News Online: Russia admits spike in radioactive ruthenium-106 over Ural Mountains amid fears of nuclear accident

Russian authorities have confirmed reports of a spike in radioactivity in the air over the Ural Mountains.

But the suspected source of the leak, a nuclear fuel processing plant, denied it was the source of contamination.

The Russian Meteorological Service said in a statement on Tuesday it recorded the release of ruthenium-106 in the southern Urals in late September and classified it as "extremely high contamination".

Russian authorities insisted, however, that the contamination posed no health risks.

France's nuclear safety agency earlier this month said it recorded radioactivity in the area between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains from a suspected accident involving nuclear fuel or the production of radioactive material.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Something went wrong. It's not everyday that someone decides to release a radioactive isotope like ruthenium-106 into the atmosphere.

More News On Russian Authorities Confirming Reports Of High Levels of The Isotope Ruthenium-106 In The Urals

Russia confirms spike in radioactivity in the Urals -- AP
Russian nuclear facility denies it is source of high radioactivity levels -- The Guardian
Russian radioactivity recorded 986 times higher than usual as toxic cloud sparks nuclear accident rumours. -- The Independent
That ‘harmless’ radioactive cloud over Europe probably did come from Russia after all -- Washington Post
Officials confirm 'high pollution' after spike in radioactivity in Urals, say no health risk -- RT
What's ruthenium-106? What you need to know about Russian radiation -- CBC

Lebanese Army Chief Tells The Armed Forces To 'Be Fully Prepared' For An Israeli Attack



Newsweek: Lebanon's Army Told to Be Ready for War With Israel After Defeating ISIS and Al-Qaeda

The commander of Lebanon's armed forces instructed his troops, which are celebrating recent victories against jihadi groups on the country's restive eastern border with Syria, to be fully ready to deal with a potential attack from Israel.

On the eve of the country's 74th anniversary of independence from France, the Lebanese military commander, Joseph Aoun, commended soldiers for successfully expelling the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an Al-Qaeda affiliate formerly known as Nusra Front, from the outskirts of eastern towns such as Arsal, Ras Baalbek and Hermel this summer. He warned, however, that current "exceptional political circumstances" required personnel to "maintain the utmost awareness and vigilance and to take measures to maintain stability," especially looking south, where another foe stands at the ready.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Israelis are denying reports that they are prepared to launch an attack on Lebanon's southern border .... Senior Israeli Official Dismisses Lebanese Army Border Warning (Reuters).

More News On The Lebanese Army Chief Telling The Armed Forces To 'Be Fully Prepared' For An Israeli Attack

Lebanon army chief warns of Israel threat amid political crisis -- Reuters
Lebanese army in 'full readiness' to face the 'Israeli enemy' -- The Independent
Commander of Lebanese Army Says Soldiers Should be “Fully Prepared” to Fight Israel -- The Tower
Lebanon army chief asks troops for readiness at Israel border -- The Jerusalem Post
Lebanon's Army Chief Warns of 'Israeli Threat,' Urges Readiness for Conflict -- Algemeiner
Lebanese Army placed at 'full readiness' to counter 'Israeli enemy' -- RT

Lebanese PM Saad Hariri Returns To Beirut -- News Roundup



BBC: Lebanese PM Saad Hariri returns to Beirut

Lebanese PM Saad Hariri has arrived back in Beirut for the first time since announcing his resignation in Saudi Arabia more than two weeks ago.

TV pictures from Beirut international airport showed Mr Hariri being greeted by members of the security forces as he disembarked from his plane.

Mr Hariri caused a political crisis when he quit during a visit to Riyadh.

He denied speculation that Saudi Arabia had forced him to quit as part of a regional power struggle with Iran.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to accept his resignation until he returns to present it in person.

On Saturday, Mr Hariri flew to Paris where he met French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been trying to broker a way out of the stalemate.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Is he a "Dead Man Walking"?

Lebanese PM Saad Hariri Returns To Beirut -- News Roundup

Lebanon’s Hariri returns to Beirut amid resignation saga -- AP
Hariri returns to Lebanon for first time since resigning as PM -- Reuters
Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri returns home after shock resignation -- CBS News
Prime Minister Saad Hariri returns to Lebanon -- CNN
Saad Hariri returns to Lebanon after surprise resignation -- The Guardian
Saad Hariri returns to Lebanon weeks after resignation -- DW
All eyes on Beirut as Saad Hariri returns -- Al Jazeera
Former Lebanon PM returns to Beirut after political fracas -- Business Insider
Lebanon's Hariri Returns to Lebanon to Tackle Political Crisis -- Bloomberg

Suicide Bombing Kills 50 In Nigeria



CSM: Nigeria experiences worst bombing of the year in former Boko Haram territory

Despite government assurances that Boko Haram is nearly defeated within Nigeria, a recent suicide bombing that killed 50 people has been attributed to the Islamist militant group.

Yola, Nigeria—A suicide bomber killed at least 50 people at a mosque in northeastern Nigeria on Tuesday, the biggest mass killing this year in a region facing an insurgency by Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Bayi Muhammad, a worshipper at the mosque in Mubi, said he only escaped the blast because he was late for early morning prayers.

The government and military have said numerous times since 2015 that Boko Haram's eight-year insurgency is almost defeated but the group continues to attack civilian and military targets.

Tuesday's bombing brings the number killed in 2017 to at least 278, according to calculations by Reuters. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack.

Abubakar Othman, a police spokesman in Adamawa state, said the death toll is at least 50 but "there could be more as those seriously injured could add to the figure."

Read more .....

WNU Editor: It just never ends.

More News On Today's Suicide Bombing In Nigeria

Bombing at Nigeria Mosque Kills at Least 50 -- US News and World Report/AP
Nigeria suicide bombing kills 50 in Adamawa state -- BBC
Nigeria suicide bombing: Teenage bomber kills at least 50 in mosque attack -- ABC News Online
Nigeria mosque attack: suicide bomber kills dozens -- The Guardian

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 21, 2017



Krishnadev Calamur, The Atlantic: Mugabe's Time Runs Out

Zimbabwe’s president outlasted empires, global movements, and his political rivals—until Tuesday.

When Robert Mugabe became Zimbabwe’s first leader in 1980, Jimmy Carter was still in the White House, Leonid Brezhnev led the seemingly invincible Soviet Union, and Nelson Mandela was 18 years into a 27-year sentence on Robben Island in apartheid-era South Africa.

In the four decades since that time, Mugabe, who is now 93 years old, tightened his hold on Zimbabwe, stifled the opposition, and dismantled the economy of what was once one of Africa's best-performing countries. Mugabe is the only leader much of Zimbabwe's population, whose median age is 20, has known—and he seemed destined to remain in office until his death. But just as he appeared to be paving the way for a dynastic succession—following the lead of his African contemporaries in Togo, Gabon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—it became apparent his seemingly permanent grip on power was, in fact, weak. His move two weeks ago to replace Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa with Grace Mugabe, the widely reviled first lady, was met with a military takeover and, ultimately, the end of the Mugabe era. Parliament Speaker Jacob Francis Mudenda announced Tuesday that Mugabe had resigned as president, halting impeachment proceedings against him.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 21, 2017

Zimbabwe is not the banana republic of western fancy. After Mugabe, it can thrive -- Ranga Mberi, The Guardian

Has Kushner given Riyadh carte blanche? -- Laura Rozen , Al-Monitor

Mohammed bin Salman and the new balance of power -- Spengler, Asia Times

The irresistible rise of MBS… and his possible downfall -- Uwe Parpart and Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

How America Can Push Back against China in the South China Sea and Beyond -- Phillip Dolitsky, National Interest

All Quiet on the North Korean Front? -- Van Jackson. The Atlantic

Law and Order in Afghanistan—or Lack Thereof -- Kelsey Smith, Observer

Suu Kyi takes a populist, paranoid turn -- David Scott Mathieson, Asia Times

The Real Winner in America's Russia Crisis Is China -- Leon Hadar, National Interest

China Isn't Winning the Race for Space -- Adam Minter, Bloomberg

Victoria's Secret Meets China's Security -- Christopher Balding, Bloomberg

Cambodia Becomes the World’s Newest One-Party State -- Sebastian Strangio, Foreign Policy

Germany Is Europe’s Newest Problem -- Judy Dempsey, Carnegie Europe

What's Next for Merkel and Germany? -- Severin Weiland, Spiegel Online

Trump is already the most successful U.S. president since Ronald Reagan -- Conrad Black, National Post

World News Briefs -- November 21, 2017 (Evening Edition)



Reuters: Zimbabwe's Mugabe resigns, ending four decades of rule

HARARE (Reuters) - Robert Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on Tuesday, a week after the army and his former political allies moved to end four decades of rule by a man once feted as an independence hero who became feared as a despot.

His former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose sacking this month prompted the military takeover that forced Mugabe out, will be sworn in as president on Wednesday or Thursday, Patrick Chinamasa, legal secretary of the ruling ZANU-PF party, told Reuters.

The 93-year-old Mugabe had clung on for a week after an army takeover, with ZANU-PF urging him to go. He finally resigned moments after parliament began an impeachment process seen as the only legal way to force him out.

Wild celebrations broke out at a joint sitting of parliament when Speaker Jacob Mudenda read out Mugabe’s brief resignation letter. Mugabe, confined to his Harare residence, did not appear.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Iran declares 'the end of Isis' in live state TV broadcast. Iran declares 'victory' over IS.

Hariri returns to Lebanon for first time since resigning as PM.

Lebanon army chief asks troops for readiness at Israel border.

Trump, Putin discuss support for U.N. peace process in Syria: White House.

Vladimir Putin hosts Bashar Assad to talk terrorism. On surprise Russia trip, Assad and Putin talk post-war Syria.

Assad to Putin: Thank you for 'saving our country'.

13 mln Syrians need aid despite violence drop: UN.

Deadly car bombing strikes Iraq's Tuz Khurmatu. Suicide car bombing at north Iraq market kills 23.

Hezbollah says ready to pull forces from Iraq after IS defeat.

Nasrallah rejects Arab League statement on Hezbollah.

Palestinians 'freeze' meetings with US over office row.

ASIA

U.S. sanctions 13 Chinese and North Korean organizations.

Trump declares North Korea 'sponsor of terror'.

South Korea, Japan welcome US relisting North Korea as sponsor of terrorism.

Air China suspends flights between Beijing and North Korea.

China envoy goes home empty-handed from North Korea.

The Pentagon: The Taliban control at least a third of Afghanistan. Taliban promotes gains in remote Kandahar district.

US begins bombing Taliban opium plants in Afghanistan.

'Apartheid' in Myanmar, accuses Amnesty. Amnesty: Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya amounts to ‘apartheid’.

China protests over Indian president’s trip to contested border area.

AFRICA

Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe resigns, ending 37-year rule.

All eyes on the 'Crocodile' as Zimbabwe's Mugabe resigns.

US airstrike in Somalia kills more than 100 al-Shabaab militants.

US launches new airstrikes against Islamic State in Libya.

Madagascar plague death toll rises to 195 and cases have jumped nearly 3% in just three days as 'worst outbreak in 50 years' of the medieval disease hits 'crisis' point

Nigeria mosque suicide bombing kills dozens. Nigeria mosque attack: teenage suicide bomber kills at least 50.

Ruling party wins presidential vote in breakaway Somaliland.

UN chief: Libya slave auctions may be crimes against humanity.

Angola purge 'hailed by rapper Luaty Beirao'.

Egypt singer held for 'inciting debauchery' in music video.

EUROPE

Ukraine rebel leader accuses sacked ally of staging revolt.

Russian radioactivity recorded 986 times higher than usual as toxic cloud sparks nuclear accident rumours.

Half of Germans want new elections after coalition talks fail.

Angela Merkel's governmental crisis: German president seeks solution. Germany faces uncertainty after coalition talks break down.

Germany's president to urge Green and FDP leaders to restart talks.

Brexit: UK 'ready to pay more to the EU'.

Bialowieza forest: EU threatens Poland with fine over logging.

Russian nuclear facility denies it is source of high radioactivity levels.

Defense lawyer: Mladic may not be fit to hear verdicts.

Google to 'derank' Russia Today and Sputnik.

AMERICAS

Mexico suffers deadliest month on record, 2017 set be worst year.

Colombia protests Venezuelan military crossing border.

U.S. DOJ moves to strip citizenship for immigrant child sex abusers.

White House: Trump and Putin spoke by phone, Syria on agenda.

Congress barreling toward explosive immigration fight.

US ends Temporary Protected Status for 55,000 Haitians. Almost 60,000 Haitians allowed to stay in US only until 2019.

Power company halts Puerto Rico work.

US Judge permanently blocks Trump's sanctuary city order.

Argentina missing submarine: Concern grows after two false alarms.

Venezuela pumps below OPEC target.

Canada proposes health warnings, child-proof packs for legal pot sales.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

A look at the countries the U.S. accuses of sponsoring terrorism.

No signs ISIS fleeing to Libya.

Analysis: US terror list more symbolism than substance.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Tech gains help propel Wall Street to record highs.

AT&T's Time Warner takeover: justice department aims to block $85bn deal.

Tencent chief 'richer than Google founders'.

Apple removes several apps, including Skype, in China.

U.S. State Department Officials Have Accused Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Of Violating U.S. Law When It Comes To Child Soldiers

Reuters

Reuters: U.S. diplomats accuse Tillerson of breaking child soldiers law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of about a dozen U.S. State Department officials have taken the unusual step of formally accusing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of violating a federal law designed to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers, according to internal documents reviewed by Reuters.

A confidential State Department “dissent” memo, which Reuters was first to report on, said Tillerson breached the Child Soldiers Prevention Act when he decided in June to exclude Iraq, Myanmar, and Afghanistan from a U.S. list of offenders in the use of child soldiers. This was despite the department publicly acknowledging that children were being conscripted in those countries.

Read more ....

Update #1: State Dept. officials accuse Tillerson of violating law: report (The Hill)
Update #2: Top Democrat expresses concern Tillerson broke law related to child soldiers (CBS News)

WNU Editor: Should Iraq, Myanmar, and Afghanistan be excluded from a U.S. list of offenders in the use of child soldiers? Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya's guarantees it will be put on the list soon .... as for Iraq and Afghanistan .... it is the law, but I am willing to bet that they will continue to be excluded.

U.S. Airstrike In Somalia Kills More Than 100 al-Shabaab Fighters


Reuters: U.S. says air strike kills over 100 militants in Somalia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military said it killed more than 100 Islamist militants in Somalia on Tuesday when it launched an air strike against al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked insurgent group that wants to topple the U.N.-backed government.

The military’s Africa Command said the strike was carried out on a camp 125 miles (201 km) northwest of the capital, Mogadishu and that the United States would continue to target militants.

The strike was done in coordination with Somalia’s federal government, the Pentagon said.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That A U.S. Airstrike In Somalia Killed More Than 100 al-Shabaab Fighters

A single US airstrike has wiped out one hundred terrorists in Somalia -- Washington Times
US says airstrike killed dozens of extremists in Somalia -- Washington Post/AP
US airstrike in Somalia kills more than 100 al-Shabaab militants -- CNN
US strike in Somalia kills more than 100 Shabaab fighters -- AFP
Over 100 Shabab Militants Killed in US Airstrike in Somalia -- New York Times
US says Somalia airstrike killed more than 100 extremists -- The Hill
US Military: Drone Strike Kills More Than 100 Al-Shabab in Somalia -- Voice of America
US airstrikes in Somalia kill over 100 Al-Shabaab militants - AFRICOM -- RT

Has The Islamic State Been Militarily Defeated In Iraq And Syria?



Business Insider: ISIS has been militarily defeated in Iraq and Syria

* The leaders of Iraq and Iran both declared the terrorist group ISIS defeated militarily in Iraq and Syria.
* Iraqis and Syrians, with assistance from the US and other regional militias, took their countries back from the terror group that declared its sovereign territory in the summer of 2014.
* ISIS still has territory in countries around the world but has been brutally disrupted by a US-backed bombing campaign and advancing ground forces.

Iraqi Prime Minister Hadir Al-Abadi declared military victory over the Islamic State in Iraq on Tuesday, just hours after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iranian-backed forces had driven the terror group out of Syria.

ISIS's last Iraqi town of Rawa fell on Friday, and Abadi only awaits the clearing of a patch of desert along Iraq's border with Syria to declare final victory. Iran posted pictures of one its most famous military leaders in a Syrian border town, indicating Iranian-backed forces had driven the terror group out of the country.

Combine, the two statements from the two leaders amount to long-awaited news: ISIS's territory in Iraq and Syria is gone; the terror group has been defeated.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As a semi-functional government with territory and a somewhat functional military force ....yes .... ISIS has been militarily defeated in Iraq and Syria. As an ideology .... definitely not.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Declares The End Of The Islamic State



Reuters: Iran's president declares end of Islamic State

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared the end of Islamic State on Tuesday while a senior military commander thanked the “thousands of martyrs” killed in operations organised by Iran to defeat the militant group in Syria and Iraq.

“Today with God’s guidance and the resistance of people in the region we can say that this evil has either been lifted from the head of the people or has been reduced,” Rouhani said in an address broadcast live on state TV.

“Of course the remnants will continue but the foundation and roots have been destroyed.”

Major General Qassem Soleimani, a senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, also said Islamic State had been defeated, in a message sent on Tuesday to Iran’s supreme leader which was published on the Guards’ news site, Sepah News.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei congratulated Soleimani on the defeat of Islamic State and said it was a blow against Israel, America and its allies, an allusion to Saudi Arabia.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: At the same time that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared the defeat of the Islamic State, Major General Qassem Soleimani was saying the same thing .... Iran’s General Soleimani Proclaims Daesh Fall (Tasnim News Agency). Hmmmm .... some interesting dynamics at play here. The Iraqis are also about to make the same announcement .... Iraq to declare final victory over Islamic State after desert campaign (Reuters).

More News On Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Declaring The End Of The Islamic State

Iran President Rouhani declares end of Islamic State -- CNBC
'ISIS is over': Iranian president declares terror group has been destroyed -- Daily Mail
'Isis is over': Iranian president Hassan Rouhani declares end of group after military breakthrough -- Yahoo News
Iran declares end of ISIS -- RUDAW
Iran’s Rouhani says ISIS “eliminated” -- Trend News Agency

Presidents Trump And Putin Speak For An Hour On Syria, Ukraine, And North Korea

© Reuters / Sputnik / Twitter

Bloomberg: Putin Talks to Trump as Russia Sees Endgame in Syria

* Russian leader meets Assad amid flurry of Kremlin diplomacy
* Leaders of Iran, Turkey to meet Putin in Sochi on Wednesday

Russian President Vladimir Putin talked with U.S. counterpart Donald Trump by phone for about an hour on Tuesday as the Kremlin mounts a diplomatic push to resolve the war in Syria following a surprise visit by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

Putin has taken a dominant role in efforts to end the conflict after a two-year Russian military campaign helped Assad to fight off opponents, including some backed by the U.S. With Islamic State nearly defeated in Syria, the Kremlin is moving on to bring together regional and global powers to revive long-stalled efforts to reach a settlement expected to cement the Syrian president in power.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The next person On Russian President Putin's call list is Saudi Arabia's King Salman .... Putin to talk with Saudi’s King Salman following Assad’s Russia meeting (Arab News).

More News On Presidents Trump And Putin Speaking For An Hour On Syria, Ukraine, And North Korea

White House: Trump and Putin spoke by phone, Syria on agenda -- AP
Trump and Putin speak for an hour about Syria, Ukraine, North Korea -- Reuters
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin hold hour-long phone call on foreign affairs -- The Independent
Putin, Trump discuss Minsk accords — Kremlin -- TASS
Putin informed Trump of meeting with Assad in phone call focused on Syria – Kremlin -- RT

Russian President Vladimir Putin Hosts Syrian Leader Bashar al-Assad At Sochi



Reuters: Russia's Putin hosts Assad in fresh drive for Syria peace deal

MOSCOW/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad late on Monday for three hours of talks to lay the groundwork for a new push by Moscow to end Syria’s conflict now that Islamic State’s territorial caliphate is overrun.

Russia is actively trying to broker an international consensus around a peace deal for Syria, over two years after Moscow began a military intervention that turned the tide of the conflict in Assad’s favor.

Putin said he would follow up his meeting with Assad by talking in the next 48 hours to international leaders with influence over the conflict, among them U.S. President Donald Trump, the Saudi king, and the leaders of Iran and Turkey.

Previous attempts to end Syria’s six years of war have foundered because of bitter disagreements among players in the conflict, both inside and outside Syria, especially whether Assad himself should stay in power.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is what this trip is really all about .... Putin is getting ready to pull out of Syria after securing political future for Assad (Business Insider).

More News On Russian President Vladimir Putin Hosting Syrian Leader Bashar al-Assad At Sochi

Warm embrace: Assad in surprise Putin meeting ahead of Moscow’s talks with Turkey, Iran -- RT
On surprise Russia trip, Assad and Putin talk post-war Syria -- Washington Post/AP
Syria: Putin renews call for political deal in Assad visit -- BBC News
Putin Hosts Surprise Syrian Talks With Assad In Sochi -- Radio Free Europe
Bashar al-Assad thanks Putin for 'saving our country' as Russian leader prepares for talks on ending Syrian war -- The Telegraph
Assad Tells Putin at Meeting: Syria Was Saved as a State Thanks to Russia -- Sputnik International
Russia's military operation in Syria nears end, say Assad and Putin -- Financial Times
Russian President Says His Generals Saved Syria as He Hugs Bashar al-Assad -- Newsweek
Putin hosts Assad, says military operation in Syria is wrapping up -- The Jerusalem Post
Assad makes first foreign trip in over two years to thank Putin -- Euronews

North Korea Snubs China By Sending President Xi's Special Envoy Back To Beijing Without Even Meeting North Korean Leader Kim Kong-un

This picture taken on November 17, 2017 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows Song Tao (3rd L)attending a meeting with Choe Ryong Hae (2nd R), a senior official of the North's ruling party (AFP Photo)

Nikkei Asian Review: China reports little progress by envoy on North Korea nuclear issue

Kim Jong Un didn't meet with Beijing official, source says.

BEIJING/SEOUL -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy to North Korea returned home Monday from a four-day trip to the rogue state without meeting its leader, Kim Jong Un, a signal that Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development could lead to a further cooling in relations.

The envoy, Song Tao, met with two of Kim's close aides, Choe Ryong Hae and Ri Su Yong, after arriving Friday in North Korea. China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that Song spoke with leaders of the North's ruling Workers' Party of Korea but gave no indication that he met with Kim.

"I have no more details to offer about the specifics of [Song's] visit," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters Monday.

Though Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency reported on Song's return, it did not say whether the envoy spoke with Kim.

Read more ....

Update: China envoy goes home empty-handed from North Korea (The Times).

WNU Editor: Yup .... it is is a snub .... North Korea’s Kim Jong-un ‘snubs’ China in failure to repay diplomatic favour (SCMP). The Chinese have quickly responded .... Air China suspends North Korea flights, deepening isolation (ABC News/AP).

Zimbabwe's President Mugabe Has Resigned -- News Roundup





Daily Mail: MUGABE STANDS DOWN: Joy in the streets as Zimbabwe's dictator finally ends his 37-year rule after ousted vice president 'The Crocodile' warned him to quit - so what now for his loathed wife, Gucci Grace?

* Robert Mugabe has resigned as president after 37 years and after coming under huge pressure to step down
* Parliament erupted in cheers as announcement was made that he had resigned 'with immediate effect'
* It is not clear what will now happen to his loathed wife, dubbed 'Gucci' Grace Mugabe for her lavish spending
* Former deputy president Emmerson 'Crocodile' Mnangagwa is expected to take over from Mr Mugabe
* He had claimed plans 'were underfoot to eliminate me' after he was dismissed as vice president by Mugabe

Dictator Robert Mugabe has finally resigned today, ending his 37-year rule of Zimbabwe after the country's ousted vice president - dubbed 'The Crocodile' - ordered him to quit.

Zimbabwe's parliament erupted in wild celebrations as the announcement was made that the 93-year-old had resigned 'with immediate effect'.

Zanu-PF officials said former vice president Emmerson 'The Crocodile' Mnangagwa would take over. The Parliament's leader said he was working on legal issues to appoint a new president within 48 hours.

Mugabe had been accused of allowing his wife Grace, 52, to 'usurp' power and of being too old to rule. It is not clear what will now happen to his loathed wife, dubbed Gucci Grace for her lavish spending, who has not been seen since she and her husband were held under house arrest last week.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As this blog predicted two days ago .... he "signed a letter" announcing his resignation .... Resignation letter of Zimbabwe's Mugabe doesn't mention who he leaves in charge (Reuters). Hmmmm .... my gut tells me that this letter was not written by him, and as for his signature .... a part of me wonders if he knew what he was signing .... or if he signed it all.

Zimbabwe's President Mugabe Has Resigned -- News Roundup

Mugabe Resigns: Live -- BBC
The Latest: Britain says Mugabe exit forges ‘new path’ -- AP
Zimbabwe's President Mugabe resigns -- BBC
Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years -- AP
Robert Mugabe resigns as president of Zimbabwe -- AFP
Zimbabwe's Mugabe resigns, ending four decades of rule -- Reuters
Robert Mugabe Resigns as Zimbabwe's President, Ending 37-Year Rule -- New York Times
Robert Mugabe resigns as president of Zimbabwe -- The Guardian
Robert Mugabe resigns after 37 years as Zimbabwe's leader -- CNN
Robert Mugabe's 37-year reign over Zimbabwe is over -- CBS News
Robert Mugabe, world's oldest leader, finally resigns one week after coup -- NBC
Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe president: Who are the key players in the leadership crisis? -- Fox News
Zimbabweans pour onto Harare streets in jubilation after Mugabe resigns -- Reuters
The old man is gone! Rapturous applause, dancing and cheering breaks out in Zimbabwe's Parliament as Mugabe's resignation is read out -- Daily Mail
Down with the dictator: How Mugabe's tyrannical 37-year rule came to an end after a lifetime of defiance -- Daily Mail
Theresa May's hails Robert Mugabe's resignation as an 'opportunity to forge a new path' and vows Britain will stand up to help as 'Zimbabwe's oldest friend' -- Daily Mail
Robert Mugabe: From 1980 to 2017 -- Aljazeera.com
Zimbabwe: From military takeover to Mugabe's exit -- AFP
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe in key dates -- AFP

World News Briefs -- November 21, 2017



Guardian: Syria military operation 'wrapping up', Putin tells Assad in Russia talks

Russian president meets Syrian counterpart publicly for first time in two years and praises their ‘joint work in fighting terrorism’

Vladimir Putin has hosted Bashar al-Assad for talks during which the two presidents agreed the focus in the Syrian conflict was switching from military operations to the search for a political solution.
Critical week for Syria as parallel talks get under way
Read more

The Russian president met his Syrian counterpart before a gathering, planned for this week in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi with the leaders of Turkey and Iran – two other powers heavily involved in the conflict in Syria.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Vladimir Putin hosts Bashar Assad to talk terrorism. On surprise Russia trip, Assad and Putin talk post-war Syria.

Assad to Putin: Thank you for 'saving our country'.

13 mln Syrians need aid despite violence drop: UN.

Iran declares 'victory' over IS.

Deadly car bombing strikes Iraq's Tuz Khurmatu. Suicide car bombing at north Iraq market kills 23.

Hezbollah says ready to pull forces from Iraq after IS defeat.

Nasrallah rejects Arab League statement on Hezbollah.

Palestinians 'freeze' meetings with US over office row.

ASIA

Trump declares North Korea 'sponsor of terror'.

South Korea, Japan welcome US relisting North Korea as sponsor of terrorism.

Air China suspends flights between Beijing and North Korea.

China envoy goes home empty-handed from North Korea.

The Pentagon: The Taliban control at least a third of Afghanistan. Taliban promotes gains in remote Kandahar district.

US begins bombing Taliban opium plants in Afghanistan.

'Apartheid' in Myanmar, accuses Amnesty. Amnesty: Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya amounts to ‘apartheid’.

China protests over Indian president’s trip to contested border area.

AFRICA

Nigeria mosque suicide bombing kills dozens. Nigeria mosque attack: teenage suicide bomber kills at least 50.

Zimbabwe's ousted vice-president calls for Mugabe to quit.

Zimbabwe: Impeachment proceedings against Robert Mugabe start in Parliament.

Ruling party wins presidential vote in breakaway Somaliland.

UN chief: Libya slave auctions may be crimes against humanity.

Angola purge 'hailed by rapper Luaty Beirao'.

Egypt singer held for 'inciting debauchery' in music video.

EUROPE

Angela Merkel's governmental crisis: German president seeks solution. Germany faces uncertainty after coalition talks break down.

Germany's president to urge Green and FDP leaders to restart talks.

Brexit: UK 'ready to pay more to the EU'.

Bialowieza forest: EU threatens Poland with fine over logging.

Russian nuclear facility denies it is source of high radioactivity levels.

Defense lawyer: Mladic may not be fit to hear verdicts.

Google to 'derank' Russia Today and Sputnik.

AMERICAS

White House: Trump and Putin spoke by phone, Syria on agenda.

Congress barreling toward explosive immigration fight.

US ends Temporary Protected Status for 55,000 Haitians. Almost 60,000 Haitians allowed to stay in US only until 2019.

Power company halts Puerto Rico work.

US Judge permanently blocks Trump's sanctuary city order.

Argentina missing submarine: Concern grows after two false alarms.

Venezuela pumps below OPEC target.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

A look at the countries the U.S. accuses of sponsoring terrorism.

No signs ISIS fleeing to Libya.

Analysis: US terror list more symbolism than substance.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

AT&T's Time Warner takeover: justice department aims to block $85bn deal.

Tencent chief 'richer than Google founders'.

Apple removes several apps, including Skype, in China.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 21, 2017

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency. Reuters/KCNA

Business Insider/Reuters: Kim Jong Un punishes top military adviser for unknown reasons

* Kim Jong Un's former top military adviser has been punished for unknown crimes against the North Korean state.
* The adviser seems to have been punished on the suggestion of another top adviser who is competing for Kim's favor.
* By making his top officials fight amongst themselves, Kim may be "clipping their wings" to reamin in power.

SEOUL (Reuters) - When Kim Jong Un sat down in September to order the sixth and largest of North Korea's nuclear tests, Hwang Pyong So sat by his side, his khaki military uniform conspicuous among the suits at the table, photos released by state media at the time showed.

Now Hwang, once one of Kim's most-trusted advisers, is facing unspecified punishment on the orders of another man who also sat at that exclusive table in September, Choe Ryong Hae, South Korean intelligence officials believe.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 21, 2017

Top N.Korean Apparatchik 'Purging Rivals' -- The Chosun Ilbo

North Korea punishes top military leaders, South Korea says -- CNN

N. Korean soldier defector regains consciousness: report -- Yahoo News

US, South Korea agree to increase public transparency of military affairs -- Stars and Stripes

China to play bigger role in United Nations peacekeeping missions, begins drills -- SCMP

Can China Replace the U.S. as the World's Top Arms Dealer? -- Robert Farley, Diplomat

Inside Pakistan's biggest business conglomerate: the Pakistani military -- Quartz

Britain’s new military BFF (Best Friend France) -- Politico.eu

‘They Will Fight’: NATO Readies Forces Vs. Russia -- Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense

Here’s how NATO is preparing for cyber operations -- Mark Pomerleau, Fifth Domain

Missing Argentine submarine: 'New noises' not from sub, says navy -- DW

US Air Force, Navy join search for lost Argentine submarine -- Defense News

Behind the hunt for a missing sub: sensors, underwater drones -- C4ISRNet

Vandals strike vehicles, homes affiliated with the US military on Okinawa -- Stars and Stripes

Navy tries new sleep guidelines after deadly Asia-Pacific ship collisions: report -- The Hill

New military budget includes billions for submarine industry -- Defense News/AP

Lockheed Praised at Pentagon for Naval Ballistic-Missile Defense -- Bloomberg

The US Air Force Has Taken Another Step Toward Re-Engining its B-52s -- The Warzone

CBO’s Nuclear Weapons Cost Estimate Is Way Too High ; Hint — Bombers -- Breaking Defense

Air Force aims for laser weapons on a fighter jet by 2021 -- Stars and Stripes

Air Force: Mechanical failure caused Predator crash -- Air Force Times

2018 military pay raise is the biggest in eight years, but how generous is it? -- Military Times

Pentagon Exposed 1.8 Billion Social Media Posts From Facebook and Twitter for Anyone to See -- Fortune

Industry Developing New Social Media Simulation Tools for Military Analysts -- National Defense

Pentagon flagged Kaspersky as potential threat in 2004 -- Then Hill

Court-martialing retirees? Fat Leonard cloud still looms for many current and former sailors -- Navy Times

Civilian Life Has Appeal for 'Burned Out' Air Force Pilots -- RCD

Google exec: Pentagon making slow but steady progress on innovation -- Defense News

Trump’s Pentagon Wants to Make Nuclear Weapons More ‘Usable’ -- Michael T. Klare, The Nation

Don’t Kill the Nuclear Cruise Missile -- Vincent Manzo, Defense One

Space for a Space Corps? Congress lays groundwork for controversial plan -- Defense News

Why the hell are Marines still driving Humvees? -- Jeff Schogol, Marine Times