Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fw: TheList 4371

The List 4371
To All,
I hope your week has started well.
This Day In Naval History - January 24
1942 - Battle of Makassar Strait, destroyer attack on Japanese convoy in first surface action in the Pacific during World War II
1991 - Helos from USS Leftwich and USS Nicholas recapture first Kuwaiti territory from Iraqis
January 24
Shortly after declaring himself a god, Caligula is assassinated by two Praetorian tribunes.
Matthias Corvinus, the son of John Hunyadi, is elected king of Hungary.
Representatives from three Connecticut towns band together to write the Fundamental Orders, the first constitution in the New World.
Czar Peter the Great caps his reforms in Russia with the "Table of Rank" which decrees a commoner can climb on merit to the highest positions.
Gold is discovered by James Wilson Marshall at his partner Johann August Sutter's sawmill on the South Fork of the American River, near Coloma, California.
U.S. Secretary of State John Hay and British Ambassador Herbert create a joint commission to establish the Alaskan border.
U.S. Cavalry is sent to preserve the neutrality of the Rio Grande during the Mexican Civil War.
The German cruiser Bl├╝cher is sunk by a British squadron in the Battle of Dogger Bank.
British expeditionary force of 12,000 is sent to China to protect concessions at Shanghai.
The League of Nations rebukes Poland for the mistreatment of a German minority in Upper Silesia.
A German attempt to relieve the besieged city of Budapest is finally halted by the Soviets.
The UN establishes the International Atomic Energy Commission.
Indian leader Nehru demands that the UN name Peking as an aggressor in Korea.
Winston Churchill dies from a cerebral thrombosis at the age of 90.
In a rebuff to the Soviets, the U.S. announces intentions to sell arms to China.
A draft of Air Force history reports that the U.S. secretly sprayed herbicides on Laos during the Vietnam War.
From Fighter Sweep
Today in Aviation History: 1951 First Flight of the Douglas F4D Skyray
January 23, 1951 marked the first flight of the Douglas F4D Skyray carrier based fighter/interceptor jet. The F4D Skyray was the first US Navy and Marine Corps jet that could exceed Mach View More ›
Today on Fighter Sweep
WWII Bomber 'Memphis Belle' to be Displayed at National AF Museum
World War II Air Force Bomber 'Memphis Belle' will be put on public display at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio beginning in May 2018. View More ›
Thanks to Bill
            Points of Wisdom
            1.    The location of your mailbox shows you how far away from your house you can be in a robe, before you start looking like a mental patient.
            2.    My therapist said that my narcissism causes me to misread social situations.  I'm pretty sure she was hitting on me.
            3.    I always wondered what the job application is like at Hooters.  Do they just give you a bra and say, "Here, fill this out?"
            4.    The speed with which a woman says "nothing," when asked "What's wrong?" is inversely proportional to the severity of the  storm that's coming.
            5.    Denny's has a slogan, "If it's your birthday, the meal is on us."  If you're in Denny's and it's your birthday, your life sucks!
            6.    The pharmacist asked me my birth date again today.   Pretty sure she's going to get me something.
            7.    On average, an American man will have sex two to three times a week.  Whereas, a Japanese man will have sex only one or two times a year.  This is very upsetting news to me.  I had no idea I was Japanese.
            8.    I can't understand why women are okay that J C Penny has an older women's clothing line named, "Sag Harbor".
            9.    I think it's pretty cool how Chinese people made a language entirely out of tattoos.
            10. What is it about a car that makes people think we can't see them pick their noses?
            11. Money can't buy happiness, but it keeps the kids in touch!
            12. The reason Mayberry was so peaceful and quiet is because nobody was married.  Andy, Aunt Bea, Barney, Floyd, Howard, Goober, Gomer, Sam, Earnest T. Bass, Helen, Thelma Lou, Clara, and of course, Opie - all single.  The only married person was Otis, and he stayed drunk.
Thanks to John
Quote of the Week
When asked what he thinks about General Mattis being considered for Secretary of Defense, Rob O'Neill (the man who killed Bin Laden) said "General Mattis has a bear rug in his home but it is not dead, it is just afraid to move".
Thanks to the Old Bandit
F-22 jock flies the F-4  I have no idea who wrote this.
This is from a friend, you Phantom Drivers will get a kick out of it.
A colleague who is F22 pilot for the Virginia ANG had honor of flying a Phantom at Eglin. He flew the aircraft we had at the reunion. Here is the F-22 pilot's thoughts on flying the F-4:
I flew your jet a couple days ago (see attached). I had a little trouble getting the engines started, so I climbed out and shoveled some more coal in the back; after that she fired right up.
Ground ops were uneventful, although I couldn't figure out why the cockpit smelled like body odor, Jack Daniels and cigars…and that was BEFORE I got in it! By the way, what's with the no slip crap on top of the intakes, it's like you have permanent icing conditions due to that spray on rhino truck bed liner on top of the aircraft. It's no wonder you needed so much coal (I mean thrust) to get airborne.
Take off scared the sh*t out of me. I lit the burners at brick one and 2 miles and 45 minutes later we were ready to rotate. After barely clearing the tree tops, the gear came up and I climbed away at a VERY impressive 2 degrees nose high. In case you don't remember, "Trim" is your friend in the F-4 (pretty sure it's also a good friend on the ground too).
Once I got her up to speed and a moderate altitude, we were ready for the G-Ex. Two G-turn's later and I'm sinking like a rock…the F-4's energy seems to bleed like Holyfield's ear in the Tyson fight! After the G-Ex it was time to do a little Advanced Handling Characteristics (AHC) and by "advanced handling" I mean the same crap the Wright Brothers were doing back in 1903…just trying to keep it airborne.
The jet flies much like my old man's station wagon used to drive…You turn the wheel (push the stick) a few inches and nothing happens, then all of a sudden the steering kicks in, inertia takes over, and all HELL breaks loose! You're pretty much along for the ride at that point and only gravity has a real say in your lift vector placement.
"Checking 6" was really quite easy…. because you CAN'T! Scratch that off the list of "Sh*t I need to do to keep myself alive in combat today". Breathing, however, was surprisingly easy in the F-4 when compared to that of the F-22 (thank you Lockheed)…LOX works, who knew!
I think I may have burned my legs a bit from the steam pouring out from behind the gauges. Where are my 6 mini-flat screen TV's, I'm lost without my HD jet displays (editors note: actually, I'm an analog guy stuck in a digital world too…I really do like the "steam driven" gauges).
After the AHC, I decided to take her up high and do a supersonic MACH run, and by "high" I mean "where never lark nor even eagle flew"; but not much higher, a foot or two maybe. I mean, we weren't up there high-fiving Jesus like we do in the Raptor, but it was respectable. It only took me the width of the Gulf of Mexico to get the thing turned around while above the Mach.
After the Mach run we dropped to the deck and did 600 kts at 500'; a ratllin' and shakin' we will go…. I though all the rivets were going to pop out. Reference previous station wagon analogy! Very quickly we were out of gas and headed home.
As I brought the jet up initial, I couldn't help but think that the boys who took this thing into combat had to have some pretty big brass you know whats!
[Note: Compared to today's Military]
My first F-4 landing was a little rough; sub-standard really by Air Force measure… but apparently "best seen to date" according to the Navy guys. Did you know that there's no such thing as an aerobrake in the F-4? As soon as the main gear touches down, the nose comes slamming down to the runway with all the force of a meteor hitting the earth….I guess the F-4 aerobrake technique is to dissipate energy via denting the runway.
Despite an apparently "decent" landing, stopping was a whole different problem. I reached down and pulled the handle to deploy the drogue chute…at which point a large solid mass of canvas, 550 cord, metal weights and cables fell out and began bouncing down the runway; chasing me like a lost puppy and FOD'ing out the whole runway. Perfect. I mashed down on the brakes and I'm pretty sure at this point the jet just started laughing at me. Why didn't you warn me that I needed a shuttle landing strip to get this damn thing stopped?
All kidding aside, VERY COOL jet! Must have been a kick to fly back when you were in Vietnam! Just kidding!
"There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war." --George Washington (1793)
Monday Morning Humor thanks to Al
     Harry Goldberg has been elected the next president of the United States-the first Jewish boy to reach the White House.  He is very proud and phones his mother in New York to invite her to the inauguration.   
     Harry: Momma, guess what! I've just been elected president, won't you come to my inauguration?

     Mother: Harry! You know I hate trains. I can't face the journey all the way to Washington. Maybe next time.
     Harry: Momma! You will take no train. Air Force One will collect you. The journey will be over in 30 minutes. Come to my inauguration, please.
     Mother: Harry, I hate hotels. The non-kosher food! Nahh, maybe next time.
     Harry: Momma! You will stay in the White House, a kosher chef to yourself. PLEASE come.
     Mother: Harry! I have nothing to wear!
     Harry: I have someone on his way to take you to Macy's and Bloomingdale's to make you look perfect. You must come!!!
     Mother: Okay, okay, I suppose I will come.
     Inaugaration day comes. Mother is on the front row, next to the Secretary of State. Harry is called up to become the next president. Mother digs the Secretary of State in the ribs and says, "Hey, you see that boy Harry? His brother is a very successful doctor!"

     Political Update…Senate Democratss feel justified not voting on any potential Supreme Court nominee. Only 1383 days to next election.

Submitted by Skip Leonard:

Political one liners:
The problem with political jokes is they get elected.~Henry Cate, VII
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.~Aesop
If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these State of the Union speeches, there wouldn't be any inducement to go to heaven.~Will Rogers
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.~Nikita Khrushchev
When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it.~Clarence Darrow
Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.~John Quinton
Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.~Author unknown
Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.~Ronald Reagan
Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.~Oscar Ameringer
A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.~Tex Guinan
I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.~Charles de Gaulle
Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.~Doug Larson
There ought to be one day—just one—when there is open season on Congressmen.~Will Rogers

Some believe paradise would be a place where everybody has guaranteed employment, free comprehensive healthcare, free education, free food, free housing, free clothing, free utilities, and only law enforcement has guns.  And believe it or not, such a place does indeed already exist:  It's called prison.

Submitted by Mark Logan:

No matter what side of the aisle you're on, this is funny—also sadly true.
     Judy Walkman, a professional genealogy researcher in southern California, was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that Senator Harry Reid's great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. Both Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor.
     The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory.  On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription: 'Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.' 
     So Judy recently e-mailed Senator Harry Reid for information about their great-great uncle.  Believe it or not, Harry Reid's staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research: 
"Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."
Now that's how it's done, folks!  That's real political spin.

My advice to politicians—Quit trying to make everybody happy.  You are not chocolate.

Have a great week,
Item Number:1 Date: 01/24/2017 BELGIUM - 50 BELGIAN VEHICLES, 100-PLUS TROOPS READY FOR NATO TRAINING IN LITHUANIA (JAN 24/LIMOD)  LITHUANIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- Belgian military forces are expected this week in Klaipeda on Lithuania's Baltic Sea coast to join the German-led battalion as part of NATO's enhanced forward presence mission, reports the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense.   More than 100 Belgians, their weapons and about 50 vehicles are due on Jan. 24-26. They form the forward logistics group for the rest of the battalion.   The group primarily consists of personnel from the Belgian army's 18th and 29th Logistics Battalions, with attached medical and military police units, say military officials.   The Belgians will serve in Rukla in the central part of the country where joint exercises are planned with German, Dutch and Norwegian troops in Lithuanian military training areas.   The 1,200-strong battalion will be led by Germany. Troops from Belgium, Croatia, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway will also take part, the ministry said.   The multinational battalion will train alongside the Lithuanian Mechanized Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf in Rukla.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 01/24/2017 CHINA - QUESTIONS BEING ASKED ABOUT REPORTED CHINESE ICBM DEPLOYMENT CLOSE TO RUSSIAN BORDER (JAN 24/TASS)  TASS -- Images published by Chinese media seem to show intercontinental ballistic missiles deployed close to the Russian border, reports Tass (Russia).   Moscow, at least initially, did not appeared to be concerned.   Dongfeng-41 ICBMs have been deployed in Daqing in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, along the border with Russia's Far East, reported the Global Times newspaper on Tuesday.   Asked to comment on the development, a spokesman for President Putin said that the deployment did not pose a threat to Russia.   Later, an official from the defense committee in Russia's upper house said Russia would strengthen its missile defenses in the Far East
Item Number:3 Date: 01/24/2017 ESTONIA - RECON TROOPS WRAP UP TRAINING IN SIMULATOR IN TARTU (JAN 24/BNS)  BALTIC NEWS SERVICE -- Conscript Estonians from the reconnaissance company of the 1st Infantry Brigade have just completed a virtual training exercise at the simulation center at the Estonian National Defense College in Tartu, reports the Baltic News Service.   The system used the VBS3 virtual battlefield training environment. Participants had to locate the enemy, order indirect artillery fire and provide an assessment of the artillery strikes, said a military spokesman.   The conscripts served as forward observers and used a map, GPS, compass and various observation gear to order the artillery fire, BNS reported on Jan. 22.   Simulators permit soldiers to enhance their skills at a low cost, said Capt. Meelis Soukand, the instructor for the drills. The conscripts performed well during the latest training, he said.  
  Item Number:4 Date: 01/24/2017 INDONESIA - PANDUR II ARMORED VEHICLES ON ARMY'S SHOPPING LIST, SAYS TOP GENERAL (JAN 24/ANTARANA)  ANTARA NEWS AGENCY -- The Indonesian army has decided to purchase Pandur II 8 x 8 wheeled armored vehicles from an Austrian firm as part of the military's modernization program, reports Antara News, Indonesia's national news agency.   The procurement has been included in the 2017 strategic plan, said Gen. Mulyono, the army chief of staff, on Monday.   The number of vehicles to be bought was not disclosed. Talks with the contractor are still focused on the vehicle specifications, the general said in Jakarta.   The Pandur is available in a number of configurations. It can include a 30-mm turret and six troops or accommodate 12 personnel without the turret.  
Item Number:5 Date: 01/24/2017 IRAQ - UNABLE TO HOLD IT, ISIS DESTROYS MOSUL HOTEL (JAN 24/IQN)  IRAQI NEWS -- Islamic State militants in Mosul in northern Iraq have blown up that city's second-largest hotel, reports Iraqi News.   The 236-room Mosul Hotel, which sits on the west bank of the Tigris River and was built when Saddam Hussein was dictator, was filled with barrels of TNT on Saturday, according to an unnamed security source quoted by the Mawazin News Agency. He did not provide details on the extent of the damage.   The action was apparently directed at preventing government forces from using the building as a landing spot or base from which to conduct operations in the western side of the city, reported Reuters.   The hotel overlooks the Tigris, which divides Mosul in half. Iraqi forces have liberated most of the east side and reportedly are preparing to attack the western side
Item Number:6 Date: 01/24/2017 IRAQ - WITH FIGHTING ONGOING, ARMY RETRACTS ITS CLAIMS ABOUT LIBERATING ALL OF E. MOSUL (JAN 24/ANADOLU)  ANADOLU NEWS AGENCY -- On second thought, eastern Mosul is not "totally liberated," the Iraqi Defense Ministry acknowledged on Tuesday, as reported by the Anadolu Agency (Turkey).   Baghdad retracted its earlier claim of gaining complete control of the eastern part of the city from the Islamic State, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar).   The army announced on Monday that it had liberated the left bank of Mosul, which is bisected by the Tigris River. ISIS still controls the western half.   Later on Monday, the ministry announced its forces were still clashing with ISIS fighters in the Al-Rashiya district. Other units were clearing neighborhoods and encountering pockets of militants.   ISIS is believed to have a presence in the forest area on the banks of the Tigris.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 01/24/2017 JAPAN - TOKYO PUTS UP ITS 1ST DEFENSE COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE (JAN 24/KNA)  KYODO NEWS AGENCY -- The Japanese government says it has launched its first military communications satellite, reports the Kyodo News Agency.   The Kirameki-2 satellite was launched Tuesday aboard an H-IIA rocket from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima prefecture by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, said defense officials.   The satellite is one of three planned aimed at replacing three civilian ones being used by the military. The new satellites will improve communications among the different services with a high-speed and high-capacity network, say Defense Ministry officials.   Plans call for the Kirameki-2 to be positioned over the Indian Ocean. It will be used by Japanese peacekeepers in South Sudan and anti-piracy forces off Somalia, said the Defense Ministry.   The satellite will also be able to monitor North Korean missile launchers, reported Agence France-Presse.   Kirameki-1, the first of the three satellites, is being repaired after being damaged in transit to a launch site in French Guiana. Its launch was delayed from July 2016 to March 2018 at the earliest, noted AFP
Item Number:8 Date: 01/24/2017 LIBYA - FACTIONS, REGIONAL DIPLOMATS AGREE TO TALK SOME MORE (JAN 24/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- Leaders of rival factions in Libya recently met in Cairo with diplomats from regional countries to discuss forming a new government, reports the Voice of America News.   Saturday's talks between the rival leaders and representatives of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Mali, Niger, Tunisia and Sudan ended with an agreement to hold further discussions this week in Algeria.   There have reportedly been behind-the-scenes meetings between key players in the negotiations, including military commander Khalifa Hafter. Hafter commands Libyan military forces in Tobruk, in the eastern part of the country, but is opposed by political figures close to the Muslim Brotherhood.   Hafter has been growing closer with Russia, noted the Middle East Monitor.   Egypt and most of the other regional states have also been urging the lifting of the U.N. arms embargo on the military forces under Hafter's command, arguing that they represent the national army.   Most Libyan leaders are eager to end the political impasse, but disagree on the details of a compromise, said one Libyan analyst
  Item Number:9 Date: 01/24/2017 PAKISTAN - MILITARY TEST-FIRES ABABEEL SURFACE-TO-SURFACE MISSILE WITH RANGE OF MORE THAN 1,300 MILES (JAN 24/DAWN)  DAWN -- Pakistan's military says it has successfully test-fired a new surface-to-surface missile, reports Dawn (Pakistan).   Tuesday's test was aimed at "validating various design and technical parameters" of the Ababeel missile, said the official Inter-Services Public Relations.   The Ababeel has a range of 2,200 km (1,367 miles) and is capable of carrying multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) technology, said the statement.   The nuclear-capable missile can hit multiple targets with high precision, and is built to counter the growing regional ballistic missile defense environment, said the military
  Item Number:10 Date: 01/24/2017 PHILIPPINES - ABU SAYYAF CONTINUES TO HOLD 25 HOSTAGES; PRESIDENT RESISTS PUSH FOR MARTIAL LAW (JAN 24/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says Abu Sayyaf militants are still holding 25 hostages in the southern Philippines, reports Agence France-Presse.   The minister said on Monday that he did not believe ransoms should be paid to the kidnappers.   Two Indonesian captives were freed last month after a US$400,000 ransom was paid, he said during a conference in Singapore. They two had been seized in June from a tugboat off the southern Philippines.   There has been public pressure on President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the southern islands of South Tawi Tawi, Jolo and Basilan, where the group operates, but the president does not think it is needed, said the minister.   The army is having difficulty in hunting the militants because they are supported by local communities, which often benefit from ransom payments, he said.  
 Item Number:11 Date: 01/24/2017 SOMALIA - FOLLOWING DEAL WITH AFRICAN UNION, BURUNDIAN PEACEKEEPERS TO STAY IN SOMALIA (JAN 24/EA)  EAST AFRICAN -- The government of Burundi has halted its announced plans to withdraw its troops from the peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), reports the East African (Nairobi, Kenya).   The African Union and Burundi finalized a deal to extend the peacekeeping mandate, the A.U. said on Friday, as reported by Turkey's Anadolu Agency.   African Union Peace and Security Commissioner Smail Chergui signed an agreement on payments for the Burundian peacekeepers.   In December, President Pierre Nkurunziza threatened to sue the African Union for failure to pay Burundian personnel serving with the mission for more than a year.   "We have agreed that the Burundian troops in Somalia will be paid their salaries and that they won't be segregated from other peacekeepers in Somalia, so the withdrawal of troops is not an option," said Burundian Vice President Gaston Sindimwo.   Burundi is the second-largest contributor of troops to AMISOM with 5,432 personnel. It is heavily dependent on international aid.  
  Item Number:12 Date: 01/24/2017 SOUTH KOREA - MULTIPLE WEAPONS SYSTEMS TO BE DEPLOYED TO COUNTER THREAT OF WMDS FROM N. KOREA (JAN 24/YON)  YONHAP -- The Defense Ministry in Seoul says South Korea will improve its detection and surveillance capabilities this year to counter North Korean weapons of mass destruction, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   The military plans to deploy 10 new weapons systems throughout the year to deal with the threat of Pyongyang's nuclear and other weapons, said the ministry on Tuesday.   The planned systems include chemical, biological and radiological reconnaissance vehicles, the towed array sonar system to detect and track enemy submarines, unmanned reconnaissance aircraft and upgraded versions of the new Ulsan-class frigate, the ministry said
Item Number:13 Date: 01/24/2017 SUDAN - INDONESIAN PEACEKEEPERS CHARGED WITH TRYING TO SMUGGLE GUNS OUT OF DARFUR (JAN 24/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Indonesia has denied that its peacekeepers attempted to bring weapons from the Darfur region of Sudan, reports Agence France-Presse.   The U.N. mission in Darfur (UNAMID) opened a probe last week into the incident, saying authorities had found weapons and military equipment in the luggage of an Indonesian police unit that was returning home from a regional airport.   Sudanese media reported that the weapons included around 29 Kalashnikov rifles, 70 handguns and large amounts of ammunition.   On Tuesday, Indonesia's Foreign Ministry said that those weapons did not belong to the police.   Indonesian peacekeepers have not been allowed to leave Darfur pending the investigation. An Indonesian national police team is also investigating.  
  Item Number:14 Date: 01/24/2017 SYRIA - AFTER BEING SENTENCED TO DEATH, POLISH MAN RELEASED (JAN 24/RPOL)  RADIO POLAND -- A Polish national accused of being a terrorist by the Syrian government has been released, reports Radio Poland, citing Czech and Polish officials.   Leszek Panek, 54, disappeared in Syria in December 2015. Some accounts said he was arrested by the Syrian army in Homs. He was charged for alleged terrorist activities and sentenced to death.   On Tuesday, the Polish Foreign Ministry confirmed his release and that he would return to Poland in the coming days. Syrian officials said he had been arrested for crossing into the country illegally. The Polish IAR news agency reported that Panek had gone to Syria as a Christian missionary.   The released was secured with the help of the Czech Republic, the only nation within the E.U. and NATO to have diplomatic relations with Syria.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 01/24/2017 SYRIA - ASTANA MEETING ENDS WITH TRILATERAL AGREEMENT FOR ENFORCING SYRIAN CEASE-FIRE (JAN 24/REU)  REUTERS -- Officials from Iran, Russia and Turkey have announced a deal designed to enforce the cease-fire in Syria, reports Reuters.   The three countries will establish a trilateral mechanism to "observe and ensure full compliance with the cease-fire, prevent any provocation and determine all modalities," according to a joint statement on Tuesday.   The announcement came at the end of two days of peace talks in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. The cease-fire backed by Turkey and Russia went into effect in December.   It was not immediately clear if the statement was supported by the rebel opposition or the Syrian government.  
 Item Number:16 Date: 01/24/2017 SYRIA - FSA REBELS, NUSRA FRONT TERRORISTS CLASH NEAR ALEPPO (JAN 24/REU)  REUTERS -- Rebel officials in Syria say that Nusra Front terrorists have attacked some of the groups that are taking part in peace talks, reports Reuters.   Peace negotiations are now taking place in Kazakhstan following a truce brokered by Turkey and Russia. Nusra Front (now known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) and the Islamic State are not parties to the truce on the talks.   On Tuesday, rebel officials from the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army said that Nusra Front fighters had seized several of its positions in northwest Syria.   One official said the action was in rural areas west of Aleppo, calling this the first time Nusra Front had attacked FSA groups
Item Number:17 Date: 01/24/2017 UKRAINE - RIYADH CUTS OFF MONEY TO KIEV'S TACTICAL BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAM, SAYS MOSCOW REPORT (JAN 24/SPUTNIK)  SPUTNIK -- Ukraine has reportedly suspended its program build a new tactical ballistic missile after Saudi Arabia suspended funding, reports Russia's Sputnik news agency, citing a blog from the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.   Last summer, the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau and Pavlograd Chemical Plant started development of the Grom-2 (Thunder) missile system with about US$40 million in funding from Saudi Arabia, according to Ukrainian media.   Riyadh was said to be looking for a system capable of firing ballistic and cruise missiles interchangeably.   The Grom-2 system, whose initial design goes back to the early 2000s, would be fitted with two missiles with a range of 170 miles (280 km).   It is unclear why the Saudis apparently withdrew their support, said analysts in Ukraine and Russia. Possible reasons include dissatisfaction with the project's progress; political pressure on Ukraine from its Western allies; or economic issues that would make the missile system difficult to complete in a timely fashion.  
  Item Number:18 Date: 01/24/2017 UKRAINE - T-REX UPGRADES ON THE WAY FOR T-64, T-72 TANK HULLS (JAN 24/EUROMAIDAN)  EUROMAIDAN PRESS -- Arey Engineering Group in Ukraine has developed a new main battle tank concept that it will use Soviet-era T-64 and T-72 tank hulls, reports Euromaidan Press (Ukraine).   The T-Rex design meets all of the Defense Ministry's technical requirements and is slated to enter service within a year, according to company officials.   The tank offers a high level of personnel protection and features a new fire-control system, says Arey. It provides high maneuverability, all-around observation and a high-bandwidth countermeasures analysis system, according to Sergei Stepanov, the chief designer at Arey, as cited by the media company last week.   The T-Rex has an unmanned turret with a 125-mm cannon along with an automatic loader and secondary machine guns. The three-man crew sits in an armored capsule at the front of the hull.   The design will make use of thousands of T-64 and T-72 tank hulls left in Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union. This will enable the Ukrainian army to upgrade its capabilities rapidly and with minimal cost, according to Arey
  Item Number:19 Date: 01/24/2017 USA - CONGRESSIONAL REPORT BLASTS ARMY'S STALL IN DEVELOPMENT OF GROUND COMBAT SYSTEMS (JAN 24/MILTIMES)  MILITARY TIMES -- A new congressional report warns that the U.S. Army's key ground combat systems are falling behind compared to newer equipment being developed by potential adversaries such as China and Russia, reports the Military Times.   Developed mostly in the 1970s, the Army's main battle tanks, tracked infantry fighting vehicles, tracked self-propelled artillery and multiple rocket launch systems were designed to fight larger Cold War enemies, notes the report by the Congressional Research Service.   "U.S. Army leadership notes for the first time since World War I that the Army does not have a new ground combat vehicle under development and, at current funding levels, the Bradley [infantry fighting vehicle] and Abrams [tank] will remain in the inventory for 50 to 70 more years," says the CRS study.   Spending on armor and artillery systems have totaled around $1 billion annually since 1996, and have been eating up nearly 42 percent of the service's research, development, testing and evaluation budget in failed and cancelled projects, the report says.   The potential for adversaries to surpass the U.S. technological edge is becoming more likely, especially given the Pentagon's slow acquisition process and budgetary issues, according to the CRS
Item Number:20 Date: 01/24/2017 USA - MARINES TO ROTATE TO AUSTRALIA IN APRIL WITH OSPREYS, SUPER COBRAS, VENOMS (JAN 24/HSA)  HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER -- The U.S. Marine Corps has plans to deploy a large aircraft element to Australia within months, reports the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.   Four MV-22 Ospreys, five AH-1W Super Cobra and four UH-1Y Venom helicopters are being sent as part of the next Marine rotation to northern Australia as part of the pivot to Asia, say officials.   About 1,250 Marines are expected in Australia in April. Earlier plans called for the mission to grow to a 2,500-man Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) this year, but that expansion has been postponed.   Funding problems are delaying the deployment of a full MAGTF including aircraft, vehicles and other equipment, officials said.   Most of the personnel involved will be from the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., said Marine Corps Forces Pacific.


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