Monday, February 20, 2017

The Growing Threat Of Global 'Fish Wars'

14 March 2016: Illegal fishing vessel the MV Viking is blown up in the waters of Tanjung Batumandi, Pangandaran, West JavaAdeng Bustomi/Antara Foto/Reuters

The Independent: Global ‘fish wars’ could break out as climate change and rising nationalism fuel competition for world’s oceans

Conflicts like the infamous Cod Wars between the UK and Iceland could erupt across the globe unless countries co-operate to manage stocks effectively, expert warns

The twin threats of climate change and growing nationalism could lead to an outbreak of conflicts over fish stocks – like the infamous Cod Wars between the UK and Iceland – that could threaten the global supply of food and “decimate” marine ecosystems, experts have warned.

Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Boston on Thursday, a panel of experts said that with the right management and international co-operation the number of fish in the sea and the amount caught by fishing fleets could increase over the coming decades.

However, they warned rising temperatures were prompting many species to move to different parts of the sea, which could threaten some individual countries’ economies and access to food.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: We are seeing these type of conflicts already .... How The Fight Over Fishing Rights Could Lead To A Naval Confrontation Or Even War In The South China Sea (April 13, 2016).

Picture Of The Day

Fuji Flight
An Air Force F-22 Raptor takes off at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 13, 2017, as Mount Fuji looms behind. F-22 Raptors stopped at the base before traveling to an Australian base. The pilot and aircraft are assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron and deployed from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe

The Global Arms Trade Is Booming

Between 2012-2016, arms imports in terms of volume by countries in Asia and Oceania accounted for 43 percent of global imports, a 7.7 rise compared to the previous 2007-2011 period (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky )

The Guardian: Global arms trade reaches highest point since cold war era

Middle East almost doubles weapons imports, as US and Europe remain the main suppliers and China joins top-tier exporters

The global transfer of major weapons systems rose over the past five years to the highest volume since the end of the cold war as the Middle East nearly doubled its imports, according to an annual report on arms sales.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said on Monday that more weapons were delivered between 2012 and 2016 than any other five-year period since 1990. Saudi Arabia, which leads a military intervention in Yemen that has cost hundreds of civilian lives, was the world’s second largest importer after India, increasing its intake by 212%, mainly from the US and the UK.

Read more ....

Update: Global arms trade highest since Cold War: study (AFP).

WNU Editor: Asia and the Middle East are definitely the hot spots for arms sales right now.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Why Is The U.S. Air Force Deploying A WC-135 Nuclear Sniffer Plane To The U.K.?

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

The Aviationist: U.S. Air Force deploys WC-135 nuclear sniffer aircraft to UK as spike of radioactive Iodine levels is detected in Europe

The USAF WC-135C Constant Phoenix might be investigating a spike in radioactive levels in Norway. Someone speculates the release of this radionuclide could be the effect of a Russian nuclear test.

On Feb. 17, 2017, U.S. Air Force WC-135C Constant Phoenix Nuclear explosion “sniffer,” serial number 62-3582, using radio callsign “Cobra 55” deployed to RAF Mildenhall, UK.

As we have already reported the WC-135 is a derivative of the Boeing C-135 transport and support plane. Two of these aircraft are in service today out of the ten examples operated since 1963. The aircraft are flown by flight crews from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron from Offutt Air Force Base while mission crews are staffed by Detachment 1 from the Air Force Technical Applications Center.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Stories like this one always make me nervous.

Update: Concerns Grow About A Nuclear "Incident" In Europe After Spike In Radioactive Iodine Levels (Zero Hedge).

Here Are The Top 10 Leaks From The Trump Administration

Stef W. Kight , Axios: The 10 biggest leaks of the Trump presidency

As President Trump pointed out, his biggest problem has quickly become a leaking administration.

A grain of salt: Obama had major leaking problems too. Like in 2012, shortly after his re-election, when officials leaked to the New York Times that the then-President had authorized secret cyber attacks on Iran. Or Edward Snowden in 2013, the guy whose name has become synonymous with government whistleblowers.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: And it has only been 30 days. But I suspect that as more of his people take over the bureaucracy, these leaks will taper off.

President Trump Says He'll Decide On Who His National Security Adviser Will Be In The Next Few Days

Reuters: Trump's national security candidates promised autonomy

President Donald Trump's next pick for national security adviser will have autonomy over staffing and key decisions, the White House said on Sunday as it scrambles to fill the post following the turbulent departure of Michael Flynn.

Trump fired Flynn, a retired U.S. Army general, on Monday after it was revealed that he discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador in Washington ahead of Trump's inauguration and later misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.

His first choice to fill the job, Vice Admiral Robert Harward, turned it down citing family and financial reasons. Another potential choice, David Petraeus, a retired general and former CIA chief who resigned in 2012 over an extramarital affair, is also no longer on the president's short list.

Read more ....

More News On President Trump's Next National Security Adviser

Trump to meet with 4 possible candidates for national security adviser -- FOX News
White House: Next Security Advisor to Control Security Council Staffing -- VOA
National Security Adviser Hopefuls Promised Autonomy -- Newsweek
Trump says he'll decide on national security adviser in next few days -- Reuters
White House denies seeking to hamstring national security adviser -- The Times of Israel/AFP
Who Will Be National Security Adviser? Trump To Decide On Michael Flynn’s Replacement Soon, Following Russia Sanctions Controversy -- International Business Times
Finding the Right National Security Adviser Won't Be Easy -- WIRED

Suicide Car Bomb Blast Kills 39 In The Somali Capital Of Mogadishu

BBC: Somalia Mogadishu car bomb: At least 34 people killed

At least 34 people have been killed and about 50 injured in a car bomb blast in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The car blew up in the city's southern Madina district, officials say.

The blast - which ripped through shops and food stalls - is the first major attack in the capital since the election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed earlier this month.

No group has claimed responsibility, although al-Shabab militants are likely to be the prime suspects.

On Saturday a senior al-Shabab commander vowed to target the president's supporters.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Suicide Car Bomb Blast In The Somalia Capital Of Mogadishu

Suicide bomb in market in Somalia capital kills 39 -- Reuters
Mogadishu: Suicide car bomb kills at least 34 in Somali capital -- ABC News Online
Death toll in Somalia marketplace blast rises to 34 -- FOX News/AP
Suicide Bombing at Market in Somalian Capital Kills Dozens -- NYT
Car Bomb in Somali Capital Kills 30 -- VOA
At least 20 killed in Mogadishu market blast -- Al Jazeera
Deadly Somalia blast hits Mogadishu marketplace -- DW

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: 'Has No Issues With The Press'

Reuters: Trump's defense chief says has no problems with media

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Sunday distanced himself from President Donald Trump's assessment of the media as "the enemy of the American people," saying during his first trip to the Middle East that he had no problems with the press.

Mattis, a retired Marine general seen as one of the most influential voices in Trump's cabinet, did not mention his boss by name. But asked about Trump's Tweet on Friday that branded the media as America's enemy, Mattis took a different position entirely.

"I've had some rather contentious times with the press. But no, the press, as far as I'm concerned, are a constituency that we deal with," he told reporters traveling with him in the United Arab Emirates.

"And I don't have any issues with the press, myself," Mattis added.

Read more ....

WNU editor: He does not have a problem with the press now .... but I say give it a few more months.

More News On U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' Remarks That 'Has No Issues With The Press'

Defense Secretary Mattis Has No Issues With Press, Unlike Trump -- NBC
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis distances himself from Trump's media bashing -- CBS/AP
Defense Secretary Mattis disagrees with Trump, says he does not see media as the enemy -- Washington Post
Defense Secretary Mattis breaks with Trump on declaring that media are 'enemy of the American people' -- L.A. Times
'Welcome to democracy': Pentagon chief rejects Trump's claim that press is 'the enemy of the American people' -- Daily Mail
US defence secretary James Mattis distances himself from Donald Trump's attack on media -- The Independent

Ecuador Goes To The Polls To Elect A President

BBC: Ecuador election: Voting to succeed President Correa under way

Ecuadorians are voting in the first round of elections to choose a new president.

Left-wing incumbent Rafael Correa is standing down after leading the country for a decade.

His former vice-president Lenin Moreno is expected to lead Sunday's vote, but is facing a strong challenge from conservative Guillermo Lasso, who has vowed to cut spending and taxes.

Candidates need to win 40% of the vote to avoid a second round run-off.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Election In Ecuador

Leftist vies with ex-banker in nail-biter Ecuador presidency vote -- Reuters
Ecuador in key vote for Latin American left -- AFP
Ecuador holding mandatory elections to replace Correa -- UPI
Corruption scandals weigh on Ecuador's leftists ahead of vote -- Reuters
Ecuador Election May Put In Question Outgoing President's Legacy -- VOA
Ecuador in vote that could alter Assange's fate -- AFP
Latin America's Tilt to the Right Facing Fresh Test in Ecuador -- Bloomberg
Ecuador election: Who will succeed Rafael Correa? -- BBC
Ecuador: The end of the 'Citizens' Revolution'? -- DW
Ecuador votes on Sunday. These are 5 things you need to know. -- Washington Post

The Conflict Between Armenia And Azerbaijan Over Nagorno-Karabakh Continues To Simmer

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Alexander Clapp, National Interest: Prisoner of the Caucasus

Nagorno-Karabakh: a clash of civilizations?

TUCKED IN the borderland between Europe and Asia sits a nation-state recognized by seven American states, New South Wales, the Basque parliament, Abkhazia, Ossetia and Transnistria, but by no country—its chief financier and defender, Armenia, included. Six hours’ drive southeast of Yerevan, you reach it through a series of dry ochre canyons that give way to rolling green steppe. At the immense skyline of the Lesser Caucasus, you cross a passport control governing no official border and a time-zone change that goes unacknowledged. You drive up the most expensive strip of pavement in Transcaucasia, joining a winding trickle of minibuses and T-72 tanks chained to the beds of semitrucks. Between mountaintops stretch nets raised to ensnare attacking helicopters. Billboards claim that the crimes of 1915 may yet be avenged. A giant statue of a grandfather and grandmother hewn out of volcanic tufa is captioned with the motto of the republic: “We Are Our Mountains.” Descending into Stepanakert, the capital, you check in with authorities and observe the trappings of statehood—parliament, police force, postal system—developed over more than two decades of sitting within Grad rocket range of Azerbaijani forces, which make regular claims that they can capture Stepanakert in four days and threaten to shoot down any planes, commercial or military, that attempt to use its airport.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A good review. Hat tip to Jay for this link.

C-130 Getting A Massive Technological Overhaul

Scout Warrior: Air Force Massive Upgrade of the War-C-130

The Air Force is progressing with a massive technological overhaul of its warzone-tested C-130 aircraft, giving the platform new radios, digital avionics, collision avoidance technology and reinforced "wing-boxes."

C-130 Modernization

The Air Force is progressing with a massive technological overhaul of its warzone-tested C-130 aircraft, giving the platform new radios, digital avionics, collision avoidance technology and reinforced "wing-boxes," service officials said.
The Air Force remains vigilant about its C-130 fleet to ensure the airframes, wingboxes, avionics and communication systems remain safe and operational well into the 2030s and beyond. This is particularly true of the older 1980s-era C-130Hs, Air Force developers explained.

“The thing that causes the greatest risk to the airplane is the life of the wing. We monitor the wing of the aircraft and as the wings get past their service, life we bring the airplanes back in and bring in new structures -- with the primary focus being the center wingbox which is the area where the wings mount to the fuselage,”Col. Robert Toth, Chief of Tactical Aircraft, Special Operations and Combat Search and Rescue Division, told Scout Warrior in an interview several months ago.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is hard to imagine that they can make these gunships even more lethal than what they are ..... but apparently they can.

Bill Gates: Bio-Terrorism Could Kill Tens Of Millions

The Guardian: Bill Gates warns tens of millions could be killed by bio-terrorism

Microsoft founder and philanthropist tells Munich security conference genetic engineering could be terrorist weapon

A chilling warning that tens of millions of people could be killed by bio-terrorism was delivered at the Munich security conference by the world’s richest man, Bill Gates

Gates, who has spent much of the last 20 years funding a global health campaign, said: “We ignore the link between health security and international security at our peril.”

Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft who has spent billions in a philanthropic drive to improve health worldwide, said: “The next epidemic could originate on the computer screen of a terrorist intent on using genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus ... or a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: My brother works in the bio-tech field .... this is his biggest fear.

More News On Bill Gates Warning That Bio-Terrorism Could Kill Tens Of Millions

Bill Gates: Bioterrorism could kill more than nuclear war — but no one is ready to deal with it -- Washington Post
Biological terrorism could kill hundreds of millions of people as genetic engineering unleashes terrifying new weapons, warns Bill Gates -- Daily Mail
Bill Gates Warns Of Epidemic That Will Kill Over 30 Million People -- Forbes
Bill Gates isn't kidding around when he says bioterrorism could kill '30 million people' -- Mashable
BILL GATES: A new kind of terrorism could wipe out 30 million people in less than a year — and we are not prepared -- Business Insider

The Royal Navy Took Nuclear Weapons To The Falklands War

The Nuclear Information Service report estimates that there were ten warheads aboard Invincible

Daily Mail: How the Royal Navy accidentally took nuclear weapons to the Falklands War on Prince Andrew's warship

* WE.177A nuclear depth charges were on aircraft carrier HMS Invincible
* Prince flew sorties from the Invicible as a Sea King helicopter co-pilot
* The presence of the weapons was not officially confirmed until 2005

The Royal Navy mistakenly took nuclear weapons to the Falklands War, storing them aboard the ship on which Prince Andrew served.

The WE.177A nuclear depth charges were taken aboard aircraft carrier HMS Invincible, from which the Prince flew sorties as a Sea King helicopter co-pilot with 820 Naval Air Squadron.

The Nuclear Information Service report estimates that there were ten warheads aboard Invincible, 16 on the second British carrier, HMS Hermes, and more aboard support ships in the task force dispatched by Margaret Thatcher in 1982.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Nuclear depth charges .... talk about overkill in destroying an enemy sub.

Update: This is disturbing .... Britain's 110 nuclear alerts are revealed: Safety watchdog makes a mockery of the MoD's claim of just 27 ‘incidents’ in 65 years (Daily Mail).

More Signs That Venezuela Is Becoming Isolated In Latin America

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri addresses the media during a news conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Martin Acosta

Reuters: 'Venezuela is not a democracy' Argentina's Macri tells Spanish media

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri used some of his harshest language yet against Venezuela's socialist government in comments to Spanish media published on Saturday ahead of his trip to Madrid.

"Enough with euphemisms, Venezuela is not a democracy," the center-right Macri said, according to leading newspaper El Pais.

"I know what the Venezuelan people are suffering, I think what we have to have is a firm position, without euphemisms, saying that in Venezuela democracy and human rights are not respected," Macri said.

He said Argentina would help end "this social, political and economic conflict," where it could, according to the paper.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: What a contrast from a few years ago. Gone are the days where the ideology of Castro/Chavez/etc. had the support of millions in Latin America .... today .... with the exception of the die-hards who will forever support Castroism/Chavism/etc. .... no Latin American politician is afraid to denounce these long gone leaders and the corrupt and repressive governments that they have left behind.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif At The Munich Security Conference

NBC: Iran’s Foreign Minister: Threats Do Not Work Against Iran, We Respond to Respect

MUNICH, Germany — Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif dismissed the possibility of renegotiating the nuclear deal, telling NBC News there's little appetite for opening "Pandora's box."

His remarks Sunday on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference come amid a recent escalation in hostilities between the Trump administration and Tehran.

"I believe the nuclear deal is going to last," the foreign minister said firmly.

The White House recently said it was putting Iran "on notice" over a ballistic missile test and then imposed new sanctions on Iranian companies and individuals.

But Zarif warned that Iran doesn't "respond well" to such language and dismissed sanctions as ineffective.

Read more ....

More News On The Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's Speech At The Munich Security Conference

Iran dismisses new US pressure, calls for ‘mutual respect’ -- Washington Post/AP
Iran says 'unmoved by threats' after new U.S. pressure -- FOX News
No to US troops in Syria, nuclear deal to stay, Iran's foreign minister says -- CNN
Iran seeks new regional dialogue, but not with Israel -- Times of Israel
Iran Mocks Trump Threats, Sets Sights on Gulf Nation Deals -- Bloomberg
Zarif: The way to approach Tehran is respect not threats -- Tehran Times

Report: Israel Rejected Last Year A Secret Regional Peace Plan Offered By The U.S., Jordan, And Egypt

Sisi, Netanyahu, Kerry and Abdullah. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Reuters: A year ago, Israel, Jordan and Egypt secretly met for peace - report

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met secretly a year ago with the leaders of Egypt and Jordan in a failed attempt by the Obama administration to convene a wider regional summit on Israeli-Palestinian peace, Israel's Haaretz daily said on Sunday.

At the White House on Wednesday, Netanyahu again raised the possibility of what he described as a "regional approach" to Israeli-Palestinian peace at a news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump, who appeared to embrace the idea.

Citing unidentified senior officials in former U.S. President Barack Obama's administration, Haaretz said Netanyahu, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Jordan's King Abdullah and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry convened on Feb. 21, 2016 in the Jordanian Red Sea resort of Aqaba.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: After one year .... why is this being leaked now .... and who leaked it?

More News On Reports That Last Year Israel Rejected A Secret Regional Peace Plan Offered By The U.S., Jordan, And Egypt

Kerry Offered Netanyahu Regional Peace Plan in Secret 2016 Summit With al-Sissi, King Abdullah -- Haaretz
Report: Israeli leader turned down regional peace initiative -- AP
Netanyahu, Kerry held 'secret Arab peace meeting' -- AFP
Report: Netanyahu rejected peace plan proposed by Kerry at secret 2016 meeting -- Jerusalem Post
Netanyahu said to have rejected regional peace plan last year -- The Times of Israel

China Will Suspend All Imports Of Coal From North Korea

Beijing said it will stop importing North Korean coal until the end of 2017 [Reuters]

Washington Post: China suspends North Korean coal imports, striking at regime’s financial lifeline

BEIJING — China will suspend all imports of coal from North Korea until the end of the year, the Commerce Ministry announced Saturday, in a surprise move that would cut off a major financial lifeline for Pyongyang and significantly enhance the effectiveness of U.N. sanctions.

Coal is North Korea’s largest export item, and also China’s greatest point of leverage over the regime.

The ministry said the ban would come into force Sunday and be effective until Dec. 31.

China said the move was designed to implement November’s United Nations Security Council resolution that tightened sanctions against the regime in the wake of its last nuclear test.

But experts said the move also reflected Beijing’s deep frustration with North Korea over its recent missile test and the assassination of Kim Jong Un’s half brother in Malaysia.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The missile tests are bothering China because of South Korea's and the U.S. response to it (i.e. deployment of missile defense) But this assassination was the final straw .... Kim Jong-nam: Will killing derail North Korea-China ties? (BBC). And yes .... this Chinese suspension of coal is going to hurt North Korea.

Update: Yes .... that is also how I see it .... China Message to Trump With North Korea Coal Ban: Let's Deal (Bloomberg).

More News On China Suspending All Imports Of Coal From North Korea

China suspends coal imports from North Korea over missiles -- AP
China to suspend all imports of coal from North Korea -- Reuters
China halts North Korea coal imports after missile test -- AFP
China piles pressure on North Korea by banning coal imports -- BBC
China to suspend coal imports from North Korea -- Al Jazeera
China Suspends Coal Imports From North Korea, Dealing A Blow To Pyongyang -- NPR
China bans all coal imports from North Korea amid growing tension -- CNN
China bans all coal imports from North Korea, severing major financial lifeline for regime -- The Independent
China Just Took a Big Swing at North Korea’s Economy -- Lucinda Shen, Fortune

Iraq's Prime Minister Has Announced That The Battle To Retake Western Mosul From The Islamic State Has Begun

New York Times: Iraq Starts Offensive to Retake Western Mosul From ISIS

ERBIL, Iraq — Iraq opened the next chapter in its offensive to drive the Islamic State out of Mosul, preparing an assault on the western half of the city on Sunday. Overnight, planes carpeted the ground with leaflets, directly appealing to fighters with the group to surrender.

“To those of you who were intrigued by the ISIS ideology,” said one of the leaflets, using the group’s acronym. “This is your last opportunity to quit your work with ISIS and to leave those foreigners who are in your homeland. Stay at home, raising the white flags as the forces approach.”

On state-run television, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq announced the beginning of the offensive, describing it as “a new dawn” and calling on his troops “to move bravely forward to liberate what is left of the city.”

Read more ....

More News on The Battle For Western Mosul

Iraqi forces launch push to take western Mosul from IS -- AP
Iraqi forces advance on Islamic State-held western Mosul -- AP
Iraq launches assault on IS-held west Mosul -- AFP
Iraq launches offensive on last Islamic State stronghold in Mosul -- Reuters
Iraq begins battle to free western Mosul from IS -- BBC
Iraqi army launches operation to retake western Mosul from 'Islamic State' -- DW
Iraqi government launches offensive on west Mosul -- Al Jazeera
Iraqi forces launch push to retake western half of Mosul from ISIS -- FOX News
Iraq Launches Offensive to Re-Take Western Mosul From ISIS: Prime Minister -- NBC News
Iraq resumes offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State, prime minister says -- Washington Post
Iraq launches offensive to recapture western Mosul from Islamic State -- L.A. Times
Iraq launches offensive to liberate western Mosul from Islamic State -- ABC News Online
Iraq launches operation to retake western Mosul from ISIS -- RT
US-led coalition praises 'militias' fighting in Iraq -- AFP
Forces battling IS in Iraq's Mosul theatre -- AFP
The battle for Mosul: What we know -- AFP
Key dates in battle for Mosul -- AFP