Tuesday, December 26, 2017

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Breaking News: - U.S. President Donald Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel

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UN council weighs measure rejecting US Jerusalem decision

  Palestinian demonstrators gesture during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Ramallah after the US president's contro-versial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution affirming that any change to the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be reversed, in response to the US decision to recognize the city as Israel's capital.
Egypt circulated the draft text on Saturday, and diplomats said the council could vote on the proposed measure as early as Monday.
Breaking with the international consensus, US President Donald Trump this month announced that he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, sparking protests and strong condemnation.
The draft resolution obtained by AFP stresses that Jerusalem is an issue "to be resolved through negotiations" and expresses "deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem," without specifically mentioning Trump's move.
"Any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded," it said.
Diplomats said they expected the United States to use its veto power to block the measure while most, if not all, of the 14 other council members were expected to back the draft resolution.
US Vice President Mike Pence will visit Jerusalem on Wednesday, wading into the crisis over one of the most controversial issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel seized control of the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Middle East war and sees the whole of Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.
Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon "strongly condemned" the draft, dismissing it as an attempt by the Palestinians "to reinvent history."
"No vote or debate will change the clear reality that Jerusalem has and always will be the capital of Israel," Danon said in a statement.
- No embassies in Jerusalem -
The draft resolution calls on all countries to refrain from opening embassies in Jerusalem, reflecting concerns that other governments could follow the US lead.
It demands that all member-states not recognize any actions that are contrary to UN resolutions on the status of the city.
Several UN resolutions call on Israel to withdraw from territory seized during the 1967 war and have reaffirmed the need to end the occupation of that land.
The Palestinians had sought a toughly-worded draft resolution that would have directly called on the US administration to scrap its decision.
But some US allies on the council such as Britain, France, Egypt, Japan and Ukraine were reluctant to be too hard-hitting and insisted that the proposed measure should reaffirm the position enshrined in current resolutions, diplomats said.
Backed by Muslim countries, the Palestinians are expected to turn to the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution rejecting the US decision, if, as expected, the measure is vetoed by the United States at the council.
Aside from the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia can veto any resolution presented at the council, which requires nine votes for adoption.

December 17th...This Day in History

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First airplane flies 1903


Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight.
Orville and Wilbur Wright grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and developed an interest in aviation after learning of the glider flights of the German engineer Otto Lilienthal in the 1890s. Unlike their older brothers, Orville and Wilbur did not attend college, but they possessed extraordinary technical ability and a sophisticated approach to solving problems in mechanical design. They built printing presses and in 1892 opened a bicycle sales and repair shop. Soon, they were building their own bicycles, and this experience, combined with profits from their various businesses, allowed them to pursue actively their dream of building the world’s first airplane.
After exhaustively researching other engineers’ efforts to build a heavier-than-air, controlled aircraft, the Wright brothers wrote the U.S. Weather Bureau inquiring about a suitable place to conduct glider tests. They settled on Kitty Hawk, an isolated village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, which offered steady winds and sand dunes from which to glide and land softly. Their first glider, tested in 1900, performed poorly, but a new design, tested in 1901, was more successful. Later that year, they built a wind tunnel where they tested nearly 200 wings and airframes of different shapes and designs. The brothers’ systematic experimentations paid off–they flew hundreds of successful flights in their 1902 glider at Kill Devils Hills near Kitty Hawk. Their biplane glider featured a steering system, based on a movable rudder, that solved the problem of controlled flight. They were now ready for powered flight.
In Dayton, they designed a 12-horsepower internal combustion engine with the assistance of machinist Charles Taylor and built a new aircraft to house it. They transported their aircraft in pieces to Kitty Hawk in the autumn of 1903, assembled it, made a few further tests, and on December 14 Orville made the first attempt at powered flight. The engine stalled during take-off and the plane was damaged, and they spent three days repairing it. Then at 10:35 a.m. on December 17, in front of five witnesses, the aircraft ran down a monorail track and into the air, staying aloft for 12 seconds and flying 120 feet. The modern aviation age was born. Three more tests were made that day, with Wilbur and Orville alternately flying the airplane. Wilbur flew the last flight, covering 852 feet in 59 seconds.
During the next few years, the Wright brothers further developed their airplanes but kept a low profile about their successes in order to secure patents and contracts for their flying machines. By 1905, their aircraft could perform complex maneuvers and remain aloft for up to 39 minutes at a time. In 1908, they traveled to France and made their first public flights, arousing widespread public excitement. In 1909, the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps purchased a specially constructed plane, and the brothers founded the Wright Company to build and market their aircraft. Wilbur Wright died of typhoid fever in 1912; Orville lived until 1948.
The historic Wright brothers’ aircraft of 1903 is on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

 (More Events on This Day in History)
  • American Revolution

  • 1777 France formally recognizes the United States
  • Automotive

  • 1979 Stuntman Stan Barrett breaks the sound barrier
  • Civil War

  • 1862 Grant expels the Jews from his department
  • Cold War

  • 1991 Yeltsin supporters announce Soviet Union will cease to exist by New Year’s Eve
  • Crime

  • 1986 “Operation Iceman” nabs the culprit
  • Disaster

  • 1961 Circus catches fire in Brazil
  • General Interest

  • 1944 U.S. approves end to internment of Japanese Americans
  • 1975 “Squeaky” Fromme sentenced to life
  • 1990 Aristide wins Haiti’s first free election
  • 1996 Peruvian rebels seize Japanese ambassador’s home
  • 2011 Kim Jong Il, leader of North Korea, dies
  • Hollywood

  • 2003 Third and final Lord of the Rings movie opens
  • Literary

  • 1843 A Christmas Carol is published
  • Music

  • 1991 A federal court puts its stamp on hip-hop
  • Old West

  • 1889 “Silver Dollar” Tabor born in Denver
  • Presidential

  • 1862 Grant expels Jews from Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi
  • Sports

  • 2000 Terrell Owens makes record-breaking 20 catches
  • Vietnam War

  • 1971 Cambodian forces under heavy pressure
  • World War I

  • 1873 Ford Madox Ford is born
  • World War II

  • 1941 Commander at Pearl Harbor canned

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The dark secrets behind ‘White Christmas’

White Christmas

Nothing says Christmas better than Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas,” which was first released 75 years ago in 1942. In the time since, it’s been recorded more than 500 times in many different languages.

But it may never have embedded itself so firmly into pop-culture history if not for World War II. With thousands of Americans stationed abroad, the song was a hit with homesick GIs dreaming of where “the treetops glisten” and the sound of “sleigh bells in the snow.” These vivid images were conjured by New York songwriter Irving Berlin — who was actually Jewish.

“Berlin had been drafted in World War I, so he knew what it was like to be away from home,” says Rachel Lithgow, executive director of the American Jewish Historical Society, where the original sheet music is available to view. “He was writing it for himself and his brethren.”

Despite its warm, evocative imagery, the song and its composer have a dark and unusual sad back story. Here are three things you might not know about “White Christmas.”

Christmas marked a Berlin tragedy

Aside from being Jewish, there was another reason Berlin wasn’t big on Christmas: On Dec. 25, 1928, he woke to find his 3-week-old son, Irving Berlin Jr., dead in his bassinet. Every Christmas after, Berlin and his wife, Ellin, would lay a wreath on their child’s grave in the Bronx.

Berlin hated Elvis Presley’s version

The King recorded “White Christmas” in 1957 for “Elvis’ Christmas Album,” but Berlin disliked him, and rock ’n’ roll in general. He even launched a campaign to have radio stations ban Elvis’ version of his song. It failed — and “Elvis’ Christmas Album” went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

It helped end the Vietnam War

“White Christmas” played an unusual role in the Vietnam conflict. As the North Vietnamese army rolled into Saigon in April 1975, the pre-approved signal for all Americans to evacuate was the sound of “White Christmas” being played on Armed Forces Radio.

95-Year-Old Marine Fights Burglar, Daughter Chases Him Through Town

CBS Local — An alleged burglar got more than he bargained for when he entered the Wisconsin home of a 95-year-old former Marine and his daughter.
Fred, a World War II veteran, says his dog started barking and alerted him to someone breaking in through a back door of the West Allis house on Dec. 4.

Gary Wells (Photo credit: Milwaukee Co. Sheriff’s Office)

“I was almost standing nose to nose with him. That was a shocker,” the veteran told the Journal Sentinel. Fred added that the robber threatened to kill him and his dog if he didn’t hand over his wallet.

“I wasn’t scared. I was so damn mad,” the veteran of the war in the Pacific told reporters. The 95-year-old was able to wrestle alleged burglar, Gary Wells, to the ground before the homeowner’s daughter ran downstairs to help fight the thief off.

Fred’s motivated 51-year-old daughter Mary then took off after Wells, chasing the burglar for six blocks before catching and holding him for police. “I was mad because of what he did to my dad,” Mary said. “We jumped over two fences and ran through 12 yards,” the Marine’s daughter added.

Mary eventually caught the crook after the 53-year-old’s leg got caught on a picket fence. “It was just reflexes. I guess it rubbed off from my father.”

The West Allis family, who asked for their last name not to be used, said they were fortunate Wells did not have a gun. The father-daughter team also saved the property of another Wisconsin home as police found the alleged burglar with nine silver and gold cuff links on him. Authorities are now looking for the rightful owners of the stolen goods and Wells has been charged with felony burglary.


December 16th...This Day in History

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The Boston Tea Party 1773


In Boston Harbor, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump 342 chests of tea into the harbor.
The midnight raid, popularly known as the “Boston Tea Party,” was in protest of the British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny.
When three tea ships, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbor, the colonists demanded that the tea be returned to England. After Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused, Patriot leader Samuel Adams organized the “tea party” with about 60 members of the Sons of Liberty, his underground resistance group. The British tea dumped in Boston Harbor on the night of December 16 was valued at some $18,000.
Parliament, outraged by the blatant destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, in 1774. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to the British.

(More Events on This Day in History)

  • American Revolution

  • 1773 Sons of Liberty dump British tea
  • Automotive

  • 1979 OPEC states raise oil prices
  • Civil War

  • 1863 Johnston named commander of Army of Tennessee
  • Cold War

  • 1950 Truman declares state of emergency
  • Crime

  • 1989 A terrorist bomber begins his deadly rampage
  • Disaster

  • 1960 Two airplanes collide over New York City
  • General Interest

  • 1811 Earthquake rocks the American wilderness
  • 1920 Earthquake devastates Gansu province of China
  • 1944 Battle of the Bulge begins
  • 1971 Pakistani forces defeated in Bangladesh
  • Hollywood

  • 1977 Saturday Night Fever turns Travolta into movie star
  • 2010 “Larry King Live” ends after 25 years on CNN
  • Literary

  • 1775 Jane Austen’s birthday
  • Music

  • 1893 Antonin Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” receives its world premiere in New York City
  • Old West

  • 1826 Edwards declares the Texas Republic of Fredonia
  • Presidential

  • 1998 Clinton orders air attack on Iraq
  • Sports

  • 1973 OJ Simpson rushes record 2,000 yards in a season
  • Vietnam War

  • 1965 Westmoreland asks for more troops
  • 1972 Kissinger announces that North Vietnamese left negotiations
  • World War I

  • 1914 Germans bombard English ports of Hartlepool and Scarborough
  • World War II

  • 1944 Battle of the Bulge

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fw: TheList 4613

The List 4613

To All
I hope that you all have a great weekend.
This Day In Naval History - December 15
Dec. 15
1845—Yorktown captures the slaver Panther off Kabenda, Africa. Previously that September, Yorktown also captured the slavers Pons and Patuxent.
1944—USS Hawkbill (SS 366) sinks the Japanese destroyer Momo west of Luzon.
1944—The invasion of Mindoro Island, Philippines begins. During the battle, USS LST 738 is hit by a Japanese kamikaze plane and set ablaze. After attempts to control the fires are unsuccessful, LST-738 is sunk by the guns of other ships of the invasion fleet. USS LST 472 is also hit by the kamikaze attack and sinks six days later.
1965—Gemini 6 is launched, making 16 orbits in 25 hours and 51 minutes. Capt. Walter M. Schirra is command pilot and Thomas P. Stafford is pilot.
1988—Operation Earnest Will ends in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Navy ships escorted reflagged Kuwaiti tankers and approximately 270 neutral ships and tankers to protect them from missile attacks and mines laid during the Iran-Iraq War. 
Dec. 16
1821—Lt. Robert F. Stockton and Dr. Eli Ayers, a naval surgeon and member of American Colonizing Society, persuade a local African king to sell territory for a colony that becomes the Republic of Liberia.
1907—The Great White Fleet departs Hampton Roads, VA to circumnavigate the world in 14 months, a journey of 43,000 miles that included 20 port calls across six continents. Fourteen thousand Sailors and Marines participated in the voyage, leaving a lasting legacy at home and abroad.
1922—Lt. Cmdr. Walter A. Edwards, commanding USS Bainbridge (DD 246), leads the rescue of 482 passengers from the burning French transport Vinh-Long by placing his destroyer in dangerous positions to ensure the passengers could disembark, despite a series of explosions. He later brings them to Constantinople. For his leadership and heroism, Edwards receives the Medal of Honor.
1944—USS Swordfish (SS 193) attacks a Japanese convoy south of Hainan Island and sinks Japanese army transport Atsutasan Maru.
1998—In Operation Desert Fox, Navy cruise missiles attack Iraq to degrade Saddam Hussein's ability to make and use weapons of mass destruction. 
Dec. 17
1812—The brig Argus, commanded by Arthur Sinclair, captures the American schooner Vancise during the War of 1812. The ship had abandoned by its crew and found derelict by another ship. A crew is placed on board and the ship is sent into the Chesapeake.
1846—During the Mexican-American War, the squadron under Commodore Matthew C. Perry captures Laguna de los Terminos without opposition. The squadron includes the side-wheeled steamer Mississippi, wooden steamer Vixen, schooner Bonito, and the shallow-draft vessel Petrel.
1863—The bark-rigged clipper ship Roebuck seizes blockade-runner British schooner Ringdove off Indian River, FL, with cargo including salt, coffee, tea, and whiskey.
1917—USS Remlik (SP 157) reportedly encounters an enemy submarine during a storm in the Bay of Biscay, but the weather prevents an engagement. While the ship is fighting the heavy seas that day, a depth charge breaks loose on her after deck and is secured by Chief Boatswain's Mate John MacKenzie, who receives the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions.
1917—While underway off Point Loma, CA, USS F 1 collides with her sister submarine, USS F 3. With her hull torn open amidships, it rapidly sinks and loses 19 crewmen.
1942—USS Grouper (SS 214) sinks the Japanese army passenger cargo ship Bandoeng Maru about 15 miles northwest of Cape Henpan, Buka Island, Solomons and survives the counterattack by submarine chaser Ch 29.
Today in History December 15
Nathan Bedford Forrest crosses the Tennessee River at Clifton with 2,500 men to raid the communications around Vicksburg, Mississippi.
In New Orleans, Louisiana, Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler turns his command over to Nathaniel Banks. The citizens of New Orleans hold farewell parties for Butler, "The Beast" - but only after he leaves.
The battle at Nashville begins.
As U.S. Army soldiers attempt to arrest Sitting Bull at his cabin in Standing Rock, South Dakota, shooting breaks out and Lt. Bullhead shoots the great Sioux leader.
The British parliament places a 15-year ban on whale hunting in Norway.
China wins a place on the League Council; Austria is admitted.
The Soviet Union warns the United States against repeated entry of ships into Soviet territorial waters.
Washington sends its fourth note to Berlin demanding amnesty for Jews.
The battle for Luzon begins.
Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh sends a note to the new French Premier, Leon Blum, asking for peace talks.
Adolf Eichmann, the former German Gestapo official accused of a major role in the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews, is sentenced by a Jerusalem court to be hanged.
The United States drops 12 tons of bombs on an industrial center near Haiphong Harbor, North Vietnam.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the meat bill in the presence of Upton Sinclair, the author of the controversial book The Jungle.
The Commonwealth of Australia orders equal pay for women.
The American Psychiatric Association votes to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders.
The oil tanker MV Argo Merchant causes one of the worst marine oil spills in history when it runs aground near Nantucket, Massachusetts.
US President Jimmy Carter announces the United States will recognize the People's Republic of China and will sever all relations with Taiwan.
In what is often called the first modern suicide bombing, a suicide car bomb kills 61 people at the Iraqi embassy in Beirut, Lebanon; Iraq's ambassador to Lebanon is among the casualties.
The Downing Street Declaration, issued jointly by UK and the Republic of Ireland, affirms the UK would transfer Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland only if a majority of Northern Ireland's people approved.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after an 11-year, $27 million project to fortify it without eliminating its famed lean.
F-22 Raptor Stealth fighter enters active service with the US Air Force.
Thanks to Hawk. Ken Block has some other great videos to watch also.
Pikes Peak acsent like you've never seen......
o UN-BE-LIEEEvable!!!!  Talk about "No Fear"; incredible Skills, and ability to maintain control = I've never seen anything like that where so much imminent DANGER is/was involved!
For those of you who have always wondered what it would be like to drive the Pikes Peak highway, this would be a really memorable drive !
Thanks to Richard
 $2.99 SPECIAL
 If you are a Senior you will understand this one. If you deal with Seniors, this should help you understand them a little better, And if you are not a Senior yet........God willing, someday you will be.
The 2.99 Special 
We went to breakfast at a restaurant where the 'Seniors Special' was two eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast for $2.99.  (Denny's ?) 'Sounds good,' my wife said, 'But I don't want the eggs.' 'Then, I'll have to charge you $3.49 because you're ordering a la carte,' the waitress warned her.'You mean I'd have to pay for not taking the eggs?' my wife asked incredulously. 'Yes!' stated the waitress. 'I'll take the special then,' my wife said. 'How do you want your eggs?' the waitress asked. 'Raw and in the shell,' my wife replied.
She took the two eggs home and baked a cake.
 We've been around the block more than once!
 Send this to the Seniors in your life. I'm sure they'll appreciate it!
Even Non-Seniors will appreciate it! Always laugh when you can -it's cheaper than medicine !!!
With our thanks to THE Bear at http://www.rollingthunderremembered.com/
December 14, 2017   Bear Taylor  
RIPPLE SALVO… #648… CINCPAC and COMUSMACV sum up the effort to "mine North Vietnam waters," which unfortunately, didn't include the harbor and road stead at Haiphong… but first…
Good Morning: Day SIX HUNDRED FORTY-EIGHT of going back and going deeper in the history of Rolling Thunder, 40 months of going "downtown" (on the good days)…
The Second Time Japan Attacked Pearl Harbor

We all know Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. But what about March 4, 1942, the second time Pearl Harbor came under Japanese attack?
It's true. Less than 90 days after the "date which will live in infamy," Japanese bombs again fell on Oahu. Though far less lethal than the first round, the second strike was considered too hot for the American public to know about at the time. It stayed secret for decades.
This is the story of Operation K.
Japan's Imperial Navy had scored a spectacular victory with the first bombardment. Though not a complete success (because the biggest prize of all, the U.S. Pacific Fleet's three aircraft carriers, were at sea), it was still a crippling blow. Four battleships were sunk and four others severely damaged. Nearly 200 warplanes were destroyed and another 159 damaged. Eleven other ships were sunk or disabled. Even worse, 2,335 service members and 66 civilians were killed. Another 1,178 were wounded.
Japanese military planners turned their attention to bigger targets. They wanted to use long-range Kawanishi H8K flying boats to bomb California and Texas. But first, they needed to know how repair operations were going at Pearl Harbor's naval yards, docks, and airfields.
The mainland attack was sidelined for a new scheme. Five flying boats would make a reconnaissance flight over Pearl Harbor, and also drop some bombs while there.
The night of March 4 was picked because its full moon would provide visibility. The flying boats would land at French Frigate Shoals, the northwest Hawaiian Islands' largest atoll, and be refueled by submarines. Then it was off to Pearl Harbor.
As the attack neared, history repeated itself in more ways than one. Just as had happened before the Dec. 7 attack, American intelligence picked up clues something big was about to happen. Incredibly, the warnings were once again ignored.
Things began badly for the Japanese. Only two flying boats were available, not the five as planned. Each was loaded with four 550-pound bombs. Freshly refueled, they took off from French Frigate Shoals and headed for Oahu, some 560 miles away.
The clear skies they were counting on disappeared as a thick cloud cover rolled in. That meant that while American defenders on the ground couldn't see the flying boats, the flying boats couldn't see the ground, either.
Those clouds also confused the Japanese pilots, who were supposed to attack in tandem. However, the second flying boat didn't hear the orders coming from the first and they went their separate ways.
Squinting through the murky night, it was impossible to see anything. So the planes dropped their bombs when crewmen guessed they were close to their targets.
The first fell on a mountainside near Roosevelt High School in Honolulu, creating deep craters and shattering nearby windows. Nobody was hurt. It's believed the second plane's bombs fell in the Pacific Ocean.
Thanks to the wartime blackout, the pilots couldn't use lights to guide them off the island. Both planes eventually landed at different airbases on the Marshall Islands.
What did Operation K produce? Not much, beyond showing Japanese warplanes could still penetrate Hawaiian airspace. While the U.S. Army and Navy blamed each other for the mysterious nocturnal explosions, the Japanese were planning another intelligence run for March 6 or 7. But exhausted crews and damaged planes forced postponement to May 30.
By then, Tokyo was desperate to learn the whereabouts of the U.S. aircraft carriers. It was too late. The Americans had finally wised up to French Frigate Shoals' use as a refueling site and rushed warships to the area. The Japanese reluctantly scrapped their plans.
As a result, they had no idea that the U.S. carriers were secretly rushing toward what would become the decisive Battle of Midway, which stopped Japan's offensive in its tracks and set Americans on the long road to victory.
The story might have ended differently if Operation K's attempts to put an eye in the sky had succeeded.

Item Number:1 Date: 12/15/2017 CANADA - OTTAWA TAKES STEP TOWARD EXPORTING WEAPONS TO UKRAINE (DEC 15/CP)  CANADIAN PRESS -- The Canadian government has moved to allow domestically made weapons and ammunition to be exported to Ukraine, reports the Canadian Press.   On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that Ukraine had been added to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL), which lists countries eligible for arms exports.   This allows Canadian firms and individuals to apply to the government for permission to export prohibited weapons and other equipment to Ukraine. Such sales were previously banned.   "The addition of Ukraine to the AFCCL reflects the close ties our countries share," Freeland said in a statement. "Canada and Canadians will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine and support Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty."   Ukraine has been seeking international support, including weapons sales, as it battles Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country.  
 Item Number:2 Date: 12/15/2017 ESTONIA - LAWMAKER CALLS FOR PERMANENT NATO NAVAL UNIT ON BALTIC SEA (DEC 15/BNS)  BALTIC NEWS SERVICE -- An Estonian lawmaker says that the creation of a permanent NATO naval unit for the Baltic Sea is a vital interest for his country, reports the Baltic News Service.   "If we don't have that unit, Russia will cut us off from the rest of the world in the event of a military conflict," Mart Helme, the deputy chairman of the Parliament's National Defense Committee, told Czech Gen. Petr Pavel, the chairman of the NATO Military Committee during a Thursday meeting.   "Russia has deployed to Kaliningrad missiles the range of which extends to Sweden," Helme said. "If NATO has no naval unit consisting of submarines and ships that is capable of cooperation with the air force units stationed in Germany, Poland and Norway, NATO will not be able to bring troops or equipment to Estonia."   No commander is likely to agree to fly troops and equipment over the Baltic, when Russian forces can easily shoot them down, he said.  
 Item Number:3 Date: 12/15/2017 EUROPEAN UNION - SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA AGAIN EXTENDED (DEC 15/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- E.U. leaders have extended their economic Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia until July 2018, reports Voice of America News.   The decision was announced at an E.U. summit in Brussels on Thursday.   Sanctions were imposed against Russia in 2014 over Moscow's aid for anti-Kiev rebels in eastern Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea. The sanctions have been extended every six months since then, noted VOA.   Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko welcomed the announcement, saying it is "important political decision by the leaders of the European Union to continue economic sanctions against Russia for violating Ukraine's territorial integrity and unwillingness to stop hybrid aggression against our country."  
  Item Number:4 Date: 12/15/2017 GERMANY - POLICE MAKE MULTIPLE RAIDS; LOCATIONS LINKED TO ISLAMIST MILITANTS (DEC 15/DAILYSABAH)  DAILY SABAH -- German police have raided nine locations as part of investigations into an Islamic State-linked terror cell, reports Daily Sabah (Turkey), citing German prosecutors.   The operations on Thursday, mounted by about 130 officers and special operators, took place in Berlin and the nearby state of Saxony Anhalt.   Four suspects, ranging in age from 18 to 21, are accused of planning Islamic State attacks, prosecutors and police said in a statement.   No arrests were immediately announced. Police and prosecutors said the raids were to collect evidence, particularly data storage devices, according to Deutsche Welle.   Three suspects are believed to be in Syria; the whereabouts of the fourth, who reportedly facilitated travel for the others, were not announced.   German newspaper Bild suggested that the suspects had connections to Anis Amri, who drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market last year, killing 12 people and injuring dozens.  
Item Number:5 Date: 12/15/2017 INDIA - DEFENSE MINISTER OUTLINES REFORMS TO IMPROVE ACQUISITION PROCESSES (DEC 15/PTI)  PRESS TRUST OF INDIA -- The Indian Defense Ministry will be revamped to accelerate acquisition projects, improve transparency and clear backlogs for key projects, according to Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, as cited by the Press Trust of India.   The minister told an industry group on Thursday that the government is also appraising 39 ordnance factories and ways to boost their productivity, including joint efforts with the private sector.   Work is underway to ensure that the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) clears all of the backlog relating to procurement by Dec. 31, she said.   "There is a sense of making sure that every aspect of this large ministry is given a shake-up," Sitharaman said.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 12/15/2017 INDIA - NAVY COMMISSIONS 1ST KALVARI-CLASS SUBMARINE (DEC 15/NAVGROUP)  NAVAL GROUP -- The Indian navy has commissioned its first domestically built Scorpene-class submarine, the Kalvari, reports French shipbuilder Naval Group, which supported the project.   The Kalvari was formally brought into service during a Thursday ceremony at Mazagon Dock in Bombay (Mumbai).   The Scorpene-class sub was built by Mazagon Dock in partnership with Naval Group.   The navy has ordered five more of the diesel-powered submarines, which will be delivered at a rate of one every 12 months, said the Naval Group release.  
 Item Number:7 Date: 12/15/2017 ISRAEL - TOP COURT: STATE CANNOT HOLD TERRORISTS BODIES WITHOUT LAW (DEC 15/JP)  JERUSALEM POST -- The Supreme Court has ruled that the Israeli government cannot keep the bodies of slain Palestinian gunmen as bargaining chips without enacting specific legislation to do so, reports Jerusalem Post.   The court's 2-1 decision Thursday repudiated a long-standing practice, with the government holding the bodies of fighters and terrorists killed by Israeli security forces and trading them for Israelis or the remains of Israeli soldiers held by Palestinian groups.   The government has six months to comply with the ruling, the court said.   Speaker Yuli Edelstein promised on Thursday that the legislature would pass a law that would give the government the legal ground to continue the current policy.   Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized it, saying Israel must not give Hamas "free gifts."   At least two civilians and the remains of two Israeli soldiers are believed to be held by Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, noted Reuters.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 12/15/2017 JORDAN - ARMY TO GET 25 MORE MARDER ARMORED VEHICLES FROM GERMANY (DEC 15/RHEINAG)  RHEINMETALL AG -- The German government has awarded Rheinmetall a contract to modernize 25 additional Marder infantry fighting vehicles for the Jordanian military, reports the German defense firm.   The vehicles will be taken from surplus Bundeswehr stocks, with deliveries to begin in the first quarter of 2018.   The order, part of a German military aid program designed to bolster Jordan's counterterrorism, border security and stabilization mission capabilities, is worth 17 million euros (US$20 million).   Under the deal, Rheinmetall will deliver 25 modernized Marder 1A3 vehicles, as well as spare parts, ammunition, documentation, special tools and training support.   The German firm previously delivered 25 Marders to Jordan in 2016 and 2017.  
 Item Number:9 Date: 12/15/2017 LEBANON - FOLLOWING 5-YEAR CLOSURE, SYRIAN-LEBANESE BORDER CROSSING REOPENS (DEC 15/ALSHARQ)  AL-SHARQ AL-AWSAT -- Lebanese authorities have reopened a border-crossing with Syria in an area once held by the Islamic State, reports Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London).   The crossing, southwest of Homs, Syria, was closed in 2012. The ceremony was attended by Syria's Interior Minister Mohammad al-Shaar and the governor of Homs, Talal Barazi.   The crossing is called Al-Qaa in Lebanon and Jussiyeh in Syria, noted AFP. The crossing was the only one of five that had been permanently closed by the war.   While political ties between the two countries remain somewhat strained, security cooperation has never stopped, said the director of Lebanon's General Security, Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim.   "The goal of reopening the border-crossing in Al-Qaa is to reconnect the area of Baalbek-Hermel with Homs," hoping that such step would be considered as a "contribution to the process of economic developments," said Ibrahim.   ISIS was pushed out of the area by a combination of Hezbollah fighters and Lebanese soldiers in August 2017
Item Number:10 Date: 12/15/2017 NIGERIA - DRAFT ANTI-PIRACY BILL AIMS TO BOOST EFFORTS AGAINST MARITIME CRIMINALS (DEC 15/NATIONAL)  THE NATIONAL -- The Nigerian government has sent an anti-piracy bill to the National Assembly to improve efforts to combat maritime crime and other threats, reports the National (Lagos).   If passed, the law would be the first in Africa to specifically address the arrest and prosecution of maritime criminals, said Defense Minister Mansur Dan-Ali, speaking at a two-day conference for the Friends of the Gulf of Guinea.   The Gulf of Guinea has seen an increase in piracy and maritime crime, primarily in Nigerian waters, the minister said. These include kidnapping, piracy, illegal fishing, smuggling, human- and drug-trafficking, illegal bunkering and crude oil theft.   The federal government has adopted hard and soft efforts to combat criminal activities, including working with multilateral organizations and countries within and outside of the region, said the minister.   Dan-Ali said that various efforts to combat criminality in the Gulf of Guinea were showing positive results.  
  Item Number:11 Date: 12/15/2017 NIGERIA - GOVERNORS APPROVE RELEASING US$1 BILLION FROM OIL FUND TO FIGHT BOKO HARAM (DEC 15/PREM)  PREMIUM TIMES -- The governors of Nigeria's 36 states have authorized the federal government to withdraw US$1 billion from the Excess Crude Account to fund the ongoing fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group, reports the Premium Times (Abuja).   The move was agreed on Thursday during a meeting of the National Economic Council in Abuja.   The Excess Crude Account holds foreign reserves of excess earnings from the sales of crude oil.   The account reportedly has a balance of US$2.3 billion. Such a large release of money could raise issues of corruption, noted Reuters.   "We are pleased with the federal government achievements in the insurgency war and in that vein state governors have approved that the sum of US$1 billion be taken from the excess crude account by the federal government to fight the insurgency war to its conclusion," said Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo state
Item Number:12 Date: 12/15/2017 SYRIA - GENEVA TALKS COLLAPSE; U.N. ENVOY DECRIES 'MISSED OPPORTUNITY' (DEC 15/GUARDIAN)  GUARDIAN -- Negotiations in Geneva to end the Syrian civil war have collapsed without progress, reports the Guardian (U.K.).   Syrian government negotiators said on Thursday that they would not engage in direct talks with the opposition due to the latter's insistence on certain preconditions, reported the state run SANA news agency.   U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura, who led the talks, said "a golden opportunity" had been missed. He accused the government delegation of setting preconditions, reusing to discuss the drafting of a new constitution and presidential elections.   The U.N. envoy said he would report the results of the talks, now in their eighth round, to the U.N. Security Council next week.   President Putin has said he will convene a "Syrian Congress of National Dialogue" in Russia in 2018, possibly in February. Those negotiations were expected to be more favorable to the Syrian government
  Item Number:13 Date: 12/15/2017 SYRIA - LARGE NUMBER OF WEAPONS DELIVERED TO REBELS FOUND WAY TO ISIS, SAYS STUDY (DEC 15/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- A large amount of the weapons supplied by Western and Gulf countries to rebels battling the Bashar Assad regime in Syria were transferred to the Islamic State terrorist group, says a new report cited by the Voice of America News.   The weapons "significantly augmented the quantity and quality of weapons available to IS forces -- in numbers far beyond those that would have been available to the group through battlefield capture alone," according to the Weapons of the Islamic State report, published on Dec. 13 by the U.K.-based Conflict Armament Research group.   The 202-page study is the result of three years of research, said CAR. Researchers said they had the full cooperation of national governments and manufacturers during the process.   More than 40,000 items recovered from ISIS fighters between 2014 and 2017 were analyzed. In addition to the large-scale capture of weapons from government arsenals in Iraq and Syria, the terrorist group was able to acquire gear supplied by outside powers within weeks or months of its delivery to opposition factions, said the researchers.   It is not clear how ISIS obtained some of the weapons supplied to Syrian opposition groups. Some could have been captured or sold by the rebels, said a European official. Fighters say some equipment was shared or bartered with factions that later joined ISIS.   More than 50 percent of the weapons and ammunition held by ISIS was Chinese or Russian in origin and captured from Iraqi and Syrian forces, the researchers said.   Nearly 40 percent of anti-tank rockets fielded by the terrorist group were produced within the last four years, with about 20 percent from former Warsaw Pact member states now within the European Union, said the study
Item Number:14 Date: 12/15/2017 SYRIA - RUSSIAN, U.S. OFFICIALS DISPUTE ENCOUNTER BY SU-25S, F-22S OVER SYRIA (DEC 15/CNN)  CABLE NEWS NETWORK -- U.S. defense officials say two F-22 A Raptor stealth fighters on Wednesday intercepted two Russian warplanes that had that crossed a line dividing a "deconfliction" zone in Syria near an ISIS-held city close to Mayadin, reports CNN.   The two Russian Su-25s repeatedly flew east of the Euphrates River, a line dividing Russian and U.S. operations in Syria, and closely shadowed two F-22s in the area, said the U.S. officials.   A spokesman from U.S. Air Forces Central Command confirmed the incident, saying the American Raptors maneuvered to convince the Russians to leave the airspace immediately. They released chaff and flares and made multiple calls on the emergency channel, said the officials.   The Su-25s were engaging in dangerous and aggressive behavior, at one point flying so close to the F-22 that it barely averted a midair collision, said the U.S. spokesman.   The F-22As were providing air cover for "partner ground forces conducting operations to defeat ISIS," he said.   Moscow had a different version. The Ministry of Defense said their Su-25s had been escorting a humanitarian convoy on the western side of the river , and charged that an F-22 crossed the deconfliction line to harass its jets, as reported by the War Zone, a U.S. blog
Item Number:15 Date: 12/15/2017 USA - FOLLOWING MEDIA ACCOUNTS, AFRICOM WILL AGAIN LOOK AT SOMALIA RAID FOR MISCONDUCT (DEC 15/HILL)  THE HILL -- The head of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, has requested a second investigation into an August raid in Somalia, reports the Hill (Washington, D.C.).   Media reports allege that U.S. soldiers killed as many as 10 civilians in Somalia. The media accounts prompted the general to order the move, a spokeswoman for AFRICOM said Thursday.   The Daily Beast reported in November that U.S. special forces soldiers shot and killed 10 unarmed civilians during an Aug. 25 raid in Somalia. The report cited extensive interviews with survivors and a Somali army general.   AFRICOM initially denied the accusations, saying its own investigation had found no wrongdoing.   AFRICOM takes "all allegations of misconduct seriously and will leverage the expertise of appropriate organizations to ensure such allegations are fully and impartially investigated," said the spokeswoman
Item Number:16 Date: 12/15/2017 USA - IN EXAMINING COLLISIONS, NAVY REVIEW POINTS TO STRAINED FLEET, BUREAUCRACY (DEC 15/NTIMES)  NAVY TIMES -- The U.S. Navy has determined that the two Navy destroyer collisions this summer were caused a naval culture that does not adequately calculate risks and "normalizes deviation," reports Navy Times.   The Strategic Readiness Review was released by the Navy on Dec. 11.   A "can-do" attitude pushed many naval officers to normalize low staffing that resulted in sailors pulling long hours on ships with too few crewmembers. Short-term effectiveness led to negative long-term consequences, noted the review.   The report also called into question the steps taken since the accidents that resulted in the deaths of 17 sailors. The establishment of the Naval Surface Group Western Pacific, it writes, "provides another headquarters staff and  administrative control function that is likely to perpetuate ambiguous and  conflicting authorities."   The review takes a broader view than the earlier "comprehensive review" by Fleet Forces Command head Adm. Phil Davidson, noted Navy Times. The new report was compiled by a group that included retired admirals, junior officers and defense experts, but no current flag officers.   The report also criticizes the Navy's bureaucracy, where surface warfare officers must pull stints in headquarters positions or other staff jobs to advance, thus not developing critical expertise.   In June, the guided-missile destroyer Fitzgerald collided with a commercial ship off the coast of Japan, killing seven sailors. A collision in August between the destroyer John S. McCain and a commercial tanker near Singapore killed 10
Item Number:17 Date: 12/15/2017 USA - LITTLE ROCK LITTORAL SHIP TO JOIN NAVY IN BUFFALO, N.Y. (DEC 15/DOD)  DEPT. OF DEFENSE -- The U.S. Navy will commission its latest Freedom-class littoral combat ship this weekend, reports the Dept. of Defense.   The Little Rock (LCS 9) will be welcomed into the fleet in a Dec. 16 ceremony at the Canalside waterfront in Buffalo, N.Y. She will be commissioned alongside the first U.S. warship named after the capital of Arkansas, which serves as a museum at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.   The ship is the 10th littoral combat ship to enter service and the fifth in the Freedom-class configuration, which is built by Marinette Marine in Wisconsin.   The Navy has taken delivery of 11 littoral combat ships, with five more under construction and three in pre-production, said a Pentagon release
Item Number:18 Date: 12/15/2017 USA - NEW TRAINING CENTER COMPLETED AT ANDERSEN AFB (DEC 15/AFNS)  AIR FORCE NEWS SERVICE -- The U.S. Air Force has completed construction on the Pacific Regional Training Center at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, reports the Air Force News Service.   The 554th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the conclusion of more than 70 construction projects, worth about $251 million, on Dec. 7.   The new training center will prepare airmen in the region for real-world contingency and deployment missions. It will be able to provide training to nearly 3,000 security forces, civil engineer, force support and partner nation personnel annually, officials said.   The center offers space for operations, offices, training classrooms and warehouse storage for vital equipment
Item Number:19 Date: 12/15/2017 USA - THOUSANDS OF DEFENSE CONTRACTORS LEAVING MARKET, SAYS STUDY (DEC 15/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- A large and increasing number of U.S. companies are leaving the defense market, says a study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies cited by Defense News.   The report, released Thursday, notes that about 17,000 first-tier prime vendors, or 20 percent, left the market between 2011 and 2015.   Much of the blame is placed on the 2011 Budget Control Act caps and Congress's subsequent inability to make consistent and long-term appropriations to the defense industry.   The Army has been particularly affected, noted the study. The service saw a 35 percent drop in annual defense contracts between 2009 and 2015.   The full study will be released in January.  
  Item Number:20 Date: 12/15/2017 YEMEN - GOVERNMENT TAKES BACK AREAS IN SHABWAH; COALITION AIRSTRIKES HIT HOUTHIS IN WEST (DEC 15/ANADOLU)  ANADOLU NEWS AGENCY -- A Yemeni military source says government forces have retaken strategic positions from the Houthi rebels in south-central Shabwah province, reports Turkey's official Anadolu Agency.   "Government forces -- two brigades and a battalion -- backed by [pro-government] popular resistance fighters on Friday launched a massive attack," an unnamed Yemeni army colonel told the news agency.   The officer said dozens of Houthis were killed and injured in the fighting. Several government personnel were also injured, he said. A spokesman for the pro-government militia said at least 15 Houthi fighters and a handful of government soldiers were killed in the fighting.   The operation allowed the government forces and loyal militias to assume control of key points in al-Beihan and link government supply lines to forward positions in the Houthi-held Marib province, said the colonel.   Al-Beihan has been under Houthi siege.   Separately, a source told the Turkish agency that Saudi-led coalition airstrikes had killed 10 Houthi fighters in the Hays district in Yemen's western Hudeidah province, Anadolu reported on Friday.   A different airstrike in Mawzi, Taiz province, also killed five civilians, said the source.