DOWNLOADS &Things Of Interest

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fw: TheList 4342



The List 4342
To All,
I hope your week has started well. Four days until Christmas.
Regards,
skip
 
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This Day In Naval History - December 20
1822 - Congress authorizes the 14-ship West Indies Squadron to suppress piracy in the Caribbean.
1941 - Admiral Ernest J. King designated Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet in charge of all operating naval fleets and coastal frontier forces, reporting directly to the President.
1964 - USS Richard E. Kraus (DD-849) completes a successful emergency mission in aiding the disabled American Merchant Ship, SS Oceanic Spray in the Red Sea.
1974 - Clearance of Suez Canal for mines and unexploded ordnance completed by Joint Task Force.
1989 - Operation Just Cause begins in Panama.
1989: Naval Special Warfare Task Force Papa attacks Punta Paitilla Airport during Operation Just Cause to prevent the dictator, Gen. Manuel Noriega, from leaving Panama. Chief Engineman Donald McFaul is mortally wounded while carrying a wounded SEAL to safety.
 
1998 - Operation Desert Fox in Iraq ends.
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December 20
69
Vespians's supporters enter Rome and discover Vitellius in hiding. He is dragged through the streets before being brutally murdered.
1355
Stephen Urosh IV of Serbia dies while marching to attack Constantinople.
1802
The United States buys the Louisiana territory from France.
1860
South Carolina secedes from the Union.
1861
English transports loaded with 8,000 troops set sail for Canada so that troops are available if the "Trent Affair" is not settled without war.
1924
Adolf Hitler is released from prison after serving less than one year of a five year sentence for treason.
1930
Thousands of Spaniards sign a revolutionary manifesto.
1933
The German government announces 400,000 citizens are to be sterilized because of hereditary defects.
1938
First electronic television system is patented.
1941
The Flying Tigers, American pilots in China, enter combat against the Japanese over Kunming.
1943
Soviet forces halt a German army trying to relieve the besieged city of Stalingrad.
1946
Viet Minh and French forces fight fiercely in Annamite section of Hanoi.
1948
U.S. Supreme Court announces that it has no jurisdiction to hear the appeals of Japanese war criminals sentenced by the International Military Tribunal.
1960
National Liberation Front is formed by guerrillas fighting the Diem regime in South Vietnam.
1962
In its first free election in 38 years, the Dominican Republic chooses leftist Juan Bosch Gavino as president.
1963
Four thousand cross the Berlin Wall to visit relatives under a 17-day Christmas accord.
1989
U.S. troops invade Panama to oust General Manuel Noriega and replace him with Guillermo Endara.
1995
NATO begins peacekeeping operation in Bosnia.
1996
NeXT merges with Apple Computer, leading to the development of groundbreaking Mac OS X.
2007
Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest monarch in the history of the UK; previously, that honor belonged to Queen Victoria.
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Thanks to Dutch…More ''global warming no doubt
snow falls in the Sahara for the first time in 37 YEARS
 
 
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Thanks to Chuck and others
This Looks Like A Normal Grocery Store,
But When The Lights Go Out is Awesome!!
Edeka, Germany's largest supermarket chain, decided to surprise its shoppers with a seasonal treat. In an attempt to liven up the otherwise boring chore of grocery shopping, these cashiers opted to delight their patient shoppers with a choreographed orchestra that beeped the holiday classic, "Jingle Bells".

It took a team of cashiers, 13 different hidden cameras and a whole lot Christmas spirit to pull off this epic holiday surprise!
 
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Thanks to Carl
For the Golf Fans - Humor - YouTube
Golfer falls into frozen-over lake
 
 
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Thanks to Al
 
Monday Morning Thoughts and Stories for Christmas and Hanukkah

Submitted by Marty Baugh:

     It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree.  No name, no identification, no inscription.  It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas---oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it- overspending...  the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma---the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
     Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth.  I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
     Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.  As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.  Well, we ended up walloping them.  We took every weight class.  And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.
     Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."
     Mike loved kids-all kids-and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse.  That's when the idea for his present came.  That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.  On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.  For each Christmas, I followed the tradition---one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
     The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas.  It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
     As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure.  The story doesn't end there.
     You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer.  When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up.  But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.
     Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.  The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.
     May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always.  God bless---pass this along to your friends and loved ones.



Submitted by Allan Andersen:

     The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.
     They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc. and on Dec 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On Dec 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm - hit the area and lasted for two days.
     On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high. The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home.
     On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in.  One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
     By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry.
     The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. "Pastor," she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?"
     The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.
     The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. She was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.
     The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.
     What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving. The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike.
     He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison.  He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.
     The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and there he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

True Story - submitted by Pastor Rob Reid who says. "God does not work in mysterious ways. I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today. To guide you and protect you as you go along your way....His love is always with you, His promises are true,  and when we give Him all our cares you know He will see us through. So when the road you're traveling on seems difficult at best, just remember I'm here praying, and God will do the rest."



Submitted by Diane Yanke:

     It was only four days before Christmas.  The spirit of the season hadn't yet caught up with me, even though cars packed the parking lot of our local discount store.  Inside the store, it was worse.  Shopping carts and last minute shoppers jammed the aisles.
     Why did I come today? I wondered.  My feet ached almost as much as my head.  My list contained names of several people who claimed they wanted nothing but I knew their feelings would be hurt if I didn't buy them anything.
     Buying for someone who had everything and deploring the high cost of items, I considered gift-buying anything but fun.
     Hurriedly, I filled my shopping cart with last minute items and proceeded to the long checkout lines.  I picked the shortest but it looked as if it would mean at least a 20 minute wait.
     In front of me were two small children - a boy of about 5 and a younger girl.  The boy wore a ragged coat.  Enormously large, tattered tennis shoes jutted far out in front of his much too short jeans.  He clutched several crumpled dollar bills in his grimy hands.
     The girl's clothing resembled her brother's.  Her head was a matted mass of curly hair.  Reminders of an evening meal showed on her small face. She carried a beautiful pair of shiny, gold house slippers.  As the Christmas music sounded in the store's stereo system, the girl hummed along, off-key but happily.
When we finally approached the checkout register, the girl carefully placed the shoes on the counter.  She treated them as though they were a treasure.
     The clerk rang up the bill.  "That will be $6.09," she said.
     The boy laid his crumpled dollars atop the stand while he searched his pockets.  He finally came up with $3.12.  "I guess we will have to put them back," he bravely said.  "We will come back some other time, maybe tomorrow."
     With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl.  "But Jesus would have loved these shoes," she cried.
     "Well, we'll go home and work some more.  Don't cry.  We'll come back," he said.  Quickly I handed $3.00 to the cashier.  These children had waited in line for a long time.  And, after all, it was Christmas.
     Suddenly a pair of arms came around me and a small voice said, "Thank you lady."
     "What did you mean when you said Jesus would like the shoes?" I asked.
     The boy answered, "Our mommy is sick and going to heaven.  Daddy said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus."
     The girl spoke, "My Sunday school teacher said the streets in heaven are shiny gold, just like these shoes.  Won't mommy be beautiful walking on those streets to match these shoes?"
     My eyes flooded as I looked into her tear streaked face.  "Yes" I answered," I am sure she will." Silently I thanked God for using these children to remind me of the true spirit of giving."
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Thanks to Robert
 
"Merry Christmas"
T'WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE,
MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE.
...
I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY,
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO,
IN THIS HOME, DID LIVE.
 
I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.
 
NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES,
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.
 
WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT,
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.
 
FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.
 
THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR,
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.
 
THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED,
A TRUE AUSSIE SOLDIER.
 
WAS THIS THE HERO,
OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?
 
I REALISED THE FAMILIES,
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS,
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.
 
SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE,
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.
 
THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM,
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.
 
I COULDN'T HELP WONDER,
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE,
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.
 
THE VERY THOUGHT BROUGHT,
A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES,
AND STARTED TO CRY.
 
THE SOLDIER AWAKENED,
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
"SANTA DON'T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;
 
I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS.."
 
THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN'T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.
 
I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL,
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED,
FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.
 
I DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE,
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR,
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.
 
THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, "CARRY ON SANTA,
IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE."
 
ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
"MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT."
 
This poem was written by a Peacekeeping soldier stationed overseas.
 
 
 
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Item Number:1 Date: 12/20/2016 AFGHANISTAN - PENTAGON REPORT GIVES AFGHANS MIXED GRADE, CITING 'PROMISING BUT INCONSISTENT' DEFENSE PROGRESS (DEC 20/HILL)  THE HILL -- A new report by the U.S. Dept. of Defense says that Afghan security forces have shown "promising but inconsistent" progress in defensive operations during the latter part of 2016, reports the Hill (Washington, D.C.).   "Although the ANDSF [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces] denied the insurgency any strategic successes, the ANDSF have also demonstrated the need for continued U.S. and coalition support to address persistent capability gaps and deficiencies," says the Pentagon report that was released on Friday.   "Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan" covers the situation from June 1 to Nov. 30.   Though the Taliban insurgency continued to be resilient in 2016, Afghan forces showed "determination and continued capability growth."   As of September, the Taliban controlled or influenced about 10 percent of the population and was contesting the government's control of at least another 20 percent, says the study.   Afghan forces have "generally" proven capable of protecting major population centers, says the Pentagon report. Nonetheless, the report acknowledges that the Taliban remains capable of capturing rural areas and returning to places after Afghan forces have cleared them.   The militants are still conducting attacks that undermine public confidence in the government's ability to provide security, says the Defense Dept.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 12/20/2016 AUSTRALIA - DEAL FINALIZED WITH FRANCE FOR 12 SUBMARINES TO BE BUILT IN ADELAIDE (DEC 20/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- Australia has signed a deal that will see a French company building a US$38.6 billion submarine fleet, reports the Wall Street Journal.   French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian signed the agreement with Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull on Tuesday in Adelaide.   Under the deal, French shipbuilder DCNS will design and build 12 Shortfin Barracuda submarines, reported AFP.   DCNS was awarded the main contract in April, beating German and Japanese competitors. There are also U.S. and Australian subcontractors.   The Australian boats will be conventionally powered versions of France's 4,700-ton nuclear-fueled Barracuda submarines.   Most of the production will take place in Adelaide in South Australia. The work is expected to create 2,800 jobs, said Turnbull
Item Number:3 Date: 12/20/2016 AZERBAIJAN - DEFENSE MINISTRY MAKES DEAL FOR IRON DOME ANTI-MISSILE SYSTEMS FROM ISRAEL (DEC 20/AZERI)  AZERI PRESS AGENCY -- Senior Azerbaijani officials say an agreement has been finalized to buy Iron Dome anti-missile systems from Israel, reports the Azerbaijan Press Agency.   The Azeri Defense Ministry negotiated the deal in Israel, Minister of Defense Industry Javer Jamalov said on Saturday.   Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which builds the Iron Dome, has not commented on the deal, noted the Jerusalem Post.   On Sunday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhyahu told the Cabinet that the two nations have "extensive ties," days after visiting Azerbaijan.   Azerbaijani interest in the Iron Dome is said to be driven by concerns about Armenia's recent purchase of Iskander short-range ballistic missiles.   The Iron Dome is designed to destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells at ranges from 2.5 miles (4 km) to 44 miles (70 km
Item Number:4 Date: 12/20/2016 BANGLADESH - ISLAMISTS LINKED TO JULY DHAKA CAFE ATTACK IN CUSTODY (DEC 20/DHTRIB)  DHAKA TRIBUNE -- Bangladeshi security forces say they have arrested two suspected militants linked to a deadly attack in Dhaka in July, reports the Dhaka Tribune.   Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an elite anti-terrorism unit, arrested two men on Tuesday in the Mirpur district of Dhaka, said a police official.   The suspects were said to be members of a faction of the Jamatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) militant group, known as New JMB. The splinter group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, reported Reuters.   Police believe that group was behind the July 1 attack on a cafe in Dhaka's diplomatic quarter that killed 22 people.   Money, jihadist literature, leaflets and sharp weapons were recovered, according to the RAB.  
Item Number:5 Date: 12/20/2016 CHINA - STOLEN DRONE RETURNED BY CHINA, PENTAGON CONFIRMS (DEC 20/WP)  WASHINGTON POST -- China has returned the U.S. Navy underwater it seized last week in the South China Sea, reported the Washington Post.   A Chinese naval vessel shadowing the Bowditch, an unarmed U.S. Navy oceanographic vessel, stole the Ocean Glider drone on Dec. 15 northwest of Subic Bay in the Philippines.   The U.S. said the underwater vessel was operated by civilian contractors collecting unclassified scientific data in international waters. Such gliders, noted the Pentagon, are used regularly by the U.S. Navy and other militaries around the world.   On Tuesday, the drone was transferred to the U.S. after a "friendly negotiation," said China's Defense Ministry.   The Pentagon confirmed its return, saying the seizure was "inconsistent with both international law and standards of professionalism for conduct between navies at sea."   Chinese officials tried to downplay the incident, saying the drove was taken to prevent it from "harming the navigation safety and personnel safety" of the Chinese ship
Item Number:6 Date: 12/20/2016 GERMANY - TRUCK ATTACK IN BERLIN BEING TREATED AS TERRORISM (DEC 20/USA)  USA TODAY -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the deliberate crash of a truck in Berlin on Monday is an "assumed terror attack," reported USA Today.   A man rammed his truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing at least 12 people and injuring 48, reports Deutsche Welle.   The crash took place at Breitscheidplatz, close to the Kurfuerstendamm, the main shopping street in western Berlin.   Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the driver is a Pakistani asylum-seeker who entered Germany last year. Police raided Berlin's largest refugee shelter at Tempelhof airport where the suspect was allegedly registered.   The suspect detained has denied involvement. Some officials on Tuesday were said to be wondering if they had the correct suspect, noted the Guardian (U.K.).   A Polish man, believed to be the original driver, was found dead in the passenger seat.   The Interior Ministry said Christmas markets in Berlin would remain closed on Tuesday, but that other markets outside the capital will be open.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 12/20/2016 INDIA - RAWAT TO BECOME ARMY CHIEF; DHANOA WILL HEAD AIR FORCE (DEC 20/PTI)  PRESS TRUST OF INDIA -- The Indian government has appointed new leaders for the army and air force, reports the Press Trust of India.   Lt. Gen. Bipin Rawat, the vice chief of the army staff, was named as the next chief of army staff on Saturday. Rawat will assume his duties on Dec. 31.   The selection was a departure from three decades of tradition to elevate the most senior officer to the chief, noted the Hindustan Times.   He succeeds Gen. Dalbir Singh. Rawat was selected over two more senior officers because he was determined the best suited to deal with emerging challenges, such as the military reorganization in the north, Pakistan and the situation in the northeast, according to government sources.   The government also named Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa to serve as the next air force chief, also starting on Dec. 31. He is the third Sikh to head the air force, said the Hindustan Times.   Dhanoa succeeds Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha
  Item Number:8 Date: 12/20/2016 INDONESIA - POLICE HOLDING 3 IN JAVA FOR SUSPECTED SUICIDE BOMB PLOT (DEC 20/JAKGLOBE)  JAKARTA GLOBE -- Indonesia's National Police said on Tuesday that they have arrested three people suspected of plotting a suicide attack, reports the Jakarta Globe.   Two men were detained in the city of Solo in Central Java on Dec. 18 on suspicion of making explosives for a female accomplice, said a police spokesman, as reported by Reuters.   The female would-be bomber was picked up on Dec. 15 in Purworejo, also in Central Java, the spokesman said.   The three were allegedly planning to make the attack outside Java, said the spokesman. No additional details were given.   The three have reportedly been linked to a group arrested earlier this month planning to attack the changing of the guard at the presidential palace in the capital Jakarta. Police are interrogating 14 suspects related to the two bomb plots, according to the police spokesman.   The suspects held for the Jakarta plot allegedly received instructions and funds from Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian militant known to be fighting alongside the Islamic State in Syria
Item Number:9 Date: 12/20/2016 JAPAN - CONTROVERSIAL U.S. BASE RELOCATION LIKELY TO RESUME AS COURT BACKS TOKYO'S DECISION (DEC 20/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Japan's Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Tokyo's relocation of a U.S. airbase on Okinawa, reports Agence France-Presse.   The central government has supported the building of a new U.S. Marine Corps base in a less populated area in Nago. The existing Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan is in a crowded residential area, noted the Kyodo news agency.   The Okinawan government, which wants the base off the island entirely, has attempted to block the move. As part of the effort, Gov. Takeshi Onaga rescinded the approval for reclamation work for the relocation that had been issued by his predecessor.   On Tuesday, the top court upheld a previous ruling made in September that found Onaga's decision illegal.   The Defense Ministry said it would resume work as soon as it was officially cleared
  Item Number:10 Date: 12/20/2016 LEBANON - CESSNA DONATED BY U.S. SEEN AS BOON IN FIGHTING MILITANTS, DEFENDING BORDERS (DEC 20/DAILYSTAR)  DAILY STAR -- The Lebanese army has taken delivery of a donated armed, light aircraft from the United States, reports the Daily Star (Beirut).   The Cessna L-403, armed with Hellfire anti-tank missiles, and day and night targeting systems was handed over on Monday in a ceremony at Rafik Hariri International Airport.   The handover is an aspect of Washington's efforts to enhance the capabilities of the Lebanese army to fight militancy and conduct border security missions.   The Cessna is part of a comprehensive package worth US$30 million, including maintenance and training, said U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard
Item Number:11 Date: 12/20/2016 MOLDOVA - DEFENSE MINISTER SALARU TO BE REPLACED (DEC 20/INT-AVN)  INTERFAX-MILITARY NEWS AGENCY -- The Moldovan government is preparing to remove its defense minister after he resigned from his political party, reports Interfax-AVN (Russia).   Anatol Salaru stepped down as the Liberal Party of Moldova's first deputy chairman earlier this month, as well as all of his positions in the party's administration.   The party then voted to remove Salaru from his posts.   Opposition members have been trying to dismiss Salaru for six months, because of the ongoing dismantling of Soviet monuments, anti-Russian rhetoric and calls to seek NATO membership.   President-elect Igor Dodon, who is considered pro-Russian and served under a 2006-2009 communist government, also indicated that he would replace Salaru.   The Liberal Party is part of the ruling Parliamentary coalition
  Item Number:12 Date: 12/20/2016 NORWAY - PRIVATIZING SUPPORT SERVICES SEEN AS MONEY-SAVER FOR MILITARY (DEC 20/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- The Norwegian military is examining privatization measures as a way to reduce costs and improve efficiency, reports Defense News.   The government recently approved a long-term defense plan that will produce US$4.62 billion in savings in defense over the next 20 years.   The next phase calls for the Norwegian Defense Forces Command to develop a plan to identify what non-core service areas could benefit from outsourcing to the private sector.   Areas provisionally identified include IT services; personnel training; administration; spare parts; and storage.   Outsourcing solutions must provide "financial savings advantages for the military organization" and the provision of services at a cost less than that currently provided by the military, said Adm. Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, the Norwegian defense chief.   At the same time, Oslo plans to add about US$19 billion to annual defense spending over the next two decades
  Item Number:13 Date: 12/20/2016 PHILIPPINES - AFTER DEAL WITH U.S. IS BLOCKED, CHINA OFFERS FREE PACKAGE (DEC 20/REU)  REUTERS -- The Chinese government is offering to donate a US$14 million military package to the Philippines.   The offer was made by Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua during a meeting on Monday with President Rodrigo Duterte, said Philippine Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday, as reported by Reuters.   "We might get some small arms, fast boats and night-vision goggles because US$14.4 million is not that much. We will finalize the deal before the end of the year and a technical working team will soon go there to look at the equipment," said the defense minister.   Beijing is also making a US$500 million long-term soft loan available for other equipment, he said.   The Chinese arms could be delivered by the second quarter of 2017, said Lorenzana.   The offer comes after a key U.S. senator said he would block the sale of 26,000 rifles to the Philippine police over human-rights concerns. The sale was halted in November when Sen. Ben Cordin (D.-Maryland), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, opposed it
  Item Number:14 Date: 12/20/2016 RUSSIA - OVER 30,000 SORTIES, AIR FORCE HAS KNOCKED OUT 62,000 TARGETS IN SYRIA, SAYS SENIOR GENERAL (DEC 20/TASS)  TASS -- Russia's military says it has destroyed more than 60,000 terrorist targets in Syria since its start of air operations about 15 months ago, reports Tass (Russia).   The Kremlin began providing air support to the Syrian government in September 2015 following a request from President Bashar Assad, noted a senior officer.   Since then, Russia's air force has flown 30,000 sorties over Syria, destroying 62,000 military targets, said Pavel Kurachenko, the deputy chief of the air force. He made his comments Tuesday at a conference in Moscow.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 12/20/2016 SYRIA - ARMY READY TO ENTER REBEL ENCLAVE IN ALEPPO (DEC 20/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- The Syrian army has told the remaining rebels in eastern Aleppo to leave the city, reports the BBC.   Military messages broadcast on Tuesday indicated that troops would enter the rebel enclave later in the day.   The evacuation of the rebel-held area of Aleppo is continuing. The International Red Cross said around 25,000 people had been moved.   Estimates of those remaining in the city vary from thousands to tens of thousands, noted Reuters.   A rebel official cited by the wire service said only half of the civilians who wanted to leave had done so. Fighters will remain until the civilians are evacuated, he said.   As part of the evacuation deal, people are being bused out of the rebel besieged government towns of Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province. Eight more buses left those predominately Shi'ite villages at dawn on Tuesday
  Item Number:16 Date: 12/20/2016 SYRIA - FRENCH-RUSSIAN DEAL AUTHORIZES U.N. EVACUATION MONITORS FOR ALEPPO (DEC 20/UNNS)  UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE -- The U.N. Security Council has asked the U.N. and other relevant institutions to perform "adequate, neutral monitoring and direct observation on evacuations from the eastern districts" of Aleppo in Syria, reports the U.N. News Service.   The resolution that was unanimously adopted on Monday also called for the U.N. to ensure further deployment of monitoring personnel and reporting on evacuations from the war-torn city.   The resolution was the result of a compromise reached through negotiation by France and Russia on Sunday, noted CBS News.   "Urgent humanitarian evacuations and assistance are now needed by a large number of Aleppo inhabitants," the Security Council noted, demanding that all parties provide the U.N. and its implementation partners with safe, immediate and unimpeded access to ensure humanitarian assistance reaches those who need it.   The resolution also calls on all parties to respect and protect all medical and humanitarian personnel
  Item Number:17 Date: 12/20/2016 TURKEY - POLICE OFFICER ASSASSINATES RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR IN ANKARA, SHOUTING 'DON'T FORGET ALEPPO' (DEC 20/NYT)  NEW YORK TIMES -- The Russian ambassador to Turkey has been assassinated in Ankara, reports the New York Times.   The gunman, identified as 22-year-old off-duty riot police officer Mevlut Altintas, opened fire on Ambassador Audrey Karlov on Tuesday. The ambassador was speaking at an art exhibit in the capital at the time.   The attack was recorded and photographed and the news of the incident quickly spread.   As he fired, the gunman yelled: "Allahu Akbar." (Arabic for Allah is greatest) and "Don't forget Aleppo, don't forget Syria," noted CNN.   The shooter was killed minutes later by Turkish special operations forces.   Police detained six people in the western province of Aydin over the attack, including Altintas' mother, father, sister, two other relatives and his flatmate, reported Reuters.   Karlov was a veteran diplomat who had served as the Soviet ambassador to North Korea for the 1980s. He was posted to Ankara in July 2013.  
  Item Number:18 Date: 12/20/2016 USA - COAST GUARD ACCEPTS CUTTER MUNRO NAMED FOR RECIPIENT OF MEDAL OF HONOR (DEC 20/USCG)  U.S. COAST GUARD -- The U.S. Coast Guard has taken delivery of its sixth Bertholf-class national security cutter from Huntington Ingalls Industries, reports the service.   The Munro (WMSL-755) was handed over on Friday at the Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.   The cutter is scheduled to set sail in February 2017 and will be commissioned in Seattle on April 1, 2017, said a Huntington Ingalls release. She will be stationed in Alameda, Calif.   The vessel is named after Signalman First Class Douglas Munro, who died on Sept. 27, 1942, during the Battle for Guadalcanal after he volunteered to evacuate a detachment of Marines facing destruction by an unanticipated enemy force.   Munro was mortally wounded after evacuating most of the Marines and maneuvering his boats to cover the last group leaving the beach. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and is the only Coast Guardsman to be awarded the Medal of Honor
Item Number:19 Date: 12/20/2016 USA - FOLLOWING 'ON-DECK EMERGENCY,' NAVY GROUNDS GROWLERS, SUPER HORNETS (DEC 20/NNS)  NAVY NEWSSTAND -- U.S. Naval Air Forces has temporarily suspended all flight operations of EA-18G Growler electronic attack and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jets following an accident in western Washington, reports the Navy NewsStand.   The move came after a Growler assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 132 (VAQ-132) experienced a mishap on Dec. 16, at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.   The aircraft was damaged and both crewmembers were injured, the Navy said.   Since the Growler and Super Hornet share common systems, Naval Air Forces, North Island, Calif., thought it prudent to ground both types, with exceptions based on operational requirements.   The ground emergency involved the Growler's canopy, a Naval Air Forces spokeswoman to the Navy Times. The incident is under investigation
Item Number:20 Date: 12/20/2016 USA - MONTH-LONG AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISE ALLIGATOR DAGGER CONTINUES OFF DJIBOUTI (DEC 20/MCT)  MARINE CORPS TIMES -- The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit is in the midst of a full-scale U.S. amphibious landing exercise off the coast of Djibouti, reports the Marine Corps Times.   The month-long Alligator Dagger drill involves the entire 2,400-strong air-ground task force and focuses on rapid responses to crises.   The exercise is taking place throughout December, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command noted on Dec. 8.   The Marines are operating from the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, including the amphibious assault ship Makin Island, dock landing ship Comstock and amphibious transport dock Somerset.   The training features amphibious assaults; maneuvering tanks and light armored vehicles; coordinating airstrikes; tactical recovery of aircraft; personnel drills; and visit, board, search and seizure operations.   The exercise is designed to improve the MEU's ability to serve as a quick-reaction force in the region.
 
 

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