Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Profiteers Try To Sell Respirators For Exorbitant Prices Amid Coronavirus Outbreak



Shutterstock/SamaraHeisz5

Kyle Hooten  
Contributor 
February 26, 2020 




Prices for respirator masks are rising as public supply dwindles amid government warnings about the potential for widespread coronavirus in the U.S.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday that Coronavirus is expected to spread in America and that “disruption to everyday life might be severe,” according to Fox News. It seems the public has already taken this warning to heart, as many listings for respirators masks on Amazon, Ebay and other online retailers have sold out entirely.

Despite the fact that commonly available face masks are unlikely to prevent the spread of Coronavirus according to Business Insider, dozens of Amazon listings appear to have sold out and are listed as “currently unavailable,” at the time of publication. Even retailers like Optics Planet, which sells outdoor and shooting related gear, are struggling to meet consumer demand for masks.

Meanwhile, some aspiring disaster profiteers have taken to listing masks at exorbitant rates on Ebay. Prices for these upcharged masks range from $40 to $1,000 for common 3M brand masks that can usually be had for only a few dollars. (RELATED: CDC Warns Americans To Prepare For Coronavirus Outbreak In Their Communities)


The most expensive listing for N95 respirators on Ebay costs over $11,000. (Screengrab/Ebay)

Despite the reality that masks will likely not stop a person from contracting Coronavirus, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the government needs to stockpile 300 million N95 respirators for use by health service workers, reports Business Insider. These are the same type of masks that are flying off the shelves and into the hands of the general public.

N95 is a designation for a respirator that filters 95% of small and large airborne particles when worn properly, according to the CDC.

World Braces...






FEAR!





The List 5225


The List 5225

To All,

A bit of history and some tidbits.

Regards,

Skip


This Day in Naval History

Feb. 26

1944—Sue Sophia Dauser, Superintendent of the Navy's Nurse Corps, is the first woman in the Navy to receive rank of captain.

1945—TBMs (VC 82) from USS Anzio (CVE 57) sink two Japanese submarines: I 368, 35 miles west of Iwo Jima, and RO 43, 50 miles west-northwest of Iwo Jima.

1945—USS Finnegan (DE 307) sinks Japanese submarine I 370, 120 miles south of Iwo Jima.

1991—During Operation Desert Storm, A-6E aircraft of VA-155 from USS Ranger (CVA 61) and Marine aircraft bomb Iraqi troops fleeing Kuwait City to Basra.



Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:

• Multiple outlets report the delayed release of the Department of the Navy Integrated Naval Force Structure Assessment and 30-year Shipbuilding Plan.

• Multiple outlets report that an American soldier stationed in South Korea became the first service member to contract the coronavirus as overseas installations increase mitigation efforts.

• Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Tod Wolters called for two more destroyers to be stationed in Rota, Spain, amid increased Russian submarine activity, multiple outlets report.



Today in History fEBRUARY 26

0364 On the death of Jovian, a conference at Nicaea chooses Valentinan, an army officer who was born in the central European region of Pannania, to succeed him in Asia Minor.

1154 William the Bad succeeds his father, Roger the II, in Sicily.

1790 As a result of the Revolution, France is divided into 83 departments.

1815 Napoleon and 1,200 of his men leave Elba to start the 100-day re-conquest of France.

1848 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels publish The Communist Manifesto in London.

1871 France and Prussia sign a preliminary peace treaty at Versailles.

1901 Boxer Rebellion leaders Chi-Hsin and Hsu-Cheng-Yu are publicly executed in Peking.

1914 Russian aviator Igor Sikorsky carries 17 passengers in a twin engine plane in St. Petersburg.

1916 General Henri Philippe Petain takes command of the French forces at Verdun.

1917 President Wilson publicly asks congress for the power to arm merchant ships.

1924 U.S. steel industry finds claims an eight-hour day increases efficiency and employee relations.

1933 Ground is broken for the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

1936 Japanese military troops march into Tokyo to conduct a coup and assassinate political leaders.

1941 British take the Somali capital in East Africa.

1943 U.S. Flying Fortresses and Liberators pound German docks and U-boat lairs at Wilhelmshaven.

1945 Syria declares war on Germany and Japan.

1951 The 22nd Amendment is added to the Constitution limiting the Presidency to two terms.

1964 Lyndon B. Johnson signs a tax bill with $11.5 billion in cuts.

1965 Norman Butler is arrested for the murder of Malcom X.

1968 Thirty-two African nations agree to boycott the Olympics because of the presence of South Africa.

1970 Five Marines are arrested on charges of murdering 11 South Vietnamese women and children.

1972 Soviets recover Luna 20 with a cargo of moon rocks.

1973 A publisher and 10 reporters are subpoenaed to testify on Watergate.

1990 Daniel Ortega, communist president of Nicaragua, suffers a shocking election defeat at the hands of Violeta Chamorro.

1993 A bomb rocks the World Trade Center in New York City. Five people are killed and hundreds suffer from smoke inhalation.



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Another great H-Gram from Admiral Cox and the Naval History and Heritage Command

The following is the introduction to the H-Gram 42 followed by the initial description of the battle. When you click on “read H-Gram 042” in the paragraph below it also takes you to all the previous H-Grams and will allow you enter a treasure trove of Naval History that started on 17 November of 2016 with the release of H-Gram 001.

In his latest H-Gram, NHHC Director Sam Cox, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary, covers the U.S. Navy’s role in the Battle for Iwo Jima. On Feb. 19, 1945, Marines landed on the tiny island of Iwo Jima for what would become one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. More than 5,900 Marines gave their lives, including more than 500 in just the first few hours. More than 880 U.S. Navy personnel were also killed. The Japanese were extremely well prepared for the amphibious assault, with gun positions that were virtually impervious to air and sea bombardment, and they were better led than probably any other battle of the war. Hard lessons were learned, and many were put to the test during the subsequent Battle for Okinawa. For more, read H-Gram 042 at the Director’s Corner. In addition to the new H-Gram, Director Cox wrote about Pearl Harbor survivor Donald Stratton, who recently passed away at the age of 97. Read Fair Winds, Donald Stratton, USS Arizona Hero at The Sextant.



H-Gram 042: The Battle for Iwo Jima, February–March 1945

20 February 2020



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First waves of the assault force, embarked in LVTs (landing vehicle, tracked), head for the Iwo Jima beaches, 19 February 1945. LCS's (landing craft, support) are positioned near the shore, providing close-in fire support. Also providing gunfire support, nearer to the camera, are two destroyers and (at right) the battleship Tennessee (BB-43). Mount Suribachi is in the upper left (NH 104127).

In the pantheon of numerous extremely heroic actions by the United States Marine Corps, the Battle for Iwo Jima rightly occupies a unique place. It is entirely fitting that the memorial to the U.S. Marine Corps overlooking Washington, DC, is a representation of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi, from what is possibly the most iconic photo of World War II. The memorial can be seen from throughout the U.S. capital, and deservedly so, because it represents courage and sacrifice that should never be forgotten. As Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz succinctly put it, at Iwo Jima, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.” That sacrifice includes 5,931 Marines who gave their lives, including over 500 in the first few hours alone. Uncommon valor also includes an additional 881 U.S. Navy personnel who gave their lives as well.

Over 100 U.S. Navy personnel were dead before the first Marine even set foot on the island. The first Medal of Honor (of 27 in the campaign) was awarded to Lieutenant (j.g.) Rufus Herring, skipper of LCI (G)-449. The vessel suffered 21 dead and 18 wounded while refusing to back down from providing cover for an underwater demolition team beach reconnaissance and refusing to abandon the swimmers in the water, despite intense Japanese artillery, mortar and machine-gun fire as the Japanese mistook the reconnaissance mission on D-2 for the actual invasion. Eleven other LCI gunboats were similarly chewed up, and similarly refused to yield. All were damaged, one was sunk, and two had to be towed away, but only after the swimmers were recovered. Twelve Navy Unit Commendations were awarded. Eleven other LCI gunboat skippers, the division commander, and the flotilla commander were awarded the Navy Cross. All told, 52 officers and Sailors were killed and 148 wounded in this action on 17 February 1945. An additional 40 were lost when a bomb hit the destroyer transport Blessman (APD-48), including 15 members of Underwater Demolition Team 15, the largest loss of life in a UDT in the entire war.

The Japanese were extremely well prepared with gun positions virtually impervious to air and sea bombardment, and in Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi were better led than probably any other battle of the war. The actual landing went like clockwork until the Japanese opened up with everything they had, creating what one war correspondent described as “a nightmare in hell.” In that same hell with the Marines were two Seabee battalions, and the 133rd suffered the most casualties of any battalion in Seabee history (45 dead or missing, over 275 wounded). Nevertheless, 30,000 Marines went ashore on just the first day, with accurate naval gunfire and air support keeping casualties from being even worse than they were. In the fierce fight that followed, victory was never in doubt. The question was how long the Japanese would be able to drag out the battle and inflict maximum casualties, and they were exceedingly effective in both. A battle planned for days took over six weeks. Among the 27 Medals of Honor awarded were four to U.S. Navy corpsmen (two posthumously), who went above and beyond the call of duty to save their Marine brothers.

In the deception and decoy effort before the battle, the Fast Carrier Task Force (TF 58) took 16 aircraft carriers to within 60 miles of the Japanese coast on 16–17 February, launching the first carrier aircraft sweeps and strikes of the war over the Japanese Home Islands, and sending hundreds of Navy aircraft right into downtown Tokyo and environs. (Who accused Admiral Spruance of being overly cautious in the use of carrier air?)

The Japanese responded to the Iwo Jima landings with an audacious air operation of their own; about 28 aircraft on a 600-mile, one-way “special attack” mission, timed to hit U.S. ships right at dusk on 21 February. Within a matter of three minutes, six Japanese aircraft pummeled aircraft carrier Saratoga (CV-3) with multiple bomb hits and aircraft hits, followed some time later by yet another kamikaze strike, all of which killed 123, wounded 192, and put the venerable carrier out of action. The escort carrier Lunga Point (CVE-94) miraculously survived torpedoes fore and aft and a flaming ball of fire that glanced off the island. Escort carrier Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) was not so lucky, as two kamikaze hits in quick succession ignited an inferno and explosions that sent her to the bottom with heavy loss of life (318). However, Bismarck Sea was the last U.S. aircraft carrier ever lost (although others would come dangerously close in the months ahead).


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Large explosion on board USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95), after she was hit by a kamikaze during the night of 21–22 February 1945, while she was taking part in the Iwo Jima operation. She sank as a result of her damage. Photographed from USS Saginaw Bay (CVE-82) (80-G-335103).

The Japanese attempt to attack the Iwo Jima invasion force with submarines was an abysmal failure in the face of new U.S. technology, such as sonobuoys and “Fido” acoustic homing torpedoes. Of three Japanese submarines carrying five Kaiten manned suicide torpedoes each, two were sunk (I-368, I-370) along with their Kaiten and all hands, and I-44 barely escaped without launching her Kaiten. Another submarine conducting a conventional mission, RO-43, was also sunk with all hands.

Numerous hard lessons were learned during the Battle of Iwo Jima, many of which were put to the test during the following Battle for Okinawa and mass kamikaze raids. One key lesson was to expect that in any invasion of Okinawa or of the Japanese Home Islands, the Japanese would fight to the last man for every square foot of soil, inflicting as many casualties as possible, even in the face of certain defeat. Iwo Jima proved beyond any doubt that there would be no such thing as an “easy” win for the remainder of the war, and that horrific casualties on both sides would be the cost of victory.

The battle for whether Iwo Jima was “worth it,” began before the battle even ended, as much of the American public was appalled at the cost of a speck of land in the middle of nowhere. A common rationale is that over 2,200 B-29 bombers made emergency landings on Iwo Jima, thereby trading 6,800 Marine and Navy lives for as many as 20,000 airmen. Actually, the great majority of those B-29s would have reached the Marianas, but landed on Iwo Jima as a sensible precaution. Other reasons for taking Iwo Jima, valid at the time, turned out to not be necessary. So with 20–20 armchair hindsight, the answer to whether it was “worth it” is probably “no.” But that detracts not in the least from the incredible valor and sacrifice of the Marines and Sailors who did their duty to the utmost, beyond what any nation has a right to ask. And, such uncommon courage should never be forgotten.

For more on the Battle for Iwo Jima, with emphasis on the Navy contribution, please see attachment H-042-1.

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Flying with birds Thanks to Mud

I think y'all will enjoy seeing this. I once inadvertently did something like this flying into Stuttgart, AR to go duck hunting, but it was not fun. ATIS had warned all aircraft in the area about ducks in the area. I came out of a cloud and found myself in the middle of a flock and somehow missed them all.

Flying With Birds


https://biggeekdad.com/2019/02/flying-with-birds/

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Thanks to Carl

Phil Haney: My Friend and Colleague, Assassinated - American Thinker

(More here: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/02/official_investigation_into_the_shooting_death_of_dhs_whistleblower_philip_haney_continues.html )



https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/02/phil_haney_my_friend_and_colleague_assassinated.html



February 26, 2020
Phil Haney: My Friend and Colleague, Assassinated

By James Simpson



This past weekend, I and many of my colleagues received the shocking news that famed Obama administration DHS whistleblower Phil Haney had died. My first indication was a text from a friend late Friday night: "Sorry so late but I am hearing Phil Haney has been killed." I had received something earlier in the evening, but the person texting had thought it was a joke.

It was no joke. Phil Haney, a long-term colleague and person I had come to know personally, had been shot dead. Rumors from friends contained many inaccuracies, like "he had been missing for days," "found in a remote area," etc.

The Amador County (California) sheriff's office put out a brief statement reporting that he had been found Friday morning:

On February 21, 2020, at approximately 1012 hours, deputies and detectives ... responded ... to the report of a male subject on the ground with a gunshot wound. Upon their arrival, they located and identified 66-year-old Philip Haney, who was deceased and appeared to have suffered a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound. A firearm was located next to Haney and his vehicle. This investigation is active and ongoing. No further details will be released at this time.

He was found by his car at a park-and-ride about three miles from his home. In a True Pundit interview, Haney's stepmother, Judith Haney, stated: "No one in the family believes this is a suicide; I mean he was enjoying doing talk radio and was working on another book and was excited about that. With his history with the government and everything, it is very, very suspicious..."

Haney was also engaged to be married and was enthusiastic about his future. His fiancée, Denice Gary-Pandol, shared how happy they both were, looking forward to marriage in April and beginning a new chapter in their lives. She spoke with him throughout the day on Thursday and texted him just prior to heading into an evening class she teaches. He responded affectionately at 5:45 P.M.

Phil's sister had similarly spoken with him around 5:00 P.M. and said he was at home and very tired. Phil normally called Denice after class but didn't that night. She assumed he was likely asleep, so she decided not to call him. But the next morning, she did call. He did not answer. That afternoon, she received a call from the deputy sheriff of Amador County.

No one among us who knew Phil believes that it was possible for him to kill himself. He was a committed Christian, was looking forward to his upcoming marriage and the publication of his new book and possibly a new position in Washington, D.C. None of it adds up. I and countless others sent a blizzard of inquiries to the Amador County Sheriff's Department in the days following his death, both to seek details and lodge our objection to the "self-inflicted" characterization of Phil's cause of death.

The sheriff is now walking back that initial assessment, claiming that "misinformation" was responsible for claims that Phil committed suicide. The initial announcement did state the qualifier "apparent" and added that an investigation was ongoing. The sheriff now says the FBI has been called in, has detailed more aspects of the investigation, and clarified that it has not determined how he died.

But media outlets quickly concluded that this was a case of suicide and said little, if anything, else about the explosive charges Haney had leveled against the Obama administration's deliberate efforts to shield U.S.-based Islamic terrorists from discovery. Nothing to see here...move along now. This perfunctory characterization itself reflects the Deep State effort to discredit anyone critical of Democrats. So Haney made allegations; now he committed suicide. That decides it. End of story. Sure. It seems that despite its virtually nonstop record of traitorous actions, the Obama administration and its associates remain Teflon-coated.

As a DHS agent, Haney had hundreds of files of U.S. individuals tied to terrorism and the organizations they were associated with. The Obama administration deleted those files from the federal database and launched a total of nine investigations against Haney for supposedly violating the civil rights of Muslim terrorists. In his book, See Something, Say Nothing, Haney claimed that had the administration allowed his work to go forward, it may have identified the Boston Marathon bombers, the San Bernardino and Orlando terrorists, and possibly more before those attacks occurred.

The information Phil compiled was kept and shared with trustworthy individuals, despite Obama administration efforts to wipe the records clean. This has been known for some time, however, so why was Phil targeted now?

He had been working on a new project. What did this entail, and was it similarly secured? Phil was meticulous in his work and documentation. It is a main reason he survived the Obama administration's repeated efforts to entrap him, using the same kind of techniques they applied to Gen. Mike Flynn and others embroiled in the "Russia Collusion" hoax.

Joe Martin, a retired Special Forces officer, wrote of Haney:

Given the enemies he hunted — both foreign and domestic — there are plenty of people and groups who have a strong motive to kill him. And that's a testament to his tremendous work and his meticulous defense of our country.

Perhaps he had uncovered something new. Hopefully, we will find out what happened. In the meantime, our nation has lost one of its pre-eminent freedom-fighters. I feel a gaping hole in my soul from his loss. Phil was an amazing spirit and an amazing man. He is and will be missed by all of us. Following are tributes from some others who knew him.

Bill Marshall of Judicial Watch writes, "Goodbye amigo, and Rest in Peace, Patriot":

Philip Haney was the embodiment of logic and resilience. I could only hope to have a fraction of the fortitude he demonstrated if similarly confronted. He was not a quitter. Ever.

Phil Haney had developed many enemies, both within the Deep State and within the Islamist movement in the United States, with his absolutely fearless expositions of their treachery. Again, I call upon Attorney General Barr to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the circumstances surrounding Phil's death.

George Rasley of Conservative HQ called Phil a "21st Century Paul Revere":

For several years we met every Wednesday with Phil Haney and a small group of national security experts to discuss the ongoing war Islam has declared on the West and the strategies by which we could turn the Obama administration's failures into victory. A gentle, humble man with a dry, self-deprecating sense of humor, Phil Haney was an unlikely hero in any war, but that is what he was. Rest in peace old friend.

The Center for Security Policy's Frank Gaffney wrote:

As you may know, we lost this week one of our most brilliant, most dedicated and most devout comrades-in-arms: Philip Haney[.] ...

It is hard to overstate the magnitude of this loss to the cause of freedom. Phil's service to our country — both as a "plankholder" (founding member) of the Department of Homeland Security and during his subsequent years as a private citizen and watchman on the wall — was characterized by tireless, intrepid and, in certain quarters, unwelcome research and analysis about the Islam's totalitarian code known as Sharia and the supremacists who seek to impose it on all of us. Phil was fond of saying that his academic training as an entomologist, with its required skill sets of categorization and observation, perfectly suited him for a career spent monitoring jihadists and following them to their "nests."

With his self-taught fluency in Arabic and his encyclopedic knowledge of Islam's Koran, other sacred texts, traditions, jurisprudence and institutions, Phil was an indispensable warrior in the War for the Free World. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for his life and his innumerable contributions to the cause of freedom — many of which will never be publicly acknowledged or otherwise made known to his countrymen and women whom he did so much to secure.

Denice, who also hosts The Denice Gary Show, gave a moving testimony of Phil on Facebook TV that you can watch here.

Rest in peace, my friend. Despite our grief, we know that you are in a better place.

James Simpson is an economist, former White House budget analyst, businessman, and investigative journalist. Follow Jim on Twitter and Facebook.



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News from around the world from Military Periscope for 26 February

USA—DoD Adopts Principles Governing Ethical Use Of AI Dept. Of Defense | 02/26/2020 The Dept. of Defense says that it has officially adopted a series of broad principles governing the ethical use of artificial intelligence. On Monday, Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer, announced that the department was adopting five principles developed by the Defense Innovation Board: responsible, equitable, traceable, reliable and governable, reported C4ISRNet. Responsible AI use will require DoD personnel to exercise judgment in developing, deploying and using AI. Under the equitable principle, the Pentagon will work to prevent unintended bias in AI systems. Traceable AI systems will be developed so that their functions are understood by personnel operating them and their actions are transparent and auditable. The reliable principle is intended to ensure that AI systems have clearly defined uses across their entire lifecycle. The governable principle calls for designing systems that do not result in unintended consequences and can be disengaged or deactivated if they demonstrate unintended behavior. The implementation of the principles will be coordinated by the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, reported Air Force magazine.



USA—Pentagon Reveals Plans For New Nuclear Warhead For Trident II SLBMs Defense News | 02/26/2020 Pentagon officials have confirmed plans to develop a new nuclear warhead for Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles, reports Defense News. The W93 nuclear warhead program was first unveiled as a budget line item in the fiscal 2021 budget request. An unidentified defense official confirmed that the W93 would be a new warhead and was not simply a life-extension effort for an existing weapon. The W93 would replace the W88 and W76 warheads on the Trident II SLBM. Although the W76 recently completed an upgrade and the W88 is in the midst of a modernization effort, the nuclear cores of both are beginning to age. Since it is a long process to develop and produce a new warhead, the Pentagon wants to get started now, officials said. The W93 will be based on existing designs and components already in the nuclear stockpile but could feature major changes, such as altering the location of the primary and secondary elements and integrating new conventional components. Critics expressed skepticism about how much existing technology can be used in the development of a new weapon. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) previously noted it expected to begin working on a “Next Navy Warhead” in 2023. It was not clear why the project was accelerated. The NNSA will lead the development of the W93’s internal components, while the Defense Dept. will design its aero shell. The Pentagon has included $32 million in its budget request for that effort, which is expected to cost a total of $480 million over the Future Years Defense Program. The goal is to field the W93, which would be between the W88 and W76 in size, by 2040. The new warhead is not expected to expand the nuclear stockpile but would replace older warheads as they are retired.



USA—Aerojet Rocketdyne To Develop New Propulsion System For Mk 54 Torpedo Aerojet | 02/26/2020 Aerojet Rocketdyne says that it has received a Navy contract to develop a new propulsion system for the Mk 54 lightweight torpedo. Under the $63.2 million contract, Aerojet will develop an advanced propulsion system for the Mk 54 Mod 2 Advanced Lightweight Torpedo (ALWT) upgrade, the company announced on Monday. The powerplant will consist of a prototype stored chemical energy propulsion system (SCEPS) and a new afterbody/tailcone. The Mk 54 Mod 0 reached initial operational capability in 2004. The Mod 1 upgrade, which improved the torpedo’s performance in shallow and littoral environments, was introduced later.



Russia—New Radars Able To Track Hypersonic Targets To Enter Service Soon Tass | 02/26/2020 Russian radars installed in the Arctic are slated to formally enter service next month, reports the Tass news agency (Moscow). On Wednesday, 12 personnel began a two-week training course on the Rezonans-N radar, said the manufacturer, Rezonans Research Center. The course is expected to conclude on March 12, after which the personnel would be deployed to the Northern Fleet to operate the Rezonans-N radars on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago and elsewhere in the Arctic. The radar was installed in Novaya Zemlya in mid-November. Rezonans Research Center says the system can detect stealth aircraft and aerial objects traveling at speeds up to Mach 20 (15,345 mph, 24,695 kph).



South Korea—1st Case Of Coronavirus Confirmed In U.S. Military Personnel Yonhap | 02/26/2020 U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) has confirmed that a U.S. soldier has tested positive for the coronavirus, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul). A 23-year-old soldier at Camp Carroll in the southeastern Chilgok county has tested positive for COVID-19, the command said on Wednesday. The soldier was quarantined at his off-base residence, reported the Voice of America news. They are also believed to have visited nearby Camp Walker. Both bases are the near Daegu, the epicenter of South Korea's coronavirus epidemic. Health professionals are working to identify other people who may have been exposed to the soldier, said the command. Risk levels were raised to "high" on Monday after the 61-year-old widow of a U.S. servicemember tested positive for the virus, reported Business Insider. She had visited the exchange at Camp Walker. Most cases of the virus in South Korea have been linked to a church in the southeast. At least 1,261 cases have been confirmed, with 12 dead.



Australia—Investigation Into Allegations Of War Crimes By Special Ops Troops In Afghanistan In Final Stages Australian Broadcasting Corporation | 02/26/2020 The Australian military is investigating alleged unlawful killings and abuses by special operations forces during operations in Afghanistan, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corp. On Tuesday, the Inspector General of the Australian Defense Force (IGADF) confirmed that 55 separate incidents that took place between 2005 and 2016 are being investigated as possible war crimes. The latest update on the inquiry was contained in the IGADF's annual report for 2018-2019. The inquiry has taken evidence from 338 witnesses, reported Agence France-Presse. The investigation began in May 2016. Some have expressed frustration at the slow pace. The update was only provided to the Senate about three months after the inspector general signed off on it. Investigators emphasized that they are not focused on decisions made "during the heat of battle" but rather the treatment of people who were already non-combatants or had ceased being combatants. The probe is also looking into the organizational, operational and cultural environment, which may have contributed to the incidents. Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said she anticipated that the final report would be delivered within a few months.



Indonesia—Iranian Supply Vessel Pays Visit To Jakarta Jakarta Post | 02/26/2020 A logistics ship from the Iranian navy has arrived in Jakarta for an official visit, reports the Jakarta Post. The Kharg arrived on Tuesday at Tanjung Priok Port and is expected to stay until Feb. 28. The visit is part of commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Iran. An Indonesian vessel is expected to make a similar visit to mark the anniversary, said the Iranian defense attache in Jakarta. Around 300 Iranian naval cadets are onboard the Kharg. Members of the Iranian delegation will hold bilateral meetings with Indonesian navy officials, hold an open ship day and participate in athletic competitions with Indonesian naval cadets, officials said.



India—At Least 13 Dead In New Delhi Violence Press Trust Of India | 02/26/2020 More than a dozen people have been killed in the latest wave of violence in New Delhi, reports the Press Trust of India. On Tuesday, at least 10 people were killed and around 186 injured, including 56 police personnel, reported India Today. One police officer was killed, reported CNN. At least half of the injured suffered bullet wounds, hospital officials said. Clashes began on Sunday between protesters in favor of a controversial new citizenship law and those against it, reported BBC News. The violence has taken on a religious character with Hindu and Muslim groups battling each other. The fighting has been centered on Muslim-majority neighborhoods in northeastern New Delhi. Major protests have been seen in India since the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) passed the Citizenship Amendment Act last year. The law has been called anti-Muslim by critics.



India—Deal For Naval, Attack Helicopters Inked With U.S. Economic Times | 02/26/2020 The Indian government has signed a deal for maritime and attack helicopters with the U.S., reports the Economic Times (Bombay). On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed that an agreement had been signed during his first visit to the South Asian country. The US$3 billion agreement covers 24 MH-60R multirole helicopters and six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. The Apaches are being purchased for the Indian army. The air force ordered 22 of the attack helicopters, with deliveries due to conclude in March. The army aircraft will be in the same configuration as the air force helicopters. Deliveries are expected to begin in three years, officials said. The Indian Cabinet Committee on Security authorized the acquisition last week.



Afghanistan—4 ISIS-K Members Die In U.S. Airstrikes In Kunar Province Stars And Stripes | 02/26/2020 The U.S. has killed at least four Islamic State militants in airstrikes in northeastern Afghanistan, reports the Stars and Stripes. On Tuesday, two airstrikes were conducted against ISIS targets in Kunar province, said a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. An ISIS shadow governor and a military commander were killed in the attacks, said Kunar provincial officials. Afghan forces were not involved, said a spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry. The airstrikes came as Afghanistan is about halfway through an agreement intended to reduce violence between the Taliban and U.S. forces. If successful, an agreement reducing the presence of U.S. forces could be signed on Saturday. ISIS is not part of the accord.



Syria—Erdogan Says Regime Advances To Be Reversed By End Of Month Reuters | 02/26/2020 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that Turkish troops will drive Syrian government forces away from Turkish observation posts in Syria's northwestern Idlib province by the end of the month, reports Reuters. On Wednesday, Erdogan told lawmakers from his Justice and Development (AK) party that Turkish troops and allied militia members would push Syrian troops and their allies beyond the observation posts established in September 2018. Erdogan also said the government would find a solution that allowed Turkey to use airspace over the province, reported Turkey's Anadolu Agency. A lack of air support has hindered Turkish operations, which have largely relied on artillery support and ground operations by allied rebels. Russia controls the airspace and has been regularly striking Turkish-backed rebels in support of the Syrian regime's offensive. On Tuesday, the Turkish-backed rebels achieved a major victory when they took the town of Nairab, which had been lost to government forces earlier this year.



Syria—Government, Russian Jets Conduct Nearly 200 Airstrikes In Idlib Syrian Observatory for Human Rights | 02/26/2020 At least 10 civilians have been killed in Russian and Syrian airstrikes in the Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, reports the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Russian and Syrian jets conducted more than 176 airstrikes around Idlib province on Tuesday, hitting areas in and around the cities of Idlib and Sarmin, the towns of Al-Naryab, Qominas, Al-Mastumma, Mussaybin, Ma’arat Alia, the Tajtanaz military airport and the areas of Jabal al-Zawiya and Ma’rat Misrin. An attack on Ma’rat Misrin, north of Idlib, killed four civilians and injured 11 others, the observatory said. Airstrikes also killed two civilians in a residential neighborhood of Idlib. Several schools in Idlib were hit in a rocket attack that killed three teachers and a student.



Egypt—Former President Hosni Mubarak Dies CNN | 02/26/2020 Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has died, reports CNN. Mubarak died on Tuesday morning, according to a social media post from his son. He had been in intensive care in a hospital outside Cairo following surgery on Jan. 23. Mubarak ascended to power in 1981 following the assassination of his predecessor, Anwar Sadat. He ruled as president until 2011 when he was ousted by a popular uprising during the Arab Spring. Following his overthrow, a court found him guilty of playing a role in the deaths of protesters during the uprisings and sentenced him to life in prison. That sentence was overturned on appeal and he was released in 2017, noted BBC News.



Libya—LNA, GNA Pull Out Of Geneva Talks Al Jazeera | 02/26/2020 Officials from the Libyan National Army (LNA) and U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) have announced that they will not participate in further peace talks in Geneva, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar). On Monday, lawmakers with the eastern government affiliated with Khalifa Haftar’s LNA announced they would no longer participate in the talks, reported Reuters. The LNA delegation withdrew after the United Nations, which is sponsoring the talks, approved only eight of the 13 representatives proposed as part of the delegation, officials said. GNA officials later announced that they would also withdraw from the talks. The GNA had threatened to withdraw last week following LNA shelling of Tripoli’s port. The GNA said it could not participate in political talks until there was progress on military negotiations. On Wednesday, the U.N. had planned to bring together lawmakers from both sides to try to end fighting in Tripoli as part of a multitrack process encompassing military, political and economic components. The setback came despite apparent recent progress. Earlier on Monday, the U.N. Libya mission had announced that senior military figures from the LNA and GNA had agreed to submit a draft cease-fire agreement to their respective leadership ahead of the next meeting. The political dialogue on Libya in Geneva was still expected to go ahead on Feb. 26, a U.N. official said.



Somalia—Al-Shabaab Commander Who Planned Manda Bay Attack Killed In U.S. Strike Africa Command | 02/26/2020 The militant leader who planned a deadly attack on U.S. troops in Kenya has been killed in an airstrike, reports U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). On Feb. 22, U.S. airstrikes killed the Al-Shabaab leader and his wife, who was a "witting and active member" of the group. AFRICOM did not indicate where the strike took place. The U.S. military reportedly carried out an airstrike near Saakow in southern Somalia on that date, reported the Voice of America News. The statement did not name the individuals but said the leader was responsible for planning the Al-Qaida affiliate's attacks in the Kenya border region. On Jan. 5, Al-Shabaab militants attacked an annex at Manda Airstrip, near Camp Simba, which is a U.S. base. Three U.S. personnel, a soldier and two contractors, were killed in the attack.



Mali—3 Irish Troops Treated For Minor Injuries After IED Blast Near Gao Irish Times | 02/26/2020 Three Irish troops have suffered minor injuries in an explosion in eastern Mali, reports the Irish Times. On Tuesday, the troops were conducting a patrol about 12 miles (20 km) east of their base in Gao when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near their convoy, the Irish Defense Forces said. The military described the injuries as non-life threatening and said the wounded soldiers were receiving treatment. The Irish troops are from the Army Ranger Wing (ARW) and are deployed with MINUSMA, the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali. The Irish Parliament approved the deployment of the of the ARW in June. Fourteen troops have been serving with the German-led Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Force since September, reported the Defense Post. The incident is not expected to affect Ireland's commitment to the mission.