Wednesday, December 20, 2017

TheList 4616

The List 4616

To All
A bit of history and some tidbits. Four days until Christmas.

A Sailor's Christmas

A Sailor's Christmas
Jimmy Buffett

Sail on the horizons gotta landfall rendezvous
Captain steers a well-known course, he steers straight & true
As he trims the sheets, he sings a song
He learned on boats and bars
Sailor spends his Christmas in a harbour 'neath the stars
He's traveled through the doldrums, typhoons and hurricanes
He's logged a million soggy miles with water on his brain
But Christmas is the season better suited for dry land
He'll tell some lies, meet some spies
And dance barefoot in the sand
The sailor spends his Christmas in a harbour on the hook
Caye con les, no work today, let's shell the ol' log book
The waterfront is reveling, the season has begun
The sailor spends his Christmas in a harbour having fun.
There's a party down at Le Selecte, music, rum and cheers
Faces in the shadows, God, I haven't seen for years
A mast & shroud fill with lights
'Neath the waning of the moon
They're an airy celebration in the realm of King Neptune.
The sailor spends his Christmas in a harbour on the hook
Caye con les, no work today, let's shell the ol' log book
The waterfront is reveling, the season has begun
The sailor spends his Christmas in a harbour having fun.
Jesus was a fisherman who walked upon the sea
The North Pole is ocean's remote frozen balcony
The continents keep drifting but the children sing and play
'Cause nothing really matters, after all it's Christmas day
The sailor spends his Christmas in a harbour on the hook.
Vaye con les, no work today, he read it in a book
The waterfront is reveling, the season has begun
A sailor spends his Christmas in a harbour having fun
A sailor spends his Christmas in a harbour having fun
Havin' fun... havin' fun...havin' fun

Songwriters: Jimmy Buffett / Roger Guth
A Sailor's Christmas lyrics © BMG Rights Management US, LLC

This Day In Naval History - December 20
Dec. 20
1822—Congress authorizes the West Indies Squadron to suppress piracy in the Caribbean. Under the leadership of Commodores James Biddle, David Porter, and Lewis Warrington, the newly created squadron crushes the pirates.
1941—Adm. Ernest J. King is announced as the designated Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet, in charge of all operating naval fleets and coastal frontier forces, reporting directly to the President.
1943—TBF aircraft (VC-19) from escort carrier USS Bogue (CVE 9) attacks German submarine U-850, which responds with anti-aircraft fire. TBFs and FMs (VC-19) reinforce the TBF and sink U-850 as it tries to submerge 530 miles southwest of Fayal, Azores.
1964—USS Richard E. Kraus (DD 849) completes a successful emergency mission in aiding the disabled American merchant ship SS Oceanic Spray in the Red Sea.
1974—Task Force 65 concludes Operation Nimbus Star, the clearance of mines and unexploded ordnance in the Suez Canal, as part of a joint effort to reopen this vital artery to international shipping.
1989—Naval Special Warfare Task Force Papa attacks Punta Paitilla Airport during Operation Just Cause to prevent the dictator, Gen. Manuel Noriega, from leaving Panama. Chief Engineman Donald McFaul is mortally wounded while carrying a wounded SEAL to safety. 
1989: Naval Special Warfare Task Force Papa attacks Punta Paitilla Airport during Operation Just Cause to prevent the dictator, Gen. Manuel Noriega, from leaving Panama. Chief Engineman Donald McFaul is mortally wounded while carrying a wounded SEAL to safety.
1998 - Operation Desert Fox in Iraq ends.
This day in History
December 20
Vespians's supporters enter Rome and discover Vitellius in hiding. He is dragged through the streets before being brutally murdered.
Stephen Urosh IV of Serbia dies while marching to attack Constantinople.
The United States buys the Louisiana territory from France.
South Carolina secedes from the Union.
English transports loaded with 8,000 troops set sail for Canada so that troops are available if the "Trent Affair" is not settled without war.
Adolf Hitler is released from prison after serving less than one year of a five year sentence for treason.
Thousands of Spaniards sign a revolutionary manifesto.
The German government announces 400,000 citizens are to be sterilized because of hereditary defects.
First electronic television system is patented.
The Flying Tigers, American pilots in China, enter combat against the Japanese over Kunming.
Soviet forces halt a German army trying to relieve the besieged city of Stalingrad.
Viet Minh and French forces fight fiercely in Annamite section of Hanoi.
U.S. Supreme Court announces that it has no jurisdiction to hear the appeals of Japanese war criminals sentenced by the International Military Tribunal.
National Liberation Front is formed by guerrillas fighting the Diem regime in South Vietnam.
In its first free election in 38 years, the Dominican Republic chooses leftist Juan Bosch Gavino as president.
Four thousand cross the Berlin Wall to visit relatives under a 17-day Christmas accord.
U.S. troops invade Panama to oust General Manuel Noriega and replace him with Guillermo Endara.
NATO begins peacekeeping operation in Bosnia.
NeXT merges with Apple Computer, leading to the development of groundbreaking Mac OS X.
Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest monarch in the history of the UK; previously, that honor belonged to Queen Victoria.
From Washington's Crossing to Lincoln's Gift by W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Trackback Link
This Week in American Military History:
Dec. 21, 1861:  The congressionally conceived "Medal of Honor" is signed into law authorizing such medals be awarded to enlisted sailors and Marines who "distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other seamanlike qualities." The Army version of the medal is signed into law the following summer.
Dec. 22, 1864:  Following his "March to the Sea" and just before his "March through the Carolinas," Union Army Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman presents the captured city of Savannah (Ga.) to Pres. Lincoln as a "Christmas gift."
Dec. 24, 1814:  The Treaty of Ghent is signed ending the War of 1812.
Dec. 25, 1776:  Continental Army Gen. George Washington conducts his famous crossing of the Delaware River from the icy Pennsylvania shoreline to the equally frozen banks of New Jersey. It will be followed by an eight-mile march to the town of Trenton where he will meet and defeat the Hessians (German soldiers allied to the British).
Speed of movement, surprise, maneuver, violence of action, and the plan's simplicity are all key. Fortunately, the elements will all come together.
The factors in Washington's favor are clear: The weather is so bad that no one believes the Continentals will attempt a river crossing, much less a forced march at night. The Continentals are numerically – and perceived to be qualitatively – inferior to the British Army. The Hessians, mercenaries allied to the British and who are garrisoned in Trenton, have a battlefield reputation that far exceeds their actual combat prowess. And no one believes the weary Americans will want to attempt anything with anyone on Christmas.
Hours before kickoff, Washington has his officers read to the men excerpts of Thomas Paine's The American Crisis.
By 4:00 p.m. the force of just under 2,500 men gathers at McKonkey's Ferry, the launching point for the mission. The watchword, "Victory or death," is given. As darkness sets in, the men climb into the boats and begin easing out into the black river.
Washington's crossing and subsequent raid has been dubbed "America's first special operation" in some military circles: Though there were many small-unit actions, raids, and Ranger operations during the Colonial Wars, and there was a special Marine landing in Nassau in the early months of the American Revolution. Still no special operation in American military history has been more heralded than that which took place on Christmas night exactly 237 years ago, this week.
Thanks to ted -

From: Ed Beakley []
Subject: FW: Linebacker II and Brigadier General Glen R. Sullivan (9)
Whether you spent 18 hours watching Ken Burns Vietnam documentary or as many vets did, just skipped it, I think you owe it to yourself to spend 30 minutes or so watching this video on Linebacker II and the career ending courage of Brigadier General Glenn R. Sullivan who jumped his chain of command after the first three nights of disastrous same tactics over and over for the B-52's and changed the way the rest of LB II was conducted. Real leadership
As an add - Recognizing the magnitude of events and the bravery of the BUFF crews on missions far more dangerous than any they had previously flown, to perceive LB II only from the perspective of B-52 strikes is to miss significant pieces of the operation. Often left without discussion are the night low level missions to Haiphong by the A-6 Intruder squadrons: VA-115 Midway, VA-196 Enterprise, VA-35 America, VA-145 Ranger and VA-75 Saratoga.
Christmas '72 Stories: (2) Night time in the Red River Valley (

'Those of us who came home will never forget those who could not'
Merry Christmas to all 45 years later
From: Ray Sullivan/Barry Dycus []
Sent: Monday, December 18, 2017 7:34 AM
To: Grayjr
Subject: Linebacker II
December 18, 1972.... 45 years ago today began one of the most important pieces of the puzzle of the Vietnam conflict. It was the "solution", the final piece to getting the POWs returned and resolving our involvement In Vietnam. Yet, these 11 days are often overlooked, mischaracterized or eliminated from the historical perspective. 
We toast ALL of those involved in those 11 days in whatever capacity, whatever your task, whatever your branch of service. You did an amazing job and proved what could be done if the will was present. We especially give thanks and remembrance to those who did not return, for it is through them that we are allowed to live the lives we do today. 
Pay a visit today to and especially the "Day by Day" page to remember the reality of those 11 days. On the "Scenes" page is some video, part of which is edited and titled "Sully: A General's Decision" directed by Barry Dycus  "Sully: A General's Decision"

      - Description:
"Sully: A General's Decision"
An original film about operation Linebacker II that brought an end to America's involvement in the Vietnam war. ...
if you have about 35 minutes, I think you will find it interesting.
I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at the Utapao Alumni Reunion in Dayton, OH this year! What a thrill it was for me to meet all these folks who were at UT at some point and many of them during Linebacker II. My presentation included a piece on Bud Day (the POWs were a primary reason for the effort) and also "Sully: A General's Decision". I was well received and look forward to being with that group again. It was a great experience. I'm occasionally asked to speak to groups and do so willingly. It is an untold story that keeps unfolding all the time. There is rarely a week goes by that I am not contacted by someone about Linebacker II. My friend, Karl Eschmann, who wrote the original book about Linebacker II "Linebacker the Untold Story..." also has a presentation he does about Linebacker I and II. Karl is, I think, the preeminent authority on both I and II and includes all aircraft in his presentation, not just the B-52.
The story lives and changes as more is revealed all this time later. But the important part is not to forget. 
As days go by and times change I will keep this website up as a tribute to those 11 days. Somewhere down the line, I may ask for a very small donation to keep it active. This is not an expensive site, if anyone has an idea about how to create a little funding down the line please let me know. 
We wish you all the best. Thank you for all your support whether you were involved in Linebacker II or not. 
Have a wonderful Holiday Season. 
We wish you well.... ray and barry
Item Number:1 Date: 12/20/2017 AFGHANISTAN - PRESIDENT SAYS POWERFUL GOVERNOR OF BALKH PROVINCE RESIGNED; NOT SO, SAYS GOVERNOR (DEC 20/RFE/RL)  RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY -- The Afghan government says it has approved the resignation of the powerful governor of the northern Balkh province, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.   Kabul made the announcement on Monday.   Atta Mohammad Noor, also known as the "King of the North," is a leading figure of the Jamiat-e Islami party, which represents Afghanistan's Tajik ethnic group.   Noor's party and Noor said he was fired by President Ashraf Ghani. Noor said he would fight the move, noted the New York Times.   "My dismissal has no legal or legitimate basis," Noor said on Afghan national television. "For now, we are only resorting to civil action, but if this atrocity continues, there are many other options."   The Jamiat-e Islami party condemned the decision on social media, saying it was "hasty, irresponsible, against the security .. and in contradiction of the principles of the national unity government."   The party is considering withdrawing from their posts in the unity government, potentially destabilizing the government, said a Jamiat spokesman.   The party holds about half the seats in the coalition government.   Noor is one of several powerful regional and ethnic leaders who have crossed swords with Ghani since he took office in 2014.   The president's office said Noor submitted his resignation several months ago, but that it did not take effect until Ghani approved it on Dec. 18. Mohammad Daoud, also from Jamiat, would become the next governor of Balkh, said the president.   Noor maintains that his resignation was offered with conditions, but those conditions were not respected
  Item Number:2 Date: 12/20/2017 FRANCE - BUDGET-CAPPING MEASURE SEEN AFFECTING MAJOR MILITARY PROJECTS (DEC 20/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- A new measure in France aimed at capping public spending is worrying those backing military projects as the country strives to hit its NATO funding target, reports Defense News.   Article 14 was adopted on Dec. 17. It limits all civil and military expenditures to 106 billion euros (US$125 billion).   Military expenditures account for half of that amount.   The spending cap also gives more power to the Economy and Finance Ministry over the Armed Forces Ministry.   Lawmakers say this could complicate multiyear defense projects budget and the French pledge to boost defense spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2025, a NATO goal.   Large programs including a next-generation submarine, a second aircraft carrier and a second step in the army's Scorpion modernization effort, among others, could be delayed, said an unnamed defense executive
  Item Number:3 Date: 12/20/2017 INDIA - AIR FORCE PHASES OUT MI-8 HELICOPTERS THAT DATE TO 1972 (DEC 20/INDIAMOD)  INDIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- The Indian air force has held a formal ceremony marking the phasing out of aging Mi-8 Pratap utility helicopters, reports the Indian Ministry of Defense.   The event took place on Dec. 17 at Air Force Station Yelahanka near Bangalore.   The Indian air force inducted the Mi-8 into service in 1972, with 108 aircraft acquired by 1988.   India's 112 Helicopter Unit at Yelahanka was the last of 10 operational units to fly the Mi-8
Item Number:4 Date: 12/20/2017 INDIA - RENEWED KASHMIRI VIOLENCE LEADS TO 3 DEATHS (DEC 20/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Clashes in Indian-administered Kashmir have left three dead, reports Agence France-Presse.   On Monday evening, Indian security forces shot and killed two suspected rebels in the southern Shopian district, said a local police chief.   A crowd of locals reportedly rushed to the scene to condemn the killing, with some hurling stones at police.   Officials said police fired into the crowd with pellet guns. One civilian woman was killed and 12 people were injured. A police officer and soldier were also injured.   Accounts differ. Some reported that she was killed in the crossfire. Other witnesses said she was killed by police during the demonstration.   At least 210 suspected militants, 57 civilians and 78 security personnel have been killed in the region this year – which has been the deadliest since 2010.  
  Item Number:5 Date: 12/20/2017 IRAQ - DISCUSSIONS CENTER ON NATURE OF FUTURE U.S. TROOP PRESENCE IN IRAQ (DEC 20/USA)  USA TODAY -- The governments of Iraq and the United States have stepped up their talks on maintaining an American military presence in the country after ejecting most Islamic State fighters, reports USA Today.   The parties have not yet determined the size and composition of the U.S. force, which could change over time, according to unnamed American officials.   The composition of the follow-on force would be determined in part by the Iraqi government, the officials said.   Both Baghdad and Washington want to avoid the failure of 2011, when U.S. forces withdrew after Al-Qaida was weakened and there was a significant reduction in violence. However, the Iraqi military remained fragile and collapsed in the face of the ISIS assault in 2014.   Any future U.S. contingent would likely undertake similar missions to current deployments, including training Iraqi forces and assisting with intelligence and surveillance, analysts said.   Proponents say the presence of U.S. advisers would help stabilize the Iraqi military and prevent another collapse.  
Item Number:6 Date: 12/20/2017 JAPAN - CABINET OKS EXPANSION OF BALLISTIC MISSILE COMBAT SYSTEMS WITH BUILDING OF AEGIS ASHORE BATTERIES (DEC 20/JT)  JAPAN TIMES -- The Japanese Cabinet has approved a plan to buy two land-based Aegis Ashore missile defense systems to defend against potential nuclear and missile threats from North Korea, reports the Japan Times.   The approval on Tuesday allows the Defense Ministry to buy two Aegis Ashore systems, which will join Japan's existing Patriot PAC-3 batteries and Aegis-equipped destroyers to provide missile defense.   Plans call for fielding the Aegis Ashore systems in two different locations as soon as 2023. Those locations are yet to be finalized. Each system could cost more than US$888 million, officials said.   Japan needs "to fundamentally improve our ballistic missile defense abilities to protect our country at all times and in a sustainable manner," the government said in a statement.   Two Aegis Ashore systems, to be operated by the Ground Self-Defense Forces, will provide protection for the entire country and reduce the workload of personnel compared to the sea-based Aegis systems, said officials
Item Number:7 Date: 12/20/2017 PAKISTAN - 2 IN CUSTODY FOR PLOTTING TO KILL BALUCHISTAN GOVERNOR (DEC 20/DAILYTIMES)  DAILY TIMES -- Pakistani security forces say they have arrested two suspects for allegedly plotting to assassinate the governor of the province of Baluchistan, reports the Daily Times (Pakistan).   The two were arrested on Tuesday during a raid in the Gulistan area of Qilla Abdullah District, said officials.   Two suicide vests were recovered at the scene, said law enforcement officials.   Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti also said those behind a recent church attack in Quetta would also be arrested soon
Item Number:8 Date: 12/20/2017 PHILIPPINES - DIFFERENCES OVER FRIGATE PROGRAM SAID TO LEAD TO RELIEVING OF NAVY CHIEF (DEC 20/PDI)  PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER -- The Philippine government has fired its navy chief over a controversial frigate procurement plan, reports the Philippine Daily Inquirer.   On Tuesday, Vice Adm. Ronald Joseph Mercado was relieved of duty and immediately replaced by Rear Adm. Robert Empedrad.   Empedrad has been serving as the deputy chief of staff for reserve and retire affairs for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).   Mercado, who was appointed to the top navy post by President Rodrigo Duterte on Nov. 12, 2016, was scheduled to retire in March 2018.   There have been disputes within the Defense Dept. over the navy's planned US$317 million frigate acquisition program.   Mercado indicated that he was under pressure to agree to a frigate contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries that would have granted the South Korean shipbuilder the right to choose the weapon systems to be installed, an unnamed government official told the Inquirer.   One wire service said the admiral and other service officials had differing views on which combat management system should be installed, and those differences had come to the attention of the defense secretary.  
  Item Number:9 Date: 12/20/2017 POLAND - MIG-29 CRASHES NEAR WARSAW; PILOT EJECTS (DEC 20/XIN)  XINHUA -- A Polish air force MiG-29 has crashed at an airfield in Minsk Mazowiecki, near Warsaw, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency.   The fighter jet was coming in to land on Monday when communication was lost between the pilot and the base, said a statement from the Polish Ministry of Defense.   The pilot ejected safely and was sent to the hospital for evaluation, the ministry said. He reportedly suffered broken legs, according to Poland's Defence 24.   This was the first crash of a MiG-29 in Poland, according to air force officials cited by Reuters. The 15 remaining MiG-29s at the Minsk Mazowiecki base were grounded pending an investigation
Item Number:10 Date: 12/20/2017 RUSSIA - NORWEGIAN MAN ACCUSED OF SPYING, SAID TO HAVE ACCEPTED CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS (DEC 20/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- A Norwegian man and a former Russian policeman have been arrested for allegedly obtaining documents relating to Russia's navy, reports Deutsche Welle.   Russian media identified the Norwegian man as Frode Berg, a retired member of the Norwegian Border Commission.   Berg was reportedly detained after a sting operation by the Russian security organization FSB. His first hearing was on Dec. 6.   A Moscow court ruled this week that Berg be held until Feb. 5, 2018, reported the BBC.   Alexei Zhitnyuk, a former Russian policeman accused of handing Berg the documents, has been charged with treason, according to Russian state media.   Zhitnyuk was reportedly doing security work for a company contracted to deliver electrical equipment for the Russian navy when he was contacted by Norwegian intelligence officers.  
  Item Number:11 Date: 12/20/2017 SAUDI ARABIA - AIR DEFENSES INTERCEPTED YEMENI REBEL MISSILE AIMED AT ROYAL PALACE IN RIYADH (DEC 20/AL ARABIYA)  AL ARABIYA -- A ballistic missile fired from Yemen was successfully intercepted Tuesday near the Saudi capital, say officials from the Saudi-led Arab coalition forces, as cited by Al Arabiya (Dubai).   Witnesses around Riyadh heard a loud explosion and smoke rising. Saudi officials said the attack was made by Houthi rebels in Yemen.   The Volcano 2-H missile was intercepted by the Patriot missile defense system, said authorities, as cited by the daily telegraph (U.K.). That missile is also called the Burkan 2-H and is a Scud-like weapon.   In a statement on the Houthi-owned Al Masira television channel, the rebel group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they were targeting al-Yamama palace, where the offices of the Saudi monarchy are located.   No injuries were reported. Shrapnel was recovered around the capital
  Item Number:12 Date: 12/20/2017 SAUDI ARABIA - KINGDOM PLANS LARGEST BUDGET EVER FOR 2018 (DEC 20/CNBC)  CNBC -- Saudi Arabia has announced its largest budget ever, including more defense spending, reports CNBC.   Announced on Tuesday, the kingdom's projected budget is US$261 billion, up from about US$250 billion in 2017, according to Forbes. Government economists predict a 2.7 percent expansion in GDP for 2018.   Saudi Arabia is still trying to diversify its economy amid slumping oil prices. Its economy contracted by 0.5 percent in 2017, as the government cut subsidies on gasoline and other services.   While the specifics on defense spending next year are not clear, the nation is on track to boost its defense budget by 27 percent over five years, noted the Financial Times
Item Number:13 Date: 12/20/2017 SOMALIA - READINESS ASSESSMENT FINDS 30 PERCENT OF SOMALI TROOPS HAVE NO WEAPONS (DEC 20/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- A recent assessment conducted by the Somali government has revealed problems affecting the readiness of its armed forces, including the fact that about 30 percent of its soldiers are unarmed, reports the Voice of America News.   The Operational Readiness Assessment was conducted between August and September and submitted to officials in November.   The Defense Ministry acknowledged these and other deficiencies in an interview with VOA on Tuesday.   "There are some who are not armed. We are working to complete their equipment but a majority of them have weapons," he said in an interview with VOA's Somali service.   Official statistics put the number of soldiers at 26,000. However, sources told the VOA that the actual number of troops on duty is likely closer to 10,000.   A number of units lack medium and heavy weaponry and are chronically undermanned, the report says.   Al-Shabaab fighters have overrun four Somali military bases since September 2017, killing more than 60 soldiers and seizing large quantities of weapons.  
Item Number:14 Date: 12/20/2017 SOUTH KOREA - MOON SUGGESTS SUSPENSION OF JOINT DRILLS WITH U.S. UNTIL OLYMPICS END (DEC 20/NBC)  NBC NEWS -- South Korea and the U.S. could suspend joint military exercises until after the Winter Olympics if North Korea is willing to give up nuclear testing, says South Korea's president in an interview with NBC News.   President Moon Jae In said on Tuesday it would possible to postpone regional drills if Pyongyang would stop its "provocations."   The Trump administration is reviewing the suggestion, said Moon. "It all depends on how North Korea behaves."   The games are scheduled for Pyeongchang, 110 miles east of Seoul, from Feb. 9 to Feb. 25. Security concerns have dominated planning of the events
Item Number:15 Date: 12/20/2017 TURKEY - TAI UNVEILS SPECIFICATIONS FOR DOMESTIC TF-X STEALTH FIGHTER (DEC 20/TURKAERO)  TURKISH AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES -- Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has released for the first time initial specifications for the domestic TF-X stealth fighter program.   In August 2016, TAI signed a development contract for the program with the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) and Defense Ministry.   The award covers four years of design work, ending with the completion of the preliminary design phase, said a TAI release on Dec. 17.   The TF-X is intended to be a multi-role aircraft, optimized for aerial combat with some ground attack capability. It will have a twin-engine configuration, with each engine developing about 20,000 pounds of thrust, according to TAI.   The fighter will measure 60 feet (19 m) long, with a wingspan of 39 feet (12 m), according to the specs. It will have a maximum takeoff weight of about 60,000 pounds (27,200 kg). A top speed of Mach 2 is anticipated, with a service ceiling of more than 55,000 feet (16,760 m).  
  Item Number:16 Date: 12/20/2017 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DURING VISIT, CANADA'S DEFENSE MINISTER SIGNS DEFENSE COOPERATION ARRANGEMENT IN ABU DHABI (DEC 20/RCI)  RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL -- The governments of Canada and the United Arab Emirates have formalized a defense cooperation agreement, reports Radio Canada International (RCI).   The accord was signed in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 15, during a five-day visit to the region by Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan. The minister also visited Jordan and Kuwait.   The document, which covers increased personnel training, defense engagement and the promotion of regional stability, will make it easier for Canadian defense industry to sell its goods in the U.A.E., Sajjan said in a statement.   The Emirates is expected to increase its defense spending in the next few years. It is already among the top 15 defense spenders in the world, noted RCI. Canada only exported Can$8.1 million (US$6.3 million) in defense goods to Abu Dhabi in 2016
  Item Number:17 Date: 12/20/2017 UNITED NATIONS - FOREIGN-FLAGGED SHIPS EVADING N. KOREAN SANCTIONS, SAYS U.S.; MATTER GOES TO SECURITY COUNCIL (DEC 20/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- The U.S. government has called on the United Nations to blacklist 10 ships that allegedly violated sanctions against North Korea, reports Wall Street Journal.   U.S. officials made the request to the Security Council on Tuesday.   The ships, which include vessels from Hong Kong, Panama, Togo and North Korea, reportedly tried to evade sanctions by transferring banned material to and from North Korean ships at sea, according to the Voice of America News. In one case, two ships smuggled North Korean coal into a Russian port, said the U.S.   American officials at the U.N. have presented photographic evidence of these violations from newly declassified intelligence reports.   A vote on the U.S. request is scheduled for Thursday.  
  Item Number:18 Date: 12/20/2017 USA - CNO TELLS SAILORS IN JAPAN THAT NAVY NEEDS MORE POWERFUL SHIPS, POINTING TO N. KOREAN THREAT (DEC 20/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- The chief of naval operations says that the U.S. needs a larger, better networked Navy armed with the latest weapon systems to deal with security threats like North Korea, reports the Stars and Stripes.   Adm. John Richardson made his comments Tuesday during an all-hands call aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.   The service is in the midst of efforts to increase its power, including plans to expand to about 350,000 personnel to man 355 ships, as articulated by the Trump administration.   At this point, the U.S. Navy has about 322,000 sailors and 277 commissioned ships.   The CNO also said thecapabilities of these ships must be greater. This includes better networking among weapon systems, aircraft, ships and sensors. The service is also evaluating newer weapons that will offer greater lethality, the admiral said.   The Navy's position as the region's top naval power is being challenged, he said.  
Item Number:19 Date: 12/20/2017 USA - ISIS SUPPORTER GETS 28-YEAR SENTENCE FOR PLOT TO BEHEAD CONSERVATIVE BLOGGER (DEC 20/WP)  WASHINGTON POST -- A Massachusetts man has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for an ISIS-inspired plot to kill a conservative political activist, reports the Washington Post.   David Wright, 28, was sentenced on Tuesday for his role in a plot to kill Pamela Geller, a controversial blogger. He was also convicted of obstruction of justice for destroying phone and computer records.   Wright and an accused co-conspirator reportedly exchanged letters about "how to take down the U.S. government and decapitate non-believers."   Wright was motivated by an art exhibit lampooning the prophet Muhammad, prosecutors say.   After communicating with Islamic State members, Wright, his uncle and a friend hatched a plot to cut off Geller's head, said authorities.   The uncle was killed in June 2015 when he attacked a police officer in a separate incident, noted Newsweek. Evidence led authorities back to Wright and his accomplice
Item Number:20 Date: 12/20/2017 USA - WASHINGTON, UNDER EUROPEAN DEFENSE INITIATIVE, AIMS TO UPGRADE REGIONAL AIR BASES (DEC 20/AFT)  AIR FORCE TIMES -- The U.S. government has allocated more than $200 million to upgrade and build military facilities at air bases in Eastern Europe as part of international efforts to deter potential Russian aggression, reports the Air Force Times.   Those funds are part of the European Defense Initiative.   The 2018 annual defense legislation, signed into law last week by President Donald Trump, authorizes the Air Force secretary to purchase land and build installations outside of the United States. The defense plan includes about $214 million to construct facilities in Iceland, Norway and much of Eastern Europe.   Some of these bases will accommodate F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters and reconnaissance assets to monitor Russian submarines in the North and Baltic Seas, officials said.   About $14 million is being allocated to build new hangars at Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, to house P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, reported Foreign Policy magazine.   Infrastructure upgrades at installations in Europe, including airfields, training centers and ranges will improve U.S. and allied readiness, theater joint reception, staging, movement and integration, said a spokesman for U.S. European Command.   The bases being upgraded will support U.S. troops on a rotational basis and are not intended to be permanent facilities.

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