DOWNLOADS &Things Of Interest

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fw: TheList 4343



The List 4343
To All,
A bit of history and some tidbits
Regards,
skip
 
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This Day In Naval History - December 21
1861 - Congress authorizes the Medal of Honor, the Nation's highest award, for Naval personnel.
1942: USS Seadragon (SS 194) sinks Japanese submarine I-4 between New Britain and New Ireland while I-4 is engaged in a resupply mission to Guadalcanal.
 
1943 - USS Grayling (SS-208) sinks fourth Japanese ship since 18 December.
1951 - First helicopter landing aboard a hospital ship, USS Consolation.
1968 - Launch of Apollo 8 with Captain James A. Lovell, Jr. as Command Module Pilot. During the mission Lovell was one of the first two people to see the far side of the moon. The mission lasted 6 days and 3 hours, and included 10 moon orbits. Recovery was by HS-4 helicopters from USS Yorktown (CVS-10).
From Washington's Crossing to Lincoln's Gift by W. Thomas Smith Jr.
12/21/2010
Trackback Link
 
This Week in American Military History:
 
Dec. 21, 1861:  The congressionally conceived "Medal of Honor" is signed into law authorizing such medals be awarded to enlisted sailors and Marines who "distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other seamanlike qualities." The Army version of the medal is signed into law the following summer.
 
Dec. 22, 1864:  Following his "March to the Sea" and just before his "March through the Carolinas," Union Army Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman presents the captured city of Savannah (Ga.) to Pres. Lincoln as a "Christmas gift."
 
 
Dec. 24, 1814:  The Treaty of Ghent is signed ending the War of 1812.
 
Dec. 25, 1776:  Continental Army Gen. George Washington conducts his famous crossing of the Delaware River from the icy Pennsylvania shoreline to the equally frozen banks of New Jersey. It will be followed by an eight-mile march to the town of Trenton where he will meet and defeat the Hessians (German soldiers allied to the British).
 
Speed of movement, surprise, maneuver, violence of action, and the plan's simplicity are all key. Fortunately, the elements will all come together.
 
The factors in Washington's favor are clear: The weather is so bad that no one believes the Continentals will attempt a river crossing, much less a forced march at night. The Continentals are numerically – and perceived to be qualitatively – inferior to the British Army. The Hessians, mercenaries allied to the British and who are garrisoned in Trenton, have a battlefield reputation that far exceeds their actual combat prowess. And no one believes the weary Americans will want to attempt anything with anyone on Christmas.
 
Hours before kickoff, Washington has his officers read to the men excerpts of Thomas Paine's The American Crisis.
 
By 4:00 p.m. the force of just under 2,500 men gathers at McKonkey's Ferry, the launching point for the mission. The watchword, "Victory or death," is given. As darkness sets in, the men climb into the boats and begin easing out into the black river.
 
Washington's crossing and subsequent raid has been dubbed "America's first special operation" in some military circles: Though there were many small-unit actions, raids, and Ranger operations during the Colonial Wars, and there was a special Marine landing in Nassau in the early months of the American Revolution. Still no special operation in American military history has been more heralded than that which took place on Christmas night exactly 237 years ago, this week.
 
December 21
68
Vespian, a gruff-spoken general of humble origins, enters Rome and is named emperor by the Senate.
1620
The Pilgrims land at or near Plymouth Rock.
1708
French forces seize control of the eastern shore of Newfoundland after winning a victory at St. John's.
1790
Samuel Slater opens the first cotton mill in the United States (in Rhode Island).
1862
The U.S. Congress authorizes the Medal of Honor to be awarded to Navy personnel who have distinguished themselves by their gallantry in action.
1866
Indians, led by Red Cloud and Crazy Horse, kill Captain William J. Fetterman and 79 other men who had ventured out from Fort Phil Kearny to cut wood.
1910
Over 2.5 million plague victims are reported in the An-Hul province of China.
1928
President Calvin Coolidge signs the Boulder Dam bill.
1944
German troops surround the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne in Belgium.
1945
General George S. Patton dies at the age of 60 after being injured in a car accident.
1946
An earthquake and tidal wave kill hundreds in Japan.
1963
The Turk minority riots in Cyprus to protest anti-Turkish revisions in the constitution.
1964
Great Britain's House of Commons votes to ban the death penalty.
1965
Four pacifists are indicted in New York for burning draft cards — Thomas C. Cornell, 31, co-secretary of the Catholic Peace Fellowship; Roy Lisker, 27, a volunteer of the Catholic Worker Movement; James E. Wilson, 21, a volunteer at the Catholic Worker Movement and a member of the Fellowship for Reconciliation; and M P, Edelman, a full-time worker for the War Resisters League.
1969
American draft evaders gather for a holiday dinner in Montreal, Canada.
1986
500,000 Chinese students gather in Shanghai's People's Square calling for democratic reforms, including freedom of the press.
1988
Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York explodes in midair over Lockerbie, Scotland, an hour after departure. All 259 passengers were killed in the explosion caused by a bomb-- hidden inside an audio cassette player -- that detonated inside the cargo area when the plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet. A shower of airplane parts falling from the sky also killed 11 Lockerbie residents.
1994
Popocatepetl, a volcano in Mexico spews forth gases and ash after nearly a half-century of dormancy.
1995
The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.
2004
A suicide bomber attacks the forward operating base next to the US military airfield at Mosul, Iraq, killing 22 people; it is the deadliest suicide attack on US soldiers during the Iraq War.
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Thanks to Carl
 
When Patton Rolled Tanks Over Veterans in Washington, D.C.
The White House wanted thousands of angry former soldiers gone
 
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Thanks to Carl
(Guess they realized a new "sheriff" was coming to town?  Think this would have happened if Hillary had won?  Now, to rid the senior PC "leadership" that went along with this insanity!!  AMF scumbag Mabus!!!)
 
Good News Thanks to Clyde. A  step in the right direction
  Navy leaders are reversing their controversial decision to eliminate sailors' ratings and will restore job titles across the fleet, according to a Navy message set for release Wednesday.

Effective immediately, enlisted sailors will officially regain their ratings, the traditional job titles that have inspired a deep cultural loyalty and that have defined enlisted career tracks for generations, Navy officials said.

The move comes three months after the Navy stunned sailors around the world in September by eliminated ratings titles, including those such as boatswain's mate that dated back to the founding of the service.

The extraordinarily rare move comes after a fierce backlash from the fleet that became a distraction from the Navy's broader effort to reform the antiquated personnel system, Navy officials said.

Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, called it a "course correction" and acknowledged the overwhelmingly negative reaction from the fleet was a key factor in the decision.

"We have learned from you, and so effective immediately, all rating names are restored," Richardson wrote in a Navy message set for release Wednesday. A copy of the message was obtained by Navy Times Tuesday.

Cmdr. Chris Servello, Richardson's spokesman, confirmed Tuesday night that the Navy planned to restore ratings Wednesday and that a fleet-wide message from the CNO would be released online in the morning, along with more details from CNO and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven Giordano.
 
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Thanks to Carl…..What!!! No cool X-wing fighter…Just a Q-ball…bummer
EM Drive is an "impossible" spacecraft engine that generates thrust from the quantum vacuum, using no moving parts and producing no exhaust – NaturalNews.com
 
 

EM Drive is an "impossible" spacecraft engine that generates thrust from the quantum vacuum, using no moving parts and producing no exhaust

Monday, December 19, 2016 by: Mike Adams
(NaturalNews) I'm a fan of physicist Richard Feynman, and one of his most memorable quotes explains that "Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts."
Indeed, the "experts" of science are so often wrong that it makes their arrogance laughable, and today we have yet another example of an emerging, unexplained technology that's sending physicists back to the drawing board to rewrite the supposed "laws" of how the universe works.
The technology in question is called the EM Drive, and it's an "impossible" spacecraft propulsion device that produces real thrust while emitting nothing (i.e. no exhaust) and having no moving parts. "The EM Drive (Electro Magnetic Drive) uses electromagnetic microwave cavities to directly convert electrical energy to thrust without the need to expel any propellant," explains Hacked.com. "[Harold G. White, a scientist] proposes that the EM Drive's thrust is due to virtual particles in the quantum vacuum that behave like propellant ions in magneto-hydrodynamical propulsion systems, extracting 'fuel' from the very fabric of space-time and eliminating the need to carry propellant."
Invented by engineering pioneer Roger Shawyer nearly 15 years ago, the EM Drive has long been ridiculed by "mainstream" scientists in much the same way that cold fusion (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions) have also been widely ridiculed by hot fusion academics.
Yet Shawyer may have the last laugh after all. Martin Tajmar, the Director of Institute and Head of Space Systems at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany, has just reproduced the thrust measurements of the seemingly "impossible" thrust device, conducting his experiment in a vacuum that mimics the environment of space. He presented his findings at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics' Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition in 2015. You can see his EM Drive talk listed in the event brochure at this link.

EMDrive appears to violate the laws of known physics… but it also appears to work

"Our measurements reveal thrusts as expected from previous claims after carefully studying thermal and electromagnetic interferences," says the science paper. Tests were also conducted in a high vacuum: "We used this setup to test an EMDrive for the first time in high vacuum down to 4×10 -6 mbar observing similar thrusts (although at somewhat lower power levels) ruling out any air influence in this configuration."
As the document explains, numerous experiments have already apparently confirmed the thrust operation of this "impossible" engine that appears to violate the known laws of physics:
Some years ago, Shawyer claimed to have invented yet another type of propellantless propulsion system called EMDrive that only uses onboard electrical power similar to the photon rocket, but with orders of magnitude more thrust and without the need of another satellite. If true, this could certainly revolutionize space travel.
It must be noted that Shawyers analysis and claims are highly controversial (e.g. Ref. 9) as this would obviously violate the conservation of momentum (pushing against itself) following his theory. Aside from the theoretical concept, most interesting are the experimental claims that have been published to date. Shawyer tested the
EMDrive on a balance in the upwards and downwards direction observing weight changes (=thrusts) close to his theoretical predictions using precise Q factor measurements with 16 mN using 850 W of microwave power – <b>close to 5600 times larger than expected from pure classical radiation thrust</b>. He claimed to have done checks for thermal and electromagnetic influence. Later testing was done on a torsion balance using air bearings where he observed rotation of the complete apparatus with all electronics and power supplies on-board.
Independent tests were carried out in China by Yang et al10-12 who tested the EMDrive on a force-feedback thrust stand and achieved up to 720 mN of thrust with 1000 W microwave power with even higher Q factors compared to Shawyer. Most recently, Brady et al tested the concept on a torsion balance at NASA with a (micro)N resolution obtaining thrusts of 50 (micro)N using only 20 W of RF power. The microwave electronics were mounted on the balance and power was fed using liquid metal contacts. Strong magnets were used for eddy current damping of the balance and a laser interferometer for monitoring the balance movement. Testing was quite limited (only a few test runs performed, no thruster direction reversal) and interaction with the magnetic damping during operation of the thruster was observed – however below the EMDrive thrust values. A null measurement was performed using a resistor
instead of the EMDrive.

UK media begins to report on the EM Drive

I've been watching this story for over a year, waiting for another laboratory confirmation of the thrust values. To my surprise, the UK media has begun to pick up on this development, too.
"The drive is capable of producing thrust several thousand times greater than a standard photon rocket and could get to Mars within 70 days or Pluto within 18 months," reports the Telegraph. "A trip to Alpha Centauri, which would take tens of thousands of years to reach right now, could be reached in just 100 years."
The Telegraph goes on to say:
Shawyer also claims that he is just a few months away from publishing new results confirming that his drive works in a peer reviewed journal.
However scientists still have no idea how it actually works. Nasa suggested that it could have something to do with the technology manipulating subatomic particles which constantly pop in and out of existence in empty space.
Prof Tajmer presented his findings to the 2015 American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics' Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition this week.

Known science blown away by a breakthrough that no one understands

One of the reasons I love to cover this sort of news is because it reinforces the all-important idea that arrogant scientists aren't fooling Mother Nature. It's nice to see arrogant scientists humbled from time to time by new, emerging phenomena they can't explain.
Richard Feynman understood this. He was brilliant but humble, always fascinated by the mysteries of nature. Feynman fully realized that even his own vast knowledge of physics was little more than a spec of dust compared to the realm of knowledge and yet to be explored.
Today, far too many scientists have abandoned the very idea that anything new might yet be discovered. They think they know everything already… that "science" has reached a plateau of absolute truth from which zero divergence is tolerated. But that isn't science… it's dogma. Real science is the practice of intentionally pursuing new knowledge even when you realize that new discoveries might render your existing "scientific" beliefs obsolete.
"New science," as it's often described, enters the realm of quantum physics and even the influence of the observer (intention) on outcomes in the apparent physical universe. As the research document shown above explains, "Nasa suggested that it could have something to do with the technology manipulating subatomic particles which constantly pop in and out of existence in empty space."
Such ideas frighten conventional, old-school scientists who are terrified of real discoveries because they might threaten their sacred dogma. The idea that a device which emits nothing might produce enormous thrust that could revolutionize space travel just isn't a concept most scientists are willing to entertain… even if it might arguably be one of human civilization's most important inventions ever. (The implications for colonization of other worlds are staggering… this could be the technology that takes humanity from a vulnerable, single-planet species to a galactic civilization.)
For that reason alone, the EM Drive will be viciously attacked by old-school physicists and stodgy, cognitively constipated scientists. The idea that their faith-based scientific beliefs might be overwritten by new expansions in human understanding simply infuriates them. So they lash out and attack the pioneers to tear them down, suppressing the advancement of science while simultaneously protecting their "intellectual territory" and industry influence.

Why future spaceships will look more like Death Stars than X-Wing Fighters

By the way, if the EM Drive proves workable, all those sci-fi films that depict spaceships producing visible, fiery thrust will suddenly be outmoded. In the future of space travel with EM Drives, there are no visible engines. Even better, a spaceship need not have any predetermined thrust orientation, since EM Drives could be built on internal gimbals deep inside the ship and pointed in any direction to produce thrust in that direction. You don't need to mount them on the perimeter of the ship, in other words. They can be internal. This also means spaceships do not have to "turn" to alter their direction of thrust. It also means communications gear on the outside of such craft can be permanently oriented toward Earth, making communications far easier to maintain.
As a scientist myself, I can also tell you this means such ships will be built as spherical machines in order to mount the EM Drive engines in the center of mass (for all sorts of obvious reasons involving the laws of physics). Thus, future spaceships will look more like mini Death Stars than X-Wing fighters. There is no air in space. "Wings" are not necessary. Essentially, every spaceship you've seen in Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica is completely wrong.

Additional sources for this story include:

 
 
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Item Number:1 Date: 12/21/2016 ANGOLA - TOP GENERAL OPENS MILITARY FACILITY IN LUBANGO (DEC 21/APA)  ANGOLA PRESS AGENCY -- The Angolan armed forces have a new military facility in Lubango, Huila province, as part of the Southern Military Region, reports the Angola Press Agency.   Gen. Geraldo Sachipengo Nunda, the chief of the General Staff of the armed forces, presided over the opening ceremony on Dec. 17.   The new facility includes technical and professional training rooms for staff as well as logistics, engineering, artillery, military intelligence and other units, said the nation's official news agency.   The complex is expected to enhance the activities of the army in the region, said the general.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 12/21/2016 ARGENTINA - AGREEMENT BETWEEN U.K., ARGENTINA SEEKS TO IDENTIFY 123 ARGENTINE TROOPS KILLED DURING FALKLANDS WAR (DEC 21/IBT)  INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES -- Officials from the United Kingdom and Argentina have agreed to try to identify the bodies of more than 100 Argentine soldiers killed during the 1982 Falklands War, reports the International Business Times.   The deal signed Tuesday was brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross. It covers the identification of 123 Argentine soldiers buried on the Falkland Islands. During the two-month war, 649 Argentine and 255 British soldiers were killed.   The Red Cross will collect DNA samples from the remains. Work is expected to take place between June and August 2017, reported Argentina's Telam news agency.   Both countries also agreed to try to link more flights to the Falklands, which are about 435 miles off the coast of southern Argentina. London considers the islands to be British overseas territory.   The two countries have had strained relations over the islands for decades. Argentina continues to claim sovereignty over the islands.  
  Item Number:3 Date: 12/21/2016 DEM REP OF CONGO - SOUTH AFRICAN PEACEKEEPER KILLED IN SHOOTOUT WITH MAYI MAYI FIGHTERS (DEC 21/UNNS)  UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE -- A South African peacekeeper and a member of the Congolese national police have been killed while battling an armed group in the North Kivu province in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, reports the U.N. News Service.   The personnel died during a gunfight with suspected members of a Mayi Mayi armed group. Two other South African peacekeepers were injured, according to a statement from the U.N. secretary-general's office.   The Mayi Mayi are local armed groups formed for self-defense who have also become involved in a range of illegal activities.   Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack and urged the Congolese authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.  
  Item Number:4 Date: 12/21/2016 ESTONIA - LAWMAKERS PASS RECORD DEFENSE BUDGET, UP 7.6 PERCENT (DEC 21/BNS)  BALTIC NEWS SERVICE -- The Estonian Parliament has passed the 2017 budget, including a defense budget increase, reports the Baltic News Service.   Passed on Dec. 19, the overall budget is 9.65 billion euros (US$10.1 billion), a 7.6 percent increase.   Defense spending will increase by 28 million euros (US$29 million) to 477 million euros (US$498 million), a new record that reaches 2.17 percent of GDP, reported Reuters.   Continued work to enhance infrastructure on the border with Russia is expected to cost 20 million euros (US$21 million).   The defense budget also includes additional funds for hosting NATO troops who rotate to Estonia.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 12/21/2016 GERMANY - MANHUNT UNDERWAY FOR TUNISIAN MAN CONNECTED TO BERLIN TRUCK ATTACK (DEC 21/GUARDIAN)  GUARDIAN -- German police are now searching for a Tunisian man linked to a deadly truck attack in Berlin, reported the Guardian (U.K.), citing domestic media.   The German papers Allgemeine Zeitung and Bild say the man uses several names and is either 21 or 23.   On Monday, a man rammed a truck into a Christmas market in Germany's capital, killing 12 people and injuring 49. The Islamic State claimed it inspired the attack.   A Pakistani asylum-seeker who was arrested as a suspect was released on Tuesday after police acknowledged they had caught the wrong man.   The identity papers of the Tunisian suspect were found inside the cabin of the truck used in the attack, said a German security official on Wednesday, as cited by CNN.   A police operation is underway in North Rhine-Westphalia state where the permit was issued, reported the BBC.   Investigators believe the Tunisian suspect is linked to a pro-ISIS network operating in Germany, a security official told CNN
Item Number:6 Date: 12/21/2016 GERMANY - TROOPS IN MALI FACE POOR CONDITIONS, SAYS GERMAN ARMY UNION; PLANNING CALLED INTO QUESTION (DEC 21/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- Germany's military union (DBwV) as well as several lawmakers have harshly criticized Berlin's approach to its participation in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, reports Deutsche Welle.   The union accused the government of making similar mistakes to those in Afghanistan, including lacking a well-coordinated plan.   Andre Wustner, the head of the DBwV, called for the government to conduct a broad, interdepartmental review of the military mission in Mali.   That mission suffers from a lack of coordination, regulated access to water and poor communication with civilian aid organizations, said Hans-Peter Bartels, the head of the Parliament's defense committee and who is a member of the Social Democratic Party.   The stabilization mission in Mali is one of the U.N.'s most dangerous and could easily deteriorate into chaos, as occurred in Afghanistan, said Bartels.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 12/21/2016 INDONESIA - BOMBS FOUND DURING COUNTERTERROR RAID OUTSIDE JAKARTA (DEC 21/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- Indonesian police say they have killed three suspected Islamic State-linked militants on the outskirts of the nation's capital, reports the Wall Street Journal.   On Wednesday, counterterror officers raided a house in a residential compound in Tangerang, 25 km (15 miles) west of Jakarta, said police, as reported by Deutsche Welle.   Three men refused to surrender and threw explosives and opened fire, said police. Another suspect had been arrested before the raid; he led police to the house.   The militants allegedly planned to stab police officers to draw a crowd before sending suicide bombers. Five bombs were found at the house, said a police spokesman.   Police believe the suspects were connected with an ISIS-linked cell arrested earlier this month.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 12/21/2016 IRAQ - BOMBS KILL 7 AT OFFICES OF IRANIAN KURDS; IRGC SUSPECTED (DEC 21/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- Several people have been killed and 15 wounded in a twin bomb attack in northern Iraq at the headquarters of an Iranian Kurdish party, reports Deutsche Welle, citing security sources.   A parked motorbike and an explosive device were blown up late Tuesday near the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) headquarters in the town of Joy Sanjaq, east of the regional capital Erbil, reported the BBC.   Five PDKI fighters, a local Iraqi Kurdish security member and a child were killed, said the party.   Iraqi Kurdish security officials and the PDKI blamed Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for the bombing.   The PDKI seeks autonomy for predominately Kurdish areas in northwestern Iran. It clashed with Iranian forces in June and July, leaving several dead, noted the BBC
Item Number:9 Date: 12/21/2016 ITALY - AIR FORCE GETS ITS 1ST G550 AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING AIRCRAFT (DEC 21/IAI)  ISRAEL AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES -- The Italian air force has taken delivery of the first of two G550 conformal airborne early warning and control system (CAEW) aircraft from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).   The aircraft was handed over during a Monday ceremony at IAI facilities in Israel, the company said in a release.   The second G550 CAEW is scheduled to be delivered in 2017.   The aircraft are equipped with conformal radars installed in the sides as well as advanced mission systems, including electronic intelligence, self-defense and advanced communications.   The 2012 contract was a bilateral government-to-government agreement in which Israel bought 30 Leonardo Aermacchi M-346 jet trainers, noted FlightGlobal
Item Number:10 Date: 12/21/2016 JAPAN - U.S. POSEIDON MARITIME AIRCRAFT DAMAGED IN TOWING MISHAP AT OKINAWA BASE (DEC 21/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- U.S. Navy officials say a Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft has been damaged when it hit a tow truck at a military base in Japan, as reported by the Stars and Stripes.   The collision took place early Monday when the maritime surveillance plane was being pulled by the truck at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, said Navy officials on Wednesday.   The strike caused minor damage to the aircraft's nose gear and lower fuselage, a Navy statement said.   The accident was at least initially classified as a "Class A" mishap, reported the Kyodo news agency. That denotes an accident resulting in loss of life, permanent total disability or destruction and damage of an aircraft worth US$2 million or more.   U.S. officials did not confirm that report on Wednesday. Classification of accidents are subject to change after investigation.  
 Item Number:11 Date: 12/21/2016 JORDAN - 4 OFFICERS DIE IN KARAK SECURITY OPERATION (DEC 21/JOTIMES)  JORDAN TIMES -- A clash between Jordanian security personnel and suspected terrorists on Tuesday has left at least four police officers and one suspect dead, reports the Jordan Times.   On Tuesday night, security forces raided an apartment in the southern governorate of Karak, reported Petra, the national news agency.   On Sunday, there was a terror attack in Karak claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group. During that episode, militants killed at least 10 people before holing up inside a historic castle.   During the operation on Tuesday, a search was made connected to Sunday's attack -- leading to the death of one suspect and the arrest of another.   According to one source, the suspect who surrendered said he was part of the cell responsible for Sunday's attack. He then led officers to a hideout where the officers were ambushed
Item Number:12 Date: 12/21/2016 KAZAKHSTAN - SECURITY SERVICE MAKES MULTIPLE RAIDS, ARRESTS 16 FROM BANNED ISLAMIST GROUP (DEC 21/RFE/RL)  RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY -- Kazakh security personnel say they have arrested 16 suspected members of a banned Islamic group, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.   Kazakhstan's state service, known as the National Security Committee, said on Wednesday that its personnel raided suspected cells of the Takfir wal-Hirjra militant group.   There were raids in Almaty, Aqtobe and and Atyrau regions, said the security body.   The militant group's members sympathized with "the actions of terrorists in Iraq and Syria and, in general, reject secular government and constitutional laws" and were "inciting religious hatred," said the service, as cited by Reuters.   Established in Egypt in the 1960s, Takfir wal-Hijra (Excommunication and Exodus) was banned in Kazakhstan in 2014
Item Number:13 Date: 12/21/2016 LIBYA - AFTER 495 STRIKES, AFRICOM ENDS ANTI-ISIS CAMPAIGN IN LIBYA (DEC 21/AFRICOM)  AFRICA COMMAND -- The U.S. military has ended its air operation against the Islamic State in Libya.   Operation Odyssey Lightning ran from Aug. 1 to Dec. 19, said a statement released on Tuesday by the U.S. Africa Command.   The operation was aimed at helping forces loyal to the United Nations-backed government based in Tripoli to drive ISIS terrorists from the coastal city of Sirte.   During the operation, the U.S. carried out 495 strikes against vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, heavy guns, tanks, command-and-control centers and ISIS fighting positions, said the statement.   Washington will continue to help Libyans "counter the evolving threat" of ISIS, said AFRICOM
Item Number:14 Date: 12/21/2016 SOUTH KOREA - SEOUL HOSTS ANGOLAN DEFENSE MINISTER FOR INITIAL MILITARY COOPERATION TALKS (DEC 21/YON)  YONHAP -- For the first time since their governments established diplomatic relations 24 years ago, the defense ministers of Angola and South Korea have met to discuss military cooperation, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   Defense Minister Han Min-koo and his Angolan counterpart, Joao Lourenco, on Monday in Seoul talked about issues such as defense industry cooperation and exchanges of high-ranking military officials, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry.   Lourenco arrived in South Korea on Sunday for a four-day visit to the capital.   Han also briefed Lourenco on the situation on the Korean peninsula.   The Angolan minister also expressed interest in boosting naval cooperation.   The government in Angola has maintained cooperative relations with North Korea, Seoul's rival, since 1976. However, following the North's fourth nuclear test earlier this year, Luanda has played a key role in implementing U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang
  Item Number:15 Date: 12/21/2016 SYRIA - TURKISH-BACKED REBELS MAKE GAINS NEAR ISIS-HELD AL-BAB (DEC 21/REU)  REUTERS -- Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have advanced on the Islamic State-held Syrian town of al-Bab, reports Reuters, citing Turkish military sources.   The town is about 25 km (15 miles) from the Turkish border, noted the Al-Alam news network (Iran).   Fighters from the Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish ground and air support, have gained full control of the highway linking the town to Aleppo, the Turkish military said on Wednesday.   The FSA has also gained control over the strategic area around the town's hospital, which has been used as a weapons and ammunition store by ISIS, said the Turkish army.   Four Turkish soldiers have reportedly been killed and 15 wounded in recent fighting.   Turkish airstrikes on Wednesday destroyed more 24 ISIS targets and killed more than 40 militants, according to the army
  Item Number:16 Date: 12/21/2016 UKRAINE - HEAVY FIGHTING IN EAST RESULTS IN DEATHS OF 5 UKRAINIAN TROOPS (DEC 21/UNIAN)  UNIAN NEWS AGENCY -- A top officer says at least five Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 16 wounded in recent fighting with Russian-backed militants in the eastern Donetsk region, reports the Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (UNIAN).   The battle led to the largest single loss of life for Ukrainian soldiers in five months, noted the Washington Post.   Russian-supported forces conducted three fire raids on Sunday, each lasting from three to six hours, Lt. Gen. Oleksandr Sirisky, the head of the Joint Operations Staff for the Ukrainian armed forces, said on Monday.   During this period, 34 122-mm rounds and 694 120-mm and 80-mm mortar bombs were fired at Ukrainian government units, said the general.   The militants reportedly fired from the village of Kalynivka and the towns of Vuhlehirsk and Debaltseve.   Initial reports indicated that around 20 militants had been killed and 30 wounded.   The Russian-backed forces attempted to break through Ukrainian government lines, said the Post.   Shelling in the Svitlodarsk area resumed on Monday night, the newspaper said
Item Number:17 Date: 12/21/2016 USA - NATIONAL SECURITY CUTTER KIMBALL LAUNCHED IN PASCAGOULA; NAMESAKE HEADED FORERUNNER OF USCG (DEC 21/USCG)  U.S. COAST GUARD -- A Mississippi shipyard has launched the seventh Bertholf-class national security cutter for the U.S. Coast Guard, the service reports.   The Kimball (WMSL-756) was put into the water on Dec. 17 at the Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, said the USCG in a release.   The cutter is scheduled to be christened in March 2017 and delivered in 2018. She will be the first national security cutter to be stationed in Honolulu.   The vessel is named after Sumner Kimball, who was appointed the chief of the Treasury Dept.'s Revenue Marine Division in 1871. Kimball set up a training school for young officers that later developed into the Coast Guard Academy and reformed the Revenue Cutter Service.   Kimball also merged the network of volunteer lifesaving stations in the U.S. Life-Saving Service and served as its general superintendent. The service merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to become the modern Coast Guard in 1915
Item Number:18 Date: 12/21/2016 USA - NAVY AWARDS CONTRACT FOR FORT LAUDERDALE, LAST SAN ANTONIO-CLASS AMPHIB (DEC 21/USNIN)  USNI NEWS -- The U.S. Navy has awarded Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss., a contract modification to build the 12th and last San Antonio-class amphibious ship, reports USNI News.   Announced on Dec. 19, the $1.46 billion deal allows construction to begin on the Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28), with delivery anticipated for 2021, said shipyard officials.   The Navy initially planned to buy 11 ships in the class, but Congress funded a 12th with support from the U.S. Marine Corps.   The latest work will also help keep the production line at the Pascagoula shipyard hot for the expected LX(R) program to replace the Navy's aging dock landing ships (LSDs).   The Fort Lauderdale will serve as a transition platform between the San Antonio class and the LX(R), which will be based on the type's hull form
Item Number:19 Date: 12/21/2016 USA - TREASURY BLACKLISTS RUSSIAN BUSINESSMEN, COMPANIES OVER CRIMEA ANNEXATION (DEC 21/NYT)  NEW YORK TIMES -- The U.S. Treasury Dept. has placed sanctions against Russian businessmen and companies for dealings in Crimea and Ukraine.   Treasury blacklisted seven individuals and eight corporate entities involved in projects in Crimea or linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, reported the New York Times.   The sanctions also target two ships that have transported fuel to and from Crimea.   "Today's action is in response to Russia's unlawful occupation of Crimea [in 2014] and continued aggression in Ukraine," said a Treasury official in a statement on Tuesday.   Moscow described the U.S. move as a "hostile act," as noted by Reuters.   The Treasury sanctions ban American individuals or companies from doing business with the entities
  Item Number:20 Date: 12/21/2016 VENEZUELA - TROOPS DISPATCHED TO PUT DOWN LOOTING; MADURO BLAMES OBAMA FOR RIOTS OVER CURRENCY MANIPULATION (DEC 21/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- The Venezuelan government has sent 3,000 troops to the southeastern Bolivar state to stop looting, reports the Wall Street Journal.   Looting, rioting and protests broke out as a reaction to the elimination of the nation's most-used currency bill.   Looters particularly targeted Chinese immigrants who own many of the grocery stores in the state capital, Ciudad Bolivar, and nearby towns.   On Monday, Beijing called on Venezuela to protect Chinese immigrants and their property. China is an important economic ally.   Markets, hardware stores and clothing shops were also attacked.   President Nicolas Maduro voided the 100-bolivar bank note last week to fight what he described as currency speculation.   As a result, many Venezuelans found that their money was worthless. The government then failed to deliver new, bigger bank notes by Dec. 16.   In response to the rioting, Maduro delayed the implementation of the bank note ban until Jan. 2. The president blamed the violence on a "macabre" plot by U.S. President Barack Obama intended to create "chaos," reported CBS News.
 

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