Friday, May 12, 2017

TheList 4453


The List 4453


Unable to include photos

To All,
I hope that your week has been going well.
Regards,
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This Day In Naval History - May 11
1862 - CSS Virginia blown up by Confederates to prevent capture.
1898: During the Spanish-American War, Marines and Sailors from USS Marblehead (C 11) and USS Nashville (PG 7) cut the trans-oceanic cable near Cienfuegos, Cuba, isolating Cuba from Spain. For heroism during this action, 54 Marines and Sailors received the Medal of Honor.
1943 - Naval task force lands Army troops on Attu, Aleutians.
1965 - U.S. destroyers deliver first shore bombardment of Vietnam War.
 
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Today in History May 11
1573
Henry of Anjou becomes the first elected king of Poland.
1689
French and English navies battle at Bantry Bay.
1690
In the first major engagement of King William's War, British troops from Massachusetts seize Port Royal in Acadia (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) from the French.
1745
French forces defeat an Anglo-Dutch-Hanoverian army at Fontenoy.
1792
The Columbia River is discovered by Captain Robert Gray.
1812
British Prime Minster Spencer Perceval is shot by a bankrupt banker in the lobby of the House of Commons.
1857
1858
Minnesota is admitted as the 32nd U.S. state.
1860
Giuseppe Garibaldi lands at Marsala, Sicily.
1862
Confederates scuttle the CSS Virginia off Norfolk, Virginia.
1864
Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart is mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern.
1960
Israeli soldiers capture Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires.
1967
The Siege of Khe Sanh ends with the base is still in American hands.
 
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Thanks to Mugs
The Story of "Bad Angel": Pima Air and Space Museum
Now here's a story!
Another bit of WW2 history that's mostly unknown.............
         The Story of "Bad Angel": Pima Air and Space Museum
On the Saturday following Thanksgiving 2013, Ms. Karen, my 94-year-old father, Bill Gressinger, and I were visiting Pima Air and Space Museum.
We were in Hanger #4 to view the beautifully restored B-29, when I happened to take notice of a P-51 Mustang near the big bomber. It's name ? "Bad Angel".
P-51 Mustang "Bad Angel" in Hanger #4 at Pima Air and Space Museum.
I was admiring its aerodynamic lines and recalled enough history to know that until the Mustangs came into service, the skies over the Pacific Ocean were dominated by Japanese Zeros.
Then something very strange caught my eye. Proudly displayed on the fuselage of ?Bad Angel? were the markings of the pilot's kills: seven Nazis; one Italian; one Japanese AND ONE AMERICAN. Huh? "Bad Angel" shot down an American airplane?
Kill marks on "Bad Angel".
Was it a terrible mistake? Couldn't be. If it had been an unfortunate misjudgment, certainly the pilot would not have displayed the American flag.
I knew there had to be a good story here. Fortunately for us, one of the Museum's many fine docents was on hand to tell it. Read Less
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In 1942, the United States needed pilots for its war planes lots of war planes; lots of pilots. Lt. Louis Curdes was one. When he was 22 years old, he graduated flight training school and was shipped off to the Mediterranean to fight Nazis in the air over Southern Europe.
Lt. Louis Curdes.
He arrived at his 82nd Fighter Group, 95th Fighter Squadron in April 1943 and was assigned a P-38 Lightning. Ten days later he shot down three German Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighters.
A few weeks later, he downed two more German Bf -109's. In less than a month of combat, Louis was an Ace.
During the next three months, Louis shot down an Italian Mc.202 fighter and two more Messerschmitts before his luck ran out. A German fighter shot down his plane on August 27,  1943 over Salerno, Italy.
Captured by the Italians, he was sent to a POW camp near Rome. No doubt this is where he thought he would spend the remaining years of the war. It wasn't to be. A few days later, the Italians surrendered. Louis and a few other pilots escaped before the Nazis could take control of the camp.
One might think that such harrowing experiences would have taken the fight out of Louis, yet he volunteered for another combat tour. This time, Uncle Sam sent him to the Philippines where he flew P-51 Mustangs.
Soon after arriving in the Pacific Theater, Louis downed a Mitsubishi reconnaissance plane near Formosa. Now he was one of only three Americans to have kills against all three Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Pilot Lt. Louis Curdes in his P-51 Mustang "Bad Angel".
Up until this point, young Lt. Curdes combat career had been stellar. His story was about to take a twist so bizarre that it seems like the fictional creation of a Hollywood screenwriter.
While attacking the Japanese-held island of Batan, one of Louis wingmen was shot down. The pilot ditched in the ocean. Circling overhead, Louis could see that his wingman had survived, so he stayed in the area to guide a rescue plane and protect the downed pilot.
It wasn't long before he noticed another, larger airplane, wheels down, preparing to land at the Japanese-held airfield on Batan. He moved in to investigate. Much to his surprise the approaching plane was a Douglas C-47 transport with American markings.
He tried to make radio contact, but without success. He maneuvered his Mustang in front of the big transport several times trying to wave it off. The C-47 kept to its landing target.
Lt. Curdes read the daily newspaper accounts of the war, including the viciousness of the Japanese soldiers toward their captives. He knew that whoever was in that American C-47 would be, upon landing, either dead or wish they were.  But what could he do?
Audaciously, he lined up his P-51 directly behind the transport, carefully sighted one of his .50 caliber machine guns and knocked out one of its two engines. Still the C-47 continued on toward the Batan airfield. Curdes shifted his aim slightly and knocked out the remaining engine, leaving the baffled pilot no choice but to ditch in the ocean
One of "Bad Angel's" .50 caliber machine guns built into it wings.
The big plane came down in one piece about 50 yards from his bobbing wingman. At this point, nightfall and low fuel forced Louis to return to base.
The next morning, Louis flew cover for a rescuing PBY that picked up the downed Mustang pilot and 12 passengers and crew, including two female nurses, from the C-47. All survived.
.50 caliber ammo for P-51 Mustangs.
For shooting down an unarmed American transport plane, Lt. Louis Curdes was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Thereafter, on the fuselage of his P-51 "Bad Angel", he proudly displayed the symbols of his kills: seven German, one Italian, one Japanese and one American flag.
 
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Interesting facts on China
 
LBN-INVESTIGATES: China

1. The modern word "China" most likely derives from the name of the Qin (pronounced "chin") dynasty. First Emperor Qin Shi Huang (260-210 B.C.) of the Qin dynasty first unified China in 221 B.C., beginning an Imperial period which would last until A.D. 1912.
 
2. China is often considered the longest continuous civilization, with some historians marking 6000 B.C. as the dawn of Chinese civilization. It also has the world's longest continuously used written language.
 
3. China is the fourth largest country in the world (after Russia, Canada, and the U.S.). It has an area of 3,719,275 square miles (slightly smaller than the U.S.) and its borders with other countries total more than 117,445 miles. Approximately 5,000 islands lie off the Chinese coast.
 
4. One in every five people in the world is Chinese. China's population is estimated to reach a whopping 1,338,612,968 by July 2009. China's population is four times that of the United States.
 
5. Fortune cookies are not a traditional Chinese custom. They were invented in 1920 by a worker in the Key Heong Noodle Factory in San Francisco.
 
6. China is also known as the "Flowery Kingdom" and many of the fruits and flowers (such as the orange and orchid) are now grown all over the world.
 
7. Toilet paper was invented in China in the late 1300s. It was for emperors only.
 
8. The Chinese invented paper, the compass, gunpowder, and printing.
 
9. The Chinese invented kites ("paper birds" or "Aeolian harps") about 3,000 years ago. They were used to frighten the enemies in battle, and Marco Polo (1254-1324) noted that kites were also used to predict the success of a voyage. It was considered bad luck to purposely let a kite go.
 
10. Cricket fighting is a popular amusement in China. Many Chinese children keep crickets as pets.
 
11. Despite its size, all of China is in one time zone.
 
12. Many historians believe soccer originated in China around 1000 B.C.
 
13. Ping-pong is one of the most popular games in China, but it was not invented in China. It originated in Britain, where it is called table tennis.
 
14. The number one hobby in China is stamp collecting.
 
15. Giant Pandas ("bear cat") date back two to three million years. The early Chinese emperors kept pandas to ward off evil spirits and natural disasters. Pandas also were considered symbols of might and bravery.
 
16. White, rather than black, is the Chinese color for mourning and funerals.
 
17. Though Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) is credited with designing the first parachute, Chinese alchemists successfully used man-carrying tethered kites by the fourth century A.D. Parachutes were not used safely and effectively in Europe until the late 1700s.
 
18. The custom of binding feet (euphemistically called "golden lilies") began among female entertainers and members of the Chinese court during the Song dynasty (A.D. 960-1279). Tightly wrapped bandages gradually broke the arch of the foot and caused the woman's toes and heel to grow inward toward one another. Her leg muscles would also atrophy and become very thin. Bound feet were seen as highly sexual.
 
19. Historians speculate that as the Chinese population grew, people had to conserve cooking fuel by chopping food into small pieces so that it could cook faster. These bite-sized foods eliminated the need for knives and, hence, chopsticks were invented.
 
20. In A.D. 130, Zhang Heng, an astronomer and literary scholar, invented the first instrument for monitoring earthquakes. The machine could detect and indicate the direction of an earthquake.
 
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BTW. The Jane Fonda story about her and Ted being told to wait Their turn at the Oasis Steak house in Manhattan Montana is false. I decided to call the number of the restaurant this morning and the nice lady said never happened and they get a lot of calls. So like the POW story about her this one is false also.
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If you want to check it out    (406) 284-6929
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Thanks to Bill
Russia announced plans last month to build a submarine larger than its typhoon class, which is already the world's biggest nuclear-powered submarine.
 
The United States is also deploying a new generation of submarines, the Virginia class.
 
The U.S. Navy commissioned the world's first nuclear submarine in the 1950s, the USS Nautilus. It was actually the first nuclear-powered anything. Parts of it are even still classified.
 
Now it's open to visitors to explore and is moored next to the U.S. Navy base.
 
Just off the coast from here is where a Russian spy ship was spotted back in February. What were they looking for? Most likely the most efficient submarine squadron in the world and only on "CBS This Morning," CBS News correspondent Don Dahler gets a tour.
 
Despite the dolphins in their promotional video, the Navy's newest, fastest and quietest submarine is anything but playful.
 
The Virginia-class submarines can launch tomahawk cruise missiles, deploy a team of Navy SEALs from beneath the surface, and is among America's most lethal defense systems at sea.
 
"Submarines have come a long way since World War II," said Captain Brian Sittlow. He leads a squadron of submarines from the U.S. Navy base in Groton, Connecticut.
 
"The ocean more and more is becoming a very critical element of our national security and our ability to influence and ensure that our vital interests are protected throughout the world," Capt. Sittlow said.
 
And international waters are getting crowded. For example, a Russian sub got a Royal Navy escort through the English Channel last week.
 
Dahler asked, "Is the focus shifting somewhat given China's and Russia's interest in submarine development?"
 
"The focus is being more emphasized in controlling the world's oceans. Seventy percent of the globe is ocean. Over 80 percent of the world's commerce flows across that ocean," Capt. Sittlow said.  
 
The U.S. Navy now has 69 commissioned submarines. Thirteen of them are Virginia-class subs, but that number will eventually double. Two are being built each year at a cost of $2 billion apiece.
 
On whether the hefty price tag is money well spent for the American public, Capt. Sittlow said, "Absolutely I do. Not only is it-- a price that we need to pay, it's a price we are paying and the capability that those ships bring-- is really remarkable."
 
The Virginia-class submarines, according to those who command them, are also incredibly efficient.
 
"We are able to make our own water. We make our own oxygen. We have a sustained fuel source in the nuclear reactor," said Commander Dan Reiss of the USS New Mexico, showed Dahler America's most modern submarine. 
 
In the control room, Cmdr. Reiss noted, "And gone, you'll notice, are the periscopes."
 
"So the days of John Wayne and up scope and you know he's got his arm hanging over, they're gone now and they've been replaced with - entire periscope replaced with this joystick," Cmdr. Reiss said.   
 
The view, can now be shared with everyone on board.
 
"During major events, for instance, during our homecoming, we were sending the imagery from the scopes all the way into the crew's mess so the sailor's could see the families on the coastline as they came up the river," Cmdr. Reiss said. 
 
Back on base, sailors train with simulators and from land-locked control rooms.
 
Inside a 40-foot tower filled with 80,000 gallons of water, future submariners prepare for a worst-case-scenario escape from a disabled vessel.  
 
The last time an operational submarine went down was in August of 2000. That's when all 118 aboard the Russian Navy Kursk died after a training exercise. Many believed it would cripple Russian resolve at sea. But their newest nuclear-powered submarine, the Kazan, was launched this March.
 
Still, says Capt. Sittlow, no country carries the international influence of the United States Navy.
 
"The United States, through our submarine force for nearly a hundred years now has gained and maintained a strong undersea advantage."
 
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Item Number:1 Date: 05/11/2017 AFGHANISTAN - MADRASA EXPLOSION IN PARWAN KILLS SENIOR CLERIC, 7 STUDENTS (MAY 11/KP)  KHAAMA PRESS -- An explosion in Afghanistan's northern Parwan province earlier this week killed the chief cleric there, reports the Khaama Press (Afghanistan), citing local officials.   Mawlavi Abdul Rahim Shah Hanafi, the provincial Uleman Council chief, was killed early Tuesday in a bomb blast.   Explosives were placed and detonated in a madrasa in Charakar, the provincial capital, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Seven students were also killed, said officials. The blast took place while students were in class, noted Tolo News (Afghanistan).   The council is the main body for directing mullahs and their teachings across the province.   No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.   The Taliban is known to have an active presence in Parwan province, officials said.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 05/11/2017 AUSTRALIA - ARMY SUSPENDS TRAINING ACTIVITIES AFTER 2ND DEATH DURING DRILLS IN LESS THAN WEEK (MAY 11/SMH)  SYDNEY MORNING HERALD -- An Australian soldier has been killed during a military exercise in the Northern Territory, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.   The army then temporarily suspended training activities, noted the Guardian (U.K.).   The soldier, identified as Jason Challis, was killed Wednesday afternoon during a routine live-fire training exercise at the Mount Bundey training area, about 100 km (62 mi) south of Darwin, said the Australian Dept. of Defense.   On May 4, a 21-year-old Australian soldier was killed by a falling tree branch during a training exercise near Rockhampton in Queensland.   After Wednesday's incident, all training activities across the army's combat brigades were halted to review training safety management and risk assessment processes.  
  Item Number:3 Date: 05/11/2017 AUSTRALIA - NEW DEFENSE BUDGET ANTICIPATES REACHING 2 PERCENT OF GDP BY 2020-2021 (MAY 11/ADOD)  AUSTRALIAN DEPT. OF DEFENSE -- The Australian Dept. of Defense has outlined its budget for the 2017-2018.   The budget covers ongoing military operations, capability plans set out in last year's defense white paper and efforts to revamp the department's partnership with defense industry, said a departmental release on Tuesday.   The latest budget calls for Aus$34.6 billion (US$25.5 billion) in spending in 2017-2018 and Aus$150.6 billion (US$110.8 billion) over the forward estimates. The goal is to reach spending equal to 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020-2021.   Bringing defense spending to 2 percent in that timeframe would be three years earlier than initially forecast, but is in line with a pledge made by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year as part of a regional defense strategy, noted the Herald Sun (Melbourne).   The Defense Dept. plans to spend Aus$200 billion (US$147 billion) over the next decade as part of the Integrated Investment Program, which aims to enhance military capabilities and strengthen local defense industry.   This includes an Aus$89 billion (US$65.5 billion) naval shipbuilding program, including new submarines and frigates, and the acquisition of the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter
  Item Number:4 Date: 05/11/2017 BANGLADESH - SUSPECTS BLOW THEMSELVES UP DURING POLICE RAID (MAY 11/PTI)  PRESS TRUST OF INDIA -- A raid on a militant hideout in Bangladesh has left six people dead, say police, as reported by the Press Trust of India.   The dead included five suspected militants and a firefighter killed in a blast triggered by terrorists, noted Reuters.   Police said they surrounded a house Thursday in Benipur village, located in the Godgari area in Rajshahi district.   The suspects reportedly killed a fireman and injured two policemen with grenades and sharp weapons. The militants blew themselves up when police tried to storm the hideout, said a police official.   The dead were identified as the 50-year-old owner of the house, as well as  his wife, daughter and two sons.   Police believe the militants belonged to an offshoot of the banned Jamatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB), reported the BBC
Item Number:5 Date: 05/11/2017 CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - REBELS AMBUSH CONVOY; 4 PEACEKEEPERS DIE IN ENSUING ACTION (MAY 11/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- Four United Nations peacekeepers were killed Monday following an attack on a convoy in the Central African Republic, according to U.N. officials cited by the Voice of America News.   The convoy was attacked near the village of Yogofongo, more than 290 miles (470 km) from the capital, Bangui. This sparked a firefight and kidnappings.   The MINUSCA peacekeeping mission announced on Tuesday that one Cambodian peacekeeper was killed in the initial ambush; three of four missing personnel were also found dead. Eight peacekeepers were injured, the mission said.   The U.N. blamed Christian anti-balaka militants for the attacl. The nation has been wracked by sectarian conflict since 2013 when Muslim rebels overthrew the nation's Christian president.   In recent months, one faction of the mostly Muslim Seleka group has been fighting with another faction that has aligned itself with the Christian anti-balaka group
  Item Number:6 Date: 05/11/2017 CHINA - MILITARY TEST-FIRES 'AIRCRAFT CARRIER KILLER' MISSILE IN BOHAI SEA (MAY 11/GT)  GLOBAL TIMES -- The Chinese military recently test-launched a new type of guided missile in the Bohai Sea, near the Korean peninsula, say sources cited by the Global Times, a publication in Beijing that covers international issues from a Communist Chinese perspective.   The missile was likely a DF-26, which is known as an "aircraft carrier killer," Song Zhongping, a military expert who previously served in China's rocket forces, told the newspaper.   The test reportedly simulated an attack on aircraft carriers, he said. Song said the weapon's warhead seemed to feature an electromagnetic pulse capability that could damage command systems or defeat the U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system.   Beijing has expressed concern over the deployment of the THAAD in South Korea to defend against North Korean missile threats to North Korea, which is a Chinese ally.   The recent test was part of the military's annual training plan and designed to improve operational capabilities, said a Defense Ministry release on Tuesday.  
 Item Number:7 Date: 05/11/2017 IRAQ - SECURITY FORCES FIND GRENADE BEFORE IT COULD BE USED AGAINST HEALTH MINISTER (MAY 11/BGP)  BAGHDAD POST -- Iraqi security forces say they have foiled an assassination attempt on Health Minister Adela Hamoud, reports the Baghdad Post.   Security personnel found a grenade in the ministry's building that had been hidden by a staff member planning to kill the minister, said a Health Ministry statement on Wednesday.   The grenade was found on the floor of the ministry's inspector general, an unnamed source told Turkey's Anadolu Agency. It was unclear whether Hamoud works on the same floor.   Few other details were provided.   An investigation is said to be underway into the incident.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 05/11/2017 ITALY - CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON 1ST OF 7 OFFSHORE PATROL VESSELS (MAY 11/FINCA)  FINCANTIERI -- Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has officially launched the construction of the lead ship in a new class of patrol vessels for the Italian navy.   The keel was laid for the first multipurpose offshore patrol ship (PPA) during a Tuesday ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia), said a company release.   This is the lead ship of a planned class of seven; the first is scheduled to be delivered in 2021. All seven are due to be handed over by 2026.   The project is part of a modernization program for the Italian navy that was approved in May 2015, said Fincantieri on May 9.   The ships feature a high level of flexibility, including different combat system configurations. These include a "soft" version for patrols, with a self-defense capability, and a "full" version for complete defense abilities, the shipbuilder said.   PPAs will be 434 feet, 9 inches (132.5 m) long, with a top speed of about 31 knots. These patrol vessels are powered by a combined diesel and gas (CODAG) powerplant and an electrical propulsion system.   There are two modular zones at the stern and the center of the ship for various mission modules, such as combat, residential or medical, noted the shipbuilder.  
  Item Number:9 Date: 05/11/2017 JORDAN - F-16 FROM ROYAL JORDANIAN AIR FORCE SHOOTS DOWN DRONE NEAR SYRIAN BORDER (MAY 11/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- The Jordanian military says it has shot down an unidentified unmanned aerial vehicle close to its border with Syria, reports Agence France-Presse.   F-16 fighter jets downed the drown Wednesday night after it repeatedly came close to the border, said a military statement.   Air force personnel were gathering the debris in Jordan's northern Mafraq province, said the statement.   An investigation has begun into the origins of the drone, said officials.   Arab and Israeli publications reported earlier this week that Damascus was on high alert over a large number of Jordanian and U.S. vehicles near the Syrian border.   A major exercise Jordan, called Eager Lion, is scheduled in mid-May with up to 7,400 military personnel, according to U.S. Central Command
Item Number:10 Date: 05/11/2017 LIBYA - REPORT: EMIRATI U.S.-MADE AIRCRAFT BEING USED TO SUPPORT HAFTAR'S FORCES (MAY 11/TIM)  TIME MAGAZINE -- Time magazine says it has learned that the United Arab Emirates has deployed some light strike aircraft to Libya to support the forces of Khalifa Haftar in the eastern part of the country.   At least six Archangel aircraft have been identified in satellite photos of an airbase in eastern Libya, the publication said on May 9. Archangels are specialized turboprop planes made by a North Carolina-based company called Iomax USA.   The images of the planes suggest the presence of a covert proxy war in Libya, in which Egypt, Russia and the U.A.E. are siding with Haftar against the forces allied with the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli.   Such military support could complicate efforts to resolve the conflict through talks, said Time, which also noted that the Emirati government supports negotiations.   Deploying of Archangels represents a violation of a U.N. embargo that forbids the transfer of military equipment to Libya without the world body's explicit permission
Item Number:11 Date: 05/11/2017 NIGERIA - SECURITY, STRATEGY STUDIES AVAILABLE FOR OFFICERS AT UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN (MAY 11/PREM)  PREMIUM TIMES -- The Nigerian army has finalized a partnership with the University of Ilorin in western Nigeria that will provide training to senior military personnel, reports the Premium Times (Abuja).   The memorandum of understanding was signed recently by university and army officials, the paper noted on May 10.   The arrangement will allow senior personnel to study for master's degrees in peace and security and strategic studies at the university's Center for Peace and Strategic Studies, officials said.   The goal is to promote the intellectual development of army personnel
  Item Number:12 Date: 05/11/2017 PHILIPPINES - TROOPS, SUPPLIES DISPATCHED TO DISPUTED S. CHINA SEA ISLAND, SAYS GENERAL (MAY 11/PI)  PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER -- A senior officer says the Philippine military has begun sending supplies and personnel to improve facilities on a disputed island in the South China Sea, reports the Philippine Inquirer.   Last week, some construction equipment and troops were sent for the repair of Pagasa Island, said Lt. Gen. Raul de Rosario, the head of the Western Command, said on Thursday.   The first priority is to build a beaching ramp for more construction materials, he said.   Other plans include improving an airstrip and installing solar panels, generators, new quarters and a marine research and shelter center, reported Update Philippines.   China, which claims much of the region as its territory, filed a protest last month over the visit of the Philippine defense and military chiefs to Pagasa. The island is also known as Thitu
Item Number:13 Date: 05/11/2017 SYRIA - SDF TAKES TABQA, DAM FROM ISIS (MAY 11/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- Following heavy fighting for more than a month, U.S.-backed rebels say they have seized full control of the town of Tabqa and its adjacent dam from ISIS, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar).   The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is an alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters.   Taking Tabqa is seen as a key step in capturing Raqqa, the stronghold of the Islamic State.   The SDF said on Wednesday it had gained control of Tabqa and the Tabqa Dam with the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.   The development leaves no other major ISIS-controlled urban settlements on the eastern road to Raqqa
Item Number:14 Date: 05/11/2017 TAIWAN - GENERAL ARRESTED FOR SPYING FOR CHINESE; ACCUSED OFFICER ONCE HEADED AIR DEFENSE MISSILE COMMAND (MAY 11/FOCTAI)  FOCUS TAIWAN -- A senior Taiwanese military official is being held under suspicion of spying for China, reports Focus Taiwan.   Maj. Gen. Hsieh Chia-kang, the former head of Taiwan's Air Defense Missile Command, was arrested on Tuesday in Pingtung. Hsieh was appointed this year to be the deputy commander for Matsu, a small island off the coast of China's Fujian province.   The missile command is in charge of such weapons as the Patriot III, Sky Bow II, Hawk and Hsiung Feng missiles, noted IANS.   On Thursday, the Ministry of National Defense said that an internal probe against Hsieh began last year after he started the behaving suspiciously.   He is accused of traveling to Thailand and Malaysia to meet with unidentified Chinese contacts.   Hsieh was later released on bail of US$3,300, but banned from leaving the country.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 05/11/2017 THAILAND - NAVY BUYS S26T DIESEL-ELECTRIC SUB FROM CHINA (MAY 11/CD)  CHINA DAILY -- The Royal Thai Navy has finalized a contract with the state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. (CSIC) for a diesel-electric submarine, reports the China Daily newspaper.   The order was signed Monday in Beijing by Thailand's navy chief of staff, Vice Adm. Luechai Ruddit, and the chairman of CSIC, Xu Ziqiu.   "The submarines from China are the cheapest, with quality that is relatively acceptable. [China] also offers services after purchase," in the words of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, as quoted from Thailand's Nation newspaper.   The S26T sub will be Thailand's first submarine since the end of World War II.   The boat will be about 256 feet (78 m) long with a beam of 30 feet (9 m). The submarine will be fitted with an air-independent propulsion system, which will enable underwater operations for up to 21 days, according to Thai media.   The Thai government received parliamentary approval for the deal, estimated to be worth US$393 million on April 25, as noted by defense-aerospace.com. The navy has plans to buy a total of three submarines, which would push the total program cost to more than US$1 billion.   The deal is not without controversy, both at home and in the region. Questions have been raised over the deal's transparency, for example. And others are publicly wondering whether there is a need for such vessels in a nation not seen as a traditional maritime power, reported the Straits Times.  
  Item Number:16 Date: 05/11/2017 THAILAND - SEARCH ON THE WAY FOR 10 SUSPECTS IN SUPERMARKET BOMBING (MAY 11/REU)  REUTERS -- Thai authorities are on the hunt for at least 10 Muslim insurgents believed to be involved in a car bombing earlier this week, reports Reuters.   On Tuesday, a supermarket in the city of Pattani, the capital of Pattani province, was attacked, wounding 60 people.   At least 10 people are suspected of involvement, including the head of a local government unit, said Lt. Gen. Piyawat Nakwanit, the chief of the 4th Army in the South, on Thursday.   Police have issued an arrested warrant for one suspect. The military said it had not made any arrests.   The military will check "every car, including ice cream cars, as those who cause violence keep changing their strategy," said the general.   There has been a separatist insurgency in Thailand's southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat since 2004
Item Number:17 Date: 05/11/2017 TUNISIA - PRESIDENT ORDERS TROOPS TO PROTECT KEY BUSINESSES FROM ECONOMIC PROTESTS (MAY 11/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi has ordered the army to protect the nation's oil and gas fields after protests have threatened economic output, reports Deutsche Welle.   Essebsi announced on Wednesday that troops would be deployed to guard key industrial installations, including gas, phosphate and oil production facilities.   About 1,000 protesters have been demonstrating for weeks in Tatouine province, where Italy's ENI and Austria's OMV have gas operations, noted Reuters.   Since the 2011 revolution, protesters demanding jobs have repeatedly held strikes and sit-ins, blocking access to production sites and costing the state billions of dollars. Unemployment is around 15 percent, according to official figures. Discontent over the economic situation is widespread.   The actions do have critics. "This is not the army's job," said one opposition member.  
  Item Number:18 Date: 05/11/2017 USA - NEW INFANTRY WEAPONS IN THE WORKS FOR ARMY (MAY 11/MIL)  MILITARY.COM -- The U.S. Army has plans to equip its infantry squads with lighter, more effective small arms, reports Military.com.   Service leaders have already issued a requirement for more than 1,000 Medium Anti-Armor Weapon Systems (MAAWS), the U.S. designation for the Swedish Carl Gustaf, said program officials.   The Army plans to field the new M3A1 to replace existing M3 Carl Gustafs – shoulder-fired recoilless rifles -- with the first unit to be equipped in fiscal 2018, the officials said. The M3A1 is lighter and shorter than its predecessor, according to Saab, the manufacturer.   Gen. Daniel Allyn, the Army vice chief of staff, has also issued a requirement for a new 7.62-mm squad designated marksman rifle (DMR).   In addition, the service is considering accelerating its Next-Generation Squad Automatic Rifle, with plans calling for the first unit to be equipped in 2025. The new weapon would replace the current M249 squad automatic weapon in certain units, said service officials.   The Army also wants to field a new Precision Sniper Rifle by fiscal 2021. This will be a multi-caliber rifle that will allow sniper teams to engage man-sized targets out to 1,640 yards (1,500 m), according to program officials.  
  Item Number:19 Date: 05/11/2017 USA - STATE DEPT. OFFERS $10 MILLION BOUNTY FOR NUSRA FRONT LEADER IN SYRIA (MAY 11/UPI)  UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL -- The U.S. State Dept. is offering a US$10 million reward for information on a Nusra Front leader, reports UPI.   State's Rewards for Justice program is offering the bounty for information leading to the identification or location of Muhammad al-Jolani, according to a statement on Wednesday.   Jolani pledged allegiance to Al-Qaida in April 2013 after falling out with the Islamic State.   Nusra Front publicly renounced ties with Al-Qaida in July 2016, renaming itself Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. The U.S. State Dept. insists this is simply a rebranding move. The group remains Al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria, said the statement.   Under Jolani's leadership, Nusra Front conducted several terrorist attacks throughout Syria, often against civilians, said State. He was added to the global terrorist sanctions list in May 2013.   The offer is the first for a Nusra Front leader, noted the Daily Mail (U.K
Item Number:20 Date: 05/11/2017 USA - USAF WANTS TO PUSH ENVELOPE, SPEEDING DEVELOPMENT OF HYPERSONIC TECHNOLOGIES (MAY 11/AFNS)  AIR FORCE NEWS SERVICE -- Top U.S. Air Force officials have been meeting to discuss options to accelerate hypersonics research and development, reports the Air Force News Service.   The service views hypersonics – defined as the ability to fly at speeds of Mach 5 or greater – as a way to improve vital weapon characteristics, such as speed, range, flexibility and precision.   Meanwhile, China and Russia are also pursuing hypersonic weapons, and several other countries have shown interest in the technologies, as noted in a recent report from the Air Force Studies Board.   The talks among senior leaders on May 3 also set the stage for a longer term coordinated effort in policy, operational concepts, science and technology efforts, acquisition and test and evaluation, said Greg Zacharias, the Air Force chief scientist.   The Air Force Research Laboratory is also working on maturing hypersonic technology, including in the areas of ordnance, tactical boosters, airframe and structures, guidance, navigation and control, materials and manufacturing.
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