Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fw: TheList 4502


The List 4502

To All,
I hope you all had a great weekend.
This Day In Naval History - July 17
1858 - U.S. sloop Niagara departs Queenstown, Ireland, to assist in laying first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable.
1898 - Santiago, Cuba surrenders to U.S. Naval forces.
1927 - First organized dive bombing attack in combat by Marine Corps pilots against Nicaraguan bandits who were surrounding U.S. Marine garrison at Ocotal, Nicaraguan.
1944 - Ammunition explosion at Naval Magazine, Port Chicago, CA.
1975 - Docking in space of the U.S. Apollo (Apollo 18) and Soviet Soyuz (Soyuz 19) space craft. This was the first manned space flight conducted jointly by the 2 nations. Former naval aviator Vance D. Brand was the Apollo Command Module Pilot. The Apollo craft was in space for 9 days and 7.5 hours. Recovery was by USS New Orleans (LPH-11).
Today in History July 17
France defeats England at Castillon, France, ending the Hundred Years' War.
Peter III of Russia is murdered and his wife, Catherine II, takes the throne.
France limits the importation of goods from Britain.
National Guard troops open fire on a crowd of demonstrators in Paris.
Ottoman forces, supported by the British, capture Aboukir, Egypt from the French.
The U.S. fleet arrives in Tripoli.
Napoleon Bonaparte surrenders to the British at Rochefort, France.
Andrew Jackson becomes the governor of Florida.
U.S. troops under General William R. Shafter take Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War.
Field Marshall Erwin Rommel is wounded when an Allied fighter strafes his staff car in France.
Chinese communists attack the Nationalist army on the Yangtze River.
American pilot Francis Gary Powers pleads guilty to spying charges in a Moscow court.
Ho Chi Minh orders a partial mobilization of North Vietnam to defend against American airstrikes.
Lt. Col. Oliver North and Rear Adm. John Poindexter begin testifying to Congress regarding the Iran-Contra scandal.
Monday Morning Humor thanks to Al
     You must accept my apologies.  Last Friday was Bastille Day and I didn't recognize it in last week's Monday Morning Humor.
     One of the defining rallying points of the French Revolution was the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789.  Briefly, the French people, led by Danton and others, rose up and overthrew the monarchy of Louis XVI (and Marie-Antoinette).
     As an incident, the storming of the Bastille was of symbolic value than a crucial military victory.  While the Bastille had in its time housed political prisoners, there were fewer than 10 inmates at the time of the attack on 14th July 1789.  Moreover, none of the prisoners was noteworthy and it was the guns and other arms that were more valuable to the revolutionaries.

Bastille Day is just like the Fourth of July except it takes place in France and we don't care about it.
Bastille Day is just like the Fourth of July but with Dr. Joseph Guillotin's heady brand of hospitality.

     The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Surrender" and "Collaborate." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France, it resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.

     Did you hear about the Frenchman who almost got away with stealing several paintings from the Louvre in Paris?
     After planning the crime, getting in and out past security, he was captured only two blocks away when his minivan ran out of gas. When asked how he could mastermind such an almost flawless crime, and then make such an obviously stupid error, he replied: "Monsieur, I had no Monet to buy Degas to make de Van Gogh."
     (And you thought I lacked De Gaulle to send you a story like this!)

     An Air France airliner was flying across the Atlantic when one of the engines quit. The captain announced to the passengers, "Eef zose of you on ze right side of ze aircraft will look out your window, you will notice we have lost one of our engines. Not to worry, ze aircraft can fly tres bien on its remaining three engines."
     Later into the flight the captain announced to the passengers, "Eef zose of you on ze right ide of ze aircraft will look out your window, you will notice we have lost another one of our engines. Not to worry, ze aircraft can fly normally on its remaining two engines."
     Much later into the flight the captain announced to the passengers, "Eef zose of you on ze left side of ze aircraft will look out your window, you will notice we have lost another one of our engines. Not to worry, ze aircraft can fly normally on its remaining one engine."
     And much later into the flight the captain announced to the passengers, "Eef zose of you on ze left side of ze aircraft will look out your window, you will notice we have lost our last engine. Not to worry, we have an excellent survival program."
     "Will zose of you who can swim please gather in ze first-class section. Zose of you who cannot swim, gather in ze aft cabin sie vous plie."
     "For zose of you in ze first-class cabin, when we land in ze water, please climb out onto ze wings, get into ze water and swim out to ze life rafts ze flight attendants have prepared for you."
     "For zose of you in ze aft cabin...THANK YOU for flying Air France!"

Have a great week, mes amis et amies,

I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.--General George S. Patton.
Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion.--Norman Schwartzkopf.
We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it.--Marge Simpson
As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure--Jacques Chirac
As far as France is concerned, you're right.--Rush Limbaugh,
The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee.--Regis Philbin.
The last time the French asked for 'more proof' it came marching into Paris under a German flag.--David Letterman
What do you expect from a culture and a nation that exerted more of its national will fighting against DisneyWorld and Big Macs than the Nazis?--Dennis Miller.
Do you know how many Frenchmen it takes to defend Paris? It's not known, it's never been tried.--Rep. R. Blount (MO)
Do you know it only took Germany three days to conquer France in WWII? And that's because it was raining.--John Xereas, Manager, DC Improv.

Thanks to Mugs
Military Judge Gives Bowe Bergdahl A Lot Of Bad News
Posted at 7:31 pm on July 8, 2017 by streiff
I missed this in the tumult of the past week but good news is always welcome.
When Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released by the Taliban in 2014 he was feted by the Obama administration despite ample evidence that he was actually a deserter. His parent were guests at a Rose Garden ceremony with Obama, himself. Habitual and reflexive liar Susan Rice took to the Sunday shows to reprise her bravura performance after Benghazi, in this case she told a lie so monstrous that even CNN's Jim Acosta, who never saw an Obama-related  shoe he couldn't polish, was shocked:
RICE: I realize there has been a lot of discussion and controversy around this. What I was referring to is the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That in itself is a very honorable thing.
ACOSTA: But 'honor and distinction?'
Because of the omelet sizzling on the face of Obama and Rice and others, there seemed to be an initial attempt to fix the case so Bergdahl could just go away.
 An Army two-star who conducted a preliminary inquiry minimized Bergdahl's actions and recommended against court-martial or imprisonment. (Yes, he was promoted.) The commander of US Forces Command disagreed and his legal office determined there was sufficient evidence to charge Bergdahl with one count of desertion and one count of misbehavior before the enemy. Both of which carry the possibility of life sentences.
The next step was an Article 32 hearing, which is the military equivalent of a grand jury but which is not a rubber stamp by any stretch of the imagination, but neither is it definite as it produces a recommendation not a decision. The Article 32 officer recommended that the charges be adjudicated via what is called a Special Court Martial. A Special Court Martial employs a military judge and a panel of three officers as a jury. This would have limited Bergdahl's liability to 12 months confinement, forfeiture of two-thirds pay and allowances, and a bad conduct discharge, the latter does not deprive a soldier of all veterans benefits.
The four-star who has convening authority for courts-martial disapproved the recommendation for a Special Court and ordered that Bergdahl stand trial on the two charges and face a General Court Martial which can impose any sentence up to and including death.
Then the legal maneuvering started in earnest. Bergdahl asked Obama for a pardon and got nothing. Then his defense team started throwing stuff against the wall in hopes some of it would stick. They claimed unlawful command influence because candidate Donald Trump had called Bergdahl a traitor at least 65 different times. This gambit has been denied for the simple reason that the "unlawful command influence" has a specific meaning.
Another hearing was held in June before a military judge to decide if the charges were supported by the record or if they should be modified. Bergdahl's team was really aiming to have the "misbehavior before the enemy" charge reduced or dropped altogether. If Bergdahl is tried on the misbehavior charge, whether or not he's convicted of it, the evidence given to support that charge will ensure a court martial panel returns a really stiff sentence for desertion.
Last week, the military judge overseeing the trial rendered two adverse decisions. First, he decided that Bergdahl will stand trial on all charges. Most damaging, though, was his decision that if Bergdahl is convicted that the jury would be allowed to hear about the injuries suffered by a Navy SEAL and an Army NCO while specifically searching for Bergdahl.
Serious wounds to a soldier and a Navy SEAL who searched for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl can be used at the sentencing phase of his upcoming trial, a judge ruled Friday, giving prosecutors significant leverage to pursue stiff punishment against the soldier.
The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, ruled that the service members wouldn't have wound up in the firefights that left them wounded if they hadn't been searching for Bergdahl, so their injuries would be relevant to his sentencing if he's convicted of misbehavior before the enemy at trial in October.
I suspect we are heading for a guilty plea and Bergdahl taking his chances with a military judge. Any court-martial panel Bergdahl draws will be composed of officers with combat tours. Bergdahl can demand that a third of his jury be composed of noncommissioned officers senior in rank to him–but he'd have to have a profoundly incompetent defense team for them to think that senior NCOs are going to be very sympathetic to his case.
Thanks to Mike
This new CH53K Helo is an awesome addition to the Marines
 Thanks to Carl
Local WWII veteran's remains recovered more than 70 years later, in a tree | Q13 FOX News
WATCH the two minute video in the first link!!  An amazing misty eyed "full circle" story!
Local WWII veteran's remains recovered more than 70 years later, in a tree
World War II Pilot's Remains Found in a Tree 70 Years After His Airplane Crashed
JULY 15, 2017P-47D_365th_FS_in_High_Halden_June_1944
The year was 1945 and 21 year old Army Air Forces 1st Lt. William Gray was on a combat mission over Germany in a single-seat P-47D Thunderbolt aircraft when disaster struck. His airplane came in contact with a tree and he crashed.
Lt. William Gray
The Defense POW/MIA said investigators recovered Gray's remains last year. Two people who saw Gray's plane go down told the investigators where to look, Q13 Fox reported Friday. The investigators were in Lindau on another recovery mission.
"The bones they found were embedded in the tree," Gray's niece Jan Bradshaw told the station.
Her brother Doug Louvier added, "It grew over his remains and really protected and marked the spot."
Gray was buried side-by-side with his best friend—Bradshaw and Louvier's father. – Fox News
It looks like they dusted off some old designs and spruced them up a bit. I remember seeing and reading about a follow on F-16 design proposal with a wing like this in Aviation Leak 30 years ago
Thanks to Mugs F-16 block 70
From a friend:
Little more detail….. (Suggested Images Added)
Lockheed Martin and India's Tata Seek to Build "Block 70" F-16s
Le Bourget, France—Lockheed Martin on June 19 announced plans to partner with India's Tata Advanced Systems Limited to potentially build advanced F-16s in India. The partnership announcement at the Paris Air Show comes as the Indian government weighs its options to replace old MiG-21 and MiG-27 fighters. The agreement "provides India the opportunity to produce, operate, and export F-16 Block 70 aircraft, the newest and most advanced version of the world's most successful, combat-proven multi-role fighter," Lockheed's announcement read, adding, this would be "the newest and most technologically advanced F-16 ever offered." The Block 70 Viper would be expected to offer a host of advanced capabilities. According to Lockheed Martin, it would offer advanced avionics, over-wing conformal fuel tanks, new datalinks, Advanced, Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars, automatic ground-collision avoidance (Auto GCAS) systems, and the ability to deliver a wide variety of weapons. According to India Today, the competition to build 120 "made in India" fighters appears to have come down to the F-16 and Sweden's Saab Gripen. "Almost all the variants of the MiG-21s and MiG-27s would retire by the year 2025 and the IAF is hoping that their replacements would be ready for induction into the service in the form of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft and the 120 'Made in India' fighter planes," India Times reported last week. The Indian government is expected to select the winning multirole fighter within a year. —Adam J. Hebert
Item Number:1 Date: 07/17/2017 AFGHANISTAN - KEY HELMAND DISTRICT BACK IN GOVERNMENT HANDS; U.S. AIRSTRIKES PROVIDE ASSIST (JUL 17/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- Government forces in southern Afghanistan say they have taken back a key district in Helmand province from the Taliban, reports the Voice of America News.   Early Monday, Afghan troops entered Nawa district, about 18 miles from the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, and established control after two days of fighting, a regional military spokesman told VoA.   Overnight U.S. airstrikes against three important Taliban bases killed at least 20 insurgents. The strikes helped the effort in the district center, the spokesman said.   A search-and-clearing operation is underway, he added.   The Taliban had been using the district as a launch pad for attacks against the provincial capital. The insurgents took over the area nine months ago, noted Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 07/17/2017 AFGHANISTAN - U.S. AIRSTRIKE TAKES OUT 3RD 'ISIS-K EMIR,' SAYS PENTAGON (JUL 17/NBC)  NBC NEWS -- The Pentagon says a U.S. airstrike last week killed the leader of the Islamic State's affiliate in Afghanistan, reports NBC News.   Abu Sayed, the "emir" of ISIS-Khorasan, was killed on July 11 in Kunar province, along the border with Pakistan, the Pentagon said Friday.   The strike was made on the group's headquarters, being aimed at "disrupting the group's plans to expand," said the Pentagon statement.   "Abu Sayed is the third ISIS-K emir we have killed in the last year and we will continue until they are annihilated. There is no safe haven for ISIS-K in Afghanistan," said Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.   Predecessor Abdul Hasib was killed in a military raid in April. Before that, ISIS leader Hafiz Sayid Khan was killed in a drone strike in 2016, noted the BBC
Item Number:3 Date: 07/17/2017 AUSTRALIA - PROPOSED LAW CHANGES WOULD BOOST MILITARY ROLE IN RESPONDING TO TERRORIST INCIDENTS (JUL 17/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- The Australian government has proposed changes to national security laws that are aimed at improving the military's ability to respond to terrorist attacks, reports the BBC.   Police would be able to call in the army earlier during an attack. And special operations forces could be embedded with law enforcement agencies, said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday.   The law now does not allow the military to be called in until the police have reached the limit of their capabilities.   Under the changes, defense officials could also provide specialized training to police, reported AFP.   The proposal comes after a siege in 2014 at a cafe in Sydney that left two hostages and the gunman dead. An inquiry in May found that police had failed to respond quickly enough to the siege, noted Reuters.  
  Item Number:4 Date: 07/17/2017 CAMEROON - ARMY VESSEL CAPSIZES OFF COAST; 34 MISSING (JUL 17/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- The Cameroonian government says more than 30 soldiers are missing after their vessel capsized on Sunday morning, reports Agence France-Presse.   The boat was carrying 37 people when it sank while refueling, said Defense Minister Joseph Assomo on Monday. The vessel was en route from Limbe to Bakassi off the country's southeastern coast.   Three soldiers were rescued; 34 are unaccounted for, said Assomo.   Rough sea conditions likely were likely responsible, reported Reuters.   The soldiers are part of the elite Rapid Intervention Brigade, which has been on the front lines in the fight against Boko Haram.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 07/17/2017 CHINA - PRODUCTION VARIANT OF CH-5 UAV MAKES 1ST TEST FLIGHT IN HUBEI PROVINCE (JUL 17/XIN)  XINHUA -- China has started test-flying of the production version of its CH-5 unmanned aerial vehicle, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency.   The CH-5, which is designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, patrol, target acquisition and strike missions, completed its initial test flight on Friday in the northern Hebei province.   The air vehicle has a wingspan of 69 feet (21 m) and can carry a payload of up to 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg). It reportedly has an endurance of 60 hours with a range of more than 6,200 miles (10,000 km).   More such flights are planned. These may lead to additional modifications, said officials from the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics
Item Number:6 Date: 07/17/2017 INDONESIA - AFRICAN NATIONS WANT WARSHIPS; SHIPBUILDER HOPES FOR EXPORT LICENSES (JUL 17/ANTARANA)  ANTARA NEWS AGENCY -- The state-owned PT PAL Indonesia shipbuilder has asked the government for licensing authority to sell its wares to a number of African nations, reports Antara News, Indonesia's national news agency.   The company is looking at building and exporting warships to several African countries, said senior PT PAL officials late last week.   Senegal has inquired about a landing platform dock and two fast missile craft. Gabon and Guinea-Bissau are both seeking two 200-foot (60-m) fast missile craft, the shipbuilder's officials said.   PT PAL needs a government license in order to complete such sales.   A number of Southeast Asian countries have also expressed interest in buying ships from the Indonesian shipbuilder, said one top official.   PT PAL recently delivered a pair of strategic sealift vessels to the Philippines navy.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 07/17/2017 IRAQ - KURDISH SECURITY OFFICIAL INSISTS ISIS LEADER IS 'DEFINITELY ALIVE' (JUL 17/REU)  REUTERS -- A top Kurdish counterterrorism official in Iraq says that the leader of the Islamic State is still alive despite several reports that he was killed in June in Syria, reports Reuters.   The Kremlin said in mid-June that it was investigating reports that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a Russian airstrike in Syria in May.   Baghdadi "is definitely alive. He is not dead. We have information that he is alive. We believe 99 percent he is alive," Lahur Talabany told the wire service on Monday.   "Don't forget his roots go back to Al-Qaida days in Iraq. He was hiding from security services. He knows what he is doing," he said. Talabany is oen of Iraqi Kurdistan's intelligence chiefs, noted Newsweek.   The ISIS leader is likely hiding south of Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS, said Talabany. That city is under attack by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF
Item Number:8 Date: 07/17/2017 ISRAEL - TEMPLE MOUNT REOPENS FOLLOWING ATTACK; MUSLIMS PROTEST METAL DETECTORS (JUL 17/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- Israel reopened the Temple Mount in Jerusalem over the weekend, reported the Wall Street Journal.   The holy site was closed after an attack last week.   Three gunmen and two police officers were killed on Friday at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque. The site is called the Noble Sanctuary by Muslims; Jews know it as the Temple Mount.   The site was closed so security measures could be installed, said Israeli authorities. The move was criticized by Jordan, the custodian of the site, Palestinian religious and political leaders and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, noted AFP.   On Sunday, two of the nine gates were opened, reported Reuters. The others were expected to be opened when the security measures, including metal detectors, were added.   Some Jerusalem Islamic Waqf leaders refused to pass through the detectors and urged other to do likewise, noted Jerusalem Online
Item Number:9 Date: 07/17/2017 LEBANON - HEZBOLLAH WILL 'SURPRISE' ISRAEL IN NEXT CONFLICT, SAYS GROUP OFFICIAL (JUL 17/JP)  JERUSALEM POST -- A top leader of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah has warned that the militant group will "surprise Israel" during any future conflict, reports the Jerusalem Post.   Sayyed Hashem Safieddine, the head of the Hezbollah executive council, told the group's Al-Manar TV channel on July 12 that Hezbollah has been evolving and developing new military capabilities.   He made his comments on the 11th anniversary of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.   Israeli reports on Hezbollah's arsenal are "inaccurate as the enemy intelligence agencies can never reach veracious data in this context," he said.   The head of the Israel Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, said in early July that the IDF had significantly improved its capabilities since the 2006 war.  
  Item Number:10 Date: 07/17/2017 NORTH KOREA - U.S. INTEL STUDY POINTS TO IMPROVED ACCURACY OF N. KOREA'S SHORT-RANGE BALLISTIC MISSILES (JUL 17/YON)  YONHAP -- A new report by the U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) says that North Korea has likely improved the accuracy of its close-range ballistic missiles (CRBMs), reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   The report also covers developments in missile programs in China, Iran and Russia.   "Iran and North Korea are likely progressing towards producing the Fadj-5 Aero CRBM and KN-SS-X-9, respectively," says the study that was released last week. "If the Iranians and North Koreans use satellite navigation systems (such as GPS) onboard their CRBMs, then the miss distance of these CRBMs could be reduced to tens of meters."   Pyongyang currently has two types of CRBMs, designated the Toksa and KN-SS-X-9, with a maximum range of 75 miles (120 km) and 120 miles (190 km), respectively, says the intelligence report.   Having highly accurate missiles would serve as a force multiplier for both Iran and North Korea, giving them a precision capability against high-priority targets, the report says.   China, North Korea, Iran, India and Pakistan have also been working on new medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, of which many will be armed with nonconventional warheads, according to the NASIC analysis.   NASIC is the DoD primary source for foreign air and space threats
Item Number:11 Date: 07/17/2017 PAKISTAN - NEW OFFENSIVE TARGETS MILITANTS' KHYBER HIDEOUTS (JUL 17/DAWN)  DAWN -- Pakistani security forces have kicked off a new major ground offensive against militant in the northwestern Khyber Agency, reports Dawn (Pakistan).   Operation Khyber-4 was launched Sunday in Rajgal valley "to wipe out terrorists," said Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor in a statement that day from the military's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).   Militants linked to pro-ISIS groups, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Pakistani Taliban, including splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, are entrenched there, he said. ISIS has been increasing its presence in areas across the valley in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, added the spokesman.   He called the valley "the most critical area in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)."   The operation will involve thousands of troops and the air force, he said. Pakistan reportedly informed Afghan officials and the NATO mission there in advance
Item Number:12 Date: 07/17/2017 SINGAPORE - 8 MORE F-15SG FIGHTERS APPARENTLY DELIVERED FROM U.S. (JUL 17/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- Boeing has recently delivered eight more F-15SG fighters to Singapore, reports Defense News, citing data from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.   The FAA website shows that the last of eight F-15SGs on its civil register had its registration cancelled in mid-June. Export is listed as the reason for the cancellation. Its destination is listed as Singapore.   The final aircraft was reported as an experimental aircraft in its registration details under the categories of research and development and crew training.   This was the only of the eight F-15SGs so classified. It had been seen flying over Boeing's facilities in St. Louis, Mo., in September 2016.   Delivery of the eight fighters began in early 2016.   The addition of these aircraft would bring the Singapore fleet to 40. The Defense Ministry in Singapore declined to confirm delivery to the newspaper.  
Item Number:13 Date: 07/17/2017 SOUTH KOREA - SEOUL PROPOSES MILITARY TALKS WITH PYONGYANG (JUL 17/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- South Korea's news government has proposed talks with the North aimed at easing border tensions and reuniting families, reported the Stars and Stripes. The offer was made public on Monday.   The South wants talks as early as Friday, says a government official cited by the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   Earleir this month, President Moon Jae In urged and end to all acts of hostility on the border. In a speech in Berlin, he also called for reunions of families separated by the Korean War.   Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo Suk said that the talks could be held on July 21 at Tongilgak, a North Korean building in the Panmunjom compound in the demilitarized zone between the two countries, reported the BBC. "We expect a positive response from the North," said the minister.   If realized, the talks would be the first such since 2015
Item Number:14 Date: 07/17/2017 SOUTH SUDAN - U.N. PEACEKEEPING MISSION CONSIDERS NEW BASE IN VOLATILE AREA (JUL 17/UNMISS)  UN MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN -- The U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) may open a new base in the conflict-ridden Yei region if the combatants agree to allow peacekeepers unhindered access to outlying villages.   David Shearer, the head of UNMISS, last week visited the southwestern city of Yei to assess the needs of the community and the value of establishing a base.   Shearer said several conditions must be met before the U.N. could commit to a new base, including guaranteed access for peacekeepers to areas beyond the city, cooperation from local authorities and an inclusive peace process, as noted in a UNMISS release on Friday.   There were clashes in the region last year between the South Sudanese government and opposition forces. A U.N. report indicated that pro-government forces killed 114 civilians in Yei between July and January. Brutal rapes were said to be rampant.   The city lies on the main trading routes with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 07/17/2017 SYRIA - ARMY TAKES BACK MORE OIL FIELDS IN RAQQA PROVINCE (JUL 17/REU)  REUTERS -- Syrian army forces fighting the Islamic State say they have taken control of several oil wells in Raqqa province over the weekend, reports Reuters, citing state television.   On Saturday, the army, backed by Russian air power, regained control of Wahab, al Fahd, Dbaysan, al-Qseer, Abu al Qatat and Abu Qatash oil fields and several other villages in the southwestern desert area of the province, said a military source quoted by Ikhbariyah television.   The regained territory is south of Rasafa and its oil wells. The region was taken by the army last month from ISIS.   The advance tightens the military's control of territory stretching from eastern Hama province to eastern Homs and the edge of the Raqqa and Deir Ezzor provinces, noted the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.   Separately, the army and its allied Iran-backed militias announced that they had gained ground northeast of the ancient city of Palmyra. Heavy fighting was reported over the last 48 hours near the Hail gas field
  Item Number:16 Date: 07/17/2017 TURKEY - ANKARA EYES $2.5 BILLION AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIA FOR S-400 AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM (JUL 17/BLOOMBERG)  BLOOMBERG NEWS -- The Turkish government has made a preliminary agreement with Russia for advanced air and missile defense systems, says a senior Turkish official, as cited by Bloomberg News.   Under the US$2.5 billion accord, Turkey would buy two S-400 missile batteries from Russia within the next year and then build two more domestically, noted the unnamed Turkish official.   In 2013, Ankara agreed to buy a similar missile system from a Chinese state-owned company, only to drop the deal under U.S. pressure. The Chinese company had been sanctioned by Washington for alleged missile sales to Iran.   The Russian S-400 would not be compatible with other NATO systems. Yet, it would not be under NATO constraints, which prevent Turkey from deploying such systems on the Armenian border, Aegean coast or Greek border, said the official.   Tensions between NATO members and Turkey have been on the rise, noted Investor's Business Daily.   Technology transfer is a key component of the deal, he said.   Turkey's NATO membership will not impede the purchase, Huseyin Dirioz, the Turkish ambassador to Russia, said in Moscow on Friday, as cited by Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency
Item Number:17 Date: 07/17/2017 UNITED KINGDOM - VISITING INDONESIAN FOREIGN MINISTER PROMISES TO COOPERATE AGAINST TERRORIST FINANCING (JUL 17/ANTARANA)  ANTARA NEWS AGENCY -- The governments of Indonesia and the United Kingdom have committed to better cooperation against terrorist financing, reports Antara News, Indonesia's national news agency.   The agreement was finalized when Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi met in London with her British counterpart Boris Johnson on July 13.   They both said international cooperation is necessary to prevent funding to terrorists, given the growing threat of terrorism around the world.   Retno also pointed out the growing regionalization of terrorist groups, in particular those affiliated with the Islamic State.   She agreed that international cooperation, including strengthening legal rules related to terrorism, is needed.  
Item Number:18 Date: 07/17/2017 USA - JOHN FINN DESTROYER COMMISSIONED AT PEARL HARBOR; NAMESAKE AWARDED MEDAL OF HONOR FOR HEROIC ACTIONS NEARBY (JUL 17/NAVY)  U.S. NAVY -- The U.S. Navy has commissioned another Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, according to a service release.   The USS John Finn was commissioned during a ceremony on July 15 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.   The John Finn, the 63rd in the class, will be homeported in San Diego, Calif., as part of U.S. Pacific Command.   The John Finn was built by Huntington Ingalls in Pascaguoula, Miss. The destroyer is the first built from the keel up with the Aegis Baseline 9 weapon system, which allows the ship to handle both air warfare and ballistic missile defense duties, said Adm. Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command.   The destroyer is named after John Finn, a Marine Corps chief aviation ordnanceman who manned a machine gun for two hours firing at Japanese warplanes attacking Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay on Oahu during the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941, noted the service.   Finn received nearly two dozen wounds, but survived. He was awarded the first Medal of Honor of World War II and lived to the age of 100
Item Number:19 Date: 07/17/2017 USA - MARINES, ARMY SEEK LIGHTER, BETTER FITTING BODY ARMOR (JUL 17/MCT)  MARINE CORPS TIMES -- The U.S. Army and Marine Corps are working together to field lighter and better fitting plate carriers and body armor, reports the Marine Corps Times.   Both the Marine Corps Systems Command and the U.S. Army Program Executive Office Soldier are involved.   MARCORSYSCOM is updating the sizing of clothing, uniforms, protective and load-bearing equipment to align with a 2016 policy update, said a command spokeswoman.   The Capabilities Development Directorate expanded fitting requirements to include 2nd percentile females and 98 percentile males, as measured by anthropometric studies.   This reduces the number of Marines falling outside of fitting accommodation to 3,642. Such personnel will receive custom products or sizes that fit, the spokeswoman said.   The Army and Marines are working on the Plate Carrier Generation III, which is lighter, less bulky and provides a smaller footprint than the existing plate carrier, while maintaining the same coverage and protection, she said.   The new plate carrier is being designed to be gender-neutral.   Separately, the Corps is looking at lighter body armor. The current armor has nearly 18 pounds (8 kg) of protective inserts.   A new project will seek to determine if a smaller plate could still defeat the threats faced by Marines
Item Number:20 Date: 07/17/2017 USA - NAVY MODERNIZES RATING STRUCTURE (JUL 17/NTIMES)  NAVY TIMES -- U.S. Navy officials announced last week the initial results of a planned overhaul to the service's enlisted rating structure as well as a new system of enlisted classification codes, reports the Navy Times.   Current rating titles will not be affected by the changes, officials emphasized. A controversial decision to dump ratings in 2016 engendered a harsh backlash and was reversed.   The overhaul is part of a Navy effort to modernize its ratings and enable greater flexibility in career paths.   Officials said the service's current 11 communities are being reorganized into 12 enlisted communities and 23 career fields within those communities. Most of the existing community names remain.   Some changes have been identified, including renaming "administration" as "executive support." Special Warfare/Operations has been broken into two separate communities.   The two ratings supporting he SEAL community -- special warfare operator and special boat operator -- are now simply "special warfare" (SPECWAR).   The Navy diver and explosive ordnance disposal ratings will also have their own special operations community, designated SPECOPS.   Under the overhaul, the surface warfare communities of engineering and surface combat systems and operations will be combined. The 13 ratings that make up the community are being broken into three career fields: engineering, tech and operations.   Aviation, information warfare and submarine communities have also been broken into smaller fields, said the service.   The changes will officially go into effect at the beginning of October. 

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