Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fw: TheList 4635

The List 4635

To All,
I hope that your week has started well.
This Day In Naval History – January 16, 2018
Jan. 16
1815—Benjamin Crowninshield takes office as the fifth Secretary of the Navy, serving until Sept. 30, 1818. He implements the Board of Commissioners administrative system and the building of several ships. He also oversees strategy and naval policy for the brief, and very successful war with Algiers in 1815.
1840—During the Exploring Expedition, USS Vincennes, commanded by Lt. Charles Wilkes, becomes the first U.S. Navy ship to reach the Antarctic Continent.
1893—The class protected cruiser Boston lands Marines at Honolulu, HI, to protect American lives and property after the deposition of Queen Liliuokalani and the formation of a provisional government, under the influence of American residents.
1930—USS Lexington (CV 2) completes a 30-day period in which it furnishes electricity to Tacoma, WA, in an emergency arising from a drought that causes a water shortage and hydro-electric power is not available in the Puget Sound area.
1944—TBF aircraft from Composite Squadron Thirteen (VC-13) of carrier Guadalcanal (CVE 60) sink U-544 north-west of the Azores.
1945—USS Otter (DE 210), USS Hubbard (DE 211), USS Hayter (DE 212) and USS Varian (DE 798) sink German submarine U 248 north-northeast of the Azores.
1971—Amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) is commissioned.
1991—Operation Desert Storm begins to liberate Kuwait from Iraq. After three months, Iraq requests a cease fire, which is formalized by the United Nations in April.
2010—Littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2), the lead ship of its class, is commissioned at Mobile, AL.
Today in History January 16
Ivan IV crowns himself the new Czar of Russia in Assumption Cathedral in Moscow.
The Council of Virginia guarantees religious freedom.
John C. Fremont, the famed "Pathfinder" of Western exploration, is appointed governor of California.
General William T. Sherman begins a march through the Carolinas.
The U.S. Senate recognizes the Anglo-German Treaty of 1899 by which the UK renounced its rights to the Samoan Islands.
One of Ernest Shackleton's polar exploration teams reaches the Magnetic South Pole.
Maxim Gorky is authorized to return to Russia after an eight year exile for political dissidence.
The League of Nations holds its first meeting in Paris.
Allies lift the blockade on trade with Russia.
Franklin D. Roosevelt asks for an extension of the Social Security Act to include more women and children.
Hitler cancels an attack in the West due to bad weather and the capture of German attack plans in Belgium.
Japan's advance into Burma begins.
Eisenhower assumes supreme command of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe.
The U.S. First and Third armies link up at Houffalize, effectively ending the Battle of the Bulge.
The Egyptian government makes Islam the state religion.
Eighteen are arrested in Mississippi for the murder of three civil rights workers.
The Irish Republican Army calls an end to a 25-day cease fire in Belfast.
The Shah leaves Iran.
The Persian Gulf War begins. The massive U.S.-led offensive against Iraq -- Operation Desert Storm -- ends on February 28, 1991, when President George Bush declares a cease-fire, and Iraq pledges to honor future coalition and U.N. peace terms.
Monday Morning Humor from Al
Submitted by Mark Logan:
Have you ever noticed that all the dishes and telescopes searching for intelligent life are pointed away from Earth?
People who wonder if the glass is half empty or half full, miss the point.  The glass is refillable.
Be decisive.  Right or wrong, make a decision.  The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision.
Senators should wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers so we could identify their corporate sponsors.

Submitted by Jerry Norris:

These glorious insults are from an era "before" the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words.
A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."  "That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."
"He had delusions of adequacy." --Walter Kerr
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." -- Winston Churchill
"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." --Clarence Darrow
"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." --William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)
"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." --Moses Hadas
"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." --Mark Twain
"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." --Oscar Wilde
"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one." --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... if there is one." --Winston Churchill, in response
"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." --Stephen Bishop
"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." --John Bright
"I've just learned about his illness.  Let's hope it's nothing trivial." --Irvin S. Cobb
"He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others." --Samuel Johnson
"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." -- Paul Keating
"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." --Charles, Count Talleyrand
"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."  Forrest Tucker
"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" --Mark Twain
"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." --Mae West
"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." --Oscar Wilde
"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination." --Andrew Lang (1844-1912)
"He has Van Gogh's ear for music." --Billy Wilder
"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening.  But I'm afraid this wasn't it." --Groucho Marx

Submitted by Don Mills:

I was just thinking.......
If you attempt to rob a bank you won't have any trouble with rent/food/medical bills for the next 10 years, whether or not you are successful.
Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?
What if my dog only brings back my ball because he thinks I like throwing it?
If poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?
Which letter is silent in the word "Scent," the S or the C?
Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn't it be called double V?
Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and It just takes 75-100 years to fully work.
Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.
The word "swims" upside-down is still "swims".
Intentionally losing a game of rock, paper, scissors is just as hard as trying to win.
100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.
Your future self is watching you right now through memories.
The doctors that told Stephen Hawking he had two years to live in 1953 are probably dead.
If you replace "W" with "T" in "What, Where and When", you get the answer to each of them.
Many animals probably need glasses, but nobody knows it.
If you rip a hole in a net, there are actually fewer holes in it than there were before.
If 2/2/22 falls on a Tuesday, we'll just call it "2's Day". (It does fall on a Tuesday)

Submitted by John Hudson:
Why do supermarkets make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?  
Why do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke?  
Why do banks leave vault doors open and then chain the pens to the counters?
Why do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in our driveways and put our useless junk in the garage?
Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin? 
Why can't women put on mascara with their mouth closed? 
Why don't you ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'? 
Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?  
Why is it that doctors and attorneys call what they do 'practice'?  
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavoring, and dish washing liquid made with real lemons? 
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?  
Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?
Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections? 
You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes?  Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?? 
Why don't sheep shrink when it rains 
Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?   
If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?  

Submitted by Mike Farlow:

The 2017 Darwin Awards are out..Yes, it's that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us.  Here is the glorious winner:
When his .38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach , California would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.
The honorable mentions:
The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and after a little shopping round, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger.. The chef's claim was approved.
A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space.  Understandably, he shot her.
After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. 
He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days.
An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.
A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer... $15. [If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?]
Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly... He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.
As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, Yes, officer, that's her That's the lady I stole the purse from."
The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash.. 
The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order  When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast... The frustrated gunman walked away.
When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street by sucking on a hose, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline, but he plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had and the perp had been punished enough!
Thanks to Richard….I remember reading these when going from base to base with my family in the 40s and 50s.
Subject: Fw: Burma Shave

A man, a miss,
A car, a curve.

He kissed the miss,
And missed the curve.
Burma Shave 

I'm sure that Burma Shave actually saved some lives. People laughed and then were more careful! It was a REAL "service" to America, even though it was an advertisement and it was one of the RARE "really useful" ones!
To My Old-As-Dirt Friends and Relatives who qualify as "old as dirt."
For those who never saw any of the Burma Shave signs, here is a quick lesson in our history of the 1930's and '40's.
Before there were interstates, when everyone drove the old 2 lane roads, Burma Shave signs
would be posted all over the countryside in farmers' fields. They were small red signs with white letters. Five signs, about 100 feet apart, each containing 1 line of a 4 line couplet and the obligatory 5th sign advertising Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream.

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Burma Shave 

Do these bring back any old memories? If not, you're merely a child.
If they do - then you're old as dirt. LIKE ME!
I loved reading them.
Have a great day!
Item Number:1 Date: 01/16/2018 CHINA - J-20 STEALTH FIGHTER JOINS FIRST COMBAT DRILLS (JAN 16/CD)  CHINA DAILY -- For the first time, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has deployed its advanced J-20 stealth fighter for combat exercises with other fighter jets, reports the China Daily.   Several J-20s participated in a series of drills against less advanced J-16 and J-10C fighters, the air force said in a release on Jan. 11.   The realistic training took place over nine days at an undisclosed airbase and included beyond-visual-range engagements, the service said.   This was the first time that the PLAAF confirmed that the J-20 had taken part in a combat exercise, the newspaper said.   The J-20 is designed to penetrate and defeat hostile air defense networks, according to Chinese officials
Item Number:2 Date: 01/16/2018 GREECE - NAVY SEEKS 2 FREMM FRIGATES FROM FRANCE (JAN 16/KATH)  KATHIMERINI -- The Greek government is expected to seek talks with the French government for the purchase of two European multi-mission frigates (FREMM), reports the Kathimerini newspaper (Athens).   Talks at the military level are expected to begin in February, when the official Greek request is expected to reach Paris, sources said.   Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly made a verbal agreement to this effect during a meeting in Athens in September 2017.   The navy wants to buy two FREMM frigates with an option for two more. However, the unit cost of 500 million to 600 million euros (US$599 million to US$719 million) could force Athens to look at alternatives such as the French Gowind-class corvette.   New frigates are a priority due the age of the existing Greek fleet and growing maritime requirements
  Item Number:3 Date: 01/16/2018 ISRAEL - PLO COUNCIL CALLS FOR WITHDRAWING RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL, OSLO ACCORDS (JAN 16/WAFA)  PALESTINE NEWS AGENCY -- The second-highest decision-making body in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw its recognition of Israel and the Oslo Accords, reports the official Wafa.   The Central Committee issued its recommendation on Monday after two days of discussions, calling on the group's leadership to rescind its recognition until Israel recognizes a Palestinian state within its 1967 borders and ends its annexation of East Jerusalem, reported the Jerusalem Post.   The council also decided to renew a decision to end all of forms of security cooperation with Israel. Abbas ignored the previous decision.   If executed, such a decision would effectively nullify the 1993 Oslo Accords, which included mutual recognition and an agreement to work towards final peace terms for both sides.   Abbas stated on Sunday that Israel was responsible for killing the accords, but it was not clear that this was a statement of policy.   "Central Council decided that the transitional period stipulated in the agreements signed in Oslo, Cairo and Washington, with its obligations no longer stand," said a statement by the council.   Abbas reiterated a commitment to the two-state solution based on international resolutions, the Arab peace initiative on the 1967 borders and the end of further expansion of Israeli settlements and unilateral actions. He pledged to participate in any serious peace negotiations under the auspices of the U.N.   The Central Committee organized the meetings, which began Sunday, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement in December 2017 recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital
  Item Number:4 Date: 01/16/2018 KOSOVO - PROMINENT KOSOVO SERB POLITICIAN SHOT DEAD IN MITROVICA (JAN 16/BI)  BALKAN INSIGHT -- A high-profile Kosovo Serb politician has been gunned down in Mitrovica in northern Kosovo, reports Balkan Insight.   Oliver Ivanovic, 64, was shot five times in front of his party office on Tuesday morning, reported Deutsche Welle.   A burned car, allegedly used by Ivanovic's killers, was found near the northern town of Zvecan.   The Serb politician was well known in both Serbia and Kosovo. He was convicted of war crimes in January 2016 but was granted an appeal and released, noted BBC News at the time. He was an opponent of the Belgrade-sponsored Serb party in Kosovo.   In July 2017, his car was set on fire in an act of intimidation. He took part in elections in October despite the threat.   Negotiations in Brussels between Serbia and Kosovo were cancelled when the Serbian delegation walked out of the meeting after receiving news of the killing, according to Deutsche Welle. The talks were to be the first in more than a year on normalizing relations, reported the Guardian (U.K
  Item Number:5 Date: 01/16/2018 LIBYA - AT LEAST 16 KILLED IN MILITIA CLASHES AT MITIGA AIRPORT (JAN 16/LIBOB)  LIBYA OBSERVER -- At least 16 people have been killed in fighting between rival Libyan militias around the Mitiga Airport in Tripoli, reports the Libya Observer.   The Special Deterrence Force, which controls the airport, and Brigade 33, from Tajoura, about 9 miles (14 km) east of Tripoli, reportedly fought. There has been tension between the two groups over the detention of some people by the Special Deterrence Force, which also controls the local prison.   At least 38 people were injured in the fighting, said local medical officials cited by Bloomberg News.   The attackers were seeking the release of Al-Qaida and Islamic State prisoners being held at a large jail at the airport facility, according to Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli.   This was the heaviest fighting in Tripoli in months, undermining claims by the Government of National Accord that the city had been mostly stabilized, reported Reuters
  Item Number:6 Date: 01/16/2018 NIGER - LOCAL ISIS LEADER CLAIMS DEADLY RAID IN NIGER THAT KILLED GREEN BERETS (JAN 16/REU)  REUTERS -- The leader of an Islamic State affiliate in West Africa has claimed responsibility for an attack in October 2017 that killed four U.S. Green Berets and four Nigerien soldiers, reports Reuters, citing Mauritanian media.   A joint U.S.- Nigerien patrol was attacked on Oct. 4 by dozens of fighters armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades near the Nigerien village of Tongo Tongo.   "We claim the attack which targeted the American commandos in the village of Tongo Tongo," said Adnan Abu Waleed al-Sahrawi in a story published by the Nouakchott News Agency (ANI) on Jan. 13.   The statement was a rare move for Sahrawi, who often shuns the spotlight that has been a trademark of other Islamic State affiliates.   Officials suspected Sahrawi's Islamic State in the Greater Sahara in the attack, but lacked confirmation.   In the same statement, Sahrawi claimed his group was behind a car bomb attack on French troops on Jan. 11 near Menaka in Mali. He claimed the attack resulted in several deaths. The French military said in a statement that the attack had wounded three troops
  Item Number:7 Date: 01/16/2018 PAKISTAN - 5 SECURITY OFFICERS KILLED IN MILITANT ATTACK IN BALUCHISTAN (JAN 16/GEONEWS)  GEO NEWS -- At least five government security personnel have been killed in attack in Pakistan's Baluchistan province, reports Geo News (Pakistan).   Six others were injured when their vehicle came under fire on Monday in the Shapak area of Turbat town, about 620 miles (1,000 km) south of the provincial capital of Quetta, said provincial police officials.   One of the vehicles turned over in the attack.   The Baluch Liberation Front, which wants an independent Baluchistan, claimed responsibility for the attack, reported the Voice of America News.   There are frequent attacks on security forces by Baluchi separatists and jihadist groups in the province
  Item Number:8 Date: 01/16/2018 RUSSIA - MARITIME BRIGADE PLANNED FOR NATIONAL GUARD IN EAST (JAN 16/INT-AVN)  INTERFAX-MILITARY NEWS AGENCY -- The Russian national guard plans to establish a sea brigade in the Eastern District as part of a restructuring, reports Interfax-AVN.   "We will make a sea brigade out of the sea unit, and the special-task Taifun unit will be made a special task center," Col. Gen. Igor Grudnov, the head of the Eastern District for the national guard, told the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper on Monday.   As part of the reform, special motorized units in Khabarovsk, Vladivostk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Ussuriisk were reduced. Many of the excess personnel joined OMON and SOBR special operations units and other national guard units, the general said.   OMON and SOBR units in Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Ussuriisk will be reinforced in the near future, along with such units in Yakutsk, Birobidzhan, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Blagoveshchensk, Grudnov said
Item Number:9 Date: 01/16/2018 RUSSIA - MOSCOW WILL NOT HELP WASHINGTON REWRITE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL, SAYS LAVROV (JAN 16/REU)  REUTERS -- Russia will not support Washington's attempts to modify the terms of the Iran nuclear deal, says Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as cited by Reuters.   Lavrov's comments Monday came on the heels of U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement on Jan. 12 that he would waive sanctions against Iran one last time to allow the U.S. and its allies to fix the deal's "terrible flaws."   "We will not support what the United States is trying to do, changing the wording of the agreement, incorporating things that will be absolutely unacceptable for Iran," Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow.   The foreign minister also argued that changing the agreement with Tehran would negatively impact ongoing efforts to negotiate with North Korea about its nuclear program.   North Korea is "being promised that sanctions will be lifted if they give up their nuclear program. They will give it up, but no one will lift the sanctions against Pyongyang," he said.   As part of the Iran deal, the U.S. president must certify to Congress every 90 days that Tehran is complying with the deal and that the continued suspension of sanctions remains in U.S. interests.   In October 2017, Trump also said he would not certify Iran's compliance with the deal, but again stopped short of re-imposing sanctions.  
  Item Number:10 Date: 01/16/2018 SOUTH KOREA - SENIOR-LEVEL TALKS WITH U.S. TO FOCUS ON DETERRING N. KOREA (JAN 16/YON)  YONHAP -- The United States is hosting senior-level two-plus-two talks with South Korea this week in Washington, D.C., reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   The Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) is holding the second meeting of its kind on Wednesday.   South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung Nam and Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo Suk will co-host the talks with Thomas Shannon, the undersecretary of state for political affairs and David Trachtenberg, the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.   "In the session this time, (the two sides) plan to discuss comprehensive deterrence against North Korea, including extended deterrence," the South Korean Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday.   The allies agreed to regularize EDSCG meetings in June 2017.  
  Item Number:11 Date: 01/16/2018 SWEDEN - NEW AGENCY TO PROTECT ELECTIONS FROM FOREIGN INTERFERENCE (JAN 16/EUO)  EU OBSERVER -- The Swedish government will set up a new body to protect its upcoming election from foreign meddling, reports the E.U. Observer.   The main threat to the Sept. 9 elections is Russia, but Stockholm "cannot rule out that there may be others" trying to influence the vote, Prime Minister Stefan Loefven told a security conference in Stockholm on Jan. 14.   There is specific intelligence on efforts intended to influence the electoral process, the prime minister said without providing further details.   The new agency will be created "immediately" and put in charge of strengthening the "psychological defense" of the Swedish public by "identifying, analyzing and responding" to "external influence campaigns," he said.   The counter-propaganda body is part of wider measures to protect the election, including more funding for intelligence and cyber defense services to monitor external threats, said Loefven.  
  Item Number:12 Date: 01/16/2018 TUNISIA - U.S. WATCHDOG DOWNGRADES FREEDOM SCORE; COUNTRY REMAINS 'FREE' (JAN 16/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- An annual report by a U.S. democracy watchdog has downgraded Tunisia's freedom ranking, reports Al Jazeera.   The 2018 Freedom in the World report, released by Freedom House, based in Washington, D.C., reduced the ranking for political rights in Tunisia from two to three. One is the top score.   Postponed municipal elections and the growing influence of members of the former regime were cited as the top factors. The extension of a two-year state of emergency was another strike against Tunisia's democratic order, the report says.   Tunisia became the only Arab country to reach the status of "free" under the organization's guidelines in 2015, four years after it ousted longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.   The downgrading of this year's score did not remove the celebrated "free" classification.   Morocco was listed as "partly free" in this year's report. All other Arab countries earned the rating "not free."   The 2018 report criticized a backsliding of democracy around the world, noting that the United States had retreated from its traditional role as champion of democracy around the world.   Of the 195 countries profiled in the report, 88 were rated "free", 58 were "partly free" and 49 were "not free."  
 Item Number:13 Date: 01/16/2018 UNITED KINGDOM - WESTMINSTER ATTACKER TOOK STEROIDS BEFORE ASSAULT (JAN 16/INDEP)  INDEPENDENT -- The man who killed five people in a March 2017 terror attack took steroids before the attack, a British court has heard, reports the Independent (U.K.).   The hearings are part of an ongoing "psychological autopsy" to determine Khalid Masood's motivations and mental state before the attack.   Where and how Masood was radicalized, his contact with other extremists and previous investigations into his activities will also be covered during the inquest. It will also determine whether his activities produced any warning signs.   Similar investigations will begin in September for each of the five victims.   On March 22, 2017, Masood drove his car onto the sidewalk near Britain's parliament buildings, slamming into pedestrians before crashing into a railing. He exited his car carrying two knives and tried to run in the parliament's vehicle entrance. He stabbed one officer before being shot dead by police.   Masood, 52, had seven convictions for violent crimes.   He had been investigated by Britain's MI5 in 2009 in connection to a plot to launch terror attacks in the U.K
  Item Number:14 Date: 01/16/2018 USA - ARMY STEPS UP STINGER SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILE TRAINING WITH EYE ON RUSSIAN THREAT (JAN 16/ANS)  ARMY NEWS SERVICE -- The U.S. Army is increasing training on FIM-92 Stinger man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) as part of an effort to fill an identified capability gap, reports the Army News Service.   The 7th Army Training Command's Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) at Hohenfels, Germany, will soon begin observing, coaching and training soldiers using the Stinger during exercises.   In preparation, around 50 observer coach/trainers undertook their own training at the Hohenfels Training Area last week.   "Based on the chief of staff of the Army's initiative, getting Europe stood up with short-range air defense (SHORAD) Stinger teams is his first priority inside the initiative of getting Stinger teams back online," said Lt. Col. Aaron Felter, the director of training and doctrine for the Air Defense Integrated Office. "The immediate focus is Europe and getting Europe ready to fight tonight and defend Europe against any adversary," he said.   Instructors from the Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Okla., traveled to Germany to help train the observers.   This is the first time the Army has conducted such training in nearly 15 years, the service noted. Focus on the Stinger dropped off as training emphasized counterinsurgency tactics, Felter said.   Two-man Stinger teams at JMRC will be evaluated on site placement, determining air avenues of approach, defending a critical location, de-conflicting engagements of enemy aircraft based on sector of fire and proper operation of the missile system, officials said.   "The goal is to get 62 Stinger teams into the operational force as soon as possible," Felter said . "In concert with that, additional SHORAD [short-range air defense] battalions are being stood up, which will result in aligning one SHORAD battalion with each division."  
Item Number:15 Date: 01/16/2018 USA - NAVY ANTICIPATES SPENDING LESS THAN $800 MILLION EACH FOR NEW FRIGATES (JAN 16/BREAKDEF)  BREAKING DEFENSE -- The U.S. Navy is implementing new procurement processes in an effort to buy new frigates faster and cheaper, reports Breaking Defense.   The goal is to pay less than the current target of $800 million for each ship, said program officials at last week's Surface Navy Association conference in Arlington, Va.   The Navy will accept a maximum average cost of $950 million for the class. These figures do not include the first ship, since such vessels typically have additional costs.   Conceptual design contracts are scheduled to be awarded by March and the Navy will use the following 16 months to work with shipbuilders to understand the details of the designs, said Rear Adm. John Neagley, the program executive officer for small ships.   One way to save money is commonality, the website said. Whatever design is selected will be fitted with a variety of standard equipment, which is expected to reduce procurement, training and maintenance costs.   The frigate will be fitted with the COMBATTS-21 combat management system, in service with Freedom-class littoral combat ships, and the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR), as well as the same over-the-horizon anti-ship missile, Longbow Hellfire missile launcher, 57-mm gun and variable depth sonar selected for the littoral combat ships.   The new warships will also have additional space, weight and power to support future requirements, such as lasers
Item Number:16 Date: 01/16/2018 VENEZUELA - AUTHORITIES HUNT DOWN ROGUE POLICE OFFICER; 4 KILLED IN RAID (JAN 16/CNN)  CABLE NEWS NETWORK -- Venezuelan special operations forces have killed two members of an alleged anti-government gang led by a former police officer, reports CNN.   Five members of the Equilibrio Nacional (National Balance) group were injured and subsequently captured in Monday's raid in the area of El Junquito, west of the capital, Caracas, the government said.   Two members of the national police were killed and five were injured, according to an Interior Ministry statement cited by Telesur (Venezuela). An unspecified number of "terrorist cell" members were killed, the ministry said.   Former police officer Oscar Perez was killed in the fighting, said a top Venezuelan government official.   Perez commandeered a helicopter in June 2017 and engaged in a brazen attack on the country's Ministry of Justice and Supreme Court, opening firing and dropping grenades on the buildings. No one was injured in those attacks.   The former police officer turned B-movie star had been on the run since the attack, reported NPR.   He posted a video on social Monday, saying his group was under attack. Visibly wounded, Perez stated "We are not shooting and they keep attacking us … We are trying to negotiate because there are innocent people here, there are civilians … they literally want to kill us."

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